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#775812 - 01/09/04 11:48 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4111
Having faith in god seems to be a prerequisite for living a happy life. Must it be so? In our current society, especially when riddled with uncertain circumstances (No atheists in a foxhole is perhaps a worthy analogy), the thought of a god does look admirably attractive.

If you look at it, believing in what a god does or could have done should not theoretically affect our lives. The way we act day to day is what is important, and then the message is purged from everything in religion and some follow it. It seems to me that one could be completely happy and fulfilled in life, without faith in a deity, if one is a good person and follows ideas similar to what Christianity and other religions preach without being being a Christian, or Jew, or Muslim, etc. I do concede that attaching a God to such matters makes the entire package more sellable and attractive, almost as if the church is an amiable door to door salesman.

I believe in a god, but that should not affect how I live my life or how others live theirs, because what we experience on earth is real, and if there is something that happens to us after we leave, than our time here will have different meaning, but if nothing happens, we will have had the opportunity to live regardless of all else. The idea of is very comforting, and the messages in the bible are of such great levels of inspiration that it makes things a little hard to swallow. Faith is a good defense mechanism for when we need to believe in something greater than ourselves, or when things go wrong- but it does not automatically mean that the object of this faith is anything more than a figment of man's imagination.

Maybe the idea of god, like the wheel or fire, is just another early invention of man in order to make life easier.

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#775813 - 01/10/04 12:40 AM Re: Sincere questions on God
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
Having faith in god seems to be a prerequisite for living a happy life. Must it be so? [/b]


No, it is just the opposite. You will suffer the same problems as those who have no faith. You will get sick, you'll go broke, you'll lose loved ones, step off the curb and the car will hit you, all just like the person who has no faith. You may often face ridicule. And you'll see people who refuse God living just like you, and many living even better than you, happier than you. A person who refuses God may nevertheless live a fine, upstanding life. But living a moral, upstanding life isn't all there is to it. Your life on earth is just a journey, a mere speck of time in your eternity. Living a "happy life" is not the point as far as God is concerned.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#775814 - 01/10/04 01:23 AM Re: Sincere questions on God
Renauda Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 5066
 Quote:
Originally posted by gryphon:
See what things you learn here? The McKenzie brothers never explained all that. [/b]
Bob and Doug called one another "hoser". That's kind of an endearment to someone who just likes to drink a lot of beer and have a good time with friends. A party animal of sorts. Then there's a hose bag, that's a nasty term for...well, you get my drift I'm sure.
_________________________
"The older the fiddle, the sweeter the music"~ Augustus McCrae

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#775815 - 01/10/04 02:15 AM Re: Sincere questions on God
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4111
 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
Having faith in god seems to be a prerequisite for living a happy life. Must it be so? [/b]


No, it is just the opposite. You will suffer the same problems as those who have no faith. You will get sick, you'll go broke, you'll lose loved ones, step off the curb and the car will hit you, all just like the person who has no faith. You may often face ridicule. And you'll see people who refuse God living just like you, and many living even better than you, happier than you. A person who refuses God may nevertheless live a fine, upstanding life. But living a moral, upstanding life isn't all there is to it. Your life on earth is just a journey, a mere speck of time in your eternity. Living a "happy life" is not the point as far as God is concerned. [/b]
If a happy, upstanding life is not the point for God, why does it matter that we live on earth to begin with? Couldn't we just float around in the spirit world and fullfil God's plan if this is such a small part of our journey?

I don't know about you, but I sure do not remember whatever phase came before my life on earth in my journey, and nor do have I received any notice from God as to it's next place, but I do remember my life on earth. (I have pictures to prove it.)

;\)

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#775816 - 01/10/04 06:13 AM Re: Sincere questions on God
johnmoonlight Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 2384
Loc: Lancaster, pa
Well said, Larry. Excellent post.
_________________________
While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society's pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he's in.

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#775817 - 01/10/04 07:16 AM Re: Sincere questions on God
EHpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/27/03
Posts: 1703
Loc: NY-Madrid-Newfoundland (rhymes...
To Larry and TomK

I have a few questions for you:

1) Have you ever looked at the bible as just a book? A book of stories, rather than word of god? Someone had to put ink to paper at some point, and write all these ideas they had in order to make sense of their lives and their spirituality as best they could with the little scientific knowledge that they had at the time (ours is still very much lacking but a little farther ahead). Have you ever read your bible from a secular standpoint?

