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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/11/2005 2:37:55 AM EDT
I have, at times claimed to be an atheist, sometimes an agnostic. Neither is really true.

I was born and raised in a southern baptist household, attended church weekly for many years, and for some of my youth, was a good, principled Christian. My father died when I was 6 months old, so it was just my mother, my older brother and myself. We lived modestly (poor), but we were a close knit, loving family and still are. We lived without chaos, vice or turmoil.

We attended a small church, about 120 in our congregation, and all were from a small town of less than 2,000. We all knew each other, played with each other, worked with each other.

My mother, around my age of 12, started having difficulties, both with her faith in God and her relationship with the church - tho I'm not sure which came first. Our pastor started counseling my mother with her distance from prayer and church (he was also our neighbor). At first she was receptive to him, but I didn't know it as it was happening, the pastor developed feelings for my mother, and tried unsuccessfully to have an affair with her. This upset her alot, and she felt betrayed and hurt and did not reciprocate at all.

I was very conflicted, because as this happened, my mother pulled away from the church and God, yet I still felt connected to the church. It culminated with an ugly situation where the Pastor's wife, whom the Pastor had confessed his affection for my mother, started alienating us children from church activities and started ugly rumors about us as a family. It became bad enough, that my mother's work suffered and she sent us for the summer to live with my aunt while she looked for work elsewhere. We eventually moved and that was the end of my experience with Christian churches, and a Christian god.

Through most of my teenage years, and into my twenties, I neither lived religiously or without. I still believed in God, but I rebelled at the traditional thoughts of him, and I did not seek a spiritual life. I just lived, and busied myself with becoming a man, finding a wife, and raising a family.

In my most personal and introspective moments, when confusion and personal pain was at its zenith, I prayed to God for guidance, but mostly I prayed to understand myself and the way in which God chooses to speak to us.

I would like to say that God answered me, or showed me a sign, or I attained some clarity about the life I led and the events of my youth. I did not. However, that was not the end of my search and it took a long, gradual process of asking and observing before I arrived at a peaceful place with a creator.

What I learned, by talking to God, by questioning him, by questioning religion, and science, and my friends, and people who had faith, was that God is not speaking to me through man. That's the whole ball of wax. He is not speaking to me, through man. That was my revealation, that was my conclusion, and it's been the most liberating and wonderful discoveryof my life.

Now, at this point the Christians are formulating responses to my post. They're brewing examples, anecdotes, psalms and quotes, inspiring words and probably even ridicule. But, there is the beauty and wonder of my place in life, and with my beliefs. You are incapable of reaching me, incapable of penetrating my immaculate armor. God gave you no power to reach me. None. I am built with distrust for man, distrust for anyone who claims to know God, or his plan.

It took a long time for me to understand that my skepticism and revile for religion was not unhealthy, nor was it against God. It started to hit me, slowly and surely, as I put my life in order. I married well, I had a wonderful child, I sought an education, I found a career, hobbies, friends, kept my family strong and lived cleanly and without vice. Through this all, I had no relationship with God. None. I asked nothing of him, I didn't really believe, and I didn't expect reward or punishment for my life. I was content that this life, this physical life, was all I had to work with, and I was ok with that.

Along my path, I also watched people who had preached to me their resolute faith and spirituality - crumble into petty, selfish and delusional people who lived poorly, lived in sin, fucked up their lives and became the worst kind of hypocrites. How could I remain a good person without my beloved church? How could they spiral into a world of shit with the Bible in their hands?

It started coming back to me in my early 30's. I started to wonder about God, I started to wonder if there really was something beyond my physical life and the here and now. So, in my quiet thoughts, when I was in bed, or at rest, or just pensive while driving to work, I would start to talk to God again. First, just in my head, then outloud. I started to pray again. I didn't even decide this, it just happened.

I started telling him things about my life, as if he was not paying attention. I started to convey my desires, my fears, my wishes for my family and sometimes for myself. I didnt' hear voices back, I didn't see burning bushes. But, I'll tell you one thing that I do know.....he was listening, and there was no filter. I didn't read the Bible, I didn't talk to my religious friends, I sought no guidance from man or books, or churches or TV. I talked, God listened, and my life became peaceful.

Really peaceful.

I started to lose my anger. I started to watch my resentment of my early church experiences ebb, and the youthful doubts about religion fade away - for they didn't matter any more. I didn't care that Mormons believe one thing, or that Methodists believe another. I didn't care about Buddha, or Allah, or Rah. I didn't need to. God wasn't speaking through those things, not to me.

In my mind, God started to lose his form, his shape. The very idea of him being a thing or a person, or a state of mind just slipped away from my daily life. I started believing that God was the power that is, and nothing more. He is not willful, he is not vengeful, he is not angry, or kind. He is just out there, and I am a part of his world. Instead of fighting my human instincts to find my place, instead of listening to comforting words or reading pleasant stories that explain away my doubts, I started relying on God to keep me in the fog. That's where I'm supposed to be. Not confident in my beliefs, not preaching or condemning, or judging. He wants me confused, he wants me always to wonder.

