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Why I left Christianity - how about you?

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posted on Jul, 26 2004 @ 11:34 PM
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Originally posted by badkitty
I agree - I only point out that all things natural are not necessarily perceived as good or beautiful. For example, a lion kills its prey, a tornado rips through a city, lightning strikes a man, etc. Nature is beautiful, and violent, and unpredictable - as is God.


When people see a tornado rip through a forest. They do not see this as an evil thing. They see the power of the tornado and are awed by it. It is not until the forest is cleared and a trailer park is placed where the forest once stood that a tornado is perceived as an evil thing.

I do not see nature as being unpredictable or violent. It is violent due to a perception. It is unpredictable due to lack of information.

It is not the unpredictablility of nature that prevents man from predicting lightning strikes or tornados. It is the lack of information and the inability to process the information fast enough that prevents accurate prediction.




Indeed they do. But I see these being similiar to giving you a credit card and telling you to "go to the store and buy bread". Then you return home with 20 loaves, when only one was needed. While I taught you to buy only what was needed, the choice of how many was still yours.

I'm sorry, I'm not understanding what you are trying to say here. My point was, I find the old testament brutal, violent and full of sin.


There are lessons to be found within these stories. Not just of fear and hate, but of misunderstanding.

Even though I said "buy bread" and you did "buy bread" and you did it with my authority (my credit card), this is not what was taught.

Maybe that was clearer?




Then what would be the point of "ranking" them if there is no variance in punishment?


Boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Boy: There is no spoon.

Neo: There is no spoon?

Boy: Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.


There is no punishment from God.

edit: ok, I thought I would explain this a little more clearly. While I do explain more down, I didn't want to detract from the discussion with "matrix theory". Asking me about punishment is like asking me how to bend the spoon. there is no spoon. there is only your perception of a spoon. There is no punishment, there is only your perception of a punishment. Basically, you need to understand why there is "no punishment".




I know of only 2 verses, one OT and one NT.

Thank you for sharing these - I see your point.


There are many others. I just did not realize it to be so.
Every time the bible says "Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul." It tells you to love God with all your understanding. This is quite a common occurance in the Bible.

You are welcome.



Yes, but you are there telling your children yourself. However, if you knew that you would not be there for your children. If you knew you were going to die and you held in your words the key to their salvation would you simply tell them to someone and ask them to pass it along or would you make sure you documented them so your children would have that key?


I expect my children to teach their children in the same manner I taught them. Even though understanding how to add is the key to higher mathematics, I do no different than I was taught. I need no notes, or text books to teach this simply concept.

Love God, Love your fellow man (which is also loving God for it is his will) is the key to salvation. This message is still clear 2000 years after the fact.



Yes, I agree with these teachings. And I did not mean to imply that I reject the teachings of Jesus - in fact I said in a previous post that I did believe in the valuable lessons he "supposedly" taught. What I question is the whole idea of a Jewish messiah and that Jesus was that messiah.


Questioning is good.

Do you doubt that God could tell some prophet of a messiah?
Do you doubt that God could take the form of man?




Maybe it can be easily twisted - and so can most of the bible. I don't belive that sensorship is the answer to salvation. Those who will twist it, will twist every book of the bible.


Those that would twist the bible, do not do so in context. Once the verses they quote are placed in context, questions arise. This is not the case with the Book of Thomas.

Misunderstanding is not the way to salvation. That which can easily be misunderstood should not be taught to those just learning. The Book of Thomas would be "post-graduate concepts", not something taught in elementary school. One must first understand the basics before one can understand the results of those basics.




Please answer this directly: Is there a source of evil?


I am not sure how directly I can answer this and leave you with understanding of why it is true.

No but yes. (See wasn't that clear?)

Let me try again.

I look out into my backyard, and the see the trees make shadows on the ground. I know the shadows are real-- I see them. But the shadows are not made of anything real. It is in fact the absence of anything real. Is the sun the source of these shadows? The sun produces photons. The trees block these photons preventing them from reflecting off the ground. If there were no trees, there would be no shadows. If there were no sun, there would be no shadows. Both the sun and the trees are required before the shadows in my backyard "exist". Neither is the source of shadows, but both are required before shadows "exist".

It is the same with evil.



I believe the bible is clear in that the reward includes peace, happiness and even a mansion. And the punishment includes fire, brimstone and eternal suffering. That is much more than just with or without God, that is clear bribery and threat of pain.


There is more to heaven, for God is more than all that is. There is more to hell as well.

But God does not reward. God does not punish. God does not need to modify our behavor. If he wanted to modify our behavior, we would be other than what we are.

Man on the other hand will ask questions based in pride. It is those answers which were corrupted by pride to create rewards and punishments.

There is a subtile difference between, "Love God and you will go to heaven," and "You will go to heaven if you love God." That difference is pride.



OK, so did God create pride? If not, where did it come from?


Emotions are natural things, everyone has them. There are "positive" emotions and "negative" emotions. Pride is an emotion. It is a "negative" emotion. All other "negative" emotions can be expressed in terms of Pride. Love is a "positive" emotion. All other "positive" emotions can be expressed in terms of Love.

.

[Edited on 27-7-2004 by Raphael_UO]




posted on Jul, 27 2004 @ 03:06 AM
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My apologies. I did not realize at first when I posted on this thread, that this was actually a sanctioned board discussion between two members. This looked like at first, (until I read further), that this was an open board discussion. I am still new here, so forgive my intrusion. Perhaps I will find a way to link my particular post # so others can view it as a link from elsewhere and give their own spin or comments on it from there. I was starting to think that I was completely ignored or overlooked, until I reread the first post. Again, forgive me, I will be more observant in the future. :shk:



posted on Jul, 27 2004 @ 03:37 PM
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Hetha,

Badkitty made this thread to discuss "the concept of why one left christianity". This is obvious by the way it was posted.

