Posted by: the warrioress | August 9, 2012

Who God Is (Part Two)

continued from Part 1:

C. Why Has God Done Objectionable Things If God is Good & Perfect?

D.  God’s Omniscience

==========================

 

We’ve already discovered through reading the bible that Jesus Christ told us God is perfect. Christ told us that God is good. God is holy. No matter what we may think on our own, the bible tells us the reality.

If one is not a Christian or does not believe the bible, this may not be acceptable or satisfactory; the bible may not make this valid for the unbelieving mind; nevertheless, I’m offering the truth according to the bible. Each reader can take what he wants from that or not; it’s completely up to him.

So why has God done objectionable, difficult to understand kinds of actions, if He’s so perfect, holy, and good? People point out that God has committed genocide of men, women, children, and even innocent animals. “How could this kind of killing possibly be anything but evil?” they ask. How can we refer to God as a moral, holy god?

There is a reading that answers the question, “If God tortures people for eternity, what does this say about His morality?”

The reading is by Matt Slick

“This question is usually asked by atheists, but the first problem is that they have no objective moral standard by which they might say God’s judgment is right or wrong.  They may not like it.  They may not approve of it.  But these objections and preferences are irrelevant as to whether or not God is right or wrong for damning people eternally.  The only way they can rationally assert that something is morally right or wrong is to appeal to moral standards outside of themselves.  If the appeal is to what society says, this is dangerous since societies change and morals can become right in one generation and wrong in another.

Second, God is not the one torturing.  To torture someone means to be actively involved in the action of inflicting pain.  But God does not do this.  God sends people to hell and they are tortured there due to the consequences of their sinand their rejection of God.”  Source.

This is a complicated matter. It’s difficult to understand and accept, especially for our finite minds. God does not have the same mind that we have. His mind, intention, and judgment is perfect. God does not perceive of things as we do. God does not view murder and killing in the same way that we do. These have different meanings to God, biblically speaking.

“Even in the dire judgments of the Old Testament, God offered mercy. For example, when God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, God promised Abraham that He would spare the whole city in order to save ten righteous people there. Though God did destroy those cities (ten righteous people could not be found), He saved “righteous Lot” and his family (Genesis 18:32; Genesis 19:15; 2 Peter 2:7). Later, God destroyed Jericho, but He saved Rahab the harlot and her family in response to Rahab’s faith (Joshua 6:25; Hebrews 11:31). Until the final judgment, there is always mercy to be found.

Every person dies in God’s own time (Hebrews 9:27; Genesis 3:19). Jesus holds the keys of death (Revelation 1:18). Does the fact that everyone experiences physical death make God a “killer”? In the sense that He could prevent all death, yes. He allows us to die. But He is no murderer. Death is part of the human experience because we brought it into the world ourselves (Romans 5:12). One day, as John Donne put it, “Death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.” God, in His grace, has conquered death for those who are in Christ, and one day that truth will be fully realized: “The last enemy to be subdued and abolished is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26).

God is faithful to His word. He will destroy the wicked, and He holds “the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment” (2 Peter 2:9). But He has also promised that “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).”  Source.

It is clear through many who have studied the bible for years that God is loving, merciful, and kind, but God is also holy, and is not afraid to judge sin, wickedness, and unrighteousness. He can be a god of wrath when it comes to what He hates. God is not unwilling to do away with that which will not bring forth what He considers beneficial to His overall plan. God is faithful, does not change His mind, and is capable of great devastation when it is necessary for the overall good of humanity.

“The fact that God commanded the killing of entire nations in the Old Testament has been the subject of harsh criticism from opponents of Christianity for some time. That there was violence in the Old Testament is indisputable. The question is whether Old Testament violence is justifiable and condoned by God. In his bestselling book The God Delusion, atheist Richard Dawkins refers to the God of the Old Testament as “a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser.” Journalist Christopher Hitchens complains that the Old Testament contains a warrant for “indiscriminate massacre.” Other critics of Christianity have leveled similar charges, accusing Yahweh of “crimes against humanity.”

But are these criticisms valid? Is the God of the Old Testament a “moral monster” who arbitrarily commands genocide against innocent men, women, and children? Was His reaction to the sins of the Canaanites and the Amalekites a vicious form of “ethnic cleansing” no different from atrocities committed by the Nazis? Or is it possible that God could have had morally sufficient reasons for ordering the destruction of these nations?” Source

God has good reasons for the things He does. We can rest assured that His reasons are reliable, valid, and reasonable. His thinking is so far above our own that there can be no doubt that this is the case. Man is inherently sinful; it is our very nature to sin. God knows how things will turn out while we cannot fathom the end results of what we  plan. We live by our feelings and finite mind and God lives by what is reasonable, rational, and best for our lives. God’s morality is well thought out, despite the fact that we may not accept or even understand His actions.

“A basic knowledge of Canaanite culture reveals its inherent moral wickedness. The Canaanites were a brutal, aggressive people who engaged in bestiality, incest, and even child sacrifice. Deviant sexual acts were the norm. The Canaanites’ sin was so repellent that God said, “The land vomited out its inhabitants” (Leviticus 18:25). Even so, the destruction was directed more at the Canaanite religion (Deuteronomy 7:3-5, 12:2-3) than at the Canaanite people per se. The judgment was not ethnically motivated. Individual Canaanites, like Rahab in Jericho, could still find that mercy follows repentance (Joshua 2). God’s desire is that the wicked turn from their sin rather than die (Ezekiel 18:31-32, 33:11).

Besides dealing with national sins, God used the conquest of Canaan to create a religious/historical context in which He could eventually introduce the Messiah to the world. This Messiah would bring salvation not only to Israel, but also to Israel’s enemies, including Canaan (Psalm 87:4-6; Mark 7:25-30).

It must be remembered that God gave the Canaanite people more than sufficient time to repent of their evil ways—over 400 years (Genesis 15:13-16)! The book of Hebrews tells us that the Canaanites were “disobedient,” a word that implies moral culpability on their part (Hebrews 11:31). The Canaanites were aware of God’s power (Joshua 2:10-11, 9:9) and could have sought repentance. Except in rare instances, they continued their rebellion against God until the bitter end.”

  1. God will and can act out in wrath without mercy when the situation demands it.
  2. God is omniscient, and knows what is best. He creates life and can also end it.
  3. It would cruel to leave helpless infants and children without parents to care for them.
  4. God provides salvation/eternal life for infants and children; thus they are not really dying indefinitely. Source

What we’ve learned from this so far can be summed up in what we were already told in our last post. God knows best. We must trust in this, no matter whether we understand it, approve, or not. Like children, we must have faith and trust in our Father who is in Heaven. He will not mislead or lead us astray. It really is just this simple.

What if we are afraid of God, though? What if we fear His power and wrath? How do we understand and see God as loving when we know what He is capable of?

The bible says that God is love.

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8

“The fact that God is loving does not cancel out His holy requirement of perfection. However, because He is loving, He sent Christ to die on the cross in our place, and this completely satisfies God’s requirement of perfection. Because He is loving, God provided a way for man to be no longer separated from Him by sin, but to be able to enter into a relationship with Him as a welcome part of God’s family, placed in that family because of the finished work of Christ on the cross (John 1:12; 5:24).”

