Noah, John, Luke, Paul, and Mary

When God speaks to you, He asks you to listen to Him, believe what He says, and follow His instructions. It is a sin to disobey God. Kierkegaard has described the ways that one can follow God when he gives a command that violates your morality in Fear and Trembling. Through its four tellings of the story of Abraham and Isaac, Kierkegaard explores the relationship between what he labels the ethical and what he labels the religious. In the book, Kierkegaard explicitly states that in his opinion one can do something that is ethically wrong, but religiously right.

Kierkegaard felt that one must have an existential stance to follow God in spite of one's ethics. That the voice of God trumped all other characteristics. He has been profoundly influential, and was a major inspiration to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who further refined Kierkegaard's ideas in The Cost of Discipleship.

It is interesting to note that in no description of the religious stance did Kierkegaard describe a method to distinguish between hallucinations and the voice of God. In fact, to my knowledge there has never been a clear instruction given to Christians that allows them reliably to distinguish between the voice of God and a hallucination.

Yet this is not a minor point.

In one cell in a mental institution in Texas, there are two women whom killed their children to please God. The first is Andrea Yates. She believed God had told her to have as many children as is possible, and soon she decided that she was unworthy to bring them up. Her five children, named after Bible characters: Noah, John, Luke, Paul, and Mary, were all at risk of hell because of her failures. In 2001, she became convinced that the only way she could save their eternal souls was to do away with them before they could sin.

A psychiatric examination was ordered for Andrea. One psychiatrist, featured on Mugshots, asked Andrea what she thought would happen to the children. She indicated that she believed God would "take them up." He reversed the question and asked what might have happened if she had not taken their lives.

"I guess they would have continued stumbling," which meant "they would have gone to hell."

He wanted to know specifically what they had done to give her the idea they weren't behaving properly. She responded that they didn't treat Rusty's mother well, adding that, "They didn't do things God likes."


Andrea believed the only way her children could have eternal life that wasn't torment was if she killed all five of them. She believed this after careful study, prayer and consultation with her church. Andrea presumed she knew the mind of God and that he was speaking to her through the testimony of her church and family.

In the cell with Andrea is Dena Schlosser. Dena cut the arms off her baby in 2004. She saw a news report on television about a boy being mauled to death by a lion and decided that it was a sign of the apocalypse. She then heard God's voice telling her to remove her own baby's arms and then her own. After putting on the song “He Touched Me”, she cut the baby's arms off, resulting in his death.

It is clear that both Andrea Yates and Dena Schlosser are ill individuals. Yet it is remarkable that there are two women who did this within 3 years of one another in the same state in America. It is also clear that the primary cause of both of these unbelievable acts of filicide is that both women believed God was very active in the world, that they knew what he wanted them to do, and that they would be punished severely if they failed to do it. My questions to those who believe that atheism is dangerous, that it allows you to “do whatever you want,” and that universal moral values are upheld by religion are these:

Why can God not make it plain that it is wrong to kill your children? Why can he not make that plain broadly, by putting it in bright letters somewhere on every 3rd or 4th page on the books he writes, dictates or inspires? And why can he not make it plain specifically by speaking that information into the diseased brains of psychotics who are already hearing voices and aren't likely to be believed by another living human regardless of what they say God told them?

What possible good comes to the world from the actions of these mothers?

79 comments:

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

I don't condemn or judge these women anymore than I would an atheist suffering from such confusion - if anything, it gives rise to compassion for those who are unable to discern the difference between love and abuse - there is grace for such.

Evan said...

MMM, nobody condemns them. They are sick.

The question is, given their sickness, why does God not make sure that someone with this sickness won't do what they do? How does their sickness mix with their religion in a way God can do nothing about?

Is there any story of an atheist killing their child because of a delusion of no-God?

Is there no way a just God could intervene in the delusion of this ill person and keep them from doing this?

oli said...

I always wonder about the bondaries of religion and mental illness.
If i am a devout man and hear voices in my head telling me to kill my child for gods greater glory, then i am undoubtly mentally ill and need professional help. However, isn't this exactly what Abraham did? and isn't he supposed to be one of gods greatest?
Likewise, if i am a fraudster and dictate a book to make me fabulously wealthy and powerful amongst gullible rubes, I clearly deserve punishment. But how is this different from Mohammed, Joseph Smith, L Ron Hubbard?

It strikes me that the difference between being gods vessel and being a lunatic is that gods vessels only appear in old books. Not in real life. And yet we are supposed to believe them.

And the difference between con-artist and gods divine messenger is solely the antiquity of your lifetime. Jesus = real, Mohammed = real, how about joseph smith? L Ron Hubbard? Sung Myung Moon?

I find scientology and Reverend Moons cults deeply fascinating. It strikes me that in 100-200 years, they may well be fully fledged religions with just as much legitimacy as Christianity and Islam. Indeed, one only has to look at the Church of Scientology's treatment of the life of L Ron Hubbard, versus the actual historical record to see how myths can spring up around a popular cult leader. And this in an age of solid records, the internet and science. How much more so would this be the case in an age of poor records, word of mouth and superstition.

Gods inability to provide us with the ability to tell apart huckster from prophet and gods voice from delusion or hallucination speaks strongly for his absence. It wouldn't be hard would it. If you are gods divine vessel/messenger/best mate then you should some kind of glowing halo or awesome magic power. If i ever meet a self proclaimed prophet and he doesn't have such tell tale clues, then surely i am right to be sceptical.

bart willruth said...

