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Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered God isn’t a religious extremist much less the God of terrorists who demand certain beliefs or allegiance or be rejected or killed.

  • Since the Bible is full of God’s anger and wars, it is supposed that God demands certain beliefs or allegiance or be rejected or killed. Religious extremists, much less terrorists, don’t understand what the God of the Bible understood. True love, where authentic relationships can develop, cannot be forced even by an all-powered God. The God of the Bible doesn’t control or destroy free decisions as if that resulted in true love. Religious fanatics refuse to consider one another’s opinion, so all can work out their own convictions. Unfortunately, theologians such as St. Augustine and Calvin didn’t understand the importance of freedom to God, as they did not oppose the execution of those who disagreed with their theology.
  • God’s declarations of war were not against those who simply refused to worship the God of Israel. Why then would a God opposed to evil, who is powerful enough to create, allow so much evil in the world? The God of any extremist is neither patience or tolerant of rebellion. Israel had occupied land in Canaan until taken into slavery by Egypt. It does not appear God or the Israelites simply went to war with only desires to conquer.
  • The Israelites demonstrated willingness to live in peace with their neighbors, but Old Testament nations weren’t isolationists but sought to conquer. I doubt there are any pacifists when their child is being attacked. God sought to protect and isolate Israel from other nations involved in horrible immoral acts such as child sacrifice. I imagine most of us, if we lived next to an armed community where hundreds of children were being used as sex objects, would even be the aggressor to save the lives of current and future generations.
  • God not only respects the right to choose your own personal beliefs in this life, but God does not torture people after death for such decisions. The word Hell, a substitution not translation for certain Hebrew and Greek words, was invented over the centuries to scare people into obedience. No such place as Hell exists according to the Bible. Like God is going to sadistically torture people forever for their beliefs while here on earth a short time!
  • Most Christian extremists don’t say Paradise is a lustful adventure for men at the expense of women, but it is important to not be dogmatic that the Bible teaches women are under the authority of men in God’s eyes. This can encourage dominance on the man’s part and dependence on the woman’s part. God did not create a male-controlled relationship between Adam and Eve in the beginning; nation thereafter chose to be patriarchal. Jesus encouraged equality and mutual respect between the sexes against culture norms, but some religious extremists would rather be dead than advocate for that.
  • God in the Bible is said to desire a friendship than demand obedience in hopes to change the world for good. Jesus confronted the most the religious elite because they portrayed God as demanding obedience rather than desiring a relationship. No human or spiritual parent desires their children feel forced as opposed to freely reciprocating their love.

A loving God respects the freedom of beliefs in this life and after death, encourages men and women to be equally vulnerable to one another, and seeks only to convert others from evil actions. Jesus suffered so we might consider His message that our Creator loves us and seeks to empower in doing good and shunning evil. Any religion based on control than service isn’t true religion. A loving God surely respects freedom of beliefs if not violating the rights of others.

Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered a relationship with an invisible God isn’t as complicated as thought?

