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Old 03-25-2011, 04:01 PM   #361
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Jesus, for starters.
I suppose.

I just hear people thanking God for things happening and it makes me shake my head. Yes, God intervened in your life but let thousands of people die in natural disasters.

I can't understand the belief in an intervening God, whereas I can understand a lot of beliefs in religion. That one just makes no sense to me.
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:07 PM   #362
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because I have found myself on its pages -- both who I am and who I hope to be.

we are all products of our respective culture(s). and being raised how you were, where you were, and by who you were, it seems to me that this was always very likely to happen. yes? this is an experience that might be very true to you, but as an anecdote, how much stock can we put in this? and as you put it, you already believed something, so this seems more self-fulfilling prophecy than anything else.

this makes it neither "true" nor "not true," but puts it more into the category of "vanilla is my favorite flavor," in the sense that i could never convince you that vanilla isn't your favorite flavor.
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:53 PM   #363
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we are all products of our respective culture(s). and being raised how you were, where you were, and by who you were, it seems to me that this was always very likely to happen. yes?
Not really. My sister's gone in the complete opposite direction. So environmental factors, while important, don't always lead to the same outcomes.

When I say that I see myself in the pages of the Scriptures, I mean that its story of humanity resonates with me. The people in the stories of the Bible aren't terribly different from what I see today (wars and rumors of wars, corruption, hope amidst despair, etc), and the cries of David in the Psalms aren't very different from my prayers.

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this is an experience that might be very true to you, but as an anecdote, how much stock can we put in this?
I don't know. If enough people agree that the sky is blue, doesn't that mean something?

And I've always been more of a chocolate chip man.
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:58 PM   #364
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I just hear people thanking God for things happening and it makes me shake my head.
I think there are two ways to approach gratitude. One (unfortunately mirrored in the West) is a self-serving attitude that believes the fortunate deserve the good that has happened to them in some way, and that looks down on all those who aren't as "blessed," which easily turns into some notion that God was/is obligated to help them because they found "the secret" or "the prayer of Jabez" or whatever, and now they've figured out how to get God to do what they want.

The other is to humbly recognize blessings because you know they don't happen all the time, to receive them with gratitude, and to respond with empathy and generosity towards those around you. I'm convinced that blessings aren't meant for us, but for those around us. Those praying for expensive cars and bigger houses are living in a world that is too small.
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Old 03-25-2011, 05:15 PM   #365
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I agree with that. One of my closest friends prays for his family and friends every night before he goes to sleep. I have no issue with that at all.
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Old 03-25-2011, 05:18 PM   #366
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Not really. My sister's gone in the complete opposite direction. So environmental factors, while important, don't always lead to the same outcomes.

but, really, doesn't that make sense as well? lots and lots of kids raised religiously become the total opposite as adults, but they're still within that paradigm. this doesn't make anyone right or wrong, it just acknowledges the context.


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When I say that I see myself in the pages of the Scriptures, I mean that its story of humanity resonates with me. The people in the stories of the Bible aren't terribly different from what I see today (wars and rumors of wars, corruption, hope amidst despair, etc), and the cries of David in the Psalms aren't very different from my prayers.
but you want it to fit, don't you? not that it doesn't fit, but you have a pretty invested interest in making it work? kind of like Bono's lyrics? pretty elastic and easy to make multiple meanings (is "one" about AIDS, Berlin, the band, a relationship, etc.) and especially with a text that has 2,000 years of historical weight behind it.


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I don't know. If enough people agree that the sky is blue, doesn't that mean something?
or is death scary enough (and universal enough) that lots of people are scrambling for their "get out of Hell free!" card?

on a more serious note, obviously lots of people agree on the importance of religion, in a general sense, and "belief" in the broad sense is fairly universal. so, yes, that does mean something, though i think it says something more about us than about the universe.


