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What do you think of this verse?

"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, because whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him." Heb. 11: 6

Or this one: "Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?"

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...which is pretty much a death threat. I think perhaps what you guys miss when in discussion with Richard is that a text is not a trump card. It can outline beliefs, but it can't in itself shoot down an argument. From his perspective (not mine) these kinds of depictions in the Bible are part of the problem, not the solution.

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...which is pretty much a death threat. I think perhaps what you guys miss when in discussion with Richard is that a text is not a trump card. It can outline beliefs, but it can't in itself shoot down an argument. From his perspective (not mine) these kinds of depictions in the Bible are part of the problem, not the solution.

Rich, do you have kids? If so, how do you warn them not to do dangerous stuff and how do you encourage them to do behaviors that you see as good for them?

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(PS don't mean to speak for you, cardw, please correct me if I mischaracterise your ideas)

Thank you. It tells me that you are listening. You have accurately described my thoughts.

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I'm willing to bet he doesn't threaten to kill his kids unless they do his will.

Which you believe God does. :\

OK. I absolutely believe that God has determined the happiness of all holy beings is threatened by the ongoing existence of the unrepentant criminals in the universe. If you don't believe that, have fun with whatever you do believe. God is trying to save all He can, but He will by no means clear the guilty. So, yes, He is saying that they will die.

But the objection to what I've written above has been taken one step further on this thread to say that it is bad for God to offer any reward for complying with His will. I'm wondering if even fallen humans are calloused enough to outlaw positive rewards and whether there is ANY justification for criticizing God for doing this.

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I think there's a bit of a conflation of two issues. One is what you say, about God's promised rewards. I think I agree with you that there's no fundamental problem with that.

The other one is thornier: does He actually deliver on these promises? Well, sure, if you take the definition you've used, which is that even death, disease, rape or utter calamity can be considered blessings, as well as the good stuff, then he does deliver. But, um... that's completely indistinguishable from just life, luck and circumstances. All those things, both good and bad, happen to atheists and believers in other religions at exactly the same rates as they happen to Christian believers. So there really *is* no positive reward for believing.

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All those things, both good and bad, happen to atheists and believers in other religions at exactly the same rates as they happen to Christian believers. So there really *is* no positive reward for believing.

I feel really bad for you and Rich, but I can't help you if you are absolutely certain that you have seen no blessings from God in your lives.

Apart from that, I'm wondering why you two are so anxious to put down on my knowledge that God blesses me and others. Are you trying to assist us on our journey through life? How does this help?

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Not doing that at all: if you believe God blesses you in your life, and you perceive those blessings, then... blessings be upon you, I guess.

For me, it's a matter of logic. I have to think and write and argue out points in a logical way. I'm absolutely, 100%, *not* trying to destroy anyone else's faith, or take anything away from them.

I'm trying to understand. I'm trying to build, grow and engage my own faith. I'm trying to learn about God. But I have to think it through, I have to look at the evidence. It's who I am.

And for that, Shane's testimony in the other thread was really helpful. That was a real and life-changing set of events or beliefs.

To be honest, a lot of what I'm doing is trying to cling on to God by my fingertips, while the brethren lace up their hobnailed boots...

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Originally Posted By: Bravus
All those things, both good and bad, happen to atheists and believers in other religions at exactly the same rates as they happen to Christian believers. So there really *is* no positive reward for believing.

I feel really bad for you and Rich, but I can't help you if you are absolutely certain that you have seen no blessings from God in your lives.

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All of this is fear based. And reason can easily observe that a life based on fear is a miserable life. As a metaphor, we all have to face our demon. It is at this point that a person can awaken to something much bigger than themselves and it's not the god of the Bible. It's something much bigger than any religion or any thought that anyone has ever had.

I guess everyone here at CA either buys into your thinking or doesn't want to stand up for Jesus. I gotta tell you - I consider this the height of effrontery, Rich. Do you seriously think you can call every Bible believing person a fearful fool and expect me to appreciate it?

I don't.

I've prayed that God will reveal Himself to you and to Bravus. We shall see what develops.

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Quote:
To be honest, a lot of what I'm doing is trying to cling on to God by my fingertips, while the brethren lace up their hobnailed boots...

Amen...I'm not the only one.

aldona

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The challenging part about faith to the logically-thinking mind is that there is no logic to it. Otherwise it wouldn't be faith.

You may find the greatest evidence for faith in the most simple-minded person who is joyous and carefree.

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Originally Posted By: cardw

All of this is fear based. And reason can easily observe that a life based on fear is a miserable life. As a metaphor, we all have to face our demon. It is at this point that a person can awaken to something much bigger than themselves and it's not the god of the Bible. It's something much bigger than any religion or any thought that anyone has ever had.

I guess everyone here at CA either buys into your thinking or doesn't want to stand up for Jesus. I gotta tell you - I consider this the height of effrontery, Rich. Do you seriously think you can call every Bible believing person a fearful fool and expect me to appreciate it?

This has nothing to do with whether you appreciate it or not. It's not about you or me. It has to do with what is true.

At least for me, I need to have evidence before I believe something is true. Otherwise I have to admit that I don't know.

