Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May, 2022

By Mike Edwards

We can only speculate what happens after death, but it makes sense to explore if God gave the biblical writers special insights about the afterlife. That means talking about heaven and hell. One must admit Hell makes no moral sense – a loving God a sadistic torturer? Imperfect humans wouldn’t even create such a place for their enemies. A loving God couldn’t possibly torture anyone forever since such pain serves no lasting purpose. I am convinced the Bible agrees. 

The Old Testament says nothing about the traditional understanding of Hell

Adam and Eve weren’t warned of Hell if eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Noah warned of a global destructive flood, but he was silent on Hell as a consequence for behaviors here on earth. So were the OT prophets. The Hebrew word Sheol in the Old Testament, translated into the English word Hell, described a place of darkness occupied by the dead regardless of beliefs – not a torture chamber for unbelievers (Job 10:18-22). Some Bibles translate Sheol as Sheol.

What does the New Testament say about Hell?

The Greek word Gehenna is translated into the English world Hell. In ancient times children were sacrificed in fire at Gehenna, a valley outside Jerusalem. Many scholars consider Gehenna a metaphor used by Jesus to describe how an evil life leads to destruction, not a fiery place where sinners go for never-ending punishment. Also, it is odd that the main writer of the NT, the Apostle Paul, never mentioned Hell. Finally, the Lake of Fire in the Book of Revelation is likely figurative, unless dragons with seven heads and ten horns really exist (Rev. 12:3).

What did Jesus say about heaven or eternal life?

The word “heaven” appears the most in the Gospel of Matthew. The Kingdom of Heaven isn’t a place to go after life on earth. Jesus sought to bring heavenly love to earth – “on earth as in heaven.” Jesus was asked by a religious expert how to have eternal life. He simply said to love God and your neighbor (Lk.10:25-37) – loving God is loving your neighbor. Jesus didn’t speak on quantity of life after death but about the quality of life living here on earth – kingdom living.

How might God handle justice after death?

Punishment doesn’t bring back a victim’s robbed memories of the future due to the murder of a loved one. Real justice is understanding your victim’s pain and accepting the harmfulness of your actions. After death God may bring to memory every unrepented action of betrayal and how it felt to their victims. The cleansing and educative effect may take longer for some than others. We can have less concerns about justice in the future by accepting God’s influence in our life here on earth. 

What would a good God promise? 

The Bible suggests God seeks to influence us to do all the good we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as we can. Make sense if a good God exists. Isn’t such a legacy your deep-down desire? Belief in an invisible God takes faith. The advantage of a relationship with a loving God is that there is a voice outside imperfect beings – a God who inspires, forgives, encourages. I have faith that a God who can create can provide life after death.

Does God Promise Heaven Or Hell Or What?

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

Read Full Post »

By Mike Edwards

The majority of people according to polls believe in a Supreme Being or God. I am not talking about how many go to church or synagogue weekly but God being more of peoples’ daily conversation. I’m not being judgmental. I enjoy talking about God for my spiritual health but often struggle to always walk the talk. I begin blogging years ago about God, because I couldn’t find people who wanted to converse about God. We don’t often get personal with others, but aren’t conversations about God as important as family and work relationships?

Maybe because of what you think God is like

Now, many are willing to talk about God – churchgoers – but many of us left the institutional church because claims about God’s character was contrary to our deepest moral intuitions. Why believe in a God you can’t respect. It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. Beliefs about God’s love that don’t match how you know you ought to love your neighbor may be amiss. Don’t believe everything you hear about God! See here.

Maybe because previous conversations have been “gotcha” conversions

Conversations with God followers often feels like them trying to change your beliefs. I hate to admit I use to have an agenda with those outside the church. I was taught God’s good news was saving people from Hell so they could get into Heaven. I was wrong according to Jesus. See here.   The ship may have sailed others trusting us to have open conversations. All I know to do is to focus on a life where actions speak louder than words and blog.

Maybe because God-followers make faith in God so complicated 

Many Christians insist on certain beliefs or saying a magic prayer to be a true follower. It’s said you can’t just believe there is a God; the Devil believes in a God! But the Devil was committed to opposing God. I’m not convinced the majority have such a commitment. The Bible even claims faith is what you can’t see, not a set of beliefs. (Heb 11:1) Why can’t a God follower be one who hopes/believes in a good God and seeks help being the person they deep down desire to be?

