Category Archives: Response

Jesus is Jehovah

I recently took a look at Romans 14:11.

For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”

I saw an argument that since Paul was quoting the Old Testament, and since Isaiah used the word LORD|YHWH, therefore only Jehovah should be worshipped and not Jesus. So I decided to look into that claim.

Paul is citing a passage from Isaiah 45. It is valuable to know that many passages in the New Testament affirm what Isaiah said. Here is a comparison of some New Testament statements alongside Isaiah 45:18-23:

New Testament

Isaiah 45:18-23

Jesus Christ created us:
"and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him," Colossians 3:10

Jesus Christ created the worlds:
"...has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds" Hebrews 1:2

All things are through Jesus:
"For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." Romans 11:36

The World was made through Jesus:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made... He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him." John 1:1-3,10

Jesus was named GOD the Savior:
"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

In the same passage, Jesus was also "God with us":
"So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 'Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,' which is translated, 'God with us.'” Matthew 1:22,23

Mary affirmed Jesus as God and Savior:
"And Mary said:
'My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.'" Luke 1:46,47

Jesus is exclusively the Savior
"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12

A good minister of Jesus Christ preaches that He is God and Savior:
"For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe." 1 Timothy 4:10

Paul, who was commissioned by the resurrected person of Jesus Christ, describes Jesus as God and Savior:
"but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;" Titus 1:3
"...showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things." Titus 2:10
"...looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" Titus 2:13
"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared..." Titus 3:4

Peter affirmed Jesus is God and Savior:
"Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" 2 Peter 1:1
For thus says the LORD,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:
“I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I have not spoken in secret,
In a dark place of the earth;
I did not say to the seed of Jacob,
‘Seek Me in vain’;
I, the LORD, speak righteousness,
I declare things that are right.

“Assemble yourselves and come;
Draw near together,
You who have escaped from the nations.
They have no knowledge,
Who carry the wood of their carved image,
And pray to a god that cannot save.
Tell and bring forth your case;
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has declared this from ancient time?
Who has told it from that time?
Have not I, the LORD?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A just God and a Savior;
There is none besides Me.

“Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
I have sworn by Myself;
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath.

In conclusion…

Paul gives an authoritative statement about the LORD (YHWH or Jehovah) of Isaiah 45:23. Paul wrote to the church at Philippi:

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

That settles it for me. Jesus is Jehovah.


Don't get pedantic on pronunciation and mispronunciations of Yehoshuah/Yeshua/Jesus/Iesus or YHWH/GOD/LORD/Jehovah. I have made it clear about whom I have written.

“Swearing is a sign of rhetorical strength.”

Someone recently published, “Swearing is a sign of rhetorical strength.”
The opposite is true.
 
Swearing is oratorical incontinence, a symptom of profound immaturity, and an indication of shallow, selfish thoughtlessness.
 
The simple and obvious truth is that cursing is a sign of weakness in many forms. It requires no creativity or intelligence to blurt out an obscenity. Swearing is intended to offend, insult, hurt, defame, disparage, blaspheme, bully, manipulate, dishonor and disrespect others.*
soapmouth
I have heard the excuse, “I just had to let it out,” which is actually just a confession of self-serving intemperance. I have heard the excuse, “I was only repeating what I heard,” which is a admission of unintelligible repetition of vulgarity through the deliberate neglect of critical thinking.
Swearing does not make any person cute, but it can make an attractive person ugly. It does not make a person clever, but can make a bright person sound trashy. Cursing does not improve a conversation, but it vandalizes the listener. Vulgarity is a sign of a limited vocabulary and pathetic communication skills. Whenever a professional inserts expletives into their speech, they sound mediocre or less intelligent.
Words can be powerful. Be deliberate in how you handle them. Sharpen your tools. Refine your presentation.
Rhetorical strength is displayed by graciously-seasoned speech. Swearing is an abandonment of grace. 
Ephesians 4:26,2,29

Be angry but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do not give place to the devil.
…Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, that it may give grace to the listeners.

Ephesians 4:29

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. [The Message]

Colossians 3:8

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.

Colossians 4:6

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you should answer everyone.

