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The Night Owl
12-08-2008, 12:50 PM
A fascinating radio piece about a Pentecostal preacher who stopped believing in Hell...

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=304


Quote:
304: Heretics

The story of Reverend Carlton Pearson, a renowned evangelical pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who cast aside the idea of Hell, and with it everything he'd worked for over his entire life.

Prologue.
Carlton Pearson's church, Higher Dimensions, was once one of the biggest in the city, drawing crowds of 5,000 people every Sunday. But several years ago, scandal engulfed the reverend. He didn't have an affair. He didn't embezzle lots of money. His sin was something that to a lot of people is far worse: He stopped believing in Hell. (2 minutes)

Act One. Rise.

Reporter Russell Cobb takes us through the remarkable and meteoric rise of Carlton Pearson from a young man to a Pentecostal Bishop: from the moment he first cast the devil out of his 17-year-old girlfriend, to the days when he had a close, personal relationship with Oral Roberts and had appearances on TV and at the White House. Just as Reverend Pearson's career peaked, with more than 5,000 members of his congregation coming every week, he started to think about Hell, wondering if a loving God would really condemn most of the human race to burn and writhe in the fire of Hell for eternity. (30 minutes)

Act Two. Fall.

Once he starts preaching his own revelation, Carlton Pearson's church falls apart. After all, when there's no Hell (as the logic goes), you don't really need to believe in Jesus to be saved from it. What follows are the swift departures of his pastors, and an exodus from his congregation—which quickly dwindled to a few hundred people. Donations drop off too, but just as things start looking bleakest, new kinds of people, curious about his change in beliefs, start showing up on Sunday mornings. (23 minutes)

Postscript: Carlton Pearson renamed his church after the story was produced: It is now called New Dimensions.

Song: "Let the Church Roll On," Mahalia Jackson

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 12:53 PM
Hell is the single most misunderstood and mistought aspects of Christianity.

M21
12-08-2008, 12:58 PM
TNO always good for a laugh. :D See ya next month.

Speedy
12-08-2008, 01:06 PM
I can't wait for all of the upcoming "I stopped believing in Obama" stories.

wilbur
12-08-2008, 01:06 PM
Hell is the single most misunderstood and mistought aspects of Christianity.

Like most things in Christianity, doctrine on hell has been fluid and changing... and the various branches treat it very differently.

Whats amazing is that belief in it's traditional form (fire, eternal suffering) has persisted so long.... there simply is no rationalizing an all good, all loving, all forgiving God, as compatible with such a concept no matter how hard one tries.

That being the case, we've seen a shift to a more benign conception of hell... as just annihilation, not eternal suffering.

And where have you been TNO? Welcome back.

The Night Owl
12-08-2008, 01:13 PM
And where have you been TNO? Welcome back.

Oh, I've been around. I just haven't had much time to read or post lately. But thanks for the welcome back anyway.

:D

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 02:39 PM
Like most things in Christianity, doctrine on hell has been fluid and changing... and the various branches treat it very differently.

Whats amazing is that belief in it's traditional form (fire, eternal suffering) has persisted so long.... there simply is no rationalizing an all good, all loving, all forgiving God, as compatible with such a concept no matter how hard one tries.

That being the case, we've seen a shift to a more benign conception of hell... as just annihilation, not eternal suffering.

And where have you been TNO? Welcome back.wilbur - since as an athiest you are as about as qualified to speak to the truths of Christianity as I am as a man am qualified to speak to the discomforts of a period.

Rebel Yell
12-08-2008, 03:18 PM
Whats amazing is that belief in it's traditional form (fire, eternal suffering) has persisted so long.... there simply is no rationalizing an all good, all loving, all forgiving God, as compatible with such a concept no matter how hard one tries.


A father can disown his son, but never stop loving him at the same time.


I, personally, don't believe hell is a lake of fire. The Bible speaks of darkness alot more than the one instance that hell is referred to as a lake of fire. I believe that when a person dies, they will stand in the presence of God and will be cast out. Knowing that God is real, he is your creator, and you can never be in his presence again, is hell.

Rebel Yell
12-08-2008, 03:19 PM
A fascinating radio piece about a Pentecostal preacher who stopped believing in Hell...

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=304

Were you molested by a priest as a child or something? I wish more Christians were as obsessed with their religion as you are.

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 03:28 PM
A father can disown his son, but never stop loving him at the same time.


I, personally, don't believe hell is a lake of fire. The Bible speaks of darkness alot more than the one instance that hell is referred to as a lake of fire. I believe that when a person dies, they will stand in the presence of God and will be cast out. Knowing that God is real, he is your creator, and you can never be in his presence again, is hell.the biggest problem is that people get stupid and start connecting temporal attributes to something that is celestial. FIRE has more in meaning than just a physical flame.

Rebel Yell
12-08-2008, 03:36 PM
the biggest problem is that people get stupid and start connecting temporal attributes to something that is celestial. FIRE has more in meaning than just a physical flame.

Exactly, it's a very complex code for YOU WON'T LIKE BEING THERE.

The Night Owl
12-08-2008, 03:55 PM
Were you molested by a priest as a child or something? I wish more Christians were as obsessed with their religion as you are.

No. Fortunately, the priests and nuns I've known in my life were, as far as I know, decent human beings.

enslaved1
12-08-2008, 04:05 PM
Like most things in Christianity, doctrine on hell has been fluid and changing... and the various branches treat it very differently.

Whats amazing is that belief in it's traditional form (fire, eternal suffering) has persisted so long.... there is no rationalizing an all good, all loving, all forgiving God, as compatible with such a concept no matter how hard one tries.

That being the case, we've seen a shift to a more benign conception of hell... as just annihilation, not eternal suffering.

And where have you been TNO? Welcome back.

I'm sure you have a hundred well worded rebuttals from all the other times you have been told this, but I'll say it again anyway. You forgot a very important word in your list of God's attributes. Just. God is absolutely just. He set down the rules, and in that justice, those who break the rules suffer the consequences. Sin is breaking the rules. Fortunately for us, He is also all the other things you listed, good, loving and forgiving. That is why Jesus came, lived a sinless life as a man, and willingly gave Himself up as the final sacrifice for all sins. Justice was meted out. Now we are given a choice. Accept that justice, or take it on ourselves.

As far as Hell goes, Jesus mentioned fire in it's description several times Matt. 5:22, Mark 9:43, and Luke 16:19-31 the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Revelation also describes the second death, the lake of fire where those who are not in the Book of Life are thrown for refusing the aforementioned mercy, 20:14-15. The only thing that has changed over time is people's interpretations, often trying to deny Hell like the preacher in the OP, usually so they don't have to think about ending up there.

The Night Owl
12-08-2008, 04:06 PM
the biggest problem is that people get stupid and start connecting temporal attributes to something that is celestial. FIRE has more in meaning than just a physical flame.

Reverend Pearson's argument against Hell isn't that it's too hot. His argument, in a nutshell, is that a god which would allow a soul to suffer for eternity is a monster. I agree with him.

wilbur
12-08-2008, 04:12 PM
wilbur - since as an athiest you are as about as qualified to speak to the truths of Christianity as I am as a man am qualified to speak to the discomforts of a period.

The typical escape route when irreconcilable problems of a faith are brought to light.

I can examine the claims just as well as anybody... you can certainly criticize liberalism without being a liberal... just like one can criticize and point out problems of a belief system without adhering to it. You'd be sadly mistaken if you didn't think the problem of Hell has been a very real and severe one for the church philosophers and theologians over the centuries... and still is. You'd also be sadly mistaken if you think anyone has come up with a sound, coherent proof that can reconcile the traditional view of the Christian God with Hell (the eternal suffering version, that is).

wilbur
12-08-2008, 04:30 PM
I'm sure you have a hundred well worded rebuttals from all the other times you have been told this, but I'll say it again anyway. You forgot a very important word in your list of God's attributes. Just. God is absolutely just. He set down the rules, and in that justice, those who break the rules suffer the consequences. Sin is breaking the rules. Fortunately for us, He is also all the other things you listed, good, loving and forgiving. That is why Jesus came, lived a sinless life as a man, and willingly gave Himself up as the final sacrifice for all sins. Justice was meted out. Now we are given a choice. Accept that justice, or take it on ourselves.


Its really simple. There is no conceivable misdeed for which eternal suffering could be a just punishment. Therefore, God is not just, or Hell is not eternal suffering.... it can be one or the other... or neither... but it can't be both.



As far as Hell goes, Jesus mentioned fire in it's description several times Matt. 5:22, Mark 9:43, and Luke 16:19-31 the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Revelation also describes the second death, the lake of fire where those who are not in the Book of Life are thrown for refusing the aforementioned mercy, 20:14-15. The only thing that has changed over time is people's interpretations, often trying to deny Hell like the preacher in the OP, usually so they don't have to think about ending up there.

The problem of hell isnt one that you can't just dismiss, clap your hands and call it solved.. its been struggled with for centuries. Its that very problem that has lead people to postulate the 'annihilation' version of hell.

The Night Owl
12-08-2008, 04:34 PM
The problem of hell isnt one that you can't just dismiss, clap your hands and call it solved.. its been struggled with for centuries. Its that very problem that has lead people to postulate the 'annihilation' version of hell.

...or that infants who die unbaptized go to Hell.

biccat
12-08-2008, 04:35 PM
Reverend Pearson's argument against Hell isn't that it's too hot. His argument, in a nutshell, is that a god which would allow a soul to suffer for eternity is a monster. I agree with him.
Except God doesn't cause souls to suffer for eternity, he allows us to make our own choice to accept God or not. If you do not accept God, you choose life away from God, which is torment to the human soul.

We were given free choice, and the potential for torment in Hell can't be removed without removing that gift.

CS Lewis once said "the doors of hell are locked from the inside," I think that is a very apt description.

The Night Owl
12-08-2008, 04:40 PM
Except God doesn't cause souls to suffer for eternity, he allows us to make our own choice to accept God or not. If you do not accept God, you choose life away from God, which is torment to the human soul.

We were given free choice, and the potential for torment in Hell can't be removed without removing that gift.

CS Lewis once said "the doors of hell are locked from the inside," I think that is a very apt description.

I didn't claim that God causes souls to suffer for eternity. What I'm claiming is that the god described in the Bible allows souls to suffer for eternity.

If your god is loving and merciful, then why does it not offer the opportunity for redemption to a soul which has suffered for say... 5 million years?

wilbur
12-08-2008, 05:29 PM
Except God doesn't cause souls to suffer for eternity, he allows us to make our own choice to accept God or not. If you do not accept God, you choose life away from God, which is torment to the human soul.

We were given free choice, and the potential for torment in Hell can't be removed without removing that gift.

CS Lewis once said "the doors of hell are locked from the inside," I think that is a very apt description.

No appeals to free will can escape the problem adequately. An all powerful being that possesses every desirable trait in infinite and most perfect amounts possible, with total comprehension and full knowledge of everything supposedly offers us a 'choice'... A choice that has consequences which cannot be fully comprehended by our finite mind. No perfectly just being could let you freely choose eternal suffering, knowing full well you lack the ability to fully comprehend your choice, knowing full well that if you had perfect comprehension you would make a different choice... while possessing all the power in the universe to help you comprehend, just as easily as he could make his face appear on a piece of toast (or sprinkle gold dust and gemstones from the sky).

Can anyone here seriously say that a momentary lapse or suspension of free will is a greater evil than an eternity of suffering... or that letting someone 'choose' an eternity of suffering is a greater good than maybe showing them information that would change their mind, which God could easily do? That is just?

Furthermore, the 'choice' is still contingent on specific courses of action one takes in life, and beliefs one chooses to hold.... so its not really a choice at all... more like a threat or ultimatum. God chose to create us, God with full foreknowledge of the choices we would make... just as it is said he knows before we are even in the womb how many hairs we will have on our head, he would know whether we are born just to choose hell or to go to heaven. No appeals to free will can dismiss this God's culpability for our ultimate fate. So again, if this Hell exists, God is not just.

This conception of the God who gives us the rope to hang ourselves reminds me of the serial killer from the Saw movie series. He puts people into elaborate traps that will bring certain death... he offers ways to escape, but the escape routes are only slightly less desirable than death.. and sometimes, to the victim, death is more desirable. The victim is forced to retrieve a key in the bottom of a tub of acid, in order to escape a timed trap or some such thing.... they've gotten quite creative with the scenarios.

The killer, named Jigsaw, is fond of saying that he never actually killed anyone. He gave them a choice.

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 06:12 PM
Exactly, it's a very complex code for YOU WON'T LIKE BEING THERE.Right - and there are more things that burn than mere physical fire. DESIRE is something that burns - and can potentially burn you worse than fire especially if you cannot fulfill or dispel that desire. Ask any Heroine junking trying to quit cold turkey.

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 06:13 PM
Reverend Pearson's argument against Hell isn't that it's too hot. His argument, in a nutshell, is that a god which would allow a soul to suffer for eternity is a monster. I agree with him. A God who would force people to be in his presence against their will is a monster. There is nothing monstrous with letting people chose their own path and their own destination. You have the typical bitter atheists take on the concept. You let your own motivations cloud your appraisal of God's motivations.

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 06:22 PM
The typical escape route when irreconcilable problems of a faith are brought to light.The only irreconcialble problem here is your bitterness and unwillingness to accept or even hear anything other than the conclusions you have already made in your own mind. Nothing I say will move you in any way - so I will remember what scripture says about casting pearls before swine and wish you good wallowing. Have fun in your mud.


I can examine the claims just as well as anybody... Except you are completely unable to be objective. You already know the answers and know them better than do believers - or so you think.

you can certainly criticize liberalism without being a liberal... silly atheist - I don't criticize liberalism. I believe in it. I criticize leftism - and I have full experience of it. Politics is not something that requires special experience in order to understand. There are however, things in this life that DO require special experience in order to understand. FAITH is one such that does require special experience to be able to understand.


just like one can criticize and point out problems of a belief system without adhering to it. Problems as YOU perceive them not as they actually exist.


You'd be sadly mistaken blah blah blah blah blah . . . . I'm mistaken about my own faith huh? Good thing I have you as a good atheist to educate me! DUMBASS

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 06:23 PM
...or that infants who die unbaptized go to Hell.where is that taught in scripture? You cannot confuse dogma with doctrine.

wilbur
12-08-2008, 07:37 PM
A God who would force people to be in his presence against their will is a monster. There is nothing monstrous with letting people chose their own path and their own destination. You have the typical bitter atheists take on the concept. You let your own motivations cloud your appraisal of God's motivations.

Are you saying an omnipotent God, through whom all things are possible, has limited options? Either eternal suffering or eternal paradise? That probably both Hitler and mere "fornicators" simply share the same fate/punishment... and that is just because we have free will?

