Tuesday, June 26, 2007

speak truth to the wall

5:22 PM Posted by: M., 26 comments

In a lot of these blogs, the Christians say that one must have a relationship with God to best understand him, and that one cannot truly comprehend God's justice and love from without the faith. And that the only way to really hear his voice is to pray, etc. This topic came up again in the posts and it made me think about my own Christian life.

I was a Christian. For a long time, actually, and for a lot of years I could have been referred to as "hardcore." I have prayed and asked God's help and justified it when there was no answer. I have read the Bible through a Christian soul and mind and skipped over Judges and difficult passages...that is why when I started my spiritual journey here, I wasn't too worried about "turning away" because I thought that God would just give me the answers. But when I started to ask tough questions, I mean really tough questions, I was amazed that there were no answers. I prayed a lot actually and still there was nothing. My Christian mind was baffled and confused until I finally realized that there was nothing holding me to the faith. I didn't want to let go of Christianity, it just sort of happened. So in that, now, I am not a believer, and most christians would say that I am not saved. Why didn't God help me answer these questions? Why didn't he fight for my soul when I was probably most open to the revelation of his "truth"? I don't know. But now I am "condemned" to Hell for not speaking the language of silence.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned recently is that there are tons of people like me. Tons who were christian and have examined big questions through the God-lens and have been totally dissapointed. So that really no longer is an answer for someone to say that you have to already know God's love to understand it. I thought I knew God's love and if he is real, then I think it is fair to say he kicked me to the curb.

The last thing I will leave is something that Slapdash recently commented on this blog...

"The more and more I prayed, the fewer answers I got. God didn't in fact reveal himself to me while I was in "close relationship" to him. My agonized prayers begging for understanding went completely unanswered.This is a terrifying experience for someone who has been told, and believed, exactly what you claim - that we can understand God when we are in relationship with him; that God will reveal himself to us if we earnestly seek, with a pure heart. For me, God's silence in the face of my many tear-filled prayers has been overwhelming."

That is totally my experience as well


26 comments:

Slapdash said...

You know, when I was a solid believer and encountered people asking hard questions, I always encouraged them to ask. I was 100% confident that God could handle the questions, that God was Truth, that God would answer and we had nothing to fear in asking.

I wonder now where that confidence came from, other than the stock scriptures we lean on - seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened, the truth will set you free. It's now becoming a bit fuzzy in my mind, but I *must* have had periods of questioning in which I thought I really did get an answer back from God. Otherwise I couldn't have stayed such a strong believer for 20+ years.

So what's changed? How come God seems not to answer the particular kinds of questions a lot of us are asking today, a lot of the reason-based "if God is X, then how come Y happened in the Bible" kinds of questions?

I'm kind of rambling here, but there's something strange about the idea that I obviously believed God does answer at one time. But that belief, that trust in God, has all but evaporated in the last 5-6 years.

lowendaction said...

I left a few things regarding this on your last post, but I would like to add (hopefully clarify) a few things.

First a quick background on me. My parents have been missionaries (non-denominational Christian) in Germany for the past 20+ years. I greatly respect my parents and most of their beiefs. However, around the age of 17 I needed to break from all of that, and I began my own spiritual journey. Part of that was coming to the states, and alot of it was me attempting to remove myself from God. I say attempt, because no matter what I tried or how "far" I thought I had gone, there were fundamental truths that I simply couldn't explain away. So it's been a rocky journey to say the least...enough about all that.

I have discovered/experienced that the modern church community has done an aweful job at teaching/programming the concept of prayer (this is of course only one its many flaws...).

I think we must first examine our own true belief in what/who God even is before we go throwing our woes on Him. In other words, who do you think God actually is? And what is it you think He can/will do for you? If we can honestly answer these questions FIRST, then I believe the nature of our prayer will take a more honest form. In other words, if we see God as an open inbox for us to download all of our baggage, and once we've finished dumping we simply walk away hoping for a speedy response, we have not come to understand the nature of His relationship with us.