If, even knowing these things, we still see God as angry and imposing, it could be that we are not sure of our own relationship to Him. The Bible encourages us to “examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). If we doubt that we truly belong to Christ, we only need to repent and ask Him into our hearts. He will forgive us our sin and give us His Holy Spirit who will live in our hearts and assure us that we are His children. Once we are assured that we are His, we can draw close to Him by reading and studying His Word and by asking Him to show Himself to us as He truly is. God loves each of us and desires to know us in a personal relationship. He has assured us that if we seek Him with all our hearts, we will surely find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). Then we will truly know Him, not as imposing and angry, but as a loving and gracious Father.  Source

D.  God’s Omniscience:

 

Job 37:16

Do you know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge.

Psalm 147:5

Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

1 Samuel 2:3

Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

Isaiah 55:9

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Job 28:24

For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.

1 John 3:19-20

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

Hebrews 4:13

And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Isaiah 46:9

I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done.

Matthew 10:30

But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.

Psalm 139:4

Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.  (Source)

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Responses

  1. There is a great deal in this post that I disagree with. The very phrasing of the question implies that God has done objectionable things and the post appears to accept that God tortures people for eternity. Whilst there are some who interpret the Bible that way, it is not necessary to do so. Christians need to take care in how we treat the Bible (see my most recent post).
    I have found no compelling evidence in the Bible that it is God who practices genocide, or that God is not merciful, or that there will be anyone who is tortured for eternity in hell. There are hints that can be interpreted that way by a mind that wants to accept that hell exists, but similarly there are minds which interpret the creation story in Genesis as literal truth – contrary to the evidence and particularly unnecessarily.
    At the heart of Christianity is Christ – obvious I know, but we ignore it. Jesus said ‘if you have seen me you have seen the father’, so if you want to know about God then looking at Jesus is the place to start.
    When did Jesus cause anyone distress? Only when he allowed Lazarus to die. What was his response? He wept, and he restored Lazarus to life. That is not a God of genocide and hell.
    What was his response to those who tortured and killed his body – Father forgive them. How many times must we forgive – as often as we are sinned against.
    Paul describes our earthly bodies being transformed into heavenly bodies – but that it is sin that leads to death and prevents the putting on of heavenly bodies. A rational reading of the Bible is that if we die and refuse to let go of our sin then we stay dead, but if we are willing to be transformed and take on spiritual bodies then we do so. That is consistent with the requirement for heaven to be sinless (see A Rational Look at Heaven).
    But my biggest issue with Christians who insist on interpreting the Bible in such a way as to portray God as the lord of Hell is the effect on those who do not believe in Christ yet. First, if we really believe that someone is going to suffer eternal torment then how can we live each day? Our actions give the lie to our words and scream ‘hypocrite’. Secondly, it gives the message that to become a Christian you have to accept that it’s OK to torture someone for eternity, and what loving caring person will want to even explore a religion that insists on that notion.
    I really wonder what Jesus thinks of all this. Didn’t he come to bring life, and life in abundance?

  2. You said:

    No matter what we may think on our own, the bible tells us the reality.

    We all have intuitive notions of what a bad parent is like. Many could easily sit around and agree to the things that we would call the police for if we saw a bad parent doing it to their children.

    This whole post seems to being saying nothing more than.

    “Look, sure, just like the bad parent, our experience in both real life and what we read in the Bible may tell us that if God is all-powerful and capable of intervening, then God is a bad parent. If we use the same intuition we use for parents in everyday life, we would call the police on God. But God is special, you have to just forget everything you know about real life and real people — turn off your intuitions, and have faith that since God is so special and different from us that the horrible things we see are really OK.”

  3. My lips are sealed. This is as far as I am prepared to go in justifying this utterly disgusting post.
    For shame.

  4. @ Minimalist Christian,

    I think you illustrate well how there are many different forms of Christianity. And each of these Christianities can result in Christians treating others and the world differently.

    So, in your type of Christianity, how do you view Yahweh as described in the OT?

  5. @Minimalist Christian

    You said:

    There is a great deal in this post that I disagree with. The very phrasing of the question implies that God has done objectionable things and the post appears to accept that God tortures people for eternity. Whilst there are some who interpret the Bible that way, it is not necessary to do so. Christians need to take care in how we treat the Bible (see my most recent post).

    I think there are a number of things that God has done that may be objectionable to some. It’s obvious that the atheists participating here object to His past actions. I’ve found some of God’s actions in the OT to be questionable and I admit that I didn’t understand them in the least. There are some of God’s actions in the NT that I don’t get. I have better clarification now, but initially, no, there were many things I didn’t understand at all.

    Personally, I don’t have much luck attempting to deny what plan English tells me. When the bible discusses punishment and hell, or Noah and the ark, for example, I read that and go.. “okay, look’s like God’s pretty ticked off with the world — umm, He just wiped off the entire planet in a flood. Whooops.”

    I mean, how do you interpret that any differently than I do? Some people object to mass killing/murder/genocide. They don’t see it as a reasonable, loving thing. No matter how you want to spin it, it boils down to the fact that God was absolutely ruthless in that moment and ended the life of everybody, did He not? Let’s not attempt to sugar coat it. God does not appear to be very happy with mankind. He’s reacted out of love but He’s been wrathful. I don’t know how you can deny it.

    I have found no compelling evidence in the Bible that it is God who practices genocide, or that God is not merciful, or that there will be anyone who is tortured for eternity in hell. There are hints that can be interpreted that way by a mind that wants to accept that hell exists, but similarly there are minds which interpret the creation story in Genesis as literal truth – contrary to the evidence and particularly unnecessarily.

    We must be reading a completely different Holy Bible.

    Certainly God is merciful; I’ve said as much, but God is hardcore punitive when the situations calls for it; you simply can’t deny this unless you’re going to claim the bible isn’t true as it was written and that the writers lied or twisted the truth or created stories that just aren’t factual. Maybe you simply prefer to believe the stories are symbolic and not literal; I think some could be, but not all.

    At the heart of Christianity is Christ – obvious I know, but we ignore it. Jesus said ‘if you have seen me you have seen the father’, so if you want to know about God then looking at Jesus is the place to start.

    Not really sure you’re going to be able to make Jesus Christ out to be that much less tough, either. He’s got His tough love moments too. Remember when He made a small chord of whips and drove the moneychangers out of His Father’s House?

    When did Jesus cause anyone distress? Only when he allowed Lazarus to die. What was his response? He wept, and he restored Lazarus to life. That is not a God of genocide and hell.
    What was his response to those who tortured and killed his body – Father forgive them. How many times must we forgive – as often as we are sinned against.
    Paul describes our earthly bodies being transformed into heavenly bodies – but that it is sin that leads to death and prevents the putting on of heavenly bodies. A rational reading of the Bible is that if we die and refuse to let go of our sin then we stay dead, but if we are willing to be transformed and take on spiritual bodies then we do so. That is consistent with the requirement for heaven to be sinless (see A Rational Look at Heaven).

    Jesus Christ is a loving man, but He is also firm about the future lived without forgiveness for sin, and He is sharing His teachings as a way to let people know how we can perceive of life with a loving, caring perspective for all, or a selfish, sinful, rebellious, evil life that takes us directly to hell. He shows us the choices quite clearly in all of His teachings, but I won’t deny that love is a very important, primary aspect of His message.

