In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What if you do the right things but don't see the right results?

This week over at Kingdom Bloggers we're talking about spiritual leadership in the home. Today I'm posting about my current experience in this area; I'm doing the right things, but not seeing the right results.

Come on over and tell me what God's been teaching you about spiritual leadership in the home.

13 comments:

GCT said...

Sometimes bad things happen to good people - a pretty good indicator that there isn't a loving god up there that values fairness, equity, and morality.

David-FireAndGrace said...

@GCT - apparently He does not adhere to your personal view of fairness, equity and morality.

In order to intelligently discuss this, I suppose we need to define terms.

Fairness - everyone should get exactly the same?

Should everyone have the same regardless of the effort they put into something? How is a hard worker rewarded? How is a lazy person rewarded? With the same? That seem very unfair.

Some folks don't have more because of where they choose to live. People make choices everyday. Some don't go to college, and they generally end of making less in a life time.

There are some governments that are unfair.

Is it unfair that someone gets ill? Maybe they lived near an asbestos factory - even unknowingly. Still a choice. Everyone eventually dies, is that unfair?

Should I always win at black jack? Is that fair to me, or the casino?

Equity - what is that? All of us having the same rights, opportunities, positions and privileges?

We should all live in the house we want? We should all get paid the same whether we work 40 hours or 20? If we flip burgers or engineer software systems?

Should a smoker live as long as a non-smoker?

Are you saying everyone should have the same rights? IE: Woman children, inmates, men, whites and blacks? Should anyone be punished?

Morality - doing the "right thing"?

What are the standards for morality? American law? Sharia law? The Bible? Democratic ethics? Republican ethics?

And finally, what is a good person? And much more importantly, what is the line they must cross to be a bad person, and who determines it?

The Bible says that no one is good, and that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of all mankind. By faith, He has made a way for eternal life. That seems fair to me. God gave a list of what is sin, and provided redemption from it. All have fallen short - no finger pointing there. You, me, Tracy, Gandhi, Hitler, George Bush - all.

We can't blame God for the stupidity and sin of mankind.

We can't say that because God loves us, he will not allow trial or hardship.

We can't say that the law of gravity is bad because it makes the sidewalk hard when we fall.

This life is a vapor compared to an eternity in the presence of God. I am thinking that, that is more than fair - unimaginable even.

I'll be interested to see your definitions of your 4 terms.

Tracy said...

GCT - There's two things that my internet experiences with you have helped me see:
1- You care about people, have a heart that "bleeds".
2 - You are consistent. You are committed to your beliefs and do not waver - I hope others say the same for me.
As you're aware, I tend to agree with David on this topic of why bad things happening to good people. Scriptures such as Genesis 3, Daniel 10:11-13, Matthew 4:1-11, Romans 8:36-40, Ephesians 2:1-3, Ephesians 3:1-15, Ephesians 6:11-15, Colossians 2:14-16, and many more, show me that since sin first entered the world there is evil on this planet. The existence of this evil causes us all to suffer. I've written a couple of blog entries on this topic:

http://abundantliving-tracy.blogspot.com/2010/02/who-does-existence-of-evil-cause.html

http://abundantliving-tracy.blogspot.com/2010/03/if-were-entitled-to-only-good-what-do.html

GCT said...

David,
"Fairness - everyone should get exactly the same?"

Let's use the dictionary (I'm using dictionary.com)

Fairness: free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice

Equity: the quality of being fair or impartial

Morality: conforming to the rules of right conduct

These definitions render almost all of your questions moot.

"What are the standards for morality?"

Pick one? You wish to pick the supposed absolute morality of your version of Xianity, I presume? Your god fails that test.

"The Bible says that no one is good, and that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of all mankind."

I know what the Bible says, and it's wrong. It's wrong that it makes sense to practice human/god sacrifice in order to somehow purge sins from others (a practice called "transference," which in the OT was the slaughter of animals to appease the gods and transfer sins from the person to the animal that was then slain - the NT just steps it up a notch, but it still makes no sense). It's also wrong for a supposedly all loving god to create humans that are destined to fail and then punish them eternally for it.

"God gave a list of what is sin, and provided redemption from it."

Oh really? What list is that? Are you going to cite the 10 commandments and the laws of the OT, or are you going to cite the very subjective NT "love god and your neighbor" stuff? I seem to recall that you've previously argued that modern Xians are not under the 10 commandments, so I really hope you aren't going that route.