Proverbs 18:21

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

James 3

My brothers, not many of you should become teachers, knowing that we shall receive the greater judgment. We all err in many ways. But if any man does not err in word, he is a perfect man and able also to control the whole body.
See how we put bits in the mouths of horses that they may obey us, and we control their whole bodies. And observe ships. Though they are so great and are driven by fierce winds, yet they are directed with a very small rudder wherever the captain pleases. Even so, the tongue is a little part of the body and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles. The tongue is a fire, a world of evil. The tongue is among the parts of the body, defiling the whole body, and setting the course of nature on fire, and it is set on fire by hell.
All kinds of beasts, and birds, and serpents, and things in the sea are tamed or have been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the image of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring yield at the same opening sweet and bitter water? Can the fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a vine, figs? So no spring can yield both salt water and fresh water.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show his works by his good life in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, do not boast and do not lie against the truth. This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, and devilish. For where there is envying and strife, there is confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Exodus 20:7
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold guiltless anyone who takes His name in vain.

*While swearing and obscenities are fine tools for bullies, this is not intended as an endorsement of censorship by governments or ecclesiastical councils. It is an appeal to each one of us to exercise personal strength in communication, making censorship unnecessary. I don’t want to take away your right to inappropriate or indecent speech. I simply hope to correct the false tenet that obscenity improves life. It simply does not. I laugh when someone implies that anyone is shocked by obscenities. The practice is just so commonplace. In fact, my proposal would bring back the shock value of expletives.

How to Be an Imaginary Christian

PART ONE

A Christian is a person who has chosen to believe in the Jesus Christ. If you think you are a Christian, but you don’t have faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ, then you are an imaginary Christian.

A Christian believes in the authentic Jesus, the Jesus of the Gospels. If you claim to be a Christian, but you believe in an amended version of the person of Jesus, such as the “good-teacher-but-not-divine Jesus”, then you are an imaginary Christian.

A Christian follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. If you don’t know what Jesus taught, if you haven’t read and studied His words, then you are an imaginary Christian.

If you call yourself a Christian, but behave disobediently to His teachings (love your enemies, be faithful to your wife, speak the truth, stop stealing, etc.), then you merely imagine that you are a Christian.

PART TWO

A Christian does not hate sinners. A Christian is a sinner.

Christians do not hate those who commit sexual sins or any other sins.

Christians do not want God to kill other people. Christians do not want to kill sinners.

A Christian is a sinner who has acknowledged their sinful behavior and nature… and turned to God to receive mercy and grace.

When the enemies of Christ argue that Christians are all “homophobic, misogynistic, racists,” then the enemies of Christ have created an imaginary Christian.

They do this, not because it is true, but because it serves their agenda better. They do this because fighting a straw man is so much easier than actually investigating the truth about Christ and His followers.

How Posting Scripture Hurts Others

I recently read blog posts by a “Christian” minister who “hates” when people post the Scriptures: John 3:16, Romans 8:28, Proverbs 3:5, John 14:6 and James 1:2-3.

He feels that posting Scripture is offensive because:

  1. It provides unhealthy theological meanings, because it implies doctrinal certainty.
  2. It is an unintelligent behavior, because it squelches critical thinking and promotes blind faith.
  3. It hurts people, because  it is exclusive.

watered-down

John 3:16

 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” 

The blogger hates the posting of this favorite Sunday School memory verse because it naively implies the divinity of Jesus Christ, effectively rules out the all-inclusive doctrine of universalism, and suggests that Hell is a real place.

Furthermore, he accuses Christians of intentionally leaving out verse 17, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

However, our blogger stops at verse 17. This is convenient for him because verses 18-21 quote Jesus making exceptionally offensive exclusionary statements and condemning a whole lot of people. “He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the verdict, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that it may be revealed that his deeds have been done in God.”

Romans 8:28

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

The blogger objects to the certainty of this verse, that people mistakenly believe God is so powerful, so wise, so benevolent that ALL things, including human suffering, achieve some greater good. Then he writes with certainty that people who believe that way are wrong. He paints a pathetic portrait of a weaker, more human God, struggling to help humanity, but without a sure hope or confidence of reward or redemption.

Proverbs 3:5,6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and lean not on your own understanding;

The blogger hates this Scripture because it reminds him of the slogan “Don’t be so open-minded that your brain falls out.” He then creates a straw-man who doesn’t want Christian lackeys (evangelicals) thinking for themselves. To him, evangelicals are close-minded haters of wisdom. The evangelicals that I know are critical thinkers who believe in a scholarly approach to hermeneutics.

Unfortunately for our blogger, he doesn’t understand the difference between God’s wisdom and human wisdom. Based upon Proverbs 3:13-18, he proposes that Christians who oppose abortion are “mysogynistic.” Perhaps that is why his rebuttal skips over verses 7-12:

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your body, and strength to your bones. …My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be weary of His correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father the son in whom he delights.”

