Christianity and Free Will - Hand In Hand...Right?

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posted on Apr, 19 2009 @ 01:05 PM
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I'll start out by saying that I was not raised in any church, and have not spent a large amount of time researching religious subjects since my childhood. I do not attend a church, or claim to be a Christian or any other religious denomination. Having said that, I did read The Bible cover-to-cover when I was 8, and spent much time researching and discussing what I'd read with local pastors and preachers of many denominations.

I found the Old Testament to be vile and horrifying, and of course it was one of those huge thick Bibles riddled with classical paintings that can feel like a stain on your brain for years to come.

Then I read the New Testament, was overjoyed by the teachings and messages of Christ, and was very inspired.

Then I read Revelations and found it to also be vile and horrifying.

Now to my original question; Without many previous outside influences, the strong message that I got at 8 years old from reading the New Testament was that God has granted us free will, meaning God will not help or hinder in a tangible, physical way, because God is not of the physical world, but will instead provide the strength and courage to face what will happen; those attributes belonging to the spirit.

So, why do so many followers of Christ believe in modern divine-intervention, thinking that God will heal, provide, protect, etc? How could one even have such beliefs without feeling massive amounts of guilt? Who would want to be favored by God over sick and starving children across the world? Why would God provide anything for someone, who by world standards, had lived an incredibly privileged and comfortable life? I even hear people praying to God to allow them to win money at a Casino!

I hear people say "I KNOW God answered my prayers, I didn't have anything to feed my kids, I prayed on it, and God provided!" Well, what about sick and starving children the world over, would God really need YOU to pray for them, to feel the need to intervene and provide? It just makes NO sense, and seems to be the antithesis of what Christianity seems to be based on - spiritual strength to face and triumph over the troubles and trials of the physical world, and to share that strength and it's physical results with others to create a better world, full of strong spirits.

Who would want to ask themselves; "Why did God let this happen?" Why would God help or hinder in a physical, tangible way - wouldn't doing so at all to be tantamount to a complete destruction of free will, ie an end to absolute causation? I believe it to be black and white, all or nothing - either we have free will and everything in the physical world happens as it well, as a result of cause and effect, or we don't. One intervention of even the smallest magnitude would create a butterfly effect that would forever change the effect, in essence destroying the free will of man.

Did I get it all wrong? I was pretty young to be pondering these sort of things, but it really felt like the Bible was saying that the kingdom of God and the physical world only meet in our souls, not our health records, banks accounts, etc.

Please, enlighten me, I have yet to understand or accept the other side of this coin; That we are but puppets and everything is planned, that some are favored more than others, and that we are to blame for our troubles but not to take credit for our triumphs.

Is there an old, and active conspiracy to make followers of Christ ignore the notion of free will and place their fate in Gods (aka The Church's) hands? Forgive me if this thread isn't completely coherent, I didn't plan it out or think it through, just sort of let the words flow. It feels like a conspiracy to hide the true power and meaning of Christianity though, and place all power and therefore blame and credit in the hands of God, the devil, and The Church.

Edit: I'm only 29 now, so I know that plenty could still happen that could change my mind, but I honestly hope that does not happen. I don't want to believe in miracles or divine intervention, as I would see that as favoritism, and God-as-Genie wish granting, which I would consider to be very, very sad and empty.

[edit on 19-4-2009 by maus80]




posted on Apr, 19 2009 @ 02:10 PM
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I don't have "the" answer but I do have a reply:

Free will is the sugar coating that allows us to swallow the bitter pill of predestination.



posted on Apr, 19 2009 @ 04:15 PM
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Golly, I didn't know what the exact opposite of free will was, thanks for that!

I think you could have found a better way to make your case...I've already stated that I don't believe in predestination.

[edit on 19-4-2009 by maus80]



posted on Apr, 19 2009 @ 05:01 PM
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Originally posted by maus80
I'll start out by saying that I was not raised in any church, and have not spent a large amount of time researching religious subjects since my childhood. I do not attend a church, or claim to be a Christian or any other religious denomination. Having said that, I did read The Bible cover-to-cover when I was 8, and spent much time researching and discussing what I'd read with local pastors and preachers of many denominations.


You were 8, and allowed to go question people about all of this? Did your parents encourage you to do this, by giving you a bible to begin with?

I guess I am missing something, since you don't subscribe to being a Christian.

