Christians, Muslims, Jews - same God or different gods? - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 187 Old 03-17-2009, 10:18 PM
 
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When I was saved, it was not because I got smart and made a good decision and became less defective.
I honestly had no idea what was going on.
It was just the Lord drawing me to Himself.
It was a timing thing. I needed to be saved at that time.
OK, I think I get it. People come to God not through their own seeking or intellect or whatever, but rather because it is in God's plan that they should come to Him at that time. Predestination, but without the hell part. But then I wonder... why would God choose to bring some people into the joy of that relationship during their lifetime, while letting others muddle through with second-best and only know God after their deaths?
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I have a friend who spanked her oldest baby to make him eat chocolate becauese he was a picky eater and he would not try it and she "knew" he would like it. Was that really necessary? No, and now that she has 5 more children and her oldest son is 19, she is well aware of that. But, at that time as a young, first time mother, for some reason she did that.
Ummm.... now I'm going to be thinking about this for the rest of the night, trying to figure out what it means!
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#122 of 187 Old 03-18-2009, 05:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Chavelamomela View Post
Allah, Hashem, God...all the same.

Jesus...not the same.
I feel this way as well, to an extent, though I understand that to many (most? all?) christians, Jesus is a part of God. which I guess would make it all the same. To me, Jesus is was a wise rabbi who many people feel is the messiah. But to someone else, he might be God's son, and the messiah, and even part of God. Thats ok, its still God, no matter how you worship him/her, even if you worship him as krishna and kali and ganesh, or as rhiannon and brigid (and I've been known to go there on occasion), its still the same God. Know, I've known as many pagans who would argue this point as christians, and jews, but I beleive that the divine is an energy, divine energy in this world, and how you relate to that energy, what shape that energy takes to you, matters not. Its still the same divine energy whether it is Jesus or Allah or YHWH.


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I'll take a stab at this... as a Christian.

you're right that we disagree on the Christ/messiah issue. no dodging that fact! and true we couldn't all "worship together" in accord as we have such different beliefs about the messiah...
actually sometimes we can I just this week celebrated sabbeth with a bunch of messianic jews. Now, they're jews, not christians, but I disagree with them about the whole christ/messiah issue, and it didn't cause problems. I accepted that when they said blessings and included jesus (its ummm yeshuah I think they call him?) in them, I was not echoing that part in my heart and I'm sure when I and the other jewish woman said the blessings without it, they were adding that part. peaceful and wonderful to celebrate with other lovely human women. I agree that some types of worship, such as church/synagogue services would be much harder to do side by side, but I have no issues with praying with someone who prays differently than me, and one of the messianic women and I were both worshipping and exhaulting in the glory of God on the dance floor, and in much the same way (spinning with our arms up to God, ecstasy on our faces at our communion with God).

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But is there a problem with the thought that many do not seek God correctly (whether due to an incorrectness of understanding or of motive)?
How can you possibly seek God incorrectly? God is pure, loving, kind, and has the power to help you seek Him/Her in a way that is correct for you. I don't think that the way to seek God is the same for everyone, and I certainly don't think that there is one correct way to seek God. Thats the only time I have trouble with people of other religions over religious issues. When they try to tell me that my method of seeking God is incorrect. Now, I'll admit, in the past I've thought that other people's methods of seeking God were too weird to possibly be valid ways to seek God, and now, I've come to realize that as long as they aren't harming others non-consensually, it really doesn't matter how they seek God.

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#123 of 187 Old 03-18-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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... To me, Jesus is was a wise rabbi who many people feel is the messiah. But to someone else, he might be God's son, and the messiah, and even part of God. Thats ok, its still God, no matter how you worship him/her <skip> I beleive that the divine is an energy, divine energy in this world, and how you relate to that energy, what shape that energy takes to you, matters not. Its still the same divine energy whether it is Jesus or Allah or YHWH.
I suppose this is the heart of the conflict. Some people believe you can worship something which is not God.
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How can you possibly seek God incorrectly?
Maybe it would make more sense to say it is possible to seek God ineffectively, or like the song says, by looking for God in all the wrong places.
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#124 of 187 Old 03-18-2009, 04:15 PM
 
