Religion!

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Re: Religion!

Postby capullo » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:42 pm

Like the Second World War, started by the Catholic, Adolf Hitler. Or Stalin, brought up and seminary trained as a member of the Russian Orthodox.

*cough*


the nazis had some twisted ideas of old germanic gods that justified their herrenmenschen philosophy. there was defo a religious approach (also with the swastika from india). nevertheless if you want to be evil, you don't need no religion and if you want to be good, you can do without religion too and vice versa. if religion gives you a personal strength that is good and positive - think about martin luther king or mahatma ghandi or bob marley for that matter - then it can be a strong force in a positive way. there is no black or white truth at the end of the day. i just can't take it when people think they know the absolute truth by following a cretain faith that is supposed to be the real and only faith in their eyes. it would do good if people would look upon religion more as a poetic and cultural element rather than belonging to a superior group - that is mental illness.
Last edited by capullo on Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Religion!

Postby finbar » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:56 pm

Varese wrote:
Mark T wrote:They seem to forget the last century where violence committed by atheists/secularists was horrendous and would make the Crusades and the inquisition look like a playground spat.


Like the Second World War, started by the Catholic, Adolf Hitler. Or Stalin, brought up and seminary trained as a member of the Russian Orthodox.

*cough*


Mark, with all due respect, there is very little that you can offer to support your assertion that *anything* comparatively makes The Crusades seem like a playground spat. Ancient cultures, and accompanying knowledge, was wiped off the earth, or hidden from sight by The Vatican. What was created by a warlord named Constantine has very little to do with Christianity. The very roots of the church are based in war.

Ended slavery? Sure, and Mussolini was a good leader because he made the trains arrive on time....

For the record I am not an atheist, and support people's right to believe whatever the want. But I no longer believe that these religions are benign because they do "some" good.
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Re: Religion!

Postby Mark T » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:41 pm

Varese, regardless of Hitler or Stalin's upbringing (and it would most likely be impossible to find people of their generation who didn't have a culture rooted in the church) they were both highly influenced in their course of action by strongly atheistic thinkers. Reading Nietzsche, as Derrida has pointed out, really can get you to the likes of Hitler (though not necessarily).

I couldn't agree more that people should hold their religious faith more humbly and more devoutly. John Caputo has said that we should be ready to die for what we believe in but we should never be ready to kill for what we believe.
I agree that we don't need to be religious to do good but I think that one can make a strong argument that we don't know what good is without religion (or without transcendent revelation). If there is no God, if this planet and everything on it is a mere chance accident of random elements then there is no such thing as good and evil (as Nietzsche pointed out long ago). There are simply actions which you may or may not like, may agree or disagree with, but that is largely irrelevant as there is no arbitrator to decide what is wrong, right, good or evil. This is of course a very old question.
Any attempt to root values in humanity, humanism and lately secular humanism, neglects cultural history to the extent that it fails to realize that humanism gets it's values from the doctrine of creation and the incarnation where the intrinsic value of individuals humans are rooted. That CBC series I linked does a good job of pointing this out though there other sources.
Secular humanism seems to think that removing religion from the world will leave us with good human values without realizing that there will be no foundation for those values.

Finbar, I think there is plenty of evidence just from the stats. It is estimated that more people were martyred for their Christian faith last century than in all the preceding centuries put together. The sheer numbers of people alive and being killed in the last century tips the balance.
I'm not defending any of the wrongdoing and there are many academics who think that Christianity went off the tracks under Constantine - when it essentially moved from being the religion of women, children and slaves to becoming the religion of the Empire. I do not believe it was in anyway rooted in war - the early Christians were all persecuted by the Empire.
At the end of the day I do not believe religion is responsible for war/violence, it is just used as an excuse for violence. Men, and I think we can safely be gender specific, have a propensity for violence toward other people (especially women). If they do not use religion as an excuse they will use tribalism, football, greed, nationalism, oil, water etc even rival reggae sound systems! Of course, the easiest thing to do is proclaim God is on your side and announce holy war.