Yes, God has wired us with flaws, and for that I love Him! I really mean that. To me, anything worth while comes with a challenge. I don't believe in things simlply falling in to my lap as I wish for them(I'm not implying anyone said that here...). I think as a society (not just christians) we've become incredibly selfish and lazy. We have grown so acustomed to instant gratification, when faced with a task that requires the least bit of effort-neigh faith-we fold up with impatience.

To be clear, all of this applies to me just as much to everyone else. If I'm coming across as some kind of holy roler, you simply don't know me. But what I have come to accept, is that these are fundamental truths, and I am tasked with putting them to practice. I think slapdash put it best: "The more and more I prayed, the fewer answers I got."

Maybe we should "pray" less, and listen more. Then somewhere in between maybe dialouge will emerge...at least this is what I am working on. Since God is omnipresent, and therefore knows our own thoughts (probably better than we do), than maybe we should stop TYRING so hard, and work on the simple few things he's actually asked of us: love, trust, believe. And though these might sound like vague churchianic words to most, if we really work on what those things mean, and how we can put them to practice...I believe the consequences will speak for themselves.

thanks for the topic marie...I'm always looking to hear and explore ALL angles on issues that I wrestle over on a daily basis.

marie said...

Hey Slapdash and Lowendaction,

Thanks for your comments!

Lowendaction, I really appreciate your honest posting on ths blog. I actually can really see your point well. My problem in that is that I don't believe in God. I want to but I can't. so i cannot answer your question of "who God is." But I do value your input and I am glad that you can add a different angle to this

that is a good point that prayer is totally f-ed up in our christian societies today. that might be a cause and a result of the way our society generally is today

lowendaction said...

What facinates me, and I've been reading alot of this, is this reoccuring statement: "I don't believe in God."

It strikes me as odd, because usually people will tell you what they DO believe in. Maybe this is just my scewed and biased perspective, but isn't that also saying: "I reject the existance of God." Which basically means, that he does exist, but you choose not to believe or accept this.

In other words, we all believe in something, but when you blieve not to believe in God, what DO you then believe in?

I'm not attacking or judgin, I'm just trying to understand. I've just been seeing an aweful lot of people who seem to put alot of energy in to explaining God away, but have little or nothing to substitute that vacancy they've worked so hard at. It's almost like taking the Elephant in the room, and just putting him in a dark corner.

I can totally understand, if not share the angering, confusing, and often rewardless idea of God, but at the end of the day, it still makes more sense to me to expend my last bit of energy tyring to embrace Him instead of attempting to push Him away in futility.

I'm sorry if my war-blog intro ran long...I guess I'm no Hemmingway in the literary department. I wish I was better at making more concise points.

marie said...

Hey Lowendaction, thanks for the question.

This is commonly said, but i think it is true--I do not believe in God just like you do not believe in Kali or Allah or Zeus, etc. I am trying to figure out what I do believe, but I can't pinpoint it yet.

I just have been examining "evidence" for the Christian God (who's existence has been shoved down my throat a lot) and I do not believe in him. Just like I do not believe in a monster under the sidewalk. I mean, i have to admit that I could be wrong. But I just do not believe.

At least for now, it really is an absence of belief. We all don't believe in stuff. Just because I don't believe in one form of winged dog, doesn't mean I have to fill that unbelief with belief in a different winged dog. that may have been confusing :)

I just do not believe.

and dont worry about long posts, say what you want and what you can and if it is long, that means you have more to say! I will go check out the intro now

Heather said...

Lowendaction,

**then I believe the nature of our prayer will take a more honest form. In other words, if we see God as an open inbox for us to download all of our baggage, and once we've finished dumping we simply walk away hoping for a speedy response, we have not come to understand the nature of His relationship with us.**

I think we might be approaching this from two different perspectives. You seem to be treating this as though people aren't receiving the answers they like in prayer, or answers fast enough. Most of those who dno't believe in God, or find the principle of prayer faulty, feel so in reaction to events such as the Holocaust, and watching the failed prayers there. Or those who pray for the safe return of a kidnapped child, and the child is killed. It's hard to make that compatible with an all-powerful, all-loving God. (I'm speculating here, because the response to the unanswered prayer often seems to be someone has the answer and just doesn't like it, or didn't pray hard enough. It doesn't sound like you're going in that direction, but it does sound like you're personalizing the prayer aspect).

