Is God a CEO?

I have devoted a lot of space to the obvious lack of effective communication from God to human beings about his supposed will, if he exists. Isn't God the CEO? If any company had the exact same lack of communication in it, from the top down, then the blame for the company doing wrong would be laid squarely at the top. You cannot deny this. How many Christians who visit here work for large companies where there is a lack of communication from the top about what to do? Who's fault is it if the company has no clear set of directives? The CEO's. This is obvious. So why don't you apply that same logic to the revelation God supposedly gave his people? God chose a poor medium to reveal himself, and as such was not clear about slavery, or the Inquisition, to name just two of hundreds of other theological, moral and scientific disputes the church had no clear direction about, which in turn caused so much pain, misery, tortures, and wars.

My question is, who's at fault here? I'll even grant you that human beings are "wicked" as part of this argument, and that God knows this about us, if you want. If God knows this, then why wasn't he crystal clear about what he wanted us to do? If you say it's exclusively mankind's fault, then why are you applying a double standard here, one for CEO's, and another for God? At the very minimum, and as a best case scenario, the fault isn't laid exclusively in the lap of one of the parties alone. At the very least, the fault lies with both parties. And since this is the best case scenario, God is at fault to some degree for the misery and suffering caused by human beings where he failed to communicate effectively, like when it came to slavery and the Inquisition. Add to this the poor job that the Holy Spirit has done in the life of the church, since he's supposed to guide Christians by "illumination," and you see one of the reasons why I reject Christianity. Not only has God failed to communicate, but the Holy Spirit has failed (and continues to fail) to do his job too!

Christian, before you respond, tell me how your own present arguments would resonate with you if you were born and died a slave in the South at the hands of a wickedly mean Bible quoting master, or as you are burning to death for believing in the ideas you now presently hold to about hell, salvation by faith alone, sola scripture, concordist views of Genesis 1, the role of women in the church, views about communion, baptism, church polity, and so forth? Surely you would wish that God the CEO was clearer about what Christians should believe in these and other areas. Surely. Why isn't this at least partially God your CEO's fault? Why not?

First posted on 5/11/07

70 comments:

One Wave said...

God is as impersonal as a CEO. He's not the head honcho.

He, as He claims to be to the individual, a lover, friend, father, comforter, helper and more.

To a nation He is the King.

I think God did a very good job of communicating Himself.

Do you have children? Do you run your home with a system of rules and a clearly outlined code of conduct?
Surely not all of life can be put into an instruction manual for every generation's specific problems.

I guess we could blame all of the parents in the world for not being better CEO's with their children. Is it all a parent's fault when a child doesn't listen? If the child never, or seldom, seeks guidance from his or her parents is it all the parent's fault?

There must be a point when a person stops living by laws and starts living by the spirit of the laws. If I tell my child to clean their room and they pout about it or even show hesitancy, I know that our relationship is not where it should be. I can only do so much to reach their heart and help them understand that they have a role too.

Earlier, Lee asked if a wife wouldn't want her husband to bring flowers once in a while to show his love. Depending on the wife, sure. What has God NOT done?

Do we really need to see Him in order to believe He is there? What about bling people? They are able to sense things that seeing people can't neccessarily pick up on because they are defaulting to their eyes.

You might argue that a bling person can touch and hear a person even if they can't see him or her. I would say that people can hear God talk to them and have throughout the ages. You can too if you are committed to taking the time.

I know I always get too wordy, sorry. In a nutshell, I don't believe God is about following rules, He's about relationships which are fluid and more like a dance. If the relationship is right, each person knows their part without having to say it.

One Wave said...

oops...that should have been..
God is NOT as impersonal as a CEO.

Please don't tell me it was a Feudian slip :o)

One Wave said...

Now I forgot the 'r' in Freud...see you after more sleep!

One Wave said...

..and then there are bling people who really should be blind.

Hope you are getting a good laugh out of my posts ;)

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see I am not alone in the world of typos!! :-) Personally, I think they are charming..

About God as a CEO as you describe - I don't know, but I just don't believe that micro-managing counts as a legitimate expression of love whether it be in the seen world or spiritual.

You ask how would a Christian feel about God's communication in the throes of the sufferings you have mentioned?? I already know - He said it wasn't faith until we love in the face of mistreatment. If I am blessed with an enemy, I want them to be set free same as me.

In the end, grace is not about demanding, manipulating or otherwise extracting absolute compliance, but I know a lot of people who approach others in this manner and get away with parading this sort of attitude as though it is important and one to pursue and hold in esteem. A real love challenge!!


1035

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave, 1035
I thought god was telling me things, I imagined all sorts of signs and coincidences were communication. I noticed the same about other people. But what I also noticed over time was it looked like gods communication was in line with the persons personal agenda, including mine, and even when this 'communication' was happening, it seemed to rely on a lot of uncertainty and some of it turned out badly for them and me. In those cases we rationalized it away. I think my life is better now and my opportunities to help myself and other people have increased since I threw off the yoke.
I think Christians need a god to help them deal with uncertainty in life, and will look at anything as evidence of its existence. I speak from experience.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave,
I would say that people can hear God talk to them and have throughout the ages. You can too if you are committed to taking the time.

your characteristically christian egocentrism is showing again.

Bruce said...

I would say that people can hear God talk to them and have throughout the ages. You can too if you are committed to taking the time.

Or can't afford to buy your medication.

John W. Loftus said...

One Wave...He's not the head honcho.

Okay then. Never let me hear you say he is.

So your objection is that God isn't a boss, eh? Do you have negative conotations with a boss figure? Is that what you object to?

I could just as easily wrote what I did about God being a father (if the family doesn't know what he wants then he's to blame), or master (if the slaves don't know what he wants then he's to blame), or manager (if the people in his organization don't know what he wants then he's to blame, or king (if his subjects don't know the law then he's the blame).

Deal with the main point. The rest is an analogy.

Anonymous said...

I think the main point is that some people live their lives to justify condemnation while others live their lives to justify mercy.

1035

One Wave said...

