Why Faith is Not a Problem…

(1) “Because can you still say you can trust God to keep you safe, or keep you fed, if the provisions have those limitations?” (OSS)

I am willing to put the blame squarely where it belongs – right on our own shoulders. Now maybe these limitations mean it will suck for many – that’s true – but should God just start raining manna down to solve human problems all the time? At some point we just become dependant on that and not ‘grow up’ and become responsible…we get that once we will look for it forever.

For me the point is all about responsibility – and God providing when asked, IMO, seems like a cop-out from personal responsibility and human community. If anything, God should be striking down the dicks that hold the supplies back from everyone else. Then again, we see one of those and we will want more of the same….at some point these are our problems to solve.

In that case, why bother involving God at all? Why present Him as a source of help? Why pray to Him for solutions?” (OSS)

Good question – better one – are we sure this is how God thinks on issues like this? We ask for the handout – He gives. Is this how this Spirit entity actually interacts with humans…I personally see very little proof of that close of an interaction.

Maybe the prayers are our voicing of what needs to be said – and God listens. Now maybe God allows us that much clarity when we do such an act (meditation) that we start to find in some strange way — God has provided all those answers in us already (and this Spirit nudges our spirit in those moments). Maybe the ‘kingdom of God’ is truly ‘within us’? Maybe we are created with that gem in us already.

Why is God involved? Because there is a mystery to this whole thing I don’t quite get. Humans can help humans and make this world such a great place or such a horrible place…but somewhere in there is a thing called faith that makes us people more loving, hopeful, and bright.

I believe humans actually do live succesful and happy lives by using and dealing with the faith aspect that’s all around us…from God to others – this idea God also seems to have left as is.

(Continuation of last blog – comments taken from OSS’s ‘How far do you trust God’)

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Defending a Few Walls With One Bow

Hi societyvs, Thanks for the comeback.” (twom)

Finally, a debate that promises to stretch the mind out a bit – thanks for this twom.

Despite the word homosexuality being a recent addition, the early wording in the Bible is perfectly clear…No homosexual acts are allowed, on pain of death.” (Twom)

The wording is ‘perfectly clear’…whoa whoa horses…according to who? Who is making the call ‘the wording is perfectly clear’? Catholics? Mormons? Christians? Jews? Muslims? Who exactly? Within all strands of these faiths (minus the Mormons – they have their polygamy) the acceptance of homosexuality is gaining momentum. If the wording was ‘perfectly clear’ – how can 4 major faiths be wrestling with an issue where the wording leaves no questions? I find it strange to think the wording is that clear.

One organization worth checking out for the counter arguments for the ‘homosexuality’ term is Soulforce: http://www.soulforce.org/

Talk to some evangelical fundamentalists today and you can just feel the vibe…kill the homo’s, or at the very least send them back into the closet.” (Twom)

Key being here ‘some’. But I don’t disagree – I think the general mindset in most Christian organizations is that being homosexual is a ‘sin’ – and they use Leviticus and Romans 1 to back up their claims usually (and the passages in letters where ‘homosexual’ is used).

But the fact remains – violent action against gays is not pursued in Christian communities nor Jewish one’s – Muslims can answer for themselves on this one. The lone exceptions are ‘freaks on a leash’ like Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist – and they are the rare exception (percentage wise). But I have to admit in most Christian communities the acceptance of homosexuality is few and far between…but it is changing.

Seems that lots of Hebrews were killing lots of Amorites, Sodomites, Gomorran’s and other tribes that God was pissed off at for adultery, pedophilia, masturbation, homosexuality, bestiality, rape, and other sex “crimes”. Or have people misinterpreted the stories they have told me?” (Twom)

The stories – depending on which one’s – sound like they have been misinterpreted if you ask me. Since we are dealing with the gay issue here – which one of those stories actually uses this as a reason for pre-cursor for the action of violence? None of them – not even Sodom and Gomorrah…so yeah I would say there was some dis-information passed your way.

I always refuse to answer question like this if they are not specific in the story being detailed because then it’s a bunch of general statements with little proofs to them. However, my personal suggestion for the Tanakh (OT) passages you have brought up – seek rabbinical literature on the topics and you will find they are quite diverse on reasons for the wars. Plus, I don’t think Christians really do a good job of explaining Jewish literature like the Tanakh – under-qualified if you ask me – rabbi’s spend their whole life on these texts and the Hebrew behind them…I think their explanation will be of much better use.

