To those done with religion but not God and my kids (Click FOLLOW for future Posts; See ABOUT/USING THIS SITE tab to navigate Site)

Decades ago, I was taught things about God that I couldn’t imagine would be true of a loving God. See here.  I can imagine some had no reason to doubt what authorities were teaching them, which eventually lead to leaving God or making God less a part of their life. Why follow a God you couldn’t respect. Question if what you hear doesn’t seem to be right what a loving God would truly be like. You may be right! These are the main beliefs that nagged at me that I became convinced couldn’t be true of a loving God:

That God created a place such as Hell for those who didn’t accept God in their life here on earth. We human wouldn’t even create such a place and consequences for our worst enemies.

What Does God Believe About Hell?

That God actually believes women were not as gifted as men leading in at worship setting or at home. What Does God Think About Women?

That God condemns gays for a choice they have no control over – being gay. Gays no more than straights choose control being attracted to the same or opposite gender. What Does God Believe About Gays?

That God only lets into heaven those who believe in and accept Jesus into their hearts. Half the world born never had a Bible or knew of Jesus. What Does God Think Of Non-Christian Religions?

That God controlled the minds and pens of the writers of the Bible. A loving God who created freedom can never act controlling. Don’t believe everything the Bible claims God did. What Does God Think About An Inspired Bible?

That God foreknows the future. If God already knows what choices we make, this denies the reality of freedom. God actually joins with us with all the joys and pain of an unknown future. What Does God Know About The Future?

That God is a mystery sometimes, because the Bible contributes immoral behaviors to God. This makes assumptions about the Bible and implies God can be a moral hypocrite – “do as I say not what I do.” What Does God Think About Being Labeled Mysterious Or Hypocritical?

I am grateful for the relationship I have with my Creator, but the emphasis on we are obligated to constantly tell God how great they are doesn’t seem natural or relational. I am convinced God doesn’t like to appear egotistical. What Does God Think About Being Told How Great They Are?

Most would agree the Bible says to forgive. To one’s surprise the Bible can also be interpreted to suggest forgiveness requires regret. It matters what we tell others, especially victims. What Does God Think About Forgiving The Guilty Who Deny Wrongdoing?

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

I am not going to attempt to answer this question with Bible verses. Most would agree the Bible says to forgive. To one’s surprise the Bible can also be interpreted to suggest forgiveness requires regret. It isn’t too presumptuous to imagine what a loving God is like though our moral intuitions, our consciences. We aren’t always certain how to best love, but most sense that we or a Creator ought to love others as we want to be loved.

Why it matters whether to tell others to forgive or not

Victims can feel more victimized, and feel God must not understand their pain, when told to forgive their abuser no matter what. What is there to forgive when one denies wrongdoing? Easy forgiveness can allow a husband’s abusive behavior to continue. When a sexual abuser doesn’t acknowledge their actions, secret behaviors continue. Isn’t the whole point to do whatever helps control bitterness and stop more victimization, though forgiveness doesn’t wash away memories.

The Bible surprisingly says to not forgive sometimes

One may be surprised to see the Bible can also be read to suggest forgiveness requires regret thus admission. The implication is we don’t necessarily have to forgive those who lie about their actions. God is said to forgive if we forgive others (Mt. 6:14-15). Forgive if they repent (Lk. 17:3). God in the OT is often said to not forgive the rebellious (i.e. Josh. 24:19). It’s hard to defend a loving Creator would ask us to do something God doesn’t – forgive the unrepentant.

The Bible isn’t a question-and-answer Book

My point is not to insist one should or shouldn’t forgive in their circumstances. Usually, there are different opinions on meaning and application of the same passage. The Bible was never meant to be a rules book but for reflection in one’s circumstances. “Turning the other cheek” doesn’t mean a women should accept abuse at the hands of her husband. The Bible is valuable because it suggests not always handling certain circumstances naturally, humanly-speaking. Bitterness or revenge can worsen a victim’s circumstances.

