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Old 11-29-2005, 05:16 AM   #31
Ugly Joe
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Default Re: What is god?

I belive the crucifixion was supposed to be metaphorical to the tradition of animal sacrifice. People would sacrifice animals as an offering to God as penance for their sins. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. Ergo, Christians accept the fact that Jesus died to absolve all their sins and that, because of this, they can gain access to Heaven.

I'm nearly positive I'm missing somethere there, but my point is that an understanding of Old Testament animal sacrifice (which I sadly lack) would probably help you understand why someone dying for sins is supposed to be regarded as significant.
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Old 11-29-2005, 05:07 PM   #32
Disch
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Default Re: What is god?

> If his or her mind is open to
> faith, then God will touch that person and give him/her a
> feeling of goodness. It happens all the time with me.

There is a logical explaination for everything. This feeling is not divine... rather it's something very down-to-earth sometimes referred to as 'emotional release' often combined with 'acceptance'.

Humans, being social animals, NEED (this is a physical/mental health necessity) to release their emotions outward towards others. I'm sure everyone's heard it's not healthy to keep anger or sorrow bottled up inside them... but this applies to other emotions as well. Excitement, happiness, frustration, guilt... you name it. The next time you're really happy... try not to show any outward signs (not even a smile). I can guarantee that if you can even pull it off, you won't stay happy very long. That's because you need to show you're happy.

When you open up and confess to God, or ask God for help... it does feel good, no doubt. But that's not because you're opening up to God. It's just because you're opening up. Sometimes, it would be just as (or sometimes even more) effective to open up to a trusted friend/family member or someone else that's close to you. Situation dependent, of course. Hell, sometimes your pet can be the best listener in the world. The point is you just need another being to release/open up to. It doesn't matter who it is really... as long as it's someone.

God can make a good candidate for this because:
1) He's always around and available.
2) He's guaranteed not to give you a negative response. He'll always forgive. (this is a con as well, though, see below)
3) He's an authority figure. (big, BIG pro, explained below)

However, he can make a lousy candidate for this because:
1) It only works if you truly believe you're speaking to God. If you don't you may as well be asking yourself for help.
2) He's guaranteed not to give you a negative response. This can be a bad thing because sometimes the thing you need most is a slap in the face to get you in the right mindset. Sympathy is not always the best longterm solution... and God is incapable of supplying anything else.
3) Apart from the emotional release of opening up... God provides no other help.. and somtimes you need more. For example, when's the last time God gave you 50 bucks to help cover this month's rent? Or when's the last time he gave you a stress-melting massage? Or even advice/feedback on a difficult decision you have to make? These are things your fellow human beings can offer which God cannot.


The 3rd pro listed above is the big one God has going in his favor. Humans never outgrow the joy which comes from pleasing others... this is doubly true for pleasing authority figures. Whether it be your parents, your teachers, or even your boss. Anyone who's in a position above you and who you hold in respect. If you can do something to have them look at you in gratitude/respect/pride... you get this big warm fuzzy feeling.

This is something God has in spades. On top of being the ultimate authority figure, he's also held in the highest of respect of those who follow him. Additionally... he's extremely easy to please. You can approach him with the worst of news... confess these horrible sins... and walk away feeling like he's proud of you --- that's something no human can offer.

And in fact... I find this to be the biggest... or even the <u>only</u> appeal to religious faith. At least it's the only thing I feel like I'm missing out on by being an Atheist.


Anyway, enough of my rambling
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Old 11-29-2005, 05:24 PM   #33
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Default Re: What is god?

> 3) Apart from the emotional release of opening up... God
> provides no other help.. and somtimes you need more.

Most Christians will strongly disagree with you on this point. It may be true that God will not hand you $50, but He may provide someway in which you will receive $50 (a friend, charity, etc) or some other path in which you don't actually need the $50. When faced with difficult decisions, many Christians will ask God for guidance. I know many people in my parents' church who will tell you that God told them which path to choose. To them, God is far from quiet.

Of course, you can view these things as something other than God's intervention (which I'm sure you do). Getting money from a friend after praying about it or finding some way to scrap by without it could easily be blamed on chance. One could argue that it would have happened exactly the same way without ever having asked for God's help. Getting answers from God is, from what I've experienced and heard from others, more of a strong sense of intuition than a voice in your head. Again, you can argue that meditation on a decision would lead you to the same result -- that asking God for help was merely an exercise in getting you to calm down and think.

It's largely based on what you choose to believe.
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Old 11-29-2005, 05:48 PM   #34
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Default Re: What is god?

> I belive the crucifixion was supposed to be metaphorical to
> the tradition of animal sacrifice. People would sacrifice
> animals as an offering to God as penance for their sins.
> Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. Ergo, Christians accept
> the fact that Jesus died to absolve all their sins and that,
> because of this, they can gain access to Heaven.

I'm not too sure I agree about it being sacrificial, although it was a great sacrifice for him to die for us. But what did he prove? What did he accomplish by dying? He never died for God, he died for our salvation. The death, in itself, was punishment for Heresy.

