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How you should answer
05-27-2011, 11:34 AM
Post: #1
How you should answer
Answers like, one can never know the mind of God so don’t bother to think about it aren’t helpful, you can give them, but they are merely an excuse for not thinking. As an example, you may not know the exact response a Republican or Democrat would give, however you can still make an educated guess and have an 80% chance of being right. Especially because you speak to him [God] all the time (it’ll be like an unlimited supply of ‘phone a friend,’) you should be able to give descent answers to these questions.
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05-28-2011, 09:40 AM (This post was last modified: 05-28-2011 09:41 AM by ThinkingChristian.)
Post: #2
RE: How you should answer
(05-27-2011 11:34 AM)Garrett Wrote:  Answers like, one can never know the mind of God so don’t bother to think about it aren’t helpful, you can give them, but they are merely an excuse for not thinking. As an example, you may not know the exact response a Republican or Democrat would give, however you can still make an educated guess and have an 80% chance of being right. Especially because you speak to him [God] all the time (it’ll be like an unlimited supply of ‘phone a friend,’) you should be able to give descent answers to these questions.

That's fair.

God has revealed many things about God's self and yet mysteries remain. So, for example, if someone were to ask if God chose to use tornadoes to kill people in Joplin, Missouri, my answer would be, "Definitely not!"

At the same time, if someone were to ask why bad things happen to good people (or a better way to ask: why bad things happen to any people), my answer would have to be, "I don't know." Part of God is revealed, part remains hidden.

Problems occur when Christians attempt to speak with absolute certainty about the mind of God. We then begin to place our own human biases on what God does.
As I experience events in the world, I can only respond based on my understanding of what God has revealed.
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05-31-2011, 08:22 AM
Post: #3
RE: How you should answer
(05-28-2011 09:40 AM)ThinkingChristian Wrote:  
(05-27-2011 11:34 AM)Garrett Wrote:  Answers like, one can never know the mind of God so don’t bother to think about it aren’t helpful, you can give them, but they are merely an excuse for not thinking. As an example, you may not know the exact response a Republican or Democrat would give, however you can still make an educated guess and have an 80% chance of being right. Especially because you speak to him [God] all the time (it’ll be like an unlimited supply of ‘phone a friend,’) you should be able to give descent answers to these questions.

That's fair.

God has revealed many things about God's self and yet mysteries remain. So, for example, if someone were to ask if God chose to use tornadoes to kill people in Joplin, Missouri, my answer would be, "Definitely not!"

At the same time, if someone were to ask why bad things happen to good people (or a better way to ask: why bad things happen to any people), my answer would have to be, "I don't know." Part of God is revealed, part remains hidden.

Problems occur when Christians attempt to speak with absolute certainty about the mind of God. We then begin to place our own human biases on what God does.
As I experience events in the world, I can only respond based on my understanding of what God has revealed.

~ melsite1: We can know plenty about the mind of God. He tells us what He thinks and desires in the Bible. What we can't fully understand is the complete being of God. He is an infinite, omniscient, & omnipresent being, and we can't relate to that because we are finite, material beings.

The whole, "excuse for not thinking" comment is not accurate. Actually just the opposite is true. Once a person starts to consider giving their life to God (to do with as He sees fit) the real thinking begins. I's not a "check your brain at the door" event. One really starts to question God's existence, His commands, His demands, & the personal sacrifices that may be required when one seriously considers a life devoted to God.

Finally, God doesn't use a tornado to kill people. God allows people to die in tornado storms because these storms are part of the curse we live with here on earth. Because of this we are told to always be ready...each day might be our last.
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05-31-2011, 07:15 PM
Post: #4
RE: How you should answer
(05-31-2011 08:22 AM)melsite1 Wrote:  
(05-28-2011 09:40 AM)ThinkingChristian Wrote:  
(05-27-2011 11:34 AM)Garrett Wrote:  Answers like, one can never know the mind of God so don’t bother to think about it aren’t helpful, you can give them, but they are merely an excuse for not thinking.

Part of God is revealed, part remains hidden.

Problems occur when Christians attempt to speak with absolute certainty about the mind of God. We then begin to place our own human biases on what God does.
As I experience events in the world, I can only respond based on my understanding of what God has revealed.

~ melsite1: We can know plenty about the mind of God. He tells us what He thinks and desires in the Bible. What we can't fully understand is the complete being of God. He is an infinite, omniscient, & omnipresent being, and we can't relate to that because we are finite, material beings.

The whole, "excuse for not thinking" comment is not accurate. Actually just the opposite is true. Once a person starts to consider giving their life to God (to do with as He sees fit) the real thinking begins. I's not a "check your brain at the door" event. One really starts to question God's existence, His commands, His demands, & the personal sacrifices that may be required when one seriously considers a life devoted to God.

Finally, God doesn't use a tornado to kill people. God allows people to die in tornado storms because these storms are part of the curse we live with here on earth. Because of this we are told to always be ready...each day might be our last.


When we read the Bible "to know the mind of God" we're reading the perspective of the writer. That perspective is a product of the times in which the writer lived. In ancient times, the worldview was much different than today. The earth was considered the center of the universe and it was flat. The heavens were a dome over the earth and so on. To further confound any substantial understanding of the mind of God, most descriptions of the the mind of God were given in metaphorical terms subject to a range of interpretation.

Certainly when we trust God, we continue to think. My point is that trusting in God should not be an excuse to simply dismiss scientific evidence and rational thought.

Whether we believe the existence of God or not, I think most would agree we don't know when we are going to die. When folks get caught in tornado, it just dumb luck.
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06-04-2011, 07:33 AM
Post: #5
RE: How you should answer
Keep in mind a lot (possibly the majority) of people believe that the bible is the literal word of God. You can make the choice to take it as parables but most people consider it a holy book! And more importantly it seems to be completely full of man created ideas. It doesn't also contain the perspective of the writers, it most only contains their perspectives. Mixed with the Canonization of it's gospels by men playing powerful roles, over the last two thousand years.

You could most certainly find a better book to live your life by on any bookshelf nowadays.

My personal #1 reason that I don't like religion is because I like knowledge! And Religion suppresses knowledge; not just the knowledge unfortunately, but it suppresses the entire drive to understand.
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06-05-2011, 06:14 PM
Post: #6
RE: How you should answer
(06-04-2011 07:33 AM)Garrett Fogerlie Wrote:  You could most certainly find a better book to live your life by on any bookshelf nowadays.

I suspect that, unfortunately, you are correct in your assessment that the majority of Christians tend to read the Bible literally. I find it much richer when things like the historical context and the literary implications are part of the interpretation.

Certainly the Bible contains the perspectives of each of the various writers and the canon that has become the collection of books that comprise the Bible also reflects the perspectives and biases of those who met in councils to sort those things out. (Technically, the canon remains open but I wouldn't hold my breath for any changes.) Through all of that, I still believe that the Bible reveals God to humans.

The key is that my belief is in God and the Bible informs my belief, not the other way around.

You're correct about finding other books. If my goal is simply to find a book that will clearly tell me how to live my life, then I suppose a number of books would do. But that's not how I see the Bible--I see it as the revelation of God (even with all of the short comings inherent in human origins that we've discussed here).

Thank you Garrett for keeping me challenged.
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