Dear God… (no pun intended)

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…I shit you not, this person was 100% serious about this post… I think I died a little inside. It’s official. People are now making sports stars into gods.

Is it too late to become a hermit and live in a hole?

EDIT: I found a photo which is likely a picture of this guy. All that’s missing is the cross.

tebow

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59 thoughts on “Dear God… (no pun intended)

  1. Rana,,

    Nothing to get too concerned about here, LOL. This world is full of crack pots spouting all kinds of non-sense….I even know where you might be able to find a few. Just realize that they live in their own litle world, where the logic and common sense don’t apply to them. Just better to ignore people such as that. I haven’t been doing this kind of thing very long, but I am getting better and better and determining when it’s worth my while to talk with someone.

    • Oh, absolutely, Ashley. I made two posts. One was simply, “Really? Wow, just…. wow.” The second was a few posts later after his praises of Tebow the Great and more bible quotes he claimed referenced Tebow’s great works. The second post said, “Dude, you are either on crack, cracked, or the greatest troll of all the internet. I’m choosing the latter, simply to preserve my own sanity. Bow to the Tebow Troll.” XD He wasn’t too happy with me about that.

  2. Hold on a moment here. They are not saying that Tebow is a god, only that he has, in their opinion, done more for the cause of Christianity than the Pope. Putting Tebow aside for a moment, why would we think it so strange that people in various walks of life that are not directly spiritual in title can glorify God more in those roles than in the overtly spiritual? When the runner Eric Liddle got flak from his sister about all the work he put into his running in preparation for the Olympics, rather than attending to ministry, he said, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” The issue is glorifying God in all we do. This makes the ordinary extraordinary.

    • P.S. And did anyone bother to look up the scriptures that were cited before they commented?
      The first cited was

      Acts 14:1-2
      1 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed.
      2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.
      (NIV)

      The second was
      Rev 3:8-10
      8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
      9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars– I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.
      10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.
      (NIV)

      They are speaking of Tebow’s Christian stand in a hostile world, and that he is willing to put that above his career. (Even as Eric Liddle did, in “Chariots of Fire”) Whether you agree with Tebow or not, you can at least respect him for what he is willing to put on the line for his faith. Much is said about hypocrisy among Christians. The man’s not perfect, but he certainly was willing to take a beating for his faith.

      • Thunder… if you had seen his thread you would understand a little more. He made it a point that only those who rooted for Tebow would go to heaven, that Jesus was playing football THROUGH Tebow’s body, and that Tebow would slay the Son of Satan… with a football. And yes, I did read the bible verses, because he posted them verbatim later in the thread. Those were only the beginning of it. Seriously, he was either the most brilliantly humorous troll I have ever seen or a complete crackpot. I’m usually not one to directly criticize others’ beliefs, you know this, but I have no other explanation for this guy. None.

        • Ok. Yeah I get it. That was over the top. And as you suggested, it might have been sarcasm – almost like a Saturday Night live parody on a famous person.

  3. Tebow, ugggh. As a fan of football, and a self proclaimed rationalist, I do wish the sands of time would hurry up and swallow this moron.

    “The issue is glorifying God in all we do. This makes the ordinary extraordinary.”

    Really? Personally, I find it disgusting when some religiot praises some dog every time they have some sort of success in sports. Does that mean the gods are taking an interest in sports and channeling magic powers to make said sports doof achieve some sport oriented goal? Does that mean our magical mystical gods are spending time making sports doof get a touchdown instead of using said magic powers to oh say…feed the starving or saving the busload of children from going over the cliff?

    Why people cannot find it within themselves to credit their team mates for executing the blocking scheme, which allowed them to get that touchdown in the first place, shows me something you aren’t seeing RT. Extraordinary indeed.

    • @Shelldigger. My comment about glorifying God in all we do did not get into the “How” we do it, or what exactly glorifies God. If some religious display either draws attention to ourselves, is false, or paints a distorted picture of who God is and how He works in us, this does not glorify God. But the idea of doing all we do in thankfulness to God, seeking Him first, and reflecting His image in all we do is the primary purpose and joy of mankind.

  4. @Shelldigger. More thoughts. Think of a woman giving a graduation speech. She thanks the teachers. She pats herself and her fellow students on the back for all their hard work, and talks about the promising future which they have all earned. Isn’t she forgetting some things here? How about her parents, who raised her, diapered her, fed her, paid for her college, endured her flak when she didn’t want to study, and counseled her to go to college in the first place? How about those who went before her who shed their blood so she could live in a free society? Now is it not also proper to thank God, who gave not only this woman, but all the others she is thanking, their very life and breath, who gives her the ability to study and succeed and even speak at this graduation? Aren’t we amiss when we fail to glorify the very source of life itself? Should she thank her teachers? Yes. Congratulate everyone on their hard work? Yes. But the greater thanks goes to God, who makes all this possible.
    Now if your issue is that you don’t like how Tebow is doing it, or that you question whether what he does is actually glorifying God, then I leave you to your opinion, except for this one observation: That Tim Tebow lives his life to God, not to you. But if your issue is the fact of whether we should seek to glorify God, or if it is a refusal to glorify God at all or assume any responsibility whatsoever to the Creator, that is an entirely different matter. If this is where you are at, you are in a very big boat in the company of a lot of people – a boat, I might add, that will one day sink. This is the question of the ages, and the primary issue that every human being on the face of the earth in all ages must settle in their hearts, with all eternity riding upon it. Consider this, however: If there is a Creator, He is worthy of nothing less than the honor of our living our lives to Him, and the greatest evil of all is not our failures toward one another, but our failure to recognized and glorify God. Nothing could be more ungrateful than to be given conscious life and the ability to do all we can do, then to take personal credit for it, spurn our Creator, His requirements, and His offer of eternal life. This question is much bigger than Tim Tebow. It is the question of how each and every living being will respond to the Creator. There is no question, no business, no activity that bears greater weight than this.

    • I get where you’re coming from, Thunder, but I can’t really agree with you on this one. I understand thanking god for allowing us the opportunity to be here, but many people thank god for working through them and doing things they have done. People don’t thank themselves, they give themselves and others no credit, for their own accomplishments. I might thank my parents for having me, for giving me the opportunity to exist, but that is where it ends. I thank my father for paying for my college, but I don’t go so far as to thank him for my grades. I earned my grades on my own, through my own work. God does not make touchdowns, God didn’t even create football. There is a point where the creator stops getting the kudos and the creation gets the kudos instead. There are many, like this nut, who never draw that line, and give credit for every (good) event in history to God and no one or nothing else. At the same time, they also blame all bad events on humanity or Satan. Now how is that fair? If God is the origin of all things, the Alpha, the beginning, why is credit for the bad not on God as well? God allows us to exist, so God gets credit for everything we do, yes? Well God also allows Satan and evil to exist, so is it not then proper to credit God for all evil as well? You can’t have a double standard regarding good and evil in this case. Either credit to God where it is due, or credit the individual properly for the individual action.

      • Several thoughts, Rana,
        You may have some misperceptions in how God “works through” a person. God works through a person much like a parent does. God equips, prepare, counsels, strengthens, co-operates with the natural creativity He’s already given. He does this by permission and in partnership. We are doing the work, but God stirs the hearts. In the case of Tebow, God first of all gave him a body that is capable of exceptional athletic performance. Then He places a specific call on the athlete’s heart (or scientist, or parent, or …whatever) The call does not equal accomplishment – only the possibility, and creates a tension between what is and what can be. Then comes training, responding to God’s wisdom, and so on. When I had my business, I often felt God working with me, giving me creative ideas, and working with my own personality. I’d be in a quandary over a certain situation, and the Holy Spirit would place in my heart a solution that involved my natural gifts, but went beyond them. It would be a solution that would work well for all parties involved, and everyone would immediately recognize it as the right thing to do. But even the ability to recognize and receive that solution came from learning God’s voice over years and allowing Him to prepare me for my current responsibilities. God also, except for in extreme circumstances, tends not to violate His own laws, or work INSTEAD of Tim Tebow, for instance. If Tim is out of shape, God will not make him suddenly run faster, as a rule. God will not interfere with the projectile of the football. God WILL, however, place plans on our hearts and dreams, and a path to those dreams. God will, for instance, bring just the right trainer into an athlete’s heart in response to his prayers and frustrations in his attempt to carry out the call.
        In regard to your other thought-line, though God did not “create” the football, He did create all that was involved in making that football – the pig that so graciously offered its leather 🙂 , the human ability, and so on. It is important to distinguish, however, the limits of our creativity in contrast to God’s. In Genesis it says that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, using the Hebrew word, “Bara”, which means, “to create from nothing”. In the subsequent steps in creation, the word “created” which it uses comes from the Hebrew meaning, “to create by rearranging.” This is what a florist does in arranging flowers, and what God did in “creating” man from the “dust of the earth”. Even our creative concepts come from an initial ability, which we did not create, and for which we can take no credit at all. In fact, I would suggest to you that for us to use those abilities in thanksgiving to God deserves no credit whatsoever (at least in regard to God), but is only reasonable for us to do. God gives resources, from which we can work and create, and will be involved in that process to the extent that we are willing to let Him, but not to the extent of violating His purposes for mankind (i.e., doing it INSTEAD of us, rather than WITH us. The whole concept of the incarnation, is “God with us”. God with man, which in the Hebrew is “Immanuel”, which we sing about at Christmas time. People get hung up with two diametrically opposed errors. The first is “God instead of us”, which ends in blaming God for evil, and the second is “Us without God”, which is the basis of secular humanism. The cutting edge is God in partnership with man, and it is an amazing thing to me that the God of all the universe would want to live, work, relate, and communicate with me. But He does, and I experience this on a regular basis. I often have the sense of being an instrument, which when offered to God, plays music which just somehow feels right. I have the sense of it being both part of me and beyond me at the same time – the “beyond” part not feeling strange or unnatural, but rather, as things were meant to be.
        In regard to evil in the world, I believe much is misunderstood by our failure to comprehend just how much significance and choice God has imparted to us as the apex of His creation – being created in His very image. If we cannot choose against God, and receive the exact results and consequences for doing so, then we are not free to choose at all. I say, “exact consequences.” This means reaping what we have sowed. God allows what we sow to come up from the ground – first the stalk, then the leaves, and finally the fruits. And that these “fruits” – good or bad, bear their own seed and reproduce on our own and “after their kind” – for good or for bad is just the nature of seeds. That we do not like the results of generations of bad sowing is not God’s fault.

