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Archive for November, 2016

Does God Accept Us Despite Our Doubts?

Would a loving God really judge doubts? God-followers often insist on certainty. Then, when challenged that the story in Genesis may not be historical genre, they loss hope since they have been taught certain things must be believed or else. God-followers who demand certainty often prove to be unable to talk to others who have questions or doubts. How can we encourage others if not open-minded and willing to grow in understanding?

Must Jesus’ physical resurrection be believed to be accepted by God?

Scholars who aren’t evil suggest the gospels were written much latter and that a physical resurrection was crafted into the story. We can’t really prove the physical resurrection is fact though many can rightly argue the historical evidence fits criteria for beyond reasonable doubt. The historical evidence is indisputable to me that Jesus came back from the dead but I can’t prove it. Jesus’ closest friends doubted His resurrection, despite all the miracles He performed. It is okay to question events that happened 2000 years ago for which we have to trust history since we weren’t eye witnesses.

Many insist that Jesus was both God and man.

Some can’t logically wrap their heads around Jesus being both man and God. Exactly how does one do that chromosomally? Isn’t it logically impossible to be God and not God? Some may be willing to accept that Jesus was an extraordinary man who epitomized who God was. Why can’t we begin there as a discussion as to what teachings and actions of Jesus seem to representative of what a loving God is like.

Many insist that every word and sentence in the Bible is inspired by God.

Why is it not possible to think that the writers may have only written down God’s inspirational thoughts, or God’s respect for freedom may have allowed a writer’s personal views to creep into the Bible? God has always worked through human means available rather than overwhelm with power. Jesus said He was leaving His spirit not the Bible to guide (Jn. 14:16). This doesn’t make whatever one thinks true. If you think it is right to behead and kill people because they don’t share your personal beliefs about God, you are wrong!

There may be many other beliefs that you question or doubt when it comes to a loving God.

You don’t have to believe God condemns homosexual love. You don’t have to believe and sing what a wretched soul God thinks you are just because God is so great. You don’t have to believe that God thinks women should be submissive to men in a way men shouldn’t be submissive to women. You don’t have to believe in many things others claims to be true according to the Bible. Why would a loving God insist on accepting certain information supposedly only in the Bible when the majority of people who have been born never had such written knowledge?

We can have doubts that there is a God. We can have a feeling or hope that a loving God exists.

Millions if not billions have and it cannot be proven they are irrational or delusional. The truth is God either exists or doesn’t exist. God created or God didn’t. God can provide life after death to be reunited with our loved ones or God can’t. If you are on the fence consider what a loving God would be like. Would they encourage you to believe or not that self-centeredness leads to true happiness here on earth? What have you lost going the extra mile in relationships by forgiving those who regret their actions? I can’t prove that God is real, but I am convinced God will reveal themselves to you if you desire such a relationship to help be the kind of person you desire to be.

 

Does The Natural World Condemn Unbelief In God?

It seems clear to some when they watch their child born or observe creation and all its majesty that there is a Being behind all this grandness. But, there can be as many reasons as there are individuals as to why some aren’t so sure there is a Creator. As well, philosophical arguments may be convincing to some but not all. Each person has to decide for themselves as to what they believe about origins and why.

I cannot think of any human or relational reason for condemning one’s thoughts in spiritual matters by acting as if we can discern the feelings of others. Let’s not pretend as if a Supreme loving being can be proven. Who benefits in attempting to force belief? The supposed God you believe in doesn’t even do that, having creating freedom which can only lead to genuine relationships. You can try to convince your child of your love until you are blue in the face, but a more humane strategy is to walk the talk and let your actions speak for themselves.

For those who do not believe there is a loving God, I would encourage you to make sure that your unbelief isn’t about what others claim about God rather than what may be true. 

Many reject religion because of false beliefs insisted on. True religion surely doesn’t insist on any beliefs other than the Law of Love which entitles all to form their own personal beliefs as long as they don’t violate the rights of others. True religion seeks to serve and not to be served. True religion seeks to inspire others that unselfish love leads to personal freedom.

But, doesn’t the Bible condemn those who deny God because of nature’s evidence?

The Bible doesn’t suggest all who don’t believe in God are suppressing what they know to be true. Audiences in the Bible weren’t rejecting belief in God or gods but rejecting God’s ways to justify selfish actions. Just call behaviors that violate the rights of others for what they are – immoral and destructive.

