Agnosticism, Atheism, Christianity, Faith, God, Religion

Is God a Good Father?

In my last post, discussion turned to the question of whether or not we need God. One of my regular contributors, William, posted the following comment, and I felt it deserved its own post:

I am just having problems understanding whether humans “need” a god.

Do humans “need” a father? it may be beneficial if it’s a good father, but we can see many who get along fine who have not had a father, so “need” is the wrong term.

And what if that father is never around, left before you were born, and only left a letter to you explaining (not always in the easiest or most direct of terms) how he expects you to behave and promises that he’ll take care of you and promises to severely punish you for disobedience or for leaving him?

is that a good father? is that a father we need? isn’t it laughable that such a father could even begin to threaten the child for “leaving him” (since the father clearly left the child) not to mention how absurd it is to think that such a father actually does anything to really take care of the child?

I’m having a hard time understanding how we’re ingrained to “need” such a father, or why we’d even call such a father good?

543 thoughts on “Is God a Good Father?”

  1. unkleE, you can always find Scholars to support your claims. That doesn’t mean they are right. Here are just a few Scholars who don’t agree with your Scholars. If your evidence was conclusive, why this disagreement amongst Scholars. Also when you tour Jerusalem the most common statement your Tour guide will make before he talks about a Holy Site or Holy person is the famous, ” Tradition tells us” NOT “History tells us” I was recently in the ancient city of Ephesus and someone from my group asked the local guide why he kept using the phrase,”Tradition tells us Paul preached here …isn’t there archaeological evidence for this?” The guide said ,”It’s your story not ours” I have no proof there wasn’t a Jesus any more than you have proof there was. I agree that much of the NT is historical in as much as certain cities, villages, and government official’s names are true. But you can’t boldly proclaim there is historical evidence for the main character, Jesus.

    Oh not that it really matters because it proves nothing either but here are scholars who question the historicity of Jesus and/or the NT.

    When the Church mythologists established their system, they collected all the writings they could find and managed them as they pleased. It is a matter altogether of uncertainty to us whether such of the writings as now appear under the name of the Old and New Testaments are in the same state in which those collectors say they found them, or whether they added, altered, abridged or dressed them up.

    -Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)

    The world has been for a long time engaged in writing lives of Jesus… The library of such books has grown since then. But when we come to examine them, one startling fact confronts us: all of these books relate to a personage concerning whom there does not exist a single scrap of contemporary information — not one! By accepted tradition he was born in the reign of Augustus, the great literary age of the nation of which he was a subject. In the Augustan age historians flourished; poets, orators, critics and travelers abounded. Yet not one mentions the name of Jesus Christ, much less any incident in his life.

    -Moncure D. Conway [1832 – 1907] (Modern Thought)

    It is only in comparatively modern times that the possibility was considered that Jesus does not belong to history at all.

    -J.M. Robertson (Pagan Christs)

    Many people– then and now– have assumed that these letters [of Paul] are genuine, and five of them were in fact incorporated into the New Testament as “letters of Paul.” Even today, scholars dispute which are authentic and which are not. Most scholars, however, agree that Paul actually wrote only eight of the thirteen “Pauline” letters now included in the New Testament. collection: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Virtually all scholars agree that Paul himself did not write 1 or 2 Timothy or Titus– letters written in a style different from Paul’s and reflecting situations and viewpoints in a style different from those in Paul’s own letters. About the authorship of Ephesias, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians, debate continues; but the majority of scholars include these, too, among the “deutero-Pauline”– literally, secondarily Pauline– letters.”

    -Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (Adam, Eve, and the Serpent)

    We know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the gospels we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

    -Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (The Gnostic Gospels)

    Some hoped to penetrate the various accounts and to discover the “historical Jesus”. . . and that sorting out “authentic” material in the gospels was virtually impossible in the absence of independent evidence.”

    -Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University

    The gospels are so anonymous that their titles, all second-century guesses, are all four wrong.

    -Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?)

    Far from being an intimate of an intimate of Jesus, Mark wrote at the forth remove from Jesus.

    -Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?)

    Mark himself clearly did not know any eyewitnesses of Jesus.

    -Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?)

