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Reading God’s Mind — Part 2

Reading God’s Mind – Part 2

Hello, everyone.

I recently was involved in a thread in one of the Autism groups that I am a part of, on this topic: “Autism study strengthens idea that we read God’s mind.” I posted Part 1 of this subject on 6/13.

The “Mind” thread has run its course and is no longer active. It gave rise to two other threads, which also have appeared to be over. One thread was a discussion of the Unitarian-Universalist Church and basics of the UU philosophy. The other thread was a discussion – giving it the benefit of the doubt – of which Bible version should we read. Here is the last message I posted in that one.

Which Version of the Bible to Read (Was: Unitarian Universalists)

> I would just add that “in his own way” is not necessarily the way God leads him (or her).

But who is to make that determination? My understanding is that this is one of the offices of the Holy Spirit.

Another point: Is God so small and inconsequential that he cannot be worshipped except in one particular way and that way only? I personally believe that there are MANY paths to God, and that “Jesus Christ” is only one of those ways. I also believe that the American Indian concept of the “Great Spirit” is equally as valid.

> I have no problem whatsoever with someone being led by God to believe and to worship. If that’s what “in his own way” means, then fine.

That is EXACTLY what “in their own way” means. As I just said, I personally believe that there are innumerable paths to God, and “each in his own way” is the path to God FOR THAT PARTICULAR PERSON. The problem is that people who believe in Jesus Christ swallow that hog swill that “Jesus” is the ONLY way to God. WRONG! It may be the “only way” for them, but not for me.

> But if “in his own way” means he (or she) has found a way to believe and to worship that s/he likes, then I don’t really see how s/he can be sure that God is involved.

Ever hear of the concept of faith? Christians are so certain that “Jesus” is alive and involved in their lives, that they believe that he simply MUST be involved in the lives of everyone else in this world. The Ku Klux Klan is so persuaded that God and “Jesus” sanction their craziness that they are not reluctant to label themselves as “Christians.” Believing that God is in our lives and leading us requires great faith. We who are free may be totally and completely wrong, but who is to make that determination for us? I for one am totally prepared to cast “Jesus” on the trash heap and put my faith solely on God himself — the God whom I call the “Supreme God.”

This forum isn’t the place, and now isn’t the time for me to go into depth explaining how I came to my conclusions. So I will simply say that I firmly believe that “God”, or the Supreme God, led me to the place where I am now. And as far as I am concerned, He — and He alone — is the only one who is qualified to judge me as to whether I am correct or incorrect. I believe that I am correct, and I am willing to place all of my bets on that one belief.

Bill C.

When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.” – Dom Helder Camara

I made some comments in this message that I wish to expand on at this time.

1. Is God so small and inconsequential that he cannot be worshipped except in one particular way and that way only?

This question has bothered me for decades. I have studied comparative religions for many years, and so far, the only “god” that I have found who had a set of rules and formulas for his worship was the Jewish War God. Even after he sent “Jesus,” his bouncing baby boy, into the world, supposedly because he loved us to death, he still demanded that he be approached by only one route, and that was through his baby boy. That, to me, doesn’t sound like a “god” who is worthy of my worship, let alone my life.

2. I personally believe that there are MANY paths to God, and that “Jesus Christ” is only one of those ways.

By “God” here, I mean the Supreme God, the God Above All Gods. And yes, I believe that there are many paths to him. Evangelicals need their “Jesus” as their go-between. Mainline believers approach him directly. Muslims approach him directly in the person of their Allah. Other cultures and religions approach him through their creeds. For many, many years, I have sought documentation in non-Christian religions that “Jesus” was indeed the ONLY way to reach God, but I have not been able to find such documentation. So I have no choice but to conclude that “Jesus” is NOT the only path to God.

3. As I just said, I personally believe that there are innumerable paths to God, and “each in his own way” is the path to God FOR THAT PARTICULAR PERSON.

I hinted at this in the above point, and I will now say it outright. There are indeed many paths to God, and “Jesus” is but one of those. But he is “THE” way ONLY to those who believe that he is. The Evangelicals believe that he is “THE” way, but that does not mean that he is “THE” way for the Mainline believer. Unitarian-Universalists believe that there is only ONE God. So do many Mainline believers. Contrary to the behavior of Evangelicals, Mainline believers do not feel the need to ramrod their path to God down non-Mainline throats. They believe that a person’s belief about how to approach God is valid FOR HIM OR HER, but not necessarily for anyone else. That is exactly how I believe.