  • God’s direct communication doesn’t always produce the results we may think. God dropped manna from the sky and separated the Red Sea to escape one’s enemy, but the Israelites still did not believe or at least put their total trust in God. God even came in person but Jesus’ miracles did not obtain the results some may suggest if God would stop hiding.
  • God may communicate more clearly than we realize. We only need to look inwardly as to how to be in family, work, or other relationships. How do you wish your friends would treat you? God is considered a sexual killjoy but come to find out God only advises what we sense about commitment, lust, adultery, etc.
  • God gives us a sense of morality for our own good, but then sets us free to follow our desires. The future isn’t already determined, making freedom an illusion. God’s plan is not a detailed blueprint but a general one to set us free to love. Controlling love is an oxymoron. We are free to choose paths at this time in life based on past experiences, current circumstances, and future aspirations. There are many ways to do all the good we can, to all the people we can.
  • God’s overpowering presence in our lives may only lead to consuming guilt or brief obligations to obey. God’s lack of interference may allow us to make heart-felt, lasting choices. Convictions aren’t taught but caught over time in one’s own time. God’s interference and presence might prevent a superior world from emerging as a result of limiting the moral development and improvement of free creatures to make independent choices. Relationships can’t be declared, they must evolve. The journey of learning, reflecting, and accepting convictions that last over time can be for our own good.
  • What we do with the communication we have than lack of communication is the bigger challenge. God’s communication through the Bible has led to divisiveness through tens of thousands of denominations. Imagine if religions discovered what they shared in common and allowed differences to be between that person and God. Certainty rather than accepting differences only leads to demanding “supposed truths” from others. What if churches combined their resources thus wasting less physical and emotional resources?
  • God is always listening. God has endless mercy and forgiveness so we don’t give up no matter how demoralized we may feel. God is always available in times of loneliness. Friends can’t always be available in the middle of the night, or we may feel that we are overburdening our friends by constantly going to them. God speaks to us mostly through self-reflection as God only wants us to feel free to make decisions based on our gifts and aspirations. God only has moral biases – the same ones we have deep down – for our best interests. God is speaking when we hear: I love you; I forgive you; I won’t abandon you; I want what you want deep down; I am not really like who some people say I am.

Divine hiddenness or lack of clear or direct communication on God’s part has been a reason many question if there is a God or if God truly loves. Parents don’t hide from a child who is seeking their love and comfort! God’s invisibility and current communicative ways may be out of uncontrolling love than hiddenness. God didn’t predetermine the future so God could dictate to us our choices. Don’t we know enough from God about our relationships and what is better for the world? We may need less communication and more dependence on God to carry out our convictions. 

Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered that God’s grace is unlimited and God is full of second chances?

  • God not only respects the right to choose your own personal beliefs in this life, but God does not torture people after death for such decisions. The word Hell, a substitution not translation for certain Hebrew and Greek words, was invented over the centuries to scare people into obedience. No such place as Hell exists according to the Bible.
  • The Bible cannot be used to decide definitively that God’s grace ends after death regarding one’s destiny. We must decide this matter based on God’s character in general. Do we really think God is going to stop showing grace at the moment of one’s last breathe? The Bible teaches forgiveness is unlimited (i.e. Mt. 18:21-22). This attribute of God strongly suggests God would forgive one more time when meeting God if truly trusting in God and regretting one’s actions. God’s can’t just stop being merciful after death.
  • Our beliefs are often determined by where we were born or the family we were born into. Our destiny cannot be based on certain beliefs found only in the Bible when the majority of people born into this world had no access to such information. Those with a Bible may have misunderstood God either because of poor role-models or what others taught about God. God is not going to let one final destiny be controlled by others. Meeting God will clear up any confusion and remove any causes that led to erroneous thinking.
  • One may be surprised when Jesus was asked by a religious expert how to have eternal life. Jesus simply said to love God and your neighbor (Lk.10:25-37). Loving God is to love ourselves and others like we want to be loved. Obviously, changing directions not perfection was Jesus’ message or heaven will be empty. Jesus didn’t talk so much about life after death; Jesus talked about how true living begins on earth by knowing how much your Creator loves you. Such knowledge can empower one to be the unselfish person we all desire to be deep down. Heaven is a time for celebrating one’s life and refuge for those who have suffered.
  • No punishment can return one’s robbed memories because of sexual abuse or murder of a loved one. True justice is being forced to understand your victim’s pain and accepting the harmfulness of your actions. After death God may bring to memory every action of betrayal and how it felt to their victims. A child beater may experience emotionally the terror they gave others. Victims will have their revenge one day. The cleansing and educative effect may take longer for some than others. Believers and unbelievers may go through the same process of justice, some having more regrets than others. God’s punishment has always been in hopes of redeeming the guilty. We like God may forgive our tormenters if our enemies truly regret their actions and seek forgiveness.