    All four gospels are anonymous texts. The familiar attributions of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John come from the mid-second century and later and we have no good historical reason to accept these attributions.

    -Steve Mason, professor of classics, history and religious studies at York University in Toronto (Bible Review, Feb. 2000, p. 36)

    The question must also be raised as to whether we have the actual words of Jesus in any Gospel.

    -Bishop John Shelby Spong

    But even if it could be proved that John’s Gospel had been the first of the four to be written down, there would still be considerable confusion as to who “John” was. For the various styles of the New Testament texts ascribed to John- The Gospel, the letters, and the Book of Revelations– are each so different in their style that it is extremely unlikely that they had been written by one person.

    -John Romer, archeologist & Bible scholar (Testament)

    It was not until the third century that Jesus’ cross of execution became a common symbol of the Christian faith.

    -John Romer, archeologist & Bible scholar (Testament)

    What one believes and what one can demonstrate historically are usually two different things.

    -Robert J. Miller, Bible scholar, (Bible Review, December 1993, Vol. IX, Number 6, p. 9)

    When it comes to the historical question about the Gospels, I adopt a mediating position– that is, these are religious records, close to the sources, but they are not in accordance with modern historiographic requirements or professional standards.

    -David Noel Freedman, Bible scholar and general editor of the Anchor Bible series (Bible Review, December 1993, Vol. IX, Number 6, p.34)

    Paul did not write the letters to Timothy to Titus or several others published under his name; and it is unlikely that the apostles Matthew, James, Jude, Peter and John had anything to do with the canonical books ascribed to them.

    -Michael D. Coogan, Professor of religious studies at Stonehill College (Bible Review, June 1994)

    A generation after Jesus’ death, when the Gospels were written, the Romans had destroyed the Jerusalem Temple (in 70 C.E.); the most influential centers of Christianity were cities of the Mediterranean world such as Alexandria, Antioch, Corinth, Damascus, Ephesus and Rome. Although large number of Jews were also followers of Jesus, non-Jews came to predominate in the early Church. They controlled how the Gospels were written after 70 C.E.

    -Bruce Chilton, Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College (Bible Review, Dec. 1994, p. 37)

    James Dunn says that the Sermon on the Mount, mentioned only by Matthew, “is in fact not historical.”

    How historical can the Gospels be? Are Murphy-O-Conner’s speculations concerning Jesus’ baptism by John simply wrong-headed? How can we really know if the baptism, or any other event written about in the Gospels, is historical?

    -Daniel P. Sullivan (Bible Review, June 1996, Vol. XII, Number 3, p. 5)

    David Friedrich Strauss (The Life of Jesus, 1836), had argued that the Gospels could not be read as straightforward accounts of what Jesus actually did and said; rather, the evangelists and later redactors and commentators, influenced by their religious beliefs, had made use of myths and legends that rendered the gospel narratives, and traditional accounts of Jesus’ life, unreliable as sources of historical information.

    -Bible Review, October 1996, Vol. XII, Number 5, p. 39

    The Gospel authors were Jews writing within the midrashic tradition and intended their stories to be read as interpretive narratives, not historical accounts.

    -Bishop Shelby Spong, Liberating the Gospels

    Other scholars have concluded that the Bible is the product of a purely human endeavor, that the identity of the authors is forever lost and that their work has been largely obliterated by centuries of translation and editing.

    -Jeffery L. Sheler, “Who Wrote the Bible,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

    Yet today, there are few Biblical scholars– from liberal skeptics to conservative evangelicals- who believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John actually wrote the Gospels. Nowhere do the writers of the texts identify themselves by name or claim unambiguously to have known or traveled with Jesus.

    -Jeffery L. Sheler, “The Four Gospels,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

    Once written, many experts believe, the Gospels were redacted, or edited, repeatedly as they were copied and circulated among church elders during the last first and early second centuries.

    -Jeffery L. Sheler, “The Four Gospels,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

    The tradition attributing the fourth Gospel to the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee, is first noted by Irenaeus in A.D. 180. It is a tradition based largely on what some view as the writer’s reference to himself as “the beloved disciple” and “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Current objection to John’s authorship are based largely on modern textural analyses that strongly suggest the fourth Gospel was the work of several hands, probably followers of an elderly teacher in Asia Minor named John who claimed as a young man to have been a disciple of Jesus.