When Jesus died, what did that mean for us? Did it mean our salvation from sin? Why do we still sin, then?

Perhaps the answer is incomprehensible, but I believe that he died so we have something to put our faith in, something to wash away the sins we have commited and start anew.

If a rapist/pedophile was on his deathbed, and asked God forgiveness, what do you think God would do? If the sinner had shown real, true remorse for his actions and wanted to be forgiven?

If you think that is wrong, you simply do not understand.
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Old 11-29-2005, 07:06 PM   #35
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Default Re: What is god?

> Perhaps the answer is incomprehensible, but I believe that
> he died so we have something to put our faith in, something
> to wash away the sins we have commited and start anew.
>

But why would the death of an innocent wash away anything? God could decide to be infinitely merciful, and generously forgive all who put their faith in Him, or God could decide to be just in a more strict manner (with the goal of encouraging us to work to better ourselves) and demand that people do good deeds and work to atone for their misdeeds, and face all the consequences due to them. If the former, why would he require a death as payment for the decision? An omnipotent God doesn't need anything, and in my opinion, a supremely benevolent God would neither want nor even accept a human sacrifice as payment for anything.

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<center><img src=http://pages.nyu.edu/~jc73/misc/FieryAshNazg.gif></center></p>
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Old 11-29-2005, 08:24 PM   #36
Disch
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Default Re: What is god?

> Most Christians will strongly disagree with you on this
> point. It may be true that God will not hand you $50, but
> He may provide someway in which you will receive $50 (a
> friend, charity, etc)

The problem with this is it contradicts the idea of free will. If you credit God for your friend lending you $50, then it must not have been your friends free choice to offer the $50. It implies God uses us as puppets to fulfill others' prayers. I don't see how you can accept that and at the same time believe we have free will... they're mutually exclusive.

> or some other path in which you don't actually need the $50.

This ties in with the same idea. You would have to see the path for yourself and choose to take it. And if it involves others (which it certainly would considering it involves money... a societal construct), it would also have to be their will for you to be able to take this alternative path.

> When faced with difficult decisions,
> many Christians will ask God for guidance. I know many
> people in my parents' church who will tell you that God told
> them which path to choose. To them, God is far from quiet.

I don't really know what to say about this one. My first thought is that these people aren't giving themselves enough credit for their thought/anguish. I'm certain they don't claim to hear the voice of God... so unless they think God is implanting ideas in their brain I don't see what's happening. And even then, how do they know that those ideas are not their own? Where do you draw the line? How do you know which thoughts are yours and which are from God?

Instinct or intuition, as you mentioned, are completely natural behaviors exhibited in even "godless" animals. Your intuition to choose one dicision over the other comes from life experience, knowledge of the relevent facts, foresight/prediction, and of course... instict. We all have the tools... and we all know how to use them.

> Again, you can argue that meditation on a
> decision would lead you to the same result -- that asking
> God for help was merely an exercise in getting you to calm
> down and think.

I would. Why? Because that's a reasonable explaination. Calming down and thinking... something we do every single day in our lives to come up with solutions for everyday problems. I mean if you're going to take this road, why not just credit all your decisions to God?


There's rational, logical explainations for everything. Falling back to supersticious hocus-pocus to fill in the unknowns just seems like a total waste of potential knowledge.
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Old 11-29-2005, 09:13 PM   #37
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Default Re: What is god?

I was actually half-way through a long response, but let's just leave it at this since we both seem to be repeating ourselves. Well played <img src=smilies/thumb.gif>
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Old 11-29-2005, 10:20 PM   #38
Disch
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Default Re: What is god?

heh, yeah.

Plus since the topic was "What is God" I felt I should throw my interpretation of him out there. <img src=smilies/thumb.gif>
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Old 11-30-2005, 03:00 AM   #39
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Default Re: What is god?

One such as God would not have to force anything upon anyone. Take into consideration that he gave us free will. He could have made humanity as mindless drones, always doing his bidding. But that is the work of some far less than he. Namely, humanity itself.

Because we are capable of anything we set our minds to, there is also the chance we might sin. For those who wish to repent for those sins.

Jesus died for us, and reclaimed the Old Testament saints and brought them to Heaven, as well as died for us too. When he died, he became the avatar of Christianity. Who do we pray to, God, or Jesus? Before Jesus, who did we pray to?

They are both one in the same. 2 parts of the Holy Trinity. The holy spirit surrounds us all, and encompasses all life on earth. It carries our penance to God and we are forgiven for our sins.

God is merciful to his children. Would you forgive your child? You might say no off the bat, depending on what he/she does, but deep in your heart you would find the strength to forgive them...You know you would...

For those of you with children of your own, you understand this. How could you not forgive something you created? Not now, perhaps later in life, but this is a fine line between our form of compassion and that of a deity such as God.
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Old 11-30-2005, 06:04 AM   #40
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Default Re: What is god?

Damn, there's no ytmnd "What is God?" Roxbury spinoff...doh! Sorry for not really contributing to the thread. <img src=smilies/magbiggrin.gif>
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