John,
What exactly IS the main point? By saying "head honcho" I am not demoting God's right to rule, I am using a term that implies impersonal reign, sort of a macho term.

Are you saying that we don't know God's law? God is not a manager of people, He never claimed to be nor has He shown Himself to be. He wants us to manage ourselves, you know, personal responsibility.

You know the Bible, God did not see Himself as the kind of king humans think of. People wanted a grand leader, God wanted humble hearts that were willing to be led and to follow Him into not just a good life, but the best life. He desired to be gentle and kind, to lead out of relationship, but the people wanted to be ruled.

You didn't answer my question either, are you a father? If so do your children know your every thought? If not, how do they find out? Try having 5 or 6 and see how well you can communicate to each of them all that you think and desire for them. If you say 5 is too many, how does that jive with chance? We evolved so that we can reproduce less and use forms of birth control that cause cancer and other harmful side effects? That doesn't make sense.

Lee,

Your idea about hearing God would be conceivable if it were as you said for everyone. What if God does not say things in line with a person's agenda...what then? What if what He says surprises them and gives them new insight..not secret wisdom...but insight into what He is really communicating in the Bible? The difference between secret wisdom and insight is that a secret is only shared in confidence and not spoken, insight is for everyone who goes to the source to find it.

You are welcome to call me egocentric if you'd like. I think you should meet me before making that claim, but I can't form your opinion of me for you. If I could give you my medication I would! Being drunk in the Spirit has got to be better than any drug and no harmful side effects except, perhaps, ridicule.

Anon,
You have typos? I've never noticed :o)

LivingDust said...

Loftus,

You argument that God has not revealed His will for all human beings is empty. With your educational background and knowledge of Scripture you ought to know better.

God's will for all people is very clear:

REPENT.
BE BORN AGAIN.
BE BAPTIZED.
BE FAITHFUL.
BE SANCTIFIED.
BE SERVING.
BE PRAYING.
BE JOYFUL.
BE THANKFUL.

Every human being, Loftus.

John W. Loftus said...

Living Dust, really?

Get real. Be honest. Be educated. Notice in the link the book on four views of salvation. You realize there are several different views of santification and baptism, as well, don't you? these views are all held by professing Bible believing intelligent scholars.

Don't be ignorant anymore. Read these books...all of them. See what you think afterwards. They all make good cases from the Bible.

What's the likelihood that you are right about everything? What's the likelihood that people who disagree with you are insincere, hard hearted and obtuse?

God could've settled all of these disputes, and even now could do so.

At this point what you need is more knowledge, for you are speaking from ignorance...pure ignorance. It'll only be when you hear this same thing from someone you respect (since I'm not to be trusted as a "tool of satan"), or after reading these books, that you will know exactly what I mean.

So get to it. Read them, and come back here to tell me if I was right.

LivingDust said...

Loftus,

Ignorance? really?

Did I say you were a "tool of satan" - No.

Did I say that those who would "disagree" with me are insincere, hard hearted and obtuse? - No.

You saw what I posted. An fair, balanced, objective reader of the New Testament would clearly see the will of God for every human being.

Am I a liar?

LivingDust said...

Loftus,

I'll give you one to read:

A.W. Pink
The Attributes of God

John W. Loftus said...

One Wave, I will respond one time point for point. One time. Just to show you I can, and because you are respectful of me and deserve a response.

What exactly IS the main point?

I really think it's crystal clear. That if God knew who we are and if he wanted to avert suffering at the hands of Christians who represent his name, then he should have been clear in his revelation to them about slavery and the Inquisition, just like a good CEO or King should communicate to his employees and/or subjects. Not having done so clearly faults him (as well as his people), for he should've known better than not doing so. This is obvious to me. Obvious. The buck must stop with God to some (but not all) degree. It would've been easy for him to denounce both things clearly and unequivocably.

By saying "head honcho" I am not demoting God's right to rule, I am using a term that implies impersonal reign, sort of a macho term.

But this doesn't help your case at all! The question isn't about God being impersonal. It's about a personal God who failed to communicate in an important area that caused evil people to justify for over two centuries the evils of the Inquisition, and which subsequently has been used by skeptics like me to malign the Christian faith, and which might in turn cause faithful Christians be led away from him.

Are you saying that we don't know God's law?.

Not very well at the time on these important issues, yes. I dare say YOU would've agreed with all Christians during those centuries that heretics must die. It's only arrogance of you to think otherwise.

God is not a manager of people, He never claimed to be nor has He shown Himself to be. He wants us to manage ourselves, you know, personal responsibility.

This is just silly. (sorry) Are you are saying it's all or nothing here? God either controls everything or we have personal responsibility? Neither. But we each share our own responsibility, and I for one am tired of Christians who will not be honest that the buck stops with God's failure to communicate on these crucial issues. They themselves would've lit the fires that burned the heretics in those days while singing sons of prise to God because God was not clear.

You know the Bible, God did not see Himself as the kind of king humans think of. People wanted a grand leader, God wanted humble hearts that were willing to be led and to follow Him into not just a good life, but the best life. He desired to be gentle and kind, to lead out of relationship, but the people wanted to be ruled.

Now this is ignorant. Again, it's not an either/or scenario. Besides, have you actually read the Bible and watched as God ruled with an iron fist in places?

You didn't answer my question either, are you a father? If so do your children know your every thought?

Yes, I am, but I'm not God who supposedly knows every thought of every human being.

If not, how do they find out? Try having 5 or 6 and see how well you can communicate to each of them all that you think and desire for them.

Listen, my children may disobey me, but they will not say I didn't tell them what I wanted them to do. No stealing. No lying. No this. No that.

God did not do this when it came to slavery and the Inquisition. That's my point. He is to share the blame.

If you say 5 is too many, how does that jive with chance? We evolved so that we can reproduce less and use forms of birth control that cause cancer and other harmful side effects? That doesn't make sense.

This doesn't make sense to me. I don't understand this point to respond properly.

But I have done so to what I could understand, once.

John W. Loftus said...