You were not wrong for posting on this thread.

I asked Badkitty to make this thread so I could discuss her beliefs with her from a Christian perspective. She seeks understanding, I have understanding I can share.

I have not answered anyone else's response because I can not help people understand who do not wish to understand. I never know if people just wish to debate or actually understand.

My heart goes out to you and all that you have gone through. The things you have been taught through experience are not what the bible teaches.

"Religious people" tend to forget that it is not their place to judge other's worthiness. "Religious people" tend to forget sin is a result of their choices. Maybe they never forgot, maybe they have just never learned. Perhaps they never tried to understand.

I read your story, and I cried. Such confusion in your life all "in the name of God". God should not be about confusion. He should be about understanding.

I cannot explain why the things that took place happened to you. At least not in anyway that will make a difference. Those things have already happened. They are a part of who you are.

I know God exists. I know he loves all his creation. I know that all He wants is for you to love Him. I can not teach you that "God is". But I can help you understand what he wants from you.

The first lesson I will try to teach, is God is not a He or a She. "He" is both, "He" is neither, "He" is more than that. I say "He" simply because saying God all the time is sometimes considered "over bearing". When I say "He" I am correct, however my answer is not complete. Consider this as trying to catch wind in a plastic bag. Once you catch it, it is not longer wind-- just air.

Jesus was a male. If you have problems displaying your love to him, I understand. You do not "need" Jesus to love God. Jesus taught to love God. I am certain that Jesus would understand if you were unable to love him because he were a male. He would understand what was important was not loving him, but loving God.

.



posted on Jul, 27 2004 @ 06:34 PM
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Originally posted by Hetha
My apologies. I did not realize at first when I posted on this thread, that this was actually a sanctioned board discussion between two members. This looked like at first, (until I read further), that this was an open board discussion. I am still new here, so forgive my intrusion. Perhaps I will find a way to link my particular post # so others can view it as a link from elsewhere and give their own spin or comments on it from there. I was starting to think that I was completely ignored or overlooked, until I reread the first post. Again, forgive me, I will be more observant in the future. :shk:


Hetha - I'm so sorry, though this thread was begun through a discussion Raphael and I had started elsewhere - it is by no means a "private" discussion. I am glad you have joined us and very much wish to discuss this with all that enter. If I (or Raphael) seem to have ignored others it is only because our posts to eachother have grown so long that it takes forever to respon to eachother. Please stay with us.



posted on Jul, 27 2004 @ 06:39 PM
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Originally posted by TrueLies
I know what you mean by the whole christianity thing, they play us with both hands...
I've come to learn that god is everywhere, and to follow all things good... Of course I don't do that all the time because sometimes it's not remembered, I understand what arkaleus said and it makes perfect sense.. Jesus knew all things good and followed it, and I think this country should start taking the same steps, this world would be such a better happier place...


This is a nice thought but defining "good" is not always an easy thing. One man's good can be another mans evil. That is why I still think it is important to follow God - but I have come to believe that most organized religions lose site of God as their membership grows. And I have also come to doubt the bible as factual thus I am no longer a Christian but still believe in God.



posted on Jul, 27 2004 @ 06:47 PM
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Originally posted by KrazyIvan
the point of instilling fear into the masses during a sermon is mailinly a catholic thing. ive been to all sorts of churchs with my friend's families and fear was ot spread. i actually had a good time. making people fearful of god is a catholic thing.


Have you ever been to a baptist, pentacostal, church of God, church of Christ or other common southern denominations? And have you ever watched those tv evangelists. They remind people over and over that the end times are hear. There is a multi-million dollar industry based on selling books that discuss/prove that the end is here! It is all about fear. But this goes beyond denominations for me - just read the bible. Look at all the talk of punishment (both on earth and in the afterlife). If your right hand offends you cut it off, if your eye decieves you pluck it out and if your wife deceives just stone her. Oh and don't forget the kids - you don't even need a reason to stone them. And lets not forget that according to the bible God demanded the cruel brutal death of his only son to make up for our sins. This is the image of the perfect father right?



posted on Jul, 27 2004 @ 07:44 PM
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Raphael - before I begin addressing your last response I want to make sure we are clear on something. I read your responses to others and please note that I agree with the majority of what you said. When I left Christianity behind I did not leave my belief in God behind or the basic principles in the bible (that are common to all religions). So please be clear on the fact that the only thing I am debating is the bible itself and thus the fact that Jesus was God - not the existance of God.

OK, on to the discussion:



When people see a tornado rip through a forest. They do not see this as an evil thing.

I did not say evil and did not mean to imply it - I only stated that not everything in nature is perceived as good.



I do not see nature as being unpredictable or violent. It is violent due to a perception. It is unpredictable due to lack of information.

I did use the word "perceived" on purpose - however lets consider the meaning of the word Violent - according to Merriam Websters:
1 : marked by extreme force or sudden intense activity
2 a : notably furious or vehement b : EXTREME, INTENSE . So we can argue these minute details if you like but clearly nature is at times "marked by extreme force or sudden intense activity." And nature is what I was talking about in this statement - though I argue that nature reflects God's nature. Thus God can be violent - even your bible tells you that (remember Sodam and Gamorah?)

As for nature being unpredictable - how often is the weather man right?




There are lessons to be found within these stories. Not just of fear and hate, but of misunderstanding.

Yes, I've seen lessons on how to descimate a people, rape children, commit incest and stone women.



There is no punishment, there is only your perception of a punishment.

"Vengance is mine sayeth the Lord". And who created that fiery pit in the first place? God did. And eternal suffering is clearly spelled out in the bible as the result of sin. And fire does burn whether you choose to "perceive" it or not. If the bible is the inspired word of God and the bible clearly says that those who do not repend will suffer eternal torment then how can you say that God does not punish? If your answer is that God does not greate the punishment - evil does and our choice merely lands us there. Then we need to get back to the discussion of evil - if evil is and always was just as God then the bible is based entirely on lies.