        • I would agree that god works through us by giving us guidelines on which we can establish a happy lifestyle, a lifestyle which is good for us as well as those around us. However, to say that those guidelines are presented by god in our daily lives I find to be unfounded and, again, giving credit to god where it is not due. We are born as human beings with these guidelines. We can choose to ignore them, to take improper joy from ignoring them (people who find pleasure in killing and who do not have some kind of mental illness which impedes their judgment in the matter), but the concept of morality (aka the guidelines which we live by to be happy, the guidelines god offers us) are inherent to humans. They are not a Christian idea, nor even a monotheistic idea. They are a part of humanity. It is by our own thoughts and actions that we follow these guidelines or ignore them. On a personal basis, you may feel that god directs your thoughts to such things, and if so good for you. I would say it is likely that you simply can’t conceive that you, as a human being, could have such a strong conscience, and so give the voice of your conscience a different title, and believe that it is the voice of god instead. You can call it what you want, and if calling it god makes you happy, fine. I don’t think it’s fair to you as a person to give credit to someone else for your work, but it’s your choice to give credit to whomever you want. I believe that god trusts and respects us enough to guide ourselves in our own way, and to use the tools we can find in the creation it has made in this world to make our own decisions. I don’t think god needs to interfere, and I don’t believe it does.

          Again, god may be the source of all things, but that does not mean everything which comes from that original creation should be credited to god. If god wanted credit for it all, god would not have ‘made us in its image’ to create in the first place. I agree that there is no need for thanksgiving to god, because our ability to create, and creating in itself, is acknowledgement enough. If god needs more than that, if god needs praise for all creation and all the comes from it, then it should have just made angels and not created a being which cannot comprehend it, argues over its existence, and denies its existence. I’ve said this before, a parent does not have a child just so that child can serve the parent forever, a parent does not expect nor demand praise from a child for all the child’s accomplishments. A parent of this description is not loving and deserves nothing of what it wants.

          Your final response to good and evil is exactly my point. God gave us the choice. God is the origin or our ability to choose good or evil. It should then be credited to god the results of giving us that ability, no matter which choice we make. God allows us to choose good and is given credit for all good. In the same way, god allows us to choose evil, and should be given credit for all evil as well.

          In my belief, giving credit to god is only in that we have the ability to choose. God gave us choice, and for that, I acknowledge and appreciate the ability to choose. What I do with that choice is on my head, not god’s, and so all good choices I make are credited to me, as well as all bad choices.

  5. And as per the first ine in my first post, right on cue, here come RT with paragraph after paragraph of meaningless, idiotic gibberish. Maybe I’m clairvoyant? Ha ha ha
    Word to the wise Shelldigger, trying to use logic, common sense or reason with this person will get you absolutely nowhere. He knows one thing and one thing only: god is everything. He’s actually worse (if you cant believe that) than Geddy. Whereas Geddy was a creationist, this guy is a full blown theist (specifically Christian) and regularily uses the threat of hell (usually veiled or subtly implied) and as an argument winner (in his mind). A true test of patience.

    • @Ashely,
      You’ve stated that I” know one thing only: God is everything”. (I cleaned up your statement a bit by capitalizing the “G”) In this, you have me pegged to a “T”. This is precisely what I am saying, and trying to convey, and I make no apology for it whatsoever. Never has a person so hostile to me paid me such an overwhelming compliment. I would qualify your, perhaps over-enthusiastic praise of me in this only with this: You are merely stating my goal and desire, as I spend a lifetime growing closer to this end, which will only come to complete fulfillment in the next life. So thank you, and thank you for encouraging me on in the way, in stating that you’ve noticed my progression in this.

    • Yeah…I kinda figured 🙂 It is strong in this one.

      Just getting caught up on the comments, surprised this one took off as it did. Will probably chime in somewhere else in the thread when the urge hits me…

      • Yeah, it definitely snowballed! I’d really be interested in your input, Shell. Feel free to chime in wherever you like. ^_^ It got more heated than usual, so be ready. XD

    • @Ashley. I’m actually just giddy that through all my posts over many points, that the idea that it’s about God as center of all things has gotten across to you – regardless of what you think of that statement. In regard to Hell, and me making “subtle” statements about it – Let me state it outright for you. You are in grave danger. You have no guarantee of living out this very day – none. That is simply an indisputable fact. All men die – also a fact. In fact, you are never more than an instant from the possibility of death. These are not “crackpot” thoughts. This is reality. And given the possibility of imminent death, and the guaranteed irreversible nature of it, and your powerlessness in it, I would think you would approach the subject with a bit more humility and gravity. I say these things as a reminder, because it is very easy to get caught up in the illusion that things will always go on, and that death is very, very far away. But it’s very near. And in that moment, your friends here online will not be able to help you. You won’t be able to help your own self! It will be you, and the rightness or wrongness of your own beliefs. If it means the “wrongness” of your beliefs, it means just you and God. You will face your Creator. Only a “crackpot” would treat such a subject with such flippancy.

      • P.S. to Ashley. This is just something for you to tuck away in your head. I believe we will be coming upon times in this nation and in the world that will very much challenge your thoughts of self-sufficiency. I’m not even speaking of End Time tribulation events. I’m talking about financial upheaval, civil unrest, wars that actually touch us, loss of freedoms and oppressive government that those of us in American can scarcely relate to. I believe there are challenging time ahead (and no less for Christians, like myself) – times that will test the foundation upon which we are standing. What can be shaken, will be shaken. Again, just tuck this away. Perhaps you will recall me saying this while we are in the midst of it it. – That is, if you don’t croak first and go to hell. 🙂

  6. Rolling Thunder,

    Thanks for proving my point and for the heart warming Christian comments about me going to hell. I have a counter offer for you. GO FUCK YOURSELF.

    • Aaaaaaashley, control yourself. The only reason I’m going to let this one stay up is because Thunder started the direct insult throwing with the whole “croak and go to hell” comment. Sarcasm or not, that was uncalled for, but I’m going to keep both his and your comment up. But seriously, both of you, chill. I’m not going to let a full-on insult war erupt on here.

      • Rana,

        I made that comment “about first croaking and going to hell”, as an attempt to warm and ease the conversation, lightening it a bit (Notice the smile sign after the comment), and if anything, poking fun at myself – or at least his perception of me. (And Rana, I think you are perceptive enough to know this) But to Ashley I would say that he has Christianity confused with soft and fuzzy and “heart-warming”. Christianity is every bit as much about truth and justice as it is mercy. In fact, it is about the satisfaction of God’s justice through an excruciating and substitutionary death. Truth can be both heart-warming or terrifying, depending on our relationship to it. The truth of knowing that I have ten million dollars in my bank account would be heartwarming. The truth of knowing I am overdrawn would be disconcerting – yet to let a person know this condition would not be mean. It would only be an attempt to give him opportunity to square with this uncomfortable truth. What would be unkind would be to allow a person to rest in the false security of a bank account flowing with millions, when he is in fact broke and in debt.

        • Thunder, you of all people should realize the weight of condemning someone to a future in hell. That is not a light joke, nor an appropriate spin at sarcasm. If that was your intent, it was not well-presented, and even if it had been, I would not have been okay with it. Ashley actually posted his rebuttal before I finished my original response to you, but this is the end of it. I’m not okay with Ashley’s response much either, but that is why I am leaving both posts up and responding to each of you.

