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Author Topic:   Is Christ cruel? (For member Schrafinator)
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Message 226 of 306 (214481)
06-05-2005 10:22 AM


Topic Drift Alert
Discussion of the origins of the Bible are also off-topic.

This topic might be done. It is possible everyone has had their say, and if anyone was expecting a concession, that doesn't usually happen on days ending in "y". :)

I'm leaving this topic open indefininitely for further on-topic discussion, but anyone interested in discussing some of the other interesting topics that have come up is invited to propose a new thread at Proposed New Topics.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

  
Morte
Member (Idle past 4239 days)
Posts: 140
From: Texas
Joined: 05-03-2004


Message 227 of 306 (214596)
06-06-2005 1:58 AM
Reply to: Message 111 by Modulous
06-02-2005 10:25 AM


Belief a choice?
Sorry if some of this has already been covered - I've only read a page or two ahead from the message I'm replying to and don't have the time right now for more.

Easily done. I have believed that for 10 years now, another little while should be a doddle

Iím not saying that beliefs cannot change; but do you honestly think that you could make yourself believe that again right now if you wanted to? Could you just say to yourself, ďThere is no God,Ē and believe it without a single doubt now that you do believe?

{Added by edit: I just got to the part of the thread about your own beliefs - turns out I had a bit more time than I had thought - and I'm not sure if this question actually applies to you personally, but I still think it's an important point for possible others reading the thread. I had originally misinterpreted your quote above as saying that you believed that for 10 years before becoming a Christian.}

I would be quite interested in hearing how one wills oneself into believing something; Iím not trying to be sarcastic or argumentative, I truly just cannot see how it is possible to do so.

That's the issue though. The argument is that you had a choice to accept Christ or not. You chose not to.

The argument that I was talking about was that you had a choice to believe in Christís divinity or not. It may seem trivial, but it makes a world of difference; having a choice to accept Christ or not implies that you already believe in his divinity, otherwise there would be no need for such a choice in the first place.

Again there seems to be an assumption that I know, deep in my heart, that the Bible is true, and that the issue is simply whether I choose to accept Godís gift of salvation or not. Thatís not the case. If that was the case, why would anybody in his/her right mind refuse that gift?

The issue is that I donít believe this, and canít simply say to myself, ďOh, Iíd like to believe that thatís true, so I think I will.Ē It doesnít matter whether I actually would like to believe it or not, because I donít choose my beliefs. I canít force myself to believe in Jesusís divinity any more than I can force myself to believe that 2+2=5, that the computer Iím typing on isnít actually there, that World War II never occurred, that Iím actually a twenty year-old billionaire, and so on.

Iím trying to think of a good analogy because I donít know whether itís the case that you donít understand what Iím saying or that you, unlike me, actually do have the capability to change your belief at will. So how about music?

I like specific types of music Ė U2, Pink Floyd, Supertramp, and REM are some of my favourite bands, and Iím a big fan of classic rock or anything with a decent piano or sax Ė and dislike specific other types Ė Iíve never been a fan of country or rap, for example. Now, my tastes in music arenít as such because I just said to myself one day, ďIíd donít think I should like country music,Ē or ďIíve decided to like the album The Joshua TreeĒ. I donít choose my tastes in music. They just are. And even though they change slowly, over time, itís not because I make the decision to like any specific type of music less or more.

Itís a very similar thing for me and beliefs; I never sat down and compared the possibilities, making a list of pros and cons of belief or disbelief or belief in other religions to come to an informed decision about what I should believe. I never said to myself, ďHm, I donít think I like the morals declared by the God of the Bible, guess He must not exist.Ē I simply donít believe in Him. Not everything you believe or feel is related to a conscious choice you make.

So itís not a choice of whether to accept Christ or not, because it never even reached that point for me. Itís a matter, first, of believing that Christ presented me with a gift to accept.

Not because you wanted to choose not to, but because you rationalised and did not accept faith as applicable and so on.

