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Thread: Why faith is so difficult....Cain murders Able

  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by UKShootist View Post
    .....Imagine a good man. A doctor perhaps who has saved many lives, done many good works, has hurt nobody, and who is a very kind and humble man who prays many times a day. He is a Muslim. (For the avoidance of doubt he prays to the same God as Christians and Jews. He thinks of that God somewhat differently to Christians and Jews, but it is categorically and beyond the slightest doubt the same God.) Such good people do exist BTW for those who are wondering. One day a Christian 'missionary' for lack of a better word, knocks on his door, hands him a bible, and gives him words of Christ as the only route to salvation. The doctor thanks him kindly, closes the door, and puts the bible away because he feels he has no need of it, the Koran serves his needs and has done since he was born. He continues his good works till the day he dies. According to very many Christians he is off to hell for all eternity, trillions upon trillions of years burning there. Really? This is the decree of a kind and loving God? And don't kid me that it's due to the decisions of this good and kind man. According to that type of Christian, it's God that made the rules, and if those rules are utterly unfair and indeed cruel, where's the love in that?

    Of course, that's not the views of all Christians, just an unknown, to me, percentage (probably most here, at a guess). Some Christians will say that such a man will be welcomed in heaven, judged upon his life. So, back to the eternal question, which Christians do I follow?
    Some time ago I posted a similar scenario where a boy is born into a Jewish family, is taught their culture and loves God to a point where he becomes a rabii and spends his life spreading God's word.
    The rabii ultimately dies. He is one of God's chosen people. What happens to him?
    He ends up seeing St. Peter at the Gates of Heaven and Peter says NOPE....you did not follow Jesus. Door number two over there for you!

    For a Christian, the answer is that the rabii does not get into heaven because of a passage in the Bible that says basically you do not get to the Father unless you go through Jesus.

    That viewpoint excludes anybody who isn't Christian from getting into heaven.
    I do not believe that. Somehow that notion from the Bible has been mistranslated or misunderstood as to what Jesus was saying and has caused much prejudice against many God loving people who are not Christians.

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thundarstick View Post
    Truth is where most get hung up. In our daily lives we really accept many things as truth. Ex. My car it won't explode when I turn the ignition on, we trust in that truth, my food won't poison me, when I pull the trigger on my 375 H&H it's not going to pt the breach through my skull. In a court no one is ever convicted on absolute truth, jurors are instructed to use a standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. Why? Because there can always be an imaginary scenario where the one on trial is innocent, and you would never be able to disprove these imaginary scenarios.

    If your willing to accept a beyond reasonable doubt definition, the conversation can proceed, but if one must disprove every imagined scenario in order to prove truth, that is a self defeating exercise leading to futility.

    Christ, ok. I'll add father God, the creator.
    I am ok with that, however I suspect our discussion will hinge on our level of “reasonable”. But yes I agree if we get too bogged down in the details we can’t really discuss much.

  3. #83
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    God's Book is man's insight into what he thinks. Miss that fact and we delude ourselves because He didn't ask any of us what we think He should think about anything.

    Many moral people, including Jews, proclaimed Christians and "good" pagans, trip themselves up by assuming salvation is earned by good deeds and, by that measure, they conclude they and others like them will surely pass into glory because they have earned a reward (Acts 4:12).

    Well, .... IF salvation is a thing we could earn, they would be right. But, they are wrong. Jesus' salvation is a gift HE has paid for, not a "salary" we have earned! And Jesus obviously doesn't much care what any of us "thinks" about it. (See Mt 7:21-23)

    Bottomline, no one earns a right to heaven. So, spiritually, all that being humanly "good" gains anyone is a cooler spot in hell. (And a LOT of misled Christians strongly disagree with that but they are wrong too!)

    God is just, he will send no one to hell, that's a decision we each make for ourselves (John 3:18).

    On the "Great White Throne Judgement Day" God will send those who reject the freely offered gift of salvation by faith in Jesus to the just level of eternal discomfort they've earned, no more, no less. (Rev 20:11-15)
    Last edited by 1hole; 08-19-2019 at 04:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1hole View Post
    On the "Great White Throne Judgement Day" God will send those who reject the freely offered gift of salvation by faith in Jesus to the just level of eternal discomfort they've earned, no more, no less. (Rev 20:11-15)
    I see nothing whatever in the quoted passage of the KJV bible that mentions anything about that anyone who rejects the freely offered gift of salvation by faith in Jesus. In fact I might take comfort from the repeated statement that they were judged by their works and not by their faith. Sure, there is a hint about those not recorded in the book, but no specific exclusion on the basis of a lack of faith which, being fairly important in the eyes of some, might have been worth a mention.