    But my biggest issue with Christians who insist on interpreting the Bible in such a way as to portray God as the lord of Hell is the effect on those who do not believe in Christ yet. First, if we really believe that someone is going to suffer eternal torment then how can we live each day? Our actions give the lie to our words and scream ‘hypocrite’. Secondly, it gives the message that to become a Christian you have to accept that it’s OK to torture someone for eternity, and what loving caring person will want to even explore a religion that insists on that notion.
    I really wonder what Jesus thinks of all this. Didn’t he come to bring life, and life in abundance?

    I disagree with you. We don’t have to be a hypocrite to recognize that God is no pantywaist. He’s not fooling around. He’s offering the world eternal life and the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, but if you reject that free gift, you’ve essentially made your bed and you’re going to lie in it. I think we should simply tell the truth, even if it’s tough love and sounds like tough love. I don’t prefer to pretty things up and sugar coat them in order to draw the unbelieving in, essentially tricking them? God IS a god of love, but He’s also a Holy god that doesn’t tolerate sin. He gave us Jesus to deal with that; those who don’t want Jesus are going to have to deal with that aspect of God that hates sin. It’s very clear about this in the bible.

    Let’s have a look at some of what Jesus said. Some people say He talked more about Hell than about Heaven.

    Luk 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

    Mat 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

    Mat 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

    Matthew 25:41 (Jesus speaking to people at final judgment), …Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

    Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night…

    Revelation 20:12, 15 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life…And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:41-43).

    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats . . . And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:31-46)?

    http://www.jesuscentral.com/ji/questions/did/what_did_jesus_teach_about_hell_842.php

    2 Peter 2.4-19; Jude 8-16

    For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment; and if he did not spare the ancient world, even though he saved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood on a world of the ungodly; and if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example of what is coming to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by their lawless deeds that he saw and heard), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment – especially those who indulge their flesh in depraved lust, and who despise authority. Bold and willful, they are not afraid to slander the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not bring against them a slanderous judgment from the Lord. These people, however, are like irrational animals, mere creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed. They slander what they do not understand, and when those creatures are destroyed, they also will be destroyed, suffering the penalty for doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! They have left the straight road and have gone astray, following the road of Balaam son of Bosor, who loved the wages of doing wrong, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the deepest darkness has been reserved. For they speak bombastic nonsense, and with licentious desires of the flesh they entice people who have just escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for people are slaves to whatever masters them.

  6. @Sabio

    You said:

    We all have intuitive notions of what a bad parent is like. Many could easily sit around and agree to the things that we would call the police for if we saw a bad parent doing it to their children.

    This whole post seems to being saying nothing more than.

    “Look, sure, just like the bad parent, our experience in both real life and what we read in the Bible may tell us that if God is all-powerful and capable of intervening, then God is a bad parent. If we use the same intuition we use for parents in everyday life, we would call the police on God. But God is special, you have to just forget everything you know about real life and real people — turn off your intuitions, and have faith that since God is so special and different from us that the horrible things we see are really OK.”

    God isn’t a bad parent; God is a tough, stern parent. God is a loving parent who we better respect and live in awe/fear of. I don’t mean be afraid like of Freddy Krueger or something; I’m talking about respect. God wants us to respect and honor Him. He’s not a “bad parent..” We just don’t understand that He knows better than we do and we can’t wrap our minds around His conception of doing what is necessary to bring to fruition His plans for the future. We think we know better than God which is complete foolishness.

  7. @Ark

    My lips are sealed. This is as far as I am prepared to go in justifying this utterly disgusting post.
    For shame.

    I’m not surprised in the least, Ark hon. Utterly disgusting post, hmmm? Any particular part that annoys you more than another? Do tell. 😉

  8. “I’m not surprised in the least, Ark hon. Utterly disgusting post, hmmm? Any particular part that annoys you more than another? Do tell.”

    There is an underlying sense that irrespective of what your god allows, or does or commands to be done in is name it is fully justified.

    This is sick and when one considers what your god commanded Joshua to do, for example, or some of the more nasty thing the character of Moses did under your god’s direction -or even what was done to the Egyptians it puts your god in a similar light as the likes of Hitler or Stalin.
    Sabio is right when he mentions intuition.
    Only a rotten nasty vengeful parent would behave thus and only fools would worship such an entity.
    Maybe one day you’ll get a real life.

  9. Oh, a point I forgot to make.
    If we are made in ‘His’ image (albeit with free will) then I am afraid all one can say is nature or nurture. You choose.

  10. @Sabio

    So I see these as two different gods for you. But because apparently for your the primary source of you faith is faith in a book, you live with the tension of what you really experience and a literalist interpretation of an ancient book.

    But you don’t appear to live that tension. You live a life of love. I hear your real experience of God as being loving, inspiring, nurturing and only demanding to the extent that He expects you and your daughter to be the best people you can. But it is clear to me that you understand how a literalist view of the scriptures makes you shake your head and say, “Oh well, God knows best. I guess he can kill innocents along with the guilty (the flood) or send people to fiery hell because they didn’t agree with my interpretation of a book — after all, he is a god.”

    I like your honest confliction. It is clear you get it. When people point out that your dogma does not match a literalist interpretation of the Bible, you sacrifice your view of reality rather than re-look at how you read a book. That is the part that puzzles me.

    I don’t see two different Gods at all. And I have faith in what I sense and know and have known since the crib. This Being, God, is difficult and murky to pin down and simplify; the bible attempts to do so.

    There is no longer any tension within my perception of God and who He is because I’ve accepted Him completely as He is, according to what I know about Him and what I have learned along the way, subjectively, experientially, and through His written word, the bible.

    God is the ultimate in uncondtional love, giving, goodness, blessing, guidance, perfection, etc., but He is also something to be feared and greatly respected. One should not tamper with Him. God does not hesitate to act in doing what He feels is best, even if we disagree or don’t understand His actions.

    I don’t see how “the dogma” doesn’t match the literalist interpretation of the bible, Sabio. I believe that the way in which I perceive of God matches the bible quite well. Personally, I do not intend to test God or to fool with Him. I will not get on His bad side, if that explains things a little better. I know better than to do that from reading about those who did and what happened to them.

  11. Dear W,
    Up until I was forty I was certain that there was no God, and because of the external face of Christianity, like much of your post, I would not even contemplate the idea. It was for me very fortuitous when I was challenged to look more at the heart of Christianity – namely Jesus. His life, death and resurrection, and the message of grace that he brings are the essentials. My experience of following Christ is that he indeed does bring ‘life in abundance’.

    But life in abundance (for me anyway) does not come from taking the whole of the Bible as something that must be taken literally, or that when someone says ‘God says this’ to necessarily accept that to be literally correct either. There are many different ways of reading and interpreting the Bible, but none of us can say ‘this is definitely the only way that this can be interpreted’, or ‘if you don’t read it my way you cannot be a real Christian’. That’s Christ’s job, not ours. So your interpretation of Hell may be correct, but I have not found compelling reasons to believe it to be true and I refuse to put it as an obstacle between someone and Christ.