          • Rana,
            I condemn no one to hell or otherwise. Hell is serious, as you say. (And what could be more so?) Ashley seems to treat it very cavalierly, and his reaction to my also making light of it for a moment reveals that he deep down is not as comfortable with dismissing it so carelessly as he may attempt to portray, and I believe that THAT is what was touched upon here. As to “threatening”, I threaten no one. The things I speak of I have no power, nor do I pretend to have power, to back them up. They are only a threat if they are real – but not my threat, but God’s. Assuming this God I proclaim is real, then I, along with you and Ashley, live under the very same rules of play, which not a one of us controls.

          • Thunder, the words come out of your mouth, therefore they are your threats. Again, whatever your intention in your mind, the way you stated, “That is, if you don’t croak first and go to hell,” is a threat, that if Ashley dies before he contemplates and changes his ways, he will most definitely go to hell.

            For me it is not hell itself which is serious, but the implications behind hell and the concept of such a place. To say that a person is doomed to an eternity of torture, or fire and brimstone, or unhappiness, is very serious. I do not believe hell exists, but to tell someone that is their fate, judging the place of god, is not only hypocritical to Christian teachings, but is insulting to say the least.

          • Rana,
            A few questions for you.
            You seem to me to be a gracious person, and particularly sensitive to insults, and the like. But just something to think about: Given the possibility of hell, and its horrible and irreversible nature (by very definition!), is not offending someone necessarily of greatest importance? How many dire warnings do we hear about eating fatty foods and dying of a heart attack? (And some take these warnings more seriously than others. I personally get a lot of exercise, but don’t eat the healthiest, hoping it will somehow cancel out!) Are these people condemning us for our bad eating habits, or forewarning us according to what they see and believe to be true?
            I would also challenge your statement of “to tell someone that is their fate, judging the place of god, is not only hypocritical to Christian teachings” I’ve observed for some time now that non-Christians have some wrong and lopsided ideas of what the Bible says about judging. It is a Christian responsibility to proclaim what God says about judging. The kind of “judging” that the Bible condemns has to do with when we, out of our heart, wish evil upon another from a heart of “I could never do that!” This would be the case in not forgiving a controlling parent, and through this very unforgiveness, we end up growing up just like that thing we hated – as our lives are controlled by the unforgiveness like railroad tracks under the snow. In fact, the New testament calls us to warn and testify. It says, to save some with fear, and some with mercy, and some with fear and mercy. I do not subscribe at all to the politically correct and impotent version of Christianity that is going on in some of the churches today, where “tolerance” becomes the chief tenet of the faith, and “intolerance” the chief sin. Christianity is not about tolerance and not judging. It is about the incredible seriousness of sin (Yes, eternal seriousness), of our need to acknowledge that sin, of God’s provision for that sin, and of escaping the judgement we all very much deserve. Mercy and tolerance are two very different things.

  7. Rana,

    As you well know, I don’t take kindly to threats, veiled or not, sarcastic or not, real or not. I’ll not put up with something like that from a half-witted piece of garbage like him. Am I sorry I said that to him? Not in the slightest. But you have my assurances that I won’t be responding to any more of that moron’s comments. I’ve said my piece to him and that’s good enough. He’s a deulsional crack pot with absolutely nothing to add to any conversation and I must say I find it very perlexing that you keep an idiot like that around. I mean seriously, think to yourself – what has he contributed to any conversation about anything on here? The end result is always “believe as I believe or you’re going to hell”. What nourishment is there in a discussion of that kind? Has he EVER said anything that made you sit and pause and think for a moment? From what I’ve seen, it’s almost exclusively ranting and raving and bible verse quoting. Geddy, as stupid as he is, at least doesn’t resort to threats, so I have to at least give him some measure of respect for that. RT? Forget it.
    So I’m sorry if I’ve offended you but I just can’t let something like that pass. My original comment still stands however. I had no respect for that guy before, but somehow, I have even less now. How strange it is that he’s been told to leave other parishs or churches eh? People with a similar mind set to his (but not exactly the same) can’t stand him either. I’m shocked.

    • Trust me, Ashley, I’m not offended in the least, and I certainly don’t expect you to apologize to anyone. I’m simply asking that it stop here, for the sake of civility, and that is just as much toward Thunder as it is toward you.

      Regarding ‘keeping Thunder around,’ I can’t keep him from commenting if he wishes to. Being a theist, I enjoy the back and forth of conversation regarding god. It is Thunder’s goal to ‘convert’ me, whether he puts that in different words or not is irrelevant. I do not look to convert anyone to my way of thinking. I simply want Thunder to understand why I don’t believe as he does, and why I feel he should not act as if his belief is universal truth. I’m not going to get through to him, and he’s not going to get through to me. I realize that, and I don’t mind. Knowing how he thinks intrigues me, and it helps me to understand why I do not agree with him.

      As for Geddy, I’m afraid his stark idea that his perspective on logic is the only acceptable one bothers me a little too much. He makes the realm of logic look like the same thing as the realm of belief. His ‘logical’ deduction on god is a belief, and yet he does not see that. His insistence on his belief being logic is the same as insisting his belief is fact, a step beyond religion and into something far more concerning to me. You are right, though, he does not devolve his argument into threat, because he feels he does not need to.

      • Rana,

        I guess that’s where I’m going with this. You say “Knowing how he thinks intrigues me, and it helps me to understand why I do not agree with him.”. He doesn’t think. AT ALL. He spouts hateful religious nonsense ad nauseum about how you should believe as he does and that if you don’t, you’re going straight to hell backed up wtih appropriate bible verses and is trying to get you to swallow it wholesale too. That much is surely plain. Have you been able to get anything else out of him in any conversation? I don’t think you could ever accuse me of getting you to “come around” to my way of thinking. I ask questions, point out ridiculousness, point out logically fallacies in other’s way of thinking, etc. I don’t make claims about that which I can’t possibly know to be true. I question others that do. In return I get “you’re going to hell” from lunatics like RT or “no, you’re wrong, I’m right” from imbecilles like Geddy. Conversations like that are completely pointless.

        • I can agree that your descriptions, although harsh, are basically true. Thunder presents his belief and claims it to be truth, while I present my belief and claim it only as belief, using aspects of my belief to explain why I will not and, in good faith to my own humanity, cannot change to his belief. But again, I like trying to understand why people think/believe/at the way they do. It’s excruciating sometimes, and sometimes it gets old, but it still intrigues me. I suppose I’m just a sadist in that way. XD

          • Rana,

            Harshness is in the eye of the beholder I guess isn’t it? I saw in some later comments that you said I can be harsh. Fair enough, I’ll accept that critique. People don’t like being told that their beliefs are nonsense and so consider it harsh when told. I’m sorry, but I just can’t bring myself to grant respect to childish beliefs. But not very civil? Here, I must protest. I generally try my best to keep the ad hominem to a minimum and usually only respond in kind to uncivil remarks directed my way. I don’t make claims to know things that can’t possibly be known. I don’t threaten anyone nor do I use blackmail if they don’t accept my words as absolute truth. As I said before, I simply point out nonsense, faulty logic and hatefulness when I see it. If you’ll notice in this last exchange between myself and RT, he was the one that began with the threats (meaningless ones, but threats nonetheless) – threats that he doesn’t even consider as threats. “If you don’t croak and go to hell” is just a polite warning from a very concerned person according to him. THAT’S how poisoned his mind is! He doesn’t even recognize when he’s being a hateful prick! I am relieved to see that you see through that. I am also very relieved to see that you don’t feel I owe him an apology for it. I applaud your effort in trying to explain that to him, but honestly, do you REALLY think he’ll listen? Do you REALLY think he’ll take that to heart? Give me a break. You know damn well he won’t. Perhaps you think I was being uncivil referring to his posts as “idiotic gibberish”? Ok, let’s say I’ll grant you that too. I’ll certainly put it under the harsh category. But what was it really? Paragraph after paragraph of bible verses and how everything revolves around his imaginary friend god as per usual. This guy is a one note harmonica player. He’s EXACLTY the same as the other idiot who was glorifying Tim Teebow, whom you thought was either cracked, on crack or a troll I might point out.
            I came to be a contributor on your blog because I wanted to engage in discussions with other people (who may or may not be like-minded) so I can sharpen my wits, discover flaws in my own thinking and hopefully learn something in the process. To that end I have been somewhat disappointed. The people who are the most vocal on here are crackpots like RT and to a lesser extent spoplowski and Geddy. Shelldigger is one of the few I have met on here (besides yourself) that I can actually understand what he’s talking about. I’d never heard of the dunning-kreuger effect until he brought it up. I did some research and now consider myself slightly less ignorant. That’s the kind of thing I’m looking for. It is not so much what you think (which is important don’t get me wrong), but HOW you think – that’s the REALLY important part. Devoutly religious people are usually extremely good at telling you what they think, but fall apart when telling you how they think or why they think the way they do. I have a very simple explanation (which I am more than willing to have critiqued). They are brain-washed, terrified sycophants. In addition to that, they are ignoramuses on a gigantic scale and proud of it. There are many good religious people who are quite intelligent and are able to effectively practice cognitive dissonance very well. I have noticed that there appears to be an inverse relationship between the persons devout religiosity and their level of intelligence (as perceived by me or course – but there have been studies on this very phenomenon though which have coincided with my findings). I have noticed that the people who appear to be more intelligent, are usually the better written, the least threatening, the least preachy and the least certain (of their conviction that they’re right) of the bunch (someone such as yourself and AR Neal for example), usually because they know that what they believe is based on faith and recognize that threatening someone with a made-up hell is not very effective. I looked through the comments on this thread and have to say that I find it perplexing and disappointing that you would consider it worthwhile spending 20-odd posts bantering back and forth with RT so he can tell you that you don’t believe as he does and therefore are going to hell every 10 seconds. Did you learn anything from that? Did he take ANTYHING you said to him into consideration? Not a chance. I’m not trying to say that I have all the answers, because I don’t, but I can assure you that you’ll never learn anything (except that you’re going to hell) from that lunatic.

