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Source: (consider it) Thread: Do all good deeds worship God?
Raptor Eye
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From the 'healthy scepticism' thread:
quote:

Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:

Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
You hold great store by good works, rightly so where they are the fruit of the spirit. Good works do not express worship of Christ unless they are carried out through love of God and the love of other people, and not through self interest.

Then they aren't good works.

All good works are self serving. But as the pagan Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius said I think, we should do them like breathing.



To this, 'No Prophet' said:
quote:

Possibly another thread, but if you folks mean what I think you mean - that the good deeds done by the nonChristian are inherently sinful - this is pious nonsense, among the worst sort.



I did not mean that good deeds done by anyone are sinful, that was not implied. Previous posts had spoken about a separation between worship and deeds, but to me the deeds are worship of Christ too, a natural response to the love of God.

I do not see this as self-serving, as its motivation is not for personal reward.

Is there a danger in looking to good deeds as a sign of the fruit of the spirit, as there are many motives behind behaviour?

Do you think that all good deeds worship Christ, whatever the motivation?

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Marvin the Martian

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They may not all worship Christ, but I'm sure they all please Him

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Gamaliel
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Yes. We are told in scripture that all good gifts come from above ...

Doing good us doing good. I can't see why we should posit a sliding scale as to which ones are better than others or those that God is most likely to favour.

That's his business, not ours.

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W Hyatt
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
Do you think that all good deeds worship Christ, whatever the motivation?

Good deeds motivated by something other than self, yes. Good deeds done for selfish motivations still have the same beneficial impact, but do not embody the worship of Christ.

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A new church and a new earth, with Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life.

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Dafyd
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I cannot see any valid interpretation of the parable of the sheep and the goats that doesn't make the answer a resounding yes.

On a classical theist view of God, all goodness and truth are God.

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Martin60
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Dafyd [Overused] I don't understand how one can feed the hungry selfishly. How one can feed Christ without worshipping Him.

[ 15. December 2016, 08:46: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Raptor Eye
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Did you not say above that all good works are self-serving Martin?

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Eutychus
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There are secondary benefits an individual derives from doing good works (as evidence by the fact that those who do them are "blessed").

In my experience, failure to acknowledge these secondary benefits compromises the long-term performance of the good works.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Martin60
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Perfect. We are selves. Serving, giving certainly costs, should cost in this world, including no acknowledgement, recognition whatsoever. Even from God: it's bottom line after all.

Laying down ones fragile ego and being vulnerable certainly costs, but it all serves the self, the cost is always worth it.

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Love wins

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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Define secondary benefit someone. If you mean feel 'good about it' okay. If you mean 'name published on the sponsorship wall' that is clearly self serving, which is really only advertising.

I hold human beings make choices to do kind or cruel things as part of our nature and potential. We choose. God has little to do but observe and perhapd keep a scoresheet. Though I suspect not a very tight one wth most conduct ignored.

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Eutychus
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By secondary benefits I mean (mostly) feeling good about it.

I regularly screen candidates for prison chaplaincy. Anyone who talks solely in terms of self-sacrifice and refuses to admit they might get something out of it is off the list straight away.

'Mostly', because most service opportunities are also opportunities to meet people, network, and often to receive training etc.

To me there is a connection with what Jesus says about having an easy yoke and a light burden.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Boogie

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All that is good worships God.

But what is a good deed? Some things we do with the best intentions and a good heart can backfire badly.

Many good deeds (most?) we do for the feel good factor. Nothing wrong with that but we do need to be honest about it, especially to ourselves.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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Thanks for the definition Eutychus. I am going to need another one. Both of these have always like riddles to me, sort of poetic, but not at all clear:

"All that is good worships God."

"fruit of the spirit"

The first sort seems to turn things around backwards. It's more like that if you do something good, it is probably connected to something or some aspect that hints a wee bit of God.

The second one seems to mean that if you aren't eating the apple from the Good God Tree and aren't motivated by some aspect of faith, you're eating an Eve apple and it's time to get out of that lovely walled garden. (I dislike that sort of language. Quite a bit).

It seems to me that these things are projective. Meaning that if you have an enthusiastic belief, you can read God into everything. While those without such enthusiasm (I'm one), read a lot more humanity into it.