Maybe because it is said all of the Bible claims about God are true 

Scholars interpret the same passages differently – God condemns gays; God doesn’t condemn gays. We mustn’t act as if our interpretations are inspired by God. And we can’t prove the biblical writers always got God right. Don’t reject God because some claim the Bible doesn’t allow the possibility that God used evolution in the creative process. No one was there in the beginning. You don’t have to believe in Hell, that God is bias against women, that God condemns gays, etc. Don’t disregard your moral intuitions in discerning what God is like. See Rethinking The Bible

Maybe because so much evil and suffering in the world don’t mix with God

I don’t blame you thinking a God who can prevent suffering but doesn’t is no different than a parent who stands by and watches their child being physically or sexually abused. It is said “everything that happens is part of God’s plan” to supposedly protect God’s all-powerful character. We claim God is a mystery to justify God’s evil is sometimes good. Crazy talk! Controlling love is an oxymoron. God’s nature requires their love to be unselfish and uncontrolling. There may be plausible explanations as to why evils exist and God doesn’t intervene. God may only be able to intervene when there is human cooperation. See God Can’t by Thomas Oord.

Maybe because of some trauma in your life

A child sexually abuse by their father may struggle to accept a God betrayed as our Father in Heaven. Does God really judge them? As mentioned, some are open or desperately want to believe in God but can’t get their head around why a loving God doesn’t intervene more with so much evil in the world. Does God really judge them? I wasn’t close to my parents. I can’t explain why I accepted than rebelled against their beliefs in God.

Maybe because God-followers as a group are poor role models

We are all hypocrites, but God followers should at least admit and do something about their failings. Clearly Christians don’t get along as more and more churches and denominations keep forming that creates division not unity. Christian opinions should be able to stand side by side as we continually evaluate the most loving way. Religious leaders fail way too often only to deny their actions and act more authoritative than loving.

Maybe taking a leap of faith is worth it

I must admit I have no idea why many have an intuitive sense of a supreme power or being and other don’t. Let’s don’t accuse those who believe in a God as needing a crutch or those who question the reality of an invisible God as being evil. If wrong to doubt God exists, Christians sin if doubt God in tough times. It seems a loving God should be up to your challenging God to somehow prove they are worth following. Don’t believe everything others claim about God. If inclined, find a way to include God in your life and thoughts regularly. I am convinced believing in a good God and seeking help to pursuing a godly life is not in vain.

Why Doesn’t God Play A Bigger Role With Those Who Believe In God?

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

Read Full Post »

Our common focus is Jesus

Colossians 3:14 — And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity

by Jim Gordon

With all the different thoughts, ideas, interpretations, denominations and versions of the Bible, how is it possible for us to get along and have unity among the brethren?

It is by love. To put on love is to put on God. God is love and love lives within us. Even in all the differences we can be united in the love of God. Our common focus is Jesus. We can be one in Christ and still have different views and opinions. Because of the love of Christ, we can respect one another’s views and opinions and accept them as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Love will bind us together and allow us to live in peace with one another. Many times, love is pushed out of the way for our own selfish desires. That is when disrespect, arguing, judging and condemning takes over, and it is not a pretty sight for those who profess to follow God, who is love.

Unity comes only in Christ. It is not through religion, doctrines, denominations or bible versions but through Christ alone. Unity through Christ looks beyond religion, doctrines, denominations, race, sexual orientation and nationality.

God is love and he lives within us. By allowing his love to flow out of us we can look beyond our differences and accept one another even when we disagree.

Only by loving God and loving one another through the power of the Spirit will others see a difference in those of us who are followers of Christ.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

Read Full Post »

By Mike Edwards

Many are inclined to believe there is a Creator, but it’s understandable why many find it hard to believe in an invisible, inaudible God or Spirit. A major obstacle may be claims made about God, often according to one’s understanding or interpretation of the Bible. It is claimed God condemns gays, God is bias against women in roles in the institutional church or other settings, and that God has created a place such as Hell where unbelievers will suffer forever after their death here on earth. It is a hard sell to suggest God’s character is contrary to our deepest moral intuitions.

The Bible can’t be the authoritative guide about God

Biblical scholars with a deep respect for Scriptures don’t interpret the Bible as opposing women priests or preachers or that God condemns gays. See here. See here.  Scholars don’t agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible. And we can’t prove God inspired thus controlled the thoughts of the writers to always portray God accurately. It is just as likely that the Bible is uncontrolled writings that encourage contemplating what a loving God is really like. See Rethinking The Bible

So how can we know what God is like? 

It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. Beliefs about God’s love that don’t match how we know we ought to love our neighbor may be amiss. Even the Bible implies perfect human love and God’s love are one and the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). “Follow God’s example…” (Eph. 5:1). It isn’t too presumptuous to imagine what a loving God is like through our moral consciences. Don’t believe everything you hear about God! See here.

Why would a relational God be a total mystery? 

The universal compulsion to treat others like we want to be treated hints of a Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. Even those who claim God is a mystery judge God according to moral human intuitions. They claim God is a mystery because their interpretation of Scriptures suggest God appears evil from a human perspective. (Crazy talk to suggest God can do bad but then call it good). Christians speak of the Holy Spirit guiding them. Unless the Spirit talks to us audibly or visibly, we must discern the Spirit’s guidance by examining our intuitions.