Let’s not accuse those who believe in a God as needing a crutch and those who question the reality of an invisible God of being wicked and not knowing their feelings.

For those who believe there is a God, we only want others to know God loves in hopes to empower reflecting such love back to others. If God exist surely God can prove to individuals if they are real and if their love is what you imagine would be true of a loving God. I am convinced God’s love is the love we deep down desire to show others consistently for a better world.

 

 

 

God Doesn’t Judge Only On Beliefs!

It is suggested a supposed loving God judges one currently or in the future on whether they believe in God or not, whether they accept things about God they don’t understand or consider irrational. Does God really not understand or have compassion on people’s circumstances which make believing in God more difficult for some than others.

A child who was sexually abuse by their father may struggle to accept a God who is most often betrayed as our Father in Heaven. Does God really judge them?

Some are open or desperately want to believe in God but can’t get their head around why a loving God doesn’t intervene more in so much evil in the world. Does God really judge them?

Many cannot remember a day they didn’t want to be in a committed relationship with one of the same gender, yet they are condemned by religions folks, in the name of God, who don’t keep their own partnership vows. One reason some loving parents condemn their homosexual child’s love is because they believe they must honor God in this way. Yet, in their heart they know the loving thing is to accept their child and let their grown child make such personal decisions on their own. Is God any different?

How can you expect one to have anything to do with a God when God-followers in authority act as if one is inferior to others based on their gender or color of their skins?

One person wrote: “…it’s been bothering me since 9/11. What’s the difference between the strain of Islam that proscribes gender roles and its counterpart in Christianity that does the same thing, albeit with a different set of prohibitions?” Does God really judge those who have faced bigotry in the name of God or felt that God stood by and did nothing for them? 

There are plenty of good reasons why one may not buy into being a believer in God much less desire to have a relationship. This doesn’t make them unacceptable by God or in danger of future consequences after death. Now, if you use all the problems you have had as an excuse to harm others in the same way you have been harmed, isn’t that hypocritical? We all must be held accountable for our actions toward others, regardless of how we have been treated, or the world would be even more chaotic.

I am convinced there is a God who desperately wants to help, not judge, those who have faced unfair consequences of a free world.  

Billions are convinced that believing in a loving God is not irrational or delusional. If you have thought such a God exist, but have struggled to have any kind of relationship because of what has happened to you or what has been claimed to be true about God, maybe everything you hear isn’t true. I believe God promises to stand by each person’s side and reveal to them personally what God is really like. God may be the God you imagine would be true of a loving God. God seeks to help you overcome undeserved tragedies to make a difference and be the kind of person you desire to be.

 

 

 

The God Of The Bible Doesn’t Condemn Homosexual Love!

The Bible is frequently used to condemn homosexual love (i.e. Rom. 1:26-32, I Cor. 6:9-11). The Apostle Paul, who wrote a great deal of the New Testament, possibly authored these two books. These passages couldn’t possibly be talking about committed love between two people regardless of their gender. Paul accuses readers of having no fidelity, no love (Rom. 1: 31). The homosexual actions condemned are compared to adulterous or prostituting behaviors (I Cor. 6:9).

God and the Bible don’t condemn committed love and concern for others.

Paul was referring to sexually behaviors which were only for the purpose of satisfying one’s own pleasures at the expense of others. It is likely Paul was referring to sexual practices that were common in his day. Masters often were involved in sexual acts with their slaves; men were having sex with younger boys. Paul was condemning abusive, unequal, controlling sexual behaviors which are immoral to most rational human beings.

I do think a loving God would advise against uncommitted love which can lead to people getting hurt. Who doesn’t know adultery is wrong. But, I do not make it my practice to seek out those who engage in casual sex between consensual adults. Some women give sex for pay to feed their children. I imagine if they felt they had other options they wouldn’t make such choices. I may do the same if in their shoes. I am convinced the kind of love we were created for is where each partner is equally committed to one another for the long haul, both in good and bad times. Few get married not hoping the marriage lasts for a lifetime.

But, for the sake of argument let’s say one believes that the Bible condemns faithful homosexual love. How should a Bible believer still act? 

If one reads the passages I have cited, they will notice that whatever sexual immoral acts are condemned are compared with greed. In other words the writer equally condemns sexual immoral people and greedy people. You hear a lot more sermons and condemnation on homosexuality than you will ever hear on greed.

