Man or God

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AuthorTopic: Man or God
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #100
Hmm, so, couple o' things I may as well offer.

I don't expect much of anything posted in a context like this forum to be adequate to convince much of anyone of much of anything. It is a decent and frequently fun way to churn ideas, concepts, and challenges around and collect divergent viewpoints. I'd be naive to imagine I could rave about something here and be likely to sway anyone's view significantly. That's not really quite my intention or hope or how I believe beliefs work. So, I'm not surprised or disappointed that any one of the points I may have expounded failed to impress you, Stillness, or anyone else. That's not my primary motivation.

The nature of belief, what we believe, why we need and maintain certain kinds of beliefs, and so on. are far more critical matters in this context, as I have discussed at times. We like to think it's simply logic and reason at the heart of our belief systems, but I see our beliefs resting on a whole lot more than that on any matter of significance. We may fool ourselves why we believe and cling to what we cherish, but I see deep psychological need intertwined in all of it. It's just a part of what we do being humans who are operating in so many ways out of fear. All emotions, motivations, thoughts, emotions, and behavior in human experience can be reduced to either love or fear. I say that most of what we do, think, feel, and experience is based on fear. I know most people might be inclined to disagree with this precept, because the very concept is threatening to part of our sense of self and our autonomy and, perhaps, our accountability.

So, no, I don't expect any minds are going to be changed much by what I can type here, but it can be a rewarding exercise nonetheless. I mostly enjoy it as an opportunity to hone my own thinking and put my words and thoughts together. I'll be writing at least one book in my future. I don't expect anyone here to buy a copy, heh.

...

Regarding Christ preaching to spirits, I found your defense against the very possibility disappointingly watery.

It has been long since i believed in angels as a species, as popular Christian superstition maintains, quite extra-biblically. The word "angel" simply means "messenger." There is no definition of angels as magical, spiritual, other-specied beings. Angels visiting Abraham or Lot are called men in nearby passages, and they are seen and experienced as men. There is actually nothing to differentiate an angel from a man, even if that man comes from a "heavenly realm." I have no problem believing in the activity of human spirits in the "heavenly dimension" interacting at times with humanity.

I think to believe in angels or devils as created spiritual races is the same as believing in gnomes and leprachauns. I ain't never seen any of them myself and see no explanation or requirement of them even in the Bible. I don't believe spirit angels came down and had sex with human women to make some weird half-human species that God somehow saw as a threat. How does a spirit being impregnate anyone, and how or why would God ever permit such a violation of natural law and his creation in the first place? This is like reading fairy tales and believing in them. It's magical thinking when nothing like that is ever observed by anyone you or I ever knew, and there is absolutely no evidence or natural likelihood such a thing ever was. I don' t believe in bizarre magic, bigger than life, epic, mythic things that happened in crude, ancient times to crude, ancient people, but of course no one today or any time in thousands of years of recorded history since has experienced. Ockham's Razor, for crying out loud. What is the most logical explanation screaming out? It never happened, and things like that aren't really what happens in the world or what God did or does in the world.

Most of angel mythology is not based on the Bible, including the especially amazingly flimsy "lucifer" myth, which I have discussed elsewhere around here not long ago, I think. That Christians buy into angels and devils without really examining their own experience and what the Bible actually has to say about them indicates how easy it is to pass on silly superstitions even despite what the Bible does not say about them. Most of what is believed and assumed about them is entirely extra-biblical.

I'd challenge anyone to show me why "angels" would have to be anything other than living men in some cases or the spirits of men in other cases, just as ghosts can be contacted in the spirit realm. Scriptures talk about heavenly hosts, and there are many messengers of various kinds in scripture, but never are they defined as a created spirit race who normally are said to be eunuch-like or gender neutral...except when they seduce and rape earthly women, evidently. I think it's a waste of energy to believe into something that is never demonstrated to be remotely an actual part of your own life, circumstances, or experience. And is just plain silly besides. If God wills a thing, and it is done, like when Jesus told the centurion, "Your daughter is already healed this moment," why the hell is a literal race of little invisible errand boys required to dispatch and execute the will of God. We might as well have a million little hamsters running around the center of the earth to make it spin.

What I do believe in in particular is the tremendous power the human mind has to project believed realities into actual being, at the least on the personal level of perceived experience. People with "devil-exorcising" ministries may really start to see "devils" after a time, because they are obsessed with and focusing on the belief in and expectation of them. You can create a seeming reality for yourself, especially when a group of people intently are projecting a collective reality. These things magically go away when you stop thinking about them and obsessing over them. Your satan only has as much power as you give it. Like I said, I ain't never seen anything that I can't describe as human agency at work. I won't argue about whatever a person may claim to have "seen" but I might question what power shapes what that thing the person is seeing looks and feels like. Just because someone sees an angel doesn't mean they "saw an angel" especially considering that spiritual language is so highly symbolic and visions are typically couched in deep symbol, ala John's way far out super-psychedelic Revelation.

It's hard for me not to want to poke fun at so much magical thinking Christianity embraces so unquestioningly, when all their own real life experience shows no trace or hint of such realities, and there is a complete lack of evidence to the effect. God must have become a mighty mundane, tired, boring old dude to have done so much far out cool stuff millennia ago, but has virtually retired from all this mystical, magical amazing, bizarre display that used to get him off. I feel sorry for the Christian, because (s)he is left with a God Who has nothing truly special for them in their day. The subconcious effect this must have on one's sense of value and importance in the eyes of God I think is likely significant.

-S-

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7723
Profile #101
quote:
Originally written by Sticky:

I voted A,.
Yes! Soon there will be enough of us and we will crush the infidel…no wait, that’s a different religion.

Seriously though, I thought the what-if-God-is-lying-argument started off valid too. It wasn’t fraught with fallacy like the either-God-is-evil-or-he’s-weak argument or the scripture misapplication arguments. That’s why I asked what the motive would be, or if there was any evidence. Why would the God that created galaxy clusters, the human brain, hummingbirds, and romance lie? It’s like if you’re going on and on about how great your mother is and how much she sacrificed for you and I say, “But what if she really hates you and raising you was a ruse just so she could break into your house and steal your stuff?!” You might have never considered that possibility. For a second you might even think of Mom differently, but at some point without any proof or any reason why that proposition should be considered valid it has to be discounted. It has absolutely no teeth.

One must examine evidence and proof. That’s what faith is about.
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quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

Regarding Christ preaching to spirits, I found your defense against the very possibility disappointingly watery.
It’s not my intent to argue against any possibility that may pop into someone’s mind. I wanted to show you the clear, biblical teaching on that matter. He did preach to spirits, though. Maybe you misunderstood me.

quote:
I don't expect much of anything posted in a context like this forum to be adequate to convince much of anyone of much of anything.
Oh but they are… at least for me. If I see a better position than my own anywhere I accept it. I’ve been converted or at least had ideas expanded more than a few times on these boards. In particular, your thread in human-induced global warming was compelling. Admittedly, I was unconvinced already, but you pulled me a bit further in your direction.

quote:
It has been long since i believed in angels as a species, as popular Christian superstition maintains, quite extra-biblically. The word "angel" simply means "messenger." There is no definition of angels as magical, spiritual, other-specied beings.
Much of Christendom’s beliefs and practices are extra-biblical and even pagan at times. I go to great lengths to ensure mine are not. That doesn’t mean I don’t get caught with a few lingering viewpoints that are not biblical every now and again, but I don’t think my understanding on angels would be included in those.

