Monday, July 30, 2012

And Now For the Rest of the Story


Christians are often guilty of not telling the full story when it comes to knowing God. First of all, we often start the story at the Fall of man, rather than at the beginning. Second, we jump from Genesis 2 to Jesus crucifixion and conclude with His Resurrection. Then we insert this long wait for the second coming, judgment, and final destination of believers and unbelievers. In reality, we are gipping people of the full Gospel, the Kingdom of God. We do this when we reduce the story to what we think are the essentials – Man sinned, Man needs God to be free from sin, God sent man Jesus to die in our place so we can be forgiven, Jesus saves those who believe, believers go to heaven, unbelievers go to hell. End of story.

This couldn’t be more misleading. I am finding both in Christian circles and in non-Christian circles this is creating quite a misconception. This misconception is a logical misconstruction based on our faulty rendering of the Gospel. 

The story doesn’t start that man sinned and is thus in need of God. The story starts, “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. . .” He goes on to create the sun, moon, stars, oceans, plants, animals, and finally humans. He says that all that He has created is good. He places the man and woman (Adam and Eve) in the Garden of Eden and He tells them they have dominion over land, vegetation, and animal life. He tells them to have children and multiply humanity in the earth. He gives them only one “don’t” – He tells them not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and warns them doing so will bring death upon them.

God had fellowship with Adam and Eve – walking with them in the cool of the evening. He had relationship with them. I imagine they walked with Jesus through the Garden – as Jesus is as eternal as His Father. Throughout the Old Testament we see instances where Jesus appeared. Remember Jesus said, before Abraham was, I Am.

Here is where the Fall comes into play. Eve, and then also Adam, having been tempted by Satan, succumb to temptation and eat of the forbidden fruit. Now they want to cover themselves and hide from God. They broke relationship with God, and already felt the shame of their first experience with sin.

Mankind was designed to walk with God as we cultivated and multiplied across the globe. Now we had caused a divide between God and man. The curse of sin worked its way into the nature of man – corrupting humanity – and corrupting the earth itself. A world that was designed to flow in harmony with the Kingdom of God was now being ruled by corrupted men rather than holy men who walked with God.

Christians often take the story from the Fall to the Cross and then lack the theology for the story to go beyond getting forgiven by the work of Jesus upon the Cross. Jesus gained back for the world what was lost in the Fall – but we have lost sight of the role of man in this earth. God gave us dominion. Satan took that dominion when sin infected us – but Jesus took it back from Satan and gave it – not back to God – but back to man. We are still the ones who are to cultivate the earth to restore it to the glory of God – to a New Eden. It starts with transformed people – but these transformed people are called to transform everything we have influence over – land, businesses, economy, health care, medicine, food, water.  We can restore healing and life back to everything that was once corrupted.  It’s all back in our hands. The thing is, most of us don’t know it. And even the few that do, don’t take action. We are clueless to our assignments and to our power and authority to carry them out.

Most the Church is still focused on a salvation only Gospel. No wonder the world only asks questions of us regarding heaven and hell because they don’t know that we are supposed to have access to the entire Kingdom of God. They don’t know we have access to far more than salvation – because we don’t know it ourselves.

Even if man never fell – we would have a huge assignment upon this planet that would require continual communion with God. We were designed to thrive on that communion – a symbiotic relationship. Without it we languish never reaching our full potential. We don’t even know it because we are conditioned to accept life without God. In fact, this includes Christians. We have become so accustom to doing things in our own strength we haven’t scratched the surface of what life would be like if we did everything in partnership with His strength.

Heaven – is an extension of living in Christ – that is why it is not a gift of Jesus – but a place in Jesus. It’s not a separate place from Him. So it is not accessed outside of Him. All of the Kingdom of God is in God. We can only access it by knowing Jesus and having His Holy Spirit living inside of us. 

Hell – is an extension of existence outside of Christ – where He is not present. Where we are always thirsty for Him and yet unable to quench our thirst – we may not even know at that point we thirst for Him, but we will know the torment of life without Him. It is tormenting because it was never to be – not because it was the worst punishment God could think up for not loving Him. It is, instead, the place of abject darkness – full of souls perishing without His sustenance we so desperately require. Existence without God is death. When we cross over from our earthly existence without God – all is left is existence without God – that is an eternal perishing existence.

Kingdom of God – is the extension of heaven – of Jesus manifested upon the earth by God’s children accessing heaven and making it available to be experienced by others on earth. This is everything from peace to healing the sick or raising the dead, or causing unfertile land to produce a harvest, or any other number of miracles. 

Everything that has breath is designed to operate within the Kingdom of God – without the King there is no Kingdom.

While brief, hopefully this article helps to create a more accurate rendering of the story of the role of God in the life of humanity regardless of the interruption and corruption of sin. 

33 comments:

boomSLANG said...

"[....] we are gipping people of the full Gospel, the Kingdom of God. We do this when we reduce the story to what we think are the essentials – Man sinned, Man needs God to be free from sin, God sent man Jesus to die in our place so we can be forgiven, Jesus saves those who believe, believers go to heaven, unbelievers go to hell. End of story" ~ Karla

The problem with this attempt at clarification is that even if there is more "to the story", this doesn't nullify any present essentials. IOW, you can elaborate on the "story" and admonish Christians to give the full story until donkeys fly, there are still some essentials to being "saved". One is most definitely belief.

"He gives them only one 'don’t' – He tells them not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and warns them doing so will bring death upon them"" ~ Karla

And "He" knew the outcome, per his "omniscience". IOW, the "creator" knew how the ball was going to bounce, that the garden duo would disobey, and yet, he created them anyway, which puts any subsequent discontent with the way things turned out, squarely in "His" lap. It also makes him immoral, since "He" knew, a priori, that most of humanity would end up in his chamber of horrors, "Hell".

"Heaven – is an extension of living in Christ – that is why it is not a gift of Jesus – but a place in Jesus. It’s not a separate place from Him. So it is not accessed outside of Him. All of the Kingdom of God is in God. We can only access it by knowing Jesus and having His Holy Spirit living inside of us." ~ Karla

A typical Christian rendering that still doesn't account for how the "absence of evil" and "free will" are compatible in one location..e.g.."Heaven", but not in another location...e.g.."Earth". You've given your "side of the story", yes, but you've really accomplished nothing at all, except, again, keeping the already-convince convinced.

"Hell – is an extension of existence outside of Christ – where He is not present. Where we are always thirsty for Him and yet unable to quench our thirst[...]" ~ Karla

'Seems odd(in an unconvincing sort of way) that those who reject "Christ" are sentenced to "Hell", but yet, they are somehow all of the sudden "thirsty for Him". 'Just wondering how that works, unless, somehow the "free will" with which to reject "Christ" is removed.

'Seen the debates? Would you be good with a Mormon Commander in Chief? 'Just wondering.

All the best,

Karla said...

Hi Boom. I don’t really want to get into a big debate again, but I will respond to this part.

Boom “Seems odd(in an unconvincing sort of way) that those who reject "Christ" are sentenced to "Hell", but yet, they are somehow all of the sudden "thirsty for Him". 'Just wondering how that works, unless, somehow the "free will" with which to reject "Christ" is removed.”

It’s our sins that send us to Hell not the act of rejecting Christ. It’s accepting Him that saves us from paying the price for our sins. One who does not believe in water will still be very thirsty for it. We need Jesus regardless of whether we know it or not. If our need only came after our encountering Him, what’s the point?


Boom “Seen the debates? Would you be good with a Mormon Commander in Chief? 'Just wondering.”

Yes I’d be fine with it. We need an economic turnaround and if Romney can provide the leadership that can accomplish that task, I’m good with him.

boomSLANG said...

I don't look at it as "debate", but if you don't want to get into a long discussion, fair enough.

Since you took the time to respond to a few things, I'll respond to those responses, only in attempt to help you understand why your apologetics(and those who use similar defenses) are unconvincing to nonbelievers. You say in your mission statement that you want to understand other's worldviews, after all.

You say...

"It’s our sins that send us to Hell not the act of rejecting Christ."

