December 17, 2018, 04:33:07 AM

Recent Posts

Pages1 2 3 ... 10
1
General Discussion / Re: A new thread
Last post by jiminpa - December 13, 2018, 09:58:11 AM
Dave, I want to reiterate my apology for being confrontational. A soft answer was called for. I let me emotions respond and that is rarely good.
2
General Discussion / Re: A new thread
Last post by DavidMcClean - December 12, 2018, 05:49:05 PM
Quote from: Bryan on December 12, 2018, 01:10:48 PMThere's a lot tough pack there David and my attention span is short so I'll try to stay focused on your post.

I do honestly empathize with you on a personal level concerning your hurts over family.  My two oldest children are autistic and I have also lost 2 children and I cannot tell you how many days and nights Ive wondered just what it all means in respect to my faith and God.

Now I'm not as zealous or as religious as I used to be (in full disclosure).  I do still believe and do believe that when God is ready for me to do whatever he will lead me to such.  So I havent fully went over that cliff so to speak.

About your faith concerns, these are all valid points.  They really are.  How could God have such standards in the OT and suddenly change in the New.  I would say something you alluded to.  It's Jesus.

Jesus became the living embodiment of the Law, the Law which had such strict and somewhat mind boggling commands.  That when he died, the Law died as well so that God's grace could flow freely to all.  I don't have to fully understand my Creator to know that he exists and has my best interests at heart.  Things may not make sense in this life, to be honest, they may never make sense, but we must believe God is acting according to a plan he has set forth and trust him.

Children may not always understand why their parents say no or even yes to requests but they usually believe their parents have their best interests in mind and are acting accordingly.

Sure God has the power to do anything, heal a sickness, prevent death from a loved one, and he chooses not to do so in a lot of situations, who knows why?  Only He does, we can question why, but shouldn't let that affect our faith.  And to the person that told you to be glad because your loved one was healed completely, that is ridiculous and you were well within your rights to be upset about such a senseless comment.

Lastly, about scriptures being reliable.  I have issues with this too.  I've voiced in this very forum questions about an exchange Paul wrote about in Romans 9:19-20 about how God uses the disobedient to bring grace to others or something to that effect.  When asked why God punishes those who he ultimately uses to bring grace to others, he tells them not to question God.

I have struggled with this and still do.  How can God punish people and never give them the opportunity to be saved.  I don't want to believe Calvinsim but that aspect of it seems more and more likely.  So while those who are saved get to enjoy that benefit those who are forced out have nothing to look forward to.  I struggle with that

So finally, I rabbit trailed off to say I'm sorry things turned out the way they did.  I truly hope you have found some peace in the days, months, years following your loved ones death and just in your struggles.
Thanks Bryan! Appreciate your heart felt reply, and your empathy - many thanks! :)
3
General Discussion / Re: A new thread
Last post by Bryan - December 12, 2018, 01:10:48 PM
There's a lot tough pack there David and my attention span is short so I'll try to stay focused on your post.

I do honestly empathize with you on a personal level concerning your hurts over family.  My two oldest children are autistic and I have also lost 2 children and I cannot tell you how many days and nights Ive wondered just what it all means in respect to my faith and God.

Now I'm not as zealous or as religious as I used to be (in full disclosure).  I do still believe and do believe that when God is ready for me to do whatever he will lead me to such.  So I havent fully went over that cliff so to speak.

About your faith concerns, these are all valid points.  They really are.  How could God have such standards in the OT and suddenly change in the New.  I would say something you alluded to.  It's Jesus.

Jesus became the living embodiment of the Law, the Law which had such strict and somewhat mind boggling commands.  That when he died, the Law died as well so that God's grace could flow freely to all.  I don't have to fully understand my Creator to know that he exists and has my best interests at heart.  Things may not make sense in this life, to be honest, they may never make sense, but we must believe God is acting according to a plan he has set forth and trust him.

Children may not always understand why their parents say no or even yes to requests but they usually believe their parents have their best interests in mind and are acting accordingly.

