You can reap what you did not sow!

June 22, 2007 at 3:15 am 24 comments

TractorThe philosophy of reciprocity states one should “do for others what you would like them to do for you.” (Matthew 7:12). I agree with this viewpoint since most people want to receive compassion and kindness from others and in turn should show compassion and kindness. However, this philosophy is an not an absolute in the sense that what you do for others will be done to you or “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7).

In response to my previous post on “Spiritual Abuse,” Sue Ann Edwards stated:

“There are no such things as ‘victims’. If I’m radiating a negative field, I will attract a negative pole. Cause and effect. Sowing and reaping.”

I absolutely disagree with this viewpoint. There are true innocent victims in this world who do nothing to deserve the life they have. If Galatians 6:7 is implying that the Christian God is somehow the keeper of this cosmic balance, he’s failing miserably or does not exist (I’d go with the latter :) ). Starving children in third world countries have done nothing to deserve malnutrition and death. What have they sowed that they’re reaping pain and suffering?

There are also those who are evil and living lavish lifestyles with everything they could want in life. In spite of what Christians may want to think, not every non-Christian is miserable and in search of some greater purpose to life.

The so-called spiritual law of sowing and reaping is in no way a guarantee. You can be kind to someone and reap betrayal. You can be a victim of abuse and have done nothing to deserve it.

That being said, I still believe we should strive to do good and to be kind and compassionate. However, we should do so simply because of our own moral and ethical choice with the knowledge that it does not mean that we will “reap” goodness, kindness, and compassion. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. It’s just the way things work. However, let’s do our part to ensure that we make a positive impact on this world and leave the catastrophes to “acts of God.”

- The de-Convert

Entry filed under: The de-Convert. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Spiritual Abuse I can finally die in peace

24 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sue Ann Edwards  |  June 22, 2007 at 3:59 am

    When we surrender authority of our lives over to tohers, we have betrayed ourselves. This is the seed of betral we have sown and it is therfore now surprise when we reap it’s harvest in our lives. Being kind to others doens;t nullify the seeds of self betrayal we’ve already panted in our minds and hearts.

    There is also a lot of negativity for life’s expereinces being expressed, indicating Limited and Conditional Love. Every monet in life is a Present. A Gift. Wether it be spent in sorrow of joy.

    How grateful are we of our presents?

    How much do we Love Life?

    ALL of it. For a full measure of Life has nothing to do with legnht in years but everytihg to do with experiences embraced in it.

    What is being expressed is Fear. Fear of poverty. Fear of death. Fear of disease. Fear of unpleasantness.

    Fear is not Love. Nor do the seeds of fear, reap a harvest of love, just as if I put in all the ingredients for a cherry pie in my oven, I won’t be pulling out a chocolate cake.

    Fear of death is not a Love for Life. Nor does it bring to us the Wisdom to nurture it.

    Labels of ‘bad’ and ‘evil’ are judgments of rejection and condemnation, expressing lack of Understanding and Compassion. Understanding is not what is being desired. For Understanding requires synthesis, not attitudes of seperation. I never will understand anything when my perspective and desire is to seperate myself from it, which judgments of condemnation and rejection certainly do.

    ‘Good and bad’ are qualitative judgments expressing limits in both our understanding and inner substance of character.

    I also ask what emotion are we addicted to?

    For the peptide produtcion of most of our hypothalumus’ seems to be stuck in ‘drama’ and ‘insecurity’.

    I remind us that the experience of ‘security’ is an emotion. It is a psychological issue, not a physical one.

    Maybe if we didn”t believe in Love upon condition, then we wouldn’t be so emotionally insecure?

    I counted the seeds of self betrayal, the seeds of fear and the seeds of self denial. Go ahead, cry ‘victim’ at the harvest of planting those seeds.

    Will it help when it comes to changing the harvest, just in case you don’t like experiencing all that betrayal, what you feared and, yourself denied coming right smack back at you?

  • 2. Stephen  |  June 22, 2007 at 6:48 am

    Certainly it absurd to claim that “there are no such things as ‘victims’”. By behaving appropriately towards others and thinking out the consequences of our actions (don’t go up on the roof in a thunderstorm) we can greatly improve our chances, but they will never be 100%.

    The wish that people should reap what they sow is surely one of the original forces behind religion. People wished that good people would be rewarded and bad people punished – if not in this world, then in another. But wishing for something doesn’t make it happen. Courts and police are a far more effective way of achieving justice than religion.

    I’m afraid I find Sue Ann Edwards’ posts extremely hard to follow; they are barely coherent. With her obsession with fear and negativity I’m afraid she needs help beyond what can be offered on a blog.

  • 3. HeIsSailing  |  June 22, 2007 at 8:04 am

    “If Galatians 6:7 is implying that the Christian God is somehow the keeper of this cosmic balance, he’s failing miserably or does not exist.”