If one uses the Bible to condemn all homosexual behaviors, they must use the same Bible to condemn greedy behaviors. I dare to say there is no one, who has enough money to feed their family and buys one extra item for pleasure, that isn’t greedy. This would include having a TV, buying desert, or anything that doesn’t go toward what is necessary to feed one’s family. The same Bible commends those who have extra and don’t share with those in need (Acts 4:32-25). Few if any of us practice such behaviors in our own land must less with those in other lands. It seems to me before one can condemn homosexuality they must first stop all acts of greed.

Church folks condemn gay relationships but they get divorced half the time. One best examine their own life before condemning gay couples who are committed.

Who doesn’t know that any sexual behaviors that are mindless, selfish, uncommitted engagements, as opposed to consensual monogamous relationships, are wrong! We should take a stand against behaviors that are harming others. I am convinced the Bible would suggest taking the less judgmental stance in relationships between consenting adults. Let God guide people in their personal sexual choices. I have a hunch polygamy in the OT wasn’t the Creator’s idea, but God understands personal decision are best freely chosen with guidance from one’s Creator if so desired.

How Do You Describe A Relationship With An Invisible God?

I often write about a relationship with God but it is not easy to describe a relationship with an invisible Deity as one might explain the value of a relationship with a friend. The only terms we have to describe a relationship with God is those we are familiar with such as a friend or marriage partner as Jesus in the Bible is described. God isn’t human of course but we may get close to describing such a relationship when we think of what a relationship with a perfect friend is like. The Bible doesn’t hesitate to describe God as a friend (Jn. 15:15, Jam. 2:23).

A relationship with God is often described as what God will do for us in the future.

If we say the right words or confess our sins then God will save us from Hell in the future. Actually, the Bible doesn’t speak of a relationship with God in these terms. Jesus, who represented God on earth, didn’t focus on future advantages but current advantages of a relationship with God in a troubled world. God simply wishes to help us cope and freely become the person we desire.

God surely epitomizes what a perfect friend would be like.

How would you describe such a friend or marriage partner? In my mind the perfect friend listens without any hidden agenda to control your decisions, as controlling love isn’t genuine. You don’t have to sugarcoat your feelings with a great friend, so you can openly work toward changes most likely to last. Great friends aren’t afraid to take risks and communicate when the friendship feels one-sided. This is the kind of friendship our Creator desires to have with us.

A relationship with God has many influential advantages.

I didn’t always have the greatest example of marriage and parenting growing up. God’s uncontrolling love toward me has influenced me to resist controlling my partner or older children, regardless whether I think I know what is best. This has led to relationships worth having. God doesn’t even control moral decisions that are so against God’s nature. Freely chosen than forced decisions allow lasting relationships worth having.

The best kinds of relationships, spiritual or human, seek to love and trust one another. Partners who attempt to out-serve the other have good marriages. This is only possible when both are committed to treating one another as best friends should. I must admit though a relationship with God isn’t exactly the same as human relationships. Betrayal might cost one a human relationship; whereas, I am convinced God isn’t going to give up on us. You can’t have a real relationship until you decide to enter a trusting relationship, but God is unimaginable patient and forgiving as are loving parents who will wait forever.

It is easier for some than others to have a relationship with an invisible Deity.

I was told God was real growing up and for whatever reason I never rejected that. I can assure you it has nothing to moral superiority. For others God is not afraid to fight to prove themselves. You don’t see how a loving God can condemn marriage between two committed people regardless of their gender. God doesn’t. God isn’t angry all the time. In the Bible God’s anger is the same as your anger against evildoers who deny others the freedom of personal beliefs.

Personally, I don’t feel judged by God if I fail, I am constantly challenged, motivated, encouraged to be more the person I desire to be.

If you have an inkling that there may be a God who desires a friendship, considering taking a leap of trust. If you are unconvinced there is such a Being as a loving, perfect God who desires to be the perfect friend, debate with a supposed God all you want. If God exist surely God can prove if they are the kind of friend you imagine would be true of a loving God.

What Does God Really Say About Getting Eternal Life?

Is God’s message really no different than religious extremists who make promises for the future with deadly consequences if you don’t buy in?

The Greek words “aionios zoen” when translated as “eternal life” doesn’t always best convey what God wants us to know about life.  We commonly think that the Bible speaks of “aionios” life in future rather than present terms and unfortunately often in threatening terms. “Aionios” translated as eternal may convey something very different than intended by the writer.

