A quick question, then it’s off to bed…

trust_fall

An intriguing question is running through my head after a long back-and-forth I’ve been having lately:

Is trust a neutral emotion? I understand that there is a good basis on which to put your trust in someone, but there is usually a small aspect of doubt involved with trust as well. Where does the act of trust fall in terms of good and evil? I’ll leave a box in case you want to answer anonymously.

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26 thoughts on “A quick question, then it’s off to bed…

  1. I believe that trust is inherently good; the mental, physical, or emotional response that leadsus to trust someone or something comes from a good place, even when the results of that trust turn out to be negative.

    • Understandable. I wonder, however, of animals which show inherent trust. They don’t know good or evil, simply natural design and instinct, and yet they trust their human masters, they trust each other when in a pack or pride or what-have-you. I would argue that, in these cases, the act of trust itself is a neutral, natural occurrence.

      • Thoughts re: animals and trust. Animals in the wild tend to not trust at first. Animals in captivity primarily trust or not trust humans based on experience. The more intelligent the animal, the better discernment they have in this. An abused dog is shy and/or aggressive. Regarding dogs trusting in a pack: in general trust is easy where there is a common interest (i.e. survival) Trust breaks down even in a pack where there is divergent interest. When an animal gets hold of a piece of meat it casts a wary eye on all the others and will become very aggressive at their mere approach. Again, trust comes down to knowing the source and is good or bad depending on the object of the trust. The mouse that eats the cheese in the trap trusts well enough, but in its ignorance of the object of its trust it ends up with a broken neck. Misguided and unfounded trust is a definite negative. Properly placed trust is abundantly positive.

        • What about an injured dog that submits to a human saving it? I have seen this first hand and done it myself. There are animals who will lash out in fear, instinctual due to their injury, but that has nothing to do with trust. It is fight or flight. The fight or flight mechanism is also how animals react to humans in the wild. Yes, trust is inherent on survival in terms of the pack, which again has nothing to do with good or evil. It is instinct. There is no trust when food is involved, it is, yet again, instinctual. The place where trust becomes a factor is in situations such as the hunt, where the pack divides and yet trusts the rest of the pack to coordinate the hunt in order to make a kill. The only aspect of prior judgment in this regard is who to take on the hunt, who is the best hunter to make a successful kill. This, again, is not about good or evil. The act of trusting may have positive or negative consequences, but that does not make the act itself good or evil. The whole idea of an animal basing trust on good and evil is in itself, I believe, unfounded, as animals do not know the difference. They do not have good or evil purpose in their actions, they simply act. They also do not base their actions on good versus evil, but good versus bad. Is their experience that committing a certain act will bring beneficial consequences or impeding, painful consequences? Good and evil are emotional consequences, while good and bad are physical. I suppose in this way my original post was improperly worded, as trust is not in itself, as you said earlier, an emotion at all. It is an act, an event.

          • Well why didn’t you tell me you meant an INJURED dog! (Just kidding) Certainly animals make no moral choices as you say, and the smart ones will make intelligent choices based on a good or bad outcome. We used to have free ranging chickens. When I would drive by them in the lawn tractor, they’d scatter out of the way, but I could tell the dumb things had no recollection of it even fifteen seconds later. They learned absolutely nothing. Our dog, on the other hand (a border collie) got her foot caught in a fox trap in a field. For six months, if we would take her for a walk in that up in that field, when we got within fifty feet of where the trap had been, she’d pull back and whine and just wouldn’t go any further. This is the same dog that as a puppy, we tried to get her to go in her kennel when she didn’t want to. So our kids tossed a treat in the back of the kennel to coax her in. Do you know that that darn thing took her paws and bunched up the towel on the bottom of the kennel to pull the treat toward her without going in? I told my kids that we gotta be smarter than the thing we’re dealing with! Not much to do with our subject but it’s a good story.

