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Archive for the ‘Jesus follower’ Category

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?

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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by Jim Gordon

In our world today there seems to be a lot of talk in the Christian world of standing up for our beliefs and doctrines. It seems we feel this is the best way to show our devotion to God and be a witness for Him.

I am not so sure we are going about this in the correct way. As Christians we are getting to be known more for what we are against and being unloving rather than showing the love of God to others.

As Christians, many people go to a church building on Sunday to sing and smile and listen to a sermon. By doing so, they think they have fulfilled their duties for the week. All day they are feeling good and close to God and think everything is good.

Then Monday hits and off they go to work with a frown on their face and feeling down. They may be in a bad mood and snap at fellow employees trying to make them feel as bad as they do.

It seems we forget that Christianity is not a religion or a one day a week life. As followers of Christ, we are to let Christ live through us in the strength of the Holy Spirit. We are to let his love flow out of us to touch those we come in contact with throughout the day.

Rather than try to win people to God by our words, or by pointing out their mistakes or condemning them, we should allow the love of Christ to touch them by actually being loving and kind in the way we treat them.

While Jesus lived in bodily form on earth, he constantly spent time with those the religious crowd would not even think of being around. He spent time doing things that the religious leaders’ thought were wrong and against their religious laws. They could not even accept him as the messiah because he was so different from them and what they thought was a godly way to live.

Jesus accepted people for who they were, just the way they were and did not show condemnation toward them. As followers of Christ, we are to do the same. It is not our job to be the judge of others, pointing out their sins and mistakes and treating them like second class people. We are here to be Jesus to all people, loving, accepting and treating everyone with love and respect no matter who they are or what they believe.

In our world today, with all the discrimination and unloving ways of the world and even of the church, we are to allow the Holy Spirit to love through us. We are to let the love of God touch others and let them know they are accepted and cared for. We are to remind them that in God’s eyes they are loved beyond measure. Love is the way of God because God is love.

Stop the unloving and condemning attitudes and let those you come in contact with each day know they are loved and accepted. Do not do this in word only, but in actions and good deeds.

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

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By Mike Edwards

Spiritual leaders and politicians say we must turn to God as a nation. But believers and unbelievers in God don’t share their understanding of truth and God. Moral truths can be pursued through one’s understanding of natural law or God, depending on their beliefs. Natural law truths are inherent in nature. Godly truths are inherent by understanding God. Truths are not based on one’s personal feelings or one’s understanding of God through a Book such as the Bible. Truths can be pursued by open debate and common moral sense, not canceling different opinions.   

Believers in God must appreciate that God doesn’t force beliefs on others

If God imposes beliefs on others, why doesn’t God annihilate immediately those who oppose God by choosing evil? God hasn’t. Why would God’s love be any different than human parenting love. Parents bring children into the world hoping their children freely reciprocate their love for authentic relationships. God doesn’t assume or seek to impose beliefs. I am convinced that is how politicians must communicate who choose to represent all their constituents. They may share their personal beliefs but not communicate to imply God commanded a new world order.    

Don’t natural and godly principles have commonality? 

Do you know any rational being who doesn’t accept we should treat others like we want to be treated? Certain behaviors are universally immoral to all rational beings such as physical or sexual abuse. Criminals often deny not justify their actions. We seem to have an inborn sense of good and evil, whether believing in a God or not. Political views such as health care, taxes, immigration, etc. are often not black and white and demand questioning. Those who don’t believe in God must stop demonizing by moralizing their personal opinions. God-followers must stop claiming their view is morally superior according to their personal interpretation of a Book such as the Bible.

Assumptions God believing folks make for all

Well-meaning people passionate about God say in the public arena “we need a biblical worldview.” Are they unaware that their understanding is according to their interpretation of a Book? See here.  Those with different interpretations or doubts about God aren’t rejecting morality. Politicians and citizens can speak of God in their personal lives without implying God forces beliefs on others.

It is often said God blessed the United States as opposed to other nations, implying God withheld blessings from others. One who claims to be God can’t bless arbitrarily. For Bible folks God blessing Israel was an act to bless all nations (Gen. 12:3). Maybe God’s blessings result from accepting God’s influence personally or by striving to treat others like you want to be treated. See here.