It became my daily mystery, and at the same time a reassuring friend. I talked to God, and expected nothing in return. I didn't ask for answers, I didn't ask for favors. I didn't seek his approval, or ask his forgiveness. I already knew what right and wrong entailed - they are self-evident rules of nature....and I knew God wasn't interested in our flea circus. He wants me to talk, he wants me to observe, and he wants me to be a good man.....without even telling me how.

I don't know if I will meet a God when I die. I don't even know if I will move beyond this world. Perhaps this is the heaven he designed for us, and our job is to be at peace in it. Maybe I'll be judged for my life? Maybe I'll be judged for the things I contributed to the world? Maybe God just wants to see who lives a good life without an instruction manual and a carrot to chase. Maybe that's what he had in mind all along. I don't know....nor will I fret that I don't.

That, friends, is where I am now. I post this not as a slam against your beliefs, nor an endorsement of mine. I don't ask that you follow me, and I will certainly not follow you. I have no regrets, no unfulfilled holes in my soul, and no fears that my life is wasted. I am happy, and I am healthy in spirit and body, and best of all I am free. God set me free, just by giving me skepticism, doubts, and an insatiable appetite for learning. I don't fear the absence of God, the presence of God, or death. Each day is a blessing to be enjoyed, and I know that there is one undeniable absolute in this world.....you don't have the answers, because you aren't meant to.

If that is my religion, if that is my church, then maybe you understand my beliefs. They are mine, they are unique and they are bedrock. If you don't like my beliefs, you may take it up with your Creator, it's his work.
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 4:08:26 AM EDT
Each person has to find the answers inside of himself/herself. I believe that God speaks to each of our hearts and our response is what matters most - how we live our lives. I would ask you to keep the line of communication with God open so you may learn more on your path. To grow spiritually requires thoughtful reflection - it sounds to me that you have done much of that already. But we must continue to do that all of our lives if we are to grow in our understanding of God, of life. I don't think one day we have "the answer" and no more inquiries need be made about spiritual matters but rather we must continue our spiritual quest each blessed day. May God bless you - may you continue to be well, happy, and at peace.
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 4:09:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/11/2005 4:12:41 AM EDT by garandman]

Originally Posted By swingset:

Now, at this point the Christians are formulating responses to my post. They're brewing examples, anecdotes, psalms and quotes, inspiring words and probably even ridicule. But, there is the beauty and wonder of my place in life, and with my beliefs.



Very perceptive. You know us well.



You are incapable of reaching me, incapable of penetrating my immaculate armor. God gave you no power to reach me. None. I am built with distrust for man, distrust for anyone who claims to know God, or his plan.


Question: Did you swear off medicine, hospitals, surgery, etc because of one doctor that was a quack? Is the reality of being able to heal the body made not real by those who abuse the processes?



Link Posted: 8/11/2005 5:07:06 AM EDT
Cliff notes?

Sgat1r5
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 5:24:32 AM EDT
tagged for when i have time to actually think before posting......
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 5:44:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/11/2005 5:47:12 AM EDT by WildBoar]
Glad you shared you view. Naturally as a Christian I am not going to tell you that is good for your soul, but like you sad, you are not worried about that. But some of us genuinely are. I am sure you heard the gospel many times over so I do not need to preach to you. I will offer some insight and I am sure you wont agree.

The enemy has many churches and ministers. They all have a "christian" name on the door. They look just like a regular church, thay have services, they speak about God and Jesus, they even pray for you. But most of those churches are not of God but the enemy. God allows the pastors like you described to do as they do, He allows hypocrites and false professors to mingle in the midst. This is but one method of separating the goats from the sheep, the wheat from the tares. Which you are is not my concern for I do not know your final destiny. God does. I do know how easy it is to judge God by mans actions though.

I can sit here and make the typical remarks about having a God patterned after your own heart and all that, but I wont.

There is one thing I can do that you cant stop. Its not something I do to be spiteful, its not something I do to be proud, its something I am commanded to do, and I know others here will.

I will pray for you.


Again I am not going to tell you that you are right or wrong, its obvious that is not up for debate, I will just pray for you as I would ask others here to do.
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 5:49:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By arowneragain:
tagged for when i have time to actually think before posting......



I can't wait that long!!!!!!!

SGatr15
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 6:06:03 AM EDT

It started coming back to me in my early 30's. I started to wonder about God, I started to wonder if there really was something beyond my physical life and the here and now. So, in my quiet thoughts, when I was in bed, or at rest, or just pensive while driving to work, I would start to talk to God again. First, just in my head, then outloud. I started to pray again. I didn't even decide this, it just happened.

I started telling him things about my life, as if he was not paying attention. I started to convey my desires, my fears, my wishes for my family and sometimes for myself. I didnt' hear voices back, I didn't see burning bushes. But, I'll tell you one thing that I do know.....he was listening, and there was no filter. I didn't read the Bible, I didn't talk to my religious friends, I sought no guidance from man or books, or churches or TV. I talked, God listened, and my life became peaceful.

