Christian Can You Really Worship a God Who Will Send Your Family and Friends to Hell?

I want you to think about it rather than regurgitate the standard pat answers from the Bible itself. Just think about it. I attended a funeral this weekend and my brother conducted the memorial service. In it he warned us that "the wicked will end up in hell." At the funeral dinner I asked him if he thought I was going to be in hell and he responded: "Only God can judge." Now think about this, okay?...and be consistent. Is it just that believers cannot say what their theology commits them to when it comes to a family member? Look your non-committal family members in the eye and tell them they are going to hell. Can't do it? Why? That's what you preach. And then think about this song:



HT for the song "The Fate Awaiting Thee" to Dr. Jim's Thinking Shop and Tea Room.

141 comments:

Mysterium Tremendum said...

I don't tell anybody they are going to hell simply because I know God can perform a miracle by His grace at any time and bring that person to heaven. Why doesn't God do it for everyone? I don't know. But I know He isn't obligated to do so. God is never obligated to be merciful to sinners. Witholding grace can only be unjust if it is owed. But it is never owed because it is unmerited favor.

I don't think we are going to be aware of those who are in hell. I don't think we will be watching the torments of others while we are in heaven. Neither do I think everybody will recieve the same degree of punishment in hell.


As I see it there will be no cruelty in hell. God is incapable of inflicting an unjust punishment. Hell is a place of perfect justice not cruely.

I think we have a hard time fathoming the justice of an infinite punishment only because we have difficulty fathoming the glory of an infinite God.

Lynn said...

Mysterium Tremendum,

Isn't there a verse in Psalms that talks of the saints rejoicing in the punishment of the damned?

Steven Carr said...

So I could be going to Heaven?

So why do I need to 'repent' when this imaginary God could perform a miracle and bring me to this non-existent Heaven?

Mysterium Tremendum said...

Hi Lynn,

I think they rejoice at seeing God's justice being executued but not at the suffering of the people. God's not a sadist.

Deut. 28:63: And as the Lord took delight in doing good and multiplying you, so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you.

Moses is warning of coming judgement on unrepentent Israel.

We are faced with the inescapable Biblical fact that in some sense God doesn't delight in the death of the wicked, and in some sense He does. When Moses warns Israel that the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon them, he means that those who have rebelled against the Lord and moved beyond repentance will not be able to gloat that they have made the Lord miserable. God is not defeated in the triumphs of His righteous judgement. They wil unwittingly provide an occation for God to rejoice in the demonstration of His Justice and His power and the infinite worth of His Glory.

Mysterium Tremendum said...

Steven Carr,

If God performs the miracle you will repent.

Steven Carr said...

'If God performs the miracle you will repent.'

What happened to free will?

'The wicked will end up in Hell'.

I am not wicked.

Mysterium Tremendum said...

Steven,

I think all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. When people are left to themselves they reject God out of their own doing and are therefore responsible for their actions. I belive that when God performs the miracle of regeneration He takes out the heart of stone and puts in a heart of flesh to open our eyes to see Christ in all His holiness as something lovely and beautiful. We then come after the miracle. Not that we become perfect or anything.

If you don't make it to heaven you have no one to blame but yourself. If you do make it to heaven you have no one the thank but God.

For it's by grace that we are saved through faith and this is not from ourselves but it is a gift from God. So that no man may boast.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Jesus acknowledged the truth -- for some that sounds threatening, but there would be no POE if ppl wouldn't cooperate with evil. As far as family members, Jesus said that when He comes, it isn't peaceful - our initial (and immature response) to awakening to God's love is that we will hate those who are family,friends - all the ppl who taught and perpetuated cruel and territorial standards for human relationship. As faith matures, it is possible to grow to love one's enemies with compassion and a desire for salvation.

Steven Carr asked this: "What happened to free will?"

Jesus comes to set the captives free --- I don't believe we make enlightened decisions until we receive light - there are ppl who are held captive to subliminal subjugation.

Joshua Jung said...

Whenever I have an opportunity, I press believers to tell me where I am going given my current beliefs... I force them to consider their beliefs to be real and not just fuzzy, warm hopeful feelings.

After all, for years I lived in a very real hell on earth out of terror of ending up in a real hell when I died.

The least thing Christians can do is face the brute reality of what they claim. They need to face it. They need to claim it. They need to get a grip.

They need to feel the terror of facing the potential that they could end up in the hell they preach about.

They need to feel the awful horror at realizing that maybe they, maybe THEY, are the chaff who are self-deceived and think they believe the right things but do not.

After all, if a person can be so self-deceived as to think they are saved when they are not... then every Christian is potential chaff.

I almost committed suicide over the tiniest potential I could end up hell. After all, if I couldn't know 100% for sure I was going to heaven without just asserting with confidence I was saved because I believed X, Y, and Z... what was the point in living the rest of my life for Jesus?

Grrr.. this topic always makes me so mad because I know what preaching about hell can do to the mind of a young child whose imagination and intelligence is larger than those doing the preaching.

Joshua Jung said...

Mysterium Tremendum:

Premise: a person can be deceived into thinking / knowing / believing they are saved when they are not.

Mysterium Tremendum thinks / knows / believes he is saved.

Ergo: Mysterium Tremendum could be deceived.

Ergo: Mysterium Tremendum might not be saved.

Ergo: Mysterium Tremendum might end up in hell, regardless of his level of confidence about his salvation right now.

What a secure salvation.

Mysterium Tremendum said...

Also Lyn,

When God delights in Himself He's not being prideful and arronant. Pride thinks of itself and loves itself more highly than you ought to. God doesn't do this. God's loving and thinking of Himself is in direct proportion to who He is - the most glorious of all beings.

The Father beholds His own image in the Son and is infinitely happy. The love the Father has for the Son is the love He has for His own image. Which is first and foremost His humility and His holiness. The essence of righteousness is to place supreme value on that which is supremely valuable. Only God is sulf-sufficient in the trinity. Only God is to be self-relient. All others are to be God relient. Just as Jesus loved the Father more than anything I too love God more than anything. God is God relient therefore I am God relient. As John Piper has said:

Be most satisfied in God because God is most satisfied in God.

Lynn said...

"Christian Can You Really Worship a God Who Will Send Your Family and Friends to Hell?"

Well, as you can see, John, they most certainly do worship this God. Tough stuff for the friends and family!

God's "justice" is most important.

And I appreciate ya'll answering my questions. I just find the answers crazy-making.

Joshua Jung said...

Pride thinks of itself and loves itself more highly than you ought to.

It's always amusing to me when Christians anthropomorphize inanimate concepts.

Oh. Wait a minute...

Mysterium Tremendum said...

"I almost committed suicide over the tiniest potential I could end up hell."


I've almost commited suicide a few times myself. In fact I have scars on my wrist. But it wasn't until someone told me that if you commit suicide you go to hell that I decided I wasn't ever going to do that again. Now, I'm not sure that if you commit suicide you will go to hell but I'm not going to try it to find out.

Mysterium Tremendum said...

"God's "justice" is most important."

Hi Lynn,

I can safely say that God is more important to me than my friends and family. God is the most glorious of all beings. Why shouldn't He be the most important reality in my life. I love Him more than family and friends. I love(worship) Him more than anything.

Lynn said...

Joshua Jung,

You brought up one of my pet peeves. You and I both have been victims. The child abuse of telling intelligent, serious, thinking children about hell and about being sure of salvation. Two big things they can then worry themselves to death about. It really tees me off!!! I personally know the damage it did to me. And you've testified to the harm it did you.

Also, I think sometimes that Christians who are so sure of their salvation-never worry about it at all-they simply are not the worrying type. They are naturally confident, have good self-esteem, etc. People mix up personality traits with gifts from God.

Joshua Jung said...

But it wasn't until someone told me that if you commit suicide you go to hell that I decided I wasn't ever going to do that again.

So the only reason you keep yourself alive is because you are terrified of ending up in hell?

That's really the only thing keeping you living... terror of eternal damnation?

And you want to teach this to other people?

With all due respect... WTF?

~

Mysterium, I went through the same thing "Kill myself and maybe end up in hell... no, don't want to do that..."

Dude, there is a better life out there and you don't need Jesus to live it. Trust me man, I've been through all that crap and you can live a healthy, productive, happy, fulfilled life without anything related to Jesus, heaven, or hell.

I'm the happiest I've ever been once I moved beyond faith. There is hope: it is found in understanding.

After all, even Solomon (if he was the actual author of that sermon) recognized that the fate of the wicked and the good are the same... but at least the wise man has his eyes in his head.

Seek wisdom.
Seek understanding.
Then you can enjoy your life regardless of what may come.

My best wishes are with you, friend.

I hope you find a better reason to keep on living than terror of damnation forcing you to rush into the arms of the Guy who supposedly invented it.

Mysterium Tremendum said...

No,

I keep myself alive because God loves me and that's His will for me. I'm a peace today. I keep myself alive because I have hope. I have hope because of the ressurection of Christ. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.

Joshua Jung said...

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.

Ummm, I just showed you that that is not necessarily true because you cannot know whether you are "in Christ" without just asserting it.

You never responded to me, so I will repeat myself:

Premise: a person can be deceived into thinking / knowing / believing they are saved when they are not.

Mysterium Tremendum thinks / knows / believes he is saved.

Ergo: Mysterium Tremendum could be deceived.

Ergo: Mysterium Tremendum might not be saved.

Ergo: Mysterium Tremendum might end up in hell, regardless of his level of confidence about his salvation right now.

What say you? It isn't as secure as you would like to think.

Mysterium Tremendum said...

Joshua,

I know I'm saved because Christ is the all satisfying treasure of my life. I worship Him. That is, I love Him more than family and friends or anything else. This is how you know. You know because when you mess up you come back to Him in repentence and ask for forgiveness.

Joshua Jung said...

Neat.

Joshua Jung said...

You can fill a colander to overflowing with water if you pour in the water fast enough.

Mysterium Tremendum said...

"Pride thinks of itself and loves itself more highly than you ought to.

It's always amusing to me when Christians anthropomorphize inanimate concepts."

Joshua,

What I meant to say was that being prideful and arrogant is when you are loving and thinking of yourself more highly than you ought to. God doesn't love and think of Himself more highly than He ought to. He's not egotistical. His loving and thinking of Himself is in direct proportion to who He is: The most glorious of all Beings. As I told Lynn The Father beholds His own image in the Son and is infinitely happy. The love the Father has for the Son is the love He has for His own image. Which is first and foremost His humility and His holiness. The essence of righteousness is to place supreme value on that which is supremely valuable. Only God is self-sufficient. Only God is to be self-relient. All others are to be God relient. Just as Jesus loved God more than anything I too love God more than anything. God is God relient therefore I am God relient. As John Piper has said:

Be most satisfied in God because God is most satisfied in God.

JS said...

"Also, I think sometimes that Christians who are so sure of their salvation-never worry about it at all-they simply are not the worrying type. They are naturally confident, have good self-esteem, etc. People mix up personality traits with gifts from God."

You are mistaken on this one. It has nothing to do with the confident Christian being confused and everything to do with God being very real in their lives. As the reality of God grows in one's life, so too does one's confidence in a future and salvation.

JS said...

The original question here is somewhat confused. It is not God who sends unsaved friends and family members to hell. These individuals chose of their own free will. Is hell a horrible outcome? Absolutely. Do Christians want to see people end up in hell? No, not unless there's something wrong with them. Considering that God loves every individual more than would be possible for any person to love them, He doesn't want to see people go to hell either. Hence why God provided a means by which any one may be saved from such a terrible end.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Joshua wrote: "Whenever I have an opportunity, I press believers to tell me where I am going given my current beliefs.."

Asking, "where I am going" is not quite the same as pondering, "where the hell am I?" The latter is a more accurate starting position to develope a thirst for faith.

Hell can become comfortable - suffering can become a compulsion and develop into a heartfelt desire for condemnation - even bloodthirstiness. Jesus offers salvation/freedom from coopting with hell, a fear based slavery. But there is an allowance made for those who want to make their preference firm and some have great 'success' in the area of their sinfulness.

BTW, as far as fear goes,I am glad it serves a noble purpose in keeping MT from further attempts at suicide. And, also, faithfulness can mature and instill a deeply rooted knowledge of being well-loved even in the surroundings of skepticism and doubt.

As always,

3M

Samphire said...

I remember over 50 years ago listening to my Plymouth Brethren father preaching at the Sunday evening gospel service of how when he was 8 years old he would creep down the stairs every evening just to hear to his parents talking as he feared that Jesus might have come in hiz sleep and taken them away. He knew that he wasn't saved and that if Jesus did return in the night he would be left.

What a terrible thing to teach a child. But in telling that story my father was preaching at me because I, too, was "unsaved", a state in which I have continued happily all my life. My devout parents are now both dead and I do not believe that anything of them exists in any realm other than in the earthly memory of the few who remain and knew them.

When they were courting my mother wrote to my father telling him of her worrying resentment that Jesus might return and carry them both off before they had had some life together. In the event, Jesus never did return and, of course, never will do. When many years later my father died my mother was grief stricken. Would she, in retrospect, have preferred the Second Coming to have occurred when she was 25 years old rather than experience the unhappiness of the death of her husband some 50 years later? My guess is no.

Like most people, I have no sense of the mythic glory of God and feel no need of salvation. I feel pity for Mysterium Tremendum that he needs to believe so deeply that his present life is meaningless if he isn't to live a future eternal life. Why should he feel so if he is in good mental health? It doesn't worry him that he didn't experience the first 13 billion years of the Universe so why should it worry him if he can't experience the next 13 billion? Is his life so MT (sorry) that it is of no value without the superstitious promise of something better? And outside of time and space how could one experience anything at all? Isn’t the phrase “Eternal life” an oxymoron?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Also Josh, Jesus did advise of a Jesus idol that promotes yet another version of worldy authority that seeks to get ppl to "behave" themselves into heaven..another word for this is "idolotry".

Samphire said...

I remember over 50 years ago listening to my Plymouth Brethren father preaching at the Sunday evening gospel service of how when he was 8 years old he would creep down the stairs late each evening just to hear his parents talking as he feared that Jesus might have come in his sleep and taken them away. He knew that he wasn't saved and that if Jesus did return in the night he would be left behind.

What a terrible thing to teach a child. But in telling that story my father was preaching at me because I, too, was "unsaved", a state in which I have continued happily all my life. My devout parents are now both dead and I do not believe that anything of them exists in any realm other than in the earthly memory of the few who remain and knew them.

When they were courting my mother wrote to my father telling him of her worrying resentment that Jesus might return and carry them both off before they had had some life together. In the event, Jesus never did return and, of course, never will do. When many years later my father died my mother was grief stricken. Would she, in retrospect, have preferred the Second Coming to have occurred when she was 25 years old rather than experience the unhappiness of the death of her husband some 50 years later? My guess is no.