Living Dust An fair, balanced, objective reader of the New Testament would clearly see the will of God for every human being.

Am I a liar?


No, not at all. On this issue you are about as ignorant as one could be.

And I have read Pink's book. So?

Have you read any of the books I mentioned? No? Then you have some wrok to do.

richdurrant said...

I also think of communication in two different kinds. There is the personal communication that one wave describes, but also in the OT there was communication for Gods people as a whole through a prophet. It seems that if you are talking about God communicating his will for his creations, the later is where we should look. His laws and such came through middle management. Why has this changed? I would think that God would continue to communicate things through a prophet for his church as a whole, and also be available for personal prayers and guidance.

LivingDust said...

Loftus,

HA HA!!!

Your refusal to admit that God reveals his will for mankind in the New Testament is well.......laughable.

John W. Loftus said...

Livingdust, in the first place there is no willful refusal on my part to deny God revelaed himself in the New Testament. I had spent two decades believing it and defending it from all objections with the equivalent of a Ph.D. degree in Christian theology and philosophy. I even wanted it to be true. I was dismayed and disappointed to learn what I had thought was true was a delusion.

In the second place, I am not alone in thinking this. There are billions of people who agree with me.

And that's laughable to you?

Hmmmm.

Your confidence in what you believe reminds me of the confidence of a suicide bomber.

May I suggest that the more you learn the less confidence you will have.

LivingDust said...

Loftus,

I read your bio. I'm sure that many students learned much in your classes. BTW, Phd's make great wall decorations. But like other earthly treasures - you can't take them with you.

Your words were - "the obvious lack of effective communication from God to human beings about his supposed will"

God is completely effective in communicating His will to human beings.

As you know, the New Testament teaches that human beings are either Children of God or Children of the Devil. Folks who choose to ignore God or hate God or deny God's existence are "Children of the Devil". They like the darkness, not the light.

You have probably come to realize that you have an intellectual knowledge of Bible, with the degrees and class hours to prove it, but were never born again. Either you are dead in your trepasses and are a Child of the Devil or you have been born again and are a Child of God.

Loftus, which is it?

John W. Loftus said...

LD, this option.

Such a black and white view you have. This still amazes me.

LivingDust said...

Loftus,

Just as info. IMHO, the primary reasons why the Christian church is so ineffective today is the "seminarians". Educated, but lacking the Spirit. Willing, but weak in the Spirit. Knowledgeable, but blind.

Today, Pastors are more eager to deliver a watered-down life application message than to share the Gospel and calling sinners unto repentance and real life.

Reading between the lines, you're just a tired, fed up, burned out seminarian.

Heather said...

**the New Testament teaches that human beings are either Children of God or Children of the Devil. **

Actually, I believe the time in which Jesus refers to people as children of the Devil were the the Pharisees, which Jesus also called 'religious hypocrites.'

But even with the concept of Devil/Satan -- that idea of who that is evolved throughout the Old Testament. So even that's not concise throughout the BIble.

The problem is that New Testament isn't clear on quite a few matters. Take salvation, for instance. The Synoptic Gospels emphasis works -- the sheep and the goats is one such example. The Good Samaritan is another. The Gospel of John focuses on belief in the Son. Paul focuses on the concept of grace and believing in the resurrection. It would be very difficult to get a concept of salvation through grace from just the Synoptic Gospels.

And if it were really that clear, why are there so many concepts of salvation? There's faith alone, faith and baptism, faith and works or predestination? All four viewpoints are supported by people who say they clearly read the New Testament.

LivingDust said...

Loftus,

Have you ever wondered how God looks at sin? Its black and white to Him.

Have you ever wondered how God looks at a human being who rejects His Son? Its black and white to Him.

LivingDust said...

Loftus,

Have you got a "red letter" edition of the Bible? - I strongly suggest you read the red letters.

John W. Loftus said...

Okay, it looks like I fed the troll way too much.

IMHO, the primary reasons why the Christian church is so ineffective today is the "seminarians".

Only the uneducated think ill of education. The educated know better.

Calvin said...

Heather,

By this it is evident who are the children of God and who are the children of the devil, whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

1 John 3:9

calvin said...

OOps

1 John 3:10

LivingDust said...

Loftus,

All those hours of seminary education so you could "flush it".

BTW, do you reject Christianity or Christ?

Heather said...

**IMHO, the primary reasons why the Christian church is so ineffective today is the "seminarians". Educated, but lacking the Spirit. Willing, but weak in the Spirit. Knowledgeable, but blind. **

Living Dust, how else are people supposed to effectively preach with the Bible unless they have the education or knowledge? You need the understanding of the Hebrew culture, or of the Greek language, or even of the Roman culture, to understand what Paul was writing against. Just take the Good Samaritan parable -- the only way to understand how radical that was is to know how the Samaritans were viewed. Otherwise, the parable becomes watered down. The same principle applies to all of the Bible.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

LivingDust:
I rarely seem to be replying to you, but this has been a bad couple of days, with my series being delayed by personal problems and minor delays that keep me from getting back to it, so your combination of arrogance and ignorance gives me a perfect chance to work off some of my frustrations.

You say "An fair, balanced, objective reader of the New Testament would clearly see the will of God for every human being." (An may mean 'any. or 'a' it doesn't matter.)

Yet there are millions of readers of the various versions of the New Testament that would disagree with every point you made. Are they all 'biased' and only YOU are fair, balanced, and objective?

You don't even mention, at least here, which translation you use, which does matter. (You might beeading the earliest manuscripts in Greek, but you show no signs of that level of scholarship.) So which translation DO you use, and why do you prefer that one over the others?

What is your position on the 'Great Commission' of Mark 16:8-20? Do you consider it authentic, or do you consider that because no reference is made to it by early writers, and because it does not appear in the earliest manuscripts we have, that it is a later addition? Whichever, why do you choose this opinion?

The New Testament was selected from a large mass of books, gospels, apocalypses, epistles, all credited to different writers, by the Council of Nicea based on the selection and list prepared by Athanasius. Why do you grant them the authoritative right to make such a selection, and why do you accept their inclusion of later works such as the Petrine and Pastoral Epistles?