Really peaceful.



Swingset-

what you engaged in sounds like self-prescribed cognitive therapy.

nothing wrong with that
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 6:33:21 AM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 6:46:59 AM EDT
Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. I think of how long and hard the road of return was for the prodigal son. There will be great joy and feasting at the end of the journey.
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 4:44:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:

Originally Posted By swingset:
You are incapable of reaching me, incapable of penetrating my immaculate armor. God gave you no power to reach me. None. I am built with distrust for man, distrust for anyone who claims to know God, or his plan.



Question: Did you swear off medicine, hospitals, surgery, etc because of one doctor that was a quack? Is the reality of being able to heal the body made not real by those who abuse the processes?




I did not swear off God, I came back to him to find, quite surprisingly, that he was not the God that was taught to me, and he is not a man-made artifact. He showed me, quietly and through many years of asking him questions, that man knows nothing of God.

Deal with that how you may. I don't share your beliefs, you don't share mine.....and that's never changing.
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 6:20:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/11/2005 6:23:01 PM EDT by garandman]

Originally Posted By swingset:

I did not swear off God, I came back to him to find, quite surprisingly, that he was not the God that was taught to me, and he is not a man-made artifact. He showed me, quietly and through many years of asking him questions, that man knows nothing of God.

Deal with that how you may. I don't share your beliefs, you don't share mine.....and that's never changing.



Lemme ask it this way -

Did you accept God on God's terms, or your terms?

If your terms, why even bother to have a pocket sized God?


Oh, and may I suggest....

Participation in this forum is a SOLICITATION of opinion. If you want a sopabox, get your own blog. (sounds to me like you just want to wax eloquent, WITHOUT allowing response, but that's not how a discussion forum works . If I misinterpret your thinking, please accept my apologies. As I told scuba ed, you DO NOT get to tell others what they can and cannot psot.)

)



Link Posted: 8/11/2005 6:24:14 PM EDT
Sounds like you've grown introspective and are at peace with your beliefs. I was really never a Christian as I grew up in a secular household. I simply ran smack into it in my high school years as we had many loud fire and brimstone types. My secularism was reinforced by comparisons between their lives and mine, where my life seemd better and happier yet they were the ones who supposedly were being helped along by the helping hand of their sentient god. I understand that the argument that the primary reward comes after you die, but that's a different debate.

For a while I did do the Agnostic thing, but that didn't last long. My exposure to the basic human condition (and inherent biases and tendancies) has lead me to believe that god(s) are a construct that provide default answers to our basic questions.

It's my firm belief that the only thing that holds this Chruch together today is that it feeds our social needs. (ritual, belonging, and friendship) Without this component, it would collapse to a few million die hard believers. IMO, you see this in Islam, which is full of regimented and frequent rituals (5 times a day prayer, etc...) Unfortunately, this is why we will never be successful in our relationship with the Islamic world they will always see us as an interuptive and damaging influence to their culture (which is in Islamic countries is the same thing as the religion).
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 6:26:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/11/2005 6:29:28 PM EDT by BenDover]

Originally Posted By swingset:

Originally Posted By garandman:

Originally Posted By swingset:
You are incapable of reaching me, incapable of penetrating my immaculate armor. God gave you no power to reach me. None. I am built with distrust for man, distrust for anyone who claims to know God, or his plan.



Question: Did you swear off medicine, hospitals, surgery, etc because of one doctor that was a quack? Is the reality of being able to heal the body made not real by those who abuse the processes?




I did not swear off God, I came back to him to find, quite surprisingly, that he was not the God that was taught to me, and he is not a man-made artifact. He showed me, quietly and through many years of asking him questions, that man knows nothing of God.

Deal with that how you may. I don't share your beliefs, you don't share mine.....and that's never changing.



swingset, seeking and developing a regular, personal relationship with God is number one of the two primary rules that Christ taught. Put God before everything else... this sounds as if that is what you are trying to do. Second, love your brother -- treat your fellow man as you would be treated.

It's pretty simple, but it gets really distorted as soon as you put 3 believers into the same room together for more than 9.3543 minutes.

To a certain extent, I agree with you regarding the nature of what God wants from us. Faith. Absolute and complete. We can never comprehend that which is God. We only catch glimpses of Him through scripture, interactions with others, nature, art, and everything else to which there is a time and a season.

Keep talking to God bro. Be open to where He leads you.
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 6:44:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DriftPunch:
My exposure to the basic human condition (and inherent biases and tendancies) has lead me to believe that god(s) are a construct that provide default answers to our basic questions.

).



What did you observe in humans that lead you to a conclusion about God??

Do you also make conclusions about computers based on your observations of turnips?

Link Posted: 8/11/2005 6:53:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:
What did you observe in humans that lead you to a conclusion about God??