Sure God has the power to do anything, heal a sickness, prevent death from a loved one, and he chooses not to do so in a lot of situations, who knows why?  Only He does, we can question why, but shouldn't let that affect our faith.  And to the person that told you to be glad because your loved one was healed completely, that is ridiculous and you were well within your rights to be upset about such a senseless comment.

Lastly, about scriptures being reliable.  I have issues with this too.  I've voiced in this very forum questions about an exchange Paul wrote about in Romans 9:19-20 about how God uses the disobedient to bring grace to others or something to that effect.  When asked why God punishes those who he ultimately uses to bring grace to others, he tells them not to question God.

I have struggled with this and still do.  How can God punish people and never give them the opportunity to be saved.  I don't want to believe Calvinsim but that aspect of it seems more and more likely.  So while those who are saved get to enjoy that benefit those who are forced out have nothing to look forward to.  I struggle with that

So finally, I rabbit trailed off to say I'm sorry things turned out the way they did.  I truly hope you have found some peace in the days, months, years following your loved ones death and just in your struggles.
4
General Discussion / Re: When forgiveness and accou...
Last post by Bryan - December 12, 2018, 12:52:54 PM
Quote from: Pete on December 12, 2018, 11:06:36 AMSo I think there are actually three things in play here when talking about forgiveness. Those are;

  • Forgiveness
  • Repentance
  • Reconciliation

There is no doubt in my mind that we are called to forgive. However, when someone wrongs us, there must also be repentance for there to be reconciliation.

Forgiveness doesn't mean that we have to allow someone to continue to hurt us. It means that even though they may have done something to willfully hurt us, we let it go. It does NOT mean that we must allow them to continue to hurt us.

There can be forgiveness without repentance, but there can be no reconciliation without repentance. This is what we believe concerning the forgiveness of our sins. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He forgave our sins, but we still must repent so that we can be reconciled back to Him.

So in response to your OP, I would say that it's not on us to hold people accountable for the wrongs they've done to us. It's our responsibility to forgive them. It's their responsibility to repent and accept accountability for any wrong they've done.

O0
All good points 👍
5
General Discussion / Re: When forgiveness and accou...
Last post by jiminpa - December 12, 2018, 12:34:03 PM
Quote from: Pete on December 12, 2018, 11:06:36 AMSo I think there are actually three things in play here when talking about forgiveness. Those are;

  • Forgiveness
  • Repentance
  • Reconciliation

There is no doubt in my mind that we are called to forgive. However, when someone wrongs us, there must also be repentance for there to be reconciliation.

Forgiveness doesn't mean that we have to allow someone to continue to hurt us. It means that even though they may have done something to willfully hurt us, we let it go. It does NOT mean that we must allow them to continue to hurt us.

There can be forgiveness without repentance, but there can be no reconciliation without repentance. This is what we believe concerning the forgiveness of our sins. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He forgave our sins, but we still must repent so that we can be reconciled back to Him.

So in response to your OP, I would say that it's not on us to hold people accountable for the wrongs they've done to us. It's our responsibility to forgive them. It's their responsibility to repent and accept accountability for any wrong they've done.

O0
Nice synopsis of forgiveness on a personal level, Pete.
6
General Discussion / Re: When forgiveness and accou...
Last post by Pete - December 12, 2018, 11:06:36 AM
So I think there are actually three things in play here when talking about forgiveness. Those are;

  • Forgiveness
  • Repentance
  • Reconciliation

There is no doubt in my mind that we are called to forgive. However, when someone wrongs us, there must also be repentance for there to be reconciliation.

Forgiveness doesn't mean that we have to allow someone to continue to hurt us. It means that even though they may have done something to willfully hurt us, we let it go. It does NOT mean that we must allow them to continue to hurt us.

There can be forgiveness without repentance, but there can be no reconciliation without repentance. This is what we believe concerning the forgiveness of our sins. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He forgave our sins, but we still must repent so that we can be reconciled back to Him.

So in response to your OP, I would say that it's not on us to hold people accountable for the wrongs they've done to us. It's our responsibility to forgive them. It's their responsibility to repent and accept accountability for any wrong they've done.

O0
7
General Discussion / Re: A new thread
Last post by jiminpa - December 12, 2018, 10:06:09 AM
Quote from: flaglady on December 11, 2018, 04:17:25 PMGeeze! For a moment there, I thought I'd gone back in time and was in CF!  Thanks for the memory, guys!  Not very nice but illuminating!
I can get overzealous at times. I'm working on it.
8
General Discussion / Re: A new thread
Last post by Pete - December 11, 2018, 05:46:11 PM
Quote from: DavidMcClean on December 08, 2018, 03:38:22 AMHey Bryan,

Not at all - let's see long story or short one. I'll go for the "medium" one :). Please note anything I say is not designed to offend, it's merely my opinion.

Basically two years ago my wife's health really took a nose dive. Her fibromyalgia got really bad and she was off work for six months. Constant head to toe pain 24 hours a day. Then I lost my job in terrible circumstances, and shortly afterwards Andrea was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. We have come through the last year in a blur of chemo, radio, operations, hair loss etc.

Thankfully she is now in the clear - albeit with a 35% chance of it returning - definitely NOT the odds I would like to bet on.

Before I begin my response, I want to say how sorry I am that you have had to deal with this. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering you've had to endure.

Quote from: DavidMcClean on December 08, 2018, 03:38:22 AMThrough the course of this 2 years of living hell I just found the words in the bible just ringing more and more hollow. We both became sick to the back teeth of relatives saying they were "praying for us". A pastor even visited our home one day and told us that even if the worst happened and Andrea died, that we could still praise God because she would have received her "ultimate healing".

I nearly hit him.

I love Madalyn Murray O'Hairs quote - "Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer."

Oftentimes Christians will say things like they're praying for someone as if that is the only thing they are called to do. However, I would not take it so far as to say prayer is ineffective or meaningless. I would, however, say that prayer in the absence of corresponding action is dead. James says that our faith without corresponding action is dead. So simply saying, "We'll pray for you" is, IMHO, often an empty platitude.

Quote from: DavidMcClean on December 08, 2018, 03:38:22 AMI appreciate that there could be other Christians whose faith would be strengthened during this time. Not my wife's and not mine.

So that started my own journey of enquiry. I read a lot. I watched a lot. I studied a lot. I did what religion says we're not allowed to do.....I questioned and I reasoned. I used the grey matter between my ears instead of impressions "in my spirit".

As I said in my first post, I am very much an intellectual and I tend to over analyze things. I have no issue with anyone asking questions and reasoning about anything. I know not all Christians feel that way, but I believe that we've been given a mind and intellect for a reason and we should absolutely use them.

Quote from: DavidMcClean on December 08, 2018, 03:38:22 AMPeople like Seth Andrews, Matt Dillahunty, John Compere, Dan Barker were people I discovered who blew my mind. People who had been deeply "in the faith" but for various reasons no longer believed. What they said made sense, real sense. (People like Hitchens or Dawkins don't resonate as much with me because they were never IN the faith. It's a completely different perspective reasoning about something you have no first hand knowledge of...)

I started reading my bible not through the lens of faith and a pre-disposition that what I was reading was by definition "the truth" but of reason and intellect. My eyes were opened - things I'd never seen before just leaped off the page....

I don't know any of those names, but I would say that ALL of us read things through "lenses". For Christians, that lens tends to be the lens of faith. For those who don't believe, it's a "lens" of doubt or unbelief. Confirmation bias affects ALL of us. What I'm saying is that when we think we're being "objective", many times we're just looking at something through a different "lens". It's important to remember that correlation does not imply causation. However, the tendency is very high for us to seek confirmation for what we already believe. This is why people stick to certain news channels, websites and authors. I'm not saying that's what you've done, but it's something worth considering. I evaluate myself all the time. Am I really seeking "truth", or am I seeking to validate what I think is true? Everyone is guilty of this and it is as likely to happen to us when we change "lenses" as when we were looking through the original lens.