As I've said many, many times, the only "sin" relevant to "Hell" is that of rejecting the Xian god. How do I arrive at this? Here's how: If you do the opposite of reject the Xian god, that is, if you accept the Xian god, then your "sins"(the ones you claim "send us to Hell") are forgiven and your record is wiped clean.

"It’s accepting Him that saves us from paying the price for our sins."

The "price" has (supposedly) already been payed through the blood sacrifice of "Jesus". He already paid(past tense) this supposed "debt" that we all incurred, a "debt" that we incurred before we even existed, no less.

"One who does not believe in water will still be very thirsty for it."

Except that no one is doubting the existence of "water", and furthermore, we can demonstrate that depriving someone of "water" will kill them in a matter of days. There is no test that I know of that can demonstrate that a person will die if they don't believe in biblegod. So, to be convincing, you'd need a more apt analogy.

"We need Jesus regardless of whether we know it or not."

Begging the question.(logical fallacy)

"If our need only came after our encountering Him, what’s the point?"

The point, from where a nonbeliever sits, is avoiding this (supposed) "Hell" place that Christians and their bibles insist awaits all non-Christians. And since said Christians cannot demonstrate in any meaningful, convincing way that we "need" this (supposed) "God" for any other reason, for myself and other nonbelievers, it then boils down to belief. Mind you, it is asserted that this (supposed) "God" is both "omniscient" *and* "omnipotent", and as such, it is perfectly reasonable for nonbelievers to conclude that this (supposed) "God" knows what it would take to convince each and every one of us, as well as the wherewithal to follow through with convincing us. That this "God" and/or the bible expect us to take it on "faith" and/or because Christians "say so", is both a cop-out and immoral, considering the (supposed) consequences for not being a believer.

"Yes I’d be fine with it."

Okay. Would you ever vote for an Atheist President? If not, why not?

boomSLANG said...

If nothing else, here is an interesting read. Have a good weekend.

Karla said...

Boom “I don't look at it as "debate", but if you don't want to get into a long discussion, fair enough. “

Well, debate probably isn’t accurate. I just meant I didn’t want to go over the old things again at this time as I haven’t had a lot of free time at the moment.

Boom “Since you took the time to respond to a few things, I'll respond to those responses, only in attempt to help you understand why your apologetics(and those who use similar defenses) are unconvincing to nonbelievers. You say in your mission statement that you want to understand other's worldviews, after all.”

I have recently stated I am not interested in persuading someone into belief with apologetics anymore. I’m only answering what is asked of me.

Boom “As I've said many, many times, the only "sin" relevant to "Hell" is that of rejecting the Xian god. How do I arrive at this? Here's how: If you do the opposite of reject the Xian god, that is, if you accept the Xian god, then your "sins"(the ones you claim "send us to Hell") are forgiven and your record is wiped clean. “

How come you get to say what is what when you aren’t the one speaking from the Christian worldview? You can say what we believe isn’t true or logical or doesn’t make sense, but you can’t make up doctrine for me. Sin = Death. Jesus = Life. Jesus cancels out death, but it isn’t the rejecting of Jesus that makes our sins count against us – our sins count against us because they do all on their own.


Boom “The "price" has (supposedly) already been payed through the blood sacrifice of "Jesus". He already paid(past tense) this supposed "debt" that we all incurred, a "debt" that we incurred before we even existed, no less”

I’m only speaking of the sins each person actually commits themselves.

Boom “Except that no one is doubting the existence of "water", and furthermore, we can demonstrate that depriving someone of "water" will kill them in a matter of days. There is no test that I know of that can demonstrate that a person will die if they don't believe in biblegod. So, to be convincing, you'd need a more apt analogy.”

That’s not the point. Please don’t get distracted by the natural analogy. The point is you can need something regardless of whether you believe you need it or not.


Boom “Begging the question.(logical fallacy)”

You said you can’t need something you don’t know exists. I’m saying regardless of your knowledge of the existence of the need or the fulfillment of the need you can still need something before you believe you do.

Boom “That this "God" and/or the bible expect us to take it on "faith" and/or because Christians "say so", is both a cop-out and immoral, considering the (supposed) consequences for not being a believer.”

Nope. I’ve told you I don’t expect you and He doesn’t expect you take Him on the bases of the kind of faith you speak of. There is no way to Jesus, but Jesus. Even as far back as Abraham – faith is based on encountering God – not on making your mind up that Someone you have had no experience with is real. I wouldn’t ask you to settle for anything less.


Boom “Okay. Would you ever vote for an Atheist President? If not, why not?”

Depends on his character and his political principles and policies and experience to do the job well.

Karla said...

I actually read most of that article earlier today. It must be going viral.

I don't think that Christian is synonymous with Republican. Though I don't agree with her thoughts on "fair" versus "just" and the socialism she talks about. I believe in helping people become independent from the government and not dependent on it for their basic needs. That's not a healthy place to be. I give from my own pocket to that end, rather than expecting the government to do it for me.

boomSLANG said...

"Well, debate probably isn’t accurate. I just meant I didn’t want to go over the old things again at this time as I haven’t had a lot of free time at the moment."

Okay. I don't particularly like to go over the old things whether there's time to do so, or not. The chances that either of us will change the other's mind are low. I know this. Notwithstanding, while there might not be a "winner", again, I believe silent lurkers who are genuinely experiencing honest doubt(like I once was) and who genuinely want to follow truth no matter where it leads(like I did, and still do) will benefit from reading these exchanges.

"I have recently stated I am not interested in persuading someone into belief with apologetics anymore."

This, to me, is progress. And since you say, "I enjoy learning how other people think", under "About me", it seems you've come to learn that apologetics aren't for "winning souls". And they aren't. No, they're for keeping the already-convinced convinced.

"I’m only answering what is asked of me."

Understood. And I've noticed that now-a-days you're answering with "I don't know" on ocassion, in contrast to the early days when you rarely did so, if ever. I see this, too, as progress. Conceding that you just don't have answers to every point raised is much more productive and honest than piling apologetics on apologetics. This is not to say that I still don't see you defending errors with equivocal, unconvincing responses at times. For instance, on the subject of whether or not our "sins" are paid for, or not, you come back with.....

"How come you get to say what is what when you aren’t the one speaking from the Christian worldview?"

Does "speaking from the Christian worldview" somehow preclude you from being wrong? Your rendering of said worldview is exempt from error? Or have I misunderstood?

You continue..."You can say what we believe isn’t true or logical or doesn’t make sense, but you can’t make up doctrine for me."

I'm not making anything up; I'm taking face-value statements that you make, and holding you to them.

You continue...."Sin = Death. Jesus = Life. Jesus cancels out death, but it isn’t the rejecting of Jesus that makes our sins count against us – our sins count against us because they do all on their own."

Are you familiar with the term binary opposition, e.g...on/off, left/right, etc? Well, this is a case of paid/unpaid. Karla, our "sins" are either paid for, or they are not paid for. It's binary. If you say, as you did above, "It’s accepting Him that saves us from paying the price for our sins", fine. But you cannot then hold to the statement, "Jesus died for our sins!", if "our" means everyone. The two propositions are inconsistent.

So, I assume that you don't hold to the latter statement, then?

"Please don’t get distracted by the natural analogy. The point is you can need something regardless of whether you believe you need it or not"

Then your "point" is moot, i.e..of no practical value until/unless you can prove that we "need God" like it can be proven that we "need water". Even if I concede that we can need something and not know it, all of your work is ahead of you. Tom Cruise probably agrees that we can need something and not know it, and he could just as easily tell you, "You need to be audited and become clear!!". Hopefully that wouldn't convince you that Scientology is "Truth".

boomSLANG said...

"You said you can’t need something you don’t know exists."

I could be wrong, but I don't recall saying that.

"I’m saying regardless of your knowledge of the existence of the need or the fulfillment of the need you can still need something before you believe you do"

I will concede this point.

Now, prove to me that I will "die" because of a lack of "God"/"Jesus".

Previously, me: “That this 'God' and/or the bible expect us to take it on 'faith' and/or because Christians 'say so', is both a cop-out and immoral, considering the (supposed) consequences for not being a believer.”

You respond: "Nope. I’ve told you I don’t expect you and He doesn’t expect you take Him on the bases of the kind of faith you speak of."