The modernist myth ran that once every one had been educated religion would die out and the world would be a better place. It is hard to ascertain if the world is a better place and religion has got stronger not weaker. Ironically it gained huge strength in countries that tried to stamp it out like China and the Soviet Bloc.
I have a strong faith and I have asked every conceivable question and aimed every critical thought at it but it still remains to me the best explanation of the world as it is.

I better stop now, I haven't read this through before posting so apologies for spelling/grammar errors or unclear thoughts.
Posted with respect.
Mark T
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Re: Religion!

Postby KingSimeonSound » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:20 am

"I agree that we don't need to be religious to do good but I think that one can make a strong argument that we don't know what good is without religion "

Not sure this is an actual case to argue... but I would agree that many religions/texts offer traditional stories to explain and bring about discussion to understand subjects of morality etc... they always have. Ideas of good rely on people sharing time & space. There is no pre-requisit for the need of religion to bring about 'good', that is an idea of privilege, which is anathema.
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Re: Religion!

Postby Varese » Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:03 am

Mark T wrote:Varese, regardless of Hitler or Stalin's upbringing (and it would most likely be impossible to find people of their generation who didn't have a culture rooted in the church) they were both highly influenced in their course of action by strongly atheistic thinkers. Reading Nietzsche, as Derrida has pointed out, really can get you to the likes of Hitler (though not necessarily).

I couldn't agree more that people should hold their religious faith more humbly and more devoutly. John Caputo has said that we should be ready to die for what we believe in but we should never be ready to kill for what we believe.
I agree that we don't need to be religious to do good but I think that one can make a strong argument that we don't know what good is without religion (or without transcendent revelation). If there is no God, if this planet and everything on it is a mere chance accident of random elements then there is no such thing as good and evil (as Nietzsche pointed out long ago). There are simply actions which you may or may not like, may agree or disagree with, but that is largely irrelevant as there is no arbitrator to decide what is wrong, right, good or evil. This is of course a very old question.
Any attempt to root values in humanity, humanism and lately secular humanism, neglects cultural history to the extent that it fails to realize that humanism gets it's values from the doctrine of creation and the incarnation where the intrinsic value of individuals humans are rooted. That CBC series I linked does a good job of pointing this out though there other sources.
Secular humanism seems to think that removing religion from the world will leave us with good human values without realizing that there will be no foundation for those values.

Finbar, I think there is plenty of evidence just from the stats. It is estimated that more people were martyred for their Christian faith last century than in all the preceding centuries put together. The sheer numbers of people alive and being killed in the last century tips the balance.
I'm not defending any of the wrongdoing and there are many academics who think that Christianity went off the tracks under Constantine - when it essentially moved from being the religion of women, children and slaves to becoming the religion of the Empire. I do not believe it was in anyway rooted in war - the early Christians were all persecuted by the Empire.
At the end of the day I do not believe religion is responsible for war/violence, it is just used as an excuse for violence. Men, and I think we can safely be gender specific, have a propensity for violence toward other people (especially women). If they do not use religion as an excuse they will use tribalism, football, greed, nationalism, oil, water etc even rival reggae sound systems! Of course, the easiest thing to do is proclaim God is on your side and announce holy war.

The modernist myth ran that once every one had been educated religion would die out and the world would be a better place. It is hard to ascertain if the world is a better place and religion has got stronger not weaker. Ironically it gained huge strength in countries that tried to stamp it out like China and the Soviet Bloc.
I have a strong faith and I have asked every conceivable question and aimed every critical thought at it but it still remains to me the best explanation of the world as it is.

I better stop now, I haven't read this through before posting so apologies for spelling/grammar errors or unclear thoughts.
Posted with respect.
Mark T


Hi Mark,

I don't want to upset you, but I think some of what you have written probably doesn't do your argument many favours! Using Derrida to add weight to your argument that Hitler and Stalin were more influenced by atheism than the pernicious antisemitism the pervaded central and Eastern European Christianity at the turn of the twentieth century (indeed, for most of the last millennium!) is just bizarre, to be honest. There's no evidence that Hitler actually read Nietzsche, or actually understood him. Some Nazis were influenced by some of his ideas, but there entire weltanshaunng was warped by the prevailing Christian, antisemitic metanarrative (since your possibly a fan of Derrida!).