"We can't blame God for the stupidity and sin of mankind."

Um, yeah we can. Who created mankind to be so stupid and sin? As an internet acquaintance of mine likes to say [paraphrased], "A bad artisan blames his tools when things don't turn out right."

"We can't say that because God loves us, he will not allow trial or hardship."

Um, yeah, we can. Why does god allow hardship and suffering if he loves us? Why does god put us in a situation where the majority of us will end up in hell if he loves us? Why does god allow children to be born with debillitating and painful conditions that eventually kill them in horrible ways, for just one example?

"We can't say that the law of gravity is bad because it makes the sidewalk hard when we fall."

But, we can blame god for putting it into effect in such a way that we feel physical pain from such acts.

"This life is a vapor compared to an eternity in the presence of God. I am thinking that, that is more than fair - unimaginable even."

And, you couldn't be more wrong. How is it fair, just, or moral to judge us all on a "vapor" to determine our eternal fate, especially with god withholding evidence from us? How can god morally send people to an eternity of torture for finite crimes that are only a "vapor" of the punishment? No moral god would invent such a system.

"I'll be interested to see your definitions of your 4 terms."

4?

GCT said...

Tracy,
"1- You care about people, have a heart that "bleeds"."

Guilty as charged I suppose. So, here's a question that I think might be interesting. Given that I care deeply about the fate of my fellow humans, why would god want to send me to hell after death? Does it make me a bad person for caring about others? Does my disbelief make me a bad person? Yet, I'll still go to hell if your god actually exists. Doesn't this indicate to you that your god isn't very concerned with morality so much as whether one can discern the correct beliefs from the world?

"2 - You are consistent. You are committed to your beliefs and do not waver - I hope others say the same for me."

If by that you mean that I'm committed to the beliefs of fairness, then OK. If you mean that I'm committed to the ideas that facts and evidence matters, OK. If you mean that I'm committed to godlessness, then not OK. I'm commmitted to facts and evidence. Given evidence of god, I'd change my mind. I've always said that, as I'd be forced to acknowledge that god exists if it were proven. How many theists could say the same?

Tracy said...

Relax GCT, I was giving you compliments. I was saying that I appreciate your concern for others and your steadfastness in what you believe (even if I don't agree with you). I'd hope by now that you'd know that.

David-FireAndGrace said...

@GCT -

The forth was "good person". This is really the crux of the issue if we look at it in your terms. You have to be good enough for God, or whoever. If there is no god, why bother? If there are little or no consequences, it's anarchy. Conversely, what if someone is truly sorry for some "bad" they did, they are screwed.

I don't like that system. Check out Matthew 20:1-16. I like the biblical system. Anyone that wants to come and show up for work gets the same reward.

That's part 1

GCT said...

Tracy,
No worries, I took it as a compliment, but I always try to make sure that the asterisk is in there about my willingness to change my views based on evidence.

David,
"The forth was "good person"."

Sorry, I missed that one. I don't think we need a formal definition, however. I know that your religion teaches that there are no good people, but I also know that no one really, honestly believes that.

"You have to be good enough for God, or whoever."

Good enough for god or good enough for the moral system put in place? Measured against god, I'm more moral by far. I've yet to commit a genocide or murder. I've yet to torture anyone. I've yet to order others to rape and take people into slavery. On the balance sheet, my life has been much more moral than that of god's.

"If there are little or no consequences, it's anarchy."

That's why we live in a society. We are social animals, and as such we tend to police ourselves.

"Conversely, what if someone is truly sorry for some "bad" they did, they are screwed."

How so?

"I don't like that system. Check out Matthew 20:1-16. I like the biblical system. Anyone that wants to come and show up for work gets the same reward."

Wait, and that's fair to you? In your previous comment, didn't you kind of poo-poo that attitude? Now, you like it? I don't get it.

And, what is so great about this system? It starts everyone off as bound for hell and claims that no one can attain salvation without god's help. Then, it causes you to rely on god to actually grace you, leaving you with no power to actually help yourself. On top of that, it's not based on morality, but on beliefs of factual natures (whether god exists, etc.)

Also, your statement that "anyone that wants to come and show up for work gets the same reward" is demonstrably false. The amount of atheists that were previously Xian is all the evidence one needs to debunk your claim. Some of them desperately wanted to find god and didn't. It wasn't because they didn't want to. It wasn't because they wouldn't do the work. It's because god didn't show up for them. And, he'll turn around and roast them for it.