    -Jeffery L. Sheler, “The Four Gospels,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

    Some scholars say so many revisions occurred in the 100 years following Jesus’ death that no one can be absolutely sure of the accuracy or authenticity of the Gospels, especially of the words the authors attributed to Jesus himself.

    -Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

    Three letters that Paul allegedly wrote to his friends and former co-workers Timothy and Titus are now widely disputed as having come from Paul’s hand.

    -Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

    The Epistle of James is a practical book, light on theology and full of advice on ethical behavior. Even so, its place in the Bible has been challenged repeatedly over the years. It is generally believed to have been written near the end of the first century to Jewish Christians. . . but scholars are unable conclusively to identify the writer.

    Five men named James appear in the New Testament: the brother of Jesus, the son of Zebedee, the son of Alphaeus, “James the younger” and the father of the Apostle Jude.

    Little is known of the last three, and since the son of Zebedee was martyred in A.D. 44, tradition has leaned toward the brother of Jesus. However, the writer never claims to be Jesus’ brother. And scholars find the language too erudite for a simple Palestinian. This letter is also disputed on theological grounds. Martin Luther called it “an epistle of straw” that did not belong in the Bible because it seemed to contradict Paul’s teachings that salvation comes by faith as a “gift of God”– not by good works.

    -Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

    The origins of the three letters of John are also far from certain.

    -Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

    Christian tradition has held that the Apostle Peter wrote the first [letter], probably in Rome shortly before his martyrdom about A.D. 65. However, some modern scholars cite the epistle’s cultivated language and its references to persecutions that did not occur until the reign of Domitian (A.D. 81-96) as evidence that it was actually written by Peter’s disciples sometime later.

    Second Peter has suffered even harsher scrutiny. Many scholars consider it the latest of all New Testament books, written around A.D. 125. The letter was never mentioned in second-century writings and was excluded from some church canons into the fifth century. “This letter cannot have been written by Peter,” wrote Werner Kummel, a Heidelberg University scholar, in his highly regarded Introduction to the New Testament.

    -Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

    The letter of Jude also is considered too late to have been written by the attested author– “the brother of James” and, thus, of Jesus. The letter, believed written early in the second century.

    -Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

    According to the declaration of the Second Vatican Council, a faithful account of the actions and words of Jesus is to be found in the Gospels; but it is impossible to reconcile this with the existence in the text of contradictions, improbabilities, things which are materially impossible or statements which run contrary to firmly established reality.

    -Maurice Bucaille (The Bible, the Quran, and Science)

    The bottom line is we really don’t know for sure who wrote the Gospels.

    -Jerome Neyrey, of the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass. in “The Four Gospels,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

    Most scholars have come to acknowledge, was done not by the Apostles but by their anonymous followers (or their followers’ followers). Each presented a somewhat different picture of Jesus’ life. The earliest appeared to have been written some 40 years after his Crucifixion.

    -David Van Biema, “The Gospel Truth?” (Time, April 8, 1996)

    So unreliable were the Gospel accounts that “we can now know almost nothing concerning the life and personality of Jesus.”

    -Rudolf Bultmann, University of Marburg, the foremost Protestant scholar in the field in 1926

    The Synoptic Gospels employ techniques that we today associate with fiction.

    -Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 43)

    Josephus says that he himself witnessed a certain Eleazar casting out demons by a method of exorcism that had been given to Solomon by God himself– while Vespasian watched! In the same work, Josephus tells the story of a rainmaker, Onias (14.2.1).

    -Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 43)

    For Mark’s gospel to work, for instance, you must believe that Isaiah 40:3 (quoted, in a slightly distorted form, in Mark 1:2-3) correctly predicted that a stranger named John would come out of the desert to prepare the way for Jesus. It will then come as something of a surprise to learn in the first chapter of Luke that John is a near relative, well known to Jesus’ family.

    -Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 43)

    The narrative conventions and world outlook of the gospel prohibit our using it as a historical record of that year.