The kind of "faith" I speak of is believing without seeing, which, yes, is delineated in the bible, and yes, according to the bible, this type of "faith" and "childlike" mentality is regarded as virtuous. I'm perfectly aware of what your view on what you call "Substantive Faith" is. The thing is, you've yet to put into any meaningful words why, if you could substantiate your beliefs, that you'd need "faith". At face-value, that term you invented is an oxymoron.

"There is no way to Jesus, but Jesus."

*Then the ball is clearly in Jesus' court, not mine.

Even as far back as Abraham – faith is based on encountering God[....]"

a) see here*, above, and b) if I encounter this "God" should he decide to stop hiding, I wouldn't need "faith", just as I don't need "faith" to harbor a belief in my mother, whom I've definitely encountered.

"I wouldn’t ask you to settle for anything less."

However, it is most certainly implied that I should settle for less. For example, you expect me to go searching for a being who hides from me, supposedly, for my "benefit". This is a being who presumably knows PRECISELY what it would take to convince me, but lo and behold, he stays in hiding and withholds this revelation, and if he actually exists, he obviously expects me to believe on the say-so of his followers and a 2000 yr-old book containing virgin births, walking cadavers, unicorns, firmaments, witches, and talking snakes and donkeys. Please. I am settling for much less that I should have to, in the way of evidence.

Previously, me: “Okay. Would you ever vote for an Atheist President? If not, why not?”

You respond: "Depends on his character and his political principles and policies and experience to do the job well."

Forgive me, but I'm skeptical. The idea that you would support a Commander in Chief who rejects the "God" you worship, as well as rejects the book in which you claim to get morals, is just extremely hard to believe.

Karla said...

Boom “This, to me, is progress. And since you say, "I enjoy learning how other people think", under "About me", it seems you've come to learn that apologetics aren't for "winning souls". And they aren't. No, they're for keeping the already-convinced convinced. “

I think it’s a good idea for everyone to have thought about why they believe what they believe and be able to share those reasons (regardless of who or what they believe), but I don’t think that it does people any good to try and argue them into belief when it comes to Jesus.


Boom “Understood. And I've noticed that now-a-days you're answering with "I don't know" on occasion, in contrast to the early days when you rarely did so, if ever. I see this, too, as progress.”

I agree. I used to try to say something even if I hadn’t time to really feel I had a good grasp on the question. I don’t feel the need to do that anymore.

Boom “Conceding that you just don't have answers to every point raised is much more productive and honest than piling apologetics on apologetics.”

Agreed.


Boom “Does "speaking from the Christian worldview" somehow preclude you from being wrong? Your rendering of said worldview is exempt from error? Or have I misunderstood? “

No it doesn’t preclude me from being wrong. I can say the Christian worldview includes the teaching that Jesus rose from the dead. Whether He did or didn’t doesn’t change that that is a tenant of the Christian faith. So it seems with the matter of “sins” you can disagree that what I’m talking about is really the way it is – but not that it isn’t really what is purported. Granted, if I start saying Christians don’t believe in heaven you have grounds to contest that that is a normal Christian teaching. I could have misunderstood where you were coming from, but this is the point I was countering with.


Boom “But you cannot then hold to the statement, "Jesus died for our sins!", if "our" means everyone. The two propositions are inconsistent. “

Ok, I think I get you. And that is a point of doctrinal contention between some denominations. Some say Jesus died for everyone and even non-believers won’t be held accountable for their sins. Personally, I think that regardless of how it all works – salvation is in Jesus and no matter what order sins are paid for – Jesus is the way and source of that salvation.


Boom “Then your "point" is moot, i.e..of no practical value until/unless you can prove that we "need God" like it can be proven that we "need water". Even if I concede that we can need something and not know it, all of your work is ahead of you.”

As I’ve said, the burden of proof isn’t on me, it’s on Him. I can share what I know, but only He can be the reality of it. I can only point you to Him.

Karla said...

Boom “The kind of "faith" I speak of is believing without seeing, which, yes, is delineated in the bible, and yes, according to the bible, this type of "faith" and "childlike" mentality is regarded as virtuous.”

The Bible says Abraham believed God and it was accredited to Him as righteousness. He first heard God before He believed God. He encountered God and received a promise from God. He believed what God told Him. That was faith. Believing and trusting in the words of God.

Today we think all we can have is someone else who says they know God tell us God is real and why and then we are supposed to start believing without ever encountering God for ourselves. That isn’t faith. The substance of faith comes from a personal encounter with God. I cannot have that for you or for anyone else.

Consider Paul. He, then Saul, was going around killing Christians. He didn’t encounter a Christian and change his mind about God and start having faith in something he didn’t see. Jesus appeared before him on the road to Damascus, Paul went blind from the encounter and then his sight was healed. He had firsthand experience with Jesus.


Boom “I'm perfectly aware of what your view on what you call "Substantive Faith" is. The thing is, you've yet to put into any meaningful words why, if you could substantiate your beliefs, that you'd need "faith". At face-value, that term you invented is an oxymoron.”

Faith is not believing you can’t see -- it is seeing what is there in the unseen realm. Before you decry that as ridiculous – let me clarify it isn’t believing in something with no encounter to back it up – it is produced from the encounter with the realm of God’s Kingdom, heaven, supernatural, Jesus . . . And it is needed to live in two worlds at one time. Faith helps us live in earth while encountering heaven. It pulls the heavenly reality into the earthly realm.


Boom “*Then the ball is clearly in Jesus' court, not mine. “

Until He puts it in yours by making Himself real to you.


Boom if I encounter this "God" should he decide to stop hiding, I wouldn't need "faith", just as I don't need "faith" to harbor a belief in my mother, whom I've definitely encountered.”

You’d have faith when you encountered Him. The encounter would produce it. Again, faith isn’t believing something without evidence. That’s a misnomer.



Boom “However, it is most certainly implied that I should settle for less. For example, you expect me to go searching for a being who hides from me, supposedly, for my "benefit".”

You are already seeking Him even in your unbelief. Anytime you are looking for anything at all to satisfy you, even things like food, or money, or sleep, you are, by the very nature of being human, seeing there must be something more than this. Your heart seeks even if your head doesn’t.

Boom “This is a being who presumably knows PRECISELY what it would take to convince me, but lo and behold, he stays in hiding and withholds this revelation,”

He also knows you better than you know yourself and He knows when the best time is for you to be ready to know Him. Many Christians will go the whole route of you could die tonight in a car accident and never know God if you don’t accept him right now bit. I don’t much believe in that. I trust God with people to not pressure them so. I think God knows you more than anyone can and He does know what it will take for you to trust Him and I believe He is working behind the scenes even now on your behalf.


Karla said...

Boom “ and if he actually exists, he obviously expects me to believe on the say-so of his followers and a 2000 yr-old book containing virgin births, “

If He was looking for people to believe based on historical proof there would be a lot more of it. We would have conclusive proof of Noah’s Ark, The Exodus, The Flood, the Resurrection. While I think we have some evidence of each, it is by no means enough to lead people to conclusive intellectual acceptance of Jesus. That’s because it was never designed to. The Bible wasn’t given to us as proof of Jesus, but as a tool for those who know God. It cannot be the substitute for encountering Jesus. If I could prove every word of it to you or to Richard Dawkins today it would do neither of you any good unless you also encounter Jesus for yourself.




Boom “Forgive me, but I'm skeptical. The idea that you would support a Commander in Chief who rejects the "God" you worship, as well as rejects the book in which you claim to get morals, is just extremely hard to believe. “

Again I said it depends. If he is promoting an atheists or secularist agenda, I wouldn’t be interested in voting for him. Though I don’t think the point of Presidency it to promote any such agendas Christian or otherwise, but to lead the nation with great integrity of character doing what is best not for ones career or popularity, but for the nation.

boomSLANG said...

"I used to try to say something even if I hadn’t time to really feel I had a good grasp on the question. I don’t feel the need to do that anymore"

To me, this translates to you were making things up as you went along. Plus, you now seem to be saying that any lacking answers on your part were because you didn't understand the question, rather than just admit that sometimes there simply aren't any good answers. For instance, even Xian theologians admit that the "problem of evil" has been a thorn in Xianity's side for ages. For the months we've been exchanging views, you've yet to supply a satisfactory answer for how an "absence of evil" and "free will" can coexist in one location(Heaven), but not another(Earth).