Are you just looking for proof to back up your not believing in what you read? Are you trying to prove Christianity wrong?

I feel like you have an agenda here, rather than just to question.



posted on Apr, 19 2009 @ 06:49 PM
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I can give you my take on it, hopefully it makes a little since and also I DO NOT CLAIM TO BE AN EXPERT.

We have free will. We have the ability to make up our own minds. We can either choose to live in the flesh and do what ever we please. Or we could choose to follow the scriptures as best we can. The choice is our. You have to decide if you want to subscribe to the idea of God Jesus and all that or not to believe.

Predestination, Do people really have a choice in what happens to them in their life or just sit down shut up and hold on and go where it goes. I personally believe that we all have a purpose and it is up to our choices that we make if we obtain that purpose or not.

Devine intervention. If you are asking for help praying for some sign intervention or what have you. Then you are choosing to ask for that. You are not being made to ask. You, with your free will, have decided you need to seek help.

Maybe that doesn’t confuse you and help a little.



posted on Apr, 19 2009 @ 09:39 PM
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I used to believe in praying for healing, and praying for things I wanted when I was younger. But I soon figured out, that it doesn't work that way. Yet many Christians still function using this wacky idea. Praying for your mom if she has cancer ect. It doesn't work. Or praying for your sports team to win....don't they realize that the other team is also praying for the same thing, and by favoring you, God's "hurting" the other team? Or sports people thank God when they do well, but why don't they thank him when they do bad? It's a little bit strange. Does God not always have your interests at heart? Does a person have to inform God what is best for them, does a human know what's best for them? of course not.

Praying works when a person needs to draw closer to God, but besides that it doesn't do anything. There are no miracles also.

My spiritual studies say that there is no free will, it might appear that way but everything is guided.

It is interesting how some "unholy" people live very comfortable lives. An atheist could potentially grow up with no troubles, become a millionaire and die with hardly any troubles, yet someone who is holy can be close to God yet face many hardships in life.

There are no miracles or divine interventions, there is nothing for God to intervene into.
A mom's cancer isn't important to God, no matter what you think or feel. Don't bother him about it. If "none else exists besides Him" then what is there for him to intervene in? That would assume that he isn't active in all activities here on Earth, which or course would be wrong. He causes the good and the bad. A person asking for a miracle from God to help his mom's cancer received a miracle to begin with. Every moment is miraculous, he doesn't choose moments to become active in the world.



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 01:42 AM
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Originally posted by ghaleon12
It is interesting how some "unholy" people live very comfortable lives. An atheist could potentially grow up with no troubles, become a millionaire and die with hardly any troubles, yet someone who is holy can be close to God yet face many hardships in life.


There's a verse in the Bible for that and I'm just too lazy right now to go look for it but I'm sure it's there because I've read it but forgot which book and verse.

I'm a practicing Christian and I know very well what's causing the many hardships I'm facing. The fact that I chose to not conform to this world as Jesus commanded is a very hard thing to do. As a single, young man, and not practising fornication where every man my age does and fighting all my urges and I get called a 'loser' 'gay'... And my parents are angry at me for not trying to get rich like everybody does because I simply dislike consumerism which is destroying the environment, same with competition because it sets materialism in our minds which is against the teachings of Christ. I don't smoke, get drunk, hang out, etc, I live a simple life so I only have very few friends. Those are just few things out of the many I practice and I'm pretty sure, I'm still missing some things out...

Call that easy? No, I haven't even got used to it. But I just do it because it's probably the most logical thing I've ever known. Jesus is Pro-Earth/animals/people. We save the planet, we save ourselves and the future.



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 01:58 AM
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Lucifer and the fallen angels have dominion over our earth and mankind for a period of time. (7000 years) and his time is coming to an end, but first we will see him rise before his end comes. Welcome to the "Beast" (the NWO) who will give him his power.
The free will is your decision to choose to serve a God who you can't see but promises you eternal salvation or Lucifer who has given you every luxury to indulge your fleshly sins and desires here on earth. Do you have the strength to deny all Lucifer has given you for eternal life in the heavens out of this solar system?
Lucifer is in control here. So all the bad you see around you is all LUCIFER, don't blame God. We are born of sin through Adam and this is our lot in life.
God or his angels will not interfere unless there is intercessory prayer and fasting.
Choice is yours. you can not serve 2 masters.

John 20:29 (New King James Version)

Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.

John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from hence.

