Does God Hate?

I have perused this in my brain since Joshua brought it up – does God hate?

Reason this is important is because – we have the ability to hate another or hate something – does God have that ability?

I want to know what you think on this issue – and why you think what you do…I know I have my opinions on the subject and I will use them in the discussion – but I think this is a topic that has come to us and we need to address it.

So what do you think…does God hate and if so, why?

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101 thoughts on “Does God Hate?

  1. Oh man. Good question.

    I’d say yes, he does hate. He hates sin, he hates that which damages and destroys that which he loves infinitely. We hate when bad things happen to those we love. God hates when sin perverts what He created as good. How could he love otherwise?

  2. Id say the better question would be, Is hate an expression of Love? After all it is only through the opposite that we fully understand Love. Remember we do live in a world of Duality, and any talk of another world is purely conjecture. So with that said maybe God uses Hate as a tool to help us Love.

  3. I tend to think that God is so full of love for creation that there is no room for hate within the Divine essence. I can see where God is saddened or disappointed, perhaps even angry, when the world doesn’t respond to the creative possibilities that he/she offers to us, and when people suffer as a result. But hate–I don’t know, that seems like a loaded word to me that has lots of meanings in English. Hatred of people is qualitatively different, I think, then what we might call “hatred” of evil. One is an evaluation of or response to the core of others human beings, while another is a response to phenomena, things, actions, activities, or states of being. So I would say that God is categorically opposed to that which is evil, but somehow the word “hate” leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth when applied to God in any context.

  4. Societyvs, having perused the blog that you refered to, I now have a better understanding of the issue that led to this posting. I did not realize that this was in response to the highly offensive claim that God hates gays.

    Hatemongering often uses God to justify itself. It is unfortunate, but that’s the way it is some times.

  5. I did not realize that this was in response to the highly offensive claim that God hates gays.

    Highly offensive, amen!

    He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (Isaiah 8:14)

    As it is written: ” Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 9:33)

    Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. (1 Peter 2:7-8)

    Praise the Rock of Offense, the Stumbling Stone, Jesus Christ Almighty, Who HATES HOMOSEXUALS (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Psalm 5:5-6; 11:5; 139:21-22).

  6. I’m with you, John T. God created good and evil, there is nothing that is outside of God. God encompasses both hate and love, you can’t define one without the other and both have their role. It’s like the perfection thing that people get all bent out of shape about with me. God is both imperfect and perfect. It seems to me that becomes quite clear when reading Torah. God gets mad, God can be corrected, God hates, God gets over hate. God loves and God doesn’t love. God does good things, God does things that don’t work out so well, God does some really bad things. If some want to read Torah differently, that’s their prerogative, but it seems to me to be quite a stretch to do so.

  7. John,

    I don’t think it is quite that cut and dry. You have to interpret scripture in light of the whole of scripture. That verse is definitely interesting, but there are a variety of meanings that could be derived from that.

    For example, Jesus talks about common grace in Matthew, where God “sends rain to the righteous and the unrighteous.” The Exile to Babylon was clearly permitted by God as discipline for Israel’s idolatry, but does that mean Babylon was not held responsible? What about Pharaoh? Can evil (or “calamity” as my translation uses) be “created” because God holds his hand back? That is surely biblical, if it serves a Godly purpose in bringing His people back to Him (i.e. rescuing from Egypt, creating repentant hearts, etc.).

    But you can’t just pull a single verse and say, “Well, there ya go.”

    God hates sin, that much we can affirm. But even “that which man intends for evil, God can use for good.”

  8. Brad

    Just so you know, I can read that just as I see it, and if the Lord says that he does all these things then I will take it at face value. Thats the great thing about Life. Freedom to choose how we see things. Thanks for pointing out that the bible can be translated as you wish though. 😉

    John T.

    Oh and by the way, the big guy is either the creator of the ENTIRE universe or not. I choose to believe he/she/it is.

  9. I think that one of the problems with literalizing the Bible is that you end up taking this sort of anthropomorphizing at face value. The idea that a perfect God can be corrected, or that a perfect God is flighty, moody, or impetuous, or that a perfect God would do some really bad things, is what you end up with, and it isn’t a pretty sight. What you end up with is really not God, but god with a lower case–a demiurge who just happens to have more power than the rest of us. It’s kind of a repulsive image, as far as I am concerned. These images of God in the Bible clearly reflect the flawed human attempts at trying to make sense of God–and the flawed humans who wrote these texts were trying to work out just what God was, and they made analogies from their own human experience. As a result, they gave God some of their own human failings. Understandable, but hardly the basis of a tenable conception of divine perfection. I would rather be an atheist than worship a God who hated, or a God who commanded genocide, or a God who did any of the other sordid evils that are sometimes attributed to him/her. The up side of all of this is that one of the interesting things about looking at the Bible is watching the evolution of concepts about God over time. Religion is an ever-evolving process, and always had been.

    Still, we are left with the idea that, as the saying goes, if horses had gods, they would look like horses.

  10. John,

    Whoa, hold the phone. So, I suppose you have the objective view that proves how you read it is fundamentally more correct than mine? I at least root mine in the metanarrative of scripture, yours is rooted in… what… “That’s the way I read it on the surface, so it must be right” ? “Face value” to you is very different from “face value” to the original audience of that passage. You mistakenly assume that the author wrote to the context of what you consider “face value.” Hence the need to consider the “big picture” of scripture when interpreting a passage. That’s Exegesis 101, bro.

    I agree that God is the creator of the universe, but sin is a perversion of something that was once good. It is not a “thing” in itself, but a misuse or mis-purpose of that which God created. So we may not necessarily be in disagreement.

  11. MS,

    Not sure I am with you on the second half, but you hit a home run with your comment about “face value” in the first half of your comment. Well said!

  12. So, MS, saying that God has human characteristics is anthropomorphizing Him and should thus be rejected?

    I guess we can’t believe in Jesus then, because He’s, you know, the eternal MAN.

    Therefore I will wail and howl,
    I will go stripped and naked;
    I will make a wailing like the jackals
    And a mourning like the ostriches,
    For her wounds are incurable.
    For it has come to Judah;
    It has come to the gate of My people —
    To Jerusalem. (Micah 1:8-9)

    I literally worship a Man (Exodus 15:3; Joshua 5:13-15; Isaiah 45:9; Ezekiel 1:26). Actually, two Men (John 8:17-18).

  13. Brad said:

    I at least root mine in the metanarrative of scripture, yours is rooted in… what… “That’s the way I read it on the surface, so it must be right” ?

    While it is good to root one’s understanding of the Bible in the “metanarrative of Scripture” (“whole counsel of God,” Acts 20:27), it is also true that all things are of Him, to Him, and through Him (Romans 11:36). Therefore, sin could not possibly exist without coming into existence through Him.

  14. “Therefore, sin could not possibly exist without coming into existence through Him.”

    Hrmmm.. I might agree with you if, by that you mean that God (who is absolutely sovereign) also gave us choice, and that choice led to rebellion (sin). So through God’s allowance of choice (how can one love without the choice to do so?), sin came about. In that I would agree with you. But to ascribe responsibility to God for that is not supported by scripture.

  15. Brad…lol…………..im holding

    Now let me explain. I believe the creator, to be the creator of ALL. That means the good(as we see it) along with the sheit(as we see it), but the problem is rooted in how we see things. So all those things we deem as “evil” or “bad” may not actually be so. Our perspective is way too limited to “KNOW” what the Big guy intended. So with that said, we work it as best as we can. So Brad you can talk Context and exegesis all you want, but the truth of the matter is, it is all Conjecture on our part. We CANT fully know anything. So “I” choose to read it as I see it, you are entitled to do the same.

    By the way,” where your heart is your exegesis will follow”

    John T.

  16. John,

    Don’t hold on my account… whatever that means. I was under the impression we are having a simple theological conversation, there’s no reason to get bent out of shape (if you aren’t my apologies… but that’s how it is coming off).

    As I said, I have no problem affirming that both good and bad things can be brought about by God. Suffering, as illustrated by scripture, can often be used by God to discipline His children and bring us back to him. We are responsible for our actions, to include our rebellion. God’s purpose in all things is to redeem the entirety of His creation, to include us. All of His actions fulfill that end.

    “So all those things we deem as “evil” or “bad” may not actually be so. Our perspective is way too limited to “KNOW” what the Big guy intended.”

    I would agree with an addendum: “… unless he tells us what He intended.” Otherwise, yes, we work it out as best we can, considering what He has revealed to us along the way.

    “By the way,” where your heart is your exegesis will follow””

    Yes, and “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Just what exactly are you trying to say?

  17. Brad

    Im having fun……unfortunately the last time my smiley faces didnt come out 😉

    Firstly so you know where I am at. I unequivocally do not believe in Hell, or Heaven for that matter. For my mind thats way too simplistic of a description of what comes next. I also do not read scripture quite the way you would but with that said totally see the value in how it sometimes is read. So answer me this, is God more powerful than lets say the Devil?

    John T. 🙂

  18. Brad

    Ok heres goes my sports analogy. If God is supposed to be the winner in all of this(game), but the Devil scores 90 percent of the points(which is roughly how many people will be in Hell), how does he do it???? I mean how does God claim victory in this scenario?

  19. I think your analogy is just flawed, John. It is not that the devil is scoring 90 percent of the points, but that the devil’s team has billions of people on it and God’s team probably has less than 1% of that number. Nevertheless God’s team scores all the points, so He still wins. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” 1 John 5:4.

  20. The hate question – 24 comments in under 4 hours – now that’s a topic! 🙂

    I think God does hate things – but by things I mean certain ideas (like sin). Reason i say this is because in my experience in life there are certain things I have a disgustful distaste for – a hate. I hate when people are robbed in their homes at knifepoint (home invasion); I hate when a single mother is beaten to an inch of her life for talking to another male friend because her man cannot control his anger; I hate when someone is murdered for his pair of sneakers; etc. There are things worth hating (hate for the right reasons) – hating so much we’d never want to participate in them as an action against another person. Maybe this is how God hates?

    But if God hates people – then I am not game for that. Because I am yet to find a scenario where hate (God’s action) + hate (my action) = successful reaction (from the other). Two ‘hates’ do not make a ‘right’. Even if God hates, I choose not too. The 2 commandments that I know that sum up the law and prophets are about ‘love’…and maybe this is what I am asked to do (no more no less).

    It also flies in the face of a God that hates in my opinion – a God that asks of us the behavior of love cannot be a God of hate…God does not ask us to hate – and of He does – why do we waste our time with God? I could hate before I came to this faith and quite efficiently at that…if hate is ‘good’ (from a good God) – what ‘good’ comes out of it exactly? I am yet to hate someone and see positive results…just don’t happen man.

    Also, I notice Joshua has a blog about Myanmar and God’s judgment – I am guessing he includes the floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes as God ordained…it got me thinking – is this how God hates? The innocent are swept away with the evil? This is cause for question and not for joy in my opinion…if these type of things come from God then we need to be asking questions to God about them. “Why do you hate! You ask me not to, yet you hate to a worst extreme!!!” If these disasters are true (I think they are not of God myself – I have a tough time laying them at God’s footstool) – then I think we need to take Yael’s advice and ‘argue with God’!

    I will not hate though – I want to believe me and have been given reasons to – but I will not follow that path. That path does not forgive my parents for what they did to their family (to me) – it does not reconcile people – it does not heal relationships – it does not make things right.

    PS: I hated my dad, even as a kid, so much so I vowed at the age of 10 when I got older I would handle him (even kill him) – he died when I was 10 (nothing to do with me – a heart attack). But that hate never made me a nicer person.

  21. Can hatred ever be a positive force?

    A lot of the comments here are making a distinction between hating a person, and hating a “thing,” such as racism or sexism, or warfare, or anything that distorts something that is good.

    There are also people we hate — I think that’s inevitable. If we have someone who commits a massive, horrendous crime against us, it does tend to generate hatred, or at least feelings of hatred. Those feelings can be justified, and completely understandable.

    But what does that hatred do to a person? Society’s giving an example of this, in terms of his father. While maybe his hatred was the most justified thing we’d ever encounter, he also said it didn’t make him a nicer person. If anything, I would say Society might say that the hatred distorted him, in a way? Clinging to all that negative energy doesn’t really do good things to a person.

