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Archive for December, 2017

Is God’s Lack Of Directness And Invisibility Out Of Compassion?

God often gets a bad rap because their message or guidance seems so unclear. God though may communicate more than we think and remain invisible for compassionate reasons.

Hasn’t God already communicated morally? We somehow know if an action is moral or immoral, perhaps because of a common Creator. How else do we know it is wrong to murder, steal, lie, commit adultery, or not treat others like we want to be treated? Even terrorists know they don’t want to be beheaded or raped.

God doesn’t have to communicate about non-moral issue anymore than a loving parent must tell their child what career to pursue or what relational decisions are best. God hasn’t predetermined the future so they can magically advise what job or relationship will work out best in the long-run. Know your gifts and pursue your passions.

How is relational physical presence working for you in keeping you on the straight and narrow? Don’t we hide our feelings or actions from human partners or friends when not doing what we are supposed to. God supposedly came visible in the person of Jesus and we have determined thousands of contradictory ways to misunderstand God.

God invisible spirit or lack of physical presence leads to not wasting our time hiding selfish actions. It may not be all bad that God is left more to our imagination. Maybe God is forgiving no matter what we have done. Maybe God is the perfect parent or friend we have desired in others.

God’s overpowering presence in our lives could lead to hiding or brief obligations to obey out of awe or fear. If God visibly pushed their agenda from the beginning rather than allowing us in our own time to come to God with questions, we may simply rebel and never turn back. Our friends may have good advice, but it often works out best when we take it in our own time. The road traveled of learning, reflecting, and freely choosing convictions over time better leads to heart-felt lasting choices.

 

Why Might Be The Greatest Mistake Good People Make?

Let me try to answer my own question several different ways. We have to stop demanding our view is right so you and your view are wrong! We have to stop acting that our interpretation of God in the Bible is undebatable. When you stop claiming you know God better than others, you stop trying to control others’ thinking and ways and allowing God to speak to individual hearts.

No, not everything goes. We can still use common moral sense. Who thinks you can murder, steal, or abuse others? Only terrorists believe you can torture, rape, or behead someone because of different religious beliefs. Most political differences, including if you voted for Trump or Clinton, are not violating anyone’s rights. It can be complicated if abortion violates the rights of the unborn child, but we at least must have humane discussions.

Religious folks cannot claim their interpretation of the Bible is God’s.

Literature always requires interpretation. We cannot always know exact meanings of words written thousands of years ago translated into different languages. Biblical scholars frequently disagree on the meaning of the same passage and different applications are suggested for different circumstances. We must not condemn gay relationships, declare women cannot be priests, or that God tortures unbelievers in Hell, according to the Bible. There are opposing interpretations.

How does a nation function in open-minded chaos?

Democratic societies can allow discussions of opposing views. Voting allows for a majority view until future voting. I have more faith in many than a few. There is so much less chaos when one can look forward to non-violent respectful discussions as to the merits of different beliefs.

Claiming you are right only condemns those who disagree with you.

If I could take back one major action in raising my children and loving my wife, it would be that I had been more open-minded. I communicated many of my beliefs about God is if I had a direct line to God. All I did was squash discussions and convey an attitude of I am right and you are wrong. Being passionate about your views is not a good excuse of failing to recognize the rights of others to disagree and possibly be right. Religious people drive others away by being dogmatic about their interpretation of the Bible.

What Is Meant That God Inspired The Bible?

Many assumptions are made when one says that God inspired the Bible. The Bible doesn’t define inspiration precisely, so what we understand about God helps to understand God’s inspirational role. Moses speaking for God ordered during war killing boys and non-virgin women but saving for yourselves virgins (Num. 31:18). Such immorality in the name of God has led others to justifying their actions in God’s name or led to many rejecting such a God.

Let me suggest what God’s inspirational role could mean and then suggest rationales for such an understanding based on how I understand God.

2 Timothy 3:16-17, which is subject to wide interpretation, says: “All Scriptures is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking…in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). God obviously did not audibly dictate all of the Bible. It is also unlikely that God somehow magically controlled the minds of the writers, but instead gave the writers the freedom to use their minds and will in understanding God. Misunderstanding God is part of the learning journey for all. God-breathe can mean God desired a recording of coming alongside Israel climaxing in the life of Jesus in getting to know what God is really like.

God is incapable of being a controlling God.  

