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Miracles - Kruszer's Journal
September 17th, 2010
01:22 pm

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Miracles

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From:kruszer
Date:September 20th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
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how do you bank on a heaven when God's never shown his face on earth? And what kind of sick deity can only come up with a get-to-know-you/redemption plan that is so skewed and which hangs all existence on a better existence later? Really God? This was the best possible world/system you could've come up with? :P

"it'd be worse if life really was fair, because then all the bad things that happen to you would happen because you actually deserved them!"

I think it makes a lot more sense that way, and it follows the Biblical paradigm of the natural law. Sin produces suffering and the Bible is full of promises to the likes of "obey and it will go well". Whenever the children of Israeal were swept away by their enemies it was always when they were in rebellion. Basic suffering would follow the curse of Adam and eve on a pretty universal level, and beyond that God would deal one on one with us in accordance to our actions. Good living yields good fruit and bad living yields bad fruit. Everyone would choose for themselves and reap accordingly.
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From:tibbycat
Date:September 21st, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
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God's never shown his face on Earth? Really? History disagrees.

"I think it makes a lot more sense that way, and it follows the Biblical paradigm of the natural law. Sin produces suffering and the Bible is full of promises to the likes of "obey and it will go well". Whenever the children of Israel were swept away by their enemies it was always when they were in rebellion. Basic suffering would follow the curse of Adam and eve on a pretty universal level, and beyond that God would deal one on one with us in accordance to our actions. Good living yields good fruit and bad living yields bad fruit. Everyone would choose for themselves and reap accordingly."

I think your exegesis is a little off there. You sound like Job's friends who told him that his suffering was the result of him doing something wrong or because God must've hated him.

It also sounds like the dodgy prosperity gospel that some Pentecostals love to espouse, or gnostic crap like 'the secret'. (see here for a funny secular explanation why 'the secret' is awful)

There's a few further things I'm thinking here:

1) You sound like you have a sense of entitlement, i.e. that God owes you a happy life. He never made such a claim. If anything, as Christians we're told that our life may actually get harder instead, as the world won't understand us. But, God did promise to save us from sin's ultimate consequence which is death, and he has. That's what he promised. And that's a promised he's fulfilled.

2) I'm reminded of Jesus' parable of the workers in the field (Matt.20: 1-16). The landowner promised all the workers the same - he promised them all a denarius, and gave the same to the workers who started at the beginning of the day and to those who started late in the day. And I think that's how God is to us. Whether you're a poor starving child in Africa, whether you're you or me, or whether you're some rich person born with a silver spoon in their mouth, we're all promised the same thing - to be saved from death. But we were never promised that this life would be super awesome and free of troubles.

3) Perspective: Your life may suck, and I certainly know the pain of heartbreak from a lover leaving you, but, our lives could be MUCH MUCH worse. And for millions of people in the world, our lives are paradise in comparison. I don't say that to trivialize your grievances and to suggest that your problems aren't important, because that's not the case at all, but just to point out how many many people have it worse. And why? Because the universe is fundamentally unfair. It's all there in the first law of thermodymics: "you can't win".
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From:kruszer
Date:September 24th, 2010 12:10 am (UTC)
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I'm talking about the classic view of suffering as the Bible presents it. There are others but I didn't find them relevant enough to get into right then. There is actually good evidence that what Job's friends said that made God so angry is missing from the text that became known as the book of Job (which was really two texts put into one). The view they were presenting to Job was the same one that the early texts of law and pentetuche establish. Do well = get well. Do bad = get bad.


1a. I'm not a Christian. Second life isn't any harder for westernized Christians. Most blend back in. And if the world hates them it's cause they act like jackasses.

1.b Those promises of a happier better life don't mean squat when I can't trust or believe him right now. That's about as ludicrous as trusting a salesman selling you an invisible car. "But there's no car there!" ... "Yes, but if you buy it it'll be there when you open the door and sit down on the seat. Just buy it!"

2. That's bullshit. That's the best possible world God could come up with? "I'll just create a bunch of people and ask them to walk in shit for 70 years and only give them a better life next time around. But first you got to be born into a life of crap and prove your ability to trust and not blame the one who is to blame for all your problems." Mmmm Nice!

3. When you have a pounding headache do you lie on the couch and moan or do you dance with joy because you don't have AIDS? Pain in incomparable. The worst you've ever had is the worst you've ever had and pain is always painful even if someone else's pain is greater than yours. It's "fundamentally unfair" to try to compare one's suffering to another. We all aspire to be the healthiest and happiest version of who we are. Anything short of that will hurt.
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From:velvetelvis
Date:November 19th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)

God vs everything

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Hmm...

I can answer 1-3, heck I feel like I have to answer that everyday.

First I want to offer humbly, Kristine, that you seem to be stacking suffering against God, which is perhaps common, and I think fair. But I'm going to put some more chips on the table for your bet against God. I'm going to stack ecstasy, health, marriage, children, long life, spiritual gifts including prophecy, discernment, healing, wisdom, teaching, power over the weather, knowledge, and I'm going to throw the entire world in as a kicker, against God. Does what God offers beat that? Perhaps I could ask, is God bigger than that? If we are in ecstasy or suffering, whether we are able to feed the hungry or not, does God have a higher purpose? I want to say that God offers more than ecstasy or suffering, more than any kind of power, more than the world, and certainly more than a normal life.

Jesus said "what shall it profit a man to gain the world, but lose his soul?"

I am reminded of the 40 days in the wilderness when Jesus was tempted, it seems that he was, indeed, tempted with some of the miracles for which you are asking, but he would have to bow and worship Satan. For some reason, God wants to say that who you worship is more important than food or shelter. Well food and shelter is pretty important, so whoever God is, he had better be absolutely amazing, or I may have to agree with you that our faith is an embarrassment.

For some reason I am always drawn to the thief on the cross. I think everything you have to say against God applies to him. I mean here he is at the height of human suffering, only a few hours to live, and he finds, on the cross next to him, something more important -and yet not something which gets him off the cross, or which eases his pain. Nevertheless, rather than curse the God who has power over life and death, he humbles himself and receives what Christ is offering. And I want to say that the thief's confession doesn't make any sense at all, unless you meet Jesus.

How are you going to believe that God is really straight up bigger than all this unless you meet him? Well you might believe by reading the bible, or by looking at the grandeur of creation, as do many. But that's actually a little more of a rhetorical question than I'm letting on. You see, I fear that things may get worse, Kristine, because God may indeed endeavor to show you how big he is. I remember how God spoke in a loud voice to Moses on the mountain, so that Israel would hear, and know that Moses wasn't just making it all up. Israel told Moses to ask God not to speak to them anymore, because they thought they would die. I think God is really really big, Kristine. Everything I have added for your argument against God will not measure up. I think though the world could heal you, and take you in as a member of its family and find you a home, it will never approach the plans that God has for your life.

How my heart aches for you, dear Kristine. I’ve some difficult lessons to learn, myself.

--May you touch the hands of Jesus, and believe
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