    Can it ever do a good thing to a person? Can hatred ever make someone more compassionate, or more loving? Perhaps, if the hatred of the act spurs the person to not do that act, or not behave as that other person behaved.

    But the feeling of hatred itself — that can fade, and you can still be just as determined to not be like the hated act.

    One of the reasons that forgiveness is pushed among a lot of people is because of it’s healing nature. Even if the perpetrator is not repentent, does not ask for forgiveness, and behaves even worse than before, we are still encouraged to forgive becaues it lightens our load, because we know that clinging to our hatred is destructive. There is no exception to this in humanity.

    So to say that God hates … well, I look at every single example we have of hatred in this world, even the “justified” hatred … and something just doesn’t compute for me. Hatred is destructive. It can make people bitter, hard, unforgiving. It can ruin their lives. It’s simply not a positive force. It’s not a “good” force. It’s a force that can give the “bad things” too much power over you. If it were, would we be told to forgive uncondtionaly, regardless of the circumstance? Would we be encouraged to let it go? That we’d specifically be told to no longer operate under “an eye for an eye?”

    It seems like if we accept that God hates, we can only take that on a matter of “faith,” not experience. We can’t point to any one example and show how hatred is something we should have, or something that can change people for the better. We can’t exactly point to how it is “good.”

    Whereas if we say that God is love, we can point to our parents, to our friends, to our children as at least a shadow of an example as to what God’s love would be like. To say that God is love is to point to experience, to see how that love is beneficial.

  22. The idea that a perfect God can be corrected, or that a perfect God is flighty, moody, or impetuous, or that a perfect God would do some really bad things, is what you end up with, and it isn’t a pretty sight. What you end up with is really not God, but god with a lower case–a demiurge who just happens to have more power than the rest of us. It’s kind of a repulsive image, as far as I am concerned.

    Repulsive to you perhaps, but not to me. I’m a Jew, there is no duality in Judaism. God is all, both the good and the bad. There is no devil separate from God, the devil is merely another angel who does God’s bidding. What I would find troubling is the idea that there are parts of the universe, parts of us, that God didn’t create and God can’t control.

    Brad asked why I would worship such a God as the one I described. Why not? Many Christians worship a God they think sends most people to hell. How is that any better? I worship God for both the good and the bad; wrestle about the bad and have a great relationship with God as a result. The God I worship doesn’t send people to hell but instead works with people for the repair of the world. And please don’t anyone respond with people send themselves to hell. I’m not buying. There is no hell in Tanakh nor in Judaism.

    The up side of all of this is that one of the interesting things about looking at the Bible is watching the evolution of concepts about God over time. Religion is an ever-evolving process, and always had been.

    Did we evolve, did God evolve, or did we both? Surely in any relationship both parties change along the way. The perfect man and woman didn’t work, one righteous man alone didn’t work, finally Torah was given to a community, Jews say that worked and Christians would say that didn’t work so that Jesus and the NT was needed, Muslims would say that didn’t work and Muhammed and Koran was needed to further enlighten the masses, Mormons say that Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon were needed. So, we each just stopped at the place that worked for us it seems, while God kept going trying to connect to more people?

    That Christians view everything differently than Jews do is no surprise to me, that Christian’s don’t agree with us is no surprise to me. I have no interest in reaching an agreement with Christians about anything other than that we both try to live up to our texts to the best of our abilities. I merely present another view of the texts. Too often people think their way of reading the texts is the only way. No. There are many ways of looking at texts. Jewish exegesis is considered faulty by Christians, Christian exegesis is considered worthless by Jews. Anyway, Society asked for opinions, he’s my friend, so I don’t think I was excluded from the request.

    Just as a disclaimer to turn away the accusation at the pass, I’m not mad. Do seminarians, excluding Luke, think everyone who disagrees with them must be mad? No, we just disagree. As John T stated in another thread, we can all disagree about things and later go out for a beer together. It’s not the end of the world and no doubt we’d have some good laughs, or at least John T, Society, and I would.

  23. “Perhaps, if the hatred of the act spurs the person to not do that act, or not behave as that other person behaved” (Mystical)

    I agree – this is also something I have learned in life – history, when seen in full view, is a good predictor of the future…now we can change from what we seen and not be someone else’s view of the future. I think my dad is a great example in this – many of the things I seen him do were not things I hold to any esteem – namely because of they way they made me feel and how it hurt another. I guess I learned from hatred – or as I once wrote – ‘I learned from being burned’.

    “seems like if we accept that God hates, we can only take that on a matter of “faith,” not experience…We can’t exactly point to how it is “good.”” (Mystical)

    This is where the experiential aspect (real living) of my faith comes into play – and I agree 100%. Hatred, as an idea, can be bantered about and discussed to it’s foils and follie (or even it’s worthwhileness) – but try living that way and you find out there is more to the story than some teaching on it. Hatred actually sucks.

    Hatred also is not a respectable teaching about how to live one’s life – at least – that’s not what I see in the teachings. Granted Jesus does say to ‘hate your mother and father’ – but if he means a literal hate then he’s not only breaking a commandment – he’s asking us to treat our parents with disdain. I do not believe Jesus’ teachings, as blunt as that one is, actually push us in that direction. If so, then why only that single teaching on ‘hate’ in the gospels? Yet ‘love’ (as a teaching) appears at least 50 times in the gospels. To say God likes hate – from at least a gospel stand-point – is quite ludicrous.

    “Did we evolve, did God evolve, or did we both? Surely in any relationship both parties change along the way…So, we each just stopped at the place that worked for us it seems, while God kept going trying to connect to more people?” (Yael)

    Good question! If God is real, then in our real time – God is still active and moving. I think the change occurs in us (granted) but I also think God is part of that process. Does God change is the big question? I will stay reserved on this for a while – since it is a tough one to truly answer (lest I speak for God).

    “I merely present another view of the texts. Too often people think their way of reading the texts is the only way. No. There are many ways of looking at texts. Jewish exegesis is considered faulty by Christians, Christian exegesis is considered worthless by Jews” (Yael)

    This is a gap I would like to see bridged. I think both faiths have a lot to offer to the society as a whole – and I think if Christians will be honest – we are borrowing from texts that have a rich history of standing interpretation also (were not the only one’s playing on that court). Is there room to share with one another – to see each other’s faith as equal? I think so…then again I admire the Jewish teachings as much (and sometimes more) than the Christian views.

    But I see a strong value in both – namely – in our response to those texts and in dialogue. I see a whole group of people, very smart and intelligent, thinking through issues of God, living faith, and issues of morality that just expand my thought process everytime I read on. That’s what needs to be focused on – how we are bridging our society as a whole with these convo’s and searches…faith becomes a guiding force to greater things it seems? We may not all be in the same faith – or denominational affiliation for that matter – but we are all human (created by God). Don’t you think God is happy with us bantering about something that helps us and our neighbor? I do.

    I think we need to look into each other’s faith and learn from one another – at least – that’s part of the dialogue that needs to happen. I started a blog on hate – I end with one on unity!

  24. Brad asked why I would worship such a God as the one I described. Why not? Many Christians worship a God they think sends most people to hell. How is that any better?

    It isn’t any better in my view. I don’t believe in hell. You of course can worship any kind of God you want, and I think that everyone has to relate to God in the way that makes sense to them. I doubt that any of us really understand God’s nature anyway. Still, I do think it is a curious explanation for the value in worshiping an imperfect god who has various human faults to just say that that other religions or theologies also conceive of God in a flawed manner. Humans have always made their gods in their image, and probably always will, but I think that the value in self-reflective theology is that it allows us to engage ourselves in a continuous dialogue with God and to grow in our understanding of God’s nature. When people in the Jewish tradition were formulating their early ideas about God, they wrote scriptures that claimed that God ordered people to commit genocide (as in the book of Joshua), to cite one horrific example where they got things wrong. Humans have generally come to realize that genocide is a bad thing, and (except for fundamentalists who can’t accept that the Bible isn’t all literally true), thus this making of God into a barbarian was the product of human flawed attempts at understanding God’s nature. I happen to think that goodness springs from God, rather than evil. But maybe that’s just me.

    Did we evolve, did God evolve, or did we both?

    I am not one of those who believes that God is changeless. But then I borrow my ideas on this from process theology. I believe that God is unchanging in his goodness and perfection, but that God also changes in terms of continuously being affected by the world and responding sympathetically to it.

    So, we each just stopped at the place that worked for us it seems, while God kept going trying to connect to more people?

    I also believe that God is in continuous communication with us, always offering creative possibilities and always offering us the opportunity to do the best we can. Given all of that, the various religions of the world represent, in my view, different attempts at responding to God’s continuous revelation within various cultural and historical contexts. Obviously, there was no literal Adam and Eve (because humans evolved over millions of years on this planet), and I think that a lot of the origins of various religions have been mythologized (the Torah, for example, was the product of centuries of redaction among various factions and interests within the broader Jewish traditions of that time.) But that doesn’t make the religions “wrong”–because religion is and always will be a human endeavor as well as a Divine one. And the Christians and Muslims and Mormons and whatever else all represent, in my view, different aspects of the blind man and the elephant, with all the religions reflecting the flawed human efforts at understanding an ineffable reality. (My ideas are influenced by John Hick on the subject of pluralism.)

  25. Wow! I go on a one day training event for Autism Spectrum Disorder and there are like 28 comments and one new post to read through when I check in.

    Enjoying the conversation, also.

    Does God hate? It’s obvious that people do, but I can’t see God hating in the same manner as a person. His ways are much higher than ours.

    I suppose that God does hate, I only say that because of the fact that we have the ability to hate. Our ability had to come from somewhere. But do we, as people, use hate in the same manner as God? Maybe we do, maybe we don’t. It probably depends on the situation.

    Love and hate, these are emotions. So we are talking about emotions. Our emotions and an emotional God. Maybe the discussion needs to be around whether or not we believe God is emotionally healthy. I believe He is, but what does it matter what I believe, and thus uses Love and hate in a manner that accomplishes His purpose.

  26. Mystical,
    Your perspective comes from a Christian background. There is no way I can explain Judaism in a blog comment. The fact is, I don’t need a perfect God, never have, never will. Why does God have to be perfect in order for me desire to have a connection to God? And how can God be perfect if things are outside of God? If hate and imperfection are not part of God, then isn’t God lacking? Isn’t God absent from parts of the universe? If God is lacking, how is that perfection? The Psalmist says even if I go into sheol, You, God, are there, there is no place where we can escape God, not even in hate, not even in imperfection.

    Society,
    I speak of the great divide for good reason. There is Christianity and there is Judaism. Never the two shall meet. We are too different. Esau, Christianity, went one way, Judaism, Jacob went another. If we were to join, Esau would swallow Jacob alive. No, we each have our own paths we must walk. It’s fun to chat, it’s fun to talk about many things, but in the end, we Jews are to be separate, with our own unique role to fill in the world, just as Christians are separate from others with their unique role. Remember Isaiah? In the end God will be one, while Jews will still be Jews, Egyptians will still be Egyptians, Syrians will still be Syrians.

  27. There is no way I can explain Judaism in a blog comment

    I am not a spokesman for Christianity–most Christians would not have me as their spokesman anyway–and I am not asking you to “explain Judaism”. All you have to do is say what you think–in other words, speak for yourself. For one thing, Judaism is no more a homogeneous faith than any other great faith is. Christians disagree with one another all the time, and I expect that Jews do also. Just as I speak for myself when I debate theology, I only ask that others speak for themselves. I couldn’t care less about what “Christians” believe or about what “Jews” believe, but rather about the ideas themselves and whether they stand or fall on their own merit, or at least if they make some kind of sense on their own.

    The fact is, I don’t need a perfect God, never have, never will.

    I think I’ve already said that anyone is welcome to worship any god they wish–including a genocidal moody patriarchal anthropomorphic projection of humanity’s own image, if that’s what floats their boat. What matters more to me is how they treat other people than how they view God’s nature. Nevertheless, I think it is interesting to discuss different concepts of God. That is why I waded through Karen Armstrong’s tedious book “A History of God”–and she goes in excruciating detail about the various concepts of God that the three main monotheistic faiths developed over the centuries. And none of these faiths have ever been homogeneous in their understandings of God. Thus it is fair to discuss theologies from a variety of points of view, across multiple theologies, and I think that all theologies and theological systems can potentially learn from others.