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And I've always been more of a chocolate chip man.

i'm quite polyamorous with ice cream. different flavor every time.
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Old 03-25-2011, 05:49 PM   #367
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but you want it to fit, don't you? not that it doesn't fit, but you have a pretty invested interest in making it work?
I'm kind of amused by your perspective on believers. Perhaps it's your own agnosticism/atheism at play -- and, to be fair, you've never been terribly antagonistic of people of faith, the way other people are in FYM -- but you've intimated in the past that you seem to think that believers are these people who are fueled by fear, whether of the unknown or Hell or of questions they'd prefer not to ask. The reasons I believe are many and varied, but none of them have to do with banging a square peg (real life) into a round hole (faith tradition). I'd like to think that my faith is thoughtful, reasoned and reflective, and not incompatible with the world as it is.

To return to the subject of the thread, for example -- my faith is expansive enough to incorporate both the concept of Hell and a loving God. Perhaps not the Hell of the 1700 Puritans, but then, I don't think they got it quite right either. Part of that comes from the fact that I enjoy studying the Scriptures myself, part of that is because I like listening to other teachers (both those I agree with and those I don't), part of that is because I (like to think I) pay attention to the world around me. As C.S. Lewis said, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

As a result, I don't find the Christian faith incongruous to my life experience, though I can understand why others do. Particularly those who have been on the sharp end of the Christian stick. It's probably why FYM is a place I enjoy hanging out -- contributing to discussions, learning from others, and genuinely trying to engage with people who see the world differently than I do. FYM is, I suppose, a way for me to test my faith, and I've yet to find something that doesn't fit.
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Old 03-26-2011, 02:49 AM   #368
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but you've intimated in the past that you seem to think that believers are these people who are fueled by fear, whether of the unknown or Hell or of questions they'd prefer not to ask.
I've said it before but not believing in God can also be incredibly comforting. No judgement, no Hell and a lot of people are happy with death just being the end. You guys were saying before that the thought of exisiting for an eternity would be in a lot of ways terrifying. I think there are a lot of people 'fueled by fear' that have turned to Atheism as well for these reasons.
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:34 PM   #369
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I've said it before but not believing in God can also be incredibly comforting. No judgement, no Hell and a lot of people are happy with death just being the end. You guys were saying before that the thought of exisiting for an eternity would be in a lot of ways terrifying. I think there are a lot of people 'fueled by fear' that have turned to Atheism as well for these reasons.

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Old 03-29-2011, 01:09 AM   #370
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If so how do you invision it? Is it a place of eternal torture and fire- wheeping and gnashing of teeth and the rest? Do you consider it to be a physical place or a state of existence?

This is how Hell was explained to one Christian Prophet through a revelation he received:

I am Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord; yea, even I am he, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world....

Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be 'no end to this torment', but it is written "endless torment".

Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.

Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.

I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.

For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—

Eternal punishment .is God’s punishment

Endless punishment is God’s punishment



So, Hell exists but only a finite time until a person pays for what they did, unless they repent before dying, God is a fair God, just and merciful with perfect equilibrium.

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Old 03-29-2011, 01:45 AM   #371
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So, Hell exists but only a finite time until a person pays for what they did, unless they repent before dying, God is a fair God, just and merciful with perfect equilibrium.

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and then after that what happens?
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:57 AM   #372
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This is how Hell was explained to one Christian Prophet through a revelation he received:

I am Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord; yea, even I am he, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world....

Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be 'no end to this torment', but it is written "endless torment".

Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.

Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.

I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.

For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—

Eternal punishment .is God’s punishment

Endless punishment is God’s punishment



So, Hell exists but only a finite time until a person pays for what they did, unless they repent before dying, God is a fair God, just and merciful with perfect equilibrium.

<>
ok... i'm sure i must be missing something... but how does "endless" and "eternal" = "finite"?

your reasoning eludes me...

oh and which "Christian Prophet" are you quoting?
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Old 03-29-2011, 03:47 AM   #373
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^ It's from the Book of Mormon

There is a common Hebrew word (olam) which is often--inappropriately--translated as "eternal" in various Bible editions, though that's probably neither here nor there in this case.
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:41 PM   #374
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ok... i'm sure i must be missing something... but how does "endless" and "eternal" = "finite"?

your reasoning eludes me...

oh and which "Christian Prophet" are you quoting?
It doesn't and that's the point, reread it.

Joseph Smith.

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Old 03-29-2011, 12:43 PM   #375
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and then after that what happens?
You then go to a kingdom, mansion or heaven prepared for you.

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