Evan,

You asked rhetorically, "Why can God not make it plain that it is wrong to kill your children? Why can he not make that plain broadly, by putting it in bright letters somewhere on every 3rd or 4th page on the books he writes, dictates, or inspires?"

How can he do that and still be consistent? After all does not Christianity teach that he arranged for his own "child" to be killed? Did his condemnation in judgment fall upon his "son"?

Morality which arises from authority as in the case of Christianity means that God's will is the moral. The question of whether God's law is moral because it is right or is it right because he said it, always comes down on the latter because to admit to the former would mean that there exists a standard above and apart from God by which we can stand in judgment of all moral precepts and of God himself. Therefore, the authority of God and his dictates are the moral, regardless of the opinions of "sinful man". This is why holy war, holy murder, holy lying, holy anything is morally defensible in the mind of the believer in a sovereign god, whether his name is Allah, Yahweh, Jesus, or one yet to be innovated.

Morality from authority will always be wrong. That is why it is necessary to allow morality to be ontologically derived.

Bart

John W. Loftus said...

Bart, keep in mind I say the same things that Evan does. I'll ask, for instance, "why didn't God condemn slavery?" This question assumes the Christian perspective. Given that God exists and that he commands morality, then why didn't he condemn slavery?

Also keep in mind that a broken clock can be right twice a day if for no other reason other than luck. So also can a perceived "morality from authority" be correct. Although in truth, since this perceived moral authority is none other than a projection of man, it can often be right based on the same grounds you and I cling to.

In any case, I'm with you on this totally: "it is necessary to allow morality to be ontologically derived."

Cheers.

bart willruth said...

John,

I wasn't disputing Evan's position. I agree that the "immoral" teachings in the Bible as well as the lack of condemnation of immoral things is a problem for Christianity. I was only pointing out the problem with ethics from the mountaintop characteristic of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Bart

John W. Loftus said...

Sorry Bart, it isn't the first time I've misunderstood something, nor will it be the last time.

Carry on my friend!

emodude1971 said...

Here's a question I'd like to have Andrea Yates' and Dena Schlosser's psychiatrists answer:

Did these women become mentally ill because of their exposure to religion? Did their religious upbringings contribute to their eventual mental state?

I understand these questions are speculative, but one can't help but wonder what the outcome of their lives (and the lives of their children) would have been like in a society not dominated by religious beliefs.

Now I'm not saying there are not non-religious mentally ill people that might do the same types of acts, however in that case if the non-religious mentally ill person hears a voice in their head telling them to kill their children, how would they then justify the act? Would it then be harder to carry out?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Oli wrote: "However, isn't this exactly what Abraham did? and isn't he supposed to be one of gods greatest?" Remember, Oli, child sacrifice was not an uncommon practice to gratify and appease angry gods - the stories of these two women here were probably not uncommon in another era, and yet, nowadays, we know their actions are the result of mental illness - why is that?? Why aren't there more people sacrificing their children??

The story of Abraham hearing the voice to NOT kill Isaac is why he was called a man of faith - how many people, out of fear of divine retribution, would have denied the second voice and gone ahead and sacrificed their child? I can imagine a person wondering if their crops or tribe would be destroyed. The fact that Abraham heeded the second voice to not kill Isaac showed that he had a different understanding of divinity - one of faith and trust.

As for Evan asking why wouldn't God intervene - there is a difference between a dictator and God - God gives grace for dissension.

Lee Randolph said...

mmm,
are really suggesting that it is more important to give people the freedom to kill their children under the delusion of hearing god than it is to spare the victim and fix the deluded person that is potentially risking their salvation?

God doesn't care as much about freewill as you apparently think does or he wouldn't have built into us several mechanisms to persuade us to sin and drive us away from him.

Think about it.

Cole said...

Once again lee I'm going to have to agree with you.

You forgot to mention also that the Bible doesn't teach that we have freewill. Rather we are born slaves to sin totaly incapable of doing anything good in God's sight deserving eternal torture in hell.

Completely barbaric and it makes no sense at all.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Well, let's consider the alternative Lee - what would that be?? To police all people at all times - monitor their actions, their thoughts - no privacy - and to whom would we trust this policing state to?? And how would those who fall outside the margins be coerced into complying? Who would be in charge of that? And by whose standards would we bow?

Y'shua makes it clear that both weeds and wheat are allowed to mature - Grace is offensive to territorial mindedness. I'm not too offended by God's grace anymore.

Jason said...

Cole said: "You forgot to mention also that the Bible doesn't teach that we have freewill."

This is incorrect. The Bible goes through great lengths to explain man does have freewill and as such, takes responsibility for his/her own actions.

Deu 30:19 "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life."

Jos 24:15 "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve;"

Pro 1:29 "For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:"

Pro 3:31 "Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways."

Isa 7:15 "Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good."

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Lee, also, I wanted to say that it is more about being a captive to fear rather than freewill to get involved in murdering other people -

Cole said...

So,

The Bible contradicts itself. I'm sorry I was wrong.

Cole said...

No one CAN come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.

John 6:44.

Cole said...

Everyone who commits a sin is a slave to sin.... So, if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed.

John 8:34-36

Jason said...

Cole,

There are no contradictions, you just happen to be wrong in this instance. How does John 6 and John 8 teach man has no free will?

Lee Randolph said...

mmm, Jason
Well, let's consider the alternative Lee - what would that be?? To police all people at all times - monitor their actions, their thoughts - no privacy - and to whom would we trust this policing state to??
an all powerful god, thats who. He built the problem into us. You cant get around it adam and eve or not. The initial conditions existed to cause the desire somewhere along the way.