Like most people, I have no sense of the mythic glory of God and feel no need of salvation. I feel pity for Mysterium Tremendum that he needs to believe so deeply that his present life is meaningless if he isn't to live a future eternal life. Why should he feel so if he is in good mental health? It doesn't worry him that he didn't experience the first 13 billion years of the Universe so why should it worry him if he can't experience the next 13 billion? Is his life so MT (sorry) that it is of no value without the superstitious promise of something better? And outside of time and space how could one experience anything at all? Isn’t the phrase “Eternal life” an oxymoron?

Joshua Jung said...

As the reality of God grows in one's life...

...one never notices the placebo effect taking place.

Joshua Jung said...

The latter is a more accurate starting position to develope a thirst for faith.

Don't you people think at all?

Asking "where am I?" given the context you have provided would imply I already had to believe I could be "somewhere" relative to a desired spiritual state.

If you can demonstrate the question has any value to a person who holds a spiritual realm cannot exist, my hat is off to you.

Otherwise it is a genuinely silly question.

Joshua Jung said...

It is not God who sends unsaved friends and family members to hell.

Good grief! Don't you people think?

Are you admitting a person has power to make a decision independent of God's knowledge?

If God knew which decision they would make, then he could prevent them from making that decision.

If God knows which decision they are going to make, has the power to stop them from making that decision, and desires them to not make that decision, yet does not stop them from making that decision, then God is responsible.

However, if God does not have the power to stop them from making that decision, then God is no longer all powerful.

Jeez, think people.

Your god is a self-contradictory and self-refuting concept.

Mark Plus said...

If my relatives and friends won't go to hell when they die, how can their earthly lives have any meaning or purpose?

Steve Locks said...

This is the most dislocated aspect about Christianity - its similarity to an abusive relationship. Some apologists expend enormous amounts of energy attempting to convince others (and themselves) that the God of their bible who orders baby massacre (1 Samuel 15:2-3) and pronounces on damnation (Mark 16:16) is a divine, loving and just being. "My husband hits me because I deserve it, he only does it because he loves me and my behaviour is so poor. He does so much for me - I owe him everything and would be nothing without his care." He is perceived as having complete power whilst demonstrating both kindness and cruelty. But it can't really be cruel - where would I go! We must deserve it. And so God stood by during the holocaust because of a "higher purpose." It just has to be so!

Then it gets even more disturbing. The beloved husband starts beating the children. The wife of the abuser then shouts at the "disrespectful" children when they dare to tell her what Daddy is doing to them. Bad non-Christians, it's your fault - you deserve to be tortured. It is too horrible for the dependant wife of an abuser to confront the fact of his abusive nature. Eventually though, many do see through and walk away to more healthy relationships.

What exactly can a Christian know that the god they believe in has done to deserve their love when the evidence from the bible, human atrocities and terrible natural disasters of the world speak so loudly against a benevolent deity? Just what should an abusive husband do to his wife before she stops loving him, and what worldly negligence or biblical cruelty would the Christian God have to commit before it became obvious that Christianity is a set of confused beliefs constructed by humans and built on a foundation of a very primitive war like god?

It is the same psychology - the "love" that hell justifiers have for their "god" is the love of an abused wife or someone under the influence of the Stockholm syndrome.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/seek.html#stockholm

http://home.teleport.com/~packham/abuse.htm

http://www.losingmyreligion.com/essays/abuse.html

Walter said...

To the Christians who think that people are choosing eternal punishment, that is a load of BS. I do not choose to be punished for all eternity; I simply do not believe the tall tales told by an ancient desert tribe.

Any deity that would send one of "his" children to hell simply for holding incorrect beliefs is a monster. Plain and simple.

The worse mass murderers in history do not deserve ETERNAL punishment. The very idea is barbaric and one of the reasons I cannot accept orthodox Christianity. Even if a deity judged us based on our actions and not our beliefs, I still can not believe that infinite torment is EVER justified.

Steven Carr said...

MT
When people are left to themselves they reject God out of their own doing and are therefore responsible for their actions.

CARR
Your imaginary god is puny and cannot overcome my rejection of your imaginary god.

Are you claiming I am wicked?

I am not wicked.

Retract your slander of my character.

Steven Carr said...

MT
You know because when you mess up you come back to Him in repentence and ask for forgiveness.

CARR
What should I repent of?

And your imaginary god cannot forgive sins against him...

Your imaginary god is so puny he can't even be bothered to exist.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Lynn wrote this: "You brought up one of my pet peeves. You and I both have been victims. The child abuse of telling intelligent, serious, thinking children about hell and about being sure of salvation. Two big things they can then worry themselves to death about. It really tees me off!!!"

I agree that querying can be a threat to someone who is into domination. But Jesus demonstrated a servant authority with no ulterior motives.

This is solely from personal,firsthand experience but I mean it emphatically --- I prefer a God who acknowledges the reality of hell than cooperating with constructing hell by appeasing ppl who use emotional tyranny to turn their personal suffering into clubs of guilt and manipulation. There is nothing more hellish than that! I've lived that way until (thank God!) God intervened. I'm forever indebted to Him for giving me the insight and compassionate conviction to withstand and resist perpetuating such a destructive cycle.

Ppl will use justification for whatever is necessary to assuage their woundedness and feel perfectly fine about it. But it is not the pursuit of justice that is God's main goal, but faith, which rescues us from victim/victimizer rationale and justification. (this is in the parable of the widow and the uncaring judge -- at the end of the story, Jesus says that God cares about justice more than us, but who will have faith when He returns?? Who will desire salvation for those who have been our enemies??).

God's justice is reserved for those who prefer condemnation over salvation.

Okay, enough for now but good luck with your endeavors,
3M

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Lynn wrote this: "You brought up one of my pet peeves. You and I both have been victims. The child abuse of telling intelligent, serious, thinking children about hell and about being sure of salvation. Two big things they can then worry themselves to death about. It really tees me off!!!"

I agree that querying can be a threat to someone who is into domination. But Jesus demonstrated a servant authority with no ulterior motives.

This is solely from personal,firsthand experience but I mean it emphatically --- I prefer a God who acknowledges the reality of hell than cooperating with constructing hell by appeasing ppl who use emotional tyranny to turn their personal suffering into clubs of guilt and manipulation. There is nothing more hellish than that! I've lived that way until (thank God!) God intervened. I'm forever indebted to Him for giving me the insight and compassionate conviction to withstand and resist perpetuating such a destructive cycle.

Ppl will use justification for whatever is necessary to assuage their woundedness and feel perfectly fine about it. But it is not the pursuit of justice that is God's main goal, but faith, which rescues us from victim/victimizer rationale and justification. (this is in the parable of the widow and the uncaring judge -- at the end of the story, Jesus says that God cares about justice more than us, but who will have faith when He returns?? Who will desire salvation for those who have been our enemies??).

God's justice is reserved for those who prefer condemnation over salvation.

Okay, enough for now but good luck with your endeavors,
3M

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Samphire wrote this: "Like most people, I have no sense of the mythic glory of God and feel no need of salvation"

Okay, so if you do not need salvation, then why the problem with evil (POE)? Why complain and debate evil and proclaim no need for salvation???

The dissonance is agonizing to witness. But I recall it well - I used to vascillate (in accordance with circumstances of course) between the "good of mankind" and "people are such jerks!".

Then this by Joshua: "hope you find a better reason to keep on living than terror of damnation forcing you to rush into the arms of the Guy who supposedly invented it."

You must be referring to that "god" who doesn't allow any enmity to exist - I keep forgetting that that is the 'god" you're frustrated with - the one who refuses to cooperate with your desire to homogenize everything so you can be comfy and cozy - darn it all anyway! Dang that diversity!!

As always,
3M

Grace said...

Do you think it possible that some people may have absolutely no desire to spend an eternity in the eternal presence of God?

Does a loving God create people as robots to force them into the kingdom? Truly, if someone want nothing of God in this life, why should they want Him in the next?

And, what about those who deliberately choose evil? Certainly human sin could make a Hell out of Heaven apart from the love of Christ.

I think, "salvation," so to speak is about more than simply forgiveness. It also means being enabled, and changed to fully share in the joy, and life of God, which is the essence of Heaven..

It should also be stated that to Christians "eternal life," begins in the here, and now. It's not simply "pie in the sky, when you die."

C.T. Gilliland said...

John, thanks for the post. This is the most difficult thing for me to reconcile as a Christian. In fact, this is why decided not to believe in God several years ago. I had a good Jewish friend, and I refused to believe in a God who would condemn him.

Josh, I sympathize with you man. I really don't like talk of hell, and heaven for that matter.

However, I came to believe in God a few years ago for mostly intellectual (one experiential) reason[s], totally apart from reconciling this issue. So the question is, does this issue defeat the rest of my reasons for believing in God. There's no logical necessity, only emotional impetus. A very strong one at that, but one is still philosophically warranted in Christian belief despite this problem.

Do I have anything positive to say about the issue? Well, I think the modern concept of hell derives more from Dante's Inferno than the Bible. For example, when Jesus talks about the "unquenchable fire" what does he mean? Well, in Mark 9:49 he talks about the fire as a fire that everyone will have to pass through, believer and non-believer alike. In context he's talking about the fire that mortifies the "flesh" or the sin nature. The fire is about purification or sanctification. It's about checking your pride to let the false parts of yourself die.

You've probably experienced this in your life. Maybe you were in a toxic romantic relationship and you break up with the person so you can begin to heal and find a healthy relationship. It probably hurts a good deal, especially if you were together a long time, or if sex was involved, etc...

Anyway, it may very well be more like staying in a toxic relationship because you know you will have to experience a lot of pain to get out of it, even if on the other side there would be so much joy. The anguish of never being fulfilled in that relationship, never being able to leave because of fear, never truly loving is what the unquenchable fire is about.

John said...

MT writes: "If you don't make it to heaven you have no one to blame but yourself."

Not according to many Christians.

God "decreed" that these people will end up in Hell, and there's no "choice" in the matter on the part of the reprobate.

This way, His lucky Elect can thank Him for not getting their skin burned off, and God looks more majestic because He can torture His own creation.

Sick stuff.

Mysterium Tremendum said...

John,

God doesn't torture His creation. As I already stated there is no cruelty in hell but only perfect justice. As MMM said those in hell prefer to be away from God's grace. They reject God. You have a misunderstanding of God's decrees. One is positive the other is negative. God doesn't postively decree anyone to hell. Rather, He allows them to go their own way. He gives them over to their own will. They reject God of their own will. They get what they deserve-His Holy Justice. The other group gets what they don't deserve, which is grace. No one gets injustice. If you go to hell you have no one to blame but yourself. If you go to heaven you have no one to thank but God. God gives the grace and He gets the glory.

Beautiful Feet said...

Walter wrote this: "Any deity that would send one of "his" children to hell simply for holding incorrect beliefs is a monster. Plain and simple."

Okay Walter -- first off, if someone doesn't accept God's offer of peace, it's because they prefer the practice of condemnation---it's because they prefer to take offense at human neediness and find it contemptible. So it's not "wrong" belief, but a condemning nature. Scripturally speaking, those who prefer damnation reject God's inheritance e.g., they don't want Him to be their father, so they aren't one of His children. So in essence, God doesn't condemn His children - He invites ppl to be one of His children. Jesus mentioned another father in the bible other than God.
Take care,
3M

Gandolf said...

Hi Beautiful Feet ,Walter explains gods simply supply a lack of decent evidence to enable rational humans to find good reason for actually having belief in Gods.Thats the fault of gods, not humans fault.

And yet it seems you simply try to turn it around and assert "it's because they prefer the practice of condemnation" or "Scripturally speaking, those who prefer damnation reject God's inheritance "

In my opinion you seem to wrongfully convict Walter of the above.Maybe simply because it suits your faith?.

Walter states .." I simply do not believe the tall tales told by an ancient desert tribe."

Quite rightly so too i suggest.After all we often need to have good evidence for making important decisions in our lives.As humans daily our lives even teach us its best to often rely on being sure of first finding some good decent evidence before making decisions and choices and believing,and even learn what a horrible mistake it can be sometimes to not first make sure we have actually looked for some decent good evidence before making choices and decisions and being believers.

The willy nilly faith of faithful folk on this planet which suggests we should maybe simply accept what some deluded religious gurus suggest might be supposedly be true, even goes against ways we learn its best to live our lives if we want to have better chances of survival.

Sure faithful folks like MT and Harvey will waffle on about how supposedly they really believe "there is no evidence for evidentialism".

But suggest them to please slap a blind fold on for us and try and prove they can for instance, cross a real nice busy road during rush hour using only their wonderful rock solid faith.Or forget using the hospital cancer cure, my guess is mostly their wonder of faith will strangely seem to have quickly escaped them all of a sudden!.Nothing like putting this so called faith to some real decent tests is there?,to quickly sort out the men from the boys.

Now dont get me wrong im not suggesting simple evidence is always available all the time for everything.But still our human lives are naturally geared towards looking for decent evidence,and even things that cannot easily be observed most often sooner or later some decent evidence is usually found at some stage for us to even be able to continue to have decent "reason" to keep having some faith and belief in such things.This actually is very very important!,other wise we would simply all believe in all manner of things like ghosts, goblins, fairy god mothers,davey jones locker,sea monsters and much much else....Making this whole world little more than a complete utter lunatic asylum.

Oh what stupid thought it is that ignorant religious humans would suppose some god would likely create us needing decent evidence so often in our everyday life,and yet then also likely expect it would be so very likely we would then ever easily simply turn to believing through mere faith.Even more ignorant and stupid is the thought that humans would be punished in some hell for not simply believing by said mere faith.That thought i suggest simply defys all logic and common sense.

The silly ideas of religious belief by mere faith has only left a gaping opening for rip off merchants and false prophets to be controling and false profiting and using people.So for this reason one can understand a little why the extra priestly Harveys types of this world are maybe always often so extra keen to keep the faith and coin flowing no matter what the cost.

Still the time is coming when these people will be publically recognized for the fraudsters they are.

And Lynn dont worry hopefully some day soon there is a time coming when nasty faithful folk who choose to continue to willfully psychologically abuse and threaten their children with threats of hell,will be held to account and given a nice little holiday in jails where they realistically belong...Heres hoping the pricks forget to take the soap on a rope! :)

Jose Luis said...

So given that I despise God for being such an arrogant, thick-minded judge who would condemn the descendants to suffering because of Adam's fault... I mean, God sense of justice is moronic, we have been created by a moron, and given his sense of justice we may end up anywhere after we die. For all I know this Grace of our creator is as hollow and false as his sense of justice. I wish we would have been created by a better god, what a shame being stuck with this moron for a god. ... nah he cannot be the real thing, i guess I have to find a real religion somewhere else with a real trustworthy god.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Josh wrote this: "However, if God does not have the power to stop them from making that decision, then God is no longer all powerful." You are thinking of "power" in terms of a subjugative role model -- God's power is gracious,which allows ppl to shape a preference. I'm sure there have been many (failed) political dictators throughout history that I could refer to that could show the futility of oppressive legalism in denying ppl choices. And politics aside, ppl parent their own children in this manner. God allows for heartfelt choices and convictions to be shaped. Some have trouble accepting hard truth and in doing so, they show contempt for human weakness. Jesus demonstrated the opposite - He showed grace and forgiveness in the face of enmity. Jesus approached enmity with an invitation of peace, not fight or flight/marginalization.