    To take one example that you used, the phrase ‘everlasting fire’ does not even literally say that the individual will be kept alive for ever in flames, and may well have been a phrase to emphasis the importance of the message (which gets lost when we focus on the everlasting fire part)
    The book of revelation is for me bizarre, I can hardly see any of it that is supposed to be taken literally, and I understand that its provenance is questionable. So, I will not insist on a literal interpretation.
    I may be wrong and if I mislead someone then I have to rely on God’s promised grace – but I cannot ask others to believe what I do not.

    Christ is the toughest man I know! Who else would have the guts to go through what he went through for others – he did nothing for himself. His standards are the highest, and his teaching ‘compels’ us to do our utmost to achieve them – for our own good, like the toughest sports coaches who get their athletes to achieve their very best. But when we achieve our utmost we understand that his discipline is the most loving thing that he did for us. When he insists that we forgive, it is for our benefit. When he insists we don’t judge others it is for our benefit. If some need the ‘threat’ of punishment to forgive then it is for their benefit.

    Once I realised the good news of being a Christian I determined to try to remove the barriers that have been put up between man and God – the dogmas, the traditions, the use of KJV language, the imagery… and to try to emphasis the life giving message that Jesus brought and taught.

    I’m sorry if this has come across as critical, I think we both believe the same really important things. (Perhaps that’s a far as I should debate in a public forum where sentences are likely to be misinterpreted and extrapolated beyond their meaning.)

  12. @ Minimalist Christian.
    Yeah, classic cherry picking. You sound a bit like Marcion: he didn’t like the god of the Old Testament much either so decided to turf him out and compile his own bible.
    Problem with this, of course, is that this throws the OT prophecy of the Messiah out the window( not that the Christians got this right in any case).
    and brings into question the divinity of Jesus ( see the Nicene Creed).
    Sorry, but it really is all or nothing with your god. Christianity already has too many holes in it as it is and picking the bits you like will not make it any more holey(sic) Or maybe it will?

    Face it, you were never really an atheist and now that you’ve decided to embrace this ‘man-god’ it has suddenly become a lot tougher to find the reality in it than you might have thought. Way too much ambiguity and hypocrisy.

  13. Dear A,
    I am not attacking your beliefs (or lack of them), and although I think them to be incorrect you are of course free to think what you like. I can’t see how they bring life in abundance though.

  14. @MC.
    Er….I never said you were attacking MY beliefs. Maybe you should read the comment again?
    You said….
    “I can’t see how they bring life in abundance though.”

    Well, no, you wouldn’t, but then Christianity relies on a myopic POV and blind acceptance of silly dogma.
    Now, atheists requires no deity – because atheists do not believe in deities (yours or anyone else’s) – but can be just as loving to one’s fellow human and we don’t believe anyone will go to ‘hell’ – even silly Christians! Isn’t that nice?
    As for ‘life in abundance’ I am, quite frankly, somewhat puzzled how belief in a made-up man-god can increase life’s abundance?
    Firstly, there is more honesty in the average atheist’s little finger than you will likely find in a whole Christian. (Honesty being an integral component of attaining abundance.)
    If hard work is also key to abundance then Christianity has nothing to do with this.
    How about charitable works? Nope, you lose there too, I’m afraid.
    In fact, the only thing you have is faith to distinguish Christianity from atheism in the lifer’s abundance stakes and this as can be shown by statistics is pretty much a crock.

    So, there you go, proof once again, that the doctrine you claim is the be all and end all bombs again.
    Be an atheist, it will open your eyes to reality.
    Let me go and watch Top Gear.

  15. Don’t you realise that you’ve just proved my point?

  16. @MC
    Point? I had not realised you were making one? Could you please be more succinct? Try skipping the philosophy completely and simply use words with no more than two syllables?
    By the way – Top Gear was fun!

  17. Here are a few of the classic responses to “The Evil Yahweh Dilemma”.

    (1) Conservative Christians

    (a) Ignorance: We are just human. We can not know Yahweh’s ways. Whatever Yahweh did if Good and Right — no matter how counter it is to our intuitions which are ignorant, limited and foolish. Praise Yahweh

    (b) Judgement: The people punished in OT stories were all deserving what they got. God can not tolerate the least bit of sin. Yes, everyone but Noah’s family was evil and deserving extinction. Judgement of evil is Yahweh’s right.

    (2) Liberal Christians

    (a) Non-Literalists: The OT stories were just stories to tell us ethical principles and help us understand God, we should not take them literally.

    (b) Marcion Solution: Marcion felt that there were two gods — OT and NT god. It was a creative solution and many early Christians followed this model. But it soon became heresy but due to Marcionism, it prompted the winning orthodoxy to create their own canon: The Bible. (Read here. Marcion in case you aren’t familiar with his fascinating role in Christian History). Ank was right to point out that this was/is an important solution.

    (c) Universalists: All religions fumble with the truth — none should be taken literally, each is defective in its own way. The stories of old are clouded with ancient mistaken tribal intuitions but we can still hear through them and learn a bit about God.

    (3) Atheists

    (a) All Religion is Stupid: We know who falls here. Yahweh was horrible and anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot.

    (b) Religion as a Tool: People can believe mistaken notions but use them for benefit or harm. The truth of an idea is one conversation, awareness of how ideas are used is sometimes a more important conversation. Some Christians use Yahweh to hate, some thankfully ignore him with an interesting twist in their theology.

  18. @ Sabio
    The Ark doffs his cap.

    I imagine most Christians are not in the least bit interested in Marcion.
    “Oh, history….that was in the past!”
    (Best place for it, I guess…thank you TP)
    When they hear the name Marcion most have no clue who he was or will respond that their Pastor said that he invented the radio.
    Their god help us all….(sic)

  19. @ Sabio.
    Oh, by the way, you were naughty putting the Marcion link up. Let them find out for themselves…

  20. @Warrioress
    Here’s my take on this….

    http://arkenaten.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/who-made-who-or-who-is-god/

  21. @ Ark,

    Concerning Spoon-feeding
    Learning how to look up things yourself is a valuable skill. But when I blog, I try to make life easy for others — the former is not my pedagogical purpose in blogging. I taught higher education for 12 years. Sometimes I want to help learners and sometimes I want to make them work for it. Personal call, depending on purpose. I get it.

    Concerning Marcion
    I learned about Marcion during a year-long course in History of Theology at Wheaton College — a well-known, conservative, evangelical Christian college here in the USA.

    My teacher was a radical at the college. He was a graduate from Bob Jones University — an ultra-fundamentalist Baptist college in the US. But while teaching at Wheaton, his young wife divorced him and he converted to Episcopal church due to his love for tradition and the Church fathers. Later he would be a voice in the emergent Christian community.

    The diversity of early Christian thought affected my professor (Robert Webber). He has since passed away but I will always remember him fondly and his talk on Marcion. Though he disagreed with Marcion, he made it clear how Marcion’s solution was addressing a real problem — how we read the OT.

    I forgot about Marcion until I started blogging again and had a now-a-day Marcionite showed up on my blog to comment and when I started blogging about the how Christian texts evolved. No link supplied, you can look it up if you are interested! 😉

    All to say, I see no reason that the average Christian should understand Marcion but I do think it is instructive to learn about him.

  22. @ The Warrioress,
    Just some thoughts on the Bible verses you picked for your post:

    Concerning Love

    “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8

    Does this imply that “Anyone who does love, knows God, for God is love.” ? You know where I am going.

    Concerning Ancient Hebrew Cosmology
    The ancient Jews had flat-world view, like many folks at that time.(see here for much more) The Bible verses below show that. I know some apologist try to dismiss this, but many realize how obvious this is. Of course, it is not unexpected — all ancient holy works are, of course, colored by the worldview at the time. These writers had no Holy Spirit directing their thoughts — though they may have felt inspired.

    For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.
    –Job 28:24

    For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
    — Isaiah 55:9

  23. Only one thing matters above and beyond all arguments about God… One day the truth will be revealed and all questions will be answered! I can’t wait for that day when humanity, with all it’s bravado and knowledge, it’s inept attempts to understand things not meant to be understood, will disappear into oblivion and only truth will remain! The human perspective will be miniscule in comparison to the abundance of Omnipotent presence!

    I enjoyed reading your post… The understanding of pure faith is evident and inspiring. Keep up the good work. I have nominated you for an award.. You can collect it here
    https://innerangelsandenemies.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/another-award-oh-my/
    Blessings to you!

  24. @ The Water bearer.
    Spoken like a true blind-as-a-bat-believer.
    Good grief, even a parrot could do a better job of reciting dogma inspired trite, only with a little more understanding.
    Fortunately, you will be gone…done and dusted a long,long time before humanity disappears.
    What a truly wretched upbringing you must have had. My sympathies.
    BTW, does the church you attend adhere to a Pavlovian principle of theology?
    “Sit, Booboo. Good dog.”

  25. @ Sabio.
    So, you offer the Crispyuns links but make the atheists work for their money?
    Sigh….we all have our cross to bear, I guess.

  26. @ The Water Bearer
    I totally agree that humans are often full of bravado and arrogance. We are very bad at understanding our minuscule abilities and the limits of our knowledge. Ignorance is something we should all assume as the foundation of our position in life — maybe that would help tame arrogance. But this trait is shared across traditions. Religions that pretend to know the nature of the unknown, who claim a monopoly on meaning and ethics are, to me, the an ironic demonstration of such bravado. But we all do it, of course.

    Unlike you, I doubt that somehow after death my mind will all of a sudden understand everything and look back and chuckle at humanity. You dream big — I can see why that would be comforting. As for me, I chuckle now at humanity — at all of us.

    PS — I never understood this “award” thing. Is that a hidden sort of self-promotion for bloggers? Is it love and admiration used as a disguise for self-interests? Like I said, people make me chuckle. Anyone else find the “Awards” handed from blogger to blogger as anything but odd? Maybe I am just jealous — I don’t even have one. Sniffle.

  27. @Arkenaten

    @ The Water bearer.
    Spoken like a true blind-as-a-bat-believer.
    Good grief, even a parrot could do a better job of reciting dogma inspired trite, only with a little more understanding.
    Fortunately, you will be gone…done and dusted a long,long time before humanity disappears.
    What a truly wretched upbringing you must have had. My sympathies.
    BTW, does the church you attend adhere to a Pavlovian principle of theology?
    “Sit, Booboo. Good dog.”

    Ark,

    You’re beginning to irritate me. I don’t recommend it if you want to continue to share your thoughts here. Please do not insult or attempt to denigrate those who are kind enough to comment here. Thank you.

  28. @Water Bearer

    You said:

    Only one thing matters above and beyond all arguments about God… One day the truth will be revealed and all questions will be answered! I can’t wait for that day when humanity, with all it’s bravado and knowledge, it’s inept attempts to understand things not meant to be understood, will disappear into oblivion and only truth will remain! The human perspective will be miniscule in comparison to the abundance of Omnipotent presence!

    I agree! It’s a faith thing.. impossible to understand unless one is a party to it. I sure do appreciate you stopping by to share, WB. I’ve missed your contributions. (hugs)

    I enjoyed reading your post… The understanding of pure faith is evident and inspiring. Keep up the good work. I have nominated you for an award.. You can collect it here
    https://innerangelsandenemies.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/another-award-oh-my/
    Blessings to you!

    WB, you honor me. Thank you again and I can’t thank you enough for the award. God bless you as well.

  29. @Arkenaten

    Warrioress
    Here’s my take on this….

    http://arkenaten.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/who-made-who-or-who-is-god/

    I read your take, Ark, and wasn’t impressed; I’m sorry.

    God tells us who He is and who made Him. He always was/has been/is. Period.

    John 8:58 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"
    Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
    Revelation 1:8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."
    Revelation 4:8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."
    Exodus 3:13 Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?"
    Exodus 6:2 God also said to Moses, "I am the LORD.
    Exodus 6:3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.

    May I also suggest the following reading to you?

    Question: “Who created God? Where did God come from?”

    Answer: A common argument from atheists and skeptics is that if all things need a cause, then God must also need a cause. The conclusion is that if God needed a cause, then God is not God (and if God is not God, then of course there is no God). This is a slightly more sophisticated form of the basic question “Who made God?” Everyone knows that something does not come from nothing. So, if God is a “something,” then He must have a cause, right?

    The question is tricky because it sneaks in the false assumption that God came from somewhere and then asks where that might be. The answer is that the question does not even make sense. It is like asking, “What does blue smell like?” Blue is not in the category of things that have a smell, so the question itself is flawed. In the same way, God is not in the category of things that are created or caused. God is uncaused and uncreated—He simply exists.

    How do we know this? We know that from nothing, nothing comes. So, if there were ever a time when there was absolutely nothing in existence, then nothing would have ever come into existence. But things do exist. Therefore, since there could never have been absolutely nothing, something had to have always been in existence. That ever-existing thing is what we call God. God is the uncaused Being that caused everything else to come into existence. God is the uncreated Creator who created the universe and everything in it.


    http://www.gotquestions.org/who-created-God.html

    Recommended Resource: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norm Geisler and Frank Turek.

  30. @Minimalist Christian

    Dear W,
    Up until I was forty I was certain that there was no God, and because of the external face of Christianity, like much of your post, I would not even contemplate the idea. It was for me very fortuitous when I was challenged to look more at the heart of Christianity – namely Jesus. His life, death and resurrection, and the message of grace that he brings are the essentials. My experience of following Christ is that he indeed does bring ‘life in abundance’.

    I knew we were in agreement about this. 😉

    But life in abundance (for me anyway) does not come from taking the whole of the Bible as something that must be taken literally, or that when someone says ‘God says this’ to necessarily accept that to be literally correct either. There are many different ways of reading and interpreting the Bible, but none of us can say ‘this is definitely the only way that this can be interpreted’, or ‘if you don’t read it my way you cannot be a real Christian’. That’s Christ’s job, not ours. So your interpretation of Hell may be correct, but I have not found compelling reasons to believe it to be true and I refuse to put it as an obstacle between someone and Christ.

    I don’t see a problem with this, MC. None of us knows who has the correct interpretation. Personally, as long as we’re in agreement on the basics, I think the differences in belief are interesting, but not anything to be overly concerned about. I like your particular perspective and hope you turn out to be right as I would prefer your way of seeing God versus my own. Seeing God as I do has been a process over time. I’ve finally settled into something which seems balanced to me, that I believe whole heartedly, that I live with and understand well. Some disagree with me and that’s all right. I agree that there should not be any obstacles between anyone and Christ, at least none placed there by you, me, or anyone else. What they place between Christ and themsevles isn’t something we have power over.

