Notes from a Faith Healing Meeting

 

I went to a healing meeting with my wife and it was as atrocious as I expected.  Nevertheless, I was happy to be there because it beat sitting home alone on a Friday night with a wide-open internet.

I don’t have a particular dog in the fight around the theology of healing.  I’ve heard the stories of the near-death woman over whom the church gathered for intercession and there she is now singing in the choir.  And I’ve heard stories that went the other way.  I can’t argue with someone’s experience.

Further, I would never fault a person for grasping at any kind of hope in times of distress and uncertainty.  Recently a young boy had a dreadful accident and was near death.  I received frantic emails and texts that it was now time for the church to rally and pray in order to see a miracle.  A special service at a local faith-healing church was quickly organized.

When the boy died, there was another glowing email stating that the prayer indeed was answered because in death, we get absolute healing.  This is not the time, of course, to point out the dubious sleight-of-hand language trick or duplicity in logic.  One must quietly listen and let the family work out their grief in their own way.

Nevertheless, this was just another example of a pattern I have seen repeated over and over again and it goes like this:  If you do x, then God will do y.  Over my fifty-year travels in the Evangelical world (and some travels into nearby religious neighborhoods) I have seen different versions of this pattern.

  • If you wait upon the Lord with all your heart, you will receive the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • If you fully die to yourself and give yourself completely to God, you will begin to live above the plain experiencing the abundant life of Christ.
  • If you become a totally broken vessel, then God will use you in powerful ways.
  • If you totally and fully repent, you will be free of that nasty sin that keeps bringing you down and live in Christian perfection.
  • If you and your church travail in prayer, God will send revival.
  • If you truly have faith, then God will heal.

Even looking across the street at the rosary, a beautiful Catholic tool to meditate on several points of the gospel, one will eventually stumble upon a website where it is clearly stated that if you pray the rosary for 40 days, Mary will make sure your prayer intention gets answered.  If you do x, then God will do y.

The healing meeting I attended with my wife was yet another version of this Christian once-for-all Triumphalism—if you do x and then God will do y bringing you triumphantly into a new state of being.  The leader maintained that the biggest crisis and problem we are facing in the church today is that we are unaware of “who we are in Christ”.  What he meant by this is the teaching that believing in Christ identifies the believer with Christ to the extent that what happened to Christ is efficacious to the believer and, in turn, God works through the believer as if the believer were Christ.

If we master this belief and make it our own, then God would respond and in this new state of being, physical healing would be spontaneous and automatic.  He went on to pepper his talk with examples of random encounters he had with people in airports and restaurants and shops who had miraculous results because he brushed by with his head and heart aligned with who he is in Christ.

This is all well and good, of course, as long as one holds it in a theoretical way as was evident by the serene smiles and affirming nods of the message-friendly audience who had no intention of rushing out as community faith healers after the meeting.  I as well thought his stories funny and entertaining in the same way watching the Mighty Ducks miraculously beat the sinister, black-uniformed, Russian-accented, Icelandic team makes for a feel-good evening.

But there were people at that meeting who were really sick.  In front of me was a woman with cancer kneeling in desperation as people around her put their hands on her and began to make demonstrative prayers ordering the cancer to leave.  To my left was a noisy, disruptive, Down Syndrome child and the mother who cared for her with similar intercession.  Interspersed in these spontaneous groups of prayer was a pastor from another healing meeting who walked around asking people about their shoulder pain.  He seemed to have some success when praying for someone with a shoulder pain of “eight” when his intercession reduced it down to a “three” – whatever eight or three means at any given moment.

I hope God really healed them.  I hope God heals everybody.  But if this “if I do x then God does y” scenario being taught really worked and children’s hospitals were being emptied and patients were rising from their cancer beds to return to work, you would think it would turn heads and make the news like it did in Jesus’ day.

I wondered about the woman in front of me with cancer if her husband would one day be speaking at her funeral saying that the prayers were answered because his wife is now completely healed in heaven.  I wondered if the mother of the Down Syndrome child would one day crack overwhelmed by the prospect of taking care of a special needs child for the rest of her life, toss her Bible in the trash, and say, “to hell with it.”

