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  1. #231
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthjar View Post
    I think i would like to open this conversation with you; Richard, on the Grounds of your first reason for leaving Christianity.

    1) The Doctrine of Hell[/B]
    I cannot conceive of a good God who would design an eternal evil in which souls suffer eternal conscious torment. This is a central doctrine accepted by the vast majority of Christians.
    Hey there Matthjar,

    It is very good to meet you. Welcome to our forum!



    I very much appreciate your approach and look forward to discussing it with you. Unfortunately, my day job prevents me from answering in any depth right now. I hope to find some time this evening.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthjar View Post
    I have a personal belief in a good God that designed/created an eternal good (evil???) in which souls suffer eternal punishment. (I say good instead of evil because i cannot concieve of a God that is evil or designer of evil either.)

    1. God is that which always was,the "I AM." The eternal circle with no beginning and no end.

    - From this premise i can surmise that everything that exists has its source in God. (Giver of all Life).
    - Nothing can survive eternally seperate from God. (Immortality and the Tree of Life(Jesus/Son/Messiah/The Cross??).

    Given the above premise it is an easy flow through the Judeo/Christian teachings to the concept/belief in Hell.

    - Adam and Eve created
    - One instruction!!! "Do no eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil."

    Up to this point everything was pure perfection.

    - Enter the deceiver. Lies. Covinces Eve that she can be "like" God. She bites. She convinces Adam to bite.
    - Evil is born as the death (absence) of the good belief that God is wiser than us.
    - Sin enters the World through the belief that we are just as well equipped to discern good from evil as God (better than ?)
    - The second Sin was nobody could take responsibilty for the fall..... Adam: The woman made me do it. Eve: The serpent made me do it.

    - Ejected from the Garden and no longer immortal due to restricted access to the Tree of Life.
    - At this point humankinds fate is already sealed, due to disobedience to the Truth/Good/Life and submission to Lies/Evil/Death they and all descendants shall surely die.
    - This is the eternal punishment of Hell (simply the Loss of Immortality). They now will eventually cease to exist.

    I realize that this seperates me from Traditional Christianity but that is fine by me as Tradition tends to hold us back more than pushing us forward and definately more an aspect of man than of God.
    Your reasoning is not dissimilar from mine when I was a Christian. I always thought it was contradictory when folks would say that everyone has eternal life, only sinners would spend it in hell. This looked contradictory because the Bible says that the wages of sin is death, not eternal life in hell. This is why I leaned towards annihilationism when I was a Christian. It does separate from main stream Christianity, but is not necessarily a heresy, though I'm sure many think so (if the responses I have received are any indication).

    As for "one instruction" - that's what's so strange about the story. It makes no sense to instruct Adam and Eve to not seek the wisdom and knowledge available in the tree since everywhere else in the Bible we are exhorted to seek knowledge. And it doesn't make any sense to expect innocent fresh creations like Adam and Eve to be able to know that it would be WRONG to disobey God if they didn't already have the knowledge of good and evil. And it doesn't make any sense to put a deadly temptation that looks "good for food and to make one wise" in the middle of the garden, and then send in a subtle serpent to deceive them by telling them the truth that there eyes really would be opened and that they really would be like God (which God himself declared to be the truth). And worse, God didn't even tell them the true consequences of their actions, that they would continue to lve for centuries and give birth to a whole race of billions of people many of whom would suffer great agony before being snuffed out of a meaningless existence for eternity (if annihilation is correct). There is much to discuss, but time is short.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthjar View Post
    I am sorry I feel like I have been rambling and submit my sincerest apologies. I am sure that i still have alot to learn and that i may have opened myself up to a ton of FLAMING....LOL... I am completely open to any and all constructive criticisms, challenges, different points of view. If you contend with any single one of these bullet points or would like some bible reference for such an assertion then feel free.
    No apologie needed! Your post was wondeful, and opened up many points I'd like to discuss as time permits. I hope no one is so rude as to "flame" you

    All the best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  2. #232
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthjar View Post
    I think i would like to open this conversation with you; Richard, on the Grounds of your first reason for leaving Christianity.

    1) The Doctrine of Hell
    I cannot conceive of a good God who would design an eternal evil in which souls suffer eternal conscious torment. This is a central doctrine accepted by the vast majority of Christians.
    Hello Matthjar Welcome aboard It's always good to have a fresh face among us to chat with


    For all my years as a Christian neither could I conceive of the idea of Hell, so I created my own conception of what happens to wayward souls after death, but I wasn't really adhering to what the Bible teaches. The biblical authors clearly believed in and promoted as God's will an eternal hell where people suffer for eternity ... this cannot be denied no matter how much we dislike it. If one chooses to believe the biblical authors story of the god Yahweh and Jesus as his son, then who are we to throw out their idea of hell because we don't like its implications?

    When I finally woke up to the fact that Jesus believed in and taught the reality of the mythological place called Hades, I seriously began to question everything the Bible teaches. Jesus also believed and taught (according to the biblical authors) that what we know today to be different forms of mental illness was caused by demons, and that those demons can be cast into pigs! I'm sure glad that modern medical knowledge has advanced beyond superstitions.


