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Source: (consider it) Thread: jlg's despair and death
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
throughout the various changes in my beliefs about God the belief that God accompanies me is the one that has been constant.

Yes, this is the essence of it, as far as I'm concerned, as well.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34561 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
Marvin, you are scarily reminding me of the children who never want to grow up and get out of nappies. Please tell me it isn't so. [Ultra confused]

I can certainly understand that view. When you're a baby all your needs are met by others: you are fed, clothed, protected, cleaned, and carried everywhere. It's the ultimate in easy living. No effort, no worries, no problem.

And it's better in other ways, too. If a baby accidentally knocks a cup off a table the adults' first concern is that the baby is OK. Just a few years later, the same event sees them angry at the child and more concerned about the broken cup and carpet stain.

Now, you might come back with a post about how great independence is. But we're talking about a theoretical situation where God is the "adult" and we are the "baby". And I'm not entirely sure that independence from God is something the Christian churches generally hold up as a good thing...

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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Doesn't the whole 'Adam and Eve' story/myth serve to illustrate that humanity fights to gain that independence, even when there is seemingly nothing they need to fight against?

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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QLib

Bad Example
# 43

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Yes - it's been said of John Milton that, if he'd been in the Garden of Eden, he'd not only have eaten the apple, he'd have written a pamphlet to explain why he was right to do so.

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Tradition is the handing down of the flame, not the worship of the ashes Gustav Mahler.

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Sir Pellinore
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# 12163

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quote:
Originally posted by QLib:
quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
I think we need to attempt to assist the bereaved.

Yes, by standing alongside them in their pain. If you try to console them by telling them to consider the lilies of the field, you might quite probably (and deservedly) meet with physical violence. Sometimes the best response to pain is to STFU and listen. If you want to (silently) consider the lilies to try and keep a grip on some kind of perspective, fine.
Fortunately, I have never had to professionally console anyone. [Big Grin]

The 'lilies of the field' analogy was a posting on this, hopefully completely harmless (were they all [Votive] ) thread.

I can understand someone like Marvin being 'pissed off' (not his words) with What He Perceives The Almighty To Be (which may well not be what the Almighty actually is) for the way jlg's life ended.

In traditional Christian thought suicide has tended to be considered a terrible sin, and, as you know, suicides were buried outside consecrated ground. This was, of course, before the advent of modern psychology. Suicide now tends to be treated as something we can, hopefully, prevent and not something for the intellectually flatulent to fire both barrells at without any consideration for the departed or those who are effected by the suicide.

I didn't know jlg personally but she (?) seemed to be a very intelligent and intense person. The avatar seemed to confirm that. In my limited experience it is exactly that sort of person who suicides. I don't know her family situation nor whether she had any real physical friends on SOF (rather than cyberfriends).

It is very sad, and, from the Antipodes (where most of you aren't) there seems little if anything I personally can do except silently remember.

In some ways I wish SOF was not so much of an intense intellectual cybermeeting which tends to miss so many of the nuances of life. The lillies of the field are real, tangible and they move in the breeze. They are a sign of the continuity of life which, perhaps, some razor sharp intellectuals don't realise.

I think the Christian response (or, to be pedantic 'a Christian response') is that jlg's life may now continue in a better way. That is, of course, trusting to God's mercy, which to some of the more traditionalist posters, may be a novel idea.

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Well...

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Raptor Eye
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# 16649

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
Marvin, you are scarily reminding me of the children who never want to grow up and get out of nappies. Please tell me it isn't so. [Ultra confused]

I can certainly understand that view. When you're a baby all your needs are met by others: you are fed, clothed, protected, cleaned, and carried everywhere. It's the ultimate in easy living. No effort, no worries, no problem.

And it's better in other ways, too. If a baby accidentally knocks a cup off a table the adults' first concern is that the baby is OK. Just a few years later, the same event sees them angry at the child and more concerned about the broken cup and carpet stain.

Now, you might come back with a post about how great independence is. But we're talking about a theoretical situation where God is the "adult" and we are the "baby". And I'm not entirely sure that independence from God is something the Christian churches generally hold up as a good thing...

Our parent/offspring relationship with God is not adult/baby, but adult/adult. God gives us guidance, we make the decision to take it or to leave it, and take full responsibility for our own resulting actions. God cares enough to allow us to live our own lives, but if we're in trouble and yell God's there with us, to try to help us to pick up the pieces.

We may be distracted from God's guidance, or so full in our minds' whirlpools that we don't listen for it. We may not yell, for one reason or another. If we do, we may be so much in the darkness of despair that we don't see or acknowledge that God's there with us, waiting patiently for us to turn and listen and follow.