But Jesus said to turn the other cheek (Mt. 5:39)

Some scholars suggest Jesus advising to “turn the other cheek” (Mt 5:39) was illustrating how to respond to insults, not that we can never respond to violence against us or others. Other scholars have suggested a possible literal translation of Mt. 5:39 is “do not resist by evil means.” This doesn’t mean nations can’t defend against evil dictators. Jesus often used hyperbole for emphasis without stating exceptions. It seems best to neither seek vengeance nor to ignore possible justice. If one is truly sorry, shouldn’t they readily admit their guilt?

When do we forgive?

For some forgiving can cause feelings of further victimization and bitterness; for others forgiving can control bitterness and possible acts of revenge. Many may be haunted with thoughts whether they must forgive their violator at the urging of others. We are free to make the wisest choice we know without being guilted by others about God. God may not be as non-empathetic as thought. Consider forgiveness if one admits guilt and seeks to make amends. Whether a future relationship is possible depends. Seek the mind of God what actions in relationship difficulties lead to your best interest in the long-run in a world full of disappointments.

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

Christians can make faith too complicated. They insist on a set of beliefs or saying a magic prayer. It is said you can’t just believe there is a God. After all the Devil believes there is a God! But the Devil was committed to opposing God. Even the Bible doesn’t declare faith to be a set of beliefs but hope in what you can’t see. (Heb 11:1) Do you hope/believe in a good God and want help to be more the person you deep down desire to be? Then, I am convinced God welcomes you.

You don’t have to accept the Bible when contradicts your moral inclinations 

I have written a great deal about RETHINKING THE BIBLE  Certain views of the Bible has kept many from following God. The Bible can’t be the authoritative guide about God because we disagree what it says about many moral issues including Hell, gays, women’s roles, etc. And even if our interpretations were infallible, we can’t be sure the biblical writers always knew or portrayed God accurately. Honestly, I trust my moral intuitions more than I do any biblical interpretation. 

You don’t have to be a church-goer 

In the Bible “Church” was not a building one attended once a week. Jesus referred to His followers as being the Church. Jesus didn’t specify where followers must gather or what they must do. Find environments to be encouraged and inspired to love as radically as Jesus did. A mediator between God and you such as a pastor or priest isn’t necessary. Pursue God on your own terms. Do not feel God thinks any less of you if decide to not attend the traditional church.

What did Jesus mean when said “follow me?” 

Jesus didn’t ask the disciples for certain commitments before following Him. He certainly didn’t ask for unshakable belief. Some of the disciple didn’t believe Jesus’ resurrection talk until had physical proof. If you saw someone die on a Cross and alive days later, you may believe too. Yes, Jesus also said: “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Mt 10:38) Was Jesus supposed to say “remain self-centered because that will lead to happiness?” Jesus didn’t reject those who didn’t instantly go all-in. If wanting to live for the Devil, then don’t follow Jesus.

What specific changes might Jesus be looking for?

If reading this and wanting to have more of a relationship with God, I bet you are in the club. When one asked Jesus how to have eternal life, He simply said to love God and your neighbor (Lk.10:25-37). Loving God is loving your neighbor. If you desire a legacy for being known for loving others like you want to be loved, you are a candidate to take the leap of faith and follow God. My hunch about what Jesus was thinking when challenging others to take up their cross – not what we can do for God but watch what I can do for you if you are seeking changes for good.

What do you have to lose taking the leap of faith?

I dare you to challenge God. If God claims to love us and guide us, God should be able to convince you over time they are worth following. You may be able to do it on your own, but I need all the help I can get. God through their influence has made me a better man, husband, father, and friend or at least better than if on my own. I have experienced God’s encouragement to continually strive to be better. I got nothing to lose except selfishness and a lousy legacy. A godly life lived is never in vain!

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

The term Gospel is the translation of the Greek word “good news.” It seems only natural to look to the four Gospels in the Bible to see what is proclaimed as the good news or God’s main message. We could also point to our relational experience with God as to what is the main thing.  Many born never had a Bible. What have you heard is the Good News according to the Bible?

The Good News isn’t . . .