So, why would you prefer a system like that? Why should I?

David-FireAndGrace said...

@GCT - we need to define the term "good person." As previously stated it is the crux of the issue. Everyone wants to have an opinion on who is good enough for Heaven.

Even if they don't want to go to heaven, it would weigh in on your definitions of fairness, justice and morality etc.

It is an unknown, and unless the variable is fully defined and everyone agrees on it, there will never be a logical discussion on sin, or God's holiness.

When God says, "no one" is good enough, that levels the playing field. It makes it very simple and definite, as opposed to some cultural subjective view.

To define it, we'd have to answer all the questions. What combination of acts or lack of acts constitutes a "good person."

It is impossible, that is why God's plan is better. It is impossible, except by a simple faith.

I disagree that some ex-Christians desperately tried to find God and didn’t. I believe they may have spent a lot of time in religion, looked in the wrong places - maybe grew up in the church but never got past the religion. It happens a lot. I doubt that they wanted to find God - maybe peace, maybe significance, maybe relief, but not God. After 9/11 lots of folks went to church. What for?

As I have stated many times, not everyone that claims to be a Christian, is one. Take Ann Rice for example. I honestly do not get why people like her want to be a Christian if they don't believe in God, or believe the Bible - there are lots of other choices. Now she just believes in the teachings of Christ, but quit the church. Well, Praise Allah. I wish everyone like that would quit.

I just don't get why anyone would want to go to church or believe in God "because."

These folks really cloud the issue for someone who is truly searching.

It just seems totally stupid to me. I also wonder why a vegan would go to McDonalds.

Society does not police itself well, never has, never will. If is did the jails would be empty.

There is another way to look at the system. Everyone starts out loved by God, and they reject it. There are many reasons for that – but I have never met anyone that truly wanted to find God who didn’t. I have met a lot of people who think they know how to engage God, but fail because they think they are smarter - or don’t put enough effort into it.

The parable of the Vineyard Workers is an example of no matter what one does, with faith we inherit eternal life. One day one minute, one century - I don't see how that is false.

I'd be interested in a typed list of what makes you moral.

David-FireAndGrace said...

@GCT - we need to define the term "good person." As previously stated it is the crux of the issue. Everyone wants to have an opinion on who is good enough for Heaven.

Even if they don't want to go to heaven, it would weigh in on your definitions of fairness, justice and morality etc.

It is an unknown, and unless the variable is fully defined and everyone agrees on it, there will never be a logical discussion on sin, or God's holiness.

When God says, "no one" is good enough, that levels the playing field. It makes it very simple and definite, as opposed to some cultural subjective view.

To define it, we'd have to answer all the questions. What combination of acts or lack of acts constitutes a "good person."

It is impossible, that is why God's plan is better. It is impossible, except by a simple faith.

I disagree that some ex-Christians desperately tried to find God and didn’t. I believe they may have spent a lot of time in religion, looked in the wrong places - maybe grew up in the church but never got past the religion. It happens a lot. I doubt that they wanted to find God - maybe peace, maybe significance, maybe relief, but not God. After 9/11 lots of folks went to church. What for?

As I have stated many times, not everyone that claims to be a Christian, is one. Take Ann Rice for example. I honestly do not get why people like her want to be a Christian if they don't believe in God, or believe the Bible - there are lots of other choices. Now she just believes in the teachings of Christ, but quit the church. Well, Praise Allah. I wish everyone like that would quit.

I just don't get why anyone would want to go to church or believe in God "because."

These folks really cloud the issue for someone who is truly searching.

It just seems totally stupid to me. I also wonder why a vegan would go to McDonalds.

Society does not police itself well, never has, never will. If is did the jails would be empty.

There is another way to look at the system. Everyone starts out loved by God, and they reject it. There are many reasons for that – but I have never met anyone that truly wanted to find God who didn’t. I have met a lot of people who think they know how to engage God, but fail because they think they are smarter - or don’t put enough effort into it.

The parable of the Vineyard Workers is an example of no matter what one does, with faith we inherit eternal life. One day one minute, one century - I don't see how that is false.

I'd be interested in a typed list of what makes you moral.

David-FireAndGrace said...

@GCT - we need to define the term "good person." As previously stated it is the crux of the issue. Everyone wants to have an opinion on who is good enough for Heaven.