Your first statement on the meaning of angel is accurate. Your second is not, save the “magical” part. They are clearly spiritual and super-non-human beings. You should probably avoid starting an argument off with “The Bible doesn’t say.” The Bible is a big book with many translations and unless you know it very thoroughly you can find yourself eating crow a lot. I’ve eaten my fair share.

Mark 12:25 For when they rise from the dead, neither do men marry nor are women given in marriage, but are as angels in the heavens. – Angels don’t marry as humans do. The implication being that they are asexual. That is why they’re never referred to in the feminine, only as “he” or “sons of God.”

Job 38:4, 7 Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth?
Tell me, if you do know understanding…
When the morning stars joyfully cried out together,
And all the sons of God began shouting in applause?
– The angelic sons of God are more ancient than humans, being there when the earth was created. That means they can’t be spirits of humans.

2 Pet 2:11 whereas angels, although they are greater in strength and power, do not bring against them an accusation in abusive terms, not doing so out of respect for Jehovah. – The angels are superhuman.

Heb 1:7 Also, with reference to the angels he says: “And he makes his angels spirits, and his public servants a flame of fire.” – The angels are spirit creatures.

Indeed the Bible does not say that angels made “some weird half-human species that God somehow saw as a threat” with women. It says “they bore sons to them, they were the mighty ones who were of old, the men of fame.” (Ge 6:4) So they were powerful, famous men - indeed the Septuagint says they were giants, but not half-breeds. While the Bible is clear that the angels are superhuman and can do superhuman things, it is also quite clear that they appeared to humans as men from time to time as you noted. So one would conclude that they are (or were) able to take on human bodies. With a human body they would be able to reproduce with humans. Their children would be human. The Bible does not indicate otherwise.

On this note it's interesting that other cultures have traditions that have the gods coming to earth and reproducing with women to make powerful children. It's also noteworthy that many pagan holidays involving remembrance and worship of the dead [e.g. Halloween (Oct 31), All Souls Day (Nov 2), The Day of the Dead(Nov 1, 2), the Celtic festival for Samhain, the god of the dead (Nov1)] have similar practices, ideologies, and occur around the time the Biblical account has the children of these angels dying in the flood, the seventeenth day of the second month, which nearly corresponds to our November. (Ge 7:11) As you said, “where there’s smoke…”

quote:
It's hard for me not to want to poke fun at so much magical thinking Christianity embraces so unquestioningly, when all their own real life experience shows no trace or hint of such realities, and there is a complete lack of evidence to the effect.
My life experience shows an abundance of evidence that God is real and active in my life. I feel and see it. Many of the Christians I know tell me the same thing. Maybe you’re talking to the wrong ones. I’ve never seen a sea split or the universe created, but those are not everyday occurrences even in the scriptures. God does different things at different times, but he’s always working.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #102
Mark 12:25 For when they rise from the dead, neither do men marry nor are women given in marriage, but are as messengers in the heavens.

Angels don’t marry as humans do. The implication being that they are asexual. That is why they’re never referred to in the feminine, only as “he” or “sons of God.”


All of us are called gods, and sons of God. Jesus was called our older brother. Half of the human population is female. I do not believe they are excluded from this honor and designation. The heavy weighting upon the masculine in the Bible to me has very little to say with actual biological sex. It was a male-worshipping era of history. God is presented mostly as Father, but also rarely as El-Shaddhai, the breasted one, who nurtures like a nursing mother. I have no problem with the concept of heavenly hosts and messengers. I see no clear indication to show they are not man. I have no reason to believe in angels. It pushes credibility. If I’d met one, and it told me it was a sexless servile race of fifth-deminsional drones of God, I -might- take it under advisement.

Job 38:4, 7 Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth?
Tell me, if you do know understanding…
When the morning stars joyfully cried out together,
And all the sons of God began shouting in applause? – The angelic sons of God are more ancient than humans, being there when the earth was created. That means they can’t be spirits of humans.


You see angels here, as being called the sons of God, which I find sad. You’d grant that status to something other than yourself. I see us (and I might add I don’t see the word angels at all). We are the sons of God who came out of a heavenly realm as collaborators with God in our own creation. The God family is up to a lot more than we typically remember or dare to believe, having bought the lie that we are lowly sinners far beneath and alien from God, needing to appease a wrathful God Who commands us to do or be a certain thing, but in a most ungodlike fashion does not have his command met. What God issues commands that are not kept anyway? There is no use of the word angel at all here. We can see by the symbolic use of the stars in the Revelation and other places that stars are men with position of (usually) spiritual authority in the earth (“Write a letter to the angel of the church at Laodicea and say...” I see men here. You see angels.

2 Pet 2:11 whereas angels, although they are greater in strength and power, do not bring against them an accusation in abusive terms, not doing so out of respect for Jehovah. – The angels are superhuman.

Peter is talking here. I disagree with the gospel of Peter, the Christ-denying fishermen whom Christ called satan at one point. I don’t necessarily buy his take on angels or any other thing, but I am free to make such discretionary estimations, because I don’t require the book to be a magically perfected text of inhuman forging where every word has equal weight, despite how they contradict one another. Even that said, messengers of God in the heavenly dimension surely are in a state of greater strength and power. That follows. We have forgotten much to take this earthly form and life. We have surrendered much of our native capacities, mostly only by not being aware of them or believing in them. Again, I see nothing here that even begins to truly define angels or require them to be non-human. The Bible talks about spiritual qualities and roles (angels, satan, evil spirits, dragons...) and we silly humans like to invent literal species out of them in our ever carnal-minded fixation of all things earthly.

Moreover, Peter is saying messengers of God have greater strength and power than some others. If you read it that the servants/messengers of God have a power, strength, and authority that is not to be abusive, this fits in much more meaningful with the agency of Godly people with authority in the earth than fiery seraphim off in some netherworldly realm no one ever encounters. Of what possible relevance is it to us what angels do anyway?

Heb 1:7 Also, with reference to the angels he says: “And he makes his angels spirits, and his public servants a flame of fire.” – The angels are spirit creatures.

He makes his messengers spirits. I am a spirt. You are a spirt. We are the messengers of God in the earth. Every man is tested by fire. We are his public servants. He is not talking about two different races. He is talking about distinct roles or realms in which his sons operate. In this passage, as so often is the form of scripture, the second part of the sentence is the equivalent of the first part. The public servants are the angels. If you want to be the light of the world, be prepared to be set on fire, so that you may be one.

Lu 3:16 John answered them all, "I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

1Co 3:15 If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Heb 12:29 for our God is a consuming fire.

To enter into God is to enter into fire and to be transformed. Everything Godly is fiery in nature and has the power to light and transform other things. Again, I see only us, humanity, the chosen creation and vehicle of God to express and experience God in the universe. We are in the earthly realm and in the “heavenly” realm. God has no need of servile races, friendly or enemy, and I never saw the remotest clue that anything other exists.

You see what you already presume in any scripture. This is part of the criticism. The Bible really isn’t clear in a textbook fashion to really lay down the blueprint of the universe for us. It’s a rambly, self-indulgent, poetic, mythic, bigger than life text full of all kinds of cultural biases and superstitions of its era. If it really wanted to paint a clear picture, it would talk in plain language and simply define its terms and realities. To believe in angels and devils is wasted energy in your life, because you will never encounter either.

