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Confusion re: Xtians

Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 1:48 pm
by Kystar
Why do so many of the various Xtian faiths believe that they cannot question their God?

I'm very confused, but I think that is one of the things that pushed me away when I was young.

Does anyone know the premise behind this? Does it go back to the preception that God is Perfect and All-Knowing?

See, I always thought that without questioning, there is no learning and without learning, there is no growth. Why would a Divine Parent NOT want their mortal children to Grow?

Any help?

Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:17 pm
by Lotus
:::from my perspective not from anything factual:::

It seems to me that christians seem to fear their god. If you think about it: He was able to order around the Angel of Death to smite anyone who was not a believer (first born son). The christian god was as vicious (if not more at times) as Kali Ma.

BB
Lotus

Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:14 pm
by MettaPax
I think what may have happened is that when "the church" decided to re-vamp the bible they twisted the original concept of what "god" was supposed to be like. :-(

After all back then the people were governed by religion and if the people feared thier god then who has the power over the people? :roll: It's messed up, I know. #-o But the church still desperately clings to this idea of power over people. :-? I know plenty of "real" christians who do not fear thier god what so ever. :-D They see him as a kind and loving father who teaches them and guides them int his life that has been given to them. =D>

Not all Christians are... christian. :lol:

Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 1:38 pm
by Willow
It depends on the type of Christian too.

MAny of the people featured in the Bible doubted, questioned and outright argued with God.
I think there have been ebbs and flows, I mean during the dark ages you wouldn't want to question in case you were burned.

I wish I had a better answer but it frustrates me too.

Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 3:28 pm
by Rain ForestMoon
It's just like any other totalitarian regime: Those who question the regime are subversives, and subversives need to be exterminated! And fear of extermination (or eternal damnation) stops many from becoming subversives.

The 613 Commandments G_D supposedly gave to the Jews are in the main nothing more than rules and laws to rule the Jewish People and also served to enshrine the position of the Jewish ruling classes.

(BTW: Just how the Christians managed to reduce the 613 commandments to 10 is a bit of an interesting question. Perhaps one could ask that question to side-track a pesky fundie when the need arises....)

Posted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:24 am
by Jescissa
Well the early church was all about consolidating royal and religious power. If the King and God were on their side, no one would dare argue with them, would they? And by making God all-knowing and all-powerful, by extension, his intermediaries seemed to be the same...in reality the priest was all-knowing because of confession, not because of some divine power :lol:!

I would show respect to a High Priest/ess, but I'm not under the illusion that these people are the only way to the God and Goddess...everyone is a priest/ess and are perfectly capable of communicating with the divine by themselves, titles are a way of showing respect, showing that people have advanced along the path...not a way to oppress and dominate. I'd show respect to a vicar or an imam or a rabbi as well, it's just I don't accept that these people are the way to talk to the divine. I can do that myself, I don't need the middle men!

Posted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 6:12 pm
by SageWolf
An intersting fact is that the 613 commandments were brought down to 10, to me it seems like they were condensed down to suit them at the time, you see following 613 commandments is too much time, and effort, so they got it down to 10 to suit their own purposes, funny, isn't it?



SageWolf

Posted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:03 pm
by daibanjo
Hope you don't mind if i correct a wee thing here.
There are 626 laws, 217 are of the negative kind (Thou shall not) the rest are positive (Thou shall).
These laws really define the way Jews and, for the most part, Moslems view god. As a just and righteous god giving laws of justice and righteousness to be lived by a just and righteous people.
christians, however, see these laws as being a very poor second place to salvation by faith in christ. "Believe in jesus and your sins will be washed clean." Say the christians. So the believer who ignores any rule of god will still be in heaven but the devout and faithful of any other faith are going to hell.
Therefore do not question anything about god or his scriptures for that shows a lack of faith and will upset the very precarious foundation of christianity.
I choose to refuse to live my life according to hebrew mythology and a middle eastern legend. Unlike the followers of the book, i do not live in fear but in a reaffirmation of life every day.

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 11:59 pm
by Graver
I think I can shed some light on this. I'm a practicing Christian, so I've a wee bit of expertise in this.

First, we have to define what you're asking:
To question God, as in ask, is an acceptable thing to do in prayer.
To question God, as in doubt, is never acceptable.

There are two aspects of Christianity that make a great world of difference. The faith, and the religion. Religion is meaningless. Religion is going to Church on Sundays, bowing your head when the Pastor leads the congregation in prayer, and reading the Bible. They're just actions, habits that people do. They have no bearing on your actual relationship with God (which is what Christianity is all about).

Faith is the basis og everything. To doubt God means that you don't have faith in God. This does stem from the belief that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. The Bible tells of men doing great things due to their faith in God, and of others falling when they doubt.

One of the scriptures quoted for this is "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away." because no matter what our circumstance, we're to remain faithful to him and praise him for the good as well as the bad.