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How can you possibly seek God incorrectly?
You could seek a God who had the 'right' rules to justify your particular lifestyle; or a God whose accoutrements (buildings, clothing, candles, symbols, whatever) appealed to your aesthetic sense without a regard for whether or not that religion were true. You could look for God with the determination to find a religion that made you seem cool and exotic to your friends; you could look for God only in the religions which were socially acceptable or politically advantageous; you could look for God with the MO of gaining secret knowledge nobody else had and getting better rewards than they did; you could look for God by committing category error (say, empiricism); you could you could look for God with the mental reservation that you would only accept him if he conformed to your personal tastes; you could look for God with the attitude that you didn't want to find him just yet because The Journey Is the Destination; you could look for God based on the overwhelming charisma of a religious leader rather than n acceptance of its tenets... need I go on?

All of which is only a problem if you believe the point of religion is to tell us the truth about God (or more broadly, the metaphysical). I do. Many don't.

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#125 of 187 Old 03-18-2009, 07:48 PM
 
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You could seek a God who had the 'right' rules to justify your particular lifestyle; or a God whose accoutrements (buildings, clothing, candles, symbols, whatever) appealed to your aesthetic sense without a regard for whether or not that religion were true. You could look for God with the determination to find a religion that made you seem cool and exotic to your friends; you could look for God only in the religions which were socially acceptable or politically advantageous; you could look for God with the MO of gaining secret knowledge nobody else had and getting better rewards than they did; you could look for God by committing category error (say, empiricism); you could you could look for God with the mental reservation that you would only accept him if he conformed to your personal tastes; you could look for God with the attitude that you didn't want to find him just yet because The Journey Is the Destination; you could look for God based on the overwhelming charisma of a religious leader rather than n acceptance of its tenets... need I go on?

All of which is only a problem if you believe the point of religion is to tell us the truth about God (or more broadly, the metaphysical). I do. Many don't.
: Okay, but that's not really seeking G-d. That's seeking validation of one's own beliefs.

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#126 of 187 Old 03-18-2009, 08:17 PM
 
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: Okay, but that's not really seeking G-d. That's seeking validation of one's own beliefs.
very true!!! but... I don't think that many people in this world realize there *is* a difference between seeking God and seeking to validate one's own beliefs. many people think it's the same thing... or worse don't even recognize there *could* be a difference.

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#127 of 187 Old 03-18-2009, 08:53 PM
 
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...

I don't think someone can become desaved or unsaved. I do think that some Christian groups do not teach about salvation properly or at all and therefore, people in those groups may think they are "saved" when really they have never even been regenerated at all so when they "fall away" it is because they never really knew the Lord at all. Other people may be rebellious, like the prodigal son, and try to leave the Lord, but He never leaves them and eventually they will return. Some people, like the parable of the lost sheep in Luke may wander off from the Lord because they are confused and they see other things that may look better or seem to make more sense but eventually, the Lord will bring them back to Himself. Still others (I just read these parables in Luke), are like the lost coin - they are precious to the Lord but they have become lost for a variety of reasons and they are so dead in spirit that they cannot bring themselves back to the Lord on their own and don't even care to but He will also search for them and find them and pick them up and treasure them...

I've been following this whole discussion and am very entertained and am learning a lot from the many differing opinions here. The above portioned quote struck me, particularly.

I used to be saved, used to be born-again Pentacostal Christian. I'm one of those "de-saved". (love that term!) I didn't grow up in the church and really was born-again. Truly, in my heart, accepted Jesus, baptized, had a personal relationship with him, sought to glorify him every day and in every action, and lived that life, happily, for 5 years. Then...I changed my mind and denounced it all. So, I do believe that one can be saved, then un-saved. Of course the church I belonged to didn't believe in once saved always saved, so maybe that's why I truly believe that I was, and then had my name taken off the book. I do believe in free will more than predestination. I can assure you that I am not confused or lost. I actually think that the more knowledge I gained (from dissecting the Bible, science, life, other religions, etc), the less I could believe in religion (and that particular one) anymore.