But in any case, I'm glad you don't do the above tactic anymore, well, do it as much anymore, as I still feel that you at times equivocate, instead of just admitting your errors.

"Some say Jesus died for everyone[...]"

Firstly, do you agree that this is one and the same with the statement, "Jesus died for our sins"??? Or do you make a distinction?

"and even non-believers won’t be held accountable for their sins."

If true, that would actually align with an "infinitely merciful" god, whereas, letting some people off the hook and not others does not align with that description.

"Personally, I think that regardless of how it all works – salvation is in Jesus and no matter what order sins are paid for – Jesus is the way and source of that salvation."

You still haven't really made it clear whether or not "our sins"(meaning everyone's) have been paid for(past tense). Here's what I'd like to know: When "Jesus" (supposedly) died on the cross, was that to pay for ALL people's "sins", or just the "sins" of Christians? Which is it?

"As I’ve said, the burden of proof isn’t on me, it’s on Him."

This burden would be on you if you expected me to adopt a belief in Christianity based on your say-so, which, BTW, most Christians *do* expect me to believe on their say-so. But since you no longer expect that, then true, the burden is on this supposed "God", and if so, sharing what you (claim to) know about said "God" is pointless.

"The Bible says Abraham believed God and it was accredited to Him as righteousness. He first heard God before He believed God."

When you say "believed God", I'm getting, take his word for it. Wouldn't you agree that to take someone's word for it, you would first have to believe the person exists?

"He encountered God and received a promise from God. He believed what God told Him. That was faith. Believing and trusting in the words of God."

That is not the commonly accepted definition of "faith". You are speaking of "trust"..e.g..I trust my significant other's promise to be monogamous, etc. In a *religious* context, "having faith" is the same type of "faith" that ALL religions require. And yes, there are cases in the bible where "faith" is clearly believing without seeing...

"We live by faith, not by sight." ~ Corinthians 5:7

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." ~ Hebrews 11:1

boomSLANG said...

"Faith is not believing you can’t see[....]"

In some cases, yes, "faith" most certainly is believing in what you cannot see. See previous post for biblical references.

"[....]it is seeing what is there in the unseen realm."

Ridiculous; blatant contradiction.

"Before you decry that as ridiculous[....]"

Too late.

"let me clarify it isn’t believing in something with no encounter to back it up – it is produced from the encounter with the realm of God’s Kingdom, heaven, supernatural, Jesus[....]"

See previous biblical references.

"And it is needed to live in two worlds at one time."

You aren't "living in two worlds at the same time". But in any case, you cannot prove that you are. I believe that you are sure of what you're hoping for(as seen in Hebrews 11:1), but longing for something to be true doesn't make it so.

Previously, me: "Then the ball is clearly in Jesus' court, not mine."

You respond: "Until He puts it in yours by making Himself real to you."

Then why wait? This supposed "God" can make "Himself real" to me right this second and I can still choose to accept/reject his policies and/or decide if I want to spend eternity on my knees worshiping "Him". This, again, illustrates very well how the whole "Divine Hiddenness" argument is a flimsy, fallacious apologetic.

"You’d have faith when you encountered Him. The encounter would produce it."

So, when I hear Christians spout, "Just have faith!", what that really means is to just wait around for "Him" to decide to reveal himself, and that revelation will give me the "faith".

"Again, faith isn’t believing something without evidence. That’s a misnomer."

It's not a "misnomer"; it's Christians like you who selectively alter definitions when your back is against the wall when attempting to square-up contradictions in your bible.

"You are already seeking Him even in your unbelief."

That's just plain silly. I'm no more "already seeking" the Christian god than you're "already seeking" the Muslim god.

"Anytime you are looking for anything at all to satisfy you, even things like food, or money, or sleep, you are, by the very nature of being human, seeing there must be something more than this."

I already believed that there was "more than this". I changed my mind, despite that you project your own beliefs onto me..e.g...this CAN'T be it; there MUST be more!.

"Your heart seeks even if your head doesn’t."

My "heart" pumps blood. What you just said is colorful godspeak for wish-thinking.

"He also knows you better than you know yourself[...]"

Let's take it a step further---if "He" is omniscient, then he knew from the onset whether I'd die a believer, or a nonbeliever. If the latter, then he knows that no amount of "encounters" will change my mind. 'Guess he should have thought about that before "creating" me.

"He knows when the best time is for you to be ready to know Him."

The "best time" for an omniscient being to act, is a moot point. This is yet one more serious quagmire that you've yet to overcome. The bible even tells Christians that they'll encounter nonbelievers. This means that nonbelievers are then necessary to "fulfill" the "Prophecy". That's some thick irony, there.

"If he is promoting an atheists or secularist agenda, I wouldn’t be interested in voting for him."

That "agenda" would be humanism..i.e..putting humans first, and minimizing human suffering. Like that's somehow a bad thing.

Karla said...

"I used to try to say something even if I hadn’t time to really feel I had a good grasp on the question. I don’t feel the need to do that anymore"

Boom “To me, this translates to you were making things up as you went along.”

I wasn’t contriving answers, but I wasn’t always giving it the time and thought I should have.

Boom “Plus, you now seem to be saying that any lacking answers on your part were because you didn't understand the question, rather than just admit that sometimes there simply aren't any good answers.”

No, I’m not saying that. Sometimes there aren’t good answers. Sometimes I don’t know the good answer. I have said many times, just because I say Jesus is the Answer and I know Jesus, never meant that I know all the answers. Only that He is what we are all looking for, whether we know it or not.


Boom “For instance, even Xian theologians admit that the "problem of evil" has been a thorn in Xianity's side for ages. For the months we've been exchanging views, you've yet to supply a satisfactory answer for how an "absence of evil" and "free will" can coexist in one location(Heaven), but not another(Earth). “

I don’t agree that the “problem of evil’ is a difficult problem for theologians. But as you have said we have been over that topic for months.

That is one of those questions that I have not discussed with anyone outside of you, meaning I had not previously given it a whole lot of thought before you raised the question.


Boom “But in any case, I'm glad you don't do the above tactic anymore, well, do it as much anymore, as I still feel that you at times equivocate, instead of just admitting your errors.”

Boom I’ve changed a lot in my thinking in the last few years and I think we began talking just as I was experiencing new things in God and since I have grown in that new understanding and there is a difference as to how I thought then and now. Not because I’m wavering in my faith, but because it is getting stronger and more encounter based.


I said: "Some say Jesus died for everyone[...]"

Boom “Firstly, do you agree that this is one and the same with the statement, "Jesus died for our sins"??? Or do you make a distinction? “

My best answer I can give on that was already said, “Personally, I think that regardless of how it all works – salvation is in Jesus and no matter what order sins are paid for – Jesus is the way and source of that salvation."

Beyond that I don’t know.

I said "Personally, I think that regardless of how it all works – salvation is in Jesus and no matter what order sins are paid for – Jesus is the way and source of that salvation."

Boom “You still haven't really made it clear whether or not "our sins"(meaning everyone's) have been paid for(past tense). Here's what I'd like to know: When "Jesus" (supposedly) died on the cross, was that to pay for ALL people's "sins", or just the "sins" of Christians? Which is it?”

I know the kind of answer you are looking for, but to give it would not be in keeping with our discussion above, because I would just be going with something I’m not entirely sure about. The best answer I can give. I gave above already.

Karla said...

I said "As I’ve said, the burden of proof isn’t on me, it’s on Him."

Boom “This burden would be on you if you expected me to adopt a belief in Christianity based on your say-so, which, BTW, most Christians *do* expect me to believe on their say-so.”

I agree, most do. Or maybe not on their say so, but on the preponderance of evidence. They will expect you to believe because of historical data, or because you should believe what the Bible says. And I totally used to think that way. Not anymore. I think that’s short changing people. If what we say is the real deal you don’t have to accept it based on those things you can experience the reality from the horse’s mouth so to speak. You can encounter God for yourself and if I am pointing to any other way to Him, but Jesus Himself than I am doing a disservice.