3M

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Gandolf, your response was the longest comment I've ever read in defense of "denial".

People complain that a gracious God allows for enmity to exist when He clearly acknowledged the existence of ill will towards one another- Do you think He lied about that? Evidence clearly shows that He told the truth.

Jesus told the truth about mankind's need for salvation and He offered peace,not condemnation, but that offends ppl's sense of pride/justice.

Thx,
3M

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Also, to those who keep making OT references towards God's personality, Jesus clearly made a distinction between the OT and NT. He commended the OT ppl for doing hard work - afterall, it would be difficult to discern "turn the other cheek" or "love the enemy" without a visual personification of that(it is even with Jesus's spirit and example). And, I suppose it would be abusive of God to ask the OT to turn their cheeks away from their enemies without the promise and spirit of something better to turn their cheeks towards.

But the arguments continue - it does confirm the truth that ppl want to continue justifying the perpetuation of antagonism instead of trusting that God has peace towards men that He wants to share with us.

Thx,
3M

Lynn said...

Well, I just know that somewhere along the line, a thought came to me while hearing about our depravity and the justice of God throwing us into eternal hell. My thought was "But God started the whole game. He created the whole set-up." So how does that make me guilty of anything? I am simply a woman born in the USA in 1957.

Was I taught that I was born with many advantages and with a good mind and a good heart and told to develop myself and enjoy life and give something to the world?

No. I was told I was a depraved sinner. Guilt was driven into my psyche all the time. I was plainly seeing reality and how people really operate and how the world operates, while also trying to make it all fit into the story of Christianity. It doesn't fit.

It never did fit. And I finally stopped blaming myself for why it didn't fit. It doesn't fit because it doesn't make sense. No wonder I had so much trouble over the years trying to make it make sense.

And tell me what's loving and merciful about the God of the Bible. What does he do while little children are being abused and murdered? Nothing. What did he do for the poor guy stuck in a cave recently while his family prayed and sang outside and people tried their best to rescue him? God did nothing.

He's either evil or non-existant.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Lynn wrote: ""But God started the whole game. He created the whole set-up." So how does that make me guilty of anything? I am simply a woman born in the USA in 1957."

So, I am wondering - what is your 'solution' - to stifle creative expression? plus, acknowledging sin is not the same thing as indicting someone for it. God invites ppl into peace with Him. You are projecting guilt onto the process of acknowledgement -- that is not uncommon. Guilt comes from prideful ppl, not God. God's spirit produces heartfelt contrition - different than shame and guilt.

Then this, "No. I was told I was a depraved sinner." Jesus told the adult religious population that He had come to rescue them as little children. Jesus advised them to become like a child - needy, helpless, authentic, expressive, void of ulterior motive - Jesus said to come to Him as such. He can be trusted with children.

Then Lynn ended with this: "And tell me what's loving and merciful about the God of the Bible. What does he do while little children are being abused and murdered? Nothing. What did he do for the poor guy stuck in a cave recently while his family prayed and sang outside and people tried their best to rescue him? God did nothing."

So, let me get this straight - the 'god' you're disappointed in said, "there isn't any evil or enemies in this world". Do I have this right? Let me ask this - which is more offensive -- that ppl abuse children or that God might actually care about someone helping the abuser???? Now, you can begin to see why ppl really do prefer condemnation and why Jesus good news offends ppl. But until you can walk in the shoes of the person who mistreated you, I would be careful of judging them.

Take care,
3M

Joshua Jung said...

Yada, yada, yada. The same old rhetoric.

Atheist makes pointed, logical comment.

Christian points out that atheist is using words wrong, then changes the subject and starts making non-sequitor assertions under the guise of wisdom and out of some sort of self-aggrandizing personal perspective on subjects which no Christians have agreed upon two thousand years and which have been nuanced into oblivion.

I'm done with this.

John, my hat is off to you for putting up with this rabble for as long as you have.

Keep up your work.

Grendel said...

“Look your non-committal family members in the eye and tell them they are going to hell. Can't do it? Why?”

They can’t because in their hearts they know that the family member is not truly “wicked” or deserving of such punishment. To say that one is wicked because of unbelief is to vacate the term of all meaning. Vituperation makes for a good sermon, but when placed on the spot Christians usually evade because they realize how incongruent the punishment is to the crime. Or, they reinvent hell to take the teeth out of it as Mysterious Tremendum (MT) does when he claims it is not a place of cruelty but a place wherein God exercises his holy justice. One wonders why MT thinks this. It’s certainly not because of evidence.

MMM stated that hell is a fear based slavery. That is interesting because using the transitive property in mathematics (if a=b and b=c, then a=c) Hell=Christianity. The doctrine of hell is so abhorrent that John’s brother couldn’t even tell him what he thought would happen. Doesn’t he have an opinion? Such a mind is a slave to dogma.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Grendel: you wrote this: "MMM stated that hell is a fear based slavery. That is interesting because using the transitive property in mathematics (if a=b and b=c, then a=c) Hell=Christianity."

Divinity is not a mathematical issue - good luck with that --- but I can say this --- hell can be perpetrated by religious who practice idolotry. And this seems to be the factor that is missing in the equation. Jesus already acknowledged such ---- As a matter of fact, I think He made it pretty easy to spot an idolotor - afterall how difficult is that to discern in someone promoting a God of salvation while all the while exerting their own brand of moral superiority??? Not too hard --- so instead of complaining about it, why not trust that Jesus told the truth?

Also, try this one on for size --- I too used to worry about all the ppl that would be "condemned", but I never took the time to ask these ppl who, they, themselves, would keep out of heaven! While I was impotently concerned about their destination, their very own practices gave clear conscience to condemning all sorts of ppl!! Who here would like to cozy up with a fundamentalist in heaven? Not too many I guess!

So, no, do not worry about who will be in hell - Jesus already views humanity as being born separate from Him and He offers grace/time to soften our hearts towards peaceful reconciliation. Instead, I ask you to envision which person/ppl you might encounter in your everyday life that would keep you from enjoying the here and now/entering into heaven? It is the same in heaven as it is on earth!

Bye!
3M

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Steven Locks wrote this: ""My husband hits me because I deserve it, he only does it because he loves me and my behaviour is so poor."

Jesus never promoted the enablement of abusiveness. He turned His cheek away, not out of impotent victimhood, but because He was prepared for martyrdom. Anyone who makes excuses for their victimizers is no martyr, but an enabler and part and parcel to the process of abuse.

Jesus said if we offer peace and it is rejected, then we ought to progress forward out of a hurtful situation. Someone who is coopted into abusive behavior has been subjugated into cruelty - not the same thing that Jesus portrayed or extended as salvation.

When one of the thieves on the cross exposed his vulnerability in the form of a self deprecating confession (such as you wrote about above), Jesus did not perpetuate a cycle of abuse by condemning him. This thief was able to recognize Jesus' grace as being noble and divine even in the midst of a desperate situation and this was the qualifying characteristic that opened the doors to heaven. So I ask again --- given this portrayal of God, which of the ppl inhabiting heaven would it take to incite offense within you and keep you out??? The question is not "who would God condemn?" but more accurately, "who would we condemn?".

Bye for now,
3M

AndreLinoge said...

So......we are born with a propensity to "sin"; and are condemned as a default for said propensity.

How some people can call this "justice" is mind-boggling.

AndreLinoge said...

M.T. said, "I don't think we are going to be aware of those who are in hell. I don't think we will be watching the torments of others while we are in heaven."

Why don't you think so? Are you repulsed by the idea? Does the very thought of watching people in hell bother you?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Andre expressed this perspective: "So......we are born with a propensity to "sin"; and are condemned as a default for said propensity."

Your stance is one of being born w/o a need for grace - in other words, you believe we are born w/o the propensity for territorial mindedness or the rationale for fight or flight, victim/victimizer instincts.

By faith,my birth into this realm qualifies me for grace, not condemnation. By natural instinct, we cooperate with the processes of condemnation when faced with antagonism.

Gandolf said...

MMM -->"Do I have this right? Let me ask this - which is more offensive -- that ppl abuse children or that God might actually care about someone helping the abuser???? "

No! in my opinion what it the most OFFENSIVE is the fact that people will NOW also abuse people in the name of idiotic faith in gods.

I think maybe you need to rethink your sense of justice MMM.Its been far to indoctrinated and baised by mind manipulative god faith.

Yes sometimes people abuse people..Yes people have always sometimes abused people....But that conclusion then does not make it a good reason or good idea to try and say that that then makes it quite ok to allow religious lunatics to simply dream up their ideas of gods and write godly books jam packed with much cruelty and nastiness etc. And then start abusing people with a indoctrinated godly nasty type abusive attitude also.

Thats offering us something worse! ..with absolutely no payoff!! ..Your gods are but dreams....We are making a loss out of the deal.

Because now not only do we have abuse.But worse!, we even have godly abuse.

You say -->"or that God might actually care about someone helping the abuser???? "

Im glad you put plenty of question marks...Because all you ofer in that sentence is a worthless lottery ticket....You are asserting a faith as if its actually happening and a proven truth!....Wrong!

And you want us to be happy that now not only do some people abuse people like they always did...But now we have fucking religious nutcases abusing us using their freaking religious nutcase books as suggestive material.

Are yee fucking mad MMM ? ...You really expect us to swallow this tripe of yours is supposedly actually about any justice or good?

You know what MMM ..To me you really seem like a real ok type person.

And i can tell its not anything about you personality that i dislike ...Its your religious faithful indoctrinated sense of supposed justice thats the problem.

zenmite said...

When my (atheist) father died of cancer several years ago, my young daughter asked my mother-in-law (her grandmother) where he went. Her grandmother told her without hesitation that since he didn't believe in god, he was in hell. My mother-in-law is a church-going Southern Baptist. I was astounded.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi again, Gandolf -- you wrote this:"But that conclusion then does not make it a good reason or good idea to try and say that that then makes it quite ok to allow religious lunatics to simply dream up their ideas of gods and write godly books jam packed with much cruelty and nastiness etc. "

Because I have been a nonbeliever most of my life (originally raised in idolotry) I lack the indoctrination that you presume - but I will leave this quote from scripture as exhibit A of what you are referring to cruelty and nastiness....ready? Okay, here goes: Love your enemies.
I know - really cruel stuff there.
Okay, that's about it for now - talk to you again soon I hope!

3M

stamati anagnostou said...

I don't think anyone has offered a good response to Jung's statement about eternal security.

"Premise: a person can be deceived into thinking / knowing / believing they are saved when they are not. ...etc"

MT stated that he has a certain feeling about his closeness to Jesus, but I agree that he could never really KNOW that he's saved. Anyone want to debate this?

Steven Bently said...

Since the god of the bible did not step in and help not even one of his favorite people (over 6 million Jews) from extreme torture and horrendous deaths, then what makes the self-claiming christians think that they have a snowballs chance in hell from being saved from the very same god?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

This was written: "Since the god of the bible did not step in and help not even one of his favorite people (over 6 million Jews) from extreme torture and horrendous deaths,"

There are a couple points to contrast here re: secular versus faith views:

#1) From what you write, I surmise that you must be disappointed in a god who promised that physical death, evil and suffering doesn't happen --- I think it is safe to say that this idol doesn't exist. Jesus never advocated such a myth. His invitation towards those who are evil (and His definition of evil includes moral conceit) is to be delivered from it and to love those who are antagonistic and even persecuting us.

#2) About the term, "favorite" or favored people: It is common to corrupt this term to mean an elite person who receives preferential and pampered treatment, but that is in complete contrast to what Jesus exemplified --- Jesus defined favored as those who would serve and reach out to be a light in darkness - Jesus advocated a "full life" rich in authentic, deep rooted relationship founded on the understanding of a mutual divine savior rather than community formed upon the basis of a shared enemy.

Steve Locks said...

Christians have been posting on here that Jesus (i.e. God) "turns the other cheek."

"Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father."
"Whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness."
"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee ... tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican."

Pretty poor turning the cheek there.

Christians have also been boasting of their loving and full meaningful relationship with Jesus/God.

Here is the god Christians claim to love, the god who turns the other cheek, by drowning the whole world except one boatful, who will "cast into the lake of fire whosoever was not found written in the book of life", who stated if a man or woman "lie with a beast" both the person and the animal are to be killed. This god supposedly sent a famine to punish a kingdom for something that a former king had done, sent a lion to devour a man for refusing to strike another man and send two bears to rip up 42 little children for making fun of Elisha's bald head. He laughed at the heathen as they were killed and turned the other cheek by having "no mercy, but will even kill your little children." This loving god commanded slaughter of children "for the iniquity of their fathers" and attempted to "correct" King David by killing his baby (and was so misogynistic he didn't give a thought to the grief of the mother!)

To look forward to heaven in the belief that non-Christians will be in hell is to tacitly admit that you do not feel love for non-Christians. Otherwise you will be aware that what you wished for (me being a Christian and with you) did not come to pass and your bliss will be imperfect. The dammed must be "untermenschen" so that their sufferings can be dismissed, just as the Nazis were able to dismiss the Jews as worthless vermin. Their own families, whom they saw as real human beings, were treated with kindness by the same SS who threw the Jews into the furnaces. It is the same psychology. Nobody can bear the torture of those they love. Hence Christians must thwart their love for those they believe satisfy Mark 16:16 if they are to find heaven bliss rather than grossly disturbing.

This disturbed relationship Christians have with their god is quite common in human relationships where one person is perceived as having complete power over another and threatens them whilst also appearing to show kindness.

In order for the Stockholm Syndrome to take effect the following conditions are necessary: One person threatens to kill another and is perceived to be capable of doing so. The victim cannot escape, and her life depends on her captor. The victim is isolated from support and the captor shows kindness as well as violence increasing with the victim's sense of being totally dependent on the captor.

Hellfire Christianity is the world's largest case of Stockholm Syndrome. All the pieces are there and even worse as utter dependency and eternal torture.

The parallels become especially sick and twisted when we consider the analogy of the Church as God's bride. If that's the case, God has all the earmarks of an abusive husband.

So no, we do not disbelieve in Christianity because we lack the spiritual eyes to see the love and holiness that Christians see, but rather we have either not been so indoctrinated to start with or because we have understood that these teachings are cruel (and add all the logical fallacies, dodgy historical reasoning etc.)

Some Christians claim that rather than their god sending people to hell, people "choose" hell. Presumably Christians are also "choosing" Allah and Krishna's hells. However: "Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell." Do bible texts searches for “cast into” to see more. The bible god is the pro-active one!