Some weeks later, I talked to a friend who attended the healing meeting.  He and his wife attended the whole weekend while I opted to work in the yard on Saturday and go to my own church on Sunday.  He said that Friday night was good but Saturday afternoon was even better.  It was tremendous.

I wondered what he meant by that.  Did he mean that the speaker’s method of effective ministry took hold of my friend’s heart with such clarity and vision that he began to live a life of proclaiming God’s kingdom of definitive power and resurrection?  I knew my friend and his sedate lifestyle enough to not bother asking.  He simply liked the stories told Saturday night better.

Religion in general, and Christianity in particular, teaches us to pray.  It isn’t always clear why but the directive is unambiguous.  Leave it to us moderns, to turn it into something where we control God.  We can split the atom, after all, and create complex, self-driving cars.  Certainly, we can puzzle out the right formula to get exactly what we want in prayer.  There has to be a cause and effect somewhere.  There has to be an x I can do in order to obtain y.

The best advice concerning prayer I can give at this juncture is to ask God for wisdom that each day and moment, we may understand what His will is and be inspired to do the next right thing.  We pray that God gives us the strength to do the things he expects and what our responsibilities demand with an attitude of humility and trust.  We relinquish sin and resentment and fear replacing it with gratitude and acceptance.  We pray for others, holding the results with hope and expectation but loosely in order to gain a greater empathy and compassion for the needs of others.

And if in God’s wisdom and providence it happens that a miracle is to occur, it will find us.

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  1. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    I am not sure if there are people who are non-believers so much as there are people whose resentment is so profound that they are focused on what is ugly as opposed to what is beautiful.

     

    Have long said that militant atheists are actually angry at God for not being the God they would like him to be.

    That type of atheist is often more religious than, say, most Christians. Their relationship with God is one of anger, but at least it’s a relationship. 

    • #31
  2. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Charles D Chrisman (View Comment):

    And yes, I did watch it faithfully when it came out. Babylon 5 was far superior…

    Oh now you’ve really started an ideological war!

    • #32
  3. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    I am not sure if there are people who are non-believers so much as there are people whose resentment is so profound that they are focused on what is ugly as opposed to what is beautiful.

    American society currently celebrates the ugliest impulses of humanity. Ugly people, ugly buildings, ugly art, . . . we are in a pandemic of ugly.

    • #33
  4. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    I am not sure if there are people who are non-believers so much as there are people whose resentment is so profound that they are focused on what is ugly as opposed to what is beautiful.

     

    Have long said that militant atheists are actually angry at God for not being the God they would like him to be.

    This is a profound observation, Bryan. I’m going to borrow it, if you don’t mind.

    • #34
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    I am not sure if there are people who are non-believers so much as there are people whose resentment is so profound that they are focused on what is ugly as opposed to what is beautiful.

     

    Have long said that militant atheists are actually angry at God for not being the God they would like him to be.

    That type of atheist is often more religious than, say, most Christians. Their relationship with God is one of anger, but at least it’s a relationship.

    This is what gives me hope for Christopher Hitchens (I know many religious types disagree with me). He seemed so angry at the injustices of this life, but without God, he was just shaking his fist at the abyss.

    God is merciful, though, and I’m guessing He loved Hitchens’s passion about injustice. Hopefully Hitchens accepted that love at the last.

    • #35
  6. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    He seemed so angry at the injustices of this life, but without God, he was just shaking his fist at the abyss.

    And . . . it’s okay to shake your fist at God. He can take it.

    • #36
  7. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    I am not sure if there are people who are non-believers so much as there are people whose resentment is so profound that they are focused on what is ugly as opposed to what is beautiful.

     

    Have long said that militant atheists are actually angry at God for not being the God they would like him to be.

    This is a profound observation, Bryan. I’m going to borrow it, if you don’t mind.

    Be my guest.