FlaGator
12-08-2008, 07:40 PM
Reverend Pearson's argument against Hell isn't that it's too hot. His argument, in a nutshell, is that a god which would allow a soul to suffer for eternity is a monster. I agree with him.

I see your understanding of Christianity hasn't improved much during your absence. Welcome back.

FlaGator
12-08-2008, 07:48 PM
Are you saying an omnipotent God, through whom all things are possible, has limited options? Either eternal suffering or eternal paradise? That probably both Hitler and mere "fornicators" simply share the same fate/punishment... and that is just because we have free will?


Actually He sets the rules and the holds himself to those rules. He doesn't break them just because he's God. That is called consistancy. Sin is sin in God's eyes. There are no levels of sin, no more sinful behavior or less sinful behavior, there is only sin and no sin. That is why there is a need for forgiveness and redemption. Even Hilter could have been forgiven had he sincerely seeked God for forgiveness. Do yo think that humanity would have forgiven Hitler had he asked for forgiveness? You call God a tryannt and worse but you fail to see people bring their condamnation upon themselves and the condemnation can be thwarted by the simple act of seeking forgiveness. No one is so evil that they are beyond forgiveness.

FlaGator
12-08-2008, 07:51 PM
where is that taught in scripture? You cannot confuse dogma with doctrine.

New borns do go to hell. I know that is not popular but we are all born with a sinful nature and our sinful behavior is assured. I ask you, if new borns go to heaven, why don't you abort them or kill them as soon as they're born. You would assure their presence in heaven.

MrsSmith
12-08-2008, 07:52 PM
Anyone who is seriously worried about Hell can simply make the choice not to go there. God never forces anyone. You make the choice of your final destination. You have no one but yourself to blame if you choose to reject the free gift He offers.

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 08:07 PM
Are you saying an omnipotent God, through whom all things are possible, has limited options? Either eternal suffering or eternal paradise? That probably both Hitler and mere "fornicators" simply share the same fate/punishment... and that is just because we have free will?DUDE - once again - you just don't get it because you have concluded that there is only one answer to your question and the answer you suppose is not the real one.

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 08:09 PM
I see your understanding of Christianity hasn't improved much during your absence. Welcome back. If it had - he'd no longer be an atheist. :cool:

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 08:10 PM
Actually He sets the rules and the holds himself to those rules. He doesn't break them just because he's God. That is called consistancy. Sin is sin in God's eyes. There are no levels of sin, no more sinful behavior or less sinful behavior, there is only sin and no sin. That is why there is a need for forgiveness and redemption. Even Hilter could have been forgiven had he sincerely seeked God for forgiveness. Do yo think that humanity would have forgiven Hitler had he asked for forgiveness? You call God a tryannt and worse but you fail to see people bring their condamnation upon themselves and the condemnation can be thwarted by the simple act of seeking forgiveness. No one is so evil that they are beyond forgiveness.I have to disagree with you on your appraisal of sin. There is sin - there is Sin and then there is SIN.

MrsSmith
12-08-2008, 08:11 PM
If it had - he'd no longer be an atheist. :cool:

Isn't it funny how people build a brick wall between themselves and Truth, and then complain because "they don't get it?"

MrsSmith
12-08-2008, 08:14 PM
I have to disagree with you on your appraisal of sin. There is sin - there is Sin and then there is SIN.

They only 2 grades of sin are all sins...and the unforgivable sins, which are those that will cause a human to turn from God even when facing the Lake of Fire, like pride. A human that is sure he or she is smarter than God will choose that lake. Theologically, no sin is actually worse than any other. God can as easily forgive a mass murderer as someone who lied to his parents.

FlaGator
12-08-2008, 08:18 PM
I have to disagree with you on your appraisal of sin. There is sin - there is Sin and then there is SIN.

All sin boils down to one thing, disobedience to God and His will. I would argue that there is no degree of disobedience. You either obey or you don't, wouldn't you agree.

FlaGator
12-08-2008, 08:19 PM
They only 2 grades of sin are all sins...and the unforgivable sins, which are those that will cause a human to turn from God even when facing the Lake of Fire, like pride. A human that is sure he or she is smarter than God will choose that lake. Theologically, no sin is actually worse than any other. God can as easily forgive a mass murderer as someone who lied to his parents.

There is only one unforgivable sin, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Phillygirl
12-08-2008, 08:22 PM
They only 2 grades of sin are all sins...and the unforgivable sins, which are those that will cause a human to turn from God even when facing the Lake of Fire, like pride. A human that is sure he or she is smarter than God will choose that lake. Theologically, no sin is actually worse than any other. God can as easily forgive a mass murderer as someone who lied to his parents.


All sin boils down to one thing, disobedience to God and His will. I would argue that there is no degree of disobedience. You either obey or you don't, wouldn't you agree.


There is only one unforgivable sin, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Can you guys tell me if these opinions are founded in actual Scripture, or in reference to a particular interpretation? Thanks.

wilbur
12-08-2008, 08:43 PM
Anyone who is seriously worried about Hell can simply make the choice not to go there. God never forces anyone. You make the choice of your final destination. You have no one but yourself to blame if you choose to reject the free gift He offers.

Except newborns apparently... they don't get much of a choice.

wilbur
12-08-2008, 09:01 PM
DUDE - once again - you just don't get it because you have concluded that there is only one answer to your question and the answer you suppose is not the real one.

No, I'm just trying to get you to spell out specifically what you believe. You dont actually say much, then reply with a "DUDE you dont know what your talking about" response... well you never actually spell out your beliefs.

Your claim that it could only be a monstrous God that would force us to spend eternity with him despite our 'free choice' bears examination. I think its clear that that claim doesn't hold up, when you examine the one and only alternative option that you posit.... that an eternity of unimaginable suffering, the likes of which it is unlikely that any human can comprehend, is the ONLY other option.

If those are the ONLY two options, then we can certainly say God is monstrous for letting anyone make the wrong choice. But its ridiculous to think that for an omnipotent, all knowing God, those are the ONLY options. So if we are presented with the choice of either eternal suffering or eternal paradise, I think we can conclude that God has artificially constrained our choices to the two that he wants... for no good reason that I can discern... you care to try? This leads me to conclude that your God, who lets hell exist, lets his loved creation choose hell, is not just at all... evil is a better description.

If you say that God's all or nothing 'choice' system is just, then it should lead one to ask what kind of justice system they would create, were they even capable of a fraction of God's supposed power and wisdom.

It's quite easy to posit a system that is much more complete and just than two black and white, cold hard choices of eternal paradise or eternal suffering as reward or punishment for actions taken in a finite life. Stupendously easy. So based on this we can conclude that your God is not just or just incredibly simple minded and childish.... almost as if he were a poorly devised, man made idea... unless you have a better explanation.

MrsSmith
12-08-2008, 09:53 PM
Except newborns apparently... they don't get much of a choice.

I hope you are fully aware that this is primarily a Catholic belief...and even they have backed off it somewhat as it's completely unsupported by scripture. Of course, you would have to acquire some kind of education in order to be aware of it, so I'm "guessing" you haven't bothered.

Most Protestants believe in the age of accountability...if a person is unable to choose Hell, they don't go there. It's always YOUR choice. You are, literally, the master of your destiny.

MrsSmith
12-08-2008, 09:58 PM
Can you guys tell me if these opinions are founded in actual Scripture, or in reference to a particular interpretation? Thanks.

Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Jam 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all.

MrsSmith
12-08-2008, 09:59 PM
No, I'm just trying to get you to spell out specifically what you believe. You dont actually say much, then reply with a "DUDE you dont know what your talking about" response... well you never actually spell out your beliefs.

.

Dude, if you're worried about it, don't choose to go there! :rolleyes:

Phillygirl
12-08-2008, 10:03 PM
Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Jam 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all.

Thanks for the references. I'm not certain (albeit there is little by way of context for me in that which is cited) that that answers the questions as to gradations of sin. But I appreciate your pointing me to text on the issue.

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 10:16 PM
No, I'm just trying to get you to spell out specifically what you believe. You dont actually say much, then reply with a "DUDE you dont know what your talking about" response... well you never actually spell out your beliefs. And I won't. To you. Or to any other Atheist. If a Christian wants to discuss the issue I am more than willing to take up the topic.

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 10:17 PM
Can you guys tell me if these opinions are founded in actual Scripture, or in reference to a particular interpretation? Thanks.
They are espousing a very literalistic and fundamentalist / black and white take on the topic.

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 10:18 PM
Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God That does not state that all have fallen short to the same degree. :cool:


Jam 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all. you do know the difference between actually and figurative - right?

Phillygirl
12-08-2008, 10:21 PM
They are espousing a very literalistic and fundamentalist / black and white take on the topic.

Thanks. It's not my understanding of the nature of sin, but I certainly couldn't back up my understanding/beliefs with specific references at this point.

I'll go back to quietly reading now.

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 10:26 PM
Thanks. It's not my understanding of the nature of sin, but I certainly couldn't back up my understanding/beliefs with specific references at this point.

I'll go back to quietly reading now.well - you should be able to back up what you believe - or why else believe it? :)

Phillygirl
12-08-2008, 10:39 PM
well - you should be able to back up what you believe - or why else believe it? :)

Because, for me, the actual process of learning about my beliefs from a scriptural standpoint occurred long ago. I've forgotten most of my "formal" education on the subject, and am now fairly well settled into my "belief" stage, such that it is. I'm certainly willing to learn again about it, but it's not high on my list of things to study. So I leave the laboring oar to people like you and Mrs. Smith and FlaGator...which is why I occasionally ask a question. if I'm not dead tired, and the answer interests me, I may do additional research on it.

To shorten up the answer a bit...I'm lazy on th topic. I know, possibly to my own peril.

wilbur
12-08-2008, 10:40 PM
And I won't. To you. Or to any other Atheist. If a Christian wants to discuss the issue I am more than willing to take up the topic.

Well that's fine... but then why call me out with lines like "DUDE - you don't know what your talking about" if you don't have the gumption or desire to make your case?

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 10:51 PM
Well that's fine... but then why call me out with lines like "DUDE - you don't know what your talking about" if you don't have the gumption or desire to make your case?I made my case. You are an heathen. You cannot understand because you are not a believer. You are a blind man in a world of colors.

wilbur
12-08-2008, 10:54 PM
New borns do go to hell. I know that is not popular but we are all born with a sinful nature and our sinful behavior is assured. I ask you, if new borns go to heaven, why don't you abort them or kill them as soon as they're born. You would assure their presence in heaven.

I must say FG, I'm quite taken aback to hear you say this. (or more precisely to read it;))

This seems contradictory to the whole choice concept. It seems there is more to it than our 'free choice'. Newborns cannot consciously make any choice, yet they are condemned.

Is everyone who is not officially baptised hell-bound in your view? What if they, by all their will, 'choose' to be with God, but did not know, or were unable to be cleansed of original sin?

Again, I have to think what kind of justice system I would devise, were I even just a little bit of what god purports to be.. and it wouldn't include inherited damnation for sins that weren't committed by the soul in question, especially when the soul in question had no opportunity to 'repent' for the crimes he/she didn't commit. Certainly, if I were omnipotent, I would have the discretion and the compassion to save those who did not get a choice.

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 10:56 PM
New borns do go to hell. I know that is not popular but we are all born with a sinful nature and our sinful behavior is assured. I ask you, if new borns go to heaven, why don't you abort them or kill them as soon as they're born. You would assure their presence in heaven.Sorry - but that is crap - crap piled as deep as when people say you need the pope to go to heaven or that catholics worship statues.

wilbur
12-08-2008, 10:58 PM
I made my case. You are an heathen. You cannot understand because you are not a believer. You are a blind man in a world of colors.

You ran away from making a case as soon as it became a little more challenging and required you to put on a thinking cap. I am not an expert philosophical debater, that much should be obvious... if what I say is so wrong it should be easy to demonstrate that in front of everyone.

PoliCon
12-08-2008, 11:01 PM
You ran away from making a case as soon as it became a little more challenging and required you to put on a thinking cap. I am not an expert philosophical debater, that much should be obvious... if what I say is so wrong it should be easy to demonstrate that in front of everyone.Believe what you like heathen scum. :p

M21
12-08-2008, 11:27 PM
Most Protestants believe in the age of accountability...if a person is unable to choose Hell, they don't go there. It's always YOUR choice. You are, literally, the master of your destiny.

What do children know and when do they know it? Don't you think the key issue here is one of comprehension of, or the understanding of the Gospel message? There can be no salvation without an understanding of the gospel message and so children must be old enough to understand the gospel, which involves a comprehension of their own personal sin and guilt.

MrsSmith
12-09-2008, 12:19 AM
Thanks for the references. I'm not certain (albeit there is little by way of context for me in that which is cited) that that answers the questions as to gradations of sin. But I appreciate your pointing me to text on the issue.

I'm sure there are a lot more. It was just a hit-and-run thing. Sorry, I'm trying to do 3 things at once...and then had a long phone call. :o (I don't think I'm ever going to get Christmas letters done.) :(

MrsSmith
12-09-2008, 12:23 AM
What do children know and when do they know it? Don't you think the key issue here is one of comprehension of, or the understanding of the Gospel message? There can be no salvation without an understanding of the gospel message and so children must be old enough to understand the gospel, which involves a comprehension of their own personal sin and guilt.

Yes, of course. Someone who is literally unable to make the choice FOR Christ is equally unable to make the choice to reject Him. What was it He said...something about He won't blot the name out of the Book of Life.

MrsSmith
12-09-2008, 12:25 AM
That does not state that all have fallen short to the same degree. :cool:
you do know the difference between actually and figurative - right?

Degree? There are only 2 degrees...perfect and imperfect. Christ is perfect. All humans are imperfect. The only "worse" sins are the unforgivable ones, there are seven listed in the OT, but they boil down to the type of pride that makes a person unable to accept the free gift of salvation. Any other sin is just sin, from mass murder to a little, white lie.

djones520
12-09-2008, 02:22 AM
wilbur - since as an athiest you are as about as qualified to speak to the truths of Christianity as I am as a man am qualified to speak to the discomforts of a period.

Uh huh... I guess being an Athiest means I'm unable to read, or *gasp* even hold a conversation with Christians about how they view hell. :rolleyes:

One doesn't need to be a Christian to understand Christianity.

djones520
12-09-2008, 02:34 AM
Sorry - but that is crap - crap piled as deep as when people say you need the pope to go to heaven or that catholics worship statues.