          • Rana,
            After posting my inane story about my dog, something worth saying did pop into my mind in regard to animals and trust, and it is this. Trust in the original Creation, in the original order of things, goes back to complete faith in God who is completely trustworthy. In other words, trust is the natural order of things. Distrust is an anomaly and part of the fall, along with fear, and all the legitimate reasons for us not to trust. By the Biblical account, all creation is fallen – not just mankind (and that because mankind had been given dominion over all creation, so it fell with him) By the Biblical account, all creation will also be renewed. Think of it. Do we not yearn to be able to trust? Wouldn’t we just like to drop are car off and trust the mechanic to fix it right and charge us what is fair? What parent would not like to trust that their child is behaving when he leaves in a carload of friends? We do not trust because of the presence of evil – up to and including the ultimate evil of death. (And I do maintain that life is good and death is evil) We fear death. We fear lack. We fear physical pain. We fear emotional pain and rip-offs. We fear being overwhelmed. We fear being controlled by someone or something that does not have our best interests at heart. So we’re always assessing, always guarding our interests and shielding our hearts from pain. The guarded position in itself robs us of joy. We yearn to give of ourselves freely and with abandon. But to do this in a fallen world is foolishness without first testing. To open our hearts indiscriminately to everyone is to ask for a dagger to be thrust in at our dearest and most vulnerable places. So we cover, we hide, we measure we assess, we bargain, we build walls, we hoard. Going back to my original post – as we trust in God, who is trustworthy even in a fallen world, this liberates us to risk, to love, to forgive, and to get up and love again and risk again, because at the deepest place in our hearts we are secure. No one can take our eternal inheritance from us. It is God who secures it. Who will wrest it out of His hands? Trust and faith go together. Trust is high where faith is high, and low where it is not. I will not walk on a bridge if I do not have faith it will hold me. Jesus, on the other hand, walked on water, and so did Peter momentarily – that is, until he began to look around and assess. For what it’s worth.

    • After some long posts and thinking about this some more, I believe you are right, AR. Trust is INHERENTLY good, as it was the natural condition of things before the fall of man. It is only because of the presence of evil in the world that we must weigh things, check them out, guard, and protect. I appreciated your post! R.T.

        • AR: Some people are more articulate than others – just as a fact of life. Just remember that we do not have to be articulate to have something valuable to say, and it is sometimes important for less articulate people to struggle through the process of putting their words together because they may be seeing a perspective on things that others are not. Take care.

          • Ha! You are correct–there are times, on my least articulate days, that I’ve managed to say more than a bunch of prolific days in a row 😉

          • AR. Actually, I went to your site this morning and found your blog very articulate. The site has a nice, clean, orderly look and feel to it as well.

          • AR. I’ve also begun a site about two months ago. It is a very strong address of my own evangelical church, and of issues of political correctness within the church in America. The site if for Christians and I invite you to visit and you’re welcome to comment if you like. I’ve felt a call to address church leaders and systems for 25 of my 30 years in the Lord. I believe that the modern protestant church is in desperate need of reform, and that this will not happen without outside accountability which church leaders cannot themselves control. My heart in all the hard hitting is reform, and I do not believe the church can effectively address issues in the nation until it removes many of the underlying issues of idolatry from itself. “Judgment begins in the house of the Lord”. In some ways my speaking on this site is mild compared to when I speak to those who should know better. the site is http://www.reclaimyourchurch.org R.T.

  2. On Trust: a long answer to a “quick question”.

    Rana,
    Again, I would answer “None of the above” To check either box would be a falsehood for me. I would say that trust has EVERYTHING to do with good and evil (and more, as I will explain), and it is inherently neither good nor evil. It comes down to one question with a few sub-questions:
    What are you trusting in and is it trustworthy?
    —Is it WILLING to be trustworthy or does it have a competing interest?
    —Is it capable of being trustworthy?
    —Is the source of the trust good or evil, or some combination of both? In other words, is its character wholly trustworthy?
    This brings certain conclusions based on these questions.
    —If it is not WILLING to be trustworthy, you should not be WILLING to trust it. (And I would like to adjust the idea here of trust being an emotion at all. Trust is a decision -a choice- based on all sorts of things, including emotion (Itself not always trustworthy!), knowledge (often incomplete), and previous experience (not always sufficient), etc.) To trust anything that does not have the character of trustworthiness is a kind of evil on the part of the trusting party that falls into the category of foolishness. (And foolishness is evil, because it has evil consequences. The careless driver kills himself or others regardless of motive.)
    —If it is not CAPABLE of trust, it is also foolish to trust it. It would be foolish to drive a 20 ton vehicle over a bridge rated for 7 tons. Is it big enough to trust? Powerful enough? When a bank assesses whether it will trust you to repay a $300,000 mortgage, he must ask himself not only if you are a decent person, but whether you are a capable person – CAN you pay. He must also ask whether there are circumstances in your life (a pending divorce, etc.), that may suddenly make you INCAPABLE of payment, even though you currently are and fully willing and able. No matter how much you may trust me to lift a locomotive off of your legs and no matter how much I want to, it’s just not going to happen.
    —If the source of the trust is a combination of good and evil, with a combination of capabilities, you must assess it. This basically comes down to risk management. What is the likelihood they will come through? Do their opposing interests come into play in the issue I am placing trust? This is the situation when it comes to putting faith in all people. Their capabilities are limited and their hearts are imperfect. How big a thing are you asking, and what is the consequence of their not coming through. We get into another dilemma also that encourages us to take some degree of risk anyway – namely that there are consequences for going it alone. The consequences of NOT risking marriage (which may fail) is loneliness and not having a proper place to raise children. The banker’s consequence of keeping all his money safe is that he has no business and no increase – nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    Now here is the game-changer:
    We can only wholly trust a being that has no personal needs (and desires and needs are different), that has perfect integrity, that perfectly and objectively loves us (And that is very different from trying to get us to like him or indulging us – which is a selfish act). This being must also be perfect in power, since we are talking about placing our life, everything important to us, and our very souls in his hands. The game-changer is that from this platform of perfect and reliable trust, we can live at peace in an imperfect world. Others will fail us, but our larger, rock-bottom trust in God secures us against the imperfections of others – and just as importantly – our own! We can enter into a marriage that involves two imperfect people in an imperfect world filled with unpredictable changes and temptations because we can trust in a God who will not fail us – a God who says, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psa. 27:10)