          • Ashley, in all honesty, the only thing I found uncivil about any of your posts so far was your response to Thunder, the ‘god fuck yourself’ comment. Again, I do not expect you to apologize for that, it was warranted I believe. And you are quite right, my discussion with Thunder is going nowhere, and the turns which it has made are disturbing to say the least.

          • Rana,

            Thank you very much for your latest comment. I agree it was uncivil, and was unsure if I should post it or not, but ultimately felt it appropriate. I don’t care what you think of me for saying this, but I just have to say it. I absolutely HATE him. I consider him (and people who think and talk just like him) to be my mortal enemy. Someone’s whose words and beliefs are completely and totally incompatible with any notion of decent discussion and the idea of a civilized society. Now he likely won’t actually DO anything other than talk about hell, but believe you me, people who think and talk in that manner are destroying any hopes of civilized society all over the globe with not just their words, but the actions to back up their threats. As far as I am concerned, he an ignorant, hateful, rotten shell of a human being. I don’t see a very big difference between him and your garden variety jihadist, save the details of the preaching and lacking the ultimate resolve to turn words into actions.
            However, you have my assurances that will be the last exchange between him and I. I have nothing more to say to that piece of garbage.
            Btw, is there anyway I can block his comments from appearing on my screen? if not, no big deal. I had been doing a pretty good job up to now and will redouble my efforts to simply keep scrolling when I see his name as the author on any posts.
            Anyhow, I see you’ve made a new post about being in the coffee shop so I’m intirgued!

    • I direct this comment to Rana.
      Rana, I would appreciate your answering Ashley’s question truthfully. Have I ever said things that make you pause and think for a moment? Please be honest. And how about other readers? I invite them to weigh in here as well. Back to Ashley: If I believed someone was as wrong and foolish as Ashley says of me, I would not react like someone who just sat on a tack. I believe that my comment struck very close to some dearly protected truths deep within his heart that he perhaps refuses to acknowledge. But get near them, and out it comes! Let me state this again. I believe that there is plenty of evidence for the existence of God, and plenty of motivation to deny that existence (We then cannot be our own god) I truly believe that there are no true atheists – only those who deny what they deep-down know to be true, and in this denial, become like a wound spring waiting to explode. I believe there are many that don’t know how this plays out, or understand the true nature of this God, but one cannot deny His existence without a complex and high-maintenance hardening of the heart. I believe that this is what we are witnessing here. Now Rana, that was a statement of what I truly believe. It is not an attack on Ashley (I’ve never even met him, for Pete’s sake) It may be strong, and it may elicit a strong reaction, but I believe that in itself it is not deliberately inflammatory. Cheers.

      • Thunder, you have. I did not deny that in my response to Ashley. His reaction to your comment was due to the insulting manner in which you referenced him dying and going to hell. Regardless of your actual intent, it came off as rude and threatening, and Ashley reacted equally with a rude and threatening response. That is the end of it. At the very least on this thread. Your opinion on the subconscious reason for his reaction is irrelevant.

        To both you and to Ashley: I see another post from either of you toward each other and I am going to delete it.

    • See my last response to Thunder before you post again, please. This is stopping now. My blog is not a Yahoo thread. (I’m not saying that in anger to you, I’m saying it as a general statement of exasperation)

  8. Rana,
    Why not let it ride? I can take what Ashley says. A little heat does not bother me at all. And as far as my always thinking my way is right, that’s not true. There was the time I thought I was wrong, but it turned out I was really right.

    • I’m not interested in what you can take.The discussion was devolving into insults (again, regardless of what your intent was, that is how it came across, and how it was going to continue). I’m ending the conversation, and that is the end of it.

  9. Thunder: If a person does not believe in hell or accepts the possible consequence of hell, your warnings are not going to mean anything. They come off as threats, not warnings, and will be responded to as such. Tact is needed if you want to ‘warn’ someone of hell who does not believe in it. For example, to say that I am on the way to hell would not phase me on a spiritual level, but would insult me on a personal level. In this case, it is not better to still announce such a ‘warning,’ as it only fuels feelings of contempt, anger, or indifference. It is the same with warnings of diet and exercise. Preach diet and exercise to someone who is gaining a few pounds out of a lax attitude, but someone who seems interested in staying healthy, by all means. You say the same thing, in the same way, to a 400 pound person who goes to McDonald’s every day, and I can guarantee you that person will get angry and offended. Why? Because they have heard it before. They either have tried and failed and given up, or they just don’t care. There is a time when a lost cause needs to be recognized, and a time when tact must be used in order to kindly and respectfully influence another.

    Regarding judging, I’m not getting into that discussion again, because it will end with the same thing as always. It is subjective. The definition of judgment and the interpretation of the context of judgment within the bible is up to the individual to determine. The actions of individual Christians determines for me if people are judgmental in a negative way, if they are simply justifying their hate through their personal definition of judgment according to the bible, and whether that individual is judging in place of god or simply stating their opinion without judging an entire person’s character on one aspect of their life. If Christianity is not about tolerance and not judging others, then I do not agree with Christianity. There is a point when agreeing to disagree is appropriate, and those Christians who I do not agree with do not know where that line lies.

    • Rana, not to go on and on with this conversation. (I’m seeking to exit it also), but on a very sincere note, do you really think Christianity is about tolerance and not judging? It may be important to note here, that a difficulty in our communications may be our assumptions in this very area. It is about righteousness, not our own, but God’s, and the path to it, which begins at the end of our own efforts and works. It is about a divine exchange – our insufficient righteousness for God’s all-sufficient righteousness. It’s not about “I’m OK, you’re OK, but rather, that we are in deep trouble, cannot save ourselves, but God has a plan and provision that takes care of it all. It’s about Lordship (and I know you don’t like that word, but I would not be a faithful witness to you if I said it were not) Who sits on the throne of our lives – us or God? It is about eternal life, and the fact that nothing vile, nothing imperfect, nothing broken, nothing evil can be part of God’s Kingdom, without defiling it. It’s about choices, with all eternity at stake. It’s about faith. Faith that supersedes sense knowledge, not contracts it. It’s about war. (Jesus said, “Think not that I came to bring peace on earth, but to set father against son, etc. etc.) It’s about an ultimate, complete, final, and all-encompassing war of the ages – after which, there will be peace for those on the side of righteousness. It will mean the utter annihilation of all that is evil – once and for all and forever. The Jesus of Scripture is a very different Jesus from the imposter that many uphold. Never confuse this Jesus with the politically correct, push-over, “smiley” Jesus that has not basis in either history or Scripture. And to put a little bug in your ear, this battle of the ages is intensifying. Those attempting to sit on a fence, and accommodate all beliefs will find this fence becoming increasingly sharp and uncomfortable. I believe God is moving people to decision points. Rana, you need not take my word for it, but do keep your eyes open. Watch world events. Consider that after 2000 years, Israel has become a state and come back to her land just as Scripture says, and that that tiny, tiny little country garners more world attention than nations multiple times larger and more powerful. Look how we are moving toward globalization, as Scrpture also predicted thousands of years ago. Look at the controls being put in place – NSA spying, on and on. The stage is being set for unprecedented central control – the kind that owning guns, hoarding food, and building a bomb shelters will do absolutely nothing to stop. Look at the banking systems, and their increasing reliance all upon one another. Consider that the “Mark of the Beast” of the book of Revelation is a mark that the Bible says, that without it no one can buy or sell. When, but now, with bar codes, international computerized banking, and the ability to monitor all of that, would this make a shred of sense? Things are coming together at blinding speed, and all according to Scripture. Though Scripture is very clear that “No one knows the day or the hour”, it is also very clear that as these times approach, it will be clear to those with their eyes open. Food for thought. Reply if you wish.