With the vast number of copying mistakes -- ignoring deliberate additions -- how can you hold that specific verses of the Bible you accept are accurate, and again, when other translations differ from the ones you use, why do you assume that yours is the one whose translators are 'protected from error by the Holy Spirit?" How much, in fact, do you know about the history and theological biases that those translators had?

Given the simple existence of these questions, how can you claim that "God is completely effective in communicating His will to human beings"?

Any answers, or are you just going to repeat your assertions yet again. (And if you wish to call me a 'son of the devil' -- that accretion of Zoroastrianism that became added to Christianity -- feel free. After all, I was never a Protestant Christian, just a Catholic one, and I DO most emphatically Christianity, Christ (a total misunderstanding of the person of 'Jesus', of Yeshu'a bar Joseph concocted by someone -- Paul -- who neither met him or heard him preach), and God.

But after the name-calling and predictions of my damnation, will you answer some of the questions?

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Heather: you don't understand Living Dust's position, which is that no knowledge of the times, the original language or the cultures are required. He just has to read whatever translation of the Bible he accepts, and, apparently, the Holy Spirit will protect him from the errors we other mortals make, whether we are Christians or unbelievers. After all, didn't you read his words:

"You saw what I posted. An fair, balanced, objective reader of the New Testament would clearly see the will of God for every human being." So why need such useless tools as those you suggest.

"If it concurs with the Bible, it is superfluous, if it conflicts with it, it is wrong." That's all you need to know. "Are you a Christian or a Ciceronian?" as Jerome was asked in a vision.

(Any bets whether Living Dust knows who Jerome is?)

Anonymous said...

If God's messaage is so clear, why
is there such a proliferation of religions, all of whose adherents claim with certitude to know what God meant? Isn't it time for a divine mid-course correction?

LivingDust said...

Benton,

You, just like Loftus, like to throw up all of these secondary issues that have no bearing on the centerpiece of the human history - CALVARY.

Jesus the Christ died that you and I might live, eternally. Either you have accepted this gift or rejected it.

The will of God is made clear in every version of the Bible I have ever read (KJV, NKJV, NIV, NASB). You DON'T have to be a seminary graduate to read the Holy Bible or understand God's will.

BTW Heather, I've studied the Scriptures for many years, soaking up knowledge and understanding of God's Word, the history and culture of the Hebrew people, as well as the Romans, Babylonians, and Persians. Learning is a lifelong process.

Don't be duped into believing that knowing God's will for your life is beyond your reach. BTW, knowing the right questions to ask is more important than getting answers to all the questions of this life.

Benton, read this again:

REPENT.
BE BORN AGAIN.
BE BAPTIZED.
BE FAITHFUL.
BE SANCTIFIED.
BE SERVING.
BE PRAYING.
BE JOYFUL.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

But if we have such varied descriptions of it including a trial that is on its face pure fiction, one Gospel -- the earliest -- that mentions no appearance of the 'risen Christ' except in later additions, and so many different interpretations of the meaning of the event in pre-Nicean Christianities (there were many) which were much closer to the event, are questions like this 'irrelevant' or are they vital to our understanding of the supposed event?

More on THIS later, but I'm finally getting some work done on Part II B.

Heather said...

Living Dust,

That still doesn't answer the question posed above: "why are there so many concepts of salvation? There's faith alone, faith and baptism, faith and works or predestination? All four viewpoints are supported by people who say they clearly read the New Testament. "

Nor did you address most of Prup's questions, but said he was taking the issue away from Calvary. You can believe that, but you should realize that by providing that answer, you come across as avoiding most of the other questions.

**the history and culture of the Hebrew people, as well as the Romans, Babylonians, and Persians.** Did you learn from sources other than the Bible?

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

No, I can't leave it there, because of your 'list.' You list 'be born again' and 'be baptized' as separate events. The tradition I grew up in considered them synonymous. And I, quite seriously' want YOUR interpretation of 'be sanctified,' 'be serving' and 'be praying,' since, again, there are many different interpretations of the words. (Specific scriptural quotations would be nice, as well.)

LivingDust said...

Heather and Benton,

Its late and I have to go to bed as on Sunday's I'm early to rise.

Tomorrow I will address your questions and provide Scripture references.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave,
sorry about the confusion in the 'characteristically christian egocentrism'. Everyone is egecentric to a degree. How egocentric is the question and does it cause a problem in life is another.

Addressed to you as it was, it is as a christian characteristic not a 'whole person' characteristic. At least as far as I know, It is a christian characteristic for a few christians to claim some personal communication with god and the rest of the christians in the community wishing for it, and wondering what the heck they are talking about. The other christians wonder why they don't get the special treatment when they are doing all the right things.

Speaking in tongues is one of those things.

I've been there, and done that. I was one of those christians doing all the right things, beating myself up because I couldn't hear it or see it as plainly as other people seemed to.

This phenomena, now that I am a non-believer, is clear. It is part of the package of christianity that says "If no one else does, god loves me unconditionally, as long as I accept his 'offer that I can't refuse' that he will make me suffer forever if I don't. I am not worthy but god loves me anyway. How much does he love me? well, he's my personal savior and he talks to me. I don't know why it happens to me (even if I believe I deserve it). If he doesn't talk to you, well, you pray about it and get right with god and it will happen."

Now I'm waiting for someone to say that I was jealous and that is why it didn't happen, and that it led to my slide into atheism.

But if god is our personal savior and he wants to have a relationship with us, then his part of the commitment should be to make himself present enough to avoid this. There should never be any non-christians if god gives everyone an equal chance at salvation and he communicates this clear enough so there is no question that we are turning down the deal of our lives/afterlives.

What type of secret communications does he give you?

How does it happen?

When does it happen?

Where does it happen?

If its a voice, what does it sound like?

Please help us get grip on why only some christians get this type of mainline communication.