Quote from: DavidMcClean on December 08, 2018, 03:38:22 AMHate the practice of female genital mutilation? Check. But Yaweh thinks male genital mutilation is just great. It's not - it's child abuse.
Hate the idea that a rape victim is forced to marry her rapist? Check. But Yaweh thinks that's also fine and dandy.
Hate the idea of owning other people as slaves in certain circumstances? Check. But Yaweh's pretty cool with that as well.
Son misbehaving and cheeking back? No problem - don't train or teach him. Don't EDUCATE him - just take him out and stone him to death.
Kids cold on the Sabbath and you want to make a bit of a fire to keep them warm? That's a stoning for you right there.
Think that destroying entire nations in a genocidal ethnic cleansing exercise is terrible....along with killing all the babies and children? Check. But Yaweh thinks that's a great idea as well.

(Now I realise the great get out of jail free card for God here is that "this is old covenant and doesn't apply any more". Well....no. If I used to beat and abuse my children up until 12, then after 12 I treat them differently....does that excuse the wrongs I did before? No it doesn't. Ever. Imagine I'm standing in front of a judge and I've killed some homosexuals twenty years ago and my defence is that "I was operating under a different agreement than I am now" - would I be allowed to walk free? No). On a side note if it's decided that the Old Testament doesn't apply then we have to throw out the creationist argument, original sin, the ten commandments, the origins of evil, Satan, any "prophecies" of a messiah and about 1000 other underlying essentials of the basis of the Christian faith, not to mention Judaism and the concept of Yaweh's chosen people.

Then the New Testament introduces the doctrine of hell in a new and even more lurid way. A method of punishment that makes the pains of Auschwitz look like a sunny day picnic. It beggars belief.....and is even more dreadful that this is taught to children. Gentle Jesus meek and mild, the loving Saviour who gives a choice "Do it my way or I'll burn you alive forever".

I could go on Bryan. But as I read the Bible for the first time in 50 years with a fresh pair of eyes I was appalled. Utterly appalled.

So....a journey of suffering, a book that I realised was the most immoral blood drenched, misogynistic and murderous document I've read and then other things began to make sense -

I will freely admit that there are many things in scripture that I don't understand, so I won't even pretend that I have an answer for the points you've raised here.

Quote from: DavidMcClean on December 08, 2018, 03:38:22 AM(1) The sanctification of believers - I honestly can say in 50 years in church circles that I've NEVER met a radically transformed person who is living the book they claim to. Every Christian is just as flawed, broken and twisted as anyone else. If the proof of the pudding is in the eating...then it simply does not work. (Case in point - the last church we were members of had 2 pastors. Shortly after they baptised my wife one of them admitted to the church that he had been sleeping with the other pastors wife...the church closed, many people were devastated and lost their faith....some sanctified life eh?). Please note that with hindsight I put myself in this category as well. I used to think I was the most "close to God" person alive...I actually READ my bible, I fasted, I prayed for 2 hours every day before I went to work. Years ago I was a charismatic youth pastor in the church I attended with my first wife along with being on the bible teaching rota. I ran a cell group in our home and led a lot of the young people on our estate "to Christ". Yet even when I look back at some of the holier than thou posts I've made on this site....appalling stuff. I was as petty, defensive, insecure, nasty and more of an idiot than the people I was arguing with....it didn't even work for ME lol  :police:

This is a REALLY good point. In today's age of social media, hypocrisy is on full display for all to see. We're all flawed, but there are too many people who are far too worried about other people's sins instead of worrying about themselves. People only love or forgive right up until the moment you go against whatever agenda it is they hold dear. Then there are reasons it's OK for them to be offended. I read a book this past year by Brant Hansen called Unoffendable that I highly recommend to everyone.

Quote from: DavidMcClean on December 08, 2018, 03:38:22 AM(2) The case of special pleading - "Jesus is the way, the truth and the life". But every other religion can site a book or set of beliefs or millions of utterly devoted followers all of whom make the same claim for their own chosen faith. So if there is a God then which God is it? Did Allah create the universe? How about Mithra? Maybe Thor? Possibly Kali? How about Ra? No one has ever demonstrated that their God is the correct one. Think for one moment as an example of all the devout Muslims in the world today (leaving out the suicide vest wearing idiots and the radicals). You must either conclude that they're deceived, or else deliberately following Allah when somehow they "know" that Jesus really is the one they should be following. I think the latter is impossible - so they're deceived or in error. Yaweh will either judge them and consign them to the lake of fire eventually, or else He'll take the attitude of "well they were following me with the light that they had received" and in that case they'll be ok. If this is the case then why didn't He adopt the similar attitude in previous times instead of obliterating the nations around Israel? Makes no sense to me. A completely devout follower of another deity gets eternally punished because they are following their faith with care and dedication - unfortunately they're born into the wrong culture and wrong time to get "the good news".