Boom “But since you no longer expect that, then true, the burden is on this supposed "God", and if so, sharing what you (claim to) know about said "God" is pointless.”

Having a conversation about God isn’t pointless. Expecting the “reasons” discussed to be sufficient to convince a person to believe Jesus is pointless. I only continue this dialog because you are initiating it of your own free will. I’m not seeking you out to try and persuade you to anything. I’m simply responding to you in conversation.




Boom “When you say "believed God", I'm getting, take his word for it. Wouldn't you agree that to take someone's word for it, you would first have to believe the person exists?”

Right, how could he take God at his Word if He didn’t hear God? He had an encounter with God and believed God will keep His Word and do what He said was going to do and be who He presented Himself to be. His trust was in God. Of course, we know Abraham took things into his own hands and tried to make the promise happen, but God was still faithful and gave him the son and then the heirs he promised him.


Boom “That is not the commonly accepted definition of "faith". You are speaking of "trust"..e.g..I trust my significant other's promise to be monogamous, etc. In a *religious* context, "having faith" is the same type of "faith" that ALL religions require. And yes, there are cases in the bible where "faith" is clearly believing without seeing...

"We live by faith, not by sight." ~ Corinthians 5:7

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." ~ Hebrews 11:1


Believing without seeing isn’t the same as without any experience of the truth of the thing you are believing. Like with Abraham, he had experience with God and believed God without yet seeing the promise God said was coming. He wasn’t believing Santa Clause was going to come down his chimney on Christmas Eve because someone told him Santa does that. He encountered God and then believed God. All of the Hebrews 11 examples are like that. Noah built an Ark to house his family from a flood in a day it had never rained on faith – having encountered God and hearing God He believed God that this unseen flood was going to come. Mary encountered an angel who told her she was pregnant and she believed that she was pregnant even though she could not yet see evidence of this. This is faith. It starts with an encounter and then the belief develops.


We’ve got it all wrong when we expect it to start with faith and then lead to an encounter. I used to think like this, just a few years back, but now I see it all differently.

Karla said...


Boom ". I believe that you are sure of what you're hoping for(as seen in Hebrews 11:1), but longing for something to be true doesn't make it so.”

Longing for it doesn’t make it so. Hope, like faith, is produced by first encountering God. The God encounter produces those things. It is not the same as wishing for something to be true, or believing something to be true with nothing to go on except mustering faith.



Previously, me: "Then the ball is clearly in Jesus' court, not mine."

You respond: "Until He puts it in yours by making Himself real to you."

Then why wait? This supposed "God" can make "Himself real" to me right this second and I can still choose to accept/reject his policies and/or decide if I want to spend eternity on my knees worshiping "Him". This, again, illustrates very well how the whole "Divine Hiddenness" argument is a flimsy, fallacious apologetic.

"You’d have faith when you encountered Him. The encounter would produce it."

Boom “So, when I hear Christians spout, "Just have faith!", what that really means is to just wait around for "Him" to decide to reveal himself, and that revelation will give me the "faith". “

No, they usually really mean what you think they mean. I just don’t mean that. Nor do I think you have to wait around. You can seek Him too. But you don’t have to believe anything less than Him.

If I could prove every truth claim in the Bible to you this minute (and I cannot) it would NOT be a sufficient substitute for encountering Jesus.


Boom “It's not a "misnomer"; it's Christians like you who selectively alter definitions when your back is against the wall when attempting to square-up contradictions in your bible.”

You can see it that way if you like. But I’m not changing things for my benefit. I’m saying my words aren’t to be taken on faith, nor am I pressuring you to have faith. In no way, is what I’m saying helping me in some evangelistic effort. If anything I’m shooting myself in the foot. I’m certainly not helping to create a greater argument for why to believe Jesus.


Boom “That's just plain silly. I'm no more "already seeking" the Christian god than you're "already seeking" the Muslim god. “

I am speaking in the context that Jesus is the one true God and He is the one everybody needs. If there is also a Muslim god to seek then you can throw out everything I’ve said.



Boom “I already believed that there was "more than this". I changed my mind, despite that you project your own beliefs onto me..e.g...this CAN'T be it; there MUST be more!.”

I’m not attempting to project beliefs. I’ve already said I’m not putting stock in believing because you made up your mind to do so.


Boom “The "best time" for an omniscient being to act, is a moot point.”

The best time for you. We live in time, not Him.

Boom “This is yet one more serious quagmire that you've yet to overcome. The bible even tells Christians that they'll encounter nonbelievers. This means that nonbelievers are then necessary to "fulfill" the "Prophecy". That's some thick irony, there.”

We can help people encounter Jesus. But that’s different than trying to argue for Jesus until they are willing to accept His reality. It would look different than traditional evangelism, it would look more like the first century (healing the sick, raising the dead, prophesying, and other supernatural things).


Boom “That "agenda" would be humanism..i.e..putting humans first, and minimizing human suffering. Like that's somehow a bad thing.”

I believing in putting other people before myself, but at the same time only by a nation putting God first (not talking about a theocratic government) will human suffering truly be minimized. Only when we live according to true goodness are we going to stop hurting each other so badly.

boomSLANG said...

"I wasn’t contriving answers, but I wasn’t always giving it the time and thought I should have"

I can appreciate that, but if you weren't giving it the time and thought you should have, but yet, you were still giving some sort of answer, I have to wonder on what those answers were based. Time and thought hopefully gives an answer that's based on something, as opposed to what pops into mind at the time, especially if we're talking an answer that's attempting to clear up a previous response that was lacking.

"Sometimes there aren’t good answers. Sometimes I don’t know the good answer."

I'm willing to wager that 9 times out of 10 the reason for the latter is because of the former.

"I have said many times, just because I say Jesus is the Answer[...]"

The "answer" to which question, exactly?

"Only that He is what we are all looking for, whether we know it or not."

That, Karla, is an assertion for which you have not one scrap of objective evidence, and furthermore, for me it's one of the leading turn-offs about Christianity(my former beliefs). I.e..it allows people to believe that since "Jesus" is the magic(supernatural) "elixir" for their problems and that it presumes to answer the greatest questions in their lives, that this then means that it's what everyone else needs, too. Bull'. NO, it is not. Millions of decent, good, compassionate people, lead quality lives without your invisible biblegod, and they love their families just as much as you love yours.

"I don’t agree that the 'problem of evil' is a difficult problem for theologians. But as you have said we have been over that topic for months."

Disagree all you'd like. You don't need to agree with facts for them to be facts. That your answers to my question on the subject of "evil" are things like "I don't know", and now, "we have been over this", speaks volumes. I simply don't believe it is a "coincidence" that so many Christians, including you, have inadequate, unconvincing arguments for this dilemma and that "the problem of evil" is high on every nonbeliever's list of what they find unconvincing about Christianity.

There is no good reason why "free will" can coexist with an "absence of evil" in one location, but not in another. This "God" won't let "evil" subsist in "heaven", but strangely, he lets "evil" subsist on earth. On earth, "God" is mysteriously dependent on the very thing he warns us against. That is the elephant in the room.

To my question of whether or not every person's "sins" are paid for, you say...

"My best answer I can give on that was already said, 'Personally, I think that regardless of how it all works – salvation is in Jesus and no matter what order sins are paid for – Jesus is the way and source of that salvation'."

IOW, you can't (or won't) answer the very straight-forward question with a yes/no. I hope you can at least how people are skeptical of your beliefs.

"Right, how could he take God at his Word if He didn’t hear God?"

Are you suggesting that any instance of a person hearing an audible "voice" when there are no visible people around that it should be assumed it's "God"? What about schizophrenia? What about people's minds playing tricks on them? What about fictional stories? What, because your example is in the BIBLE it must have been genuine? Can you seriously not see the confirmation bias you employ??

"We’ve got it all wrong when we expect it to start with faith and then lead to an encounter."

And yet, you recommend "seeking" this "God" before the "encounter".(see below) That requires the very faith you say is "all wrong".

boomSLANG said...

you continue...."I used to think like this, just a few years back[....]