Come on Christians, how can you genuinely love somebody you believe deserves hell? Ironically it is *belief* in hell, not the non-existent hell itself, that rots your soul!

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Why hello Steve Locks! I am so glad you brought these topics up of
"casting out" and such! These are some of the very verses that have really helped set me from cooperating with destructive and perishing relationship habits! So, yay, I'm glad to converse with you

As a former nonbeliever, I used to be coopted into a pretty dysfunctional way of relating to ppl so let me address in a comparative way, what I know about enabling ppl and allowing them to make preferences - something that I needed to learn to discern!

You mentioned the terms and verses referring to "casting out" - Now i used to be subjugated into a system of loyalty to a very cruel standard - one was not allowed to set a boundary on very proactive, very punishing and condemning ppl. One could easily use emotional blackmail to keep others in their reign of tyranny just by suggesting that it would be disloyal or cruel to put a boundary on others' emotional outpourings.

Jesus makes reference to "casting out" -- this in accordance with identifying those whose hearts are set on destruction against others. It would be cruel and unreasonable to not be allowed to do so. I think it is reasonable to not enable them to succeed at their destructive desire- unless, of course, you want to cooperate with the process by allowing others to victimize you. Another term Jesus uses to describe the difference between light/dark is that those involved in perpetuating darkness will not "inherit" the Kingdom of Heaven - they have rejected the invitation to peace! I don't see Him condemning anyone but the "casting out" and "not inheriting" are actions consistent with the heartfelt preference of the person for destruction - they are assigned a place to carry that passion out. I don't find that to be cruel or abusive.

Another reference is when Jesus speaks to ppl using His name to wield abusive power --- He says that these ppl will be "assigned" a place with nonbelievers.

Another parable that is of interest says that those who refuse to share the mercy and grace they have received will be held in a prison until every penny is paid- no mention of condemnation here either.

Then you made reference to these scriptures: "Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father."
"Whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness."
"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee ... tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican."

I know the ppl Jesus is making reference to - intimately -- I used to be one of these referenced subjects. It's not that He doesn't want to forgive us or acknowledge us but it is a little difficult if we are holding Him in contempt and no open to receiving it-- He can't reach us if our hearts are set against Him.

And as far as your view of God as being evil and abusive, Jesus acknowledged this sort of perspective in scripture as well --- these ppl are the ones that I recognize as my former self - morally conceited --- I don't hold very big expectations upon them at all. My conscience was easily provoked into justifying whatever it took to appease my sense righteousness. I am no longer deceived into believing that I am nicer than God. But you are welcome to hold to this perspective - it is allowed and I can say firsthand that is reflective of one's cooperation with the roles of victim and victimizer.

And BTW your OT references: in case you've missed it before, just a friendly reminder that the OT folks did not yet have the advantage of the personification of Jesus. I don't want to repeat myself over and over, but even Jesus made a distinction about that more than once. He said they did the hard work of trying to discern God's nature w/o a visual aid. Even with, it is difficult to emulate Jesus.

At any rate, I'm glad to have had the chance to converse here.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

I'm not sure if my last comment went thru, but to put it succinctly, there is a demonstrable pattern of dissonance in the complaint of evil and abusiveness being a problem in conjunction with the complaint that God is abusive because He finally does put a boundary on abusiveness. I think another term for this is "lose/lose", which is, a symptom of an abusive pattern.

Good luck,
3M

Gandolf said...

MMM -->"Because I have been a nonbeliever most of my life (originally raised in idolotry) I lack the indoctrination that you presume "

Hi MMM, somehow i dont think folks are only indoctrinated by being raised in something .For instance not everyone in the Jonestown cult were raised there,some folks became indoctrinated and joined.

MMM -->"exhibit A of what you are referring to cruelty and nastiness....ready? Okay, here goes: Love your enemies.
I know - really cruel stuff there."

MMM i think thats what a person whos been through a manipulative type indoctrination belief tends to do,they will tend to only let themselves try to see the belief as being good, by being sure of always highlighting the bits they like.Reaffirming the affirmation.

But by doing this they have simply overlooked all the bits within their faith that is nasty and actually does suggest and then cause the religious abuse.

Its still a rip off.Humans are still being short changed.We NOW still have both the normal human abuse, plus the added religious abuse.

Analogy.
If we ran a gang that maybe dealt in stolen materials,thought women were possesions that could maybe be sometimes used for rape,used force and abuse....But every christmas we did a toy run and gave toys out to kids and looked after certain folks we liked...And when need be for a bit of P.R the gang leader suggested "oh no but!! i told them to only love their enemies"

Would make it all sweet and ok, the fact our gang belief maybe happened to make some gang members kind sometimes, now and again whenever they happened to fluke it and supposedly get it right.

Mean that hey, having gang beliefs is honestly still actually a real jolly great idea for our societies ?.

I dont think so, do you MMM ?.

Steven Bently said...

To mmm

Do you think you answered my question hmmm???

I never once mentioned the name (jesus), yet you took it upon yourself to include jesus as if he is now in full supreme power of authority of the events that has happened in the last 70 years.

I plainly asked why a god, supposedly an all loving god could sit idly by for 5 years and watch over 6 million Jews being tortured buried alive and do nothing to prevent such suffering and torture and yet you come along and condone and support the non-intervention of the very same god.

I bet you tell this very same god every day how wonderful and loving he is and I'm sure he's waiting and standing by just to hear it come from your self-righteous lips.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi Gandolf! You mentioned this: "Mean that hey, having gang beliefs is honestly still actually a real jolly great idea for our societies ?"

Actually, gangs (as you have mentioned here) is just one the many and diverse variations of mankind's natural inclination towards territorial mindedness. I didn't learn that from reading a religious book - I learned that from very real life experience. It's pretty evident to see.

But this notion of loving other "gangs" and even those "gangs" that might wish ill will towards others, is because of Christ. Diversity within one unifying factor - the love of God for all mankind. I recognize and empathize with this ill will business and from a divine standpoint, I am learning that the ill will is not necessary -- there is another way offered between passively distancing/enabling and proactively castigating/condemning those who do not conform to our own set standard for acceptance. There is a divine invitation to be extended and it is for whoever is willing to consider giving up their territorial ways.

In one scripture, Jesus said to offer peace - I think a lot of religious ppl offer another version of secular ganghood and call it peace. But if genuine peace and reconciliation are offered and rejected, then what more is there to be said?

As far as scripture goes, it is written in there somewhere(I don't commit scripture to memory or quote it often), a direction to divide the word - to learn, through the spirit, what originates from human nature and what is of divine nature. When I listen and read what some religious ppl write and speak, it shows up that they never accomplished that. They carry the seed of the Pharisees that Jesus spoke most harshly of because it does corrupt the gospel and portray an image of God that is more in keeping with pridefulness that infects human nature.

At any rate,Gandolf, as I'm writing this, I am coming to the realization that you prefer your perspective and that I am no influence in conveying the good will of God, so I am moving on --- hope you take care, adios!

3M

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi Steven, I didn't see your query to me before - sorry to have missed it!

You wrote this: "yet you come along and condone and support the non-intervention of the very same god.

I bet you tell this very same god every day how wonderful and loving he is and I'm sure he's waiting and standing by just to hear it come from your self-righteous lips."

"Acknowledgement" is not the same thing as "condonation". The practice of projecting certain characteristics is a matter of what one desires to project upon another. I won't bother defending myself - you are entitled to your persistent perspective.

I've noticed that ppl do that to God as well - even though He clearly said He didn't come to condemn ppl insist on accusing Him otherwise. Nothing new. The cycle continues until it stops.

Hey, BTW, not that I cooperate with this anymore, but just a friendly FYI: To insist upon assigning an ulterior motive and blame to another is a practice of mental cruelty . Just in case you weren't aware....

Sayonnora!
3M

Steven Bently said...

To mmm

What you don't seem to understand is that, we nonbelievers now know that christianity is based upon being dishonest with one's self, and with others that do not believe as you do and it also involves being two-faced, bi-polar, and being paranoid schizophrenic.

All these maladies can be detected by us nonbelievers in all the contrived answers that you self-claiming christians leave on these forums, that's exactly why we left the religion is because of the very psychotic nonsense answers that you nut-job apologetic and hell condoner's post on here.

Chao

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi Steven:
BTW, FYI, I was once a deconverted believer,and I believe that idolotry can and does induce some of what you say.

Take care and I really do hope you get better! It looks like you haven't quite recovered from your experience.

3M

Steve Locks said...

It is healthy minded to be upset and frustrated at apologetics for torture and genocide.

Is it not the Moonie who understands the true nature of the Reverend Moon.

Steve Locks said...

"I don't think we are going to be aware of those who are in hell. I don't think we will be watching the torments of others while we are in heaven."

See Luke 16:20 etc.

Steve Locks said...

"God is incapable of inflicting an unjust punishment."

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God.

(so no let out, saying, oh what's next is just the old testament):

"I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children."

"Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourself every girl who has never slept with a man."

"The Lord commands: "... slay old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women"

"When the Lord delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the males .... As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves."

"You will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you."

"The Lord said to Joshua [...] 'you are to hamstring their horses.' "

"... Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword and; also the women and little ones.... every male and every woman that has lain with a male you shall utterly destroy."

"This is what the Lord says: Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass .... And Saul ... utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword."

"The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their women with child ripped open."

"Moreover I gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not have life; and I defiled them through their very gifts in making them offer by fire all their first-born, that I might horrify them; I did it that they might know that I am the LORD."

"A curse on him who is lax in doing the LORD's work!
A curse on him who keeps his sword from bloodshed!"

Is this really the "word of God" or the cruel thoughts of Bronze age warriors?

- and of course, even worse in the NT as Jesus believed in hell. Matthew 25:46 "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment."


Is Christianity really about a healthy loving relationship or is it a case of the Stockholm syndrome?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Steven said this, "Is Christianity really about a healthy loving relationship or is it a case of the Stockholm syndrome?"

Stockholm syndrome, as I understand it, is when someone has been subjugated into accepting/ cooperating with a system of cruelty - Contrasted with the gospel in which Jesus assigns a place for those who continue to cooperate with cruelty/coonceitedness but also invites us out of it, into peace. (Also, our definition of cruelty is usually focussed on the sensationalized exhibition of it, rather than the roots of it).

You had written this also,"2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God." enemy". Inspired is not the same thing as "dictated".

Jesus said some very insightful things about scripture - He indicated that Moses created law that was the influence of hard hearted ppl in his surrounding community. Also, elsewhere, it is indicated that the word must be divided - divine versus human. The main gist of OT was that divine salvation was predicted and described. It was not yet discerned that it was God's will to love one's enemies and that is reflected in the OT.

Then this, "so no let out, saying, oh what's next is just the old testament):"

It continues to remind me and humble me the measures one will go to to justify negating the "love the enemy" clause! Who do you want to condemn so badly???? Why not trust?

Take care - please!!
3M

Beautiful Feet said...

An edit to my last comment;

I was responding to this:

"You had written this also,"2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God."

I just wanted to say that there is a difference between "inspired" and "dictated".

Thx

Steven Bently said...

To mmm

What you don't seem to understand is that, we nonbelievers now know that christianity is based upon being dishonest with one's self, and with others that do not believe as you do and it also involves being two-faced, bi-polar, and being paranoid schizophrenic.

All these maladies can be detected by us nonbelievers in all the contrived answers that you self-claiming christians leave on these forums, that's exactly why we left the religion is because of the very psychotic nonsense answers that you nut-job apologetic and hell condoner's post on here.


To whom I was referring to was, look in a mirror it's,

YOU!

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Steven wrote this:"To whom I was referring to was, look in a mirror it's,

YOU!"

I know you're not aware until I say this, but I got your intention the first time you wrote it and, my sentiment stands. Actually, my sentiments just increased - please, do take care of yourself!

3M

Creep said...

Steven,

I guess there is some truth to what you say for some. I believe in God and I'm schizo-affective. I do find that my experience of God is different than a hallucination though. When I experience God my mind is clear and I don't halucinate. I'm able to function. Well, it seems like God. I could be wrong.

Creep said...

This is Mysterium Tremendum by the way. I changed my name. I've also changed my views on the Bible being inspired.

Creep said...

Let me correct that. I don't have a problem with Jesus. It's God the Father as He is portated in the Bible that I have a problem with.

Scott said...

M3 wrote: The main gist of OT was that divine salvation was predicted and described. It was not yet discerned that it was God's will to love one's enemies and that is reflected in the OT.

M3, the exact definition of salvation varies throughout the Bible. The particular kind of salvation you're referring came as one of many responses to the problem of suffering. This particular response, which appeared roughly 150 years before Jesus was born, is known at the Apocalyptic response.

God supposedly revealed unseen aspects of heaven which explained what we observed here on earth, including suffering, prosperity, etc. Instead of God punishing us, God supposedly has personal enemies which make our lives difficult in this age. But in a coming age, God will right all wrongs, etc. If we take Jesus' teachings at face value, he was an Apocalyptic Jew.

However, there are a number of cases where predictions of the arrival of this new age in the Bible are wrong - including predictions made by Jesus himself.

As such, it's unclear why this specific answer to the problem of suffering is any more valid than any other depicted in the Bible. Nor is it clear why Jesus' teachings represents some kind of "leap" in regards to God's "true" plan.

Second, it's unclear what you mean when you say "It was not yet discerned". What had been previously absent or was removed that allowed this discernment to eventually occur?

It continues to remind me and humble me the measures one will go to to justify negating the "love the enemy" clause! Who do you want to condemn so badly???? Why not trust?

An outlook of "Why not trust?" would result in accepting a multitude of conflicting views, which cannot all be true. The Apocalyptic response is just one of said views. So, how do you discern between condemnation and a need to choose between logical (or illogical) possibilities that are mutually exclusive?

Furthermore, I'd suggest that you're creating conflict where none actually exists.

The real "conflict" we face is how we respond to situations and events. Introducing a non-material world with all of it's supernatural drama merely adds to an already complex situation and presents a vacuum in which nearly any possible cast of characters can be imagined. It's a response that causes more conflict and separation.

Steve Locks said...

MMM wrote: "Who do you want to condemn so badly???? Why not trust?"

I am doing what any sane person should be able to do which is to criticise genocide, ripping open pregnant women, killing children to punish their parents etc. The fact that so many hell-believing Christians are unable to openly say that these acts are wrong, but hold them as "inspired" is why we can tell such Christians are in a toxic relationship with their imagined deity.

See if you can do this - all scripture is inspired according to your beliefs. Do you condemn the ripping open of pregnant women? Do you condemn genocide for the whole planet (apart from a boat-full)? Do you condemn sending bears to rip up children?