In logic, this is circular reasoning. It's also the definition of our faith. So as an intellectual, this is somewhat difficult for me. There is not a "logical" explanation for our faith in God. It is based solely on belief.

Quote from: DavidMcClean on December 08, 2018, 03:38:22 AM(3) The unreliability of scripture - this is a big one for me. My bibles were read cover to cover until they were falling apart. Yet when I read with fresh eyes of logical enquiry and not the "eyes of faith" it's just so inaccurate and jumbled on so many levels that I was literally dumbfounded.

This is also true. There are many seeming contradictions throughout scripture. Repeating what I said above, I don't have all the answers to the questions I have. However I do know that over the years my understanding of scriptures has changed and morphed. This demonstrates to me that while I do not understand everything now or just because something seems contradictory to me, it doesn't mean it's not true.

Quote from: DavidMcClean on December 08, 2018, 03:38:22 AM(4) Lack of agreement in Christianity - take two Christians in the same pew. They will have different views on a myriad of topics. Hats are fundamental, hair is a head covering....the gifts are for today, tongues are from the devil....the King James is the only true Bible, every version is the word of God...Adam and Eve are real people, Adam and Eve are a nice story to illustrate a principle....Jesus is coming before the tribulation, Jesus is coming after the tribulation....women are to keep silent in church and not teach or have authority over a man, women are ok to teach and be leaders - that's just the culture of the time and we can safely ignore it. And we could go on ad-infinitum...yet every believer will tell you that they hear from God, are right in what they believe and are walking in the truth. But the perfect word of God and the very spirit of the living God never seems to get a bunch to set aside differences and agree. If I lay this at God's door, then isn't it about time he did something to correct all the baloney and set things out clearly once and for all? If the Bible is the best document that a God could produce to set out clearly the Divine Plan then it's a pretty poor attempt.

But I wonder sometimes if that isn't the point. All of the stuff you mentioned above that people hold such dogmatic beliefs and opinions about are tangential at best. Of course we all believe what we believe is true. We wouldn't believe it otherwise. But you'll find that I'm open to the idea that what I believe on one of these topics is incomplete, misguided, or even flat wrong. Perhaps it's more important to Love one another and make allowances for one another. That is how Jesus said we would be known as His followers. Not because our doctrines are 100% accurate, but because we Love one another.

Quote from: DavidMcClean on December 08, 2018, 03:38:22 AMI came to realise that faith is the excuse people make for believing in something for which they have no proof. Even the Bible says this - "Faith is the substance of things not seen, the evidence of things hoped for". The burden of proof is on those making the claim, not the burden on the atheist to disprove in the existence of a God. If I have proof then I don't need faith. Faith is the complete absence of any proof.

Correct, and you'll get no argument from me on this. I will freely admit that I believe in God, and I cannot "prove" it to you.

Quote from: DavidMcClean on December 08, 2018, 03:38:22 AMI finally "came out" to my family a month ago. I've brethren elderly parents, a charismatic aunt and uncle, one sister who is a church elder and another who is a lay preacher. I have a cousin who was the head of the Presbyterian church in Northern Ireland. My first wife was a tongue talking charismatic (as I was as well).

Needless to say my revelation was met with horror, then silence and indifference. If I was the black sheep of the family before, then I'm now the goat with horns and a pitchfork. Not one of the extended born again family has contacted me in the last month to find out how I am. You're the first person - a veritable stranger - who has had the basic kindness to ask "why did you leave?". (Thanks for asking by the way - it may be a difficult read by this point, but at least you've made more of an effort than my "family" so on that one you get my thanks! :) ).