For the reason Iím stressing above, it didnít have one whit to do with whether or not I accepted faith as applicable or not; I am not someone who lives only by what I can see and demonstrate to be true, as you might expect (and reasonably so, given that that is a stereotype that is often true here). But to believe in the God of the literal Bible requires more than just faith in God; it requires faith in the Bible as a source of truth, too. A literalist might equivocate the two, but when I believed in (a non-biblical) God, I believed because I had faith in the existence of a God; to believe in the God of the literal Bible requires that you have faith that the Bible is composed of His words, His stories for those of us on earth Ė and that none of these stories have been created, altered, or omitted by humans.

You believe that no choice is involved, but that is not what is being said. You have been given a choice, whether it was concsious or otherwise.

But that just goes back to the original point Ė whether there is no choice to believe or the choice is subconscious makes no difference. If God requires belief for salvation, and there are any, any at all, who cannot consciously make themselves believe, it is an inherently unjust system. If they choose only subconsciously, they still have no control over their fate in the end and the system is unjust.

Think of Job, he started off believing and was given a sequence of very compelling reasons to not believe...despite these totally valid reasons he kept his faith.

Exactly Ė he didnít make a choice about his beliefs based simply on what he was experiencing, because he knew what he believed in his heart and couldnít change it simply because it didnít seem true for a while. Not your point, I know; and not really my own, either, since I recognize that oneís beliefs may be changed easily by external events and transitions. But still, consider: maybe Job didnít change his beliefs because he didnít have an option; maybe no matter what trials came his way he still knew, deep down, that God was there, and he couldnít just look at the situation and say, ďObviously there is no GodĒ even if it might have seemed that way at times.

(Basically, Iím saying that the story could be used either way.)

Not my claim, Christian's claim :) The answer is straightforward. Faith. Unsatisfactory answer?

Not for me, but again other religions can make the same case for their own god(s). The point I was trying to make is that saying this is all good and well in theory, but the reality is not a case of God presenting his scenario to us and us refusing his gift; it is a case, as with other religions, as men presenting a scenario that they claim to be Godís, and there is no way for me to distinguish that yours is the truth among them. So sayingÖ

The Lord says "Come back to the flock, you will be forgiven, guaranteed", man says "No, you are a figment of the imagination you apparantly provided me". Man is given a choice, this man chooses to stay in sin.

Öis misleading because God does not speak to me directly; again, this would make it quite simple.

See, it could just as easily be the Jewish scenario that is true, or the Islamic scenario, or the Hindu Ė and since I have no way of knowing which one, how do I know where to place my faith in the first place?

{Edited to make slight alterations for the reason mentioned above.}

This message has been edited by Morte, 06-06-2005 02:35 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 111 by Modulous, posted 06-02-2005 10:25 AM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 228 by Modulous, posted 06-06-2005 7:57 AM Morte has not yet responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 240 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 228 of 306 (214627)
06-06-2005 7:57 AM
Reply to: Message 227 by Morte
06-06-2005 1:58 AM


Re: Belief a choice?
I would be quite interested in hearing how one wills oneself into believing something; Iím not trying to be sarcastic or argumentative, I truly just cannot see how it is possible to do so.

It isn't a question of willing yourself to believe something. I could easily accept Christ if I wanted to. There are two schools of thought that have been discussed. One is that you are not capable of believing and your out of luck. The other is that you are capable of accepting Christ, of believing His divinity, but you refuse to believe that you can believe (perhaps as a result of the Serpent's whispers).

The argument that I was talking about was that you had a choice to believe in Christís divinity or not.

Exactly. The Christian standpoint is that you do have a choice to believe in Christ's divinity.

I canít force myself to believe in Jesusís divinity any more than I can force myself to believe that 2+2=5

The Christian standpoint is that Jesus' divinity is the Truth. It would be like you being taught that 2+2=5 and someone saying, no - think about, its 4. Look into your heart, you know its 4. They have all sorts of 'logic' for why it should be 5 but they want you to believe that so you will reject maths! Its 4, everything makes sense if it is 4.

A bad analogy, but there you go. You don't force yourself to believe in Christ's divinity, you let yourself disbelieve in His divinity because of the serpent.

If God requires belief for salvation, and there are any, any at all, who cannot consciously make themselves believe, it is an inherently unjust system.