2)Why do you believe that the perspective of these few men who wrote down the ideas in the bible is Truth rather than just a vehemently believed point of view --just as any other rationalizing of our lives can be?

3) If a contemporary man or woman had "visions", heard the word of god telling them to esentially re-write parts of the bible, and they honestly believed it was god who asked them to do this, would you follow any new teachings handed down from this person? What, in your opinion, is the difference between their perspective and that of those who were chosen to be the authors of the original writings?

4)Why do you believe it is a requirement for a person to believe in god in order to be spiritual and act benevolently towards fellow man? Can't spirituality can be a sense of togetherness not only with your fellow man but with all that surrounds us, a feeling of true connectivity and purpose within existence? Is moral and ethical action in man exclusively driven by fear of god and fear of missing out on the final jackpot or by a desire to enable our coexistence with our fellow humans and with our environment (not limited to nature) to be as full as possible?

These are serious questions I would appreciate a thoughtful response, not a vindicative one.

Elena
http://www.concertpianist.com
_________________________
Schnabel's advie to Horowitz: "When a piece gets difficult, make faces."

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#775818 - 01/10/04 08:02 AM Re: Sincere questions on God
Annihil8or Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/13/02
Posts: 273
Loc: England
I think the idea of God is just a useful mental tool to help yourself out of bad situations.

I believe that we are all connected mentally though.

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#775819 - 01/10/04 11:28 AM Re: Sincere questions on God
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
well Renauda - I must apologize for reneging on my offer to explain to Tomk. I am not very comfortable commenting on personal beliefs. I will say Tomk; that Renauda. was probably responding historically rather than from his personal perspective.

I'll add that the 11th commandment should be: "Thou shalt be polite", and also that our Christian God most likely approves of how most other cultures or peoples define him (or her*).

*for Bernard
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#775820 - 01/10/04 03:42 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Tom--K Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 5934
apple, as far as Ranauda goes,

for me his posts leave the impression of an army of pompus phrases moving over the landscape in search of an idea. Sometimes his meandering words actually capture a straggeling thought and bear it triumphantly as a prisoner in their midst until it dies of servatude and overwork. But mostly he's a hose head. Oops! I stand corrected, a hoser.

I like him though.

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#775821 - 01/10/04 03:43 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Renauda Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 5066
Apple, actually it has no more to do with history than it does with the crass materialism which another member of this Forum took it to mean. It's actually very spiritual and deeply personal. It is as much Christian in its origin as it is of any other creed or faith. I have done well by it so far in my adult life and therefore have no intenetion to discard it in order to conform and accommodate others in the confines of an organized system of beliefs or dogma.

In keeping with other posts that have appeared in this CR from time to time, permit me to post the words of a deceased Englishman who summarized very accurately at least a part of what I was trying attempting to relate:

People say I'm crazy doing what I'm doing,
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin,
When I say that I'm o.k. they look at me kind of strange,
Surely your not happy now you no longer play the game,

People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away,
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me,
When I tell that I'm doing Fine watching shadows on the wall,
Don't you miss the big time boy you're no longer on the ball?

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round,
I really love to watch them roll,
No longer riding on the merry-go-round,
I just had to let it go,

People asking questions lost in confusion,
Well I tell them there's no problem,
Only solutions,
Well they shake their heads and they look at me as if I've lost my mind,
I tell them there's no hurry...
I'm just sitting here doing time,

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round,
I really love to watch them roll,
No longer riding on the merry-go-round,
I just had to let it go.


Perhaps he was wrong too. I don't know, but I'll give his lyrics the benefit of my doubts.
_________________________
"The older the fiddle, the sweeter the music"~ Augustus McCrae

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#775822 - 01/10/04 03:52 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
used to play that song on the guitar.. and sing

I'll have to think a while to understand what you are trying to convey.

Tomk - Aren't hosers from Oklahoma?
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#775823 - 01/10/04 03:52 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Tom--K Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 5934
And then again, when gently prodded Renauda can write an excellent post.

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#775824 - 01/10/04 03:55 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Tom--K Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 5934
 Quote:
Posted by apple: Aren't hosers from Oklahoma?[/b]
Let's find out.

JBryan, are you a hoser!

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#775825 - 01/10/04 04:27 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Renauda Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 5066
Actually I am no longer quite the hoser I used to be some years back. Still, I do enjoy a rollicking beer drinking bout with good company, (hosers of course) fine food and hard drivin' music. Hell, I'll drink with anyone if the timing and occasion is right! ;\)
_________________________
"The older the fiddle, the sweeter the music"~ Augustus McCrae

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#775826 - 01/10/04 04:40 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Tom--K Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 5934
 Quote:
Actually I am no longer quite the hoser I used to be some years back. Still, I do enjoy a rollicking beer drinking bout with good company, (hosers of course) fine food and hard drivin' music. Hell, I'll drink with anyone if th etimings right! [/b]
Knew it! Henceforth I will consider you a friend and will dispense only kindness and good will in your direction. I have been impolite and I am now contrite. You are an interesting person.

Tom

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#775827 - 01/10/04 04:48 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Renauda Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 5066
Gee, I hope you like British beer, Deep Purple and seering Chicago and Texas Blues. Cheers!
_________________________
"The older the fiddle, the sweeter the music"~ Augustus McCrae

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#775828 - 01/10/04 05:00 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Tom--K Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 5934
 Quote:
Gee, I hope you like British beer, Deep Purple and seering Chicago and Texas Blues. Cheers!
Tadcaser Porter, Double Diamond, Whatney's and Guiness Stout--warm. (In that order.) Been to Montreaux just to see. And I'm the most bad ass blues guitar player on the entire Piano Forum!

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#775829 - 01/10/04 06:42 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Renauda Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 5066
Cool. What's your axe? Mine's a Red TexMex Telecaster with Joe Barden pickups. I use .009 D'Addarios. I also have an el cheapo Godin Radiator that I have set up for playing slide - I use .017 Dobro strings on that puppy.

Get down to some Boogie Chillin'.
_________________________
"The older the fiddle, the sweeter the music"~ Augustus McCrae

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#775830 - 01/10/04 07:00 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Tom--K Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 5934
Best guitar ever: a Bradlee-caster. Bought it a a cheepo store called "Bradlees's" and did it up myself. Wound the pickups, wired it in quad.

Also have a Les Paul Special that Les Paul himself played and pre CBS Srat.

Nice to meet you. You just never know.

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#775831 - 01/10/04 07:00 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Tom--K Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 5934
Best guitar ever: a Bradlee-caster. Bought it a a cheepo store called "Bradlees's" and did it up myself. Wound the pickups, wired it in quad.

Also have a Les Paul Special that Les Paul himself played and pre CBS Srat.

Nice to meet you. You just never know.

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#775832 - 01/10/04 10:56 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by CrashTest:
If a happy, upstanding life is not the point for God, why does it matter that we live on earth to begin with? Couldn't we just float around in the spirit world and fullfil God's plan if this is such a small part of our journey?[/b]
Maybe, but I think that

1. Much, if not all, of our suffering is the result of our human imperfections, most notably the flaw of abusing our free will to disobey the will of God or to deny the existence of God himself. In other words, that part of our existence was not what God wanted, but since we collectively burned our butts, we've got to sit on the blister.

2. God's plan for us must include developing a love for God, and an understanding of His nature, that can only come through these negative experiences. I've learned far more about the nature of God, and my relationship with Him, through adversity than ever through comfort. As spritual beings, we will ultimately live on "this side" of creation and on the "other side." Only by living through some of the adversity of "this side" can we prepare for our ultimate destiny of undestanding God's will for us, both here and there. Another aspect is that I believe that Christians are commanded to serve as, figuratively and literally, as the body of Christ; the physical manifestation of God on earth. Experiencing these problems and having one's faith tested and refined by them helps us personally - but helping others as they experience the bad times, and equally importantly, having others observe how you, as a Chrisitan, weather these storms - is worth far more than reading a thousand pages of theology in terms of understanding what God is really all about.

Not experiencing the physical life, and just floating aorund in a happy celestial state and apparently without a free will to disobey our Creator, is apparently not what God wanted for us. Apparently he wanted better. He wants us to become Sons of God. That's a pretty high calling; "a little above angels," quoting from the Bible. I gues with a high calling comes some pretty difficult homework.

Zorro and Crash Test, you both asked sincere and good questions. I've spent much of the last several years wondering some of the same things, and I continue to search for answers. I don't claim to have all the answers; far from it actually. I'm just trying to throw out a few more crumbs of food for thought for folks going down the same path as me...