Right, back when you thought you had it right.

"[...]but now I see it all differently."

And will likely tell me that you can't be wrong this time, too. You are really something.

"Hope, like faith, is produced by first encountering God."

Where "hope" pertains to uncertainty or doubt..e.g..."I sure hope the Twins win this game!", what you just said is false. If I hear a voice and become convinced it was "God", I no longer need to "hope" that said "God" is real.

Previously, me: “So, when I hear Christians spout, 'Just have faith!', what that really means is to just wait around for 'Him' to decide to reveal himself, and that revelation will give me the 'faith'."

"No, they usually really mean what you think they mean. I just don’t mean that. Nor do I think you have to wait around. You can seek Him too."

And why would I repeat the same mistake twice? You see, you show me time and time again that you are a horrible listener. I've told you numerous times that I *already* sought "God" and I actually believed I had found him, based on the same sorts of "evidence" and experiences that you purport to have. Well, I changed my mind. I no longer believe that there was/is any "God" there. So, why you'd think that I'd, a) repeat a mistake, and b) seek a being who I don't believe has a referent in reality, speaks volumes.

"If anything I’m shooting myself in the foot. I’m certainly not helping to create a greater argument for why to believe Jesus."

Agreement! In fact, much of the time you're doing the exact opposite.

"I am speaking in the context that Jesus is the one true God and He is the one everybody needs."

How does your speaking in that context prove that I am actually "seeking" this supposed "God"(as you asserted)? By my merely talking about it? In any case, NO, I am not seeking this "God". If this "God" is one and the same guy in the OT, I would actually run the other direction if I knew I would encounter "Him". If I have this "God" all wrong(IOW, if the bible is wrong in its characterization), then, once more, this "God" can come find Me and tell me himself.

Previously, me: “The 'best time' for an omniscient being to act, is a moot point.”

You respond: "The best time for you. We live in time, not Him."

The best time for ME is moot, too, since, this "God" has known from the onset whether I'll believe, or not. If the latter, he can appear all he'd like. It will be of no practical value(aka MOOT) if he knows for certain I won't believe.

And BTW, if this "God" is everywhere at once(omnipresent), then he cannot be absent from "time".

"We can help people encounter Jesus."

How does that address the point I raised about the bible prophesying that Xians would encounter nonbelievers? Yes, you can try to help people encounter "Jesus", first, by convincing them that there is a Jesus" there. But even if you could, some nonbelievers are necessary to fulfill the "Prophecy".

"I believing in putting other people before myself, but at the same time only by a nation putting God first (not talking about a theocratic government) will human suffering truly be minimized."

Ah, so the implication is that this "God" allows a certain amount of suffering because 100% of us aren't "putting God first". Nice.

So, worship me just the way I want to be worshiped, or suffer!. It doesn't get more narcissistic than that.

boomSLANG said...

"Only when we live according to true goodness are we going to stop hurting each other so badly."

And since Christians cannot agree on what "true goodness" is; and since this "God" sits on his butt in hiding and lets his followers be confused on the issue, I guess we're going to keep hurting each other. Maybe we'll even blow the entire planet up over who has the most "peaceful" religion.

Karla said...

Boom “The "answer" to which question, exactly?”

Why am I here? What is my purpose? What gives my life meaning? How do we find peace, joy, love, patience, forgiveness? How do we stop hurting each other? And other questions like that. The answers are found in Jesus.


Boom “That, Karla, is an assertion for which you have not one scrap of objective evidence, and furthermore, for me it's one of the leading turn-offs about Christianity(my former beliefs).”

Ok. Try seeing it this way: If Jesus truly is who I am claiming or I should say who He claims to be then He is who everyone needs weather they know it or not. That isn’t a ridiculous conclusion. If He is not, then the whole conversation is worthless and meaningless. Nothing else I say matters whatsoever if He isn’t real and truly the Savior of the world.

So you can disagree that He is real, but in the context of Him being real it is very logical that He is who we all yearn for weather we are aware of it or not. Because if He is real He created us to be united with Him and thus without Him we are not fully who we are designed to be.


Boom “Millions of decent, good, compassionate people, lead quality lives without your invisible biblegod, and they love their families just as much as you love yours.”

It’s not about can we be moral enough without Jesus. It is about can we be fully who we are designed to be without Him who we are made to live life with.


Boom “There is no good reason why "free will" can coexist with an "absence of evil" in one location, but not in another. This "God" won't let "evil" subsist in "heaven", but strangely, he lets "evil" subsist on earth. On earth, "God" is mysteriously dependent on the very thing he warns us against. That is the elephant in the room.”

Is this really the crucial issue for you? If this was answered by someone satisfactorily then that would solve the question of God? I don’t see how that could do it for you. I don’t see, now, how anything less than encountering God for yourself could be adequate. Thus I don’t see much purpose in discussing something I don’t’ really have an explanation for at this time because I don’t see it as something that would help you anyway.

To my question of whether or not every person's "sins" are paid for, you say...


Boom “Are you suggesting that any instance of a person hearing an audible "voice" when there are no visible people around that it should be assumed it's "God"? What about schizophrenia? What about people's minds playing tricks on them? What about fictional stories? What, because your example is in the BIBLE it must have been genuine? Can you seriously not see the confirmation bias you employ??”

You’d know when you encountered Jesus – there wouldn’t be a question as to if it was really Him.


Boom “And yet, you recommend "seeking" this "God" before the "encounter".(see below) That requires the very faith you say is "all wrong".”

It doesn’t require faith necessarily. It needs only a heart that looks for more than this natural existence. Something inside that yearns for it to be true. But at the same time, not everyone comes to that place first. C.S. Lewis said he had no desire for Christianity to be true when he came to know it was all real.

Karla said...

Boom “Right, back when you thought you had it right.”

Do you think the exact same way you thought years ago? Or do you grow in knowledge and understanding and maturity?

Boom “And will likely tell me that you can't be wrong this time, too. You are really something.”

You are just picking now.


Boom “Where "hope" pertains to uncertainty or doubt..e.g..."I sure hope the Twins win this game!", what you just said is false. If I hear a voice and become convinced it was "God", I no longer need to "hope" that said "God" is real.”

No you won’t need hope that God is real. You will need hope to navigate life for many reasons, but not for that one. I don’t use the word “hope” like your example. That’s like saying love is a good choice when one says “I love ice cream” -- it is much too great a word for that and yet we use it that way all the time. We love ice cream and our favorite tv show and our spouse and our kids? Somehow it would seem meaning gets weakened when we use the same word for ice cream.

Boom “. I've told you numerous times that I *already* sought "God" and I actually believed I had found him, based on the same sorts of "evidence" and experiences that you purport to have.”

You may very well have found Him and need to encounter Him again. I’m not going to discount that. I’ve told Mike on this same forum that I don’t discount his prior relationship with Jesus. Nor do I discount your past. It seems it is you who discount it since you have turned from that way. I get it, you want it to be more real than it was if you are to continue that path again. That’s cool with me. And I’m sure it’s cool with Him too.

Boom “Well, I changed my mind. I no longer believe that there was/is any "God" there. So, why you'd think that I'd, a) repeat a mistake, and b) seek a being who I don't believe has a referent in reality, speaks volumes.”

Jesus is the Good Shepard that goes after the one stray sheep – meaning He is seeking you regardless of what seeking you do. He is pursuing your heart. When you become aware that He is still loving you you will find your first love again. Here is where hope comes in for me -- I have hope for you to have an incredible encounter and renewed relationship with Jesus. I don’t just wish it, I can see it happening for you – that is where the hope happens in me.

Karla said...

I said: "If anything I’m shooting myself in the foot. I’m certainly not helping to create a greater argument for why to believe Jesus."

Boom “Agreement! In fact, much of the time you're doing the exact opposite.”

Good. Then you can never say someone argued you into it. When it happens it will be the real deal because it certainly won’t come about because I had some stellar argument.

I said "We can help people encounter Jesus."

Boom “ Yes, you can try to help people encounter "Jesus", first, by convincing them that there is a Jesus" there. But even if you could, some nonbelievers are necessary to fulfill the "Prophecy".”