So let me see if I get your viewpoint. It is impossible for a person who doesn't believe in the Christian faith, to understand the Christian faith. Are you saying it is because if they understood it, then they would have no choice but to accept the truth of it?

wilbur
12-09-2008, 07:54 AM
So let me see if I get your viewpoint. It is impossible for a person who doesn't believe in the Christian faith, to understand the Christian faith. Are you saying it is because if they understood it, then they would have no choice but to accept the truth of it?

Not only that, but how on earth is one supposed to 'freely choose' heaven/hell/Christianity/God, when, apparently, all of it is unable to be understood by anyone who doesn't already accept it?

So, following Policon's logic, it isn't a choice after all. It's divine revelation of sorts gifted upon the chosen few... in other words... God chooses YOU, not the other way around. That kind of spells trouble for the idea that 'free will' justifies Hell and eternal suffering, by our own 'free choice'. If it takes some special bestowal of divine revelation to acquire said understanding, then you are not making a choice at all. God is taking away your free will... and has rescinded the gift that many here claim is the most precious... in order that you be saved.

So once again, we are back God who has a hand picked, exclusive fan club... for which not being chosen is a penalty of eternal suffering. A God who can't even muster up the desire to not inflict eternal suffering on those he does not choose, through annihilation, or perhaps some other, not so unpleasant eternal existence. A God who decides to punish those who he does not choose with a punishment that can in no way be appropriate reciprocity for any act possible of a human being in the finite world. There is a limit to the suffering and damage a person can do. There is no limit to eternal suffering. This God is one who has, by his own will, created endless and eternal suffering. That is not a just God.

The Night Owl
12-09-2008, 11:58 AM
So let me see if I get your viewpoint. It is impossible for a person who doesn't believe in the Christian faith, to understand the Christian faith. Are you saying it is because if they understood it, then they would have no choice but to accept the truth of it?

Hey! What are you doing here?

:D

The Night Owl
12-09-2008, 12:05 PM
There is only one unforgivable sin, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

How does one blaspheme against the Holy Spirit? I think I would like to try that. I am always looking for legal ways to offend God.

The Night Owl
12-09-2008, 12:15 PM
Anyone who is seriously worried about Hell can simply make the choice not to go there. God never forces anyone. You make the choice of your final destination. You have no one but yourself to blame if you choose to reject the free gift He offers.

If God's mercy is infinite, then why does his offer of salvation expire once souls make their way to Hell? What is the point of punishing souls for eternity? Why not punish the damned for a few million years and then obliterate them?

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 12:23 PM
Degree? There are only 2 degrees...perfect and imperfect. Christ is perfect. All humans are imperfect. The only "worse" sins are the unforgivable ones, there are seven listed in the OT, but they boil down to the type of pride that makes a person unable to accept the free gift of salvation. Any other sin is just sin, from mass murder to a little, white lie. You do realize that betwen black and white there is gray - right? Between day and night there is twilight - RIGHT? AND between right and wrong there are also shades of gray. FOR EXAMPLE - DO you think the sin of stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving child is comparable to murdering your husband because he farted?

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 12:24 PM
Uh huh... I guess being an Athiest means I'm unable to read, or *gasp* even hold a conversation with Christians about how they view hell. :rolleyes:

One doesn't need to be a Christian to understand Christianity.um . . . yes. One does need to be a Christian to properly understand Christianity. If you'd like to join the ranks - I'd be happy to point you in the right direction.

The understanding of hell is an issue of doctrine that is not necessary to salvation. Secondary and tertiary issues are not for casual discussion with heathen. :p

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 12:27 PM
So let me see if I get your viewpoint. It is impossible for a person who doesn't believe in the Christian faith, to understand the Christian faith. Only those who have it - can understand it. You can't properly understand color without being able to see it. You can't understand Christianity without it knowing Christ.
Are you saying it is because if they understood it, then they would have no choice but to accept the truth of it? something like that. ;)

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 12:31 PM
If God's mercy is infinite, then why does his offer of salvation expire once souls make their way to Hell? What is the point of punishing souls for eternity? Why not punish the damned for a few million years and then obliterate them? see you show exactly how ignorant you are of Christianity.

ONE - time does not exist outside of the temporal world.

TWO - Your statements beg the assumption that God sends men to hell - He does not.

THREE - You might try reading the scriptures. You might learn something.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 12:33 PM
Not only that, but how on earth is one supposed to 'freely choose' heaven/hell/Christianity/God, when, apparently, all of it is unable to be understood by anyone who doesn't already accept it? Salvation is through FAITH not understanding. Understanding comes after FAITH which is why you cannot understand without becoming a Christian first. :)

M21
12-09-2008, 12:37 PM
One doesn't need to be a Christian to understand Christianity.It's more than simply reading words on a page there is the revelation factor to be considered. God is a gentleman and isn’t going to force himself on you and he also won't reveal himself to you without your consent. There are divinity schools full Biblical scholars who while having a head full of Biblical knowledge don't Jesus Christ from and apple tree.

There are plenty of biblical scholars who are atheists. I submit to you that you cannot fully understand Christianity without God revealing himself to you and he only does that for His elect.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 12:39 PM
he only does that for His elect.ack. calvinism. :mad:

M21
12-09-2008, 12:46 PM
If God's mercy is infinite, then why does his offer of salvation expire once souls make their way to Hell? What is the point of punishing souls for eternity? Why not punish the damned for a few million years and then obliterate them?Probably for the same reason that at some point He shut the door on the Ark. Perhaps he gives those who choose not to be with him exactly what they want. Take all the worst people you know and put them together in one place for eternity. Is that hell to me? Yes. But for them it may very well be nirvana. They get to do what they want, when they want, and to whomever they want.

And as to His mercy. God doesn't give the sinner what he deserves at the moment he deserves it. That shows that by his very nature he is a saving and merciful God. Adam should have received the punishment for his disobedience at the very moment that he deserved it. God said "eat of this tree and you will surely die" What happened? Adam lived. God immediately began laying down a plan and way for us to be reconciled to Him.

M21
12-09-2008, 12:52 PM
ack. calvinism. :mad:ack...God's Word :D :p

Read this and then get back to me. A Defense of Calvinism by C.H. Spurgeon (http://www.spurgeon.org/calvinis.htm)

wilbur
12-09-2008, 01:35 PM
Salvation is through FAITH not understanding. Understanding comes after FAITH which is why you cannot understand without becoming a Christian first. :)

While that's certainly interesting and all, you cannot make a just God out of that concept. Especially so once you really look at the unreasonableness of faith itself.

We are talking about this proposition:

"Have faith in God to his arbitrary satisfaction or spend eternity in the most agonizing suffering possible, where no redemption is possible."

We are not talking about a proposition along the lines of:

"Have faith in God or suffer some severe lashings or unpleasant punishment after you die, till you are truly sorry and understand what you did wrong.."

To the latter, one might reasonably agree, but that is not what is in contention. To the former, I don't think any reasonable persons conception of perfect justice would be anything so obviously.... crazy.

In so many words you are basically saying: "You must choose faith, though you cannot understand or even comprehend why it is so essential that you must choose faith until you actually do choose faith... and if you choose not to choose faith, even though you cannot not possibly understand why you must choose it, you will suffer eternal torture.... and that is just".

The only way God can be 'just' in that case, is if you simply define 'just/good/moral/whatever' as whatever God's personal whims happen to be at any given time. There is nothing inherently just or unjust... except the subjective whims of your God. Imagine a king who fancies the idea that 2+2=5. So he makes a new law for his kingdom that states 2+2=5 and anyone who doesn't acknowledge this is punished to death. Is 2+2=5 suddenly true, and correct? That is the God of the first proposition... where hell is eternal torment, and beyond redemption... and he requires feats beyond your own comprehension in order to attain salvation.

I don't think any human system of justice that we would consider worthwhile and valuable is subject to such arbitrary whims. We can rightly say that our own capacity for justice has far exceeded that of such a king. For all our concerns, such a contingent definition of 'justice' is quite useless.... just as useless as 2+2=5.

Phillygirl
12-09-2008, 02:13 PM
I'm sure there are a lot more. It was just a hit-and-run thing. Sorry, I'm trying to do 3 things at once...and then had a long phone call. :o (I don't think I'm ever going to get Christmas letters done.) :(

I know the feeling (well, not about the Christmas letters...I don't do that). But as I said...thanks for the starting point.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 02:48 PM
ack...God's Word :D :p

Read this and then get back to me. A Defense of Calvinism by C.H. Spurgeon (http://www.spurgeon.org/calvinis.htm)as if! There is no way I will ever willingly pollute my mind with the doctrines of Knox or Calvin. I'd rather read papul bulls!:p

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 02:50 PM
While that's certainly interesting and all, you cannot make a just God out of that concept. Especially so once you really look at the unreasonableness of faith itself.I think you are confusing the definition of JUST with the definition of FAIR. Go learn the difference and then we can move on.

The Night Owl
12-09-2008, 03:03 PM
Probably for the same reason that at some point He shut the door on the Ark. Perhaps he gives those who choose not to be with him exactly what they want.

Right but we're talking about eternity here. A fallible human can't possibly know what he or she wants for the rest of eternity. For God to allow a fallible human make a choice which that person will regret for eternity can only be defined as infinite cruelty. The good news is that none of it is true.

The Night Owl
12-09-2008, 03:04 PM
I think you are confusing the definition of JUST with the definition of FAIR. Go learn the difference and then we can move on.

Yes. We definitely know that the god of the Bible is not a fair sort.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 03:11 PM
Right but we're talking about eternity here. A fallible human can't possibly know what he or she wants for the rest of eternity. if you don't take the time to educate yourself about the choice - who's fault is that?


For God to allow a fallible human make a choice which that person will regret for eternity can only be defined as infinite cruelty. It's cruel to let you chose for yourself?


The good news is that none of it is true. seems like you have made your choice. Are you willing to accept the consequences for being wrong should that prove to be the case?

M21
12-09-2008, 03:14 PM
Right but we're talking about eternity here. A fallible human can't possibly know what he or she wants for the rest of eternity. For God to allow a fallible human make a choice which that person will regret for eternity can only be defined as infinite cruelty. The good news is that none of it is true.For a construct you deem untrue for you I stand in awe of your obssesion. It appears the hound of Heaven (http://www.bartleby.com/236/239.html)dogs your trail my friend.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 03:15 PM
Yes. We definitely know that the god of the Bible is not a fair sort.right. God is not worried about appearances. You however seem obsessed with them.

The Night Owl
12-09-2008, 03:26 PM
It's cruel to let you chose for yourself?

Imagine the following scenario...

A father wants to teach his son a lesson about stealing cookies from the cookie jar. So, the father rigs the jar with explosives and warns his son that if he steals any more cookies he will face dire consequences. The next day, the child decides to ignore the warning and attempts to steal a cookie. The child's hand is blown off.

Is the father just or cruel? I would say that the father is cruel. You, however, would say that the father is just because after all... the child choose to steal.

wilbur
12-09-2008, 03:30 PM
I think you are confusing the definition of JUST with the definition of FAIR. Go learn the difference and then we can move on.

Fairness is an essential part of justice. You cannot have justice or be just, without being 'fair'. Not in the 'fairness doctrine', faux self-esteem 'affirming', and forced mediocrity sense of the word, as it is used in liberal philosophy... but just fairness that commensurates punishments and rewards in accordance with the good or bad deeds committed.

You absolutely need fairness to be just... they are nearly the same thing. Any being that can dole out punishment that far outweighs what any, even the worst of us, deserve, is not fair.. and if it is not fair it cannot be called just... and vice versa. Eternity of torture is something no one deserves, cannot be just.. and no philosophy can make it so.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 03:33 PM
Imagine the following scenario...

A father wants to teach his son a lesson about stealing cookies from the cookie jar. So, the father rigs the jar with explosives and warns his son that if he steals any more cookies he will face dire consequences. The next day, the child decides to ignore the warning and attempts to steal a cookie. The child's hand is blown off.

Is the father just or cruel? I would say that the father is cruel. You, however, would say that the father is just because after all... the child choose to steal.1 - the father did offer warning. 2 - the son knew he was doing wrong. Justice does not require that something not be cruel - only that it be honest and true, dispassionate, and impartial.

Again - your focus is on the appearance of the issue rather than the substance.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 03:40 PM
Fairness is an essential part of justice. You cannot have justice or be just, without being 'fair'. BULLSHIT. Justice is impartial, dispassionate, Truthful, and honest. it deals with the substance of the matter not the appearances which is where fairness has it's focus.




You absolutely need fairness to be just... they are nearly the same thing. sorry - no. Justice is about substance - fairness is about APPEARANCES.


Any being that can dole out punishment that far outweighs what any, even the worst of us, deserve, is not fair.. and if it is not fair it cannot be called just... and vice versa. Not deserved? lol it's not like there has been no warning regarding what the results of the choice would be. Further it's not like the penalty out weighs the "crime." Either there is eternity with God - in his presence - or there is eternity without God fleeing from his presence. One is heaven - the other is hell.
Eternity of torture is something no one deserves, cannot be just.. and no philosophy can make it so.where in scripture does it say anything about torture?

The Night Owl
12-09-2008, 03:47 PM
BULLSHIT. Justice is impartial, dispassionate, Truthful, and honest. it deals with the substance of the matter not the appearances which is where fairness has it's focus.


The adjectives "just" and "fair" are synonyms.

The Night Owl
12-09-2008, 03:48 PM
1 - the father did offer warning.

So, you think parents should be allowed to rig cookie jars with explosives?

:eek:


2 - the son knew he was doing wrong. Justice does not require that something not be cruel - only that it be honest and true, dispassionate, and impartial.

Again - your focus is on the appearance of the issue rather than the substance.

You honestly believe that a child deserves to lose a hand for disobeying a parent? How very Old Testament of you.

The child may have known that stealing the cookie is wrong but he didn't fully grasp the consequences of trying to steal the cookie.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 04:06 PM
So, you think parents should be allowed to rig cookie jars with explosives?

:eek:



You honestly believe that a child deserves to lose a hand for disobeying a parent? How very Old Testament of you.

The child may have known that stealing the cookie is wrong but he didn't fully grasp the consequences of trying to steal the cookie. Dude - you presented the scenario. Assuming that the father is the absolute authority in the universe - he gets to make what ever rules he wants. AND - as I said - the child has been informed specifically of the consequences. If he had not told the child that if you do it X will happen - you might have a case - but the facts remain - God has told us that if we do not accept him there will be X consequences.

wilbur
12-09-2008, 04:11 PM
BULLSHIT. Justice is impartial, dispassionate, Truthful, and honest. it deals with the substance of the matter not the appearances which is where fairness has it's focus.


Dictionary.com:
fair - 1. free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice: a fair decision; a fair judge.

In other words... fair is basically your description of justice above...



sorry - no. Justice is about substance - fairness is about APPEARANCES.
Not deserved? lol it's not like there has been no warning regarding what the results of the choice would be. Further it's not like the penalty out weighs the "crime." Either there is eternity with God - in his presence - or there is eternity without God fleeing from his presence. One is heaven - the other is hell. where in scripture does it say anything about torture?

You are confused about definitions of fair.

Fair when used in a phrase like 'she fair maiden' has to do with appearances.

When saying something like 'he is a fair judge', that would mean a 'just' judge. TNO is right. Fair and just are synonyms.. and if not... there's only a hairs difference.

wilbur
12-09-2008, 04:17 PM
Not deserved? lol it's not like there has been no warning regarding what the results of the choice would be.


If I warn you that I will shoot out your kneecaps for failing to praise me in the way I see fit, then that is just? You can't say I didnt warn you.



Further it's not like the penalty out weighs the "crime." Either there is eternity with God - in his presence - or there is eternity without God fleeing from his presence. One is heaven - the other is hell.


For an omnipotent being, the possibilities are limitless... not simply a black and white choice of either eternal paradise or eternal suffering. He could just as easily annihilate you, or do any number of other actions, all which would be preferable for a benevolent and just god, over the worst imaginable option... infliction of eternal suffering.


where in scripture does it say anything about torture?

Hell: a place of eternal suffering... torture, torment, etc etc.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 04:55 PM
Dictionary.com:
fair - 1. free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice: a fair decision; a fair judge.

In other words... fair is basically your description of justice above...

You are confused about definitions of fair.

Fair when used in a phrase like 'she fair maiden' has to do with appearances. wow you used a kindergarten dictionary to define the term and you wonder why it fits your kindergarten understanding of the concept. Bully for you. Jackass. The very first definition of fair in any reputable dictionary is one dealing with APPEARANCE. Any application of Fair to anything else after that always has at it's root - APPEARANCES rather than substance as JUST does. Fair is obcessed with perceived equality. It's FAIR to give all the kids the exact same amount of jellybeans. It is Just to consider their behavior, their circumstances, etc and dole out jelly beans accordingly even if one kid gets none and another twice the amount as everyone else.





When saying something like 'he is a fair judge', that would mean a 'just' judge. TNO is right. Fair and just are synonyms.. and if not... there's only a hairs difference.Nope. Saying he is a fair judge says he has the APPEARANCE of being equitable. To say that someone is a just judge means that they dole out rewards and punishments dispassionately regardless of appearances. The left has worked damn hard to get people to think that these two words have the same meaning - but they don't. Not any more than ignorant means rude or liberal is an accurate description of anyone on the left.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 04:58 PM
If I warn you that I will shoot out your kneecaps for failing to praise me in the way I see fit, then that is just? You can't say I didnt warn you.you are not my absolute authority - and I'm able to shoot you back.






Hell: a place of eternal suffering... torture, torment, etc etc. And that is stated where in scripture?

megimoo
12-09-2008, 05:02 PM
A father can disown his son, but never stop loving him at the same time.


I, personally, don't believe hell is a lake of fire. The Bible speaks of darkness alot more than the one instance that hell is referred to as a lake of fire. I believe that when a person dies, they will stand in the presence of God and will be cast out. Knowing that God is real, he is your creator, and you can never be in his presence again, is hell.That to me is also the essemce of hell !To be alone without GOD for all eternity !

wilbur
12-09-2008, 05:20 PM
And that is stated where in scripture?

I don't know off the top of my head, nor has it been relevant to the conversation at hand. The context of this entire discussion is that hell as a place of eternal suffering and torment, which certainly many Christians believe.. and I have said that such a place cannot co-exist with a god who is said to be just. Its been a premise the entirety of the debate in this thread and our own back and forth conversation.

wilbur
12-09-2008, 05:26 PM
wow you used a kindergarten dictionary to define the term and you wonder why it fits your kindergarten understanding of the concept. Bully for you. Jackass. The very first definition of fair in any reputable dictionary is one dealing with APPEARANCE. Any application of Fair to anything else after that always has at it's root - APPEARANCES rather than substance as JUST does.


There is no component of fairness that only appeals to appearance, unless used in a very specific context, as you, I and everyone else well knows..

You know how words sometimes have two meanings? Look at 'just' for example. It can also mean 'nearly', or 'extremely thin margin' etc etc (I 'just' made it!)'. You are confusing and merging two different defintions of the word fair. I can't believe this has to be explained to you. You are simply making up your own definition of fair, that exists solely in your head, and wondering why the rest of the world doesn't match it.


Fair is obcessed with perceived equality. It's FAIR to give all the kids the exact same amount of jellybeans. It is Just to consider their behavior, their circumstances, etc and dole out jelly beans accordingly even if one kid gets none and another twice the amount as everyone else.


I see the problem here... you've conflated the abuse of the word fair in things like the 'fairness' doctrine, and overly enthusiastic equality advocates with its actual definition and common usage. They have abused the word 'fair' for a reason... it is synonymous with 'just' and has many of the same positive connotations. As a corollary, the word 'fair' has come to be associated with the left agenda in some circles, I guess.... namely ditto heads. But rest assured, the rest of the world that can distinguish reality from fantasy still operates with the usual, agreed upon definition of fair.. or at least can distinguish its different meanings dependant on the context. Has your paranoia of left conspiracies really gotten to the point where we can't honestly agree on the definition of the word fair, as its plainly stated in the freaking dictionary?!?

If there is one quality the word 'fair' lacks when compared to 'just', it really is simply an heir of officiality and profundity. But other than that, fair is just, and just is fair. The are both qualities of one another.

Despite the occasional abuse of the term for socio-political marketing purposes, the real meaning is still well intact and meaningful for anyone who can discern the context of the conversation. Imagine that...



Nope. Saying he is a fair judge says he has the APPEARANCE of being equitable.


Saying 'he is a fair judge' means he IS equitable. Saying 'he looks like fair judge' is saying he has the APPEARANCE of being equitable.



To say that someone is a just judge means that they dole out rewards and punishments dispassionately regardless of appearances. The left has worked damn hard to get people to think that these two words have the same meaning - but they don't. Not any more than ignorant means rude or liberal is an accurate description of anyone on the left.

They must have even infiltrated the dictionary! Diabolical!

FlaGator
12-09-2008, 05:39 PM
Except newborns apparently... they don't get much of a choice.

Actually they would if people would quit aborting them and let them become newborns.

The Night Owl
12-09-2008, 05:40 PM
Dude - you presented the scenario. Assuming that the father is the absolute authority in the universe - he gets to make what ever rules he wants. AND - as I said - the child has been informed specifically of the consequences. If he had not told the child that if you do it X will happen - you might have a case - but the facts remain - God has told us that if we do not accept him there will be X consequences.

I'm not arguing that God doesn't get to make the rules. I'm arguing that God, or at least the one described in the Bible, is infinitely cruel.

wilbur
12-09-2008, 05:42 PM
Actually they would if people would quit aborting them and let them become newborns.

Well, that says nothing of the estimated third or so of fertilized eggs that die of natural causes before a woman even knows she's pregnant.. and all the miscarriages that take place after that. More 'soul imbued' eggs self-abort from natural causes every year than through abortions... are they included on that list?

wilbur
12-09-2008, 05:46 PM
you are not my absolute authority - and I'm able to shoot you back.
And that is stated where in scripture?

Its a hypothetical there, Pol...

So you are a believer in "might makes right ", then.

FlaGator
12-09-2008, 06:06 PM
That does not state that all have fallen short to the same degree. :cool:
you do know the difference between actually and figurative - right?

That doesn't seem to be figurative.

Paul says this

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
Romans 6:23

We have the word sin used as a noun to cover all sins and one punishment ascribed to for sin, death. If there is only a single punishment for all sins then all sins are equally bad in the eyes of the God. Christ spelled this out for use when he stated


“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.f If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell."
Matthew 5:27-30

Here Christ equates lust with actually adultery. Although he is speaking in hyperbole the meaning is clear. The intention of the heart is just a bad as the act it self, because the thought leads to the act.

Finally there is this, in the beginning God declared only one act would defy his will, to eat from the forbidden tree. That was the only thing that God told them to avoid. A seemingly minor thing, but they ate (defied God's will - first sin) and they lost their immortality and were cast out, exiled. Kane later on commited murder and he was exiled for his sin. Same punishment as the parents for what some might consider a larger transgression.

It is reading and digesting stuff like this that lead me to the conclusion that God views all sins the same. Same punishment regardless of how dire we creatures deem the transgression.

FlaGator
12-09-2008, 06:30 PM
Sorry - but that is crap - crap piled as deep as when people say you need the pope to go to heaven or that catholics worship statues.

Show me Scripture that says the infants are born sinless and thus able to enter heaven. Jesus had to be born of a virgin to be sinless,

I will remind using the words of Jesus himself


In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’”

“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
John 3:1-6

Again Jesus tells us


“For God so loved the world that he gavey his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the worldc to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:16-19

I do not follow the Pope. When it comes to faith I only believe in what God tells me via Scripture. You may consider that crap and that is your right to do so. If you can't show me in Scripture where I have misunderstood something that I have read the I have to work on the assumption that my interpretation is I am correct.

God puts many hard lessons before us. I'm sure He has His reasons and I being merely a creation of His am not in the position to challenge Him.


Oh, the depth of the richesy of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Romans 11:33-36

FlaGator
12-09-2008, 06:40 PM
I must say FG, I'm quite taken aback to hear you say this. (or more precisely to read it;))

This seems contradictory to the whole choice concept. It seems there is more to it than our 'free choice'. Newborns cannot consciously make any choice, yet they are condemned.

Is everyone who is not officially baptised hell-bound in your view? What if they, by all their will, 'choose' to be with God, but did not know, or were unable to be cleansed of original sin?

Again, I have to think what kind of justice system I would devise, were I even just a little bit of what god purports to be.. and it wouldn't include inherited damnation for sins that weren't committed by the soul in question, especially when the soul in question had no opportunity to 'repent' for the crimes he/she didn't commit. Certainly, if I were omnipotent, I would have the discretion and the compassion to save those who did not get a choice.

Why does this surprise you and how is it contradictory to choice. People die before they get the opportunity to make a lot of choices. A woman dies when she is 18. She never got to make the choice to be married and have children. We accept this reality every day. It saddens us but we accept it.

I will say this, God may have a way of given a dying infant a chance to choose (and I pray he does) because anything is possible to God. If so, He has opted to keep that knowledge to himself because, I assume, that it isn't pertinent to our salvation. But, when I am confronted when the question of does a newborn go to heaven or hell I can only recite what Scripture makes clear to me.

FlaGator
12-09-2008, 06:56 PM
Not only that, but how on earth is one supposed to 'freely choose' heaven/hell/Christianity/God, when, apparently, all of it is unable to be understood by anyone who doesn't already accept it?

So, following Policon's logic, it isn't a choice after all. It's divine revelation of sorts gifted upon the chosen few... in other words... God chooses YOU, not the other way around. That kind of spells trouble for the idea that 'free will' justifies Hell and eternal suffering, by our own 'free choice'. If it takes some special bestowal of divine revelation to acquire said understanding, then you are not making a choice at all. God is taking away your free will... and has rescinded the gift that many here claim is the most precious... in order that you be saved.

So once again, we are back God who has a hand picked, exclusive fan club... for which not being chosen is a penalty of eternal suffering. A God who can't even muster up the desire to not inflict eternal suffering on those he does not choose, through annihilation, or perhaps some other, not so unpleasant eternal existence. A God who decides to punish those who he does not choose with a punishment that can in no way be appropriate reciprocity for any act possible of a human being in the finite world. There is a limit to the suffering and damage a person can do. There is no limit to eternal suffering. This God is one who has, by his own will, created endless and eternal suffering. That is not a just God.


Wilbur all I can tell you, and you won't like it, is that the Lord work in mysterious ways? It works something like this and don't press me to hard for the detail because I'm not God and don't understand a lot of this. Before God give grace to someone they won't choose God. They have the chance to but it is not in their make up to do so. For example, I have the chance to choose homosexuality. It is an option available to me but I don't choose it because I find the act physically repulsive and morally wrong. When God grant's grace to someone the understand something that they didn't before. They can't help but choose God even though they have the option to reject him. About 10 years ago I would never eat sushi. After I discovered how good it is I will always choose it when it’s on the menu. Like rejecting God I still can say no but I don't want to. Freewill is still intact and inviolate.

FlaGator
12-09-2008, 07:02 PM
Imagine the following scenario...

A father wants to teach his son a lesson about stealing cookies from the cookie jar. So, the father rigs the jar with explosives and warns his son that if he steals any more cookies he will face dire consequences. The next day, the child decides to ignore the warning and attempts to steal a cookie. The child's hand is blown off.

Is the father just or cruel? I would say that the father is cruel. You, however, would say that the father is just because after all... the child choose to steal.

The use of a child as an example is a bad analogy. We are not children of God. God has but one begotten child, Jesus Christ. We are creations of God and like an artist or a musican, he is free to do with his creation as he will. You keep wanting to equate the human status with God and we are not on par with Him. Try this example. A painter walks by his studio and he sees that it is on fire. He runs in and grabs the ones he cherishs the most and dashes out leaving the rest to burn. Was he cruel because he didn't rescue all the paintings?

FlaGator
12-09-2008, 07:09 PM
Fairness is an essential part of justice. You cannot have justice or be just, without being 'fair'. Not in the 'fairness doctrine', faux self-esteem 'affirming', and forced mediocrity sense of the word, as it is used in liberal philosophy... but just fairness that commensurates punishments and rewards in accordance with the good or bad deeds committed.

You absolutely need fairness to be just... they are nearly the same thing. Any being that can dole out punishment that far outweighs what any, even the worst of us, deserve, is not fair.. and if it is not fair it cannot be called just... and vice versa. Eternity of torture is something no one deserves, cannot be just.. and no philosophy can make it so.

You are confusing mercy with justice. God says that all who sin will perish. All people sin so all will perish. That is justice is it not? That the rules. Don't sin and you won't perish. Since people can not 'not sin' God gives us the justice we desire. On the otherhand, God offers mercy to some and they do not perish even though they are sinners. If God gave mercy to all then justice wouldn't mean anything. Mercy is not a reward because you can't earn mercy. If you could earn it then it would be something you deserved and thus not mercy. Mercy is a gift, justice is earned.

MrsSmith
12-09-2008, 07:14 PM
Why does this surprise you and how is it contradictory to choice. People die before they get the opportunity to make a lot of choices. A woman dies when she is 18. She never got to make the choice to be married and have children. We accept this reality every day. It saddens us but we accept it.

I will say this, God may have a way of given a dying infant a chance to choose (and I pray he does) because anything is possible to God. If so, He has opted to keep that knowledge to himself because, I assume, that it isn't pertinent to our salvation. But, when I am confronted when the question of does a newborn go to heaven or hell I can only recite what Scripture makes clear to me.

Each person must choose. Any who cannot choose cannot make the choice to reject Jesus. Those who do not reject Him are not blotted from the Book of Life.

MrsSmith
12-09-2008, 07:16 PM
You do realize that betwen black and white there is gray - right? Between day and night there is twilight - RIGHT? AND between right and wrong there are also shades of gray. FOR EXAMPLE - DO you think the sin of stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving child is comparable to murdering your husband because he farted?
What difference does it make what I think...or what you think? Scripture gives no support to the idea that sins come in shades of gray.

MrsSmith
12-09-2008, 07:18 PM
Imagine the following scenario...

A father wants to teach his son a lesson about stealing cookies from the cookie jar. So, the father rigs the jar with explosives and warns his son that if he steals any more cookies he will face dire consequences. The next day, the child decides to ignore the warning and attempts to steal a cookie. The child's hand is blown off.

Is the father just or cruel? I would say that the father is cruel. You, however, would say that the father is just because after all... the child choose to steal.

Does the father know the child's every thought and action? Does he know the child's past and future? Does he in any way represent the reality of God? Of course not. Until you get the very, very simple concept that God is not a human, you're never going to gain any tiny measure of understanding.

MrsSmith
12-09-2008, 07:20 PM
I don't know off the top of my head, nor has it been relevant to the conversation at hand. The context of this entire discussion is that hell as a place of eternal suffering and torment, which certainly many Christians believe.. and I have said that such a place cannot co-exist with a god who is said to be just. Its been a premise the entirety of the debate in this thread and our own back and forth conversation.
What, exactly, is unjust about God allowing you to choose Hell if you really want to go there? :confused:

wilbur
12-09-2008, 07:31 PM
What, exactly, is unjust about God allowing you to choose Hell if you really want to go there? :confused:

I think we've gone over that part pretty well in the thread...

If someone comprehended the experience of eternal suffering, would they actually chose it?

wilbur
12-09-2008, 07:33 PM
You are confusing mercy with justice. God says that all who sin will perish. All people sin so all will perish. That is justice is it not?


That sounds a little more palatable, but simply 'perishing' isn't the final consequence... its eternal suffering. In my book, those two arent the same.

FlaGator
12-09-2008, 07:48 PM
Each person must choose. Any who cannot choose cannot make the choice to reject Jesus. Those who do not reject Him are not blotted from the Book of Life.

Can you show me that in scripture?

FlaGator
12-09-2008, 08:08 PM
That sounds a little more palatable, but simply 'perishing' isn't the final consequence... its eternal suffering. In my book, those two arent the same.

Actually I don't think that there is eternal suffering. As evidence I offer the following


Jesus says

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell
Matthew 10:28


I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades
Revelation 1:18


Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.
Reveletion 20:14

Now there is this

And if your eye causes you to sin,m pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,8 where “ ‘their worm does not die,
and the fire is not quenched.
Mark 9:47-48
But it doesn't mention eternal suffering.

Also Christ tells the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16 and he mentions that the rich man is being tormented in hell but no references that the rich mand is being tormented for ever.

The Epistle of Jude say

In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
Jude 1:7
This says that the fire is eternal but that doesn't mean the punishment is.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 08:49 PM
I don't know off the top of my head, nor has it been relevant to the conversation at hand. The context of this entire discussion is that hell as a place of eternal suffering and torment, which certainly many Christians believe.. and I have said that such a place cannot co-exist with a god who is said to be just. Its been a premise the entirety of the debate in this thread and our own back and forth conversation.Without it being stated in scripture - it's not Christian doctrine.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 09:11 PM
There is no component of fairness that only appeals to appearance, unless used in a very specific context, as you, I and everyone else well knows.. who said ONLY appearance? Not I.


You know how words sometimes have two meanings? Look at 'just' for example. It can also mean 'nearly', or 'extremely thin margin' etc etc (I 'just' made it!)'. Hardly. Just means different things depending on what part of speech it is used as. Fair has a real meaning and then one the left has tried to force onto the word. Even with that new meaning forced onto the word - it STILL maintains it's original meaning in that new definition. Fair as applied to social aspects STILL has in it a meaning of APPEARING to be so.


You are confusing and merging two different defintions of the word fair. I can't believe this has to be explained to you. You are simply making up your own definition of fair, that exists solely in your head, and wondering why the rest of the world doesn't match it.lol Actually - no. I'm just not using crappy modern dictionaries.




If there is one quality the word 'fair' lacks when compared to 'just', it really is simply an heir of officiality and profundity. But other than that, fair is just, and just is fair. The are both qualities of one another.Only in the minds of progressives. Thinking people know that fair is about appearance and justice is about substance.


Despite the occasional abuse of the term for socio-political marketing purposes, the real meaning is still well intact and meaningful for anyone who can discern the context of the conversation. Imagine that...Social political marketing is what your side is all about.




Saying 'he is a fair judge' means he IS equitable. Saying 'he looks like fair judge' is saying he has the APPEARANCE of being equitable. Justice demands deeper understanding while fairness demands the appearance of equality.




They must have even infiltrated the dictionary! Diabolical!Not surprising. Dewey and his disciples do control the education system.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 09:12 PM
I'm not arguing that God doesn't get to make the rules. I'm arguing that God, or at least the one described in the Bible, is infinitely cruel.Because you do not see the whole picture or understand.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 09:14 PM
Well, that says nothing of the estimated third or so of fertilized eggs that die of natural causes before a woman even knows she's pregnant.. and all the miscarriages that take place after that. More 'soul imbued' eggs self-abort from natural causes every year than through abortions... are they included on that list?
notice your own choice of terms - NATURAL CAUSES.

wilbur
12-09-2008, 09:17 PM
notice your own choice of terms - NATURAL CAUSES.

Perhaps you should re-read what I am responding too, and who the question is posed too... and why the exact causation for death might not be so relevant.

FlaGator
12-09-2008, 09:22 PM
I'm not arguing that God doesn't get to make the rules. I'm arguing that God, or at least the one described in the Bible, is infinitely cruel.

Let's discuss this. Explain to me what he has done that is infinitely cruel. Keep in mind, that all men or creations of God, not his children. Some God does adopt but all are creations.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 09:26 PM
I think we've gone over that part pretty well in the thread...

If someone comprehended the experience of eternal suffering, would they actually chose it?You obviously comprehend it enough to object to the prospect of it. :)

FlaGator
12-09-2008, 09:27 PM
Well, that says nothing of the estimated third or so of fertilized eggs that die of natural causes before a woman even knows she's pregnant.. and all the miscarriages that take place after that. More 'soul imbued' eggs self-abort from natural causes every year than through abortions... are they included on that list?

My stance on this is that if they have souls then they go to hell unless God has another way of dealing with the unborn that we are not privy to.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 09:27 PM
My stance on this is that if they have souls then they go to hell unless God has another way of dealing with the unborn that we are not privy to.But we are privy. Mercy.

FlaGator
12-09-2008, 09:29 PM
But we are privy. Mercy.

Why would mercy apply?

wilbur
12-09-2008, 09:31 PM
You obviously comprehend it enough to object to the prospect of it. :)

Exactly... so how could I actually 'choose' eternal suffering willingly, unless I was mislead, or missing information or comprehension necessary to make the choice? But I see above, that you say there isnt really scriptural support for hell as eternal suffering... so I guess thats pretty much moot any ways.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 09:33 PM
Exactly... so how could I actually 'choose' eternal suffering willingly, unless I was mislead, or missing information or comprehension necessary to make the choice?
By rejecting what God asks that you do to avoid it. That is your own choice that you are making of your own free will.

But I see above, that you say there isnt really scriptural support for hell as eternal suffering... so I guess thats pretty much moot any ways.Where did I say that?

FlaGator
12-09-2008, 09:34 PM
Exactly... so how could I actually 'choose' eternal suffering willingly, unless I was mislead, or missing information or comprehension necessary to make the choice? But I see above, that you say there isnt really scriptural support for hell as eternal suffering... so I guess thats pretty much moot any ways.

Did you read any of my previous posts on this?

wilbur
12-09-2008, 09:35 PM
Did you read any of my previous posts on this?

Yes, the flurry of replies has been to quick for me to process and respond yet ;)

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 09:36 PM
Why would mercy apply?Because mercy is an integral aspect of God. How would it be just for God to condemn to hell souls that never had the oportunity to make the choice for God? To Send a newborn to hell because of the sinful nature inherited from the parents would truly be cruel.

wilbur
12-09-2008, 09:36 PM
Where did I say that?


Without it being stated in scripture - it's not Christian doctrine.

..........

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 09:38 PM
..........So? By the same token if it is stated in scripture - it is Christian doctrine. :)

FlaGator
12-09-2008, 10:07 PM
Because mercy is an integral aspect of God. How would it be just for God to condemn to hell souls that never had the oportunity to make the choice for God? To Send a newborn to hell because of the sinful nature inherited from the parents would truly be cruel.

So all the people who where died prior to Jesus are all in heaven because they were denied the opportunity to make a choice while they were alive? How about people in deep dark Africa that died and never hear the message. Are they in heaven?

Original sin condemns us. Read Romans. Paul tells us that we are all enemies of God from birth. If God says everybody who doesn't choose Christ goes to hell regardless of the reason isn't he just being just. Keeping his word? Is God required to show us mercy. In Exodus God tells Moses "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy." Also consider Jacob and Easu, God says he loved Jacob but hated Esau in the womb. (Understand that the use of the word hatred in this context means withholds divine favor). Maybe some infants he gives mercy to but I doubt most receive it.

Set your feelings aside for a while and find where it says in scripture that infants are held to a different standard than everyone else. You stated earlier that you only believed something if it was in scripture. I am asking you where in scripture you find an exemption for infants.

MrsSmith
12-09-2008, 10:20 PM
I think we've gone over that part pretty well in the thread...

If someone comprehended the experience of eternal suffering, would they actually chose it?

You aren't totally stupid, you can figure out it won't be fun. So, why are you choosing it? :confused:

MrsSmith
12-09-2008, 10:21 PM
Can you show me that in scripture?

I'll try...my mother-in-law found it in 20 seconds flat, but she knows a lot more than me.

Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

So, not overcoming means your name is blotted out.

Rev 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

If the names have been there since the foundation of the world, then are blotted out as people die still choosing to reject Christ, then infants who are unable to choose are not blotted from the book. It's our choice to reject Him, an infant can not make that choice.


Mat 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Mar 10:14 But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Luk 18:16 But Jesus called them [unto him], and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

PoliCon
12-09-2008, 10:38 PM
So all the people who where died prior to Jesus are all in heaven because they were denied the opportunity to make a choice while they were alive?Do you believe that by the same token that every soul before Christ is in hell because they were denied the opportunity to make the choice? The choice was available even before the coming of Christ.


How about people in deep dark Africa that died and never hear the message. Are they in heaven? Would it be unbearable if the were? If they weren't? Where is the justice in denying heaven to those who by no choice of their own were born in a time and place where they would not hear the Gospel message? Remember what Jesus said - I have sheep not of this flock.


Original sin condemns us. The LAW condemns us. Original sin leaves us damaged and broken before the law wanting to do right but subject to doing wrong.


Read Romans. Paul tells us that we are all enemies of God from birth. you might want to double check certain passages in the greek before you run with them.


If God says everybody who doesn't choose Christ goes to hell regardless of the reason isn't he just being just. Is it just to condemn someone without their knowledge?


Keeping his word? Is God required to show us mercy. In Exodus God tells Moses "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy." Also consider Jacob and Easu, God says he loved Jacob but hated Esau in the womb. (Understand that the use of the word hatred in this context means withholds divine favor). Maybe some infants he gives mercy to but I doubt most receive it. There is a difference between not showing favor to someone and condemning them over some issue that they have not had a part in.


Set your feelings aside for a while and find where it says in scripture that infants are held to a different standard than everyone else. You stated earlier that you only believed something if it was in scripture. I am asking you where in scripture you find an exemption for infants.Look at the words of Christ regarding salvation. he clearly indicates that a soul must chose. How does an infant - a soul without the capacity to make a choice - choose? What actual sin is a child guilty of?

Let me ask you this - do you honestly believe that a few drops of water and a ritual prayer can save your soul?

FlaGator
12-10-2008, 06:53 AM
I'll try...my mother-in-law found it in 20 seconds flat, but she knows a lot more than me.

Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

So, not overcoming means your name is blotted out.

Rev 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

If the names have been there since the foundation of the world, then are blotted out as people die still choosing to reject Christ, then infants who are unable to choose are not blotted from the book. It's our choice to reject Him, an infant can not make that choice.


Mat 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Mar 10:14 But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Luk 18:16 But Jesus called them [unto him], and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

I think the "not blot out the name from the book of life" is hyperbole. When God wrote those names in the book of life before the foundation of the world then to have the need to blot them out would mean that God had erred. God being perfect can not err. Either the names are in the book or they are not. God knew who would be saved and who wouldn't before the creation of the world.


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been callede according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified;m those he justified, he also glorified.
Romans 8:28-30

It still doesn't state that the inability to choose grants someone salvation. Christ said that the only way to the father is through Him. That statement doesn't leave much wiggle room.

FlaGator
12-10-2008, 08:34 AM
Do you believe that by the same token that every soul before Christ is in hell because they were denied the opportunity to make the choice? The choice was available even before the coming of Christ.
Would it be unbearable if the were? If they weren't? Where is the justice in denying heaven to those who by no choice of their own were born in a time and place where they would not hear the Gospel message? Remember what Jesus said - I have sheep not of this flock. The LAW condemns us. Original sin leaves us damaged and broken before the law wanting to do right but subject to doing wrong.
you might want to double check certain passages in the greek before you run with them.
Is it just to condemn someone without their knowledge?
There is a difference between not showing favor to someone and condemning them over some issue that they have not had a part in.
Look at the words of Christ regarding salvation. he clearly indicates that a soul must chose. How does an infant - a soul without the capacity to make a choice - choose? What actual sin is a child guilty of?

Let me ask you this - do you honestly believe that a few drops of water and a ritual prayer can save your soul?

I will try to answer all of this without doing it on a statement by statement basis. For the record I am learning to read Greek and cross reference concepts I don’t grasp with the original Greek. That being said, because of Adam’s sin all man arer born in to sin. Ask yourself this question. Do you sin because you are sinful or are you sinful because you sin? I answer this by saying that I realize that my sinful nature condemns me before any act of sin that I commit. I would be condemned as a sinner even before the law came down. The law defines sin; gives it a face so to speak but even without the law I was a slave to sin from birth. Have you ever noticed how natural telling a lie (sinning) comes to a child? They don’t even have to be taught to do this. They realize a lie might spare them some punishment so they lie. That is the sinful nature that all are born with coming forth. When a child is born it is not a question of if he or she will sin, it is when. Our sinful nature determines out fate, not our individual sins.