God has given us the tools to make the decision. Adam and Eve assured that we would know both good and evil. So we know both sides of the coin - it is up to us which side we choose. Its not about conciosuly thinking "I will believe, I will believe". Its not a logic exercise, or a psychological one but a spiritual one. Christ is in your heart already, seek and ye shall find and all that. If you really wanted to, I reckon you could come to accept Christ's divinity, and attain salvation.

Öis misleading because God does not speak to me directly; again, this would make it quite simple.

See, it could just as easily be the Jewish scenario that is true, or the Islamic scenario, or the Hindu Ė and since I have no way of knowing which one, how do I know where to place my faith in the first place?

Faith would be a bit pointless if God came down and told you how great He was. Its a classic case of Job...would the whole story have any point if God came down and said "Hey Job, the Satan is going to test you, but I do love you, trust me".

Which to choose, Islam? Hinduism? Which faith? Its written right into your heart.

Unfortunately you have raised the same issue in about 20 different ways to different points, so I can't possibly respond to them all. I'm happy to discuss this with you, but since I have already discussed them once, can you do me a favour and slim down the posts a little? I think about 90% of what you just said could have been summed up with "Is it fair that I was created with the inability to believe that Christ is divine?". Of course, I don't want you to trim things down that much, but you know what I mean.

What I'm trying to say, in order for sanity to be maintained, can we focus on one way of looking at the problem at a time? Or maybe a couple, but I kind of had rebuttal overload there!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 227 by Morte, posted 06-06-2005 1:58 AM Morte has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 230 by nator, posted 06-07-2005 9:11 AM Modulous has responded

nator
Member (Idle past 306 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 229 of 306 (214947)
06-07-2005 9:06 AM
Reply to: Message 224 by Faith
06-05-2005 9:51 AM


Re: What belief is
If the message of the Bible is so consistent and so obvious, then why are there literally thousands of seperate Christian denominations, teaching many different things?

Which one is correct?

Perhaps you can settle this issue once and for all?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 224 by Faith, posted 06-05-2005 9:51 AM Faith has not yet responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 306 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 230 of 306 (214953)
06-07-2005 9:11 AM
Reply to: Message 228 by Modulous
06-06-2005 7:57 AM


Re: Belief a choice?
quote:
It isn't a question of willing yourself to believe something. I could easily accept Christ if I wanted to.

I couldn't, anymore than I could easily accept the existence of invisible pink unicorns.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 228 by Modulous, posted 06-06-2005 7:57 AM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 231 by Modulous, posted 06-07-2005 9:47 AM nator has responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 240 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 231 of 306 (214964)
06-07-2005 9:47 AM
Reply to: Message 230 by nator
06-07-2005 9:11 AM


Re: Belief a choice?
Ah but you could, if you wanted to. You simply don't want to.

Besides, invisible pink unicorns aren't an integral part of your very soul :)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 230 by nator, posted 06-07-2005 9:11 AM nator has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 232 by kjsimons, posted 06-07-2005 10:00 AM Modulous has responded
 Message 235 by nator, posted 06-07-2005 10:30 AM Modulous has responded

kjsimons
Member
Posts: 667
From: Orlando,FL
Joined: 06-17-2003


Message 232 of 306 (214968)
06-07-2005 10:00 AM
Reply to: Message 231 by Modulous
06-07-2005 9:47 AM


Re: Belief a choice?
No she can't! Besides how do you know if souls exist and if they do that invisible pink (or purple) unicorns aren't and integral part of them? What are souls and what are they made of?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 231 by Modulous, posted 06-07-2005 9:47 AM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 233 by Modulous, posted 06-07-2005 10:08 AM kjsimons has responded

Modulous
Member (Idle past 240 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 233 of 306 (214971)
06-07-2005 10:08 AM
Reply to: Message 232 by kjsimons
06-07-2005 10:00 AM


Re: Belief a choice?
No she can't!

Oh yes she can!

Besides how do you know if souls exist and if they do that invisible pink (or purple) unicorns aren't and integral part of them?