I expect my children to teach their children in the same manner I taught them.


But my point was - what if you were unable to teach your children directly? Afterall, we are all Gods children right? And he only spoke to a small percentage of the entire earth population - he did not speak to all Gods children. So back to my question, if you were unable to teach your children directly (not your children's children but your own children) what would you do?



Do you doubt that God could tell some prophet of a messiah? Do you doubt that God could take the form of man?


All things are possible with God.



The Book of Thomas would be "post-graduate concepts", not something taught in elementary school. One must first understand the basics before one can understand the results of those basics.

So are you saying that the bible includes only the basics? Because that is not the criteria that was established for cannonization. Anything not included was viewed as not inspired by God or not consistent with what they believed to be the true word of God. So these men sat there with a bunch of writings and decided what was worthy and what wasn't - so I guess they also were inspired by God?



I look out into my backyard, and the see the trees make shadows on the ground. I know the shadows are real-- I see them. But the shadows are not made of anything real. It is in fact the absence of anything real. Is the sun the source of these shadows? The sun produces photons. The trees block these photons preventing them from reflecting off the ground. If there were no trees, there would be no shadows. If there were no sun, there would be no shadows. Both the sun and the trees are required before the shadows in my backyard "exist". Neither is the source of shadows, but both are required before shadows "exist".


This is clear as mud.
But seriously - it seems you are saying the shadow requires two forces thus there is a good force and an evil force. I really need a clear answer on this before I can discuss this further.



Emotions are natural things, everyone has them. There are "positive" emotions and "negative" emotions. Pride is an emotion. It is a "negative" emotion. All other "negative" emotions can be expressed in terms of Pride. Love is a "positive" emotion. All other "positive" emotions can be expressed in terms of Love.

OK then, if pride is an emotion and emotions are natural things then God created pride right? If not then you must conceed that there is a source of evil outside of God.

Raphael - I am very much enjoying this conversatin but it seems you are riding the fence on every issue I bring up. There are some very basic issues I have and I have asked them very clearly yet you talk in circles. These questions require simple yes or no answers (you must committ) before we can really openly discuss this:

1. Is the bible the inspired word of God with no human error or input?
2. Is everything in the bible true?
3. Is there a source of evil?
4. Is there a heaven and a hell?
5. If so who created them and what is their purpose?
6. Are sources outside of the bible inspired by God (such as Thomas)?
7. Are all things natural from God?



posted on Jul, 27 2004 @ 09:12 PM
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Originally posted by badkitty
Raphael - before I begin addressing your last response I want to make sure we are clear on something. I read your responses to others and please note that I agree with the majority of what you said. When I left Christianity behind I did not leave my belief in God behind or the basic principles in the bible (that are common to all religions). So please be clear on the fact that the only thing I am debating is the bible itself and thus the fact that Jesus was God - not the existance of God.


I understand. There are certain aspects to the bible that requires some previous understandings. I am just making sure "all the ducks are in a row before I hand you the rifle".






I did not say evil and did not mean to imply it - I only stated that not everything in nature is perceived as good.


By recognizing it is not perceived as good you acknowledge it can be perceived as something "not good".

Semantics and basic human nature.


I pointed this out because a great many things in the bible are related to this very concept. Not so much that the lessons teach this, but rather the nature of humans to record perceptions are limitted by their very nature.



And nature is what I was talking about in this statement - though I argue that nature reflects God's nature. Thus God can be violent - even your bible tells you that (remember Sodam and Gamorah?)


Your definition of "violent" requires a perception in order to quantify it.


As for nature being unpredictable - how often is the weather man right?


Touche!
But I will say that weathermen are not working with all the information, only "all available information"




Yes, I've seen lessons on how to descimate a people, rape children, commit incest and stone women.


We will get back to the particulars of this. Just be aware there are more lessons than just the obvoius.



"Vengance is mine sayeth the Lord". And who created that fiery pit in the first place? God did. And eternal suffering is clearly spelled out in the bible as the result of sin. And fire does burn whether you choose to "perceive" it or not. If the bible is the inspired word of God and the bible clearly says that those who do not repend will suffer eternal torment then how can you say that God does not punish? If your answer is that God does not greate the punishment - evil does and our choice merely lands us there. Then we need to get back to the discussion of evil - if evil is and always was just as God then the bible is based entirely on lies


Vengance is mine = Vengance is not yours.
I'll get back to the "inspired by God" question later in this post.



But my point was - what if you were unable to teach your children directly? Afterall, we are all Gods children right? And he only spoke to a small percentage of the entire earth population - he did not speak to all Gods children. So back to my question, if you were unable to teach your children directly (not your children's children but your own children) what would you do?


I would trust that someone, who understood adding, taught my children to understand adding.



So are you saying that the bible includes only the basics? Because that is not the criteria that was established for cannonization. Anything not included was viewed as not inspired by God or not consistent with what they believed to be the true word of God. So these men sat there with a bunch of writings and decided what was worthy and what wasn't - so I guess they also were inspired by God?


Does the bible include only basics? no.

You are accurate with your description of cannonization but let me point out why " Anything not included was viewed as not inspired by God or not consistent with what they believed to be the true word of God."

One does not need to be inspired to recognize that which is inspired.

Simply, they did not recognize the Book of Thomas to be inspired. I am not saying it isn't, for there are a great many things it contains that do not differ from my own understanding.

But you have to ask yourself, "what is the purpose of the bible?"
I do not think it's purpose is one of a history book, or a science book. I think it is to teach answers.




I look out into my backyard, and the see the trees make shadows on the ground. I know the shadows are real-- I see them. But the shadows are not made of anything real. It is in fact the absence of anything real. Is the sun the source of these shadows? The sun produces photons. The trees block these photons preventing them from reflecting off the ground. If there were no trees, there would be no shadows. If there were no sun, there would be no shadows. Both the sun and the trees are required before the shadows in my backyard "exist". Neither is the source of shadows, but both are required before shadows "exist".