**but isn't that also saying: "I reject the existance of God." Which basically means, that he does exist, but you choose not to believe or accept this.** As Marie said, if you say that you don't believe in Allah, does that mean Allah exists? Lack of belief can correlate to one examining the evidence, finding it lacking in an area, and simply believing in one area. But the evidence is pointing to a lack of existence.

** I've just been seeing an aweful lot of people who seem to put alot of energy in to explaining God away, but have little or nothing to substitute that vacancy they've worked so hard at. **

I think much of this has to do with how Christian/God-saturated the US culture is, and that a certain aspect of that culture is trying to push itself on everything else.

lowendaction said...

I think my journey away and then back to God, revovled around rejecting the God that had been presented to me: parents, church, media... and discovering what made Him real for me. I am a big fan of science in all of its forms. However, no one can ever convince me that the perfection of the human body, the balance of nature (and so on...) is the result of some freak accident. That leaves me with the obvious conclusion that there is a design behind it all. And if there's a design, there must be a designer. And of all the supposed designers I've been presented with, the Judeo Christian God comes out on top...but that's just for me.

My only thing is this. Be sure of what you believe, or at least what it is you're seeking after (again, not applying this to anyone in specific here!). Whether it's christianity, atheism, or the global meltdown--know what you believe and why!

As to the prayer situation, heather. It is my belief that there is no such thing as "unanswered prayers". This is another product of false religious indoctrination. We as humans assume that our agenda supersedes Gods, and therefore when things do not turn out as we wish, we automatically assume that he has abandoned, or ignored us.

For arguments sake, let's say we all believe in God, the creator of all things. Who then are we, to presume to know what is "best" for ousleves? How do we know that the horrific death of our own child doesn't present some amazing blessing to another (don't ask me how...I'm just postulating here!).

Think of it as the relationship of a small child to its parent. Does that screaming infant understand why it's being denied that extra treat before dinner? Of course not, but the parent does. Ok, maybe not the best example, but it does illustrate that we either have complete faith in Gods "greater plan", or we are ultimately far more interrested in our own selfish wants (and yes, the supposed ownership of the life of ones child, or even ones own life is considered selfish in Gods eyes).

Heather said...

Lowendaction,

The problem I have with your example is when comparing that to a situation like the Holocaust. That's 11 million people that were killed. Or even an incident such as rape. To say that being raped is part of a greater plan is ... horrible. And, if I'm understanding your position correctly, to pray for the rapist to stop is then selfish and putting one's agenda above God's plan?

Any plan that involves rape, or murder, is not considered a good plan. There is a *huge* difference between that and denying an infant a treat before dinner. And once aspects such as rape and murder are introduced into a plan, how can the plan be referred to as good? If God requires that in the plan, how is God then good?

**and yes, the supposed ownership of the life of ones child, or even ones own life is considered selfish in Gods eyes** It sounds as though you're defining selfish as to want one's own plan above all else. But that is exactly what God's doing, under this logic. God is putting his/her/it's own plan above all else. You can say that God by His nature is not selfish, and does all for the greater good. But selfish has been defined as pursuing one's own agenda for self-seeking means. 'Good' would also have to be redefined, given the things that occur in this world.

lowendaction said...

heather - before I respond, I want to be clear about the fact that I in now way shape or form have "all the answers" and am only attempting to make sense of these issues that I too struggle with daily.

All these horrible acts one can think of (excluding natural disastes and accidents) are a direct result of the presence of sin in this world. So is it the victims fault that some asshole has abused this freedom of choice? Of course not, neither is it God's will or choosing (in my opinion). However, these are direct consequences of the freedom He has allowed us, and from that freedom, we as individuals can make the choice.

I think of God's design as a calculated risk. When you fall in love, you are aware of the fact that your heart could be broken. When you get in your car, you are aware of the possibility of being killed. And yet, we still choose to do these things.