You would easily be able to do this if it was somebody else's religion but as long as you are afraid of what your god might do to you or not give you if you question his morality then you are imprisoned in a relationship of fear. As long as Christians love their deity by denying his atrocities because of what they think he might do to them or what they are going to get then that is the Stockholm Syndrome. The "way out" as you describe it is the Stockholm Syndrome relationship of loving and accepting your cruel captor, who shows both kindness and cruelty and on whom (in your mind) everything depends.

I don't think any Christian has really taken on John's original challenge of properly and viscerally facing the thought of watching those they love in eternal torture whilst still loving their deity for it.

When Christian tell me to take care and that they love me, it doesn't mean much when I know that they want me to be tortured for ever (as it would be unjust if I didn't go to hell as an unbeliever) if I am suddenly hit by a bus.

You really do not love your neighbour if you believe they should be tortured and can't bring yourself to criticise genocide and ripping up of children etc. but instead see such appalling verses as "inspired".

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi Steven Locks ---

You challenged me: "See if you can do this - all scripture is inspired according to your beliefs." Ummmmmmm, that would be a Steven Locks interpretation. Please re-read my comments---okay???

Then, you continued, " Do you condemn the ripping open of pregnant women? Do you condemn genocide for the whole planet (apart from a boat-full)? Do you condemn sending bears to rip up children?"

First off, I have the example and spirit of Jesus - these ppl did not yet have that. They did not have the exact dictated words of God saying to invite the enemy into peacefulness and if rejected, move on. They didn't know about martyrdom or the gospel to inspire martrydom. This isn't the same thing as Stockholm syndrome or condoning violence. If there are religious ppl using the OT to condone abusiveness, then they are corrupting the gospel -- Jesus warned about ppl that would do this. It is not uncommon for ppl to corrupt and abuse power.

You also mentioned this: "When Christian tell me to take care and that they love me, it doesn't mean much when I know that they want me to be tortured for ever (as it would be unjust if I didn't go to hell as an unbeliever) if I am suddenly hit by a bus."

Are you trying to convince me that you would actually want to be anywhere near these ppl for eternity that you're complaining about??? And exactly how would they be in heaven if they are wishing condemnation upon you?? Wow! Sounds like a pretty unfriendly environment to me..

I noticed that you are really persistant on projecting the Stockholm Syndrome and believe that Christians are out to wish you condemned -Jesus said He didn't come to condemn and that He invited ppl to be set free from captivity - Jesus gave permission for ppl to confess their hard feelings about cruelty, not be subjugated or coopted by it,such as those who suffer Stockholm syndrome. Good grief!

You keep bypassing and rejecting what I am conveying in my comments so it makes perfect sense to me that you would apply the same pattern with scripture! Some ppl insist upon applying their understanding even when told it is a mis-understanding.

Your friend in the business of vain pursuits,
3M

Steve Locks said...

MMM - The ripping open of pregnant women. Justice or bad?

You tell me you are not under the influence of the Stockholm syndrome, so you should be able to simply say bad. Then maybe we can make progress and discuss why such appalling verses are in the bible and why Christians have such a hard time simply acknowledging that genocide is wrong.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi again Steven -

You challenged, "The ripping open of pregnant women. Justice or bad?"

Sometimes, it is good to question the origin of our querying. For instance,why just two choices, justice or bad? Both seem to lead to a very condemning end.

One of the signs of being set free is to recognize a choice that lies outside the confines of our very limited, "fight or flight" perspective. There is a third option - grace for sinners in order that they might be saved (not enabled) and rescued from cooperating with destructiveness(whether it be overtly sensational or more insidious such as self righteousness). By grace,there is a division between light and dark but also a call to be a light in the dark. I am not going to cooperate with judging or condemning the OT folks, whether they were the victims or the victimizers. Something of great value came out of this story for all parties involved- the gospel.

I just wanted to add something here ---the kind of dissonance I used to experience as a non-believer (and I find is commonly displayed here) went like this-- I would take offense at the OT (and also the POE), but then, contrarily, I would take offense at God's promise to put an eternal boundary on sin. I would complain about the existence of evil but then take offense at putting a boundary on it. It's one of those lose/lose patterns. Very condemning.

By faith, it is possible to become equipped to intervene and put a boundary on suffering and evil without being condemning about it. I have experienced that God's grace allows antagonism to exist without Him being corrupted by it. To put it in a more secular terminology, by faith, I am more of a self actualized person now than when I was a nonbeliever.

God loves people, whether as a friend or enemy, either way, the preference to accept or reject lies within our individual hearts. God offers an invitation out of darkness, but doesn't fellowship with darkness.


ttyl,
3M

Steve Locks said...

MMM, again not a clear answer - do you really believe it could be justice to rip open a pregnant women as described in the bible? According to the bible your god commanded it. Was he just to command that?

MMM wrote: "God doesn't offer fellowship with darkness"

According to the bible your god does very dark acts. Of course, I don't know which bits you actually believe. Do you believe your god killed someone's baby to punish its father? Do you believe your god sent the flood?

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

Steve,

I just pick out the good in the bible and throw away the bad. God didn't inspire the whole bible.

Steve Locks said...

Houx,

Yes, not all Christians are inerrantists. So I take it you accept 2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" is mistaken?

How about John's question - do you believe in everlasting punishment? Matthew 25:46 "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment."

If not then good for you and I suppose your thread would be over at "Self Projection as God"
http://avangelism.com/blog/lexicon/self-projection-as-god

Houx said...

Steve,

Like I said there are errors in the bible. I don't believe that we created God but that God created us. I think that's what you may have been getting at when you said my thread was over at self projection as God. Not sure though.

Anyway, good talking to you.

Steve Locks said...

Thanks Houx,

Yes, you believe it that way round since you're a Christian, but the argument on that website lays out an interesting discussion on the the psychology behind how one picks out what to believe from the bible and why that should make you think again.

Rather than a generalisation, do you believe the 2 specific quotes I gave are mistaken?

Thanks.

Houx said...

I'm not sure about everlasting punishment. There seems to be disagreement on it. The bible seems to also teach that the wages of sin is death.

Since the bible contains errors then it was obviously an error to say that the entirety of it is God breathed.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Steven Locks, your insistance upon holding to a set and interrogative/condemning perception is consistent with one of cynicism. You reject my answer --- why not just say so??? Why not confess that you have no clue about grace??? You are more inclined to condescension and justifying doing the very thing that you claim to abhor - condemning others!

BTW, I don't know if it is intentional, but your comments are suggestive of anti-semitism.

Bye,
3M

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Just one more thing that I keep forgetting to comment on and that is the title of this post, "Can you really worship a God who will send your family and friends to hell?"

Now, why is it that ppl are in the habit of speaking of hell as though it is a future destination rather than a very present and very real preoccupation??? God saves us from hell----meaning that we are blindly cooperating and perpetuating it until we are saved from it.

Another thing, it is in our very real, very close relationships that we are indoctrinated into the cycle of hellishness. Perhaps, a better question might be, "Would we really want to spend eternity with our family members and so-called friends??"

There is no guarantee that if a person is religious, prayerful, charitable, and clean cut that they do not harbor condemnation for themselves and others within. Condemnation and the intention to destroy others doesn't fit through the gates of heaven--

I would not presume anything about the destination of others based upon their proclamation of a set creed or religious doctrine.

Bye, again,
3M

Houx said...

Also Steve,

I think the reason why the Bible contains some contradictions is because people saw things differently. We are all at different places in our spiritual walk so you would expect the Bible to contain contradictions. Alot of it depends on the context and situation.

Scott said...

M3 wrote: Now, why is it that ppl are in the habit of speaking of hell as though it is a future destination rather than a very present and very real preoccupation??? God saves us from hell----meaning that we are blindly cooperating and perpetuating it until we are saved from it.

M3, as I mentioned earlier, the Apocalyptic response suggests we will transition from our current age to a new age at some point in the future. And our disposition in this coming age will be permanently decided by God. So, regardless of what you call it or how you define it, the term Hell refers to the a particular disposition from which you cannot improve your accommodations - regardless of what you learn or experience. And the coming age is an event horizon from which you cannot return.

Another thing, it is in our very real, very close relationships that we are indoctrinated into the cycle of hellishness. Perhaps, a better question might be, "Would we really want to spend eternity with our family members and so-called friends??"

And it is in our real, very close relationships that we also share the most love.

Again, we are not defined by the actions of others or by external events, but by how we respond to them. We have options, even when they are limited. That we are not aware of them or do not choose to take them doesn't mean they do not exist. Our response is what defines us.

Furthermore, you seem to embrace the idea of a dualistic disposition. If you see your friends at all in the coming age, you must see them for eternity. It's all or nothing. But this isn't necessity for a future age, anymore than it is in this age. Instead it serves to right all wrongs that occurred in our current age. It's part of the solution to the problem of suffering.

Why can't this new age allow us to accept those things we love about our family and friends, yet give us the ability to understand the hurtful things they might do?It seems that our inability to sufficient see though harmful intentions and protect ourselves from physical harm that is the real problem, which could be solved in this new age. The solution could be to better equip us, rather than dualistic separation.

But whether we want to spend an eternity with our family and friends (which is dualist) isn't the question John is asking. He's pointing to your response to a God who permanently sends people to hell, including potentially your family and friends. Why is it your response to worship him?

You might suggest that God doesn't really "send" any one to hell. However, If God resurrects us in this new age then he is "sending" us somewhere. Should we not be deemed "worthy" of heaven, he could do nothing by which we would essentially cease to exist. But, again, this would prevent ultimate justice from occurring, which accounts for suffering we experience in this age.

If we were "designed" so that being with without God would be so horrible and empty, then it would seem an eternity without God would be meaningless. Why God would resurrect us to experience a meaningless existence? What purpose could it serve if our only purpose it to be with God?

Steve Locks said...

Hello MMM,

I am not playing a game with you, I really do not understand your answers, so it is not use writing something else obscure and also asking me to re-read the previous obscure thing you wrote.

Firstly - I don't know what kind of Christian you are even, a fundamentalist, inerrantist or not, so it is very difficult to know what kinds of questions are even relevant to ask you rather than others.

So can you answer these questions as my suspicion is that Christians in a toxic relationship with their deity are unable to say that certain acts are bad if they believe their god did them or ordained them, even though it would be obvious if this was somebody else's religion.

So, let me be more precise....

MMM, do you really believe it could be justice to rip open a pregnant women *as described in the bible*? You seemed to nearly say yes before, or at least sometimes, which is bad enough, but what I really want to know is whether you approve of the bible god's supposed actions in his specific commanding of ripping up of pregnant women. According to the bible your god commanded it. Was he just to command that? Can you say yes or no?

MMM wrote: "God doesn't offer fellowship with darkness"

According to the bible your god does very dark acts. Of course, I don't know which bits you actually believe. Do you believe your god killed someone's baby to punish its father? Yes or no? Do you believe your god sent the flood? Yes or no?

I'm sorry you think I am antisemitic, I am rather anti torture and genocide, anti killing a baby to punish its father etc. and anti torment in hell (a Christian idea, but also Zoroastrian, and Muslim and in various Eastern traditions etc.). Does being against torture and genocide really make me antisemitic just because it is written in the bible by ancient bronze age Jewish warriors?! I have a Jewish friend who doesn't believe god's supposed commands of all this ripping and genocide are good or just, just as I don't. So is he antisemitic?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi again, Steven --

Just to clarify, I am a follower of Jesus and as such,I am bonded by His free spirit, not a literary work (I used to be a deconvereted believer-an atheist). Although scripture can serve as a source of inspiration, it can also be conformed in accordance with someone using it to justify corruption. This is no different than any other real life event/relationship where the perspective of the witness is shaped/influenced by their own firsthand experiences.

Because of Jesus, one can go back and read the OT and compare/discern that which is of human nature and that which is divine. I confess, I find it somewhat odd that those who profess nonbelief would be so engaged in indicting ppl they don't even acknowledge as existing in the first place. But anyway, moving right along...

Although I love ppl within the Jewish community, I am not bound by the Torah. Jesus intimated that Moses's laws were in part, the influence of his surrounding community of hard hearted people, not divine inspiration. So I do believe that while they were inspired to protect something of great worth, their methods for doing so were the influence of human natured instinct amidst barbaric surroundings. Jesus amended the OT without condemning the ppl who were involved in the stories (remember the OT ppl were trying to discern God's nature without the Messianic example of Jesus -- it isn't uncommon to project human nature upon the supernatural, even with Jesus's example).

Jesus acknowledged that ppl exploit the divine and supernatural to express hostility against one another (whether in a more insidious expression of conceit or more overtly, physical violence)- Jesus fully acknowledged the truth of human nature and extended grace by divine nature-- If that is offensive to you, then you will no doubt continue to cooperate in perpetuating the cycle of mistreatment by justifying your contempt for others.

I do not condone that which is destructive, but nor do I condemn those caught up in destructiveness - rather, the salvation and peace of God is extended and either accepted or rejected. I do not condemn you or other nonbelievers either. You have the ability to form a preference for yourselves.

Adios,
3M

Gandolf said...

Houx said... "Also Steve,

I think the reason why the Bible contains some contradictions is because people saw things differently. We are all at different places in our spiritual walk so you would expect the Bible to contain contradictions. Alot of it depends on the context and situation."

Translated without the religious jargon, this is simply admitting morals are only relative to the humans and they simply evolve with human thinking

Steve Locks said...

MMM, I think you said no there, but again it was ambiguous. I am not asking a trick question or posing a false dilemma. It should be extremely easy to answer a simple yes or no to the question "did God kill a baby to punish its father?" I think he didn't, do you? If I had asked "did God commit paedophilia" surely any Christian would be able to easily say "certainly not" even if that Christian has not read all of the bible to check this out. They would not expect such a terrible thing to be in the bible and if they subsequently discovered that God committing paedophilia was in the bible (which it is not in reality, this is just for illustration) they would surely argue that this was a false story! They would then have to consider what leads people to believe and write such appalling stories in the first place, why so many Christians still believe them and just what use the OT is if it contains such nonsense. I would have thought though that the examples of genocide and killing a baby to punish its father would have been enough though for you to say yes or no to and I wouldn't have had to use the paedophilia illustration.

MMM, I think you mean that the OT writers wrote this sort of thing because they didn't have the example/spirit etc. of Jesus? Did I understand you there? If so then I take it you do not believe God killed a baby to punish its father or committed global genocide otherwise you too would not have the example of Jesus. Am I right? Have I understood correctly that you believe these stories are false? Can you simply answer yes or no now? Did God kill a baby to punish its parent or send the flood? Yes or no?

Whatever MMM answers the simple fact is that plenty of Christians would say "yes he did." Ask a fundamentalist or go to "answers in Genesis." These people also claim they have the example and spirit of Jesus and are "true Christians." There are plenty of other cruel beliefs non-fundamentalists have, but fundamentalists have the most obvious ones! The fact that these various cruel beliefs exist in Christianity easily demonstrate the moral captivity that is the Stockholm syndrome.