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

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Trudy Scrumptious

BBE Shieldmaiden
# 5647

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I haven't added to this thread although I've read it with interest (not just because, as a Purg host, I have to read it). The whole question of why tragedies happen and what it means to our concept of a good God, kind of overwhelms me and leaves me feeling any answer would be inadequate.

But having thought so much about jlg's death and the circumstances this week, I was quite struck by something a co-worker said today. This co-worker has just returned from helping a member of her extended family deal with one of the most horrific tragedies I can imagine -- an older couple and their three young granddaughters, all burned to death in a house fire in the early hours of Christmas morning. My co-worker was very close to her cousin (the daughter and mother of those who were killed) so went to the US to help her cope with the aftermath.

My co-worker is not a particularly religious woman -- in fact, I have often heard her express some resentment toward her conservative Catholic upbringing, and never heard her say anything particularly religious or spiritual. Today at the end of staff meeting she thanked everyone for their support during this terrible time, and then said, "If I ever doubted there was a God, I know there's one now ... there's no way we could have gotten through this otherwise."

It hit me that that was the very opposite reaction to what a lot of people would have -- that five such horrible and senseless deaths would be exactly the thing to disprove God's existence in many people's minds. If a person were very strongly indoctrinated in believing that "it's all for the best" and "God cares for us" that faith might carry them through such an experience, but to the best of my knowledge my co-worker never had that kind of faith. It just made me wonder what it is that determines, within a given person, whether a tragedy will strengthen or demolish faith in God -- particularly in a person who might be "on the fence" about the whole God thing. It seems quite arbitrary to me, which way a person's likely to react. More to do with the person's psychological makeup than with God at all, I wonder?

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Books and things.

I lied. There are no things. Just books.

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quote:
Originally posted by Trudy Scrumptious:
More to do with the person's psychological makeup than with God at all, I wonder?

Even if you're looking for explanations other than the workings of the Spirit, I think it would be more than psychological make-up. Culture and people's circumstances would also be factors. People tend to have the experiences of God they are open to having. The Virgin appears to Catholics, not Baptists and Muslims. People who have conversion experiences already had the idea of such things.
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Scot
Deck hand
# 2095

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So, psychological makeup and cultural background?

[ 14. January 2012, 06:20: Message edited by: Scot ]

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“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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quote:
Originally posted by QLib:
Yes - it's been said of John Milton that, if he'd been in the Garden of Eden, he'd not only have eaten the apple, he'd have written a pamphlet to explain why he was right to do so.

Interesting, since he (IIRC) has Satan say that he'd rather reign in hell than serve in heaven...

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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I wonder if a person's chemistry and wiring would make a difference? 'Cause there are lots of devout Christians who never have any sense of God.

(Presuming God is there, of course.)

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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QLib

Bad Example
# 43

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Yes, GK - Milton and Satan - potentially huge tangent here. It's often said - in fact, I've said if myself, that Milton, having supported the Parliamentary cause and worked for Cromwell wrote Paradise Lost while keeping his head down after the Restoration. In fact, he started writing it before the Restoration, though the final version was published much later. Anyway, although Milton was very devout, most people seem to feel that his Satan is more sympathetic than his God.

I said this was a tangent - but is it?

Most of us reserve the right to mentally rebel against God. Paradoxically, insisting that He shouldn't have given us free will is in itself a rebellion. Marvin - nothing you have ever posted here leads me to believe that you would be a happy puppet.

It's true that often the most apparently devout have no God instinct - I think that's because they've worked out logically that there are just rules and that you have to stick to them. People like that often get a lot of flak from other shipmates because most of us can't live like that.

I don't know if there's a happy medium, but it seems to me is that one of the strengths of Islam is the "It is the will of Allah" approach to tragedy, which neither the tragic nature of what has occurred nor seeks for any kind of explanation. Maybe that's something that was already in their culture, but maybe, just maybe, it's also to do with their absolute rule against making images of God. A prohibition that they also share with the Jews because it is of course, one of the commandments. Something you would never guess from looking at the Xtian Church - even the branches that don't allow images in their places of worship.

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Tradition is the handing down of the flame, not the worship of the ashes Gustav Mahler.

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Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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Just read Trudy's comment.

I'm in tears and that's what I bring any way. Up above I threw down the gauntlet to Apocalypso that the answer to all this ghastliness, in all this ghastliness, this evil is Jesus. And He is. In faith, in truth, in mystery.

He MUST suffer us suffering, helplessly triumphant on the cross. One day at a time.

