Questions for Christians of the site

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27 Sep 2016 21:04 #258709 by MadHatter
Now I am posting this to spark discussion on my issues with the god of the Christian bible and the bible itself. I do not mean any of this as an insult nor will I pretend that if the questions were answered that I would become a believer. I will also say that at one time I was a devout evangelical Christian. It was reading the bible cover to cover twice that turned me away. There are many things that I take issue with, within formalized religion but this list is my issues sparked from the bible:

1. Do you believe that it is a choice to go to heaven or hell? If you believe it's a choice how can it be when its made with a threat over one's head. To me, it feels like love me or suffer and that is not a choice in my eyes.

2. How do you get past the things that caused the death of children in the bible? Such as the flooding of earth, the death of the firstborn, the rain of fire upon sodom and its sister city, the setting of a bear upon youths for mocking a prophet? If you say you feel they are parables how do you separate parable from literal?

3. How do you get past Gods nonintervention in things like world hunger, rape, the murder of the innocent, etc? I know I could not walk past someone being beaten in the street and not act. Never mind if I could end the act with a thought. No amount of us having free will can justify claiming to love someone but watching them suffer terribly when you can stop it with no risks to yourself. ( in my eyes that is.)

4. What do you feel about actions such as the hardening of Pharos heart? This seems to not only contradict free will but means that the people of Egypt suffered because God made Pharo say no.

If you answer some or all of these I thank you for your time. I again do not mean any insult I am looking for YOUR thoughts on my own hang ups with the bible. I will likely not even attempt to challenge any response as I do not mean to challenge anyone's faith I just merely wish to hear views outside of my own. If I do ask questions I will make every effort to do so to clarify meaning and not to tell anyone they are wrong.

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27 Sep 2016 23:22 #258724 by Carlos.Martinez3
I come from a very Christian background. Family in ministry and all.
I no longer claim Christianity as my choice of believe. Christianity has its flaws as many man made ideas. My ability to use my Jedi ism as a way to keep some Christian goals and standards parallel to what I do now believe.
I have come to realize that I have experienced enough in my time, or at least paved attention to it, that I have seen the heavens. We know what's past the clouds. To me, this asks a very simple question... is heaven a location or a place. Location as in you can tangibly find it then that's a different story. To me. . . But heaven if not past the cloud-based is obviously a place or a idea. Hmm so not literal. I take a lot of what I have read in any Bible..not literal. The story then to me without literally meaning a place is can we be in a place where all our "sins" our attachments are gone. Jedi ism has a very strange way of saying " go find what it is you seek, then... do it. Study it, share it, teach it. This is only my own opinion. I believe heaven can be right here. Right where I'm at. My boy is humming the manamana song while the sun sets on a cool light breezy day. We await our love to come home from work. Mommy. To me heaven can be a every day even with different characters and actions.
2. Literal. In story's numbers are used to generate a amount of feeling. I have done my fair share of study and make every attempt to stay current. Haven't found any other place than the Bible some stories exist. I take the death toll as that.
3 present moment thinking for me is this, there are those who get credit for a lot and never really do anything. Please understand I am not dissing God. Please if you have found the one thing that directs you, as a Jedi I say go and be Christian. For me I have found a love on my own that I never know. How is this possible. ? Glad u asked. I examined my own ideas of love and let me tell you they were lacking and not fit for passing. So I met others who had what I wanted and talked to them. Christian love, satanism love, jewish love. Direct forms and I came to what I have now. Not tooting my own horn but, a love that is taken time to grow is so worth having and sharing. Any how, I do come more to the terms of a more mindfully way of looking at things rather than the typical Christian view.
Thanks for these questions. I do appreciate those who are on the path for new ideas rather than I'm wrong your right. . . I think that's what Jedi ism is a lot about.
Ps I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed but I do understand basic Christianity. The concept to me is great. Truly a great way to empty one self and teach the art of the selfless.

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27 Sep 2016 23:52 #258729 by Lykeios

MadHatter wrote: 1. Do you believe that it is a choice to go to heaven or hell? If you believe it's a choice how can it be when its made with a threat over one's head. To me, it feels like love me or suffer and that is not a choice in my eyes.