What was their stance/thoughts on killing Jesus? I think I said barely removed from caves. Remember Adam and Eve were cave dwellers” (Twom)

(a) The Jewish people did not kill Jesus – the Romans did (fact)…only they had the authority to execute anyone in that Jewish territory…being that there was no independent Jewish gov’t at this time (even Herod was ruled by Romans). For example, in one story they have Jesus before Pilate (Roman Govenor) for the process of execution – so no – a Jewish court did not execute Jesus.

(b) It’s a logical fallacy to think the people of 0-100 AD were worse than us – heck let’s go back to some mythical Adam and Eve figure even – how can you logically say they were worse than us (less enlightened)? Do you fail to realize in the 1900’s (a good 150 years after industrialization and in modern times) we saw the worst world wars ever (most people on this planet to ever die in just one of those wars – WW2)? Top that off, a few genocides and ethic cleansing ordeals in a variety of countries and one need not make anymore comparisons about enlightenment.

I think it is quite the fallacy to think we are much more smarter than any of those generations of people just because they fought some localized wars, lived in moderate housing, or did not have the science we have today. One can argue, and maybe this is prophetic, the more knowledge humanity has been able to amass and build upon has put them closer to the brink of serious, irreparable damage (including environment and the use of nuclear weaponry). Maybe the 21st century – which should be the brightest generation ever – will be the stupidest one of them all?

Hey…I didn’t write the stuff…I personally think that plain old men…you know, sheep/goat herders/ scribes/ rabbi’s wrote it.:-) It obviously is not of divine origin.” (Twom)

I am not arguing ‘who wrote it’ though – but what the content written meant. There is not extra biblical writings concerning the death of gay people anywhere in antiquity – no purging and no cleansing. So even with the Leviticus passages – nothing still happened to gay people within Judaism – including being tried for death on such ideas. So just maybe the passage isn’t concerning gay people? This is a distinct possibility.

As for the bible being primtive or archaic – that also needs to be seriously re-thought. The book starts off with a whole story about the ills of slavery – some 2700 years prior to its expansion into the America’s from Britain. They used the process of quarantining people with diseases they considered untreatable – something we still do today with diseases we don’t want to spread. Intorduced the real first type of fully kept legal system along with constitutional rights for the people – which we all know has been borrowed off for eons now.

These people did not have the science and knowledge we have at our fingertips in this current age – but they were a very functional society – in fact so functional they are the oldest surviving recorded in depth culture on this planet…Jewish

***Comment taken from Deacon Blue’s ‘Forbidden Fruit’

Divine Provision Summed Up?

Now is time to inteject with an idea – that I think is at the root of what is being taught by the disciples in the texts (which is not exactly the same as what churches teach on this subject).

I think the idea ‘God will provide’ – is truly being taught in the texts (no denial there). It’s the ‘provision’ part that needs to be dismantled more closely IMO. How is this provision from God happening?

(a) we never see God – known fact – so it’s not a face to face deal (or hand to hand deal)

(b) God however is claimed to be a ‘spirit’ – which is quite undefineable – but being people with spirits we can connect with this ‘Spirit’ on some unseen level

The ‘provision’ is coming from the example seen in Acts – that small community set forth an example of what the passages mean in Matthew or Luke (or the gospels in general).

In Acts we see needs being met left and right – for the widows, for family, for those in need…for those in community. Donations were receieved and kept for the whole community to benefit – as they all ‘lived for one another’ (under the One). Things were shared and they had all things in common (common being the key part for commun-ity).

So here is what I think:

God ‘provides’ – but are we listening? God ain’t gonna come down and start doing anything ‘hand to hand’ – this is left in our very capable ‘hands’. If we are not up to the challenge – that’s ok – or maybe we ain’t listening? Needs exist – but does community exist to bare those people up? No.

We have been provided with all we will ever need on this planet – all of humanity – and it’s a matter of sharing and living as one to realize the greatness of the resources we actually do contain. Problem is…humanity is very greedy – and has a history of ripping one another off for centuries. So this has put a huge dent in needs being met globally.

The problem isn’t neccesarily God’s provision – but humanity’s greed with the ‘provided’.