And another thing! There is no better time than now for god to communicate with me if he is everything you say he is. He knows what it would take to convince me. It is as simple as writing a note to me in my shaving cream on my face in the morning. There is one cheek waiting for "I" and the other is waiting for "AM".

Oh but wait, I am so stupid. I just opened myself up to a charge of expecting god to be a 'trick pony'.

I am going to back away from the keyboard or I am going to fill up this comment page.....

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave,
One more thing.
Your idea about hearing God would be conceivable if it were as you said for everyone. What if God does not say things in line with a person's agenda...what then? What if what He says surprises them and gives them new insight..not secret wisdom...but insight into what He is really communicating in the Bible?

What ifs do not constitute a rebuttal. I reply that everyone can figure out what the right to do is in a situation. I know I shouldn't eat candy bars when I am twenty pounds overweight but I do it anyway. Did god tell me that?
Insight comes from reading secular things as well. Does god give that?

It sounds like you are one of the ones that something other than conscience and insight happens to.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Living dust,
The quran is says that jesus didn't die.
the quran is the word of god too.

evidently there was a rumor that the body was stolen.

What makes it more likely that the new testament account is right?

Anonymous said...

I once saw a movie called "Pi" - it's pretty good and has to do with infinite scrutinizing of things divine - the ending is pretty profound. I recommend it.

As far as a person hearing from God and having a special privelege above others - that would be inconsistant with a God who alerts us that this is a position of servitude and persecution. From afar, I used to romanticize what it would be like to be spiritually endowed - however, Jesus confronted those who were enthusiastically chasing such - He asked if they could endure what He was going through. I now realize that to love God is to love people, especially those who suffer from spiritual pride and arrogance.

Arrogance and hypocrisy hurt - whether practiced in secular or religous lives. Condemnation, manipulation, mockery, intimidation, accusations, etc. etc. that comes from people can be very diminishing of others' spirits.

Giving up proprietary pursuits on this Earth is a work of grace, not entitlement or privelege.

I also know that atheism can serve a purpose of rinsing away the viper venom of pride and can be part of a progression of faith formation. It was necessary for me so that I could approach scripture and life in a different and authentic Way.

As far as God's communication to us - I feel Jesus's life was the ultimate communication of God's will for us - I also know that people do look to dethrone and devalue Him - I know I did. I think this is because His message acknowledges that we are not only limited in our abilities to care for one another, our nature justifies destroying one another. And yet, He doesn't condemn us for this - He offers rescue. Our desire for something that is better beyond our seen world will not go unquenched. About reading scripture, in practicing to get beyond some of Y'shua's difficult words in scripture, I also learned to apply that practice to my everyday relationships in working past some of the offensive images we portray to one another. It is quite a journey, but one well worth the taking.

The truth rests in trust and who is trustworthy. Jesus gave up everything to demonstrate that He had no ulterior motive to gain our trust in Him. Not many people can demonstrate that and are not willing to confess their lack of love and faith.


Anon 1035

live-n-grace said...

LivingDust, OneWave, I must applaud you. The point in the argument is so clear. Everyone elses arguments are, well what if, what about this, what if, what if, what if. If that isn't skipping around I don't know what is.

Lee, read Islam and the Bible, and then you will see HUGE differences between the religions.

Be born again: accept Christ
Baptism: Symbolic, leaving the way of the old, the sin, the flesh.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi 1035,
just a quick note between items in the 'honey do' list.

I once saw a movie called "Pi" - it's pretty good and has to do with infinite scrutinizing of things divine - the ending is pretty profound. I recommend it.
I'll look for it.
but I want to say that I get the same response from my bosses at work when I propose process improvement solutions. They say that I overanalyze and that 'we should stick to the KISS system'.

This is a way to avoid the problem, a way to maintain the status quo, a way not to have to think about it, a way to resist change, a way to avoid shaking our foundations.

Our foundations need to be shaken every now and then.

Any programmer will tell you sometimes it is better to start from scratch than to fix broken code.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee! Y'shua did address breaking the status quo - of religious tradition, familial relationships, cultural, national, etc. etc. influences - He said the process was not peaceful. Also, He spoke of starting from scratch when He said to be born again - the embryo of that process begins with upsetting the status quo to search for truth, especially about how we are indoctrinated into defining what it means to love -

If I can say anthing about God, it is that there is a truth that brings rest in the search for ultimate omnipotence and authority and that it is gracious, not arrogant or hypocritical.

There is an invitation posed to us to step out of an earthly perspective and to not let grace offend our sense of justice and understanding. I have found ultimate power to reside in grace which is different than the type of power I used to model nd continue to see modelled in everyday encounters.

Feelings of condemnation do not come from God Himself, but those in religious or moral/lawmaking authority can have a profound effect in expressing that very message. Some are left feeling burdened with condemnation and an unspoken belief that they themselves must be god.

Since scripture is debatable, it is good to question why it is that some can approach scripture and find this loving God, while others see hell and condemnation. Having come from various stances (pluralism, agnosticism, disbelief, New Ageism, etc. etc.), I know the answer lies in my own life experiences and relationships. I finally learned to trust and believe that God does not punish us or get offended for opening up to hard truths.

Hope to talk to you again soon!
Anon 1035

Lee Randolph said...

Hi LIG,
I am born again,
I did accept christ,
he told me in prayer that it was all just luck.

how can you argue with that?

God told me in prayer that Christians have it all wrong.

At the time I assumed it was just me, but after my stint here, and all this talk about communication, I am thinking that maybe I should rethink that. I think it is possible that god was communicating something to me that I should share with everyone. That he is the phenomena called luck. That all the forces in the universe are him (not her because he thinks that women should be in lower status than men, of course this doesn't have anything to with the fact that I'm a man).

I have read the quran, that is why I bring it up.

You haven't told me why I should accept Christianity over anything else and also include in your explanation how you know.

Thanks in advance.

LivingDust said...

Lee,

Our God of love, light and peace didn't create the sword-wrought, death-filled, blood cult that is called Islam.

Many fine people have been deceived by the great deceiver, Lucifer, to accept something other than the atoning sacrifice of Jesus the Christ at Calvary.

