God may have created you to be an apostate!

August 27, 2007 at 11:59 am 43 comments

On one of my previous blog entries, Dan made the plea to the apostates in our midst:

Remember, you can still make the decision to follow Christ, either for the first time or again if you have turned away. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance.

Dan, actually you are wrong. According to the Bible, God does want some to perish. In fact, in Romans 9 states he creates people for a variety of reasons including:

  • Destiny Posterto serve his chosen
  • for him to hate
  • so he can withhold compassion and mercy from them
  • to use simply for the display of his power
  • to harden them against him
  • for common use
  • for objects of his wrath
  • for destruction.

Romans 9:10-24

Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ “Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

So if you are among these unfortunate ones, who are you to talk back to God? Who are you to question why he caused you to have doubts, to question the ancient texts, or to decide to listen to logic, reason, and scientific evidence? Just give in to apostasy and know that it is your purpose in life.

- The de-Convert

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

Don’t Mock the Second Coming of Jesus Christ… Driving a Wedge

43 Comments Add your own

  • 1. angllhugnu2  |  August 28, 2007 at 1:50 am

    I always find it amazing how we manage to take the practices of our humanity….our behavior…and project it upon a God who simply has no clue what we see in what he SHOULD be like. And, I guess that’s okay because that seems to be all we have to work from.

    The bullet points made in your statement speak more to the character expectations of the central figure(s) and their community leaders than it did the God who created them. All God wants from us is to be in an intimate relationship designed to expand upon the Love that is the sole core make up of that union. There is NOTHING…literally nothing beyond that union.

    My point to this comment is simple….Let Dan be! Any arguments made to the contrary is fuel to asserting any point made as valid.

  • 2. pj11  |  August 28, 2007 at 2:31 am

    The de-Convert– Are you really looking to debate Reformed soteriology? If you’re willing to use the text of Scripture to make your case, I assume you’re willing to use ALL of it, right?

    Yes, Romans 9 clearly states God’s sovereign hand in salvation … He does choose some and He does harden others. He is not bound by time – He sees the beginning from the end all at once – and the names of His elect were already written in the Book of Life before the foundations of the world were laid. I will stipulate to all of this and more.

    But you also know that there are many places in Scripture where God says (in effect): “Believe, and you will be saved.” Within the confines of time and space, very real human decisions to be saved are affirmed by the text. They are not coerced decisions in any way. A person hears the Gospel, believes the evidence and bows his/her knee to the Savior. Or a person hears the Gospel and says, “no thanks … the evidence is not sufficient.” So be it.

    Both truths are affirmed in Scripture … (1) God is sovereign over salvation; and (2) human beings have the opportunity to believe and be saved. How is that possible? This is not a contradiction. This is a mystery beyond our finite understanding. But if one chooses to believe that Scripture is theopnuestos, one must affirm both truths. Since you have chosen to believe Romans 9, I assume you’ll believe the rest of the Bible too and agree with me. ;-)

    So here’s the good part … The de-Convert, bow your knee to the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. There … you no longer have an excuse for your unbelief. If you choose to reject Christ and pay for your own sins, why will you blame God? Have you not made a willful decision to reject Him? Was your decision coerced? If so, how?

    I hope and pray that you will decide to change your mind, The de-Convert.

  • 3. bry0000000  |  August 28, 2007 at 3:26 am

    Eh, but if God hardens my heart, I can’t bow down on one knee and ask Christ to save me.

  • 4. bry0000000  |  August 28, 2007 at 3:28 am

    Haha, instead of “.” I meant “?”.

  • 5. Yueheng  |  August 28, 2007 at 3:37 am

    pj11:

    Doesn’t the Letter to the Romans state that salvation is not something dependent on human effort or desire?

    “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. Romans 9:15-18, NIV

  • 6. Heather  |  August 28, 2007 at 5:36 am

    If you choose to reject Christ and pay for your own sins, why will you blame God? Have you not made a willful decision to reject Him?

    But this isn’t like making a willful rejection to say that 2+2=4. To many, this is like saying that 2+2=14. So we arne’t saying “this is the truth but we reject it.” We say this is why we don’t see this as the truth.

    But if one chooses to believe that Scripture is theopnuestos, one must affirm both truths.

    For many, I would say passages like Romans 9, or even 9-11, are why they say the Bible isn’t “god-breathed.” In any other circumstance, saying one is in complete control, and yet other people are free would be a contradiction. There’s no real way to provide evidence to the contrary.

  • 7. HeIsSailing  |  August 28, 2007 at 8:40 am

    pj11:

    If you choose to reject Christ and pay for your own sins, why will you blame God? Have you not made a willful decision to reject Him? Was your decision coerced? If so, how?

    egads.

    pj11, I wrote an article the other day was made with statements like this in mind. Can you please read it and give me you opinion? I am not inviting debate, I am genuinely curious what your opinion is.

    http://de-conversion.com/2007/08/21/rejecting-the-obvious-truth-of-the-gospel/

  • 8. heatlight  |  August 28, 2007 at 9:33 am

    As a Calvinist myself, I must point out that this is what is referred to as the heresy of ‘hyper-Calvinism’. Though I can see this as a humorous attempt to throw off the more radical evangelist-types, as they can be very irritating, it just saddens me to see a statement /concept such as “God’s sovereignty” ripped out of it’s literary concept and so misunderstood. Not wanting to do all your research for you, I think if you pick up a good academic evangelical commentary on this text you’ll find that a proper reading of this these passages would be far more nuanced.