Well, the existance of souls is kind of integral to the Christian mythology isn't it? If unicorns of any variety (can something which light passes through, reflect light at a certain wavelength?), were somehow of fundamental importance to souls, I'm sure Christ, or one of the prophets would have mentioned it.

Then again, you raise a valid theological issue, perhaps the transubstantiation of the invisible unicorn to a unicorn of specific colour is intertwined in the nature of that which is soul. Perhaps this trinity (invisible, purple, unicorn) is on a strictly need to know basis, and we simply don't need to know.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 232 by kjsimons, posted 06-07-2005 10:00 AM kjsimons has responded

Replies to this message:
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kjsimons
Member
Posts: 667
From: Orlando,FL
Joined: 06-17-2003


Message 234 of 306 (214974)
06-07-2005 10:19 AM
Reply to: Message 233 by Modulous
06-07-2005 10:08 AM


Re: Belief a choice?
No, she really can't and neither can I. No matter how many times you say that we could, if we just wanted to, it's not true for us. Maybe we just don't have the blind belief/religion gene that you do or maybe we just aren't as gullible and actually need some evidence for things before we accept them.

I'm not sure what your link was all about or how it pertained to the discussion.

The matter of souls is several topics in and of itself so we won't accomplish anything by discussing it here. The only point I wanted to make was that a soul is as detectable as the invisible pink unicorn and therefore deserves about the same level of belief.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 233 by Modulous, posted 06-07-2005 10:08 AM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
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nator
Member (Idle past 306 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 235 of 306 (214978)
06-07-2005 10:30 AM
Reply to: Message 231 by Modulous
06-07-2005 9:47 AM


Re: Belief a choice?
quote:
Ah but you could, if you wanted to. You simply don't want to.

Incorrect.

I have wanted to, but it didn't happen.

I could ask you to believe that the sun is pulled across the sky by Apollo in his firey chariot and say that you could believe this if you really wanted to, but that you simply choose not to.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 231 by Modulous, posted 06-07-2005 9:47 AM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 237 by Modulous, posted 06-07-2005 11:16 AM nator has not yet responded
 Message 238 by Percy, posted 06-07-2005 11:23 AM nator has not yet responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 240 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 236 of 306 (214981)
06-07-2005 11:13 AM
Reply to: Message 234 by kjsimons
06-07-2005 10:19 AM


Re: Belief a choice?
No, she really can't and neither can I. No matter how many times you say that we could, if we just wanted to, it's not true for us. Maybe we just don't have the blind belief/religion gene that you do or maybe we just aren't as gullible and actually need some evidence for things before we accept them.

Can you prove she can't? You have reduced the discussion to physical attributes and the association of brain and mind. You can't discuss theological issues in that manner, because it discounts the soul.

I'm not sure what your link was all about or how it pertained to the discussion.

Hehe, I forget your side of the pond doesn't have the obscure culture of panto. Try this one

The matter of souls is several topics in and of itself so we won't accomplish anything by discussing it here. The only point I wanted to make was that a soul is as detectable as the invisible pink unicorn and therefore deserves about the same level of belief.

We aren't in the science forum any more Toto. This is the faith and belief forum you may notice. Specifically we are discussing "is Christ cruel for damning Schraf to hell for her inability to believe?". In order for us to discuss it, we must work on the basis that Christ exists, he his divine, the Bible is the Holy inspired word of God and so on. Whether you think it deserves the same level of belief, therefore, is wholly irrelevant...and holy relevant (haha).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 234 by kjsimons, posted 06-07-2005 10:19 AM kjsimons has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 240 by jar, posted 06-08-2005 11:20 AM Modulous has responded

Modulous
Member (Idle past 240 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 237 of 306 (214985)
06-07-2005 11:16 AM
Reply to: Message 235 by nator
06-07-2005 10:30 AM


Re: Belief a choice?
I have wanted to, but it didn't happen.

You clearly didn't want it enough to cast aside your doubts and embrace The Lord.

I could ask you to believe that the sun is pulled across the sky by Apollo in his firey chariot and say that you could believe this if you really wanted to, but that you simply choose not to.