    As you are well aware, Rana, there seems to be an endless variety of gods people worship that make various claims. Some flat-out make no pretense of being a combination of good and evil. How can we trust something like that? The Hindus, with their myriad of gods cannot be trusted because millions of gods cannot be all-powerful.

    But how do we know if our god is trustworthy? As in all relationships, we extend a degree of trust to the most trustworthy sources in our best estimation, and watch for their faithfulness. (I won’t lend you a million bucks, but you seem like a pretty stable guy. Here’s fifty!) Should they prove faithful, you extend more.

    The Christian God.
    If you want to be able to fully trust, no other god makes claims to full trustworthiness – with everything – your needs, your faults, the faults of others, your fears, your desires, your very soul. (And I am not yet saying you see clearly to believe this. I am merely stating claims) The Christian God makes some fantastic claims. What are they?

    —That He does not change. That’s good news, the ground beneath my feet will not shift and He will not change the deal. He says what He means and means what He says –into eternity.
    —That He is all powerful. That solves the problem of whether He CAN help me.
    —That God is love. He is therefore willing. (That is, willing to help me in what is my best interest – not in what I THINK is in my best interest that may destroy me) What greater demonstration of love is there than laying down one’s own life? (And I believe our chief struggle is in understanding Perfect Love’s eternal ends which we misinterpret in our own imperfect knowledge and understanding.
    —God is good. He makes no bones about this. He is not good and evil. God hates evil, and will one day, after in love allowing us to make our choices, deal with evil of all forms once and for all. God calls us to hate evil as well. Is “hate wrong? Same deal. Is what we hate hate-worthy?!!!

    Whatever you believe, only a god with the above qualities is worthy of complete and undivided trust. I would trust no other. How could I? One might subjugate himself to an evil god out of sheer fear of his greater power, but certainly not trust him. What is “The fear of the Lord”, then? It says, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” (Prov. 8:13) The fear of the lord is not a fear of an evil God, but rather the fear of a good and holy God who hates evil, and will one day deal with it decisively, along with all who cling to it. The fear of the Lord means that God will do what He says He will do. (A key part of being trustworthy, by the way – faithfulness and consistency) The fear of the Lord means that evil cannot dwell in His presence. It means that He sees to the very depths of our hearts and motives. It means that our hearts lie naked before Him. (And who wants to be seen in his sin?) But God’s love is willing to cover and remove those things we so fear to show Him (Because we’re guilty! Really guilty, not some screwed up bondage thing that we were raise in. I am speaking of real guilt that deserves real justice.)

    So what are idols, and why does God hate them? Idols are anything that competes with God for trust. God hates them because He is a God of love, and knows that all else is ultimately untrustworthy and will let us down in a devastating way due to either weakness, or inherent evil. Why does God hate covetousness? Because things will let us down. Only the God who created all things will not. What we are seeking in our idols can only come from God and not be destructive to us. We often take a mentality of someone who is addicted to heroine who is hostile to anyone who would want to take it away. His greatest pursuit in life is killing him, and he’d rather just be left with his idol. In fact, he will steal or kill for his idol if need be. His idol comes with a severe downside. All things in God do not, except as interpreted through our limited and fallen minds that do not always comprehend why He does or does not want us to do or have something. Think of the child who wants to eat candy all day, and has no concept of diabetes or tooth decay. All he knows is that he wants it, and Mom wants to take it away.