Last night I encountered two out of a hundred people I was inadequately 'serving'. Their loss and degradation overwhelm me still.

There IS no justice in this life. And fighting for it ends in more injustice. The courts eventually vindicate a person and they are still on the street.

I look down at a pair of designer glasses (not mine): fcuk indeed!

Useless anger. I know I must lay it all at the foot of the cross, where it was all finished.

And, in truth, I am projecting my own, selfish insecurities.

How long Oh Lord ?

Allelujah any way !

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Love wins

Posts: 16613 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
MSHB
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# 9228

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
The Virgin appears to Catholics, not Baptists and Muslims.

Actually, there are reports of visions of the Virgin Mary among Muslims in Egypt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Zeitoun

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MSHB: Member of the Shire Hobbit Brigade

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QLib

Bad Example
# 43

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quote:
Originally posted by MSHB:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
The Virgin appears to Catholics, not Baptists and Muslims.

Actually, there are reports of visions of the Virgin Mary among Muslims in Egypt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Zeitoun

Yes - but it's still in the culture. The cult of the Mary has very, very deep roots, as do a lot of other aspects of Christianity - some of them quite compatible with Jesus' teaching and others maybe not so much.

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Tradition is the handing down of the flame, not the worship of the ashes Gustav Mahler.

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Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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That's an old one. And not surprising. Muslims have always had their Marianism.

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Love wins

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
So, psychological makeup and cultural background?

And circumstances.

My college roommate, who was my closest friend at the time, made three suicide attempts within a few weeks in spring term of our senior year. She probably really wanted to die the third time, and was found before she did purely by accident. This horrible experience didn't have any effect upon my faith, as I had none. I had only a little more than a year before this rejected Christianity and wasn't the least bit open to any ideas, thoughts or feelings about God or faith. If someone had suggested to me that I turn to God for solace, I'd have told them to fuck off. So there was none of the "God really was with me through all that" kind of thing Trudy's co-worker experienced.

A few years ago, a friend of mine killed himself. The mutual friend who called to tell me, a relative of his, was sobbing, distraught, but managed to ask me to pray for him. (She was raised Catholic, but no longer has any faith beyond a vague belief in the existence of some kind of deity.) I was stunned, but I started to pray because I had just said that I would -- and before I had really gotten any further than turning toward God, I was overwhelmed with the conviction that God was telling me that he had my friend and that my friend was okay.

So -- same person, hence the same psychological make-up and same cultural background, but the second situation came well after I had returned to Christianity and after years of prayer and meditation and trying to be open to God.

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Sir Pellinore
Quester Emeritus
# 12163

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quote:
Originally posted by QLib:
...

I don't know if there's a happy medium, but it seems to me is that one of the strengths of Islam is the "It is the will of Allah" approach to tragedy, which neither the tragic nature of what has occurred nor seeks for any kind of explanation. Maybe that's something that was already in their culture, but maybe, just maybe, it's also to do with their absolute rule against making images of God. A prohibition that they also share with the Jews because it is of course, one of the commandments. Something you would never guess from looking at the Xtian Church - even the branches that don't allow images in their places of worship.

Actually, in Islam, it's more than that. A Turkish imam I knew said, whatever happened to a believing Muslim, had to be accepted with joy and the statement 'Alhamdolillah'('Praise be to God), because, once something had happened it obviously was God's will.

The nearest equivalent to that in modern Christianity is in Eastern Orthodoxy, where, in countries behind the Iron Curtain, priests tortured for their faith for years, have suddenly found their jailers, now out of favour with the authorities, imprisoned with them. Instead of seeking revenge, their genuine and loving acceptance and forgiveness has brought many to faith.

In neither of the above situations would I consider the conduct 'passive'.

--------------------
Well...

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Porridge
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# 15405

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Just read Trudy's comment.

I'm in tears and that's what I bring any way. Up above I threw down the gauntlet to Apocalypso that the answer to all this ghastliness, in all this ghastliness, this evil is Jesus. And He is. In faith, in truth, in mystery.

I apologize, Martin. I had not recognized that this . . .

quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Apocalypso

Jesus is the answer to everything. The reason for everything. And yes I am that utterly vacuous. No really. The mystery of the God-Man explains, redeems, justifies everything. Of which He is creator. He'd better. He THEREFORE does. Of course He does.

Each of us in our own meaningless pit of autonomous suffering hell on the edge of the yawning cosmic abyss of nullness is in fact utterly, eternally significant.

Saved.

Creation OBVIOUSLY involves suffering for all concerned.

What's the problem?