Since everything we know exsists in a delicate balance, than you must concede that there can be no love without hate, no peace without war. We are tasked (by God, I believe) to maintain that balance. Do you really believe that humans would accept a utopian world? The very reason you long for such a place is BECAUSE of the atrocities that prevail.

So I'm not saying that these things are "good" in any way, but they are necessary. The thing that always amazes me is that such events, that are deeply disturbing to us, are somehow automatically connected with God. Virginia Tech was done by a man. It's not like God sent one of His angels or demons or whatever, it was one sick bastard acting alone. But I think that admitting to such basic human flaws speaks to our own inherent evil, and so it is much easier to blame it on God, or an absence of God.

For some people, it takes such tragedies to have an honest and real encounter with God. Does that make the act any better...no, but that is one example of how some possible "good" could come out of it.

So, I think we should spend less time being angry at God for being a crappy superintendent to the world, and focus on loving people, and maybe less of them will do stupid crap.

Heather said...

Lowendaction,

**However, these are direct consequences of the freedom He has allowed us, and from that freedom, we as individuals can make the choice.** But that's not freedom in each case. We, as a society, put rules in place to prevent such freedoms. Do people stil break those freedoms? Yes. But if we knew that someone would break that rule beforehand, with 100% certainty, we are obligated to step in. Or we are an accessory to that wrong act. And it is still not freedom for everyone, because someone does not choose to be raped. That is limited freedom, then. Freedom comes with responsiblities, and while it could be said that the perpetrator receives justice in the next life/world/so on, we don't know that for a fact. All we have is here, and we have a God who comes across as valuing free will above all else, even at the expense of thousands of crimes. You can allow someone to be free to choose something wrong, and yet step in and preventing that wrong from affecting the victim.

Also, originally it was that there are no unanswered prayers, but that it was a human putting his/her agenda above God's own. I pointed out that someone praying for a rapist to stop whose prayer goes unanswered has, in this system, put her agenda above God's. Now it is said that those are not God's will or choosing, so then for a rape to happen is not part of God's agenda. So then why does the prayer go unanswered? Someone who is not raped by divine intervention is just as likely (if not more) to turn to God as someone who is raped and seeks answers from it. If an event like rape is needed by God for people to seek Him out, then how can we call God good?

**When you fall in love, you are aware of the fact that your heart could be broken. When you get in your car, you are aware of the possibility of being killed. And yet, we still choose to do these things.** But again, this is us making a deliberate choice. I am not speaking of those instances, I am speaking of ones where we are stripped from our choices.

**It's not like God sent one of His angels or demons or whatever, it was one sick bastard acting alone. But I think that admitting to such basic human flaws speaks to our own inherent evil, and so it is much easier to blame it on God, or an absence of God.** Technically? We don't know that God wasn't involved, if we're pulling from the Old Testament. The murderer could've been acting on God's behalf.

**Since everything we know exsists in a delicate balance, than you must concede that there can be no love without hate, no peace without war.** Actually, there can be love without hate, or peace without war. They would exist, they would simply go by different definitions. But the very idea behind love or peace would still exist, even without a contrast.

**Do you really believe that humans would accept a utopian world? The very reason you long for such a place is BECAUSE of the atrocities that prevail.** Or, we could simply be created in that Utopian world. In the garden, man could've been created perfectly, without any flaws (and man was not, for man was created with the ability to be tempted by sin, which makes man less than perfect. In order for the sin to take hold, something in man must've responded to it. And who put that inclination to respond in man?).

Despite my direct tone, I am not angry at God, or those who follow a religion. (I'm also not trying to be harsh with you, I'm just trying to conserve space). But we are told that God is all-powerful and all-loving, and all-knowing. Many here, such as Marie, can no longer reconcile that fact with what we see on a daily basis. We don't see that type of God operating in this world, and so the facts that would prove this type of God don't line up. You have been able to do this. Others haven't.

marie said...

I have to say, I am really happy with this discussion. I am glad to have everyone here. Thanks Heather for your reply--I was going to write something, but you did a really nice job articulating everything

Thanks Lowendaction for posting here, I do feel that this is good discussion

i wish i had more to say oh well

Slapdash said...