Every culture has/had one or more... They vary in their scopes and purposes with said cultures. The more sophisticated the culture, the more sophisticated the god...




Do you also make conclusions about computers based on your observations of turnips?


If the turnips were digital renderings, sure...
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 7:05:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:

Originally Posted By swingset:

I did not swear off God, I came back to him to find, quite surprisingly, that he was not the God that was taught to me, and he is not a man-made artifact. He showed me, quietly and through many years of asking him questions, that man knows nothing of God.

Deal with that how you may. I don't share your beliefs, you don't share mine.....and that's never changing.



Lemme ask it this way -

Did you accept God on God's terms, or your terms?

If your terms, why even bother to have a pocket sized God?


Oh, and may I suggest....

Participation in this forum is a SOLICITATION of opinion. If you want a sopabox, get your own blog. (sounds to me like you just want to wax eloquent, WITHOUT allowing response, but that's not how a discussion forum works . If I misinterpret your thinking, please accept my apologies. As I told scuba ed, you DO NOT get to tell others what they can and cannot psot.)

)




I didn't create my God, nor did I decide how I would live and create a relationship that allowed easy spirituality to fit it. God made it all, and God showed me that there are no answers from people like you. Whatever happened to turn me away from MAN'S religion was the healthiest thing that ever happened, and as I have come to accept, was God's plan for me all along. Apparently, there are lots of plans - and God wants you to be unaccepting of any other faith but your own.....I would imagine to help people like me remain sure of my convictions.

That succinct enough for you?
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 7:06:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/11/2005 7:07:43 PM EDT by garandman]

Originally Posted By DriftPunch:

Originally Posted By garandman:
What did you observe in humans that lead you to a conclusion about God??


Every culture has/had one or more... They vary in their scopes and purposes with said cultures. The more sophisticated the culture, the more sophisticated the god...




Every culture has also had one or more weapons.

Did the misuse or sophistication of the various cultures weapons also make you doubt the legitimacy of weapons?

Seems to me the "logic" you apply to God you apply ONLY to God, and to no other part of your life.



Link Posted: 8/11/2005 7:10:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By swingset:

I didn't create my God, nor did I decide how I would live and create a relationship that allowed easy spirituality to fit it. That succinct enough for you?



Yes, very nice.

But questions remain.

If you didn't create your own God, or decide on what is correct living, on what basis / thru what medium did you learn of God, and determine what right living was?

Link Posted: 8/11/2005 7:25:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:
Did the misuse or sophistication of the various cultures weapons also make you doubt the legitimacy of weapons?

Seems to me the "logic" you apply to God you apply ONLY to God, and to no other part of your life.



Oh my, are you now validating the accuracy of the beliefs of the majority of the world who doesn't believe as you do? Do you acknowledge the existance of Maui, the Hawaiian god of War, or do you think he was an invention of the culture? Crap, I forgot who the god of fire was...

Obviously, you don't, so your weapons analogy fails. In fact, you are mostly in agreement with my position with the exception that you believe that the others are wrong, and you are right. I just take it one more step and claim that your beliefs are also a result of the intersection of culture and human nature.
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 10:11:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/11/2005 10:12:34 PM EDT by swingset]

Originally Posted By garandman:

If you didn't create your own God, or decide on what is correct living, on what basis / thru what medium did you learn of God, and determine what right living was?




The right way of living is self-evident, unless you're narcissistic or retarded. And, I learned of God by talking to him. Everything MAN told me about God, frankly, I think is unadulterated fantasy....and has not comforted me, proven itself of much merit, or makes 1 degree of sense.

I live my life by a simple, moral code which was taught to me by my mother, my experiences, and my education....and happen to mirror some religious values.

Be honest, do not harm or corrupt, do not steal or murder, treat family and women with respect, do not judge others, deal fairly in business, raise a moral, caring child, take care of your home, your community, and respect elders. Take care of your body, do not take pleasure in suffering, eat healthy, take responsibility for your actions and learn to live by your own means.

Those are universal values, and I practice them with conviction. They are not learned from the Bible, or from you. They predate religion, because at their root they are laws of nature. They will linger long after we're both dead.....and hopefully will be practiced by my progeny, no matter what they pray to, or how.

You seem to want to pick a fight, or corner me. You will never back me into a philosophical argument where I feel wrong, because I have accepted what you cannot. I know that you have ZERO knowledge of God, only that you think you do or comfort yourself with people who tell themselves they do. And, you will never convince me that my way of life is a violation of God's plan.

Tell you what, I'll ask God on behalf of both of us if you really know him better than I do. I'll say "God, if Garandman really has all the answers, and I don't, give me one big lightning bolt. If he's full of shit, don't say anything and I'll know".

We'll see what the Big Guy has to say about you.
Link Posted: 8/12/2005 3:25:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:
If you didn't create your own God, or decide on what is correct living, on what basis / thru what medium did you learn of God, and determine what right living was?



I'm seriously not saying this to flame you.. honest.