When the Bible talks about “aionios” life in the New Testament, the focus isn’t on some destination in the future but life in the present.

The Greek word “aionios” is used in the present tense (Jn. 3:36, 5:24, 6:47). In other words Scriptures speaks of having life. How can one have something now while living, if such life was meant to convey what we can have in the future after death? The Apostle Paul compares death with words translated as eternal life: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal/aionios life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rm. 6:23). Paul though speaks of still living though put to death by sin (Rm. 7:11). The life being referred to is about currently being dead or alive spiritually.

The Bible speaks more how to pursue a quality not quantity of life. 

A possible literal translation of the word eternal from the Greek is age-enduring, so how does one have an age-enduring life worth living? What kind of life will we look back and be glad we strived for such a life? When Jesus was asked directly about having age-enduring life, Jesus simply encouraged loving God and your neighbor in the present (Lk.10:25-28). I can assure you Jesus wasn’t advising criteria to get into Heaven for then Heaven is going to be vacant.

I am convinced God wants to encourage pursuing a life worth living now as opposed to the future and threatening consequences if you don’t believe what you are supposed to.

We know not loving your neighbor as you want to be loved has its own consequences – a legacy of regrets. Jesus also suggested loving God because certain relationships help one to feel secure and inspired. God gives refuge and hope to those who feel hopeless that their life can be of any value due to all the pain they have inflicted on others. Others may not be able to forgive you but your Creator can and will. Some may feel too insignificant to make a difference. God sees the world one individual at a time and believes you have something to offer. God looks out for those most in need.

You may not feel as hopeless.

Maybe no one will read this Post, but I live life only to influence who I can. Even if not overwhelmed with guilt, from time to time we need to know God isn’t always judging but in our corner. We need to be encouraged from time to time when others don’t meet our expectations. Our role-models don’t always live out or give the best advice how to be a better parent, partner, or friend. I need a God who guidance isn’t tainted by their selfishness. It can be comforting to know that when you die there is a better place or that you can be reunited with your loved ones, but God wanted us to know: “….I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fullest” (Jn. 10.10).

 

God, Some Evils Serve Absolutely No Good Purpose But Do More Harm?

The problem of evil is a main reason some don’t believe in or have a connection with God. If a God is powerful enough to create, surely God could stop at least some evils that obviously serve no good purpose. Some sufferings lead to good. A surgeon may have to break open your chest to save your life. But, what purposes are served when a child is rape or when a dictator tortures and kills millions? Why doesn’t God like any good parent prevent such evils if they can?

Some appeal to mystery when trying to explain why God’s ways are not always moral in our eyes.

By declaring God ways are not our ways, how can we have a relationship with a God we can’t understand with the brain they gave us? If God calls favoritism evil but plays favorites, this plain and simple makes a supposedly loving God evil.

It is suggested God has a reason for everything to protect certain views of God’s power, but there are no good reasons for many evils.

The majority of evil results from the freedom to be kind or cruel toward others and not in the mysterious purposes of God. It may be that God creating freedom necessitated one being able to do as much harm as they could do good. There is not some divine or “greater purpose” in the suffering of innocent people. Freedom, not suffering, was only necessary in God’s eyes.

One byproduct of freedom is that evil can be pointless. 

Not all evil makes the world a better place for some. Thinking God is behind every evil, we go searching for the lesson that God is supposedly trying to teach us, but God leaves us clueless what the lesson is. Does that sound like a loving God? God’s love cannot always be controlling because of freedom. If God could have created freedom and always gotten their way, surely God would have exercised such control.

It is true that some personal tragedies lead to helping others who have the same experience in an imperfect world, but many abuses for example only become generational. God’s ways aren’t mysterious but we may not fully understand all the factors involved that God can see and know. It is believed the flap of a butterfly wing in one part of the world can influence weather in another part of the world at some time in the future. God may be able to perform miracles and answer prayers sometimes without compromising all the factors involved in the gift of freedom, which is necessary for authentic relationships.

We often put our trust in some things we don’t fully understand.

I only fly because I have enough trust in the collective intelligence of those who believe in planes. Is it possible that there are rational, moral explanations for how a good and perfect God cannot intervene in so much evil in the world? Do you have enough trust to think God may prevent all the evil possible when not compromising freedom? Are there explanations as to why God’s love often must be influential but not coercive to remain moral? You don’t have to be free of doubts and questions but are you convinced enough to trust God can explain one day to your satisfaction?

 

 

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