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Our blogger says that this Scripture is the top of his “Favorite Christian Quote Verse I hate” list because it is designed as a weapon against non-Christians. He says that Jesus really intended to tell Thomas, “For you, I am the way.” After all, the blogger points out, John 14 tells us there are many rooms in God’s house, therefore, there are many paths that all lead to the same God.

His antidote to the exclusiveness of 14:6 is  the inclusiveness 10:16, “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.” which our blogger tells us the meaning: Jesus is not THE way, Jesus is one of the ways, to God.

So, if you are looking up John 10 to check up on this, maybe don’t read too much into verses 7-9 where Jesus makes exclusive claims to be the “door” of the sheep. Jesus calls everyone else thieves and robbers. And maybe de-contextualize verse 16 where Jesus says that the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, his sheep know his voice, then Jesus claims that he will lay his life down for his sheep, then the “other” sheep will also know His voice. Verses 1-6 clearly establish the exclusive premise that the sheep will not follow a stranger’s voice.  Jesus makes it sound like He thinks He is the only Savior.

James 1:2,3

My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith develops patience.

Our “progressive Christian” blogger adds that the idea of people in trouble finding comfort in Bible verses makes his sick. Well, he says “throw up in my mouth.” because it promotes the idea of redemptive suffering. He says, “James is just wrong” because the best we can do is survive. Suffering makes no sense.

I’m not sure that the Bible promises to reward everyone for suffering. I do read many divine promises in Scripture where God rewards the faithful. One of my favorites is Second Corinthians 4:16-18:

For this reason we do not lose heart: Even though our outward man is perishing, yet our inward man is being renewed day by day. Our light affliction, which lasts but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

In my understanding, suffering makes sense in eternity not necessarily on earth during my lifetime, and the compensation for faith during suffering is only offered to faithful believers. Maybe that is just too exclusive and not “progressive” enough for some folks.

Conclusion

I followed the link to our blogger’s FaceBook page. Post upon post used sarcastic and offensive language to describe both conservative Christians and political Conservatives which he labelled as imperialist white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchists. I may not know what that means, but our blogger’s mean-spirited intent is clear.

I am forced to conclude that our blogger only considers it wrong for conservatives to use communication that some consider offensive. For our blogger, the Golden Rule runs like a one-way street where the traffic exclusively gives right-of-way to subversionists.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the blogger also hates when those who disagree with his worldview quote Matthew 7:12, “treat others the way you want to be treated”, to demand equitable treatment from him.

How to Understand the Manifested Presence of God

What A. W. Tozer May Have Meant:

I have read a phrase in some of Tozer’s writings, the “manifested presence of God.” I understood him to mean the difference between the omnipresence of God and the experienced presence of God: “God is everywhere” compared to “God is here.”

For example, look at what David said,

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?”

and,

“In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

No one can escape from the omni-presence of God. We should pursue the “manifested” presence of God where we experience God’s joy and pleasure.

Another Meaning:

I have also heard some pastors and church leaders using the phrase “manifest presence” with a different intent. They appear to mean the presence of God with physical manifestations.

These physical manifestations may be a various combination of things: overwhelming emotional sensations, prophetic utterances, extra-biblical revelations from the Holy Spirit, incantations, shouting in tongues, weeping, wailing, uncontrolled laughing, animal noises, dancing, shaking, falling on the floor, smoke, glitter, feathers, odors, angelic choir sounds, rumblings, strange lights, and other phenomena.

These types of church leaders often encourage the pursuit of these manifestations. I have witnessed some of these manifestations used to confirm a preached message, and that sermon definitely needed some external confirmation since the speaker had taken a path that departed from Scripture.

There appears to be a desire to experience the presence of God in our own way, directly through manifestations, bypassing the Scriptures.

There also appears to be a desire to treat any and every type of manifestation as if they were the “gifts” from the Holy Spirit in a way that arrogantly exalts the experience of that person as more “spiritual” than those that don’t have manifestations.

A Substitute for the Real Presence of God

It is my opinion that this second type of manifest presence is a substitute for the real manifest presence of God of the first type.

Let’s Be More Reasonable With Each Other

Recently, a friend posted:

Reasonable people can see the same facts and come to different conclusions.

People can be wrong without being stupid, deluded or evil.

If you have opinions, you should actively seek the best and most principled people who disagree with them to test whether you are correct.

