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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: So, what about Hell?
sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
I actually do recognise that the God who will throw you into fire for ever for the theft of a penny is a God who appears to appear in Scripture, and who can be believed in with logical integrity. He can even be said to be moral, within his own system of morality. The problem is that this God's morality is as far removed from our morality (based on conscience and moral reason) as the east is from the west. In this case, how can we ever get through the world? - since any 'moral' decision I might make according to reason or conscience might, for all I know, be a monstrous offence against God? (See, for a particularly horrifying example, the already cited example of Uzzah and the Ark.)

So, you choose to see God through human morality, I choose to see Him through His morality as expressed in scripture. I trust God's morality: I do not trust human morality.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Adeodatus
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# 4992

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So, sharkshooter, you would agree with Augustine that the 'godly' way to punish an offence is for the punishment to be completely out of proportion to the crime?

And how do you answer my point that if God's morality is so totally different from the moral sense he has placed in us, then we live our lives in a state of moral paralysis, never knowing - except by proof-texting particular cases from his inerrant Text - what God's ruling on a moral situation would be?

You see, a God who strikes down Uzzah for touching a box he's been told not to touch; yet who can then turn round and say that there is only one unforgiveable sin (the never-completely-defined 'sin against the Holy Spirit') is a God who is whimsical at best, capricious most of the time, and terrifyingly unpredictable the rest of the time. Is that God?

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
So, sharkshooter, you would agree with Augustine that the 'godly' way to punish an offence is for the punishment to be completely out of proportion to the crime?

And how do you answer my point that if God's morality is so totally different from the moral sense he has placed in us, then we live our lives in a state of moral paralysis, never knowing - except by proof-texting particular cases from his inerrant Text - what God's ruling on a moral situation would be?

You see, a God who strikes down Uzzah for touching a box he's been told not to touch; yet who can then turn round and say that there is only one unforgiveable sin (the never-completely-defined 'sin against the Holy Spirit') is a God who is whimsical at best, capricious most of the time, and terrifyingly unpredictable the rest of the time. Is that God?

First, who says it is out of line with the sin? Certainly God does not, because He determined what punishment He will mete out. Being Sovereign, He has that right.

Second, God did not give us our current morality. He created us "good" - it is sin that corrupted us, and with it our sense of morality became clouded.

Third, God did not strike down Uzzah for touching the Ark, He struck him down for disobeying Him.

Finally, God is predictable - He will never allow sinfulness into His presence.

I truly think we are going around in circles, so, please feel free to comment as you wish, but I don't think I have anything further to add to this debate.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Adeodatus
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# 4992

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It's a pity you want to disengage with the discussion, sharkshooter, because at the moment you're the only person putting up what I would call a down-the-line traditional viewpoint. Just about everyone else has copped out on one or more points of conservative teaching.

So then, is God's morality better than ours? And if it is, shouldn't we be following God's example here and now? So that if my son steals a penny from me and refuses to say sorry, I would then lock him in a dungeon for the rest of his life.

Or are you saying that God is allowed to practise a different morality from us? In which case, if the two moralities are so utterly different, how are we to know when we're offending him? We have the Commandments, sure, but most everyday moral dilemmas involve some use of my conscience. If my conscience - which dictates, for instance, that the punishment should not outweigh the crime - is so woefully uninformed by God's own morality, how can I ever trust it?

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
It's a pity you want to disengage with the discussion, sharkshooter, because at the moment you're the only person putting up what I would call a down-the-line traditional viewpoint.
...
If my conscience - which dictates, for instance, that the punishment should not outweigh the crime - is so woefully uninformed by God's own morality, how can I ever trust it?

You cannot trust you conscience.

This is why I will be leaving the discussion - because we are going around in circles.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Adeodatus
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# 4992

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Okey-dokey. Having established that our consciences – according to sharkshooter – are as useless as our appendixes, let’s turn the tables. I’ll put forward an idea of Hell and see what everyone thinks.
1. I believe in Hell. It is too central a part of the Christian tradition not to.
2. The conservative teaching on Hell I understand to be as follows. It is a place of everlasting pain and punishment reserved for unrepentant sinners and for those who have never known Christ.
3. I do not believe (2) for all the reasons I’ve been arguing for the last couple of days. It certainly makes no logical or moral sense, and I believe it is also a distortion of some passages of Scripture (though not all) – see below.
4. Since I believe in Hell, I cannot also logically believe that anyone otherwise destined for Hell simply stops existing. Otherwise Hell would be useless, empty, and a waste of fuel. [Biased]
5. I also can’t believe in Hell as the eternal absence of God. Everlasting boredom or everlasting alone-ness is every bit as bad as everlasting fire.
6. Therefore I am left with two options. Both rely on the idea that Hell is not forever. Option (A) is that after a period of punishment, the occupants of Hell are consumed by the fire and cease to be. Option (B) is that Hell is a purifying fire, after which the occupants go to Heaven.

Surprisingly, Option (A) has a certain amount of Scriptural backup. Look carefully at Jesus’s teaching. Only very rarely does he say that the punishment lasts for ever. Far more often, he refers to ‘outer darkness’ (no definition of how long you’re there) or a fire that ‘never goes out’ (the fire never goes out – he doesn’t say how long you have to stay in it). I think we must not read these passages as indicating everlasting punishment. We’re left then with only two cases in the gospels (that I can find) in which punishment is defined as eternal (and even then, is that the same as ‘everlasting’? My Greek needs a polish). Now, I’m not a conservative and not a scriptural literalist, so I’m ok with the idea that in these passages, the gospel-writers just got it wrong. I honestly think that if you suggested to any of the New Testament writers that the fire of Hell would burn you for ever and ever and ever, they would either laugh in your face or change what they’d written.

Option (B) of course reduces Hell to a version of Purgatory. I’m cool with that. It also, interestingly, fits well with Matthew’s and Luke’s metaphors of punishment being a payment of debt – e.g. ‘you will not get out until you have paid the last penny’.

What do others think?

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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Theophilus
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# 2311

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Sorry to go all Kergymania on you, but I think Adeotatus' points need to be answered - and as a GLE, I work best from The Book.

Matt 5:22 -

I think the point Jesus is making here is not that God will 'punish' somebody with hell for saying a few nasty words. It is rather that any sin, no matter how small, involves a turning of the attitude against God - and that that turning of attitude is one that will eventually lead one to Hell: so being angry leads to one being 'in danger' of Hell.

The 'principle', therefore, is that any sin can damn you, not because getting cross is so bad that it means you deserve to be eternally fried, but because any sin puts you on the road to destruction, and you will end up being destroyed unless that sin is dealt with.

Jos 7
The point with Achan is that he disobeyed God, he appropriated that which belonged to God, and he tried to hang onto that which God wanted to be destroyed. By taking the stuff, he rated tainted material wealth above the covenant with God - unfaithfulness to the covenant is the central message of the passage (v11). Achan has been unfaithful to the promise that he (as a member of a corporate community) made to God. He valued a robe and a bit of money more than his relationship with God - and his sinful action had a result which impacted the entire community, as the covenant was a corporate one.

The total destruction of the plunder is also symbolic of Israel's purity and seperation from the sinful ways of the Caananites - by taking the plunder, in defiance of God, Achan introduced impurity into the chosen people.

In terms of modern application, I would view the plunder as sin. The 'principle' is that we must give sin no quarter: consciously deciding to hang on to sin, no matter how small it may seem, and how desirable, is a breach of our covenant relationship with God and is incredibly serious.

1 Sa 6
The point is that Uzzah treated God with contempt, and didn't take his commands seriously. I'm not sure if Uzzah was a priest, but it's quite clear that they weren't carrying the Ark as they were supposed to - and the Ark was one of the things which most strongly represented the presence of God. Under the Israelite covenant, holiness was primarily symbolised by physical factors; thus, all the rules about uncleanness, periods, skin diseases etc. Touching the ark was verboten - doing it, even to steady it, implied a casual intimacy with God that was almost blasphemous, given the context. (The fact that he needed to steady it rather implies that he wasn't taking due care in the first place.) Uzzah's action proved that he didn't really respect God.

The seriousness of Uzzah's action needs to be seen in an ancient Middle Eastern context. As an example, in Esther (4:11), there is a punishment of death for anyone approaching the king in the inner court, unless he pardons them with the golden sceptre. Taking physical intimacy for granted was an outrage of monarchical majesty. Uzzah showed no respect for the majesty of God.

(Also cf Acts 5:1-10: Ananias again doesn't take the holiness of God seriously; here, in regard to truth rather than physical proximity, but the principle is the same. The holiness of God is a serious thing.)

I don't think we can assume that any of these people were sent to Hell for what they did. But God chose to judge them for their actions - and I don't see why he should be condemned for doing so. After all, God kills everyone eventually. For God to kill someone is not the same as for a human to kill someone - because their lives belong to him already.

Sharkshooter: I don't think human morality is discontinuous with God's morality. Rom 1:18 - 2:16 rather suggests otherwise (particularly 2:14-15). I think we need to take the fact of our being made in the image of God seriously.

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If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort, you will not get either comfort or truth, only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair. C.S. Lewis

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
Finally, God is predictable - He will never allow sinfulness into His presence.

That's odd. One of the chief complaints against Him when he was here was that he spent too much time with tax collectors and sinners. hmmmm.

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
I am genuinely sorry to be this picky, but none of these arguments make sense!

ken - if I genuinely repent of all my sins right now - at 8pm - then yes, God readily forgives all past sins. But then if I sin at 9am tomorrow and die at 9.01, how can God have forgiven that sin? I haven't repented of it. I die having unrepentantly offended God's eternal Justice. all my sins.

No because God knows all about tomorrow's sin when you repented today. In fact God knows all about it at the moment of Creation - your name was written into the book of life before the founding of the world, not after tea on tuesday.

You might not think this is what theologically conservative Christianity teaches. But an awful lot of it does.

It teaches it quite specifically and in detail, picking over bits of the Bible that appear to say different. ISTR lots of talks on Hebrews chapter 6, balanced against Ephesians...

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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AB
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# 4060

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
6. Therefore I am left with two options. Both rely on the idea that Hell is not forever. Option (A) is that after a period of punishment, the occupants of Hell are consumed by the fire and cease to be. Option (B) is that Hell is a purifying fire, after which the occupants go to Heaven.

Or a combination of both A and B. Some may be refined and purified, others may still fail to respond to God's mercy? It seems to me that that lake of fire is there for some reason...

Oh, and a comment on point 5:

quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
5. I also can’t believe in Hell as the eternal absence of God. Everlasting boredom or everlasting alone-ness is every bit as bad as everlasting fire.

What if God sustains life by His presence? Surely eternal absence of God is eternal absence of life?

AB

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"This is all that I've known for certain, that God is love. Even if I have been mistaken on this or that point: God is nevertheless love."
- Søren Kierkegaard

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
I suggest that for an argument to count as 'conservative' under my definition, it must include a real concept of Scriptural inerrancy. Therefore passages such as the following must be true in a 'real' (rather than metaphorical) sense:
[...]
[QUOTE] Do you account of sin as a peccadillo, a flaw scarcely to be noticed, a mere joke, a piece of fun? But see the tree which springs from it. There is no joke there- no fun in hell.
You did not know that sin was so evil. Some of you will never know how evil it is until the
sweetness of honey has passed from your mouth,
and the bitterness of death preys at your vitals. (Spurgeon)

quote:
No matter how insignificant a sin is in terms of harm caused and harm intended, if it is a sin against God, it automatically becomes so serious that it deserves an infinite punishment.

This is that Spurgeon who famously wrote:

quote:

I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.

"If ever it should come to pass,

That sheep of Christ might fall away,

My fickle, feeble soul, alas!

Would fall a thousand times a day"

If one dear saint of God had perished, so might all; if one of the covenant ones be lost, so may all be; and then there is no gospel promise true, but the Bible is a lie, and there is nothing in it worth my acceptance. I will be an infidel at once when I can believe that a saint of God can ever fall finally. If God hath loved me once, then He will love me for ever. God has a mastermind; He arranged everything in His gigantic intellect long before He did it; and once having settled it, He never alters it, 'This shall be done," saith He, and the iron hand of destiny marks it down, and it is brought to pass. "This is My purpose," and it stands, nor can earth or hell alter it. "This is My decree," saith He, "promulgate it, ye holy angels; rend it down from the gate of Heaven, ye devils, if ye can; but ye cannot alter the decree, it shall stand for ever." God altereth not His plans; why should He? He is Almighty, and therefore can perform His pleasure. Why should He? He is the All-wise, and therefore cannot have planned wrongly. Why should He? He is the everlasting God, and therefore cannot die before His plan is accomplished. Why should He change? Ye worthless atoms of earth, ephemera of a day, ye creeping insects upon this bay-leaf of existence, ye may change your plans, but He shall never, never change His. Has He told me that His plan is to save me? If so, I am for ever safe.

?

Which is more or less what I was first taught when I was converted.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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musician

Ship's grin without a cat
# 4873

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I haven't read the first 3 pages on this thread, so apologies if I'm stating the previous.

I alswys liked Origen's viewpoint; that all would be saved in god's good time.
It makes more sense IMHO for a loving god to do so.

I can't see that anyone could be consigned to hell eternally, when we as human are fallible and don't see All.
It would be like taking a baby to task for not reading a list of rules. IMO.
To actually commit a "mortal sin" requires full knowledge of the action and its result, would suggest to me that anyone who chose such a path was not in their right mind, so it would be unjust to so punish them.

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Option (A) is that after a period of punishment, the occupants of Hell are consumed by the fire and cease to be.

An idea of a god so immoral, so repugnant, so evil, that it unbeleiveable that any Chrsitian coudl hold it. Nothing like the loving Father Christians know in Jesus, the God who triumphs over death and hell but an evil twisted god who inflicts both death and hell on his creatures.

Vile.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Lyda*Rose

Ship's broken porthole
# 4544

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Mainly what I've gotten from the conservative viewpoint is that nothing God does can be immoral, repugnant, or evil no matter what, QED. He's God; it's his game and he can have it all his way and if you don't like it: burn, baby, burn!. Killing a guy for steadying a box, killing children making fun of a bald prophet, sending people to everlasting punishment for not knowing him, sending people to Hell for rejecting the idea of a God who would to these things. It's aaaallll good. And conservative Christians can and do love this God, too.

Wow.

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"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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Liam
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# 4961

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I agree with Lyda.

The argument that God's morality is incomprehensible to us is just too circular and self-justifying. And the people who argue this are the self-same people who argue that the Bible presents one clear and easily understood message that we must all follow. You can't have it both ways!

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Glenn Oldham
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Sharkshooter, Nonpropheteer, and Grits,
ONE CANNOT AVOID USING REASON AND MORALITY to assess claims made about what God is like. Especially when such claims include the colosssaly morally repugnant notion that God will torture people in hell unrelentingly, constantly, for eternity, with no end, forever, with no benefit arising from it for the sufferers and still count as a good and just God.

Some comments made by Grits:
quote:
who are we to question what God does and why.
By Sharkshooter:
quote:
I define Biblical principals as moral. I do not define morality and then check to see if the Bible confroms to it. See I Corinthinans 1:18-21 for some comments on earthly wisdom.
…
you choose to see God through human morality, I choose to see Him through His morality as expressed in scripture. I trust God's morality: I do not trust human morality.
…
You cannot trust you conscience.

quote:
For me to foist my selfish, human idea of what is good or bad upon God is just plain silly.
But if human reason and morality are so corrupted then this actually leaves them without any grounds on which to give a reasoned justification for what they believe. What we seem to be seeing here is the astonishing sight of Christians actually repudiating reasoning about truth and morality. This is the logic of their position. They think that since they have in the Bible God’s statement about what is true and what is moral they therefore need not trouble themselves about whether what they believe is wrong or immoral because it can't be, and the non-conservative who puts himself above God by deignning to disagree must be bumptious and prideful. If the bible says that X is true then X is true and if the bible says Q is just or good or that God does it then Q is not immoral. They state quite clearly that it is for God to pronounce on these things and for humans to listen full stop.

Now the starkest problem with this position is that it is completely circular. Since they repudiate human reason and human assessment of morality how can they justify their belief in their interpretation of the Bible? All they have left to appeal to is the Bible, to revelation. Circularity stares us in the face here.

To show the bankruptcy of such a position what follows is longish but easy to read (I hope) imaginary exchange between the fictitious Derek and his questioner. (I posted this a year or so ago on another thread).

Derek: I believe that the Bible is God’s revelation to mankind.
Questioner: Why do you believe that?
Derek: Because the Bible says it is.
Questioner: But it might be wrong about that surely?
Derek: No, because being God’s revelation it cannot be in error.
Questioner: But that is no answer at all! There are two possibilities if it claims to be God’s revelation:
  • - firstly it might not be and thus be mistaken in its claim; and
  • - secondly it might be in which case it is true in what it says about being God’s revelation.
But how do you decide which it is?
Derek: But it is God’s revelation.
Questioner: But there are lots of things that are claimed to be God’s revelation. Why choose the Bible? What reasons did you have?
Derek: Aha, human reason, indeed! Human reason is flawed and fallen, as the Bible tells us and so cannot presume to judge what is and is not revelation. One can only humbly accept what God says is revelation.
Questioner: And how do you know what God says?
Derek: The Bible tells us.
Questioner: But why the Bible? Others have decided that the Qu’ran, or the Guru Granth Sahib, or the Vedas are revelation.
Derek: And in so deciding they have elevated their reason over the authority of God, by using their reason or experience to test revelation! That is pride indeed!
Questioner: But what are they doing that you aren’t?
Derek: They are using their reason or experience to test revelation!
Questioner: Well, I am fairly sure that some of them may be trying to use their reason as little as you appear to be! But they come to a different decision.
Derek: Then they should accept the Bible instead.
Questioner: But why? Is it because you find the Bible compellingly moral, or something like that?
Derek: Indeed I do find it compellingly moral, it contains the epitome of morality.
Questioner: But doesn’t it contain stories of God commanding some terrible things?
Derek: It only looks that way if you use your own flawed sense of morality to judge God’s actions, and how dare we do that!
Questioner: But you said that you found the bible to be compellingly moral, that that was a reason for trusting it?
Derek: How could I know what true morality is before I found it in the Bible?
Questioner: So you think that the Bible is moral because it says it is?
Derek: Of course, how else would I know?
Questioner: Derek, this is all circular. Don’t you ever wonder if your faith might be groundless, and then try to find reasons to support it?
Derek: Of course I do sometimes, but then I rebuke myself for seeking to use human reason and human moral sense to prop up God’s revelation. How arrogant of me!
Questioner: Well, Derek, I don’t know what to say to you. Can you not see that you are being morally irresponsible? This is because your circular reasoning means that:
  • if you are wrong about the Bible you have cut yourself off from ever finding that out;
  • you take the Bible as God’s revelation without any questioning or reasoning and then condemn others for doing exactly the same with the Qu’ran, or the Vedas; but
  • worse still, you condemn those other people who DO seek reasons for believing their holy books to be revelation! They act as responsibly as they can and you condemn them for it! You make blind, unquestioning faith superior to responsible discrimination!
  • to use the word’s of Keith Ward (in Religion and Revelation p21) you are one of those like Barth and Brunner who ‘insist that reason cannot judge revelation, though they themselves judge all revelations and decide that the Christian is alone true.’
  • by refusing to be critical you thus elevate yourself above being a finite limited human being to a position of infallibility.
  • by claiming that your religion is above reasoned and moral assessment you cannot point to any reason why others should become Christians.
  • by being so dismissive of reason and experience you insulate your faith against any assessment and present Christianity as a closed minded and intellectually bankrupt sect.

As a footnote, what conservatives like Derek do in practice is to shamelessly appeal to reason and morality in any way possible to support their position BUT THEN deny the validity of reason and morality when others appeal against their views! It is that that is so galling and frustrating!

Glenn

[ 03. December 2003, 23:06: Message edited by: Glenn Oldham ]

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This entire doctrine is worthless except as a subject of dispute. (G. C. Lichtenberg 1742-1799 Aphorism 60 in notebook J of The Waste Books)

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Jerry Boam
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# 4551

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[Overused] Glenn [Overused]


[Overused] Lyda (I almost forgot!)

[had to add Lyda]

[ 03. December 2003, 23:23: Message edited by: Jerry Boam ]

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Posts: 2165 | From: Miskatonic University | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Adeodatus
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# 4992

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ken - from my point of view I think you're still making some logical errors.
(1) On repentance. Do you mean that if I repent of my sins today, and then for the rest of my life (no matter how much I 'subjectively' forget my repentance and sin) I need never repent again? Because if I repent now, and in a minute's time stumble and sin, and need not repent in order to avoid the jaws of Hell, then why only a minute? An hour - a year - a lifetime - when, sinner that I continue to be, would I need to repent again? For something as serious as heaven or hell, I'm not prepared to trust conscience on this - my own or anyone else's - so I need to know.
(2) Your posting on Spurgeon hints that you believe only Christians are bound for heaven. What about the billions who never heard of Christ? I'm attracted to the idea that an after-death encounter with God might be a last chance to accept him, but this is definitely not traditional conservative teaching.
(3) I was interested to read elsewhere, and see repeated here, your thought that death followed by non-existence is a terrible thing. But why is it? I can't see that to die and cease to exist is categorically different from never having existed in the first place. So, for instance, I have never had children; my son does not exist; would it be better that he exist? Similarly, I do not believe that a beetle has an immortal soul: is it terrible that the beetle should die and cease to exist? And if not the beetle, why me? (Call me perverse if you like, but the idea of not existing rather intrigues me!)

Theophilus. You seem to say that the bizarre punishments of the Old Testament are just insofar as they are culturally relevant - Uzzah died on touching the Ark because one may not touch the King. But in my culture, one may touch a king. Are you saying that God will punish us liberal postmodernists differently from the way he punished Old Testament monarchists, in order to maintain his cultural relevance?
(Or are you saying what I, a non-literalist, would say - that someone made up the story of Uzzah for reasons of propaganda, theology, and the aetiology of 'Perez-Uzzah'?)

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Oldham:
Sharkshooter, Nonpropheteer, and Grits,
ONE CANNOT AVOID USING REASON AND MORALITY to assess claims made about what God is like. .

But if human reason and morality are so corrupted then this actually leaves them without any grounds on which to give a reasoned justification for what they believe. What we seem to be seeing here is the astonishing sight of Christians actually repudiating reasoning about truth and morality.

You have left out faith.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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AB
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Glenn, Sharkshooter,

//disclaimer: the following is inspired by a friend's response to Glenn's post - but he's too scared to post here - thinks you'll pick holes in his ideas! [Devil] this is basically a cut and paste with a touch of embelish, with his permission//

I think the truth lies in the middle, to be fair. A third way needs to be sought...

Some random thoughts...

#1 We cannot read (and therefore interpret and understand) anything (including the bible) without the use of our human reason

#2 As we read (and reason with) the bible over time we build up experience of using and applying the bible as it relates to our experience of life in general. We prove the truthfulness of Jesus' teaching as we live it. There's a lot of interplay...

#3 There's no such thing as some sort of "disembodied universal reason" by which we may judge truth claims... Reason does not exist in a vacuum - it can only be expressed in language and as such is the product of the culture and community within which I am raised. What's "reasonable" to a given culture at any one time depends entirely on the reigning plausibility structure. (MacIntyre, Berger)

#4 Any epistemological claim for ultimate authority is bound to be circular by definition. "I believe the bible because I believe the bible". "It is reasonable to trust reason". "I trust what my senses tell me because I always have". (etc - see Grudem) I must initially accept such a statement acritically by faith before it can be proved to myself as I seek to indwell it and use it as a framework to best understand the world I see and experience. (Polanyi, Newbigin)

(Cf. learning Maths - you have to accept acritically what the teacher's authority [representing the authority of a tradition] before you can prove to yourself that they are true. You prove the truth by participation)

#5 There's no such thing as pure doubt. You cannot doubt everything at the same time. To doubt one idea you have to be accepting another acritically ie. you need somewhere to doubt from. (Polanyi, Newbigin)

AB

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"This is all that I've known for certain, that God is love. Even if I have been mistaken on this or that point: God is nevertheless love."
- Søren Kierkegaard

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kentishmaid
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Your friend is welcome to post, I see a lot there that I agree with, actually.

In response to sharkshooter, faith without reason, IMHO, suffers from a sort of blindness, surely, otherwise, how does one discern what/who to have faith in?

I have similar misgivings about hell to Lyda and Adeodatus, for comparable reasons.

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"Who'll be the lady, who'll be the lord, when we are ruled by the love of one another?"

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ken
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# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
ken - from my point of view I think you're still making some logical errors.
(1) On repentance. Do you mean that if I repent of my sins today, and then for the rest of my life (no matter how much I 'subjectively' forget my repentance and sin) I need never repent again? Because if I repent now, and in a minute's time stumble and sin, and need not repent in order to avoid the jaws of Hell, then why only a minute? An hour - a year - a lifetime - when,

What about someone who sins freely, then repents at the last and dies then and there. They may have been in a state of repentence for only one minute, against a hundred years of sinful life.

In your view (which certainly doesn't correspond to what passes for theologically conservative protestantism round these parts) would that person be saved when someone who lived 100 years as a Christian but fell into despair and sin at the last minute was damned?

Why this privilegeing of the part of your life that comes last in time sequence? It might not be particularly special from an eternal point of view.


quote:
sinner that I continue to be, would I need to repent again? For something as serious as heaven or hell, I'm not prepared to trust conscience on this - my own or anyone else's - so I need to know.
Of course you need to confess again - but your eternal salvation does not depend on your confession, it depends on God's election. If you ever were truly saved you are eternally saved.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Adeodatus
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But ken, if my salvation doesn't depend on my confession, why do I need to confess? Whether I'm among the 'elect' or not, my confession doesn't count one whit. If I confess and I'm not elect, I go to Hell anyway; if I don't and I am elect, I go to Heaven.

Or if you're saying that God's election of me before time began depends/depended on my actions here and now, you're saying that things like my repentance and confession do matter, since it's on these day-to-day things in my life now that conditioned God's 'choice' of me before creation.

Or again, if you're saying that God's predestining of me to Heaven or Hell has absolutely nothing to do with me here and now - regardless of whether I choose Chist, confess him as Lord, repent with heavy tears or wear out my knees in prayer - then that's the most terrible thing of all. I can spend my life doing all those things, and God says, 'Oh sorry - but you're always on the Hell list. Always have been. Off you go.'

The idea of predestination or election to Heaven or Hell I find to be the most confusing and objectionable thing of all.

(By the way, I quite agree with what those such as Glenn and AB have said about using reason in matters of morality.)

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:

The idea of predestination or election to Heaven or Hell I find to be the most confusing and objectionable thing of all.

That's another discussion entirely.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Big Steve

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# 3274

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Adeodatus - I know there are many logical inconsistancies when trying to understand how God works. Do we have genuine free will? Does God know who is on the "good" list?

As for me, I am happy to sit with this as a "mystery" that I do now fully understand now but hope to understand later in this life or in the next.

It may not be what you're looking for. But hey, if God is greater than I it is impossible for me to understand fully his ways.

I'm not sure if other Christians do this - putting away problems in little boxes and calling them mysteries? Without the concept of mystery I would have given up and re-taken Christianity many times.

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Posts: 1269 | From: Dublin. | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
ken
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# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Or if you're saying that God's election of me before time began depends/depended on my actions here and now, you're saying that things like my repentance and confession do matter, since it's on these day-to-day things in my life now that conditioned God's 'choice' of me before creation.

That could be true of course, but it woudl support what I said, not what you said.

You are talking as if what is saved is only you at the instant of your death, and not your whole life.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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ken
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# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:

The idea of predestination or election to Heaven or Hell I find to be the most confusing and objectionable thing of all.

That's another discussion entirely.
Its the same one.

If you scrap predestination and the omnipotence and eternity of God logically end up where Adeodatus is if not with Deism. They are all bound up together.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Adeodatus
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# 4992

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At the risk of being waspish, ken, the only difference between us is that I respect Scripture by making demands on it. You appear to respect it by treating it with kid gloves. My approach emphatically does not lead to Deism. One aspect of my view of Scripture is that I treat it as a uniquely exalted part of the story of humanity's relationship with God. I am quite willing to believe that Uzzah's friends thought God had struck him down; I do not believe God would act like a child having a tantrum. I am also quite willing to believe that St Paul could believe in predestination; I do not believe that God would, before all eternity, drive billions of people into Hell like cattle to the slaughter.

God is eternal and eternally faithful; humanity grows up slowly and changes all the time. God does not change or evolve as we move through the pages of salvation history; but we certainly do. And we have continued to do so since, which is why I can, with good conscience and integrity, criticise the beliefs of our forebears in the Faith.