    Revelation 20:11-15 King James Version (KJV)

    11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

    12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

    13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

    14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

    15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by UKShootist View Post
    I see nothing whatever in the quoted passage of the KJV bible that mentions anything about that anyone who rejects the freely offered gift of salvation by faith in Jesus. In fact I might take comfort from the repeated statement that they were judged by their works and not by their faith.
    You fail to understand who is standing before the Throne and why they are there! Thus you make my point that many assume man has to earn his salvation vs. it actually being a free gift of God, obtained by our faith (trust) in the Lord because of his blood sacrifice on the cross.

    Read John 3:18 my friend, then try to grasp that all those resurrected people standing before the Great White Throne for the final judgement are the self-condemned, lost by their own will. Again, they will indeed be judged/punished for their deeds in the flesh. And there will be a cold comfort for how sweet you have been on that day.

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by T_McD View Post
    I am ok with that, however I suspect our discussion will hinge on our level of “reasonable”. But yes I agree if we get too bogged down in the details we can’t really discuss much.
    I present we can reasonably ascertain the nature of God through witnesses and observation. For instance, everything we know of in our realm is subject to ordered laws, this points to a creator. One nature of God, he is not a God of chaos, but of order.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1hole View Post
    You fail to understand who is standing before the Throne and why they are there! Thus you make my point that many assume man has to earn his salvation vs. it actually being a free gift of God, obtained by our faith (trust) in the Lord because of his blood sacrifice on the cross.

    Read John 3:18 my friend, then try to grasp that all those resurrected people standing before the Great White Throne for the final judgement are the self-condemned, lost by their own will. Again, they will indeed be judged/punished for their deeds in the flesh. And there will be a cold comfort for how sweet you have been on that day.
    You offer a Bible verse as truth and then deny that truth when it is challenged. Is it me that is failing to understand or you? What I see in people's faith is as much a willingness to disbelieve, or even to ignore completely, what doesn't suit their belief. The Revelations verse you offered is one that makes complete sense in any judgement scenario. How willing people can be to allow into heaven only those that agree with their particular interpretation of their faith.

    IT does occur to me that if simply not believing in Jesus in the prescribed manner will end up as badly as it is possible to end up then what possible motivation is there to be anything but pure evil. It would hardly seem to make a difference after all. And if I believe in Jesus then why shouldn't I be as bad as I like because that will get me into heaven? Rasputin committed about every sin in the book, but prayed to God and believed in Jesus. His theory was that you had to sin in order to gain the forgiveness of God and be returned to grace. It seems odd, but he believed it because he had faith.

    Could this insistence upon a particular variety of faith be nothing more than making sure the collection plate of a chosen faith is full on Sundays?

    I had a look at John 3:18 BTW. "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." What if a man believes entirely in Jesus and His words but completely disagrees with most of the Old Testament? I see no words in that verse that moderate the Revelations verse you quoted. Indeed, the Revelations might seem to offer a more certain perspective than one man's words that may be out of context, possibly mistranslated. I would have to offer the possibility that your understanding of this issue is determined by what you believe, because if that belief is challenged then all of your beliefs may likewise fail under scrutiny.

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thundarstick View Post
    I present we can reasonably ascertain the nature of God through witnesses and observation. For instance, everything we know of in our realm is subject to ordered laws, this points to a creator. One nature of God, he is not a God of chaos, but of order.
    With you so far. My main issue arises when I am forced to “choose” a deity. Going from a creator to Christ/Father as the creator is my hang up. Where are the observations and witnesses for that?

  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtknowles View Post
    I think the literal interpretation of those sections of the old testament is leading you astray. They are parables. They are not historical events. Look for the lesson don't treat them like they were real people.