God’s lack of interference in the world with so many evil decisions made contrary to God’s wishes suggest that God seeks to influence than dictate. God’s nature requires their love to be unselfish and other-empowering, not controlling. God knows what we know. Genuine relationships are only possible if one is truly freedom to choose to not love. Not even God can force true love. If God is all good and all-knowing, there may be plausible moral reasons for God’s role with evil.

God is relational and seeks to be understood.

Why would a Creator even bother to come down to us unless desiring a relationship? The Bible is God’s attempt to be understood. But, God knows genuine relationships don’t involve dictating their beliefs on others. Human parents may know what best for a child, but that doesn’t mean it is best to impose their beliefs. Even God may have accommodated erroneous beliefs such as animal sacrifice in hopes to eventually influence what is truly important about relationships and forgiveness.

God is incapable of showing favoritism.  

It is unlikely God intended the Bible to be any more than a book for reflection in getting to know God better. No Book, since subject to interpretation, can be definitive on what God is really like. Besides, the Bible hasn’t been available to the majority of people born into this world thus leaving definitive information only in the hands of a few. Read the Bible as stories about God’s desire to influence you for your own good.  

Dogmatism, which destroys relationships, often results when one fails to acknowledge they are offering interpretation.

It is implied one’s interpretation is right thus others are wrong. There are many different opinions about what the Bible says about women’s roles, divorce, etc. Few Bible believers suggest Old Testament writers and prophets had the same authority as Jesus. Consider Jesus’ views in best knowing God, but essential truths about God are obvious.  God seeks a non-coercive relationship with all in helping to be the person you deep down desire to be.

 

Why Does It Matter If God Is Morally Perfect Humanly-Speaking?

Many reject God because of how God is portrayed by others according to the Bible or because their understanding of God clashes with common moral sense. In fact, some declare their biblical interpretations a mystery or beyond human comprehension because their views of God clash with their own moral expectations. A God who is evil is surely not worth believing in.

God must be perfect thus not evil.

Most parents don’t ask to be worshipped. We sense such a request requires perfect character. Most sense God ask us to live totally unselfishly, but how can God make such a request unless God is perfectly unselfish? Jesus, who represented God here on earth, made statements like: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). God claims to be perfect and must think we know what perfection is or such statements are meaningless. 

God and human perfection must be one in the same.  

It makes sense that a good God would ask us to be perfect like them. What earthly creator – parent – doesn’t wish their child to imitate their moral successes and avoid their moral failures. If God’s perfection is different than human perfection, we can’t know such desires since God doesn’t communicate audibly. The Bible never suggests there are two “perfect” standards. God and human perfection are exactly the same.   

How can we know what godly/human moral perfection is unless God communicates?  

If you believe evil exist, you believe in morality. Who hasn’t felt moral outrage? Who doesn’t feel from time to time we “ought” to have acted differently? Such moral inclinations can be how a Creator communicates to us what is good. We just seem to know if an action is moral or immoral. This explains a universal desire to treat others like we want to be treated. I am convinced most can agree on major characteristics of a morally perfect friend, parent, or God.

Any book, such as the Bible, cannot be our sole source for God’s view of morality. Literature is subject to interpretation, thus why biblical scholars frequently disagree on the meaning of the same passage. If one’s understanding of the Bible contradicts moral intuitions, something must be up. Evil can result when we claim we can only know good through a book – even if believing such a book is the Word of God – because we often claim our interpretations is the truth about God.

What if moral intuitions clash?

There is universal agreement on most moral matters such as murdering or stealing. A test for morality is whether you wish to be treated in the same way you treat others. Terrorists are wrong because they do not wish for our religious beliefs to be imposed on them. Just as we know it is wrong to steal because we do not wish to be stolen from. Moral intuitions differences can lead to discussions; interpretations seem to lead to control in God’s name. Only terrorists don’t know that true religion doesn’t seek to be served by serve. We may not agree what a perfect parent or God would do in each situation, but we may agree on many attributes.

Why does it matter that God is perfect?

God is likely the kind of God you imagined a good God would be like. A perfect God is quick to forgive and begin anew than be consumed with anger for self-righteous reasons. It is not possible a perfect God is homophobic. Every moral fiber in our body thinks a loving God can’t condemn gays when they can no more choose who they love than straights can. Parents and others often only condemn homosexuals against their intuitions because of supposed correct interpretations of a Book. Reject unloving portrayals of God. God is like the God we all hope for – morally perfect humanly-speaking. Most of us will admit we fall short and need help in striving to be closer to our ideal self. The role-models you have had or what you have heard about God may not be true. If you have thought that 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. God’s love is the love we deep down desire to show others consistently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Can We Know Our Thoughts Or Feelings Are From God?