This is incorrect. The Bible goes through great lengths to explain man does have freewill and as such, takes responsibility for his/her own actions.

People like that are deluded into thinking they are doing gods will because of some biological cause. Something built in. Just like people that are addicted to gambling, or taking excessive risks, or overeat, or like to see murder in movies, or lust, or whatever other sin you can think up.

It must be more important for him to influence us to the negative than to the positive. Why would that be? That seems inconsistent with a good god, but it is consistent with an evil god. Why wouldn't a fair and just god not build in any negative influence into us at all? Why not eliminate all the positive and negative influence for or against choosing him and let us have true free will?

look if god skews the odds, that is not just. If god does not act justly, then he is violating an implicit commitment he made to us not to violate our trust. He is supposed to be trustworthy is he not?

he's like a boy that ties two cats together by the tail and watches them fight, or puts bugs in the mouth of an ant hill, or throws sheep in among wolves, just like those five kids.

Both of you please, just take a moment to put yourselves in the place of those kids for a moment and imagine what their last minutes must have been like. Stop sweeping it under the rug so you don't have to deal with it.

Imagine what it would be like for someone you love to believe that they are doing gods will by killing you and you are violating gods will by resisting.

Jason said...

Lee,

I was addressing Cole's comment that the Bible doesn't teach man has free will as I believe the Biblical evidence clearly states otherwise. Your personal issues with God doesn't have anything to do with my point.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Lee wrote: "he's like a boy that ties two cats together by the tail and watches them fight, or puts bugs in the mouth of an ant hill, or throws sheep in among wolves, just like those five kids."

I doubt that anyone who hung on a cross and gave Himself over to the murderous desires of those who held Him in contempt is sadistic. Y'shua demonstrated a proactive pacifist God - if it were not so, He would have run or used His power to remove Himself from the cross.

Also, your perspective is one sided - focussing on the victim only - God sees the whole picture and the suffering of the victimizers as well. Are you willing to do so or are you satisfied in magnifying evil and throwing stones at those whose sin is more visible??

Grace can seem offensive when one believes himself to be superior over others.

Evan said...

I doubt that anyone who hung on a cross and gave Himself over to the murderous desires of those who held Him in contempt is sadistic.

Who was murderous? Who held him in contempt?

Personally, I think a God who creates a world with a huge amount of suffering, demands that people atone for the sins of others, and then plops himself down in the middle of it to be crucified has gigantic S&M implications.

Are you saying masochists can't also be sadists?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Evan wrote: "Personally, I think a God who creates a world with a huge amount of suffering, demands that people atone for the sins of others, and then plops himself down in the middle of it to be crucified has gigantic S&M implications."

So, is this your idea of good news??? There is grace for you to misunderstand God, but if you ever find yourself feeling like you must continually work to win the security of feeling accepted by those who hold you to conditions that you cannot meet, if you ever find yourself in a position of being rejected because you couldn't meet the standards for acceptance, if you feel you have to act in a certain way to avoid reproach, then I invite you to re-examine the life and message of Y'shua. It is possible to project one's inner witness upon the supernatural and make it difficult to believe Y'shua's words, "I did not come to condemn".

Evan said...

MMM -- I really haven't the slightest idea what your response means.

I'll ask again. Who had murderous feelings towards Joshua? Who held Joshua in contempt?

Is it possible for someone to be a Sadist and also a Masochist?

I sense somehow that your argument implies that one should believe those things that are comforting. This to me is a waste of effort. It was comforting for Andrea Yates to believe she could save her children's eternal souls by drowning them.

I d not believe it was true.

Do you believe it was true?

lee said...

What exactly does it mean to be a volitional creature under a sovereign god? I doubt that the egyptians said " today seems like a good day to drown." Freewill for Saul of Tarsus? "The carnal mind is in enmity ( hostile) to the things of god, for it is not subject to the laws of god, neither indeed CAN he be." That seems to be a statement of ability. Arminians as well as Calvinist, both believe in free will. Both believe that whosoever will come. Both choose in accordance with the greatest desire at the moment of choice. Where does the desire come from? Religion cultivates desires and demands pious unquestioning acts of faith that that are not subject to epistemological standards that the person would use in any other area of their life. That is precisely why it can be so dangerous.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Evan - the misunderstanding is mutual so I think we can both discern a communication gap here.

At any rate, about being both a sadist and masochist, I'd say both are ways to articulate one who is coopted into abusive behaviors.

While Y'shua was able to identify and acknowledge evil, He had no part in perpetrating its existance - there is no relationship between light and dark.

Evan said...

the misunderstanding is mutual so I think we can both discern a communication gap here.

I am happy to clear up anything I have said that you don't understand.

I'm asking for a simple couple of questions to be answered and I'll ask them again and I don't think they are hard to understand.

1. In the case of Y'shua of Nazareth: "Who was murderous? Who held him in contempt?"

2. In the case of Andrea Yates: Do you think she was comforted by the belief that her children were being saved by her action? Do you think they were saved?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Evan wrote: 1. In the case of Y'shua of Nazareth: "Who was murderous? Who held him in contempt?" Are you serious??

Then you wrote: "2. In the case of Andrea Yates: Do you think she was comforted by the belief that her children were being saved by her action? Do you think they were saved?"