    Tim
    I agree completely. There is a difference between a parable and true real life. A parable if memory is correct was meant to teach a specific lesson. I simple do not take what is in the bible as fact( my opinion which deserves as much respect as yours does). Religions basically does several things... to be basic here it throws a scare into people enough that they will behave. Secondly it satisfies the psychological need to believe in something higher up the chain than we are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6bg6ga View Post
    I agree completely.
    The problem is, a whole load of Christians will disagree completely.

    Quote Originally Posted by 6bg6ga View Post
    There is a difference between a parable and true real life. A parable if memory is correct was meant to teach a specific lesson. I simple do not take what is in the bible as fact( my opinion which deserves as much respect as yours does). Religions basically does several things... to be basic here it throws a scare into people enough that they will behave. Secondly it satisfies the psychological need to believe in something higher up the chain than we are.

  11. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    There are very few, if any, parables in the OT. There are several different types of OT literature but parables is not one of them.

    One the other hand, parables was a common Rabinical teaching tool in Jesus's time and He used the parable with great effect. Preachers of today still use the parable, but we call them "illustrations".
    It just seems illogical to think that your holy writ is somehow categorically different than any other. It seems like many here, myself included, demand that miraculous claims be paired with extraordinary evidence.

    How was the red sea parted? How was the lambs wool wet with no dew and dry with dew? How did mortals escape a nazi style death furnace? How did trumpets destroy Jericho? How was a river turned to blood?

    These questions did not spring from an unbelieving mind, but rather from one who was trained from his youth to believe. To ignore them seems like we are just pretending at believing. If your pastor claimed to do these things, proof would be demanded. How then can you justify believing in ancient miracles?

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    With God, nothing is impossible. If you believe in God and understand this, then miracles past and present are unquestioned as to the "how". If you do not believe in God no one can argue you into believing. "The Lord calls whom he will." You can squinch your eyes closed and put your fingers in your ears, but if he calls you, you will hear. Conversely, you can diligently seek him, and he may or may not allow you to find him, although "it is his wish that not one should perish." Perhaps, if you are eventually called and someday you meet him, you can ask about the Red Sea. How can man explain how God performs miracles, other than to acknowledge that what happened was impossible for man to perform, but not for God?
    Today many of God's miracles are performed in the area of healing. It's not hard at all to find cases of persons afflicted with cancer that have been written off as terminal, and yet they are later found to be cancer free. Medical science doesn't understand it, but God does.

  13. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    I am just stating what is Biblical scholarship 101 (types of Biblical literature) taught in about 100% of the Seminaries accross the globe. I said nothing about the content. Again...I am not going to be drawn into a useless argument with you. Try all you want, but it will not happen. You are a guy who treats all of this, as some kind of sport. I do not, so I will not play this childish game. I have heard your points over, over and over again for a half century from scoffers.
    If you did not want discussion, feel free to not post here. I do not have these discussions in the chapel, if you desire an echo chamber then find one.

  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Gebirgsjager View Post
    With God, nothing is impossible. If you believe in God and understand this, then miracles past and present are unquestioned as to the "how". If you do not believe in God no one can argue you into believing. "The Lord calls whom he will." You can squinch your eyes closed and put your fingers in your ears, but if he calls you, you will hear. Conversely, you can diligently seek him, and he may or may not allow you to find him, although "it is his wish that not one should perish." Perhaps, if you are eventually called and someday you meet him, you can ask about the Red Sea. How can man explain how God performs miracles, other than to acknowledge that what happened was impossible for man to perform, but not for God?
    Today many of God's miracles are performed in the area of healing. It's not hard at all to find cases of persons afflicted with cancer that have been written off as terminal, and yet they are later found to be cancer free. Medical science doesn't understand it, but God does.
    Why when I ask questions am I labeled an unbeliever? I have stated many times that I believe in god. Is it heretical to have questions and expect more than “because Jesus said so”?

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    There is a certain type of Christian who will state their beliefs then when challenged will refuse to discuss anything further, considering that anyone questioning beliefs, some of which can seem quite preposterous, and many just a personal interpretation of Bible verses of an equivocal nature. If pressed they will damn their critic to hell, literally. They seem unable to understand that there are many different types of Christians, many of whom disagree with them, often quite profoundly. As always, the genuine seeker is left to choose which particular interpretation to adopt. Some Christians, not necessarily anyone here, have struck me as a sort of person that Jesus would not wish to be seen in company with, but boy, can they thump a bible. Others seem decent and kind, and open to discussion. Which to choose, which to choose?

