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Old 11-05-2007, 10:46 AM   #21
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Re: Re: Re: 10 questions to Christians

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Originally posted by Peterrrrr


Ask yourself the questions, and If you still think there is a God... Well...

But please tell me why do so many christian believe that God heals pepole but not amputes. And why does God help a person who have some pain in his neck but not a hungry or sick child in Africa?
Peterrrrrrrrrrr, seriously, stick to your voice threads. At least you can memorize what notes are hit and fake your way through music theory. You really don't know what you are doing here.
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Old 11-05-2007, 12:25 PM   #22
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Well that's a little harsh, BVS.

Peter, you've obviously made up your mind in this area and will accept no answers that contradict your opinion. So what is there to discuss? If you're not willing to see the other side, and you're also not willing to speak up and provide your own views (instead of linking to 20 minutes of videos that are completely one sided and downright insulting to their target audience), then what's the point? If you're just coming here to say "all you Christians are wrong," well, ok, mission accomplished.

Now is there anything you'd actually like to discuss?
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Old 11-05-2007, 03:34 PM   #23
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Re: Re: Re: 10 questions to Christians

Quote:
Originally posted by Peterrrrr


Ask yourself the questions, and If you still think there is a God... Well...

But please tell me why do so many christian believe that God heals pepole but not amputes. And why does God help a person who have some pain in his neck but not a hungry or sick child in Africa?
I don't have time to watch the vids, but these are great questions.

You have to remember, in both these cases, the Bible tells us to do these same things: help the sick and poor. I know many Christians who helped provide artificial limbs to girls from Sierra Leone who had their arms and legs chopped off. When I was a reporter, I covered two of these girls and their recovery. The way the whole thing came together was considered an act of God from pretty much everyone involved. There were many unexplained things that happened, or doors that opened, for this to take place.
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Old 11-05-2007, 03:43 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,' but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, "You have faith and I have works." Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called 'the friend of God.' See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route? For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." - James 2:14-26
This isn't saying that works save you though, it's saying a saving faith is lived out by works. This is consistent to Paul's view on faith alone saving you. James is just saying real faith is lived out.

This is even seen in the example of the criminal crucified next to Christ. He expressed his faith, and Christ said "Surely, you will be with me in paradise." He was dying. He didn't have a chance to hop down off the cross and do some good works. His faith alone was enough. Christ knew it was genuine enough to count - on the same level of a faith that's backed up with works.
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Old 11-05-2007, 09:58 PM   #25
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I'm not a Christian, but I am a theist, and all I'm getting from these videos is that a very obnoxious atheist seems to think that every believer thinks the same as another, including literally following writings that many Christians today see as irrelevant.

In fact, I found the video completely offensive, despite the fact I view a deity in a different manner.
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Old 11-06-2007, 01:20 PM   #26
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Re: Re: Re: Re: 10 questions to Christians

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Originally posted by Liesje


In college, I read an essay written by an amazing theologian and basically his point is that the purpose of petitionary prayer is not to actually intervene on someone else's behalf and change the will of God, but to simply have a conversation with God in order to better understand and accept his will. The best example of this is Jesus praying to God before his crucifixion. He prays three times. The first time he is trying to change the will of God, begging God to intervene on his behalf, but by the third time he is calm and praying to God that God's will shall be done.

I would certainly be interested in the essay, if you don't mind. I often found it hard to pray like that because I knew God wasn't going to be like "Well now that you mention it, maybe I won't let them die of cancer after all" and I've always been uncomfortable when people viewed petitionary prayer like that.
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Old 11-06-2007, 02:29 PM   #27
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 10 questions to Christians

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Originally posted by AttnKleinkind


I would certainly be interested in the essay, if you don't mind. I often found it hard to pray like that because I knew God wasn't going to be like "Well now that you mention it, maybe I won't let them die of cancer after all" and I've always been uncomfortable when people viewed petitionary prayer like that.
OK I will dig it out tonight and see what it's called. It was by Friederich Schleiermacher (lord, that's a mouthful!).

I struggled (and still in some ways struggle) with petitionary prayer b/c of all the times people have said to me "let's pray about it" instead of actually DOING something. I can't handle that. For example, one of my best friends died of cancer when she was 20 and she had tons of people from all over praying for her on a daily basis. A whole lot of good that did. She suffered for months and months. Oh, and when another friend had such a severe eating disorder we were seriously worried she would have a heart attack, her roommates told me they were going to "pray about it" first. Honestly, there are many times I find prayer to be inappropriate and even offensive. Again, when my friend died, I remember at the funeral one of the deans of our college came up to my other friend (the dead friend's roommate) and told her that she had been "praying for her and God has a plan." I've never been so livid in my entire life as when she said that. I'm sure she thought it was a nice thing to say, but who is she to say something like that? She didn't even know the girl that died, she never offered to carry her books when she was going to classes while on chemo and she certainly never went to see her in the hospital when she was balding and swollen and could barely talk. I won't WANT people to PRAY, I want them to actually CARE!

