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

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posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 09:28 PM
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By the way, I've heard preachers more than once tell their congregation to do without food and medicine if necessary to pay their tithes, and that God would reward such behavior - and I've known plenty of people who did just that, which I find to be extremely sad and unnecessary. You want motivations for my questions, there is one.




posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 09:37 PM
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As I said it's to each person that is praying. To me a selfish prayer being answered is the opposite of what the teachings are to be selfless. As far as preachers go there are good preachers that preach because they feel like they have been called to spread the teachings of Jesus. Unfortunately there also are people who realize that have the title of Pastor or Preacher is a good way to take advantage of people.

We can only know what is in our heart. We don't know what is in everybody elses heart. How others think. We can only be true to what we believe.



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 09:38 PM
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Originally posted by Ant4AU
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.


What if someone needs food for their child, and prays to God for a way to feed their child, would that not also be selfish, in the sense that they are asking God to provide for their child over others? What if someone's house is being broken into, and they pray to God that the robber will not harm them or will leave, would that not also be selfish, in the sense thhat they are asking God to intervene in the robbers free will to do as they intend?

If you believe that nothing you do or can do will effect the outcome of your inner desires, and only God dictates what we will experience and get out of life, I see that as a "submit yourself to God's will" philosophy, whereas I have an "empower yourself to face the physical world through spiritual strength and courage" philosophy, and the two clash big time. I'd like to know how and why you came to this mentality.



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 09:44 PM
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Originally posted by maus80
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.


You're quite welcome. I look forward to a nice discussion with you.


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.


Suppose somebody prays to God for money, so they can do something with it, like say, contribute to a no kill animal shelter. I see nothing wrong with that. Protection from your enemies is another I don't see any problem with either. Suppose that asking for that protection means you will get strength to protect yourself. It seems like apples and oranges to me. Greed is another thing. To pray to win the lottery because you have your eye on that million dollar mansion down the street is, in my opinion, wrong.


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.


What if your soul needs healing? Would you pray to God for that? It is someting more tangible than anything you can see, so while I think your intensions are beautiful, it's the same thing.


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'm not being flip here, but I do want to tell you for an 8 year old to undertake such studies is something I do find fascinating. In other words, you were not an average 8 year old.


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.


Interesting. Do you ever discuss these strange and negative things that you hear from people directly, while you are volunteering? And if so, what are their replies? I'm curious as to how they answer you.



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.


Well, being half Jewish, and half Catholic myself, I have never thought that my tithing to either faith is going to land me a seat in heaven. I suppose some people do look at it that way, though.


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?


Nope, but if that is the way you are taking it, then there is nothing I can do about it, but say, touche'!



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 09:52 PM
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reply to post by maus80
 




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



Free will IS HIS Goodness...

He is a gentlemen...

He will not force his will or way on any of us...

Matthew 9:13 "Go and learn what this means: 'I want mercy and not sacrifice,' because I did not come to call righteous people, but sinners."

Check out

Romans 3:23
6:23
8:1
10:9, 10
12:1-2

for more....



posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 10:14 PM
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Originally posted by Blanca Rose
Suppose somebody prays to God for money, so they can do something with it, like say, contribute to a no kill animal shelter. I see nothing wrong with that. Protection from your enemies is another I don't see any problem with either. Suppose that asking for that protection means you will get strength to protect yourself. It seems like apples and oranges to me.


That money has to come from somewhere, so it is still asking God to intervene in absolute causation ie free will. As far as asking for protection from enemies, I would instead pray for the courage to face my enemies, and then do my best to convert them to friends, or at least neutrals. And by "pray for courage", I don't mean pray to God to grant me courage, but as a way to manifest courage. I see your point though, and it does seem like apples and oranges, but to me the mentality behind it is important.



Originally posted by Blanca Rose
What if your soul needs healing? Would you pray to God for that? It is someting more tangible than anything you can see, so while I think your intensions are beautiful, it's the same thing.


It is not the same thing, because the soul is of the spiritual realm, the realm of God, whereas the body is of the physical realm, the realm of biology. I do not believe that God controls and dictates biology, only makes it possible, so that there can be a vessel for spiritual energy to manifest and know itself. Matter that is aware of it's own existence is a beautiful thing, and for spiritual energy to be able to manifest inside of matter is beautiful, and should necessarily experience that without requiring dictation or intervention from the spiritual whole, aka God.