    For one, the concept of ‘predestination’ as defined by the Bible never refers to the salvation or damnation of a single Christian (though ‘election’ does seem to apply to God’s sovereign interruption of our natural chosen spiritual direction) – observe the context of the term ‘predestination’ and you’ll note that it always applies to ‘Christians’ and they are always predestined to an ‘end': to be like Jesus. Secondly, find ‘free-will’ anywhere in the Scriptures – the words/concepts just are there. Yes, there seems to be some degree of freedom implied, but that freedom seems to be far from autonomous and very limited in scope. In the Bible, even Satan – it appears – can only go as far as God allows Him, which is why Luther called him “God’s devil”. That is just to say, the Biblical picture seems to be that people grow enslaved to their own self-centered, poor choices, and apart from God’s intervention are unable to free themselves – God ‘elects’ (chooses to intervene) and ‘free’ individuals, which enables them to choose God over their self-centered sin (which, as a ‘slave’ they were unable to do, as it was their desires and passions that were enslaved first and foremost) – then, as a Christian, their destiny – the destiny of all true believers – is to become more like Jesus, which is Biblical ‘predestination’.

    So, you see, clearly God’s sovereignty is in the Biblical picture, but not simply some strict determinism which leaves people unresponsible for their own actions.

    I’m sorry for the length of my post, and appreciate you reading.

    Take care,

    shannon

  • 9. The de-Convert  |  August 28, 2007 at 11:07 am

    pj11,

    The de-Convert– Are you really looking to debate Reformed soteriology? If you’re willing to use the text of Scripture to make your case, I assume you’re willing to use ALL of it, right?

    My point was simply to show the inconsistencies within the Bible itself on this subject. Is God not willing that ANY should perish and that ALL should come to repentance or does he really create some to be objects of his wrath? I guess we can go around on *ALL* not meaning *ALL*.

    shannon,

    Appreciate your comments.

    So, you see, clearly God’s sovereignty is in the Biblical picture, but not simply some strict determinism which leaves people unresponsible for their own actions.

    You may see this *clearly* but I don’t and really never did. Of course we’re not going to solve an issue that has split the church for generations on this blog. BTW, it was a humorous attempt and I really just wanted to make that poster :)

    Paul

  • 10. attendingtheworld  |  August 28, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    I like this blog. I especially like the comment:

    “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..”

    I’ll be back.. no pun intended! :-)

    ATW

  • 11. pj11  |  August 28, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    It’s good to be back in the debate with you all! Thanks for your comments to my post.

    Yueheng: in response to your post (#5), I reiterate what I said above … yes, salvation is dependent upon God’s mercy according to Romans 9 (and other passages as well). According to the Bible, man has no ability to grant salvation to himself nor “earn” salvation through good works. So salvation cannot be acquired through effort or desire … it is a gift from God. However, as I said above, the text is also replete with examples of human beings – within the confines of time and space – making real decisions to believe and be saved. Both truths are affirmed in Scripture … God’s merciful gift and man’s decision to believe.

    Heather: nice to hear from you again! Yes, God is sovereign over salvation, and yet I made a real decision to bow my knee to Christ. This is not a contradiction. The text affirms two parallel truths that fit together in a way beyond our finite understanding. Remembering that God is eternal and not bound by time is a key to understanding election. Within time on this spinning planet, whoever hears and believes may come to Christ and be saved. Scripture affirms this. Scripture also affirms that when we depart this life and step into eternity, we will also find out that God had marked us for salvation from the beginning. Obviously, I’m using the text as God-breathed and therefore absolutely true … and I’m standing upon its statements as the truth about eternal life. I respect your opinion to disagree about its veracity. Your decision to “not see the Bible as truth” is an example of the freedom which the Creator has granted to you.

    HIS: I enjoyed the article you pointed me to. No, salvation does not depend upon who has the best arguments … the apologist does not hold the keys to the Kingdom. So why do we do apologetics? I believe God ordains all things – not just the ends, but the means as well. Therefore, He might use apologetic arguments to draw someone into the Kingdom. For others, it will be different … He might ordain suffering as the means to draw them. In another case, He might use the love and care of a joyful believer to draw them. God will decree both the result and the means. As a result of understanding God’s sovereignty in salvation, I can do apologetics without feeling any pressure whatsoever. On this site I defend my faith – but not to win any converts, because that’s not my job. I’m just a faithful servant … if God chooses to use my fallible words to draw someone into the Kingdom, so be it. I only desire to be known as a faithful disciple, using the gifts and abilities He has blessed me with and cooperating with Him in His purposes and plans.

    I’m challenged by your question about willful rejection. By saying “this doesn’t make sense” or “I see no good reason to believe,” are you willfully rejecting Christ? The text of Scripture uses phrases and concepts which indicate an action must be taken to be saved. The default mode for humanity is rebellion against the Creator … and thus, condemnation. Words such as “believe,” “submit,” and “bow” indicate to me that an action is required on your part to be saved. While you may not “feel” like you’ve willfully rejected Christ by doubting the truth of Scripture, it appears that your refusal to take the appropriate active response to the Gospel is a rejection of Him.