Justice from a fair, merciful God is entirely possible despite people being given a second chance after death. There is hope for our loved ones who didn’t acknowledge God much less have an obvious trusting relationship with their Creator. It seems no one in their right mind would reject living in heaven after meeting their loving Creator. God will remove all causes that led to erroneous thinking. Why even bother then in this life to act godly much less trust in God? I am speechless if you believe a life of loving others like you want to be loved isn’t worth living. When we know God the way Jesus knew God, we can sense God’s love and support in good and troubled times and pursue a life that doesn’t lead to regrets while here on earth.

Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered that the Bible says absolutely nothing about God being a sadistic torturer because Hell doesn’t exist? 

  • God not only respects the right to choose your own personal beliefs in this life, but God does not torture people after death for such decisions. The word Hell, a substitution not translation for certain Hebrew and Greek words, was invented over the centuries to scare people into obedience. No such place as Hell exists according to the Bible. Like God is going to sadistically torture people forever for their beliefs while here on earth a short time!
  • Some may not even bother to know God if imagining the Creator is a sadistic torturer. And what God-person wants to tell others or defend such a God? Such a God is no different than the god of religious extremists. The traditional meaning of Hell must be dispelled as a biblical myth for God’s character is at stake. Jesus and the Bible say nothing about Hell.
  • Jesus used the Greek word Gehenna, wrongly translated as Hell, to illustrate how spiritual death is just as horrible as physical death. Jesus readers knew Gehenna was a real valley near Jerusalem where Israel children had been sacrificed to false gods (Jer. 7:30-31; 19:2-5). Josephus said this same valley was heaped with dead bodies of the Jews following the Roman siege of Jerusalem around 70 AD. Mt. 18:9 is representative of how Jesus used the word Gehenna in about four conversations: “And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell (Gehenna).” Gehenna was used by Jesus to symbolize spiritual death (a life of self-centeredness) is just as horrible as the physical deaths Gehenna was known for. Hell is not a translation of Gehenna, a valley, any more than the city of Atlanta is a proper translation for Chicago.
  • Paul wrote most of the New Testament and never mentions Hell. Scriptures only say after death that all are judged by our merciful God. The Hebrew word Sheol in the Old Testament is wrongly translated as Hell. Sheol was used to describe a place of darkness occupied by the dead regardless of beliefs. Job, an extremely righteous man in God’s eyes, desired to go there to escape his tremendous suffering (10:21-22). God didn’t warn Adam and Eve about Hell as a consequence for rebellion. Noah failed to warn evildoers about Hell before their death by Flood. The popular understanding of Hell is not found in the OT. Recent translations simply translate Sheol as “Sheol.”
  • The fear of Hell doesn’t change a person’s heart. We may want to threaten or tell an addict after the 10th relapse there is no hope, but this is not God’s nature. God’s continual encouragement and mercy, not fear or gloomy uncertainty of God’s favor, is our necessary nourishment for lasting changes of the heart. Jesus didn’t come to save us from Hell. Jesus came to earth to convey God seeks to empower us, through mercy and forgiveness, to shun evil and do good. Jesus knew God’s love is the same as perfect, human, love. Jesus came to save us from a life of self-centeredness which only leads to personal, relational, and world destruction.

The Bible doesn’t say as much about the afterlife as one may think. Jesus didn’t think of eternal life as something after death but a quality of life that begins here on earth to avoid future regrets. But, why wouldn’t a loving God seek to save all from a life of regrets, even after death? It would not be unlike God to show mercy and give all a second chance when meeting their Creator. Heaven may be more populated than many people imagine. It is not likely though that God will violate anyone’s freedom in life after death if they don’t want to live with their Creator.

Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered that God wasn’t homophobic even according to the Bible?