    For what it’s worth, a lot of my perspective comes not just from my Christian background, but from a basic understanding of what happens in the world. I know there was no Adam and Eve because I know that humans evolved. So saying that God communicated to us through Adam and Eve might make for a nice metaphorical statement, but it cannot be taken literally. As for morality, well, I have my own views on this, and I happen to believe that, for example, genocide is evil. I happen to believe that bigotry is evil. I happen to believe that hatred is evil. I also know that the Bible often claims that God commanded people to do that which I and lots of other people consider to be evil things. So if you believe that these stories are literally true, and not just the flawed understandings of human beings who happened to write these scriptures, then you are saying not just that God somehow includes the evil that takes place in the universe, but that God’s own direct will includes the active support of evil. This isn’t just saying that God isn’t perfect, but that God is essentially evil “him”self.

    Maybe you aren’t saying that. I am not that familiar with your views and I don’t know if you take these stories literally or not.

  28. I don’t take all of the stories in Torah literally, maybe not even all of them. It matters not in the least to me if they are literal or not. I do take from them wisdom about God and about us. That you choose to see the stories as human only and revealing none of God is your choice. Judaism teaches that they reveal God just as much as they reveal us. You don’t like me saying Judaism teaches, but I can’t help you there. I’m not a lone ranger out there just spouting off out the top of my head, disconnected from everyone and everything and thinking I’m really something special because of that. I’m a part of a people, part of a history, part of a tradition, and I’m glad.

    Judaism is not all splintered as Christianity is, I have already explained that to you before. Our differences are minute compared to those that divide Christian denominations. We are a community, we are a people. It doesn’t matter what I think as an individual and I already know you think that makes me into some kind of robot because you said so to me before. You don’t understand anything about Judaism, you look at it through Christian, individualistic eyes where the individual is supreme. You can say that you are taking into consideration many points of view but I’ve read your blog. You may not preach evangelical Christianity but it has influenced you greatly. Born agains may not claim you, but those of us on the outside can see Christian influence through and through. That’s not to say its a bad thing at all, its who you are, who you were, who you want to be. But, it makes it really difficult to talk about things with you because I already know you dismiss immediately anything that I value, anything that is me. This interaction is nothing new on that count. So, let’s just end it right here with we have NO common ground on which to meet and discuss anything.

    God created evil. Do I think God is evil? Perhaps God is indeed, and we are all deceived. God certainly contains evil, God hides in darkness. Is that the sum total of God? No. I would say not. Elie Weisel ends one of his books with God being satan. Julius Lester has God being Hitler. Do I find these endings offensive? No, I find them thought provoking. Do I agree with them? No. Do I understand how these ideas came about? Yes. I don’t think Christianity can exist with the idea that God could be evil, but in Judaism that just isn’t the case.

    So, now you know.

  29. You don’t understand anything about Judaism, you look at it through Christian, individualistic eyes where the individual is supreme.

    Whenever anyone tries to engage you in a discussion about your beliefs, you always end up with this sort of condescending response that says, “you can’t possibly understand my point of view because you aren’t a Jew.” It isn’t clear why you even bother to leave comments in these blogs when you take this position.

    It doesn’t matter what I think as an individual and I already know you think that makes me into some kind of robot because you said so to me before.

    You’re right, I do think that. To say that it doesn’t matter what you think as an individual is the mantra of mindless religion. And not, that has nothing to do with being a Jew–there are plenty of thinking Jews in the world. You never say, “this is what I think.” It is always, “this is what Judaism thinks,” which means that you both pass yourself off as a spokeswoman for the faith and you deny any real responsibility for what you actually believe. You never speak for yourself, but instead you hide under the shelter of your religious identity. For you it is always a matter of defining yourself in terms of the category you have placed yourself in, and then you categorize everyone else into other pigeonholes. Everything for you in these discussions is about “us” and “them”, and you refuse to engage in serious discussions with those you categorize as a “them”, instead just telling them, “You can’t possibly understand because you aren’t one of us.”

    Born agains may not claim you, but those of us on the outside can see Christian influence through and through.

    Have I ever denied not being influenced by my Christian upbringing and feeling most closely drawn to the Christian traditions? I’m not exactly sure what you are making with that comment. By the way, born agains not only would not claim me, but they categorically reject me. I will engage people in discussions to the extent that I think they are respectful and not characterized by single-minded dogmatism. Fundamentalist Christians don’t generally fit into that category. That aside, I am used to engaging others in discussions about God and God’s nature, even those who I might disagree with, without resorting to some nonsense like “you can’t possibly understand because you aren’t part of my group.”

    But, it makes it really difficult to talk about things with you because I already know you dismiss immediately anything that I value, anything that is me.

    That is a ridiculous presupposition. I may or may not agree with you–you just never know. I really depends on what you have to say. Are you really so afraid of defending your beliefs? You seem so defensive and concerned with protecting the brand name that you’ve signed up for, and furthermore you’ve stereotyped me into the same category as evangelicals or other orthodox Christians and made a whole huge set of assumptions about what I believe. Your bizarre question to me earlier about hell is an apparent example of this–I can only infer that you thought I believed in hell.

    I respect open minded, tolerant people of all faiths. I have quoted from, for example, Eboo Patel, a Muslim who is engaged in interfaith work. I have strenuously argued that all the major faiths are legitimate paths to the Divine. I defend Judaism against fundamentalist proselytizers. As for my theology, I don’t believe in hell and I don’t believe in omnipotence, and, if, given all of that, you think that I am somehow akin to an evangelical Christian, all I can say is that you have a bizarre concept of what evangelical Christianity is.

    So, let’s just end it right here with we have NO common ground on which to meet and discuss anything.

    I think it was quite obvious a long time ago that you were not interested in egaging people in a discussion who you have pigeonholed as being one of the “others”. You are right, I have no common ground to discuss anything with you because you are only interested in dropping little comments and then turning around and hiding behind your brand name loyalty because otherwise you might have to actually engage in a give and take about your and other people’s beliefs.

  30. This is for everyone…………

    Dont you find it interesting that we all search for a story that says we are ok in this world or the next. We all desperately want to have the truth about our existence and we cling to stories that for us say that it will be so. No one is actually searching for what our existence is all about we are searching for something to tell us we will be OK. Its not our love for life that drives us to search, it seems its our Fear of potentially not being Ok that does the pushing. I for one have recently decided to get off that Train. Im Ok, so I guess now I will go experience my Life, anyone want to come for a ride?

    John T.

    But by all means do keep bantering, it seems to help 🙂

  31. “No one is actually searching for what our existence is all about we are searching for something to tell us we will be OK” (John)

    I think some are – out of fear of what happens next (after this life). Myself, i am more concerned with putting the weight of my theology into this current and present arena and seeing what the teachings can mean – right here and right now – including the past, the present, and the future. I am all about living these teachings and seeing what they bring about – beyond that – I have no control over an afterlife I have no proof of.

    Mystical and Yael – why do you both try to get under each other’s skins anyways? It is clear to me you are both coming from various interpretations on the texts – I think that is a good thing (should’t that be a good thing?) – I can find value in both of your intepretations concerning various teachings and ideas. I guess…for me…I don’t understand the problems you both have with one another…is anything we actually say in any of these blogs really that bad? Maybe it’s just me – I don’t want you both to dislike each other for no real reason outside of differing theologies and faiths.

    Look at me, trying to play peacemaker…always hoping for the best (I seem like an eternal optimist on this blog).

  32. No, MS, I just don’t care for talking to YOU. I read your blog long ago and reached that conclusion. Unfortunately I wasted my time responding to you today. It won’t happen again.

  33. Mystical and Yael – why do you both try to get under each other’s skins anyways?

    Well, Societyvs, you have your answer from the horse’s mouth herself. She decided that she didn’t like me for some unspecified reason after having read my blog. Which is her right, of course. The funny thing is that I don’t dislike her. I don’t even know her, so how could I? I find her exasperating, mostly because she is a true believer, as many converts are, and maybe it is just the case that iconoclasts and true believers, even when they are in different faith worlds, end up butting heads.

  34. Brad: But to ascribe responsibility to God for [sin entering the world] is not supported by scripture.

    Yes, it is…only in a bit more of an abstract way, IMO.

    And all who are dwelling on the earth will be worshiping it, everyone whose name is not written in the scroll of life of the Lambkin slain from the disruption of the world. (Revelation 13:8, Concordant Literal NT, emphasis mine)

    Other translations use the word “foundation” in place of “disruption”.

    Anyway, it seems to me that, according to this verse, the plan of salvation began at Creation, which means sin would have to enter the world at some point for this to take place. Recall that the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). In order for Jesus to die on the cross, death had to exist as well as sin. If Adam and Eve did not sin, death would not exist, and we wouldn’t need a Saviour anyway, because everyone would be in constant interaction with God all the time.

    Also, notice that God put the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil right in the centre of the Garden, in plain sight (Genesis 3:3). Personally, I also believe he put the serpent in Eve’s path, too. Don’t you think that if God didn’t want them eating from this tree (in order to further his ultimate plan in regards to salvation), that he wouldn’t have put it where he did?

    Joshua: …Jesus Christ Almighty, Who HATES HOMOSEXUALS

    Wow. Way to slap your Saviour in the face and make a mockery of the finished work of the cross. Do you believe that Jesus became sin on the cross (sin by perpetiation)? If so, then you must believe Jesus also became…wait for it…a HOMOSEXUAL on the cross. That statement of yours really shows what your true colours are, I think.

    Topic? I agree w/John’s comment: “…maybe God uses Hate as a tool to help us Love.”

    I also like what OSS said: “Hatred is destructive. It can make people bitter, hard, unforgiving. It can ruin their lives. It’s simply not a positive force. It’s not a “good” force. It’s a force that can give the “bad things” too much power over you. If it were, would we be told to forgive uncondtionaly, regardless of the circumstance? Would we be encouraged to let it go? That we’d specifically be told to no longer operate under “an eye for an eye?””

    According to the Gospels, it is the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy; yet, Jesus came to give life (John 10:10).

  35. Yael

    “In the end God will be one, while Jews will still be Jews, Egyptians will still be Egyptians, Syrians will still be Syrians.”

    I believe there is one fundamental flaw in your thinking, as with all religions, whichever they may be, it is based on one thing our Choice. Now in regards to Nationality initially this is based on where you are born. This is why you can have an Egyptian Jew, Syrian Jew, Polish jew, Canadian Jew……..and on and on and on. The only ” great divide” is the one that Humans put on it by choosing to be different. In the end there will be God and his creation which is HUMANS.

  36. This posting is for Joshua

    I left the lyrics to a song earlier in the attempts to describe how I see you, but I erred, this one hits the nail on the head.

    This is what you sound like when you keep quoting your scripture in your Angry tone.

    I am a little bit of loneliness, a little bit of disregard
    Handful of complaints but I can’t help the fact
    That everybody can see these scars
    I am what I want you to want, what I want you to feel
    But it’s like no matter what I do, I can’t convince you
    To just believe this is real
    So I, let go watching you turn your back like you always do
    Face away and pretend that I’m not
    But I’ll be here cause you’re all that I’ve got

    I can’t feel the way I did before
    Don’t turn your back on me
    I won’t be ignored
    Time won’t heal this damage anymore
    Don’t turn your back on me I won’t be ignored

    I am, a little bit insecure, a little unconfident
    Cuz you don’t understand I do what I can
    Sometimes I don’t make sense
    I am, what you never wanna say, but I’ve never had a doubt
    It’s like no matter what I do I can’t convince you for once just to hear me out
    So I, let go watching you turn your back like you always do
    You face away and pretend that I’m not
    But I’ll be here cause you’re all that I’ve got

    I can’t feel the way I did before
    Don’t turn your back on me
    I won’t be ignored
    Time won’t heal this damage anymore
    Don’t turn your back on me I won’t be ignored

    Hear me out now
    You’re gonna listen to me like it or not
    Right now, hear me out now
    You’re gonna listen to me like it or not
    Right now

    I can’t feel the way I did before
    Don’t turn your back on me
    I won’t be ignored

    I can’t feel the way I did before
    Don’t turn your back on me
    I won’t be ignored
    Time won’t heal this damage anymore
    Don’t turn your back on me I won’t be ignored
    I can’t feel
    Don’t turn your back on me I won’t be ignored
    Time won’t tell
    Don’t turn your back on me I won’t be ignored

  37. OK, there’s too much for me to catch up in it’s entirety, but let me address what I can…

    John,

    First of all, LP rocks. Seriously, well done. Joshua, nor any other human cannot say whether a natural disaster is God’s judgment or the result of a cursed world. To do so is to claim knowledge of God that we simply cannot have. Revelation and Speculation should not be confused. Well said.