. . . was a gauntlet.

It has become plain to me that to respond to such utterances, however sincerely and deeply-felt, is pointless. You may be motivated by a profound desire to persuade me into the fold; if so, I wish you luck. Why? In some respects, I envy you, and those who feel as you do. To have such conviction, to be moved to such passion, and to be in the company of others who share that passion, is (or at least can be) one of the more glorious of human experiences. How do I know? I’ve been there; I’ve done that.

I, on the other hand, have no particular desire to persuade you away from your fold (though I do appreciate the chance these forums offer to explore my own responses “out loud” as it were). I am not especially disturbed that you, or anyone else, believes as you do (though I might be if I believed that the outcome of all this faithfulness were in itself evil, as I think it sometimes is – as for instance when Pat Roberston (? I think it was) was busy praying for the death(s) of Supreme Court Justices.

As to your comments on the OBVIOUS suffering of creation, the problem (as I think Marvin put well earlier in this thread), an all-powerful God (assuming there is one) clearly has, or at least once had, the capacity to create a universe which left suffering out. That God didn’t do this IS obvious, I think, to all of us. That is precisely the problem (or at least one of them); God (if extant) COULD have, but didn’t.

In many respects, when speaking to believers, I feel like I’m talking to someone who’s fallen head over heels in love. What is the use of saying to such a person, “You do realize, don’t you, that you and your beloved have very different values?” or “Have you thought about how this will work out long-term, when you and your beloved come from such different backgrounds and have such different goals?”

Jesus, alas, isn’t much of an answer for me. Jesus is not the first, nor was he the last, human being to sacrifice himself for others (if that’s actually what his death meant/means); this sort of thing is actually fairly commonplace. A soldier risks (and loses life or limb) saving a wounded comrade; an impoverished mother cooks for kids while starving herself; a stranger dives into an icy pond or races into a burning house to save someone he doesn't even know.

Jesus’ sacrificial death takes on added meaning only when we see him as also divine, and the son of the same all-powerful God who could have created a pain-free universe but didn’t. So, God suffers with us? How is that an improvement on simply not suffering?

Bottom line for me, I guess, is when the “beloved” turns out to be (according to the “fallen” one) a figure who ordains how things must be even for those who have not “fallen.” This happens, I’m afraid, all too often. (Homosexuals must remain celibate! Evolution mustn’t be taught in schools! You must vote for Rick Santorum!) Humans also “fall” (or fell) for wildly inappropriate others: screaming teenagers for rock stars; ambitious young men for Hitler; certain terrorists for bin Laden. That rock stars, Hitler, and bin Laden are/were not God is beside the point, AFAIC; it’s the “falling” part that seems to get human beings into difficulties.

I’m not sure that’s a tendency to encourage.

--------------------
Spiggott: Everything I've ever told you is a lie, including that.
Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

Posts: 3925 | From: Upper right corner | Registered: Jan 2010  |  IP: Logged
Jamat
Shipmate
# 11621

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quote:
Apocalypso: Bottom line for me, I guess, is when the “beloved” turns out to be (according to the “fallen” one) a figure who ordains how things must be even for those who have not “fallen.”
Which confusing comment indicates that you don't think you're in a fallen or corrupted state.

If you did, you'd look for a loop hole.

You say that God could have prevented fallenness but chose not to.

To which the reply is simply that to prevent it in an executive fashion is to take away the potential of moral choice and to create moral clones.

There is no third alternative.

And from a Biblical perspective, God has created an antidote for fallenness, Jesus, and if you analyse his claims closely, they can only be interpreted as that he saw himself as a human 'passover' whose offering of himself, if accepted by faith, is the medicine for human fallenness,

There is no plan B. Do you see the irony of one such as you asserting that moral choice should not exist and then exercising it in the opinions you constantly express in rejecting a moral God's loop hole for you?

That is, if you, like everyone else, are humble enough to accept you are also a sinner..a fallen or flawed piece of human flotsam.

[ 15. January 2012, 22:15: Message edited by: Jamat ]

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Porridge
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# 15405

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Jamat, I was punning on the "fallenness" which comes with "falling in love" (something I have done more than once, and on at least one occasion, most unwisely).

I am daily reminded in my work just how sorry a moral quandary I'm in, along with my fellow beings. I work with people who have combinations of serious disabilities. It's both daunting and humbling to be forced to acknowledge that, while at some level my job description requires me to Do Something Which Helps, in reality I sometimes add to individual suffering (however unwillingly), and there is often nothing helpful I can do beyond bearing witness.