This is clear as mud.
But seriously - it seems you are saying the shadow requires two forces thus there is a good force and an evil force. I really need a clear answer on this before I can discuss this further.


I have seen the nature of evil reflected in shadows. I was hoping you would make the connection on your own.

Remember I told you that all evil starts with a choice?
That choice are the leaves of the tree.
Remember I told you God's wants you to love him?
That love for him is the light from the sun.

When a choice you make "blocks" your love for God, evil is created.
Evil has no substance. It is the absence of substance. But it is very real.



OK then, if pride is an emotion and emotions are natural things then God created pride right? If not then you must conceed that there is a source of evil outside of God.


All emotions were created by God. "negative" emotions allow us to see the choice given to us by free will.


1. Is the bible the inspired word of God with no human error or input?


This has no "yes or no" answer.

If I were to show you a painting of "The Truth" for one hour. I then take the painting away and tell you to write a description of the painting, your words would be inspired by the painting. But your words may not describe all there was to the painting.

If you then give your "essay" to someone else for one hour, and then told them to describe the painting you described, not everything in your description would be retold by the person. But it would still be inspired by the painting.

If someone listening to this person took notes, and then prepared there own essay on what the painting looked like, it too would be inspired by the painting.

All of these things do not adequately describe the painting, but all are ultimately inspired by the painting. During the course of any of these steps, a participant could add something to the description, but they would not want to do so if they thought "they were being graded on accuracy of the description"


2. Is everything in the bible true?


I have no way of knowing. I was not there. I believe the events in the bible could have happened. I believe the events in the bible teach important lessons regardless of historical truth.


3. Is there a source of evil?


I described this answer when I explained the "shadow".
So, no but yes.


4. Is there a heaven and a hell?


Pearly gates, firey torment, fluffy clouds, smell of brimstone? I'd say no.

Something after death that is greater than all the riches in the world? Yes.
Something after death that is worse than all the torture ever conceived by the human mind? Yes.


5. If so who created them and what is their purpose?


The descriptions of pearly gates, fluffy clouds and such were created by man to describe something that cannot be adequately put into words. The something that cannot be adequately described is from God. The purpose assigned to these things by man is one of punishment and reward. The purpose assigned to these by God is hard to explain, and I cannot give a straight answer here because I have not pondered the nature of "hell" in depth. But the purpose of heaven is simply a continuation.


6. Are sources outside of the bible inspired by God (such as Thomas)?


They can be. If learn to understand love, pride, and humility, you can learn to see the truth in such matters. "The adversary's" nature is a nature of pride, and it cannot teach something in humility.


7. Are all things natural from God?


I cannot say if all things are because I have not yet looked upon all things with understanding. But, I have yet to see a natural thing that did not reflect some truth of the nature of God.

[Edited on 27-7-2004 by Raphael_UO]



posted on Jul, 27 2004 @ 09:51 PM
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Accepting Christ as Savior is a choice. God won't make anyone choose Him, but He will pursue people trying to get their attention. So open your ears and eyes and see why things are really happening in one's life. It could be God is trying to get your attention.

I accepted Christ at 7 or 8, but didn't live like it until I was 30. I will never again turn my back on Jesus.

[Edited on 27-7-2004 by dbrandt]



posted on Jul, 28 2004 @ 01:10 AM
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I'm glad to know my apologies were accepted, and I accept yours in return.
I'm also glad to know, that among true believers and practicing followers of Christ, that there are rare gems, such as you two, (Raphael_UO and badkitty)
who truly seek to understand the language of Spirit on a transcendental, and Universal level. It's truly comforting to know, that there is more out there than the misunderstanding and confused people that I have met, who do not practice nor seek with an open mind to understand the true teachings of a great man who once lived. I do believe in that. I do believe in the existence of Christ, I believe in the existence of God, and I seek to understand them on my own level.
I may be of a different religion altogether, but on a higher and more universal level, we should all seek to understand one another, and band together as allies, fighting the same force of oppression, misguidance and often destructive, forces that seek to diminish humanity from existence. I am truly loathe of those forces! Whether I call Her Goddess, or God, or Allah, or Yehweh, or Mary, or Christ or Zeus or whatever, I feel I am calling upon the Source Of Creation. The Name does not matter so much to me, as to what is felt, the greater Love, and Pure Energy, that is called forth, is what really matters. I feel in that sense, that there is a "Deist" siblinghood, that speaks all languages. Hope that contributes at least some thanks and comraderie.

[Edited on 28-7-2004 by Hetha]



posted on Jul, 28 2004 @ 06:20 PM
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Originally posted by Hetha
Whether I call Her Goddess, or God, or Allah, or Yehweh, or Mary, or Christ or Zeus or whatever, I feel I am calling upon the Source Of Creation. The Name does not matter so much to me, as to what is felt, the greater Love, and Pure Energy, that is called forth, is what really matters. I feel in that sense, that there is a "Deist" siblinghood, that speaks all languages. Hope that contributes at least some thanks and comraderie.


There are "things" out there that would do anything to keep you from loving God. As a christian I would call these "things" fallen angels. They are subtile and cunning. They are capable of many things, but all the things they teach have one thing in common. Pride.

The emotions of Love and Pride feel very much the same. The differences are very subtile. In order to tell the difference, one must understand humility.

I believe Love and Humility are the greatest teachings of the Bible. When I teach other Christians, this is where I start. If you wish to understand what the Bible teaches about God, this is where you should start as well.