    And regardless of whether that is true, we are ALWAYS called to pray for and aid the broken and hurting in this world. Truth without love is abuse.

    And now your sports analogy:
    “I mean how does God claim victory in this scenario?”

    OK, you paint a scenario that may or may not necessarily be true. You make several assumptions: 1.) That God counts victory the same we do; 2.) That you know how many people will end up in Hell; 3.) That people ending in Hell is points for the devil versus just judgment from God. It’s taking a very specific understanding of a God of love divorced from a God of justice. Love without truth (or justice) is neglect. God counts victory when both justice and love are ultimately accomplished at the end of all things. The forshadowing to that end is the cross, where God satisfies His judgment upon Himself out of Love for us.

    In Re: to Yael and the existence of Hell…

    Of course, we are working on a very different definition of “scripture” and faith. I certainly don’t expect you to have a Christian understanding of Hell as a Jew, and I won’t try to convince you otherwise.

    But the Christian view of Hell (which is not incompatible with Jewish views of God’s judgment) is that we (humans) are held responsible for our actions. Yes, God is sovereign, in every sense of the word, but we are still held accountable. This is supported by your point of a lack of dualism in Jewish theology. God is not “sending” people to Hell, so much as He is allowing their choice to be fulfilled unto eternity.

    There are people who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and there are people to whom God says “Thy will be done.”

  38. “God counts victory when both justice and love are ultimately accomplished at the end of all things. The forshadowing to that end is the cross, where God satisfies His judgment upon Himself out of Love for us.” (Brad)

    Its probably just me, but I usually comment when I see comments that read as though the person knows exactly how God thinks. I know you probably don’t intend to come across in that manner, but to me thats how it looks. I don’t think anyone can acurately and precisely know how “God counts victory” or “how God satisfies His judgement”.

    I thought John’s sport analogy was more of philosophical thought, wondering how it possible for people to say God can claim victory, when in the view of these same people that God is sending or allowing 90% of the people to burn in eternal torment. Where is the victory in that?

    “But the Christian view of Hell (which is not incompatible with Jewish views of God’s judgment) is that we (humans) are held responsible for our actions” (Brad)

    I would say that it is one specific view of hell, as opposed th the only view of hell . I don’t know if all Christian believers would hold to the same view of hell. I personally hold to the view that we are held responsible for our actions, and that ultimately God will hold us accountable.

  39. By the way, the Jerusalem Post ran an article a few months ago about Rabbi Harold Kushner, who wrote the book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”. The article notes:

    Kushner committed his gravest offense, as the Orthodox see it, in When Bad Things Happen to Good People. He labored to reconcile the twin Jewish beliefs in God’s omnipotence and his benevolence with the reality of human suffering, ultimately sacrificing the former to salvage the latter.

    KUSHNER’S GOD is limited in his ability to control the random hazards of life that result in tragedy on a widespread and a smaller scale, like the Holocaust and the death of a child.

    It is a view that runs afoul of traditional Jewish teaching about God. The Orthodox, who Kushner says feel obliged to defend every writing by an Orthodox rabbi, accuse him of propounding un-Jewish ideas. Among the top Google hits for “Harold Kushner” is an article from an Orthodox Web site titled “Why Harold Kushner is Wrong.”

    A couple of interesting points about that quote. One is that the article indicates that a concept of divine benevolence is a traditional Jewish belief. The second is that this man, a Jewish rabbi, was criticized by other Jews for his ideas about God’s nature. So much for the idea that Jews are one big homogeneous family comes to how they view God.

    The interesting thing is that Kushner resolved the conflict between the idea of Divine omnipotence and Divine benevolence in favor of benevolence. Those two ideas do exist in conflict with one another, as Bart Ehrman and others over the centuries have pointed out , when you have to deal with the problem of theodicy. Perhaps some may indeed have decided to resolve the tension in favor of omnipotence, thus leading to some concept in which God embodies evil; but Kushner instead decided in favor of God’s benevolence and God’s love for creation. I am in agreement with Kushner on this point.

  40. interesting discussion. great question! my short answer is “no.” if you say “yes” then there’s too much argue’n over who gets to say what God hates and why. plus if you believe in an all powerful creator, if HE hates something, wouldn’t HE remove it? free will be buggered as HE is too powerful for that crap.

    if answer is yes, then who gets to determine this… scripture? prayer? divine intervention? social darwinism? white hetero males?

    oh.. and about homosexuality and Jesus hating it.. i love how ppl use PAUL and LEV. to say that JESUS hates something…Jesus was mute on that subject. the only thing i can see Jesus hating is being under Roman rule and people hurting other people (esp. those who take a legalistic approach to worship and try to say how God hates this or that (Luke 18:9-14).

    rawk!

  41. “interesting discussion. great question! my short answer is “no.” if you say “yes” then there’s too much argue’n over who gets to say what God hates and why” (Luke)

    I agree. It gets too personal in my opinion also. One could be talking about disasters as a show of God’s hate – and then we cannot forget the individuals who experienced that crap. Then it also means – maybe God hates someone you actually know (on a more personable level). That’s a tough pill to swallow in my opinion.

  42. thejust1,

    No, I you are correct that I do not intend to come off that way. But we can know some things about how God things in the areas that He has revealed to us, hence scripture. I don’t claim to know exactly how God thinks, but where you quoted me is a widely accepted historical and orthodox Christian understanding of God. That is the perspective I am coming from, and would be irresponsible to do otherwise. I mean, all that was was another way of quoting the first half of John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son….”

    “I would say that it is one specific view of hell, as opposed th the only view of hell . I don’t know if all Christian believers would hold to the same view of hell. I personally hold to the view that we are held responsible for our actions, and that ultimately God will hold us accountable.”

    I agree. Again, I am working on the historically orthodox Christian understanding. There are many other views of Hell as well. Fundamentalists would probably over-simplifiy a similar sounding understanding, and liberal Christians would most likely interpret Hell as purely (or mostly) metaphorical.

    MS,
    That is a fascinating quote! I’ll be reading more into that… I wonder why we (Western-influenced moderns) feel so strongly the need to reconcile those two aspects. Is it possible that there is an “answer” to why they conflict that we may never be able to know on this side of heaven? I wonder… will God reveal that answer, or are we to actively trust in his promised benevolence? Great thoughts!

    Luke,

    Can’t we just say that God hates “sin?” It strikes me that this simple, yet comprehensive understanding would reconcile the problems you point out.

    Societyvs,
    I agree. I don’t think that we can say God hates people. He does indeed love them very much. We are not privy to God’s decisions apart from scripture, and to claim otherwise is incredibly dangerous, unsupported, and pure speculation. It’s a slippery slope indeed.

  43. Brad: But the Christian view of Hell (which is not incompatible with Jewish views of God’s judgment) is that we (humans) are held responsible for our actions.

    Just1: I would say that it is one specific view of hell, as opposed th the only view of hell . I don’t know if all Christian believers would hold to the same view of hell. I personally hold to the view that we are held responsible for our actions, and that ultimately God will hold us accountable.

    I don’t agree with Brad’s view of “hell” at all. Actually, I don’t believe in “hell” as traditional Christianity has presented it since Tertullian’s, Augustine’s, and Jerome’s time. I think “hell” is a metaphor for the various tests and trials we go through, either through no fault of our own in order to build up our reliance on God, or as a method for us reaping what we’ve sown in regards to wrong-doing. The latter is how we will be held accountable for our actions.

    Brad: God is not “sending” people to Hell, so much as He is allowing their choice to be fulfilled unto eternity.

    I disagree. Plus, I believe you are contradicting yourself: First, you said God is sovereign; then you say that man has free will. Well, if man has free will, doesn’t that make God’s sovereignity worthless?

    (All references from the Darby Translation, unless stated otherwise…)
    So then, to whom he (God) will he shews mercy, and whom he (God) will he hardens. (Romans 9:18)

    For God hath shut up together all in unbelief, in order that he might shew mercy to all. (Romans 11:32)

    No one can come to me except the Father who has sent me draw him, and I will raise him up in the last day. (John 6:44)

    Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ; according as he has chosen us in him before [the] world’s foundation, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love; having marked us out beforehand for adoption through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,… (Ephesians 1:3-5, emphasis mine)

    The heart of man deviseth his way, but Jehovah directeth his steps. (Proverbs 19:6)

    Many are the thoughts in a man’s heart, but the counsel of Jehovah, that doth stand. (Proverbs 19:21)

    there is not the [man] that understands, there is not one that seeks after God. (Romans 3:11)

    He (God) hath made everything beautiful in its time; also he hath set the world in their heart, so that man findeth not out from the beginning to the end the work that God doeth. (Ecclesiastes 3:11…actually, IMO, all of Verses 1-15 altogether negates the idea of the free will of man)

    in whom we have also obtained an inheritance, being marked out beforehand according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his own will, (Ephesians 1:11)

    And Jehovah said unto [the spirit], Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt entice [him], and also succeed: go forth, and do so.

    And now, behold, Jehovah has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and Jehovah has spoken evil concerning [Ahab]. (1 Kings 22:22-23)

    And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and [God] doeth according to his will in the army of the heavens, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (Daniel 4:35)

    Ye did not choose out me, but I chose out you, and did appoint you, that ye might go away, and might bear fruit, and your fruit might remain, that whatever ye may ask of the Father in my name, He may give you. (John 15:16, Young’s Literal Translation)

    And Jehovah said to Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his bondmen, that I might do these my signs in their midst, and that thou mightest tell in the ears of thy son and thy son’s son what I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. (Exodus 10:1-2, emphasis added)

    Job answered God: “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head.

    You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking. Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’

    I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.” (Job 42:1-6, The Message, emphasis mine)

    Also, all throughout his ministry — and even before it, at the ripe age of twelve, when Mary and Joseph found him talking to the synagogue leaders! — Jesus kept reminding everyone (especially the disciples) that he was placed on Earth to do his Father’s will.

  44. Brad

    Cant you just say God created Sin to help bring us into relationship. Ultimately if everything is going great and were always doing really good nice stuff, and our lives are really happy, happy, who then needs God? In fact I think Satan is an agent of reconciliation. Mind you, this may be just the Beer talking 😉

    John T.

  45. Oh and by the way

    Have you every considered that maybe Hate is just an extreme breakdown in our communication skills. After all we usually only say we hate when someone does something wrong to us and vice versa. If we/they better communicated our intentions and desires maybe there would be no need for Hate.

  46. here’s the problem with that.. if God hate sin, how is there sin in the world? the fall? freewill? an evil power in the world working to counter-act God?

    if we are to take the belief that love is the chief attribute of God. “God is love” of I John 4:8 and 16 seriously, then how then can God hate? in our own limitedness (or sinfullness if you will) can we be so shortsighted that we can’t believe that God loves totally and the world is as it should be (or has all the possibilities of becoming the “kingdom” Jesus spoke about)?

  47. I think a further exposition of one type of Jewish perspective from Rabbi Harold Kushner might be of interest. This is what he wrote in his contribution to the book of essays “Jewish Theology and Process Thought”, concerning his belief that God is completely good:

    If I find myself forced to choose between an all-Powerful God is not completely good, or else an all-Benevolent God is not completely powerful, which is the more religious alternative? I would insist that the latter is.