    I hope that answered your question …

  • 12. dovelove  |  August 28, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    Ya’ know, it would all make so much sense IF we, we “wretched” human beings, were actually, um, “God.” :) Collectively, yet separate in this human being form. Let’s just say :) we have these multiple levels of consciousness…and that “godself” for each of us is the topdog consciousness — of ourselves individually. Go back to the passages above (and others) and plug in that theory.

    “Be still and know that I AM ‘God'” …

    “Believe and it shall be so.” That’s a pretty clear statement. As is, “All things are possible.” Now how in the world could this be true for everyone and everything. More than one “truth”? … all based on what we individually believe? :) So if ya’ believe you’re going to “hell,” then ya’ will (but you can stop your “hell” on this side or that one simply by shifting your belief…)

    Make real this “hell” in your mind/heart and so shall it be. If not, no worries :) You’re the Player, you make the rules, the consequences, the hells and the heavens … all per what you believe and your highest consciousness, the “Lord” that is over YOU specifically — no one else, just you. You are your own “Lord.” “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord.” We punish ourselves…we create it all via what we believe, what we truly believe, and per our own highest self. That part of ourselves rules, of course…because that’s who/what we truly are…and this part of us is the wisest part, knowing what is truly in our best interest.

    Perhaps “God’s mercy” references a facet of our own “intuitive voice,” or otherwise known as “God’s voice.”

    “God’s devil.” Of course, still part of “God,” (us) just the flipside — all dependent upon our individual choices. Our will. And it proves to be a rough ride not when we go against some fiery-eyed god’s will, but our own “intuitve voice.” When that voice is in fact our intuition as opposed to our fear (“God’s devil.”)

    This old book just says the same thing over and over in a lot of different ways. “Fear not.” aka, avoid that god-devil thing. And that directive is crucial only because like “our father’s,” (“children of God”), our words have trememdous power, but most potently when tied to our powerful emotions (hey, we’re gods for crying out loud, lol). And we either want something (love it, en-joy it) or don’t want it (hate it, fear it). Either way, we draw it to us. Hence, the “fear not” message.

    “God is sovereign to our salvation.” Of course, we are “God.” :) Believe you’ll be saved and ya’ will be. Yep. “Believe and it shall be so.” “All things are possiblle.” Yes, if you can truly get yourself to believe something, it will happen, it becomes YOUR truth — but the thing is, you truly have to believe it…or convince the Universe that ya’ do (words plus emotion).

    “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Depends on my own “intuition,” or spiritual voice.

    Try it, pretend that you are “God,” consider that the Bible is prolific with symbolic messages for us to play in this magical world :) Ahh, it does make for a much more peaceful and empowered way of thinking/feeling. Hmmm, now would “God” want that for us….peace, self-empowerment? Or would he/she prefer fearful, sinful, “wretches” that cower at his every whim, thinking that we’re quite lowly…living our entire precious lives this way, so as to primarily make it to that lovely “heaven” place, but really to just avoid the fiery one… Hmmm, does sound very attractive to me — why would “God” want to hang out with ppl like that, heh ;)

    Just a thought ;)

    Peace,
    Dove

  • 13. Heather  |  August 28, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    Pj11,

    This is not a contradiction. The text affirms two parallel truths that fit together in a way beyond our finite understanding.

    The problem is, you’re saying it’s not a contradiction, and yet saying it’s beyond finite understanding. Except knowing what is and is not a contradiction relies on finite understanding. I think you’d be better off saying that you have faith that it is not a contradiction, because you can’t really back that up with “proof,” if that makes any sense. It’s like saying that both “the ball is round” and “the ball is square” aren’t contradictions, they’re simply beyond your finite understanding. I have no basis on which to say that those two are not, in fact, contradictions. If it’s beyond our finite understanding, then we have no idea what it is or is not, except for “beyond.” At this point, everything becomes whatever I say it is.

    While you may not “feel” like you’ve willfully rejected Christ by doubting the truth of Scripture, it appears that your refusal to take the appropriate active response to the Gospel is a rejection of Him.

    I think you two will be talking at cross-purposes here, though. To say that HIS is refusing to take an appropriate active response is coming across as though you feel that he does know it’s the truth, he simply reacts against the truth. Or for anyone here who doesn’t share your viewpoint.

    But in my mind, I’m not “rejecting” the truth or being willfully disobedient. Why? Because the law that you propose comes across as 2+2=14. Do you willfully disobey that mathematical (in)equation? Do you rebel against it? No, because obedience isn’t even a factor here. 2+2=14 isn’t a law that one can disobey, because it’s not a law, period. So I’m not willfully rebelling against it, because 2+2=14 is a lie. It is rejected, yes, but it’s not rejecting the truth, it’s rejecting something that claims to be true, but in the end, is not.