    So how does God resolve His perfect hatred of evil, His perfect love, and the fact that in His perfect love He gives us choice between the two (freedom)? He resolves it in the cross. He resolves it in giving us a CHOICE to receive His own payment for our sin. God deals with sin (as oppose to excusing it, which would be to deny His own holiness and goodness), but will set free the sinner WHO TRUSTS IN HIM. (There’s that word, ‘Trust” again) There is no other that one can trust for deliverance from sin and its power over us. No other has power to deliver from sin. (Again, answering the issue of a trustworthy God being capable of our trust)

    The final question is: “But how do we know this God is real?” Ask Him to reveal His trustworthiness to you in some significant way. I am not speaking of some flip demand or test of God. (God will not honor it.) I mean coming to God in sincerity with your questions and doubts and committing some critical issue to Him that you cannot resolve yourself. (And I guarantee you He will not do it in a way you expect, but in a way you never could have anticipated that will blow you away) Many times the issue must be something where you’ve tried and exhausted every other remedy. Also, ask Him to reveal the validity of His Word. (He has to me over and over and over again)

    The obstacle is this: Should He reveal, will we accept what He has revealed, especially when the implications of this revelation can have no other implication than the entire shift of one’s life off of self and onto God? (Trust!) The trouble is in what it means if God is trustworthy, and the only being worthy of unconditional trust. Also, what are the implications for refusing this perfect love and perfect trust, given that there is no other source? We cannot so much as trust in our own power to live through to tomorrow. Five minutes without oxygen and we’re gone! Can the implications of refusing the only perfect source of sustenance, power, love, and trust be any less severe than of refusing oxygen? “No, I’m sorry. I will NOT be in bondage to oxygen! No one will dictate to me that I must breathe! I’m no pawn!” This is the very absurd posture many take with God.
    Think about it. And here I want to ask something from you. (And consider that I’ve put a lot of time into this post) Would you go back and re-read this and meditate carefully upon it apart from your previous religious experiences? There are many counterfeits in this world, but there are also the genuine articles. There is counterfeit money, counterfeit diamonds, and counterfeit designer jeans and purses. Why would we think that in a world filled with counterfeits that there would not also be counterfeit Christianity? And if there are counterfeit designer jeans, but also the genuine, might their also be a genuine Christianity? Speaking of trust, you cannot trust a label. A label is only a claim. All that glitters is not gold. That fact, however, takes nothing away from the real thing; it only makes us cynical and wary – even of the genuine.

    • This may take a bit to respond to, but I am going to take the time.

      It seems odd, but I believe the only thing I have to say about your description of trust is that you believe it to be neutral. You say, ” I would say that trust has EVERYTHING to do with good and evil (and more, as I will explain), and it is inherently neither good nor evil.” I was not talking about the steps up to the act of trust, but simply the act itself, which you have said here is neither good nor evil. The nature of the trustworthiness of who or what you are trusting does not matter, nor do the implications after you commit the act of trusting another.

      You talk about the game-changer, there are a set of parameters to someone we can wholly trust, but you speak on in the positive sense. To use an extreme example, if I am a Jew, I can wholly, without doubt, trust Hitler to hate me and want to kill me. There would be no doubt in my mind. If he makes an exception, it will come as a complete and unexpected surprise. If I unconditionally love my boyfriend and we are out in the world and some guy comes up and flirts with me, I can wholly, without doubt, trust my boyfriend to defend me.

      I believe your intent here was to discuss in whom we can completely and wholly put our trust in. You put it in context of getting married, and that the only reason we can have a stable relationship with another imperfect person is because, “we can trust in a god who will not fail us…” You make it sound as if there is no way to put full trust and faith in the love of another human being, that without god we can trust nothing and no one. Is it not possible to simply accept others faults, others imperfections, knowing that no two humans are alike and no human is ideal or perfect?

      The Hindu gods are reincarnate souls at the heavenly realm of the five levels of reincarnate states. They are not meant to be all-powerful, nor trustworthy. They are simply something beyond human in the reincarnation cycle, and so it doesn’t really matter if they are trustworthy. The Hindu belief is more a belief system around death and rebirth, not around gods.

      Your points on the Christian god:

      He does not change. I would beg to argue that He does. He chose the Jewish people as His people and His alone. He then sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, and now, according to Christians, they are His chosen people, if they believe properly and live by Jesus’ teachings. Humans may have changed the game, but God is the only who changed His mind in this story. He changed, and who is to say He will not change again? There is no other way to explain this shift from a preference of the Jews to a preference of the followers of Jesus. God added new parameters to being His chosen people, He changed the rules, and therefore changed Himself. His image changes from a jealous, vengeful god to a god that will love you so long as you follow His new rules. I’ve said it before, I don’t mind having parameters put on me, so long as they are made clear. At this point, with all the stories, specifically all the stories that Christians build their history from, the Christian god is a god of change, pure and simple. So you are right, how can I trust a god that can’t make up its mind which of its people it loves and which it will forsake?