-S-

[ Sunday, September 16, 2007 06:26: Message edited by: Synergy ]

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #103
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Why would the God that created galaxy clusters, the human brain, hummingbirds, and romance lie?
Why would that god care one whit about humans, and what we thought? Do hummingbirds have faith? What about inanimate objects? What about other forms of life in the universe? You still fail to convince that humans, a silly looking hairless mammal whose sole offensive and defensive weapon is his engorged brain, are in any way more special than any other thing in the universe.

That is where religion fails to sway. It's fine if you know why you need religion, but to claim it is anything other than an opiate is ridiculous.

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Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Thralni - "a lot of people are ... too weird to be trusted"
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
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Member # 4256
Profile #104
quote:
Why would the God that created galaxy clusters, the human brain, hummingbirds, and romance lie? It’s like if you’re going on and on about how great your mother is and how much she sacrificed for you and I say, “But what if she really hates you and raising you was a ruse just so she could break into your house and steal your stuff?!”
The thing is, God doesn't have to be something familiar, or even similar like your mother. Its not really logically possible to say that God must be this, or God must be that. Even in our human experience there are very demented people that have created very beautiful things. How much farther beyond normal humans could God be.

I suppose talking like that is just being another Devils advocate though, as I believe in the truth of what God posits.

However, my definition of the Bible being the Word of God, doesn't mean that it is perfectly accurate scientifically, or historically. Indeed, I don't really believe it is. Rather I'd say it is written as God had it written, that is, divinely inspired, with specific meaning.

I also believe that through the millenniums God has protected his word from straying in essence from the original message. I think though that simple scribal errors are allowable, indeed to my mind, they are a needed explanation to any but a fundamentalist mind. How else can such errors as Synergy pointed out be explained?

Mostly though I like to take my opinions from what the Bible says about itself.

2 Peter 1:21,22.

quote:
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
2 Timothy 3:16

quote:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

It doesn't say that Scripture is profitable for scientific research, so I personally don't have a hard time not taking it as such. But yeah, that's just my thoughts.

-Edit: About people wanting to throw the old testament out for a while. I don't see how that would be possible, as there are many places in the new testament where the old testament is quoted, credited as divine scripture, and used to support reasoning. How could people throw out the old testament, without heavily modifying the new?

[ Sunday, September 16, 2007 16:09: Message edited by: Sticky ]

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"Let's just say that if complete and utter chaos was lightning, he'd be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting 'All gods are false'."
Posts: 564 | Registered: Wednesday, April 14 2004 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7723
Profile #105
quote:
Originally written by Jumpin' Sarcasmon:

You still fail to convince that humans, a silly looking hairless mammal whose sole offensive and defensive weapon is his engorged brain, are in any way more special than any other thing in the universe.
You think we look silly!? Why are naturalists so self-deprecating? I think our race is particularly beautiful, especially when compared with other creation, and even more so when enhanced by beautiful inner qualities that only humans seem capable of exhibiting. I don’t know if hummingbirds have faith, but maybe you could ask one.

By the way our brain along with our body gives us mastery. We’re not the biggest, fastest, or strongest but there is a certain balance to our gifts. And saying nothing besides our brain makes us unique is like saying a gun is not deadly except for the fact that it shoots bullets. Our brain is the most complex thing we know of. It’s the only organ in the universe that tries to understand itself. It gives us the use our mouth, lips, facial muscles, and tongue to use language. Every people has had it, whereas no animals do (as far as we know). We are peerless among living things on this planet.

What’s funny is even the atheist knows innately that we’re special. When you see a beaver’s dam or a beehive in the woods you think, “that’s natural.” If you see a manmade dam or a house you think, “that’s not natural” or “it’s artificial.” Why isn’t a the Hoover dam or a condo “part of nature?” It’s because we recognize that what we do is different from everything else that happens on this world. We also seem to recognize ourselves as protectors of it. We certainly know that none of its other inhabitants can endanger its very existence (at least the life on it) as we can. So, forgive me if, as sit communicating with people all over the world and debating existence, I have a feeling that I am more than an animal.

You say religion is an opiate. I say artificial ideas that ignore the obvious and speak slightingly about marvelous things are. The ancients are belittled on these boards as ignorant and dim-witted when compared to us, but I’m missing all of the supposed enlightenment. If you can program a computer, but when you learn you have billions upon billions of copies of programming more advanced than anything you could dream of in your body that codes for the organ that allows you to program and you conclude there’s no Programmer or put down his work it’s plain backwards. You’re outsmarted by the guy that says, “Wow! Who did that?!” Any technology or so-called knowledge you have is not redeeming you, because we’ve always had those things.

Psalm 139:14-16 I shall laud you because in a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful, As my soul is very well aware…
Your eyes saw even the embryo of me, And in your book all its parts were down in writing, As regards the days when they were formed And there was not yet one among them.


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quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

Mark 12:25 For when they rise from the dead, neither do men marry nor are women given in marriage, but are as messengers in the heavens.

Angels don’t marry as humans do. The implication being that they are asexual. That is why they’re never referred to in the feminine, only as “he” or “sons of God.”


All of us are called gods, and sons of God. Jesus was called our older brother. Half of the human population is female. I do not believe they are excluded from this honor and designation. The heavy weighting upon the masculine in the Bible to me has very little to say with actual biological sex.

You missed the point. They don’t marry like humans. And women are mentioned quite frequently in the Bible, but angels are always masculine.

Ge 6:1,2 Now it came about that when men started to grow in numbers on the surface of the ground and daughters were born to them, then the sons of the true God began to notice the daughters of men, that they were good-looking; and they went taking wives for themselves, namely, all whom they chose.

1. Why are the ones taking wives “sons of God,” whereas the ones taken are “daughters of men?”
2. What was wrong with the former marrying the latter, so that God imprisoned them until they are judged?
3. Why is does Jude 6, 7 refer to their actions with women as fornication and unnatural?

By the way, all of us are not called God’s children. That relationship between God and fallen humans is only possibly through reconciliation. Humanity in general is disowned.

De 32:5 They have acted ruinously on their own part; They are not his children, the defect is their own. A generation crooked and twisted!

2 Co 6:17, 18 17 “‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’”; “‘and I will take YOU in.’” “‘And I shall be a father to YOU, and YOU will be sons and daughters to me,’ says Jehovah the Almighty.”

Re 21:7 Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I shall be his God and he will be my son.


So, it’s true that we sin, but the God’s promises dignify by letting us know we can be much better than we are if we truly want to.

quote:
We are the sons of God who came out of a heavenly realm as collaborators with God in our own creation…We have forgotten much to take this earthly form and life. We have surrendered much of our native capacities, mostly only by not being aware of them or believing in them.
That’s an interesting theory, but not found in the Bible. What source is this from, or is this a Revelation of Synergy? ;)

quote:
I disagree with the gospel of Peter
Then why did you quote from it - drawing conclusions about Jesus preaching to dead men? You can’t have it both ways. On second thought, I guess you can if you feel that when you examine someone’s writings an acceptable tool is your feelings on what it should mean.

quote:
I am a spirt. You are a spirt.
Biblically we’re not. To be clear I’m not arguing that something being in the Bible makes it right, although that’s certainly what I believe. So if you think you are a spirit, that’s on you. I’m saying, if you want to understand what the Christians and Hebrews who penned the bible believed, you need to use the Bible to do it. They saw a clear distinction and difference between spirits and humans.