I'm sorry that you can't decide for yourself what "correct living" (whatever that really means) is. I'm sorry that you obey a moral code out of fear of a myth (not a lie, a myth. There's a HUGE difference).

swingset,
I've always said the path to God is introspection and lots of it. Just like Dorothy, you seem to have found that you don't need to leave your own back yard (that's a metaphor for the metaphorically challenged) to find what you really seek. Why do you think Buddhist monks spend so much time in meditation, alone with their own thoughts? In your quietest moments, you'll know what's right.

Don't keep the faith. Go with what you know down deep in your gut.
Link Posted: 8/12/2005 3:31:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By swingset:

Originally Posted By garandman:

If you didn't create your own God, or decide on what is correct living, on what basis / thru what medium did you learn of God, and determine what right living was?




The right way of living is self-evident, unless you're narcissistic or retarded. And, I learned of God by talking to him. Everything MAN told me about God, frankly, I think is unadulterated fantasy....and has not comforted me, proven itself of much merit, or makes 1 degree of sense.

I live my life by a simple, moral code which was taught to me by my mother, my experiences, and my education....and happen to mirror some religious values.

Be honest, do not harm or corrupt, do not steal or murder, treat family and women with respect, do not judge others, deal fairly in business, raise a moral, caring child, take care of your home, your community, and respect elders. Take care of your body, do not take pleasure in suffering, eat healthy, take responsibility for your actions and learn to live by your own means.

Those are universal values, and I practice them with conviction. They are not learned from the Bible, or from you. They predate religion, because at their root they are laws of nature. They will linger long after we're both dead.....and hopefully will be practiced by my progeny, no matter what they pray to, or how.

You seem to want to pick a fight, or corner me. You will never back me into a philosophical argument where I feel wrong, because I have accepted what you cannot. I know that you have ZERO knowledge of God, only that you think you do or comfort yourself with people who tell themselves they do. And, you will never convince me that my way of life is a violation of God's plan.

Tell you what, I'll ask God on behalf of both of us if you really know him better than I do. I'll say "God, if Garandman really has all the answers, and I don't, give me one big lightning bolt. If he's full of shit, don't say anything and I'll know".

We'll see what the Big Guy has to say about you.




preach on, swingset.
Link Posted: 8/12/2005 3:33:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:

Originally Posted By swingset:

I didn't create my God, nor did I decide how I would live and create a relationship that allowed easy spirituality to fit it. That succinct enough for you?



Yes, very nice.

But questions remain.

If you didn't create your own God, or decide on what is correct living, on what basis / thru what medium did you learn of God, and determine what right living was?




Mind if I ask the same question of you, Gman? Inquiring minds want to know.
Link Posted: 8/12/2005 6:15:58 AM EDT
If you are truly searching for God I believe He will expose Himself to you in a way that He see's fit.

After all, He knows what you need.

Sgat1r5
Link Posted: 8/12/2005 8:03:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/12/2005 8:25:16 PM EDT by garandman]

Originally Posted By DriftPunch:

Originally Posted By garandman:
Did the misuse or sophistication of the various cultures weapons also make you doubt the legitimacy of weapons?

Seems to me the "logic" you apply to God you apply ONLY to God, and to no other part of your life.



Oh my, are you now validating the accuracy of the beliefs of the majority of the world who doesn't believe as you do? Do you acknowledge the existance of Maui, the Hawaiian god of War, or do you think he was an invention of the culture? Crap, I forgot who the god of fire was...

Obviously, you don't, so your weapons analogy fails. In fact, you are mostly in agreement with my position with the exception that you believe that the others are wrong, and you are right. I just take it one more step and claim that your beliefs are also a result of the intersection of culture and human nature.



I honestly have NO idea what you are talking about.

YOu said you discarded God based on the (mis) actions of people.

I asked if you also discarded weapons because of the (mis) actions of people.

What that has to do with the Hawaian god of war escapes me.

See sig line.
V V V V V V



Link Posted: 8/12/2005 8:06:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By hydgirl:

Originally Posted By garandman:
If you didn't create your own God, or decide on what is correct living, on what basis / thru what medium did you learn of God, and determine what right living was?



I'm seriously not saying this to flame you.. honest.

I'm sorry that you can't decide for yourself what "correct living" (whatever that really means) is. I'm sorry that you obey a moral code out of fear of a myth (not a lie, a myth. There's a HUGE difference).

.



Posts that IGNORE concepts (me asking for a basis of his logic) and simply attack the person asking the questions (as you have done so here to me) I'm gonna ignore.

They aren't worth the time.

Link Posted: 8/12/2005 8:13:10 PM EDT

Originally Posted By swingset:

The right way of living is self-evident, unless you're narcissistic or retarded.



Really? Self evident, you say???

I'll assume you understand there are people who will disagree with your concept of "the right way of living." Its called differring opinions.

Do you consider them all narcicissitic and retarded? Nice tolerance ya got going there.



