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A few questions from an open-minded agnostic.

wondering

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wondering,

You have left out a number of steps in your statements above, in my understanding of Scripture.

Who is responsible for all sin in the universe?

Back in 2012, I wrote this article, Did God create evil?

I've done further thinking since then and am working on teaching for high school students in Religious Instruction (one period a week in State schools), 'Why does God allow suffering and evil?' The study is not complete yet.


Why didn't God make human beings without free will?

What would happen if God wiped out ALL evil NOW?

Oz
Hi Oz, I'm so short on time lately.
I also taught our faith and one does have to teach about evil and satan and everything.

However, if we want to go back far enough, we find that there is no real answer to evil.

Go back to the Garden. The tree of good and evil. Where did the evil come from?

Go back to Lucifer falling from grace. Due to pride. Where did this sin of pride come from?

How is it that A and E ate of the fruit if they were still innocent and had not eaten from the tree yet? WHAT made them eat?

I still haven't found the answer and most believe we cannot really know this.
 

wondering

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wondering,

You stated:

I jumped in too quickly with my response. Please forgive me. When you stated 'there is no answer' to the problem of why evil exists, I'd like to know your reasoning behind that statement.

Could you please help me to understand how you reached that conclusion?

Maybe this isn't the thread to do that and we ought to start another thread with a title like, 'From God's perspective, is there any solution to the problem of evil?' Would you and others be interested in pursuing such a topic?

Oz
Hi Oz...
No alert for the above...saw it by accident.

Yes...please start another thread.
Please tag me in.....Looks like JLB is interested too, and maybe others.

I answered this question, however, in my post to you just above.
 

Serving Zion

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As far as judgment concerning families...I believe that the curses that fall on a family, for 3, 4 generations as is stated in the O.T., is a product of that family not adhering to God's laws more than actual curses given by God. He DOES, instead, have actual curses proclaimed for those that do not follow covenants that are bi-lateral in nature. Blessings if the covenant is adhered to and curses if it is not. Deuteronomy 28:15......
It is really important to understand God's justice in doing this, because it is easy to slip into the wrong spirit by thinking it to mean that God is punishing the children for the father's sin. It isn't meant that way though, because that would be injustice. God's justice says "what is this parable you say in Jerusalem: "the fathers ate sour grapes and the sons teeth were blunted"? As I live, says Adonai, you shall no longer speak this parable, but the soul who sins shall die" .. and it goes on to describe how the one turning from wickedness to righteousness will be saved but the one turning from righteousness to wickedness will perish.

So look carefully at the verses that speak of the punishment: https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=Iniquity+fathers+children&qs_version=TLV

First notice the payment isn't necessary. If they are one who loves God, who repents, then He is rich in mercy, wanting to forgive them. It is always said that the payment of the iniquity goes upon the offspring of those who hate Him. That is to say that the father's grumble and resist Him when He convicts them. They become obstinate, refusing to repent and be formed to a thing that pleases Him. To them, He does not threaten instant death - why?

His method is to turn His face away from them, for "who can look upon the face of God and live?" (Again, it isn't rhetorical, for we declare in the Aaronic benediction of Numbers 6:24-26 "Adonai turn His face toward thee and grant thee peace").

So God does not bless the fathers for their wrongness, but they see the wrath of God in their children. That is to say that the children become instruments to punish the father's - and while the father's may not turn back and in their torment turn their distress upon the children, it is a burden the children are cursed with so long as the father lives. As it goes with curses, the wrath comes against us from the world around us, so therefore when we are eliminated the spirit does not manifest through the world - rather the world is released from it's obligation to serve the purposes of divine justice upon us.

So the real thrust of the message is to say to the father's "you will have no escape from my wrath so long as you live, but you will be cursed by the spirit of your own sons and daughters, and by their sons and daughters. Even the sons and daughters of them and of them again. For surely I will not let the guilty go unpunished".

The point being that the behavioural problems in the children, which are demonic on account of the curse to the father, do not count against the child's own blessing. They are of good conscience in God's sight because they have not hated Him. But then, as we know "bad associations corrupt good character", they are at risk by being around the cursed one, that they might be lured into sin and rebellion in their distress. Then comes the justice against them, for "the soul that sinneth, it shall die".

This is the correct way to speak about generational curses, in order to maintain a right knowledge of God's justice by allowing the wicked to perish of their own accord, for their refusal to turn from their sin and having cut themselves off from God's saving grace, thereby He remains blameless for their death according to His own Torah "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, life for a life".
 

PeterJens

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wondering,

You have left out a number of steps in your statements above, in my understanding of Scripture.

Who is responsible for all sin in the universe?

Back in 2012, I wrote this article, Did God create evil?

I've done further thinking since then and am working on teaching for high school students in Religious Instruction (one period a week in State schools), 'Why does God allow suffering and evil?' The study is not complete yet.