I could accept that most (all?) of what we do and think are not neutral and move us either toward or away from God, but we do might "worship" God? Then bad ideas I suppose must "worship" satan? Which, as above, I'd say is either neutral or moving away from God instead. (I admit I find a good measure of evangelical language off-putting, and the scales rise over my ears, my ears get stopped up, and if it continues, I gnash my teeth)

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
"All that is good worships God."

I'm not sure that's very clear either. I think worship implies some degree of intent. The bible talks about doing everything to the glory of God, which I suppose I take, roughly, as doing everything to the best of one's ability with the most integrity possible, as if one was doing it for God himself.

One could probably do some good without that constituting worship of God, although I'm always curious about people's motivations in such cases.

quote:
"fruit of the spirit"
This is mentioned in contrast to the "works of the flesh", with the Galatians being encouraged to eschew the latter and cultivate the former. It's a bit of a stretch to assume the good fruit is the sole preserve (ha ha) of believers, but I would say signs of this fruit is good evidence of the work of the Spirit in the life of someone professing to follow Christ.

It's tricky to discern though, like seeing that the widow's mite is "more" than the larger sums put in the coffer by other, richer people.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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SusanDoris

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Well, I like to think I have done a good deed or two in my life but I can state with conviction that not one of them has been done to worship any God - even when I thought there was a sort of power/force out there somewhere!

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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Isn't that an assessment of intent? The widow's intent and level of sacrifice is better because it actually meant something. The donation that an unrecognized individual gives to a worthy cause won't get their name on the hospital wing. The wealthy person who gives a swack more will get a lot more press, and their donation will do more good.

One is better in the moralistic sense, the other practically.

Re fruit of the spirit and fruit of the flesh: Is this an example of taking something meant for one specific group and misapplying it to others? There's no demarcation between the two. We are not bicameral beings, though perhaps amphibious. To make the spirit/flesh thing more earthy, I recall a discussion with a bishop who discussed sacramental sex, which is certainly both.

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\_(ツ)_/

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Re fruit of the spirit and fruit of the flesh: Is this an example of taking something meant for one specific group and misapplying it to others? There's no demarcation between the two.

The text contrasts the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit, so they are different in nature for starters. If you go and read Galatians 5 you will see there is no suggestion of either/or. The fruit are to do with character attributes rather than works.

What seems certain from the passage is that bad deeds, which Christians are quite clearly capable of according to this text, do not worship God.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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sharkshooter

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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
..
Do you think that all good deeds worship Christ, whatever the motivation?

I would say no. Consider this from Isaiah 64 (NIV):

quote:
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

See, also, Matthew 6 (NIV):

quote:
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Prayer
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

It seems to me that both passages indicate that there is more to it than simply doing the right thing. The intent or motivation is important. If you are doing something to be noticed for having done it, it is not an act of worship. It may still be a good deed, but it is not worshipful.

Which one is an act of worship? The one who donates $1,000,000 to a hospital and has a special wing built and named after him, or the one who donates $100 anonymously and eats Kraft Dinner for a week because that was most of his grocery money? Both are good deeds. I would say the first is not an act of worship.

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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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Martin60
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Oh it is. Of himself. He has his reward. Good is still done regardless.

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Love wins

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Anglican_Brat
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I would put it slightly differently, are all good deeds acts of God working in cooperation with the human will despite the individual human's possible lack of conscious belief in the deity?

I once summed up St Augustine's view of predestination and good and evil simplistically by stating:

"If you do good, don't take any credit for it, because it is simply God working through you, if however you sin, it's your own fault because God is not the author of any evil or sin."

Or perhaps if we think of it in terms of the Trinity:

Good works are acts of God the Son working through us, inspired and in cooperation with God the Holy Spirit, with the ultimate aim of worshipping and adoring God the Father, who through initially sending God the Son, is the author, centre and end of all things good.

[ 16. December 2016, 15:42: Message edited by: Anglican_Brat ]

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Horseman Bree
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You might want to discuss this with a member of the Salvation Army, a group which does not actually have sacraments as part of their observance. ISTM that they take "good works" as part of their observance, with the caveat that they must include God in their thoughts.