    • #37
  8. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    God is merciful, though, and I’m guessing He loved Hitchens’s passion about injustice. Hopefully Hitchens accepted that love at the last.

    The problem is that “intolerance for injustice” is often a fig leaf for a deep resentment (toward the world at large) that has nothing to do with injustice. Such resentment is a bottomless pit and may be seen in the perpetually angry demeanor of Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, and the squad. Think of Lenin and Mao. They were thugs, devoid of a conscience, who murdered millions in the guise of caring for their people.

    Hitchens, although Jewish himself, had a strong animus toward Judaism and Israel, both of which he labeled “genocidal” in his book “God is not great.” Why is it that the social justice warriors are all anti-Israel, if not anti-Semitic? These people care about injustice and really want to make a change even while indulging in the world’s oldest hatred? I don’t think so.

    • #38
  9. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):
    Why is that the social justice warriors are all anti-Israel, if not anti-Semitic? These people care about injustice and really want to make a change even while indulging in the world’s oldest hatred? I don’t think so.

    It’s almost biblical.

    • #39
  10. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    He seemed so angry at the injustices of this life, but without God, he was just shaking his fist at the abyss.

    And . . . it’s okay to shake your fist at God. He can take it.

    Just like Ruby Turpin.

    • #40
  11. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    He seemed so angry at the injustices of this life, but without God, he was just shaking his fist at the abyss.

    And . . . it’s okay to shake your fist at God. He can take it.

    Just like Ruby Turpin.

    One of my favorite stories from O’Connor’s entire set of works.

    Although Mrs. Turpin didn’t seem to have very reasons to yell at God except her injured pride.

    • #41
  12. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    He seemed so angry at the injustices of this life, but without God, he was just shaking his fist at the abyss.

    And . . . it’s okay to shake your fist at God. He can take it.

    Just like Ruby Turpin.

    One of my favorite stories from O’Connor’s entire set of works.

    Although Mrs. Turpin didn’t seem to have very reasons to yell at God except her injured pride.

    Injured pride is a big deal. I know we ought to be more sympathetic to cancer victims but Ruby Turpin is so human I can’t help but like her. 

    • #42
  13. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    And . . . it’s okay to shake your fist at God. He can take it.

    Just like Ruby Turpin.

    One of my favorite stories from O’Connor’s entire set of works.

    Although Mrs. Turpin didn’t seem to have very good reasons to yell at God except her injured pride.

    Injured pride is a big deal. I know we ought to be more sympathetic to cancer victims but Ruby Turpin is so human I can’t help but like her.

    I’m definitely more sympathetic with cancer victims having seen too many people taken too early, leaving behind a spouse and young children. If ever there was a reason to shake your fist at God, it’s over that kind of devastating loss.

    • #43
  14. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    It is possible that a supernatural force (a.k.a. God) exists.  But here is something that Holocaust Survivor said about this:

    This is what I think: We were sent by humanity, by mankind, although it was not even aware it was doing so, to find out once and for all if there’s a God.  That’s the meaning of the camps.  It was meant to bring Him out into the open if He existed at all.  Nothing else or less significant could have brought Him out into the open, to respond and act and to show His face.  

    It was a stupendous test; unconscious and unintentional but a test nevertheless.  And God failed the test and proved His own nonexistence.  And I, as part of the experiment, stopped believing in Him altogether.  Just as certain laboratory experiments are conclusive and incontrovertible, so was this.  If He wouldn’t come out then, during these times, when?   

    Now when man writes his history he can say there was a vast laboratory experiment conducted by man during the 1940s to see if there is a God or not.  The conclusion was no God exists.  There were guinea pigs in the test and other kinds of experimental animals, but mainly guinea pigs – Jews of course.  I know.  I was one of them. 

    Quoted in “The Faith and Doubt of Holocaust Survivors” – Page 110.