.



posted on Jul, 28 2004 @ 06:31 PM
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Originally posted by Hetha
Whether I call Her Goddess, or God, or Allah, or Yehweh, or Mary, or Christ or Zeus or whatever, I feel I am calling upon the Source Of Creation. The Name does not matter so much to me, as to what is felt, the greater Love, and Pure Energy, that is called forth, is what really matters.
[Edited on 28-7-2004 by Hetha]




This is an awfully dangerous statement. The Bible tells us satan and his workers can appear as an angels of light, but in the end they bring death.



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 06:45 PM
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By recognizing it is not perceived as good you acknowledge it can be perceived as something "not good". Semantics and basic human nature.

Maybe, but my point is that evil is often perceived as eminating from a dark force or inspired by satan. That is not the same as "not good". As I pointed out in my nature example, as humans we typically perceive tornados as "not good". This is not to say that they are the result of some evil foce - an attack by satan. But rather it is simply part of nature. And so, my original point was that God is both good and not good as per our human perception. Things in nature that scare us or can even kill us are not evil acts, they simply are part of nature. And understanding this helps us to understand ourselves and God.



Vengance is mine = Vengance is not yours.

Yes, you still haven't answered my point that God does punish - it is spelled out in the bible right?



Evil has no substance. It is the absence of substance. But it is very real.

So what tempted adam and eve?



All emotions were created by God. "negative" emotions allow us to see the choice given to us by free will.

So God created Pride?



If I were to show you a painting of "The Truth" for one hour. I then take the painting away and tell you to write a description of the painting, your words would be inspired by the painting. But your words may not describe all there was to the painting.

Exactly why I find it hard to believe that God would leave it to second hand documentation decades after his visit to convey his message to the entire world.



I have no way of knowing. I was not there. I believe the events in the bible could have happened. I believe the events in the bible teach important lessons regardless of historical truth.

Then why are you so convinced that parts are true? Why do you see the bible as more valid than any ancient writing or mythology?



When a choice you make "blocks" your love for God, evil is created. Evil has no substance. It is the absence of substance.

OK, I was not asking if evil has a physical substance - I recognize we are talking in the spiritual here. So are you saying that before man was created there was no such thing as evil and that only man's choices created evil? And if so, then God created man and the choices so that means God created evil?



Something after death that is greater than all the riches in the world? Yes. Something after death that is worse than all the torture ever conceived by the human mind? Yes.

Yet you still contend that God does not punish?



and I cannot give a straight answer here because I have not pondered the nature of "hell" in depth.

Yet I have and that was one of the things that lead me to begin questioning Christianity.



I asked if sources outside of the bible are inspired by God. You replied "They can be."

So then why is the bible the only "truth"?



I cannot say if all things are because I have not yet looked upon all things with understanding. But, I have yet to see a natural thing that did not reflect some truth of the nature of God.

I do believe that all things natural are from God and in my mind that includes the beautiful and simple as well as the ugly and complex. It includes rainbows and mountains, storms and volcanos, heterosexuals and homosexuals.



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 08:44 PM
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I hope you can follow this it's messed up with all the quotes.



Vengance is mine = Vengance is not yours.

Yes, you still haven't answered my point that God does punish - it is spelled out in the bible right?


Why we need to leave vengance to God is because when we pay someone back it's because we were hurt or wronged and we want to get even. To make them feel bad like they did to us. Or to let the other party know that they didn't get away with whatever they did. God on the other hand desires every person to be saved. So when He disciplines/punishes someone He knows exactly what act to return to them. He won't go to far or not far enough like we would. In the course of retribution He is placing into there lives the opportunity to come to know Him. Now He may chose to use us in some way during this process but we have to be awfully sure we know that.



So God created Pride?





You can be proud and not sin, satan let his pride elevate himself to the point where he became #1 in his own eyes and made him see himself as more than what he was.


Exactly why I find it hard to believe that God would leave it to second hand documentation decades after his visit to convey his message to the entire world.




The Bible was written by men inspired by God. God told them to write what they wrote. This one of those things that you either believe or you don't. If you believe it you can move on in your relationship building with God and get into meatier teaching. If you can't get past this, it will be a stumbling block that will cause doubt and absolutely no relationship with Him.




And if so, then God created man and the choices so that means God created evil?





I hope I write what I'm trying to say. Satan let his emtions get out of control. He crossed a boundry line that created sin within himself.



Yet you still contend that God does not punish?


Yet I have and that was one of the things that lead me to begin questioning Christianity.



The Bible describes hell as a place of torment and anguish and serperation and eternal and everlasting. There is no fellowship there. Right now even people who don't believe in God owe their daily existance to Him. He keeps there body working. So in a sense even if they don't recognize it there is a presence of God in their life. In hell seperation from God will be complete. Body soul and spirit without God or sensing His presence. So there could be the sense of no presence of God. The Bible tells us up to a point about hell descriptively. It does make it known it is a place to be avoided. I made a choice to follow Christ. People who are or will be in hell made a choice to reject Christ. God is constantly calling people to Himself. People are also constanly hardening their hearts toward God. After a certain point of hardening you are lost.

2 Examples. Pharaoh in the Exodus. God told him to let the Israelites go. He sent 10 plagues before Pharaoh let them go. After anyone of the plaques He could have humbled himself and let them go and that would have been the end of the plaques. Even after the 10th plaque and He did let them go, he didn't mean it. He pursued them to his death. The Bible tells us Pharaoh's heart got harder and harder and harder toward God. He too placed himself above God and did not recognize his place and the limits thereof. His rebellion ended at his death. He could have stopped sooner recognized God was at work and saved his life and others.

King Saul, disobeyed God and God informed him that he was going to be replaced. He too refused to accept what God said. This constant hardening of his heart also led to his death. He made a choice to ignore God. He could have made a choice the other way. Tell God he was sorry and admit his sin. He could have said to David "I've sinned and God has removed me from office. I don't like it but God is God. David you are the next king, here's what I have learned that is right and wrong in my actions. I want to pass this on to you for your benefit before I turn things over to you." With this attitude his death would have been delayed and who knows what God could have given him to do in the future. Instead Saul went the other way.