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#775833 - 01/10/04 11:03 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
(oops...)

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#775834 - 01/10/04 11:13 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
netizen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/01
Posts: 1926
Loc: New York
"If a happy, upstanding life is not the point for God, why does it matter that we live on earth to begin with?"

I suppose one quick answer is: some vessels were made for wrath.

Your original query reminded me of Mark Twain's short story "Little Bessi". Check it out sometime.

A work that I think you might like and it's quite readable is Paul Tillich's "The Dynamics of Faith". He is one of my favorite religious thinks of the 20th century. He nicely distinguishes between "faith", "belief", "knowledge". And, if I remember, rightly gets to the matter of theodicy by end of the book. Also his "Courage to Be" is a good read. But I'd start there.

Another is Martin Buber's old "I and Thou". Sorry I can't give you answers to your questions. The best I can do, at least for the moment, is point in the direction of some things I've found useful in thrashing through some of the same questions.

Good questions. Keep asking.

(If you've the inclination, perhaps you'll find Edwards "Sinners in the Hands of Angry God" a fun read ;\) )
_________________________
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that
we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."-- Theodore Roosevelt

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#775835 - 01/10/04 11:38 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4111
Dwain and netizen, thank you both for the replies.

I will check out those books, since although we may never know the answer, knowledge sure gets us a little closer!

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#775836 - 01/11/04 07:54 AM Re: Sincere questions on God
EHpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/27/03
Posts: 1703
Loc: NY-Madrid-Newfoundland (rhymes...
*bump.*

Since Larry and TomK don't are unwilling to respond to my questions I would appreciate a response from any Christian who would like to clarify these points for me. Essentially I am trying to understand the religious reasoning behind the belief that the Bible is the word of god, the last question was directed more at TomK regarding a comment he made in this thread.

Thanks,

Elena
http://www.concertpianist.com

 Quote:
Originally posted by EHpianist:
To Larry and TomK

I have a few questions for you:

1) Have you ever looked at the bible as just a book? A book of stories, rather than word of god? Someone had to put ink to paper at some point, and write all these ideas they had in order to make sense of their lives and their spirituality as best they could with the little scientific knowledge that they had at the time (ours is still very much lacking but a little farther ahead). Have you ever read your bible from a secular standpoint?

2)Why do you believe that the perspective of these few men who wrote down the ideas in the bible is Truth rather than just a vehemently believed point of view --just as any other rationalizing of our lives can be?

3) If a contemporary man or woman had "visions", heard the word of god telling them to esentially re-write parts of the bible, and they honestly believed it was god who asked them to do this, would you follow any new teachings handed down from this person? What, in your opinion, is the difference between their perspective and that of those who were chosen to be the authors of the original writings?

4)Why do you believe it is a requirement for a person to believe in god in order to be spiritual and act benevolently towards fellow man? Can't spirituality can be a sense of togetherness not only with your fellow man but with all that surrounds us, a feeling of true connectivity and purpose within existence? Is moral and ethical action in man exclusively driven by fear of god and fear of missing out on the final jackpot or by a desire to enable our coexistence with our fellow humans and with our environment (not limited to nature) to be as full as possible?

These are serious questions I would appreciate a thoughtful response, not a vindicative one.

Elena
http://www.concertpianist.com [/b]
_________________________
Schnabel's advie to Horowitz: "When a piece gets difficult, make faces."

Top
#775837 - 01/11/04 09:33 AM Re: Sincere questions on God
Tom--K Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 5934
Elena,

Sorry, I didn't answer right away. Been busy with kids, etc. Saturday is always hectic. I have tried to keep my answers "non-denominational" and to explain things as best I can in secular terms.

 Quote:
To Larry and TomK

I have a few questions for you:
1) Have you ever looked at the bible as just a book? A book of stories, rather than word of god? Someone had to put ink to paper at some point, and write all these ideas they had in order to make sense of their lives and their spirituality as best they could with the little scientific knowledge that they had at the time (ours is still very much lacking but a little farther ahead). Have you ever read your bible from a secular standpoint?
[/b]
Well, you're making me step out of my evil clown character and be serious for a second but the answer to you question is, yes. And I'll admit it's a different book than the one I see in a religious context. In a secular context I see the letters of a seriously unhappy man who has found true transcendental love so strong so unexpectedly and so passionate that it has exploded within him and that he can barely control.