Look at the life of Jesus and look at the life of Muhammed. Do you note any glaring differences, Lee?

Who do you think that God sent for us? A Savior or a killer?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi LD,
thats an opinion. I still don't see any substance.

I see the differences in the stories.

What I think shouldn't matter. Only the truth should matter. What is the truth? How do you verify it?

I think that Jesus was one of those false prophets, especially since he didn't have any of the qualities that the messiah was supposed to have.

So he shocked everyone by being hung on the cross and they scrambled to salvage something and made up those highly inconsistent stories years after the fact when no one could dispute it.

Anonymous said...

Is that you Lee? It doesn't sound like your writing - did someone hijack your computer?

1035

One Wave said...

Thank you John. I know you don't have to put up with answering our questions, this is your blog and you are the sovereign.

I do see your point.

I do have to defend myself about the burning of heretics though. I think I could turn that on you and say that if you were an Atheist in Nazi Germany you would have been practicing psychological experiments on Jews. Do you think so?

I don't know if you've heard of a book called "Malleus Maleficarum", or "The Witch Hammer", translated, but I believe that it and books like it were what gave fuel to the corrupted views of the Roman Catholic Church. (That is not a slam on the Roman Catholics in general, I think they might agree that awful things were done by misled and dark hearted people.) There were Christians during all ages who stood for what Christ really taught, those things being gentleness, purity of heart as well as body, love, peace, joy, goodness, and all that.

I like to think that if I were the same person I am now, born then, I would still have a critical approach to my faith and all of life.

You said:
"Now this is ignorant. Again, it's not an either/or scenario. Besides, have you actually read the Bible and watched as God ruled with an iron fist in places?"

Yes, I've read the Bible and agree that there are hard things God did, I think I've made my case for this in past threads but you don't accept my reasoning so I won't be redundant.

You said:
" Are you are saying it's all or nothing here? God either controls everything or we have personal responsibility? Neither. But we each share our own responsibility, and I for one am tired of Christians who will not be honest that the buck stops with God's failure to communicate on these crucial issues."

I can honestly see your point here. No, I'm not saying that it's all or nothing. Again, I'm saying it's relationship. I see your point, from other posts, about God speaking to every generation so they have an equal opportunity to know Him. I don't think that would satisfy God's desire for a heart connection or ours, it would give us a visual and then we would forget, like the Israelites. It would be helpful for us to have clear directions in every situation, but I don't think that is God's end...to make us toe the line. Yes, He has at times made people toe the line, I'm surprised that He didn't lose His temper more with some of the horrific things people did.

You asked if I have a problem with authority and I would have to say I used to have absolutely no respect for authority. Now I can accept authority (and am thankful for God's authority) but still have a tendency to want to go my own way...which in the past has been destructive in some ways.

My last point about children is that many "enlightened" people say that we should only have a couple children due to quality of life. That children do not enjoy a high level of satisfaction if they are in a large family because the parents' time is too divided and resources are not as abundant perhaps. I don't expect you to respond, I was preparing for a retort along those lines...not necessarily by you.



Lee,

I don't think you are looking for a trick pony. I have been reading what you've written long enough to know that you sincerely desire, or have in the past, to see some undeniable proof that God exists. I certainly don't blame you. I could not have believed, or at least I don't think so, in God if I had not had an experience that made it crystal clear that God is real.

I don't feel comfortable answering your questions in depth on here. I'd be glad to talk to you on your blog maybe? It's not that there is any secret, but I don't want to rush through a simple diagnostic sort of run down. It's relationship and that is not always predictable or subject to testing.
I can say that God does not give me secret communication. I never did anything "right". I didn't even believe that God was the Christian God when I found Him. Even after meeting God I was considering the Baha'i faith. Anyway...I have been praying that God would reveal Himself to you in the way you need Him to. If a fleece can be put down for one man why not you?! There's no judgment here, Lee.

I know what ifs are not a rebuttal. I agree that we don't need supernatural intervention to have common sense. I also believe that insight comes from other sources, insight into natural things.

Insight I am talking about is something as simple as praying for insight into what I read in the Bible. For instance...when Jesus wept.

I always thought He wept because He was tired or sad or something, I wasn't really sure. I spent some time mulling over it and became confused as to why Jesus would weep if He knew He was going to raise Lazarus and why didn't He just tell everyone to stop crying because He was going to raise him from the dead. I prayed for wisdom and I saw it differently.

Instead of Jesus weeping for Lazarus or because He was overcome with sadness because he felt the peoples' sadness.. or whatever.. it seemed clear that Jesus wept because He saw how hopeless the people were. Their existence was all they knew and could not see what He could see. The reality of their blindness to the work of God and their focus on earthly things was like a prison for their souls and He was grieved for their state, wanting to set them free with His hope.

Maybe everyone else already sees it that way, or maybe it's not right, but that is what I believe the Spirit of God gave me an awareness of and it was not my own thought. I know my own thoughts, and that was more powerful than what I could come up with...it's different in my head.

I know that doesn't make sense and I don't want to make God look like a fool so I won't go on any more about it, but that's an example of what insight I have been given by God.

In speaking to Living Dust, you said the Qu'ran says Jesus didn't die. N.T. Wright points out that people still say they see Elvis, does that mean he didn't really die?

And here you said:
"Any programmer will tell you sometimes it is better to start from scratch than to fix broken code."

I believe that is exactly what God did with the flood and He'll do it again with fire.

And here:
"God told me in prayer that Christians have it all wrong."

A lot do and a lot have. I don't know if it was God telling you that or not.

This is the whole problem with religion in my opinion. People read something, hear something and then think the know it all.
Instead of continuing to search for truth and to understand better, they make a doctrine and hold onto the doctrine instead of seeking the Being behind what has been written. I'm not against having doctrines or clearly outlined beliefs but I would not live or die for my doctrine. I will live for, and if for some reason my faith caused a reason to die for, what I know is true of God because I can't deny Him or my conscience.