      He is all-powerful. True. If god created us I would have to assume it is all-powerful. The question there becomes is it the only all-powerful? Is it the beginning, the origin of all? To say god is all-powerful would be to say yes to the last two questions, which leads back to the origin of good and evil, which we have discussed before.

      He is love. Going back to a changing God, I would say that although the intentions of the Christian god may be of love, they are not unconditional. Unconditional love does not change, it does not move nor falter, even when that which is loved falters itself, and unconditional love for a being cannot be restricted to one group of that being. In other words, at the beginning God loved humans as a species (Adam and Eve if you want to use the story). Adam and Eve faltered, as is the nature of man. Now in this story, I will say that God does not change. He put parameters down and Adam and Eve broke them, and there were disciplinary consequences. To hold that consequence against all of their offspring, although not fair, I can’t really say goes against God’s discipline against Adam and Eve, so I’ll go with it. After this, God goes out of the picture. It leaves us to its devices. Until Abraham, and then Moses. Here God says they are His chosen people, selected from the rest of humanity. He changes His love for all of humanity and directs it toward a select group of people, forsaking all those across the rest of the planet. Those in Africa, Asia, and the New World are left to their own gods and their own devices. And He does it twice, first with the Jews and then with the Christians, picking a favorite batch and changing the parameters of His acceptance of our faults. I understand this sounds like a harsh criticism, but I am simply stating what I see. A being with unconditional love, unchanging stance, does not pick and choose, does not change the parameters in which to gain its favor, and does not judge a being for what it is, especially when it is that being’s creator, and made it with the faults it judges that being on. Unconditional means without conditions, without limits, and absolute. If god cannot provide that kind of love, than there is no such thing as unconditional love.

      He is good. You say that God hates evil. And yet God is love. I’m sorry, Thunder, but I see this as nothing but a blatant contradiction. How can God be love, but also hate? And you call it perfect hate? You are saying that God can contradict His own being, express the opposite of His own inherent state, simply because He is God. You say that God is to be trusted and feared at the same time. That we should fear His hate of evil, and yet trust in what God wants and wishes for us. Is this not how people bowed to Hitler and Stalin? The people were told to trust them, in their higher seat of power, but were also made to tremble in their shadow, in the fear of their retribution against what they considered evil against them.

      I do not make these statements in comparison to my own belief, as you requested (note I did not bring up the loving parent), and have meditated over these words since you posted them. You final statement refers to calling on God for help when I have no other outlet. If that is the case, that I must call to God in my greatest hour of need for Him to answer, then why are we having these conversations? You make it sound as if the only way I can finally know God is when I’m at my worst. And yet I know plenty of Christians who never had a falling out, but simply stuck with their religion from childhood. I also know those who turned to Christianity on a whim, a curiosity, and decided to stay, as well as those who have stuck with it, had a falling out, called to God, and got either what they consider no answer, or an answer that made their lives worse in the long-run, not better.

      You finally speak on the counterfeit versus the genuine article. I can’t really relate to this. So long as something fits, it’s comfortable, and it doesn’t look like trash, I have no problem buying something that is not the genuine article. The genuine article is usually over-priced, too flashy, and old-hat moments after I buy it. And then you go to say you cannot trust a label. Is this not contradicting your metaphor of the genuine article? The genuine is the label, the real label, and if it cannot be trusted, if all that glitters is not gold, then why is your label so much better than mine? Why is your genuine article trustworthy and mine not? It is simple, because your label is your own, and mine is mine. I can’t say this enough times, Thunder. I really can’t. I’m not trying to push your beliefs away, they simply are too full of holes in my eyes. You can believe as you will, and be happy, by all means, in your faith in the Christian God. If you are right, someday He’ll either open my eyes or forsake me and leave me to burn (which I know you will not take well, as you do not consider Him to be a forsaking god). I’ve accepted it. For some reason, you just can’t.