Many of us who grew up and attended the institutional church heard that God mainly wanted to save us from hell so we could go to heaven after death here on earth. All we had to do was say a prayer and mean it: “Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive me. I receive You as my Lord and Savior. Help me to live for you.”  You may think that is a bible verse. I can find no place in the Bible where Jesus advised followers of such a prayer or declared this the Good News. Jesus didn’t require confessions initially but simply asked people to follow Him.

Also, the Good News couldn’t be about escaping a fiery, torturous God if such a hell isn’t biblical. See here.

What do the Gospels claim the Good News about God is?

Mark 1:14,15 says “Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. The time has come, he said. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent, and believe the good news.” Repent refers to a changing of your mind, not dropping to your knees and never sinning again, or we are all screwed! The Good News throughout the Gospels refers to a Kingdom here on earth now. The kingdom of God “has come upon you” (Mt 12:28) and “is in your midst” (Lk 17:21).  God’s Spirit is available now, as it was back in the first century, to influence godly living here on earth.

But what about Jesus dying on the Cross for our sins 

It is said that the Apostle Paul claimed the Good News is to “believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rm 10:9) Paul recognized Jesus’ death and resurrection, but Jesus’ sacrifice was to draw attention to the Good News already proclaimed – God’s desire to empower unselfish living. Paul also preached about the Kingdom of God being here (Acts). The disciples were skeptical of any resurrection until witnessing Jesus alive again. The disciples aren’t going to preach as Good News what they didn’t believe in initially.

When Jesus was asked by a religious expert how to have eternal life, He simply said to love God and your neighbor (Lk.10:25-37). Jesus’ focus wasn’t on quantity of life after death but about a life worth living here on earth. God seeks to empower such a life. Myers says it best: “When Scripture teaches about being saved from sin, it is not referring to escaping hell and going to heaven when we die, but to the deliverance from the devastating and destructive consequences of sin in this life.”  See here. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as in heaven.” (Mt 6:10) 

Challenge God to become real in your life

God seeks to encourage us to pursue heavenly than worldly ways here on earth. God seeks to empower us to be the unselfish people we deep down desire to be. This was the good news Jesus was willing to die for, rather than save Himself, to inspire us to seek God’s help in loving others. Jesus sought changes of the heart, with God’s help, for the good of the world. If I am right, then God should be able to make God real to you.

*See Podcast: Second Cup with Keith. November 15, 2021

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

A recent statement by Dr. Anthony Fauci reminded me of my experience with organized religion. Dr. Fauci said “to criticize him is to criticize science because I represent science.” Science is the study of the natural world. This is no different than a theologian saying to disagree with them is to disagree with theology – the study of God. Both are implying difference of opinions make one either a non-scientist or heretic. It is heretical to claim to be “The Truth.”

Of course there are absolute truths! 

Certain absolutes are universal and obvious to all rational beings. Who doesn’t believe physical or sexual abuse is wrong? No reasonable God or non-God person doesn’t respect the golden rule in relationships. We know we ought to treat others like we want to be treated. Criminals don’t defend their murders or thefts; instead, they deny committing such crimes. Adultery only isn’t wrong in the eyes of the betrayer. We don’t debate many laws, only the decisions what is a just punishment.    

“Truth” is not synonymous with the Bible 

The Bible can’t be the authoritative guide about God because we disagree. Many who have a deep respect for Scriptures don’t agree what the Bible says about many moral issues. I don’t believe God is opposed to women priests or preachers. I don’t believe God condemns gays. Some biblical scholars agree, some don’t. See here. See hereIt may surprise many that scholars who believe in the inspiration of Scriptures don’t agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible.

Truth and human perfection are synonymous 

Universal moral outrage hints of a Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. All reasonable beings respect the universal compulsion to treat others like we want to be treated. It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. Even the Bible implies perfect human love and God’s love are one and the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). “Follow God’s example…” (Eph. 5:1). We aren’t always certain how to best love, but beliefs that don’t seemingly lead to loving your neighbor more may be amiss. Problems begin when we stray from common moral sense and insist on understandings from an inspired Book. 