Why didn't God make human beings without free will?

What would happen if God wiped out ALL evil NOW?

Oz
This is an eternal question, "Who is responsible for all sin in the universe?"

The answer lies in this phrase, can you have love without pain?

If you prize choice, free will, giving and withholding gifts and blessing, one must embrace evil, denial, hurt, damage and destruction. Without the choice to do harm, how can there be choice at all, but the inevitable response in a predictable way.

The Lord created a universe with this choice. And the choice is real, hidden, but real to every individual. We are called to choose love or evil and hurt, and based on this choice we will either respond favourably to the Lord or not. At a truly fundamental level each of us choose to find a path through to being consistent or we get eaten up by bitterness and hatred.

Jesus encompasses these problems and calls His people to walk His road of pain and suffering through love, where love drives everything despite the problems. This is for us the hardest path because it speaks against our rights above others, and giving up the battle of dominance for the road to giving and service, because we have met the King.
 

WIP

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This thread is going off track. Please address the original poster's questions and avoid side debates/discussions. Thanks.
 
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That's how the Koran came to be. An angel claiming to be the Gabriel, came to Mohammed and Mohammed believed him when he said he was speaking for God. That angel brought very serious slander against Jesus Christ and His followers, and some way-out changes to longstanding records of history. It has inspired followers ever since to be at war with Christians as they accuse them of having falsified the bible and blaspheming God.
Thank you for your very thorough response. There's two specific points that really caught my attention. Children being innocent at birth before being corrupted by the world. I remember many things from my childhood. The impression I got, was that all kids, including myself, were selfish and voracious liars. I remember making things up and hearing other kids making stuff up just to impress one another. We argued about the pettiest things like "who the sun follows" or "whose mom is smarter". We made fun of each other and killed insects for fun. Maybe we were already poisoned or something.

It's only later in life that we began to develop more empathy and consideration for other's needs. Many people think empathy is something which develops in the brain with age and children are so selfish to up their chances of survival. There would have to be a very elaborate and unethical experiment to test whether kids are born "innocent" and just corrupted by the world.

With Islam, you could say Muhammad made everything up, or hallucinated. I don't assume he was deceived by an angel.

The other really interesting thing to me is this idea of carnal vs spiritual reality and spiritual awareness. Somebody could spend decades studying Buddhism and be convinced they've achieved enlightenment, but they would actually be wrong. They'd have no way of knowing because they haven't actually achieved spiritual awareness. The only way to do that, is to first assume Christianity is true, while still thinking in carnal terms and lacking spiritual awareness, and then following that path. Only after being able to say it's correct. If you try learning about both and after a long time you're still unsure, it might be because God doesn't like that, so you were doing it wrong. This is a very clean solution. I don't know if I prefer it to the "we just don't know everything" approach.
where did you get your knowledge of Christianity from? It sounds as though you've been schooled at a Christian school, or you've been otherwise influenced in a big way by people who have a particular type (ie: Westminster Confession) of Christian view.
Reading articles. Watching videos.
 
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Berserk

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1) I would want to know as much as I value being alive. I would be willing to abstain from things and change my routine. I don't actually know whether I could change my character. I never really actively tried to shape my personality.
2)I don't connect my philosophy towards life with the explanation for the universe and origin of man I think is most probable. The explanations I "believe in" could be changed by scientific inquiry, but it's largely irrelevant to how I live my life currently. My philosophy isn't something I see as falsifiable unless there really is an objective mindset. I don't see philosophy as being testable. This connection is unavoidable in Christianity and other religions however.
3)I'm not really sure what counts as a "spiritual" experience. If an angel came to me, it could be in any form, but something more spectacular and inhuman would be more convincing, and gave me a prediction of something very specific with no obliqueness involved, like the deaths of specific people on a specific dates, or a planet at specific coordinates will be discovered in a week or something, and these predictions come true exactly as told, I would be convinced there's some kind of deity. If this prediction came with a message saying the Christian God is real, I would take that at face value just in case.
4)I don't see that as probable. I wont lie to you, even though I know lying would make it more probable that you'll answer my questions. I'm mainly interested in answers for curiosity's sake. Maybe it could help other people's conversions though.
I apologize if this response is unsatisfactory.
My initial reaction to this reply was to not engage you in any extended dialogue due to how closed-minded you admit to being. Recently, I have reconsidered this decision because you were honest about areas where you are not truly open-minded and I have decided to start a new thread devoted to your questions and issues. So stay tuned for this thread, which seems needed for 3 reasons: (1) My approach will differ greatly from most of your respondents on this thread. (2) I don't wish to in effect highjack this thread or excessively dominate it. (3) I want you to coordinate my responses in this new thread with my evolving testimony in the forum section above this one, entitled "Prayer Requests, Praises and Testimonies."

