Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered the Cross wasn’t a story about a blood-thirsty Deity who must child their child to save their reputation?
- Is God really a blood thirsty Deity who must be satisfied and have their honor and reputation restored by killing their child? God loved people before Jesus died, and God would love people even if Jesus hadn’t died. I am convinced Jesus was willing to be murdered not for God’s sake by our sake. Terrorists blow others up for a message they feel strongly about. Jesus only blew himself up for a message He believed very strongly in. Soldiers often die for one another because they are convinced certain freedoms are that important. Jesus died in hopes to persuade us of the freedom that comes from understanding God’s love and mercy. Jesus wanted us to know living a loving life is what leads to true happiness in relationships.
- The legalistic view of Jesus’ death doesn’t make moral or legal sense. What does it say about God who requires the blood of the innocent to be accepting! Besides, death can never make matters totally legally right. Death doesn’t resurrect the murdered. Death doesn’t wipe out childhood memories caused by a parent’s abuse. My going to jail for a friend’s wrongdoing doesn’t somehow exonerate my friend. Guilt is not somehow removed by someone else’s confession of a sin they didn’t commit. Why would Jesus say: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” if God thought sacrifice than confession lead to healing? (Mt. 9:13) A loving God only requires confessions of wrongdoings for this leads to healing.
- Verses are chosen from the Bible to defend a legal than relational view of the Cross. Hebrews 9:14 says: “…Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our conscience from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.” Which is it? Was Jesus’ death for the purpose of serving our guilty conscience or God’s? Do you every think God needs a break from you at least for a day or do you think God can’t possibly forgive you for the 10th or 100th time? Guess again! Jesus died so we are can feel loved by God no matter what! Actions have consequences but God doesn’t pour on the hate.
- Jesus came to save us from the sin of destroying ourselves and one another. Zacchaeus had cheated many people out of their money and had decided to payback four times the money he had stolen. Jesus responded: “Today salvation has come to this house” (Mt. 19:1-10). Jesus simply commended Zacchaeus for recognizing a journey necessary to avoid personal destruction. Salvation is not saving us from God but from ourselves.
Suggesting Jesus died for God than for us undermines Jesus’ unimaginable love as evidenced by His tremendous sacrifice. Jesus hoped others would follow in His footsteps in relationships to avoid self-destruction and destruction of others. Parents who believe their guidance is vital “walk the talk” to best influence their children in the long-run. Jesus was willing to die for a cause to gain moral authority to influence lasting world change. Do we really think that God was so mad that God had to kill someone, or did God seek to convince and persuade of God’s love for us and God’s ways are in our best interest?
Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered that God never meant for the Bible to take the place of a personal relationship with our Creator?
- Sincere people have different views of the same biblical passage or topic, so it is important to acknowledge that our interpretations may be wrong. The Bible can be used to justify racism, gender inequality, or controlling personal beliefs. God has always worked through human means available so the Bible was God’s attempt to communicate to as many people about God while not condemning those who misunderstand it or never had a chance to read it.
- Insisting the Bible is without errors can lead to worshipping a Book and not who the Book is about. It is not as if the Bible came together from writer to publication. God can still have a hand in the Bible and God can be revealed to us, though God did not interfere with the freedom of writers to grow in their understandings of God. We also cannot prove God inspired others to select over time which Books should be recognized as supposedly infallible. God didn’t promise an inspired Book but God’s spirit to discern what God is really like (Jn. 14:16).
- Suggesting the Bible has errors can be troubling to many. At least we must recognize that often it is our interpretations that we are proclaiming are not in error. It can be freeing though to not get bogged down in debates over God because the Bible supposedly says so. The main message is clear and all are free to seek God’s help in being more the person they desire.
- On the other hand we don’t question the historical reliability of Julius Caesar’s exploits in the Gallic Wars though the manuscript reliability of all ancient literature is far less than the New Testament. And the Bible gains credibility by not making its own heroes always or rewriting events to make a story more believable. Women had very little credibility during this time, so if you are going to make up a resurrection story you don’t report a woman being the first eyewitness unless Mary was.