    -Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 54)

    Jesus is a mythical figure in the tradition of pagan mythology and almost nothing in all of ancient literature would lead one to believe otherwise. Anyone wanting to believe Jesus lived and walked as a real live human being must do so despite the evidence, not because of it.

    -C. Dennis McKinsey, Bible critic (The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy)

    The gospels are very peculiar types of literature. They’re not biographies.

    -Paula Fredriksen, Professor and historian of early Christianity, Boston University (in the PBS documentary, From Jesus to Christ, aired in 1998)

    The gospels are not eyewitness accounts

    -Allen D. Callahan, Associate Professor of New Testament, Harvard Divinity School

    We are led to conclude that, in Paul’s past, there was no historical Jesus. Rather, the activities of the Son about which God’s gospel in scripture told, as interpreted by Paul, had taken place in the spiritual realm and were accessible only through revelation.

    -Earl Doherty, “The Jesus Puzzle,” p.83

    Before the Gospels were adopted as history, no record exists that he was ever in the city of Jerusalem at all– or anywhere else on earth.

    -Earl Doherty, “The Jesus Puzzle,” p.141

    Even if there was a historical Jesus lying back of the gospel Christ, he can never be recovered. If there ever was a historical Jesus, there isn’t one any more. All attempts to recover him turn out to be just modern remythologizings of Jesus. Every “historical Jesus” is a Christ of faith, of somebody’s faith. So the “historical Jesus” of modern scholarship is no less a fiction.

    -Robert M. Price, “Jesus: Fact or Fiction, A Dialogue With Dr. Robert Price and Rev. John Rankin,” Opening Statement

    It is important to recognize the obvious: The gospel story of Jesus is itself apparently mythic from first to last.”

    -Robert M. Price, professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute (Deconstructing Jesus, p. 260)

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  2. unkleE, I could have shortened my last post by 90% by simply providing one Scholar whose reputation speaks for himself. Geza Vermes

    Géza Vermes or Vermès (Hungarian: [ˈɡeːzɒ ˈvɛrmɛʃ], 22 June 1924 – 8 May 2013) was a British scholar of Jewish Hungarian origin—one who also served as a Catholic priest in his youth—and writer on religious history, particularly Jewish and Christian. He was a noted authority on the Dead Sea Scrolls and ancient works in Aramaic such as the Targums, and on the life and religion of Jesus. He was one of the most important voices in contemporary Jesus research,[1] and he has been described as the greatest Jesus scholar of his time.[2] Vermes’ written work on Jesus focuses principally on Jesus the Jew, as seen in the broader context of the narrative scope of Jewish history and theology, while questioning the basis of some Christian teachings on Jesus.[3]

    Geza Vermes on the Resurrection

    Vermes contends that neither the empty tomb or resurrection appearances satisfy the “minimum requirements of a legal or scientific inquiry. The only alternative historians are left with in their effort to make some sense of the Resurrection is to fall back on speculation…”(141) This speculation requires the dismissal of “two extreme” theories – (1) the “blind faith of the fundamentalist” who accept the bodily resurrection and (2) the “unbelievers” who “treat the whole Resurrection story as the figment of early Christian imagination.” (141) So what are the alternatives between this spectrum?

    1. The Body was Removed by Someone Unconnected with Jesus
    The emptiness of the tomb was genuine, but there are a number of reasons aside from Mark 16:6. The swift nature of the burial in a tomb “obviously prepared for someone else” is explained that someone – possibly the gardener (Jn 20:15) – “took the first opportunity to move the body of Jesus to another available tomb.” (142) It was this innocent transfer of the body that later developed into the “legend of the Resurrection.” (143) Vermes notes that this is itself problematic – those who organised the burial were well known and could have explained this.

    2. The Body of Jesus was Stolen by His Disciples
    Those familiar with the narrative in Matthew will recognise this hypothesis as a current polemic against the empty tomb tradition (Matt 28:15). Vermes points out that this theory “presupposes that a fraudulent prophecy concerning Jesus’ rising from the dead was widely known among Palestinian Jews.” (143) Evidently, this is a “later Jewish gossip” circulating the time the evangelist was writing and its value for the Resurrection is “next to nil”.