John 3:6 What has been born from the flesh is flesh, and what has been born from the spirit is spirit.

quote:
We are in the earthly realm and in the “heavenly” realm.
Ps 115:16 As regards the heavens, to Jehovah the heavens belong,
But the earth he has given to the sons of men.


Do humans come from angels?

Acts 17:26 And he made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth

So humans are a distinct creation from the angels. The angels were made first. They do not marry as humans do. They are spirits. Humans are flesh. Angels are stronger than humans. Humans are meant to live on earth. These are all biblical teachings on angels.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #106
You are far from proving your assertion by what you wrote here in response and have yet to explain why angels are called men in certain Scriptures or why the churches in revelations have angels to whom letters are to be written. You basically pointed out how the Bible continually confuses and appears to contradict itself. Jesus quoted David in declaring that we are gods (no qualifications or exemptions stated). You use Scripture to show how we aren't even spirit beings, but only flesh. Wow. But, overall, you are demonstrating my point quite nicely. Scripture can be taken to mean anything you already believe. It is only words, and words are the least effective way for God to communicate to man, but the one we have come to most worship. They are treacherous. They have led so very many sadly far astray.

I have already stated my position on what the Bible represents. If I quote Peter to you to make a point, it is because you believe everything written in Peter's name to be the Word Of God, and therefore must be examined as an absolute truth to be understood. This thread is about your assertion of what the Bible has to be. It doesn't matter how many absurdities, conflicts, contradictions, impossibilities, lacks of clarity actually exist. Your faith is clearly fully invested in your absolute belief in a book. This has never been about whether or not any argument could be made to sway your thinking in the littlest bit. You believe and your whole paradigm rests on that book being what you believe it is. It would be too threatening and devastating for it to be removed from off its pedestal in your own mind.

I challenge you, if you claim to be open-minded to how God speaks, to read with a seeking heart, "Conversations With God" and see if a single statement made therein challenges any former thought or ignites your heart or hopes in any way.

-S-

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A4 ItemsA4 SingletonG4 ItemsG4 ForgingG4 Infiltrator NR Items The Lonely Celt
Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
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Member # 7723
Profile #107
quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

You are far from proving your assertion by what you wrote here in response and have yet to explain why angels are called men in certain Scriptures
I did, but I’ll elaborate.

The word “spirit” comes from the Greek “pneuma.” It basically means breath. The Hebrew “ruach” has the same meaning. They also have extended meaning. The bible uses them to mean wind (Ex 10:13), the vital force in living creatures (Ge 7:22), one’s spirit (Ge 26:34, 35), spirit beings (Acts 23:8, 9), and God’s holy spirit (Job 33:4). All of these meanings have commonality: they refer to that which is invisible to human sight and which gives evidence of force in motion. This force is capable of producing visible effects. Note the continuation of Jesus words quoted above at John 3:8:

“The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone that has been born from the spirit.”

Here, the one born from spirit is compared to the wind. You can’t see either the wind or the one born to heavenly life, but they both can be perceived through their actions. So why are spirit beings seen?

Let’s take the account of Daniel when he received the prophecy concerning Medo-Persia and Greece. After seeing the vision God’s angel, Gabriel, appeared to him and explained it to him. Here is how Daniel explains the appearance:

Dan 8:15 Then it came about that, while I myself, Daniel, was seeing the vision and seeking an understanding, why, look! there was standing in front of me someone in appearance like an able-bodied man.

Sometimes they are simply referred to as men, but in this instance Daniel goes a bit further and calls him “someone in appearance like an able-bodied man.” The implication being that he was not just a man but simply appeared as such to interact with Daniel. And that is the explanation for every instance that a spirit shows himself in human form and is called a man. Every time I can think of where an angel from heaven comes in contact with humans, he is doing otherworldly things or the person’s reaction clearly indicates that they recognize he is not just a man even though he may be referred to as such.

Judges 13:8-22 And Manoah began to entreat Jehovah and say: “Excuse me, Jehovah. The man of the true God that you just sent, let him, please, come again to us and instruct us as to what we ought to do to the child that will be born.”… Manoah did not know that he was Jehovah’s angel…And He was doing something in a wonderful way while Manoah and his wife were looking on. So it came about that, as the flame ascended from off the altar heavenward, then Jehovah’s angel ascended in the flame of the altar while Manoah and his wife were looking on. At once they fell upon their faces to the earth… Then it was that Manoah knew that he had been Jehovah’s angel. Consequently Manoah said to his wife: “We shall positively die, because it is God that we have seen.”

So if “angel” only implies “messenger,” why doesn’t Manoah know that this angel is Jehovah’s messenger when he prayed to God to send him back to instruct them further? What lets him know that it is Jehovah’s angel, the fact that he brought Jehovah’s message or superhuman acts he performed?

quote:
You …have yet to explain... why the churches in revelations have angels to whom letters are to be written… Jesus quoted David in declaring that we are gods (no qualifications or exemptions stated).
“Star” and “angel” in revelation does in some instances refer to the shepherds of the congregations. But where’s the confusion and contradiction? How is it that you know to go to Revelation to find the very few instances where “angel” is used in this way? The answer is that it’s obvious. The context let’s you know what it means. You’re really reaching to make a point, because words can have different meanings in any writings or speech. If someone is confused it could just mean that they don’t get it, not that the writing itself is confusing.

The Psalms call judges in Israel “gods” because of their authority. What’s your point?

You and a friend are spelunking. Deep into a cave you discover a long wall with what seems to be some sort of ancient art. You recognize certain shapes that seem to be repeated made with very simplistic lines and curves – a man, a woman, a child, an animal, mountains, trees, etc. What’s puzzling is that they are neatly arranged in columns and rows and by the level of decay seem to have been drawn at different times and maybe even by different artists. On top of that, it’s not very artistic. Upon calling your friend over he is not puzzled and informs you that this is not artwork, but writings of one of the ancient cultures that occupied that area many centuries ago. He even claims to be able to read it and says it contains the history of the culture recorded over many years.

So, would you conclude that because you can’t understand it, it can’t be understood? If so, how can that position be considered reasonable? Or would you consider the possibility that it may be clear to the people who wrote it and anyone else who is literate in that language, such as your friend?

Your understanding of the Bible leads you to see a confusing, contradictory mishmash of men from another culture and time. Have you considered the possibility that it’s confusing to you simply because you don’t get it? If I said general relativity was nonsense because I don’t get it, how much would I be ridiculed by the brainiacs on these boards? I don’t think the Bible makes sense because I have faith in it, I have faith because it makes sense. When I read I see a harmonious and unified message from our Creator. It explains who we are, how we got here, and where we’re going. It clearly presents God and tells how he will carry out his will. Using men to record his dealings with humans in a book is the best way he could have conveyed this information.

I didn’t always believe this. I told you before I went through an agnostic stage, so your statements about how I would be threatened by the Bible not being what it claims fall flat.

Who wrote this book you’re recommending? Is he a Christian? Formerly a Christian? What is it about?
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
Shaper
Member # 32
Profile #108
How special will we be when some alien race comes by and they have an extra sense that we don't have. We are only special in the sense that no one is hunting us to stop us from over populating the earth...