Many wish for God’s guidance but become discouraged when not knowing if their thoughts are random or specifically from God. Most agree God rarely speaks audibly so how can one know when specific thoughts or feelings from God?   

God has already communicated about moral decisions.

Who doesn’t know killing, stealing, or abusing is wrong. God guides us morally by moral intuitions rational humans agree on. We know terrorists are wrong because they would not accept us denying their freedom of beliefs. Actions toward others that you would not accept toward yourself are questionable.

Don’t assume God must give specific advice about decisions not moral in nature.

You pray and ask God to guide which job offer to accept. The underlying assumption is that future outcomes are knowable so one job is a better decision than the other job in the long-run. A predetermined future suggests freedom is an illusion. Even an all-powerful God can’t know an unknowable future. Wouldn’t a loving, uncontrolling parent or God in an open future simply advise to access your gifts and passions and make the wisest choice you know at that time.

What about decisions somewhat moral in nature such as whether to divorce your partner?

It is unlikely God guides us exclusively through a Book. The Bible hasn’t been available to the majority of people born into this world, and literature is subject to interpretation thus we cannot be certain of the message or meaning intended by the author. This explains why there are numerous views on divorce according to the Bible. A partner may respond with gratitude for a second change or another chance may simply enable bad behaviors to continue. God is supportive of the wisest decisions we know under current circumstances which may include the counsel of others. God can’t promise you a certain outcome and still be a respecter of freedom.

It seems unlikely a caring God wouldn’t clearly communicate if ever necessary.

Godly and human love may work the same. Human parents as children get older seldom need to be direct but hope to positively influence, not control, over time by the relationship. God guides us morally through intuitions to treat others like we want to be treated. God seeks to support and empower us to take risks in other decisions. If you believe God is nudging you, don’t wait for certainty or feel guilty deciding otherwise. I am convinced God is asking us what we want to do with the gifts and passions we have to make for a better world.

 

What Is At Least One Action By Bible-Believers To Deter Terrorism?

Terrorism is a universal plague. We can only hope current attempts to rehabilitate terrorists are successful. We can also support authorities actively combating terrorists. I don’t know anyone committed to passivism when their family is in danger. Domestic violence doesn’t stop by simply turning the other cheek. We cannot ignore but report friends and family to legal authorities whose actions or words suggest involvement in evil.

Terrorists’ only motivation isn’t because they are convinced their views of God are true.

Terrorism is also driven by human nature to be in power and control. Terrorists seldom are Gandhi-type individuals who are guided by the motto to treat all like they want to be treated. True religion doesn’t seek to be served but serve; beliefs are only genuine if freely chosen not demanded.

But, Bible-believing people can at least change the discussion by acknowledging that truth about God isn’t determined solely by a Book.

Some interrupt the Quran to teach that infidels must convert or be killed, while others deny such interpretations. Some have used the Bible to advocate for war, while others advocate for more of a peacemaking God. To claim God only communicates what is good and perfect through a Book has led to justifying immoral actions in the name of God. We often fail to acknowledge that literature is interpretation of the author’s intended meaning. The Bible or any book written in the past cannot be definitive ultimately of what is good.

We can agree God and morality can be determined according to universal moral intuitions.

Belief in evil is universal. We seem to just know if something is moral or immoral. We often feel we “ought” to have acted differently. Why do we desire to be a better friend or partner? Most accept God must be perfect without evil to claim to be God. God cannot ask us to be good unless they have communicated what is good versus evil. The presence of moral outrage hints of a personal external force communicating through our moral intuitions that lead to outrage. How else do we explain a universal desire to treat others like we want to be treated?

Moral intuition differences can lead to discussions; interpretation differences frequently lead to control because supposedly such understandings are the voice of God.

We will obviously not all perfectly agree about morality. But, discussions can lead to possible understandings of what God’s will is for our lives, then claiming our interpretations of a Book is God’s. Good from evil actions can be discerned if we accept from others our actions toward them.

Why Might People Not Have A Relationship With God Though Wanna?