My position now is that of "Atheist / Anti-Theist". That's to say I am ready, willing and able to believe and follow a God if that God proves to me that he / she / they / it exists in a measurable and testable way. What proof do I need? No idea...but any God should know what I need to be convinced and if that proof is not forthcoming then I assume that God either doesn't exist or doesn't care. However if the "God of the Bible" does exist then by choice I will not follow as I believe that being to be a moral monster. I will choose hell, knowing that I am morally superior to the being sending me there as I never have at any point in my life advocated for slavery, stoning, male genital mutilation, genocide, animal slaughter and sacrifice, eternal torture etc etc).

That's my story and I hope that by sharing it we won't get into arguments - this is my experience and my process. If you're happy in your faith then I'm happy for you (as long as your faith is a private one and doesn't try and to make converts, dictate social policy, education, laws, a mothers right to determine what happens to her own body or a person's sexual preferences!).

If my post has come across with any anger then that's not my intention. It's difficult for me to articulate these things as I *DO* feel angry at being misled for my whole life. Apparently that's normal and part of the coming out process. Most atheists that come from a religion go through a "blazing with anger" phase, then settle down, eat fruit and keep calm :)

Thanks & Regards
Dave

So as I originally said, you and I have asked many of the same questions, but we've come to radically different conclusions.

For me, I begin with the belief that God is good. Can I "prove" that? No. Is there scriptural evidence that you can provide that would seemingly demonstrably refute that belief? Sure. But still, I choose to believe in a God that is good, even when it may not seem that way to me. I know that our time here on this earth is fleeting and while I absolutely don't understand all of the suffering that goes on in this world, I choose to hold fast to a hope that God is good and He loves us. Sure, I could share testimonies of how I believe God has worked in my life, but as I said earlier, correlation does not imply causation. So just because I have a testimony of God's provision/healing/presence/etc., I can't "prove" it.

On the other hand, you begin with the belief that your logic and reasoning is paramount. But I just don't trust myself enough. I know the hypocrisies I've had, the leaps of logic I've made, the poor judgments and decisions I've made based on my reasoning, logic and circumstances. And while we'd all like to believe that we're being objective in our assessments of ourselves and our beliefs, we're all looking through some kind of a "lens".

You said as much in sharing your story. Your pain and suffering caused you to re-evaluate and look at it with "fresh eyes". But really all you did was switch lenses. I don't say that to be judgmental. I do the same thing. My last few years have been very good and I'm certain that influences what and how I believe. But even when things are not so good, I don't rely on what I know is my flawed logic. I rest in a belief that even though I cannot provide the answers to all of my questions, God is good.

Anyway, I'm not trying to "convert" you or argue. I'm just sharing a different perspective.

 :afro:
9
General Discussion / Re: A new thread
Last post by flaglady - December 11, 2018, 04:17:25 PM
Geeze! For a moment there, I thought I'd gone back in time and was in CF!  Thanks for the memory, guys!  Not very nice but illuminating!
10
General Discussion / Re: When forgiveness and accou...
Last post by Bryan - December 11, 2018, 04:07:51 PM
Quote from: jiminpa on December 09, 2018, 01:20:27 AMBryan, how would you answer that question if it was someone you love dearly in the situation you ask about?

That's a fair question my friend.

I think the margin between the two is razor thin to be honest.  Forgiveness has an element of forgetfulness.  For I cannot truly have forgiven someone if I'm constantly gearing for revenge and holding grudges.

At the same time, actions do need accountability.  Even in the Bible with forgiveness being taught there was accountability.

King David had this issue twice, God forgave him twice, but also held him accountable. 

Now Paul seemingly had no issue forgiving and forgetting, minus the time he yelled at the High Priest, but that's the exception.

I think it's possible to forgive completely and still hold people to an accountability standard.  I think of an account manager who misuses funds.  A person can forgive them, not hold a grudge and honestly wash their hands clean of the situation but still hold them accountable by firing them/replacing them.

Forgiveness isn't an excuse/empowerment for abuse.
Pages1 2 3 ... 10