Unfortunately for Christianity the most depraved belief of all those held as "justice" is everlasting punishment. Ironically one that the OT writers - without the "helpful" example of Jesus - did not have.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi Steven --- Who do you want to condemn so badly??? Huh??? Please answer!!! I'm not playing a game either - these are OT folks you're angry about??? I don't think so. So I ask again, who do you want to condemn? You never answered!!!!!

Steve Locks said...

MMM, I really thought I had explicitly answered and I apologise if what I have said did not answer what you wanted answering. I am at least encouraged that you are so critical of people not answering questions, so I look forward to your answers to my very precise questions.

Who do I condemn? If you have a particular meaning of the word condemn that I don't address below then please let me know and I'll answer it. If by condemn you mean "thinks should go to hell" then nobody, as I don't believe in the existence of hell or that anybody deserves it even if it existed. If by condemn you mean "criticise as having cruel, irresponsible and primitive beliefs", then I condemn anyone who believes God kills a baby to punish its father or sends a global flood or anyone who believes in the justice of hell. The first 2 were believed by the OT writers whereas all these things are believed by plenty of current Christians as well as most past Christians including the writers of the NT (they believed in a literal flood didn't they?). So it is a fact of the world that more than just the OT authors (i.e. including past and current Christians) believed these cruel things to be justice. I don't know whether I condemn you as you won't tell me if you think God killed a baby to punish its father or sent the flood. Do you? Do you believe in everlasting punishment?

Maybe you'll refuse to answer but can you or any Christian here answer even this simpler question:

Do you acknowledge that any Christians at all still believe that god killed a baby to punish its father or sent the flood? Yes or no?

Back to what you asked me, do you perhaps mean to ask if I want to condemn? - i.e. do I have some compulsion or desire to condemn people, presumably due to some fault in myself? Only in the same way that you yourself or anyone else ought to condemn cruelty and atrocity. It is no different from how I condemn the holocaust even though it was committed by now dead Nazis. I likewise condemn existing neo-Nazis who still support such actions. I do not believe I am wrong to do so or that I should be criticised for this attitude or any similar condemnation of other atrocities that are believed by currently alive people to be justice. Even if nobody currently believed it was justice to commit global genocide it is still an interesting question to delve into why they ever did and what that means for us today.

Now I have taken you seriously and answered your question. If you think I haven't then please be very precise on what your question actually is. If you want me to continue to take you seriously will you now take me seriously and answer my questions, given you criticised me for not answering to your satisfaction?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hello again! Just a friendly awareness alert, but, your anger at such atrocities in the OT does not ring authentic with me.Ppl who use scripture or vast and sensational generalities in justifying their very real here-and-now offenses at very real here and now ppl (whether they be Christians or atheist) lack emotional credibility.

What I am willing to say to you as a final comment, is this - I answered your question in the terms of grace and mercy. So did Jesus. He knew all too well that ppl raise offenses to vent their hostility and to justify perpetuating the cycle of inhumanity. His harshest words were for the empowered hypocrites because they were instigating the seeds for more overt expressions of evil. I don't cooperate with that planting those kinds of seeds anymore.

To summarize, I reject your answer the same way you reject mine.

Stalemate.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Y'know, I spoke too soon here - I have another comment to offer.

You appear to be indignant about this particular occurence - in fact you mention it several times, "Do you condemn the ripping open of pregnant women?"

From your outrage, I am presuming that you are consistent with putting your words into action and are involved in the pro-life movement?? You see mankind hasn't evolved that much since the OT - we just act in more insidous, and self-righteous, hypocritical ways.

God doesn't condemn - not the OT characters nor modern day ppl who have an abortion - that offends our sense of outrage, but when we condemn, it simply perpetuates more of the same. Use your outrage for something constructive and intervene out of caring compassion. Then I will talk to you. Until then you are just another hypocritical and judgemental cog in the wheel of inhumanity using their self righteous indignation to fertilize the seeds of atrocity.

Steve Locks said...

MMM, it is not "stalemate" when just one person refuses to talk.

Personally I find abortion a moral dilemma as there are usually concerns both with and not aborting. It is seldom clear what to do. I wouldn't condemn anybody for aborting, as I empathise with the difficulties involved. Do you always condemn abortion or do you think it depends on the situation? Do you recognise the difference between medical abortion and ripping up pregnant women as part of war terror?

Anyway, it doesn't matter even if I am inconsistent. This thread is about is "how can Christians abide the thought that hell is just". I contend that the reason they can is due to a psychological condition found in abusive relationships, illustrated by similar beliefs such as believing it justice for God to torture, commit genocide, rip open pregnant women etc. It is God, not me, who is claimed to be consistent and morally perfect; whereas plenty of Christians still believe he commanded and committed these acts. Other than removing himself from dialogue, it is irrelevant if MMM won't answer simple questions any moral person should be able to answer yes or no to such as "do you believe god sent the flood" because I already know plenty of Christians say "yes." They have told me so themselves (see my website) and said so in their books and websites as everyone here knows. We also know not all Christians are like that. Unfortunately there are more complex and subtle cruelties that liberal Christians get trapped into.

However, Christians aren't alone in falling into these moral traps; they are in the same psychological peril as everyone else, we're all human. The 20th century is full of graphic and well documented stories of whole countries (minus a few heroic individuals and groups in most cases) falling into traps of believing in and perpetrating gross cruelties (just as Christians used to when they had punitive power over heretics and apostates. Now Christians don't have such power, most modern Christian cruelty is psychological). A particularly good book on the moral traps people get themselves into is "Humanity: A moral history of the 20th century" by Jonathan Glover.

MMM, you should expect scrutiny and material that offends and upsets you on the "debunking Christianity" blog. Rather than ignoring Matt 7:1 and storming off in moral indignation when the conversation isn't to your prescription you need more courage to dialogue and answer direct questions. If Christianity is not of a perfect and just God but rather a confused system messily evolved into thousands of different versions based on varying interpretations of ignorant and cruel ancient people that you have mistakenly and all too humanly idolised, would you want to know and acknowledge that? Especially if a much better, freer and more moral life is available beyond Christianity? Are you hiding behind obfuscation rather than confronting difficulties in Christianity?

What would you say to a fellow Christian who was troubled by biblical tales of divinely commanded/executed hamstringing of horses, killing firstborn, ripping up children, everlasting torture etc? Would you would ignore their questions or judge them in the way you've been judging me for "daring" to question cruel beliefs? Maybe you should read some deconversion stories, you’ll see there how commonly troubled Christians are advised to take these questions to their elders and how, like you, Christian elders simply fail to answer. Christianity really looks sunk if Christians can't confront these cruelties.

So, other Christians - Houx, Creep or anyone, do you believe God killed a baby to punish its father? Can any Christian answer John Lofus's original question properly – can you really viscerally accept the torture of those you love?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Steve Locks, Jesus once told ppl to get the logs out of their eyes before they removed splinters in others- I hope His words might serve as a chainsaw for that giant sequoia in yours.

Please seek to understand before you discredit and interrogate others- you haven't grasped a word I've written = you only pursue some kind of vengeance based on scriptural writings - black and white without seeking to understand what it means "by the grace of God go I". There is grace unless ppl prefer otherwise. Since you seem to reject grace, then you are more than welcome to the way you are pursuing, black or white.

Jesus didn't condemn the OT ppl and neither do I. But He also showed a way out of the OT so that we do not need to keep perpetuating it.

Good luck,
3M

Steve Locks said...

MMM, the issue is not whether I understand or not your writings on "grace". I could be the world's greatest idiot in this, it is still irrelevant. Rather the issue is this:

How is it that so many Christians accept biblical atrocities as historical and justified? Even worse plenty of Christians believe that the atrocity of hell is real and justified.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Okay Steve, I see you're back.. you asked this.."How is it that so many Christians accept biblical atrocities as historical and justified? Even worse plenty of Christians believe that the atrocity of hell is real and justified."

I can't speak for all Christians and I really do hate generalities, although they do speak of very real-life trends. I believe Jesus offended and confronted His own familial relationships by advancing out of the OT mindset. His personification of God was that He is not a killer - not even of enemies - and He Himself demonstrated that.

Jesus did not advocate perpetrating generational grudges -He sought to intervene on that type of mindset. People get tempted to do that --I was raised that in order to be loyal to my family, I had to hate certain groups of ppl. By using the offenses of historical/past events to relate to ppl in the here and now, we are carrying on a trend that is cruel and unloving. I am glad that I did not accept the teaching of my family otherwise I would have missed out on meeting some great ppl.

At any rate, one can chose to carry on generational grudges or generational love. That's the way I see it. While grudges and offenses are very real and sometimes appropriate, ultimately, when they are maintained and nurtured, I have found that they corrupt human heartedness and the ability to live fully.

thx,
3M

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Steve, I probably did not give a very succinct answer to your inquiry - let me say this - I am not a source of the answer you are looking for as far as speaking on behalf of Christians is concerned but I can testify to the relevance of God's grace towards those who are still acting out in modern day characterizations of OT stories. Things really haven't changed as far as human nature is concerned but as far as divine nature is concerned, Jesus revealed that God does not want anyone (Israelite or Amelikalite sp??) to perish. Does this make sense to you?

Steve Locks said...

Hello MMM,

I understand your desire to guide the question to what you believe is most important (grace) however this is not what this thread is about. The question is how can Christians believe in hell? This is related to how can Christians believe in the atrocities of the OT and atrocities in the NT.

You do not have to have specialist knowledge to honestly acknowledge that there are Christians who believe that it is just to torture after death for ever and that the OT atrocities are justice.

Have you heard of David Pawson? He writes of Jesus:
He is coming, it said, to make war and the first thing Jesus will do on his return is to kill thousands of people. This is a Jesus you don't hear about in Sunday School. This is not gentle Jesus meek and mild. This is Jesus coming with his robe dipped in blood and not his own blood.

He writes plenty more in the same vein and there are others like him.

What is it about Christians that makes them approve of this sort of thing?

It is no use just saying that you don't judge anyone so can't comment - all I'm asking is a simple acknowledgement that some (I've already said not all) Christians have such beliefs, it's a simple matter of demonstrated fact that they do. I am happy for you that you have grown beyond a condemning background but at least you can see that you are able to judge your family as being judgemental and you have already judged me as having a giant sequoia in my eye, so you are capable of making judgements. You should then be able to make the far simpler judgement as to whether atrocity is wrong and should be capable of acknowledging yes or no that there are Christians who accept as just the OT atrocities and hell (envisioned as a fiery furnace to boot).

Do you believe God sent the flood?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi Steve. Your questions seem to keep evolving. Now you want me to give an opinion of why other Christians believe as they do?? I don't think so. But As a former atheist, I can say that I used to be tempted to indict ppl that didn't embrace my perspective or whom I classified as different than myself so I'll try and answer this issue of OT atrocities and hell in accordance with when I held God in contempt. I also want to hear you explain the personal purpose for your persistant querying other than, you think everyone should take offense as you do.

So, let's say that the NT is revised and Jesus comes on the scene, courtesy of the Israelites and tells them, "Wow, you jerks! I gave you this job to do and you totally blew it!!! You were supposed to turn the other cheek away from the enemy! You were ALL supposed to be martyred in confronting your enemies! Forget about the fact that you would have been obliterated! You are total losers! I am so done with you - go to hell!!!"

Now, I can honestly say that I know of stories of human parents that give their children huge burdens and expectations to carry without the proper preparation and instructions and when the child responds in accordance with their abilities and in relationship to their situation, they get reemed a new hole! They get condemned!

to be continued....

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

The Israelites of the OT are not yet acquainted with Messiah because they cannot be. (As a matter of scriptural reference, I believe Jesus calls us to become Jewish at heart). They have not yet shepherded or understood the nature of divine salvation until it is humanly exemplified and demonstrated along with the promise and spirit of God. They cannot turn the other cheek nor can they totally discern that this is God's will. I think it would be a cruel expectation to place upon those living amidst barbarism.But it is the same today - ppl cannot know or understand divine salvation until they are born of the spirit of God. So it would be cruel to expect them to act in accordance with grace until they have encountered it.

So, what of the modern day Christians who hold to OT ways? Salvation is exemplified by grace so Jesus did acknowledge ppl that would bear His name but not know Him - these are considered nonbelievers. Godly grace is something that one cannot manufacture or overstep the human instinct of fight or flight - it comes from God.

As far as David Pawson is concerned, his writing exemplifies his perspective - scripture can be perceived as he describes, it's true. Our projections upon the supernatural reveals our inner landscape. Mr. Pawson's interpretation of indictment against God belies a spirit of condemnation. I interpret the passages Mr. Pawson references differently - as a God Who was willing to empathize and experience human suffering. Jesus told of Mr. Pawson's perspective in a parable about talents and servants. One servant insisted upon an image of God being a total jerk and God advised this person that his cruel and abusive personification would be perpetrated in a place separate from Him. This is because this servant was, himself, cruel.

Let me pose this for consideration - if one trusts Jesus and He claims that God does not come to condemn, then whom shall we look to for the source of condemnation??? So we truly are the ones that blindly cooperate with perpetrating hell on earth and I believe, beyond. Darkness is a preference and as much as hell is described as a place of biting and devouring, I cannot find anywhere in scripture where it says that those inhabiting that place despise it.

So raise offenses and become huffy when others do not participate in moral indignation at OT scripture- it does nothing to accomplish true peace in the here and now, especially when we have the example of God's grace and conduct our lives so differently.

I have experienced Christian idolotry, agnosticism, atheism and finally, the grace of God. I will never return to the hell on earth that I came from.

So, indict and take offense if you must - insist upon a specific answer so that you can accurately set your arrow upon your target -
but the offer of salvation exists for both Israelites and Amelkalites. I am not one to cooperate with creating the confines of hell anymore.

Take care,
3M

P.S. About the flood question, I and my family were displaced once due to our home being destroyed in a flood - nature truly is impressive and the mess and aftermath were immense. But the 'flood' of love that came from neighbors, family and friends was far more impressive and everlasting for sure! Love always wins.

Steve Locks said...

Hello MMM,

Just to let you know I am not ignoring you - I have written a long response to your latest 2 posts but on reflection I think my points will get lost if I give them all at once. So rather than post them all together I'll take it one thought at a time and see what you say step by step.

You wrote of hell:
"I cannot find anywhere in scripture where it says that those inhabiting that place despise it."

2 questions:

1) Does that mean you think hell is an actual place people can go to when they die?

2) If it did say in scripture that those who inhabit that place do despise it would that cause a problem for you or does it not matter what is in the bible? (Like my earlier example - if it said in the bible that Jesus said he is a paedophile would that be okay?) In other words, are some things unacceptable even if they were in the bible - is "those inhabiting hell despising it" one of those things you could not accept?

Thanks.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Steve: I'm glad you chose to address these issues as you have done so I can address your motivating interest in targetting one sector for guilt while ignoring another. There seems to be a double standard in your perspective.

So, here goes:
What makes you think the bible indicates that Jesus is a pedophile? And why do you want it to?