If your argument takes the form of “the same people who say thing X also say thing Y and that makes them hypocritical” you’re only attacking the worst advocates of thing X, rather than making a good case for what you believe.

Do not be scared of changing your mind. If seeing solid counter-arguments to a thing you believe in upsets you, then you have an emotional investment in the thing you believe in and that’s usually quite a bad idea.

Let’s be more reasonable with each other.

I would define my friend as an atheist from England. He was probably posting about the opinions of those supporting and opposing the recent  referendum by British voters to exit the European Union.

However, I like his advice for open-mindedness in general, like a set of rules for any open debate.

  1. Expect others to arrive at their own conclusions.
  2. Presuppose good will and intelligence. Demonstrate respect and humility.
  3. Acknowledge that the person with the worst opinions and weakest arguments may not typically represent everyone that opposes you.
  4. Ally yourself with a conscientious worthy opponent and examine what you believe.
  5. Override personal emotional attachment to your conclusion.
  6. If an opposing argument is valid, adopt the new conclusion and revise your previous viewpoint.

Selective Application of Scripture (Matthew chapter 7)

 

I was recently told:

g14231Some people believe, and some people don’t. Bad logic is picking and choosing which bible verses or “versions” of G-d (the spiteful god, the loving, compassionate god, etc.) you want to use to justify whatever subject is being discussed. That’s how modern Christianity can somehow condemn homosexuality and in the next breath, justify capital punishment.

The context of this comment was a discussion about the basis of morality. Within that discussion, one individual had played the “judge not” trump card,

  1. In the first place, the person citing “judge not” actually rejects the authority of Scripture. It is self-contradictory to cite the Bible if you don’t believe it matters.
  2. Also, consider the biased process of selecting a phrase from the Bible and fitting it to your opinion. This requires ignoring the other approximately 783,135 words in the Bible because they do not fit your personal agenda. If you are not willing to make an open-minded investigation of the teachings of Jesus Christ (and His agenda), then the rest of Scripture is irrelevant. To the mind without objectivity, only two words in the Bible are important: the two words, “judge not.”
  3. Furthermore, those two words have been stripped of any contextual meaning. This is particularly important in the “judge not” passage which is Matthew chapter 7.
    1. The immediate context commands you to “remove the plank from your own eye so that you can see clearly before you attempt to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
      Matthew 7 was never a prohibition against the use of sound judgment by Christians. Matthew 7 is a warning against clouded and obscured judgment, a condemnation against biased opinions, an indictment against narrow-mindedness.
    2. The sixth verse of Matthew 7 warns us against the emptiness of arguing with someone who does not value Scripture. “Do nor throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn around and attack you.”
    3. The greater context of Matthew 7 actually warns us to turn away from the popularity of sinful  living. “Enter at the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who are going through it, because small is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
    4. Matthew 7 tells us that false teachers can be identified by their behavior.
    5. Matthew 7 tells us that not everyone gets to go to heaven.
    6. Matthew 7 tells us that if we choose to build our lives upon a strong foundation of obedience to God’s Word that the storms of life won’t devastate us

I invite you to read it with an open mind.


Matthew Seven

 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged. And with the measure you use, it will be measured again for you.

 “And why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, ‘Let me pull the speck out of your eye,’ when a log is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs, nor throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn around and attack you.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened.

“What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a snake? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, everything you would like men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

“Enter at the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who are going through it, because small is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit. But a corrupt tree bears evil fruit. A good tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a corrupt tree bear good fruit.Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruit you will know them.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonderful works in Your name?’ But then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice evil.’

“Whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it did not fall, for it was founded a rock. And every one who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them will be likened to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it fell. And its fall was great.”

When Jesus finished these sayings, the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Can you explain to me why you feel it is wrong?

I recently took some bait. The bait was in the form of a question asking for discussion about the basis of morality. It is not possible to determine the tone of voice in a post. So, when I saw that my tone of voice was being misinterpreted, I dropped out of the thread… hoping to leave the door open for future friendly relationships.

takebait

This is one of my own observations. The Bible is referenced in a very selective “picking and choosing” manner by someone critical of the Christian position. Then, at the end, a new critic joins in to say that Christians are the ones “picking and choosing” scriptures to suit their own agenda! If the anti-Christian voices can pick and choose, why can’t the Christians do the same? It is their book after all.