  • Who doesn’t condemn homosexual acts mentioned in the Bible involving violent sexual activities against one’s will such as rape (Sodom and Gomorrah in Gen 19; Judges 19:22)! Certain homosexual acts are forbidden in OT laws, but loving, monogamous relationships surely aren’t in mind as stated alongside not burning babies on the altar (Lev. 18:20-22).
  • Jesus said nothing against homosexuality. Other NT passages condemn homosexual activities compared to adulterous or prostituting behaviors (I Cor. 6:9) or love devoid of fidelity (Rom. 1:31). It seems likely writers have in mind sexual practices common in their day. Masters often were involved in sexual acts with their slaves; men were having sex with younger boys. These passages are not referring to committed love between two people.
  • Sexual behaviors that are abusive, unequal, controlling, mindless, selfish engagements, as opposed to consensual monogamous relationships, are immoral to any rational human being. The church acts as if all gay relationships are the same; opposite gender relationships aren’t! The Bible is silent on monogamous same sex relationships, while supporting relationships that show love and concern for one another.
  • Everyone who shares something deeply personal isn’t asking what you think the Bible says. If we don’t have positives to share, we need to stop telling people what God thinks about them and let God speak to them. We clearly don’t agree on what the Bible says about many issues in life, or there would not be so many denominations with so many differing creeds.
  • Many refer to Paul’s list of sins to call out homosexuality but they fail to call out the greedy and slanderers (I Cor. 6: 9-10). Unless you are homeless chances are you have been greedy more than once this week by keeping more than you need and not giving the rest to those struck by tragedies. So when I see you, remind me to say “I love you, but I hate your behaviors.” 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.
  • Please don’t insult others by comparing homosexuality to pedophilia, bestiality, etc. Friends are coming to us about themselves or their children about a very personal matter, and they are speaking about consensual, adult relationships. Do I think it is okay if three women marry four men? I will let you know when really confronted with that.
  • One may argue it doesn’t seem natural because the world could not have populated in the beginning. We are no longer in that situation and the world will continue to populate because not all couples are gay. We have unwanted children who need loving couples. Many gay couples are far better parents than many opposite sex parents. Don’t worry! Loving couples don’t try to scare a child straight or gay.
  • Each has their own story as to why they are gay. Most gay people will tell you they don’t feel their feelings are a choice. It is who they are. We must not deny anyone’s freedom to being gay or pass judgment on those who wish to try to change to being straight.

I am convinced God thinks, as most of us do, that committed, life-long, mutual-consenting, monogamous sexual relationships are always in our best interest. If your hearts tells you or your loved one isn’t condemned by God, you can follow your heart and God. I understand caring people can come to different conclusions what the Bible teaches. Since the matter is clearly debatable, I would suggest taking the less judgmental stance in relationships. Jesus never spoke about homosexuality and said when gone He would leave His Spirit to guide individual hearts.

Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered God wasn’t gender bias in male/female roles even according to the Bible?

  • Genesis doesn’t suggest God ordained separate gender roles and women are the helpers. The English implication of the word “helper” translated from the Hebrew word ezer isn’t in the Bible (Gen: 2:18). Ezer is used for God and implies or often is translated as “strength” (Deut. 33:29). Genesis 3:16 “…and he will rule over you” warns what sin can do in relationships. God is not prescribing but describing roles between the sexes when problems.
  • The Bible doesn’t condemn any of these women serving in authority roles. Miriam, a prophetess, served the Israelites along with brothers Moses and Aaron (Ex 15:20, Micah 6:4). Deborah led Israel against the Canaanites (Judges 4-5). Esther protected the Israelites from Haman’s evil intents. Women prophetesses included Anna (Luke 2:36) and Philip’s four daughters (Acts 21:9). Both Priscilla and Aquila taught Apollos (Acts 18:26).
  • Paul doesn’t order women to never speak in meetings (I Cor. 14:34). Paul had just affirmed women praying and prophesying (I Cor. 11:4-5). Women with their new found freedom were being instructed about the importance of peaceful ways if people are going to learn. Paul says that a woman must not teach or have authority over a man but Paul had in mind erroneous teachings (I Tim: 2:11-15). Paul uses the first couple as an example of what must be avoided – Eve prevailing upon Adam to go against God’s ways. Paul would not disallow a woman to rightly exercise her teaching and leadership gifts. Paul said roles are according to one’s gifts and doesn’t mention gender (I Cor. 12:4-11).
  • Mutual submission is a way of life for all followers to imitate Jesus (Eph. 5:21). Verse 22 in the original manuscripts says: “wives to your husbands as to the Lord.” The verb missing is often added from verse 21: “wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” If wives are in subordination to their husbands, then we must also say church members are in subordination to one another (v. 21). No one needs a mediator between them and God. Men aren’t told to submit to their wives, but women aren’t told to love their husbands in this passage. Women don’t need male leadership in marriage; women need men who have the heart of a servant (5:28-29).
  • God’s ideal has always been “no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male nor female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28).