    To take one example that you used, the phrase ‘everlasting fire’ does not even literally say that the individual will be kept alive for ever in flames, and may well have been a phrase to emphasis the importance of the message (which gets lost when we focus on the everlasting fire part)
    The book of revelation is for me bizarre, I can hardly see any of it that is supposed to be taken literally, and I understand that its provenance is questionable. So, I will not insist on a literal interpretation.
    I may be wrong and if I mislead someone then I have to rely on God’s promised grace – but I cannot ask others to believe what I do not.

    Like Sabio has said so many times, we’re all different, even Christians! I respect your right to believe as you choose to believe. I believe God moves us along as He desires at the rate of His choosing. I believe our relationships with Him are all very unique and different. I also know that what is sin for one may not be sin for another, (which I initially found very strange but now I don’t think it’s strange at all), so I’m not going to argue about whether or not Revelation is truth. For me, the entire bible is truth; but this is just the way I choose to view the bible. Some of it is meant to be symbolic but other parts are literal, I think. I am open to hearing other points of view, but so far mine hasn’t changed despite the hearing.

    Christ is the toughest man I know! Who else would have the guts to go through what he went through for others – he did nothing for himself. His standards are the highest, and his teaching ‘compels’ us to do our utmost to achieve them – for our own good, like the toughest sports coaches who get their athletes to achieve their very best. But when we achieve our utmost we understand that his discipline is the most loving thing that he did for us. When he insists that we forgive, it is for our benefit. When he insists we don’t judge others it is for our benefit. If some need the ‘threat’ of punishment to forgive then it is for their benefit.

    Agreed..

    Once I realised the good news of being a Christian I determined to try to remove the barriers that have been put up between man and God – the dogmas, the traditions, the use of KJV language, the imagery… and to try to emphasis the life giving message that Jesus brought and taught.

    I’m sorry if this has come across as critical, I think we both believe the same really important things. (Perhaps that’s a far as I should debate in a public forum where sentences are likely to be misinterpreted and extrapolated beyond their meaning.)

    No offense taken and no apology necessary, MC. I’m used to being challenged regularly by those who don’t believe, so attempt to back up what I believe scripturally out of habit these days. I think you and I believe a lot more alike than differently; where we differ, I hope that you are right and that God & Christ are much more lenient and forgiving than they appear to be with those who have rejected Them. MC, thank you more than I can say for offering your views here and being willing to be so gracious in discussing them.

  31. @Arkenaten
    You said:

    There is an underlying sense that irrespective of what your god allows, or does or commands to be done in is name it is fully justified.

    This is sick and when one considers what your god commanded Joshua to do, for example, or some of the more nasty thing the character of Moses did under your god’s direction -or even what was done to the Egyptians it puts your god in a similar light as the likes of Hitler or Stalin.
    Sabio is right when he mentions intuition.
    Only a rotten nasty vengeful parent would behave thus and only fools would worship such an entity.

    God is not to be tampered with, Ark. He detests sin, pride, arrogance, lying, and many other things that are a part of human nature. He has solved the problem of these by offering us salvation through Jesus Christ if we are willing to believe and through believing, be saved. For those who reject Him, who worship other Gods/false gods, idols, etc., God probably will appear to be nasty and vengeful. I wouldn’t want to imagine how God could be under these conditions. I believe He is a loving god and worthy of our worship, but He is no one to anger and toy around with.

    God isn’t a bad parent, though the rebellious and the misled may consider Him to be so in their rejection of Him and because of the consequences that are promised to follow as a result of this rejection, according to the bible.

  32. @Sabio

    So I see these as two different gods for you. But because apparently for your the primary source of you faith is faith in a book, you live with the tension of what you really experience and a literalist interpretation of an ancient book.

    But you don’t appear to live that tension. You live a life of love. I hear your real experience of God as being loving, inspiring, nurturing and only demanding to the extent that He expects you and your daughter to be the best people you can. But it is clear to me that you understand how a literalist view of the scriptures makes you shake your head and say, “Oh well, God knows best. I guess he can kill innocents along with the guilty (the flood) or send people to fiery hell because they didn’t agree with my interpretation of a book — after all, he is a god.”

    I like your honest confliction. It is clear you get it. When people point out that your dogma does not match a literalist interpretation of the Bible, you sacrifice your view of reality rather than re-look at how you read a book. That is the part that puzzles me.

    I don’t see two different Gods at all. And I have faith in what I sense and know and have known since the crib. This Being, God, is difficult and murky to pin down and simplify; the bible attempts to do so.

    There is no longer any tension within my perception of God and who He is because I’ve accepted Him completely as He is, according to what I know about Him and what I have learned along the way, subjectively, experientially, and through His written word, the bible.

    God is the ultimate in uncondtional love, giving, goodness, blessing, guidance, perfection, etc., but He is also something to be feared and greatly respected. One should not tamper with Him. God does not hesitate to act in doing what He feels is best, even if we disagree or don’t understand His actions.

    I don’t see how “the dogma” doesn’t match the literalist interpretation of the bible, Sabio. I believe that the way in which I perceive of God matches the bible quite well. Personally, I do not intend to test God or to fool with Him. I will not get on His bad side, if that explains things a little better. I know better than to do that from reading about those who did and what happened to them.

  33. @ the warrioress,
    I am sorry, I have to doubt what you say.
    Have you ever personally experienced your God as someone who has to be highly feared because you from personal experience you know he will do what he feels is best? Have you ever personally ever experienced anything as horrible as God drowning all those you know and love, or cutting open the stomachs of pregnant women you thought were good-enough women?

    In other words, I don’t think you have experienced a god-to-be-feared, but instead you have reconciled it with the god of your experience.

    My point: you have a god you have experienced and a god you have read about. Honest introspection has told you they are different experiences.

  34. Thank you for your reply Warrioress, I do think your blog is wonderful, although I don’t comment much, as I am not really interested in arguing about my faith in God. I have done enough of that in my life, as it seems many are intimidated by strong faith. I will however, explain that I don’t attend any church because I have found falsehood amongst too many. My faith has been tried and tested in the fires of life and I am greatly encouraged and grateful for it. It is a personal relationship, deep within, not a falling into line along with those trying to make themselves more than they are with rules and knowledge, control and the misjudgment of others.

    God has been faithful to me for as long as I have been faithful to him and even more in my times of weakness, much more than any human being ever has. No amount of persecution can change that, I have heard it all before..

    I don’t think faith can be debated into acceptance with those who have no intention of submission, faith cannot be taught it must be experienced and exercised, and that only truly comes from humility, which unfortunately is rarely genuine. I enjoy bringing others the water of spiritual faith for their thirst created by this worldly desert. For those who are not thirsty then perhaps I can’t help with giving faithful water, but I can encourage them with acceptance and compassion. 🙂

  35. I really enjoyed reading this comment, WB. I think we have a lot more in common than we may realize. I am not an every Sunday church-attendee either. I do try to attend on special occasions/holidays/ and as regularly as I’m able under the circumstances. (severe injury that has caused a lot of issues for me health-wise).