Are you implying that if one has compassion for Andrea Yates that one has given the seal of approval to her acts?? This is the type of black and white thinking that is foreign to grace. One can have the ability to recognize suffering without conjoining onesself to the process. I don't know Andrea Yates or her personal thoughts - what do you think? Answer the question for yourself. As far as issues of salvation, I know God to be gracious - if one is not offended by who is contained within the walls of heaven, it will be quite homey for them there.

Evan said...

MMM--

Yes, I'm very serious.

Who had contempt for Y'shua? What person or group of persons?

Who had murderous intent for Y'shua? What person or group of persons?

Name them.

Secondly, in the case of Andrea Yates. It seems to me you are using the fact that the world is a harsh place in reality to argue against my position.

Specifically when you say, "So, is this your idea of good news??? There is grace for you to misunderstand God, but if you ever find yourself feeling like you must continually work to win the security of feeling accepted by those who hold you to conditions that you cannot meet, if you ever find yourself in a position of being rejected because you couldn't meet the standards for acceptance, if you feel you have to act in a certain way to avoid reproach, then I invite you to re-examine the life and message of Y'shua."

This seems like the argument from consequences but I can't be sure. So is that the argument you're making or not? Because if it is -- I want to know if you think Andrea Yates's children were saved.

If they were (in your mind -- in my mind they are dead) saved, then wasn't Andrea Yates right to do what she did?

Isn't it better that she go to hell and her 5 children all go to heaven? If you assume that even 2 of them would deconvert over their lifetime from Christianity (a fairly reasonable bet given recent surveys), wasn't she doing the right thing religiously as Kierkegaard suggests?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Evan - - you are able to take offense and make demands - you're way ahead of me in that department - I feel so intimidated! Maybe I'll just fold under the pressure and become an atheist again.,

And my bad - of course it is a sign of friendship to have someone indicted and sentenced to death by crucifixion - what was I thinking of?? Shees ! You have the patience of a saint to tolerate such silliness! Of course you have every right to demand that I name and list every person present at the trial - I am totally negligent because as everyone knows, that is exactly how faith is proved - it's not by how people love.

Due to the stellar, and compelling demands and questions you've posed, perhaps I ought to abandon the grace of God and turn towards the standards of Evan.....

Evan said...

Argumentum ad hominem rides again.

Cole said...

Jason,

The passages show that the will of man is enslaved by sin and that left on His own he CANNOT come to God. You're not free if you are a slave to sin. Only Christ sets people free according to the Bible. Fallen man is free only in the direction of sin. It's not really freedom.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Evan, call it what you will, but that is what it sounds like you are defending. BTW, it would be an abuse of grace and a conceit to exploit the suffering of others - in this case - these mothers - and make a judgement or a condemnation of their personal suffering. I'm growing less tempted to get involved in that sort of behavior - how about you? To attempt to answer such a question (if Andrea's children were saved, didn't she do the right thing?) would be to presume that grace can be successfully abused - it cannot.

Evan said...

To attempt to answer such a question (if Andrea's children were saved, didn't she do the right thing?) would be to presume that grace can be successfully abused - it cannot.

Wow. So Andrea Yates's innocent children are going to hell because she killed them? Wow again.

Jason said...

Cole said: The passages show that the will of man is enslaved by sin and that left on His own he CANNOT come to God. You're not free if you are a slave to sin. Only Christ sets people free according to the Bible. Fallen man is free only in the direction of sin. It's not really freedom.

The passages say nothing about will. In fact, just a few verses before, Christ makes it clear where the responsibility rests: "If YOU continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed"

Being a "slave to sin" simply means we are bound by the law of sin - that is, death. However, as Romans 6:6 states, because of Christ's death, we no longer "serve" sin since eternal life will be given to the righteous.

Cole said...

Romans 8:7

For the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, it does not submit to God's law; indeed IT CANNOT.

Unregenerate nan cannot submit to God's law. They are slaves.

Jason said...

Cole, if you had read the verses on either side of the one you quoted, you would see that Paul is talking about two mindsets: the carnal mind versus the spiritual mind. Man chooses which path to take. Hence: Rom 8:13 "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." It's the same choice God gave the Israelites in Deut 30 - choose life or choose death.

Cole said...

The mind set on the flesh CANNOT submit to God's law.

No one CAN come to me unless the Father draws.

No man is ABLE to come to the Father.

The Bible is clear. Man is a slave.

Cole said...

Romans 8:7

For the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, it does not submit to God's law; indeed IT CANNOT.

No one CAN come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.

John 6:44.

Lee Randolph said...

HI cole,
I agree with you too. Good Job.

Hi MMM,
If god told you to kill me, would you do it?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Lee wrote: Hi MMM,
"If god told you to kill me, would you do it?"

I have a tougher question - if God told you to turn the other cheek, would you do it?? I mean towards someone whom you hold in disdain or has mistreated you .... would you do it?

Evan said...

MMM -- I can see you are not interested in an honest debate. I am willing to answer any question you ask me to the best of my ability.

You duck and dodge what should be very easy questions for you to answer.

Why is that?

Lee Randolph said...

my, my, my, mmm
you are so evasive.
I'll show you mine if you show me yours.
er, answer that is.

I'll rephrase it as a reminder, and to give it less wiggle room,

If you thought God told you to kill me, would you do it?

Lee Randolph said...

hi mmm,
I doubt that anyone who hung on a cross and gave Himself over to the murderous desires of those who held Him in contempt is sadistic.
that simply doesn't follow. He is the one that admitted throwing us in like sheep among wolves. I didn't make that up.