Now before for the coming of Christ and before the handing down of the law only one thing could save a man, faith. Gen 15:6 “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” By believing the LORD and doing what he asks one was justified and made righteous. When the law came down it define sin. Most of the people seemed to forget about faith and tried their salvation to fulfilling the law. This is impossible so they were unrighteous and condemned. Remember that we are discussing Jews here. From reading the Bible it seems that the LORD revealed himself to very few people out side of the Hebrews. I assume that everyone who was denied the LORD’s revelation of Himself died and was punished because of their sinful nature.

Then Jesus came and fulfilled the law were man could not. Upon his death and resurrection He sent his disciples out to spread the Gospel. The Jews had rejected him and now it was the gentiles chance to receive grace and the faith that accompanies it. The reason he sent believers out was the sinners of the world were dying and being punished and sharing the Gospel was the only way to stop this and give them the chance to accept Jesus. This tells me that all people who do not have faith are condemned whether they have heard the Gospel and rejected or never heard it at all. The would include every human being, infants too. Now God may have another way of dealing with infants that those who haven’t heard the word, but I have to ask is why would Jesus send us out to share the Gospel if by keeping it under wraps souls would be saved because they never had the chance to hear.

As to your last question concerning what I believe about baptism and a prayer of repentance. In and of itself I would say that the act of doing these things do not bring about salvation. However, Christ tells us to be baptized and renounce our sins, so not to do these things would defy what Jesus commanded of us. What is the consequence of disobeying God?

The Night Owl
12-10-2008, 08:45 AM
Does the father know the child's every thought and action? Does he know the child's past and future? Does he in any way represent the reality of God? Of course not. Until you get the very, very simple concept that God is not a human, you're never going to gain any tiny measure of understanding.

God's foreknowledge adds to the injustice of eternal damnation. If God creates someone even though he knows that person will end up in Hell, then God, though the act of creation, is deciding the destiny of that person and the choices that person makes in life are irrelevant.

The Night Owl
12-10-2008, 08:51 AM
So all the people who where died prior to Jesus are all in heaven because they were denied the opportunity to make a choice while they were alive? How about people in deep dark Africa that died and never hear the message. Are they in heaven?

Original sin condemns us. Read Romans. Paul tells us that we are all enemies of God from birth. If God says everybody who doesn't choose Christ goes to hell regardless of the reason isn't he just being just. Keeping his word? Is God required to show us mercy. In Exodus God tells Moses "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy." Also consider Jacob and Easu, God says he loved Jacob but hated Esau in the womb. (Understand that the use of the word hatred in this context means withholds divine favor). Maybe some infants he gives mercy to but I doubt most receive it.

Set your feelings aside for a while and find where it says in scripture that infants are held to a different standard than everyone else. You stated earlier that you only believed something if it was in scripture. I am asking you where in scripture you find an exemption for infants.

I agree with your interpretation of Scripture. I just don't understand why you or anyone would believe it to be true.

wiegenlied
12-10-2008, 10:07 AM
I'm not arguing that God doesn't get to make the rules. I'm arguing that God, or at least the one described in the Bible, is infinitely cruel.

The Night Owl, just curious, how are you celebrating Christmas if you are arguing that God is infinitely cruel?

PoliCon
12-10-2008, 01:18 PM
I will try to answer all of this without doing it on a statement by statement basis. For the record I am learning to read Greek and cross reference concepts I don’t grasp with the original Greek. That being said, because of Adam’s sin all man arer born in to sin. Ask yourself this question. Do you sin because you are sinful or are you sinful because you sin? I answer this by saying that I realize that my sinful nature condemns me before any act of sin that I commit. I would be condemned as a sinner even before the law came down. The law defines sin; gives it a face so to speak but even without the law I was a slave to sin from birth. Have you ever noticed how natural telling a lie (sinning) comes to a child? They don’t even have to be taught to do this. They realize a lie might spare them some punishment so they lie. That is the sinful nature that all are born with coming forth. When a child is born it is not a question of if he or she will sin, it is when. Our sinful nature determines out fate, not our individual sins.

Now before for the coming of Christ and before the handing down of the law only one thing could save a man, faith. Gen 15:6 “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” By believing the LORD and doing what he asks one was justified and made righteous. When the law came down it define sin. Most of the people seemed to forget about faith and tried their salvation to fulfilling the law. This is impossible so they were unrighteous and condemned. Remember that we are discussing Jews here. From reading the Bible it seems that the LORD revealed himself to very few people out side of the Hebrews. I assume that everyone who was denied the LORD’s revelation of Himself died and was punished because of their sinful nature.

Then Jesus came and fulfilled the law were man could not. Upon his death and resurrection He sent his disciples out to spread the Gospel. The Jews had rejected him and now it was the gentiles chance to receive grace and the faith that accompanies it. The reason he sent believers out was the sinners of the world were dying and being punished and sharing the Gospel was the only way to stop this and give them the chance to accept Jesus. This tells me that all people who do not have faith are condemned whether they have heard the Gospel and rejected or never heard it at all. The would include every human being, infants too. Now God may have another way of dealing with infants that those who haven’t heard the word, but I have to ask is why would Jesus send us out to share the Gospel if by keeping it under wraps souls would be saved because they never had the chance to hear.

As to your last question concerning what I believe about baptism and a prayer of repentance. In and of itself I would say that the act of doing these things do not bring about salvation. However, Christ tells us to be baptized and renounce our sins, so not to do these things would defy what Jesus commanded of us. What is the consequence of disobeying God?how long have you been a frustrated preacher?? :p

There is way too much to deal with here on a statement by statement basis - and I have no interest in writing a treatises on sin so I'll skip most of what you wrote and deal with some select issues.

Does a child's mind grasp the nature of sin? If not - how can the child be held accountable? Where is the justice in holding accountable a child who does not have the faculties to grasp the consequences of what was done?

The Night Owl
12-10-2008, 01:18 PM
The Night Owl, just curious, how are you celebrating Christmas if you are arguing that God is infinitely cruel?

I don't celebrate Christmas. I do a little bit of gift giving and receiving during the holidays but for me that activity has nothing to do with Jesus of Nazareth.

M21
12-10-2008, 01:24 PM
Does a child's mind grasp the nature of sin? If not - how can the child be held accountable? Where is the justice in holding accountable a child who does not have the faculties to grasp the consequences of what was done?

I've lightly been following this thread so that I can welcome Brother TNO into the Kingdom because I do believe that the Holy Spirit is plowing his stony heart for the sowing of the seed...:D

Anyway...That's a great question.

Goldwater
12-10-2008, 01:36 PM
The Night Owl, just curious, how are you celebrating Christmas if you are arguing that God is infinitely cruel?

You think 80-90% of people who celebrate Christmas are celebrating Jesus?

They're celebrating their new Xbox.

The Night Owl
12-10-2008, 01:39 PM
I've lightly been following this thread so that I can welcome Brother TNO into the Kingdom because I do believe that the Holy Spirit is plowing his stony heart for the sowing of the seed...:D

Anyway...That's a great question.

I can assure you that a Come-To-Jesus moment is not in the cards for me. The doubt has always been with me and always will be.

wilbur
12-10-2008, 01:59 PM
I've lightly been following this thread so that I can welcome Brother TNO into the Kingdom because I do believe that the Holy Spirit is plowing his stony heart for the sowing of the seed...:D

Anyway...That's a great question.

Or perhaps the seeds of doubt are being planted in you... like a mustard tree it grows. ;)

M21
12-10-2008, 02:08 PM
I can assure you that a Come-To-Jesus moment is not in the cards for me. The doubt has always been with me and always will be.I heard another guy say something similar once. His name was Paul and his friends called him The Apostle. :)

FlaGator
12-10-2008, 02:24 PM
I agree with your interpretation of Scripture. I just don't understand why you or anyone would believe it to be true.

Because God opened my eyes to the truth and I believe it and part of becoming aware of the truth causes acceptence. From my post conversion point of view I can't understand why you do not believe it. It has to do with God's treatment of us. He treats everyone individually because the methods he used to open my eyes probably wouldn't work on you and visa versa.

FlaGator
12-10-2008, 02:38 PM
how long have you been a frustrated preacher?? :p

There is way too much to deal with here on a statement by statement basis - and I have no interest in writing a treatises on sin so I'll skip most of what you wrote and deal with some select issues.

Does a child's mind grasp the nature of sin? If not - how can the child be held accountable? Where is the justice in holding accountable a child who does not have the faculties to grasp the consequences of what was done?

Actually I am considering quiting my job and entering a Seminary. I'm almost 48 but I don't think it's too late.
Anyways, let me ask a few questions and you think about the answers. What was the purpose of Jesus sending us on the Great Commission? What would happen to those who are ignorant of the word if no one spread the word to them. Would they go to heaven or hell. If they would go to heave then why evangelize them? Never having heard of God would they know what sin is? If not then how are they different from an infant.

When I first heard about infants being condemned I revolted from it's implications. Then a priest told me to set my emotions aside. Not to imagine things in scripture because I want them to exists and to read what scripture tells me. I could find nothing in scripture that contradicted him. I grudgingly accepted the lesson he was teaching. Later he added that just because God does something that seems cruel to keep in mind that we don't understand all of God's intentions and all that God does, being perfect and good, works to some greater God. Just because it seems that infants go to hell doesn't mean that they do. We don't understand Gods method's an what may seem cruel may merely be something we aren't yet capable of understanding.

What did God say "Your ways are not my ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts".

M21
12-10-2008, 02:41 PM
Or perhaps the seeds of doubt are being planted in you... like a mustard tree it grows. ;)You must be kidding. LOL. We've all gotta to serve somebody and I've never been a double minded man.

"Nothing compares... to the greatness of knowing You, Lord."

These words that were spoken and written by the Apostle Paul, apply just as much to my life today as they did 2,000 years ago when he wrote them. That in my life, no matter where I go or who I could meet or what I could see or what I could earn, or be given to me, or accomplish. There is nothing in my life that will ever even come close to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord.

FlaGator
12-10-2008, 02:49 PM
I can assure you that a Come-To-Jesus moment is not in the cards for me. The doubt has always been with me and always will be.

I felt exactly the same way. For 44 years I denied Christ and Christianity. I believed that there was something but it was not for me to understand or worry about. Then God called and though you don't believe it now, it is an irresistible call. For me He gave me peace in a time of pain that I don't have the words to make you understand. No one evangelized me or witnessed to me or spoke to me about God. In the quiet of my room I found peace and I understood that God wanted me. His desire for me was so powerful and filled me with such hope that I knew beyond all doubt that He existed. Then again with no one telling me, I understood my need for redemption and openly accepted the salvation He offered me. Literally in an instant I understood a lot of things that I never grasped before. Ever since then God has been my first thought when I wake up and the last thought I have when I go to sleep. Its like falling in love but never having the newness of the relationship wear off.

M21
12-10-2008, 02:50 PM
Actually I am considering quiting my job and entering a Seminary. I'm almost 48 but I don't think it's too late.
Anyways, let me ask a few questions and you think about the answers. What was the purpose of Jesus sending us on the Great Commission? What would happen to those who are ignorant of the word if no one spread the word to them. Would they go to heaven or hell. If they would go to heave then why evangelize them? Never having heard of God would they know what sin is? If not then how are they different from an infant.I think your answer is here specifically in verse 20. It appears that God is holding us accountable for the knowledge and understanding that we have and not for what we don't have. Again holding the individual responsible for what he understands. Where does your understanding come from? Who is the source?

Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

FlaGator
12-10-2008, 02:59 PM
I think your answer is here specifically in verse 20. It appears that God is holding us accountable for the knowledge and understanding that we have and not for what we don't have. Again holding the individual responsible for what he understands. Where does your understanding come from? Who is the source?

Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.


But who does that explain this statement from Jesus


In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again
John 3:3

That seem pretty cut and dry.

M21
12-10-2008, 03:31 PM
But who does that explain this statement from Jesus John 3:3

That seem pretty cut and dry.I doesn't explain it but it wasn't meant to. I guess we'd have to define our terms before we proceed. What does it mean to you to be born again?

Where do you think the Old Testament Saints are?

The Night Owl
12-10-2008, 03:38 PM
Because God opened my eyes to the truth and I believe it and part of becoming aware of the truth causes acceptence. From my post conversion point of view I can't understand why you do not believe it. It has to do with God's treatment of us. He treats everyone individually because the methods he used to open my eyes probably wouldn't work on you and visa versa.

I have to say that I find your willingness to defend the problematic parts of the Bible rather refreshing. Most believers go wobbly when confronted with some of the troubling implications of certain passages in the Bible.

FlaGator
12-10-2008, 04:23 PM
I doesn't explain it but it wasn't meant to. I guess we'd have to define our terms before we proceed. What does it mean to you to be born again?

Where do you think the Old Testament Saints are?

Some creeds state that Christ desended in to Hades (sheole) and brought the Gospel to the dead and thus redeemed them. As for the definition of born again ,Christ defines that in John 3:5-7


Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’

I would say that one must be filled with the Holy Spirit to be born again. What do you believe is required of a person to become a temple of the Spirit of God?

M21
12-10-2008, 04:34 PM
Some creeds state that Christ desended in to Hades (sheole) and brought the Gospel to the dead and thus redeemed them. As for the definition of born again ,Christ defines that in John 3:5-7 You don't find a scriptural basis for this doctrine do you? I asking what YOU think is the fate of the Old Testament Saints. I think we will both agree that Moses, Elijah, and probably Enoch are in Heaven. So in the absence of the Gospel how were they saved? What allowed them to be in Heaven?



I would say that one must be filled with the Holy Spirit to be born again. What do you believe is required of a person to become a temple of the Spirit of God?I think you are beginning to answer your own question. What part does the child play in his birth? Is it an act of the child’s will that brings him into the world or is it the sovereignty of God? Can he not be born? He was conceived before the foundation of the world.

FlaGator
12-12-2008, 08:23 PM
You don't find a scriptural basis for this doctrine do you? I asking what YOU think is the fate of the Old Testament Saints. I think we will both agree that Moses, Elijah, and probably Enoch are in Heaven. So in the absence of the Gospel how were they saved? What allowed them to be in Heaven?

I think you are beginning to answer your own question. What part does the child play in his birth? Is it an act of the child’s will that brings him into the world or is it the sovereignty of God? Can he not be born? He was conceived before the foundation of the world.