[edit on 20-4-2009 by Wideawake08]



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 02:20 AM
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Originally posted by ahnggk

Originally posted by ghaleon12
It is interesting how some "unholy" people live very comfortable lives. An atheist could potentially grow up with no troubles, become a millionaire and die with hardly any troubles, yet someone who is holy can be close to God yet face many hardships in life.


There's a verse in the Bible for that and I'm just too lazy right now to go look for it but I'm sure it's there because I've read it but forgot which book and verse.

I'm a practicing Christian and I know very well what's causing the many hardships I'm facing. The fact that I chose to not conform to this world as Jesus commanded is a very hard thing to do. As a single, young man, and not practising fornication where every man my age does and fighting all my urges and I get called a 'loser' 'gay'... And my parents are angry at me for not trying to get rich like everybody does because I simply dislike consumerism which is destroying the environment, same with competition because it sets materialism in our minds which is against the teachings of Christ. I don't smoke, get drunk, hang out, etc, I live a simple life so I only have very few friends. Those are just few things out of the many I practice and I'm pretty sure, I'm still missing some things out...

Call that easy? No, I haven't even got used to it. But I just do it because it's probably the most logical thing I've ever known. Jesus is Pro-Earth/animals/people. We save the planet, we save ourselves and the future.


Fornication attracts the demons.. Keep up the great spiritual progress you have made. BRAVO TO YOU!



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 02:30 AM
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reply to post by maus80
 


"
Is there an old, and active conspiracy to make followers of Christ ignore the notion of free will and place their fate in Gods (aka The Church's) hands?"

I have. I have had that conversation that I surrender my free-will just so that I can be with the cosmos.



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 03:34 PM
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I know I spoke a mouthful, but I really would like some quality answers to my questions.
Ghaleon12, since you agree with me, any insight into why the majority seem to believe God is a genie?



Here is a link to a similar-thinker, but I haven't heard any such things in a church or from a person who attends one.
miwisdom.wordpress.com...



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 04:57 PM
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reply to post by maus80
 


Ok, so now the agenda comes forth! You only want replies to like mindedness of yourself in this thread? As I said, you must have some sort of agenda, and now you are accusing people of believing God is a genie!

So, correct me if I am wrong, but are you likening prayers to God for favor, like asking a genie for wishes?

Some people believe in the power of prayer when requesting help from God. As long as it isn't hurting anyone, what's the beef?

Just because you don't believe it, or have experienced it doesn't mean other people should be ridiculed for doing so.

Personally, I don't think God is a genie, I don't ask for favors. If I want something badly enough, and if it is possible, I will make it happen for myself.



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 08:21 PM
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No, my reply to Ghaleon12 originally said "Since you agree with me, you are preaching to the choir" but I changed it at the last moment to be more productive.

Obviously I do have an agenda, to get answers and insight into why so many people believe the opposite of the way I do. What other agenda could I have? Why are you so defensive?

As I stated, I believe it is the influence of churches, and that I arrived at a different interpretation because my notions came straight from reading The Bible, not any church teachings.

Obviously if people think that tithing might gain them favoritism with God, and make them more likely to have their prayers answered, it is an incentive to the church to encourage such beliefs. I want to know why people would even want to play "The God Lottery", and how they came to believe it works that way.

And yes, I was allowed to visit and attend any church I wished as a kid, I grew up in a small town, and even had a pastor as my bus driver who didn't mind constant theological questions. Why is that strange/bad to you? I wasn't given a Bible, I read my mothers as soon as I was old enough to have the reading comprehension skills to tackle it, because I'd always been very intrigued by the paintings in it.

Why would I want to "prove Christianity wrong"? Please don't be so defensive. I am not attacking people for asking God for favors, but I do think it is a very harmful and negavite behavior.

[edit on 20-4-2009 by maus80]



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 08:32 PM
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reply to post by maus80
 


I believe he may be getting defensive as a lot of threads where some one wants to know what others think is little more than baiting.And the fact that you only acknowledged someone who shares your view until now. Makes one wander why you even asked a question open to everybody and only acknowledge the ones who share your thoughts.



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 08:45 PM
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I realize that does look bad, but I didn't answer other replies because nobody else seemed to bother to read my thread, only to answer the subject line.

I would like specific answers to my questions, and insight into how people arrived at their beliefs- not "the devil is in you" or "someday you'll see" type responses.