    • #44
  15. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    It is possible that a supernatural force (a.k.a. God) exists. But here is something that Holocaust Survivor said about this:

    This is what I think: We were sent by humanity, by mankind, although it was not even aware it was doing so, to find out once and for all if there’s a God. That’s the meaning of the camps. It was meant to bring Him out into the open if He existed at all. Nothing else or less significant could have brought Him out into the open, to respond and act and to show His face.

    It was a stupendous test; unconscious and unintentional but a test nevertheless. And God failed the test and proved His own nonexistence. And I, as part of the experiment, stopped believing in Him altogether. Just as certain laboratory experiments are conclusive and incontrovertible, so was this. If He wouldn’t come out then, during these times, when?

    Now when man writes his history he can say there was a vast laboratory experiment conducted by man during the 1940s to see if there is a God or not. The conclusion was no God exists. There were guinea pigs in the test and other kinds of experimental animals, but mainly guinea pigs – Jews of course. I know. I was one of them.

    Quoted in “The Faith and Doubt of Holocaust Survivors” – Page 110.

    And yet, people under the same circumstances did not lose their faith. 

    • #45
  16. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    To take the other side of the argument:  The fact that this Holocaust Survivor did, in fact, survive, could be considered evidence of God’s existence even as the death and suffering that occurred in those camps could be considered evidence of God’s non-existence.  

    • #46
  17. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Also, love to hear what proof you would accept. 

    • #47
  18. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Also, love to hear what proof you would accept.

    Interesting question.

    I suppose if a particular religious sect lived without illness and never died, that would be strong evidence that those folks were in a meaningful and positive relationship with God.

    Another thing I have thought about is the Apocalypse of Peter, one of the books that almost but didn’t quite make it into the New Testament.  In the Apocalypse of Peter, Peter is given “visions” of heaven and hell and the book describes what heaven and hell are like.  Lots of torture going on in hell, according to this book, supposedly authored by Peter.  But many church leaders thought the book was a forgery.

    I bring that up because let’s say, for the sake of argument, God was granting all human beings guided tours of heaven and hell.  So, visiting heaven or hell would be easier than visiting Spain or Australia.  You wouldn’t wonder whether your Buddhist aunt is roasting in hell or enjoying eternal bliss in heaven because you and your family could go to those places a visit and find out.

    If I noticed that, say, Methodists were disproportionately represented in hell and very underrepresented in heaven, that would indicate to me that I might want to find a church other than a Methodist church.  (Or course, which type of Methodist might be a consideration, free, United, evengelical, etc).

    I suppose if people of a certain religious sect were able to jump off 40 story buildings and float effortlessly to the ground without breaking a bone, that would be solid evidence that this religious sect had a connection with God.

    As it stands now, I can enjoy listening to the Calvinists and the Arminians, the Muslims and the Hindus, the Eastern Orthodox and the mid-Acts Dispensationalists, etc and wonder if maybe all of them are wrong in some way.  In other words, even if there is a God, maybe the Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists don’t really have a handle on what God is like.

    • #48
  19. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    I found this video by Sara Martin on YouTube.  She describes how she lost her faith.

    I suppose the reason why I find these stories fascinating (in addition to stories where people find their faith), is that I was raised in a non-religious household, where we never prayed, and rarely talked about God, though we did celebrate Easter and Christmas by doing Easter egg hunts and exchanging Christmas gifts.  I didn’t really begin to understand the main doctrines of Christianity until I was in college.

    Sara seems to have believed in a God that had a plan for her life, down to the nitty gritty details.  So, as I see it, because her expectations of God were so high, it didn’t take long for her belief in God to falter and evaporate.

     

     

    • #49
  20. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply. 

    I agree on the young lady. I think she was sold a bill of goods on God that is fundamentally pagan, not Christian. God is not a vending machine. 

    • #50
  21. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    God is not a vending machine. 

    Or as is told (and sung) in the Purple Puzzle Tree version for children, by Norman Habel, “God is Not a Jack-in-the-Box.” 

    Norman Habel was a bad word among many of the conservatives in my Lutheran church denomination, but this was good. 