Originally posted by Blanca Rose
I'm not being flip here, but I do want to tell you for an 8 year old to undertake such studies is something I do find fascinating. In other words, you were not an average 8 year old.


I think that's why I was able to have so many long, deep conversations with church leaders in my community; I think they enjoyed the novelty of the experience.


Originally posted by Blanca Rose
Interesting. Do you ever discuss these strange and negative things that you hear from people directly, while you are volunteering? And if so, what are their replies? I'm curious as to how they answer you.


I've tried a few times, but get a very negative response when I express any of my beliefs or opinions, and trust me I tread much more lightly than I have here. I try to carefully gauge my words and actions to be the most useful and productive, so it's sort of a conflict of interests. The main response I get is that the devil is responsible for my views.



Originally posted by Blanca Rose
Well, being half Jewish, and half Catholic myself, I have never thought that my tithing to either faith is going to land me a seat in heaven. I suppose some people do look at it that way, though.


I didn't intend to imply anything relating to buying a ticket to heaven. I've just seen it insinuated and outright said time and again that tithing is one way to increase the odds of your prayers being answered. What makes one worthy of heaven is a whole different discussion, and I'm sure you could guess that I agree with you fully that nobody can buy their way.

edited for clarity (I need to start looking at what I'm saying before I hit Post, eh?)

[edit on 20-4-2009 by maus80]



posted on Apr, 21 2009 @ 06:12 AM
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reply to post by maus80
 


I was thinking about this thread a little bit more as I drifted off to sleep last night, and a thought ocurred to me.

What if it is the intention of God to want us to ask him for things? We do have a choice to ask for spiritual strength as well as tangible, physical things.

I also thought to myself, who are we to decide what God is thinking? Quite possibley he doesn't care what we opt for ourselves. It seems a little absurd to me, to say what God does or does not want from us, or what God expects from us, because none of us are God. So, in essence we do have free will.



posted on Apr, 21 2009 @ 11:49 AM
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reply to post by maus80
 


How I came to think the way that I have do to personal experiences in my life. I know that I have control over the most part of my life. But at times things come up that you have no control over what ever you do will not affect the outcome. You would need intervention for it to play out. There have been times in my life when I have been at rock bottom and the only way I could move was left or right couldn’t move up. At that point is when I say I have been trying and nothing has come of it. So now God it’s up to your will. If you wish it I will go with it. Even if it is being something that I don’t want to do.

As far as a parent praying for food for their children any parent who believes would do that. IMHO is it selfish yes, but again it is something that we all would do. I have been so broke before that I didn’t know where my next meal would come from and had to survive on the kindness of strangers. It sucks but you got to do what you got to do.

I don’t believe anybody should live their entire philosophy on the submit to God’s will philosophy. But it’s when you acknowledge that there is nothing you can do to further what ever it is you are trying to do. Job, food, what ever. Then submitting is when you get the results.



posted on Apr, 22 2009 @ 04:28 PM
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I appreciate the responses, but I still don't feel like I have any greater understanding than I did when I started out. Is it because similar threads have already played out? I wasn't able to find any...



posted on Apr, 22 2009 @ 04:29 PM
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reply to post by maus80
 


Sorry I couldn't be of more help. But I really think that you will not be able to get answers from anybody who may post here. To me this seems like a question you need to search yourself for the answer.



posted on Apr, 22 2009 @ 08:56 PM
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Originally posted by Ant4AU
Sorry I couldn't be of more help. But I really think that you will not be able to get answers from anybody who may post here. To me this seems like a question you need to search yourself for the answer.


Sorry, but that doesn't make sense to me. I need to search myself for the answers to my questions as to why other people believe what they believe, and how those beliefs became widespread and accepted?



posted on Apr, 22 2009 @ 09:09 PM
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reply to post by maus80
 


Maybe it is your belief that you are questioning and you are seeking help from us. It may be something within yourself that you need an answer for that we can not help you with.



posted on Apr, 23 2009 @ 03:16 AM
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Originally posted by Ant4AU
Maybe it is your belief that you are questioning and you are seeking help from us. It may be something within yourself that you need an answer for that we can not help you with.


I think you can drop out of this thread now, you haven't been terribly helpful and you are confused, and now you are saying that by questioning the motivations and history of beliefs presented by many church's, I am in fact questioning my own beliefs.