As it turns out, one doesn’t have to give a disclaimer to the Bible that God supposedly suggest roles between the genders that can be interpreted as sexist. Beliefs have consequences. To believe the Bible teaches wives are in subjection to their husbands in a way husbands aren’t to their wives can create an environment more conducive for the atrocities women face at the hands of men throughout history. Mutual submission is impossible for men to twist to justify their subtle or blatant mistreatment of women. Men often interpret leadership as making final decisions when there is a stalemate. Jesus suggested we lead by serving, so perhaps the man should always submit to the woman’s final decision. Truly, in any dyad relationship there are many creative ways to resolve impasses such as going with the decision of the one with the most expertise in the area of conflict.

 

Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered that God’s morals are exactly what you would expect from a loving God?

  • Jesus, who represented God here on earth, made statements like: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). We are encouraged to “Be holy because I (God) am holy” (I Pet. 1:16). God clearly thinks we know what perfection or holiness is or these statements are meaningless. The fact that we strive to love others perfectly suggests we know what such love is. God’s ways are always moral humanly speaking. God isn’t a hypocrite who is partial but declares favoritism wrong (Jam. 2:1). We know what God is like because God’s love and perfect human love are one in the same.
  • Theologians often will play the mystery card when their biblical interpretations suggest God’s morals are not the same as perfect, human morals. They understand some explanation is required when their views of God are incompatible with most people’s idea of a loving God. God cannot claim to be moral if God condemns evil but then commits evil acts. This is nonsense in spiritual or human relationships. If two debatable interpretations in Scriptures exist, we must err on the side that portrays God as the most rational to the human mind.
  • Why did God even bother to communicate to us through the Bible if supposedly we can’t understand God? The Bible doesn’t claim that God’s character or ways are a mystery and incomprehensible to the human mind. The most common Old Testament passage used to claim God’s ways can’t be understood only declares our ways aren’t always as moral as God’s ways: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord…. so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
  • The Book of Job doesn’t suggest that we have the brain of a clam when it comes to understanding God. God didn’t tell Job to shut up and sit down because God is incomprehensible. Job was questioning God’s justness and why God did not intervene sooner in in his undeserved suffering: “Why must those who know him look in vain for such days” (24:1)? God defended they aren’t unjust because the righteous suffer and the wicked may prosper for a time here on earth. Job eventually acknowledged he was incapable of overseeing a universe where freedom is allowed, not that we can’t understand God.
  • Jesus’ teachings were not intentionally mysterious. Jesus would have preferred to not talk in parables but in straightforward ways, but human nature sometimes requires different ways to convince people for their own good. Parables are a different approach to get to the heart of a matter. God’s direct message often is only perplexing to one’s heart not the mind. Parables cause us to continually think of a subject to try to understand and eventually accept the application in one’s life. Parables, rather than directness, can stir those that may be interested and simply drive the uninterested away. Sometimes, we cannot understand Jesus’ parables at one point in our life but when open-minded to spiritual matters, we may more readily accept Jesus’ claims to always have our best interest in mind.

God is the ideal lover and desires to inspire and empower us to be the same kind of lover in our relationships. God’s ways are not mysterious according to the Bible; God’s morals are perfect humanly speaking. God isn’t a hypocrite who tells us to act morally but then acts immorally. God is the perfection of the human parents we have always desired. God’s love is the love we deep down desire to show others consistently. That is what God is really like!

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