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Old 12-29-2008, 07:16 AM   #76
RainierBeachPoet
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Default Re: Questions for believers in God...

Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Webb4
Yeah exactly, I agree. Same thing I was asking pretty much in one of my follow up questions. You could say that we have "free will" but if our options are choose to accept God and follow him or die, how "free" really is it? And what if a person does happen to follow the principles of the Bible but for whatever reason does not accept or believe in God. Does that person not go to heaven? And if not, does that really seem fair?

edit: just a correction though, I believe you were referring to Job being tested, not Jacob.

freewill is more about the consequences of our actions. with our actions, there are consequences: good, bad, neutral/indifferent

simplistically:
right actions lead (ultimately) to good consequences
wrong actions ultimately lead to bad consequences

as the good/bad consequences add up, this shapes me as a person and shapes us as a society. into a good or bad person

some actions that we choose will lead us to a place where it becomes very difficult to really choose-- people who are addicted to drugs is an example. previous choices hinder their ability to NOT choose to do drugs

taking proper responsibility is part of free will too

most people are a complex mixture of all of this: we dont always choose right nor always choose wrong

in a word: free will is about the way we live life and how it all shapes the people we become

so a defining question becomes: what kind of person do you want to be? what helps you become this kind of person?

in the christian perspective, it is to become "like christ". this is about living in the Spirit and letting God grace us-- shape us. we are not the ultimate creators of our own life but are shaped by many other factors in life-- many of which we do not fully understand

it is to be shaped into a person who is christ-like (christian):
loving, forgiving, thankful, peaceful, patient, just, etc
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:24 AM   #77
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Default Re: Questions for believers in God...

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Originally Posted by Im so nba'd out
I donít understand one thing if you donít devote your life to GOD you go to hell on judgment day. It feels like you only have 2 choices Love me or be punished for not loving me no matter how good of a person you are. There can be some 1 who goes there whole life being a good person but wont get in heaven because maybe they were turned off to god when they were younger cause they were molested or maybe there father was a priest and he was a bad person or any reason. That wouldnít seem right to me. I know once you hear about the word of god you can no longer say you didnít no and will go to hell if you donít accept Jesus Christ.O yeah and the story about god testing Jacob. In that story didnít satan ask god to test Jacob to see if he really loved GOD? Wouldnít that be a sin if we did it?

if you apply the "free will" framework (of my previous post) to your question of ultimate judgment. we really are products of our own "judgment" or the ways that our lives are/were lived

st augustine has a great summary: we die as we live

added to the mix is an interesting final judgment account from matthew 25: 31-46 ...
http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew25.htm
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:54 AM   #78
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Default Re: Questions for believers in God...

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Originally Posted by F.Sanford
The idea, as I see it, was that we were given free will to either appreciate God's blessings and act accordingly or not. That life lesson continues now for everyone...
So your interpretation is that the free will refers to whether or not we appreciate God's blessings? I've always been told that it was more than that.

Quote:
The commandments were to US. He was giving us his rules. Do your parents have rules you have to follow but he doesn't? Can you spank your brother and discipline him? Can your parents?
I'm sorry but that's a weak argument. Spanking your child and killing massive amounts of people don't relate. If my parents tell me to go to bed at 10pm and they go to bed at 2am, i'll chalk that up to them being in charge and knowing what's best for me. If they specifically forbid me to kill and tell me that i'll get kicked out of the house if I kill someone, and then they go around killing people, then it's gonna be issue.

Quote:
Of course it is. He gives you the rules and guidelines, and also the free will to follow them or not. Consequences are very logical. Doesn't quite make sense for him to say "follow my laws and you'll be blessed, but if you don't and you're a horrible person it's all the same..." Does it?
Follow me or die? Does that sound loving to you? To use your own parent analogy, imagine if your parents told you that you have the free will to follow our rules, and if you don't follow them, you die. Wouldn't you then be following those rules out of fear rather than out of love? To me, a lot of people turn to religion out of fear based on what the alternative is.


Quote:
Truth is you can talk yourself in or out of anything in this life. The answer isn't going to be found by trying to answer one inconsistency you think you find in the Bible. You'll have to find the truth within too, because not knowing all the unknown may last forever...
My questions don't have to do with inconsistencies of the Bible, that's a completely different topic in itself. They are merely an attempt to understand the thought process behind certain things and different concepts.

Last edited by C-Webb4 : 12-29-2008 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:05 AM   #79
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Default Re: Questions for believers in God...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainierBeachPoet
simplistically:
right actions lead (ultimately) to good consequences
wrong actions ultimately lead to bad consequences

as the good/bad consequences add up, this shapes me as a person and shapes us as a society. into a good or bad person
I would say think that our moral choices would be the deciding factor rather than the consequences. I don't believe that everytime someone does something wrong it just adds up and then you are a "bad person" if you've done more wrong than right. Sometimes good people make bad choices

Quote:
most people are a complex mixture of all of this: we dont always choose right nor always choose wrong
agreed, because nobody is perfect.