Bible-believing Christians even suggest trusting your moral intuitions 

Christians speak of the Holy Spirit guiding them. Unless the Spirit talks to us audibly or visibly, we can only discern the Spirit’s voice by examining our intuitions. We can’t avoid judging interpretations of the Bible according to loving intuitions. Even those who claim God is a mystery judge God according to moral human intuitions. God is claimed to be a mystery because their interpretation of Scriptures suggest God appears evil from a human perspective. (I think it’s crazy talk to say God can do bad but then call it good). Our moral intuitions are not the enemy.

How do we get to the Truth with so my uncertainty? 

Stop hiding behind a Book! Stop canceling others’ opinions! Stop demonizing one another. Begin conversations looking for how you agree. Seek to understand before being understood. Stop claiming your views are morally or biblically superior. We can’t declare certain immigration laws in stone. Immigration laws can be discussed as which are the most caring for the greater good. We aren’t always certain how to best love, but can reach solutions by civil and democratic means.

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

I cringe when well-meaning people passionate about God say things like “it’s all part of God’s plan” or “everything happens for a reason.” It implies evil is some grand scheme by God. How is a God who supposedly can prevent evil any different than a parent who stands by and watches their child being physically or sexually abused? We must consider if God can’t interfere because to do so would deny freedom. 

A loving God can’t be controlling

Atheists and believers agree. The only God worth believing in and following is a perfect God. Such a statement is nonsensical if we are clueless what perfection is. Can God manipulate others? We would say no because perfect love doesn’t manipulate. Also, we hate when we see friends try to control others for their own reasons or gains. Love does not insist on its own way (I Cor 13:5). Obviously, God’s love must be uncontrolling. God can’t control evil because God’s very nature is love and true love is uncontrolling. Not everything that happens is part of God’s plan! 

What bother to pray then?

See here.

God’s uncontrolling love can be good news

Can there be true freedom if the future is determined or known? Even God can’t know a unknowable future. God isn’t hiding a “known” future for important decisions. God joins us in an open future. God wants us to feel free to pursue our own dreams without strings attached, unlike some earthly parents. God only desires to influence us to do all the good we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as we can. The future is open to God as well. God joins us in a true friendship by sharing our joys and sorrows in our journey. God certainly deters any suffering when not inferring with freedom. 

Please stop rationalizations 

Are you dissatisfied with answers to your questions such as: “God wants to make you stronger;” “God’s ways are not our ways;” “You didn’t have enough faith.” If evil is some grand scheme God can control, why then does the Bible says God hates evil so much? Does God hate God sometimes? See Thomas Oord’s book GOD CAN’T for further insight about God, evil, and suffering.

Imagine the perfect friend – that is God! 

God loves like how you wished you loved others. God hates when prayers can’t be answered. God feels the same pain you are experiencing. God shares the dreams you have for your future.  Conventional thinkers don’t like to suggest God has feelings of vulnerability, but they don’t mind talking about God’s wrath. If a God can be angry, a God can be sad. God hates when we are suffering. If God truly loves, God like a friend hurts when you hurt. We may wish God would just intervene but there may be legitimate reasons why God can’t. But God is with you each step of the way as we reach out to others for help as well.

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

Many, because of their understanding of the Bible, will respond with some version of “I love you; I hate your sin.” This is not a phrase found in the Bible. One is hard pressed to find anywhere in the Bible where this is a recommended strategy in relationships whether the Bible clearly condemn a behavior or not. It is impossible to not feel personally attacked when one utters “I love you but I hate your sin.” What is heard is I don’t love you.

Please don’t reject a gay child in God’s name!

Some parents condemn their child because the Bible supposedly does. Not all agree. See here.  When there are any doubts what the Bible might be advising, God-followers must take the most compassionate, less judgmental stance toward others. Many parents know in their hearts to not judge their child but they are torn when hearing others claim the Bible condemns homosexuality. It is impossible to not feel unloved and rejected when told “I love you but I hate your sin.” 

Why do we treat gays differently from other supposed sinners whatever you believe?