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    Quote Originally Posted by T_McD View Post
    Why when I ask questions am I labeled an unbeliever? I have stated many times that I believe in god. Is it heretical to have questions and expect more than “because Jesus said so”?
    I am quite positive that I did not say that you are an unbeliever. That is something I can not know-- only you can. And yet, if you are (or anyone else is) a believer, part of believing is faith.

    God is the Supreme Being. He does not owe you, or I, an explanation for anything. In the Bible He says that "My thoughts are not your thoughts. My thoughts are high above yours." If one is a believer they must understand that we can not comprehend his methods or motives. But we do need to be very glad and grateful that he has included us in his plans, and have enough humanity and generosity to hope that many others will take him up on his offer of salvation, and then attempt to live according to his wishes.

    I used to be a real Pit Warrior, but have backed off because like Char-Gar says such arguments or discussions reach a point of futility. I think it is appreciated that you keep your skepticism out of The Chapel, and those like myself who respond to the offered bait should exercise more restraint. I only chimed in because I hate to see my brothers stand up for their beliefs without support. I have found, again like Char-Gar, that I can make 5 or 6 points that are rather unassailable, and the non-believers will just pass over them and set up a straw man to argue against. Some of these folks are definitely religious trolls, seeking only to get a rise out of the believers. The same names always show up, over and over. Some profess themselves shocked that Christians use the scriptures as a defense. Kind of like being amazed that a dog uses its teeth to bite. After all, what is the basis of Christianity?

    The Bible also says that all shall stand before the throne of God to give an accounting of themselves. Those who's names are found in the Book of Life will be justified or pardoned, as you wish to interpret it. It is also called Mercy. I know that I can use a whole truck load of that, as I wasn't always the best person, and still have glaring faults. But I'm working on it. I wonder what the non-believers will answer to Him. "Well, Great God, I did this and that because I didn't believe you existed.....despite the existence of the owner's manual you left for us to read, and countless people who told me that you did, and the many wonders you performed that were described as miracles, for which I wanted an explanation of how you did them, not being content and awed by the fact that you did do them. And...uhhh...."

    So, this is my last contribution to this thread. I'd much rather concentrate on other areas of the forum, as I've already found Jesus, and can only hope that others will as well, but am not the best evangelist. May God bless you.

    DG
    Last edited by Der Gebirgsjager; 08-20-2019 at 09:11 PM.

  17. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    There are very few, if any, parables in the OT. There are several different types of OT literature but parables is not one of them.

    One the other hand, parables was a common Rabinical teaching tool in Jesus's time and He used the parable with great effect. Preachers of today still use the parable, but we call them "illustrations".
    If Genesis is not a parable, what is it?

    If Jonah is not a parable, what is it?

    Do you believe they are factual history?

    Tim
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  18. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Gebirgsjager View Post
    I am quite positive that I did not say that you are an unbeliever. That is something I can not know-- only you can. And yet, if you are (or anyone else is) a believer, part of believing is faith.

    God is the Supreme Being. He does not owe you, or I, an explanation for anything. In the Bible He says that "My thoughts are not your thoughts. My thoughts are high above yours." If one is a believer they must understand that we can not comprehend his methods or motives. But we do need to be very glad and grateful that he has included us in his plans, and have enough humanity and generosity to hope that many others will take him up on his offer of salvation, and then attempt to live according to his wishes.

    I used to be a real Pit Warrior, but have backed off because like Char-Gar says such arguments or discussions reach a point of futility. I think it is appreciated that you keep your skepticism out of The Chapel, and those like myself who respond to the offered bait should exercise more restraint. I only chimed in because I hate to see my brothers stand up for their beliefs without support. I have found, again like Char-Gar, that I can make 5 or 6 points that are rather unassailable, and the non-believers will just pass over them and set up a straw man to argue against. Some of these folks are definitely religious trolls, seeking only to get a rise out of the believers. The same names always show up, over and over. Some profess themselves shocked that Christians use the scriptures as a defense. Kind of like being amazed that a dog uses its teeth to bite. After all, what is the basis of Christianity?