Trying to use a quantitative argument about killing and martyrdom as you do in your paragraphy to Finbar is also misleading. Firstly, the definition of martyrdom will be subjective, leading to instant petitio principii. Secondly, the massively exponential boom in population from 1900 onwards would, by definition, result in more deaths for Christian faith than previous centuries. Also, where are these stats you talk of? references, please! Can we look at per capita figures instead? What about deaths for holding other faiths?

There is as more foundation for ethical values in atheism than in religious frameworks. Firstly, God is always going to be unknowable (if he exists), so all absolute ethical values based on his apparent preferences are only ever going to be speculation. If he doesn't exist, they are nonexistent. Atheism admits that the values are there as they benefit society- if you make this explicit and demonstrate how and why they are of value then this is a real foundation and reason for moral actions.

I agree that the majority of Christians, Muslims etc aren't violent, racist etc, but there is no need to be blind to the massive failings of religion in previous centuries, and great need to question how and why that happened.

I hope you don't think I'm trolling. Anyway, I get the feeling we could argue about this for years as, because of your faith, you are unable to change opinion. I, on the other hand, can :D
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Re: Religion!

Postby Peacemakeya » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:49 pm

.
.
Greetings Reggae Massive

Bob Harding wrote:

Religion = Mental Illness


A true & that was also a frequent saying of Yabby You in his observations of those who corrupted the initial "1luv 1heart' & 'natural mystics' of reggae into an unfortunate religion of worshipping terrestrial aristocracy and, all to frequently endorsing the law of the jungle in our human interactions

Yabby also said: "To rule the people you must fool the people and the number one way to fool the people is thru superstitious religion."

Few amongst us would deny: "there is a natural mystic flowing thru the air" and nowadays its vogue for many new-agers to say: "I'm not religious - I'm spiritual" ... unfortunately the new-age thing became diluted and monetized, just like the initial spark of truth found within all the world's religions has been corrupted

regardless - life a gwan & every generation stands on the shoulders of the greats who came before us ... here's a few quotes that are meaningful to I ... hope they are helpful
====<><><><>====
1luv
Alex Peacemaker

"When you believe in things you do not understand then you are going to suffer" (from the song 'Superstition' by Stevie Wonder)

"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" (Blaise Pascal 1623 - 1662)

"Most people would die sooner than think; in fact they do" (Bertrand Russell)

"Some people get lost in thought because it's such unfamiliar territory" (G. Behn)

"One who joyfully guards his mind and fears his own confusion cannot fail. He has found his way to peace" (Buddha)

"When the power of love becomes greater than the love of power - then we will know peace" (mistakenly attributed to Jimi Henrix ... was actually said by Dr. William Ellery Channing 1780 - 1842)

"Where love prevails there is no will to rule" (Carl Jung)

"Be the change you want to see in the world" (Gandhi)

"There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and anyone who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever" (Bob Marley :D )

"Don't worry bout a ting cuz every likkle ting gunna be alright" (Gandhi :D)

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what you can do to come alive and go do it because what this world needs is more people to come alive"
(Howard Thurman - MLK's elder mentor)

"Temperamentally human is a very undisciplined animal; the highest achievement is when he disciplines himself" (Yogi Bhajan)

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his own dream, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours: (Thoreau)

"When one has the confidence of life, you have succeeded before you even start" (Marcus Garvey)

"Return love for hate, peace for anger and hope for fear" (Big Blue)

"People get ready there's a train a coming" (Curtis Mayfield)

and for those who mistakenly think Jamaican gangsta rap is somehow reggae:

"Music is a part of us and either ennobles or degrades our behavior" (Boethus)
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Re: Religion!