If you actually look at the Bible, its teachings boil down to two things:
1. Faith in God
2. Selflessness

The selflessness comes into play with the faith, since we're not to doubt God when things seem to turn against us. If we're complaining about how things suck, then we're thinking about ourselves, and thus being selfish. But being faithful and being selfless are the two most difficult things a human can be, because our nature is doubtful and greedy.

I hope this has helped clarify things for you.

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 3:29 am
by Rain ForestMoon
Graver wrote:I think I can shed some light on this. I'm a practicing Christian, so I've a wee bit of expertise in this.

First, we have to define what you're asking:
To question God, as in ask, is an acceptable thing to do in prayer.
To question God, as in doubt, is never acceptable.

There are two aspects of Christianity that make a great world of difference. The faith, and the religion. Religion is meaningless. Religion is going to Church on Sundays, bowing your head when the Pastor leads the congregation in prayer, and reading the Bible. They're just actions, habits that people do. They have no bearing on your actual relationship with God (which is what Christianity is all about).

Faith is the basis og everything. To doubt God means that you don't have faith in God. This does stem from the belief that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. The Bible tells of men doing great things due to their faith in God, and of others falling when they doubt.

One of the scriptures quoted for this is "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away." because no matter what our circumstance, we're to remain faithful to him and praise him for the good as well as the bad.

If you actually look at the Bible, its teachings boil down to two things:
1. Faith in God
2. Selflessness

The selflessness comes into play with the faith, since we're not to doubt God when things seem to turn against us. If we're complaining about how things suck, then we're thinking about ourselves, and thus being selfish. But being faithful and being selfless are the two most difficult things a human can be, because our nature is doubtful and greedy.

I hope this has helped clarify things for you.
Your answers may hold true for part of christianity - but only for the minority view. Your Catholic and Orthodox friends (or even the Lutherans and Anglicans) would not be able to agree with you on that......

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 6:52 am
by Kystar
The Question that got me into big trouble when I was younger was "Why?"

The questioning I was curious about, was that certain people were talking about a slew of hardships and such, but refused to "question God," as to the WHY they were enduring this. "It's not our place," I remember one saying.

Now when I am faced with hardships and whatnot, I sit back and ask Why of the Divine...usually in the "What do I need to learn?"...but also in the "Why must I endure this? Is there a reason for it?"

Usually, those questions get me a Guide response, that either shows me what I need to learn, the reason behind the harship, or evidence that the hardships weren't exactly coming from the Divine directly, as there have been people to work against me in the past.

So, why can't you ask God why? Why must you simply slog through things without knowing what you need to learn from them? Blind faith isn't always the best thing, either. I believe that Educated Faith is so much stronger, because when someone questions YOU as to WHY you believe the way you do, you can give them an honest, thought-out, reserached answer.

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 10:40 am
by Graver
Well, "blind" faith in God is far from uneducated. Anyone who has read the Bible knows why things are happening to them and knows why they believe how they do. We know what is causing the things that happen to us and we know that falling to those things isn't going to gain anything.

God never sends us tests or trials. We live in a world of sin. A sinful world is constantly in turmoil. Instead of just protecting us from the turmoil, he allows it to touch us and gives us what we need to overcome the turmoil.

As for Catholics and Anglicans, I can't speak for them. I can only speak from the Baptist/Presbyterian/Methodist/Pentecostal corner.

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 1:17 pm
by Kystar
Graver wrote:We live in a world of sin.
What is sin? Why is it in our world if God didn't put it there? Why would we be punished for something that God put in the world to teach us something?

These are the questions that I never got answers for, that sent me to follow another path.

I don't believe in sin. I believe in cause and effect. Action and consequences.

If I hurt someone, I will be hurt in the future. If I help someone, I will be helped when I need it. If I curse someone, I will suffer their retribution. If I heal someone, I will be blessed.

Sin is something that I believe was created by those in the Dark Ages who wanted a way to scare the people. I don't trust the Bible because it's gone through too many mortal hands.

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 8:22 pm
by Willow
I was raised a Christian, and still hold many of the beliefs as valuable. In my pentecostal church there were people who believed that doubt was bad and that doubt was good. Good (having been incarnated as human) should theoreically understand that humans will doubt. It is a debate that I think Christians will express a variety of opinions on when they are asked individually.

I also have to disagree with you that the practises you define as religion are meaningless. Religion (to academics) is the human expression of an understanding or relationship to the transendant. I would argue that bowing your head during prayer, reading the bible and attendance of church has a great bearing on your relationship with God.

Bowing of the head signals a time set apart for communion with your god, and humility. Going to church is community. Jesus didn't walk by himself, he surrounded himself with friends and other believers. The church is a community, community is important. People who have a supportive community around them live longer and are generally happier. As for reading the Bible, I think that is also important. If you are going to hold the bible as the inerrant word of God it should be studied inside out and backwards, as well as questioned. Faith is practised through actions, there is a book I think you would enjoy called a celebration of Discipline. It discusses how Christians have moved away from the disciplines practised by early Christians. including fasting, prayer, meditation, confessions, study. They really did revitalise my faith at the time, and now I use many of the lessons in my pagan practises as well.