And lastly, here:
"How do you verify it?"

I've been thinking about this a lot since you asked a while ago.
There are depths within us that aren't easily drawn out. I think that's where truth is verified. Truth should bring freedom, from self. Truth should satisfy every atom of being. Living out truth should bring health and fulfillment. Christians, including me, should be living in truth. Jesus said He is the truth. The three entrances in the O.T. tabernacle were named The Way, The Truth and The Life. There is one way and one truth that lead to life. Life as God intends it. Not many live it. I don't always but have at times.

I think there are two very good examples of people who came to a point where they did live as God intends. Hudson Taylor and Francis of Assisi. There are more, but they stand out to me.

John W. Loftus said...

One Wave. Thank you for your response.

if you were an Atheist in Nazi Germany you would have been practicing psychological experiments on Jews. Do you think so?

Atheists do not have a dogmatic religion found inside the pages of a historically conditioned text. We agree on one thing, and that is that God doesn't exist. Atheism isn't an all encompassing worldview. Apart from this agreement we disagree on nearly everything else. No, I would not participate, although, since the mind is malleable I'm not sure what I would've believed during those days.

There were Christians during all ages who stood for what Christ really taught, those things being gentleness, purity of heart as well as body, love, peace, joy, goodness, and all that.

Who or what represents Christianity? That is the problem down through the centuries, and the people of that day simply did not know.

I like to think that if I were the same person I am now, born then, I would still have a critical approach to my faith and all of life.

Me too, but thinking so doesn't make it so.

Again, I'm saying it's relationship.

I understand, but in any relationship we must know what pleases the other person, and I'm saying God wasn't clear what pleases him, as evidenced by the crimes of the history of the church.

I'm surprised that He didn't lose His temper more with some of the horrific things people did.

Which is evidence to me that God doesn't exist, for if he did then he would've communicated clearer or done something about it.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi 1035,
yes it was me. What made you think it was uncharacteristic of me?

I don't want to appear rude or quarrelsome, but I will, occasionally resort to trying to show an argument is ridiculous which one commenter took as sarcasm in another article.

And I do get testy when an otherwise sensible person tells me that god destroyed everything in the flood when there is zero data to support that and loads of data to contradict it.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave,
Thanks for the thoughtful reply. If you don't want to talk about it here thats fine, but keeping up with this blog is hard to do as it is so I can't commit to a side conversation on another blog.
no worries,
I just want to tell you the same thing I have told other people here when they say things like the following.
Maybe everyone else already sees it that way, or maybe it's not right, but that is what I believe the Spirit of God gave me an awareness of and it was not my own thought. I know my own thoughts, and that was more powerful than what I could come up with...it's different in my head.

I think you are too hard on yourself. I think you did come up with it on your own and you don't give yourself enough credit.

You are a smart person, too smart to believe in the literal flood story.

I get so frustrated with this self-deprecating attitude that religion fosters. You don't have to be arrogant, but for pete's sake give yourself some credit for surprising yourself with a good idea or getting some insight! I know you believe it comes from God but I don't and I ask you how do you know what comes from god and what comes from you?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave again,
I am not ignoring your other comments, I am concentrating on the topic of the article. I think that sometimes I get distracted by that smelly old red herring and I am really trying to resist!

live-n-grace said...

Here's a little story.

A college professor was going on and on and on about God. Not about God himself, but what he thought himself of God. So he starts to shoot out continually things against God and against what he's done and that God really isn't there, and how he isn't loving.
Meanwhile there was a student in the front row who was eating an orange, and after the professor had finally finished, the student asked: "How was the orange?" The professor replied: "I don't know, you're the one who had it." The student then read: "Taste and see that the LORD is good."

If you have never tasted God before, you have nothing to say of him. Some of you are "ex-believers" or "ex-ministers" but that is why we always suspect that you never really believed in God in the first place or accepted Jesus. I know that I would never leave the faith because once you have experienced true love, true forgiveness, there is nothing like it. I have tasted God and I know that he is good!

(By the way Lee, I have done something to believe in God, though not huge: faith.)

May God bless you and the grace of God be with you.

Live-n-grace

Heather said...

**"How was the orange?" The professor replied: "I don't know, you're the one who had it." The student then read: "Taste and see that the LORD is good."** The problem with that analogy is that the professor would still know what an orange tasted like. He wouldn't know what that particular orange tasted like, no, but he'd have a very good idea based on past experience. But the concept of God/faith is very often a subjective experience.

**I know that I would never leave the faith because once you have experienced true love, true forgiveness, there is nothing like it. I have tasted God and I know that he is good! ** I truly hope this is the case, but from what I've read, those that 'fell away' did so because the historical facts of the religion could no longer be surpressed by the emotions. And most of those that 'fell away' used to say the same thing.

John W. Loftus said...

We have tasted the fruit.

Lee Randolph said...

This comment turned into one of the articles that I had bubbling on my back burner. After I post this comment I am going to 'dress it up' and post it as an article.

Hi LIG,
I just want say thank you for the kind sentiment, the blessings and prayers.

I also want to say stop ignoring the fact that we were once as devoted as you. That is called a qualifier. It is part of the truth of what we are saying to you. That we believed, searched with all our hearts, came away with nothing. This means that god doesn't want us, that we are in the queue, or that he doesn't exist.

And I want to point out another characteristic of Christianity that I noticed when I was in it.

Christians try to use god as a way to eliminate uncertainty in their lives. You have just used it on me. A blessing is a way to implore to god to change things in favor of ones wishes.

Christians align themselves with the ideal because they save themselves from torture forever, and they know that a world where everyone thinks the same would logically reduce conflict. Christians just want what everyone wants, they want to live comfortably. Uncertainty is scary.
Eliminating uncertainty is in their best interest.

Christians want to evangelize and change peoples minds, hearts etc, they want to influence the world and they are using god to it.

God is the 'good luck' charm, or the talisman, the magic wand. They do what they think he wants, as per their interpretation and their individual experience with their personal god. They pray for things to change. They say 'that was a blessing' when they could have just as well said 'that was lucky'.