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Lt. Sullust
Quaere verum
Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #109
You'll pardon me if I find your increasingly contrived explanations laughable at this point. Oh, they're called men, but they're not really men. Oh, we're called gods, but only a few certain men who aren't actually specified in the context are those gods. I thought your Bible was clear and to be taken at face value. I see you writing all kinds of things into it, concluding things from it based on your theology rather than the other way around.

Again I will point out that angels are nowhere defined as a separate, created race of beings. Without the extra-biblical mythology, you would be left scratching your head, what are these angels in the Bible, anyway? Or if you properly just translated the word messenger, it might appear a whole lot less mysterious. On which day of creation did God create angels, anyway? Your closely guarded cherished belief is extra-biblical, if you are able to admit it, as the absurdly bogus luciferian myth, in which the supposed self-created satan is a called a man right after being called day star.

I find it indicative of how we form beliefs, that anyone has convinced himself that mighty God needs magical bellboys and drones to "do" the work of God, as if the work of God required an intercessory agency. God who can speak from the mouth of an ass or man just as readily if He chooses. Angels are a superflluous waste of spirit energy at best. I don't see Christians exercising critical thinking along the lines of, "So, why would God need to create angels to be his mindless, sexless drones?"

The author of Conversations with God clearly comes from some kind of common Christian background, and was seeking answers to questions from God for 20 (or 30) years. You should have no trouble finding it at your local library.

-S-

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A4 ItemsA4 SingletonG4 ItemsG4 ForgingG4 Infiltrator NR Items The Lonely Celt
Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
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Who said the angels were mindless? Who said Lucifer is Satan? Not me. Who said the explanation of everything has to be in the Bible? It's enough that we are told that God created everything. We don't need to be told every detail about how and when. But God was talking to someone when he said, "Let us make man in our image." How could it be man if he's making man? And the individuals blocking entrance to Eden came from somewhere, and it wasn't Adam and Eve, yet all men do come from them. How much more obvious can it be?

I really don't know what beliefs of mine you think aren't Biblical. I guess the fact that they're sexless is not explicitly stated, but it sure is strongly implied. But if you want to think they don't marry yet it's possible they still have genders but the females just aren't mentioned, it's not really a big deal to me. The Bible doesn't use the words "different seperately created" but it does say that they witnessed the creation of the earth and that they're stronger than men. It also says they're spirits, whereas humans are not described as such. If that's contrived to you, yet somehow the idea that we are reborn spirits from heaven is not then we just disagree. I guess the Bible will just continue being confusing to some and clear to others.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #111
Many sects claim to deduce their doctrines rigorously from scripture as their sole source. Many such doctrines do seem to follow pretty directly, and any outsider will concede so, whatever their views on scriptural authority. Somehow there are always a few of these rigorously deduced doctrines, though, that strike all outsiders as far-fetched. The scriptural sheet is just never quite big enough for the doctrinal bed: there's always a tight corner somewhere.

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
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I'll freely admit that I believe certain things that a random person that picks up the Bible and opens it up would not see. Some of them could honestly go different ways. For example, those in my faith are pretty unanimous that the days in Genesis 1 and 2 are not 24 hr periods. But I've had discussions with people who are adamant that they're 24hr days, and I really do see their position. I wouldn't even argue so much because I can't see how it matters either way. Their position tends to be in conflict with the majority scientific opinion, but what scientists believe doesn't matter to me any more than it matters to them.

If Synergy had picked one of those beliefs that deal with less important teachings, that'd be one thing. But he picks things that I see as pretty explicitly stated scripturally and that actually do get right to the heart of fundamental Christian teachings, like death, resurrection, the nature of man, and the nature of God. I don't see those as things that can go either way. Either God is good or evil. Either we die when we die or we live on in another state of existence. The impact of things like this is far-reaching. If you go the wrong way on them, then the Bible will start to look confusing.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
? Man, ? Amazing
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Profile #113
I still maintain that it was man that caused the bible to be transcribed from oral to written history. Any spiritual guidance that can be found is purely accidental, but that doesn't lessen it. Isn't it enough that an individual can find value in a book, without having to convince others that the value they have found is wrong? I find the whole direction this dialog has taken to be depressing, as it shows in exquisite detail what is wrong with religion.

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Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Thralni - "a lot of people are ... too weird to be trusted"
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
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What's wrong with trying to cvonvince someone of something you think will benefit them? You've never tried to convince anyone of anything?
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #115
I used to, but now (irl) I mainly just mind my own business. Most people have enough on their plates already without being told in laborious detail just exactly how wrong they are going about things.

I mean, they are wrong, but to hell with them. Right?

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Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Thralni - "a lot of people are ... too weird to be trusted"
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by Jumpin' Sarrrcasmon:

Right?
I feel like you're trying to convince me.

But I think I agree to some extent. People should mind their business. If someone tells me they don't want to hear what I have to say I move along. At the same time I feel an obligation to help someone if I think I can.

Recently I heard about a bridge in Ohio (I think) that collapsed in a storm during the night. Some people driving along drove into the water and were hurt and/or killed. What makes it painful is that the locals knew about the bridge being out but gave no alert to drivers. Some of the family wants to file charges or sue. I don't know how successful they'd be, but I understand. We owe one another love. So if you know something will help me you should not withhold it. If you do you're a worthless neighbor.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #117
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

the individuals blocking entrance to Eden came from somewhere...How much more obvious can it be?
Would you point me to the explorers, settlers, and cartographers who found the angels with flaming swords guarding the Tree of Life somewhere over in Iraq? I suppose they stood underwater for a few months during Noah's Flood, proving angels don't breathe, though I do wonder if all that water put out the flaming swords. I hope you won't contend that the Tree of Life was destroyed in the Flood. That tree is supposed to reappear in the New Jerusalem after all. There is nothing obvious about the actuality of any mythology, except the human need to create myths to address mysteries and realities we do not yet know better how to explain.

I really don't know what beliefs of mine you think aren't Biblical.

What does it matter? My point is that anything could be Biblical and nothing is Biblical. My interest is not at all what is Biblical, if you have been reading me correctly. That is your interest. You contend the Bible is simple and direct in its necessary absolute truth to convey. I shared many other possible and conceivably meaningful ways many passages can be interpreted to counter that assertion. And I stated that I don't think the Bible is a necessity in the grand spiritual scheme of things at all. Therefore, it is ultimately the measure and control of nothing, as I perceive.

Your general, overall response would state that if what I see in Scripture differs from what you see, then you see rightly, and God is not in me to possibly see a thing differently from you. In fact, since the myriad points of Scripture are supposed to be obvious to anyone who reads them in order that they may be saved by the Book, the implication must be that I am simply a moron, and not even that I am spiritually without blessing to rightly divide the Word.

However, as I have stated, my measure for truth and reality is not the Bible at all. I think the Bible itself makes that task impossible, as I have described. And, as I have also described, I think there is plenty of meaning and depth also to be found therein. But God is not meant to be known by a book or even by anything anyone call tell you...or even show you for that matter. All these things can only entice one to seek God for oneself. God is to be our experience. The proof is in you, your heart, your experience. No one else, even if his name is Jesus, can give you your truth by speaking it at you. It has to be known in your own substance and life.

So, permit me to step down from the exercise we have been engaging. I said before that I could argue the matter of the Bible either from within the bounds of the Christianity from whence I came or without it. I've done a fair degree of both.