    Kushner goes on to address the question, “What sort of God is worthy of worship?” He answers it this way:

    We recall the old trilemma: God is good. God is powerful. Evil is real. Most theologians, amateur and professional, solve the problem by denying the reality of evil. (“The was a good reason for what happened. God knows what He is doing. You’ll be better off for it.”) Some deny that God is good as we have been taught to understand the meaning of the word. (“God cannot be limited by human considerations of human need or morality. God’s mind works in different ways than ours do.”) I choose to solve the trilemma by asking, “What’s great about being all-powerful?” Some power is undoubtedly good, and utterly powerless people may become desperate. But total power is bad. Power isolates. I cannot imaging a God worthy of worship who thrives on a diet of groveling obeisance. Recall those immensely moving passages in Hosea and Jeremiah, in which God is pictured as lonely because there is no one to love him. Power and love may well be mutually exclusive. We can fear an all-powerful God, but we cannot love Him, because love exists between equals, entities who if not matched in power at least have a mutual need for one another. Power, like water, only flows downhill, from the higher to the lower. (p.90)

    Whether one agrees with Kushner or not, I think it does present an interesting example–not just of a Jewish perspective where God is indeed seen as all-loving and good, and thus not responsible for the evil that takes place in the world–but also of the point that an evil God, or for that matter a God who exhibits tyrannical power, might inspire a reluctant worship for negative reasons–awe and fear, for example–but not freely given out of a wellspring of positive feelings or of love. It is sort of like the difference between being a draftee and a volunteer. Or the difference between praising the “fearless leader” of a dictatorship versus admiring a great leader in a free society for their good qualities. Do we “worship” a God simply because they are powerful and we have no choice to do otherwise, or because that God naturally deserves our worship? Kushner favors the latter alternative.

  48. consequentialism. noun.The view that the value of an action derives solely from the value of its consequences.

    i.e. “the ends justify the means”

    God calls sinful human beings not to be consequentialists (Romans 3:8). But I think God Himself (and only Himself) is the ultimate consequentialist. He does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3), and so He decided to create both evil and good (Isaiah 45:7) to work together for the eventual purpose and consequence of good (Romans 8:28). This also means Satan is his rabid pet dog whom He keeps on a tight leash. Look at Job 1:12 for an example of this:

    And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”

    Also look at Romans 11:32.

    So it all makes sense when you look at it this way. You don’t have to choose between all-powerful but not all-good God or an all-good but not all-powerful God. God is both all-powerful and all-good; “good” from His perspective refers more to the consequences — the whole picture.

  49. Luke,

    I agree. I think that both Kushner and process theology have influenced my thinking quite a bit–I’m very much interested in process theology in particular–and there are similarities between Kushner and process theologians in how they view God, even if they came to their conclusions from different starting points.

  50. A wise man once told me: “You are all still eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The work of the Cross of Christ has had no effect on you. It might as well have never happened. Your knowledge is your curse. Your worries are your fruit. And your fear is your reward.”

    I pray for revelation. May it come quickly!

  51. BruceD

    “Your knowledge is your curse. Your worries are your fruit. And your fear is your reward.”

    How ironic, you still own these traits, so I guess it didnt work for you either. Maybe Christ isnt Superman afterall.

  52. *sigh* I need more time to have these kinds of conversations! Ack. This is great stuff, and I apologize for not responding sooner.

    Shelly said: “Actually, I don’t believe in “hell” as traditional Christianity has presented it since Tertullian’s, Augustine’s, and Jerome’s time. I think “hell” is a metaphor for the various tests and trials we go through… or as a method for us reaping what we’ve sown in regards to wrong-doing.”

    Again, I am working from the historically orthodox Christian perspective. I don’t mean to speak for all Christians. There’s a lot we don’t know about Hell, but to say it is purely metaphorical would not fit the literary genre that talks about it (Jesus’ parables), nor the context.

    “I disagree. Plus, I believe you are contradicting yourself”

    This is the lack of duality that Yael brought up earlier. Scripture speaks about both human responsibility and God’s sovereignty, with no apparent problem:

    Matt. 26:24 “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”

    We see here that Jesus’ death was pre-ordained (God’s sovereignty), but this does not alleviate the betrayer’s responsibility. Pharoah’s hard heart is another example. How are the two reconciled? I have no idea. But I can say for certain that those “contradictions” are only problems for western cultures. Jewish and Middle Eastern logic systems were structured very differently, and would not have seen it as a contradiction.

    John, #51… That’s just not supported by scripture. We see that in the beginning, “it was good.” There was not problem of relationship. Now, I can definitely affirm that God is improving on His original creation, not out of necessity (there was nothing wrong with it before sin), but out of love. The “growth” or “development” from the garden in genesis to the city in revelations is kinda symbolic of that. But again, he did not create sin to accomplish anything because that assumes he needed something apart from his power and love to accomplish it. There is no doubt, however, that He uses it for good because nothing is beyond His power to redeem. Does that make any sense at all?

  53. Luke,

    “here’s the problem with that.. if God hate sin, how is there sin in the world? the fall? freewill? an evil power in the world working to counter-act God?”

    That’s a question that ultimately only God can answer with any claimed certainty. Sin is, by definition, rebellion from God. I would say that to not “allow us” to sin (take away ALL free will), would force us to love God. But if love is forced, is it truly love? If we are nothing but robots, how can our actions be real love if there is no choice involved? This hits the heart of Shelly’s comment, and also Calvinism (NOT Hyper-Calvinism).

    But what I can say with certainty is that the story is just not over yet. We now know how it will end, but we are not yet there. Our time is not God’s time. If God is infinitely loving and infinitely powerful, we can trust that His wisdom and methods are worthy of our trust.

    “if we are to take the belief that love is the chief attribute of God. “God is love” of I John 4:8 and 16 seriously, then how then can God hate? in our own limitedness (or sinfullness if you will) can we be so shortsighted that we can’t believe that God loves totally and the world is as it should be (or has all the possibilities of becoming the “kingdom” Jesus spoke about)?”

    Hrmm… I’m not quite sure what you mean, so correct me if I’m wrong, please. I would say that the world is NOT as it should be. Children should NOT have to grow up without both parents. Teens should NOT have to struggle with sexual addictions. Women should not be raped. Men should not be butchered in front of their families in Africa. The world absolutely has the possibillity of becoming the kingdom, as you say. But the absolute crux of the ability for that to happen is the death and resurrection of Christ. We cannot understand redemption apart from it. In it, we have a foretaste of that kingdom because God came as a Man and defeated not just sickness, disease, and violence, but death itself. I don’t remember where I heard this, but “God did for His Son in the middle of History what He promises to do at the end of History.”

    The story is not over, we are a part of it, and the God of love is in control. He hates sin because He loves us so much. He hates sin but loves people. He defeated sin on the cross, and because of the cross he can separate/forgive people from/for their sin. Thus both His holiness/justice are accomplished with His love.

  54. Brad

    Now we have a discussion.

    “That’s just not supported by scripture. We see that in the beginning, “it was good.” There was not problem of relationship.”

    Let me ask you this. If God had such a great relationship and Communication with his creation(Adam and Eve), why did they feel they had to go behind his back? Afterall if there was good communication they would have talked about it with him. Isnt that just good communication 101?

  55. John,

    Not necessarily. Why do you assume that it had anything to do with good communication? Genesis said they were “naked and unashamed.” There was nothing to hide, nothing wrong with communication. I mean, the creator of the universe took strolls with Adam and Eve. We see no problem of communication until after Adam and Eve’s distrust of God. That distrust came from a lie. The snake didn’t say, “you misunderstood God,” He insinuated that God’s intent/heart/motivation was corrupt. Adam and Eve chose to trust the snake instead of God, they rebelled.

    There’s just nothing there to support claims of insufficient communication. Besides, how in the world could the creator of the universe possibly have poor communication skills?

  56. Brad

    Of course there is a breakdown in communication. Its just like me going to your best friend and telling him your shit head and he believes me. And not only does he believe me he does exactly something that would hurt you, without going to you to discuss the matter. If you dont think thats a breakdown in communication, then I suggest you go back to class 101. I dont need scripture to point out the obvious. So when are you taking me out for a pint, I have some swampland in Florida to sell you. 😉

  57. John, like all of us, I am a work in progress. It apparently takes some time to shed the baggage of wrong-thinking. But, you think I’m bad now? You should have seen me a handful of years ago! I was a mess. Full of fear and worry. Consumed by doubt and guilt. Until I managed break free from those negative influences (religion), I was a basket-case. I’m sure to you I still am, but I have the fortunate ability to look back on my life and see the changes I’ve gone through. I know I’ll never be peaceful enough, or spiritual enough (or whatever it is you’re looking for) for you, but I am overwhelmingly joyed with the improvement in my life! So overjoyed, in fact, that I hope everybody can someday feel that way.

    Then again, maybe it’s just old age! Maybe senility is creeping in! 😉

  58. John,

    I think we are using the word “communication” differently… I would disagree with the statement, “God did not communicate effectively,” but could wholeheartedly affirm that, “Adam and Eve misunderstood/underapreciated/distrusted God’s love for them.” If that second statement qualifies as “miscommunication,” then I can affirm what you are talking about. But we have no scriptural evidence that God was in any way lacking or deficient in His interactions and relationships with Adam and Eve. To say otherwise is purely unfounded speculation. In short, I’m just trying to be careful with wording here.

    So if I’m understanding you correctly, how does the concept of hate work in with that?

  59. ** I would say that to not “allow us” to sin (take away ALL free will), would force us to love God. But if love is forced, is it truly love? If we are nothing but robots, how can our actions be real love if there is no choice involved?**

    Actually, this would depend on how one defines “force.” If I am forced to do something, then we would infer that I am doing that thing against my will. Yet if all free will is removed, and people love simply because it is their nature, then they aren’t forced to love God, because they aren’t loving God against their will.

    I find a difference between saying “I will force them to love me” — which is “I will make them love me regardless of what they want” and saying “I will create all of mankind who only has the ability to love, and the ability to do good.”

    Especially if this gets applied to God. Does God have free will? Is God “allowed” to sin? Given that God’s nature is defined as perfection (by a Christian definition), and that God cannot do evil/sin, or He is no longer God, then can God choose to love?

    Brad,

    **How are the two reconciled? I have no idea. But I can say for certain that those “contradictions” are only problems for western cultures. Jewish and Middle Eastern logic systems were structured very differently, and would not have seen it as a contradiction.**

    This is off-topic, but I’m curious about something. In other places, when people have mentioned contradictions in the Bible, you’ve (I’m pulling from memory here so I may get the phrasing wrong) essentially said that it might be how we define contradiction, or we have to examine the texts in the proper context. While I agree with you on the context, i’m having trouble fitting this idea into an absolute truth framework. It’s one thing to say that the events aren’t a contradiction because here’s how they can be resolved in order to not contradict. It’s another thing to say they aren’t a contradiction because we’re defining contradiction wrong, especially if you don’t know how they are resolved. Simply because the culture at that time didn’t see them as contradictions doesn’t make them not be contradcitions. If you don’t know how they are resolved, what basis do you use for saying the Bible is inerrant? Or is that simply a matter of faith?

  60. Ok Brad

    If I was to take the creation story at face value, then shouldnt his creation be perfect and good, which in turn means Adam and Eve would communicate effectively(obviously they did not). Now with that said, if by my earlier premise, hate is a form of miscommunication, then God had it in his plan right from the start.

    BruceD

    I am just like you as with all of us. We are all whacked. My issues are about the absoluteness of Grace as described. I have no issue with God cutting me some slack. I do have issue with people who dont think their actions will have any consequence down the road(after death). It doesnt mean we will be banished, but in my brain I know there will be some outcome for what I do, and it may not be so pleasant in some cases.

  61. Brad,

    “That’s a question that ultimately only God can answer with any claimed certainty.”

    and

    “The story is not over, we are a part of it”

    brilliant! i agree. sin is a break from God, but we do not know the full consquences of our actions. so we could be sinning at any given time. makes one nuts to try to figure it out. but here’s the deal.. Jesus conquered sin, saved us from a legalistic and duelistic existence. it’s a struggle to realize that we are both the children of God with the potential to live and do things as good if not better than Jesus (John 14:12) but to also realize our shortcomings.