I see stories of an idea that teaches that all men are brothers; played out in the Old Testament by placing one God--one unifying creator over everything. One God over the good guys and the bad guys. No longer is my god stronger than your god, but rather one God over all. That concept is totally alien to the way people think in this world. Even today we try to make out God (Christian,) and advisary of someone else's Allah, when that's not what the Bible says.

I see true to life human dramas in the Bible, some like the Book of Job, painfully inconclusive, some like the Story of David the tale of internal failure in the midst of outward success. And lastly I see the story the spiritual world crossing the line to the tangible and showing us here in the world that we aren't at all who we thought we are and the we belong somewhere else and that we could someday go where we belonged.

Interesting stories, some soap opera, some psychological drama and some would border on science fiction.

 Quote:

2)Why do you believe that the perspective of these few men who wrote down the ideas in the bible is Truth rather than just a vehemently believed point of view --just as any other rationalizing of our lives can be?
[/b]
Easy answer--it's a gift. Now the hard part: faith is something given maybe to all and some refuse to take it; maybe it's only given to some. But there is or rather I believe something called grace and it's a free gift of God. Why he's given that grace, I don't know other that I believes God created me and loves me.

Now how do I get myself out of the box of "well, that's a pleasant little rationalization, Tom"? I honestly don't know. I don't have any proofs that I can show you. I can tell you how I feel, but that's all. And that's meaningless. I honestly don't believe faith is something you can "feel" in any way. All the warm and tosties that some people feel with faith is all fine, but kittens can do as much for some other people. It's an aftereffect, nothing more. You either have faith or you don't. You can't acquire it in any way, but if you do have faith--you can discover the faith you already have by searching.

 Quote:

3) If a contemporary man or woman had "visions", heard the word of god telling them to essentially re-write parts of the bible, and they honestly believed it was god who asked them to do this, would you follow any new teachings handed down from this person? What, in your opinion, is the difference between their perspective and that of those who were chosen to be the authors of the original writings?
[/b]
Elena, LOTS of people have written changes and additions to the Bible over the last 2000 or so years and lots will continue to do so till the end of time. The convention wisdom on any new writings is that the Bible was "finished" the day John the Evangelist died on the island of Patmos.

But, why do I believe the old Bible writers are inspired by God and the new ones are nuts? First of all because of the grace thing I mentioned above. If one believes then the grace from that belief flows quite naturally. Credo ut intelligam. Not a very good answer for someone who doesn't believe. But, there is a structural integrity, allowing for all the diverse authors, to the Bible that points in the one direction that gets us from here to there--completely. It's subtle, hard to see, yet I think it's there. Any "additions" are only commentary, which are fine, or other things--which are not so fine.

 Quote:

4)Why do you believe it is a requirement for a person to believe in god in order to be spiritual and act benevolently towards fellow man? Can't spirituality can be a sense of togetherness not only with your fellow man but with all that surrounds us, a feeling of true connectivity and purpose within existence? Is moral and ethical action in man exclusively driven by fear of god and fear of missing out on the final jackpot or by a desire to enable our coexistence with our fellow humans and with our environment (not limited to nature) to be as full as possible?
[/b]
It depends on how you define spiritual. There can't by definition be any divine spirituality without a divine being. But on the other hand there is a commonality of all human being as brothers that can be expressed in a very spiritual sense. Even if one doesn't believe in the creator, one can still see what creation looks like. As to the moral and ethical questions--I can't say what best motivates people to be good, if it's a jackpot, that's fine with me, though being good to get a reward is not in essence a Christian notion. I'll say this: if someone isn't living in the land of the jackpot when they are alive, they certainly won't be living there when they die. Life for a Christian is a journey to the spiritual. As son's and daughters of God christians are hiphonated creatures. We are fathers-sons of God, and buisnessmen-sons of God, and accountaints-sons of God and mothers-daughters of God and drug addicts-son's of God and bank robbers-sons of God and this and that and everything else all strung out on a line to forever. And then one by one these thing fall away and when it's all over we find out who we really are.

 Quote:

These are serious questions I would appreciate a thoughtful response, not a vindicative one.
[/b]
That comment must be addressed only to Larry so I won't answer.

I hope I answered you questions a little.