Y'shua demonstrated a proactive pacifist God - if it were not so, He would have run or used His power to remove Himself from the cross.
six hours on a cross is not usually enough time to kill someone.

punishing someone for the crimes of another is a flawed principle unless we are talking about terrorism

and how does a human sacrifice make it all better anyway?

and what does any of that have to do with the article?


Also, your perspective is one sided - focussing on the victim only - God sees the whole picture and the suffering of the victimizers as well. Are you willing to do so or are you satisfied in magnifying evil and throwing stones at those whose sin is more visible??
Its a package deal. I see the suffering of both and I wonder why the master of the universe didn't give her pause to reflect and then get some help before she did them in. Is that too much to ask from the all mighty?
And its not going to do any good trying to turn the tables on me for my sins, because any 'sin' i've done pales in comparison, and I don't belive in 'sin' anyway.

Grace can seem offensive when one believes himself to be superior over others.
I haven't attacked you personally, like this and above, or were you waxing 'rhetorical'?. ;-)

richdurrant said...

Hi Evan,
You pose an interesting question here,
"If they were (in your mind -- in my mind they are dead) saved, then wasn't Andrea Yates right to do what she did?

Isn't it better that she go to hell and her 5 children all go to heaven?"

If you follow this logic, then those children that God order to be killed would be considered good or an act of mercy because he essentially saved them. Not only from suffering in this life but also from hell. I'm not saying that is what I believe, just looking at this from a different perspective.

But to really answer this I would have to sy it would be better for her to no commit murder and spend her life in the effort of saving herself and all her children rather than kill them and doom herself to eternal torture.

And I am siding with Jason in that scripture teaches that if you follow the flesh you are a slave to sin. To escape this you learn the will of God and follow the spirit of his gospel and become free from servitude to sin.

richdurrant said...

Hi Lee,
"Its a package deal. I see the suffering of both and I wonder why the master of the universe didn't give her pause to reflect and then get some help before she did them in. Is that too much to ask from the all mighty?"

Are you 100% positive he didn't? What if that pause was given and she continued with her plan anyway? Then whose fault is it?

Today is not my day for html tags to work apparently. :(

Lee Randolph said...

nice rich,
lay the blame back on the mentally ill person.

She's not all powerful but god is.

are you suggesting he left the decision to spare the lives of those five children up to a murderously mentally ill person?

Isn't there just a hint of something wrong with that, or do I have a misconception?

Lee Randolph said...

I'm sorry,
I assumed we all think she is mentally ill.

Maybe some of us think it was a legit order from God and she is not culpable because she was just following orders?

Even then, God stopped abraham, he could have stopped her. If she did it anyway, then she is obviously mentally ill if she knowingly disobeyed a god that is going to make her suffer for eternity.

Jason said...

Cole said: The mind set on the flesh CANNOT submit to God's law.

And the mind set on the spiritual can. We choose.

No one CAN come to me unless the Father draws.

Drawing doesn’t force anyone to accept Christ. It simply calls. John 12:26 "...If any man serve me, let him follow me" (see also Psalms 37:27, Ephesians 5:1, Philippians 3:17, 2 Ti 2:22, 1 Peter 2:21, 1 Peter 3:13, 2 Peter 2:2, 3 John 1:11) We don't have control over being called, but we do have control over whether or not we follow.

No man is ABLE to come to the Father.

Because God dwells in unapproachable light. 1 Tim 6:16.

The Bible is clear. Man is a slave.

I’m not disagreeing. But being a servant to sin doesn't remove free will. Scripture is adamant we have the free will to choose God in the same way we have the free will to choose socks or slippers. Being a slave to sin doesn’t change our ability to choose in either instance.

Romans 8:7 - For the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, it does not submit to God's law; indeed IT CANNOT.

And the mind set on the spiritual can submit to God’s law. We choose our mindset.

No one CAN come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.

Drawing doesn’t force anyone to accept Christ. It simply calls. John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” Following is the act of free will, not the calling.

richdurrant said...

Yes Lee I think it was a misconception but I'll take the blame for that. I believe she was mentally ill and I don't lay blame on her.
You were presuming that because she killed her children, God didn't give her pause to reflect and get help. there is the other alternative that God did give her that pause and an opportunity for getting help and she went ahead regardless. Somewhere in the middle of my thinking I shifted gears to someone who was mentally capable of understanding what they were doing and that's where the "who's fault is that" came from. Sorry it was early and my own faculties were a bit slow.

Cole said...

"No man is ABLE to come to the Father.

Because God dwells in unapproachable light. 1 Tim 6:16."

So we agree that man CANNOT come to God. But yet God holds man accountable for not coming.

Proverbs 21:1

The kings heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wheever he will.

This is not freewill.

Jason said...

So we agree that man CANNOT come to God. But yet God holds man accountable for not coming.

God holds man accountable for his actions - it's not a sin to not be physically able to visit God in His dwelling place in heaven.

Proverbs 21:1
This is not freewill.


lol No, it's not. But then we're not all kings, are we Cole? As Daniel 2 states, "...he removeth kings, and setteth up kings:" Using the Bible as our guide, there's no doubt God uses people when He sees fit, usually leaders (a la Pharaoh), but there's no evidence to assume this control extends to every man, woman and child He's ever created. God has given everyone the same choice - life or death. God doesn't force people to choose one or the other just as He doesn't force people to eat soup instead of bread. :)

lee said...