OTOH, the present Pope has discussed being together with atheists in the doing of good, which just stirs the pot again.

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Enoch
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I find myself in the odd and unusual position of agreeing (well partly) with Susan Doris.

There's a difference between saying 'all good deeds add to God's glory' and 'all good deeds worship God'.

Depending on how one views them, it is entirely possible to see God glorified and his goodness demonstrated every time someone, anyone, does something good, whether they do it consciously because it glorifies God, or even whether they are conscious that the action is good or not. It can speak objectively of whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report.

However, 'worship' is a verb. A good deed cannot of itself worship anyone. There has to be an agent to do the worshipping. So, outside the realm of the rhetorical buzz-fuzz of the high-minded, it isn't really possible to say someone is worshipping God unless he or she has at least some minimal intention of doing so.

God may or may not credit an unbeliever's good deeds to their spiritual deposit account. That's a different question. On it, one can take an optimistic or pessimistic view. But it's a bit of a nonsense to say that even though a person may not believe in God or be motivated by any desire to live for him, somehow we are going to construe their actions as worship, whether they like it or not. Apart from being a bit dishonest, that gets very near to denying them responsibility for their own intentions.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
I would put it slightly differently, are all good deeds acts of God working in cooperation with the human will despite the individual human's possible lack of conscious belief in the deity?

I once summed up St Augustine's view of predestination and good and evil simplistically by stating:

"If you do good, don't take any credit for it, because it is simply God working through you, if however you sin, it's your own fault because God is not the author of any evil or sin."

Or perhaps if we think of it in terms of the Trinity:

Good works are acts of God the Son working through us, inspired and in cooperation with God the Holy Spirit, with the ultimate aim of worshipping and adoring God the Father, who through initially sending God the Son, is the author, centre and end of all things good.

No it's not.

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Love wins

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
No it's not.

And the antecedent for "it" is . . . ?

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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quote:
...outside the realm of the rhetorical buzz-fuzz of the high-minded, it isn't really possible to say someone is worshipping God unless he or she has at least some minimal intention of doing so...that gets very near to denying them responsibility for their own intentions.

I'm having another go at a rather heavy book (R.Clouser, 'The Myth of Religious Neutrality') which is perhaps buzz-fuzz - but which takes an opposite view to yours above. By the phrase "a) worshipping b) God" we could well mean "a) ascribing ultimate worth and cause to b) that which needs no external justification because it (or He) 'just is'". A lot of 'non-religious' people think about doing 'good' that way. I'm not convinced it is possible to describe 'good' in any other way, and perhaps, even, that is one of the ways in which 'God is good'.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
..
Do you think that all good deeds worship Christ, whatever the motivation?

I would say no. Consider this from Isaiah 64 (NIV):

quote:
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.


Not to be contrary, but what makes you think the "all of us" here includes you or me?

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
..
Do you think that all good deeds worship Christ, whatever the motivation?

I would say no. Consider this from Isaiah 64 (NIV):

quote:
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.


Not to be contrary, but what makes you think the "all of us" here includes you or me?
Does it need to include you or me? If the question is whether "all good deeds worship Christ" (my emphasis), and if Isaiah's assertion that some "righteous acts are like filthy rags" means that those righteous acts are good deeds that do not worship Christ, then the question is answered regardless of whether Isaiah is including you or me.

That said, Micah told Israel that their worship was not pleasing to God, suggesting that it may not be enough to ask if good deeds "worship" Christ. Perhaps the question is more along the lines of whether all good deeds are worship that is pleasing to Christ. And as sharkshooter noted, it seems that Jesus in Matthew answers that question in the negative.

I think I tend to agree with Enoch. It seems to me that to describe good deeds as "worship" per se somehow skews the meaning of "worship."

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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mousethief

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But if their worship wasn't "good deeds" (and let's face it, it consisted of killing cows), Isaiah and Micah's condemnation doesn't necessarily apply to ... well ... doing good deeds.

Indeed this fits quite nicely with Micah's

And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

In other words, do good deeds (of a certain sort).

[ 17. December 2016, 05:03: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Martin60
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mousethief. Perfick.