Be honest, do not harm or corrupt, do not steal or murder, treat family and women with respect, do not judge others, deal fairly in business, raise a moral, caring child, take care of your home, your community, and respect elders. Take care of your body, do not take pleasure in suffering, eat healthy, take responsibility for your actions and learn to live by your own means.




All admirable things. Notably, you didn't mention tolerance. Personally, I think tolerance is overrated also.


You seem to want to pick a fight, or corner me. .




Well, at least I don't consider people who disagree with me "narcicissitic and retarded."

What I "want" is for you to explain to me HOW you came to your basis of logic.
Link Posted: 8/12/2005 8:24:05 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NoVaGator:
Mind if I ask the same question of you, Gman? Inquiring minds want to know.



Fair question.

At six years old, in child like faith, I came to believe what I was taught regarding God - admittedly, there was a parental influence, but I've always been a strong willed child, and mentally advanced for my age, so even at six, I had my own understanding of things.

From maybe 8 yo to 13 or 14, I came to doubt some of what I was taught. I was struggling with some of the concepts.

About age 14, one particular piece of the puzzle fit into place, and then I began testing Biblical concepts for myself. I left behind the "faith of my parent's" and made it my own.

From 14 to 37, I have tested, studied, examined, researched, questioned, wrestled and sought out truth. And I have come to this conclusion - the Word of God is my sole rule of faith and practice, for it has never been proven wrong, the wisdom it contains is unparallelled, and the truth it contains is life changing.

Science is constantly rejecting its former wrong theories (and tomorrow it will reject the wrong theories it holds today. ) Philosophy ebbs and flows, being more of a fad, than a concrete basis for decision making. Education is merely a relative concept. Personal experience is always shaded by the most recent experience, and often blinded by the lack of experience

Science, philosophy, eudcation and personal experience all are invaluable tools for the world we live in. But the Word of God is the solid, unchanging, never needing change bedrock to build a life on, and wager an eternity on.

Link Posted: 8/12/2005 8:57:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By swingset:

Tell you what, I'll ask God on behalf of both of us if you really know him better than I do. I'll say "God, if Garandman really has all the answers, and I don't, give me one big lightning bolt. If he's full of shit, don't say anything and I'll know".

We'll see what the Big Guy has to say about you.




Interesting.

So, basically, your "religion" hasn't really "evolved" much past the stuff they had going on in the Salem Witch trials.

Link Posted: 8/12/2005 9:51:47 PM EDT

"man knows nothing of God"


Indeed but there are plenty of men who will be happy to tell you all about God, what he/she wants you to do or doesn't want you to do based on literature that is alleged to have been written by inspired authors, translated, revised, edited, interpreted, thousands of years ago when 99.9% of the world population was illiterate.

If God really wanted all of mankind to worshipt him and if he were really Omni-Potent then why did he not spread his word to all of his creation. Why did he not inspire individuals in Austrailia with his word?

Why did he not inspire the American Indians with his word?

Why did he/she/it just inspire a relatively small group of people in the vicinity or Jerusalem and then rely on them to spread his word with murder, oppression and war.

What exactly was on his mind?

You claim that he is capable of creating the entire universe as we know it but when it comes to his communication skills all you have to offer is excuses and "the lord gives us free will".

The Native American Indians didn't intentionally reject the Christian concept of God. Apparently GOD did not inspire anyone on the North American Continent to write a Bible or be aware of his Omni-Potence until the pilgrams showed up with smallpox infested blankets to show them the error in their ways.

For tens perhaps hundreds of thousands of year the native people of Australia were perfectly happy being born, living and dieing all the believing what ever it was that they believed completely un-aware of Abraham, Moses, God or Jesus and all they had to offer.

Then when Austraila was discover it was immediatly decided that this must be fixed. In the name of God the creator of the entire Unifuckingverse you will cease your pagan beliefs and adopt the faith of GOD or we'll kill you.

Because the Lord is merifull and stuff.

Link Posted: 8/13/2005 2:35:26 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 8:38:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By swingset:

Originally Posted By garandman:

If you didn't create your own God, or decide on what is correct living, on what basis / thru what medium did you learn of God, and determine what right living was?




The right way of living is self-evident, unless you're narcissistic or retarded. Self evident. Hmm... so all creation-at least humanity-knows and understands this 'right way of living', yes? So if you believe God is 'Creator', as I believe you did say, then did He not instill in the creation-humans-this knowledge? If that be the case, then is it not a religious code of ethics?

And, I learned of God by talking to him. You will never NEVER get to know someone simply by talking to them. Try it with a total stranger and see how well you know them.

Everything MAN told me about God, frankly, I think is unadulterated fantasy....and has not comforted me, proven itself of much merit, or makes 1 degree of sense. The Bible says as much. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, you won't find any comfort or conviction no matter how eloquent the speaker.

I live my life by a simple, moral code which was taught to me by my mother, my experiences, and my education....and happen to mirror some religious values. Where did your mother learn it? From her mother? Where did she learn it? On and on. People know what is right because of an inherent GOD-GIVEN basic understanding of right and wrong.