***Comment taken from OSS’ blog ‘How Far Do You Trust God?

No Sacrifice Please…Just Responsibility

This sacrifice idea as explained by Yael is fairly accurate – it even appears in Hebrews (whoever wrote that letter)…no one is forgiven for ‘intentional sins’ by a sacifice.

Heb 10:26 “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins

Point being, sacrifices covered unintentional sins – this makes sense – even if Jesus were this type of sacrifice – he covers the problem of ‘ignorance’. Once we are no longer ignorant – then there is no true excuse for committing a sin. I can admit that makes sense (to some small degree).

However, if the problem is ignorance why a ’sacrifice’? Because ignorance needs lenses to realize it’s severity. Even sins of ignorance suck pretty bad. I can see Jesus as an example of this – possibly?

However, Jesus’ teaching is repentance – not sacrifice – for your sins. His first words in Matthew are ‘repent for the kingdom of heaven is near’…or ‘turn from your sins NOW – on earth – and live a new kingdom ethic”. Nothing about sacrifice in Matthew to be honest – unless we talk about our own sacrifice of our lives for doing ‘good’ (keeping 100% in line with real repentance/responsibility – and with Jesus’ own actions in his life).

However, there is no ‘need’ for sacrifice after we are no longer ‘ignorant’…we know what we need to do and we know what we did that was ‘wrong/sin’. I don’t need to slice a lamb’s neck for adultery – makes no sense at all – when that lamb won’t help me see more clearer my ignorance anymore…no no no…we both know when we ‘mess up’. We need teshuvah – action on our part (not some lambs anymore) to admit responsibilty and move forward in repairing the break in the ‘wall’.

Jesus may very well have been a sacrifice, we all may very well be sacrifices – but is it a worthwhile enough life to call that? Life should contain ideas of being sacrificial – so as to be summed up as such. Maybe this is the point of Jesus? Maybe this is the repair with God we needed? (I am talking about the movement of responsibility onto us – being responsible for our actions – including in and up to death – don’t blame God type thing)

***Comment taken from Yael’s ‘Giving Up Your Rights’  blog entry

Faith, Reason, and Semantics

I watched 2 atheist comedians the other night – George Carlin and Jim Jeffries (both very funny BTW) – and many of the jokes revolved around religion and fact. I was quite taken with the funniness of the jokes – very good stuff – but also taken by the lack of logic in the jokes…then again…they are jokes. Got me thinking though…

Do atheists really not have ‘faith’? Do religious people really not use ‘logic’? In a black n white world – yes; in the real world – no.

It’s all really quite obvious – to anyone with any amount of intelligence and reason to think it through – both parties use that which they are claimed to not have (faith or logic).

(1) Religious people have logic – it’s really quite obvious. Ever read a theology text – dry (yes) but all logic or philosophy…how’s about those elaborate systems they call churches/synagogues/or mosques? If no logic was needed then nothing would stand – buildings use reason to stand (ie: where the beams and trusses go for example). Theology would mean nothing without a well traced and followable argument. Throw in the fact all religions have statements of faith they profess and one starts to see a pattern.

(2) Athiests have ‘faith’…to have none is to quit existing. Faith – as part of it’s definition is ‘trust’ – to some degree (whether blind or with reason). Everyone uses different levels of trust for different people. A bum outside 7-11 may tell you he wants a coffee in exchange for the dollar you are about to give him…do you believe him? Isn’t that kind of blind to trust just his words? Now our mother may tell us she will protect us from any and everything as children – it’s with merit and proof. Let’s say she allows a robber to physically harm us – did we think (rely on) she would always ‘protect us’? Why…because we had faith she would live up to her word!

I find it rather illogical (well Spock and I) to think one side is without a said ability when the facts are so overwhelmingly obvious. To say one side is without ‘faith’ or without ‘reason’ is to downplay your own ability to use the english language (or whatever language this crap is said in).

Time for Everything…

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a  time for every event under heaven— A time to give birth and a time to die/A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted/A time to kill and a time to heal/A time to tear down and a time to build up/A time to weep and a time to laugh/A time to mourn and a time to dance/A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones/A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing/A time to search and a time to give up as lost/A time to keep and a time to throw away/A time to tear apart and a time to sew together/A time to be silent and a time to speak/A time to love and a time to hate/A time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

What does it mean?