      • Rana,
        I’m just singling out a few things from your response.
        Re: Marriage. Our marriage partner may or may not prove faithful. My former secretary’s daughter got married in full trust. All parties involved saw her new husband as a faithful and great guy. No one saw what was to come. Of their year and a half marriage, her husband had been sleeping around a year of it. Other times we trust, and it works out well. Sooner or later, most of us get burned in a big way at some point in life by someone we trusted implicitly – be it a marriage, a business relationship, or whatever. To trust after that, I would say take’s active love and deliberate trust, whereas before it was based more on simplicity. When things go wrong, that is where we see what we are anchored to, and whether it will hold. An infant trusts implicitly until they are about six months old. Even at this young age they’ve seen enough of life in a fallen world to reduce their whole hearted trust somewhat. For another year or two you can still toss them up in the air. Daddy can do no wrong. But sooner or later, Daddy will prove inadequate – whether by simple mistakes, failing to see needs, inability to meet needs, or through outright character flaws. This begins to dampen spirits. To restore them we must go back to faith in God, because we have learned that the best of people can burn us. In am not being cynical, but real.
        Regarding your claim that God changes: He does not. According to scripture, the Jewish people are still God’s chosen people. (And look, they became a state against incredible odds right after Hitler sought to exterminate them. As God’s chosen people, they’ve had a target on their backs for Satan throughout history) Go look at the book of Revelation, the writings of Paul, and the books of the Prophets. All End Time theology centers on Israel. The story reaches its climax centered on Israel. The lie is that it has shifted to the church. (And this is completely contrary to scripture. I can show you from scripture in a separate post, if you want me to) God began redemption through Abraham – a man also willing to give his son – which God replaced with a ram caught in the thicket, symbolizing His later replacement sacrifice of His own son in our place. It was then to become the beginning point of redemption for all mankind. God, simply worked with their choices. Think of it this way. God is talking on the phone with Israel. They don’t want to go farther. God doesn’t hang up. He puts them on hold and works around their resistance with the church. His purposes never changed. In the End Times, scripture shows us that God will again pick up on line one and finish the story with Israel. I believe the greatest moves of God will center on Israel. The Millennial reign of Christ is clearly about Israel. (The church is up in heaven during this scene, and is brought down at the end before God wraps things up (and I can show you that in scripture also if you wish)) God says He will never forget Israel. Paul said that God is using the church to provoke Israel to jealousy (and I know you struggle with the jealousy thing. I can explain that further also if you ask me to in regard to Israel), and warns the church that if it were grafted into the promises of God as a wild branch, how much more will God again graft the natural branches (Israel) into its own tree. (See Hebrews 11: 17-27) The Bible is an account of man’s being created in the image of God, his fall, the introduction of the law for the purpose of showing man he had a problem, man’s inability to fulfill the law because of his fallen nature, God introducing grace after he allowed mankind to clearly see that he could not dig himself out of his own hole, the church age, the Millennial age which brings Israel back to front and center, and finally the consummation of all things and eternity future. It is not a picture of God changing, but a picture of a stable parent bringing up a child through infancy (innocence in the garden), childhood, schooling (the law, discipline), grace (freedom from the law and into the spirit of the law), relationship, and finally restoration, marriage, and life together forever.

        God being all powerful: God did not create evil. Evil is the consequence of truly free beings choosing “not God”. Evil is a corruption of what is good by free beings choosing to live apart from God. God allows this for a time to give us time to see and consider. The alternatives would be to judge us instantly, deny our significance and say, “It’s OK”, or to renege on our free will. God has power to remove all evil instantly, but does not because mankind has attached himself to it. He cannot deal the final blow to evil without judging all that cling to it – unless of course He forces our free will. (And we choose our actions, not our consequences. To choose our consequences would be to change God and change reality. We merely choose how we will relate to God and reality. So He is patient, desiring for us to depart from evil and return to Him before He deals with evil once and for all and forever.

        Regarding your next paragraph, God’s intention is salvation for “whoever will”, including the heathen in Africa. It says that after Jesus rose from the dead, that He went and preached to the spirits in Hades before ascending to the Father. In other words, God is timeless. Even as we are saved through the blood of Christ over 2000 years ago, those before that time are in a sense saved by the shadow of the cross being cast into the past. God works incrementally with mankind because WE are finite and we cannot learn everything at once. But make no mistake, His work of redemption is complete, and effectual for all who will receive Him at heart and pertains to any age and any nationality. One reason God worked through Abraham, and even came to earth as a man is His consistency in having given mankind dominion over the earth. God has therefore worked redemption through man as a legal matter having to do with fallen angels. (The theater is much larger than you may realize) Right after the fall, God said to the serpent in Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This is a prophecy – that redemption would come through the “seed of the woman”, and that though Satan would harass mankind, God through “the seed of the woman” would crush his head and ultimately defeat him. For this reason the redeemer had to be born of a woman – Christ. God could not redeem mankind in any other way without changing and without taking from mankind’s incredible significance and dignity in being created in His own image.