    The Bible also says that all shall stand before the throne of God to give an accounting of themselves. Those who's names are found in the Book of Life will be justified or pardoned, as you wish to interpret it. It is also called Mercy. I know that I can use a whole truck load of that, as I wasn't always the best person, and still have glaring faults. But I'm working on it. I wonder what the non-believers will answer to Him. "Well, Great God, I did this and that because I didn't believe you existed.....despite the existence of the owner's manual you left for us to read, and countless people who told me that you did, and the many wonders you performed that were described as miracles, for which I wanted an explanation of how you did them, not being content and awed by the fact that you did do them. And...uhhh...."

    So, this is my last contribution to this thread. I'd much rather concentrate on other areas of the forum, as I've already found Jesus, and can only hope that others will as well, but am not the best evangelist. May God bless you.

    DG
    "God is the Supreme Being. He does not owe you, or I, an explanation for anything."

    This is a completely appropriate item for deeply theological discussion.

    The Bible even seems to indicate that God agrees he owes us both and explanation and a covenant, a deal!

    The first deal, "the Old Covenant was a conditional or bilateral agreement that God made with the Israelites"

    The new deal, "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. The new covenant comes through the death of Jesus Christ."

    If God did not believe we deserved an explanation why did he create the God inspired books called the Bible.

    I believe that God knew we would struggle to understand and so maybe nudged some early thinkers to provide guidance those nudges led to many religions and books.

    It might be time for a third covenant.

    Tim
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtknowles View Post
    "God is the Supreme Being. He does not owe you, or I, an explanation for anything."
    If he exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by dtknowles View Post
    This is a completely appropriate item for deeply theological discussion.
    I'd go with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by dtknowles View Post
    The Bible even seems to indicate that God agrees he owes us both and explanation and a covenant, a deal!
    If he's made life then he has an obligation to it. Just like any parent owes an obligation to a child.

    Quote Originally Posted by dtknowles View Post
    The first deal, "the Old Covenant was a conditional or bilateral agreement that God made with the Israelites"
    Or so the Israelites say, and they are hardly likely to argue with being told they are God's chosen people.

    Quote Originally Posted by dtknowles View Post
    The new deal, "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. The new covenant comes through the death of Jesus Christ."
    Does that mean that the new deal still applies only to Israelites?

    Quote Originally Posted by dtknowles View Post
    If God did not believe we deserved an explanation why did he create the God inspired books called the Bible.
    Perhaps He didn't. But if you accept that possibility then it can be applied to all of the other religions that claim to have a special book.

    Quote Originally Posted by dtknowles View Post
    I believe that God knew we would struggle to understand and so maybe nudged some early thinkers to provide guidance those nudges led to many religions and books.
    If it was that difficult then why not make it just little bit more obvious? Anyone reading the Old Testament can be left in no doubt that God was not shy about revealing his existence at all. Why so shy for the last two thousand years?

    Quote Originally Posted by dtknowles View Post
    It might be time for a third covenant.
    Tim
    Certainly time for something.

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    To return to the original question, Why faith is so difficult? Well, of course, to the faithful it's the easiest thing on the world. All you have to do is believe. Even if they doubt from time to time, that doubt is about their belief, and then seeking confirmation of that belief.

    From the perspective of a person without any religion faith things are entirely different. For a person who follows a scientific approach to life, being proved wrong on some point of, say, physics or perhaps astronomy, is called learning. For the faithful to be proved wrong is akin to heresy. How can their belief, and therefore their God, be wrong?

    It is an undeniable fact, and this may hurt some people's feelings but that is not the intent, that significant 'standard' statements made by the faithful appear to 'unbelievers' to be at best unreasonable and at worst, verging upon the preposterous. The unbeliever then has to choose between so many different, and equally doubtful, faiths each supported by self serving books, proclaiming they are the one true guide. Searching for the truth of the matter is made even more complicated by some of the theological acrobatics engaged in by the faithful. The most common is "Because it says so in this book." It is also certain that by definition, if you can prove your faith then it is no longer faith, it's science. But, as I have said, the theological gymnastics are such that the standard of proof acceptable to the faithful is often utterly illogical, or at best, merely appears so to the unconvinced.

    The usual closure in such discussions is the faithful refusing to engage in any discussion of real consequence, usually calling the doubter names before damning them to hell for all eternity, and refusing to discuss any difficult question because they feel insulted by it. Still, things have improved. It's been some time since Christians felt the need to hang Quakers. See what I mean?

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