Instead, as way of an epilogue, permit me to rant on for a bit about the God I specifically do embrace, and the humanity my heart knows, and about the nature of the universe that does make sense to me. None of these ideas is unique to myself, nor did I first think of any of them, yet they have all been speaking to me during my life even before they were shaped by words, to come together in their present form. If the lifelong cry of a man's heart is to know God as God is, does God give bread of stones? You are free to judge me if you are inclined. That's no concern of mine. Tomorrow, the form of my vision will have shifted and expanded. This is how it progresses for us, if we do not set up camp at the base camp of the mountain, but ever keep moving up the mountain. No Bible of 6, 66, 666 or six million books could hope to begin to contain the Truth of God.

The Bible is a sign, a pointer to God, as are countless things all about us from all times and places. If we want the Way, the Truth, and the Life, it is in the God that all things point to, and of Whom we are an inseparable part. I simply believe in a God Who freely can be known and freely speaks to anyone who seeks, the same God Who spoke to many in the days of the Bible, and every day before and since. I don't need a Bible or anyone else to tell me how I must live. The truth is that no one else is fit to tell us how we must live. God says, "I speak to you through your feelings, your thoughts, your experiences, and lastly, when all else fails, through words." Most of the knowing of God has been poorly established upon the least of these. Words are notoriously imprecise and treacherous. Thus...religion. Religion is based upon the collected, kept, and interpreted words of dead men.

I believe in true Free Will in which no judgement is being laid at our feet for supposed commands God made that we are breaking. I can only say that if God ever actually issued a command to any part of creation, it would be kept absolutely, or God would not be God. That is a most simple, obvious declaration by definition of Godhood. It is laughable what we have convinced ourselves God is. God's got a good sense of humor about it too. We cannot break God's word or promise. We cannot violate God or the edicts of God. Nothing can. Our free will to devise and experience ourselves and our concepts of good and evil is exactly what God made us to do, for in our doing so, God experiences Himself as God and as Love. For us to exercise our own will to experience this realm does not cause God any grief at all. It couldn't possibly. For a very plain-spoken explanation of how this can be and how this can be Godly, please read the Conversations book I have mentioned. It sums up so beautifully what I have spent many years slowly grasping toward and accumulating myself, but could never quite put together so simply, powerfully, and gloriously. For most, alas, it probably is perceived as "too good to be true." However, most interestingly, the book was on the best seller list for quite some time back in the 90's. I actually find that quite hopeful. It's grabbed a lot of people, evidently.

I believe most of religion is infected with hopeless coflict and vain attempts to explain good and evil and our role and accountability to it. And that too is our choice for our experience. If anyone is here in this life to live by the Bible, then such have chosen it for themselves and that is exactly what they should do, until one decides it no longer represents who she is. In contending against finding it practical, meaningful, or accountable to live by the Bible, I have sought to engage the argument itself concerning the book, and do not mean to attack any person's choice to subject themselves to it. I don' t know if it would surprise anyone, but I have no ultimate concern about anyone being in any degree mistaken in their beliefs and practices at this point. They already have eveything they need to find another path when it is desirable. It is not my job to try to correct anyone, nor to be vexed by the choices others make.

Ultimately, I don' t see this life as being about "right and wrong" at all. I see it as being about experience and ever becoming something more and new through experience, because God cannot experience the wonder of being God, nor us in God, unless all that is God is is partitioned and some part of it removed in measure from a place. There is no need for Love where all is perfect Love and nothing else. Love is only known, experienced, and appreciated in a context in which there is anything less than complete and perfect Love. We have all chosen together to take that "forbidden fruit" depicted in the myth of the fall of man, because we as the body of God desire to experience what it is to be what we actually are by being something other than what we are. And so the universe of relativity, instead of singly the absolute, came into being. Polarity/duality are the device by which a quality can be known and experienced. In order for us to consider this realm of experience reality, we had to forget from whence we came in order to come into this life. This gives meaning to all those scriptures which encourage us to remember and be reminded. Those are words I can take quite literally.

Because we are one with God and are the family of God, the container as well as the end result is sure, and there is no absolute peril at any point within or without. It is God's job to re-mind us and to re-member us from whence we came. There is nothing to fear. God would never create anything in which there was going to be any ultimate loss or defeat, no matter what transpires in between by our collective choosing. It's all a great, grand game really, and we have all chosen to play. There is no doubt as to the outcome. Enjoy the ride. You are exactly who and what and where you have chosen to be in your life here. This is what God does. God grants us creative power in His image and a will that is truly free, not the mockery of free will religion concocts in which God gives us "free will," but punishes us if we then exercise that free will to choose a certain way for ourselves. Can we not see what an absurd and impossible construction it is for God to create anything that frustrates or displeases God? God is never afraid and never surprised. In our necessary forgetfulness to assume this role of duality, we came to know fear and the fear of the unknown. In our forgetfullness, we concocted all kinds of mythologies and religions to explain the existence of "evil" and to absolve God from its existence.

There are only two things in all the universe which drive the thoughts and behavior of humans: fear and love. All things are based upon and are motivated by one or the other. I had already been increasingly convinced, having delved into the field of psychotherapy, that all negative emotional states we experience are based on fear at the root. The degree to which religion has given us cause to fear is the degree to which it does not know the ways of Love, the ways of God, Who loses nothing and fears nothing. God is not afraid. God is not on a defensive scramble of recovery against an imaginary villain. What do we have to fear? Anyone who fears, does not yet remember God as God is, does not know God. The Bible, its myths, its translations, its arbitrary constructions, and the religions it ultimately fostered promotes fear and division. That is a glaring fact of history. The Bible therefore cannot be the Truth of God, though it may contain much truth with a small 't.'

I couldn't care less about angels, really. They have no bearing on my concerns, my choices, my authority, my safety, my autonomy, my reality. I never met one. One has never instructed me nor interfered with me. I have zero reason to even consider than they could exist. I ever see the consequences of my own actions and our collective actions, and no other. I don't care if people want to believe in leprachauns and unicorns either.

I do care if people live out of fear, rather than love, because this is where my conviction lies and sets a value I am obligated to abide by. Fear is the cause of all that we would designate as "evil." I want us all to wake up and remember, as we are meant to do, and that too is part of the chosen experience we have contrived. The Matrix was a brilliant movie in that it touched many on a deeply sensed theme of our actual existence. This reality we perceive as our reality is not at all what it seems, and most of us are sleepwalking through a false existence...so far.

Loving is all the sweeter for having first loved and lost. Myriad love stories operate by this formula. We love it. We thrive on it. So we choose to play.

