God and the Devil


#422

Surely you believe Jesus performed miracles and rose from the dead


#423

How do you decide what is fiction and what isn’t?


#424

Ypu always fall back to this talking point. But it’s wrong. It’s not that big of gap between believers


#425

90 years of hebrew


#426

God should send us a new story then


#427

Even more creationism literalists


#428

How would you decide?

The first thing I keep in mind is what I know that perhaps people ten thousand years ago did not. For example, while some Muslims believe nothing happens without it being the will of God (including raising a fork to one’s mouth), I believe we are pretty much autonomous when it comes to things of that nature. Mind, it disturbs me not at all that some have that view of God, it simply not the perspective I have.

I compare with what I know about natural disasters today that was not known back then. Therefore what they attributed to God, I generally relate to as a natural disaster. Just as I believe God did not send Florence to punish the people of the Carolinas, I do not believe God sent a flood to punish the people of that day. Instead, I can relate to how any disaster has people reflecting on how precious life is and ways I can improve on myself. I think people of Noah’s time went through the same process. Also I note that Noah seems to have suffered through survivor’s guilt.

Finally, I note that no matter how great the disaster, people survive, many improve, and all move on. The world seems designed to recover–or you might say, Nature has a history of recovering after disasters.

As for stories of Jesus walking on water, feeding five thousand with five loaves and two fish, I make no judgment at all. It wouldn’t bother me if he miraculously produced it all himself, or, as some suggest, his message of love, fellowship, and hospitality had people bringing forth what they had brought for themselves only and instead began sharing it with others.

What brought me into a relationship with God were Christ’s teachings, particularly the Beatitudes. At an early age I was struck by how Jesus did not seem concerned about any one person fixing the world, but rather ever person bringing God’s love into their own lives and the lives of the people they lived and worked with. Most of us are not called to go make a difference in the next town, state, or country over. We are called to make a difference in our home, in our workplace–and that is often more than enough for the majority.

I always remember the miracles that have occurred in my life, and therefore I am always respectful of Biblical miracles. If something out of the ordinary happened to me, certainly something out of the ordinary can happen to others. Yet I always keep in mind that any miracle that occurred in my life (just like the storm on the Sea of Galilee all those years ago) has no impact on anyone who was not there.

A vital factor is trusting that God is here among us, He is in our midst. I would advise stop searching for Him “over there” or “out beyond”. One comes closer with looking within, but the most powerful place is in that tiny whisper in the midst of an everyday event.


#429

Why don’t you just stick with what we know today instead of all of the ancient mythologies and fairy tales. They seem pretty pointless.


#430

Right. You make judgements on the things that contradict your beliefs. But if you proclaim Jesus didnt perform miracles that kind of shuts down the entire belief system. So…you “make no judgement”.


#431

None of this has anything to do with the devil, or why God created a world with immense suffering. Tbh, you’re preaching here.


#432

Here’s what I see.

You have a book, supposedly the word of a supreme being capable of creating an entire Universe. Capable of killing everything on earth in 40 days and nights. Capable of giving everlasting life in Heaven.

Then you pick and choose the parts to believe and make into fable.

Again why can’t God make this stuff clearer?


#433

The Bible records testimony of how people perceive their relationship with God. We see how they compare and contrast humans to God. As in courtroom testimony, stories will differ because perceptions and angles of view differ. What people should want first and foremost is their own relationship with God–or, alternately, the Ways of God.

I advise be comfortable in your own shoes with your own perceptions. As for, “Why can’t God make things clearer?” I go through my day wondering why I can’t make things clearer to students, to parakeets, to chinchillas. Sometimes the best way is to just be with them and to pay attention to them. It also helps to keep a line from JFK’s inaugural address in mind: Ask not what ______ can do for you; ask what you can do for ______. Perhaps begin with asking what you can do for God (or the Ways of God). Perhaps then you can see more clearly what God is doing.

Finally, remember some things tend to hide in plain sight. Once spotted, you wonder why you didn’t see it to begin with.

My grandfather, uncle, husband, brother-in-law (and more) are all atheists who have been comfortable in their own shoes, and they also have taken note how comfortable I am in mine. All of them do their best to be good people, and so I tell them heaven is always looking for pearls of great price. Some very fine pearls can be found among atheists, and I very much doubt heaven will pass them by.


#434

In other words theres tons of different opinions, interpretations, life experiences, and beliefs. Of course there is. God chose not to make things very clear.


#435

But Meri, it is God’s fault.

Noah and his family were still sin-natured.

Why get rid of everyone who is sin-natured but leave one sin-natured family alive to repopulate the earth with sin-natured people?

If you repent that you made man, get rid of them all.

And start again and give the new Adam and Eve a few hints on what you expect of them - hey, I’ve given you orders but I’m going to test you. I know you don’t know what lying is - but everyone except me does it. Remember that and you’ll be okay.

Then it would have been a fair test.

And if the new Adam and Eve hadn’t been up to snuff, wink them out and try again.

But don’t let them procreate billions of people over the course of time who will suffer for something they had nothing to do with - i.e. “original sin.”


#436

Some people do view Harry Potter as a bible.

But there is only one Bible.

There’s a reason for capital and small letters.


#437

I view the fictional novels The Sandman, Books of Magic, and Lucifer as helping define my view of the spiritual realm. Of course The Bible played a part, as I was raised in a very evangelical household, but those works of fiction helped me regain my spiritual side after I had cast it away.


#438

Biblical accounts are stories of how man sees his relationship to God. With the flood, people saw a chance at a new beginning, that they could change and be a better people.

Some people seem to be viewing the account as something God–not man–wrote. The perspective is man’s. Man saw the flood as a referendum of their behavior by God. With so much evil wiped away, this time they would do better. When it comes to behavior man, perhaps, is more optimist than realist. Think about it. If everything you had was wiped out, all the evil around you gone, and you had a chance to begin again–don’t you think you would think that you could make things better?


#439

Then the Bible isn’t the word of God. It is stories men made up about God?


#440

Isn’t that what you determined some time ago? As for me, I believe the story is inspired by God, just as He has also inspires many things outside of the Bible. But then, my perspective includes things yours does not.

You have noted that you don’t believe there is a God to inspire anything–Biblical or not. If you like that perspective and are comfortable with it, let it be. I don’t believe in little green men, so I don’t go chasing after them. If you believe there is no God, take off your running shoes and be at peace.


#441

No problem. it’s just that I have never met a believer that thinks the Bible is not the word of God, only stories.

Interesting.