    I try to make up for not attending as regularly as I probably should by following some ministers and listening to their sermons very regularly. I’ve yet to find a church where I really felt at home that was a good fit for my daughter and I; I’ve seen one in particular that I wish I could attend, that I would go to every Sunday if at all possible, in Georgia.

    What do you think of the message of Dr.Charles Stanley? I admire his faith and message and have a lot of regard for his teachings.

    Btw, please feel free to call me Adrienne, if you like. 🙂

  36. You said: “I try to make up for not attending as regularly as I probably should”,

    Should is an awfully self-condemning word, it has such negative connotations, God is with you everyday and everywhere, so don’t worry so much about what you ‘should’ be doing, there is only obedience or disobedience, faith and faithlessness, trust or doubt, pride or humility. God will guide you in and out of circles all throughout your life. Listen to His direction alone and you can avoid all the ‘shoulds’ of religiosity. 🙂

    I also experienced many health related issues after a car accident left me injured, at the time I thought it was a horrible time to go through, now I am more than grateful for the changes in both myself and my life that arose from that struggle. Like you I also enjoy listening to certain speakers, although irregularly, I like Beth Moore a lot, she is very genuinely humble, relateable and faithful. I haven’t come across Dr Charles Stanley much, but I will check him out and get back to you on that. 🙂

  37. Thanks. Have a great day.

  38. @ the Warrioress,
    Rather than wax even more verbose on this thread, I wrote a post today hoping to illustrate what I am trying to say to you. Go check it out if you wish: “God’s Secret Life

  39. You said

    “Ark,

    You’re beginning to irritate me. I don’t recommend it if you want to continue to share your thoughts here. Please do not insult or attempt to denigrate those who are kind enough to comment here. Thank you.”

    In response to my reply to Water bearer.
    Oh, your god, the hypocrisy….

    Water Bearer wrote.

    “I can’t wait for that day when humanity, with all it’s bravado and knowledge, it’s inept attempts to understand things not meant to be understood, will disappear into oblivion and only truth will remain!”

    And that response is NOT an insult?
    RFLMAO!

    You gotta LOVE Christianity. It’s so…er…loving?

  40. “God is not to be tampered with, Ark. He detests sin, pride, arrogance, lying, and many other things that are a part of human nature. He has solved the problem of these by offering us salvation through Jesus Christ if we are willing to believe and through believing, be saved. For those who reject Him, who worship other Gods/false gods, idols, etc., God probably will appear to be nasty and vengeful. I wouldn’t want to imagine how God could be under these conditions. I believe He is a loving god and worthy of our worship, but He is no one to anger and toy around with.

    God isn’t a bad parent, though the rebellious and the misled may consider Him to be so in their rejection of Him and because of the consequences that are promised to follow as a result of this rejection, according to the bible.”

    Ironic that the things your god detests are the very same characteristics he displays throughout the Old Testament, yet you, and every other reborn arr so befuddled, so ignorant of the history of the bible and so stubborn in your refusal to understand it that you will defend this man-made idiotic deity til you crumble to dust.
    Don’t you think it is time that you faced reality and really studied the bible?

    As Jimi Hendrix once sang, “Fall mountains, just don;t fall on me.”

  41. @Warrioress.
    By the way, you quote passages from Exodus to verify the veracity of your god, Yahweh.
    Have you ever read Deconstructing the walls of Jericho by Prof Ze’ev Herzog?
    If you are prepared to do so, you will quickly discover that the character of Moses was nothing but a narrative construct. There is absolutely no record of him, or the Israelites (under any name) in Egypt.
    The Merneptah Stele has been reevaluated (re: the infamous doodle concerning Israel)
    Aside from anything else, it would be impossible for close to a million people to wander around for forty years without leaving a single, solitary trace.
    Maybe this would be too much of an intellectual challenge to your faith?
    I hope your response is not along the classic reborn line of, “I have no desire to read articles such as this because ….etc etc….,” ,I sincerely do.

  42. @ The Warrioress,
    I have to agree with you about Ark’s tone — it is very irritating. And I think he is proud of that and intentionally crafts his comments to do just that.

    But I also do agree with Ark that Christians are often oblivious to the underlying offensiveness of their exclusive soteriology.

    I wrote a post called “Who is more offensive, Christians or Atheists that illustrates my point and I think it would help you understand my view on this issue.

    If Ark read it, I would imagine that he would think that I am far too accomodating and congenial with Christians. But who knows, maybe he saves his snarky self for on-line therapy but in person he may be delightful. We can only hope.

    Visit the post and let me know what you think.

  43. @Arkenaten

    In response to my reply to Water bearer.
    Oh, your god, the hypocrisy….

    Water Bearer wrote.

    “I can’t wait for that day when humanity, with all it’s bravado and knowledge, it’s inept attempts to understand things not meant to be understood, will disappear into oblivion and only truth will remain!”

    And that response is NOT an insult?
    RFLMAO!

    You gotta LOVE Christianity. It’s so…er…loving

    Ark, come on, please… don’t make me play the heavy here.

    You are most definitely old enough to understand common courtesy. I have no problem with your atheism and your opinions, expressed appropriately. Ad hom is not wanted here, however, nor are personal attacks. Snide insults that are meant to be angry jabs are obvious; talking from the heart is not insulting, nor is it ugly or snide. You do know the difference.

  44. @Sabio

    I agree with you that Christians can be very insensitive, as can atheists. We should attempt to be courteous, but we cannot compromise our view either. Taking someone’s opinion personally is unfortunate, but it happens to all of us.

    We need to know the difference between genuine opinion and honesty and intentional desire to jab, stir the pot, and hurt another. I think it’s clear to the giver and receiver on some level, but we can still take offense and become oversensitive no matter how something is said.

    Strive for courtesy as long as it will not hamper the honest expression of your opinion and beliefs; this is my motto.

  45. @ the warrioress,,
    I essentially agree. But imagine that someone said, “I think [your race: blacks, whites, …] is essentially stupid, bestial, corrupt and pathetic.” Sure, that would be their opinion, but should it not be offensive just because it is their opinion? Is there a point when we think horrible things about folks that can not be objectively verified are then considered ugly, offensive and detestable?

  46. @Arkenaten

    By the way, you quote passages from Exodus to verify the veracity of your god, Yahweh.
    Have you ever read Deconstructing the walls of Jericho by Prof Ze’ev Herzog?
    If you are prepared to do so, you will quickly discover that the character of Moses was nothing but a narrative construct. There is absolutely no record of him, or the Israelites (under any name) in Egypt.
    The Merneptah Stele has been reevaluated (re: the infamous doodle concerning Israel)
    Aside from anything else, it would be impossible for close to a million people to wander around for forty years without leaving a single, solitary trace.
    Maybe this would be too much of an intellectual challenge to your faith?
    I hope your response is not along the classic reborn line of, “I have no desire to read articles such as this because ….etc etc….,” ,I sincerely do.

    No, I haven’t read that, Ark. Regardless of what our earthly scholars have discovered or believe, my faith is in the bible. In other words, I don’t care if the earthly scholars found a record of Moses, Jesus, the gospel writers, or anybody else. My belief is based upon FAITH.