-S-

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A4 ItemsA4 SingletonG4 ItemsG4 ForgingG4 Infiltrator NR Items The Lonely Celt
Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

Would you point me to the explorers, settlers, and cartographers who found the angels with flaming swords guarding the Tree of Life somewhere over in Iraq?
If the Bible had said, “And these angels must guard the tree for all eternity so as to be found by men,” then your point would be valid. For somebody who believes in God you sure don’t seem to think he can do anything. When I talk to Muslims we’re both agreed that he exists and does stuff and that the stuff he does is amazing. The universe is testimony to that fact. We disagree on certain things, but that’s not one of them. What does your God do, just sit up in heaven and chill? If you don’t believe in the Bible I understand that, but you seem to not believe in God. If he created trillions of stars and humans to wonder at them, why is it so farfetched that he can flood a planet surrounding one of those stars, make spirit creatures, or author a book?

quote:
Your general, overall response would state that if what I see in Scripture differs from what you see, then you see rightly, and God is not in me to possibly see a thing differently from you. In fact, since the myriad points of Scripture are supposed to be obvious to anyone who reads them in order that they may be saved by the Book, the implication must be that I am simply a moron, and not even that I am spiritually without blessing to rightly divide the Word.
No, my friend. They are not obvious to anyone who reads them. That is not my point. I don’t think you’re a moron.

quote:
However, as I have stated, my measure for truth and reality is not the Bible at all. I think the Bible itself makes that task impossible
And here is why your logic is flawed as I have been saying over and over again. You think I don’t understand the Bible = the Bible is not understandable.

quote:
The Bible, its myths, its translations, its arbitrary constructions, and the religions it ultimately fostered promotes fear and division.
No it doesn’t. Men who misunderstand it do. The Bible teaches overcoming and conquering fear and God’s eternal support for those who love him. There’s no fear in that – at least not the morbid kind. The “fear of God” encouraged in the Bible is a deep respect, like a child would have for his father. This is the fear Lot’s wife should have had for example. She would have said to herself, “I don’t want to do anything to displease Jehovah, since he has done so much good for us and he is the Almighty God.”

You mentioned Revelation, which can be a scary book. When I was in college I had nightmares about it. Why? Because I was being disobedient. But, all around the world, those of my faith are doing an in-depth study of Revelation. Now I’m praying for the things in it to come true. I’m doing my best to align myself with what’s taught in that book and the others. Here is what that means, as stated in the introduction to the visions contained in Revelation.

Re 1:3 Happy is he who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and who observe the things written in it; for the appointed time is near.

Anybody (including you) that reads Revelation (or any books in the bible for that matter) and thinks it causes the dangerous and paralyzing sort of fear does not get it. It informs and encourages God's servants so they will have joy and not be in fear. It says as much and I know from experience that it works.

If you’re lost in unfamiliar territory and a local gives you directions, but you try following them and don’t make it to the desired destination there are two possibilities:

1. You got bad directions.
2. You got perfectly good directions, but did not understand them or follow them properly.

You seem willing to only concede that (1) is possible. Out of respect for you I won’t presume to say why. I will leave you with the question to answer yourself. What does it mean if a person is told repeatedly that something makes sense, but when it seems contradictory and nonsensical to them they are not willing to consider that the lack of understanding lies with themselves?

quote:
So, permit me to step down from the exercise we have been engaging
Synergy, you are hereby released and free to ponder existence away from this thread.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #119
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

[A]ll around the world, those of my faith are doing an in-depth study of Revelation.
Am I right in my impression that you're a Jehovah's Witness, Stillness? If so maybe you can update me on the current teaching about 'the generation that saw 1914'. As I understand it, over the twentieth century the JW movement consistently emphasized the Great War as a major end time event. If I'm remembering rightly some books I was given in the mid '80s, the idea was that the end of the world had to happen before the last people born in 1918 had all died.

I suppose that with medical advances that could still have us lasting until 2050 or so, but a few extremely old folks who were babes in arms at the armistice seems like an awfully finicky realization of 'I tell you the truth, this generation shall not pass away until all is accomplished.' So is this still, or was it really ever, the official JW line?

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #120
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

If you’re lost in unfamiliar territory and a local gives you directions, but you try following them and don’t make it to the desired destination there are two possibilities:

1. You got bad directions.
2. You got perfectly good directions, but did not understand them or follow them properly.

If they're not trivially easy to understand, I wouldn't call them perfectly good directions. The value of a set of directions, after all, is measured by the chance that it will, in practice, successfully direct someone to where they're going. Directions that can be misunderstood aren't perfect.

[ Thursday, September 20, 2007 06:44: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Shaper
Member # 32
Profile #121
quote:
Anybody (including you) that reads Revelation (or any books in the bible for that matter) and thinks it causes the dangerous and paralyzing sort of fear does not get it. It informs and encourages God's servants so they will have joy and not be in fear. It says as much and I know from experience that it works.
That makes God sound alot like a dictator to me; those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear...

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Lt. Sullust
Quaere verum
Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Shaper
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Profile #122
Stillness, I gotta hand it to you, man, you're quite good at luring me back in whenever I threaten to step aside. I will respond to your post, because I believe it is still worthwhile to do so, though I think I have made all the points I wished to make about the Bible in general by now. I hope you will especially specifically answer anything I ask you in response here.

What does your God do, just sit up in heaven and chill?

Our God experiences all the wonders of being God through us, the only means of God to do so. Because we have all the nature and quality of God within us, God doesn’t have to babysit us, yet is also intimately intertwined with all our experience and affairs, especially simply taking great pleasure in it. I don’t know how this interaction works exactly. Does anyone?

you seem to not believe in God.

I can’t comprehend how, after all I have written, that you can lay this assertion at my feet. It does appear that at least at times you either do not read, or do not digest what others write to you.

If he created trillions of stars and humans to wonder at them, why is it so farfetched that he can flood a planet surrounding one of those stars, make spirit creatures, or author a book?

It isn’t. There is just this colossal lack of evidence and this God-given thing we know as common sense that tells us this is not actually what appears to have happened upon this planet. Both are beliefs that fly against all evidence. I don’t believe in a God that seeks to trick anyone with manipulated evidence or that God has any need to do such a thing.

They are not obvious to anyone who reads them. That is not my point.

That’s funny. I could have sworn it was, because you claim we are all accountable to the truth in that book, and let’s face it, according to what religion would have us fear, it’s a matter of eternal life and death for us. Our understanding of That Book is kind of more exponentially important than any other thing we ever do with all our lifetime, wouldn’t you say? Nothing else compares to this ultimately perilous, gravitous necessity. With the stakes so high, you’d think a God of love would make all things much more clear to all. That religious people are content that God does not, I think says much about the secret heart of the religious toward the lost masses who never really had a chance according to the stacked deck the religious believe in.

You think I don’t understand the Bible = the Bible is not understandable.

Do you remember my own argument some bit back where I elaborated how the language of the spiritual is highly symbolic and is designed to hide truth from prying eyes, and not to elucidate it for casual masses? Plainly, I don’t think you do, if you ever even read what I wrote, but that is the truth of my observation of prophetic and mystical language. Much truth in the Bible, I would assert, is hidden from most, and intentionally so, as I argued. Jesus spoke in parables which confused and hid truth from the masses to whom he spoke, and he even said that was his intention! Don’t you find that a most remarkable and telling fact?

How do you reconcile this with it being God’s obligation to deliver a word that is of such deadly importance, it really should not risk being misunderstood by anyone? Paul said our carnal reasoning/mind is the enemy of the spiritual mind and cannot know the things of spirit. The Bible would suggest that there is another agency by which its hidden truths might be grasped, not that it ever intended to enlighten the masses. Reconcile that, if you can, and explain to me why Jesus didn’t speak more clearly and directly to the masses...whose eternal fate rested upon their understanding his gospel. How do you reconcile the fiend of a God Who both creates unthinkable fates for all who do not understand and believe, yet makes it so hard to comprehend and see and make sense of what it is they must decide upon? You seem to be suggesting out of both sides of your mouth that it is easy to understand, yet that it is not. Which is it, and how is it exactly? Please summarize your precise belief on this central point (once more) in a few brief sentences at most. Perhaps at some point soon, I will finally be able to relent, thinking I understand you clearly, if not that we understand one another.