- The Bible was never meant to be a Book of rules rather than consideration for wisdom and reflection on one’s individual situation. When Jesus said turn the other cheek, He wouldn’t advise a woman to allow an abusive husband to continue to beat her. The Bible didn’t have assigned chapters and verses until centuries after written. Read the Bible as stories about God’s relationships with others as you discern your own relationship with the Creator.
- Declaring the Bible isn’t infallible doesn’t make everyone’s opinion correct. We all can agree murder, lying, or adultery is immoral. We know terrorist’s views are wrong because they violate the freedom of others to believe as they choose. When Old Testament passages are complicated or seemingly contradict what we think a good God is surely like, we can know God best through the person of Jesus.
God, not a Book, was meant to guide one personally in understanding God. We do not have to assume the Bible is without errors; we do not have to assume the Bible is without truth about God. If there are certain characteristics of God claimed by others according to the Bible that you don’t agree, reject them! Don’t allow others’ understanding to keep you from exploring your own views. Enjoy the Bible as a story about your Creator. As you get to know God, God will guide you in your spiritual journey to be more the person you deep down desire to be.
Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered that God only encourages you to love others without any hidden agenda to convert them?
- True friendships don’t have hidden agendas. Having the goal of conversion leads to spiritual discussions becoming taboo as the agenda is obvious to others. We can get together with friends to enjoy one another’s company and love them how we wished to be loved. I love talking to others about my relationship with God as much as I do a good book, but only if natural and mutually desired. Jesus only wanted others to feel loved by their Creator.
- Spiritual conversations do not have to proceed: “Do you believe in God? Do you believe Jesus was the Son of God and died to save you from your sins? Will you confess your sins, believe, and go to church?” Very few react positively or are persuaded with such an approach unless choosing to attend an evangelistic meeting in the first place. Such conversations lead to more of a negative perception of Jesus and/or Christianity. God is not the kind of Parent that insists we jump through hoops when interested in having a relationship. Jesus simply encouraged people to follow deep down what they knew best in their heart.
- Spiritual conversations are often avoided because one believes such conversation must lead people to accepting a free pass out of Hell. The traditional understanding of Hell is nowhere to be found in the Bible, and of course is morally indefensible. Who doesn’t know unending suffering is pointless as it doesn’t produce any good? We do not have to avoid conversations because God is some immoral, irrational Being. God only desires to help others love one another in a troubled world. Friendships are hindered when one feels pressure to talk to people about God or they are going straight to Hell.
- Jesus, when not confronting immorality or self-centeredness, discussed God in natural, unforced ways. Jesus didn’t think of eternal life as something after death but a quality of life that begins here on earth. Jesus when asked how to obtain eternal life, simply said to love God and love others as yourself (Lk.10:25-27). God is not egotistical but Jesus understood loving God is being empowered to love others to the fullest. Jesus cared less about certain beliefs and more about caring for others as we would want to be cared for. Jesus taught knowing how God feels about us can help us on that journey. Mother Teresa said that she was simply responding to God’s boundless love for her and humanity.
- The majority of people born have lived and died without any knowledge of the Bible or who Jesus was. A loving God doesn’t insist all believe in the Christian God they have never heard about or may not truly understand. We can simply encourage other to consider the possibility of a God or Reality that seeks for a better world by loving others like we want to be loved deep down. Jesus and all the great spiritual leaders had this message. Jesus didn’t convey a litmus test of sacred beliefs. Would Jesus be encouraged by one who believe He was God but didn’t take to heart His moral message or one who questioned Jesus’ deity but took to heart the importance of loving others like you want to be loved? Jesus didn’t back down from the belief that a self-centered life is doomed for destruction and is not true freedom.
I am convinced there is a God and, like a loving parent, can be an inspiration in being the person we desire to be deep down. God’s love and forgiveness can be our necessary nourishment that leads to life transformations. Very few disagree that the motivation to love your neighbor is wrong-minded. It isn’t always easy to know when best to forgive or seek justice, but actions that can lead to change from brokenness is so badly needed in an imperfect world.
Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered God isn’t a religious extremist much less the God of terrorists who demand certain beliefs or allegiance or be rejected or killed.
- Since the Bible is full of God’s anger and wars, it is supposed that God demands certain beliefs or allegiance or be rejected or killed. Religious extremists, much less terrorists, don’t understand what the God of the Bible understood. True love, where authentic relationships can develop, cannot be forced even by an all-powered God. The God of the Bible doesn’t control or destroy free decisions as if that resulted in true love. Religious fanatics refuse to consider one another’s opinion, so all can work out their own convictions. Unfortunately, theologians such as St. Augustine and Calvin didn’t understand the importance of freedom to God, as they did not oppose the execution of those who disagreed with their theology.
- God’s declarations of war were not against those who simply refused to worship the God of Israel. Why then would a God opposed to evil, who is powerful enough to create, allow so much evil in the world? The God of any extremist is neither patience or tolerant of rebellion. Israel had occupied land in Canaan until taken into slavery by Egypt. It does not appear God or the Israelites simply went to war with only desires to conquer.
- The Israelites demonstrated willingness to live in peace with their neighbors, but Old Testament nations weren’t isolationists but sought to conquer. I doubt there are any pacifists when their child is being attacked. God sought to protect and isolate Israel from other nations involved in horrible immoral acts such as child sacrifice. I imagine most of us, if we lived next to an armed community where hundreds of children were being used as sex objects, would even be the aggressor to save the lives of current and future generations.
- God not only respects the right to choose your own personal beliefs in this life, but God does not torture people after death for such decisions. The word Hell, a substitution not translation for certain Hebrew and Greek words, was invented over the centuries to scare people into obedience. No such place as Hell exists according to the Bible. Like God is going to sadistically torture people forever for their beliefs while here on earth a short time!
- Most Christian extremists don’t say Paradise is a lustful adventure for men at the expense of women, but it is important to not be dogmatic that the Bible teaches women are under the authority of men in God’s eyes. This can encourage dominance on the man’s part and dependence on the woman’s part. God did not create a male-controlled relationship between Adam and Eve in the beginning; nation thereafter chose to be patriarchal. Jesus encouraged equality and mutual respect between the sexes against culture norms, but some religious extremists would rather be dead than advocate for that.
- God in the Bible is said to desire a friendship than demand obedience in hopes to change the world for good. Jesus confronted the most the religious elite because they portrayed God as demanding obedience rather than desiring a relationship. No human or spiritual parent desires their children feel forced as opposed to freely reciprocating their love.
A loving God respects the freedom of beliefs in this life and after death, encourages men and women to be equally vulnerable to one another, and seeks only to convert others from evil actions. Jesus suffered so we might consider His message that our Creator loves us and seeks to empower in doing good and shunning evil. Any religion based on control than service isn’t true religion. A loving God surely respects freedom of beliefs if not violating the rights of others.
Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered a relationship with an invisible God isn’t as complicated as thought?
- God’s direct communication doesn’t always produce the results we may think. God dropped manna from the sky and separated the Red Sea to escape one’s enemy, but the Israelites still did not believe or at least put their total trust in God. God even came in person but Jesus’ miracles did not obtain the results some may suggest if God would stop hiding.
- God may communicate more clearly than we realize. We only need to look inwardly as to how to be in family, work, or other relationships. How do you wish your friends would treat you? God is considered a sexual killjoy but come to find out God only advises what we sense about commitment, lust, adultery, etc.
- God gives us a sense of morality for our own good, but then sets us free to follow our desires. The future isn’t already determined, making freedom an illusion. God’s plan is not a detailed blueprint but a general one to set us free to love. Controlling love is an oxymoron. We are free to choose paths at this time in life based on past experiences, current circumstances, and future aspirations. There are many ways to do all the good we can, to all the people we can.