Postby Mark T » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:50 pm

"because of your faith, you are unable to change opinion. I, on the other hand, can"
Varese, I know you are writing and conversing in a good spirit but that statement is just plain wrong, and of course, because you don't know me or my faith to any great extent you cannot possibly know how much my opinion has changed over the years. I read and think quite deeply as I take it very seriously but I am in no way dogmatic about things. I am always open to being persuaded by good, cohesive arguments and will read people like Dawkins (though I don't think he has a good cohesive argument - he jumps from describing science to rhetoric about religion).
For various reasons I will probably not be persuaded that there is no God - personal experience as well as reflection and reading has led me to think the way I do.
I am certainly not blind to the failings of the church in previous generations, indeed I am well aware of the church's failing in this present generation. I do believe that people think quite anachronistically and judgmentally about the church and religious belief in previous times. The type of people who today agree with all the prevailing politically correct opinions would likely have done so in previous times and therefor would have seen nothing wrong with slavery, torture, imperialism, colonialism etc. The thought that we would have been different is most likely wishful thinking. It takes extraordinary people, bright lights, in any generation to stand for what is right and to do what is right. Those people have been drawn from a number of different faiths and cultures but there are plenty of Christians among them. I'm just reading the letters of Jean Vanier who founded L'Arche, amazing stuff!
Anyway, I gotta go as my daughter arrived for a family lunch.
Blessings on this day when God arrived as a servant, an example to all.
Mark T
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Re: Religion!

Postby isis » Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:05 am

Very good discussion. Respects to all contributers.
I have been learning a lot about the christian bible lately and have been reading it from start to finish. I must admit that i did not realise how horrific God and his chosen people are in their actions and commands. For instance, in the story of lot, where lot offers his two virgin daughters to a baying mob outside his door and tells them to "do with them as you wish". No father will ever do that and still be considered a good person. And then later in the story he has sex with his two daughters and claims that they got him drunk and raped him!!! wow.... just wow. Not to mention his wife being murdered on the spot by god just because she looked back. What kind of person would not look back if you can hear the screams of your parents and loved ones being burned to death. A good person would not only look back but try to rescue them too!.

Im still in the old testament but So far it is just one long celebration of brutal violence, including rape, genicide, infanticide, and senseless killing of animals as sacrifice to god. How anyone can read this and still say it is a moral guide for humankind is being totally dishonest.

Take a look at this website to see what i mean. http://www.evilbible.com/

Respects
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Re: Religion!

Postby Mark T » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:52 am

Isis, you are pretty brave to start at the beginning and read it all the way through - there are some shocking stories to be sure.
It may be misleading to think of it as a moral guide, certainly most biblical scholars or theologians wouldn't think of it that way.
For the most part the bible is descriptive rather than prescriptive, that is to say that it describes what did happen rather than prescribes what should happen. The story of Lot is not suggesting that this is what you should do with your daughter but rather what he did. The context is that wives and daughters were seen as nothing more than possessions to do with as you wish, while strangers accepting your hospitality must be protected at all costs. I believe this idea of hospitality is still important in some cultures.
The interesting thing about scripture is that it pulls no punches, it tells the story of people without trying to glorify them, they are pictured with warts and all.
The whole sacrificial system is difficult to understand as well. Some of Israel's prophets speak on behalf of God and say 'I don't want your sacrifices - I want mercy and justice (ie proper treatment of other people)'. Sacrifice ended with the destruction of the temple in AD70 or 70CE as we now say.
For Christians, and all the early Christians were Jews (they didn't see themselves as starting a new religion, they continued to worship in the temple), the whole story gets reinterpreted around Jesus. Jesus does away with all the food laws (Mark 7), Jesus refuses to stone a woman caught in adultery and says that anyone without sin should throw the first stone (John 8). For Christians God is understood through Jesus who is the 'ikon' or the image of the invisible God. This is why the doctrine of the incarnation is so important - that which is transcendent and unknowable becomes knowable because he took human form and appeared in the flesh (John1).

Varese, what interests me about Derrida is his sustained critique of rationalism and his so called 'ethical turn' which he picked up from Levinas where the primary concern is our ethical duty toward the other. Derrida in deconstruction is always opening up alternative readings paying attention to the marginalized, the oppressed (ie the Algerian Jew), which would also give a clue to how I read the scriptures. Derrida also paid a lot of attention to St Augustine's Confessions later in his life and wrote/talked about prayer and praying.