--------------------
Spiggott: Everything I've ever told you is a lie, including that.
Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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Porridge
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# 15405

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
You say that God could have prevented fallenness but chose not to.

To which the reply is simply that to prevent it in an executive fashion is to take away the potential of moral choice and to create moral clones.

There is no third alternative.

And from a Biblical perspective, God has created an antidote for fallenness, Jesus, and if you analyse his claims closely, they can only be interpreted as that he saw himself as a human 'passover' whose offering of himself, if accepted by faith, is the medicine for human fallenness,

There is no plan B. Do you see the irony of one such as you asserting that moral choice should not exist and then exercising it in the opinions you constantly express in rejecting a moral God's loop hole for you?

That is, if you, like everyone else, are humble enough to accept you are also a sinner..a fallen or flawed piece of human flotsam.

If I understand you, you seem to be claiming that suffering and morality are inextricably linked. I don't see this. How did moral failure bring about Japan's earthquake and tsunami? How does immorality lead to a skiing accident? What moral choice will prevent a cancer cell from replicating?

Certainly, if I knowingly and purposely cause suffering for another, I've made an immoral choice. That stands (at least for me) with or without God. There's plenty of suffering available, though, that's not deliberately caused by me or other humans. There are natural disasters, accidents, and disease, even when we do our best to avoid or prevent them.

--------------------
Spiggott: Everything I've ever told you is a lie, including that.
Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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Martin60
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# 368

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Apocalypso - thank you but NO apology is necessary at all. My bleeding all over the page is my responsibility. You are most gracious.

It is impossible for God to have created a perfect, unfallen creation (which He did in the Judeo-Christian and probably Islamic narrative), without it falling. It is impossible for God to create moral agents who can't fail. Impossible for there not to be suffering through failure of such agents to trust Him.

The angelic and human realms demonstrate that and there is no theoretical way around it.

Jesus drives through it all the way, the hard way, the only way.

Omnipotence and omnianything are meaningless if taken to be universal as propositions. As in omnscience therefore requiring that God somehow know weather it will rain tomorrow.

The morality of suffering starts and ends with Christ our creator who redeems it by fully assuming it in Himself.

It's got NOTHING to do with us. Yet.

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Love wins

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Jamat
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quote:
you seem to be claiming that suffering and morality are inextricably linked.
They are..to fallenness.

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Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Martin60
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Which is an inevitable consequence of creation.

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Love wins

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Porridge
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I can see that, for both Jamat and Matin PC Not, this is inevitable. It is inevitable, though, because of your beginning-point: God/Jesus is in charge. Why is there suffering? God/Jesus ordains; humanity screws everything up.

It doesn't look at all inevitable once you start from the question, is there a loving, all-powerful god in charge?

I cannot start answering my question from your beginning-point, I'm afraid; the two propositions, while not necessarily mutually exclusive, lead in entirely different directions.

And Jamat, I simply can't grasp how human frailty leads to natural disasters or over-replicating cancer cells or, for that matter, to my client who has paranoid delusions along with an IQ (as far as we're able to determine) of about 70.

--------------------
Spiggott: Everything I've ever told you is a lie, including that.
Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by Apocalypso:
I can see that, for both Jamat and Matin PC Not, this is inevitable. It is inevitable, though, because of your beginning-point: God/Jesus is in charge. Why is there suffering? God/Jesus ordains; humanity screws everything up.

It doesn't look at all inevitable once you start from the question, is there a loving, all-powerful god in charge?

I cannot start answering my question from your beginning-point, I'm afraid; the two propositions, while not necessarily mutually exclusive, lead in entirely different directions.

And Jamat, I simply can't grasp how human frailty leads to natural disasters or over-replicating cancer cells or, for that matter, to my client who has paranoid delusions along with an IQ (as far as we're able to determine) of about 70.

Our own interpretation of 'in charge' inevitably hampers our progress.

The question 'Is there a loving, all-powerful God?' doesn't necessarily lead to it.

Nor do I see it as a necessary starting point of faith to think that God is in charge.

While the harm we do is an inevitable consequence of our ability to decide and physically do it, it's surely the only way we will learn responsibility, and our free will is therefore a good gift.

Where that leaves your client whose free will ability has been impaired, or the cancer patient or victim of a natural disaster, I don't know. I do by personal experience hold a deeply felt belief that the loving, all-powerful God answers the invitation to be present in our lives, and doesn't prevent but helps us through the hard times, as well as celebrating the good times with us.

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

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Martin60
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Apocalypso. The triune, perichoretic, all loving = all powerful God revealed through and in Jesus (see label) is therefore in charge, yes.

Power is an attribute of love. Absolute ~ ...

I don't see how that is diminished by the inevitability of the moral failure of creation ?

Unless you're invoking some ineffable, arbitrary 'sovereignty' that declares us damned regardless, before we exist even. That power - might and right - and love are separate.

The creation of any moral beings by any agency, loving or not, would lead to the moral failure of the created.

Only an absolutely { loving = powerful } agency could rectify that, if it's possible.

Here we are, there (and here) He is, so by induction, it is.

[ 17. January 2012, 21:35: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]

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Love wins

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Scot
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Words, words, words. You are left with a religion that is powerless to explain the horrors that overwhelm Jen and others without resorting to jargon and logical constructs that make no sense to anyone outside your own corner of christanity.

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“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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RuthW

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Does secular humanism explain those horrors?
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Laura
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I believe that the secular humanist position is that it does not have to explain evil and disaster, because these are inherent in the world as it has evolved. Humans have the capacity for good and evil and can go either way (or for most, somewhere in the middle, depending on circumstances.

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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Scot
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That's pretty much how I see it. I'm not as bothered by the fact that bad things happen as I am by nonsensical explanations delivered with the force of alleged divine authority.

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“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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Chorister

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Regardless of whether free will was created or inbuilt into the world, it's pretty much the same result.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
I believe that the secular humanist position is that it does not have to explain evil and disaster, because these are inherent in the world as it has evolved. Humans have the capacity for good and evil and can go either way (or for most, somewhere in the middle, depending on circumstances.

Naturally, unless we believe in the existence of the all-powerful, loving God there's no reason to try to make sense of our relationship with God in the light of suffering.

However, there's surely a case for aiming toward a world community of people who maximise tendencies for the good of all and minimise harmful tendencies. In that respect, surely all people can work together.

ISTM that individualism plays into this in a negative way. As others have pointed out, we're all affected when someone takes harmful action. And we all benefit if someone is there to answer a Samaritan phone line at 3am.

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

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QLib

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Power is an attribute of love. Absolute ~ ...

Is it? In whose book? Sounds like a cheap popular song to me,Martin, you old ex-hippie, you.

I actually think that power and love might be incompatible (an idea that goes back at least as far as the Middle Ages, when it comes to human affairs) and that's why we have to have free will.

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Tradition is the handing down of the flame, not the worship of the ashes Gustav Mahler.

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Laura
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:

However, there's surely a case for aiming toward a world community of people who maximise tendencies for the good of all and minimise harmful tendencies. In that respect, surely all people can work together.
...
And we all benefit if someone is there to answer a Samaritan phone line at 3am.

Yes, and yes.

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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Martin60
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Oooooh QLib, you ... you ... anarcho-syndicalist you. In human affairs, yes. In God no. And yes. He CANNOT do impossible things. Like create without suffering for all concerned. And if free-will has any meaning, He can't know if it's going to rain tomorrow either. But He'll bust Himself to win us round. Did, literally, down to private. And yet will. So yes, I'm happy that Love is as all powerful as it can get.

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Love wins

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Squibs
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quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
Words, words, words. You are left with a religion that is powerless to explain the horrors that overwhelm Jen and others without resorting to jargon and logical constructs that make no sense to anyone outside your own corner of christanity.

I notice you again use fallacious arguments, which seems to be something of a speciality of yours. One generally has to have an insider's understanding to fathom things. But even if this was not the case, it make no odds to either the effectiveness or the veracity of the truth claims Christianity makes (or anything else for that matter). You seem to labour under the assumption that it's all a numbers game.

Nevertheless, I'll agree with you that Christianity does not offer us anything like a full picture of sin - either in its nature or its origin. And as far as I understand it never pretends to. However, what is not fair is to say that Christianity is then powerless to offer an explanation. Where would we be if the only acceptable explanations were (apparently) complete explanations? You might not like what Christianity has to say about God and sin and redemption and the like but that is no excuse to pass your own opinion off as the opinion of everyone else.

The simple fact is that there are people of the opinion that Christianity does indeed offer a sufficiently deep explanation of the horror - at least to the point that it comforts or even inspires. And this alone refutes your categorical claim that Christianity is absolutely powerless.

Perhaps I've missed it, but for all your words I've yet to see you posit anything constructive on this thread beyond a few lines expressing your optimism for humanity and a new creation of our own making. Excluding the question begging and angry denunciations you have not said much else on the matter. Given that you criticise Christianity for its lack of explanatory power in the face of whatever horror gripped Jen(and people like her), please tell me about your worldview? What explanation do you offer. What hope do you have to give?

(These are not rhetorical questions. I'm sincerely interested in your responses given that you seem to think that Christianity,
and probably theism in general, is bankrupt in these matters.)

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Chorister

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quote:
Originally posted by Squibs:
Perhaps I've missed it, but for all your words I've yet to see you posit anything constructive on this thread beyond a few lines expressing your optimism for humanity and a new creation of our own making. Excluding the question begging and angry denunciations you have not said much else on the matter. Given that you criticise Christianity for its lack of explanatory power in the face of whatever horror gripped Jen(and people like her), please tell me about your worldview? What explanation do you offer. What hope do you have to give?

I'm sure Scot will be along soon to answer more directly, but in the general sense I don't think people with that worldview are in the business of tying things up with neat answers. Which is kind of the whole point.

--------------------
Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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Squibs
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quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
[QUOTE]I'm sure Scot will be along soon to answer more directly, but in the general sense I don't think people with that worldview are in the business of tying things up with neat answers. Which is kind of the whole point.

And I'd expect nothing but ragged edges to any answer. This I say even of Christianity.
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Martin60
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Were the great Scot's Words cubed to me ? I DO hope so. Absolute powerless in the face of ones own insane pain has to be assumed to be redeemed. This is the ONLY corner(-stone) of Christianity. These are the ONLY and necessary and sufficient words of comfort. Word. Him.

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Love wins

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Scot
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quote:
Originally posted by Squibs:
One generally has to have an insider's understanding to fathom things. But even if this was not the case, it make no odds to either the effectiveness or the veracity of the truth claims Christianity makes (or anything else for that matter.

I agree. I don't dispute truth claims simply because they are incomprehensible to those without an insider's understanding. I dispute them when they don't stand up to a critical review by someone who does have an insider's understanding. I definitely dispute them when they don't explain the observed phenomena or produce the claimed outcomes.

If you read carefully, however, you will see that my previous post did not dispute any truth claims.

quote:
Originally posted by Squibs:
Nevertheless, I'll agree with you that Christianity does not offer us anything like a full picture of sin - either in its nature or its origin. And as far as I understand it never pretends to.

Bwaahahahahaha! That is like saying that water never gets things wet! Religious leaders, creeds, denominational doctrines, pastors, individual believers, and posters on these boards and this thread never stop pretending to explain how sin (and everything else) works, not only in general, but in my life and yours.

quote:
Originally posted by Squibs:
However, what is not fair is to say that Christianity is then powerless to offer an explanation.

It's a good thing I didn't say that. Christianity produces a never ending string of opaque and often contradictory explanations.

quote:
Originally posted by Squibs:
You might not like what Christianity has to say about God and sin and redemption and the like but that is no excuse to pass your own opinion off as the opinion of everyone else.

Please, point out where I did what you claim and I will retract the statement. Otherwise, you can do the retracting.

quote:
Originally posted by Squibs:
And this alone refutes your categorical claim that Christianity is absolutely powerless.

Again, I didn't say what you claim. Christianity, like all religions, has demonstrable power. I might argue about the source and effect of that power, but never over whether it exists.

quote:
Originally posted by Squibs:
Perhaps I've missed it, but for all your words I've yet to see you posit anything constructive on this thread beyond a few lines expressing your optimism for humanity and a new creation of our own making... [P]lease tell me about your worldview? What explanation do you offer. What hope do you have to give?

Except for that which you so lightly dismiss, I have no hope for humankind.

We have the power to shape our own future for the better. Sometimes we suffer because shit happens and some people are assholes.

I don't see where any more explanation or any more hope is needed.

--------------------
“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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fletcher christian

Mutinous Seadog
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Scot, you sound like you want something fundamentalist

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'God is love insaturable, love impossible to describe'
Staretz Silouan

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Scot
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Absolute powerless in the face of ones own insane pain has to be assumed to be redeemed. This is the ONLY corner(-stone) of Christianity. These are the ONLY and necessary and sufficient words of comfort. Word. Him.

Martin, I have bad news for you. Squibs says it is unfair to say that Christianity is powerless to offer an explanation. Maybe you two can duke it out and then report back on which it is - powerful or powerless?

--------------------
“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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Martin60
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No need, we agree. Christianity is the ONLY explanation. There are no others at all. Apart from the explanation that denies that and denies any meaning whatsoever.

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Love wins

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Banner Lady
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And in the end, God.

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Women in the church are not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be enjoyed.

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Porridge
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Let me try again, not to explain Scot's position, because I can't and he can, but to explain my own.

1. It appears there's a universe, and I (whatever "I" may be) am in it. (For the sake of argument, let's make me a proto-human Cave Person, since that's essentially what each new human is born as -- a Primitive, with roughly 15-to-25 years in which to learn the ropes of the more-or-less complicated context into which s/he's born.)

2. How do "I" "know" there's a universe? Sensory data.

3. Is the sensory data reliable (i.e., telling me something "truthful")? No idea, but it's all I've got to go on at the mo.

4. I (apparently) observe and also interact with both animate and inanimate aspects of this universe. Both observations and interactions yield various results.

5. Some of these results produce suprises. Some of these surprises are unpleasant and painful to me (the observer/interactor). Other surprises are pleasurable/enjoyable. These (from my primitive perspective) are likely to seem unpredictable.

6. Primitive that I am, I will, driven by purely biological motives, naturally seek to avoid unpleasant surprises and add to my list of pleasant ones. This will lead me to want better "prediction" capabilities. As a result, I am likely to repeat experience, testing whether similar interactions produce similar results, and can therefore be predicted.

7. Among the items I interact with are beings more or less like myself. In childhood, I will note that adult caretakers prevent and/or punish (with painful stimuli) certain of my activities, and encourage (with pleasurable stimuli) others. Again, I am likely, in pursuit of predictability, likely to repeat even "punishable" behavior, so as to verify whatever patterns I'm beginning to notice.

8. Attempting to maximize pleasure and avoid pain, I will (if I am to integrate into whatever social group I belong to) internalize these observed "rules" (playing near the cliff-edge gets me smacked and confined to a back-board carrier; bringing twigs to Mother for fire-starting wins me praise and a snack). Failure to internalize rules results in conflict and/or isolation, either of which is likely to impair my long-term survival, and/or possibly the long-term survival of those with whom I interact.

9. These "rules" form the basis of what eventually becomes my "morality:" Don't pull stupid stunts likely to get yourself or others killed, and do help out those who look out for you.

So far, so good. The primitive is actually living, however, in a microcosm of a larger conterxt, and eventually something will occur from outside this microcosmos. A forest fire, sparked by lightning, will drive the primitive and his/her little band from their cave into territory they know little about (or is already imhabited by beings who resent competition for resources from outsiders). Eventually, someone to whom the primitive is attached, by love or need, will eat the wrong sort of mushroom, or cut a foot on a jagged stone, and suffer infection or poisoning, and die.

Eventually, something will happen that the primitive not only cannot explain, but also cannot repeat, and would recoil from repeating.

What does the primitive do in response to that ongoing pursuit of predictability -- the drive which allows for some small measure of security in a world over which s/he has little control?

This is the context, I believe, in which the human drive for predictability gets born: the drive to control outcomes by accumulating knowledge, and/or power, and/or resources. And religion, it seems to me, is one expression of this need.

For me, the world goes on exactly as it does with or without a belief in God. Adding God / Jesus / Christianity to the mix just creates a new puzzle for us to solve: what is the nature of a God who ordains suffering?

This is a question that leads this ex-Christian to an answer of despair: it is a God which is either indifferent to humanity's suffering, or who actively wills it, or who is helpless to stop it.

Personally, I am much more comfortable accepting a universe in which suffering is simply an inevitable part of the larger picture, and accepting that my willy-nilly place in it is to suffer, too, while doing whatever I can to ameliorate the inevitable for myself and for others.

--------------------
Spiggott: Everything I've ever told you is a lie, including that.
Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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Martin60
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Sublime. Then we have the same imperative and why wouldn't we? Yours is actually SUPERIOR as my motivation isn't endogenous!

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Love wins

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shamwari
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Poosted by Apocalypso

"Personally, I am much more comfortable accepting a universe in which suffering is simply an inevitable part of the larger picture, and accepting that my willy-nilly place in it is to suffer, too, while doing whatever I can to ameliorate the inevitable for myself and for others."

Question: Why cant you believe this and still be a Christian?

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Squibs
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quote:
Originally posted by Apocalypso:
Let me try again...

I agree with much of that up until the 3rd last paragraph. I understand where you are coming from.

Positing God as an explanation may complicate matters but I don't see that this makes God an unwelcome problem. There are theodicies that offer a reasonable explanation as to why evil exists and continues to exist. (I linked to one such attempt a few pages back from David B. Hart. John Lennox gave, to my mind, a powerful talk on suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck NZ last year.) These various theodicies offer an alternative to the uncaring, evil or powerless God that you mentioned. But I don't suppose you would be convinced by them.

Anyway, thanks for the post.

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