Why do you think a pedophile who defends or justifies their actions would like to be somewhere where that activity isn't allowed?

Steve Locks said...

Oh dear.

MMM I don't think Jesus said he was a paedophile, come on now!

Answer my actual questions and you'll see why I'm asking. I've answered every one of your questions and you've never answered any of mine. You know it makes you feel anxious to answer my questions directly, but it is not really so scary.

Steve Locks said...

MMM, let's make this absolutely clear before you misunderstand again - I do not think the bible says or implies anywhere that Jesus is or was or will be a paedophile. Okay?

Have a careful look at what my question actually was, maybe you are just skim reading. I was asking if you have reasons other than what is in the bible for accepting or rejecting things in the bible. i.e. would you accept anything just because you thought it was a teaching of Jesus?

You wrote of hell:
"I cannot find anywhere in scripture where it says that those inhabiting that place despise it."

2 questions:

1) Does that mean you think hell is an actual place people can go to when they die?

2) If it did say in scripture that those who inhabit that place do despise it would that cause a problem for you or does it not matter what is in the bible?

My purpose of writing this is to critique Christianity. This is the debunking Christianity blog so don't act surprised or think I have an ulterior motive. I've been very patient with you, so give me some credit. Read my website if you think I'm up to something underhand, you'll see I'm quite up front and transparent.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi again Steve - how are ya?

I'll just address your questions here:

"1) Does that mean you think hell is an actual place people can go to when they die?"

I think ppl cooperate in perpetuating hell. We don't have to but we do.


"2) If it did say in scripture that those who inhabit that place do despise it would that cause a problem for you or does it not matter what is in the bible?"

Since I cannot find anywhere where it does say ppl despise being there, what's your point? Don't you want ppl to have a preference or do you want everyone to be a steve clone? I think Jesus gave even the demons a choice - they asked to perpetuate suicidal tendencies. Do you think demons would like to be where they couldn't act upon their preference? Heaven would be "hell" for them!!! You meanie!!!!!

Steve Locks said...

MMM,

Again no clear yes or no, but it does look like you do think hell is an actual place people can go to when they die. Do you?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Howdy Steve,

The old double standard raises its head once again - you want to demand answers but aren't answering my questions. So I'll just use your words to rebut "Again no clear yes or no"

Look, let's face it - you're trying to indict someone - But in God's eyes, we're all guilty of something but instead of punishing or condemning us, He offers salvation and mercy. What do you have to offer someone who is guilty with your double standards? Self righteousness is not a very good way to protect humanity.

bye!

Steve Locks said...

MMM,

You're quite wrong in your assessment of why I'm asking questions. All along I've tried to answer yours but I am afraid it is very unclear as to what your questions actually are! You are not a clear writer I'm afraid.

I think Christianity is a mistaken view of the world and so I am critiquing it. However if I am wrong then I would like to know but you are not helping by avoiding efforts to clarify.

I have only ever critiqued cruelty and yes I do understand why people might be cruel and I too hold lower standards for the ignorant than I do for the informed. I also forgive and understand as much as possible, but as long as we have functioning frontal lobes then we are able to have some responsibility for our actions.

Right, now if you answer "yes" to my question "do you believe hell is an actual place people can go to when they die" then I will say thank you and move on to the next item. If you say no then I apologise but you really have been very unclear if you don't think it is.

So please stop denigrating me for not liking cruelty and just answer yes or no - is hell a place where you think people can go when they die? Surely people are allowed to ask Christians questions on the debunking Christianity blog!

Or do you mean by "no clear yes or no" that you are undecided if hell is a place people can go to when they die?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Steve wrote, "So please stop denigrating me for not liking cruelty" Steve, what do you think God's standard for cruelty is? Do you think He discredits ppls' attempts to respond graciously and then interrogates them relentlessly? No, He does not. Do you know why? Because it is......cruel.

I certainly hope whomever demonstrated that or infected you with this behavior has confessed their hypocrisy and has repented by now.

As for me, I love to converse here and I have written about hell and also about having been a former atheist. I am neither threatened nor impressed by the arguments posed here - I'm never going back to atheism. But I am grateful for my former disbelief - I can recognize the roots of evil and hell and I agree with God, that it originates from the depths of empowered hypocrites. Not a very pleasant lifestyle - So do I believe hell is an eternal destination? No, I do not - I believe it is a very real and present (but potentially eternal) preoccupation - one in which we can be saved and delivered from if we thirst and hunger for a different way. No one likes suffering,but everyone has a different standard for what suffering is and ppl cooperate with perpetuating hell everyday as empowered hypocrites, (otherwise why would people complain about POE???).

So, Take care, Steve!

Steve Locks said...

Part 1 of 3

MMM, it is not cruel to ask Christians who choose to be on the debunking Christianity blog to be explicit when telling us what they believe. Remember you are here out of choice and it was you who initiated conversation with me and I only keep asking you the same question because you give no clear answer. I noticed on some of the other threads people complained you were completely opaque. Contrast the “cruelty” you feel with children whose parents and pastors tell them that they, their friends and relatives etc. will go to hell unless they accept their parents' or pastor's beliefs. Even without Christians telling vulnerable people about the dangers if hell, the bible itself contains plenty of cruelty and difficult passages both in the OT and NT such that they cause much private mental anguish amongst sensitive Christians, as many ex-Christians have described. It is such as these who suffer cruelty, not Christians who willingly converse on a blog set up to criticise Christianity! As for how you feel about our discussion, you don't have to be here if you feel my questions are "cruel" or the pressure to explicitly state your beliefs is somehow too much (I have no idea how it can be "cruel" to ask for a simple yes or no answer to a straight forward question). As for your complaint of repeated questioning, if you could give me a straight yes or no answer rather than ambiguous responses then I would know what you are talking about and would not keep asking. We could then move on to more interesting points.

For example, I thought in your last post that you had at last clearly told me you do not think hell is a place people can go to when they die. You wrote:
"No, I do not"
That seemed clear enough and I was about to write, "good for you" as I did with Houx and then move on to more interesting discussion, but then reading on I saw you wrote:

"I believe it is a very real and present (but potentially eternal) preoccupation."

I thought initially when I started your latest post that you meant hell is a state of mind or spiritual state on Earth. That was pretty much what I thought when I was a Christian (and that non-Christians didn’t have the finer spiritual feelings Christians did), although it troubled me as a Christian that if hell is just an Earthly state of mind then why do so many Christians believe it is an actual afterlife location and why isn't the bible crystal clear about something so important and damaging to believe as a literal hell afterlife with physical torment when it's not? Why did Jesus describe hell as actual physical torment after death which the dead in hell wish release from and do not wish upon others? (e.g. Luke 16:20-31). These are the sort of troubling questions that often crop up in deconversion stories and prevent people from seeing Jesus as humane. So it is a shame if Christianity were true that your answers are so unclear and that you spend your time judging my character rather than answering my direct questions with direct yes or no and intelligible answers.

If your writing of "no I do not" literally means you do not think hell is a place people can go to when they die then what does "present (but potentially eternal)" mean? By "eternal" do you mean an afterlife in hell after all? Maybe you mean that there is a hell afterlife but it is a state of eternal confusion, not physical torment?

Do you mean some people are currently in Christian (but not in Muslim) hell and will continue to be so after death? Or do you not believe in any afterlife? Or are you a Universalist?

Continued below...

Steve Locks said...

Part 2 of 3


I've spoken to many Christians who do not see the special pleading in that Christians are not wilfully rejecting Allah, Krishna and Zoroaster or choosing their hells. I am not wilfully rejecting any of these deities or the Christian god, or choosing their hells - as if I don't agree with Zoroastrianism and therefore want to go to the Zoroastrian hell. Rather I do not think these deities are even there to reject or their hells there to choose. I am not in rebellion against Thor, rather I honestly think thunder and lightening are caused by natural electrical discharges, there is no Norse god that needs rejecting. It is not pride or cruelty or an attitude of condemnation that makes me disbelieve in Thor or his punishments.


MMM, I still do not know for sure if you think hell is an actual afterlife location. Previously you seemed to believe in actual demons, but maybe you were being figurative? Of course plenty of Christians do believe in literal demons. A Christian at work, who overheard me talking about how at a local church they preach hellfire, started literally shaking, went red in the face and thundered at me that he knows demons are real because he has seen them! One can only imagine the nightmares his children must have suffered. Actually we don't have to imagine - I have collected such child abuse horror stories and I'll post them later.

Finally MMM, you keep asking me (in the form of "when did you stop beating your wife") why I "want" to condemn as if I've got some defect, for which Christianity is presumably the cure. Let me spell it out. I think most Christians are the victims of Christianity and need help steering out of their confusion and onwards to a mature understanding of reality. Those who deconvert are very grateful for this and often write to me to thank me for the resources I give and describe how they find a much better mental life is available after deconversion, even if the crisis prior to deconversion is a time of anxiety. See here for some quotes and
here for a summary. You may be interested in the joy of disillusionment . However those Christians who perpetrate cruel beliefs onto the innocent and gullible - particularly children and the poorly educated - are perpetrators, all be it often unwittingly, of cruelty. I have received enough stories of the mental anguish some Christian beliefs cause people - in particular hell - to see that these beliefs are cruel and a cause of unnecessary suffering. As I read these stories I thought if only Christians would read these and come to realise what they are doing then they would weep in shame. Unfortunately I was naive to think so as I subsequently discovered that what really happens is that Christians attempt to rationalise the cruel things Christianity makes them do and even see their behaviours as appropriate and just. Christians are quick to say they are sinners and to admit to their sins, but those sins they never confess to are the ones being a Christian may cause them to commit. So I "condemn" all the unnecessary suffering perpetrated because of religion and I am also concerned by the misdirection and extremely confused and complex messy misunderstanding of the world religion causes that makes it so difficult for people to unravel their indoctrination. So yes, I do "want" to make the world a better place and reduce the suffering and misdirection religion causes. If this doesn’t satisfy you then you will have to define exactly what you mean by "condemn" as I don't understand how it can be wrong to condemn cruelty and unnecessary suffering.

Continued below…

Steve Locks said...

Part 3 of 3

The simple fact is that it is Christians – not atheists and agnostics – who believe in everlasting torture and plenty of other atrocities aside. This is not good. It is no use saying that other Christians interpret the bible wrongly as you did with David Pawson, as there is no consensus on what the correct interpretation is. Let alone 2 Peter 1:20 "no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." If I accepted yours I would be rejecting many others and visa versa. There are so many different views of central doctrines amongst Christians that there would always be more Christians accusing me of being a false Christian than true if I accepted any particular views of the many discrepant ones I get from all the "true Christians" who write to me.
For instance on the same day I had two Christians write to me with two exactly opposite earnest assertions that they wanted me to believe. i.e. Christian 1 wrote:
"How much more love does one have to demonstrate by allowing you and me to have free will to decide these things? "
exactly contrary to an assertion I had in an email from another Christian that day:
"You do not choose what you believe and what you do not. God has chosen that long before the ages ever began. You are destined to live the life God has set out for you and somehow, it brings Him glory. Even if you wanted to believe, you could not until God chose for you to. "
So, plenty of Christians believe in a physical hell. Jesus also described it as such, with actual physical torment after death which the dead in hell wish release from and do not wish upon others. (e.g. Luke 16:20-31). How can anyone believe hell is just? It all looks like primitive people’s beliefs that modern people should be beyond now, as many of us are.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi Steve! That was a really l-e-n-g-t-h-y response, and I have one as well.

I like this:

"I think most Christians are the victims of Christianity and need help steering out of their confusion and onwards to a mature understanding of reality. Those who deconvert are very grateful for this and often write to me to thank me for the resources I give and describe how they find a much better mental life is available after deconversion, even if the crisis prior to deconversion is a time of anxiety."

Yes, I agree!!I was a deconverted person at one time and travelled through agnosticism and atheism. But I am grateful for those times of clearcut nonbelief, because I needed to realize that my former "belief" was truly idolotry. I needed to confront and get rid of some human inspired toxins in my perspective of familial authority -- Jesus spoke of this process - it sounds pretty intimidating, but once actualized, set me free from being subjugated by cruelty and from projecting a cruel personification upon the divine.

From what I am reading and understanding, it seems you have come to terms with the truth that a lot of religion (including some who practice Christianity) uses the image of the divine as a means for self righteous and abusive empowerment.

But, if one truly had followed Jesus and actually believed Jesus, then why are they surprised by this??? No one who believes what Jesus said need be subjugated by human cruelty. He already advised and warned about abusive religious authority in Christianity and other fields of humanity. He wrote about it in several places. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite scriptures is about the religious elite who are sitting in the marketplace (making ppl believe they must earn approval of empowered authority when it has already been freely expressed and given in the creation of their own lives), like children, complaining about their followers because the followers can't conform to their narrow minded and cruel expectations/standards of acceptance.

I have witnessed Christians (and been condescending myself) behaving with this type of moral conceit - I feel sorry for them - it is a hellhole! And Jesus said it was a symptom of atheism, not belief, to espouse this attitude and condescending behavior. A lot of Christians are obviously hypocritical in proclaiming a Savior God while scorning sinners!!! At least you have come to this junction in becoming consistent with the truth.

stay tuned - tbc......

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Continued...

Steve, in summary, I answered your questions honestly and authentically. Initially, I didn't understand all that Jesus was addressing and saying, but there is a spiritual invitation to become enlightened - Jesus spoke of the seed for that venture as becoming thirsty and hungry and seeking. I've seen Christians stigmatize those ventures, but they are very valuable and worthwhile pursuits. There are spiritual truths that do not conform to the projections of human nature. Divine nature is that way - different than territorial human nature but with Christ, it is accessible and an invitation to share in His approach of lovingkindness and compassionate intervention.

I do believe hell can be a present preoccupation (as evidenced in reality and recognized by those who can accurately identify reality - evil is not a myth or a part of religious scripture) and I also believe hell can be a potential after-death destination that ppl have developed a preference for. I mean that whole heartedly about the preference part because I've experienced that. For some, heaven is like hell because they have such contempt for tender intimacy - that was me. I don't care how ppl react to that, but check your own heart before judging - would you really want to spend eternity with unrepentent hypocrites or those who prefer to abuse their power? Who on this Earth would keep you out of heaven if you saw them there in their repented state? Would you be able to recognize that they were free of contempt and hypocrisy?

I do believe hell exists because humanity continues to cooperate with the deceptions that construct it- because we allow fear and offense to keep us perpetuating enmity amongst one another. Condemnation isn't part of God's plan - it doesn't fit into heavenly quarters. But,God confronts and invites those who are empowered by cruelty and unkindness to practice a different way. Some ppl are coopted into using unloving methods as a means of self preservation and refuse to give them up. That is confirmed by reality.

But the good news is is that there is also divine intervention in softening hearts to care wholeheartedly and authentically about one another. So I invite you to consider this - instead of worrying about who will be in hell, consider who you will meet in heaven.