I prefer to think of Ra over Apollo, but that's just me. Anyway, yes, that's what I am saying.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 235 by nator, posted 06-07-2005 10:30 AM nator has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 18413
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 238 of 306 (214986)
06-07-2005 11:23 AM
Reply to: Message 235 by nator
06-07-2005 10:30 AM


Re: Belief a choice?
At one time I believed the expansion of the universe was slowing, now I believe it's accelerating. Changing in belief from one to the other is as easy as pretending that the evidence for an accelerating universe had never been found.

I can look out through the woods around my house and believe that they were all individual creations of God just a few thousand years ago, as were we ourselves. I can believe that Jesus was a real person and that he died for our sins and that he cares for us personally. I can believe that there is a heaven and a hell.

I can look up in the sky and believe that in a galaxy far far away Luke Skywalker battled his father for galactic domination. I can look at a train station and believe that if I just knew how I could walk through a pillar into the world of Harry Potter.

To me, believing something is just a small matter of imagination. If I wanted to believe that the YEC's had geologists on the run I'd just pretend that the geologic layers are a random jumble of fossils and that radiometric dating gives conflicting results. Pretending all kinds of things is no problem at all.

Where the problem comes in is trying to pretend something while still holding onto some of the facts of reality. For example, I can't pretend the world is young while still acknowledging the evidence of modern geology. I can't pretend God isn't cruel without also pretending that the rigamorole of belief that is Christianity is valid. To do these kinds of things I'd have to pretend I was incapable of rational thinking, too.

I think most people have sufficient imagination to let go of any number of facts to construct an imaginary reality for themselves, so I don't think the problem is believing something. I think the problem comes only when you try to believe contradictory things.

I confess I do have a problem putting myself in Faith's place regarding some things. Believing that God created everything a few thousand years ago and that he sent his son to die for our sins and that you need to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and all that isn't too hard. But believing that many of the attrocities described in the Bible aren't cruel, I just can't seem to widen my imagination enough for that one. Not yet anyway.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Faith
Member
Posts: 31257
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 239 of 306 (215260)
06-08-2005 4:50 AM
Reply to: Message 238 by Percy
06-07-2005 11:23 AM


Re: Belief a choice?
I confess I do have a problem putting myself in Faith's place regarding some things. Believing that God created everything a few thousand years ago and that he sent his son to die for our sins and that you need to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and all that isn't too hard. But believing that many of the attrocities described in the Bible aren't cruel, I just can't seem to widen my imagination enough for that one. Not yet anyway

It has to do with appreciating what sin is. If the Son of God had to die to save us from it, that should clue you to its enormity. If one appreciates the ugliness of sin by comparison with the holiness of God, you can even get to the point of understanding that what you consider cruelty is far less than what is deserved. Or to put it conversely, it's trivializing sin that makes God appear cruel. When "my soul doth magnify the LORD" then sin appears in its true ugliness.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 238 by Percy, posted 06-07-2005 11:23 AM Percy has not yet responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 30941
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 240 of 306 (215319)
06-08-2005 11:20 AM
Reply to: Message 236 by Modulous
06-07-2005 11:13 AM


Re: Belief a choice?
We aren't in the science forum any more Toto. This is the faith and belief forum you may notice. Specifically we are discussing "is Christ cruel for damning Schraf to hell for her inability to believe?". In order for us to discuss it, we must work on the basis that Christ exists, he his divine, the Bible is the Holy inspired word of God and so on.

But we must also understand that not everyone agrees with the initial premise. Many of us believe that GOD hasn't damned Scraf to hell for her inability to believe.

Many years ago I was a member of a social club that had a rule for its members. If you missed a meeting you got fined five dollars. That rule did not apply to non-members though. Non-members could miss as many meetings as they liked with no penalty.

Schraf is not a Christian. There is no rule requiring her to believe in GOD. She does not get fined for missing a meeting. The wonderful message of Jesus Christ is that GOD forgave and forgives everyone, Christian and non-christian alike.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 236 by Modulous, posted 06-07-2005 11:13 AM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 241 by Modulous, posted 06-08-2005 1:05 PM jar has responded
 Message 263 by Brian, posted 06-09-2005 2:44 AM jar has responded

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