I am not a Christian any longer but I wanted to answer these questions anyway.
It really doesn't seem like much of a choice when you put it that way. I suppose people might say that you can always choose suffering.

MadHatter wrote: 2. How do you get past the things that caused the death of children in the bible? Such as the flooding of earth, the death of the firstborn, the rain of fire upon sodom and its sister city, the setting of a bear upon youths for mocking a prophet? If you say you feel they are parables how do you separate parable from literal?

I guess it really depends on how you feel about God. God is supposed to be an all-powerful omniscient being. Maybe he/she knows things we don't know about those children. Maybe they all went to heaven after being killed. Maybe God doesn't need an excuse to kill his own creation.

MadHatter wrote: 3. How do you get past Gods nonintervention in things like world hunger, rape, the murder of the innocent, etc? I know I could not walk past someone being beaten in the street and not act. Never mind if I could end the act with a thought. No amount of us having free will can justify claiming to love someone but watching them suffer terribly when you can stop it with no risks to yourself. ( in my eyes that is.)

God is beyond our ability to comprehend. Perhaps his love looks different from what we would call love. Perhaps free will really is more important than ending suffering. Apparently God wanted us to have free will, clearly that was important to him/her.

MadHatter wrote: 4. What do you feel about actions such as the hardening of Pharos heart? This seems to not only contradict free will but means that the people of Egypt suffered because God made Pharo say no.

Perhaps there are special circumstances where free will can be suspended temporarily. Seems to me a lot of things in the Bible happened because God was making a point. To me it doesn't matter anyway because there is no proof of the Egyptian Captivity. There was no point at which a massive number of Hebrews were slaves in Egypt and then were freed.

I had many reasons for leaving Christianity. Initially it was mostly about the hypocrisy I saw in fellow Christians and the way I was treated by them. Now that I've been away from the faith for longer I find that I also have many problems with the Bible too. There are inaccuracies and contradictions that I just can't get past.
Probably my biggest concern over the Bible as it is presented today is the discrepancy between the way the Old Testament God behaves and the way the New Testament God behaves. To me the Old Testament and New Testament describe two completely different deities. This makes sense considering that the Old Testament was written mostly by Hebrews and the New Testament was written mostly by Greeks. The Old Testament God is wrathful, jealous, and violent. The New Testament God is compassionate, forgiving, and charitable. Either God had a serious personality change or we're talking about two different Gods here. I honestly don't know why Christians don't just throw out the Old Testament completely. The Old Testament has some seriously screwed up stories in it which make God look horrible. Also, Jesus allegedly said that he had come to fulfill the "law." Once the law was fulfilled and Jesus had been sacrificed to save all mankind from Hell why is the law even relevant? All it takes to get to heaven according to the New Testament is faith in and acceptance of the Christ.
I'm sure there are many other problems with the Bible, but I haven't read it in a very long time and see no reason to do so now. I also don't feel like I need to go looking for more reasons to stay clear of Christianity. I made my choice years ago and am happy with my current beliefs.
Good questions, Hatter.

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28 Sep 2016 02:21 #258740 by Parnerium
Replied by Parnerium on topic Questions for Christians of the site
I'm not a Christian any more either, but I'll toss some answers your way anyway based on both my Christian past and the many, many Christians I've met and interacted with. I just want to see if I can shed some light on different approaches to Christianity (that can sometimes be hard to see when you're neck deep in whatever variety is common around you).

MadHatter wrote: 1. Do you believe that it is a choice to go to heaven or hell? If you believe it's a choice how can it be when its made with a threat over one's head. To me, it feels like love me or suffer and that is not a choice in my eyes.


The choice isn't to go to heaven or hell. Not directly any way. The choice is to (for some types of Christians) to obey God or to not obey God, which humans are fully capable of doing. Heaven and hell are just consequences for those choices. A child doesn't get to choose whether their parent will take away their cell phone, but they do get to choose whether or not to stay out past their curfew.

Now, some Christians believe that the only criteria for going to heaven or hell is to believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, died on the cross for your sins, and that through him your sins can be wiped clean and you can achieve salvation. That isn't really a choice. Good luck "choosing" to sincerely believe something.