I’m not sure what prophecy you are talking about. You don’t need to be convinced Jesus is real before you encounter Him. If you live in a region where there is no snow ever and you have no tv to see snow you don’t have to believe snow is real to know it to be true when you visit Alaska and walk in it.


I said : "I believing in putting other people before myself, but at the same time only by a nation putting God first (not talking about a theocratic government) will human suffering truly be minimized."

Boom “Ah, so the implication is that this "God" allows a certain amount of suffering because 100% of us aren't "putting God first". Nice.”

Not what I said. People hurt people because they don’t practice the way of God. I’m not talking about God bringing suffering. I’m talking about people being selfish, dishonest, violent, abusive, careless, etc.


Boom “So, worship me just the way I want to be worshiped, or suffer!. It doesn't get more narcissistic than that.”

Not sure how you heard that – I said nothing of the sort.

boomSLANG said...

"Why am I here?"

Because your biological mother and father made a decision to have sexual intercourse. Had they not, you wouldn't be here. The same goes for my parents and me, and everyone else's parents and them.

"What is my purpose?"

If your "purpose" is whatever a "God" says it is, then obviously it is not your "purpose", but his/hers. Me? My "purpose" is whatever I make it.

"What gives my life meaning?"

You do. If you decided that a "God" gives your life meaning, it's you who decided it. On the other hand, if you decided that a "God" assigns your "meaning" for you, it's not your "meaning", but his/hers.

"How do we find peace, joy, love, patience, forgiveness?"

By having things like empathy and compassion, neither of which are exclusive to Christianity, FYI.

"How do we stop hurting each other?"

By stopping. Unfortunately, as long as theists like you believe that they know the "Will" of the "Creator of the Universe", there will be people "hurting each other" in the name of "God", when actually, blowing each other up is a better description.

"And other questions like that. Jesus is the answer"

You are simply wrong that "Jesus" is the "answer" to those questions, exclusively. And even if it was the "answer", you haven't proven that "Jesus" is anything but a "concept" in a book and in people's heads.

"Try seeing it this way: If Jesus truly is who I am claiming or I should say who He claims to be then He is who everyone needs [whether] they know it or not. That isn’t a ridiculous conclusion."

But it's a ridiculous argument because of its blatant circularity, aka, begging the question.

IOW, you are essentially saying believe I'm right and then you'll see my point. It's amazing that you constantly repeat the same fallacious arguments.

"It’s not about can we be moral enough without Jesus."

The "we" part is proven; the "Jesus" part is not proven.

So, *if* the part that isn't proven is argued to be needed for things like "morality" and "compassion", as you, other Xians, and your bibles proclaim, then my point stands: We can be moral and compassionate WITHOUT "Jesus".

"It is about can we be fully who we are designed to be without Him who we are made to live life with."

We were presumably "designed" to have "free will", since the alternative would be to DESIGN us programmed to believe.

So, since some people will use their "free will" to find the evidence completely lacking, that is at least part of the "design", especially when factoring in this designer's omniscience.

And BTW, each time I bring up the omniscience subject, you offer nothing to overcome it. If your biblegod knew the outcome of the future set of events, then that future is fixed. 'Know what that means? It means that some people are destined to be nonbelievers. Feel free to fix it.

"Is [the free will/absence of evil issue] really the crucial issue for you?"

It's one of many.(see above for another)

"If this was answered by someone satisfactorily then that would solve the question of God?"

You mean "Yahweh". And no, it wouldn't be conclusive evidence for said god, but it would make Christianity more believable.

boomSLANG said...

"[...]I don’t see much purpose in discussing something I don’t’ really have an explanation for at this time because I don’t see it as something that would help you anyway"

I must say, this seems like sort of a cop-out. As it stands, the central tenets of Xianity don't make sense to me, and this contributes to my unbelief that there is actually a "God" there to "encounter", and yet, at the same time, you say that Xians can "help" people encounter this supposed "God".

The way I see it, you can only do two things to "help": 1) ask your god to stop hiding and give me the evidence that would convince me, and 2) square-up the numerous inconsistencies within the central tenets of Xianity.

You now say that 2 wouldn't help me even if you could provide convincing explanations, so in my mind, that leaves 1.

Once again, it's all on this (supposed) "God".

"You’d know when you encountered Jesus – there wouldn’t be a question as to if it was really Him."

Based on what, exactly? A feeling? Something in my "heart" besides blood? And I hope you realize the implication here. You are suggesting that once someone is completely convinced that a voice is "really Him", that he or she loses the freedom with which to change his or her mind. So? You can't change your mind? Or you will never, ever, ever, ever desire to change it? Which is it?

"It doesn’t require faith necessarily."

Yes, it does.

"It needs only a heart that looks for more than this natural existence."

Which requires the type of "faith" I've been talking about, the type that when people use it, you say they have it "all wrong". You have contradicted yourself yet one more time.

"Something inside that yearns for it to be true"

This is what I said previously about hoping. You have just describe "hope" to a tee.

"Do you think the exact same way you thought years ago?"

No. I no longer rely on things like hearsay, feelings, or revelation for knowledge, and I'll never go back to those things because they are unreliable. The proof that they are unreliable is that people of opposing "faith" are convinced that they are right(as you are), and yet, we both know they are wrong.

"Or do you grow in knowledge and understanding and maturity?"

Yes, grow...away from accepting mythology as "Truth".

Previously, me: “And will likely tell me that you can't be wrong this time, too. You are really something.”

You respond: "You are just picking now."

Call it "picking" if you'd like. I believe you'd tell me that you can't be wrong at this stage, too. Feel free to set the record straight, though.

"I don’t use the word 'hope' like your example."

I'm well aware of that. You make up your *own* language and definitions which is why there's a disconnect. E.g..."substantive faith".

"Somehow it would seem meaning gets weakened when we use the same word for ice cream"

The colloquial meaning of the statement "I love ice cream" is I like ice cream a whole lot. No sane person would equate it to the meaning of "love" in the statement, "I love my spouse!" No one wants to "make love" to ice cream. IMO, your analogy is inapt.

"I get it, you want it to be more real than it was if you are to continue that path again."

Correct. More than fuzzy, warm feelings; more than watching cheesy, parlor-trick "miracles" on TV or at the mall; more than because the bible says so; more than because Xian's say so.

boomSLANG said...

3 "That’s cool with me. And I’m sure it’s cool with Him too."

Right, it's "cool with Him", but mysteriously, the evidence for "Him" - evidence that would need to be more substantive than previous evidence - is nowhere to be found. I don't believe this is just a coincidence.

"Jesus is the Good Shepard that goes after the one stray sheep – meaning He is seeking you regardless of what seeking you do"

Utterly preposterous. An omniscient, omnipotent being who would be "seeking" me would know right where to find me, and furthermore, he/she/it would have the wherewithal to give me precisely what would convince me.

You are making flimsy excuses for a nonexistent "God", just as I used to do.

"Good. Then you can never say someone argued you into it. When it happens it will be the real deal because it certainly won’t come about because I had some stellar argument."

True, on the lack of a stellar argument. But you seem to be assuming that one day I'll be convinced by the "real deal", which is to ignore the fact that some nonbelievers are required in order to coincide with the bible saying there will be nonbelievers/doubters/"fools", etc.

"I’m not sure what prophecy you are talking about."

Really? For one, all throughout Revelations, for instance...

"Don't be deceived like many, WHO WILL worship the Antichrist or his Image, and receive his mark"[bold and caps added].

There's more where that came from.

"People hurt people because they don’t practice the way of God."

For that statement to hold up, you would have to be able to demonstrate to me that you possess knowledge as to what "the way of God" is. Even Christians cannot agree what that "way" is, and so, I'm not simply taking your word for it. "God is love" one minute, and the next minute he's saying homosexuals are an abomination and should be killed. Sky's the limit as to what "the way of God" is. He's a loose canon.

"I’m talking about people being selfish, dishonest, violent, abusive, careless, etc."

Christians have been known to be all of the above. Are you saying those weren't "True Christians"?

Think about the canard, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven", before you answer.

Previously, me: “So, worship me just the way I want to be worshiped, or suffer! It doesn't get more narcissistic than that.”