  • 14. pj11  |  August 28, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    Brother Heatlight: I agree with several of your points … the concept of “free will” is not described in the text of Scripture. None of us has the ability to live outside of the sovereignty of God (even if we don’t believe in Him) … so, in a technical sense, our wills are not completely free. I also agree with you that God’s sovereignty does not imply strict determinism … human responsibility for actions, decisions, and beliefs are clearly affirmed in Scripture.

    The only place I would disagree with you is in your statement: “the concept of ‘predestination’ as defined by the Bible never refers to the salvation or damnation of a single Christian.” If you look at the most obvious references to election (or predestination) in Scripture, they do indeed refer to salvation. Some examples: Ephesians 1:5 (where predestination is associated with “adoption as sons”), Ephesians 1:11 (where predestination is associated with “inheritance”), and Romans 8:30 (where predestination is associated with “calling,” “justification,” and “glory”). There is no way to avoid the connection between predestination and salvation.

    Peace.

  • 15. Slapdash  |  August 28, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    I saw this in comment 11 and wanted to respond (sorry if later comments already caught it). pj11 says:

    “So salvation cannot be acquired through effort or desire…”

    but 3 paragraphs later says:

    “The text of Scripture uses phrases and concepts which indicate an action must be taken to be saved…”

    Do you seriously not see the contradiction there? If we humans have to make a decision, DO something, then indeed it DOES require effort or desire to acquire salvation.

    I get extremely annoyed by the Christian community out there that says “no, it’s all God! it’s not you!” but in the same breath says “you just have to repent, accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and the seek him for ever and ever, Amen!”

  • 16. Bad  |  August 28, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    “Believe, and you will be saved.” Within the confines of time and space, very real human decisions to be saved are affirmed by the text.”

    Pre-programed robots make “decisions” too. How are they more or less “real” than human decisions? I doubt you can explain in what way they are different or less real without simply rephrasing the claim that they are, still without any explanation, back at me.

    The time and space excuse doesn’t work: if there is one timeline which God is outside of and views the whole of, then everything is already determined. The Bible says over and over that people’s fates are already written out: that implies a single timeline, and hence that while people will be held responsible for their actions, they don’t ultimately determine them: they are pre-determined.

  • 17. pj11  |  August 28, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Heather: I agree with your assertions. In the end, you and I disagree on what is true. You have rejected what you see as falsehood (and rightfully so if you believe it is false). I believe you’ve rejected what is true. We can agree here.

    But know this … if, in the end, you and I find out that the Bible DOES describe the truth about Christ and salvation, and you remain steadfast in your position, it will be judged as a rejection of the truth. You will bear the responsibility for your decision … it cannot be deflected onto Him.

    I don’t mean this in a threatening or mean-spirited way … only to highlight the importance of this issue … it is, quite literally, a matter of life and death.

  • 18. Shannon Lewis  |  August 28, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Well, I must say one thing: your poster sure grabs my attention. Shocking, and well done.

    To the last poster, Ephesians – when looked at through the lense of the clear internal ‘us/we’ and ‘you’ distinction, which is later in Ephesians clarified as a ‘hebrew believer’ vs. ‘gentile believer’ division, the interpretive significance of the word ‘predestined’ earlier in the book is quite different from how it is sometimes understood within Reformed circles. I do recognize that many Reformed Christians disagree, as this is their ‘pet verse’, which has been used to make Calvinists out of many people previously skeptical of that theology. However, I think there is plenty in the Bible on God’s sovereignty and election to paint an overall picture that – to someone with an open mind to the idea – brings Reformed theology to the front of the pack, interpretively.

  • 19. Heather  |  August 28, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Pj11,

    You will bear the responsibility for your decision … it cannot be deflected onto Him.

    First, if it’s a matter of life or death, then I’m fine, if you’re correct. I’ll be dead, permanently.

    Second, the Bible may be correct, but it may be a different interpretation than what you give.

    Third, if it is the truth, then I can’t be judged as rejecting the truth. Again, it would be like judging someone for rejecting 2+2=14. It would be like punishing a five year old for failing to understand the truth of algebra. If someone honestly does not find truth in something, that is taken into account. I’ll take the responsiblity for my decision. I have no problem with that. God gave me a mind, a means in which to logically follow a path, to determine contradictions, I’m to be punished for using those? To go back to the ball is square vs. the ball is round — would you pnish someone for using logic to delcare that is a contradiction, and thus any statements of truth from the person/book are suspect?

    Plus — just look at the discussion we’re having on contradictions, and what Slapdash pointed out. If I can’t use my own reasoning skills to determine what is or is not a contradiction, and the answer is “it’s outside my finite understanding,” why believe that anything else provided will make sense? Or that it’s even the truth?

  • 20. Slapdash  |  August 28, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    ***But know this … if, in the end, you and I find out that the Bible DOES describe the truth about Christ and salvation, and you remain steadfast in your position, it will be judged as a rejection of the truth. You will bear the responsibility for your decision … it cannot be deflected onto Him.***

    Are there any Catholics on here who could speak to this point? I believe part of Catholic theology provides for some unbelievers to be saved even if they didn’t accept or know Christ. Something about their consciences not being properly formed; or about people responding to the best of their ability to the truth as they understood it.

    I’m not Catholic, but I was always intrigued (and heartened) by this little bit of theology.