Yet more Christians believe that the ticket to heaven is, basically, being a good person. So even if you don't believe in the Christian god, you don't believe in Jesus, and you use the bible to hold up your wobbly kitchen table, doing good works will get you a party with ol' J.C. in heaven.

MadHatter wrote: 2. How do you get past the things that caused the death of children in the bible? Such as the flooding of earth, the death of the firstborn, the rain of fire upon sodom and its sister city, the setting of a bear upon youths for mocking a prophet? If you say you feel they are parables how do you separate parable from literal?


One easy way to separate literal from parable is "The parts I don't like are parables. The parts I do are literal." Lots of people take that stance. And if I works for them, more power to them.

Another way to look at it is that, before God sent Jesus to die for all of mankind, God was only the god of the Jews. There were other gods for other tribes, but the Hebrews were his people. This means that God was acting on behalf of his people (and before his covenant with Israel, was acting on behalf of no people). The views of the ancient Jews on Sodom and Gomorrah (same sex relations, the principle of hospitality) and on the youths mocking a prophet (principle of hospitality, not messing with a guy who can literally talk to God) are the reason for God's actions in those cases. When he expanded his domain out to all of humanity things changed (which is part of why Jesus had to do some preaching before his date with the crucifix).

There are also plenty of Christians who don't see the Holy Bible as the inerrant Word of God. It's just a book written by people trying to get at the Truth. In it may be some Divine revelations, but for the most part it's a collection of stories and histories that are colored by the culture and perceptions of the human beings who wrote it. So they just try not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

MadHatter wrote: 3. How do you get past Gods nonintervention in things like world hunger, rape, the murder of the innocent, etc? I know I could not walk past someone being beaten in the street and not act. Never mind if I could end the act with a thought. No amount of us having free will can justify claiming to love someone but watching them suffer terribly when you can stop it with no risks to yourself. ( in my eyes that is.)


With free will comes positives and negatives. God is eternal. He has always been and will always be. So the length of a human life on Earth is absolutely nothing compared to the time that he knows everybody has left in front of them (because when your body dies your soul will live forever, and ever, and ever, and ever...) To God, intervening in all of these little sufferings isn't worth taking away the free will of mankind to make choices and live with the consequences.

A lot of Christian thought requires the belief that God is not human. Jesus was sent to experience humanity and to know what it is like to suffer as a human (because God can't do that chilling in heaven). But when Jesus died he went to heaven, so he also knows just how temporary the suffering of human life really is.

The sign that God cares, then, is that he commands his followers to help. But then free will means they don't actually have to. Sure, he could intervene with no risk to himself. But intervening on that grand a scale would be a risk to the entire universe and the system he has created in it.

So you could say that God respects humans enough to let them make their own choices, even if that means terrible suffering, inequality, and injustice is bred among them. After all, he promised not to drown everybody again...

MadHatter wrote: 4. What do you feel about actions such as the hardening of Pharos heart? This seems to not only contradict free will but means that the people of Egypt suffered because God made Pharo say no.


This goes back to the whole God of the Jews thing. Hardening Pharaoh's heart was entirely for the benefit of the Jews (who got to see the awesome power of the Lord their God). God didn't care about the Egyptians at the time because he wasn't their God (and, clearly, he pwned the Egyptian's Gods).

It could also go back to how God's perspective on time and suffering are different. You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. To demonstrate that power, he had to sacrifice a few humans and harden a heart or two, but in the grand scale of Literally Forever that's not all that big a deal.

Also, justifying this at all requires the belief that the story actually happened in reality (which we already discussed isn't necessarily the case). One could find all sorts of useful lessons in here about hardening your own heart, about patience through suffering, about how there can be miracles if you believe without thinking that a sea was literally parted with a stick.

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28 Sep 2016 03:41 #258746 by JamesSand
I'm a Christian, (which apparently gives me free reign to say whatever I want about christianity?)

1. Do you believe that it is a choice to go to heaven or hell? If you believe it's a choice how can it be when its made with a threat over one's head. To me, it feels like love me or suffer and that is not a choice in my eyes.


There's a heaven and hell?