I think punish and judgement could be used to desrcibe what God does to hopefully bring about change in unbelievers. You would have to use the word discipline when you talk about what he does in the lives of those that follow Him. We suffer to but it is to weed out sin and bring us to a greater understanding of who He is and keep us growing.

[Edited on 30-7-2004 by dbrandt]



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 11:27 PM
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There are only a few topics so I am going to try to condense this instead of replying to each point individually. Hopefully I don't leave anything out.

Part one

First, I do not believe that the Bible is the only truth. It is my belief that religions in general are intended to answer the questions that arise when one asks the question, "What does God want from me?" and then to answer the questions that arise from that answer. The blind men and the elephant is a good description of how man perceives something that he cannot see in its entirety. Many Christians believe the Bible is the only truth, but this is a result of Pride.

The Christians who drafted the Constitution of the United States understood the dangers of this pride. This pride leads to religious intolerance, something which the founding fathers wanted to avoid.

Before I knew "God is", I was convinced the bible was a poorly written book and nothing more. After I knew "God is", I was still convinced the bible was a poorly written book and nothing more. I wanted to know if the bible described "My God that I knew existed". I sought understanding. It took many years of questions and answers. But I no longer doubt that the bible describes "My God"


Part two

I must stress is that God is timeless. He exists beyond the here and now. He in all "here and nows" at once. I don't even know what to call this. Omnipresence? Omnitemporal?

Understanding this will help you understand why I say many of the things I say.

God created us with Free will. He wants us to choose. If he wanted to over-ride this ability, he would have never has made us with free will in the first place.

Punishment and reward are methods of "behavior modification". God does not need to "modify our behavior". Thus there cannot be punishment or rewards from God.

Love God and you will go to heaven.
If you love God, you will go to heaven.

As I stated before, there is a subtle difference between these two sentences.

You can obviously tell from dbrant's reply that this is not a "standard Christian belief". But it is one "block" in my understanding.

Let me just ask you this: "If God wanted to modify our behavior, why did He create us with free will?"

You can sit there and ponder the question for as long as you want.

I know I spent a long time pondering this question. The answer I finally came to was simple. "He has no need to modify our behavior. If he wanted our behavior different than what it is, he would make it so."

Punishment is outlined in the Bible, I believe it to be a misunderstanding. What is perceived as punishment is more or less a statement of fact.


Exactly why I find it hard to believe that God would leave it to second hand documentation decades after his visit to convey his message to the entire world.


This too falls into this catagory. I see His his visit to be nothing more than an answer to the question "How can I, a man, do your will?" to which God answered "Let me show you." He taught many people, and allowed those people would teach others, and those others would teach still others.


Part three- Good and Evil.

Before one can understand how Evil interacts with the world, one must understand where it comes from. I have found this answer in the nature of a shadow. I was not saying that a evil was absence of physical substance, it is the absence of "created" substance, just like a shadow is the absence of "created" substance.

The "first evil" was not a result of man, but rather the angels which also had free will. It was one of these angels that tempted Eve in the Garden. (Eve tempted Adam
) I describe this in greater detail in one of my earlier posts.

God created Pride. God created all emotions. Emotions are natural. Pride in and of itself is not a sin. Sins are decisions. Sins are actions taken based on those descisions. Pride allows us to see there is a choice other than Love. Making that choice is our choice-- our Free will.

Sins (making a choice which "blocks" your love for God) "create" Evil. Just like a shadow is "created". Neither is formed from a "created substance".


I did not ponder "Hell", because I was not concerned with what would happen if I didn't follow God will. I was concerned with finding out "What God wanted from me, and how to do what he wanted."

I have thought about "Hell" recently, because of this discussion. I don't know for sure, but its nature could be the same nature as the emotion "guilt". Guilt is an emotion that helps us to tell when an action we made was the "correct" action. I believe it is guilt that would cause "eternal anguish" when we are made aware of the truth of our existance. Hell could be nothing more than going to "heaven" and realizing "God is" and then realizing all the things we did that were not "God's will". The resulting guilt when faced with 100% certainty of these two things would create an incredible anguish. How long would this anguish last? Who knows. How long is a second in a place that is timeless?


The perception of nature as being good or evil is not based in the actions of nature, but rather the emotions created by the actions of nature. When a tornado destroys a trailer park, it is pride that causes one to believe they were "not worthy" of such destruction. "They deserved better than what nature gave to them." They then judge the tornado as good or evil based on this pride. Perception of Good and Evil should not be based on pride. When you do this, your perception is "tainted" by pride.

I think I covered everything.

.



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 05:34 PM
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dbrandt - I'm glad you've decided to join our discussion. Let me add a few thoughts here:

Originally posted by dbrandt
Why we need to leave vengance to God is because when we pay someone back it's because we were hurt or wronged and we want to get even. To make them feel bad like they did to us. Or to let the other party know that they didn't get away with whatever they did. God on the other hand desires every person to be saved. So when He disciplines/punishes someone He knows exactly what act to return to them. He won't go to far or not far enough like we would. In the course of retribution He is placing into there lives the opportunity to come to know Him. Now He may chose to use us in some way during this process but we have to be awfully sure we know that. [Edited on 30-7-2004 by dbrandt]


Point well taken. But I was not contending that we should take vengance into our own hands. I was merely using that quote to support my contention that God does punish (as upposed to Raphaels thoughts that God does not punish).




You can be proud and not sin.

I think Raphael might disagree here.



The Bible was written by men inspired by God. God told them to write what they wrote. This one of those things that you either believe or you don't. If you believe it you can move on in your relationship building with God and get into meatier teaching. If you can't get past this, it will be a stumbling block that will cause doubt and absolutely no relationship with Him.