Back to the original poiint, faith and doubt do not have tobe mutually exclusive, just because you doubt at one time, does not mean your faith is shattered. Rather you walk through a dark nigth of the soul and you come out stronger. Great men (and women) doubted too, laments and psalms are full of questioning and doubt. Sociologically speaking, I can tell you why Christins dislike doubt. However personally speaking, i think a bit of doubt is good for any faith, because true faith comes from working through that doubt instead of saying it is evil. Why not embrace it and use it as an opportunity to learn?

I also think it might be a bit of a stretch to boil down a book such as the Bible to two messages of faith in God and selflesness. Some (many?) of the heroes of the bible are incredibly selfish people. Christianity is a selfish religon.

Lemme splain, I don't mean selfish in a bad word. I mean selfish in the sense that salvation is an individual act. I personally have to accept Jesus Christn into my heart. Salvation of the world can only come through each individual accepting Jesus. I like to ask, if there was no hell, would you believe in God? Jesus? I think it is an important question to ask. this isn't to say that there aren't a lot of selfless Christians out there. But to say that, as a summary of the Bible, I think sacrifice or redemption might be a better word than selflesness.
If we're complaining about how things suck, then we're thinking about ourselves, and thus being selfish
Why can't you complain when things suck? David did, Job did, Jesus did?

I find arguments that rest on "human nature" somewhat shaky. Human nautre isn't universal. the values and norms that we hold dear are not present in every culture around the world. Maybe it is European nature to doubt and be selfish (hence individualism, the enlightenment and rationalism).

Anyway, this response is way longer than I intended it to be. You raise some interesting points but I think we disagree on basic premises. Interested to hear some further responses.

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:47 pm
by Graver
Sin is disobedience to God, Pure and simple. Sin is in this world because God gave us free will. He gave us the choice and ability to sin or not sin. Humanity chose sin, and now pay the consequence as we now sin against one another, and God has steadily been removing his protection from this Earth.

I don't think we're being punished. Its works more like the way you said, cause and effect. Before people chose to commit murder, no one was ever murdered. God commands us not to do things, not because they're arbitrary actions that he thinks we shouldn't do, but because those things are unhealthy for us and those around us. Every bad thing in the world was here when things first began, but God completely protected us from that. When we sinned, he began removing that protection from us and has continued. The Apocalypse is going to be when the last, and worst, thing he was protecting us from is released.

I don't believe in the karma-esque way you believe, simply because I've seen good people suffer beyond what they deserve, and I've seen bad people reap rewards beyond what they deserve. Well, also because I believe in the Bible, which doesn't teach that :)

Willow, the problem with religion, symbolism, and fellowship isn't that they have no value, its that they're too easy to abuse. The Bible is the greatest outlet of wisdom that we have. Fellowship is a great tool for keeping Christianity strong and united. Bowing your head is a sign of respect and humility. These are good things. But, someone who bows their head, goes to church, and reads there Bible can be completely missing EVERYTHING about the faith. If those religious acts aren't accompanied with a true relationship with Christ, they are entirely meaningless. Faith, prayer, and worship are essential to one's relationship. A Christian can grow strong in his faith and exemplify what a follower of Christ should be with just those three things. But, if they only have church, symbolism and reading, then they have nothing.

Not the whole Bible, but the New Testament. I mean, there are infinite lessons to be learned from the Bible. But as far as it is connected to Christian practices, those are the two strongest. Yes, the people in the Bible are selfish... THEY'RE PEOPLE. Imperfect, sinful human beings. Of course they're selfish. The only human that was never selfish was Jesus.

I don't think Christianity can be called selfish in the way you describe it. Personal is a more accurate word. If you describe some one's relationship to their spouse, you don't say that he has a selfish relationship with her (since its just a relationship with him and her, and not everyone and her), you'd say that he has a personal relationship with her. Yes, salvation comes through individual choice. Before that choice, our only calling is to make that choice. Once we've made that choice, our calling is to spread the gospel so that others might make that choice. We're not supposed to live for ourselves, we're supposed to live for God. So, I wouldn't exactly say its a selfish religion, no.

Would I believe in God if there was no Hell? Yes. If there was no Hell, I believe every single one of you would believe in him too. If there was no fall, we would not has sin. We would all live in eternal communion with him, which would make it rather difficult to deny his existence. :)

David complained: He's a sinful human being.
Job complained: He's a sinful human being.
Jesus complained: No, he didn't. He asked God why, but he didn't complain. He asked the Father why he had been forsaken to this torture, but that does not mean he doubted the Father.

But, I must say that I think this is getting rather off-topic, and should probably veer back towards the original idea of the thread.