Tom

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#775838 - 01/11/04 11:45 AM Re: Sincere questions on God
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
These are serious questions I would appreciate a thoughtful response, not a vindicative one.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That comment must be addressed only to Larry so I won't answer.

I hope I answered you questions a little.[/b]


Quit talking about me like that Tom, or I'll get you if it's the last thing I do......... \:D


Elena, I haven't been ignoring your questions. I've been very busy since you posted it. And even now, I only have time to explain why I haven't answered you. But by tonight, I will do so. Answering you will take some time - it is a deep question that will require careful thought.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#775839 - 01/12/04 12:21 AM Re: Sincere questions on God
John Andrew Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 3041
Loc: Southern California
I really am pretty good at knowing my own mind about lots of things. I read a lot, get lots of information and can hold my own on those topics I discuss.

I consider myself a religious man, a deep believer in God. When I read questions like those that started this thread and many of the responses, I have pat answers -- because like many of you, I have thought about this stuff and have worked it through in my own mind.

But then, once in a while, I realize the pat answers about God are not good enough and really explain very little. That in reality, God is unfathomable and I will never really understand His ways.

Let me share a little something that keeps me from having so much arrogance that I think I have God all figured out. Perhaps it will be a challenge to those of you who believe, those of you who scorn other's beliefs and even those of you who are searching.

It is from Fr. Anthony DeMello, a Jesuit priest.

BELIEF[/b]

The Master had quoted Aristotle:
"In the quest of truth,
it would seem better and indeed necessary
to give up what is dearest to us."
And he substituted the word "God" for "truth."

Later a disciple said to him,
"I am ready, in the quest for God,
to give up anything:
wealth, friends, family, country, life itself.
What else can a person give up?"

The Master calmly replied,
"One's beliefs about God."

The disciple went away sad,
for he clung to his convictions.
He feared "ignorance" more than death.
_________________________
You can be disappointed, but you cannot walk away. This fight has just begun. Senator John Edwards

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#775840 - 01/12/04 05:50 AM Re: Sincere questions on God
F# Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 42
 Quote:
BELIEF

The Master had quoted Aristotle:
"In the quest of truth,
it would seem better and indeed necessary
to give up what is dearest to us."
And he substituted the word "God" for "truth."

Later a disciple said to him,
"I am ready, in the quest for God,
to give up anything:
wealth, friends, family, country, life itself.
What else can a person give up?"

The Master calmly replied,
"One's beliefs about God."

The disciple went away sad,
for he clung to his convictions.
He feared "ignorance" more than death.
I like that. \:\)

I personally feel that a state of absolute humility is the "closest" you can be to God.

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#775841 - 01/12/04 07:33 AM Re: Sincere questions on God
bellepepper Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/03/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Georgia
You all have presented some very interesting, deep, and well written religious/spiritual thoughts here. The original question about how one sees the Bible--as the actual Word of God written through man and accepted on faith, as a collection of ancient historical writings, or as just a really long book written by multiple mostly unknown Jews to assist in keeping them collectively bound by word and thought since they never had a country to sink their culture into, were therefore prone to wandering around, which resulted in them being separated from each other and scattered all over the place. I digress here--my lifelong question is why are certain "biblical" texts (e.g., The Gospel of Thomas) written contemporaneously with the "accepted" books of the Bible, but totally and apparently irrevocably rejected? And rejected long, long ago by "who knows who" (there he is again!) and who knows why. So we currently don't read them. It would heresy to read them, some say. Why? Do you think there's a valid reason the ancient scholars rejected so many texts--I mean, like, does anyone think they actually had PROOF these texts were not The Word of God and the others were? After all, they accepted some writings on faith--meaning, I would interpret, they had no proof those texts WERE the real thing, they just didn't question it--so how could they prove other texts WEREN'T the real thing when they obviously couldn't prove anything about any of them? Why did they have "faith" in some texts and none in others? That's why I have trouble with the Bible--I'm not sure about any of it, really. But I do believe in God, usually--and as for atheists or non-believers or skeptics and their chances at going to Heaven, if there is one...well, I think they do get to Heaven. Because I feel if a person is inherently good and live their life in accordance with, say, God's teachings (the BIble?) then it doesn't matter if they are believers or not. I think their good spirits, unbeknownst to them, place them as one of God's children simply because they're following his path--God is within them, too, they just don't realize it. I hope this is true, because most of the really decent, good people I've met fall into this category.

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