From my experience, when people have faith in something destructive, there is no amount of reasoning that can change their mind and they go on destroying people's lives thinking they are doing the right thing.

When people have faith in something helpful, the opposite occurs. They go around doing good, no matter what the reasoning is. So it seems obvious to me that faith is not the determining factor, but the results of their actions.

We do things all the time not knowing exactly how something works, but we do it because the outcome is favorable. The difference is that fundamentalist Christians don't pay attention to the outcomes when the outcomes tell them that their view of what the bible is saying is incorrect, because they have been taught to ignore outcomes in the name of faith. Their reasoning is because "the Bible told me so" or in your case you're "standing up for Jesus."

These are just codes words that keep people doing the same things and distract them from looking at the results of their actions and teachings.

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All of this is fear based. And reason can easily observe that a life based on fear is a miserable life. As a metaphor, we all have to face our demon. It is at this point that a person can awaken to something much bigger than themselves and it's not the god of the Bible. It's something much bigger than any religion or any thought that anyone has ever had.

I'm wondering if anybody besides me fails to see logic in what you posted above, Rich.

How were you able to think about something that's bigger than any thought that anyone has ever had? By definition, you can't think that unless you're not anyone.

Sivart, where are you when we need you to point these things out?

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The challenging part about faith to the logically-thinking mind is that there is no logic to it. Otherwise it wouldn't be faith.

You may find the greatest evidence for faith in the most simple-minded person who is joyous and carefree.

You may be talking about the idea that ignorance is bliss.

The advantage of simple mindedness is less responsibility. That is one of the gifts of childhood.

I use the concept of faith because I can choose to be irrationally fearful or I can choose to be irrationally hopeful. I define faith as a bridge between the known and the unknown.

I prefer to have knowledge, but in the absence of knowledge I have found hope much more useful than fear. And that doesn't insult my intelligence.

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I use the concept of faith because I can choose to be irrationally fearful or I can choose to be irrationally hopeful. I define faith as a bridge between the known and the unknown.

I prefer to have knowledge, but in the absence of knowledge I have found hope much more useful than fear. And that doesn't insult my intelligence.

So where do you derive your certainty that all who believe in the God of the Bible are irrationally fearful?

I'm hopeful.

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Originally Posted By: cardw

I use the concept of faith because I can choose to be irrationally fearful or I can choose to be irrationally hopeful. I define faith as a bridge between the known and the unknown.

I prefer to have knowledge, but in the absence of knowledge I have found hope much more useful than fear. And that doesn't insult my intelligence.

So where do you derive your certainty that all who believe in the God of the Bible are irrationally fearful?

I'm hopeful.

That idea is not in there. There is no mention of people who believe in the Bible, nor have I suggested that all people who believe in the Bible are irrationally fearful.

In fact I have stated that, for some, this solves the problem of fear. The problem is when one solution for fear is taught as the only way and the fear part comes if you don't follow that way god will kill you. That is essentially a fear core for belief.

Even if you do it for a reward there is still the fear of what if I don't get the reward. These ideas that you call "sound theology" are the low bar of meaning and ethics.

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Even if you do it for a reward there is still the fear of what if I don't get the reward. These ideas that you call "sound theology" are the low bar of meaning and ethics.

Let me know all the truth you actually do know, Rich. Meanwhile, you'll just have to forgive me for believing in Christ. I have derived no hope whatsoever from what you have posted on this thread. On the other hand, I have received a great deal of hope from what Christ has said. I'll stick with Him.

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I see "faith" and "hope" being mentioned a lot...

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

I think that even if you have a lot of faith, and your faith gives you hope, that's not nearly as important as your faith and hope teaching you to love.

Which is where the "love God or die" theology sort of takes a down turn... :(

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Originally Posted By: cardw

Even if you do it for a reward there is still the fear of what if I don't get the reward. These ideas that you call "sound theology" are the low bar of meaning and ethics.

Let me know all the truth you actually do know, Rich. Meanwhile, you'll just have to forgive me for believing in Christ. I have derived no hope whatsoever from what you have posted on this thread. On the other hand, I have received a great deal of hope from what Christ has said. I'll stick with Him.

Instead of honestly addressing the issue of the "reward/punishment" model being the low bar of meaning and ethics, you rely on some sound byte.

I guess I'm not really talking to you since you seemed to be satisfied with your own world view, but I am grateful for you helping to illustrate my points.

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I see "faith" and "hope" being mentioned a lot...

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

I think that even if you have a lot of faith, and your faith gives you hope, that's not nearly as important as your faith and hope teaching you to love.

Which is where the "love God or die" theology sort of takes a down turn... :(

I agree with your observation. I see love and fear as being opposites and I certainly would agree that having love, rather than fear, as the core motivation brings a much deeper meaning to life. And hope, rather than being the primary source, becomes a byproduct of love.

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Simple question: not an attack or even an really an argument.

In this thread, who in general has exhibited the greatest peace and security, and who the greatest aggression?

(I know, to some extent it's in the eye of the beholder. The more interesting perspectives will be from those *not* the principal discussants...)

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Well .... some feel they need to beat someone into a love relationship, obedience and the TRUTH. It's TRUTH at all cost.

Personally ... I think TRUTH is over-rated. I prefer to stick with love and see what happens from there.

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