        Regarding God being love but hating evil, and your saying, “How can God be love and also hate?” Hate is connected with love (Though both in godly and evil ways) To hate evil is to hate what is contrary to love. To hate fornication is to love security and protection of women and children. To hate murder is a passionate love of life. To hate theft is to love security and peace. The only contradiction is in an improper definition of love. How many confuse indulgence with love, and discipline with hate? God hates what is contrary to love, and this is no contradiction at all. Man never feared God in a terror kind of way until he fell. Think of a child who lives in a safe home powered by electricity. The electricity gives him light, plays music for him, and warms his house. Now take this same house and power system and throw it out of whack. Bare wires are hanging out of the wall. Receptacles have no covers on them. Wires are sparking and arcing. The power did not change. The power is good and was meant for good. It’s not its fault that we scrambled up the power delivery system! We didn’t fear it before; now we do! We had no worry of fires or shock before; now we do! Put things back in order and there is nothing to fear. God is drawing us all back into proper relationship to Him. As another testimony to God’s consistency (and the Word of God, by the way), the first thing Adam and Eve did after they sinned was cover themselves with fig leaves “because they were naked”, and hid from God. Why? God did not change. THEY DID! Fear came into the world through sin – through mankind taking what only God can do into his own hands. God lets us feel this fear for the same reason He allows us to feel pain when we burn our finger – so we know that something is wrong and can seek a solution.

        By “genuine article”, I am speaking about “The real deal”, not a surfacey inconsequential difference. (And true, if we are talking jeans or purses, the genuine and the real may not matter that much) But if we are talking true religion and false, faith in what is trustworthy and what is not, being genuine means everything. Regarding “why are my beliefs genuine and yours not”, what I was speaking of is what we both agree about – that the Catholic church is not the genuine article. I am saying that the Catholic church is to Christianity as fool’s gold is to gold. The Christian label does not make it Christianity – any more than me calling a dog a goat makes it a goat. (We have goats at our place too!  Jesus spoke of the “wheat and the tares”. (Matt. 13: 24-32) Tares are a weed that looks much like wheat. In this parable the servant affirmed the master had sown good seeds, and questioned who sowed the evil (meaning weeds). The master said that an enemy has done this. His servant then question whether he should go and pluck up the tares. The master said to let them grow together until the end of the age, so that they do not accidentally pluck up the true wheat. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the true from the counterfeit (as in very sophisticated counterfeit money and as in false religion) But when the plants mature, they can be seen by their fruits.
        And as to your last comment, you are right that I do not see God as a forsaking God, but as a pursuing God who stretches His hands out to us all our lives and grieves with our pain and longs to draw us to Himself. And regarding God leaving you to burn, God will certainly honor your ultimate choice, but will pursue you all of your life because His love never stops though it will not stop you. You said that you’ve accepted that consequence (burning), but for some reason that I just can’t. You’re partly right. With grief I can accept your choices, but how can anyone who claims to be filled with the very Spirit of God – the very God of love dwelling within, accept such an awful outcome for you without hanging in there despite your protests? How can anyone who has tasted of the power and presence of God and the assurance of the ages to come not wish this for others? Rana, I can think of times when I spoke to two people – both in their twenties – concerning the grace of God. The first brings chilling thoughts to me. He said, “No, I’m just not ready, man” [That is, to turn to God] and slipped into eternity a week later. He had no idea his life would end so soon. The other was a woman who came to a Christmas Eve service. As she began talking to me, I felt the presence of God and an urgency in the spirit, and approached her to speak to her of salvation. She received the Lord, was overjoyed, tears falling from her eyes – she just melted! I never saw her again, but learned that she died of some disease later that year. Rana, I am not speaking to you of arguments and ideologies and intellectual word games. (Though if I am not careful I can slip into them) I am speaking to you of a very real and powerful God who loves you passionately and wishes to draw you to Himself, where you belong – HOME.

        Take care.

  3. Just quickly I’ll say this: To me, trust cannot possibly be good or evil. It is a gray, as opposed to the aforementioned white and black. Trust is something we form based on natural inclinations and experiences (we can also look more broadly at the animal kingdom for some evidence of this). Any doubt we may have is also based on our experiences. To put a finer point on the matter of experiences, I should say that we can be burned by trusting someone and then let that experience affect our inclination to trust others and thus doubt has been created.