How can God-believers speak of their faith?

In a free country, as opposed to a dictatorship, people should be able to talk about their personal beliefs openly. If you believe your personal view of climate change is natural law, reconsider. If you believe those who don’t agree with your interpretation of the Bible are wrong, reconsider. Open discussions are vital to strive for the greatest good. Politicians represent both God-folks and non-God folks. I am the former but I am offended by all this God and Bible talk by politicians as if the public arena is their private church. Talking about God collectively than your own personal experience fails to represent those who don’t believe in God or may not share your views on God.

Should Politicians Talk About God In The Public Arena?

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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

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but not Necessarily Religious

by Jim Gordon

There actually is a difference between being spiritual and being religious, although many people think of the two as being the same thing.

Being religious is basically following the rules and doctrines of a specific organization or denomination, or what we usually call church.

Being spiritual can bring to mind all kinds of strange thoughts and ideas. Yet, when I say spiritual, I am talking about a daily life following Christ and allowing His love to flow through us, apart from the doctrines and teachings of any specific religious organization.

My wife and I are no longer religious. We left the weekly meeting at a local building and no longer follow any particular doctrine. Yet being outside the walls of religion, we are more aware of the spiritual, day-to-day life of following the example of Jesus.

We realize that God is not a being up in heaven, coming down to visit us only when the conditions are right, or when we are in a certain building, or when we have been extremely good over the past week.

God is spirit and He is with us constantly. As a quote by Michael Beckwith states “God is a presence that’s never in absence. This presence is everywhere, so, you would never pray for God to come here, because the presence of God is infinite.”

Or as it reads in 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

I am not sure why it is we have always been taught that God is way up there somewhere. Jesus says that we are one with God in John 17:21 ‘that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me’. God is not somewhere off in Heaven waiting on us. He lives within us and will never leave us.

We seem to think that the Kingdom of God is a place we go one of these days when this life on earth is over. I think this is also a big misconception. God says His Kingdom is within us. That means right now, not some future date. That is what Jesus spent so much time teaching about, the Kingdom of God.

If we could only get these truths in our head and in our spirit, I think we could live a life that would really make a difference. Rather than see religious people who fight and argue over their differences in doctrine and interpretation, they could see spiritual people living a life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness, all in the power of the Spirit.

Unfortunately, we have been taught by religion to rely on trying to work hard, follow the rules and just survive until we get to heaven. We go from Sunday to Sunday, living life without the power of the Kingdom of God. We argue amongst ourselves over doctrine and belief, and by doing so, people see we really do not have anything to offer them that is meaningful and different.

Jesus was the perfect example of God living in man. Jesus came to show us what God may really be like.

We can be Jesus to the world today. We can show love, compassion, and acceptance to the world around us each day. We are not God, but we are one with God. The Spirit is within us and he will teach us, guide us and give us power to love all people.

Listen for the voice of the Spirit in every situation. Realize God is within you and allow His love to touch those around you every day.

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

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by Jim Gordon

Political life is a pretty big thing, especially here in the United States. There can be a lot of terrible events that happen in the world of politics. So much sometimes, that it makes you wonder if we as Christians should even be involved.

We know the Spirit of God lives within us, and because of that we are spiritually living in the Kingdom of God now. I believe that everything we do is spiritual. Since the Spirit lives within us, we can go out each day sharing the love of God and doing things that are pleasing to God whether we think it is spiritual or just normal daily life.

What we participate in should always be done with the purpose of being ambassadors for Christ. We go about our daily activity doing things in love, fairness, compassion and equality. We do not hate or exclude others, we do not cheat and take advantage of others, we do not discriminate against others.

If we choose to participate in politics, we do so in ways that show the love of God and actions of Jesus. It is hard to find a political party or politician that is truly committed to following the example of Jesus. We often have to choose to support those who are only partially committed and who we feel will come closest to representing what we think is best for our country.

It is hard to support politicians who promote discrimination, exclusion, hatred, unacceptance, and those who seemingly work for their own power and financial gain. And truthfully, it seems harder and harder to find those who are not this way. Yet, there are those out there who really want to do what they feel is good for their country. It is up to each voter to do some homework and find the best candidates available.