  62. Mystical, I really liked the Kushner quotes – that was some deep stuff – and I think he encapsulates the relation of power, love, and evil. I think it is all about focus – what aspect of God we focus on – me I prefer to focus on how much God loves – in this I find the power of God exists – but God also seems relational.

    For me, hate and fear are focuses I cannot pick up – to me – God does not seem to be that type of spirit…at least not in my experiences from what living the teachings actually does to a person. We deal with fears and deal with feelings of anger (hate) – and once those go away we move into filling those areas with compassion or contentment. I find it funny for someone to tell me ‘God hates’ – maybe they themselves hate and image it onto God – but I am not sure God does hate. Why ask us to deal with our hate if this is so? Why ask us to deal with our fears if this is so? Why ask us to love ourselves? That is hypocritical (an obvious term Jesus held no esteem for).

    I cannot reconclile, within any form of logic, where God can be defined as ‘hate’. I think God can be angry – no probs there – but actually hate…if I am not allowed how can one say the God they serve is allowed to? Question is – are you allowed to hate and if so, how often do you express this right? Also, with hate comes fear – and fear seems to be in opposition to love – can you love God when you fear Him? This is all a matter of expression.

  63. Luke

    “Jesus conquered sin, saved us from a legalistic and duelistic existence”

    I think the “idea” of what Jesus did was to ensure that we didnt “believe” we would be punished forever and ever. He didnt do anything for our dualistic existence because we will always experience it when we are in this form(physical). You can believe all you want that you are saved but that still doesnt change the fact that in this world there is pain and pleasure. Now the big question is does our actions affect us during our spiritual existence? Hmmmmm nobody knows. So if I base my faith on what I see and feel, then I would have to say Yes it will. But hey if you, like many others, need an out from your crappy behaviour, far be it for me to change your mind. 😉

  64. duelism in terms of power structure.. violence was the only way to rise up and defeat the romans… Jesus changed that, ended the cycle. but yeah, the world is a tad duelist and we do have our opposites, but the world is also a sliding scale. it’s tricky as definitions fit perfectly in one instance and fall apart in the next.

    the world is sand, the only absolute is change (so far, that i’m able to completely agree with) and i always need an out for my crappy behavior 😉

    john t. rawks.

  65. Thing about Numbers 31 – I am not a Jewish scholar and have not heard their studies on the passage – I really would not know what to say. I will leave that passage to the actual experts on the Torah (and it ain’t me)…but I would be open to hear more on it personally. I try and talk about that matter – I am bound to mess it up beyond repair.

    But for hate – we can only go by what we know is true and what isn’t – that involves our personal experiences. It’s nice to reference a passage that seems to back up what we think is so – but how do we know it is so? You can only by trying the idea and seeing it’s validity.

    Now if someone says ‘God hates’ then the onus is on them to go and show that is so. Now when I think if acting upon hate I think of Fred Phelps, Abortion doctor shootings, KKK interpretations (ie: racism), etc. If God hates and this is true – then it follows we must be allowed to also hate. There has to be teachings from God about the issue and how we can use our hate for God’s glory. This is where I ask — how do you use hate for God’s glory? That seems antithecal to me.

    I do not think God hates – and if He does – it’s strange in concept to this human. I have been directed in my faith walk to outlaw hatred in any shape, way, or form – since it is not a teaching in the gospels – and I would say ‘is taught against’. Jesus has teachings that do not allow us to even stay angry at our ‘perceived’ enemies – how in the hell can one justify hatred as an attitude they can glorify God from? Even when we see hatred, in a parable like the 2 men who go to pray, taking the best seats, or the good samaritan – never is hatred an actual example of being just. It’s always the opposite of hate – rather love.

    Like any person with a faith that works I go and test the teachings so as to elaborate on them and represent them at their best. Hate does not even exist in the teachings of Jesus – and the one place it does (Luke somewhere) that is about comparison of committment (and not about actual hate of family). Hate seems to be one of those teachings that does not exist in the gospels – or it is forgotten as an apsect of God.

    Also, I would say ‘hate’ as an idea does not work. If it is justified in any sense – how is it redeemed and made good? For example, if someone hates a doctor for doing abortions – and is angered by the loss of life – what should they do? If hate is a feeling they can use in a just way – then what action follows next? That’s the problem – when we see hate actually put into action we are usually disgusted and maddened at it’s use. I am thinking religion needs to drop hate as a piece of anything useful.

    That’s been my base experience as a person of this faith – hate as a part of any teaching does not have any practical usefulness. Even hating sin can lead one to actually hating the person of the action. Hatred is a rare exception (ie: Hitler’s regime and it’s ideas) – but even then – it’s not a primary focus of faith (where i am called to love people).

  66. I didn’t notice before that people had been addressing posts to me. Let me respond then–

    Joshua, nor any other human cannot say whether a natural disaster is God’s judgment or the result of a cursed world. To do so is to claim knowledge of God that we simply cannot have.

    The entirety of the Bible is knowledge that we can and do have. I will show you how with my response to this next quote. SocietyVs said:

    Also, I notice Joshua has a blog about Myanmar and God’s judgment – I am guessing he includes the floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes as God ordained…it got me thinking – is this how God hates? The innocent are swept away with the evil? This is cause for question and not for joy in my opinion…if these type of things come from God then we need to be asking questions to God about them. “Why do you hate! You ask me not to, yet you hate to a worst extreme!!!”

    You say: “I am guessing he includes the floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes as God ordained”
    God says: “The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit. The LORD has His way In the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet” (Nahum 1:3). And, “If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the LORD have done it?” (Amos 3:6). And, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience” (Colossians 3:5-6; see also Ephesians 5:4-6). And, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18). And, “Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:4-5).

    You say: “The innocent are swept away with the evil?”
    God says: No (Genesis 18:23-33), i.e., they are not innocent.

    You say: “we need to be asking questions to God about them. ‘Why do you hate! You ask me not to, yet you hate to a worst extreme!!!'”
    God says: “Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies” (Psalm 139:21-22).

    This is why I do not regard you as a believer, SocietyVs. You question and argue against God’s Word, almost as if you had never read it before, despite having studied it for 14 years. It is clear that you do not know God. If you do not repent (Luke 13:5), believe all of God’s Word (Matthew 4:4), separate yourself from Christianity (Hebrews 13:13), and live soberly, righteously, and godly (Titus 2:12), you will end up in hell.

    I am not qualified to teach you or anyone else though. All I can do is give you what I know of God’s word, which is very little. I suggest you look at http://www.atruechurch.info, they know a lot more about the Bible than I do.

    shelly said:

    Joshua: …Jesus Christ Almighty, Who HATES HOMOSEXUALS

    Wow. Way to slap your Saviour in the face and make a mockery of the finished work of the cross. Do you believe that Jesus became sin on the cross (sin by perpetiation)? If so, then you must believe Jesus also became…wait for it…a HOMOSEXUAL on the cross. That statement of yours really shows what your true colours are, I think.

    Can you cite Scripture showing that Jesus Christ became a homosexual on the cross? Also, even if He did, that would be consistent with hating oneself as a necessary prerequisite for admission into the kingdom of heaven (Luke 14:26). So even if you find the reference it won’t change the fact that God hates homosexuals. So, you had better also start looking for a passage in the Bible which says that God changed His mind about them.

    John T said:

    This posting is for Joshua

    I left the lyrics to a song earlier in the attempts to describe how I see you, but I erred, this one hits the nail on the head.

    This is what you sound like when you keep quoting your scripture in your Angry tone.

    I quote Scripture with joy. Your ad hominem attacks are indicative of a substantially higher anger level. I hope you repent of this sinful anger and malice (Colossians 3:8).

  67. Joshua,

    1.) You are equating your right to judge with that of biblical authors. You are not a biblical author, nor are you a prophet. It’s not the same… unless of course you would like to go through the OT vetting of prophets, in which case we get to stone you if you are proven false.

    2.) Propitiation stems from Yom Kippur in Leviticus, where 2 lambs receive the sins of Israel. One is sacrificed and the other is sent outside the city. Theologically, Jesus is both of those lambs, and Shelly is absolutely correct in her statements. Jesus, who was without sin, became the very worst of us out of love for us.

    3.) You are a jerk. Faith without works (or kindness) is dead. Stop being a jerk.

    4.) Nobody takes jerks seriously.

    5.) Go read 1 Peter and his encouragements to “speak truth with love.”

    6.) Also go read some better theology. You are taking more scripture out of context than I can keep track of. I recommend anything written by Jonathan Edwards, C.H. Spurgeon, or Calvin. Grace is completely lacking on your theology and your praxology.

  68. Most of your claims are unsubstantiated. Re-post with Scripture references.

    Also, whether I am being a jerk is just your opinion. I don’t think I am, and that’s my opinion. You will have to show using Scripture that I am being a sinful jerk.

    However, no one taking me seriously is something I fully expect. Anyone who’s read Jeremiah knows that true believers are rejected.

    And, In what way am I not proclaiming the rock of offense and the stone of stumbing (1 Peter 2:8) in love?

    You said: “I recommend anything written by Jonathan Edwards, C.H. Spurgeon, or Calvin.”
    Then you hate me in your heart (Leviticus 19:17).

  69. Scripture references? For propitiation, check out Lev. 6:6-10 (goats on Yom Kippur); Romans chapter 3 in general, and 3:25 specifically (Propitiatory sacrifice of Christ).

    “Then you hate me in your heart (Leviticus 19:17).”

    I don’t hate you at all. I am “trying to reason” with you, by suggesting authors more comprehensive and competent than myself.

    “And, In what way am I not proclaiming the rock of offense and the stone of stumbing (1 Peter 2: 8) in love?”

    Jesus rebuked believers like the Pharisees and the moneychangers in the temple, but he preached love and forgiveness to unbelievers (tax collectors, adulturers, sinners, etc.). If you believe SocietyVs to not be a believer (which itself is not your call anyway), then your rhetoric is plainly abusive, and it fails on biblical standards.

    “However, no one taking me seriously is something I fully expect. Anyone who’s read Jeremiah knows that true believers are rejected.”

    Terrorists claim the same thing. Westboro Baptist Church also cites Jeremiah. Just because you are rejected, does not mean your message is truth.

  70. “Just because you are rejected, does not mean your message is truth.” (Brad)

    I agree. There has to be a just reason for the actual ‘rejection’ – and in Joshua’s case there is no just reason for his ‘rejection’ outside the fact he cannot be reasoned with. We have all tried and still nothing – the kid is never wrong for some reason.

    As for Jeremiah, he was a great prophet – he was rejected for the weakness of his message (or perceived weakness)…Jeremiah was calling Israel to surrender to Babylon because of the incoming destruction (ch 15) they are about to accrue. Needless to say, his message was seen as a betrayal to many in the society – almost as if Jeremiah had ‘sold out’ (or was against Israel).

    The problem with Joshua trying to proclaim anything to do with Jeremiah is (a) he is not Jewish nor from the state of Israel (b) not procliaming the same message (c) is towing a church line of doctrine more than being prophetic in any manner.

    To me, Joshua’s message of this foreign God is not for me – it’s not seasoned in any way with reality and dealing with current society. He serves some weird God in the sense it betrays the message of Jesus (in my opinion). He may not like this – but God’s last real act was to ‘love us so much he sent Jesus’. This same Jesus taught us what we are to do and think concerning God – and hate – as I have mentioned – appears one time in Jesus’ teachings compared to love 66 times. Hmmm…it seems to me God has made peace with all who want to find that peace.

  71. “This is why I do not regard you as a believer, SocietyVs. You question and argue against God’s Word, almost as if you had never read it before, despite having studied it for 14 years.” (Joshua)

    That’s cool – you’re judgment concerning me is quite lacking anyways and has nothing to do with actual reality – just with your perceived reality and the lense by which you think God is to be viewed. I do question, argue, debate, and criticize the interpretations I hear coming from God’s word – not exactly arguing against the words – more arguing for it’s clarity and respect that is muddied in interpretation.

    As for you making a decision I am not a believer – cool – then that means you have no right to be here – doesn’t Paul make that point? You cannot be yoked with an unbeliever and you should even avoid their company…will you respect Paul’s words?

