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Old 01-02-2005, 09:54 PM   #121
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Thanks Martha, but that didn't help much.

I guess I have too many questions to ask that if I listed all of them, I'd break the server.
I'm curious about cause and effect and how everything is tied to it. But the more I hear about it, the more questions I have. So I guess I better leave it, and try to some research on my own.

BTW, I'm a Christian, but I don't have a problem with this. I'm sure the teachings of cause and effect can easily match the same teachings of Christ. (ie, you reap what you sow)
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Old 01-02-2005, 09:55 PM   #122
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Ack! Double post!
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Old 01-02-2005, 10:20 PM   #123
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I think karma as described so far in this thread goes the closest I've ever seen to grasping the sheer magnitude of how this universe works.
So many questions, I'm afraid to ask for fear of joyful or Martha getting eaten.


Thanks though, for your replies. Much to chew over.
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Old 01-03-2005, 01:46 AM   #124
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha


I guess I'm too stupid to understand this, but how can you not believe in something, but not deny its existence either?
To "believe" means to "accept as true; take to be true"; belief doesn't require any conclusive proof.

The way I feel is, while I can't take the existence of God to be true just on belief, there's no conclusive proof out there of either God's existence or non-existence. Therefore I don't feel I can deny the chance of God existing completely.
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Old 01-03-2005, 03:58 AM   #125
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Originally posted by Irvine511



i reject a God that would kill 150,000 people, 40% of whom are children, in order to somehow test us. if he does not meet my expectations, if he performs horrible act that go against whatever sene of morality i have, then yes: i will reject him, because it is the right thing to do. my faith cannot be blind, i cannot and will not surrender my rationality and sense of right and wrong simply because i was told to do so or because some make logically indefensible arguments about God knowing best/beyond our comprehension stuff.


I am not certain there is a single person in here who believes that God did this.

[Q]one question still kicking around here, and as it relates to Dread, is whether or not God is behind natural disasters. there are two answers:

1. if God created the world, then he created a world where natural disasters were sewn into the fabric of the design itself, and those that suffer the flaws are His children. any court of law would find the designer of flammable pajamas or exploding coffee makers guilty for the people they maim with their faulty products, the same holds true of God. it appears as if we've got a Pinto of a world here.

2. the world was created by Nature, and Nature is definitionally amoral, and operates completely upon its own terms and we simply exist on top of that. there is no why, no test, no reasons, no explanations. it simply *is* -- and all we can do is deal.[/Q]

What we call "natural disasters" I call the Earth behaving the way it was created. It is not a stagnant place. It has been changing for years and years. I wouls say natural disasters are no more a "design flaw" than "free will". Nature behaving the way it was created is no different that human beings behaving the way they were created.

I do believe there is a test, and it is no different than the daily trials and tribulations of daily life. You do not need a natural disaster to "be tested".


[Q]Finally, i only have to go to the end of my block to find some crackheads. they suffer, but not through flaws in the design of the earth but through societal flaws which are way, way too myriad to get into here. the inner city poor i live near have been failed by society on so many levels, and that i think we can all take some sort of responsibility for. the shifting of the earth's plates, however, is something entirely different.[/Q]

Did human being free will cause this society to evolve? If so, it is human being behaving the way nature intended. It is the same then because I believe free will is no different than an earth quake. Both are part of the natural order of things.

[Q]Dread: you missed the point -- we are both insignificant and *incredibly* precious. its living with that confounding paradox that makes life so exquisitely painful in so many different ways. you're right, i am not insignificant to the kids i tutor online, but nor am i significant in the face of 1bn chinese people who will never know i exist. we are universes unto ourselves, none better nor worse than the other.
[/Q]

No I do not think I did. As I said I made my comments in reference to a comment about us being insignificant in relation to God. A notion that I disagree with completely. It is a paradox of sorts, but you either are significant or you are not. there is no in the middle. If you were insignificant to the people who dies and are suffering from the devastation over there, you are certainly using a lot of energy thinking about it. that in and of itself is significant. If you are taking steps to help send money, you are significant. They have not met you, but you are doing something to help.

Peoples actions have long reaching effects. For good or bad, what we do is like a rock dropping onto a pond. The ripples spread out further and further from the center acion. Those ripples touch lives we may nopt even know. Sin is the same way. Significance is not always good.
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Old 01-03-2005, 05:03 AM   #126
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http://www.boston.com/news/world/asi..._seek_answers/
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Old 01-03-2005, 06:12 AM   #127
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Thank you, Mrs. Springsteen -

I would suggest that we take Rev. Kajsa Ohomer's advice and "just hug" the people left behind to deal with this natural catastrophe by spending our time doing good - by raising money and other sources of comfort for them to assist them in their recovery.

Remember - Faith without works is useless. Our spirituality is found in being of assistance to others.
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Old 01-03-2005, 06:18 AM   #128
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From Mrs. Springsteens article:


''The God we believe in is not someone who lies behind everything. God did not make this happen, but God is close to us and he is with us when these things happen," said the Rev. Hakon Langstrom, deacon of a cathedral in the old city that dates back to the 14th century.

''God created nature, but what happens within that creation is complex and follows its own set of rules. In the old times, there was a belief that such disasters were a punishment by God. . . . That is not the way we see it, that is not the way the Gospels tell us that Jesus saw it," added Langstrom, who presided over a service that was better attended than usual in this secular country.
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Old 01-03-2005, 06:43 AM   #129
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Thanks for the article Mrs. Springsteen.
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Old 01-03-2005, 06:45 AM   #130
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha


My goodness. You will reject God because He doesn't meet your expectations.

Do you reject humans who don't meet your expectations, too? Are you in fact too perfect to ever have anyone teach you something? Are you so serenely moral that you are indeed beyond learning? What if your online students don't meet your expectations? Do you reject them?
I don't want to speak for him but I think he was rejecting the Christian God in response to NBC.
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Old 01-03-2005, 07:33 AM   #131
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I don't want to speak for him but I think he was rejecting the Christian God in response to NBC.
you spoke exactly right.

Martha appears to have taken my comments and cast them in an extreme light, comparing everyday, quotidian diasppointments with anger at a God for killing 150,000 people in a single stroke. and then projecting some sort of inherent holier-than-thou (ironic, no?) attitude on my posts. that's fine. i hardly hold myself up as morally superior, but i don't see much of a problem, when speaking in broad theological terms, demanding accountability from such Christian notions of a loving God (as articulated by NBC) who kills his children as some sort of test of our Faith.

but i suppose that's too many thoughts at once. look at me fence-sitting again ...
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Old 01-03-2005, 08:13 AM   #132
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
Martha appears to have taken my comments and cast them in an extreme light, comparing everyday, quotidian diasppointments with anger at a God for killing 150,000 people in a single stroke. and then projecting some sort of inherent holier-than-thou (ironic, no?) attitude on my posts. that's fine. i hardly hold myself up as morally superior, but i don't see much of a problem, when speaking in broad theological terms, demanding accountability from such Christian notions of a loving God (as articulated by NBC) who kills his children as some sort of test of our Faith.
As I recall, it was you who decided that the tsunami was a test of faith.

My statement is this: you can shake your fist at God, or god or whatever you want. What matters is how you respond: to those who suffer from the tsunami and to God.
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Old 01-03-2005, 08:34 AM   #133
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Originally posted by nbcrusader


As I recall, it was you who decided that the tsunami was a test of faith.

My statement is this: you can shake your fist at God, or god or whatever you want. What matters is how you respond: to those who suffer from the tsunami and to God.

nope. i find the notion of it as a test, or at least a test designed by God, to be disgusting. as you said:



"God is sovereign and in control. The earthquake and tsunami cannot be outside of His control (and there are plenty of Biblical examples that show that God remains in control).

The "why" of this event will test our notion of "God is love". Unfortunately, we expect God to love us the way we love another. That means that we do not harm another. God's love far surpasses this notion."



i agree that the resopnse is what matters. of course. i've intended to instigate a theological debate, and especially surrounding the idea of how such a disaster fits into Christian notions of a "loving" God and "God's plan" and then what kinds of reflections/examinations of faith this might cause in each individual.

my response has been this: if this is how God shows his love (and we're speaking hypothetically, i don't necessarily agree with Christian notions of god ... the karmic explanations make much more logical sense to me ... but we're examining this particular belief system), then i don't want a part of this God, and i think to take this disaster as a "test [of] our notion of 'God is love'," as you said, is rather cruel of this particular concept of God.
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Old 01-03-2005, 08:50 AM   #134
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Imagine taking a series of pictures of a parent interacting with a child. Let's say, in each interaction the parent is loving the child.

Now, in some of those pictures, we might see a stern look or an "angry" face. Taking individually, you might not conclude that the parent is loving the child. Looking at one picture of an angry face and arriving at the conclusion that the parent does not love the child would be wrong.

This is essentially what is happening here. We take this event as a snapshot of who God is, we miss that larger picture of God's love.

Speedracer raises an excellent question: how much innocent suffering is incompatible with the concept of God? Or, at what level of suffereing do we declare the suffering to be outside of God's love?
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Old 01-03-2005, 09:36 AM   #135
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader

This is essentially what is happening here. We take this event as a snapshot of who God is, we miss that larger picture of God's love.

Speedracer raises an excellent question: how much innocent suffering is incompatible with the concept of God? Or, at what level of suffereing do we declare the suffering to be outside of God's love?

these are very good points. but i would ask you to take one more step back and ask, could an event like this be compatible with the existence of God as we (more specifically, Christians) have come to understand him? can we take a step outside of the system of faith, and question that system itself? does it hold up when events like this happen?

the best question i've seen so far, is your second one: what level of suffering is too much?

my stab at that has to do with human induced suffering vs. nature induced suffering. there are several answers:

1. human induced suffering -- it's all Free Will, which God gave us, so God cannot be held responsible for our actions, we are reponsible to God for our actions.

2. nature induced suffering -- it's part of God's plan, and we are to accept what happens as part of a greater scheme and not question, just keep the faith and know that we'll be rewarded somehow.

3. there is no God who designed nature, there is just Nature, and Nature has no responsibilities to us nor does it ask of us anything. it simply is, and we must deal with it, and shit happens and it's horrible and all we can do is all we can do.


when faced with these three options, i think the level of suffering is irrelevant. if a coconut falls off a tree and hits me in the head and i die, either God wanted that to happen (it was part of his plan) or i was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. same thing with the Tsunami, the earthquake in Bam, or way back to Pompeii. either God wants it, or there is no God, it seems to me.

as i've said, and i know this is debatable, but if a company makes a product that harms it's consumers, it is held responsible. if you hold the idea that God created the world, then God created a world rife with peril as part of his plan. one step further, it seems, then, that he's literally set booby traps for us. is this the kind of God you can put faith in?

again, these are supposed to be questions, not judgements. it strikes me as very interesting how defensive some get about God in times like these, and retreat into metaphysical "beyond human understanding" claims that hold no logical water. not to say they are incorrect, necessarily, but that they are illogical and therefore indefensible from a human standpoint.
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