    Let’s imagine somebody’s only (or main) exposure to Christ was through an abusive parent or significant other, or a pedophile priest even. The abusee might well reject Christ, given that the person who abused them supposedly confessed Christ. Their experience could change their very ability to accept the ‘truth’ of the faith. Would God then hold that against them? I say no.

  • 21. pj11  |  August 28, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Slapdash – You leave no room for the mystery of God. He is beyond your rational intellect. His ways can only be understood in what He has revealed to us. In the case of salvation, He has revealed to us parallel truths … He is sovereign over salvation and yet we must take steps to place our faith in Him. You can spend all of your life trying to rationally swallow this … but you will be frustrated in the end. Faith in Christ is not irrational … but if you’re looking to prove everything in an orderly, systematic fashion that suits your needs, you’ve missed the point of faith.

  • 22. pj11  |  August 28, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    Heather: As I said to Slapdash, you’re relying too heavily on your finite intellect and imperfect reasoning skills. The Christian walk is not a science project that you can “prove.” As much as I like to defend the rationality of my faith, it is ultimately more than that.

    In the end, I believe this with all of my soul … a payment for the debt you and I have incurred for our sin will be required of us. Whether you could rationalize the premises of Christianity or not during your lifetime, there is an outstanding debt for your crimes against God and humanity. How will you pay for them? What currency will you use? This is where Christianity is able to deliver a clear solution to your biggest problem (sin). You have the opportunity to choose to accept the payment rendered by Christ … or pay it yourself.

  • 23. Slapdash  |  August 28, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Ahhh, the mystery of God.

    I mean this with all due respect, but I find that many Christians use this as their “go to” argument far too quickly in a conversation.

    And sure, some degree of mystery is to be expected when you get into the faith realm. For me, though, the “God is beyond our ways” explanation started falling down as more and more questions mounted in my own mind. The whole house of cards has pretty much come tumbling down since, and no amount of pleading for “God’s mystery” will convince people who would like to see at least a bit more coherence to the story.

    I mean, the salvation bit is a pretty central thing, and if there isn’t a consistent story as to what one must to do gain salvation…well, that seems like a pretty quick recipe for schizophrenia (no disrespect to anyone with that condition). For me, faith pretty much devolved to legalism, and legalism sucks. And once I took a big step back to look at what it is I believed in, I started seeing a lot of cracks. And I finally stopped squelching the questions – and you know what? The answers aren’t very satisfying anymore, particularly ones that shrug off the question with the “God’s mysterious” reply.

    I’m off on a tangent now; sorry about that.

  • 24. Slapdash  |  August 28, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    ***Whether you could rationalize the premises of Christianity or not during your lifetime, there is an outstanding debt for your crimes against God and humanity. ***

    According to… you and your worldview and your faith. Remember, not everyone believes this premise…

  • 25. pj11  |  August 28, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Slapdash – With all due respect, there’s nothing wrong with going to the “mystery of God” card at the very outset of a debate over faith. It is the foremost concept which must be understood in any discussion about faith in a Creator … He is beyond us and our puny, finite minds. As a result, we may not be able to fully reason through everything He reveals to us. As they say, if you could understand God completely … He’d be a pretty simple God! ;-) So I don’t think my argument is diminished by playing this card quickly.

    Regarding salvation, I think you’re making a classic mistake when it comes to predestination. You get so focused on the cause and the means that you forget how simple it is to be saved. The Bible instructs human beings in very clear language how to be saved. The eternal picture of cause and means can wait … in the here and now, surrender to Christ, put your faith in His work on the Cross, and live a life devoted to Him. Not complicated at all.

    I’m sorry that faith devolved into legalism for you. That is sad. I’ve read some tremendously discouraging comments on this site about previous church experiences. I know that many churches are led by false shepherds and my heart breaks for those who have received an inaccurate view of the Christian faith.

    There is hope … I have not experienced such things in my 22 years as a Christian. There ARE good churches out there filled with people who really do love and care for one another. I pray that someday you’ll find one and see the truth afresh.

    Peace.

  • 26. Heather  |  August 28, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    Whether you could rationalize the premises of Christianity or not during your lifetime, there is an outstanding debt for your crimes against God and humanity. How will you pay for them? What currency will you use?

    And this is based on one particular atonement theory, which I believe is only held in the Western church, and then only a portion of the Western church. Even the “debt” concept is pulled from a feudal outlook on life — anything done infringes upon the “honor” of God.

    His ways can only be understood in what He has revealed to us. In the case of salvation, He has revealed to us parallel truths

    You say they’re revealed, and yet they are beyond finite understanding. That alone is a contradiction. So is saying that faith is not irrational, but can’t be proven in an orderly, systematic fashion. Orderly and systematic are what rational mean.

    Essentially, what we seem to have going here is that you can’t demonstrate that it’s not a contradiction, and so fall back on “because God says so.” I’m not asking for proof in everything of God or Christianity I’m simply saying that the concept surrounding salvation is contradictory. If salvation is a matter of choice, then the person does put effort in his/her own salvation, and does do something to accomplish it. If it doesn’t happen unless God wills it, then the person does not make the choice of his/her own accord.