    “It is clear that you do not know God. If you do not repent (Luke 13:5), believe all of God’s Word (Matthew 4:4), separate yourself from Christianity (Hebrews 13:13), and live soberly, righteously, and godly (Titus 2:12), you will end up in hell.” (Joshua)

    Joshua, you do not know what is you are doing – claiming one of God’s is not from God – if you are not careful you will find you are breaking this great piece of scripture:

    “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him” (Luke 12:10)

    You are claiming that God’s work is not God’s work but something else (ie: I am not a believer) – just what is it you are claiming? If I am not a believer by what work do I gather this passion for the Christ and God?

    Joshua, you critiques have run their course – when they are valid they will be accepted – but you transgress in your judgments against other people. Now whether I am a Christian or not – God can decide that – but you cannot decide that – your judgments are skewed and awkward – that i will leave with God. Maybe pray about who I am to God or come and visit me – but do not call my faith – built in faith God – not from God…who the hell are you to make that judgment?

    May your judgments fall back upon you – that which you dish out may it find it’s way back to it’s source – as a source and a guide for you.

  72. Me preach it? Hah! Society’s hitting the home runs here…

    Society, well freaking said. My respect for you continues to grow.

    May the Holy Spirit correct, rebuke, and affirm the Truth in us all. May God bring us all further into love and humility.

  73. Bad said: “Scripture references? For propitiation, check out Lev. 6:6-10 (goats on Yom Kippur); Romans chapter 3 in general, and 3:25 specifically (Propitiatory sacrifice of Christ).”

    None of that says that Christ became sin. I’m looking for a reference which says that He — Himself — became sin. That is not the same thing as taking sin upon Himself. I was arguing against the person who claimed Jesus became a homosexual. My argument is that Jesus did not become a homosexual (or anything else) but rather took upon Himself the punishment for homosexuals.

    Brad, you suggested false teachers to me which is why I said that you hate me in your heart. All three of the men you suggested were Calvinists, and all Calvinists go to hell. Spurgeon was also ecumenical.

    Jesus rebuked believers like the Pharisees and the moneychangers in the temple, but he preached love and forgiveness to unbelievers (tax collectors, adulturers, sinners, etc.). If you believe SocietyVs to not be a believer (which itself is not your call anyway), then your rhetoric is plainly abusive, and it fails on biblical standards.

    Jesus rebuked religious atheists (i.e. Pharisees, e.g. Mark 7:9). They were not believers as you say. So your standard by which you are judging is skewed because it is based on false facts.

    “However, no one taking me seriously is something I fully expect. Anyone who’s read Jeremiah knows that true believers are rejected.”

    Terrorists claim the same thing. Westboro Baptist Church also cites Jeremiah. Just because you are rejected, does not mean your message is truth.

    Your original statement was that no one takes jerks seriously, i.e. they are rejected. You said that as if it’s a bad thing to be rejected. But now you are saying that it can be okay to be rejected if you really are a true believer (unlike terrorists or WBC). Thus, you are simply reversing your position so that you can criticize me. Not everyone who is rejected is a true believer, but if you are not rejected, you are not a true believer (Luke 4:24; 1 Peter 2:4, 7).

    The problem with Joshua trying to proclaim anything to do with Jeremiah is (a) he is not Jewish nor from the state of Israel (b) not procliaming the same message (c) is towing a church line of doctrine more than being prophetic in any manner.

    (a) wrong (Romans 2:28-29)
    (b) wrong (Jeremiah 1:16)
    (c) not sure what you’re talking about here

    As for you making a decision I am not a believer – cool – then that means you have no right to be here – doesn’t Paul make that point? You cannot be yoked with an unbeliever and you should even avoid their company…will you respect Paul’s words?

    I am NOT yoked with you. Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33), but I am here for your spiritual well-being as in Matthew 9:10-13, not to partake in your evil deeds.

    “who the hell are you to make that judgment?”
    A righteous man. 1 Corinthians 2:5.

  74. Happy Canada Day Jason……………..you guys know way too much freaking scripture for me. I think you must have been studying while I was drinking beer or something 😉

    Joshua……………dont fret your hormones will normal out very soon 🙂

  75. John T, you are a bloody, ignorant, pedophilic gigolo. Please stop talking to me.

    LOL

    just kidding….

    Sometimes I parody myself. But really, please don’t talk to me about my hormones, it’s just weird.

  76. That was weird (lol) – maybe Joshua does have a sense of humor after all.

    “I am here for your spiritual well-being as in Matthew 9:10-13, not to partake in your evil deeds” (Joshua)

    Good way to cover…once we can figure out what those ‘evil deeds’ are then we will be making progress.

    ““who the hell are you to make that judgment?”
    A righteous man. 1 Corinthians 2:5” (Joshua)

    Righteous or not – judge all things does not mean to judge the work of God – which is what I state you are doing. I think you made calls on peoples faiths and have not felt convicted for doing so…now that for me raises serious concerns. I never feel led to call someone’s faith what it is not – unless they specifically declare it is not – since this medium is all about trust (ie: I actually don’t know these people first hand).

    To be honest Joshua – you never answer all my concerns anyways – you have chosen what you will respond to – anything that will keep you in a favorable light and ‘right’ you will respond to…again…are scared to be wrong?

  77. Thanks John T – I had a good Canada Day weekend. We just bought a house and moved in this week – our first home – and we made it beautiful all weekend. It was a great weekend – great weather – and i was very thankful to God for all the chance to have these kind of opportunities in life.

    Some might say…I was blessed by God.

  78. SocietyVs said:

    “I am here for your spiritual well-being as in Matthew 9:10-13, not to partake in your evil deeds” (Joshua)

    Good way to cover…once we can figure out what those ‘evil deeds’ are then we will be making progress.

    Basic sins like murder, adultery, and coveting are not the only sins in the world. Stealthfully deceiving people is also exceedingly sinful. Making God out to be a liar (1 John 5:10) and spreading this deceit = false witnessing, saying things about God that go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6) or are simply not true. If I believe you are guilty of such things, I have good reason to confront you about it, wouldn’t you agree?

    Also, can you show me the exact Pauline reference you’re using to say that I should not be here? Is it 1 Corinthians 15:33 or 5:11 or something else?

    ““who the hell are you to make that judgment?”
    A righteous man. 1 Corinthians 2:5″ (Joshua)

    Righteous or not – judge all things does not mean to judge the work of God – which is what I state you are doing. I think you made calls on peoples faiths and have not felt convicted for doing so…now that for me raises serious concerns.

    I see no qualifier in the Scriptures saying that judging people’s salvation is wrong. To the contrary, it tells us to test (1 John 4:1). Do we test without result? No, the verse itself dictates that once we have tested a person’s spirit, we make a judgment — are they true or false? Do they hear my words or not? If they do not hear my words, they are not of God, because I am of God (1 John 4:6).

    To be honest Joshua – you never answer all my concerns anyways – you have chosen what you will respond to – anything that will keep you in a favorable light and ‘right’ you will respond to…again…are scared to be wrong?</blockquote
    Considering that one element of salvation is denying yourself (Luke 9:23), I would be happy to be wrong. I have been wrong. Everyone has been wrong (1 John 1:8). I was wrong to originally make public my blog, where I set out to teach people on matters with which I was not yet intimately familiar.

    How about you SocietyVs? Has not a single Scripture I’ve quoted to you gotten through to you, making a difference on your view of God? Have you once been corrected in our conversations, and admitted to it?

  79. Crap, I forgot the last bracket on the blockquote tag. HEY I WAS WRONG ON SOMETHING

    Everything in the above blockquote from “Considering that one element” to “admitted to it” is my words and not supposed to be part of the blockquote.

  80. Hey Joshua

    Im glad youre smiling. Well, at least somewhat 😉 …………….hope thats not an ad hominem attack.

  81. Joshua

    Oh by the way this Old dog learned something from the Pup(you). I had to look up what Ad Hominem was lol 😉

  82. “Stealthfully deceiving people is also exceedingly sinful. Making God out to be a liar (1 John 5:10) and spreading this deceit = false witnessing, saying things about God that go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6) or are simply not true. If I believe you are guilty of such things, I have good reason to confront you about it, wouldn’t you agree?” (Joshua)

    I ain’t spreading nothing that ain’t in the gospels themselves – so I am not sure how I can be branded as decieving people or even going or going beyond what the teachings are.

    However I will note that 1 Cor 4:6 is very interesting for you to bring up here – since Paul seems to be addressing this vain conceit people have in Corinth or as Paul puts it “so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other”. Paul is addressing this divisionary problem in Corinth and people becoming arrogant about what they know about this faith…this should be duly noted by both of us.

    As for confronting me, you have the right to confront me about the things I write if you disagree with them – no problem there…then we can debate the intent of the passages (no probs). But you have been given no right to judge my ‘salvation’ – and my ‘faith in God’ – those are not terrirtories you’d be familiar with anyways concerning me.

    “Also, can you show me the exact Pauline reference you’re using to say that I should not be here? Is it 1 Corinthians 15:33 or 5:11 or something else?” (Joshua)

    According to you I am not that great of a person – may faith is in question – and even my deeds (which you have referenced as ‘evil’ at one point). So here is the passage:

    “But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler–not even to eat with such a one.” ( 1 Cor 5:11)

    I mean, if these are the things you think about me (and others here) – then it would seem Paul is asking you to ‘not associate with such people’. By continuing the commenting your are ‘associating’ (that much is obvious) – and even sharing in our conversations. Unless, by some chance or miracle, half the things you say are untrue and we are not doing anything all that bad anyways.

    “Do they hear my words or not? If they do not hear my words, they are not of God, because I am of God (1 John 4:6).” (Joshua)

    Let me make this ‘test’ very easy for you…here is what John says “every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” (i John 4:2).

    I confess…note this Joshua…Jesus Christ has come in the flesh! I am not ashamed to admit that or declare that – I personally believe that to be true. Test finished.

    “Considering that one element of salvation is denying yourself (Luke 9:23), I would be happy to be wrong” (Joshua)

    I read and re-read that passage a few times – do you even know what ‘denying yourself’ means? It’s not a denial of who you are, where you where born, who your parents are or anything like that – but denial of certain things to accomplish kingdom goals (ie: following Jesus).

    Yes, this might include your life – and definitely includes denying your rights to help another achieve theirs (ie: civil rights) – but the denial is about aspects of us that need to perish for new one’s to be built. If we want to be a disciple of Jesus’ then the best thing I can say is ‘follow the teachings’ and ‘learn to live them’…nothing more is of any more importance than how we ‘decide to live’. All Jesus is asking is a committment there – denial of our thoughts to learn under his tutolage.

    “How about you SocietyVs? Has not a single Scripture I’ve quoted to you gotten through to you, making a difference on your view of God? Have you once been corrected in our conversations, and admitted to it?” (Joshua)

    There was a thing back when we discussed some passage where I admitted that your take on the passage was correct (I think it was in 1 Timothy) – concerning elders and their discipline (or accountability). I think your take was sound there – and on a few others I have little to no problem.

    However, I am not questioning the very core of your faith either – whether you are or are not a Christian…so when I am wrong it is not offenseable. I also don’t claim to speak for God and never will claim that – God is way bigger than me and why would he need a peon like me to defend Him? I only write what I am thinking through and issues that concern me.

    fact is, we are opposites in this faith right now – I am very liberal and you are very conservative…I am trying to find a place where we can be united…and I think I did – it’s called Christ. I am wrong a lot – but that don’t phase me – my faith is not based on me always being right anyways – it’s based on the teachings of the Christ – which I still continue to learn and elaborate upon. I hate being wrong – that much is true – but I am also humble enough to know – as much as I think I know – it’s a thimble compared to what I am yet to learn.

    I am learning things about Judiasm all the time and the historical ideas of the Torah, about the theologies of Christianity, about history of the church, etc…there is more than enough still to learn and build from. I cam admit this one thing easily – I do not have all the answers – therefore – I am wrong in the sense I cannot delineate a pattern for you to live by – I can only provide guideposts and ask for people to read…and discuss.

  83. However I will note that 1 Cor 4:6 is very interesting for you to bring up here – since Paul seems to be addressing this vain conceit people have in Corinth or as Paul puts it “so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other”. Paul is addressing this divisionary problem in Corinth and people becoming arrogant about what they know about this faith…this should be duly noted by both of us.