    I have faith in my personal experience with God & Jesus Christ. I have faith in the written word of the bible; I believe it is the inspired word of God.

    Reading what you suggest is not an “intellectual challenge to my faith.” It’s just that I don’t have a lot of time right now to read much of anything. My child is going back to school very soon and I’m overwhelmed with duty. I’m also going to be getting a job to supplement my business income soon, (when she goes back), and won’t have the same kind of time as I do now. I have to prioritize my time at the moment, but I would love to read this book you’ve recommended. Thank you for the heads up about it.

    Regardless of what is written though, I should make you aware that it’s not going to change my faith in God, Jesus, the bible, etc.

  47. @Arkenaten

    Ironic that the things your god detests are the very same characteristics he displays throughout the Old Testament, yet you, and every other reborn arr so befuddled, so ignorant of the history of the bible and so stubborn in your refusal to understand it that you will defend this man-made idiotic deity til you crumble to dust.
    Don’t you think it is time that you faced reality and really studied the bible?

    As Jimi Hendrix once sang, “Fall mountains, just don;t fall on me.”

    You mean I should study the bible in a secular fashion, don’t you, Ark?

    I’m a Christian. My reading of the bible is not a secular experience, nor do I desire it to be. It’s based upon my belief that I have God’s guidance through His Holy Spirit as I read and attempt to understand what I read. I don’t care to study the bible from a secular point of view, Ark. That is too much like what I’ve already done in my many years within the university system and all of that earthly knowledge has done very little for me, spiritually-speaking.

  48. @Sabio

    @ the Warrioress,
    Rather than wax even more verbose on this thread, I wrote a post today hoping to illustrate what I am trying to say to you. Go check it out if you wish: “<a

    http://triangulations.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/gods_secret_life/

    Sabio, how intriguing!

    I can’t even begin to answer your post in a simple fashion. This one requires major thought for me. I loved that post. I especially enjoy the way you make me think about things because it is actually making my faith stronger! Thanks and I will attempt to answer your post soon.

  49. @ the Warrioress,
    I am glad you liked it.
    If it makes your faith stronger, great — as long as your faith is grounded in what is good.

    You said to Ark:

    I don’t care if the earthly scholars found a record of Moses, Jesus, the gospel writers, or anybody else. I have faith in my personal experience with God & Jesus Christ. I have faith in the written word of the bible;

    As I have earlier — these are two very different sorts of faith.

    You also said:

    I don’t care if the earthly scholars found a record of Moses, Jesus, the gospel writers, or anybody else.

    — and yet you believe that because of what? I get the personal relationship thing as faith, but this Bible worship thing is very odd. You have to believe it for some reason, and it was written by some “earthly scholars”. Do you not see the circularity?

    You told Ark you’d love to read it if you have time. But if your above statements are true — it would be a total waste of time to read it, because no evidence counts for you at all. Or at least this is how this reads. Am I correct?

    If nothing can change your mind in the Bible, then you should tell us what convinced you in the first place. For this is exactly how Mormons, Muslims and many other dogmatic fundamentalists talk. Should we give up trying to help them see their blind faith in a book?

  50. @Sabio
    You said:

    @ the warrioress,,
    I essentially agree. But imagine that someone said, “I think [your race: blacks, whites, …] is essentially stupid, bestial, corrupt and pathetic.” Sure, that would be their opinion, but should it not be offensive just because it is their opinion? Is there a point when we think horrible things about folks that can not be objectively verified are then considered ugly, offensive and detestable?

    I’m used to atheists being offensive, especially the “angry atheists.” I take them a lot less personally than I used to, these days. This has taken time, though. There are some that still irritate me with their tone or when they blatantly attack, through the use of their opinion. I believe they know the difference and are venting out their opinions AND their rage at the same time. THIS is most definitely offensive. I can sense the difference between sincerity and anger/venting.

    Opinion can be very offensive even when it’s expressed courteously. It can be ugly and detestable; it’s a subjective matter, wouldn’t you agree?

    Edited to add:

    I went off on a Christian the other day who had expressed his opinion in his blog. His opinion was BIGOTED TO THE MAX!! He was insulting Democrats in a very hateful fashion and assumed that I am one, (which I am not), because I told him in my comment to look at the Republican party with some honesty and lack of bias, most especially with the Ryan Plan tossed into the political mix. I suggested that he take some time to study Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount because the Ryan Plan is completely not Christ-like.

    Anyway, yes, even the politest opinion can irritate and anger.

  51. If someone said “All blacks are ignorant and lazy”, I would be angered because it is blatantly false, dangerous and hateful. Saying all theists are idiots is also false and dangerous. Saying all Atheists are fools (From the OT) is also false and dangerous. I don’t care what the source, categorical false statements are bigoted, dangerous lies — they are offensive and it is sometime OK not to politely tolerate them.

  52. Stop asking me questions, Sabio…I have to go!!!! LOL

    Seriously, I’ll be back. You would keep me here all day and night if I let you. 😉

  53. @Warrioress.
    There are many sites that show this piece -(not a book)- this link is as good as any.
    He is also on Wiki, of course. Clever man, by all accounts. Anyhow, here you go.
    http://individual.utoronto.ca/mfkolarcik/jesuit/herzog.html

    By the way, you mention your disinterest in earthly things regarding the bible.
    This is to be expected from a born again fundamentalist Christian, and I accept it. But this is the reason why you cannot (will not?) understand secular viewpoints.
    And this is okay- to a point- as well. However, it does not invalidate what are facts and this you should try and appreciate; your faith is simply that: faith. It is singular and specific to you. It is only truth to you. It is not THE truth.
    And as hard as it may be for you to accept, you, as a three dimensional being, are obliged to accept a secular world view and hope to your god that it will continue to allow your religious POV to exist alongside a more commonsense outlook.
    In fact it IS a democratic secular world view that ensures religion to coexist. If we lived in a theological society (or anything truly non democratic) we would all be slaves to a single viewpoint and I suspect your fundamentalism would be viewed as mental and heretical. And we know what religious organisations do/have done to heretics, now don’t we?

  54. @ Warrioress

    You said…

    “Ark, come on, please… don’t make me play the heavy here.

    You are most definitely old enough to understand common courtesy. I have no problem with your atheism and your opinions, expressed appropriately. Ad hom is not wanted here, however, nor are personal attacks. Snide insults that are meant to be angry jabs are obvious; talking from the heart is not insulting, nor is it ugly or snide. You do know the difference”

    Yes, I know the difference.
    Any naughty comment directed at the individual is considered AD HOM.
    If similar type of comment is directed at the World At Large it’s considered ‘Okay’. Fine. No problem. I get it.
    Let Water Bearer try typing that comment on a US government site and see how quickly the Feds. are knocking on her/his door.
    Sigh…you reborns.
    Sorry to Water Bearer…jesus still loves you…and me, apparently.
    As for Sabio and his Oh-so-gently-condescending-I agree that Ark can be irritating. Sheesh….any more syrupy creeping and I’ll be reaching for a barf bag.
    And I’ve already suggested their are a few eggs short of an omelette as far as he is concerned….
    Hey, Sabio! Get a life or get over yourself.
    Oh, and I am a nice guy…really.

  55. […] Who God Is (Part Two) (lifeofafemalebiblewarrior.wordpress.com) […]


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