      • Yes, I believe that tolerance and lack of judging is what Christianity ought to be. Is that what Christianity is? Of course not, because humans distort it and all religions to be whatever they damn well please, to fulfill their needs for the times. When I was young, I read the bible from cover to cover twice with the fullest intent of basing my life on its teachings. The two most prominent teachings of Christ which resonated and held with me, even to this day, were: “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” and “Do not judge, lest you be judged; do not condemn lest you be condemned.” The more I grew, the more I saw these two great teachings distorted and manipulated, tainted in their meaning in order to justify individual Christians’ want to hate in the name of their god. Through this I began to see other distortions, other ways that individuals would bend their religious teachings to get what they wanted, to put others down, to make themselves feel good at the expense of others. I believed with all my heart that love of all people, no matter the slight differences between us, and giving up judgment of others based on those slight differences, were the greatest teachings of Jesus and I still do. I don’t need to believe Jesus is the son of god to think he was a good teacher, a wise man, and a just person. I still believe those two teachings are the greatest of his legacy, and instead of forsaking my belief, I left the religion which would have me hate rather than love and judge rather than tolerate.

        You say it is about righteousness. How many claim their own righteousness, turning it into pomp, in the name of god? Righteousness is haughtiness, pride in claiming to know, follow, and enforce the universal morality of god when there is no basis for you to know the exact line between morality and immorality, no consistency in following it, and no authority to enforce it upon the world. You say it is about divine exchange. Where is the line between a person’s self-proclaimed pomp and god’s righteousness? There is no way to determine this line, just as there is no way to determine the line of morality nor the line of good and evil. There is no one to trust but one’s self in the realm of finding that line, and I do not believe the Christianity holds the answers. You say it is about our inability to save ourselves. The only thing we need to be saved from is ourselves and the choices we make. Death will bring us that, whether we are saved through a journey to a form of heaven, saved through reincarnation into a different realm of reality, or saved through an absence of everything, with nothing awaiting us. You say it is about lordship, which can be taken down to a matter of worship. Do we worship ourselves for what we have, or do we worship god? The question then becomes, if god is the answer there, does god want to be worshiped? I don’t believe god wants us to worship it. If god does want nothing but worship from us, then god is no better than any other god of any other religion, and in creating us for the sole purpose of having worshipers, is an unloving creator to say the least. You say it is about eternal life and the choices which bring us there. To have eternity hanging on the balance of the choices we make in this minute about of time on this earth is to question why we were ever given the ability to choose in the first place, let alone be created with the ability to be tempted with wrongdoing. You say it is about faith. To this I agree, for what else allows us to consider god at all? You say it is about war. Now why is it a comfort to think that one’s religion is about war in any capacity? War is an aspect of conflict, an aspect of the existence of evil and its conflict with good. Why it is a comfort to support any concept of war is beyond me. Again, this is an example, to me, of distorting religious teachings in order to justify one’s hatred and the actions which that hatred prompts. If you are striving for the god of all goodness, how can you ever justify war? How can you justify conflict? You cannot, unless you distort your beliefs to illogically fit the mold.

        The rest of your post is also, again, using the Scripture to justify what you want to believe, that all the bad of our times are signs of the end. It is a tool of fear, even if you do not intend for it to be so. Reread your post, Thunder. Your whole second section is not a warning. I have read Revelation, you know this, you know that I know the story. You use that as justification to pick out aspects of our modern day and parallel them to Scripture, very loosely, and try to make me nervous that the end is possibly near. You want to make me afraid that I am wrong, and that if I don’t change my ways, I’m screwed. That is your message here. It is not friendly, although you convince yourself that it is with the best intentions. I have said it many times, and I will say it again. If hell exists, then the god of Christianity is real. If that is the real god, I accept hell as my punishment for being a good person of my own will and not in ‘his’ name. I accept hell and accept it with no regrets for my life or my eternal suffering. No creator that cares for its creations would allow such a fate to befall them. There is no justification for that, not even if you’re god.

        • Rana, by your own standards, are you not judging? Let’s see, you’ve judged that I am trying to elicit fear in you. You judged our comments as “rude and threatening”. How about “tolerance”? You said that you would not tolerated any more of this. Why? Because it’s your website. Why are you then offended that God has standards and requirements for the world He created? You speak of not offending, yet I found some of your comments today more personally offensive than Ashley’s. You’ve stated that Jesus was a “good teacher, a wise man, and a just person”, yet Jesus warned people multiple times about the fires of hell – in one place warning the Pharisees that they cannot escape the fires of hell, in another warning us to fear God who has power to cast both the body and soul into hell, “where their worm does not die” (“worm” representing a terribly degenerated state of being, where all that is left is the ability to experience this horrible place). There are other instances as well. May I suggest to you that mankind, in general, does not wish to be reminded of its responsibility toward God, and to do so usually brings swift condemnation, as we’ve seen today in the various posts. (Speaking of condemnation!) You said that righteousness is haughtiness. Self-righteousness is haughtiness. “Claiming to know”, or having certainty about anything of a spiritual nature is deemed by the politically correct to be prideful and haughty. Why does certainty draw out so much ire? I believe it is because hard lines of any kind define our place in relation to those lines. So long as they are not defined, then we can maintain the illusion of believing and doing as we wish and without consequences. Regarding my “trying to make you nervous that the end is near”, to that, I only say, “Open your eyes!” I am not trying to make you nervous. I am trying to make you aware. If the condition of the world and snowballing events make you nervous, then so be it. A little heightened alert might be a good thing. And in regard to war, as I’ve said, and Ashley has affirmed that I said, this thing is not just about us. It’s about God and it’s about eternity, and so much more.

          • P.S. In your comment that I found most offensive, you said, “I’m not interested in what you can take”. In other words, you were saying that this website is not all about me. Have you considered that God is not interested in what you think should be His standards for the world that He created?

          • To your PS comment, my apologies that I did not communicate clearly. When I said I was not interested in what you could take, I meant it in that your being able to take Ashley’s criticism was not part of my reasoning for stopping the altercation between you two.

            And yes, I have considered that if god is the god of Christianity, ‘he’ is not interested in my views on how ‘he’ should feel and act toward ‘his’ creations. I accept that god may disagree with how I think ‘he’ should run things, and again, may punish me for thinking so. I understand that possibility and accept it in believing what I do.

            • Rana,
              Taking a deep breath for a moment. Just think about this for a moment. Parents, hold inviolable standards in their homes, yet they love their children and are interested in them, want to hear from them, and will grant many, but not all of their requests. They give them freedom, but not boundless freedom. (They do not want their children to self-destruct, destroy others, or destroy their home. They have rules and requirements and responsibilities, even as you cannot just say “Anything goes” in regard to a simple website. Does this mean that you want to squash everyone’s opinions and creativity and don’t give a rip about them? Do you realize how if you were God, I could spin your clamping down on the comments today into making you a monster, a dictator, and a self-serving autocrat, without having any understanding of your responsibilities in maintaining your site, the goals of your site, and the fact that it is indeed your site. Rana, I am not trying to be prideful or arrogant. What do I do when I really do know God? Really have experienced Him? And really do have fellowship and communication with Him on a regular and life-changing way? Might it be selfish of me not to tell others, and untruthful and unfaithful of me to act like I really didn’t know? Again, there was a time when I did not know God. In fact, I can remember a guy sitting down next to me in a college cafeteria and very nervously trying to witness to me. He picked up on my discomfort and excused himself. Five years later, after making a complete mess of things, I had a powerful and instantly life-changing encounter with God. Know this, also, Rana. When I speak to you or Ashley, I have no expectation whatsoever of an immediate positive response. In fact I view the negative and reactionary responses as just par for the course. I’ve had people approach me years after my speaking to them and telling me that they had an encounter with the Lord, but at the time I spoke to them that it infuriated them. One said he actually hated me. Six years later he was thanking me – after coming to the Lord in the midst of a heroin addiction. I believe God was trying to spare him from descending down that path at the time I spoke to him. I spoke to another man, once, who said, “Man, I’m just not ready.” A week later he was dead. I just got an email yesterday speaking of things and confirming things I addressed 14 years ago in a certain setting. I’m not hung up at all on whether people receive what I am saying at the time. God is timeless, and all that is true will bear out in the end. I am persuaded that the truth is the truth, and once it makes penetration it makes it impossible for a person to stay the same. They will either change, or harden further – but they cannot remain the same. Also, anything that I, or anyone else says, is powerless, without the witness and work of the Holy Spirit. Without the power of God, it is utterly futile. Paul said that he did not speak with wisdom of words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power. My prayer for you, Rana, is that you would experience the power of God in a way in your life that you cannot deny His reality, presence, and true identity. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Take care.