The material in that thread (entitled "My Journey through the Lens of My Charismatic and Paranormal Experiences") has been effective in my witness to non-Christian skeptics on a secular conversation board. 2 members were converted, one of whom is an author and a militant agnostic who had posted attacks against historical Christianity. My posts at most opened their minds to the possibility of a divine interaction. Then God brought a Christian witness into their lives, which brought them to church, where they were soundly converted.

I convinced a third, an agnostic HUD executive in the Federal government, that a guardian angel ( a woman in a red dress) had saved his life as a young boy during a murderous assault in the woods when a sexual predator had placed him on the ground in choke hold. The unknown lady in red suddenly appeared, calmly approaching them and asking, "Is there a problem here?" The boy's assailant got spooked into running away. When I asked my agnostic friend what happened to the woman, he suddenly realized that she must have dematerialized when he immediately turned to thank her for her intervention. In retrospect, her vanishing act now convinces him that she must have been an guardian angel. That insight aroused his interest in becoming a Christian, though, sadly, he remains an agnostic. Our online interactions prompted an invitation to visit him at his summer cottage and he took me to the spot in the woods where this miraculous intervention occurred.

I share all this with you here in acknowledgement that none of my apologetic arguments will convert you. But if site members pray for you, our interaction might sufficiently open your mind to the possibility of a self-authenticating connection with God to ignite a new burning spiritual quest. Such a quest might allow God to bring the right nearby Christians into your life who might be instrumental in your conversion.

I too have always been skeptical by nature. What saved me from agnosticism was not an assortment of apologetic arguments, but rather my life experiences that will be summarized in the next few weeks in my "Journey" thread. That is another reason why I hope you will follow both threads. I will get my new more philosophical and theological started tomorrow, which will respond to your questions and replies here.
 

Serving Zion

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The impression I got, was that all kids, including myself, were selfish and voracious liars.
What makes a person lie? In my experience, it is only through development of a fear of being honest that a person becomes a liar, and children are much more inclined to be honest with me than grown-ups. There is occasionally a child who is untruthful with me, reflecting the culture of their family, but it doesn't take much time for them to become comfortable to be truthful to me. Grown ups are quite a different creature though, because they have no real hesitation to be untruthful - it has become a second nature to them through prolonged experience and skill.

Maybe we were already poisoned or something
No kidding.

It's only later in life that we began to develop more empathy and consideration for other's needs.
Is that a pattern or an observation in some cases? What makes those ones become empathetic?

There would have to be a very elaborate and unethical experiment to test whether kids are born "innocent" and just corrupted by the world.
Or, if you do it as I do, you could just observe for yourself. Only those who can't discern are forced to rely upon establishments.

With Islam, you could say Muhammad made everything up, or hallucinated. I don't assume he was deceived by an angel.
I can't see that it is plausible to believe that he made it up, as we might say of Joseph Smith or Elron Hubbard. I am interested to know what distinction you make between hallucination and perceiving angels. Also, you owe an explanation for why you would not assume that he was deceived by an angel.

Reading articles. Watching videos.
Oh yeah, well it is a very messy world out there. "A student will never be greater than his teacher" and "if the blind leads the blind they will both fall into a pit" - (Jesus Christ). IOW, "you are what you eat".
 
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What makes a person lie? it doesn't take much time for them to become comfortable to be truthful to me. Grown ups are quite a different creature though, because they have no real hesitation to be untruthful - it has become a second nature to them through prolonged experience and skill.
People lie mainly for personal gain or to avoid punishment. I can see a lot of situations where kids would do this. Maybe they're not good liars, but that's besides the point. Kids also probably act differently towards adults than children. Were you in a position of authority, because that probably also affects things.
Is that a pattern or an observation in some cases? What makes those ones become empathetic?
In the simplest terms possible, the amygdala and prefrontal coretex. Normally developing people develop rudimentary empathy early on which matures with age.
To sum up, regulating emotions is crucial in maintaining a connection with ongoing perceptual processes, having access to a greater number of adaptive responses and enhancing flexible and appropriate responses. Emotion regulation develops throughout early childhood and adolescence and parallels the maturation of executive functions. There is evidence indicating that inhibitory processes recruited for emotion regulation involve different prefrontal circuits and autonomic activity as children mature.
Or, if you do it as I do, you could just observe for yourself. Only those who can't discern are forced to rely upon establishments.
I'm not good with kids, I don't have much opportunity to be around them, and i'm not really interested either.
I am interested to know what distinction you make between hallucination and perceiving angels. Also, you owe an explanation for why you would not assume that he was deceived by an angel.
I don't believe in angels to begin with, so I'm biased in that respect. I don't have any reason to think anything supernatural happened to him. He didn't have knowledge that would be impossible to obtain through other means or really anything else that is verifiably supernatural.
 

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