Many refer to Paul’s list of sins to call out homosexuality but they fail to call out the greedy and slanderers (I Cor. 6: 9-10). Unless you are homeless chances are you have been greedy more than once this week. How is it not greedy to keep more than you need and make sure those struck by natural disasters or other tragedies have the rest? Remind me to not say when I see you “I love you, but I hate your selfish behaviors.”

But some actions are really harmful

It can be argued that hating alcoholic behavior is loving because alcohol abuse is harmful. Hating homosexual sex is only loving if homosexual sex is sinful. But do we tell a drug abuser that we love them but hate their behaviors? You don’t tell anyone coming for help with their addiction that you love them but hate their behavior. You simply say I love you and let’s do this together. They probably already hate their own behaviors. When someone is overweight, which is a lot of us, should we say “I love you but I hate you are fat?”

So, what do we stand for!

When people are involved in uncommitted sexual relationships and I am asked, I don’t say I love you but hate your behaviors. If they want, I have a conversation about whether their actions will end up hurting them or others in the future. I can still believe in the importance of committed, monogamous relationships. That is why adultery is wrong. That is why it is selfish to be involved in more than one sexual relationship especially if the other persons are unaware. I have no problem taking a stand against behaviors that I think are harming others. I do though try to remember I am involved in such behaviors daily. Just love on those seeking your support and avoid cliches.

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

 

Some are into God. Others aren’t. Some may not want to be constrained by a good God’s morals. That isn’t most that I encountered that don’t have the same passions about God that I do. I could be accused of needing a crutch, but I am convinced following God can be a good thing even if on the fence.

Psychological benefits 

A 2018 Harvard study involving 5,000 people examined how being raised in a family with religious beliefs affects the mental health of children. Belief in a loving God can provide meaning and purpose in life. The God I believe in is concerned for my well-being and how I treat others. Self-centeredness may lead to short-term benefits but not long-term benefits. Some studies suggest the belief in nothing is a rich fertilizer for anxiety and depression. A belief in a God who loves us can be a valuable source for support and comfort.

God may be the God you hoped for

We can only be as close to God as our mental images of God allow. Certain claims made about God according to one’s understanding of the Bible can hinder pursuing God. A Creator surely loves in ways God’s creations sense they were created to love one another. It isn’t natural to oppose women priests or preachers. See here. It isn’t natural to condemn gays who can no more choose who they are attracted to than straight people can. See here.   Why would God create a place such as Hell to torture our enemies after their death? Maybe God doesn’t. See here.

Belief in the afterlife can be a good thing

When I share that I don’t believe the Bible reveals there is a literal hell, some come back that I can’t then believe in a heaven. It is a fair argument. I am not so sure the Bible speaks of a heaven of harps and angels but a “kingdom of heaven” to teaches how to be joyful here on earth. I have no reason to not believe a heavenly life after death is possible. Such a belief helps to not fear death and to look forward to be reunited with loved ones.

What to tell children if an atheist

What is the harm in telling our children there is a heaven after death when we can’t know for sure? We promise our kids all the time we will keep them safe. When ask if their house will burn down, you say it won’t happen to us. You don’t know that. Such a belief isn’t a false belief. As children are older parents can share more if they question God and an afterlife.

God as an influencer

I am convinced one has nothing to lose by giving God the benefit of the doubt. Besides, that puts the onus on God to reveal themselves to you that they are real. The God I know seeks to influence to do all the good we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as we can. Such a plan leads to true individual and worldly happiness in the long-run. God through their influence has made me a better man, husband, father, and friend or at least better than if on my own. I have experienced God’s encouragement to continually strive to be better.

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

This post is longer than usual. I will be as brief as possible. I hope subtitles depicting my thought progressions will make it easier to read, 

I have written on this topic ad nauseum. See here. We can’t prove God inspired the Bible, so I believe it is best to assume God didn’t inspire all of the Bible for reasons below. It is natural to assume God’s inspiration means God’s approval. (Gregory Boyd adds a twist below). I will address below why many may argue the Bible is God’s inspired Word – concerns we then wouldn’t have an authoritative view of God. I think an inspired Bible has led to condemning others falsely, thus discouraging faith in God. An inspired Bible can also provoke violence.