Be honest, Exodus 20:16do not harm or corrupt, Mark 12:33do not steal Exodus 20:15or murder, Exodus 20:13treat family and women with respect,1 Peter 3:7 do not judge others, Matthew 7:1deal fairly in business, raise a moral, caring child,Proverbs 22:6 take care of your home, your community, and respect elders.I Timothy 5:1 Take care of your body, I Corinthians 9:27do not take pleasure in suffering,I Corinthians 13:6 eat healthy, also I Corinthians 9:27take responsibility for your actions and learn to live by your own means. The point is this: These ideas are much older than your mother, experience, or education. Tribes across the world who have never heard of any Judeo-Christian ethic understand most of these. Why? Because God has instilled them in us. Back to my point about this being derived from religion

Those are universal values, and I practice them with conviction. They are not learned from the Bible, or from you. See above
They predate religion, because at their root they are laws of nature. Laws of nature determined by God. ExactlyThey will linger long after we're both dead Very true......and hopefully will be practiced by my progeny, no matter what they pray to, or how.

You seem to want to pick a fight, or corner me. You will never back me into a philosophical argument where I feel wrong, I believe that wholeheartedly. Iwill never convince you of anything because my philosiphical reasoning means nothing to you.because I have accepted what you cannot. I know that you have ZERO knowledge of God,except that which He sees fit to give me, through His word, interpreted and explained by the Holy Spirit only that you think you do or comfort yourself with people who tell themselves they do. And, you will never convince me that my way of life is a violation of God's plan. No, thankfully, you will never thwart God's plan.

Tell you what, I'll ask God on behalf of both of us if you really know him better than I do. I'll say "God, if Garandman really has all the answers, G man doesn't have all the answers, and I have even fewer. That is far from the point. and I don't, give me one big lightning bolt. If he's full of shit, don't say anything and I'll know". Well, I guess you've laid out your fleece.

We'll see what the Big Guy has to say about you.

Link Posted: 8/19/2005 1:04:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:

Originally Posted By swingset:

Tell you what, I'll ask God on behalf of both of us if you really know him better than I do. I'll say "God, if Garandman really has all the answers, and I don't, give me one big lightning bolt. If he's full of shit, don't say anything and I'll know".

We'll see what the Big Guy has to say about you.




Interesting.

So, basically, your "religion" hasn't really "evolved" much past the stuff they had going on in the Salem Witch trials.





What good is "witnessing" to people if you turn them away?
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 1:09:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JohnnyMcEldoo:

Originally Posted By garandman:

Originally Posted By swingset:

Tell you what, I'll ask God on behalf of both of us if you really know him better than I do. I'll say "God, if Garandman really has all the answers, and I don't, give me one big lightning bolt. If he's full of shit, don't say anything and I'll know".

We'll see what the Big Guy has to say about you.




Interesting.

So, basically, your "religion" hasn't really "evolved" much past the stuff they had going on in the Salem Witch trials.





What good is "witnessing" to people if you turn them away?



Some people are already gone.

I don't alter the truth cuz its unappealing.

What you win them with is what you win them to. And I'm not authorized to win people to a watered down version of truth.

Link Posted: 8/19/2005 4:43:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:


Some people are already gone.






Like Mary Magdalene was?
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 5:12:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JohnnyMcEldoo:

Originally Posted By garandman:


Some people are already gone.






Like Mary Magdalene was?



Its a judgment call.

Of the Pharisees Jesus said "You are of your father the devil."

Jesus ALWAYS exposed men's sin. NOT exposing sin while giving men the gospel is NOT the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Link Posted: 8/19/2005 6:05:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:

Jesus ALWAYS exposed men's sin. NOT exposing sin while giving men the gospel is NOT the gospel of Jesus Christ.




But that was Jesus. Wouldnt exposing someones sin be like judging them especially if they didnt ask for it?

Link Posted: 8/19/2005 6:35:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JohnnyMcEldoo:

Originally Posted By garandman:

Jesus ALWAYS exposed men's sin. NOT exposing sin while giving men the gospel is NOT the gospel of Jesus Christ.




But that was Jesus. Wouldnt exposing someones sin be like judging them especially if they didnt ask for it?




No.

"JUdging" Biblically is the act of passing final sentence.


Consider:

Eph 5:11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them
Link Posted: 8/20/2005 7:12:14 AM EDT
Swingset, I don't know if you are still reading this thread, but here are a couple comments for you.


I would start to talk to God again. First, just in my head, then outloud. I started to pray again. I didn't even decide this, it just happened.

I started telling him things about my life, as if he was not paying attention. I started to convey my desires, my fears, my wishes for my family and sometimes for myself. I didnt' hear voices back, I didn't see burning bushes. But, I'll tell you one thing that I do know.....he was listening, and there was no filter. I didn't read the Bible, I didn't talk to my religious friends, I sought no guidance from man or books, or churches or TV. I talked, God listened, and my life became peaceful.