    I have to disagree with you here. I don’t think Galatians 6:7 is referring at all to some Christian version of karma. Read the following verse:

    verse 8: For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

    This is talking about working towards the flesh versus working toward the spirit, and in further context, Paul is talking about glorifying God rather than the flesh. While doing good is part of working toward the spirit, there is nothing here about others doing good to you, or that good things will happen to you. Rather, you work toward the spirit so that God is glorified, and you will reap everlasting life.

    Building some kind of “Law of Reciprocity” out of the passage in Galatians is strained at best.

  • 4. superhappyjen  |  June 22, 2007 at 9:46 am

    I also am having difficulty following the logic of Sue’s post. Is she saying that children in the third world die of disease because they have betrayal in their hearts? Or because they can’t let go of their fear? So since we live in a part of the world where we don’t likely have to worry about dying of starvation, that means we have a better chance of going to heaven? Sue, perhaps you could explain more clearly because this makes no sense to me.

    I think this entry touches on why some Christians seem unable to understand that atheists can have morals. We don’t believe in cosmic consequences for our actions, so why don’t we just go around murdering people.

  • 5. agnosticatheist  |  June 22, 2007 at 11:01 am

    HIS,

    I have to disagree with you here. I don’t think Galatians 6:7 is referring at all to some Christian version of karma.

    The scripture in Galatians includes the phrase “God is not mocked” implying that God is the one backing the sowing and reaping concept. In other words, he ensures that what you sow you reap (so as not to be “mocked”) – which is really the main point of the post vs. reciprocity. I do not believe we necessarily reap what we sow and we definitely reap many things we did not sow.

    aA

  • 6. agnosticatheist  |  June 22, 2007 at 11:04 am

    shj,

    I also am having difficulty following the logic of Sue’s post.

    Me too. Rebecca is going to do an analysis of one of her comments on the “Spiritual Abuse” thread.

    aA

  • 7. Heather  |  June 22, 2007 at 11:09 am

    I can understand what Sue is saying in the concept that a negative attitude can attract negative consequences. It’s along the lines of getting what one expects. For instance, if one is absolutely convinced that no one wants to be his/her friend, odds are that person will not have friends. The negative concept has influenced the outcome.

    But this does have limits, as others have said. What about rape victims, or children who die in third world countries? The logic listed above can too easily go to blaming the starving children for their own situation.

    After all, some people live happy, loved-filled, non-negative thought lives and still have horrible things happen to them. That’s where the whole ‘why do bad things happen to good people’ comes into play.

  • 8. agnosticatheist  |  June 22, 2007 at 11:14 am

    After all, some people live happy, loved-filled, non-negative thought lives and still have horrible things happen to them. That’s where the whole ‘why do bad things happen to good people’ comes into play.

    (emphasis mine)

    I’d love to hear the comments of those who believe in a just and sovereign God on this subject.

    aA

  • 9. HeIsSailing  |  June 22, 2007 at 11:19 am

    ‘why do bad things happen to good people’

    The whole book of Job wrestles with this subject. It is unfortunate that most people allow the first couple and last chapters overshadow the long discourses in the middle of the book. I think it is among the heights of the Old Testament’s poetry. The ultimate resolution comes at the end, as we all know. God intervenes and basically tells Job that his ways are above ours, and no amount of human philosophy will be able to grasp it.

    So deal with it.

  • 10. agnosticatheist  |  June 22, 2007 at 11:28 am

    … but I don’t want to deal with it… I want to sing!!!!

  • 11. societyvs  |  June 22, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    “why do bad things happen to good people”

    That’s the real beauty of life isn’t it – we don’t have all the answers for every motion/act one of the six billion people on earth do – all we know is ours and our thoughts. I don’t think there is an easy answer to this question (and I see my share of suffering around me) – but a lot of things can be made avoidable via choice (in what I have seen take place around me).

    I love how some people can blame ‘God’ for a tragedy – if that alleviates the pain – then okay – I support you in ‘easing the pain’. However, I don’t think I can count the number of times I have seen simple choice (or choices) in people’s lives that would have made all the difference – it’s literally like the sands of the sea to me now (if I kept a count).

    Yet the ‘cop-out’ answer will always be blame another…and we wonder why this world is so messed up (rich countries abuse poor countries, rich countries politically bully poor countries, etc..and this filters down into mainstream society). There are a lot of problems in this world – but that river runs so much deeper than any of us have real time for (6 billion people with problems).

    If you want an easy answer…I am not sure where to look.

  • 12. agnosticatheist  |  June 22, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    svs,

    This really isn’t a dilema for atheists.

    The confusion comes when one believes in a loving, just God who is in control of the world. Is he or is he not in control? Does he or does he not control the weather? Does he or does he not back up his Word?

    aA

  • 13. Heather  |  June 22, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Wouldn’t part of the response be that bad things happen because humans deserve nothing less? Which is a fun response, because it actually ties into this post — a person’s negativity (sin) produces negative results. Aka, it’s all our fault.

    Did Job ever know that all the things that happened to him occured because God and Satan had a bet? Because I was always under the impression that Job didn’t deserve what happened to him (support by the text itself), but it was a giant test by God and Satan — which makes no sense, because if God is all-knowing, and Satan should know this, why bother with the test at all?