    Quote Originally Posted by Matthjar View Post
    - Adam and Eve created
    - One instruction!!! "Do no eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil."

    Up to this point everything was pure perfection.

    - Enter the deceiver. Lies. Covinces Eve that she can be "like" God. She bites. She convinces Adam to bite.
    - Evil is born as the death (absence) of the good belief that God is wiser than us.
    - Sin enters the World through the belief that we are just as well equipped to discern good from evil as God (better than ?)
    - The second Sin was nobody could take responsibilty for the fall..... Adam: The woman made me do it. Eve: The serpent made me do it.

    - Ejected from the Garden and no longer immortal due to restricted access to the Tree of Life.
    - At this point humankinds fate is already sealed, due to disobedience to the Truth/Good/Life and submission to Lies/Evil/Death they and all descendants shall surely die.
    - This is the eternal punishment of Hell (simply the Loss of Immortality). They now will eventually cease to exist.

    I realize that this seperates me from Traditional Christianity but that is fine by me as Tradition tends to hold us back more than pushing us forward and definately more an aspect of man than of God.
    The biblical story of Adam and Eve informs the believer of the origins of sin, stating that because of their disobedience humankind was cursed. The narrative tells us that when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil their eyes were opened to the concept of good and evil making them as gods. Of course most of the blame was piled upon Eve and women have suffered the most on account of it, but aside from the misogynistic slant on the Garden story the main theme of the “Knowledge of Good” is skewed. The idea presented in the story is that Adam and Eve were ignorant of good and evil, thus they were forbidden by god from eating of the tree of knowledge less they find out, but upon closer inspection it is evident that the knowledge of good is already understood by the couple. Not only does Adam know that the trees in the garden are good for food, but he also is told that it is NOT good for him to be alone, this gives the reader the tell tale signs of the story’s human origins.
    Gen.2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    Gen.2:16-18 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

    Gen.3:5-6 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.


    Before Eve eats of the forbidden fruit she is not only aware of the goodness of the fruit for food, but also visually good and good to make one wise. It seems the authors point in this story is to convey the message that god wanted to keep Adam and Eve in a naïve state of ignorance.

    If Yahweh is the all powerful creator he is claimed to be, he could have created humans with a brain that was mentally incapable of doing evil, yet still having total free will to do good. Why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthjar View Post

    And this leads me in to communicating my interpretation of the bible to Rosie with her belief that the bible and Christanity is steeped in the unethical treatment of the female gender.
    (I agree whole-heartedly that throughout the majority of our history as a species women have been mistreated, but i see it more of a product of Man and his sinfulness rather than attributing it to God.) If we consider our life here as very brief flash in the pan and in light of all eternity it can look more like growing pains of an brash youth rather then endemic and total subjugation.

    - This is why I think the bible can seem so dominated by Male archetypes and why God created our biology in the way that he did. It is all to help us understand the way he feels about us and his hopes and dreams for us.

    - God wants us to be his Wife, not his husband. God is the fullness, giver, and sustainer of life. We are the void, receiver, and potential bearer of that life. Don't think for a second that our physical biological physical forms are a curse or favortism of gender. They are instead a pointer towards the greatest of the whole reality purpose and meaning of our existence.

    - God as Male calls to us constantly to "Open" ourselves to him, to "receive" him, to trust him in the act of co-creation with him. All of history is the search for Gods Wife, it is not good for man to be alone. My mind can barely conceive of the ramifications of what will occur when we fully submit and surrender ourselves to the will of God.
    You are right! The reason for the male bias and mistreatment of women in the Bible is because of men. It is men who authored its pages with their perceptions of power and ruler-ship, but the Bible attributes male ordained ruler-ship to the god Yahweh. The reason the Bible's claim of male ruler-ship cannot be so easily dismissed as man's sin (if one is to believe its words are true) is because the Bible gives full credit to Yahweh for all its misogynistic and discriminatory laws against women.

    For many years I tried to explain away and sweep under the rug all the discriminatory treatment of women found in the Bible because it bothered me so much, finally when I took a good look at it I could understand why it was so painful. The harsh and abusive treatment of women found in the Bible that is sanctioned and condoned by its god is real and should be resoundingly denounced.

    I have written extensively about the many passages in Scripture where Yahweh explicitly commands laws to be implemented which treat women in a discriminatory manner denying them equal human rights. Here is a link to my booklet called The Male Bias of the Bible where I address those issues. Another excellent blog article written by a man on the biased treatment of women found in the Bible can be found here: The Biblical Bias against Strong Black Women.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthjar View Post
    In an earthly physical relationship between a man and a woman we can see so many striking comparisions.

    - The Husband desires a woman that trusts him, submits to him, will take his council, and faithful.
    - The Wife desires a man that will provide for her, protect her, and their children, and faithful.