If you cannot understand me or what I asked in my original post, and I'm still not convinced you even read it, why do you keep posting here? Sorry if I sound defensive, but my questions were pretty black and white, and I wanted insight from other people! "seek the answer inside yourself" type answers are nonsense.

This is getting a little frustrating, I think some of you are confusing Jesus and Confucius or something...



posted on Apr, 23 2009 @ 04:43 AM
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This is a good thread with a good OP. There is much in most of the answers to be thought about.

I do believe in prayer. But, only God knows what will happen if He answers our prayers in the way we ask them. So, I also believe that God always answers prayers. "Yes, No, or wait a little while." I always thank Him for the answer and sometimes it may be years when I look back and see that His answer of "No" was the right one.

Jesus prayed in the garden before His passion. He asked that it be taken away, but if that wasn't God's will then Jesus stated He wanted God's will above His own.

I also believe that "God helps those who help themselves." Meaning that I do all that I can in my human capacity and ask God to help me either in accepting the answer or allowing someone' else's will to overcome mine and I will need faith and grace from Him to accept.

A friend of mine had the following problem. Her son was in a coma and on life support. He had got this way by an overdose of drugs. Prayer came from all over the globe to help Adam regain conscience and live. It was right down to the day that my friend had to chose to take Adam off life support that she received her answer. Adam died naturally and she didn't have to make that horrible choice for her son.

Yes, I believe that was an answer to all of the prayers to God.

Other thoughts...why all of the hunger and suffering in this world? We do have the choice to help eliminate that by sacrificing some of our luxuries and helping overcome the political situations that cause these terrible problems. We should not just sit back and expect God to make it all go away. Then we would no longer have free will.

Hope I have said something to help. I am not a writer and so cannot express my thoughts as well as I would like too.



posted on Apr, 26 2009 @ 07:00 PM
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AAAAH HA! My reaction to The Holy Bible has FINALLY been explained to me, through this thread and the studies it led me to:

www.abovetopsecret.com...

Good grief it's nice to finally have all the missing pieces of this puzzle, after 20 years!!

I feel so much better now, and thanks to everyone who participated in this thread, even (or maybe especially) the ones who I don't agree with.

I can finally be at peace with the beliefs of others, and find my place in the sheep/shepherd/wolf dynamic of this world with full confidence.



posted on Apr, 27 2009 @ 01:53 AM
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So, the fact that ancient Aryans (from whom many of us are descended) were originally Hindu has answered all of your quandaries about a God who allows suffering to occur?

Wow. OK. Maybe I need to read that thread again.



posted on Apr, 27 2009 @ 02:31 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?
There is no “The Church”. This concept we have of this all-powerful entity that is the ultimate authority in our spiritual and every-day lives is an invention of the very people who would benefit from this concept being believed in. Because you have this false structure that imposes itself between individual persons and God, the very idea of what “free will” is, becomes more difficult to get a grip on. This false entity has a habit of turning the meanings of words upside down, in order to maintain its existence. According to the redefined meaning of free will, it becomes a tool of enslavement to the false entity.
As an example of what how this works; when the protestants like Luther and Calvin came along, they declared that we have no free will. What resulted from this turning of the meanings of the words back around, from where it had been previously turned up side down, was what is called "the Protestant work ethic". People regained the idea, (the correct idea) that our relationship with God is based on the individual and not on the “group”, (as in just being part of this false entity).


[edit on 27-4-2009 by jmdewey60]



posted on Apr, 27 2009 @ 02:39 AM
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reply to post by maus80
 


I think that we are given enough rope to hang ourselves.

By that, I mean that we are taught the right way to live, and we are shown what living wrongly will do - then it is our choice.



posted on Apr, 27 2009 @ 02:41 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


I agree absolutely and utterly - the 'Church' is a manmade way of controlling people.



posted on Apr, 29 2009 @ 04:29 PM
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Originally posted by Blanca Rose

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.


I feel he has a right to question. I also read the bible before I was ten. I also asked difficult questions of religious leaders. Yes my parents encouraged me to do so. No they were not atheists. The bible was in our house as it had been passed down for generations. I did not have to ask permission to read it. Why do you find it so difficult to accept that not all people are sheep? What is wrong with any of the questions he has asked? Do you have answers, or are you just here to cast doubts? I feel you have an agenda.



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