Even if they don't want to go to heaven, it would weigh in on your definitions of fairness, justice and morality etc.

It is an unknown, and unless the variable is fully defined and everyone agrees on it, there will never be a logical discussion on sin, or God's holiness.

When God says, "no one" is good enough, that levels the playing field. It makes it very simple and definite, as opposed to some cultural subjective view.

To define it, we'd have to answer all the questions. What combination of acts or lack of acts constitutes a "good person."

It is impossible, that is why God's plan is better. It is impossible, except by a simple faith.

I disagree that some ex-Christians desperately tried to find God and didn’t. I believe they may have spent a lot of time in religion, looked in the wrong places - maybe grew up in the church but never got past the religion. It happens a lot. I doubt that they wanted to find God - maybe peace, maybe significance, maybe relief, but not God. After 9/11 lots of folks went to church. What for?

As I have stated many times, not everyone that claims to be a Christian, is one. Take Ann Rice for example. I honestly do not get why people like her want to be a Christian if they don't believe in God, or believe the Bible - there are lots of other choices. Now she just believes in the teachings of Christ, but quit the church. Well, Praise Allah. I wish everyone like that would quit.

I just don't get why anyone would want to go to church or believe in God "because."

These folks really cloud the issue for someone who is truly searching.

It just seems totally stupid to me. I also wonder why a vegan would go to McDonalds.

Society does not police itself well, never has, never will. If is did the jails would be empty.

There is another way to look at the system. Everyone starts out loved by God, and they reject it. There are many reasons for that – but I have never met anyone that truly wanted to find God who didn’t. I have met a lot of people who think they know how to engage God, but fail because they think they are smarter - or don’t put enough effort into it.

The parable of the Vineyard Workers is an example of no matter what one does, with faith we inherit eternal life. One day one minute, one century - I don't see how that is false.

I'd be interested in a typed list of what makes you moral.

... and that's all said...

Often it happens. But if we go on doing things only apprehending good results, good things, with an echo of self-conceit, remain no good things at all.

GCT said...

David,
"we need to define the term "good person." As previously stated it is the crux of the issue. Everyone wants to have an opinion on who is good enough for Heaven."

Let's turn it around and figure out who deserves hell. My answer is that no one deserves hell. No one. Hell is inherently unjust. Whether we can agree on a definition of good person (I doubt we will, so I'm not pushing it) or not, the crux is really whether anyone should be tortured for eternity (asserting either heaven or hell only is a false dichotomy BTW).

What justification can you possibly come up with to defend god's actions of torturing people for eternity?

"It is an unknown, and unless the variable is fully defined and everyone agrees on it, there will never be a logical discussion on sin, or God's holiness."

Unless we take the route I'm taking in defining who is worthy of hell.

I can try and make a definition of good person, but you probably won't agree. A good person is someone who feels empathy and applies it to the way they live and interact with others (they do unto others as they would have done to them).

"When God says, "no one" is good enough, that levels the playing field. It makes it very simple and definite, as opposed to some cultural subjective view."

It levels the playing field in an unfair way that is draconian and emphasizes torture (makes it the default) over non-torture. What kind of loving god tortures people or sets up a system whereby people are destined for torture unless he intervenes?

Also, you are incorrect to assert that either god exists or all morality is subjective.

"It is impossible, that is why God's plan is better."

god's plan is about the worst one I could conceive of.

"I disagree that some ex-Christians desperately tried to find God and didn’t."

Do you realize how arrogant and insulting this is? I suggest you read some deconversion stories before you pass judgement on people you don't know and know nothing about. I've read some pretty heart wrenching stories of people who literally were cast out of their families, who prayed their hearts out, who had such emotional despair from realizing that their god didn't exist. For you to glibly deny all of them without a second thought, simply because to accept them would show you were wrong - it's actually a little bit upsetting to me.

"These folks really cloud the issue for someone who is truly searching."

And, it's never occurred to you that some people who are truly searching end up in different religions or tossing aside religion altogether?

"Society does not police itself well, never has, never will. If is did the jails would be empty."

If it didn't, we wouldn't be alive.

"There is another way to look at the system. Everyone starts out loved by God, and they reject it."

Um, no. Everyone starts out destined for hell.

Of course, this raises a new issue. Do aborted fetuses go to heaven or hell? What about babies that are days old and die?

"There are many reasons for that – but I have never met anyone that truly wanted to find God who didn’t."

You need to get out more.

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