    • #51
  22. Charles D Chrisman Coolidge
    Charles D Chrisman
    @Charles D Chrisman

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    It is possible that a supernatural force (a.k.a. God) exists. But here is something that Holocaust Survivor said about this:

     

     

    You are essentially speaking of theodicy, the problem of “evil” and how it challenges the Goodness of God.

      There is always a fundamental flaw in asking the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people”. Biblically, it is the wrong question.  “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”. As a result, from the internal logic of biblical belief there are no “good people” to which “bad things” happen.  Instead, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”  IOW, we start out separated from God and “condemned” as a result.  God has no obligation or even reason to “prove” Himself as such, other than the fact that He is Love and demonstrates it to some whom He chooses to love.  Justice is preeminent, mercy is subject to the greater cause of it.   

    Were mercy universal, it would gut the meaning of both words, becoming more of a “right”, an entitlement than a demonstration of Love.  The suffering and pain of life ALWAYS does one of two things in it:  it drives us away from God in anger and selfish disappointment or it drives us towards Him in hope and trust for the final outcome.  His mercy is in the latter, but His method will always involve pain for the self in that to live, we must willingly die over a lifetime to our own will, instead thanking Him for both the good and evil which comes our way.

     

    Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold firm your integrity? Curse God and die!”  But he said to her, ‘You are speaking as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we actually accept good from God but not accept adversity?’ Despite all this, Job did not sin with his lips.”

    • #52
  23. Charles D Chrisman Coolidge
    Charles D Chrisman
    @Charles D Chrisman

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    I found this video by Sara Martin on YouTube. She describes how she lost her faith.

    Thanks, I watched the video and have heard this story many times in other voices.  Did she believe?  I believe that she believes she did.  I don’t know what she believed other than it sounds typically evangelical “Christian” in POV.  Speaking from a belief of my own, anyone who believes “Things go better with Jesus” really has no idea of who Jesus is.  C.S. Lewis used the allegory of Aslan the Lion, Son of the Emperor across the sea” of Jesus, saying of that Lion the He wasn’t safe, but He was Good. Being a believer isn’t safe. In fact, measured by this world, for the most part those who were convincing in their actual belief in Christ wound up crucified, tortured, burned, beheaded, drawn and quartered – well, you get the idea.  Such a thing is not really a “test” of belief in them as much as it was the right of God to use His as He sees fit in EXACTLY the same way as He used His Son, just as Aslan was used in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”.

     

    It was as note to me that her process of “deconstruction” was very similar to my own college experience: Psychology major, Theology minor (as a school requirement of all), travel to other countries (which I agree with her – it is perhaps the best education) and visiting places like Dachau and Yad VaShem.  Yet my trajectory was exactly the opposite of hers.  I became a devout “atheist” towards Psychology, seeing it as much more of a religion than as a science.  I saw the heart wrenching evil which lay all over the world as a reason to not seek it to be my home or hope.  

    When I actually “believed” at 11 years old, it was not because “Jesus loves me, this I know”.  It was because I analyzed what little I already knew of the Bible and believed it to be truth.  That has been shaken many times through my 71 years, both in the evil I’ve seen around me and the evil I see in myself, but was never broken.  It’s partially why my favorite chapter in the Bible is Daniel 4, the real basis for ALL of theology and the subject on which I spoke to honor my dear wife at her memorial.  It wasn’t about her or me:  it’s always about Him.  When we find refuge in Him who does what He thinks good, we can rest peacefully.

     

    He is not tame, but He is good.

     

     

     

     

    • #53
  24. Charles D Chrisman Coolidge
    Charles D Chrisman
    @Charles D Chrisman

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    To take the other side of the argument: The fact that this Holocaust Survivor did, in fact, survive, could be considered evidence of God’s existence even as the death and suffering that occurred in those camps could be considered evidence of God’s non-existence.

    But then you face the problem that no one “survives”  Some of us just take a little longer dying.