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Posts: 9779 | From: Manchester | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged
Glenn Oldham
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# 47

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quote:
Originally posted by AB:
Glenn, Sharkshooter,

//disclaimer: the following is inspired by a friend's response to Glenn's post - but he's too scared to post here - thinks you'll pick holes in his ideas! [Devil] this is basically a cut and paste with a touch of embelish, with his permission//

I think the truth lies in the middle, to be fair. A third way needs to be sought...

Some random thoughts...

#1 We cannot read (and therefore interpret and understand) anything (including the bible) without the use of our human reason

#2 As we read (and reason with) the bible over time we build up experience of using and applying the bible as it relates to our experience of life in general. We prove the truthfulness of Jesus' teaching as we live it. There's a lot of interplay...

#3 There's no such thing as some sort of "disembodied universal reason" by which we may judge truth claims... Reason does not exist in a vacuum - it can only be expressed in language and as such is the product of the culture and community within which I am raised. What's "reasonable" to a given culture at any one time depends entirely on the reigning plausibility structure. (MacIntyre, Berger)

#4 Any epistemological claim for ultimate authority is bound to be circular by definition. "I believe the bible because I believe the bible". "It is reasonable to trust reason". "I trust what my senses tell me because I always have". (etc - see Grudem) I must initially accept such a statement acritically by faith before it can be proved to myself as I seek to indwell it and use it as a framework to best understand the world I see and experience. (Polanyi, Newbigin)

(Cf. learning Maths - you have to accept acritically what the teacher's authority [representing the authority of a tradition] before you can prove to yourself that they are true. You prove the truth by participation)

#5 There's no such thing as pure doubt. You cannot doubt everything at the same time. To doubt one idea you have to be accepting another acritically ie. you need somewhere to doubt from. (Polanyi, Newbigin)

AB

This is excellent stuff, AB, and is largely my own position! #1 is not quite how I would put it and #4 is put a little amgiguously but of that I may say a little more later when I get a chance. But bravo!

There is the embarassingly (to me [Hot and Hormonal] ) nagging question as to why this is being called a middle way. Between what and what or between who and who? Have I given the impression that I am some sort of arch rationalist? I am not. I think that the use of human reason in any attempt to be responsible about what one chooses to believe is inescapable. That is not the same as saying that human reason is the only source of truth. If people understand me to be saying that then I apologise for not being clearer.

G

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Orb

Eye eye Cap'n!
# 3256

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quote:
Originally posted by musician:
I haven't read the first 3 pages on this thread, so apologies if I'm stating the previous.

I alswys liked Origen's viewpoint; that all would be saved in god's good time.
It makes more sense IMHO for a loving god to do so.
[*]Could we assume that there may be additional consequences, both positive and negative, beyond what you've foreseen?
I can't see that anyone could be consigned to hell eternally, when we as human are fallible and don't see All.
It would be like taking a baby to task for not reading a list of rules. IMO.
To actually commit a "mortal sin" requires full knowledge of the action and its result, would suggest to me that anyone who chose such a path was not in their right mind, so it would be unjust to so punish them.

So, in other words, you don't like the idea of human responsibility?

I think we need to keep a sense of each individual's accountability toward God. Brian McLaren, the excellent minister of Cedar Creek Church makes a few good points about hell in his "Finding Faith" book:

quote:
...it is worthwhile at this point to realize that the horrific biblical imagery of hell and the enticing imagery of heaven must be intended for this very purpose: to magnify and intensify for us the significance of the consequences of losing or keeping interest in the spiritual search...(p.260)
He also asks seven questions of the reader:

1. Does it matter to you whether you lose interest in your search or persevere in it?
2. If you lose interest and give up your search, what negative consequences would you expect?
3. If you persevere in your search, even when it is difficult to do so, what positive consequences would you expect?
4. Could we call the consequences of number 2 "hell", and the consequences of number 3 "heaven"?
5. Could we also assume that there may be additional consequences, both positive and negative, beyond what you've foreseen?
6. May we assume that whatever is meant by heaven and hell is meant as an encouragement not to lose interest...to impress on us how consequential our spiritual decisions are?
7. And may we assume that you'll make your own free, adult decisions about losing or maintaining interest in the light of relative importance to you of those expected consequences?

No hell definitely shouldn't mean "anything goes", which I think a number of people have been steering close to on this thread...

[There I go, getting all moralistic on you [Big Grin] )

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“You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.” Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

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