Take care, Steve,
3M

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Steve, I visited your site and it occurred to me that the means of seeking God that you speak of seems to equate to biblical indoctrination.

When Jesus spoke about ppl needing to hate their parents, sons, daughters, etc, (eg, familial indoctrination and cooperation with abusive empowerment), who do you think He was talking to? To me He was speaking not only to the Israelites, but to all humanity.

I am not anti-semite and Jesus Himself is Jewish, but He demonstrated and progressed away from the OT as being an accurate depiction of God. He challenged religious dogma within His own community and it is somewhat scary, but it is Jesus who set the example for challenging the OT characterization of God, not me.

We do not have to be subjugated by cruelty as those who suffer from Stockholm syndrome, but can be saved and lead others out as well. Afterall, we would remain as victims if we did not invite the victimizers out of their victimhood.

ttyl,
3M

Thx!
3M

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Steve, I wanted to respond to what you wrote here,

"Finally MMM, you keep asking me (in the form of "when did you stop beating your wife") why I "want" to condemn as if I've got some defect, for which Christianity is presumably the cure."

From my own personal perspective, I do not stigmatize the process of illness and the need for seeking relief. Where did you get the impetus for the interpretation of my stance? I myself, do not scorn or otherwise hold in contempt those who need tender loving care.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Okay, I am negligent here --- I wanted to respond to this and these issues represent common understandings of the divine:

""How much more love does one have to demonstrate by allowing you and me to have free will to decide these things? "
exactly contrary to an assertion I had in an email from another Christian that day:
"You do not choose what you believe and what you do not. God has chosen that long before the ages ever began. You are destined to live the life God has set out for you and somehow, it brings Him glory. Even if you wanted to believe, you could not until God chose for you to. "


These stances represent the notions of complete, free autonomous human will and predestination - polar opposites as you have correctly identified.

But, Jesus offered this - He said we are blind and deaf (from my own experience I had the liberty to make decisions but was blind and deaf to the subliminal driving/compelling messages that shaped those decisions) -But He comes to set the captives free! He sees us with compassion and salvation, because we do promote enmity between one another.

I really was not 'free' until I became aware or was enlightened of spiritual freedom and started bonding to God's free (but loving) spirit. God has the insight to recognize the pattern of condemnation (both the subtle and more sensational versions of that) but He is also relational in allowing us to develope a preference.

While He can recognize the patterns of destruction, He Himself does not become subjugated or corrupted by condemnation. He doesn't subjugate or dominate or oppress or abuse as human authority can do.

This is really lengthy now, but I like reading what you have to say, it just takes me awhile to get through it all thoughtfully.

Thx,
3M

Steve Locks said...

Part 1 of 2

MMM, thanks and I appreciate your latest posts and some clarification you gave. However, as I said before, most of what is in your posts is not written in a clear way, so you might want to work on that in order to communicate your thoughts better. Have a look at
http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/. Clarity of communication is also an aid to clarity of thought. If you have something important to say then it should be said clearly otherwise it just looks like you are struggling to promote something that doesn’t make sense which fits right in line with my prejudices!

I can understand your feelings of your passage through non-belief as a sort of refining fire leading you to a better understanding of God. Indeed this is not unknown in Christian tradition itself where seriously confronting hard questions, even to the extent of loss of belief, has been seen as extremely important spiritual growth. All the way from St. John of the Cross and his "Dark Night of the Soul" to the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and eventually Don Cupitt et al. St. Therese of Lisieux basically lost her belief in God during her last 18 months. She came to "eat at the table of unbelievers" as she put it. She also described how much purer her feeling of love was when unsupported by the promise of future joy and glory. Eckhart famously wrote: "Man's last and highest parting occurs when, for God's sake, he takes leave of God." A few years ago I had some long conversations with a couple of ex-atheists here and here. Even more interesting was the very cordial conversation I had with Prof. Tim Larson on his interesting book I enjoyed on high ranking Victorian members of secular/freethought societies and notable critics of Christianity who nevertheless subsequently became Christians. Our discussion on that is here. I am in danger of digressing but it may be of interest to you as a side issue.

Anyway back to how can people think hell is just. As you know, many Christians (but not atheists and agnostics) do indeed say that God committed genocide (the flood), killed a baby to punish its father and sends people to everlasting torment etc. I am sure they see these things (and themselves) not as cruel but as justified. I am sure of this because I’ve read many examples of such justifications and they always say so when I’ve asked individual Christians. Many have also directly written to me going to great lengths to justify these supposed actions of God. That after all is the whole branch of apologetics called "theodicy". Milton starts Paradise Lost with the words that the purpose of his epic poem is to "justify the ways of God to men." Indeed the main problem for Christianity is that Jesus himself is described as thinking such things are just. Jesus believed God sent the flood (Matt: 24:38), so Jesus believed global genocide by God was just! So we can forget what "false Christians" believe about God being cruel if we want as even Jesus believed this cruel stuff was just, unless we are to believe black is white and global genocide is justice! So Christianity is totally sunk! Nobody can morally stoop to worship.

You’ve clearly stated this time that you do believe hell is a destination after death. I should have included for clarification though, the crucial question as to whether you think those in hell are subject to physical torment. Could you just answer yes or no to that one too?

Continued below…

Steve Locks said...

Part 2 of 2

MMM, you wrote before that you are:
free from projecting a cruel personification upon the divine

I don't understand how everlasting physical torment cannot be cruel (if you actually believe in it, but others do anyway and Jesus is portrayed as believing hell contains physical torment). That I think was John Loftus's original point in this thread. You said before of hell:
Since I cannot find anywhere where it does say ppl despise being there, what's your point?

My point is that Christians often excuse anything if they believe it is in the bible. So it is revealing to clarify first what you absolutely would not excuse then see if it is in the bible rather than visa versa.

Luke 16:20-31 gives an example of someone in hell (actually burning in flames!) who does not want to be there. Those watching the torments from heaven state as the main reason they cannot relieve the torments as not that those in hell want to be in everlasting torment, but that a physical barrier is in the way. They seem more compassionate than God as they mention those who would help if only they could cross over the impassable barrier. Maybe Jesus (or whoever wrote the story) also had an uneasy subconscious inkling that torment in hell is cruel.

So, according to Luke 16:20-31, not only do people not want to go to hell but they do wish to be in heaven, as you can see - because although it is too late for the rich man personally to escape (there is a physical barrier in the way that some would cross - both ways - if they could) he also wants his loved ones to go to heaven and pleads for help in this. This is far from your view that he chose hell. So even from the bible you are wrong about choosing hell, let alone everything else I've already said about hell not being a choice.

Okay, maybe you have met some very destructive people, after all some people really are mad and some have a range of mental health problems that may make it look like they would choose to be harmed. You mentioned you yourself were once unable to form intimate relationships .Apparently research even shows that 1% of people are psychopaths. But banishing people to everlasting torment for such problems is not appropriate. Correct medical care and psychological counselling would have been more worthy of a benevolent being!

Anyway, the mad aside, do you believe people choose hell because it really makes sense for them to choose it or because they theoretically must choose hell to tie in with the idea that tormenting people for ever is just? Isn't it that you don't want to see what is in the bible as cruel; therefore the only option is that you have to believe people choose to go to hell?

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi again Steve!

I am curious to know why on earth my opinion of what other Christians believe and my take on hell is so important - just a friendly awareness alert here, but your approach comes off as condescending, so why seek the opinion of someone you would need to lower yourself to???? Just wondering....

At any rate, I'd hate for you to miss out on something good, so I just want to re-iterate a few points (I need a little practice with honing the virtue of patience anyway so here goes.... )

Again, I do not recall (if I have, I do want to correct this!) having used the term, "choice" or "justice" in regards to those who gravitate towards perpetuating 'hell on earth'. God is about faithful salvation and setting us free - ppl demand justice rather than faith and personally, I didn't have free choice until I was saved by connecting to a free spirit. Instead, I feel the term, 'preference' is a more accurate description from scripture that applies in real life. I do believe reality confirms that ppl can and do cultivate a preference and love for lying (hypocrisy, conceit), mercenary pursuits and other 'bloodthirsty' endeavors.

Jesus described God as a caring judge who appropriates in accordance with one's heartfelt nature so while I no longer desire to be coopted by fear or terror, there are those who are very successful and empowered by promoting those confines.

You mentioned Luke 16:20-31 - I feel your interpretation is limited to one parable without the advantage of looking at the bigger picture. Jesus is confronting religious pursuits for the purpose of self promotion - He is attempting to intervene on a corrupt vision of an elitist,hypocritical, castigating God. As we see later on, even those infected with religious hypocrisy are forgiven so the schism between heaven and hell has been opened by the grace of God through Jesus.

to be continued......

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

continued, part 2....

Then this: "Isn't it that you don't want to see what is in the bible as cruel;" I wish cruelty were only confined to literary works, don't you? But, I think your point is that you are trying to show me that God is cruel based on your biblical training - I believe you think I am defending and justifying scriptures that portray God as cruel. I follow Jesus - He didn't defend OT scripture, He confronted it -But He offers salvation - He invites the OT ppl (that brought the NT to being) to progress forward in grace. (He also intimates that OT villains are loved by God).

I have to agree (and Jesus addressed this as well) that if the divine were solely a religious icon or literary creature, one can and does corrupt and project cruelty upon the nature of God and Jesus - it's true - it happens throughout the history of mankind and currently! We project our own perspective upon the nature of the divine. I see that you do understand this much because you wrote about it on your blog. But, (and this is good news) Jesus reveals and offers a spiritual connection to a loving God who defies our corrupt projections and misconceptions.

to be continued....

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

I'll get back to you about your interpretation on another scripture you referenced, but I have a feeling that you were taught to view the character of the lame man by the wayside to the healing pool as being 'lazy' and 'making excuses'. If I'm wrong, I am open to being corrected.

Just a couple notes of summary here for this conversation before I move on(and this does relate to how I feel about hell and God's salvation for it):

At the time I became an atheist, I did not have these words and insight to convey what I am about to write. By faith, I can now tell you that it was much easier for me to "erase" God than to confront and allow Him to abate the toxic and hardened feelings I had become indoctrinated by within my familial relationships. I had been trained to accept some pretty inhumane terms of what it means to 'love'. At the time, I thought they were normal and from what I know, they are not all that uncommon. I was taught to be loyal to familial dysfunction and it was very scary to detach from old ways to embrace freedom. It's the same thing that Jesus did when He confronted the religious elite of His day. The need to intervene still continues to this day.

At any rate, Steve, I may retire on conversing about hell for now - I encourage you to continue to run your course and discover what is compelling you to do so. How we respond towards those who are in opposition to us reveals what is harbored on a subliminal basis. That is why Jesus advocated 'going deep' to explore and bring to light the subliminal drives that compel people. While that is also advocated by psychology, psychologists do not necessarily address spirituality or identify God as the culminating source of freedom to connect to.

Okay, take care,
3M

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi Steve, I am always looking to improve my writing skills as you have suggested the need, so here are some edits to items I previously wrote. For instance, this one should have read (corrections in caps),

"As we see later on, even those infected with religious hypocrisy are forgiven so the schism between heaven and hell has been BRIDGED by the grace of God through Jesus."

Okay, then another point I wanted to clarify has to do with your trained perspective of scripture. Here is the correction (again, the corrections are in caps):

"I'll get back to you about your interpretation on another scripture you referenced, but I SUSPECT that your SCRIPTURAL TRAINING ALLOWED YOU to view the character IN THE PARABLE of the lame man by the healing pool as being 'lazy' and 'making excuses'. If I'm wrong, I am open to being corrected.

Okay,
hope this is more readable,
3M

Steve Locks said...

Hello MMM,

First off I apologise for any condescension. It is not my aim to be so and I do consciously attempt to be pleasant, but have obviously failed in this one. I have had many pleasant conversations with Christians in the past, so I know it can be done. Personally I always read your emails imagining a friendly voice so I don’t too easily fall back on my prejudices!

Anyway, I think we have actually improved a little in the way we’ve talked to each other over these posts although I suspect we are both a little frustrated.

To some extent complex conversations have a logic and impetus of their own and sometimes we are taken off where we might not have intended initially. You asked why I’ve wanted to know about your beliefs. Actually I have discussed Christians in general, the bible and your beliefs. Christians have a wide variety of beliefs so I have to be able to pin down what particular Christians think if I want to discuss Christianity with them. I’ll admit this has been difficult to do with you, but I don’t have to anyway, as I did say a while back – I am content to discuss Christianity in wider contexts but there too you refused to comment or be drawn on what other Christians believe now or in the past. So the only thing left to comment on is what’s in the bible.

My basic thesis for why Christians can accept hell (those Christians who believe it to be torture) is that it is only possible if they have a maladjusted relationship with their deity and this is commonly seen in other relationships of unequal power balance, particularly where there are cruel actions mixed with kindness. I have found it frustrating all along that you have not been able to straight forwardly acknowledge that torture is cruel so we can examine this problem. My basic thesis from the bible (and note this is not just the OT – the NT is worse) being immoral is that it contains clear instances of immorality, such as Jesus’ descriptions of hell as physical torture and Jesus’ belief in the flood being a real event. Hence Jesus believes that global genocide is justice, therefore he cannot be divine (let alone the clanger that he actually believed such a fairy-story!)

From my perspective I think my basic problem with our conversation is that I have had trouble getting you to look at this and I think you are making it more complex than it needs be. Likewise I feel you think I have not understood your main thesis. Nevertheless I have found our conversation stimulating. If you want to continue that is okay, but I think I probably have said as much as I have to offer, although I could rephrase or give more examples or expand.

I don’t know if anyone else is still signed up to this thread but if so it is interesting that nobody else has chipped in since we started back and forth in earnest – maybe they are either interested in the interaction or (I fear) exasperated! Anyway I’ve found it interesting.

If you do want a rest, then you know where to find me if you want to pick up later - http://sites.google.com/site/leavingxtianity

Best wishes

Steve

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi Steve - thanks for the convo here - for the record, I do think torture is horrifyingly horrible but there is a couple places in scripture whereby Jesus intimated that He is not familiar with minions that perpetuate suffering upon humanity and He also said that there is no relationship between light and dark (although He was willing to encounter and confront it).

I know there are ppl that complain, well why did He create humanity or there shouldn't be a place provided for destruction to play itsself out -- But I have come to love His creative expression and don't believe it should be aborted -- Godly love far outweighs the risks and hazards of condemnation and hell especially once you realize how generous God is in allowing ppl to become a part of the heavenly landscape (both on earth and in the eternal). so, on that note, (I know I keep saying I'm retiring from writing) I will remind you not to worry about hell and condemnation - rather, be concerned about who you meet in the here and now that you will encounter in eternal heavenly dwellings. And remember, Jesus assigned the label of 'nonbeliever' to some of the Christians you're trying to help out of idolotry so good job - keep up the good work!

ttyl,
3M