I think it is fair to say that if you don't believe that the bible is inspired by God then this becomes a stumbling block to becoming a Christian. It is not a stumbling block to building a relationship with God. You assume it is because you assume that the bible is the only difinitive word of God - but what if it isn't?



Satan let his emtions get out of control. He crossed a boundry line that created sin within himself.

If God created Satan and there was no other supreme spiritual being other than God then God created Satan with the capacity and desire to sin so God created sin.



I think punish and judgement could be used to desrcibe what God does to hopefully bring about change in unbelievers. You would have to use the word discipline when you talk about what he does in the lives of those that follow Him. We suffer to but it is to weed out sin and bring us to a greater understanding of who He is and keep us growing.


I agree that this is what the bible teaches - you have free will but if you chose not to listen to God you will be punished. And that is what I was arguing with Raphael - the bible does teach that God punishes (he contends that God does not punish). But is it really all about punishment and reward? Wouldn't it please God (or even man) to be loved simply because you are loved and not out of fear of punishment or greed for reward? The reward and punishment system of the bible seems unnatural to me.



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 06:03 PM
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Raphael - thanks for breaking this down into a few topics. This is getting a bit combersome to read and respond to. So, onward...



First, I do not believe that the Bible is the only truth. It is my belief that religions in general are intended to answer the questions that arise when one asks the question, "What does God want from me?" and then to answer the questions that arise from that answer.

Then I think on this point we agree - to a point. I believe there are basic truths in life and all religions hold those truths in common. The basic principles or love, honesty, compassion, sympathy, creativity, respect (of others, self and the world we live in) and integrity are some of the teachings that all relligions share and these I believe to be part of the essence of God I agree that we can find that in most religious writings. However, that does not make me believe that any religious writing (including the bible) is the pure untarnishable word of God. It is merely mans expression of his idea of God and thus falible and riddled with human wishes, not necessarily all truth.



I must stress is that God is timeless. He exists beyond the here and now. He in all "here and nows" at once. I don't even know what to call this. Omnipresence? Omnitemporal?

I do understand this and I agree.



et me just ask you this: "If God wanted to modify our behavior, why did He create us with free will?"

That is exactly why I question the whole idea that God punishes and rewards. In fact, I reject the idea that God punishes and rewards but no matter how you slice it that is precisely what the bible teaches and that is just one of many reasons I am no longer a Christian.



"He has no need to modify our behavior. If he wanted our behavior different than what it is, he would make it so."

This reasoning does not fit in with the teachings of the bible at all. While it is true the bible teaches that we have free will it also teaches that if we do not choose the way God wants us to we will suffer punishment and torment. And your statement implies that our behavior is as God wants it - if so then why on earth was there any need for a cruel a brutal death to appease God on our behalf?



I see His his visit to be nothing more than an answer to the question "How can I, a man, do your will?" to which God answered "Let me show you."

This too is not in keeping with the bible. The bible clearlly tells us that the sole purpose of Christs life was to suffer and die so that we may be saved. It was not merely an example of how to live - if so then it was also an example of now we should suffer and die. No, according to the bible itself the purpose of Jesus' visit to earth was not just a show and tell, it was an impreitive soul saving mission that required his pain and death.



I was not saying that a evil was absence of physical substance, it is the absence of "created" substance, just like a shadow is the absence of "created" substance. The "first evil" was not a result of man, but rather the angels which also had free will. Sins (making a choice which "blocks" your love for God) "create" Evil.

I know you have pondered this a lot and believe you are very clear on the topic but it just doesn't come accross very clearly. OK, so let me talk myself through this and you correct me where I'm wrong.
1. God did not create evil
2. Evil did not exist on it's own outside of God (as in an equal but opposing force)
3. Sin is evil
4. Angels committed the first sin.
5. Sin creates evil
Therefore the angels created evil. But God created the angels - so did he create them with the desire or capacity for evil? If so, then God created evil. Either way. If evil does not exist as an equal and opposing force to God then God (as outlined in the bible) is a cruel and sadistic being. Because if evil is not gods antithesis then he in some round about way created it and set it before the angels and man and made it tempting and then said you can't have it knowing very well we would try it and then have to be punished (according to his own law).



Guilt is an emotion that helps us to tell when an action we made was the "correct" action.

This is one of organized religions favorite behavior modification tools. In most cases we are made to feel guilty for things that offend man or the church in order to keep us in line.

As for hell being guilt - read your bible again. It is seapartion from God as you said, it is also clearly physical torment - fire, brimstome, heat, smoke.



The perception of nature as being good or evil is not based in the actions of nature, but rather the emotions created by the actions of nature.

Yes, but as you point out - God created emotions.


When a tornado destroys a trailer park, it is pride that causes one to believe they were "not worthy" of such destruction.

I don't believe it is pride that causes a mother to cry out in anguish when her child is killed by a flash flood. It is not pride that causes that family in the trailer park to tremble in the sight of a tornado that rips their home to shreds. And remember, I did not say these things are evil - just perceived as "not good". Take a look again at my original post on this. Nature is a reflection of God - and it is not all about sunshine a butterflies.



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 06:09 PM
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Why?

Because I dont believe in it anymore



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 06:16 PM
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Originally posted by badkitty


You can be proud and not sin.

I think Raphael might disagree here.


Pride in and of itself is not a sin. Pride is an emotion. It is quite natural to feel pride. However, it is when we make descisions and take actions based on pride that we sin.


I agree that this is what the bible teaches - you have free will but if you chose not to listen to God you will be punished. And that is what I was arguing with Raphael - the bible does teach that God punishes (he contends that God does not punish). But is it really all about punishment and reward? Wouldn't it please God (or even man) to be loved simply because you are loved and not out of fear of punishment or greed for reward? The reward and punishment system of the bible seems unnatural to me.


You say it seems unnatrual. I agree, because God does not need to modify our behavior.