    When they get together they make a new creation!!!!!
    So you think a husband desires a wife who will submit to him and take his council? I know that is what the biblical authors thought, but I know for a fact that is not what my husband, Richard desires. We are equal partners in all ways, giving and sharing of our human experience, growing together in knowledge, while earning each others trust.

    If women need protection it is from men who seek to harm them, and as for provision ... men and women provide for each other when they choose to live together as a family, each giving from their ability.

    A good mental exercise for men, is to imagine what it would feel like for them to be in a relationship where they had to submit to women in all things ... well, women feel the same way about submitting to men. We are all individuals with a desire to govern our own lives and make our own choices.

    There can be no true oneness in marriage as the Bible suggests when one party in the relationship is in subjection to the other ... inequality cannot become wholeness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthjar View Post

    It is much harder for me to see a vision of the universe with:

    1.No creator
    2.A disinterested creator
    3.A evil creator
    4.A world in which Jesus has already returned or is not going to come back. (uh oh...... please don't break the engagement with me!!!)
    I can understand your difficulty in imagining a universe with no creator, especially when one builds their whole worldview around the hope of a god given purpose and the return of Jesus to stamp out evil. In reality though, it is we ourselves who give meaning and purpose to our lives and help to stamp out evil. By the giving of ourselves to better the lives of others, promoting the flourishing and well-being of life on our planet, and treating all humans with equality and respect, we can have a life that if full to overflowing with meaning and purpose.

    Best regards,
    Rose
    Never trust anything you are afraid to question ~

    To know oneself is to know the universe...


    Live Fully...Love Extravagantly...For the sake of Goodness

    Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matt.10:16

    Come let us reason together...Isa.1:18
    ********************************
    My new Blog site: God and Butterfly

  3. #233
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    Thanks so much for your response Rich. Many of the answers i have come up with here are answers that i had never previously thought of and were only the product of your questions in my mind. Kind of a Free flow consciousness writing. So I am not necessarily commited to the below comments as "Truth" but would just like to bounce them off of you and any one else that cares to read them so that i can continue to learn.

    From Rich:

    As for "one instruction" - that's what's so strange about the story. It makes no sense to instruct Adam and Eve to not seek the wisdom and knowledge available in the tree since everywhere else in the Bible we are exhorted to seek knowledge. And it doesn't make any sense to expect innocent fresh creations like Adam and Eve to be able to know that it would be WRONG to disobey God if they didn't already have the knowledge of good and evil. And it doesn't make any sense to put a deadly temptation that looks "good for food and to make one wise" in the middle of the garden, and then send in a subtle serpent to deceive them by telling them the truth that there eyes really would be opened and that they really would be like God (which God himself declared to be the truth).And worse, God didn't even tell them the true consequences of their actions, that they would continue to lve for centuries and give birth to a whole race of billions of people many of whom would suffer great agony before being snuffed out of a meaningless existence for eternity (if annihilation is correct). There is much to discuss, but time is short.


    1. As for "one instruction" - that's what's so strange about the story. It makes no sense to instruct Adam and Eve to not seek the wisdom and knowledge available in the tree since everywhere else in the Bible we are exhorted to seek knowledge.

    -Hmmmmm.. yes very curious......that is strange and makes little sense to me either..... Whats so bad about wisdom at this point of the story???? While further down the road we are exhorted to seek it out. Definately bears further investigation.

    2. And it doesn't make any sense to expect innocent fresh creations like Adam and Eve to be able to know that it would be WRONG to disobey God if they didn't already have the knowledge of good and evil.

    - Ohhh yeah I can definately see that a new creation is going be broiling and bubbling with curiousity. The thing that is interesting to me is that they already knew good (its all they knew???). They were lacking any knowledge of evil, why not just call it the Tree of the Knowledge of Evil??? Does it point out a profound truth that i found in buddhism.... that we can't truly understand something unless we have experience with the absence of that thing. (ie. Can i really know what it means to be full and well nourished if i have never known hunger and starvation?)

    - An excellent question Rich, how would they even know it was Wrong to disobey??? I submit that because God told them.... it is true that even though they did not "know" (they had not experienced evil) they had been pointed out the path to the experience of evil by God when he pointed it out and said "Don't go down that path!!!"

    3. And it doesn't make any sense to put a deadly temptation that looks "good for food and to make one wise" in the middle of the garden.

    - The temptation of the Good food is not an issue for me as there were SO many other trees in the garden that had good fruit. If i lived in an orchard of fruit trees and there was only one that i can't harvest. Now if there was no other source of good food this would be an issue for me. But with all the Good fruit trees around having to have ALL the fruit would just be gluttony.

    - The temptation of greater wisdom on the other hand is Paramount!!!!! Ohhh how very seductive the question of "WHY?", and the promise of knowledge and wisdom to all of mankind. I really cannot conceive of a God that did not realize that Adam and Eve would eventually eat from that Tree, he created them to have a thirst for knowledge and ask the Question "WHY?"