Here is what I believe concerning the fate of the people people in the Old Testament. In Genesis we are told that Abramham's faith in the Lord was credited to him as righteousness. He had faith in the Word and his righteousness allowed him entrance in to the Lord's presence. I believe that all pre-Gospel saints believed in the Word and they were accounted as righteous. In the New Testament Jesus is the Word made flesh, so believing in Him is believing in the Word and one is credited with Jesus' righteousness through faith in His being and message.

Now to infant damnation. There is nothing scripture that directly attests to what happens to children who die before having the choice to accept or reject Christ. Since there is no Scripture to guide we have but one of to choices. One is to apply what Scripture tells us happens to all who are not exposed to the Gospel or the other is to simply say that we don't know what happens.

PoliCon
12-13-2008, 02:10 PM
Actually I am considering quiting my job and entering a Seminary. I'm almost 48 but I don't think it's too late. You may be a frustrated preacher - but I have my seminary degree :p and have served in the missions in Africa and here in the US. :) A piece of advice - Less is more. Throwing a preponderance of words at a topic only appeals to other frustrated preachers! Everyone else tends to stop reading or to only skim - myself included.



Anyways, let me ask a few questions and you think about the answers. What was the purpose of Jesus sending us on the Great Commission? 1 to share the good news - but mostly for our benefit in putting our faith into action.


What would happen to those who are ignorant of the word if no one spread the word to them. Would they go to heaven or hell. If they would go to heave then why evangelize them? Never having heard of God would they know what sin is? If not then how are they different from an infant.They will be judged on their lives. You can be a follower of Christ - knowing him without having it formally codified. There are Jews I know who are assuredly saved because they live in hope of the coming messiah. Remember what Paul said in Athens.

That being said - Infants are different because Adults have the faculties to chose. Infants do not. Not only are they ignorant - but they are also incapable to discerning the choice. Besides - where do the souls of these children come from?




When I first heard about infants being condemned I revolted from it's implications. Then a priest told me to set my emotions aside. Not to imagine things in scripture because I want them to exists and to read what scripture tells me. I could find nothing in scripture that contradicted him. I grudgingly accepted the lesson he was teaching. Where does scripture tell us that infants go to hell? What about the innocents slaughtered at the time of Christs birth?


Later he added that just because God does something that seems cruel to keep in mind that we don't understand all of God's intentions and all that God does, being perfect and good, works to some greater God. Just because it seems that infants go to hell doesn't mean that they do. We don't understand Gods method's an what may seem cruel may merely be something we aren't yet capable of understanding.I agree. if it seems cruel - there is some misunderstanding on our part. We must then discover where that misunderstanding is.


What did God say "Your ways are not my ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts".No arguments there. His ways are however spelled out and illustrated in His word. :)

PoliCon
12-13-2008, 02:12 PM
You must be kidding. LOL. We've all gotta to serve somebody and I've never been a double minded man.

"Nothing compares... to the greatness of knowing You, Lord."

These words that were spoken and written by the Apostle Paul, apply just as much to my life today as they did 2,000 years ago when he wrote them. That in my life, no matter where I go or who I could meet or what I could see or what I could earn, or be given to me, or accomplish. There is nothing in my life that will ever even come close to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord.I cannot deny that I have doubts. Only a fool pretends that he has no doubts. I freely admit to them. Thing is - my doubts are in ME not in God. :) maybe someday I'll sit down and type out my testimony here.

wilbur
12-13-2008, 06:10 PM
Missed this one somewhere in the fray...


Wilbur all I can tell you, and you won't like it, is that the Lord work in mysterious ways? It works something like this and don't press me to hard for the detail because I'm not God and don't understand a lot of this.


Well, it could be that God works in mysterious ways... or it could be that man has invented a (not-so-coherent) mythology to explain the world when there was hopelessly little knowledge available... putting that option on the table neatly, reasonably and succinctly explains all the problems with these theologies and theodices much better than anything else can. When all these intractable problems arise again and again, why is the most coherent explanation discarded or even considered preposterous?



Before God give grace to someone they won't choose God. They have the chance to but it is not in their make up to do so. For example, I have the chance to choose homosexuality. It is an option available to me but I don't choose it because I find the act physically repulsive and morally wrong.
When God grant's grace to someone the understand something that they didn't before. They can't help but choose God even though they have the option to reject him. About 10 years ago I would never eat sushi. After I discovered how good it is I will always choose it when it’s on the menu. Like rejecting God I still can say no but I don't want to. Freewill is still intact and inviolate.

I see what you are saying, but in my mind that sort of makes the difference moot. You could choose to commit a homosexual act, but given that you never will there isn't much of a choice.... or at least the cards are stacked highly towards the option that you never will. Is it really free will if it would never occur to you to choose otherwise? It still seems to me that it such a thing implies a removal of free will, or at least stacks the deck so that a particular choice or outcome is certain.

FlaGator
12-13-2008, 07:29 PM
That being said - Infants are different because Adults have the faculties to chose. Infants do not. Not only are they ignorant - but they are also incapable to discerning the choice. Besides - where do the souls of these children come from? Where does scripture tell us that infants go to hell? What about the innocents slaughtered at the time of Christs birth?


Scripturally where does it state that infants are treated differently? Scripture tells us we accept Christ as or savior or we are condemned. Scripture doesn't spell out any exception to this or am I missing something. It seems to be wishful thinking of those who what to put a pretty face on sometihng that sounds cruel. Since God does not spell out what happens to infants when the best we can say is we don't know what happens.

FlaGator
12-13-2008, 07:44 PM
I see what you are saying, but in my mind that sort of makes the difference moot. You could choose to commit a homosexual act, but given that you never will there isn't much of a choice.... or at least the cards are stacked highly towards the option that you never will. Is it really free will if it would never occur to you to choose otherwise? It still seems to me that it such a thing implies a removal of free will, or at least stacks the deck so that a particular choice or outcome is certain.

It is free will in that I still have a choice. Lets look at this from another perspective. God knows all things. He is outside of time and can see past, present and future at once. Now if the Lord knows before hand what choice you will make on any given decision are you lacking in free will or is your free will being limited in some way?

Just because a person is predisposed to one action over another the state of ones freewill is not affected. Some scientists believe that are DNA drives our behavior and that almost all our choices are predisposed to one over the other. Our DNA leads someone to favor blue over red. Is the free will absent because of this? Your DNA makes you more attacted to blondes over brunettes is your free will being limited. I perfer asian women over caucasion women but that doesn't stop me from picking a caucasion woman to date. My free will is still in tact.

So I guess the question is, what do you consider free will and do you feel that all your choices in life are free? Consider this, you are robbed and the theif says "your money or your life", has your free will been removed because your choices have been limited. In someway all our choices have limitations placed on them via law or social norms. Does that mean that we don't have free will?

M21
12-14-2008, 01:14 AM
Scripturally where does it state that infants are treated differently? How did Jesus deal with children in every instance in the Gospels? The same as he dealt with the adults he encountered?

Consider the covering blood of Jesus Christ. Young children have not rejected the blood of Jesus as the heathen have. It is there for them, covering their sins, washing them clean, even though they have not had the ability to exercise faith in Jesus, which is required for the salvation of men and women who understand the consequences of their sin. A child's lack of understanding doesn't deter the power of Jesus' blood. Only rejecting the blood deters its power, and babies haven't done that.

FlaGator
12-14-2008, 06:56 AM
How did Jesus deal with children in every instance in the Gospels? The same as he dealt with the adults he encountered?

Consider the covering blood of Jesus Christ. Young children have not rejected the blood of Jesus as the heathen have. It is there for them, covering their sins, washing them clean, even though they have not had the ability to exercise faith in Jesus, which is required for the salvation of men and women who understand the consequences of their sin. A child's lack of understanding doesn't deter the power of Jesus' blood. Only rejecting the blood deters its power, and babies haven't done that.

Christ says not to hinder the little ones from coming to him. Young children are born with original sin and still salvation. I see no statement or inference that they are to be treated differently than others. What I see is that for your own reasons you wish to belive that they are treated differently. Where does Scripture teach that lack of understanding of sin was grounds for salvation. Those in Jericho did not understand sin yet God had the Joshua destory every living thing in Jericho.

Being a Calvinist, I wonder if those who die before they are able to seek salavation have were not elected before hand.

M21
12-14-2008, 12:53 PM
I see no statement or inference that they are to be treated differently than others. What child in the Gospels did Jesus ask or require a decision from? Plenty of adults, but no children.

I think there is a much better argument from silence for the salvation of children than there is scriptural evidence of a pre-tribulation rapture.

FlaGator
12-14-2008, 05:42 PM
What child in the Gospels did Jesus ask or require a decision from? Plenty of adults, but no children.

I think there is a much better argument from silence for the salvation of children than there is scriptural evidence of a pre-tribulation rapture.

I find no evidence of pre-tribulation rapture either. I try not to get out of scripture was isn't there just because it will make me feel better or put a better spin on things that in truth I don't understand. All I can gleen from Scripture is that Christ is silent on the matter. The pertainent Scripture seems to be Matthew 19:13-15


Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on themi and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

I believe that this runs hand in hand with Matthew 18:2-8

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

“Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!


The point is, I believe, that we must have the faith of a little child to enter the kindom of Heaven. That we must believe as children do when they trust in the existence of Santa and the Easter Bunny. As they have no doubts of Christ and His goodness when they are told about Jesus ,so must we in our adult life. To hinder the child from coming to Jesus is to do something that prevents them from hearing the Word and believing, thus saving his soul.

I maybe wrong in my interpretation but this is what I feel is true.

PoliCon
12-14-2008, 09:39 PM
Scripturally where does it state that infants are treated differently? Welp there is a passage about millstones and necks . . . . there is also passage about the innocents who died in Bethlehem upon the birth of Christ.

Scripture tells us we accept Christ as or savior or we are condemned. [/QUOTE] Question - how can a child with no concept of Christ - A child who cannot understand the difference between right and wrong - hell - can't understand anything much more complicated than hunger - how can that child accept Christ?


Scripture doesn't spell out any exception to this or am I missing something.Scripture also says that we must be baptized for the forgiveness of sin and yet Christ said to the good thief that he would be with Christ in paradise.


It seems to be wishful thinking of those who what to put a pretty face on sometihng that sounds cruel. Since God does not spell out what happens to infants when the best we can say is we don't know what happens.Welp - if you want to take the "we don't know tack" you really should err on the side of mercy and compassion right?

FlaGator
12-15-2008, 07:33 AM
Welp there is a passage about millstones and necks . . . . there is also passage about the innocents who died in Bethlehem upon the birth of Christ.

Question - how can a child with no concept of Christ - A child who cannot understand the difference between right and wrong - hell - can't understand anything much more complicated than hunger - how can that child accept Christ? Scripture also says that we must be baptized for the forgiveness of sin and yet Christ said to the good thief that he would be with Christ in paradise.
Welp - if you want to take the "we don't know tack" you really should err on the side of mercy and compassion right?

Since we are born with original sin, we are made imperfect at birth. It is not the sin that condemns us, it is our sinful nature. Christ was the perfect sin offering because he was born without the sinful nature that man kind has. As for the thief on the cross, we do no know that he wasn't baptised at some point earlier in the story. We simply don't know, his story is not complete. Anyways, Christ being God and do what he want's can except those he choses. Remember the rich man getting in to heaven question? With God all things are possible.

I error on the side of the Bible, because that is the only way I know for sure. If I proliferate something that is not backed up by scripture I am guilty of being a false teacher. You still haven't produced any Scripture evidence of infants going to heaven before accepting Christ. Are you possibly reading into Scripture what you want to see because the thought of infant damnation is hard to swallow? We should all just agree to say that we don't know what God does with infants because He hasn't told us. I have said from the being that God may have a why of dealing with infants that we don't know about. Another possiblity is that maybe the ones who pass away to early are not elect to begin with?

Romans 8:29-30

For those God foreknewg he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.


Just a thought...

YBIC

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 10:41 AM
Since we are born with original sin, we are made imperfect at birth. It is not the sin that condemns us, it is our sinful nature. Christ was the perfect sin offering because he was born without the sinful nature that man kind has. As for the thief on the cross, we do no know that he wasn't baptised at some point earlier in the story. We simply don't know, his story is not complete. Anyways, Christ being God and do what he want's can except those he choses. Remember the rich man getting in to heaven question? With God all things are possible.

I error on the side of the Bible, because that is the only way I know for sure. If I proliferate something that is not backed up by scripture I am guilty of being a false teacher. You still haven't produced any Scripture evidence of infants going to heaven before accepting Christ. Are you possibly reading into Scripture what you want to see because the thought of infant damnation is hard to swallow? We should all just agree to say that we don't know what God does with infants because He hasn't told us. I have said from the being that God may have a why of dealing with infants that we don't know about. Another possiblity is that maybe the ones who pass away to early are not elect to begin with?

Romans 8:29-30


Just a thought...

YBICI gave you two examples from Scripture. Did you read what I posted?

The Night Owl
12-15-2008, 11:34 AM
I error on the side of the Bible, because that is the only way I know for sure.

Unless you're infallible you can't know anything for sure.


If I proliferate something that is not backed up by scripture I am guilty of being a false teacher.

For all you know, the Bible may have been partially or even totally authored by Satan... or by men. You have faith that the Bible was authored by God... but you don't really know.

M21
12-15-2008, 12:03 PM
Welp - if you want to take the "we don't know tack" you really should err on the side of mercy and compassion right?I'll accept the consequences of that error. I was just thinking the same yesterday :cool:

M21
12-15-2008, 12:06 PM
I find no evidence of pre-tribulation rapture either. Good that you are consistent. I don't find sufficient scriptural evidence to support the doctrine a pre-trib rapture either.

FlaGator
12-15-2008, 12:10 PM
I gave you two examples from Scripture. Did you read what I posted?

Yes and neither gave me the impression that infants were exempt form damnation.

FlaGator
12-15-2008, 12:18 PM
Unless you're infallible you can't know anything for sure.
I am fallible, the Word of God is inerrant.




For all you know, the Bible may have been partially or even totally authored by Satan... or by men. You have faith that the Bible was authored by God... but you don't really know.

I believe that God would not allow that situation. Satan or men can only do what God gives them the authority to do. My faith is in God and his Son Jesus Christ, not in men or Satan. I don't have to know how God wrote the Bible through his choosen scribes, I just know that he did, that is the point of faith. God whispered in their ear for all I know. His mechanisms are irrelevent.

Do you know how the Big Bang occurred? No, you don't, yet you have faith that it did. Perhaps it was authored by God?

FlaGator
12-15-2008, 12:24 PM
I'll accept the consequences of that error. I was just thinking the same yesterday :cool:

Why not just say you don't know and then there is no need to err at all?