4. The problem is that people who believe in Jesus Christ swallow that hog swill that “Jesus” is the ONLY way to God. WRONG! It may be the “only way” for them, but not for me.

I have addressed this already. I have no problem with people who have a psychological need for Jesus. I accept their belief that for them, he IS the only path to God – as long as they show me the complementary courtesy of accepting my belief that he IS NOT the only path to God.

2. Ever hear of the concept of faith?

What exactly IS faith? The writer of Hebrews – Aquila (the Aquila of “Aquila and Priscilla” fame), in my own personal opinion – attempts to define “faith” in 11:1 aw “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” He then goes on to give several examples of people in the Old Testament. But that definition doesn’t cut it for me. So I went to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, and here is their definition:

1 a: allegiance to duty or a person: loyaltyb (1): fidelityto one’s promises (2): sincerity of intentions

2 a (1): belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrinesof a religion (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust

3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction;especially: a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>

I personally believe that definition 2 b was what Aquila was trying to say. I know that it is the way that I would define “faith”.

Definition 3 is also valid, in that it defines people’s beliefs in concepts and doctrines in terms of a very broad spectrum that runs from the sublime, such as a faith in “God” to the preposterous, such as belief in the Trinity, or belief in snake-handling, or belief in divine healing. An example of the totally ridiculous and preposterous now follows.

On May 21, 2011, the world was supposed to come to an end, according to one Harold Camping. Of course, it didn’t. So a couple of days later, I wrote a diary titled “Whence The Jeez?” I have not posted that diary to the group, but I want to quote a portion of it here. This does touch on the subject of faith.

– – – – – – – – – –

A comment I read on the web said this: “You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe.” It has been my personal observation over decades that Evangelical Christians are the dimmest bulbs in the Christian chandelier. Sure, there are exceptions like the church that Carol and I attended and were married in. That church had a highly-educated pastor, and also had a number of faculty members from a nearby community college as members of the congregation. Many of these who had doctorate degrees were among our closest friends. But I have also seen the opposite extreme. I have been involved with many Pentecostal and Charismatic groups in my lifetime, and I can’t think of a single one which I would describe as “intelligent.” And with the exception of the church I attended while I was in graduate school in Kirksville, Missouri, I can’t think of a single NazareneChurch, of which I have personal knowledge, that I would consider to be an intelligent church. So I believe that the comment as stated above is totally true.

Whether they recognize it or not, everyone has experienced cognitive dissonance. The big difference is how it is handled. It has been my personal observation that the less educated believers make “faith” the foundation of their resolution of the cognitive conflict. An expression that forms the foundation of an Evangelical’s faith is “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” In other words if there is a cognitive dissonance between what the Bible says and experiences in a believer’s life, the experiences are thrown out on the trash pile. Remember what the commenter said earlier: You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe.” That is why the dissonance is handled in the manner that it is. A believer NEEDS to believe that the Bible and “Jesus” speak nothing but truth and that anything that conflicts with that “truth” must be disposed of. That is why supposedly rational human beings bought into Harold Camping’s line of bilge. Since he based his stupid nonsense on the Bible, that nonsense HAD to be true.

On the other hand, an intelligent person looks at both sides of the cognitive dissonance. Deep down, he knows that only one of the statements can be true. To use Genghis’s illustration of the smoker: By now, a smoker is aware of all of the research that proves that smoking is harmful, even deadly. Yet he smokes anyway. In trying to reconcile his behavior with the evidence, he makes a New Year’s Resolution to quit next year. Whether he does or not is unknown. There are other factors that he does not know at the time – like the addictiveness of nicotine, for example – but at the very least, he knows which of the factors of the dissonance is true, and he seeks to act on that.

I’ll share a cognitive dissonance from my own life. In Matthew 7:7-8 and Luke 11:9-10, Jesus tells us flat out: “Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. Everyone who knocks, to him the door will be opened.” No conditions, no qualifiers, no hedges, No ifs, ands, or buts, nothing. If we ask, we receive; if we seek, we will find, etc.