    - Being the father of 2 sons myself it would be akin to me telling them "Listen I got everything under control, you don't have to worry about a thing, I will take care of everything. Just don't read from This book that i am setting on the dining room table, for the day that you read this book you will surely die." I am thoroughly convinced that when i am not present that they will be investigating that book to varying degree's until eventually it would be opened and read. As hard as they might try they would not be able to get it out of their minds, precisely because i put it in their minds.
    Upon cracking the cover of that book the title might be "Holy Bible"?

    Sidebar

    16The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

    (Is it important that God says "for in the day that you eat from it.", rather than "If you eat from it.")

    End

    Which leads me to the question "Did God the father actually desire for his children to eat the fruit of the Tree?"
    Was it merely a brilliant plan for a father to encourage his children to grow and develop, and to accept responsibility for that choice?

    Lets say that in my household that prior to me commanding my children to not read the book on the dining room table, that everything was perfect:

    A. My children were well fed.
    B. My children were well protected.
    C. My children could not be touched by Evil.
    D. My children have readily available to them all of my wisdom and knowledge.

    But to what end.... to what purpose...... besides that they were very comfortable, very entertained and wanted for nothing.

    Even though i can see my Wife being totally happy and comfortable with this situation, I am not so sure that it would be so perfect for me.... or so perfect for my children.

    As a father i might desire for them to have some challenges and oppurtunities to grow, learn, and develop. In short i may know that it is in their best interest to leave the nest. As much as i Love them and want to care for their every need i can't impart to them the wisdom and knowledge that comes from personal experience. As much as it pains me to see them leave my house I also know that is for their ultimate good. It truly is a sacrafice on my part as a father.



    4. and then send in a subtle serpent to deceive them by telling them the truth that there eyes really would be opened and that they really would be like God (which God himself declared to be the truth).


    -WOW!!! This one took me back and required alot of contemplation, specially the last part about which "God himself declared to be True." I would really like for you to share the source of that information on that statment before I respond to that idea.

    - Your choice of language here is so curious....... He sent the serpent to decieve them by telling them the truth??????

    - On face value this statement seems to be an outright contradiction. How can you be decieved by the truth???

    - Interestingly enough that the serpent while fulfilling his role as deceiver has done a brillant job at it. Any good deception will contain elements of the truth to obfusacate the lie and help it be accepted by the receiver. Yes their eyes were opened no doubt. For one they were opened to the fact that they were naked and needed some clothes. (Could that be a Simile that suggests that their eyes were opened to the fact that they were ignorant and that they actually knew very little. Much along the same lines as Socrates assertion that a truly Wise Man knows that he actually knows very little.)

    - As to the claim that they would be like God seems like the lie part to me. Specially if the underlying idea that this transformation would occur immeadately upon consuming the fruit. Now if it means that this details a path of seperation from God..... sending of Jesus to mankind....... Jesus redemption of our souls.....Jesus indwelling in us....and the renewing and transformation of our minds then i could say eating the fruit would make us like God as the begining of a process of God's divine plan, but frankly seems like a pretty long stretch.


    I don't beleive that God actively sent the serpent in, but it could be argued that because He created the serpent that He at least permitted it to occur. Could the serpent be that part of human nature that we all have to question authority? The innate need to know for ourselves and not to take someones elses word for it? Even someone that we can completely trust and respect?

    Could it be that the ultimate and first Sin of mankind is our inability to learn from each other and God, but instead given in to that impulse to only believe in "Personal Experience". The ultimate Sin is our inability to "Trust" in the judgment of God and of each other. Dooming us to a perpetuaity of HAVING to make the same mistakes over and over again even though we have no foundation for not trusting in the wisdom of another.

    Skepticism.

    1 : an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object
    2
    a : the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain
    b : the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism characteristic of skeptics
    3
    : doubt concerning basic religious principles (as immortality, providence, and revelation)

    Synonyms
    distrust, distrustfulness, dubiety, dubitation [archaic], incertitude, misdoubt, misgiving, mistrust, mistrustfulness, query, reservation, doubt, suspicion, uncertainty

    Antonyms
    assurance, belief, certainty, certitude, confidence, conviction, sureness, surety, trust

    Related Words
    disbelief, incredulity, unbelief; anxiety, concern, paranoia, wariness; compunction, niggle [chiefly British], qualm, scruple, tremor

    Near Antonyms
    credence, faith

    I noticed on your page Rich the words "Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind."

    What a wonderful delightful Idea that i am so eager to contemplate and digest.

    I can completely agree that an attitude of disbelief is a Great way to guard and keep my mind clean and orderly from unproductive, harmful, and toxic ideas. Specially and directly in proportion to the amount of information that i have that seems to suggest otherwise. This direction would be considered a Healthy skepticism and i am fairly sure that is the type of skepticism that you speak of. It is good for us to close and guard our minds to ideas that the evidence suggests could be toxic. The reverse would also be true that if we maintain an attitude of disbelief in the face of mounting evidence for a given premise then we are merely keeping our mind sterile of a germinating seed that could produce wonderful fruit.

    Fairly simple.

    But what about those times when i have no or very little information either way..... when i am ignorant about a purposed idea in this circumstance i must be vary careful ro operate from a skepticism that is merely suspended judgement rather than an attitude of disbelief.