We also need to consider the subject of Christian nationalism, which is mixing Christianity and Politics with too much importance. God loves the world, not just the United States or any one particular country. It seems there are some in politics in the United States that have a goal of making this a Christian nation. This should not be. It is against the constitution and against what we are told in the bible, that God loves the world, not just one country or group of people.

We sometimes seem to think that living for God on this earth can only be achieved by politically enforcing Christian values through laws. Many people seem to think we should use this political power to force Christian values on everyone. I for one do not believe we should or can legislate Christian values and morality on anyone. God does not force his love and ways on us, so why should we try to force our values and beliefs on others.

Some people want a country or church that lives a biblical life. That problem is there are so many interpretations of the bible, so many opinions and views that it would be hard to set down specific ways of life that people could agree upon.

The bible can easily be made to say about anything a person chooses, so instead of living a biblical life we should strive to live a Christ-like life. Our example should be the life of Jesus and not the words written in a book.

Here in the United States, it has become a common belief by some that to be a Christian means to be a Republican. That could not be farther from the truth. Our Christianity has nothing to do with a political party, although there are Christians who are Republican, Democrat, Independent, liberal or conservative. Being involved in politics should not mean the political party controls us, but our love of God and love of others should guide us in our political thinking.

I would love to see people stop bringing Christianity down to a political stance. It is not wrong to participate in politics and support the political party you feel is best for the country. The problem is when politics controls the person and the political party is more important than doing what is best for all of the people of the country. We should focus on Christ and loving others no matter which political party they endorse.

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

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By Mike Edwards

God views you as scum and is pissed

I only know what a loving God may be like according to how a parent should love their child. I figure God didn’t create us to be better lovers than God. My kids weren’t always saints but I hated their behavior, not them. Participating in bullying activities disgusted me. Does one passage in particular really claim we are born evil in God’s eyes? See here.

God hates gay people and is bias against women 

Those who read my blogs often are probably sick of me ranting against those who condemn gays or women in God’s name according to the Bible. Biblical scholars who have a deep respect for Scriptures don’t agree what the Bible says about these and other moral issues. Let’s stop being dogmatic. Since interpretations aren’t infallible, we can use our moral intuitions as well to understand what God is really like.  See here. See here.  

God demands we bow the knee or burn in Hell 

Biblical scholars also don’t agree a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible. See here.  Terrorists demand belief in their God or they don’t even wait to kill you in the afterlife like the God of the Bible supposedly does. The God I believe isn’t a terroristic God. My God gave me a brain to imagine what a loving God does to those who don’t believe while living a short time here on earth.

God only lets Christians into heaven

The majority of people born into the world didn’t have a Bible or know of Jesus. Most people accept or rebel against a certain religion based on the family born into whether it is Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. A child sexually abuse by their father may struggle to accept a God who is most often betrayed as our Father in Heaven. No human or spiritual parent brings children into the world requiring their eternal destination be based on circumstances out of one’s control. A loving God can’t be a God of chance!

God thinks you are ape-stupid if you believe in evolution 

No one was there in the beginning. I don’t have to believe those who insist on a literal interpretation of Genesis, that Adam was a literal than representative of the first human. I don’t have to believe Christian scientists who believe that there is overwhelming genetic evidence that the human race couldn’t have originated from a single couple but through a population of some thousands of individuals. See https://biologos.org/ I can believe God didn’t or did use evolution in the creative process. We can examine all the evidence for ourselves, without imposing our beliefs on others.

God is all-knowing and all-powerful so stand down 

It is natural to think an all-knowing, powerful God has special insights into future outcomes. But to say God knows the future suggests a predetermined future which makes freedom nonsensical. God’s plan can’t be a detailed blueprint but a general one to set us free to love. God joins us in all the pains and joys of an unknown future to risk changing the world for good.

God allows evil and suffering so pray up

Is everything that happens really a part of God’s plan? A good God’s love must be uncontrolling. Love cannot insist on its own way. (I Cor 13:5) A God who allows evil but doesn’t do anything to intervene is no different than a parent who stands by and watches their child suffer. Evil and suffering in the world may be because God can only intervene when there is human cooperation, both by evildoers and non-evildoers. See God Can’t by Thomas Oord. 