Quote:
in a word: free will is about the way we live life and how it all shapes the people we become
I understand that in a sense that we are "free" to live our lives however we want.. But going back to my question about the Bible, why are there several accounts of God killing people on the spot for being wicked?

Quote:
so a defining question becomes: what kind of person do you want to be? what helps you become this kind of person?
and another question is: What if you are a "good person" who follows the laws out of principal but doesn't accept or believe in Jesus as a savior. Do you burn in hell?
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:13 AM   #80
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Default Re: Questions for believers in God...

Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Webb4
I would say think that our moral choices would be the deciding factor rather than the consequences. I don't believe that everytime someone does something wrong it just adds up and then you are a "bad person" if you've done more wrong than right. Sometimes good people make bad choices


I understand that in a sense that we are "free" to live our lives however we want.. But going back to my question about the Bible, why are there several accounts of God killing people on the spot for being wicked?


and another question is: What if you are a "good person" who follows the laws out of principal but doesn't accept or believe in Jesus as a savior. Do you burn in hell?

please re-read my description about the complexity of decision making. most people are in the middle. "good" people make wrong choices all the time as well as "bad" people make right choices too. all of these choices shape us. i would add that it is very difficult to even classify people as 100% good or evil. it is beyond our limited capacity and abilities as humans to render this judgment

i used the example of addiction to show that certain decisions affect our ability to truly choose

i am not sure which particular bible texts you are referring to regarding God killing the wicked but i would respond with this: these accounts are the hebrew people's way of explaining how things happened. they should not be taken literally. bottom line perhaps is: the wicked will ultimately experience utter destruction and the good will be vindicated.

we would all do better to try to go beyond God as a giant santa claus in the sky with a huge magic wand

regarding the whole "burning in hell" issue-- if one takes the implications of free will, right, wrong, decision-making, becoming seriously-- of course it is possible for non christians to become loving, forgiving, just, compassionate, etc. christianity is a lifestyle as well as an ethical framework.

but any responsible person needs to understand the ultimate goals and motives and arguments behind a teaching in order to move beyond an adolescent stage of ethical development

once again-- the goal is the whole-ness of the human person
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:57 PM   #81
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Default Re: Questions for believers in God...

Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Webb4
So your interpretation is that the free will refers to whether or not we appreciate God's blessings? I've always been told that it was more than that.
That's not what I said at all. Free will means you have free will to make any choice you want. But there are consequences, as there are for everything in life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Webb4
I'm sorry but that's a weak argument. Spanking your child and killing massive amounts of people don't relate. If my parents tell me to go to bed at 10pm and they go to bed at 2am, i'll chalk that up to them being in charge and knowing what's best for me. If they specifically forbid me to kill and tell me that i'll get kicked out of the house if I kill someone, and then they go around killing people, then it's gonna be issue.


I wasn't relating spanking to killing, I was relating the principle of God being able to do something you can't. God gave the laws and us free will, and has also told the outcome for our choices. The fact that you don't like the outcome doesn't make it wrong.

[quote=C-Webb4]Follow me or die? Does that sound loving to you? To use your own parent analogy, imagine if your parents told you that you have the free will to follow our rules, and if you don't follow them, you die. Wouldn't you then be following those rules out of fear rather than out of love? To me, a lot of people turn to religion out of fear based on what the alternative is.

You actually are making a good point here and you don't know it. Some of parenting is (or should) be based on fear. And God's rules are just arbitrary things he wants to see you follow and if you don't you're dead. Those rules are good for you and mankind in general. They are there to help. And with most parents, there is unconditional love but also consequences to your actions. A parent must discipline their children to get them on the right track. Sometimes they must shut a child out of their lives (in extreme cases) to protect their other children and to show that their actions aren't acceptable and that they can't reap the love and blessings of the family if they don't respect it (I'm talking extreme stuff here).

I think many people actually get TOO MANY chances to redeem themselves in God's eyes .

And think about the other side of your argument, if things were the oposite of what you object to. So God says "These are my laws, follow them and you'll be blessed - ignore them and be evil and I'll look the other way..." Seems to make less sense to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Webb4
My questions don't have to do with inconsistencies of the Bible, that's a completely different topic in itself. They are merely an attempt to understand the thought process behind certain things and different concepts.

All your questions are about inconsistencies you think you see, but regardless it doesn't matter how you describe it.

Most of what you're driving at seems to have an issue with judgment, punishment, death, etc... Not surprising to me as more and more people deal with moral relativism. Society has an issue with judging people and acting accordingly. We want to be everyone's friend (including our children), and not offend anyone. That's what's important. Thank God (sorry ) that my parents disciplined me and did a lot of things I'm sure were tough that I didn't like. I appreciate them now. (this last paragraph was a bit of an off topic rant, but I think it's related).
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