Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experience

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Jac3510
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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#61

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:59 am

Catherine,

It seems to me you are only challenging biblical inerrancy. Now, I don't have a problem with the things you cite, as I think there are ready philosophical and theological answers (K just posted links to two very good articles I would strongly encourage you to read). But that aside, suppose you are right and they cannot be resolved. At worst, that only means that the Bible contains errors. It would simply mean that the biblical authors mixed in some of their own agenda with what God had actually said. In any case, you still have the historical evidence for Jesus' resurrection. In other words, whatever theological problems you have with the OT, they can be resolved or rejected later. The issue you need to come to terms with is what to do with Jesus Christ. Are His claims trustworthy or not? You take those up and their own merits, not on the merits of Joshua's Conquest.

I sense a bit of anger on your part towards God as well. Perhaps I am reading you wrong, which is very possible on a message board, but if I'm not, try to step back and look at that rationally for a moment. On what basis can you or anyone accuse God of doing anything wrong (which is why we get mad at someone--because they wronged us in some way)? Are you in possession of all the same facts He is? Where did you get your notion of right and wrong from? Was it not from Him and His very nature? And if He is the very essence of goodness, beyond the fact that it is illogical to accuse Him of doing anything wrong, even if He somehow could, on what basis would you accuse Him of doing wrong? Are you attempting to hold Him to some standard by which He ought to behave? Are you God, that you have the right to declare to Him what He should and should not do? Please note that I am not asking if you have the power to tell Him what He should or shouldn't do. Clearly, you don't, but then again, I don't have the power to tell Obama what he should or shouldn't do either, and yet I certainly have the moral right to hold him accountable to the same moral standards as everyone else. So, again, I am asking you, do you have the moral right to hold God accountable to anything?

Do you think that God owes you anything? Do you feel that God has wronged you in depriving you of something? You would do well to note that you have exactly the same evidence as everyone else on this board. The issue is on your shoulders and no one else's. The very fact that He has chosen to give us any evidence at all is merely an act of His graciousness and nothing more. For us to demand more is the height of arrogance, both in assuming that we have the moral right to demand anything of God and in assuming that we know better than He how much evidence we actually do need.

The bottom line is this: when you say to God that you don't have enough evidence to believe what Jesus said, you are telling Him that you know better than He does, because what He gave you to bring you along to belief is, in fact, not sufficient.

As I told you in the first place, your issue is simply one of persuasion. You need to become convinced by the shear facts that He has made available. But you must also recognize that is your part. You cannot demand anything from God and expect to receive anything from Him. After all, what kind of relationship would that be? Who, then, would be God?
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#62

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:24 am

catherine wrote:
Kurieuo wrote: I have thought deeply on this issue, and I conclude here that I believe when someone comes to Christ that such should be accompanied by a personal and immediate experience of God.
This is what I've been trying to say and what I thought you were not saying, hence my frustration earlier.
I can understand why you may have thought that, however I think you were reading into my words.

If Christianity is a purely rational exercise, then we are robbed of the personal God that we espouse. And if Christianity is a purely experiential exercise, then we have no reason except the delusion.

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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#63

Post by catherine » Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:11 am

Kurieuo wrote:Re: God endorsement of Israel taking the lives of women and children in an enemy nation, it is interesting given our comforts in Western society that many within place themselves up on a pedestal to judge people in earlier times in different cultures living in a very different hostile environment. There are good reasons why Israel could not just love their enemies, because many wanted to wipe them from the face of the Earth. There are two good articles by Glenn Miller I would recommend if interested to explore this issue further on your own:
Re: your belief in God, it remains open to then continue exploring which belief about God is most probable, if any. And if Israel's God, which I believe to be the same God of the NT, is the one true God... and you have moral qualms with Him, then that is a decision you will have to live with. Many judge God for things they do not fully understand and I am of the belief this is a main reason why many reject God and trample Christ's forgiveness underfoot. If God exists, many do not want to know Him because they do not understand why He allows bad to happen. But while many will judge God, God being sovereign over all will have final say.