     

    Personally, I take existence itself as a primary evidence that God exists, particularly in the idea of a biblical God who said, “Let there be light”…

    • #54
  25. Charles D Chrisman Coolidge
    Charles D Chrisman
    @Charles D Chrisman

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Also, love to hear what proof you would accept.

    Interesting question.

    I suppose if a particular religious sect lived without illness and never died, that would be strong evidence that those folks were in a meaningful and positive relationship with God.

    Another thing I have thought about is the Apocalypse of Peter, one of the books that almost but didn’t quite make it into the New Testament. In the Apocalypse of Peter, Peter is given “visions” of heaven and hell and the book describes what heaven and hell are like. Lots of torture going on in hell, according to this book, supposedly authored by Peter. But many church leaders thought the book was a forgery.

    I bring that up because let’s say, for the sake of argument, God was granting all human beings guided tours of heaven and hell. So, visiting heaven or hell would be easier than visiting Spain or Australia. You wouldn’t wonder whether your Buddhist aunt is roasting in hell or enjoying eternal bliss in heaven because you and your family could go to those places a visit and find out.

    If I noticed that, say, Methodists were disproportionately represented in hell and very underrepresented in heaven, that would indicate to me that I might want to find a church other than a Methodist church. (Or course, which type of Methodist might be a consideration, free, United, evengelical, etc).

    I suppose if people of a certain religious sect were able to jump off 40 story buildings and float effortlessly to the ground without breaking a bone, that would be solid evidence that this religious sect had a connection with God.

    As it stands now, I can enjoy listening to the Calvinists and the Arminians, the Muslims and the Hindus, the Eastern Orthodox and the mid-Acts Dispensationalists, etc and wonder if maybe all of them are wrong in some way. In other words, even if there is a God, maybe the Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists don’t really have a handle on what God is like.

    Hi Brian!  “Proof” centers around the the ability to see.  Sight depends upon a person being alive.  As believers, we constantly try to answer the question, “How do we get a dead man to want to live?”  The answer is easy:  first you have to raise him from the dead.  We can’t do that.  But we live and are used by One who can.  Ours is to be willing to die for that person if needed…

    • #55
  26. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Charles D Chrisman (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    It is possible that a supernatural force (a.k.a. God) exists. But here is something that Holocaust Survivor said about this:

    You are essentially speaking of theodicy, the problem of “evil” and how it challenges the Goodness of God.

    There is always a fundamental flaw in asking the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people”. Biblically, it is the wrong question. “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”. As a result, from the internal logic of biblical belief there are no “good people” to which “bad things” happen.

    The problem with this response is essentially summarized in this quote:

    “Without even being aware of it, many people believe in a cruel God, and they are consequently cruel when it comes to religion.” —Baron d’Holbach, Enlightenment philosopher

    Many Christians think that human beings deserve bad things to happen to them for theological reasons.  So, from that perspective if a hurricane destroys peoples’ homes and kills lots of people, resulting in many children with dead parents, this is evidence of God’s justice, His wrath against sinful humans.

    They hold to a morality where cruelty is considered justice.  The problem of evil has been verbally eliminated by arguing that suffering is good as long as the most powerful being in the universe, God, desires people to suffer.

    No wonder people are turning away from this religious nonsense.  I suppose people should cut these Christians some slack for worshiping an Evil God because most of them were indoctrinated into these beliefs as young children.  But it’s important for the rest of society to make sure this distorted morality doesn’t damage the rest of society.

    • #56
  27. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    So when you exit the Holocaust Memorial Museum known as Yad VaShem in Jerusalem, you look out onto an undulating panaorama of hills and trees. You understand that the Holocaust had much to do with what Israel has become, a bulwark for the defense of Jews. There had not been a Jewish army since Biblical times and today Israel has one of the supreme fighting forces in the world.  You cannot separate the centrality of Israel from God’s plan, as drawn up in the Bible, both for the Jewish people and for humanity at large.  It’s a plan that comes closer to fruition each day.

    • #57
  28. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Many Christians think that human beings deserve bad things to happen to them for theological reasons.  So, from that perspective if a hurricane destroys peoples’ homes and kills lots of people, resulting in many children with dead parents, this is evidence of God’s justice, His wrath against sinful humans.