          • Thunder, the difference is I do not judge you personally for any of the things you mention here. I deduced from the information which you presented, along with past experiences which match the situation here, that you were trying to convince me of hell’s existence and the implication that leaves my immortal soul should I not change my ways. From my perspective, that attempt was to instill fear. I know that was not your intent, and because I know it was not, I do not judge you as a person who wishes to instill fear in others. I find such comments, regardless of intent, to be rude and threatening. Again, because that was not your intent, I do not judge you for it. I also do not judge you for believing in hell when I do not. To clarify further, my intent when discussing judgment is judging another individual, especially in a negative manner. I cannot say that I never judge, as judging is in human nature. I do not, however, find it appropriate or acceptable to intentionally judge another due to slight differences, including religion.

            As for tolerance, you are correct. I was not going to tolerate anymore escalation between you and Ashley, because it is my forum on which you are discussing. I am not offended by the standards and requirements god puts on the world of its creation because I do not believe that god has such requirements for this world and our lives in it.

            I would like you to elaborate as to why my comment on Jesus as a good teacher, wise man, and just person is offensive to you. Is it that I do not believe him to be the son of god, and so do not take every word credited to him with the fullest belief?

            Being ‘politically correct’ has nothing to do with this conversation. Anything about spirituality is politically incorrect nowadays, so this whole conversation is out the window of political correctness. There is no way to determine a line between righteousness (I take it you mean the righteousness of god here) and self-righteousness, and so either righteousness is never haughtiness or it is always haughtiness. By the way people usually act when they consider themselves working righteously, I defer to the latter. It is possible I am wrong, but in my experience, sadly, that is all I have ever seen in regard to righteous action in terms of spirituality. Why does certainty draw out ire? If you are referring to me, I am not angry at your confidence, your certainty in your belief. Your belief, however, is only certain for you, not for everyone. Certainty does not equal truth except for the person who is certain.

            I am already aware, Thunder. I’m very well aware of the concepts of Revelation. The fact that you are certain the warning signs are there doesn’t mean they are. I see the parallels you make and I do not agree with your deduction.

            Your final comment on war explains nothing and answers none of my questions, which at this point does not surprise me. God is not a justification for war of any sort, on an individual, physical, spiritual, or universal basis. There is a very slippery slop that you are going down, I believe, in that you are content with the concept of war so long as you know what side your god is on. Again, using belief to justify action despite what logical morality would dictate.

            Finally, other than my mention of Jesus as a just man and saying that I’m not interested in what you can take, I see no other references to how I have offended you in my responses. I would like to either explain myself further or apologize for those incidences if you can point them out directly.

            I will admit, I am being very curt in these responses, so it is quite possible I am not coming off as polite or understanding. My apologies.

            • Rana, I think we have criss-crossing emails – with each of us writing responses simultaneously. Today’s conversation is a marathon! I hear of alleged “paid commenters” on Yahoo. Too bad neither of us gets paid for today.
              First, moat difference in religion are not slight. Differences based on truth will lead to life, and those based on lies will bring destruction. Maybe we should just acknowledge that these differences really do matter.
              In regard to Revelation, changing times, and so on, all I ask is that you watch the times carefully, and consider. That requires no response from you to me at all. Just watch. I believe that the pace of things will increase greatly – albeit in birth pains, which hit, them subside, hit stronger, then back off. But the baby is surely coming.
              Regarding war, this is a legitimate question and I understand the apparent conflict. First, let’s get out of the way the fact that warfare is a huge part of both the old and new testaments, with it shifting to warfare in the spirit in the new. All warfare is costly and ugly. It exists because there is inherent conflict of both good and evil, and different kinds of evil and selfish interests. God does not want us fighting the latter kind. (I.E. fighting over money, oil, territory, etc.) But God does want us fighting wars that come down to fighting evil. In other words, our comfort is not highest on God’s agenda. I think you would agree (at least I think I think you would!) that to use physical force to stop a man who is torturing children, or who opens fire in a movie theater, would be a right use of force. This would be a kind of warfare. Wars are necessary in that evil does not rest. We were trying to stay neutral when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, but like it or not, war was upon us. Next, war often involves defending responsibilities. It would not be right, for instance, for me to stand idly by while someone raped my daughter, if I had power to stop it. Next, once we enter into the territory of warfare, we are, in the righteous case, acting to defend or protect our interests (our families, etc.), and have come to a point where we cannot defend them without destroying the interests of the other party. The other party has placed us in this situation. Another principle is that when we do not properly fight our spiritual battles, we end up fighting physical battles. The spiritual precedes the physical. Next, have you considered the possibility that war, hell, and other things may indeed be necessary, but that from our limited perspective, we often do not understand it? I know that as an employer, my employees often did not understand my policies. Then after bring one or two into the office, and they are dealing with the way that employees can be, all of a sudden they get it. Might God, who is from all eternity, know a thing or two that we just don’t get – about ourselves, about Him, about good, and about evil? And finally, warfare is a clash of kingdoms. God makes no bones about the complete incompatibility of His Kingdom with the kingdom of darkness. These two cannot occupy the same ground without mortal conflict, any more than oil can mix with water. The very heart and nature of these two kingdoms are contrary to one another. Anyway, I think it’s time for me to go to bed. We can solve the world’s problems in the morning – that is, if the world does not end tonight and you are not all in hell. Now come on, SMILE!

          • Thunder, you have experienced god in your life, and to you that experience fits the Christian ideal. I have experienced god just the same. It is just as real for me as your experience was and is for you. Your proclamations about your experience are respected and commended, but the fact is they are yours and yours alone. My experiences are mine, and I am faithful and content with them. What do you do when you have experienced god? Share your story and move on. If people take it to heart, so be it. If they experience god in a different way, so be it. If they ignore you or belittle you because they don’t understand, so be it.

            I’m not going into your discussion on parents, as I’ve already had that discussion with you many times.

            “Does this mean that you want to squash everyone’s opinions and creativity and don’t give a rip about them? Do you realize how if you were God, I could spin your clamping down on the comments today into making you a monster, a dictator, and a self-serving autocrat, without having any understanding of your responsibilities in maintaining your site, the goals of your site, and the fact that it is indeed your site.” Yes I do, but I am not god. I am a human being, and this blog is not the universe. Also consider that I am an active part of my blog, directly interacting as myself in the comments field, and so not a proper comparative to god.

            I encourage dialogue and discussion on my site, so long as it remains somewhat civil. I recognize that Ashley is a very harsh person, and so is not very civil or polite in his comments. I recognize this as part of his character, and since he began following my blog and commenting, those who have interacted with him, as I have observed, (although I may have done so poorly) have also recognized his harsh nature and accepted it as part of the dialogue. I still hold that I have asked him to calm down in other threads, perhaps not ones which you have been a part of, and that this was another instance of such an occasion. It is my blog, and I attempt to hold a set of loose standards on it, but that does not mean that I can be completely consistent, especially consistent in the eyes of all the people who follow it. I am human. God, however, is above such things, and does not need to justify itself to us nor confine itself to how we interpret consistency. I agree with you there. I believe in god and I have an idea of how god thinks and why. But I do not know for sure. I don’t believe you know either, although you certainly believe. This isn’t about knowing, it’s about believing, and when you cross that line from belief to universal knowledge is where we don’t agree.

  10. Rana, think of your statement. You said, “Also consider that I am an active part of my blog, directly interacting as myself in the comments field” God is also an active part of His world. He has not written Himself out His own script.

  11. Thunder, I’m going to skip down to the war discussion, as the rest need not be dwelt on anymore. You are still justifying the concept of war through god. The thing which I agree with most in your statement is this: “It exists because there is inherent conflict of both good and evil.” War does not exist because evil exists, it exists because both good and evil exist as conflicting parties of one another. The rest of your discussion on war comes down to the perspective of the individuals acting in that war. Whether it be a war between individuals or countries or ideas, the fact is each side thinks that they are in the right, that they are fighting for the good side. The necessity of self-defense, and the consequences of physical defense as you suggest with the daughter being raped scenario, are not justified by god, they are justified by morality, which is inherent in each individual. God may be the origin of morality, yes, but this inherent knowledge of the extremes of morality (thou shalt not kill, etc.) is instinct for humans. Those who turn away from the most basic and extreme sides of morality (serial killers, rapists, etc.) either consciously turn away from morality because they feel immorality/evil makes them happy, or they are mentally imbalanced and so do not understand even their most basic instincts, to include morality. I hold to the fact that we, as human beings, are bound by this conflict, and so war is inevitable for human beings. I still do not see how one can justify such conflict through god. This goes right back to the beginning argument of giving credit to god or to man.

    • Rana,
      Think of war, in regard to God, as the inevitable conflict between His perfect Kingdom, and choices that are made contrary to that Kingdom. Unless God intends to surrender His Kingdom (which He most certainly does not – and why should He, it’s perfect?) then the result is war. At the fall of Lucifer, it says that war broke out in heaven, and Satan was cast out. There was no war, until Satan chose to challenge God’s rule, and right to rule. But once he did, the warfare came on swiftly and decisively. God by all means will protect His Kingdom and interests. That this drags out in our current age is not because God is weak or slack, but rather because He is patient, not wanting any to perish without a chance of repentance.