2. How do you get past the things that caused the death of children in the bible? Such as the flooding of earth, the death of the firstborn, the rain of fire upon sodom and its sister city, the setting of a bear upon youths for mocking a prophet?


Get past?
Things happen. Why is that an issue?
If the Bear was overcome with the living force and protected the prophet, would the story sit easier with you?

3. How do you get past Gods nonintervention in things like world hunger, rape, the murder of the innocent, etc? I know I could not walk past someone being beaten in the street and not act. Never mind if I could end the act with a thought. No amount of us having free will can justify claiming to love someone but watching them suffer terribly when you can stop it with no risks to yourself. ( in my eyes that is.)
4. What do you feel about actions such as the hardening of Pharos heart? This seems to not only contradict free will but means that the people of Egypt suffered because God made Pharo say no.



Easy, God is not you, or me, or "anyone". Not a person. Doesn't have a brain. Does not think. Does not"make decisions".

If you say you feel they are parables how do you separate parable from literal?


Same way I can talk about The Force without worrying about Mass :P

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28 Sep 2016 04:03 #258747 by Lykeios

JamesSand wrote:

2. How do you get past the things that caused the death of children in the bible? Such as the flooding of earth, the death of the firstborn, the rain of fire upon sodom and its sister city, the setting of a bear upon youths for mocking a prophet?


Get past?
Things happen. Why is that an issue?
If the Bear was overcome with the living force and protected the prophet, would the story sit easier with you?

These things did not just happen though. These are things that the Bible says God DID.

JamesSand wrote:

3. How do you get past Gods nonintervention in things like world hunger, rape, the murder of the innocent, etc? I know I could not walk past someone being beaten in the street and not act. Never mind if I could end the act with a thought. No amount of us having free will can justify claiming to love someone but watching them suffer terribly when you can stop it with no risks to yourself. ( in my eyes that is.)
4. What do you feel about actions such as the hardening of Pharos heart? This seems to not only contradict free will but means that the people of Egypt suffered because God made Pharo say no.



Easy, God is not you, or me, or "anyone". Not a person. Doesn't have a brain. Does not think. Does not"make decisions".

I don't know...the Bible sure makes it seem like God makes decisions. It also makes it seem like he thinks. "And God saw that it was good"...sounds like God is thinking to me. He/she is thinking that what he/she has made is good.

"I sae rantingly, an sae dauntingly, sae wantonly gaed he. He played a tune and he danced all aroond below the gallows tree."

"Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man." -Zhuangzi

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28 Sep 2016 05:39 #258750 by JamesSand

I don't know...the Bible sure makes it seem like God makes decisions. It also makes it seem like he thinks. "And God saw that it was good"...sounds like God is thinking to me. He/she is thinking that what he/she has made is good.


I have only read it in english, I'm not sure if other languages are more nuanced - but we say "The wind blows"
(which is ridiculous, because if it wasn't blowing, it wouldn't be wind.) In any case, the Wind has no will or wit when it blows. It's just the wind.

The Bible is also a book, written by people, not God.

God (and I'm falling into the trap here, by giving God personification) needs a book like a fish needs a bicycle.

some people needed books to understand God.

I follow (more or less) the teachings of Christ (who wasn't a Christian :side: ), and I believe in God.

That doesn't mean I need to internalise every word in the Bible.

Nor does the above make me "not a real Christian"

much the same as not owning an Xbox wouldn't make me "not a real Gamer" or not having a pixie-hair cut make me "not a real lesbian".

Anyway, getting sidetracked, I guess to answer you question (not really), about "issues in the bible" - I disregard the parts I can't find value in. If someone else gets value from them, more power to them.

Maybe you need a more fundamentalist crowd to chew through the nitty gritty of some of the nuttier stories. You may or may not find that crowd in this temple :cheer:

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28 Sep 2016 06:33 #258754 by steamboat28

MadHatter wrote: 1. Do you believe that it is a choice to go to heaven or hell? If you believe it's a choice how can it be when its made with a threat over one's head. To me, it feels like love me or suffer and that is not a choice in my eyes.

It is a choice in that it is merely the result of one's actions. No one is "sent" there; instead, people "go" there of their own will, based on the decisions they made. It is not a judgement so much as a consequence of action.