**However, these are direct consequences of the freedom He has allowed us, and from that freedom, we as individuals can make the choice.** (Lowendaction)

Does this suggest that God is an anarchist?

Heather said...

Thanks, Marie. It's always hard to determine the line between explaining a position, and browbeating someone. My goal is to stay on the explanation line.

**Does this suggest that God is an anarchist? ** There's an interesting picture ...

lowendaction said...

heather - I appreciate your honest response, and no worries, I'm not that delicate!

I think (and the medium of commenting has alot to do with it) we are both mixing certain generalities with specifics. Some of these concepts are really hard to articulate, especially when you're trying to conserve space, and not get fired at the same time ;)

freedom - no, those who are helpless victims are obviously having their freedom robbed, but again, this is a consequence of total freedom for everyone. Rules or not (be they biblical or judicial) any and everyone can make the choice to break them. History (hell...current events) shows us what happens when a society goes overboard in trying to "fix" society through an overbearance of rules. I think, this is what the fundamentals of the kind of freedom that God had in mind are: choose to love first, and then there should be no negative blowback from the whole freedom clause.

I also think that if we spent more time learning how to love one another, and less punishing those who do "wrong", we may see alot more long term change.

unanswered prayers - agian, this is a product of me stumbeling over my tounge in an attempt to make sense of something that we really know very little about. I think the fundamental thing we must move away from, is this idea of prayer as an action/reaction type of activity. When prayer is referenced in the bible, it is far more of a conversation than a suggestion box, and yet we don't care for that set up, so over time it has become this distorted thing we now see. When you engage in conversation with someone, even if it is a request, we measure our expectations by whom we are speaking to, and in what matter we are doing so.

I believe, that this earthly life is not all there is to it. It is my belief that this is really no more than a proving ground, or preperation phase if you will, for something far greater hearafter. And so in this light, the affairs, sufferings, and "important" things that are attached to this temporary place are put into an entirely different perspective for me. If something horrible should befall myself or my wife, I can only hope that I have the streangth and faith to believe that this is all happening to a "greater" and "better" purpose, which may not happen here on earth.

Now I understand, that this is very difficult to swallow if the whole God concept doesn't sit well with you to begin with. But this is why I believe that many end up falling away from God, or never quite "get" Him, because they've either failed or chosen not to grasp/accept the "whole package". To be clear, I'm not judging you! I just think that it's very common that many people either don't buy off on the whole truth, and/or they haven't been properly presented with it.

love v hate - I think that we can theorize about one existing without the other, or even wish for such a place (Heaven would be one place that comes to mind...), but that changes little about the reality of the world we currently live in. The way things are right now (whether you believe it is due to a design or not), we live in a world of balance. Name one thing that doesn't live in this balance...I sure can't think of one. But my question is, why is this a bad thing? Isn't love so much sweeter when you know that it came from a place of free will, as pposed to inevitability? All of this of course ties in to my fundamental belief of this world being one giant test for me...all of us for that matter.

Final thought. If we take God's word literally, than we should actually be envious of those who suffer and yet hold fast to the love of God. For they will somehow be rewarded. Now I think the word reward goes far beyond a clap on the back or a fake gold watch... Please don't ask me to explain or even completely understand this, but I do believe in this mysterious yet beautiful promise.

Slapdash said...

lowendaction, i really appreciate your comments. you've got some good stuff there and i hope that you don't hear my 'push-back' as critical or negative. it's a way of me clarifying what i think, and trying to make sense of things that have stopped making sense. maybe we can both learn something in the process.

***I think the fundamental thing we must move away from, is this idea of prayer as an action/reaction type of activity. When prayer is referenced in the bible, it is far more of a conversation than a suggestion box, and yet we don't care for that set up, so over time it has become this distorted thing we now see.***

Could you substantiate this? What verses are you looking at?

The verses that come to my mind are the ones about: pray in secret, and god will reward you in secret; if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains; if it is god's will, it'll be done...then there's the story of the old woman who keeps knocking on the judge's door til he gives her what she wants. I'm short on references right now, but I can look them up if you want.