I just wanted to throw out there that there are non-believers reading this thread and really enjoying the respectful dialogue!

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#128 of 187 Old 03-18-2009, 10:41 PM
 
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very true!!! but... I don't think that many people in this world realize there *is* a difference between seeking God and seeking to validate one's own beliefs. many people think it's the same thing... or worse don't even recognize there *could* be a difference.
See, there is that judgment again . And from reading your posts here, HP, I know that you probably don't have a judgmental bone in your body! I know that you do not condemn or judge anyone. I believe that you do not feel superior to me because I'm not a Christian. But there it is... I must have been seeking to validate my own beliefs rather than truly seeking God, right? Or been doing any one of those things Smokering mentioned?

This is how IMO the issue of religious belief differs from Smokering's example of the person who believes in alien abduction. I may think to myself that I don't believe them, and that the experience must have been a hallucination or whatever, but there is no expectation that little green men from mars come to those who seek with all their heart so there is no moral judgment there. But if you believe God reveals Himself to those who seek, then those who say they sought God and ended up in a different religions must have some sort of character defect that prevented them from seeing the True God -- they were too stubborn, or more interested in validating their own beliefs, or whatever.

I just can't hold that view. And believe me, I've tried!

Of course if you believe God comes only to those he has predestined and it has nothing to do with human seeking, you eliminate such judgments entirely. But then you have to live with a God whose definition of love is radically different from ours. Which, as Smokering always points out, is not a reason to not believe it. But I've noticed most people don't.
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#129 of 187 Old 03-18-2009, 10:50 PM
 
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i think my point is being missed, Thao...

it's not about judging that other people should or should not seek God. not at all (wasn't even where I was headed). it's that people outside of monotheistic religions will often assume people who are in a devout monotheistic religion looked to validate what they already felt about God. (as many do actually do this) where as others make a point to seek out who they think God actually is - regardless of who they *want* Him to be.

this isn't a believer vs. non-believer issue. it's actually true within religion and without. many people make the mistake of looking for God in what they already think... but God exists in His own ways and purpose, we can't fit something SO BIG into one tiny box. Basically looking for leading from God vs telling God where to meet you. (if you will)

but there is a difference in seeking God, and in seeking inspired thought. (though sometimes they do go hand in hand for sure)

if one didn't believe in one God (or any God) this just wouldn't pertain to them at all.

does that make more sense?

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#130 of 187 Old 03-18-2009, 10:50 PM
 
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Theoretica, you rock and I've learned a lot from following you around here. I'm not an MDC-stalker, I promise!
Awwwww.....shucks.....I'm freakin' blushing here

Although it occurred to me...You say MDC-Stalker like it's a BAD thing! Have you considered that I prefer to see it as an honor of sorts...perchance, a small fan club of one? :

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#131 of 187 Old 03-18-2009, 10:55 PM
 
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it's that people outside of monotheistic religions will often assume people who are in a devout monotheistic religion looked to validate what they already felt about God. (as many do actually do this) where as others make a point to seek out who they think God actually is - regardless of who they *want* Him to be.
I guess I misunderstood you badly, sorry! I never think that about people in a devout religion so I guess that's why.
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#132 of 187 Old 03-18-2009, 10:57 PM
 
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aww it's ok. My point was muddy at best. I KNOW what I mean.. it's just hard to find the right words. (and did I mention I'm 9.5 months pregnant and my head is just floating out there somewhere in space lately!? hah)

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#133 of 187 Old 03-19-2009, 08:27 AM
 
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I think one thing that is being talked around here is the idea that people might seek God in a way that is not open to finding out who he really is. I think most of us don't even like the idea that some people very deliberately reject God, but the idea that someone might be interested in God but not open to God seems awful. And scary. But I think it happens. "Give me chastity, Lord, but not yet is one example, but I think there are lots of other times this happens.

How can we avoid it in our own lives, I suppose would be the next question.

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#134 of 187 Old 03-19-2009, 01:21 PM
 
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Bluegoat, I do agree. I have no doubt but that some people reject God, or are stubborn, or are seeking validation rather than truth. The problem is, the worldview that my religion is right and all others wrong demands that one believe that *ALL* people who didn't choose your religion did those things. That's the part I just can't believe.
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#135 of 187 Old 03-19-2009, 02:59 PM
 
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Bluegoat, I do agree. I have no doubt but that some people reject God, or are stubborn, or are seeking validation rather than truth. The problem is, the worldview that my religion is right and all others wrong demands that one believe that *ALL* people who didn't choose your religion did those things. That's the part I just can't believe.
But those are not the only reasons a person might not find the truth at a given point in his life. God might let him search and struggle a while longer because the process of searching is beneficial to him; or because he is not yet ready to receive it, but will be later; or because God is waiting for another person to be involved in his learning process. God might also withhold the truth from a person if he would not benefit from it - for example, because finding the truth at this particular time will cause him or his family undue trouble; or because he lives in a place or situation where it would be almost impossible to practice the true faith; or to prevent him from taking on the guilt of rejecting or desecrating it. Or for any of a million different other reasons.
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#136 of 187 Old 03-19-2009, 03:12 PM
 
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The problem is, the worldview that my religion is right and all others wrong demands that one believe that *ALL* people who didn't choose your religion did those things. That's the part I just can't believe.
I agree.

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#137 of 187 Old 03-19-2009, 03:21 PM
 
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God might also withhold the truth from a person if he would not benefit from it - for example, because finding the truth at this particular time will cause him or his family undue trouble;or because he lives in a place or situation where it would be almost impossible to practice the true faith; or to prevent him from taking on the guilt of rejecting or desecrating it. Or for any of a million different other reasons.
From someone whose conversion from Christianity was INCREDIBLY traumatic (wonderful, right, perfect, but also traumatic), I find that difficult to believe. I don't think G-d really worries about our family situations or any of the things that seem so huge to us here on earth when he decides to give us our truth. I was married to a Christian man, raised by devout Catholics in a family whose Catholicism stretches back as far as the eye can see, and I was given the truth - a truth I didn't really want - and ZERO resources (IMO at that time) to pursue it.

Now, if your argument is that Christianity is the truth and I missed the boat somehow, then my argument is invalidated, of course. I just don't think that G-d worries about the little things we become so obsessed with in our lifetime.

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#138 of 187 Old 03-19-2009, 04:15 PM
 
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l I just don't think that G-d worries about the little things we become so obsessed with in our lifetime.
I don't think God doesn't care or worry about little things... I think he does care and shows much compassion to our "little" needs. I don't however think the creator of the world basis His timing and truth upon our personal convenience!

But really I do think many feel that God works in their timing. That it's all about how they feel or are in the moment. the fact is truth is rarely convenient in timing or situation! I had a very life changing experience last year... and my whole world just about crumbled. and i know God allowed it to happen (in fact it was one of few times in my life I felt his presence so deeply in my life) but is was so massively inconvenient and not at all what I wanted to deal with. it was NOT good timing!! But it was the truth... and it needed to be revealed. and God knew best. i know he cared how much it hurt me. I know He loved me through it all... and so many times psalms and such would to into my life that I never even knew where there. He gave me much comfort through it all... but I also know He wasn't about to base His entire plans around my feelings on the subject. He has bigger priorities than my feelings.

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#139 of 187 Old 03-20-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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ITA, Laura. So how do we bring this back to "true faith"? I'm wondering how one faith could possibly be the Truth for all. I just cannot wrap my head around it.

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#140 of 187 Old 03-20-2009, 04:27 PM
 
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ITA, Laura. So how do we bring this back to "true faith"? I'm wondering how one faith could possibly be the Truth for all. I just cannot wrap my head around it.
hmmm well I think there is a difference between faith and religion. ykwim? I don't think there is any one perfect religion. I do think there is accurate faith. (and I don't mean to sound so ambiguous... but I guess it's hard to put into better words for the time being. maybe I will think of a better way to put it after I think on it a bit more...

but i do believe there is one truth. truth is truth.