- God’s overpowering presence in our lives may only lead to consuming guilt or brief obligations to obey. God’s lack of interference may allow us to make heart-felt, lasting choices. Convictions aren’t taught but caught over time in one’s own time. God’s interference and presence might prevent a superior world from emerging as a result of limiting the moral development and improvement of free creatures to make independent choices. Relationships can’t be declared, they must evolve. The journey of learning, reflecting, and accepting convictions that last over time can be for our own good.
- What we do with the communication we have than lack of communication is the bigger challenge. God’s communication through the Bible has led to divisiveness through tens of thousands of denominations. Imagine if religions discovered what they shared in common and allowed differences to be between that person and God. Certainty rather than accepting differences only leads to demanding “supposed truths” from others. What if churches combined their resources thus wasting less physical and emotional resources?
- 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 constantly 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. God only has moral biases – the same ones we have deep down – for our best interests. God is speaking when we hear: I love you; I forgive you; I won’t abandon you; I want what you want deep down; I am not really like who some people say I am.
Divine hiddenness or lack of clear or direct communication on God’s part has been a reason many question if there is a God or if God truly loves. Parents don’t hide from a child who is seeking their love and comfort! God’s invisibility and current communicative ways may be out of uncontrolling love than hiddenness. God didn’t predetermine the future so God could dictate to us our choices. Don’t we know enough from God about our relationships and what is better for the world? We may need less communication and more dependence on God to carry out our convictions.
Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered that God’s grace is unlimited and God is full of second chances?
- God not only respects the right to choose your own personal beliefs in this life, but God does not torture people after death for such decisions. The word Hell, a substitution not translation for certain Hebrew and Greek words, was invented over the centuries to scare people into obedience. No such place as Hell exists according to the Bible.
- The Bible cannot be used to decide definitively that God’s grace ends after death regarding one’s destiny. We must decide this matter based on God’s character in general. Do we really think God is going to stop showing grace at the moment of one’s last breathe? The Bible teaches forgiveness is unlimited (i.e. Mt. 18:21-22). This attribute of God strongly suggests God would forgive one more time when meeting God if truly trusting in God and regretting one’s actions. God’s can’t just stop being merciful after death.
- Our beliefs are often determined by where we were born or the family we were born into. Our destiny cannot be based on certain beliefs found only in the Bible when the majority of people born into this world had no access to such information. Those with a Bible may have misunderstood God either because of poor role-models or what others taught about God. God is not going to let one final destiny be controlled by others. Meeting God will clear up any confusion and remove any causes that led to erroneous thinking.
- One may be surprised when Jesus was asked by a religious expert how to have eternal life. Jesus simply said to love God and your neighbor (Lk.10:25-37). Loving God is to love ourselves and others like we want to be loved. Obviously, changing directions not perfection was Jesus’ message or heaven will be empty. Jesus didn’t talk so much about life after death; Jesus talked about how true living begins on earth by knowing how much your Creator loves you. Such knowledge can empower one to be the unselfish person we all desire to be deep down. Heaven is a time for celebrating one’s life and refuge for those who have suffered.
- No punishment can return one’s robbed memories because of sexual abuse or murder of a loved one. True justice is being forced to understand your victim’s pain and accepting the harmfulness of your actions. After death God may bring to memory every action of betrayal and how it felt to their victims. A child beater may experience emotionally the terror they gave others. Victims will have their revenge one day. The cleansing and educative effect may take longer for some than others. Believers and unbelievers may go through the same process of justice, some having more regrets than others. God’s punishment has always been in hopes of redeeming the guilty. We like God may forgive our tormenters if our enemies truly regret their actions and seek forgiveness.
Justice from a fair, merciful God is entirely possible despite people being given a second chance after death. There is hope for our loved ones who didn’t acknowledge God much less have an obvious trusting relationship with their Creator. It seems no one in their right mind would reject living in heaven after meeting their loving Creator. God will remove all causes that led to erroneous thinking. Why even bother then in this life to act godly much less trust in God? I am speechless if you believe a life of loving others like you want to be loved isn’t worth living. When we know God the way Jesus knew God, we can sense God’s love and support in good and troubled times and pursue a life that doesn’t lead to regrets while here on earth.