But the basic idea in ALL of these scriptures is that God DOES seem to be saying "hey, ask me for what you want. I will deliver." They DO read as a divine suggestion box, if you will. I am personally unaware of scriptures that ask us to converse with God, rather than petition him. So... can you elaborate? Thanks!

lowendaction said...

God the anarchist - and here-in lies the true magic of the relationship God desires with us(not the man-twisted religions we see today). It's not unlike the same freedoms we enjoy/abuse in our own relationships. If you cheat on your partner, there are likely consequences. Though you are free to do so, you chose not to out of love/respect or maybe even fear (not the preferred reason!).

So to is it with God. He has designed all of this as a complete anarchistic world, but in the midst of that He is enviting us to be with Him. He has laid out the consequences of our descisions, and left it completely up to us whether or not we choose to accept His offer. This is the very anti-definition (is that even a word?)of religion.

Steve said...

You can't hide from me lowend...

I just think that it's very common that many people either don't buy off on the whole truth, and/or they haven't been properly presented with it.

That's greatly simplifying things my friend. I bought off on the whole truth for years... years... years. You don't feel "called" to ministry, spend 18 years doing it, travel, share the gospel, preach umpteen messages, lead discipleship groups, uproot and move your family across the states and back... you don't sacrifice financial stability and security... you don't do all of that for something you don't buy off on.

So as for prayer... In my opinion, the purpose of prayer is to change us and align our will with His. It's get in step with God's plan. It's not to ask things of God, since he's already promised to meet our needs and I do not think God intervenes in the world any longer.

I believe all that... or I have convinced myself of this after having spent years praying and never, not once, ever had a prayer of significance (life or death) change God's mind.

lowendaction said...

lemmie get back to you guys on the prayer thing...


BTW, I just dropped an interresting little thought bomb over at http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/
should be fun!

thanx guys, you all really are very polite and understanding, and I really enjoy having fruitful discussions. Unlike some other locals where it seems to be all about who can belittle the other better.

lowendaction said...

oh steve - is there no safe haven for me!!

I realize that the statement was pretty generic, but I say this from personal interactions with scores of christians from all walks of life. And I will freely throw myself into that group at times...I think that there are many areas of the truth that christians simply choose to turn a blind eye to. It's safer, more convinient, or they have just been mislead by those evil churchianics.

However, I respect your claim to not having been aflicted with this. I too can not boast anykind of life altering experience through prayer or any other-worldly intervention.

Much respect bro, as long as we're all searching for what we believe to be the truth...it's all good!

Slapdash said...

steve and lowendaction, I recently posted something on prayer / hearing God on my blog:

http://slapdashgal.blogspot.com/2007/06/hearing-gods-still-small-voice.html

Would love your input if it sparks any additional thoughts. thx for your input here, am enjoying it.

Heather said...

Lowendaction,

If you were that delicate, this probably would've exploded a while ago. ;)

**this is a consequence of total freedom for everyone. Rules or not (be they biblical or judicial) any and everyone can make the choice to break them.** Under this, though, God values free will above all else. Not even we do that. We value someone to justly have independence, but if they use that free will to kill someone, they are restricted of their free will. Giving people free will is tempered with responsibility. For God to give total free will with no restrictions (as in, not stepping in to stop a rapist -- I know I keep using this example, but I want to keep things consistent) is irresponsible. If I created a robot with that type of free will, and set it loose knowing what it will do, I am partially responsible for the outcome. And again -- someone can have total freedom to choose whatever s/he wants. But why the freedom to do that?

**is this idea of prayer as an action/reaction type of activity.** Prayer is a method of listening, yes. But there are specific lines in the BIble that 'ask, and ye shall receive.' Or anything that one asks in Jesus' name will be done. Prayers were also petitions.

**Name one thing that doesn't live in this balance...I sure can't think of one.** We do live in that type of world, but it doesn't necessarily follow that one is needed to know the other, or for the other to exist.

**Isn't love so much sweeter when you know that it came from a place of free will, as pposed to inevitability? ** YOu don't choose to love, though. You can choose to act in a loving fashion, or choose to refrain from saying something hateful. But with a husband or a child ... that core 'love' is not a choice, it's simply something that you discover to be there. After all, you can act lovingly, and yet hate a person in your heart.