/rant
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Old 11-06-2007, 03:57 PM   #28
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 10 questions to Christians

Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje


I struggled (and still in some ways struggle) with petitionary prayer b/c of all the times people have said to me "let's pray about it" instead of actually DOING something. I can't handle that. For example, one of my best friends died of cancer when she was 20 and she had tons of people from all over praying for her on a daily basis. A whole lot of good that did. She suffered for months and months. Oh, and when another friend had such a severe eating disorder we were seriously worried she would have a heart attack, her roommates told me they were going to "pray about it" first. Honestly, there are many times I find prayer to be inappropriate and even offensive. Again, when my friend died, I remember at the funeral one of the deans of our college came up to my other friend (the dead friend's roommate) and told her that she had been "praying for her and God has a plan." I've never been so livid in my entire life as when she said that. I'm sure she thought it was a nice thing to say, but who is she to say something like that? She didn't even know the girl that died, she never offered to carry her books when she was going to classes while on chemo and she certainly never went to see her in the hospital when she was balding and swollen and could barely talk. I won't WANT people to PRAY, I want them to actually CARE!

/rant
This is an example, to me, of the verses in James referring to a saving faith and how it must accompany works. The works don't save you, but they are a sign of a legit faith. Does that make sense? I certainly see what you're saying. I would be upset, too. I still think prayer is important though. I agreed with what you said earlier, but I believe in intercessory prayer, too. Christ himself prayed such a prayer in John 17.
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Old 11-06-2007, 07:53 PM   #29
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Attn, the essay is called "The Power of Prayer in Relation to Outward Circumstances". I can transcribe it for you tomorrow at work. It's a pretty short sermon so it shouldn't take me long to type.
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Old 11-06-2007, 10:07 PM   #30
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 10 questions to Christians

Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje


OK I will dig it out tonight and see what it's called. It was by Friederich Schleiermacher (lord, that's a mouthful!).

I struggled (and still in some ways struggle) with petitionary prayer b/c of all the times people have said to me "let's pray about it" instead of actually DOING something. I can't handle that. For example, one of my best friends died of cancer when she was 20 and she had tons of people from all over praying for her on a daily basis. A whole lot of good that did. She suffered for months and months. Oh, and when another friend had such a severe eating disorder we were seriously worried she would have a heart attack, her roommates told me they were going to "pray about it" first. Honestly, there are many times I find prayer to be inappropriate and even offensive. Again, when my friend died, I remember at the funeral one of the deans of our college came up to my other friend (the dead friend's roommate) and told her that she had been "praying for her and God has a plan." I've never been so livid in my entire life as when she said that. I'm sure she thought it was a nice thing to say, but who is she to say something like that? She didn't even know the girl that died, she never offered to carry her books when she was going to classes while on chemo and she certainly never went to see her in the hospital when she was balding and swollen and could barely talk. I won't WANT people to PRAY, I want them to actually CARE!

/rant
It seems like this is tied directly to the issue of why God doesn't intervene in suffering, period. I mean after all is a God who doesn't respond to petitionary prayers somehow better than One who does on occasion? In either case the suffering continues unalleviated. . .

I'm sorry about your friend, Lies.
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Old 11-07-2007, 07:23 AM   #31
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I'm pretty black and white when it comes to religion and theology. Either God does not respond to petitionary prayer (at least not in the way we are asking) or he does, and if he does, there MUST be an explanation for who/how/when/why he intervenes for some and not others. A lack of any sort of explanation leads me to believe that God does not intervene on our behalf and asking him to do so is not the true purpose of prayer or talking to God. If the divine Son of God himself prays to God and his request is not fulfilled, what does that say about our chances?

For me, a prayer is not a request, it's a conversation. When you have a conversation with someone, each side always learns something about the other and takes something away from the conversation. Like right now I'm responding to Sean but am I asking him to do something? No. We just like posting back and forth on here because it's interesting and fulfilling to learn more about other people and why they are the way they are. I believe the same is true with regard to one's relationship with God. A true relationship is not just begging and pleading back and forth. You can ask someone why they do something and learn about them and yourself without asking them NOT to do that something or to do something else instead.

When my friend died I learned bitterness and regret, spiritually speaking, but I was going about it the wrong way and figured out my mistakes the hard way.


PS. I believe accepting God's grace through Jesus Christ is the only path to salvation.
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Old 11-07-2007, 06:50 PM   #32
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This was the verse of the day on my myspace:
1 Timothy 2:1-2
"[Instructions on Worship] I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."

I think in the case of Christ asking God to "take this cup from me," it shows the human side of Christ. To me, it's a beautiful moment, but you have to consider the rest of that line:
"My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Considering who Christ is, he knew the response he'd get. And, of course, it obviously wasn't God's will for anything else to happen. I think that's when it's not answered - when it goes against God's will. I think intercessory prayer is important, regardless of whether it works or not, because it's you revealing your heart to God. Like you said, it's a conversation and part of the relationship. I think in that conversation, we learn God's will and if he sees we're aligned with his will in our prayers, they can change things. "The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective." He's not a puppet by any means, but like Bono said "All God wants is a willing heart and for us to call out to him. Remember, he's passionate about his will being realized, but he's also passionate about free will for us. If we align ourselves with him, that's when he's willing to act . . . if it's his will. Does that make any sense? That's kind of what came to mind after reading your posts. I'll admit I may be off on that though.

Prayers a more complex thing than one would think. (Just like most relationships, let alone one with God.) I'm hoping to pick up a copy of Philip Yancey's book on prayer: "Prayer - Does it make any difference?" He's such an incredible writer and spiritual journalist, really. It might be worth checking out - I'm sure he addresses some of the issues you've brought up.
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Old 11-07-2007, 07:40 PM   #33
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coemgen, I don't typically read contemporary books on religion and spirituality b/c typically I get about 5 pages in and want to gag myself with the book, but perhaps I'll give it a try. I'm not a touchy-feely person; I tend to approach theology like a math equation. I'm just not a very spiritual person. Never have been and really don't think I ever will be.

Quote:
I think in that conversation, we learn God's will and if he sees we're aligned with his will in our prayers, they can change things
See, and I believe that in that conversation, we align our will with God's so that he doesn't have to change anything, b/c his will was right/correct/just to begin with. The conversation changes us, not the future, as we would desire when we don't understand God's will.
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Old 11-07-2007, 07:53 PM   #34
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I understand where you're coming from, and agree even, but I think our prayers can change things. We don't control God, but he's willing to act on our behalf when we're with him. If we're doing our own thing, he's going to just let that happen, too. That's just how I see it.
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Old 11-07-2007, 08:23 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally posted by coemgen
I understand where you're coming from, and agree even, but I think our prayers can change things. We don't control God, but he's willing to act on our behalf when we're with him. If we're doing our own thing, he's going to just let that happen, too. That's just how I see it.
Be careful with this type of thinking. You can't possibly think that everyone who's praying for help and not receiving it isn't "with him".
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Old 11-07-2007, 08:52 PM   #36
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No, that wouldn't be consistent with other posts I've made either. Look at my post before my last one. It has to be his will, too. Christ asked "take this cup from me" but he also said "Your will, not mine." It was God's will that things unfolded as they did. And obviously, you can't make the argument that Christ wasn't "with" God.
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Old 11-07-2007, 09:50 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by coemgen
No, that wouldn't be consistent with other posts I've made either. Look at my post before my last one. It has to be his will, too. Christ asked "take this cup from me" but he also said "Your will, not mine." It was God's will that things unfolded as they did. And obviously, you can't make the argument that Christ wasn't "with" God.
But the difficulty here is when it's hard to argue that a certain result wouldn't be God's will.

Take the situation with Liesje's friend where she's suffering for months with cancer and God doesn't heal her. To tell her grieving friends and loved ones "Well, I guess it wasn't God's will" would be harsh in the extreme. (Not that I'm suggesting you would do such thing. Sometimes, the "It's God's will" argument can be terribly cruel.)

My answer in regards to why doesn't always answer those kinds of prayers in the affirmative is that "I don't know." I know it's inadequate, but it's no worse (and perhaps a little better) than the response that God doesn't care at all.
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:02 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean

Take the situation with Liesje's friend where she's suffering for months with cancer and God doesn't heal her. To tell her grieving friends and loved ones "Well, I guess it wasn't God's will" would be harsh in the extreme.
That's EXACTLY what someone said to our faces at her funeral and I'm STILL steaming over it. See, it's so easy for others to say that when they are totally removed from the situation. I don't believe that I can change the will of God to intervene on my behalf (or someone else's behalf) b/c personally, it's never worked. If I'm only praying for that reason, then it's a total waste of time.
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:10 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje
coemgen, I don't typically read contemporary books on religion and spirituality b/c typically I get about 5 pages in and want to gag myself with the book, but perhaps I'll give it a try.
If you're going to try, Phil Yancey would be the guy.

Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje
I'm just not a very spiritual person. Never have been and really don't think I ever will be.
Funny, I feel like I"m not a very religious person. Never have been and really don't think I ever will be.
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:15 PM   #40
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Liesje, how do you square the stories of people asking Jesus to heal them and Him doing so with the belief that God doesn't intervene?

Certainly Jesus made it clear that miracles and "answers to prayer" weren't to be the bedrock of what made a person loyal to Him, but yet, He did respond to people's requst for healing. . .

Still thinking abou this. . .will write more later.
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