Gregory Boyd wrote a book about the Bible Inspired Imperfection. Boyd seems to suggest God allowed wrong views about God written to lead to seeing ultimate perfection in the person of Christ at the Cross. There are hundreds of passages in the OT where God supposedly orders Israel to commit atrocities (“Now go, attack the Amalekites… put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys” (I Sam. 15:3). Did God really approve/inspire/have anything to do with such accusations about God? Such confusion by God just doesn’t make sense.

An inspired Bible has led to condemning women and gays

It is misleading to claim we can rely on “biblical truths.” Many claim the Bible says that women can’t fulfill the same roles as men in the worship or home setting because of the Apostle Paul’s teaching. Yet it can also be defended that Paul, a main writer of the New Testament, didn’t think roles should be chosen based on gender than gifts. See here. No one can claim their biblical view of God concerning women’s roles is definitive. Similarly, scholars who believe in the inspiration of Scriptures don’t agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible.

Supposed certainty according to the Bible has led to condemning gays, though biblical scholars don’t agree the Bible condemns same-gender loving relationships. See here.  How dangerous can an inspired Book be? Religions defend killing homosexuals because of their assumption that every word in a Book was inspired by their God. Extremists and terrorists hide behind a Book. The biblical truth is we can’t prove our interpretations are correct or even that biblical writers always understood God perfectly.

An inspired Bible has led to condoning violence 

I mentioned that biblical writers claim God ordered certain atrocities in war. Did God really inspire such thoughts? Did God really approve a wife’s hand being cut off when grabbing another man’s genitals (Deut. 25:12)? Not questioning supposed inspired portrayals of God has led to killing infidels in the name of God and justifying wars. Extremists may argue that we should seek to imitate a perfect, loving God. If certain violence is good for God according to one’s interpretation or assumptions about a Book, it must be good now for humans. When you regard the Bible as the revealed Word of God and don’t think critically, this can lead to violence in God’s name.

An authoritative view of God according to the Bible is a myth!

It is suggested if the Bible isn’t inspired, “then you can’t know God.” Were Old Testament folks out of luck since there was no Bible? Are the majority of people born, who didn’t have a Bible, out of luck? We aren’t totally clueless! Universal moral outrage hints of a Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. Who doesn’t know a good God hates beheading people because they don’t share your beliefs? Only a supposed infallible Book claiming to speak for God would suggest such a moral atrocity. No reasonable human being doesn’t respect the universal compulsion to treat others like we want to be treated. We were born to use our moral sense whether reading a Book or not.

Even Bible-believing Christians can’t avoid the importance of common moral sense 

Christians say God’s spirit (aka Holy Spirit) does or can reside within you. Unless the Spirit talks to you audibly or visibly, we can only discern the Spirit’s voice by examining our intuitions how a perfect, loving God may guide us. Such a statement is nonsensical if we are clueless about perfect love. Even the Bible implies we can understand God’s love because perfect human love and God’s love are the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). This is why many claim God is a mystery because their interpretation of Scriptures suggest God appears evil from a human perspective.

Can Jesus be the end-all about what God is really like?

The Bible is said to be inspired because the biblical writers made such a claim. Such logic would not lead those same people to accept the Quran being infallible because it claims to be. Boyd suggests Jesus claimed in the NT that OT Scriptures were imperfect but inspired by God. Scholars do not agree on Boyd’s interpretation of those relevant passages. Interpretation realities don’t allow us to claim certainty about Jesus’ views on other matters.

Many disagree what Jesus taught about divorce which impacts millions of marriages. Turning the other check is interpreted to claim Jesus never advocated violence, but the possible literal translation of Mt. 5:39 is “do not resist by evil means.” Does Jesus agree violence is never desired but may be necessary sometimes? The NT is no different than reading the OT since we could be wrong what Jesus would teach. It can’t be avoided using common moral sense when reading the Bible.   

How can we view the Bible? 