The figures for Christians killed are all out there if you do a simple google search, 45 million is the estimate last century.

You are right that Hitler probably never read or understood N. but N.s ideas were used/misused.
I'm not sure the Christian meta-narrative is anti-semitic. Undoubtedly some Christians have been anti-semitic but I don't think it is part of the Christian story per se, the Jews seem to have encountered hatred wherever they went.

I guess your argument for atheistic ethical values would tell me there are no foundations - rather it is an agreement, a consensus between people in the culture. That agreement will change from pace to place and time to time. Of course, Hitler's final solution could be seen as an example of a consensus of the German people about what was good for their society.
If there is no God then yes, there is no foundation, it is all speculation. That is why it is faith. I make no claims to absolute knowledge. There are some well founded historical facts but it will largely come down to a decision of faith on the part of the individual.

I would much prefer to sit over a coffee or beer and talk about things like this, this really isn't the best way :D

Peacemakeya
Here's a text from the Bible about religion. It's taken from James 1:27 (NIV):
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
If you think that's mental illness we'll probably never see eye to eye :)

Mark T
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Re: Religion!

Postby TruthTown » Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:25 am

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Re: Religion!

Postby isis » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:53 am

Hi mark. Thanks for your reply.
The bible is such an interesting book to read again as an adult with an objective mind, especially the first four chapters.
If the god of the bible is the same today as he was and will always be then he is not a good example of love, compassion and morality.
For example, the story of Passover, where god hardens the pharaohs heart then tortures all the Egyptians, kills innocent animals, and then kills thousands of first born innocent children and babies unless you kill a goat and wipe its blood above your door. It is clear, this is the actions of a psychopathic sadistic, murderer. This is god committing infanticide against a whole race of African people. How can this be good? How can anyone read this and not be sickened by it and still worship the perpetrator of this crime against humanity? This is just as bad, and some stories are even worse than what hitler did to the Jews. (And Hitler was not an atheist, he was a Christian, the nazi soldiers where given belts inscribed with the words 'God mit uns' God is with us.) http://youtu.be/adqPWmFNWZY

Please Watch this excellent and gripping award winning movie from a play about Jews in a concentration camp awaiting death who decide to try to understand what happened to their special covenant by putting god on trail. Can you imagine being there. What would be your argument? Would you still defend your god?

God on trial (full movie)
http://youtu.be/I-oNYd23pQk
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Re: Religion!

Postby pinup » Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:11 pm

capullo wrote:
Like the Second World War, started by the Catholic, Adolf Hitler. Or Stalin, brought up and seminary trained as a member of the Russian Orthodox.

*cough*


the nazis had some twisted ideas of old germanic gods that justified their herrenmenschen philosophy. there was defo a religious approach (also with the swastika from india). nevertheless if you want to be evil, you don't need no religion and if you want to be good, you can do without religion too and vice versa. if religion gives you a personal strength that is good and positive - think about martin luther king or mahatma ghandi or bob marley for that matter - then it can be a strong force in a positive way. there is no black or white truth at the end of the day. i just can't take it when people think they know the absolute truth by following a cretain faith that is supposed to be the real and only faith in their eyes. it would do good if people would look upon religion more as a poetic and cultural element rather than belonging to a superior group - that is mental illness.


Well put!

Over the winter I went from being an atheist to being agnostic, the idea of a god makes sense to me now.
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Re: Religion!