"Love God and you will go to heaven" and "if you love God you will go to heaven" are not the same. It only takes one word to alter that meaning. The change is subtile.

The two sentences I used almost mean the same thing, except one is a reward and the other isn't.

The most important teachings in the bible are those of love and humility. These make a strong foundation on which to build faith. It is through humility that we can recognize the truth in the words. The nature of "the adversary" is a nature of pride. Removal of this corruption of pride will reveal the truth behind the words.

.



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 07:49 PM
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Sorry for the double post, but I didn't get the other post typed in quite as quickly as I would hve liked. And editting it would make it difficult to quote and respond.



Originally posted by badkitty
Then I think on this point we agree - to a point. I believe there are basic truths in life and all religions hold those truths in common. The basic principles or love, honesty, compassion, sympathy, creativity, respect (of others, self and the world we live in) and integrity are some of the teachings that all relligions share and these I believe to be part of the essence of God I agree that we can find that in most religious writings. However, that does not make me believe that any religious writing (including the bible) is the pure untarnishable word of God. It is merely mans expression of his idea of God and thus falible and riddled with human wishes, not necessarily all truth.


I do not believe the bible is "the pure untarnished word of God". I do believe that the tarnish can be removed and the word of God can be visible in those words. I touched on this in my last post.

Almost all of "the tarnish" is based in pride. One can learn to recognize this pride. Once the pride is removed, the truth is clear.



That is exactly why I question the whole idea that God punishes and rewards. In fact, I reject the idea that God punishes and rewards but no matter how you slice it that is precisely what the bible teaches and that is just one of many reasons I am no longer a Christian.


I simply ask you to research a verse in the bible that teaches punishment. And ask your self, is there pride in this statement. Without the pride, what could it mean?



This reasoning does not fit in with the teachings of the bible at all. While it is true the bible teaches that we have free will it also teaches that if we do not choose the way God wants us to we will suffer punishment and torment. And your statement implies that our behavior is as God wants it - if so then why on earth was there any need for a cruel a brutal death to appease God on our behalf?


Actually, it does fit with the teachings of the bible. However, you must look at the new testament for "how it fits". The story surrounding John 8:7 (even though these is some controversary about these verses) is one example of "how it fits". The story around John 7:24 is another such example. Simply put Jesus shows us those "punishment verses" are not intended to be as they are written.





This too is not in keeping with the bible. The bible clearlly tells us that the sole purpose of Christs life was to suffer and die so that we may be saved. It was not merely an example of how to live - if so then it was also an example of now we should suffer and die. No, according to the bible itself the purpose of Jesus' visit to earth was not just a show and tell, it was an impreitive soul saving mission that required his pain and death.


The bible clearly tells us this? I say it is doctrine that clearly tells us this.
Jesus' life was more than just his death. The events after his death were amazing and very important. But do not belittle the life Jesus lived. It was a "how to".

Was pain and death required? Did God need to do these things?

The pain and the suffering were also part of the "How to".




I know you have pondered this a lot and believe you are very clear on the topic but it just doesn't come accross very clearly. OK, so let me talk myself through this and you correct me where I'm wrong.
1. God did not create evil


Correct.


2. Evil did not exist on it's own outside of God (as in an equal but opposing force)


Correct. It still does not. Nothing is equal to God.


3. Sin is evil


Close. Sins are actions and decisions that block "our" love for God.


4. Angels committed the first sin.


They did.


5. Sin creates evil


Not exactly.
Does a tree create a shadow?


Therefore the angels created evil.


Not precisely, although evil existed due to their actions.


But God created the angels - so did he create them with the desire or capacity for evil?


God created them with free will and a complete knowledge of "the will of God".


If evil does not exist as an equal and opposing force to God then God (as outlined in the bible) is a cruel and sadistic being. Because if evil is not gods antithesis then he in some round about way created it and set it before the angels and man and made it tempting and then said you can't have it knowing very well we would try it and then have to be punished (according to his own law).


God allows free will. In a round about way God allows evil because without the choice to "love God" or "not", there would be no evil.

As far as evil being created, I will ask you to consider how you would create a shadow in a laboratory. You would create light, then block that light with something. A shadow is not "created". A shadow is formed as a result of the interaction of things that are created.

Did God know that evil would be formed by the actions of his creations? Yes He did. But it is the nature of free will.



This is one of organized religions favorite behavior modification tools. In most cases we are made to feel guilty for things that offend man or the church in order to keep us in line.

As for hell being guilt - read your bible again. It is seapartion from God as you said, it is also clearly physical torment - fire, brimstome, heat, smoke.


Actually I have been reading it quite a bit. And I am not so certain that the bible supports the fire and brimestone hell more than "something else". A quick search of the internet gave me more information on this "something else". They called it "Soul sleep" and "conditional immortality". But, since they were trying to prove their view was correct, I have to give this quite a bit of study to remove the doctrine from all the words. I am going to have to delay this portion of the discussion. As I said, I never had need to consider the nature of "Hell".

The "guilt" thing better describes the Catholic doctrine of purgatory.




The perception of nature as being good or evil is not based in the actions of nature, but rather the emotions created by the actions of nature.

Yes, but as you point out - God created emotions.


Perception based on emotions. Perceptions based on "negative" emotions.
All "negative" emotions can be expressed in terms of pride. When one makes a decision or action based on pride, one is not doing the will of God.
When one perceives something based on pride, their perception is corrupted by pride.



I don't believe it is pride that causes a mother to cry out in anguish when her child is killed by a flash flood. It is not pride that causes that family in the trailer park to tremble in the sight of a tornado that rips their home to shreds. And remember, I did not say these things are evil - just perceived as "not good". Take a look again at my original post on this. Nature is a reflection of God - and it is not all about sunshine a butterflies.


I believe you err when you say it is not pride. To explain this I will simply ask you questions. (this may take a little while)

Why does the mother cry? Why does the family tremble?

.






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