The Night Owl
12-15-2008, 12:42 PM
I am fallible, the Word of God is inerrant.

Because you're fallible you aren't able to know for certain what is or isn't the word of God.


Do you know how the Big Bang occurred? No, you don't, yet you have faith that it did.

I have faith that the Big Bang occurred because there is a lot of scientific evidence that it did.

FlaGator
12-15-2008, 01:11 PM
Because you're fallible you aren't able to know for certain what is or isn't the word of God.

I am fallible but God through His scribes says that His Word is infallable and that Scripture is His (God Breathed) Word so by simple deduction I conclude that scripture is infallible. My faith confirms this.



I have faith that the Big Bang occurred because there is a lot of scientific evidence that it did.

Strangly enough I got even better evidence that the Bible exists. I own quite a few.

wilbur
12-15-2008, 01:19 PM
I am fallible but God through His scribes says that His Word is infallable and that Scripture is His (God Breathed) Word so by simple deduction I conclude that scripture is infallible. My faith confirms this.



Strangly enough I got even better evidence that the Bible exists. I own quite a few.

Imperfect fallible word of human beings can easily make the claim that they are infallible. Perhaps one the mistakes of the Bible is that it claims to be infallible, or 'God breathed'. What then?

The Night Owl
12-15-2008, 01:23 PM
I am fallible but God through His scribes says that His Word is infallable and that Scripture is His (God Breathed) Word so by simple deduction I conclude that scripture is infallible.

Unless you're infallible then you can't know for certain that what the scribes wrote is the word of God.

There is no way around this. You're either fallible or infallible. If you're fallible then you can't know something for certain.


My faith confirms this.

If I were to have faith that a suitcase full of money will appear on my doorstep at some point in the near future then should I start spending like crazy? Of course not. Faith confirms nothing.


Strangly enough I got even better evidence that the Bible exists. I own quite a few.

I haven't claimed that the Bible does not exist.

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 02:39 PM
Yes and neither gave me the impression that infants were exempt form damnation. The Holy innocents are in hell? You better talk to the Roman Church then since they have been canonized. Can't have people in hell canonized.

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 02:41 PM
Why not just say you don't know and then there is no need to err at all?Because I do know. I know the same way that I know I will NOT be going to hell myself when I die. :)

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 02:41 PM
I have faith that the Big Bang occurred because there is a lot of scientific evidence that it did. You do know that the Big Bang theory is creationist science right? :)

FlaGator
12-15-2008, 02:53 PM
Unless you're infallible then you can't know for certain that what the scribes wrote is the word of God.

There is no way around this. You're either fallible or infallible. If you're fallible then you can't know something for certain.
God is in fallible. An infallible God speaks and infallible message to those He chooses to write down Word and via the assistance of God they infallibly transcribe the Word. I can be certain because God is certain. You may not like it but that's the way it is. There is no way around this.


If I were to have faith that a suitcase full of money will appear on my doorstep at some point in the near future then should I start spending like crazy? Of course not. Faith confirms nothing.

If God didn't tell you that you'd have a suitcase full of money will appear on your doorstep at some point in the near future then I would suggest that you are dealing with the voices in your head. To very if this, review Scripture and see if God ever left a suitcase full of cash on someones door step before. If he hasn't then it's a good bet that it isn't starting with you.



I haven't claimed that the Bible does not exist.
I didn't say you did. I was just comparing that you believe in the Big Bang because scientist tell you it is true. You can't personally prove that it is true you must rely on fallible men to interpret the data for you and because you trust them you believe. I believe in the Bible because God says it is his Word. Christ says it is God's word and I rely on an infallible deity for th e truth. A least listening to God I have something tangible... a Bible. you listen to who you want to and you have something ephermeral... a concept that as the potential to be real.

FlaGator
12-15-2008, 02:54 PM
Because I do know. I know the same way that I know I will NOT be going to hell myself when I die. :)

You know but you have to scripture to prove it... hmm... interesting.

The Night Owl
12-15-2008, 03:05 PM
You do know that the Big Bang theory is creationist science right? :)

That the Big Bang occurred is science fact. What caused it is still up for grabs.

FlaGator
12-15-2008, 03:09 PM
The Holy innocents are in hell? You better talk to the Roman Church then since they have been canonized. Can't have people in hell canonized.

There Roman Catholic Church also believes in justification by works, purgotory, indulgences, lost of salavation and the need to confess your sins to an intermediary. From the Protestant perspective all Christians are saints, at least from the way Paul used the word in his epistles.

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 03:18 PM
That the Big Bang occurred is science fact. What caused it is still up for grabs. be that as it may - the theory was postulated by a Priest as evidence for God. It's Creationism at it's best. :)

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 03:20 PM
You know but you have to scripture to prove it... hmm... interesting.I've laready given you scripture to demonstrate that God views these innocents differently than he does adults - Do I need to show God's compassion via scripture as well? If you're only going to view things spelled out in Scripture as acceptable - you're in deep theological trouble. There are some very key Christian doctrines that are not stated anywhere in Scripture.

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 03:20 PM
There Roman Catholic Church also believes in justification by works, purgotory, indulgences, lost of salavation and the need to confess your sins to an intermediary. From the Protestant perspective all Christians are saints, at least from the way Paul used the word in his epistles.I know both points of view as well as the POV of the Orthodox and Messianics as well. Your point?

The Night Owl
12-15-2008, 03:25 PM
God is in fallible. An infallible God speaks and infallible message to those He chooses to write down Word and via the assistance of God they infallibly transcribe the Word. I can be certain because God is certain. You may not like it but that's the way it is. There is no way around this.

How do you know for certain that those who claimed to be messengers of God were that? The Devil has the power to deceive men, does it not? If the Devil has the power to deceive men, then how do you know that the Devil's deception does not extend to the Bible? The answer is that you don't know that the Devil's deception does not extend to the Bible but you have faith that it doesn't.

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 03:26 PM
Agreeing witnesses. :)

FlaGator
12-15-2008, 03:34 PM
I know both points of view as well as the POV of the Orthodox and Messianics as well. Your point?

My point is that because the Catholics graded them Sainthood doesn't mean anything.

FlaGator
12-15-2008, 03:36 PM
I've laready given you scripture to demonstrate that God views these innocents differently than he does adults - Do I need to show God's compassion via scripture as well? If you're only going to view things spelled out in Scripture as acceptable - you're in deep theological trouble. There are some very key Christian doctrines that are not stated anywhere in Scripture.

You suggested that I review the masscre of the infants found in Matthew and the theif being crucified and I belived I answered them. Did I miss something?

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 03:38 PM
You suggested that I review the masscre of the infants found in Matthew and the theif being crucified and I belived I answered them. Did I miss something? The millstone. You forget the millstone.

FlaGator
12-15-2008, 03:44 PM
How do you know for certain that those who claimed to be messengers of God were that? The Devil has the power to deceive men, does it not? If the Devil has the power to deceive men, then how do you know that the Devil's deception does not extend to the Bible? The answer is that you don't know that the Devil's deception does not extend to the Bible but you have faith that it doesn't.

The Devil has the power to deceive men only if God allows him to (read Job). God being perfect would not allow a misrepresentation of His Holy Word. That would mean he allowed Satan to make His Word untrustworthy. To do that would make Him less than perfect and He can not be less that what He is.

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 03:45 PM
The Devil has the power to deceive men only if God allows him to (read Job). God being perfect would not allow a misrepresentation of His Holy Word. That would mean he allowed Satan to make His Word untrustworthy. To do that would make Him less than perfect and He can not be less that what He is.
what is your denominational background?

FlaGator
12-15-2008, 03:46 PM
The millstone. You forget the millstone.
Give me the book chapter and verse. I'm kind of brain dead after answering TNO's what ifs :D

FlaGator
12-15-2008, 03:50 PM
what is your denominational background?

I'm an Episcopal who claims to be and orthodox Anglican that believes that Calvin was spot on most of the time. Of the modern theologians I read a lot of R.C. Sproul and J.I. Packer. From old theologians I am really fond of Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, John Owen , J.C. Riley, John Bunyon and Luther.

The Night Owl
12-15-2008, 04:43 PM
The Devil has the power to deceive men only if God allows him to (read Job). God being perfect would not allow a misrepresentation of His Holy Word. That would mean he allowed Satan to make His Word untrustworthy. To do that would make Him less than perfect and He can not be less that what He is.

A fallible being is in no position to say what a supreme being would or would not do. Moreover, a supreme being is under no obligation to be truthful to its creations.

You said it yourself... God works in mysterious ways. How can you be certain that deception is not one of those mysterious ways in which God works? If God can ordain the killing of infants to achieve a purpose then surely God can ordain lies to achieve a purpose.

It seems to me that if humans are the creations of a god then it may have given humans the ability to reason so that we may discern bad teachings from good teachings even when the teachings are said to be from the highest of authorities.

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 04:49 PM
Give me the book chapter and verse. I'm kind of brain dead after answering TNO's what ifs :DLuke 17: 2

BTW - where do the souls of babes come from? :)

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 04:50 PM
I'm an Episcopal who claims to be and orthodox Anglican that believes that Calvin was spot on most of the time. Of the modern theologians I read a lot of R.C. Sproul and J.I. Packer. From old theologians I am really fond of Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, John Owen , J.C. Riley, John Bunyon and Luther.Ah. You are a Calvinist. No wonder.

The Night Owl
12-15-2008, 05:07 PM
Ah. You are a Calvinist. No wonder.

Technically, anyone who believes in an omnipotent god which punishes its creations for doing things it knows they will do is a sort of Calvinist.

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 05:17 PM
Technically, anyone who believes in an omnipotent god which punishes its creations for doing things it knows they will do is a sort of Calvinist.I've told you already - God does not send anyone to hell. They send themselves. The same way that bugs scatter and crawl away from the light when you flip a rock - same happens on the spiritual plain. Creatures of darkness will by their own accord flee the light that is Jesus Christ.

The Night Owl
12-15-2008, 05:25 PM
I've told you already - God does not send anyone to hell. They send themselves. The same way that bugs scatter and crawl away from the light when you flip a rock - same happens on the spiritual plain. Creatures of darkness will by their own accord flee the light that is Jesus Christ.

Does God let the damned out of Hell once they realize the mistake they made? If the damned are not allowed to leave Hell when they realize the mistake they made then what began as their choice to turn away from God becomes punishment inflicted by God.

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 05:34 PM
Does God let the damned out of Hell once they realize the mistake they made? If the damned are not allowed to leave Hell when they realize the mistake they made then what began as their choice to turn away from God becomes punishment inflicted by God.you make your choices in life. In death the weft and the weave is set. the patter cannot be changed. The cloth has been take from the loom at that point.

besides - you are assuming that they will see it as a mistake. Creatures of darkness fear the light.

FlaGator
12-15-2008, 07:24 PM
Imperfect fallible word of human beings can easily make the claim that they are infallible. Perhaps one the mistakes of the Bible is that it claims to be infallible, or 'God breathed'. What then?

Perhaps you are making a mistake by assuming that the Bible makes a mistake

PoliCon
12-15-2008, 10:34 PM
am I the only one who knows how the various canons came into being and usage in the first place?? GAH.

wilbur
12-16-2008, 10:58 AM
It is free will in that I still have a choice. Lets look at this from another perspective. God knows all things. He is outside of time and can see past, present and future at once. Now if the Lord knows before hand what choice you will make on any given decision are you lacking in free will or is your free will being limited in some way?


In my mind, no there is no free will in the above scenario... choices are already ordained. What you describe is predestination... one of the particularly indefensible parts of Calvinism, IMHO. Then of course, to justify why a good god could predestine so many to hell or lives of needless suffering, we see the arguments you touch on a bit in earlier posts... we are basically his playthings. Just as an artist can let his pictures burn in a fire, or a child can choose to melt his action figure in the microwave, so can God choose to do the same to us and it is his prerogative.

I think the philosophy you touch upon above squarely puts free will in the realm of illusion, and at the same time makes any action that God may inflict upon us, no matter how deplorable, as moral. It strips humans of their innate worth as living, autonomous beings capable of free will. It encourages the concept that we are inherently without worth, except as the playthings of this God. Calvinism leads to such dehumanizing conclusions, which is why, even though I know you are a good and decent guy, you can say with a straight face that it is just for God to condemn babies to hell before they even have a chance to be born.

No free will, no worth, toys of a divine puppeteer. Things He does to us are moral because He does them, not because He only does what is moral. Then, of course, things get a little sticky and confusing when we hear that it is wrong for God to violate one's free will.. its our choice to choose him, but its already pre-ordained... what?!? Can you at least begin to see how appeals to divine revelation as the only way to reconcile these contradictions really seem like evasions, not explanations?



Just because a person is predisposed to one action over another the state of ones freewill is not affected. Some scientists believe that are DNA drives our behavior and that almost all our choices are predisposed to one over the other. Our DNA leads someone to favor blue over red. Is the free will absent because of this? Your DNA makes you more attacted to blondes over brunettes is your free will being limited. I perfer asian women over caucasion women but that doesn't stop me from picking a caucasion woman to date. My free will is still in tact.


I think that 'orientation' or predisposition plays a huge role in the execution of one's will. In some cases predisposition, or certain genetic conditions, brain chemistry etc can dictate outright what a persons choice in certain situations will be. Material things can influence and even dictate our choices. That is certainly a very big wrinkle in the concept of free will..

It may be the simplest, easiest thing in the world for either of us not to cheat on a spouse or partner... on the other hand, some people are very predisposed to such things, and it may take all their force of will to keep their fidelity. In a way, their accomplishment in remaining true to their spouse would be much greater than yours or mine. Also in the same way if they slipped their transgression would be less than either yours or mine, generally.



So I guess the question is, what do you consider free will and do you feel that all your choices in life are free? Consider this, you are robbed and the theif says "your money or your life", has your free will been removed because your choices have been limited. In someway all our choices have limitations placed on them via law or social norms. Does that mean that we don't have free will?

Well, I can't say I have really pinned down what exactly 'free will' is.... I have a lot more learning to do on the topic... Intuitively, it seems to me like it is something we all possess and allows us to make choices according to our desires. We are all agents of free will... as such we should all recognize that it is immoral to subjugate another free, autonomous agent to your own will.. unjustly. On the other hand, will is made possible through material forces, and as such can be constrained, influenced or subjugated by them.

In the case of a thief, yes, he has immorally confined your free will... violated your autonomy. There may be others choices, such as running or fighting, but these aren't options for many people. I think that example is very analogous to the Abrahamic religions conception of God. Granting us the free will to determine our own choices (limited options of course), but demanding we make very specific choices at the threat of force. A thief in the night indeed.