Postby Mark T » Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:17 pm

Isis, I don't think I believe that any of us has an objective mind. We all come to texts with certain cultural values, intentions, preconceptions etc. Gadamer talks a lot about this. It's not a problem, it's the only way we can exist. Gadamer's idea is that we open ourselves to truly listen to what people have to say, particularly tradition, and not reject anything before we've understood it - I've tried to read like that (and I imagine you are too).
One of the interesting thing about the texts you have been reading (and I don't think you've got to the worst texts yet) is that they didn't seem to present a great deal of problem to readers in previous centuries. But they do present problems to contemporary readers - I have lots of Christian friends and ministers who simply don't know what to make of these texts.
I think you're comments are putting God on trial as though he were just another human, albeit with greater powers, which I'm not sure makes much sense if he is actually transcendent.
The other side of the coin is that the Egyptians had brutally enslaved the Hebrews for a long time, they had murdered the Hebrew children so God is acting to overthrow the slave masters. This is, of course, the theme picked up in so many reggae songs - Send another Moses! The ten plagues can be seen as stories that show the Hebrew God YHWH is more powerful than the Egyptian gods. Every plague corresponds to one of the Egyptian gods - so, for instance, the plague of darkness blots out the sun god Ra.
The hardening of the heart is often interpreted as God essentially affirming Pharaoh's choice (strengthening is another word that can be used in translation) because God had deemed it time to free his people and bring justice.
People often say that God should act to set things right, to overthrow evil - well here you have a story of precisely that but it is read as a crime against humanity.
God is love, but he is also justice and righteousness - he will act to rid the world of sin and evil. (Sin should not be seen as breaking rules as people so often do, the etymology points to 'falling short of the target', ie a failure to be the kind of humans God created us to be).

I just cannot fathom anyone thinking Hitler and the Nazi's are Christians or follow Jesus. Sure they enlist God in their cause as so many evil people have done but this does not make them Christian. Jesus point is that people will be known by their fruit, by what they actually do - in particular if you read matthew 25 they will be judged according to whether they fed and clothed the poor, visited the sick and prisoner etc.

I'm simply trying to state my take on things concisely, politely and respectfully so I hope I don't come across negatively in any way, that is not my intention.
Cheers, Mark T
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Re: Religion!

Postby Peacemakeya » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:07 am

bro Mark T say
Peacemakeya
Here's a text from the Bible about religion. It's taken from James 1:27 (NIV):
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
If you think that's mental illness we'll probably never see eye to eye


Mi Idren - no problemo - we see i2i even in recognition that our human race can only see thru the lens in part at this time ... The crucial thing is for we to become better human beings ... to mature & learn to agree to disagree without recourse to the law of the jungle.

All the world's religions started from the original spark of truth but then, given monkey business, a set of predators use their pathological ego need for 'specialness' to corrupt & control the massive ... they choke of the flowing water of life into stank & stagnation.

united we stand - divided we are weak ... those who think they better than others soon nuff have us fussing and fighting about whose religion or culture or cult or occult is better than the next group.

Who is more acceptable in the i of the Creator? -- (.....fill in the blank .....) religion, who knows their scriptures inside out, yet is full of pomp and pride ... or some likkle old grandma who never read a bible, yet she is crying out for god with a full heart?

"the voice of them crying out for god without religion" (Yabby You)

I.M.O. is best not to get too wordy about these matters ... Scriptures, at best, can only be a road map - and a map can never be the terrain itself ... road map good - yes! ... but if the hiker on the road of life keep his nose buried too much in the map - the hiker will stumble & fall.

J.C. say: "my children will be known by the love they show one to another"

"Live for yourself you will live in vain, live for others you will live again"
(Nesta R. Marley)

"There was a man who gave so much they called him mad, but the more he gave the more he had." (John bunyan - Pilgrims Progress)
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Re: Religion!

Postby Donovan » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:57 am

Here is a quote from one of my favorite documentaries "Truman Madsen in the Holy Land: The Eternal Christ ". It was occasioned by his watching a film with his daughter and the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem occurred:

"But as I sat with my little 3-year-old watching on film this account, and we see bloody swords pulled from babies, and then see Mary and Joseph traveling in tranquility and escaping to Egypt with their little boy, my girl put her hand in mine and said, Daddy, didn't Heavenly Father care about those other children?

This is the very ultimate question of why there has to be human suffering. Why is there evil in the world and God, who is powerful and good, does not prevent it?

God is a God who honors our freedom, and in fact in our understanding, cannot ultimately destroy it. Those who complain and say that God should have stopped this, are the same ones who'll insist upon their own freedom and their rights to do as they choose. We cannot have it both ways. If we are genuinely free, then there will be real evil and real inhumanity to other men in this world. We understand this to be our probation."


Peace
"Touch them magically with the rod of melody, We will never let them go" Roy Shirley, Touch Them
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