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#141 of 187 Old 03-20-2009, 05:29 PM
 
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I'm wondering how one faith could possibly be the Truth for all. I just cannot wrap my head around it.
It is more or less essential to Christianity, at least traditional Christianity, especially as it relates to the time before Christ. For thousands of years, only a tiny group of people knew and worshipped the one, true God. All the other human beings on earth were also God's children and were loved by Him, but He did not reveal these things to anyone but a small, specific faction. If the gods of the Egyptians or the beliefs of the Philistines were equally true, that pretty much nullifies the essential teachings of Christianity.
I realize this does not prove or disprove the idea of one truth, I just mean to put it in context.
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#142 of 187 Old 03-20-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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I'm wondering how one faith could possibly be the Truth for all. I just cannot wrap my head around it.
Really? I don't get what you don't get. Do you believe there's anything which is true for all human beings - say, the applicability of logic? I notice you capitalised the T, which I wouldn't tend to do except ironically, so maybe that illustrates a difference in perception. Do you draw some kind of distinction between 'regular' truth and Truth-with-a-capital-T?

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#143 of 187 Old 03-20-2009, 06:42 PM
 
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ok nix this comment... I misunderstood the question.... errr... nevermind.

transtichel.gifMom of three - (2.5 yrs, 7yrs, and 11yrs). Birthing Doula, editor, and wife to my soulmate. I've had a c/s, hospital VBAC, UC and not yet decided what I'll do about this next little one

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#144 of 187 Old 03-20-2009, 06:58 PM
 
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I'm wondering how one faith could possibly be the Truth for all. I just cannot wrap my head around it.
In a way I don't get the question. I do, but at the same time, disbelieving that god has self-revealed a set ultimate truth about himself for all mankind, or that this truth would contradict otherwise widespread beliefs and practices, is not the same as it being impossible that god has self-revealed said ultimate truth. "It would mean a lot of people are / have been wrong" doesn't speak with regard to the possibility of it, only the palatability of it. So I'm not sure what you really mean by "possibly." Is it just that it doesn't make sense to you that god would create a system in which there would be so many ways to misunderstand him?
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#145 of 187 Old 03-20-2009, 08:06 PM
 
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If there is one God... then there is one truth.

or is there something I am not getting?

of course we will all see different things. and of course we may all understand differently. or even perhaps He reveals different things to different people... but would it not all equal one truth? perhaps we all misudnerstand Him to one degree or another... but does it change what/who He is?

I believe The God of the jews is the one God. maybe I understand Him differently... but I only believe in ONE God. period. which means one truth. I don't believe that I as a Christian has the same relationship (and commmands/laws/blessing/promises) as Jews, b/c I am not Jew. I believe in the same God as Muslims, even if I disagree with their take on it... But He is still God no matter who I am. no matter how little or lot I understand Him, He is still God.. bigger than us all. His identity ISN'T dictated by my lack or lot of understanding of Him.

Perhaps this is niave of me? but I don't get how there are many truths... I don't get it at all. perhaps someone could explain this to me.

transtichel.gifMom of three - (2.5 yrs, 7yrs, and 11yrs). Birthing Doula, editor, and wife to my soulmate. I've had a c/s, hospital VBAC, UC and not yet decided what I'll do about this next little one

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#146 of 187 Old 03-21-2009, 03:05 PM
 
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God might also withhold the truth from a person if he would not benefit from it - for example, because finding the truth at this particular time will cause him or his family undue trouble; or because he lives in a place or situation where it would be almost impossible to practice the true faith; or to prevent him from taking on the guilt of rejecting or desecrating it. Or for any of a million different other reasons.
This is a very interesting perspective, mamabadger. Thanks!
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#147 of 187 Old 03-21-2009, 03:22 PM
 
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Is it just that it doesn't make sense to you that god would create a system in which there would be so many ways to misunderstand him?
This is a good question. Certainly not a reason to disbelieve, as God by definition can do all sorts of things that wouldn't make sense to us. But I am wondering how you answer that question?