2. How do you get past the things that caused the death of children in the bible?

How do you get past the things that cause the death of chidlren now? People die in cataclysms. It's terribly unfortunate, but only recently have we developed the technology to predict natural disasters with any accuracy.

3. How do you get past Gods nonintervention in things like world hunger, rape, the murder of the innocent, etc?

Again, how do you get past our own non-intervention in those things? We created these problems: God didn't create food scarcity, greedy men and women did. God didn't create rape or murder, people invented those things. How can you expect God, who has given mankind stewardship of the earth, under our protection and authority, to solve all of our problems? We created these messes, and people should stop blaming God when we're the ones that perpetuate them.

4. What do you feel about actions such as the hardening of Pharos heart?

It's a figure of speech.


Don't take the Bible literally. It isn't meant to be a work taken literally.

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28 Sep 2016 11:20 #258772 by SeventhSL
1. Do you believe it is a choice to speed or not? If you believe it is a choice how can it be when it’s made with a threat of a speeding fine over one’s head? The point here is that even we, as people, set rules about what we find appropriate behaviour in our lives, homes and countries. We make laws and set punishments for transgressions of those laws. If I were God I’d probably lay some ground rules about what is acceptable behaviour too. There are even ground rules here at TOTJO. Would it be such a pleasant environment here if they were never enforced?

2. If God is real, then death is not the end and our short existence on earth is nothing but a test of character. A learning experience from which nothing that is taken from you cannot be restored. A blink of an eye compared to an eternity. Exams are never fun for students. Some pass, some fail but at the end of the day the teacher makes allowances and decides what grade each student gets.


3. As a parent I tell my kids all the time “Don’t do that or you’ll hurt yourself/each other”. How many times do they listen? Mostly they have to learn the hard way. Sometimes they hurt others who don’t deserve it in the process. It is not that I don’t intervene. I do. I let them learn the hard way in an environment I can control. Where I can put band aids on cuts, wipe away tears, fix broken toys and compensate the innocent. If god is real, then his power is immeasurable. He can restore life and limb to name but a few so his learning environment is a bit deadlier and a lot more hurtful.

4. So dammed because he didn’t and now dammed because he did? Do you want a God who intervenes or not? Actually this ones really interesting and something I’ve been meaning to spend more time on. Do you have other example of this kind of thing? Maybe it is just figure of speech or translation issue. That said I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t. That is to say I had a child who would not stop swinging on their chair. I sat him down and explained why I didn’t want him to do it. That he could fall and hurt himself badly. One night he was swinging on his chair and the landing area was safe so I gave him a little nudge. I took from him the control of his chair and he was hurt as a result. Now he has learnt why he doesn’t swing on his chair anymore and I don’t have to worry about him doing real damage.
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28 Sep 2016 12:51 - 28 Sep 2016 13:18 #258784 by Wescli Wardest
There are many different beliefs in the Christian church as to what Heaven and Hell is. But choice is what it is all about. According to the Bible, “God” gave man the ability to choose. And long story short, it is our choices that will ultimately define who we are.

Of course, there are many different interpretations of the same message and that is why there are so many different denominations. And even within each denomination there are differing interpretations of what is written in the Bible. If one is objective and steps back looking at Christianity as a whole and not their experience with a particular group, it tends to resemble the varying degrees of understanding Jedi have about the Force and our own Doctrine.

There are value systems which are created by man and change with the times and the consensus of society over time. There are moral laws which are believed to be passed on by some greater “power” and undeniable by Man. Such as, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Thomas Jefferson was the one that put this down in writing for us all to hold and cherish. Then there are universal laws which are dictated by the universe itself. Universal law is not confined by the dualistic moral systems of man nor are they concerned with our value systems.

Another consideration is the Bible a literal history account, a set of stories and parables or a combination of both? Moral and value systems of the world and the societies of the world have changed drastically over the millennia. What we might judge to be of little value now could have had great recourse then and vice versa. I believe there are a lot of good lessons in the Bible, just as there are in many religious text. And, there are things everywhere that can guide us towards an enlightenment that unifies body, mind and spirit.
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