I have shared many time about how I longed to have my eyes healed so that I could live a normal life and be treated with respect by Christians. I have also shared how my prayers went unanswered, in spite of the Hairball’s promises and claims.

My situation, boys and girls, was an example of a colossal cognitive dissonance. Obviously Jesus’ claims and promises and my personal experiences could not both be true. So which one was true and which one was the lie? I came down to one question: How could something that one experiences in his life not be true? Were the unanswered prayers for my healing a lie? NO!!!! I actually lived and experienced those. There is NO way that I could prove those to be untrue. There was left only one tenable alternative: “Jesus” was simply blowing smoke and hot air when he said what he said. He was lying through his teeth.

And I can truthfully say that I have not had one person prove to me that his remarks in Matthew and Luke were true. NOT ONE SHRED OF EVIDENCE that Jesus spoke truth.

– – – – – – – – – –

Because of the fact just stated:

6. I for one am totally prepared to cast “Jesus” on the trash heap and put my faith solely on God himself — the God whom I call the “Supreme God.”

In other words, I am willing to roll the dice and take whatever comes up. THAT is an act of truth faith, in my opinion.

7. I believe that I am correct, and I am willing to place all of my bets on that one belief.

A while back, I mentioned in Solus Christus a video I had seen on YouTube about a great thinker answering an older gentleman who said that his future destiny depended on his faith in “Jesus Christ.” At the time I said that the thinker was Christopher Hitchens. Actually, it was not. It was Richard Dawkins. Today (6/14) I went to Bing and did a search on “Richard Dawkins and Jesus Christ.” And – I’ll be darned!! – I found that video!! Here’s the URL:

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Richard+Dawkins+and+Jesus+Christ&mid=F69B59B4BBB3D670B2ABF69B59B4BBB3D670B2AB&view=detail&FORM=VIRE5

The caption for the video thumbnail on the Bing search page says, “Richard Dawkins cruelly answers audience question.” Now I have done more than a little reading and research on the subject of cruelty, and I have personally experienced what I would call cruelty, and based on my observations, research, and personal experiences, I can say that that caption is nothing but a humongous pile of male bovine excrement. Dawkins was kind and respectful to the Christian who posed the question. Indeed, I wish that I had experienced THIS kind of “cruelty” from the Christians throughout my life.

Dawkins told the elderly Christian that he (the Christian) was living under a delusion. Dawkins was absolutely correct. I first had my doubts about the “Jesus” delusion when I was in high school. I hadn’t read the bible much at that time, but I knew enough that I couldn’t reconcile the situation with my eyesight with the blanket promises that “Jesus” made in Matthew 7, Luke 11, John 10, John 14, and a myriad of other places in the gospels. Even before I studied philosophy in college, I realized that two contradictory statements could not both be true. Also when I was in college, I was exposed to people of intellect who were not afraid to use the brains that God gave them.

So over time, I came to two conclusions: Either “Jesus” was real and was who everyone said he was, or else he wasn’t real. If he was real, and was truly the “Son of God,” then he would speak nothing but truth. Every word he spoke could be trusted. But then I ran head-on into my eyesight and all of the unanswered prayers that people prayed for me. In short, my eyesight disproved the truth in all of his “promise her anything” promises. If his promises could be proven to be untrue – and they were – then did he ever say anything that could be taken to be true? Since so many of his teachings were borrowed verbatim from The Buddha, then I could accept The Buddha’s teachings as spoken by Jesus as true. But I could not accept anything that Jesus said that was not Buddhistic in origin. Therefore, I could not accept “Jesus” as being the “only begotten Son of God.” I would accept such a statement coming from a disinterested, neutral third party long before I would accept it from a Christian or the Christian Bible. But no such source exists. Therefore, I am forced to the logical conclusion that “Jesus” is nothing more than a figment of a sick imagination, as I stated in the previous message.

And that is where I am today.

And to again quote Herbert Buffum: I’m as happy as a bird, and just as free!! Thank you, Supreme God, for leading me to the truth.

Have a great day today.

Bill

 

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June 18, 2012 - Posted by | Miscellaneous, Religion

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