    What we know about the faith is something we receive as v.7 points out, and thus we have no right to boast about it. But as v.6 shows, the problem arises out of exceeding what is written, or in other words, people making stuff up about the faith that they did not receive. Since the faith is completely received and entirely not made up, not only boasting of what’s received is wrong, but saying anything about God / the faith that is not written qualifies also as boastfulness.

    That is why I am here. I know that when asked “Does God hate [or call us to hate]?” there will be people who respond with a firm “No.” They go beyond what is written. Psalm 5:5-6; 11:5; 139:21-22; and Proverbs 6:16-19 were all “given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). They are as much a part of the faith that was received as the gospel of Jesus Christ is. And if they go beyond what’s written in such a manner, they reveal themselves as boasters (1 Corinthians 4:7), because the Lord has already come (Luke 17:21) to “bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of hearts” (1 Corinthians 4:5), because He is already judging them (1 Corinthians 5:13), and already condemning them (John 3:19).

    I suggest you check every one of those Scripture references rather than just taking my word for it. They are all significant. I only just came to understand Luke 17:21.

    “Also, can you show me the exact Pauline reference you’re using to say that I should not be here? Is it 1 Corinthians 15:33 or 5:11 or something else?” (Joshua)

    According to you I am not that great of a person – may faith is in question – and even my deeds (which you have referenced as ‘evil’ at one point). So here is the passage:

    “But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler–not even to eat with such a one.” ( 1 Cor 5:11)

    I mean, if these are the things you think about me (and others here) – then it would seem Paul is asking you to ‘not associate with such people’. By continuing the commenting your are ‘associating’ (that much is obvious) – and even sharing in our conversations. Unless, by some chance or miracle, half the things you say are untrue and we are not doing anything all that bad anyways.

    I am contending for the faith (Jude 3) by continuing to comment. Association involves more than simply talking to you. Arguing with someone for the cause of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) certainly does not constitute association. Also, that passage was speaking in the context of a church fellowship, so that further undermines your argument. I am not associating with you and you are neither a so-called brother nor a true brother because you are not fellowshipping with me and I not with you.

    “Considering that one element of salvation is denying yourself (Luke 9:23), I would be happy to be wrong” (Joshua)

    I read and re-read that passage a few times – do you even know what ‘denying yourself’ means? It’s not a denial of who you are, where you where born, who your parents are or anything like that – but denial of certain things to accomplish kingdom goals (ie: following Jesus).

    Luke 9:23 probably wasn’t the best citation for me to use. More applicable would have been Proverbs 3:11; 10:17.

    fact is, we are opposites in this faith right now – I am very liberal and you are very conservative…I am trying to find a place where we can be united…and I think I did – it’s called Christ.

    I make an effort not to act like a conservative (i.e. not to rape little boys and dress up for church). I look and talk like a liberal (e.g. racial minority civil rights, smoking, gambling, drinking are all fine by me), until you find out that I also believe in slavery and polygamy. But I’m not sure if I appreciate being called a conservative. In government class I referred to the GOP as the Gay Orgy Party. But then, what do you mean by “conservative” and “liberal”? I never know what people mean by these labels. They are essentially meaningless until you give a very specific definition.

    If you are referring to theological liberalism and conservatism (e.g. wicked Sadducees and Pharisees, Matthew 3:7), then we would both need to repent. If I’m a theological conservative, that would mean that I hold a high regard for tradition (Colossians 2:8). However, I reject every traditional belief contrary to the Scriptures, including any respect for any early church father not recorded in the Bible and every single subsequent teacher, such as those who were born of the Protestant Reformation, which itself is a tradition of its own.

    Augustine? Traditionally a saint, in God’s eyes a heretic (Matthew 4:4).

    Martin Luther? Traditionally a a great and righteous reformer, in God’s eyes an imbecile (Book of James).\

    The Trinity? Its overemphasis can lead to a damnable rejection of the seven Spirits of God (Zechariah 4; Revelation 1:4).

    Charles Spurgeon? Traditionally held to be one of the greatest evangelists and preachers alive, in God’s eyes a vicious wolf (Matthew 7:13-14).

    As for unity in Christ, this is only possible when both believers possess the Holy Spirit (the Anointing, 1 John 2:27) to teach them all things. Since there is one Spirit (Ephesians 4:4), this one Spirit teaches all believers to speak the same things (1 Corinthians 1:10) and to be of the same mind (1 Peter 3:16). There would be no division between us if we both had the same God. We would both hear one another (1 John 4:6). This is what is called the unity of the saints. Same Lord, same Spirit, same baptist, same doctrines, same minds, same words.

    As for confronting me, you have the right to confront me about the things I write if you disagree with them – no problem there…then we can debate the intent of the passages (no probs). But you have been given no right to judge my ’salvation’ – and my ‘faith in God’ – those are not terrirtories you’d be familiar with anyways concerning me.

    You prove your hypocrisy by saying I have no right to judge a person’s salvation and then following it by saying that I should judge you as a believer due to 1 John 4:2.

    “Do they hear my words or not? If they do not hear my words, they are not of God, because I am of God (1 John 4:6).” (Joshua)

    Let me make this ‘test’ very easy for you…here is what John says “every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” (i John 4:2).

    I confess…note this Joshua…Jesus Christ has come in the flesh! I am not ashamed to admit that or declare that – I personally believe that to be true. Test finished.

    No, you don’t. You do not have the spirit of understanding (Isaiah 11:2), and twist the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16) to place yourself in a positive light just as you accused me of doing (Matthew 7:1-5). Re-read 1 John 4:1-6 in light of Romans 10:9-10, and then look over what you just said to me. May God give you eyes to see.

  84. “But as v.6 shows, the problem arises out of exceeding what is written, or in other words, people making stuff up about the faith that they did not receive.” (Joshua)

    Okay, here is Paul’s line “Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written…” Paul is referring to his own letter and his own teaching concerning judgment and equality in this very chapter.

    1 Cor 4:5 “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.”

    This is the crux of Paul’s point about ‘what is written’…it’s what he is writing concerning the treatment of one another. Apparently, this is a problem within that community – as Paul notes – this boasting about their position in the faith (and judging of one another). Paul even notes his apostleship as not something to be noted (vs.11) of importance (concerning positions). It may be about the equality of each person and the faith they have received – there is no better or no worse – but all are equal (v.6-7).

    Notice Paul tells these people plainly ‘do not go on passing judgment…wait until the Lord comes’…

    “I know that when asked “Does God hate [or call us to hate]?” there will be people who respond with a firm “No.” They go beyond what is written” (Joshua)

    I read each one – David making some comments in a Psalm and Proverbs (Solomon) concerning immorality and what what the Lord hates (ie: sin). In each and every example there here are the vices mentioned:

    “Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, one who spreads strife among brothers, hate those who hate You, O LORD, loathe those who rise up against God, one who loves violence His soul hates, You hate all who do iniquity, and The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit”.

    To me, that doesn’t sound like a single person on this blog or any blog I have been on. These are all actions of the individuals – and immoral actions at that – so yes – I also despise the very thought of them being done…one could say they ‘hate’ these evil ideas. But hating an idea and hating a person – 2 different things. Remember David makes many of these claims from the Psalms you provided – and yet David actually did some of these things (ie: lied and shed innocent blood). Did God hate David? No…in the end that was reconciled. So maybe God can hate but changes His mind?

    “I am not associating with you and you are neither a so-called brother nor a true brother because you are not fellowshipping with me and I not with you” (Joshua)

    I notice blogging is not addressed in the scriptures – so how can you say you are (a) not associating with me and (b) not fellowshipping with me? Because we are not in a physical church or meeting room together? I would say – from all obviousness of the blogging scenario – that you are associating with me (commenting back and forth in dialogue) and this is fellowship – or courteousness towards each other (in the faith). As for me being a brother or true brother (whatever level of brother this is – which Paul already outright condemned doing in 1 Cor 4) – then so be it – does not change your participation with the community in this blog.

    “There would be no division between us if we both had the same God. We would both hear one another (1 John 4:6). This is what is called the unity of the saints. Same Lord, same Spirit, same baptist, same doctrines, same minds, same words.” (Joshua)

    I think Paul and the early church contended for this very thing – but it obviously did not happen. The church changed over the years and still does. However, the message is basically the same – Christ and him crucified (and resurrected). I would say the church is really not all that different – and the breaks within it happen because people are too strong willed to think they are wrong – so they divide themselves from others.

    As for no division between us because of God – I think you will find I contend with your interpretations of scripture and not with you as a person. Using 1 John as evidence you are from God is not actually how the bible works – and if John were alive today (the actual letter writer) – I think he would even acknowledge that. I have heard everything you said about each issue – I just happen to think you are wrong in your interpretations of many things. Does that make me less a Christian than you? By no means.

    “You prove your hypocrisy by saying I have no right to judge a person’s salvation” (Joshua)

    And you prove yours by the continuance of not listening when I tell you I am a Christian and you have no right to judge that. Paul makes that plain and evident in 1 Cor 4 concerning ‘do not go on passing judgment…’ – and even John only says test the spirit and see if people are actually following this faith (or maybe trying to subvert it). A test which I have passed with flying colors for years now. Yet this is still not enough proof for you – do I have to walk on water for you to believe I am part of this faith? Your judgments mean nothing to me – literally – because they are founded on nothing but empty interpretations. I don’t think you would recognize one of Christ’s own if you slapped him twice across the face and he still did nothing back to you.

    “No, you don’t. You do not have the spirit of understanding (Isaiah 11:2), and twist the Scriptures” (Joshua)

    Yes I do Joshua – I believe in Jesus the Christ and follow him as a ‘talmidim’. As for the spirit of understanding – well – let’s let others outside our convo decide that for themselves…you may believe I don’t – but you are not my judge anyways – let all the other bloggers decide that for themselves. And I do not twist the scriptures – they are words on a paper open and ready for use and interpretation…I have taken nothing away from their meanings and I do not add more to them than one can bare. I am sorry you think I am messing with the teachings – that’s too bad.

  85. Besides mangling the Scriptures, you take a few things I say out of context and completely ignore the rest. I do not wish to continue a conversation with someone as arrogant and hard-hearted as you. You’re completely in God’s hands now. He’s holding you over the pit and nothing is stopping Him from dropping you in except His enduring mercy.

  86. “You’re completely in God’s hands now. He’s holding you over the pit and nothing is stopping Him from dropping you in except His enduring mercy.” (Joshua)

    Wow, I serve this God for 14 years and this is all you can say about it? I am guessing, and this can be a shot in the dark, but if God allowed me to be blessed for 14 years – I am thinking there is a lot more good down the road. See, no matter what you say it cannot stand against the fact God has been with me all the time – and has been gracious to me for a long time. I am very thankful to God for that. I dedicate my whole life to God for that very reason – that He saved my whole family from a real pit of disaster – and great things have come from it!

    No, God does not dangle me over some fiery pit – this is not God at all. God loves me and wants the best for me, my wife, and my family – and this is the God that loved me so much – he sent His son to die for me. If God can love me that much – there is so much more waiting for me in life that I have yet to experience – and hell ain’t one of them.

    Bye Joshua – hope you enjoy your faith.

  87. *cough* Pharisee *cough*

    Society,

    “fact is, we are opposites in this faith right now – I am very liberal and you are very conservative”

    I like Tim Keller’s take on the extreme conservative approach. He says that the solution to fundamentalism is not to be “less religious” or “more liberal” (not equating the two), but to understand the gospel even more… indeed, to become MORE religious. If we understood and appreciated the grace of God, we would not be able to boast of anything except God’s grace, and this kind of abusive crap would not happen.

    Dude. If you are hard-hearted, then I’m beyond hope.

  88. Brad and Society.

    I think we are being given an exact example of what “Hate” does to ones mind and spirit. Even in my most angry days I didnt have that kind of despair. The only thing that comes to mind is, Pity the poor boy.

    John T.

  89. No, God does not dangle me over some fiery pit – this is not God at all.

    Isn’t it amazing how some people seem to be such experts on the kind of relationship God has with people other than themselves? And he has the nerve to call other people arrogant?

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