    They hold to a morality where cruelty is considered justice.  The problem of evil has been verbally eliminated by arguing that suffering is good as long as the most powerful being in the universe, God, desires people to suffer.

     

    Exactly how many Christians believe this actually? I’ve been surrounded by Christians all my life and your arguments strike me as a quite eccentric in those circles. 

    • #58
  29. Charles D Chrisman Coolidge
    Charles D Chrisman
    @Charles D Chrisman

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    “Without even being aware of it, many people believe in a cruel God, and they are consequently cruel when it comes to religion.” —Baron d’Holbach, Enlightenment philosopher

    “I suppose people should cut these Christians some slack for worshiping an Evil God because most of them were indoctrinated into these beliefs as young children.  But it’s important for the rest of society to make sure this distorted morality doesn’t damage the rest of society.”

    Are you truly unaware as to how mindless a thought either of those are?  Both are an expression of personal “morality” within a subjective POV.  It is a typical atheistic response in using the concepts of good and evil when no atheist can really define the terms used from an objective perspective.  It is a fraud often used to deflect by claiming a moral superiority to “judge” a God they don’t believe exists in the first place by using the moral standards of their opponents without attribution to any source.

    I would rate your response as both revealing of your basic thinking and utterly without merit.  Am I wrong to think that you are in fact an atheist?  Possibly an agnostic (alpha privative “a”  meaning “without” combined with “gnostic”, or “one with knowledge”, basically denoting “one without knowledge”.  Atheism is agnosticism aggressive and agnosticism is essentially atheism polite.

    • #59
  30. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Charles D Chrisman (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    “Without even being aware of it, many people believe in a cruel God, and they are consequently cruel when it comes to religion.” —Baron d’Holbach, Enlightenment philosopher

    “I suppose people should cut these Christians some slack for worshiping an Evil God because most of them were indoctrinated into these beliefs as young children. But it’s important for the rest of society to make sure this distorted morality doesn’t damage the rest of society.”

    Are you truly unaware as to how mindless a thought either of those are? Both are an expression of personal “morality” within a subjective POV. It is a typical atheistic response in using the concepts of good and evil when no atheist can really define the terms used from an objective perspective. It is a fraud often used to deflect by claiming a moral superiority to “judge” a God they don’t believe exists in the first place by using the moral standards of their opponents without attribution to any source.

    I would rate your response as both revealing of your basic thinking and utterly without merit. Am I wrong to think that you are in fact an atheist? Possibly an agnostic (alpha privative “a” meaning “without” combined with “gnostic”, or “one with knowledge”, basically denoting “one without knowledge”. Atheism is agnosticism aggressive and agnosticism is essentially atheism polite.

    Yes, there are a lot of agnostics out there who are actually atheists (most of them, I think).  I think in truth the difference between an agnostic and an atheist is that the atheist are openly hostile to the thought of God Himself; though they may approve of, or even advocate for, “church” or Christianity as a philosophy or a moral order and a means of controlling behavior to protect society from the predations of unguided conscienceless men.

    But there do seem to be some men who carry a current caution about God, acting as if He actually might exist and just don’t know, and they modify their behavior accordingly.

    I knew a guy who was a professing agnostic that I thought was a true hardboiled atheist.  He was a non-practicing quondam unitarian (because, as he put it, you can be a unitarian and not believe in God) who, for example, believed in abortion because of the unitarian teaching popularized back in the 60s (I used to know the preacher’s name but forgot it and can’t google it up these days) that a baby wasn’t a person until he took his first breath (which I today view as a deliberate corruption of Christian teaching), and who lamented not bringing his children up in his own particular religion because they had become Christians.

    The funny thing is that he was a good man in general.

    I was taken aback a few days ago when I read that Facui used Jesus Christ’s name as a means of expression of surpassing contempt.  I don’t think you can be a Christian or even an atheist and do that.

    • #60
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