  • 14. mysteryofiniquity  |  June 22, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    People also seem to miss the point that our “whining” as Sue Ann called it on the Spiritual Abuse post is a process of working through that is extremely beneficial, whereas positive thinking (or negative) is a form of denial in the face of reality. The fact that the abused face their realities and work it through is a sign of mental health. In other words, blogging about our experiences and working them through within a supportive environment is the first and most beneficial form of spiritual healing. Fundie new agers and Christians try to bypass this process by having us ignore our pasts and envision some “reality” that isn’t there. To me that’s the height of absurdity.

  • 15. Sue Ann Edwards  |  June 22, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    See what I mean? Synthesis is beyond a conflicted person’s Understanding. It is a Mind function of cognitive association.

  • 16. DagoodS  |  June 22, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    A handy phrase.

  • 17. mysteryofiniquity  |  June 22, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    DagoodS,

    LOL :-)

  • 18. societyvs  |  June 22, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    “The confusion comes when one believes in a loving, just God who is in control of the world. Is he or is he not in control? Does he or does he not control the weather? Does he or does he not back up his Word?” (Aa)

    Those are good questions – but my response is an honest one with nothing more to gain theologically from it. I still have a tough time seeing how one’s belief in this ‘G-d’ can make life worse – ie: suffering – when we have been given the power of choice irregardless? Even the mind numbed fundie is subject to his/her choices – for the good or the bad?

    I know the rant of natural weather phenomenons – and I ain’t no sizemologist so to answer for it (and for God) would be facetious.

    I am yet to see my belief in G-d steer me in a direction more harmful then helpful – and I don’t speak for all of the faith systems and denominations – but I do construct my paradigm from bibilical texts (namely the Jesus writings).

    I have no problem with a loving God giving me the right to choose…which is the bain of most people’s existence (ie: root of most problems). But if there is a problem with that – I am willing to be enlightened further.

  • 19. Heather  |  June 22, 2007 at 7:16 pm

    Society,

    **However, I don’t think I can count the number of times I have seen simple choice (or choices) in people’s lives that would have made all the difference **

    I think this post is focusing more on situations where people didn’t seem to have a choice — like rape, or abuse (even arguing that women have a choice to walk away can be tricky. Yes, they do, but there are huge psychological factors at play) or even innocent victoms of crimes such as murder. In those, the people didn’t have the freedom to choose what happened to them. Someone else made the choice to do something to them. That’s when the question of a just and soverign God comes into play.

  • 20. agnosticatheist  |  June 22, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    … babies and children under the alleged “age of accountability” are the biggest challenge here… What have they done to deserve some of the tragedy they face.

    aA

  • 21. Slapdash  |  June 24, 2007 at 7:59 am

    Why do bad things happen to good people?

    Sin, obviously.

    This is the one-word explanation I have heard my entire life. That word “sin” blankets everything – it’s like a gigantic, dismissive way for fundie Christians to avoid thinking too hard about why children get cancer. Or peoples’ homes are destroyed by floods and tornadoes. Or why starvation exists.

    I find it so strange that God is completely off the hook here. All the bad crap in the world is our collective fault. There is no nuanced thinking around why an innocent person should ‘pay’ for someone else’s sin; no nuanced thinking around well how did man’s sin cause bad weather patterns and viruses and cancer cells? I guess collectively we are reaping what we have sown. Except God is given a humongous “pass” in terms of any responsibility to intervene and prevent harm to innocents.

  • 22. Karen  |  June 24, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    I find it so strange that God is completely off the hook here. All the bad crap in the world is our collective fault. There is no nuanced thinking around why an innocent person should ‘pay’ for someone else’s sin; no nuanced thinking around well how did man’s sin cause bad weather patterns and viruses and cancer cells? I guess collectively we are reaping what we have sown. Except God is given a humongous “pass” in terms of any responsibility to intervene and prevent harm to innocents.

    This is so true. If you haven’t seen them, you should watch the Mr. Deity shorts at http://www.mrdeity.com. Episode 4, Mr. Deity and the Messages, deals with how god never answers prayer because he already gets credit for the good stuff and no blame for the bad stuff, so why should be bother listening to prayers?

    The entire series is really funny and pointed without being nasty. The creator, Brian Dalton, is an ex-Mormon and current agnostic atheist and skeptic.

  • 23. Sue Ann Edwards  |  June 24, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    It might help if so many weren’t clueless when it came to really knowing what’s going on within. But alas, when we’ve only been taught what to think but not how, we will be forever lost. Which is not a’bad’ thing. Simply a choice.

    I delineanted quite accurately EVERYTHING that ‘aa’ expressed in their post. It’s ALL fear based.

    The sad thing about being neurotic, is that while there, we can’t see the forest for all the trees.

    It’s called scaring yourself silly.

    Boohoo

  • 24. regg-regg  |  April 15, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    the mindstate that this is giving is the mind of the slave. if what most think it means(give and you shall recieve)then why havent i been giving nothing for what ive sowed speaking of my anscestors.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

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Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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