The Bible, its myths, its translations, its arbitrary constructions, and the religions it ultimately fostered promotes fear and division.

No it doesn’t. Men who misunderstand it do.

But the simple fact, regardless of what it can do is that it has done these things. It continues to do them right now. How can you see otherwise? What history books are you reading? The result of 2000 years of people reading and seeking to live by that book is thousands of divided sects of belief, wars, crusades, inquisitions, and the dark ages, rather than The Kingdom of God in earth. Apparently, loving Jehovah has seen fit to actually permit enlightenment of his word to only a tiny precious few, who cannot exert their knowledge or will upon the rest of the world for its salvation. Tell, me, how has the Bible been good news to all men in this context, if the onus is on us, but we have failed miserably, and God has done little, if anything to help clarify it for his, evidently, hopelessly moronic children?

This is the fear Lot’s wife should have had for example. She would have said to herself, “I don’t want to do anything to displease Jehovah, since he has done so much good for us and he is the Almighty God.”

I don’t know about you, but I am terrified in my deepest heart of a God Who might turn me into a pillar of salt on a pointless whim, have my children mauled by wild beasts, obliterate me, his own son, or charbroil me for all eternity. I’d have to think you’re a fool if you aren’t too, because you run perilous risk. You never know what He might pull on you next for failing to please him properly.

Anybody (including you) that reads Revelation (or any books in the bible for that matter) and thinks it causes the dangerous and paralyzing sort of fear does not get it.

Again, the simple fact of the matter is that it has caused innumerable numbers of people for two millennia great fear, and God knew it would do so, for He is God. Why would He send a vision to John to cause such fear and confusion? Do you think that's a useful thing to do? Or are you satisfied that again, a tiny collection of what, 144,000 Jehovah's Witnesses are going to be blessed by it while all others perish horribly? That's as big as your God gets? That's as good as He makes good on His promises of salvation and redemption and God being all in all?

Again I think it is clear you have not been reading or paying attention to what I have been writing in this thread. I elaborated on a very meaningful and hopeful interpretation of Revelation, from within a Christian context. If I have any belief in or concern with that book, it approaches it from what verse one of the book declares: it is a vision given in signs (not literals), it is shortly to come to pass, (not relegated to begin to unfold finally some millennia into the future), and that it is all about the unveiling of the anointed savior/salvation in a collective people. That is the title of the book, translated: “The unveiling of Jesus Christ (the anointed savior.)” Personally, I can’t imagine how unveiling and revealing the anointing of God that saves us is a fearful thing at all, regardless of the bizarre imagery seen in the vision. The theme tells us it should be a glorious and hopeful thing, if we really believe God is in the business of saving, reconciling, and transforming all Gods’ creation. You can wait and wait and wait for the Revelation to fulfill, and dream that enlightened you, to the exclusion of most, will be richly blessed by it, if you wish, but you will be left waiting and not doing and not experiencing. What a sad waste. Many have wasted so much energy of their life, and endured either needless fear or naive hope based upon that one writing alone.

If you’re lost in unfamiliar territory and a local gives you directions, but you try following them and don’t make it to the desired destination there are two possibilities:

1. You got bad directions.
2. You got perfectly good directions, but did not understand them or follow them properly.

You seem willing to only concede that (1) is possible. Out of respect for you I won’t presume to say why.


That’s unnecessarily polite of you. I’d rather just hear your explanation for why I or anyone else does not see the Bible as a coherent, unified, sensible book all in all, as you do. Please, take the cat out of the bag and put it on the table. This is a grave matter of life and death. Let’s not be precious about it. Aren’t you more concerned about my eternal fate, to at least reveal to me from your enlightenment, how I too may be enlightened and therefore saved from a horrible fate? I should hope you are. I should think you should be spending every waking moment day and night trying to save every citizen of earth from permanent exile from God/obliteration/unending torture/insert eternal punishment belief here. The fact that so very few religious persons do respond in this fashion betrays, I believe, that deep in their own hearts, they do not really believe it either. You'd think they'd act like it were true, if they really believed that their loved ones are all stuck in a burning building, and they are one of the few able to pull them out in time. Most seem content to let most of us burn.

What does it mean if a person is told repeatedly that something makes sense, but when it seems contradictory and nonsensical to them they are not willing to consider that the lack of understanding lies with themselves?

I’m so glad you asked this. What, indeed, does it mean? It means such a person is not conent to be fed by other humans the knowing and truth of God, but must find it without doubt for themselves. It means they are true to the nature of God in them which is to be autonomous and authoritative in their realization, and not live by the creed and edict of others, who have their own agendas for all of us. It means they are putting to use those fabulous faculties God gave every one of us, to question and to insist that God make sense before casting their lot in life. Blind faith in a book or even in God based on fear gets us into infinite troubles...as history continues to testify loudly over any claim you are making to the contrary. This isn't high concept or abstraction. History plainly shows us the consequences of that book being present in the earth, and who is foolish enough to deny it?

-S-

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A4 ItemsA4 SingletonG4 ItemsG4 ForgingG4 Infiltrator NR Items The Lonely Celt
Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #123
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

quote:
Originally written by Jumpin' Sarrrcasmon:

Right?
I feel like you're trying to convince me.

Actually, I was telling you that it is okay to have your own perceptions of things, and to feel that other people are doing things the wrong way. It's not okay to tell people how you feel about their manner of doing things, unless it is likely to injure them or another. See, now I have to put a caveat in there, because you seem to enjoy your little anecdotes about how people can be complete idiots sometimes.

But I suppose you would have volunteered to stand on that road, in the dark, in the rain, trying to wave down passing cars to warn them of the busted bridge. Right? That is the message I got from your judgemental post about those crappy neighbors.

The ironic thing, and bear with me here, is that we seem to have a lot of common ground and could have been amicable in all our discussions. But you introduced religion, and specifically how right yours is, and how every other interpretive religion is incredibly wrong. You don't seem to accept that other people can be happy in their beliefs when they disagree with yours. Your original post seemed to imply that you were happy with your interpretation of the Bible. I only wish you had added that you were unhappy with every other interpretation of the Bible. It would have made this conversation a whole lot simpler.

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Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Thralni - "a lot of people are ... too weird to be trusted"
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #124
There's a rather glaringly inviting quality to the verse Stillness quoted from Revelation, which I might have mentioned earlier:

Re 1:3 Happy is he who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and who observe the things written in it; for the appointed time is near.

The messenger announces that "the time is near." Tell me, is God a big time practical joker of some kind, because two millennia hence is not considered "near" or "nigh" by any human being who lives maybe 100 years at most.

Anyone who invests their life into any ancient prophecy is almost certain to be disappointed by the time their life is over (and probably largely wasted at that.) It's happened to millions in the past over the Revelation. What a colossal sum of wasted life energy. What a shameful mockery of the name of God for so many to be so wrong so many times over and over and over, and never appear to learn from the foolishness that preceded them. What do you think the odds are that you're now the wise and special one this "timely" vision is now finally going to somehow relate to, affect, warn, or bless? Simple statistics, Ockham's Razor, and Murphy's Law would all strongly encourage anyone to pass on this temptation. God knows I wasted enough of my childhood wondering and worrying about it.

-S-

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A4 ItemsA4 SingletonG4 ItemsG4 ForgingG4 Infiltrator NR Items The Lonely Celt
Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00

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