    Honestly, our entire lives can affect how we trust others. If our life experience has been that we have been surrounded by people who have been tested but have kept our trust, we would more likely be inclined to be a more trusting person. The reverse can also happen, in that we are surrounded by people who constantly break our trust. This then leads us to doubt people more generally and from the get-go.

    I don’t think trust and doubt can be good and evil. They are simply natural. At least, they are in my eyes. Thanks for the though-provoking question 🙂

  4. That’s a unique and thought-provoking question. I agree with most scholarstrider said. Just out of curiosity, I looked up the word trust on my Dictionary app on my iphone. There were a lot of definitions and the one I think you’re talking about is the trust (and/or distrust) in other people – particularily people you don’t know. Its something we inherently do everyday. When I drive to work in the morning, I trust that the people around me are paying attention, not running stop lights, etc. I don’t think you’d be able to get very far into your day without some measure of trust.
    The part that I might diverge from scholarstrider is that too much trust (or even distrust for that matter) could be dangerous in certain scenarios (for example trusting someone you barely know to watch your child because you are a generally trusting person) and by the same token, too much doubt might could also be detrimental (not trusting anyone to look after your child so you never leave his/her side).

    • Thank you, Ashley! I agree, too much trust or too much doubt can become quite a difficult place to be. I read a blog post just today about a woman who lives in almost constant fear of death, she doubts so much the world around her. She has no trust in anything, not even the natural order of things, gravity, the stability of metal. A dying man made her rethink her fears, and now she is making a real daily effort to trust the world around her so she can really live her life. It’s a balancing act for sure. I also agree that trust is inherent, whether we have grounds to sway that inherent trust more towards some things and away from other things is a different topic. 🙂

  5. “The part that I might diverge from scholarstrider is that too much trust (or even distrust for that matter) could be dangerous in certain scenarios (for example trusting someone you barely know to watch your child because you are a generally trusting person) and by the same token, too much doubt might could also be detrimental (not trusting anyone to look after your child so you never leave his/her side).” -Ashley

    I actually agree with Ashley’s above statement, to be clear. However, the natures of trust/doubt in the above scenarios would still be a neutral ones in my eyes. The results of the trust or lack thereof can certainly be positive or negative, but that does not mean that the trust or doubt is, in and of itself, positive or negative.

    Ashley also raises a good point about the often less conscious trust that we live by day to day (vis a vis her driving scenario). Again, I’d argue that this kind of trust is natural, as it is out of necessity we have this less conscious (sometimes more conscious when we take time to consider it like we are doing here). We simply must have it to function in daily life.

  6. In the post heading, “A quick question, then it’s off to bed…” Is that a picture of you going to bed??

  7. Trust is proportional to levels of our mutual understanding. It means that it is not enough knowing/understanding other people, but making sure that they fully understand/know us. This approach/interpretation is simple/direct, but limited as we interact with many people. The best ‘catalyst’ role for increasing global trust among people play religions or deep concepts about purposes of life that can unite people. They have a chance to see how others realize their believes = it shows indirectly how far we can trust them and how they can trust us when watching/analyzing levels of our commitments.

    Only indoctrinated people by today’s propaganda repeat this slogan that religions only caused human conflicts. Let us look at statistics: How many people are today killed for money (materialistic gains) and how many because of their religions? We must also look which factors play the first role in all conflicts/wars? For example today in Turkey it is big money/business that wants to take a big piece of the most expensive land in the middle of the capital under cover of building a small mosque. We see very nasty intrigues in our modern world driven by greed that wants to eradicate religions exposing greed as lowest human motive.
    Trust me, truly believing/respecting God orthodox Christians/Muslim/Jews/Buddhists etc are very different from politicians/bankers/bureaucrats and hordes of politically correct intellectuals etc and can be trusted more.

  8. Pingback: The Hypothecials in the Morning winner is… | Virginia the Viruliferous
  9. Trust is not an emotion. Trust is a FIRM belief that something will act according to specific expectations. No doubts exist, only conviction, such that all of one’s actions are in harmony with that belief. Instead of doubt, faith. Instead of uncertainty, confidence. Instead of indecision, decisiveness. Instead of conflict, harmony. Instead of despair, hope. Faith, hope, confidence, harmony and decisiveness are the direct results/products of trust, and these products are most definitely associated with the good. The tree is known by its fruit, therefore, trust is of the good.

    The fact that animals exhibit behaviors similar to human behaviors is irrelevant to the question because, as you indicated, animal ‘trust’ is derived from instinct, not an intelligent and reasoning mind, which is where good and evil reside. Therefore, animal ‘trust’ is not the same thing as human trust. It may manifest the same on the outside, but the internals are completely different.

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