For me, it's not so much why God would set up a system where so many would misunderstand Him -- heck, He must have known before creating man how things would turn out so why create man at all if that was a concern? For me, it doesn't make sense that given the vast diversity of personalities and needs people have, that one religion could satisfy them all. It makes perfect sense to me that God exists, but that multiple different religious traditions have sprung up because people have different needs. Naturally all of the traditions hold certain things in common, because people have certain needs in common. But other parts are different because people feel fulfillment from different things. So for example, a person might switch from Islam to Christianity because they feel more fulfilled by the belief in a personal savior in Jesus Christ, the emphasis on personal relationship. Whereas another person might switch from Christianity to Islam because they feel more fulfilled by the intellectual purity of the belief in One God, that it makes more sense to them than a Trinitarian Godhead. And so on...
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#148 of 187 Old 03-21-2009, 07:09 PM
 
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This is a good question. Certainly not a reason to disbelieve, as God by definition can do all sorts of things that wouldn't make sense to us. But I am wondering how you answer that question?

For me, it's not so much why God would set up a system where so many would misunderstand Him -- heck, He must have known before creating man how things would turn out so why create man at all if that was a concern? For me, it doesn't make sense that given the vast diversity of personalities and needs people have, that one religion could satisfy them all. It makes perfect sense to me that God exists, but that multiple different religious traditions have sprung up because people have different needs. Naturally all of the traditions hold certain things in common, because people have certain needs in common. But other parts are different because people feel fulfillment from different things. So for example, a person might switch from Islam to Christianity because they feel more fulfilled by the belief in a personal savior in Jesus Christ, the emphasis on personal relationship. Whereas another person might switch from Christianity to Islam because they feel more fulfilled by the intellectual purity of the belief in One God, that it makes more sense to them than a Trinitarian Godhead. And so on...
I can see where you are coming from here, and as far as the practical side of religion goes it makes sense well enough. But in this example, either one or both of the people would actually be misunderstanding God, since one believes in a Trinity in Unity and the other believes such a thing is impossible. So how do you see this working? Or do you mean that God could have invented such a system?

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#149 of 187 Old 03-21-2009, 07:43 PM
 
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I can see where you are coming from here, and as far as the practical side of religion goes it makes sense well enough. But in this example, either one or both of the people would actually be misunderstanding God, since one believes in a Trinity in Unity and the other believes such a thing is impossible. So how do you see this working? Or do you mean that God could have invented such a system?
Right, that's what this whole thread is about, isn't it? I've been mulling this over for days. I believe that all of our descriptions of God (such as Unity or Trinity) are inherently limited by the relatively puny abilities of human minds. I don't agree with Smokering, for example, that God is bound by logic. For all I know He could be Unity and Trinity both, or maybe something that is neither Unity nor Trinity but encompasses qualities of each. The fact that I can't conceive of it doesn't make it necessarily untrue.

That's why I keep saying that I think all religions see through a glass darkly. None of them get it all right. Because it is impossible for us to comprehend what God is, we just do our best by sticking labels on Him that make sense to us and probably accurately explain certain facets of God. But to think that the label is actually what He is, is to put God in a box.
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#150 of 187 Old 03-21-2009, 09:19 PM
 
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Right, that's what this whole thread is about, isn't it? I've been mulling this over for days. I believe that all of our descriptions of God (such as Unity or Trinity) are inherently limited by the relatively puny abilities of human minds. I don't agree with Smokering, for example, that God is bound by logic. For all I know He could be Unity and Trinity both, or maybe something that is neither Unity nor Trinity but encompasses qualities of each. The fact that I can't conceive of it doesn't make it necessarily untrue.

That's why I keep saying that I think all religions see through a glass darkly. None of them get it all right. Because it is impossible for us to comprehend what God is, we just do our best by sticking labels on Him that make sense to us and probably accurately explain certain facets of God. But to think that the label is actually what He is, is to put God in a box.
So, hypothetically, what would it mean if God told us something about himself, or gives himself a label? Would we still be seeing darkly? Is God bound by his own nature?

 I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt.
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