      • Again, you are justifying war through god. I agree, war is the epitome of conflict, the ultimate confrontation between good and evil. If god is truly all-powerful, above evil, and so above conflict, which is god’s interaction with evil, why does god not simply eliminate evil and conflict, and make the universe all-good? You say it is because god is patient and wants no one to perish without a chance at repentance. If there was no evil, there would be nothing to repent for, and all people would be saved by default. This, however, would cause man to lose its ability to choose, losing the one quality which makes man different from beast. So it becomes a loop of forced failing. God gave us choice, which makes us rely on evil in order to be human, and not mere animals. This forces us to not only experience evil, but have the possibility to turn from god. God, for some reason, requires that we turn to ‘him’ during our lifetimes, and if we do not, we damn ourselves to an eternity without god. Again, god judges us and eternally damns us for being human and having the ability to choose, which was god’s choice to allow us to do in the first place. Essentially god created man in order to have a creature it could hold responsible for its actions, a creature it could judge, despite the pain it would cause that creation. God allows evil to exist so that we can be tempted to turn from god, and so god has justification to damn us for eternity.

        Mind you, I don’t believe this to be truth, but this is the only way I can understand the Christian ideal. It is all a loop of failing, which those who believe in it are comfortable with because they believe they are going to be saved, and so it’s okay.

  12. Rana,
    You had asked me if I would point out directly what I found offensive about your remarks in this matter between myself and Ashley. It’s a fair question, and after answering your post that contained that questioned, I realized I had forgotten to do so. The reason I’d forgotten is because I am not focused on a few insults here and there, but on the more important points. When discussing these sensitive topics, I am not surprised at all that an insult should slip out here and there. There really is a spiritual battle going on here, and nowhere in my expectations is the idea that a few bumps and scrapes are not part of this. But I appreciate your openness to constructive criticism, and that alone merits an honest reply. I will address the issue of Ashley, how you addressed it, and go further to the validity of bringing up the issue of eternal judgment.

    In general, my thought was that Ashley not only hauled off on me in his last comment (which bothered you, not me, and that’s fine), but that from the outset, his comments just dripped with insults and ad hominem attacks. (Which also did not bother me. I take them for what they are.) Let me list the progression:
    • His very first comment, before I said a word directly to him included: “And as per the first line in my first post, right on cue, here come RT with paragraph after paragraph of meaningless, idiotic gibberish. Maybe I’m clairvoyant? Ha ha ha.” And “Word to the wise Shelldigger, trying to use logic, common sense or reason with this person will get you absolutely nowhere.” And ended with “A true test of patience”. You may speculate about the motive of my speaking of eternal judgment, but no speculation is needed here. Also notice that he is not even addressing me directly, but attempting to rally a band of support from you and Shelldigger.
    • My next comment to Ashly was. “P.S. to Ashley. This is just something for you to tuck away in your head. I believe we will be coming upon times in this nation and in the world that will very much challenge your thoughts of self-sufficiency. I’m not even speaking of End Time tribulation events. I’m talking about financial upheaval, civil unrest, wars that actually touch us, loss of freedoms and oppressive government that those of us in America can scarcely relate to. I believe there are challenging time ahead (and no less for Christians, like myself) – times that will test the foundation upon which we are standing. What can be shaken, will be shaken. Again, just tuck this away. Perhaps you will recall me saying this while we are in the midst of it it. – That is, if you don’t croak first and go to hell. “ First notice that I began in an entreating manner, “This is something for you to tuck away in your head. I moved on to what I see happening in the country. I then affirm for him to just “tuck it away”. In other words, I am not asking him to believe it – only to consider it as he himself watches world events. Then after my infamous statement in regard to hell, I end it with a smile sign. Those smile signs exist for the express purpose of letting a person know, when writing, that you are being light and humorous, because in this venue, where we do no have the benefit of seeing expressions and body language, and discerning voice intonations, this sort of thing is wide open to misinterpretation. The joke is not about Hell. It was merely a way to lighten up our differences as I related to him on the subject. And Ashley’s response? I need not repeat it. (Though from working years in the commercial electrical construction field, and years of running several dozen of my own construction employees, this kind of language is nothing new or shocking to me at all)
    • I guess I felt that, in the interest of peace, you attempted to assign equal blame, and I do not believe equal blame was merited.

    Now to the issue behind the issue: the issue of Hell, and whether it is right for me to speak about it and whether it is a violation to a person to state where I believe they are at in relation to it. I awakened at 3:30 early this morning with yesterday’s banter back and forth suddenly distilling in my mind with great clarity. My thoughts go something like this:
    • To speak of Christianity, without speaking of eternal judgment, makes a mockery of Christianity, a mockery of the cross, and a mockery of the Savior. If there is no Hell to be saved from, then Jesus would have died as a fool, and the message of Christianity is utterly irrelevant. What would Jesus have to offer you, if you are really a “pretty good person”, or if “God will not judge”. And by the way, even beyond the distortions in application I often see in regard to Jesus saying, “Judge not, lest you be judged”, it is extremely important that God also says, “Judgment belongs to God.” Also “Leave room for God’s wrath”. And “It is appointed for men once to die, then the judgment.” And “God will judge the living and the dead”. “He will judge the world in righteousness”. And “Every knee will bow before Him, every tongue will confess to God. God is certainly not under this “Don’t judge” constraint, and that’s all that matters. Why would it matter to you or Ashley, even if I were “judging”? I have no power to carry it out anyway. The issue is that ultimate judgment belongs to God, and God does have power to carry out His judgment, and there is not a soul that can prevent Him from doing so. Beyond this, it is completely proper, and even a duty to warn people of God’s eternal judgment, just as people warn us all the time about the judgment of getting a ticket for speeding. They even set up flashing reminders along the highways, just in case we’re absorbed with other things. The person warning isn’t doing the judging. He’s just informing of another’s judgment.
    • The apostle Paul encouraged believers to grow beyond the basic foundations of the faith. He listed these six foundations in Hebrews 6:1. They are: the foundation of repentance from dead works, of faith toward God, the doctrine of baptism (in the spirit we’re buried with Christ, and therefore raised with Him), laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. We simply cannot strip the idea of eternal judgment from Christianity and still have Christianity, any more than can take the cheese out of a cheeseburger and still have a cheeseburger. Yet this is precisely what most people attempt when arguing against Christianity. They attempt to derail the argument by tying the hands of the believer by reframing the issue, making it taboo to even discuss judgment or Hell, as being “hateful”. They then attempt to substitute “tolerance” as the cardinal rule, the cardinal foundation of all that is called God. The lie, however, is right there. “Tolerance” has very little to do with Christianity. Patience, yes, but not “tolerance”. Scripture tells us to hate even the hint of sin. (The sin, not the sinner) Christianity involves first, the knowledge of our terrible spiritual state before God, God’s provision to resolve it, turning to God and this provision, a surrender of our lives to Him, and then receiving mercy. The goal of this process is full and complete restoration to God. “Tolerance” has got nothing to do with this entire process. God is wholly intolerant of sin of any kind.
    • I refuse to engage in debate from a faulty foundation, and I refuse to apologize for the fact that God is intolerant of sin, and will judge the world. His mercy merely means that He prefers repentance over judgment. (And by the way, to repent means to “turn around”, and does not fundamentally have much to do with saying that we are sorry. Repentance is an action and a decision. Faith is also a decision, by the way. It is a decision to put one’s trust someone or some thing – in God, in money, in intelligence – in whatever. The question is whether what one places their faith in is big enough and willing enough to come through for them. Ashley seems to have much faith placed upon his own intelligence, and much derision for those he deems less intelligent than himself. I have little idea of his intelligence in relationship to mine, and care even less. Intelligence will not carry the day, and certainly does not bear much weight with God. By intelligence we will not be saved. A person can lose his intelligence in a moment – in a single car accident, or through a longer process by disease. (A good friend of my wife and me just placed his wife of 40 years, who has severe Alzheimer’s, in an institution. She’s only about 60 years old, it came on suddenly, and she wanders from the house and ends up miles away.) Certainly intelligence, wealth, power, and good looks are all fleeting – if they do not diminish long before death, they certainly do after death – at least in regard to the body that we can observe. “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.” (Eccl 7:2 NIV)
    • And finally, why should you, or Ashley, or anyone, find what I am saying in regard to eternal judgment offensive or “fear mongering”? Could I not also say that Ashley’s declarations that there is no afterlife is offensive and a cause for fear – that is, if I were not anchored sufficiently in my own beliefs to the contrary? This whole episode really crystallized something in me – the idea of just how hostile the world is to the idea of eternal judgment, and that it will do anything to get people to stop talking about it. Can’t you just get that guy off your site, Rana? Why do you “tolerate” him here! He talks gibberish! He’s intellectually inferior. Why do you listen to him? Is this kind of talk anything but an attempt to intimidate, humiliate, ridicule, and knock off balance? If I’ve infuriated this man to the extent I did through my speaking of eternal judgment, I can only assume he takes me a lot more seriously than he lets on.