I'll check those articles out. Thank you. I believe my experience of Christianity has required me to 'suspend' my instincts, or 'beliefs' about certain things in the Bible (more so the OT) because it's the only way for me to accept the rest of it's claims. Take the example of the killing of women and children. The Israelites themselves obviously felt like me and were repulsed at the thought of having to do this, hence why they had to go back and 'finish the job'. Can you honestly say, with hand on heart that you can accept the killing of babies especially, in such a barbaric way, to be necessary of a holy God whose ways are higher than our ways? It's one thing for us evil, fallen humans to commit atrocities against one another, but for God to command that the Israelites do the 'same' seems crazy. I have always struggled with this and I've told myself 'it's because God is sovereign and He has the final say', so let's just accept it or live with it, but I cannot 'ignore' the tug of not only my conscience but my rational mind, that is telling me something is very wrong here...... There is a big possibility that Jehovah of the OT commands such things because He is a product of human minds and hence why He endorses killing methods like babies riven by swords and the stoning of people. Gee there was a lot of 'violence' back then amongst a 'holy' nation. I'm then told that I don't understand these things but could it be it's because they're plain and simple 'wrong' and that is why I'm struggling to understand them? It's the same with homosexuality. If one of my children told me they were gay or one of my friends, then in my heart I couldn't condemn them for something that is not their fault. I've not had to think much about this issue, because I or my family (as far as I know) is not gay but it eats away at the little bit of faith I have, to think some poor souls are ostracized and shunned for being born like that.

These are all emotive issues and I usually don't dwell too much on them. I push them to the back of my consciousness and think about how Jesus lived and taught. I'm still 'drawn' to Jesus and always will be. I don't plan on abandoning my morals (what few I have) and becoming a hedonist. I'll still try to be a 'good' person but I'm tired of the frustration and depression I feel, when trying to figure these things out, praying and not seeming to get answers, being tossed from one wave to the other. Humans rule the churches not the Holy Spirit- hence all the divisions and different doctrinal stances and hence all the silly 'falling over' stuff and stage shows. Maybe this is because 'churches' and 'religion' is man made and hence man ruled?

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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#64

Post by catherine » Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:14 am

Kurieuo wrote:
catherine wrote:
Kurieuo wrote: I have thought deeply on this issue, and I conclude here that I believe when someone comes to Christ that such should be accompanied by a personal and immediate experience of God.
This is what I've been trying to say and what I thought you were not saying, hence my frustration earlier.
I can understand why you may have thought that, however I think you were reading into my words.

If Christianity is a purely rational exercise, then we are robbed of the personal God that we espouse. And if Christianity is a purely experiential exercise, then we have no reason except the delusion.

I think you are bang on here. It should be a mixture of the two, which is the case with the early church as we read in the NT. But that was 2000 years ago. It doesn't seem to be the case now, which does tend to make one think, did that stuff really happen back then?

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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#65

Post by catherine » Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:47 am

Jac3510 wrote:Catherine,

It seems to me you are only challenging biblical inerrancy. Now, I don't have a problem with the things you cite, as I think there are ready philosophical and theological answers (K just posted links to two very good articles I would strongly encourage you to read). But that aside, suppose you are right and they cannot be resolved. At worst, that only means that the Bible contains errors. It would simply mean that the biblical authors mixed in some of their own agenda with what God had actually said. In any case, you still have the historical evidence for Jesus' resurrection. In other words, whatever theological problems you have with the OT, they can be resolved or rejected later. The issue you need to come to terms with is what to do with Jesus Christ. Are His claims trustworthy or not? You take those up and their own merits, not on the merits of Joshua's Conquest. I've suspended my unbelief many times and given the claims of the gospel the benefit of the doubt and so I've prayed to Jesus to 'come into my life' and 'to be real to me' many times. I've wanted it to be real and I've prayed for it to be real.

I sense a bit of anger on your part towards God as well. Perhaps I am reading you wrong, which is very possible on a message board, but if I'm not, try to step back and look at that rationally for a moment. On what basis can you or anyone accuse God of doing anything wrong (which is why we get mad at someone--because they wronged us in some way)? Are you in possession of all the same facts He is? Where did you get your notion of right and wrong from? Was it not from Him and His very nature? And if He is the very essence of goodness, beyond the fact that it is illogical to accuse Him of doing anything wrong, even if He somehow could, on what basis would you accuse Him of doing wrong? Are you attempting to hold Him to some standard by which He ought to behave? Are you God, that you have the right to declare to Him what He should and should not do? Please note that I am not asking if you have the power to tell Him what He should or shouldn't do. Clearly, you don't, but then again, I don't have the power to tell Obama what he should or shouldn't do either, and yet I certainly have the moral right to hold him accountable to the same moral standards as everyone else. So, again, I am asking you, do you have the moral right to hold God accountable to anything? I believe I have the moral 'right' to hold God answerable and maybe even accoutable or responsible even. God says 'come and let us reason together'. I don't think He'll mind me wondering why He uses such violent means to kill off people and how that equates to a God of love. He knows my reasoning abilities are limited and maybe malfunctioning and so He'll know why I'm thinking the way I'm thinking. I don't mean to be direspectful or 'angry' at God, although I do get angry and frustrated.

