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Old 11-07-2007, 11:12 PM   #41
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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.
Yeah, I'm talking in general terms here for the sake of discussion, not in terms of a specific situation. You're right, we can't always know God's plan for things. "I don't know" is a perfectly good answer. We can't know what he's up too all the time, he's God. We're not.
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Old 11-08-2007, 03:06 AM   #42
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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?
The same kinds of questions come up with the Tanakh...e.g., how come God answered Moses by enabling him to strike a rock and draw water, but people dying of thirst today don't seem to be able to manage that trick, no matter how 'deserving'? (Admittedly, I don't myself take those passages literally, and would certainly find any answers to the effect of "Their welfare mattered more to God" or "God had a PR opportunity too good to pass up there; that doesn't apply to some random thirsty African today" offensive, though I'm somewhat more sympathetic to "Those were clearly extraordinary times, but I couldn't tell you why those particular times and people"-type responses.)

But just for the sake of it...and I know you're asking Lies here, and I certainly don't have an 'Answer'...but wouldn't a situation of God assuming human form, directly interacting with humans in a uniquely, intentionally and purposefully discrete historical time and place (plus the associated unique potentials presented by that situation--literally-hands-on 'signs,' 'works,' etc.) render the two situations non-comparable? Because even if you don't generally see it as the nature of God to intervene, even if you presume it's generally God's will and nature to permit not only human behavior, but all of material reality as well, to proceed on its own due course--still, an incarnation would surely represent a unique and extraordinary case, no? And the understood ultimate result of that incarnation (which, as pointed out, itself entailed accepting God's not intervening to prevent suffering) would surely be something unambiguously more precious than someone who's still destined to die anyway, as we all are, being cured of leprosy or whatever, right? (Which needn't necessarily suggest some divine favoritism towards those people as individuals.)

(p.s. Sorry if I'm rambling here...I'm pulling an all-nighter and tend to get even more needlessly long-winded than usual when that happens. )
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Originally posted by Liesje
I'm just not a very spiritual person. Never have been and really don't think I ever will be.
Originally posted by maycocksean
Funny, I feel like I"m not a very religious person. Never have been and really don't think I ever will be.
Feeling passionate about and devoted to the study and practice of one particular theology is obviously a big part of my life...but as strange as it probably sounds, to a very great extent that's separate to me from being a believer. The former 'feels like home'...the latter simply just is, when it comes down to it. I'm certainly fascinated by comparative theology too, and that kind of discussion certainly has informed and enriched my own theology, both in here and through other routes, which is wonderful. But ultimately it's not about an intellectual 'quest for truth' to me...that's where the 'just is' part enters in, and to me no 'truly accurate' intellectual articulation of that part is possible anyway.

At any rate (and to borrow something BonosSaint said awhile back), I always enjoy and am challenged by how both of you think. Not sure whether that adds up more to warm fuzzies or self-indulgent pretenses at flexibility...lol. It's just a feeling I have.
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Old 11-08-2007, 07:25 AM   #43
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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.
I would have to think about it more too, but my initial response would be that he was healing them to prove that they are worthy of being heeled and touched by Christ. I'd have to re-read some of the stories, but weren't most of the people Christ heeled and touched the type of people that no one else wanted to associate with? I think the point was something other than if you beg to God long enough, you will get what you want, as long as you are "with" him.
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Old 11-08-2007, 07:32 AM   #44
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Originally posted by TranceEnding


this statement has always bothered me a little bit


"Karma is not about retribution, vengeance, punishment or reward; karma simply deals with what is. "

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karma
I completely agree.
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:41 AM   #45
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^ Deception in advertising... (except that's a little harsh, because Bono probably simply doesn't know enough about Indian thought to know any better)
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Old 11-08-2007, 10:31 AM   #46
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but if what simply "just is" are mistakes, selfish choices...etc.., then how do you account for forgiveness in human relationships? If we only got what we deserved, we would be an even sorrier lot....
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Old 11-08-2007, 12:58 PM   #47
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I don't understand the question...? Nothing in the idea of karma precludes making unselfish choices or forgiving people who've wronged you. Accumulating karma involves perpetuating a (transcendable) ongoing existential condition--not the bringing down of deserved punishments on oneself in some one-to-one correspondence to specific 'bad' acts.

There are about a dozen different 'major' theories concerning karma, depending on which religion and 'denomination' you're talking about (Dvaita, Advaita, Saiva Siddantha, Visishtadvaita, Bhakti, Nyaya, Theravada, Mahayana, Jainism etc.)--accuracy issues aside, that in itself is one of the biggest problems with talking about it as if it were some universally understood doctrine.
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:10 AM   #48
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Originally posted by yolland
^ Deception in advertising... (except that's a little harsh, because Bono probably simply doesn't know enough about Indian thought to know any better)
true enough ... and I am certainly no expert myself! I just find it upsetting sometimes the insistance of comparing different belief systems or philosophies, perhaps in order to make one sound more superior to another.

Although I don't hold any one belief dear, I find all kinds of religions fascinating ... but sometimes it's like some kind of competitive sport!
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Old 11-09-2007, 03:46 AM   #49
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I think the western misunderstanding of karma (what goes around, comes around) is attractive to the powerless because it plays to desire for fairness in a way which grace often does not.
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:45 AM   #50
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I think the western misunderstanding of karma (what goes around, comes around) is attractive to the powerless because it plays to desire for fairness in a way which grace often does not.
How so? Grace is for everyone, and you don't even have to do anything good to get it. Seems beyond fair to me.
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:55 AM   #51
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One could look at it like that. Or one could look at it that the those who spend a lifetime harming people in one way or another get a free ride, that those who damage are elevated yet again. I have no interest in grace. What a perfect solution for the sociopath and the rest of the predators and the indifferent to cloak themselves in righteousness. Have your cake and eat it too.

God wipes the slate clean and who speaks for the victims?
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:12 AM   #52
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How so? Grace is for everyone, and you don't even have to do anything good to get it. Seems beyond fair to me.
I think BonosSaint is referring to the desire that all decent people share, to see good works rewarded and evil punished. While grace is for all, Christianity also teaches that this is not the only life and that there is a final judgement after our mortal bodies die where everyone will be called to give an account of their earthly life.
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:13 AM   #53
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Christianity also teaches that this is not the only life and that there is a final judgement after our mortal bodies die where everyone will be called to give an account of their earthly life.
I'm a Christian and I believe that one is judged and saved based on grace alone, not the works they did or did not do during their earthly life.
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:55 AM   #54
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I'm a Christian and I believe that one is judged and saved based on grace alone, not the works they did or did not do during their earthly life.
Oh I agree, as far as salvation. We are saved by faith alone. But I believe there are also heavenly rewards and degrees of enjoying His glory in heaven. Suffering is rewarded (Matthew 5:11-12) as is obedience and glorifying God (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)

That's how I interpret them anyway.
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:26 AM   #55
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the more i hear about judgment and grace and karma and accountability and good works and heavenly rewards, the more i'm inclined to think that, yes, it is all a bunch of stuff we tell ourselves in order to make ourselves feel better about the fundamental absurdity of the human condition (born to die, cursed with self-awareness).

not saying i'm convinced of anything, but when these things are spelled out to me, it just seems so wacky.

no judgments, just a kind of sad, rainy-friday-morning observation.
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Old 11-09-2007, 10:15 AM   #56
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the more i hear about judgment and grace and karma and accountability and good works and heavenly rewards, the more i'm inclined to think that, yes, it is all a bunch of stuff we tell ourselves in order to make ourselves feel better about the fundamental absurdity of the human condition (born to die, cursed with self-awareness).

not saying i'm convinced of anything, but when these things are spelled out to me, it just seems so wacky.

no judgments, just a kind of sad, rainy-friday-morning observation.
If it helps, there are no sad, rainy-Friday-mornings in heaven. Can't prove that of coarse.

But if you require perspective on "the fundamental absurdity of the human condition" might I suggest this movie:

Is life just a game where we make up the rules
While we're searching for something to say
Or are we just simple spiralling coils
Of self-replicating DNA?
What is life? What is our fate?
Is there Heaven and Hell? Do we reincarnate?
Is mankind evolving or is it too late?

Well tonight here's the "Meaning of Life."
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Old 11-09-2007, 10:19 AM   #57
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Oh I agree, as far as salvation. We are saved by faith alone. But I believe there are also heavenly rewards and degrees of enjoying His glory in heaven. Suffering is rewarded (Matthew 5:11-12) as is obedience and glorifying God (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)

That's how I interpret them anyway.
What's the point of heaven if some people are still going to get the shaft while others get everything?

I believe that in the kingdom of God, everyone is equal b/c everyone was created equal, in the image of God. The kingdom of God is about being godly, so it wouldn't matter who did/said/was what.
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:11 PM   #58
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the thing is...grace says that no one is righteous in the creators eyes...no one is always selfless...no one always chooses a long term good over a short term good....grace says that man owes something he can't pay, but the one wronged(god)..(or the human being choosing to forgive) is choosing to forgo the payment of that debt.
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:50 AM   #59
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As a Catholic, I believe that we are saved by both works and faith.
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Old 11-10-2007, 12:28 PM   #60
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I believe that one is judged and saved based on grace alone, not the works they did or did not do during their earthly life.
Why?
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