**If we take God's word literally, than we should actually be envious of those who suffer and yet hold fast to the love of God. For they will somehow be rewarded. ** I cringe at this concept, though, because of how close it can be to abuse. A man could hit his wife out of love, and say that if she suffers through it, she'll be rewarded beyond her wildest dreams. But that doesn't make the suffering right or just.

lowendaction said...

heather - good, now I can finally start laying on some good ol' fashioned bible thumpin then....kidding!

freedom - you almost answered your own question, in that we are in fact NOT robots, but are designed with the ability to reason (a nice little edge on the animla kingdom by the way...), and therefore the responsibility ultimatly lays in our court. You almost make it sound like, just because there is evil in the world, us helpless huamans can not resist it.

prayer - true, however, I think we often mistake "as and you shall receive" as being the thing that WE want. We may often recieve something that is very different from what we "wanted" or imagined, but from God's perspective is really far more appropriate. Again, I really don't want to go much deeper than that right now, simply because it is a very nebulous region that no one can really speak with much authority (short of personal experience of course).

balance - I would argue that it is the knowing of both sides that is healthy. How much we indulge, entertain one or the other is perhaps not so great.

love/hate - I would say that you can not truely hate someone without having first loved them. You might dislike or even loath someone, but hatred is bread from love gone awry.

Your point about love pre-exisiting intrigues me. Since I believe that God IS love, then it is Him we are ultimatlely accepting. I believe their are far more encounters with God than most will ever know (and that includes those who don't "believe" in Him).

suffer abuse - i couldn't agree more, that far to many have and still do take that very concept and misuse it all over helpless victims. But as with most things that are good and pure, some asshole will always find a way to screw it up.

Heather said...

Lowendaction,

With your answer, we're once again going to get into the wants vs. what happens to us. :)

**but are designed with the ability to reason (a nice little edge on the animla kingdom by the way...), and therefore the responsibility ultimatly lays in our court.** The thing with the robots, though, is that the responsiblity partially lies with the creator, not the robot. Because the creator knew what evil the robot would commit. And that's what we run into if God is all-knowing and all-powerful. God, in a way, becomes an accesory to the crime. No, this is not blaming God. But that is what we'd say if an all-knowing, all-powerful person did nothing.

**We may often recieve something that is very different from what we "wanted" or imagined, but from God's perspective is really far more appropriate.** Well, with this answer, I'm once again talking about bad things that we don't choose to have happen to us. I'm not going into the area of praying to receive a raise or something.

**You almost make it sound like, just because there is evil in the world, us helpless huamans can not resist it.** No, we can resist evil. But not always. I'm not arguing that free will is a bad thing. I'm saying that unlimited free will is, and how you're explaining it is that God values free will above all else, including keeping people safe from harm (outside harm done against their choice). Take Marie's latest post, with the man on his deathbed and his daughter was raped next to him (Given how often I've brought this up, I'm going to say a disclaimer here in that I have not been raped, nor been near-raped or anything like that. I'm just keeping the example consistent). The free will example doesn't work there, or in other situations like that. Sometimes, when you love someone, you interfere with their free will.

I think this is going to be my last comment on this post, because we seem to circle around the same points. YOu seem to be holding the position of an internally-focused want/prayer, in that someone not receiving a raise or a new house. I'm not even using those examples, I'm using examples such as outside things that people have no choice on, and thus beg for help. So we seem to be speaking at cross-purposes, because many of the examples aren't quite relevant to what I'm saying (at least from my perspective). But thank you for the conversation. :)

HeIsSailing said...

marie (and slapdash!)
I don't have time to read all the replies here - so sorry. I just want to say that I really thought your article was great. Some people can articulate my thoughts much better than myself.

Slapdash said...

***marie (and slapdash!)
I don't have time to read all the replies here - so sorry. I just want to say that I really thought your article was great. Some people can articulate my thoughts much better than myself. ***

Gee whiz, heissailing, that's quite a compliment coming from you!! You're quite the eloquent writer; I've really enjoyed seeing how you are thinking about a given topic.

Althea said...

You write very well.