Christians say "I'll pray for you instead of saying 'good luck' ". They pray for themselves hoping they'll get their wish, knowing in reality that it is up to gods will, and gods will is more or less unpredictable, just like chance. If Christians set up the conditions right, they can get a prayer answered, and if they don't they will likely get squat.

Christians pray for the world to come in line with what they want the world to be rather than accept is as it is and work with it. Rather than figuring things out and determining how to come up with the most likely successful outcome, they waste their time praying about it, waiting for some answer to pop into their head, then they think it came from god. In reality it is an option that they more than likely would have found sooner had they expended some resources to do some investigation and careful consideration.

Ignoring qualifiers is what happens in a biased thinker. Biased in that the Christian wants the world to be certain way, and thinks that they can make it that way using god. It is self-centered and controlling and to make it work, it requires ignoring facts about the world that negatively impact the scenario. I used to be young earth creationist, because in my mind, to make any sense, the bible had to be literally true if A GOD had something to do with it. How could it not be. Then when i started doing an HONEST search and stopped ignoring qualifiers and started trying to figure those variables in, it started falling apart.

I got this way from an honest search for god.

Believe it or not.

A truth can survive scrutiny if it is a truth. If god is everything he is said to be, he can too. Give it an honest try. Christians shouldn't have anything to worry about if they have the strength of their convictions.

One Wave said...

Lee,

"You are a smart person, too smart to believe in the literal flood story."

I am too smart NOT to pay attention to the compelling evidence for a global flood.

John,
"Who or what represents Christianity?"

Quoting Jesus, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.'

Anonymous said...

I suppose my main problem with the sting of this entire argument is it seems to imply that God should simple tell us exactly everything we should do. In other words, shut down thought entirely, which atheists and fundamentalists like to do quite swimmingly. As far as im concerned A God who allows us to figure things out (to a great extent) is better than one who completely orders things from a mega-phone. I dont think you actually believe this argument to be going anywheres though John so that all I will say on the issue.

John W. Loftus said...

Anonymous, get real. I'm not asking for all or nothing here. I'm asking that if God exists why didn't he tell his followers some crucial information. Sorry, but is this the best you have? Crucial information is what I'm talking about. The kind that could help stave off so much misery and carnage. The kind that by witholding from Christians, the results turn our stomachs.

Really?

Anonymous said...

I've been giving the issue of slavery more thought and how God communicates about this.

To me, the whole entire encompassing, global message of God to mankind is one of salvation - from the OT to New and beyond - God's offer is for salvation from our captivity to involvement in the mistreatment of one another. Given enough distress and cause, it is well within human nature to evoke the fight or flight response and people will justify mistreating one another- most often by raising an offense in order to villify, manipulate, devalue or demonize another. Even without provocation, people speak abusively and arrogantly, condemning others they dislike.

The entire notion of captivity/salvation is so imminent a message that for me, it is the forest, not one of the trees. But the trees make it clear that mistreating another person is not of faith. By our fruits we are known - for me it is humbling to think of the ways that I have been involved in the cycle of mistreatment.

How can an all-powerful and loving God exist in the face of evil? Because He offers grace - time for us to learn to love - God's grace is offensive to pridefulness - it is - that's why Jesus was indicted as a criminal. As far as I can tell, grace just doesn't fit into any mathematical or logical formula.

Even if one can cite instances of religously motivated atrocities, but remove religion/God and people will continue to suffer from pride under a different name and continue to justify mistreating one another.

When I read the testimonies of those who have left Fundamentalism, I have mixed feelings - I do not hear much about a God who loves - I see people doing a lot of good things to defend and please god, but how can one appease such a demanding and distant deity?

If you revisit scripture some day, you will see that you have a right to say "yes" or "no" to Y'shua which is not always the case with people - God didn't create a puppet show.

My fellowship is with people who rarely attend church - we are not overly religious, we are expressive and lively - we feel no need to pretend to be more generous than we honestly can be (like ananais and sapphora) and we are a heartfelt bunch. We grieve when it is the season to grieve - we mourn when we need to mourn - we rejoice and we live full lives -anyone invested in pretense might feel threatened by us but we love even the pretenders - some have actually been released from their former facades. Somehow, we finally got the crazy notion that God just loves us for no other reason than "we am". So we like to treat other people the same - with respect that God loves them because "they am". We reject manipulation and provocation, maliciousness and abusiveness as a means to express relationship.

If you still hope that a good God exists, don't let the world intimidate you or chase you away from that hope. He exists even when there are few to impersonate Him.

Anon 1035

One Wave said...

Anon,
I hope I meet you IRL someday. Your fellowship sounds just right!

Anonymous said...

Hi One! Thanks! People really need to be loved and to know that they are loved - that is hard to do sometimes but when people see it, they can recognize and they respond to it. That's my hope for those who are escaping from oprressive forms of religiosity/authority.

1035

One Wave said...

Anon,
You should listen to the talk between Anne Rice and N.T. Wright called, "Writing Our Way to God". They talked about the difference between the Enlightenment and true Christianity and made the point that the Enlightenment teaches tolerance while Jesus and Paul taught love. It is hard sometimes but how beautiful when people really live by that "law"!

If you want to e-mail me we can talk so we aren't taking up John's blog...I won't be able to keep up much right now because of the move, but I'd love to chat with you. Just leave a message on my blog and I won't publish it if you are interested.

Bronxboy47 said...

Living Dust,

Hold on there. Wasn't Jesus a killer and a leader and encourager of killers in his former incarnation as Yaweh?

Bronxboy47 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bronxboy47 said...

And what about that sword Jesus said he brought with him?

ZDENNY said...

If you knew the love of God, this would be very simple to answer. However, since you don't have any idea about love, this is a dilemma.

Man threw the CEO out! That is what took place in Genesis 3. The corruption of the Creation due to our sin is what you are always complaining about.

The restoration will take place for those who come to understand love. As the Scriptures says, "The Kingdom of this world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and He will reign forever and ever."

God Bless