Trudy: Can someone please explain to me why you feel that being gay/transgender/etc, is wrong? I don’t get it.
Oh, and you won’t convince me otherwise. It is none of my business who you are sleeping with, as long as they are consenting adults. Nothing else matters.
#AllLivesMatter

Candace: Couldn’t agree with you more! Usually it is a bible reference that people quote saying it’s wrong. But the bible also says judge not lest ye be judged!
 
Dana: Being transgender isn’t even an issue of who you’re sleeping with. I don’t get why everyone makes such a big deal out of what’s in someone’s pants when they don’t have a valid reason to know.
 
Trudy: You are right about that aspect of it. What part of NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS do these people not get?
 
Dana: Evidently, the “none of” part.
 
Selena: I love your reasoning Dana. Private things are private things and that’s that.
 
Hannah: I agree, Dana, I really dont care what is anyones pants – yuk! glad no one wants to see inside my pants! Seriously I find it unaccptable that anyone should be bothered – it’s about time everyone got on with thier lives and left the rest of us to get on with ours.
 
Selena: Thank you Trudy; I love this post and feel so touched. You are teaching society to be more accepting of LGBT people, which is definitely what we need in this world.
 
Me: I guess that depends on what you mean by “wrong.” If we only measured by human standards maybe nothing is “wrong”. On the other hand, if morality appeals to a higher standard, then maybe we should ask Him what is right and wrong.
 
Dana: While I don’t want to start an argument, especially since we haven’t communicated before and I do respect other people’s religious beliefs, I’d like to ask you something. Most people think that a god would consider things such as being LGBT, autistic, atheist, and so forth to be “wrong”. But people also say that a god would be loving, compassionate, and accepting. There’s a flaw in this logic; if a god is compassionate and accepting, why would that god pick out people who are different, label them as “wrong”, and then permit them to exist in the world anyway? Alternatively, if the god was cruel, disparaging, and probably not something most religious groups would want, who’s to say that what’s considered “wrong” by this god isn’t the fact that humans came to power in the first place, the fact that we have our own opinions?
Again, I do respect your own beliefs, but this is just how I see it, and I want to know your opinion: if a god thought something was “wrong”, why would they allow it to exist?
 
Me: I don’t know anything about that kind of small “g” god that forces himself on everyone and everything. The God that I have known is loving and holy. He asks me to choose “right” and provides a clear definition of what that means.
 
Dana: I was referring to all gods, not the Christian “God”. Now I have to ask, since you didn’t answer my original question: if your “God” asks you to choose what “right” is, then what do you define as “right”?
 
Trudy: And why is one religion’s ‘right’ more, or less, valid than another religion;s ‘right’. This is, by no means, not an attack on christianity. This applies to all people’s belief in what the ‘book’ says. For me, anyway.
 
Me: Dana , I cannot answer a question about “all gods” since only one true God exists. I don’t know anything about imaginary gods. I could answer with a question, if God exists, shouldn’t we choose to live His way?
 
Me: Trudy , I think that would make a great “comparative religions” study. I have been in several.
 
Dana: So riddle me this: I’m an atheist. I don’t think there’s any god. I’m transgender, bisexual, and autistic. There are many other people who believe in gods other than the one YOU do, or don’t believe in them at all. There are many other people who go against the rules of Christianity, of your “God”. So because I, as well as millions of other people, don’t believe in the exact same things that you do (whether it’s due to cultural belief, logical fallacies, or more), and don’t behave in the same way that you do (whether because of religion or because of other things, such as disability – cough cough autism cough cough – or gender or sexual orientation), what they do is “wrong”?
 
Me: I don’t know why you list “autism” and “disability” as something that is “wrong”. Where do you get that idea? I’ve never heard of it before.
 
Me: Trudy, I did not intend to hijack your thread. Sorry. You can stop me anytime.
 
Dana: You’re conveniently not answering my other questions. But in response to what you just asked: the anti-MMR vaccine movement is because of (discredited and fraudulent) beliefs that autism is caused by the MMR vaccine. People would rather not have autistic children than protect people from outbreaks of diseases that could easily be prevented. People would rather let other people die than supposedly have autism “develop” in their child. And Autism Speaks, a supposed advocate group – one of the women who runs the company (or ran it, not sure if she stepped down) said that when her daughter was diagnosed with autism, she wanted to drive herself and her daughter off a bridge. She would have rather killed herself and her daughter than loved an autistic daughter.
Another example: Downs syndrome. When someone who’s pregnant is told they’re going to have a child with Downs, they’re given the option, sometimes even pressured, to abort their child. (Don’t even get me started on the whole abortion debate.) Just because someone has Downs doesn’t mean that they’re less of a person or not worthy of being in the world.
Actually, disability in general. If a disability can’t be cured, the person who has said disability is often written off. People are always automatically assumed to be able-bodied, able to communicate verbally, and they’re expected to function in the “real world” without any help. It took decades for ramps to be installed on buildings or vehicles to allow those with wheelchairs, walkers, or even crutches to access them. We didn’t have IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) until pretty late in the game. Many autistic individuals are misdiagnosed because autism is forced away as “not real”, and autistic people who have trouble with executive dysfunction or certain environments are brushed off as childish and “having temper tantrums” and “picky eaters”. Learning disabilities? You don’t hear about those outside of elementary school. I could go on, and on, and on.
Long story short: disabled people are not treated well, and many parents would rather have had a healthy child than a disabled child.
 