    It is still so pervasive that we are all so steeped and set into our own personal ideological camps that i notice that it barely takes 3 to 4 keywords from one side or the other before someone moves from suspended judgement to an attitude of disbelief. And quickly the discussion breaks down from a rational sharing of ideas to a fruitless argument. WHY? I think that so many of us have been sold a toxic bill of goods in the past in one way or another that we have been wildly skewed to an unrational and exagerated disbelief in an effort to protect ourselves. Until we can discover how to honestly and openly discuss ideas with each other to great extent in that state of suspended judgement rather than from that attitude of disbelief. Until then we are confining ourselves to the limits of our own personal experience, and to those whose views match our own.

    5. And worse, God didn't even tell them the true consequences of their actions, that they would continue to live for centuries and give birth to a whole race of billions of people many of whom would suffer great agony before being snuffed out of a meaningless existence for eternity (if annihilation is correct).

    But in doing so they lost Immortality until further corrective actions were taken through redemption. During that time frame in addition to the great agony suffered they also exalted in great joy at some points, before returning to the earth and grave of non-existence and nothingness. Which considering the this is from whence they came "Before" they were created it looks like No Harm, No Foul. Sounds much like the same life we would have if the universe had No Creator at all and we were merely the products of coincedence and randomness in a purely a Physical mechanistic existence thats goodness (???) could be measured by the ratio of agonies/exstacies and level of creature comforts.


    WOW .... I have no idea if you will actually read all this.... I hope you do..... either way i really enjoyed writing it..... I do look forward to getting any and all feedback from Rich or anyone else.




















    -

  4. #234
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    Hey there Matthjar,

    Your comments are fascinating. Unfortunately, I don't have much time right now, but I wanted to clarify one point and also let you know that I read your very interesting post. I love your thoughtfulness and the way you reflect upon questions. Very refreshing! I wish I had more time ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthjar View Post
    4. and then send in a subtle serpent to deceive them by telling them the truth that there eyes really would be opened and that they really would be like God (which God himself declared to be the truth).

    -WOW!!! This one took me back and required alot of contemplation, specially the last part about which "God himself declared to be True." I would really like for you to share the source of that information on that statment before I respond to that idea.

    - Your choice of language here is so curious....... He sent the serpent to decieve them by telling them the truth??????

    - On face value this statement seems to be an outright contradiction. How can you be decieved by the truth???
    Here is the source:

    Genesis 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

    Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

    As for the issue of them not dying - God's statement that they would die the same day was obviously false, but that's something folks can debate since they did ultimately die. But it's also debatable which, if either, God or the serpent told the truth concerning death. But it is clear the serpent told the truth concerning the opening of their eyes and their becoming "like God".

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthjar View Post
    Could it be that the ultimate and first Sin of mankind is our inability to learn from each other and God, but instead given in to that impulse to only believe in "Personal Experience". The ultimate Sin is our inability to "Trust" in the judgment of God and of each other. Dooming us to a perpetuaity of HAVING to make the same mistakes over and over again even though we have no foundation for not trusting in the wisdom of another.
    The concept of "trust" has perverted the Christian mind. Folks say that God is "trustworthy" when in fact God cannot be actually trusted to do anything for anyone in any situation. Nothing is less trustworthy than God. If God were half as trustworthy as the average dentist, there would be no debate about his existence. The fact that people say "God is trustworthy" shows how religion can totally destroy the meaning of words.

    All that to say: No, the "lack of trust" is not anything like "the ultimate sin." There is no sin in not being a fool. A fool trusts when he should not. The fool has said in his heart "God is trustworthy."

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthjar View Post
    Skepticism.

    1 : an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object
    2
    a : the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain
    b : the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism characteristic of skeptics
    3
    : doubt concerning basic religious principles (as immortality, providence, and revelation)

    Synonyms
    distrust, distrustfulness, dubiety, dubitation [archaic], incertitude, misdoubt, misgiving, mistrust, mistrustfulness, query, reservation, doubt, suspicion, uncertainty

    Antonyms
    assurance, belief, certainty, certitude, confidence, conviction, sureness, surety, trust

    Related Words
    disbelief, incredulity, unbelief; anxiety, concern, paranoia, wariness; compunction, niggle [chiefly British], qualm, scruple, tremor

    Near Antonyms
    credence, faith

    I noticed on your page Rich the words "Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind."

    What a wonderful delightful Idea that i am so eager to contemplate and digest.

    I can completely agree that an attitude of disbelief is a Great way to guard and keep my mind clean and orderly from unproductive, harmful, and toxic ideas. Specially and directly in proportion to the amount of information that i have that seems to suggest otherwise. This direction would be considered a Healthy skepticism and i am fairly sure that is the type of skepticism that you speak of. It is good for us to close and guard our minds to ideas that the evidence suggests could be toxic. The reverse would also be true that if we maintain an attitude of disbelief in the face of mounting evidence for a given premise then we are merely keeping our mind sterile of a germinating seed that could produce wonderful fruit.

    Fairly simple.

    But what about those times when i have no or very little information either way..... when i am ignorant about a purposed idea in this circumstance i must be vary careful ro operate from a skepticism that is merely suspended judgement rather than an attitude of disbelief.

    It is still so pervasive that we are all so steeped and set into our own personal ideological camps that i notice that it barely takes 3 to 4 keywords from one side or the other before someone moves from suspended judgement to an attitude of disbelief. And quickly the discussion breaks down from a rational sharing of ideas to a fruitless argument. WHY? I think that so many of us have been sold a toxic bill of goods in the past in one way or another that we have been wildly skewed to an unrational and exagerated disbelief in an effort to protect ourselves. Until we can discover how to honestly and openly discuss ideas with each other to great extent in that state of suspended judgement rather than from that attitude of disbelief. Until then we are confining ourselves to the limits of our own personal experience, and to those whose views match our own.
    Yes, I was talking about "healthy skepticism." And there certainly can be an "unhealthy" sort. It would be like trying to live by drinking only hydrogen peroxide! It would be a quick death.

    There is a time and place for faith. We all trust other people implicitly all the time. I trust the chef when I go the the restaurant. I trust my wife. I trust my dentist to fix my teeth. I trust all the time. And why do I trust? Because I have good reason. And if I don't have good reason, but still must trust? I just make the best choice I can and hope for the best. But none of this has anything to do with "Trusting God." If God exists, he has done everything in his power to act as if he does not. And he has done everything in his power to convince all rational people that nothing could be more foolish than to "trust God" to do anything for anyone. Just look at what God does to those who trust him most! I'm talking about the parents who choose to "pray and trust God" rather than taking their children to the doctor. They end up with dead children and manslaughter convictions. What does it take to get believers to admit the truth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthjar View Post
    WOW .... I have no idea if you will actually read all this.... I hope you do..... either way i really enjoyed writing it..... I do look forward to getting any and all feedback from Rich or anyone else.
    I not only read it, I was delighted by it. I only wish I had more time. But my day job is as a software engineer, and I type many thousands of characters per day (average day about 9.5 hours at the desk). So when I get home, I don't have a lot of juice left. But your interesting and insightful comments make me wish I had more.

    Talk more soon,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  5. #235
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    Hello, Richard.

    I read the thread, wondering what people would say to you in reaction to your leaving 'Christianity'.

    Most of them took you at your word, and you have been very reasonable in your discussion of the matter.

    Not being of any particular religion myself, I don't blame you for wanting YHVH to connect with you directly. He seems to have inspired you greatly, and given you much discernment into the Bible itself, proving to you His existence, if not in the manner the Christians of your original belief system want you to.

    I don't know that I have much to say just yet, because I don't know your history, nor have I yet read your book.

    I have questions, hence my nom de plume.

    Do you still believe in YHVH? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

    Do you still believe in Yeshua, and the gift of redemption and righteousness He bestows on us in His death?

    Why do you expect the writings of men to perfectly channel the Spirit of YHVH? The Bible specifically states that we see through a glass, darkly, and face to face comes after this life. So far as I know, no one in their writing about God, or about Yeshua, claims more than 'this is what the Lord says/said'. There are certainly plenty of proofs offered by the various prophets, and rules about whom to believe if a man says, 'Thus sayeth the Lord", but that is all. Mankind's claims about what the Bible means is interesting, but in the end, one needs to get together with the information about YHVH in the Bible, and about Yeshua, and about the Holy spirit, and talk to God about it. Have you done that?

    Is the lack of a suitable explanation of the Bible what you mean by YHVH not answering your prayers?


    This question is for Rose.

    Why do you expect God, YHVH, our Father to make everything come out right for the Children of Adam and Eve, when it is they that disobeyed YHVH, and stuck us all with a broken planet, unable to generate in us, their children, the God-given spirit connection that we receive in Yeshua?


    I pray that you both will find what you are seeking. What is it that you are seeking?

  6. #236
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    Quote Originally Posted by Questor View Post
    Hello, Richard.

    I read the thread, wondering what people would say to you in reaction to your leaving 'Christianity'.

    Most of them took you at your word, and you have been very reasonable in your discussion of the matter.

    Not being of any particular religion myself, I don't blame you for wanting YHVH to connect with you directly. He seems to have inspired you greatly, and given you much discernment into the Bible itself, proving to you His existence, if not in the manner the Christians of your original belief system want you to.

    I don't know that I have much to say just yet, because I don't know your history, nor have I yet read your book.

    I have questions, hence my nom de plume.
    Hey there Questor,

    Welcome to our forum!



    I am more than happy to answer your questions.

    1) Do you still believe in YHVH? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

    No. Yahweh appears to be the creation of primitive Iron Age tribal warriors. Yahweh exhibits nothing that I would not expect to come from such men.

    2) Do you still believe in Yeshua, and the gift of redemption and righteousness He bestows on us in His death?

    No. Jesus was perfectly clear that he accepted Yahweh as the true god. If I reject that, I must reject Christ and the Gospel.

    3) Why do you expect the writings of men to perfectly channel the Spirit of YHVH? The Bible specifically states that we see through a glass, darkly, and face to face comes after this life. So far as I know, no one in their writing about God, or about Yeshua, claims more than 'this is what the Lord says/said'. There are certainly plenty of proofs offered by the various prophets, and rules about whom to believe if a man says, 'Thus sayeth the Lord", but that is all. Mankind's claims about what the Bible means is interesting, but in the end, one needs to get together with the information about YHVH in the Bible, and about Yeshua, and about the Holy spirit, and talk to God about it. Have you done that?

    First, if the Bible is not trustworthy, then we cannot have any knowledge of the "Spirit of YHVH" since that concept comes from the Bible. So if the Bible is not the trustworthy Word of God there is no Gospel to speak of, other than the conflicting opinions and traditions of men. Why the should anyone believe any of it?

    Second, the vast majority, if not all, the prophecies in the Bible have failed. And of the one that may have been fulfilled, most Christians reject it because it contradicts their eschatological fantasies. If the most fervent believers cannot agree what the Bible says, there is no reason for me to take it seriously.

    Third, you solution, that I need to "talk to God" about what the Bible actually means would not help because there is no way for anyone to discern if their subjective opinion about what "God said" is true or false, and those who think they know are usually deluded. I don't want to be deluded.

    4) Is the lack of a suitable explanation of the Bible what you mean by YHVH not answering your prayers?

    No, not at all. When I say that YHVH cannot be trusted to answer anyone's prayers about anything, I mean exactly that. It's all a grand delusion, and demonstrably false. The idea that "God is trustworthy" directly contradicts the meaning of the word "trust". If God were half as trustworthy as the average dentist there would be no debate about his existence. Obviously, the assertion that God is trustworthy is false and absurd. Not one person can actually trust that God will do anything for anyone.

    Thanks for the questions. Please feel free to write with any followups.

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  7. #237
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    Quote Originally Posted by Questor View Post
    I pray that you both will find what you are seeking. What is it that you are seeking?
    I'm not "seeking" anything these days, other than a general advance in my knowledge and understanding of reality, to think clearly and be a good person. To enjoy life.

    What are you seeking?
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  8. #238
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    Quote Originally Posted by Questor View Post
    Hello, Richard.

    I read the thread, wondering what people would say to you in reaction to your leaving 'Christianity'.

    Most of them took you at your word, and you have been very reasonable in your discussion of the matter.

    Not being of any particular religion myself, I don't blame you for wanting YHVH to connect with you directly. He seems to have inspired you greatly, and given you much discernment into the Bible itself, proving to you His existence, if not in the manner the Christians of your original belief system want you to.

    I don't know that I have much to say just yet, because I don't know your history, nor have I yet read your book.

    I have questions, hence my nom de plume.

    Do you still believe in YHVH? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

    Do you still believe in Yeshua, and the gift of redemption and righteousness He bestows on us in His death?

    Why do you expect the writings of men to perfectly channel the Spirit of YHVH? The Bible specifically states that we see through a glass, darkly, and face to face comes after this life. So far as I know, no one in their writing about God, or about Yeshua, claims more than 'this is what the Lord says/said'. There are certainly plenty of proofs offered by the various prophets, and rules about whom to believe if a man says, 'Thus sayeth the Lord", but that is all. Mankind's claims about what the Bible means is interesting, but in the end, one needs to get together with the information about YHVH in the Bible, and about Yeshua, and about the Holy spirit, and talk to God about it. Have you done that?

    Is the lack of a suitable explanation of the Bible what you mean by YHVH not answering your prayers?
    Hello Questor, welcome to our Forum I'm glad you stopped in for a visit. I take it that you are not of any particular denomination instead of religion, because it seems you are indeed a believer in the Biblegod Yahweh.


    Quote Originally Posted by Questor View Post
    This question is for Rose.

    Why do you expect God, YHVH, our Father to make everything come out right for the Children of Adam and Eve, when it is they that disobeyed YHVH, and stuck us all with a broken planet, unable to generate in us, their children, the God-given spirit connection that we receive in Yeshua?


    I pray that you both will find what you are seeking. What is it that you are seeking?
    The problem I have is not with everything having to come out right, but rather the extreme gender bias and unjust nature of the Biblegod. From the first pages of Scripture, Yahweh is presented as being fixated on obedience at the expense of justice and fairness, and throughout the remainder of the Bible the solution to every problem is violence, and slaughter. These problems have led me to the conclusion that the god presented in Scripture cannot be a true god. The maleness of gods nature and the bias against women all point to man as the author of the Biblegod.

    Take care,
    Rose
    Never trust anything you are afraid to question ~

    To know oneself is to know the universe...


    Live Fully...Love Extravagantly...For the sake of Goodness

    Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matt.10:16

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  9. #239
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    I'm not "seeking" anything these days, other than a general advance in my knowledge and understanding of reality, to think clearly and be a good person. To enjoy life.

    What are you seeking?
    I seek to have life, and to have it more abundantly, to grow and learn, to end this life having lived well, and having enjoyed the journey, to have helped others to walk the path as happily as I do, despite the pains and travails of this life, and the ugliness and darkness that points out so clearly the beauty and the light.

    It is true, however, that I experience a journey far different from yours, filled with illogical unknowns that yet exist and occur, and that cannot be explained without a God, and the supernatural. Long ago, I went down into the darkness, and I went to that inner place where one decides whether one wants a God, and if so, what kind of God, and if a God, would I submit to His Godship, and since a Creator God, His rights over me as the created.

    I chose to not walk in my own strength, but in that Power which has led me, taught me, talked to me, showed me things that I never expected to view, much less understand, given me grace and favor, and yes, answered my prayers in the changing of me into a different person...noticeably different, not to myself as much as to others, although I do see the changes, and I did not accomplish them.

    I have peace, and rest, and a wondrous joy that I never expected to have, but stumbled over, in the Bible, in the connection with YHVH, with Yeshua and the Ruach haKodesh, and all within a very ordinary, small life, with all the troubles of living. It is a hard path to walk and practice walking until you even begin to see that you have taken a few steps in a row without having fallen, and it is not an easy lifestyle, and yet I prefer the striving towards the excellence of my Creator, in the constant knowledge that He has given me a Mentor and Companion and Counselor, and Teacher to walk with me until I slip into death and another life.

    The God I know is One, with expressions and manifestations of as many things as He wishes to project out of Himself into our time/space in order to accomplish what He wills. I let man be faulty, and YHVH to be God. I do not seek to understand Him, just to enjoy Him, and His creation, and His plans for me and for others if they are willing; in what He does here now, and why He wants it done, and what benefit it is to me, to be loved, and protected, to be challenged and chastised, to be taught and mentored in the hope of eternity.

    Life is something that one experiences, not something that one proves the essence of. Can I prove the miracles I have seen, the setting aside of natural law for brief moments and even not so brief moments? Can I prove the prayers answered, or the inner connection to a being that I do not see, although I have been given visions that are simply not possible, and yet happened, heard sounds and felt touched by this God Being, or His messengers? No.

    God is by the nature of the concept of Him beyond what we can prove. I am grateful that I have been given proof upon proof without having asked for it. It is ordinary enough that I am not surprised at it, just lost in admiration of what I experience, and others experience.

    In touching on your objections to a Biblical God, they are at least valid for you, and I will not even attempt to argue them away, as if my belief in Him can overcome your flat out refusal to see how He can exist, or even to ask if you would want the Biblical God to exist. You might want another kind of God, or no God at all. You may think there is none.

    For me, YHVH has been trying to communicate with man on man's terms, and within man's ability to understand, which, considering what a brutish, ugly lot we are it is amazing that He would care. And yet I have experienced Him caring, and not just for me, but for others.

    And yes, I have noticed His indifference to those things that are done that harm people, even myself.

    I have an idea of His purpose, and it is not always a pleasant reality we live in. But since I do not see this world and universe to be the only life I will encounter, I simply pray for those that are hurt and have lost someone, and ask that they be comforted, and brought nearer to YHVH through Yeshua.

    The fashion in which YHVH interacts with mankind is sufficiently acceptable to me...in its broken state, and with man and woman broken, and dying within it. Many think my God to be cruel because He allows pain and suffering and death. He also allows pleasure, and enjoyment, and life.

    I accept violence, and evil, and pain, and brutality, just as I accept beauty, and pleasure, and love, and kindness. I accept that one must struggle to learn and transcend oneself. One cannot have dark without light, nor good without evil, nor love without hate. One merely decides what of all that is out there will I choose to partake of.

    I choose Beauty, and Truth, and Justice, and Mercy, knowing I will experience all that is opposite to these things at one time or another, until we move out of this time/place, and into the next where some things will be different, and the love and peace beyond understanding envelops us. And should I fall asleep into darkness, and never wake, where have I not benefited?

    For me, God is as much a choice I have made, as a Being that I reach out to. I cannot conceive of a Universe such as we have coming into being without God. And the only God that I want, is one of infinite Justice, compounded by Compassion and Mercy, fully aware that what YHVH appears to be doing is a messy business, filled with all the pain of suffering our own choices, and all the consequences, and not just our own, but in the midst of everyone else's choices and consequences so that we may have true free will within our own hands. I do find that if I choose God's choices for my life, it sure turns out to be very good. And when I choose to go against the path in the Bible, the straight and narrow that so few people want to walk, I find I do not receive the desires of my heart, but trouble, and pain, and difficulty.

    When I think of how hard it is for any of us humans to actually survive living on the planet, with all that is going on, and how radically we affect each other in our simplest decisions, I thank YHVH for His hedge of protection around me, and for caring enough about me to keep me alive from day to day to see what else I have yet to experience, and learn, and enjoy.

    From the beginning of the story in Genesis, however mythic or legendary it seems to be, to where we stand now, the choice continues to be ours. I am glad of mine.

    I wish you and Rose all joy and peace along your pathway.

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