And Nick Tamen, oooh you grammar fascist. That's my job.

OK

Angligan_Brat: "Good works are acts of God the Son working through us, inspired and in cooperation with God the Holy Spirit, with the ultimate aim of worshipping and adoring God the Father, who through initially sending God the Son, is the author, centre and end of all things good."

No they are not. Which is not as punchy as "No it's not.".

It seems very contrived, very pious, very anachronistic, very contradictory and if I had the time ... and ability ... I'd deconstruct it.

My interaction with the Jesus story, aided and abetted by the Holy Spirit despite me, compels me to want to do something. Which I bumble in to 1% of the time and qualitatively less. 99% of the time it doesn't arise apart from the fact that it does in all interaction and time spending in which I'm (woe! Woe! and THRICE WOE! unto self-piteous me) found wanting. There are Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, animists and atheists, spiritual 'Gentiles', who are far more fruitful:

Romans 2:7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. ... 10 ... glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism ... 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

[ 17. December 2016, 10:22: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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As far as I can see, when bible verses written for other people many centuries ago are thrown into a current discussion, we're at the point of medicating the dead. What is said in a letter to Galatian people, which draws distinction between bodies and spirit is not prescriptive. If someone is a refugee and they get pulled out of the water by an atheist, it doesn't matter one bit that this is a work of the flesh and that the bible tells us so. Bibliolotry, what that may be. It might also be Paulism.

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
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Martin60
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# 368

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Absolutely no... Which is why I quoted from Paul. Who would agree with you too I'm sure. He was demonstrating big-minded inclusion by the Spirit which blows our tendency to collapse in ever decreasing, pious, exclusive, self-congratulatory, religious, bound circles to bits.

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Love wins

Posts: 16987 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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Many years ago I knew two people (long since dead) who did what they knew to be good deeds because they used to tell us so! One used to make large Christmas cakes which she used to tell us were superbly made and far superior to any others, and were for people whom she had decided needed them. One of the recipients whom I knew well hated fruit cake and felt quite repelled by the sight of it; in fact, she used to throw them away. She had tried to inform the giver but this fell on totally deaf ears since the giver, of course, knew she was right and would certainly have considered that she was gaining favour in the eyes of God.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Nick Tamen

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# 15164

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
But if their worship wasn't "good deeds" (and let's face it, it consisted of killing cows), Isaiah and Micah's condemnation doesn't necessarily apply to ... well ... doing good deeds.

Indeed this fits quite nicely with Micah's

And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

In other words, do good deeds (of a certain sort).

Ha! Fair enough on cows. And on Micah. Though maybe it's worth pointing out that the sacrificial system also involved tithes, and those cows were used for food, sometimes for those with no means of their own. But yes, fair points.

Still, though, Isaiah and Jesus both talk about good deeds/righteous acts that are in some way not pleasing to God, and motive seems to be the key. We will never be free of selfish motives, but it seems to me that when our motives are totally selfish, that's when the deed isn't seen as righteous, to use the scriptural term. The result may still be very pleasing to God—the hungry are fed, the sick are healed, etc. But the giver is not seen as righteous before God, because the giver only cared about serving himself.

quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Angligan_Brat: "Good works are acts of God the Son working through us, inspired and in cooperation with God the Holy Spirit, with the ultimate aim of worshipping and adoring God the Father, who through initially sending God the Son, is the author, centre and end of all things good."

No they are not. Which is not as punchy as "No it's not.".

It seems very contrived, very pious, very anachronistic, very contradictory and if I had the time ... and ability ... I'd deconstruct it.

Thanks Martin. I was trying to police your grammar, though. You responded to a fairly long post that made more than one point with a punchy "No it's not." I just wasn't sure which part of the post you were disagreeing with.

I think I end up somewhere between you and Anglcan_Brat. I would not say good deeds are acts of God, but I would agree that it is only through the gifts and prompting of the Divine that any of us—Christian, Muslim, Jew, Sikh, atheist, whatever—do good acts, if for no other reason than the consciences that God has given us all, and an Nate desire for light rather than darkness.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

Posts: 2551 | From: On heaven-crammed earth | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged
Nick Tamen

Ship's Wayfaring Fool
# 15164

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
I was trying to police your grammar, though.