Trudy: Zachary B. Rainey I am trying to start a dialog. Not just between you and I or anyone, but to help others that might be searching.
 
Me: Dana, Autism isn’t immoral. Down’s isn’t immoral. Therefore, I can’t answer questions based upon a premise that a disability makes a person right or wrong, moral or immoral.
 
Dana: But you still conveniently ignored the other questions I asked you. What do you think is immoral? And why do you think that everyone believes in your god?
 
Me: Dana, Nope. That isn’t what I believe.
 
Dana: Okay, I’m not even bothering anymore, because you’re still ignoring the other questions I ask you. My guess is that you have a problem with me, and just don’t have the courage to say it.
 
Me: Ask Trudy about me. I’m not like that. She has met me.
 
Trudy: Zachary is a great guy. I really like him. Nothing wrong with a belief system. This isn’t directed towards you, Dana. He is discussing various parts of a concept/question/belief.
 
Dana: But when I’m continuously asking questions, and they’re not being answered, I become inclined to believe that the reason they’re not being answered is because the person has some issue with me.
 
Trudy: Why is it morally wrong? Says who? A book? Written by people (with an agenda), translated by people (with an agenda), rewritten by people (with an agenda), read by people (with an agenda). Don’t get me wrong. I am not denigrating a belief system. Just people acting like the bible is made up of words directly from some’body’s’ mouth.
 
Candace: “Maybe we should ask him what is right and wrong.” Unless you have a direct pipeline (and I’ve never met anyone who did) you are relying on a book written by men with an agenda. Not for us to judge; in that same book we are told not to judge; and Jesus gave us many examples of loving our fellow people.
 
Me: No. I don’t agree.
Me: I don’t agree with the bad logic of dismissing the teachings of Jesus Christ so quickly. I personally have decided to keep an open mind as I study the person of Jesus and His teachings about life.
 
Trudy: I support your believing what you believe and admire you for it. But I don’t believe in the ‘one true god’ or religion, or whatever. That is my belief.
 
James: It’s not bad logic. It’s that some people believe, and some people don’t. Bad logic is picking and choosing which bible verses or “versions” of G-d (the spiteful god, the loving, compassionate god, etc.) you want to use to justify whatever subject is being discussed. That’s how modern Christianity can somehow condemn homosexuality and in the next breath, justify capital punishment.
 
Trudy: If people are happy with themselves and their life, and if that is with someone of the same gender, or not, means absolutely nothing. How in the world that is considered ‘immoral’ is simply insane. Why do religions have anything to say about it…any religion.

I changed the names except my own. At least one these was a pre-teen, not a “consenting adult.”

I liked the part that goes something like, “I respect your beliefs, but I’m gonna de-capitalize God’s name and say mean things about Him.”

It’s sad to see the comments about autism, Down’s syndrome, and other disabilities. They do not belong in this discussion. Maybe it was a failed attempt to force the “born this way” argument? Not sure.

Don’t Say God is Real

chesterton

“You are free in our time to say that God does not exist; you are free to say that He exists and is evil; you are free to say (like poor old Renan) that He would like to exist if He could. You may talk of God as a metaphor or mystification; you may water Him down with gallons of long words, or boil Him to the rags of metaphysics; and it is not merely that nobody punishes, but nobody protests. But if you speak of God as a fact, as a thing like a tiger, as a reason for changing one’s conduct, then the modern world will stop you somehow if it can. We are long past talking about whether an unbeliever should be punished for being irreverent. It is now thought irreverent to be a believer.”

Chesterton, Gilbert K. (1909). The Philosopher. George Bernard Shaw (p. 234). New York: John Lane Company.

The text of this book can be found at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19535/19535-h/19535-h.htm