    3. The Empty Tomb was not the Tomb of Jesus
    Drawing on the fact that the witness of women was not very convincing, the disciples who investigated the report of the empty tomb (Luke 24:11) may have suspected the women had “gone to the wrong tomb.” The disciples may have simply been mistaken, and the resurrection appearances that soon followed “rendered such an inquiry [as to the location of the tomb] superfluous.” (144)

    4. Buried Alive, Jesus Later Left the Tomb
    This is self-explanatory, and is elaborately forwarded by Barbara Thiering. Josephus’ Life 420 evidences crucifixion victims surviving. The theory is that Jesus was on the cross for such a short time that he was not dead when Joseph of Arimathea asked for the body. John’s mention of the spear in the side was an apologetic to dispel these sort of doubts. (John 19:34) However, I would argue that John’s mention, if invention, would have more to do with suffering servant styled prophecy fulfilled. Vermes sees this as implausible – a “semiconscious Jesus crept out of the tomb in the darkness of night…” (145)

    5. The Migrant Jesus
    A belief evident in contemporary Ahmadiyya Islam which believes Jesus was revived and eventually died in Kashmir, India. Others such as Thiering believe that Jesus wandered off to Rome where he died. Vermes concludes “In the absence of real ancient evidence, these modern musings need not retain us.”(146) By real evidence, he is of course referring to Thiering’s discovery by using “Pesher” to find whatever she wants in whatever document. For a brief review of pesher see my earlier post.

    6. Do the appearances suggest spiritual, not bodily, resurrection?
    Visions of the risen Jesus are abundant in the Christian sources (with a notable exception being the shorter ending of Mark.) These visions are separated into 4 categories:
    1. “In Matthew no concrete details are given”
    2. John/Luke – unknown man such as the gardener and travel are later recognised as Jesus
    3. Luke/John – “a spirit mysteriously enters the apostles’ residence despite the locked doors”
    4. “The ghost later becomes a stranger with flesh and bones, who says he is Jesus and invited the apostles to touch him, and eat with him.” (146)
    As the evangelists do not mention appearances to people outside the circle of his close followers Vermes takes these to imply that the Resurrection was not meant to be an extension of public ministry. In essence, the “Resurrection becomes a purely spiritual concept without requiring any accompanying physical reality.” (147) The idea of spiritual resurrection accounts for the visions, but the Jewish bond of body and spirit spurred the empty tomb and physicality of the body in John and Luke. In appealing to the mystic tradition, Vermes contends that this view is no different from crosscultural experiences. [I didn’t explain this option best although in my defence neither does Vermes.]

    Conclusions
    Vermes really does come to something quite unsatisfying – “All in all, none of the six suggested theories stands up to stringent scrutiny.”

    Geza Vermes on the Nativity
    ‘The nature of the birth stories and the many fabulous features incorporated in them, angels, dreams, virginal conception, miraculous star,’ bring Dr Vermes to the view that the Infancy Gospels are ‘not the stuff out of which history is made’.

    Thank you for your time

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  3. kcchief1: after a lengthy discussion on my blog and then further discussion via email, I can pretty much guarantee that unkleE is not going to accept your list of scholars. He has his own list and his own way of verifying which ones are “reputable.”

    In my book, I have a list of 58 books I consulted by almost the same number of authors and he only regarded one or two of them as having acceptable qualifications.

    This is one of his statements he made to me: “How can it be right to put some of the best scholars aside, use non-scholars whose conclusions are repudiated by modern scholarship …”

    Be prepared. 😉

    Just saw your second post. You may be redeemed since he does somewhat support Vermes.

    On another note, I also extend my thanks to Persto.

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  4. Last but not least, unkleE says,”I don’t think archaeology can help much because it can throw light on places, but not much on the text. But the much-maligned John’s gospel has been found by archaeology to report accurately several locations that were destroyed long before it was written – see Archaeology and John’s gospel.”

    What about the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls ? What about the discovery of many of the Ancient Manuscripts ? These discoveries were made through Archaeology. Granted many manuscripts were handed down by “The Church” but even The Church possessed texts they didn’t even know existed except through discovery by researchers and Archaeologists.

    How do you prove anything in the Ancient World without the aid of Archaeology ?