I recently wrote about this subject but I wanted to expand. I will add to as I become aware of other reasons why we reject God. People often don’t believe in God or don’t want anything to do with God because they can’t make sense of a loving God and the world as it is.

First, let’s debunk the reason assumed why most people reject God. Many argue that the Bible argues that God’s is obvious in creation and to reject such intuitions is rebellion (Romans 1). Actually, biblical writers often wrote about people believing there was a God but refusing God’s moral message. Don’t rule yourself out as spiritual-minded. Rebelling against God is desiring and believing in selfishness over unselfishness in relationships. Is that really you?

We may not seek out God more because of supposed, required beliefs to be spiritual.  

Many suggest certain beliefs are necessary to be accepted by God. Which supposed, required beliefs do you accept since there are thousands of different beliefs as to what God wants? Is a loving God really going to leave to chance what beliefs we are supposed to believe? Spirituality surely is as simply as considering help from God in being more the person you deep down desire to be by treating others like you want to be treated. Is a reasonable God going to freak out if that is your core belief?

We may not seek God out more because we believe what others says about God.

We can only be as close to God as our mental images of God allow. We may not pursue God more because we assume others’ beliefs about God are true, or God is like the poor role models we have had who claim to represent God. The God often portrayed by others condemns gay people, favors men over women despite the history of men abusing power, and created Hell to throw people in after death if they don’t discover the right beliefs before death. This can’t possibly be God! 

We may not seek God out because of unanswered prayers. Does God really care? 

Pray is not easy to understand. God cannot be a lover of freedom and answer all our prayers. We may want our partner to change but that is their choice. I don’t know why so few prayers of healing aren’t answered. Some miracles may happen because of very skilled physicians but that doesn’t mean lack of physical healing is because of the Doctor and certainly not due to lack of faith. I can only speculate that some prayers can possibly be answered because freedom is not thwarted in major ways. I do know our language can be harmful when claiming God’s grace saved a life in an accident. What about other lives? Such language can understandably lead to unbelief.  

We may not seek God out because of so much evil in the world.

If God truly existed, they would surely prevent more evil. The majority of evil in the world results from the freedom to make moral choices. A world without reasonable freedom is not a world that can genuinely love. Forced love is an oxymoron. The world would surely look very different if people always treated others like they wanted to be treated, and good people did not turn a blind eye to evil they could intervene. Natural disaster cannot be explained as a result of free moral choices, but a free world does explain a lot of evil and God’s lack of interference.

We may not seek God out more because of the Bible’s rendering of God.

Many don’t read the Bible and who could blame them if they assume the writers always portrayed what God was really like. OT prophets often commanded the killing of women and children in the name of God when war may have been necessary. We do not have to assume God somehow unexplainably controlled impressions recorded by the writers, even if their views of God were more influence by culture than reality. It does seem that as biblical history unfolded God had breakthroughs in persuading writers to a more correct view of God. We can also determine what God is like and good from evil from common universal moral intuitions. Such intuitions can be how a Creator communicates to us. God didn’t intend the Bible to be the only source of truth about God. God inspiring the writing of the Bible can mean God encourage the recording of God’s beginnings with humans so we can get to know God better.

We may not seek God out more because of false expectations of what God requires.

No loving parent tells their child they must act or be certain ways to earn their love. Parents love their children regardless. Perfect parents only advise their children to act in ways in their best interest in the long-run. You don’t have to stop drinking to be loved by God. You don’t have to stop fornicating to be loved by God. Consider what actions are in your best interest and those you have relationships with. That is God’s guidance but not for acceptance.

You may not seek God out because of rituals that supposedly have to be followed.

God doesn’t demand you seek to convert others to your beliefs. Having more of a connection with God doesn’t mean you have a hidden agenda with others in your interactions. God certainly isn’t in the business of telling people they are going to Hell if they don’t believe certain things. God doesn’t command you go to religious meetings regularly or pray a certain way or time. Go to a church, synagogue, or mosque if that is where you are encouraged and able to encourage others in making for a better world or find encouragement in other settings.   

God only desires that we love ourselves and others to the fullest, but God is not going to coerce you into such actions.

God’s expectations aren’t that you must believe certain events in the Bible that you may have difficulty believing. Just seek out relationships that encourage spiritually striving to be a better partner, parent, friend, and neighbor. If you are inclined to believe a caring Creator exist, trust God for faith and encouragement in loving others to the fullest in becoming more the person you deep down desire to be.

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