How can we have a relationship with God if we can’t be certain?

God’s plan isn’t a detailed blueprint, to let us in on future secrets, but a general one to set us free to love. A free future can’t be known. God doesn’t have to speak directly about moral decisions. Some decisions are clearly immoral – murder, stealing, adultery. Many decisions aren’t clearly moral. God joins us in an unknown future to take risks to change the world.

So what? Our mental images of God can make a difference in our relationship with God and how we treat others. The more you respect your earthly parents or God, the greater their influence. God’s influence is the only way I know to explain my constant desires to be a better husband, father, and friend. I don’t fail as often as I think I might on my own. Why is God so hidden? God may communicate in less demonstrative ways to allow for non-coerced decisions that lead to lasting convictions. God may speak to us in non-dramatic ways out of love!

How Can We Know What God Is Really Like? So What?

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

Read Full Post »

By Mike Edwards

I bet I know what most readers of this blog hope their legacy to be. They will say something like “I want to be known for treating others well.” Few if any will wish they had been a little more selfish. I have a hunch on my deathbed that I will be reminiscing how I hope to be remembered in my relationships. Who doesn’t need help in being who they want to be deep down? 

God may be who you hoped for 

God can help! No, God isn’t audible or visible but God somehow has found a way to be a quiet influence in billions of lives. It is natural to tune out influences that you don’t respect. No adult child is going to listen to their parents if they don’t “walk the talk.” No God is worth following if they aren’t the perfect lover. Don’t believe everything you hear about God! See here.

Hope for life after death 

I use to think I would age like good wine, but then I aged and begin waking up sorer and sorer. Faith in God doesn’t necessarily keep one from thinking this aging process sucks. Is their hope after life on earth? I can’t prove there is a heaven. But you can’t prove there isn’t a heaven. If there is a God who can create, I have a hunch God can offer life after death. Faith isn’t knowing but hoping. I draw great comfort that I may be reunited with my loved ones without limitations of this old body. Seeing isn’t always believing; believing is seeing! 

Meaning and a moral compass for life 

Believing there is an actual Creator can suggest we were created for a reason. It sure seems we were created to love one another. It doesn’t seem we were created to simply chant God is great all the time. God obviously created us with the freedom to follow or rebel against God and their ways. Forced love isn’t genuine. The God I know gives me a purpose and morals to live by.

Following God isn’t complicated 

If you want your legacy to be that you were selfish and treated others like dirt, why are you reading this? I bet you want to be more like the person you desire to be deep down. I am convinced God can help with that. You may have heard that you have to say a magic prayer and have certain beliefs to follow God. I doubt it. Even the Bible in one passage doesn’t declare faith a set of beliefs but hope in what you can’t see. (Heb 11:1) Why can’t a God follower be one who hopes/believes in a good God and seeks encouragement to be a better person? Challenge God to be make themselves more real. Consider the journey that can result in a life of quality lived here on earth!

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

Read Full Post »

The Sons are Free

Matthew 17:26

Frozen in the Fire

Rising up through Grace

Writer Dylan Morrison

Fascinated by the Nazarene but unimpressed by religion!

Follow Your Arrow

Unashamed of who God made us to be, and unapologetic in our pursuit of God and our purpose in His kingdom

Blind Injustice

Injustices we may not be aware of

Sophia's Essays

This is where I post my essays, primarily about LGBTQ+ issues, politics, and Christian theology.

My Journey

Welcome. My blog is a place where readers will find writings of personal experiences, thoughts, and the peace God provides throughout my walk. I intend to bring inspiration and insight, as well as providing a very personal and transparent view into my life, in order to help others see their own lives in a different perspective. I strongly believe that we all need a different view at times, in order for our personal growth to take place.

Hazy Divinity

Welcome To The Party

Candice Czubernat

A leading voice in the LGBTQ and Christian dialogue

Our Journeys Matter! - Posts

Done with Religion ... Not Done with God

Ally's Notebook

Thoughts To Share

Life of a Prodigal

Searching for Truth outside the church walls

What God May Really Be Like - Misbeliefs About God

To those done with religion but not God and my kids (Click FOLLOW for future Posts; See ABOUT/USING THIS SITE tab to navigate Site)

Christy Lynne Wood

Looking for the Real God

Confessions of a Recovering Churchboy

What I bought before, I just can't sell

Intermission

Reflections in the midst of life.

She Seeks Nonfiction

A skeptic's quest for books, science, & humanism

The Wild Frontier

The search for infinite Truth and the invincible Love of an incredible God.

A Wilderness Voice

"The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, says the LORD of hosts." (Hag 2:9)

What does the word God mean to you now?

It's been a long journey - so far!

Entering the Promised Land

by walking in the Spirit

Beyond Church Walls

Done with Religion ... Not Done with God

Escape to Reality

Explore the wide spaces of God's amazing grace

%d bloggers like this: