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Re: [jeanne53] I don't want to believe...
Hi Jeanne:

This would seem to also eliminate the belief that sacred objects can alter outcomes, that is, lead to miracles. As well as, casting doubt on the belief that any geographical position in the physical world can do the same. If the Spirit of God is not there, then no divine power is either.

If, as scripture seems to indicate, God is omnipresent, (i.e. everywhere in the universe at once), it implies that God is intimately close to everything and therefore everyone. This would mean that no place is more ‘sacred’ than any other. It might also mean though that human beings can be more open to the feel of God’s presence in some places more than others. That would be more to do with ‘our’ receptivity or sensitivity to it, rather than the qualitative actuality of God’s presence.

Human beings have understandable difficulty in communicating with an invisible deity, let alone ordering their lives around principles said to have been handed down from a remote and invisible God.

Christianity claims that God himself somehow became incarnate, lived the life of a human being, taught and lived an ethical life and was unjustly accused, tried, sentenced and executed by the religious and secular authorities of his time but on the third day was vindicated by the invisible God by being raised from the dead. A future hope of those who follow his example.

Christians believe that Jesus Christ offers access to the invisible, omnipresent God by mediation through himself, for those who are willing to be obedient to his WAY. Namely his teaching and example of living.

The world being what it is though, treats followers of Christ in a similar way to the way He was treated and we have no advantages or special privileges of protection from the world’s hostility than did He when on earth.

Tricky, this. So much of religious belief often relies upon the sanctified material world. If I may assume, this is where the truth of intimate relation with the Spirit of God makes faith possible and a personal reality.

Much of the ‘faith’ of a disciple of Christ relies on resolve, determination and loyalty, rather than on personal revelation or ‘proof’ of the reality of God or Christ. That is what makes it ‘faith’ rather than ‘knowledge of personal experience’. Though many ‘believers’ will offer testimony to God’s saving grace in their lives, such experiences are usually only the ‘jug of water that primed the pump’, not the driving force of their entire ‘faith’. Most Christians are little better off when it comes to ‘certainty ’ about eternal verities than any atheist. We have a ‘Hope’ that our ‘faith’ will be verified, and that is about it really.

To maintain that kind of faith in the face of adversity requires considerable courage, which we hope and pray will be provided when it is needed. Not much different to the hopes of any ethical atheist, I would assume.

If you Chris, Allen, Sarah or Kenny were to suddenly, or not-so-suddenly, come to "know" and to "feel" an intimate relationship with another deity...Odin, maybe...what would you reason that you were experiencing? What would the Christian that is you, think about what was happening to you?

My guess is that all human beings rely pretty much on their past experiences to interpret and make sense of any new ‘phenomenon’. I was brought up to expect God one day to perhaps make Himself known to me in some way, if I sought after Him. At one point in my life God did just that and I categorized the experience using the norms of the culture I was brought up in, (i.e. in terms of Christian symbolism). Had I been of an entirely different culture in an entirely different age I may have reacted in an entirely different way, who knows. That is why I cannot judge other times, other places and other people and their deeds. (And neither does Christ). I can only, as a disciple, compare my behavior with Christ’s and when it does not compare well, be willing to reform and conform to his requirements of me. (That is called the process of ‘sanctification’).

Would you accept this new experience? Would you give in to the "truth" of what you feel, because when you "know" so absolutely it is easier to just give in and believe? Would you explore this new "knowledge" of Odin? Suppose it was very similar to the "knowledge" that is your Christian faith?

I can only assume that was exactly the way the ancients sought after the ‘truths’ they grappled to comprehend. Their problem was the same as ours. Their underlying formative experiences inevitably placed them in a position where every ‘new’ experience competed with what already they held to be ‘true’. If that had been full blooded paganism then ‘Christian’ experience had a tough act to follow but also appealed to something needy, deep in the human psyche. Christianity was not so much ‘imposed’ upon an unwilling world. It was gradually embraced by those who had reached an ability to comprehend its values, because it chimed with natural hopes of immortality.

This is difficult for me to fully explain. There are parts of Jeanne that are hard to put into words. I am no more complicated than anyone else, but the whole idea of belief in the non-material is too much and when asked to put an entity...a Creator Deity, to that non-material and accept its scripture as divine revelation. And...that only one is truth, while all others are falsehood and, possibly evil-designed, I cannot do that. Not without knowing.

Don’t think of ‘faith’ as a form of intellectual suicide. True ‘faith’ is not the denial of what you reason to be true. True ‘faith’ is a resolve to do what you believe to be right, even though it may be to your own expense and disadvantage. You know, (Garden of Gethsemane stuff).

To remain loving when others are hateful, kind when others are cruel, joyful in the face of adversity, peaceful when threatened, patient when provoked, kind when abused, good when no good comes to you for it, faithful when others desert and decamp, gentle with the wayward and self controlled in the face of insults and intimidating threats.

To do these things, be you atheist or believer, you will need ‘faith’ and ‘resolve’. Faith that it is all worthwhile and resolve to carry it through if you are convinced that it IS worthwhile.

It is my belief that the person who has a desire to behave this way, and does, will be the one who hears the words ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant’.

Regards Chris.
In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 2 Cor. 5:19. Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

Last edited by:

rdrcofe: Mar 19, 2015, 2:36 PM

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  • Post edited by rdrcofe Post edited by rdrcofe (Veteran) on Mar 19, 2015, 2:34 PM
  • Post edited by rdrcofe Post edited by rdrcofe (Veteran) on Mar 19, 2015, 2:36 PM