I am NOT baiting, I do not wish to debunk/debate, only to understand!

I have never once had to question my beliefs, but I've heard "Why did God let this happen?", "If there were a God, he wouldn't let...", "I prayed with all my heart but was not answered" etc endless times, so I naturally question beliefs opposite of mine and why they are preferred, especially when the opposite of my beliefs favor giving money and power to those who claim to have the answers, things Jesus put a lot of time and effort into trying to fix.

edit: btw, I don't usually speak/type like this, I don't intend to come off as pretentious and needlessly verbose; I'm just trying to carefully word my posts so they can be fully understood, and out of respect for the subject.

[edit on 20-4-2009 by maus80]



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 08:49 PM
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reply to post by maus80
 


Actually, you have me pegged all wrong. I am not defensive. It was obvious to me that you had an agenda from your opening post. Then came the part about God being a genie.

You seemed to be bragging just a tad about your experiences as an 8 year old. While I don't find it odd or strange, it's possibly just the way you explained it.

While it is not wrong for you to question anything about the Bible, or what people believe, you are going about it in a rather insulting fashion.

It really doesn't bother me that you think people who pray to God are praying to a genie, but consider how insulting people might take that comment, who do believe.

Personally I could care less what you believe, what your questions are, and what you think you know, so long as you go about in a way as not to insult and offend people.



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 08:56 PM
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reply to post by maus80
 


To answer your question about tithing. It is not giving money to just God. Tithes are used in many ways. To pay for a Preacher, or a Priest, (No, they don't do it for free) their rectories and such. Upkeep of the churches, temples, grounds. To pay electric and or heating bills. Also, the money goes to charity, also.

Have you ever reasearched things like Catholic charities? For example the Catholic Diocese of New Orleans helped me pay 2 months of utility bills after hurricaine Katrina. They helped with food, clothing, and things as simple as toiletries.

No, God is not taking the money from us lowly humans and stuffing it into a heavenly sized piggy bank.


[edit on 20-4-2009 by Blanca Rose]



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 08:59 PM
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reply to post by maus80
 


I thought I had answered some of your question but after rereading my post I realize that I answered a predestination question that wasn't your. But I will go back over your OP and see what I can come up with.



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 09:09 PM
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reply to post by Blanca Rose
 


Ok, thank you for explaining your reaction! I can see what you mean, but I didn't intend to sound pretentious or insult anyone.

I didn't say that God was a genie, I said that many seem to believe that God grants wishes, as in tangible physical things like healing, money, protection, etc.

I also didn't say that I don't believe in prayer, I just only believe in praying to God for courage, clarity, and strength, the attributes of the soul, not for tangible physical things, which I would consider to be wishes not prayers.

I'm also not bragging about my experiences as an 8 year old, but they are the foundation of my spiritual beliefs and therefor necessary background information.

I volunteer for a very well known non-profit Christian organization 6-8 hours a day, 6 days a week, and hear a lot of strange/negative things, and it's brought up all my old questions. That is my motivation for posting here, nothing more or less. One example: "That's God testing you!!!", this seems strange to me, because I don't believe God makes anything happen, good or bad, for any reason. Instead I believe that God makes anything and everything possible, and that things happen as they will as a result of absolute causation. I believe God is of the spiritual realm, and we are in the physical realm, and the two meet in our soul, not in the physical realm. So the notion of God "stirring the pot", to help or hinder, seems out of place to me and seems at odds with the basis of free will.

I will take your advise and research Catholic organizations, but you misunderstand my words about tithing, I never said anything about an exclusive motivation, only a common and easily exploitable one.

Assuming that I am out to insult anyone, and that i am a non-believer, don't believe what I read in The Bible, etc, is very directly insulting to me, is that your intention?


[edit on 20-4-2009 by maus80]



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 09:19 PM
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One thing I can come up with at the moment about prayers being unanswered or answered. Is the way the prayer is said. Why would a prayer made for selfish reason be answered. Say that a loved one is at peace with their disease and realize that soon they will pass. Their at peace and ready to go. But one prays for them for the fact they don't want them to die because they just don't want them to die. To me that is selfish as the one who is sick is at peace and is ready to pass.

I believe the best way to pray is not to ask for something directly. In my experience prayer works when you surrender the outcome to Gods will. When you realize that nothing you do or can do will affect the outcome and the only choice is if it is Gods will to happen.





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