  13. Wow. Gotta admit I glazed over most of RT’s stuff, simply to keep my head from imploding.

    Rana, I don’t envy your position, being the keeper of the peace, but I get where you are coming from, and Ashley probably responded better than I would have 😉

    RT, you got a bible up your ass, you might want to get that looked at. It probably interferes with the way you walk, as well as how your brain works. Hell, devils, leprechauns, fairies, all things magical do not exist. Nor do your gods. To take a belief in things magical, to the level of authoritarian smuggery that you possess is the absolute pinnacle of religious piety that can be achieved. Congratulations.

    Now, pardon me while I go puke. Someone contact me when he forms a coherent thought that jives with reality. Belief is not greater than evidence based reality. Belief is trusting in a concept despite a lack of evidence, or even contrary to existing evidence. Belief in things magical is the worst possible position one can take, when naturalistic evidence is abundant. Willful ignorance, self delusion, and playing in the sandbox of “what if” is the small world of a theist. RT, your entire argument is based on a book that has no value as a source of reliable information, it is a book written by men, fallible men, with an agenda.

    Now, lets play the “what if” game. What if RT and his kind were right after all? Everyone that wants to spend an eternity in some version of heaven with RT and all of those like him, please raise your hand.

    I’d take hell any day over that possibility, I could not even spend a few minutes reading everything RT posted, let alone spend an eternity with it. Hell, I will light the damn fire. I may have that put on a T shirt…

    • @Shelldigger,
      You put on quite a show of bravado that I don’t believe for a moment. Go talk to some prisoners of war who spent just six years in some ungodly Vietnamese cage, then visit the loneliest, darkest, most forsaken hole in the ground you can find, and maybe swing over and check out the Mayo clinic or Hershey Medical burn centers, then come talk to me. If you still feel so powerful and untouchable by fear, death, darkness, and pain – I don’t know – try holding your hand in the deep fryer at McDonald’s for just ten seconds, and tell me how being fully immersed in fire without end sounds to you. You are rationalizing, but not really thinking, shooting off wise-sounding cracks, but cracks no sane person could possibly truly mean, and cracks that will not sound so big when you are not surrounded with crowd of like-minded people. The issue of God is an extremely volatile issue, isn’t it? People react to it like no other. You have no idea who this God is. If you could stand in His presence, let alone speak without Him specifically touching you and strengthening you to do so, it would be more than any human being is capable of doing. Take care.

  14. You know RT, you know nothing about me, or the miles walked in my shoes. So I will overlook your ignorance on this one. I worked a job for 30 years where I was a lot closer to death on a daily basis, than most people experience in a lifetime. I have been in the loneliest, darkest hole you can imagine, faced my fears, have had ample opportunity to contemplate the possibilities of my own demise, and am lucky to still be here. Death doesn’t scare me, no one in their right mind wants to die, but it is an inevitable fate. No use in fearing that which awaits each and every one of us. I know when my time comes, I will miss the things in life that bring me pleasure, my kids, the sunrise, all good things that man can experience. I can only hope that death is as much of an adventure as life has been. I’m pretty sure though that it’s lights out…worm food. I had my time, my kids will continue the line, as is evidenced by every species to date. I can die a happy man, knowing I will live on in the memories of those who know me, and in the genes imparted to my offspring.

    As to the evils perpetrated by men, I have no doubts. We can be at once both a caring, and destructive species. Anyone with one eye can see that. None of these unpleasant things makes me want to believe in any hooga booga B.S. to satisfy some irrational fear.

    Projection. Look it up.

    • @Shelldigger. I mean these comments respectfully, yet I do mean to challenge you with them. You seem to me to be taking a posture that reminds me of a humorous bumper sticker: “Non-smokers just can’t face cancer”. In the list of awful things I presented, you said nothing about fire. It strikes me that in the burning Trade Center on 911, people chose leaping a terrifying 90 stories over facing the flames. You mentioned that men can be both caring and destructive. Very true. You also said, “I will miss the things in life that bring me pleasure, my kids, the sunrise, all good things that man can experience.” Also true and understandable. Have you considered that God allows us to experience both good and evil in this world for a purpose? We see great courage, love, and joy, but also unspeakable cruelty and horror – all under one big dome. I would suggest to you that right now these things are mixed – dampening our joys and frustrating our goals, but also mitigating our sorrows. God shows us enough of each for us to make our choices. Besides the wonders and experiences beyond what I’ve ever known in this life, in heaven I look forward to the complete absence of evil. No spoilers, no rotten attitudes, no pain, no lack, no fear, no locking yourself out of your own home because there are no thiefs in the first place. But as God separates all things (He will allow no evil whatsoever into His Kingdom), all that is good is also separated from Hell. No sleep after a difficult day, no rest, no relief from pain, no encouraging word in the midst of despair (Indeed, all-consuming despair will be a way of life there – like the sign over the entrance to Hell in Dante’s Inferno, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter”), no quenching of thirst, continual lack, hunger, irritation, regret, distrust – in short – all of the evils and abominations of this life all concentrated into one place, and forever. Jesus spoke of “where their worm does not die”, meaning that everything is good is eliminated except the ability to experience it. Being created in God’s image, I believe that God cannot morally snuff out conscious, self-aware life, incredibly significant life, and so it lives on. God gives the choice to reject Him, but does not let us pick and choose what attributes of Him we are rejecting. If you reject the God of peace, comfort, joy, love, rest, etc. then you forfeit those things along with it. Also God is love, and God is omnipresent (By very definition, He cannot remove Himself from His universe) To experience the fire of His love (which is passionate – not indifferent (indifference is not love at all), will be experienced as intense and furious in a fallen state – spurned love, if you will. Remember that this is God. What do we understand about the power of a being that is self-existent, eternally existent, and created all things from nothing? Go back a trillion trillion years, and you will be no closer to His beginning. My goal is not to intimidate you with these things. You’re right. I do not know you (And neither do you know me) My goal is to inform you. Not even God seeks to overrun our choices. But He does inform. He does not overwhelm with fear so as to intimidate us into a choice for Him, but like any good father, He spells out the consequences for our choices very clearly, then releases us to them, albeit with reminders and a few checkpoints and road blocks along the way. And finally, I’d like to leave you with this thought: Nothing could be of greater consequence. If I am wrong, and both you and I are merely standing on the edge of oblivion, then I would not even experience a twinge of disappointment. In annihilation there is no joy, pain, disappointment, or even awareness – there is nothing. Consider also that that state is unimaginable. As hard as you try, you are the one conscious being in the room thinking about it! Now if you are wrong, on the other hand, then the two of us will experience RADICALLY different eternities. People like to call Christians “zealots” and “radicals”. I accept the charge. We are speaking of radical matters here!
      Now it is also important to understand that I am not merely flipping a coin in my beliefs. First, I am persuaded of God’s existence from Creation – from the intricacy of the eye, the mind, the order in the universe, beauty, and conscious life itself. But next, I’ve experienced this God, and do regularly. And this was not always true. I came to a crisis point and decision point in my life – actually near suicide at age 23. I took a walk down a country road and said, “God, I want to live. Show me who you are and what I must do, and I will do it.” That’s all God needed from me. He rapidly began to reveal Himself in my life. My eyes opened to things I formerly never noticed. I experienced his speaking to my heart, His working, His promises in difficult situations, and His solutions that nearly always were beyond my own understanding at the time, but proved faithful and wiser than anything I could cook up. I KNOW this God. He is very real. It is now 33 years past that critical decision point in my life, and my love for God and my relationship with Him only grows and strengthens. I find that just when I come to the end of my current understanding of who He is, He blows my mind with something new – and the new does not contradict the old. I have the feeling of a person who first only knows their own home and back yard, and later comes to understand that this is located in a town. Then one day he realizes there are other towns, states, and even nations across the ocean. Then, just when you’re amazed by the size and diversity of the planet, you realize we’re in a solar system, then a galaxy with 200 billion other solar systems, with the closest of these 4 light years away (about 25 trillion miles) Then, you come to understand that there are billions of these galaxies. I believe I will be discovering God throughout eternity in just this fashion. Heaven is not sitting on a cloud polishing harps. It is life, community, friends, adventure, discovery, beauty, creativity – containing the heart of the things we enjoy here, but unspoiled and magnificent beyond what we’ve ever known. There will be no boredom. We will experience awe, but without fear – with even the most intense experiences bearing about them the security and comfort of home – as when we smell bread baking in the background. We like Superbowl games. I believe there will be great heaven-wide events. We like the intimacy of talking or eating with a friend. We will do this, but without the pain of fallen relationships. Eternity is before us. How we will spend it is before us as well. May I implore you, in light of the inevitability of death and the uncertainty of its timing, to choose wisely? Take care.

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