You are right about how to pray where you bring all your concerns to God.

Two points though.
How does God talk to us? ...through the Bible. True it was penned by man but inspired by God.

What you are describing is a relationship with God. That IS what Christianity is about and not religion. Jesus spoke harshly about the Pharisees, that was religion.

Link Posted: 8/20/2005 9:01:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Linea_de_Fuego:
Swingset, I don't know if you are still reading this thread, but here are a couple comments for you.


I would start to talk to God again. First, just in my head, then outloud. I started to pray again. I didn't even decide this, it just happened.

I started telling him things about my life, as if he was not paying attention. I started to convey my desires, my fears, my wishes for my family and sometimes for myself. I didnt' hear voices back, I didn't see burning bushes. But, I'll tell you one thing that I do know.....he was listening, and there was no filter. I didn't read the Bible, I didn't talk to my religious friends, I sought no guidance from man or books, or churches or TV. I talked, God listened, and my life became peaceful.



You are right about how to pray where you bring all your concerns to God.

Two points though.
How does God talk to us? ...through the Bible. True it was penned by man but inspired by God.




God does not talk to me throught the Bible, he never has. Took me a while to understand he was telling me that, but I do now. I don't believe in MEN, I don't trust MEN, and I know the God that has calmed me is one that would NEVER put his word inside such a shitty vessel (see Garandman for ample evidence of this).

I trust God, not books, not you.

I'm not trying to be mean about it, just honest. I'm at peace, and it has nothing to do with Christianity....something I patently do not believe in.
Link Posted: 8/20/2005 10:30:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2005 9:54:30 AM EDT by Linea_de_Fuego]
Tell me, if you would what you think of these verses from the Bible.
This first set was written in 712 b.c.

Isaiah 45:1 "Thus says the Lord to His anointed,
To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held--
To subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings,
To open before him the double doors,
So that the gates will not be shut:
2 'I will go before you
And make the *crooked places straight;
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron.
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord,
Who call you by your name,
Am the God of Israel.
4 For Jacob My servant's sake,
And Israel My elect,
I have even called you by your name;
I have named you, though you have not known Me.
5 I am the Lord, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me,

This next set was written in 536 b.c. 176 years LATER than Isaiah.

Ezra 1:1Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,
2 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia:
All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. 3 Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.

This is the reference to the verse in Jeremiah written in 606 b.c. So Jerimiah is dated between Isaiah and the time of Ezra.

12 'Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,' says the Lord; 'and I will make it a perpetual desolation. 13 So I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning all the nations. 14 (For many nations and great kings shall be served by them also; and I will repay them according to their deeds and according to the works of their own hands.)'"

__________________________________________________________________________________


My point is this that the entire Bible is fitted together by God. It is not a function of man. Even with different translations there is no difference of substance. The prophecy about the conquering of Babylon with the Medo-Persians was fulfilled. Can you even imagine what Cyrus felt when he was shown what was written about him 176 years earlier?

You are very right about man being corrupt... that is EXACTLY why we have to look to Jesus, who was without sin. This whole subject has to be understood supernaturally with the help of the Holy Spirit.

I don't know if this is a good analogy, but when you were little and did not know how to ride a bike you could watch others ride and know something about bikes. That knowledge became a totally different level of understanding when you really rode a bike yourself.

Link Posted: 8/21/2005 10:05:44 AM EDT

I trust God, not books, not you.

I'm not trying to be mean about it, just honest. I'm at peace, and it has nothing to do with Christianity....something I patently do not believe in.



I don't understand this when the Bible was inspired by God and is largely about Jesus from the oldest book, Job

Job 19:25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

to the last book, The Revelation.

Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 8:40:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2005 8:42:58 PM EDT by swingset]

Originally Posted By Linea_de_Fuego:

I trust God, not books, not you.

I'm not trying to be mean about it, just honest. I'm at peace, and it has nothing to do with Christianity....something I patently do not believe in.



I don't understand this when the Bible was inspired by God and is largely about Jesus from the oldest book, Job

Job 19:25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

to the last book, The Revelation.

Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.



Can't make it any more clear than this, you believe the Bible is inspired by God, I think it's nothing of the sort. I don't think God spoke through the Bible, because it is flawed, altered and has been molested for 20 centuries. Entire books of the bible were thrown out, other things added, and all of it by power barons and priests with political agendas. If God had any hand in the Bible, his word is long gone and buried and what we have now is man's folly as holy doctrine.

I don't believe the Bible has anything to do with the God that created the universe or governs all living beings.

I think it's not inspired, at all. I do not believe in books, or man. Just keep repeating this before you argue my point any more. I do not believe in books, or man. Everything you can tell me about Jesus, or God, or the Bible you learned from a book & a man. So, ask yourself how you can possibly tell me about God? You are a man, quoting a book.

Not gonna work.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 9:01:29 PM EDT
As you wish.
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