Do you think that God owes you anything? Do you feel that God has wronged you in depriving you of something? No. The fact I'm struggling with my faith is either because God (of the bible) doesn't exist, or I'm not a sheep and my lack of faith displeases God and so He doesn't answer my prayers.You would do well to note that you have exactly the same evidence as everyone else on this board. That's right, like the guys who have 'hell' experiences, or 'heaven' experiences. Like the guys who have a powerful experience of the peace and love of God and His presense. Hmmmm.....The issue is on your shoulders and no one else's. The very fact that He has chosen to give us any evidence at all is merely an act of His graciousness and nothing more. That's good of Him. For us to demand more is the height of arrogance, both in assuming that we have the moral right to demand anything of God and in assuming that we know better than He how much evidence we actually do need. I'm not demanding. I'm requesting.

The bottom line is this: when you say to God that you don't have enough evidence to believe what Jesus said, you are telling Him that you know better than He does, because what He gave you to bring you along to belief is, in fact, not sufficient. Yes, that's right. LIke Thomas.

As I told you in the first place, your issue is simply one of persuasion. I had hoped the Holy Spirit would persuade me.You need to become convinced by the shear facts that He has made available. But you must also recognize that is your part. You cannot demand anything from God and expect to receive anything from Him. After all, what kind of relationship would that be? Who, then, would be God?
I cannot expect to receive anything from God? Well, that does sound like a great kind of relationship to have................

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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#66

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:21 pm

I've suspended my unbelief many times and given the claims of the gospel the benefit of the doubt and so I've prayed to Jesus to 'come into my life' and 'to be real to me' many times. I've wanted it to be real and I've prayed for it to be real.
I didn't tell you to suspend your unbelief, nor to give the Gospel the benefit of the doubt. I didn't tell you to pray to ask Jesus to 'come into your life.' In fact, I think I said explicitly that we aren't saved by prayer at all. It is a sad thing, I think, that Christians give so many versions of "the gospel," most of which are contradictory (i.e., turn from your sins, ask Jesus into your heart, make Jesus Lord of your life, accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, call upon the name of the Lord, etc.).

In any case, as I said before, the issues you cited at most cast doubt on the inerrancy of Scripture. Whether or not the Gospel is true is on tangentially related at best.
I believe I have the moral 'right' to hold God answerable and maybe even accoutable or responsible even. God says 'come and let us reason together'. I don't think He'll mind me wondering why He uses such violent means to kill off people and how that equates to a God of love. He knows my reasoning abilities are limited and maybe malfunctioning and so He'll know why I'm thinking the way I'm thinking. I don't mean to be direspectful or 'angry' at God, although I do get angry and frustrated.
With all due respect, this makes no sense. It's like saying that a scale is wrong because you don't like what it says. Stop to ask yourself what you mean by "moral right." What would it mean for God to be accountable to anyone, much less you? That would imply that He was under some standard. Is God under a standard, Catherine? Is He subject to any laws? If so, then who or what is the source of THOSE laws, because THAT is the God you need to be looking at. It is a meaningless notion to talk about holding God to a moral standard because God is the moral standard. It is silly to say that God can wrong you when the entire notion of wrongness is completely and totally relative to God in the first place.

This is why I told you that you need to look at the actual evidence and think it through. I don't for one second doubt that you have been thinking about this a long time, but it is evident that you haven't yet grasped the significance of some of the points, whether it be the nature of the Gospel (if you fully grasped that, you wouldn't be trying to 'ask Jesus into your heart') or the nature of God and morality.
No. The fact I'm struggling with my faith is either because God (of the bible) doesn't exist, or I'm not a sheep and my lack of faith displeases God and so He doesn't answer my prayers.
Or C, that you haven't come to terms with the evidence. Notice the assumption here--you assume that you fully comprehend the evidence and that you don't find it compelling. Perhaps you are right, but if so, then that means that the rest of us either DON'T understand the evidence, and YOU DO--in which case, we should all be here seeking your guidance and your enlightenment to help us understand where we have gone wrong--or it means that we do understand the evidence but simply choose to ignore its contradictory nature but instead are mere sheep. Either statement is rather arrogant on your part.