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  5. Thank you for your comments Nan. I am not trying to win a “Battle of the Scholars” here. I’m not trying to even prove I’m right. I am actually agreeing with unkleE when he says, “I don’t think archaeology can help much because it can throw light on places, but not much on the text.” because there is little Archaeological evidence for what he is implying is historical. He can’t use Circular Reasoning either where the Bible supports his claims and his claims are historical because the Bible says so.

    I’m still seeking answers because I don’t have all the answers and neither does anyone else !

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  6. You’re right — no one has all the answers. But it is fun to look for them, isn’t it? But sometimes frustrating.

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  7. Here’s the link:
    https://findingtruth.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/the-historicity-of-jesus/

    Just thought that anyone interested in reading a discussion on this subject would have an easier time finding it if it had its own post. Plus, 500+ comments is pretty intimidating, and few people will probably wander down this far.

    Please don’t feel obligated to comment on it, if you guys were finished. But if you did want to discuss it further, I think it would be best to do it there. UnkleE’s and kc’s main comments appear in the blog post itself.

    Thanks!

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  8. Hi everyone. As Nate has requested, I will be commenting in response to kcchief1 on the other post.

    Hi Nan, You asked me in our private correspondence to not continue the discussion, so I won’t respond here either. But I do think it is below the belt to request I don’t talk to you and then continue to discuss my views, referring to me in the second person. Fortunately I’m old enough not to feel too upset. 🙂

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  9. Persto:

    Thanks from me too for your kind words. I think Nate sets a very good tone here, and mostly we all follow it.

    William:

    Thanks for your apology. Be assured I don’t have any ill-feeling, I just wanted to clear the air.

    I agree with you that we all have our biases and personal perspectives, and I think they may often be the best things to be discussing. That makes it all the more important that we each try to get the best, unbiased evidence, and subject ourselves to rigorous thinking, to be as honest as we can.

    When I say problems are not a big deal to me, I mean it and so I report it. For example, I find the OT stories about killing other tribespeople very disturbing, I just don’t think they are very relevant to my belief in Jesus.

    Thanks to both of you.

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  10. Thanks UnkleE, both for the award and the comments. While I dont understand you, i do like you.

    be well. I’ll see you on other posts.

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  11. William,

    Just wanted to expand on your question earlier,

    You asked me –

    “a question for you, what makes you believe in the biblical god despite the problems with the bible?”

    My answer (fear) was way too blunt, and really a false conclusion.

    I have had an unhealthy fear of God and I am aware of this. But just because I do fear doesn’t make this fear a right or healthy relationship with God. A healthy, genuine relationship with God casts out all fear.

    I think my current fear is unhealthy (the paralyzing sort) as JudahFirst has rightly pointed out. Jesus teaches that we should be anxious for nothing, but with prayer and supplication seek God.

    I’m clarifying this, because I don’t want to misrepresent God. Just because I myself currently have false and unhealthy attitudes regarding God, doesn’t mean God should be feared this way.

    I contradict myself all the time in my thoughts, but I don’t want my internal and external inconsistencies or false attitudes to misrepresent who God really is.

    God is Love, God is Spirit, and all Love is sourced from Him. Christ is Love personified. God should not be feared in the way I have feared Him.

    these fears I have are not godly in any way, I admit that. Just because I meant what I had written in the above posts at the time (that I feared God), doesn’t make those posts a true or an accurate attitude towards God.

    I was just expressing that I myself feared, which is an attitude that stemmed from an incorrect understanding of who God is. I still struggle with this misconception. I had this fear because I constructed a god who was a despot, who gave no concern for humanity. But God in Christ is Loving, Merciful and the source of all Goodness.

    Me writing that I fear God, I should have clarified that I feared God in an unhealthy way. This doesn’t mean that God should be feared in that way. I believe this fear is a fear that is not from God – but from my own unhealthy attitudes. I hope nobody mixes up my very human attitudes with Gods truths.

    God is Love, and He is for us – not against us. God does love us, so much He sacrificed Himself for our very wellbeing. God should be respected and worshipped, but not feared like I have feared Him.

    I just wanted to share this. I felt it was very important. Thanks.