Argh! That should have been "I wasn't."

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Martin60
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# 368

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Ah go on Nick! (Said in a southern Irish accent).

Aye, we earthen things innately yearn for the light we cannot see. It will be more satisfying. I feel conscience is a function of morally educated higher consciousness, how can I be happy, content or right at another's expense?

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Love wins

Posts: 16987 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
fausto
Shipmate
# 13737

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If I give to charity in the hope that I will be invited to a gala event and honored with an award and introduced to wealthy people whose friendship can be more profitable to me than the effort has cost, that is essentially a selfish deed, even if it also incidentally does some good.

If I give to charity for no reason other than the sheer joy of knowing I have given of myself to help someone else in need, that is a deed that serves the God whose presence is everywhere and who resides in all things, and the Christ who is the image of all people; and they know that it is they whom I have served even if I myself do not.

[ 19. December 2016, 20:30: Message edited by: fausto ]

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"Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way." Gospel of Philip, Logion 72

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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What if I give to charity, work and fundraise because I enjoy the work, love the company and know the huge benefits our work (and fun) brings to people?

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Garden. Room. Walk

Posts: 12723 | From: Boogie Wonderland | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged
fausto
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# 13737

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
What if I give to charity, work and fundraise because I enjoy the work, love the company and know the huge benefits our work (and fun) brings to people?

There are very few things in this world that are purely right or purely wrong, and we all do things at times out of complex motivations. But there's nothing inherently wrong with seeking personal happiness that lifts you up and does no harm to anyone else. Are you motivated more by a desire for personal advantage and acclaim, even if attained by manipulating or exploiting the needs of others, or are you motivated more by the personal satisfaction you gain by helping others in need and finding fellowship with people who share the same motivation?

As I understand the question here, it's not so much to determine where the exact dividing line between right and wrong falls in the case of good works done out of mixed motivations, but rather, whether good works per se honor God and are accepted by God even if the worker does not think of it as an act of worship or religious devotion. I think works that benefit others always serve God, regardless of any selfish motivations or faulty belief on the part of the worker, because those who benefit are made in God's image. However, I think it is the motivation, not the act or the belief, that reveals the state of the soul of the person who does the works. Believers can have unrighteous motivations for cynical obedience, and unbelievers can have righteous motivations for sincere agreement with God's will. As shipmate Cliffdweller once said, what matters is not that we know God by name but that he knows us.

Yet since he already knows us, and since the divine grace that transforms us is never earned, one of the ways that undeserved grace can soften hard souls is by unexpectedly bringing that warm sense of selfless satisfaction to doers of good works who began with more selfish motivations.

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"Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way." Gospel of Philip, Logion 72

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Dafyd
Shipmate
# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
What if I give to charity, work and fundraise because I enjoy the work, love the company and know the huge benefits our work (and fun) brings to people?

The classical scheme in virtue ethics is that moral progress goes from: thinking the wrong things are good (vicious person), knowing what is right but not doing it (akratic person), knowing and doing what is right but not enjoying it (self-controlled person), and finally doing what is right and enjoying it (the virtuous person). So in one sense the fully virtuous person does what is right because they enjoy it.

So: doing the work because you enjoy it is compatible with doing it for the right reasons. The test might be whether or not you'd do work that was similar except for being unethical. Or whether you're too quick to congratulate yourself that you're helping people when you might check that you're actually helping.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
However, 'worship' is a verb. A good deed cannot of itself worship anyone. There has to be an agent to do the worshipping. So, outside the realm of the rhetorical buzz-fuzz of the high-minded, it isn't really possible to say someone is worshipping God unless he or she has at least some minimal intention of doing so.

I suppose the question this raises is whether a misdescribed intention is minimal enough.

Suppose someone's under the impression that the works of Shakespeare were written by the Earl of Oxford. They stage a celebration of the works of the Earl of Oxford by putting on some of the plays and talking about the plays and sonnets. There's a sense in which despite themselves they're celebrating the works of Shakespeare himself and not the Earl of Oxford.

Similarly I think that worship can be aimed at God despite the conscious belief that the intention is aimed at something else.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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