God is only known through the Bible so leave your brain at the door 

The Bible can’t be the only guide about God because we disagree what it says about many moral issues including Hell, gays, women’s roles, etc. And even if our interpretations were infallible, we can’t be sure the biblical writers always knew or portrayed God accurately. Those who insist the Bible is infallible also advise we are made in God’s image. Perfect human love must be the same as God’s love, or how can we know God? Our moral intuitions about a good God aren’t the enemy. 

God can answer any prayer so behave

Let’s stop pretending God can wave a magic wand and always heal in a free world. It isn’t that God had the power to do something about it, but chose not to; it’s that God can’t. Divine love limits divine power. Are healings really arbitrary? Various biological and environmental factors are involved such as cells, organs, etc. God may have to account for both human and natural freedom. Healing can happen when God’s uncontrolling love aligns with countless factors known and not known. A truly loving God is doing all they can before asked.

God is going nuclear so up-up we go 

Literal rather than metaphorical readings of the Book of Revelation lead to claims that God is going to end in world with Bruce Willis in the Battle of Armageddon. Descriptions of dragons with seven heads may be a hint. I admit I wasn’t too excited as a believer going up in the air toward heavens not in a plane. That is the Rapture for non-Bible readers. Anyways, another reading of the Bible suggest God wants to help us make this a better world, not look to escape it. See here.

What Are Some Of The Worse Beliefs About God?

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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

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The Spirit Made Me Do It

by Jim Gordon

Many of us in the Christian world have had questions as to how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. Does the Spirit control us, speak to us, guide us or teach us? If so, how? These are certainly good questions and not always easy to answer.

We read in the bible, that after Jesus ascended into heaven, he said he would send us another Comforter. The Holy Spirit came to live within us, and we became the new temple of God. God’s Spirit now lives within us, his people, and not in a building made by hands.

The purpose of the Spirit is to be our comforter and to remind us of who we are in Christ. For those who are followers of Christ, the Spirit no longer convicts us of sin. Jesus destroyed the sin nature and we are forgiven by his grace. The Spirit is in our lives to teach, guide, encourage and remind us of our righteousness in Christ. The Spirit ultimately leads us to become more like Jesus.

The Spirit can speak to us through many sources. Most people think of the bible first, but we cannot limit the Spirit to only a book. The Spirit can speak through people, dreams, intuitions and common sense. God gave us a mind. The bible says we have the mind of Christ. Do not limit the Spirit to only one way of communication.

We have to be careful to discern what is Spirit and what is natural. Since we still live in an earthen body, we will have thoughts that are natural and some that are spiritual. For me, I have noticed that sometimes a thought will come to me, seemingly out of nowhere, and I have a feeling of peace or a sense of knowing this is not from me.

I also believe there are many instances when we give more credit to spiritual things than we should. How often have we heard someone say the devil made me do it? Or we hear someone tell us that God told them to do this or that, or to tell us something supposedly direct from God?

I do not believe we should say the devil made me do it, no more than we should say the Holy Spirit made me do it. God gave us free will. Free will is an act of love, and God is love. The Holy Spirit guides and teaches us, but does not control us.

If the Spirit controlled us to the point we had no choice, what kind of love would that be? True love of God is done from free will. We choose to love God and we decide to follow him. We are not forced or controlled by some spiritual force within us.

As an example, there are many people who do not even believe in God who are more loving and kinder than some who call themselves Christian. I believe this is due to our upbringing and circumstances that mold us into the kind of person we become. Obviously, the Holy Spirit changes us and guides us, but as mentioned before, we do have free will. What we were taught by our parents, our circumstances and environment while growing up, will still have an effect on the kind of people we are in general. The Holy Spirit is certainly with us, teaching, encouraging, uplifting us in our walk with God. He is our comforter and our guide, yet God has given us free will to do as we please.

Truly loving God is wanting to do what is pleasing to him because we love him, not because we are controlled to do so. Listen for the still, small voice within you as you seek to be guided daily by the Spirit.

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

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