You respond: "Not sure how you heard that – I said nothing of the sort."

You don't need to say it; it's implied throughout.

In Christianity, our suffering is always attributed to our "sin". Accepting "Jesus" gets you off the hook for said "sin", which then gets you an eternity of worshiping "God" just as he wishes. This "God" even gets "jealous" if people worship other gods. Classic narcissism.

Karla said...

Boom we are getting into stuff we have been over many times before. I really don't want to take your time repeating myself (and I know you don't want that). I didn't see anything new to say to your last comments.

Right now we are talking in two different languages.

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boomSLANG said...

Okay, fair enough. As long as it doesn't come to a close because you feel I'm being combative, rude, or not asking questions in earnest, etc., I'm good with throwing my hands up on this particular thread. I've laid out why I find the central tenets of Christianity unconvincing as concisely as I know how. You even concede that you don't have good answers in some cases. I still contend that you don't have good answers for any of it. But the readers can decide.

In bringing this thread to a close, if, on the extremely, extremely, extremely off-chance there's a "God", and this "God" is actually things like "all-loving" and "infinitely merciful", I don't feel that he/she/it would fault or punish me for requiring that his/her/its existence make sense to me before believing. After all, it is that characters such as Allah, Osiris, Quetzacoatl, and hundreds more gods believed to have existed through history don't make sense, that I disbelieve in them. In which case, it would be foolish of me to "seek" any of them.

Karla said...

Boom "In bringing this thread to a close, if, on the extremely, extremely, extremely off-chance there's a "God", and this "God" is actually things like "all-loving" and "infinitely merciful", I don't feel that he/she/it would fault or punish me for requiring that his/her/its existence make sense to me before believing."

I've never said different. I don't believe God asks us to believe without any cause to do so. Historically, biblically, and presently encountering, experiencing, coming in contact with Him is what produces faith and belief. That is why I believe, I wouldn't expect people to accept less, nor does He.

boomSLANG said...

Previously, me: In bringing this thread to a close, if, on the extremely, extremely, extremely off-chance there's a "God", and this "God" is actually things like "all-loving" and "infinitely merciful", I don't feel that he/she/it would fault or punish me for requiring that his/her/its existence make sense to me before believing.

You respond: "I've never said different."

You've highly suggested differently on many occasions, though. For instance, you say an "experience" will clear everything up. Well, no, it won't necessarily clear everything up. If I met this "God" face-to-face, this "God" would then have to supply a satisfactory explanation for why he behaved like a flippin' jerk throughout the bible. If he cannot(or will not) provide such an explanation, then it doesn't make sense that I simply forget about his past and just worship him anyway.

Then months ago I asked you, point blank, will it be my fault if I die a non-Christian/non-believer, and you answered "yes". I asked you if I deserve the punishment for that(i.e.."Hell"), and you answered "yes".

This, in a round-about way, is telling me that at some point this "God" will finally decide to stop hiding, and at the "best time", will reveal himself in a way that I cannot deny. You say an "experience" with this "God" is unmistakable, but yet, you cite "hearing God's voice" as an example of an "experience". Well, I'm very sorry, Karla, but hearing a voice and seeing no one requires the type of "faith" that I reject. In which case, your "God" will see to it that I'm fried 24/7 for not accepting his existence on "faith". That does not make sense, and it doesn't align with what I say about if there is an "infinitely merciful" "God" who values my using my brain, he won't punish me for using it.

"I don't believe God asks us to believe without any cause to do so."

Except that "any cause" is not necessarily one and the same as "convincing evidence". For instance, you believe "hearing God's voice" is good cause. I disagree.

"Historically, biblically, and presently encountering, experiencing, coming in contact with Him is what produces faith and belief."

I have to adopt this very different, and as it stands, this very nonsensical language, in order for that to compute. In the context of your language, above, it doesn't compute(make sense) that I need "faith" to harbor a belief in individuals whom I am thoroughly convinced exist..e.g...my mother, my neighbor, my postman, etc. My believing in those individuals doesn't require "faith", nor does it "give me faith". You are digging a deeper hole, so we should probably stop here.

Aaron said...

Good morning Karla,

It has been a while since I have visited. Spiritual orbits. I was googling assymetries that I discussed. I am putting the ideas together from my blog into a more formal proof of the interactions of the universe. Your site showed up on a list of discussions where equality was discussed. This is how I found your site again.

Neither here nor there. My mother died a Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian. I hope she is happy where she is. The problem I am wrestling with now is I feel no remorse/loss for her.

She hated me for not believing in her delusion. Always being compaired to Jesus is a hard mark to reach for. I gave up at an early age. There was no way I could raise the dead. Although my work to describe my epilepsy was dismissed by her, mostly because Jesus already healed the Epileptic.

She is/was loved in her community. Prople flocked to her love were Christians. She would not allow non-Christians to marry in her chapel. She even convinced her sister that I was akin to satan, and dangerous. In her story I was not going to heaven thus not worth spiritual life. When I would show a deep Christian knowledge and practice, I was just placating. She knows I practice with other spiritual tools.

I would call her all the time, moreso as she approached death. Nearly went bankrupt to be with her and hold her hand during this painful time. She told me it was not appropriate for a son to hold his mother's hand as an adult.

This story has nothing to do with you, but since you are one of the most intelligent and compassionate Christians I have found. It ends up here. Thanks for listening

Aaron
Aaronsreality.blogspot.com

Karla said...

Hi Aaron. Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for trusting me with your story. That means a lot to me.

It is impossible for us to work up to being like Jesus. It is possible for Jesus to transform us, but it is never something achieved by our works. That kind of religious pressure will hurt people and destroy relationships. I'm sorry your mom was trapped in that way of thinking and that it caused a rift in your relationship. The fault is not yours. To feel relief and maybe regret but not remorse is normal. Your feelings or lack of feeling is not wrong.

If we look at the life of Jesus we see a man who loved the most down and out of society. He loved the out cast, the forsaken ones, the sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, the ones everyone else hated.

People who love Jesus love those people too. They are more concerned with loving a sinner (which all of us have sinned) than pointing out their sin. Remember Jesus and how He did not throw any stones or bring any condemnation to the woman caught in adultery.

I would love to talk with you more, but only as much as you want to talk. I am getting ready to leave the house at the moment, but I didn't want to leave without responding to your post.

I hope most of all you don't carry guilt for the division between you and your mother. Religion divides in the worst way and it isn't your fault.

I love Jesus and follow Him with all my heart, but I don't believe in religion. I know that may seem a strange thing to say, but I think having a relationship with God does not necessitate religion. Christianity can be a relationship with God or it can be a harmful religion. But we can discuss that more later if you wish.

I wish you well. I appreciate your kind words and your sharing your story with me.

boomSLANG said...

"She hated me for not believing in her delusion. Always being compaired to Jesus is a hard mark to reach for." ~ Aaron

Hi, Aaron. I can sympathize a bit with what you're saying here, as, while the Xian fundamentalist grandparents who raised me in my formative years never "hated" me, they certainly indoctrinated me with the Christian meme, including, warning me of the peril I'd face if I didn't believe. As you know, I speak of the doctrine of "hell". I laid awake many a night thinking about "hell", and I never felt completely secure that I'd be worthy of not going there. After all, as early as age 9 I had doubts - for instance, when I learned about Captain Noah and his "ark", I knew that something was seriously amiss - and as you know, "doubt" is "evil". But of course, being that young I was told to just have more "faith".

Anyway, the ensuing anxiety of never knowing for sure if I'd escape "hell" weighed heavily on me for years. As you probably know, the Christian "solution" to this, as Christians will tell you, is "Jesus". But in fact, "Jesus", if he existed at all, spoke of no other subject more. Yes, he may have hung out with prostitutes and the like, but his behavior other times is nothing to be admired and his attention to what would happen to non-Disciples is undeniable.

Anyway, my advice is to try to understand that no one, including your mom, asks/asked to be indoctrinated. Christians are victims.

I hope you find peace and understanding in your life, and I admonish you to not look to religion(or "Jesus") for that peace and understanding, but instead, look to your *own* understanding and to those people who've actually been in your shoes.

Peace and mirth, boom'