The Bible can be viewed as God’s story beginning with Israel and culminating with the life of Jesus that we don’t possess in any other document. God didn’t necessarily inspire or approve of everything written about God. Reading the Bible encourages questioning and contemplating what a loving God is really like. Imagine if extremist had to admit God possibly didn’t inspire every word in a Book, and we had to use common moral sense to understand what a loving God is like.

How can we make Godly decisions during uncertainty?

Please stop claiming certainty in God’s name. Certain absolutes are obvious to all. Who doesn’t believe physical or sexual abuse is wrong? We must stop hiding behind a Book! We can’t declare certain immigration laws in stone. Immigration laws can be discussed as which are the most caring for the greater good. Stop canceling others’ opinions! Begin conversations looking for how you agree. Stop claiming your views are morally or biblically superior. We can’t always be certain how to best love, but we best come to solutions through civil and democratic means.

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

Let’s be honest. More prayers are unanswered than answered. The amount of suffering in the world suggests God doesn’t intervene a lot of the time. If miracles are simply having enough faith and praying to God, why don’t supposed miracle workers go into all the hospitals? I bet hospital folks have as much faith as those healed at their rallies. Many are rightly disheartened about God when claims about prayers don’t match up with reality.

God can’t answer many prayers

We can’t pretend God can wave a magic want and always heal in a free world. It isn’t that we didn’t pray enough with the right words and behaviors so God will answer. There are many different situations. God can’t make one’s partner willing to stop drinking. It isn’t that God had the power to do something about it, but chose not to; it’s that God can’t. Divine love limits divine power. True love is uncontrolling. Ask adults about their parents. God’s love must be supportive.

Healing Prayers 

A lot of prayers asking for healing are obviously not answered. I doubt God is just being stingy. Are miracles really arbitrary? Conditions in our body may not always be right. Various biological and environmental factors are involved such as cells, organs, etc. If God wouldn’t take away your human freedom, it may not be a stretch to say God has to account for natural freedom as well. Miracles can happen when God’s uncontrolling love aligns with countless factors known and not known. God surely intervenes by all means when circumstances will allow.

A truly loving God is doing all they can before asked

Do we really think God is waiting to help others until we ask? Prayer must be more than manipulating God to act. God may wait for our invitation for personal help to be more the person we deep down desire to be, but God is tireless in doing all they can for others and desperately seeks our help to change the world. One can always assume God’s blessing if not violating the rights of others.

How God answers a lot of prayers 

Praying can remind us to offer help. God is an omnipresent Spirit. God already knows needs before spoken. It is easier sometimes to pray for someone rather than take cooperative actions with God. This may be the most common way that God answers prayers. Rather than praying your friend’s partner stop drinking, which is harming their family, see if your friend would rather you say something to their partner. When you know two friends are in conflict, speak to the one wrongly denying any wrongdoing. God always seeks our permission to use our lives to help others.

But the Bible says….

The truth is for almost every passage on prayer, there are opposing interpretations and other passages that suggest additional perspectives. Mathew 7:7 is used to support the false prosperity gospel: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Isn’t this passage in context simply saying that if we parents give good gifts despite our imperfections, will not God as our perfect Parent always want to give good gifts? First-century readers didn’t assume this was a blank check for requests. We must balance that the Apostle Paul believed in the power of prayer, but he also expected persecution for beliefs (2 Tim. 3:12).

So, why pray?

Prayer is more than asking for things. We can also talk to God for self-examination, for sharing our concerns so to not feel along in a chaotic world. Seeking God’s influence in our lives can lead to making wiser choices. God is already doing all they can in a free world. Pretending God can simply heal without accounting for freedom makes one’s suffering worse. God is tireless in working through individual lives to change the world.

God is always listening. God has endless mercy and forgiveness so we don’t give up no matter how demoralized we may feel. God is always available in times of loneliness. Friends can’t always be available in the middle of the night, or we may feel that we are overburdening our friends by always going to them. God speaks to us mostly through self-reflection as God only wants us to feel free to make decisions based on our gifts and aspirations. We know God is speaking when we hear: I love you; I forgive you; I won’t abandon you.

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