Jason said: God doesn't force people to choose one or the other just as He doesn't force people to eat soup instead of bread. :)

The doctrine of original sin, though, has historically been taught and understood as radically changing the disposition of natural man and effecting his ability to desire God. Arminian and Calvinist both have agreed that a necessary condition must take place before anyone will come to faith. If man is hostile to the things of God, how does he choose god if he has no desire for him. It's like going on a blind date with someone who repulses you and marrying them.
For the Arminian it is prevenient grace that brings one to faith; for the Calvinist it is irresistible grace. Arminians THINK that they believe in hypothetical universalism. That everyone potentially can come to faith by making a choice for God. They believe that the Calvinist God is unjust and unfair. However, millions upon millions of people never hear or are exposed to the gospel. Do they have an opportunity? No!
Extra-biblical theories have been put forward in an attempt to expunge any liability or shadow of injustice from the image of God. Calvinist and Arminian both believe that anyone who has a desire to come to Christ can come to Christ. The difference between these two theological systems has nothing to do ultimately with WHO will be saved. It has to do with what is ultimately the determining factor upon which a persons salvation ultimately depends. Does faith precede regeneration or does regeneration precede faith. We often confuse the distinction between predestination and providence. The mystery of confluence is a doctrine contrived to explain how we can be free and at the same time God can be sovereign. The rights of the creator will always be greater that the rights of the creature, therefore I care not how you slice it..... God must bear ultimate responsibility.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Lee, Evan, let me try articulating this again - the grace for Andrea and her children (yes, grace) cannot be corrupted into a justification or license to kill. One cannot abuse grace without suffering an effect on their humanity. So, to ask me if I were to hear a "god" say to kill someone is bascially, to me, asking this, "Can I abuse grace? Can I use grace to mistreat others". My answer is "no, I would not abuse grace".

Jason said...

Lee,

If one were to assume for a moment the 'doctrine' of Original Sin is correct, I still don't see how free will has been removed. As for people not hearing the Gospel, their free will still remains - they just haven't heard the Gospel.

Perhaps you're trying to argue a different point that I'm not picking up on...?

richdurrant said...

Hi Lee,
However, millions upon millions of people never hear or are exposed to the gospel. Do they have an opportunity? No!

I have to agree that this is unjust. You can't judge someone based on the gospel of Christ if they have never heard it. Here's a different take on the subject for you to read.
Salvation for the dead

The rights of the creator will always be greater that the rights of the creature, therefore I care not how you slice it..... God must bear ultimate responsibility.

I also agree here that the creator is responsible for his creation. But I think you need to hold of judgment on the creator until all the facts are in. What may seem unjust now, because of the lack of information, just might turn out to be just.

Jason said...

Who says people who haven't heard the Gospel will be judged? If they weren't, would that make the whole situation 'just'?

Insanezenmistress said...

well, i am not entierly against chrisitanity per se. i just wish they would be more realilistic. (dont jump on that one too wide open)

what i mean is, in other faiths such as orential ones, meditateive ones, and even psychology ( not a faith i know, but an attempt at understanning) these institutions care about tellign teh difference between the voice of god and the voice of halucination.

If the christians would deside if their good is good or if he is inclinde to evil then it ought to be easy to know that any voice tellign you to kill your kids would be a halucination, and the voice that tells you to understand their needs and give of yourselv to provide it would be the voice of reason ( or god or love or self-denyal) ahhh SELF denial...theres a central theme in chrisitnaity.

If chrisitanity would teach their people to test the spirits as they are commaneded to, if chrisitanity would teach their people to be well seasoned in knowing good and evil as hebrews suggests.

but no they get all wrappe dup in hero worship and waiting for the rapute space bus, that they dont pay any attention to the evils of their human minds. They never wake up and quesiton the voices in their heads.

for me i think anyone who woudl want to seek god should really want to be SOBER MINDED about doign so. ESP if they belive in a devil.

ESP if they belvie in their own book when it says the heart is deceptive.
I am saying that even thru the contradictions of their book, there are cirtian teachings that ought to safe guard them from lettign jsut any thought take control over them jsut becasue it says it is GGOOOOODDDDD>.....
i wish that christianity would teach people but they wont so...

forget it. thats why i have to reject the faith, and try to drown the baby in the bath water.

faith, i dont think, should mean give up all one's ability to think and make sence of what ever goes on in their minds. reality and finding truth is what faith should be about.

lee said...

Jason :As for people not hearing the Gospel, their free will still remains - they just haven't heard the Gospel

If the doctrine of original sin is true and I am born into this world with a prior disposition, a prior motivation, a prior inclination and I ALWAYS choose in accordance with my greatest desire at the moment of choice, How am I truely free? Freewill, as most Arminians define it, is choosing spontaneously with out prior influences affecting or determining my choice. This schema has theological and rational problems.

The theological problem is that god is not only concerned with the choices we make but also the motives behind our choices. But if there are no prior motivations how could our choices bear any moral consequences whatsoever. They just happen. a matter of caprice.

The second problem is a rational problem. If my choices have no prior motivation, dispositions, or inclinations then essentially we are proposing an effect without a cause.
People who are born into this world who are hostile to the things of god, ( due to their fallen state) cannot choose contrary to their desires. If they do not hear the gospel, which Arminians claim is the power of God to change hearts and minds, then they are doomed to an eternity in hell, because someone 6,000 years ago, ( Adam) ate some exotic fruit at the prompting of a talking snake and man is therefore fallen from his birth. He is not free in any sense other than his ability to choose what he wants, what he desires. Augustine said, man has a "Liberiam arbitriam," or free will but in the fall he lost "Libertos". Moral liberty. TheLatin spelling is probably not correct, however the definition is.

If we attempt to consider free will under todays standards, we are told that 60 to 70 percent of who you will grow up to be is determined when the egg splits for the first time in your mothers womb. Your DNA establishes 60% to 70 % of who you will be. Add to this environment, add to this prior choices and how they affect future decisions and one can begin to understand why most most modern philosophers do not believe we are free.

lee said...

Jason : Who says people who haven't heard the Gospel will be judged? If they weren't, would that make the whole situation 'just'?

Orthodoxy established by Christian Church Councils for the past 1500 years.

Cole said...

"This is not freewill.

lol No, it's not. "

If God has a purpose in this particular isnstance does He not have a purpose in all instances with each and every person? Surely.

Consider another instance where God said to Abimelech regaurding Abraham's wife Sara:

God said to him in a dream, "Yes I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also KEPT YOU FROM SINNING against me, therefore I did not let you touch her. (Genesis 20:6)

Consider the promise of God's law:

I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your borders, and no man shall covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the Lord your God.

What about the free will of the pagans that had been coveting the land but stopped coveting when the faithful Israelites left to go appear before the Lord? Was this not a violation of their free will?

The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)

Whatever the Lord pleases He does in heaven and on eart. Psalms 135:6

A man's steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way? (Proverbs 20:24)

Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass. Job 14:5)

Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21)

Yes from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act who can reverse it? (Isaiah 43:13)

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:43-44)

Libertarian free will is not taught in the Bible.

Cole said...

Shall we recieve good from God, and shall we not recieve evil? (Job 2:10)

Lee Randolph said...

mmm, insanezenmistress,
If one were to think that God told them to kill their kids or they simply thought that it was gods will, then not to do it would be bad.

In the bible, we all know that god tested abraham, but stopped him at the last minute (lets ignore the fact that this myth is similar to another one about Artemis(?)).
Additionally, he told israelis to slaughter the canaanites and kill pregnant women, take the young women for themselves, he killed children in egypt, played a game with the devil with Job, etc, so this kind of shenanigans is not unheard of with jehovah. Yea so christ supposedly changed the covenant, but as so many christians say around here, he can do anything he wants to.

The inner witness of the spirit is evidnece of gods existence, and he works in mysterious ways.

Christians paint themselves into a corner and abuse faith by not demanding better evidence for thier faith. I suspect they tolerate the trade-off because it keeps the warm fuzzy buzz going.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jason,
I'll direct this at you again.
People like that are deluded into thinking they are doing gods will because of some biological cause. Something built in. Just like people that are addicted to gambling, or taking excessive risks, or overeat, or like to see murder in movies, or lust, or whatever other sin you can think up.

It must be more important for God to influence us to the negative than to the positive. Why would that be? That seems inconsistent with a good god, but it is consistent with an evil god. Why wouldn't a fair and just god not build in any negative influence into us at all? Why not eliminate all the positive and negative influence for or against choosing him and let us have true free will?

look if god skews the odds, that is not just. If god does not act justly, then he is violating an implicit commitment he made to us not to violate our trust. He is supposed to be trustworthy is he not?


Theres two issues there.
1. God influences our freewill toward the negative.
2. and by doing so betrays our trust.

Cole said...

One more:

Then Job answered the Lord and said:

I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)

richdurrant said...

Hi Lee,
As I read through your post about original sin, I was left with some thoughts.

First is that if God exists, and he is both good and just, original sin cannot be true.
A better fit is that we are born completely innocent. When learn a moral standard from our parents as we grow. Our judgment has to be based on what knowledge we have of the gospel, and how we well we conduct ourselves morally within the confines of that knowledge. We couldn't be judged for things we don't understand, or know, as this wouldn't be just.

He is not free in any sense other than his ability to choose what he wants, what he desires.

But that actually is my understanding of what our free agency consists of, taking things we know and choosing based on that knowledge. Our charge in this life is to learn the gospel, and choose to follow its teachings or reject them. In that sense we are completely free to make that choice. That being said, every single person has to be taught the gospel so that they have that chance to accept or reject its teachings. This is the responsibility that Christ gave to his apostles, to send the gospel message to the world for all to hear and have the chance to choose. If one doesn't get that chance here, there has to be provisions set up to deal with that, or God is unjust.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Lee wrote: "He is the one that admitted throwing us in like sheep among wolves."

Having been a former wolf, I can testify that I was blind to the love and grace that the sheep were trying to extend to me. BTW, God loves wolves, but I feel more secure as a sheep than a wolf.

Then Lee wrote "n the bible, we all know that god tested abraham, but stopped him at the last minute (lets ignore the fact that this myth is similar to another one about Artemis(?)).
Additionally, he told israelis to slaughter the canaanites and kill pregnant women, take the young women for themselves, he killed children in egypt, played a game with the devil with Job, etc, so this kind of shenanigans is not unheard of with jehovah. Yea so christ supposedly changed the covenant, but as so many christians say around here, he can do anything he wants to."

There are some who insist on holding to a dogmatic and literal approach to scripture not realizing that Y'shua did not expect people to adhere to OT scripture but instead told people to rightly divide the word of God. OT folks were still in need of a Messiah, but nonetheless, I find it miraculous that Abraham didn't crumble under the fear of divine retribution and do Isaac in in spite of the angel telling him not to.

Y'shua did honor the work of the Israelites, saying that they did the hard work. I know it would be very difficult to discern the will of God without Y'shua's example. Not all people love a God that loves even their enemy.

Thanks!

Evan said...

There are some who insist on holding to a dogmatic and literal approach to scripture not realizing that Y'shua did not expect people to adhere to OT scripture but instead told people to rightly divide the word of God.

Matthew 5:17-19
17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.


In other words, the minimum expected of followers of Y'shua is the literal following of the Hebrew Bible.

18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Don't even THINK about changing the Hebrew Bible.

19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Just in case I wasn't clear.

MMM -- if you believe the Bible holds any relationship to God -- then it is perfectly logical for someone to believe this exact quote from GOD suggests that one should follow the Hebrew Bible literally.

The text above seems very plain to me.

Now if you think the Bible is just some nice writing like Shakespeare or Dante -- great. We agree. If you think God had ANYTHING to do with its production, then you are obligated to explain why such a clear call to fundamentalism from GOD himself is not worthy of a Christian's attention.

Evan said...

I find it miraculous that Abraham didn't crumble under the fear of divine retribution and do Isaac in in spite of the angel telling him not to.

I find it remarkable that in the 21st century anyone believes the legends of 4th century Palestinian sheepherders are relevant to their lives -- but are you really saying that Abraham would have been RIGHT to kill his son?

Solaris Roscita said...

"Having been a former wolf, I can testify that I was blind to the love and grace that the sheep were trying to extend to me. BTW, God loves wolves, but I feel more secure as a sheep than a wolf."

IF you really feel more secure as a sheep than as a wolf, you must ask yourself - "Am I completely sane?". When was the last time you heard of a sheep taking the life of a wolf in order that it should feed? Wolves are geared towards survival, sheep have been domesticated into useless lumps of wool and fat. If I was going to choose to fight one: a wolf or a sheep, I would almost definitely choose the sheep because I would have NO CHANCE WHATSOEVER against a wolf. I also suspect that the sheep would turn tail and run (especially if I picked up a big ole' stick), while a wold would have the >security< and >self-esteem< to stand and face me (and would probably rip me to shreds). I don't think you know anything about THE REALITY OF SHEEP or WOLVES, and therefore, SHOULD REFRAIN FROM USING ANALOGIES ABOUT THEM. Jesus fist-fucking christ! Get a clue! Read some books, or ffs watch the animal planet channel or whatever. Try to understand the things you are talking about (least of all logic and reasoning!) before you go spouting off silly nonsensical metaphors.

I would suggest to you, that what you meant to say was "I feel safer as a namby-pamby conformist than I ever did when I went against the grain, because I was bullied by the conformists into hating myself (due to the weakness of my own character)".

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Solaris wrote: "I would suggest to you, that what you meant to say was "I feel safer as a namby-pamby conformist than I ever did when I went against the grain, because I was bullied by the conformists into hating myself (due to the weakness of my own character)".

Well, let's do a little reality check here - if I were one to be cowed into conforming (due, of course to bullying tactics) perhaps your last comment would have had an impact on me - let's see......nope, still a believer! But thanks ever so for the attention. :-)

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Also, Evan, as far as what you are saying about fulfillment of the Law, by your approach and understanding, there would be absolutely no difference between practicing Judaism and belief in Y'shua, which is not accurate. Y'shua Himself, when He spoke of divorce, indicated that allowances in the law were made due to the influence and demands of Moses's community. It served a purpose was not adequate in personifying God's love for us - thus, the need for Messiah.

Solaris Roscita said...

Of course, misrepresenting what I was saying and my motivations (how did you know my motivations? Did daddy/son-in-the-sky mr.jeezuz inform you? Or are you just so smart, so smart in fact you can ignore the main point of my post entirely?) is not entirely unexpected. It also didn't disprove my point, (and because I wasn't bullying you, I'll put this next part in another paragraph for clarity):

I don't care what you believe about god or jesus or allah or shiva, or the invisible pink unicorn,

or anything else that doesn't exist.

Now, try to participate in reality with me for a moment.

What I was really doing, and it should be pretty obvious, was demolishing your foolish notion that sheep are more secure than wolves. That is why I spent more time talking about that than the part of the post you rebutted. I disagree with the notion that sheep are(/can ever be) more secure than wolves. If you do, you shall have to provide a counter argument. Please refer to the relevant parts of arguments in the future instead of ignoring them and taking what you want from them (I am not writing the bible here, and it is not my intent that you should be able to cherry pick!). Otherwise, it's clear to everybody you haven't thought things through properly, and are incapable of defending yourself intellectually.

To repeat. Sheep are not more secure than wolves. Prove that this statement is incorrect, or bugger off.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Solaris wrote: Sheep are not more secure than wolves. Prove that this statement is incorrect, or bugger off.

Your understanding of sheep is that they have no shepherd - I have a shepherd who is not afraid of wolves. I love wolves BTW....

Solaris Roscita said...

To start with, you never made any mention of a shepherd. But then..

A pack of wolves would cut down a shepherd in a second...

Solaris Roscita said...

So, now I sit here awaiting both:
1) a response to my rebuttal
2) an apology for calling me a bully

but I wait, and I wait...0_0

goprairie said...

Imagine a herd of sheep blissfully grazing, assuming a shepherd is protecting them. Oops, the shepherd is an imaginary myth! NOW what are they gonna do when the wolf pack wanders by?
And no amount of arguing and insisting is going to make it so.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Solaris wrote: "but I wait, and I wait..."

Finally - some wisdom -

Solaris Roscita said...

You call that a rebuttal? I won't argue with children from now on. Or those with the reasoning powers of them. I mean, mmm was really pathetic. Not worth my time. I'm glad the US has the world's worst education system. Yes, I'm really happy about it. w00t. Be happy being ignorant my child.