    It would be nice if at least one question didn’t fall back on “the mystery of God” because that can mean anything, honestly, and be used to justify anything. Again, you can’t show why this isn’t a contradiction, you can only say that it’s beyond us. It would be like me saying that God says in order to forgive, we first must kill those who wronged us. That conflicts with forgiveness, but I could say it’s not a contradiction, it’s simply beyond us how killing and forgiveness are parallel, and so we should just trust.

  • 27. cecelia  |  August 28, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    I happened upon this blog a couple of weeks ago and have lurked on a few posts/threads since then.

    No matter how many times I see/read/hear it, I’m always amazed at the mental gymnastics believers go through to rationalize and justify the contradictions of and pure bad, immoral, and, frankly, immature behavior by god in the bible. Seriously, this thread is yet another example of the the lengths people will go to in order to maintain their belief in something nonexistent.

    I think everyone should go read the myths from other cultures and build equally spiraling and circular arguments to explain away the contradictions and immorality in those stories, ending with the conclusion that those gods are perfect and only they can understand their confusing, contradictory, and evil ways. It would be fun!

    Even if this Judeo/Christian god were real, who the heck would want to worship him? He’s a class-A prick.

  • 28. pj11  |  August 28, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    Heather: Regarding atonement theory, the idea of “debt” is pulled straight from the text of Scripture, not a cultural (“feudal”) outlook. Examine the concept of “ransom” in Scripture … a payment made to secure the redemption of another (Matthew 20:28, 1 Timothy 2:6, et al). Examine the parable in Matthew 18 (“the forgiveness of debt”). Examine the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus instructs us to pray that our “debt” for sin might be forgiven as we forgive those who have sinned against us. Examine Colossians 2:13-14 where it is said that Christ canceled our debt, removing it and nailing it to the Cross.

    Regarding the confusion over parallel truths concerning salvation, please understand me carefully. God has revealed something about salvation in Scripture. It is clear enough for us to understand. He is sovereign over who is saved and who is not (I’ll spare you the numerous citations). At the same time, He has shown through narrative example and through didactic teaching that human beings make real decisions within time and space to be saved. These two truths we can understand because God has revealed them to us in language we can understand. HOWEVER, that does NOT mean we can understand the totality of that very complex process worked out in the counsel of His will outside of created time. And we never will fully understand it while living on earth – it will remain a mystery to us. We either choose to reject it (because it’s contradictory or irrational) or we accept it by faith because we have put our trust in the fact that the Scriptures are God-breathed and therefore true. It actually makes sense to me … I’m sorry it doesn’t make sense to you. But that will not remove your responsibility to spiritually discern it when you stand before the Judge someday.

  • 29. Heather  |  August 28, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    Pj11,

    Regarding atonement theory, the idea of “debt” is pulled straight from the text of Scripture, not a cultural (“feudal”) outlook.

    Which atonement theory? There have been several. That Matthew ransom quote you used would’ve supported the ransom theory, which specifically states that something was owed to Satan. Colossians 2:13-14 directly tie into all the cosmic powers against God being subdued on the cross, which would tie into the Christus VIctor theory, with Christ defeating sin/death/so on.

    The Matthew parable and the Sermon on the Mount mention nothing about something else paying anything in the debtor’s place — simply that they are forgiven, and that one should not seek out payment. If anything, this would go against the concept that any payment was required. In the parable, the man is specifically punished for requiring a debt, and no payment was required of him for his debts. That is why I say a debt incurred is a result of atonement theories, which in many ways, were culturally derived.

    The satisfaction theory, from what I’ve read, draws from Anselm, who was alive in the 11th century. He said that sin was a mark against God’s honor, and so must be paid off, thus eliminating our debt — this pulled directly from the society in which he lived.

    We either choose to reject it (because it’s contradictory or irrational) or we accept it by faith because we have put our trust in the fact that the Scriptures are God-breathed and therefore true

    But if it’s contradictory or irrational, I don’t put my trust in it. The thing is, everything you’ve provided doesn’t really “solve” the contradictory aspects, and I think therein lies the difficulty for many of us. We have no way of determining if God is in fact truthful or rational if any of the instances like these are explained away as beyond our understanding or the mystery of God. As much as faith is mysterous, it also has to be based on something, some concrete fact. And the more supernatural the statement, the more support required, simply so that one knows what s/he places their faith in. Otherwise, it’s an “anything goes” process, and it’s not held accountable to any standard in order to determine the validity. I would need something other than “the Bible says it’s god-breathed and therefore it is” before placing faith in it.

    But that will not remove your responsibility to spiritually discern it when you stand before the Judge someday.

    Then honestly? That’s not justice by any definition. If someone cannot understand a law or a principle, that’s taken into account.

  • 30. pj11  |  August 28, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    Heather: Once again, you and I need to stop. Frankly, your exegesis on the atonement passages above is terrible and your understanding of historical theology is way off … substitutionary atonement dates back to the apostles themselves and the Apostolic Fathers after them.

  • 31. Heather  |  August 28, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Pj11,

    As you stated that we should stop, I’ll understand if you don’t respond to this. But I do have one question: why are comments below necessary? Those don’t address the points I raised, but rather address me personally. Why not simply say that you disagree with my assessment?

    Frankly, your exegesis on the atonement passages above is terrible and your understanding of historical theology is way off …

  • 32. karen  |  August 28, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    cecelia, I am right there with you! Great points!

    In terms of the Quran and personal experiences: On CNN last week, Christiane Amanpour did three shows called God’s Holy Warriors. First was about Jewish Zionists, second about fundamentalist Muslims, third about American Christians of the fundy political persuasion.

    It was fascinating to me to see Shiite Muslims interviewed during their particular sect’s holy days (which are occurring right now and causing all sorts of terrible violence). You saw these people absolutely sobbing, completely overcome with emotion, talking about answered prayer and miracles and personal experiences with their own vision of god.

    I don’t think spiritual experiences of any one particular faith can trump those of another faith – or even New Age or other “modern” religious expressions. This is why – while I will never discount someone’s personal experience – I don’t find it compelling me to belief in god(s).

  • 33. MOI  |  August 28, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    Heather,

    I find all of your points articulate and convincing. You’re right about the various atonement theories and no one has EVER “clearly” understood anything in the bible, which is why there are numerous interpretations out there. The very fact that there are thousands of denominations and hundreds of theologians who “see” the bible differently is proof enough that it is not a document written by a deity, but several documents thrown together to provide comfort to a scattered “community.” Systematic doctrine was NEVER the intent. If God were the God that fundamentalists say God is, making the bible understandable to all would, by God’s nature, be an absolute necessity, IF that is God is the one who provided us with the brains to use and IF the bible were such an essential set of documents as fundamentalists insist it is.

    It’s very easy and very simplistic to rely on “the mystery of God” response when contradictions in the bible cannot be explained by fundamentalists. This of course lets them off the hook and simultaneously gives them an appearance of superiority and wisdom where none in fact exists. Your ample knowledge of the bible is proof enough that you don’t take biblical scholarship lightly and that you deserve far more respect for that scholarship than you’ve been shown here.

    Keep up the good work!!

  • 34. Heather  |  August 29, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Thanks, MOI. :)

  • 35. MOI  |  August 29, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Heather,
    When I said “far more respect…than you’ve been shown here” I of course exempt all the fine regular contributors like HIS and The de-Convert, who would never disrespect women just because they are women. I am referring to fundie and conservative Christian men who reveal by their comments that they automatically dismiss women’s contributions to the dialogue merely because of gender.

  • 36. pj11  |  August 29, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    MOI: Wow! Ouch!

    For my edification … can you show me where I or any of my “fundie” friends disrespected Heather because she is a woman? I may have disrespected her exegetical analysis … but where on earth did gender come into play? Is it possible that you’re looking for a fire where there is no smoke?

    I gotta tell you, MOI … sometimes we “fundie and conservative Christian men” feel like we can’t win for anything! If I attack her scholarship, I’m “obviously” doing so because she’s a woman. But if I treat her scholarship any differently than I would a man, then I’m probably guilty in your eyes of patronizing her. Help me understand how I can “win” in your eyes! 

    On a serious note, I would say this: beware of playing the gender bias card where there is no gender bias … it’s like “crying wolf.” In the end, it will serve to numb people to the true cases of gender bias that are really out there!

    Peace.

  • 37. MOI  |  August 29, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    pj11,
    Predictable response. Why assume I’m talking about you?

    But since you asked, perhaps Fundie and conservative men “can’t win” for anything because they don’t or are unable to play fair. They change the rules on whim, assume everyone is wrong but themselves, and basically exhibit poor relational skills by not addressing the real issue when backed into a corner.

    Those who have no gender bias have nothing to fear when the issue is raised in any civil discourse, therefore I’m not bothered by traditional male tactics to silence women one of which you’ve already used in your response. (yawn)

  • 38. pj11  |  August 29, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    MOI: Umm … I assume you’re talking about me because I’m the ONLY person in this thread who has interacted directly with Heather (and criticized her) … it doesn’t take a genius to follow those bread crumbs!

    Yawn all you like … but you’re dead wrong on your assessment of my motives. Don’t shoot the friendlies … save your attacks for men who are truly misogynists.

  • 39. MOI  |  August 29, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    pj11-boy, you sure told me! I’ll go back to my knitting and cooking now! :-D

  • 40. dovelove  |  August 29, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Well, okay, since my other post got such a good response… lol ;)

    I kinda rambled (typed way fast, heh) that one out, but this one below I think I honed up a bit. This is a comment I made a day before, on another post under a similar topic. See “Atheists’ Unavoidable Sin”

    First… I must comment on this little ditty:

    “He’s a class-A prick.”

    OMG! Now you’ve gone and done it, it’s HELL (big time) for you, babe LOLOL *”God” chuckling* ;)

    Oh, and this..

    “And once I took a big step back to look at what it is I believed in, I started seeing a lot of cracks. And I finally stopped squelching the questions – and you know what? The answers aren’t very satisfying anymore, particularly ones that shrug off the question with the ‘God’s mysterious’ reply.”

    Suh-weet, yesssss! “Coming out of the desert” comes to me. Hmm, and dropping those sorry shackles of fear, love it! Sweet freedom :)

    And one more… I thought it was so typical to throw out that threat of hell to a non-believer, and all wrapped up oh-so-nicely in this euphemistic BS…

    “But know this … if, in the end, you and I find out that the Bible DOES describe the truth about Christ and salvation, and you remain steadfast in your position, it will be judged as a rejection of the truth. You will bear the responsibility for your decision … it cannot be deflected onto Him.”

    Yikes, eek, and way scare-wee :) *shuddering*

    But I can feel the fear so heavy behind those words…heavy, sad, such a burden…such a shame that so many are sucked into this twisted version of this old book’s teachings. It takes so much joy and peace away from this precious life.

    So finally, here’s my response the “Atheists’ Unavoidable Sin”

    —————————-

    dovelove // Aug 27th 2007 at 4:01 pm

    I don’t think they really care, lol That’s the plum of being an atheist, you’re no longer a slave to the fear of that fantasy hell thing.

    Besides, it’s only a “sin” if you believe it’s a sin And you’ll only go to hell, if you believe that you will — deep down. (Yikes, how can ya’ really, really know what you believe subconsciously — or consciously, for that matter, eek, might wanna pack light for the afterlife just in case, hehe)

    So ya’ better be sure of what you truly believe saintly ones Luckily atheists (and others) have no such beliefs Ah, I’m sure there are multitudinous grumblings of “ohhhh, yeah, you’ll see, we’ll see ya’ fry…” lol

    Such is the nature of so many who have been so thoroughly brainwashed that they can’t even see how “un-Christian” that is…and even if they hold it back, they know it’s there in the back of their minds endeavoring to justify such sad and fearful beliefs.

    One of the things that always got me when I was a “fundie,” is wondering why in world did this nice man, Jay-sus, have to die like that?? So we could sit around watchin’ TV and eating pizza? lol Although I accepted it all at age 10, ’cause the grown-ups said so, it made no sense to me, and it makes no sense now. And they wear this reminder around their necks and hang it in their churches…this horrifying thing that happened to this man.

    Jesus and all that he did and all that he endured was symbolic… Like something from a dream might be interpreted It’s like the Hanged Man card in the Tarot. A guy hanging upside down from a tree. It has various meanings. It’s about enlightenment, forgiveness, sacrifice, “letting go” of one thing so as to acquire something better. A message as to how we can make our lives better, happier…not an order, just some wisdom offered.

    But this symbol is just one of many in the Tarot (kind of a book of life as well, of symbolic messages) that we are to learn from. No worshiping of another required No hell if ya’ don’t believe it. No religion…no hatred or judgment encouraged. But if you’re open to it, open to these messages, a lot of cool things begin to happen

    The church instilled in me a fear of the Tarot (that was difficult to shake off initially, and this was many years after my church-girl days), but I found, through my own experience, that they lied. They lied out of ignorance and fear of the unknown. The Tarot has done nothing harmful to me (ludicrous to think that pics on cardbord could do so), and in fact it has helped me to overcome so much fear that the church instilled in me.

    Those of religion try to control everything and everyone out of their fear of the unknown, they’re fear of everything — life, love, all that is good about being human. And the irony is that the Hanged Man (same symbol as Jesus’ sacrifice) represents giving up control. All of that control is rooted in nothing but fear, and that’s not what Jesus’ message was about.

    Peace,
    Dove

  • 41. dovelove  |  August 29, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    Oh, btw, MOI, good one (the knitting and all, lol) … and thanks for commenting on my “art” blog :)

  • 42. MOI  |  August 29, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    DoveLove,

    Ah the self-righteousness of the godly!! It would be endlessly amusing if, like you said, it wasn’t so sad. And you’re right, it stems from fear. Fear of freedom foremost. If we allow others to be free, or if we try to free others from restrictive viewpoints, then those who believe they are in control realize they really have no control and that too is a fearsome thing. Like The de-Convert said in the post, all is of God and God makes the decision for us. All we do is let go! Great thoughts there.

    Oh and your art is fantastic! I’d encourage all to go take a look.

  • 43. Heather  |  August 29, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Pj11,

    I assume you’re talking about me because I’m the ONLY person in this thread who has interacted directly with Heather (and criticized her)

    I don’t know if you’ll read this or not, as you mentioned that you’re stepping away for a few days. This last portion is probably what’s being picked up on, because that’s pretty much what happened. You criticized me personally, not the argument. I answered the Bible verses that you provided, and your response essentially boiled down to: “You don’t know how to perform an exegisis.” That’s attempting to undermine my statements by undermining me, rather than sticking to the statements at hand.

    And this isn’t the first time this has occured, either. Previously in our discussions, I’ve been lumped in with “enemies of Christianity” and it has been alluded to swine-likeness, with you no longer casting your pearls in my path.

    The reason why gender would be addressed in this area is because I don’t see this interaction with the men on this blog. I only see it with me. I could be wrong, and I may have missed a personal statement directed towards the male commentors.

    For my part, I try very had, and have tried very hard, to not make personal comments towards anyone else, regardless of the disagreement. If I have made any towards you, then I apologize.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Attention Christian Readers

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

de-conversion wager

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.

Twitter

Archives

Blog Stats

  • 2,045,615 hits since March 2007

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 208 other followers