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  12. Instead of citing all the places the bible says to fear god, I’d just like to ask you one more question, portal.

    If you saw similar problems, issues and discrepancies in the Koran that you see in the bible, would you justify their existence in its pages or would you use those issues to reaffirm why the Koran is bogus?

    and I guess this question is for all believers.

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  13. To properly answer the question you asked before –

    “A question for you, what makes you believe in the biblical god despite the problems with the bible?”

    To honestly answer your question, I believe in the biblical God because I want to see where He leads me, and how He will express Himself to me.

    And the bible has expressed that faith is needed to do this. My understanding of faith is trust. We all need trust in every relationship.

    That may be a simplistic answer, but it’s far truer than my last blunt answer (fear).

    These fears of God I struggle with are not godly. Just because I meant what I had written in the above posts at the time (that I feared God), doesn’t make those posts a healthy attitude towards God, or that that’s the kind of relationship God desires for us. Apologies for repeating myself, (in the last post as well) I used the word unhealthy a lot 🙂

    but I wanted to convey my point clearly.

    I believe God desires us all to have a relationship with Him based on His Love. I’m tired of going around in circles and heading nowhere. Despite all my inconsistency I’ll come as I am. He welcomes us with His grace, so I’ll see where He takes me.

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  14. Portal, I think i get you, but after you answer my latest question, isn’t it possible that you’re waiting on something that isn’t there to show you where to go?

    Especially if that god only speaks to you in an old suspect book or through your own feelings, dreams or thoughts? Couldn’t you say that using such as evidence for god is pretty circumstantial at best, and would you believe it as evidence from a person of any other religion?

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  15. William, To answer your second question 🙂

    “If you saw similar problems, issues and discrepancies in the Koran that you see in the bible, would you justify their existence in its pages or would you use those issues to reaffirm why the Koran is bogus?”

    I know where you’re going with this I think, I don’t know what I would do if I believed in the Koran, yet saw discrepancies in it.

    But I feel that if I don’t at least try to seek God I’ll always be wondering – what if?

    Kind regards, Ryan 🙂

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  16. Right, but what if you’re not looking in the right place? And how would you determine if you found the right place?

    If you’re looking for a perfect being who is described as a loving father, then why think to find him in a flawed book, written by flawed men?

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  17. The point is, most of us probably havent studied the koran as much as we studied the bible, yet we’re fine dismissing it as rubbish over any hint of problem, yet we continue to make excuses for the bible.

    I think fear is a good answer. That fear has been ingrained into us our entire lives. fear of hell. fear of god’s rejection. Fear of not living up to a heavenly father’s expectations, etc, etc.

    I think you see the problems, and I’m guessing it is fear that keeps you this side of the fence despite what the signs are pointing to.

    Just consider this. run it through your mind and test it, see if it makes sense or not. And why not trust me? you and I have had more real interaction that you and god have – not sarcasm here, just what i see as the reality of it.

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  18. And if through my seeking I get no clear response then I’ll go from there. but I don’t know unless I really try.

    Even if God doesn’t interact with me doesn’t rule out that He exists, but if there is no interaction then I’ll decide what to do from there. The thing is where do you draw the line? I have to try, or I won’t find out.

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  19. Sorry, just got to read your last post,

    I haven’t studied the Koran as much as I have studied the bible, but I have to start somewhere, plus the Koran came after the bible, as well as adapting alot of its stories so I assume it would be better to study the bible first, but thats just me.

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  20. I will consider this, I have really considered this for a long time now.

    I actually feel, like Ive said before, that we have had some of the same questions. If you don’t mind me asking, When you were seeking God as a believer what were some of your thought processes?

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  21. “I haven’t studied the Koran as much as I have studied the bible, but I have to start somewhere, plus the Koran came after the bible, as well as adapting a lot of its stories so I assume it would be better to study the bible first, but thats just me.”

    Sure. makes sense. You do realize the bible wasn’t the first religious text, right, or that Judaism wasn’t the first religion?

    and there’s pretty compelling evidence that Christianity and judaism borrowed heavily from other, earlier religions…. one reason judaism of the OT looks pretty different from the judaism of the NT.

    good luck on your pursuit.

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