I know you don't intend to be arrogant at all. I'm trying to help you see the root of your problem, which ultimately is bad assumptions. We've seen so far three: a wrong assumption about the nature of the Gospel, about the nature of God and morality, and about the nature of the evidence presented.
That's right, like the guys who have 'hell' experiences, or 'heaven' experiences. Like the guys who have a powerful experience of the peace and love of God and His presense. Hmmmm.....
I believe I already started by noting that people of every religion have experiences. Think about what you are saying . . . if experience is any evidence for the truthfulness of Christianity, then it is also evidence for the truthfulness of Islam, Buddhism, and every other religion under the sun. Obviously, though, that can't be right, since all of these religions make contradictory claims. In short, people's experiences are no evidence for the truthfulness of a position whatsoever. I realize that this position is not popular, and probably many on these boards would disagree, but I'm sorry, in my view, facts are facts, and I don't see any way around this. The upshot for you is that you have no more or less evidence than anyone who has had an experience of heaven or hell, because those people's experiences provide absolutely no evidence for the truthfulness of their beliefs.
I'm not demanding. I'm requesting.
And He has told you that you have enough. You can request more all you want. He will say no. If you get frustrated or angry by that, then you are demanding. The fact is simple: you have enough evidence to lead to belief if your properly arrange the issues instead of, as you have done above, conflating unrelated issues (i.e., inerrancy with the validity of the Gospel).
Yes, that's right. LIke Thomas.
Thomas was an apostle. Are you? Beyond that, Jesus rebuked Thomas and pointed to the faith of future believers who would not have his experience. Still further, Thomas was already a believer, so Jesus was, at best, dealing with a disobedient child, not someone who was trying to decide whether or not Jesus was really the Messiah. So if you want to compare yourself to Thomas, I'd like to see your apostolic credentials and hear about how you are already persuaded of Jesus' Messiahship.
I had hoped the Holy Spirit would persuade me.
Yes, you wanted it the easy way. Don't we all? Unfortunately, you are in the same boat as all of us. You have to look at the evidence and use that brain God gave you. And a little humility wouldn't hurt in the process . . . again, I know you don't intend the arrogance. None of us do. It is, again unfortunately, a part of the fallen human nature. But so long as you are persuaded that you have the right to hold anything against God--which, however you may protest, implies that He does owe you something--or that your case should somehow be different from the rest of ours, I don't know how you can come to the place you want to be anyway. We must be receptive after all, on His terms, not ours.
I cannot expect to receive anything from God? Well, that does sound like a great kind of relationship to have................
I said you cannot DEMAND anything from God and expect to receive it from Him. As it stands, you have asked for evidence, and He has provided it. You stand there and say, "Nope, God. That didn't do it. You may have thought that was good enough, but it wasn't. Try again!" And you think God should respond to that? There's that A word again . . .

Pride is a dangerous thing, my friend. It is often the one thing we can so easily see in others but is so impossible to see in ourselves. I hope that you can come to the place where you can put God in the proper perspective.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#67

Post by DannyM » Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:52 pm

Catherine,

I agree with Jac. It's about conviction. The evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of the existence of God. Have you looked at all the evidence? Have you examined all the arguments? Seek and you shall find. Don't sit about waiting for 'something' to happen.

But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' " (that is, to bring Christ down) "or 'Who will descend into the deep?' "(that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:6-10

Look at the evidence, ALL of the evidence, and find that conviction in your heart. God has put the evidence in front of you, allowing you easy access. Please go through the evidence - again if you have already looked. I pray you achieve the conviction of the heart. I pray you soon know in your heart.
credo ut intelligam

dei gratia

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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#68

Post by catherine » Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:12 pm

Jac3510 wrote:
I've suspended my unbelief many times and given the claims of the gospel the benefit of the doubt and so I've prayed to Jesus to 'come into my life' and 'to be real to me' many times. I've wanted it to be real and I've prayed for it to be real.
I didn't tell you to suspend your unbelief, nor to give the Gospel the benefit of the doubt. Yes. I'm telling you what I have had to do.I didn't tell you to pray to ask Jesus to 'come into your life.' And? I'm sharing with you guys that I have 'stepped out in faith' by praying to Jesus,which is something that many sceptical people wouldn't do. In fact, I think I said explicitly that we aren't saved by prayer at all. I don't think I've suggested that we are saved by prayer. I'm simply stating that I have prayed- lots.It is a sad thing, I think, that Christians give so many versions of "the gospel," most of which are contradictory (i.e., turn from your sins, ask Jesus into your heart, make Jesus Lord of your life, accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, call upon the name of the Lord, etc.).

In any case, as I said before, the issues you cited at most cast doubt on the inerrancy of Scripture. Whether or not the Gospel is true is on tangentially related at best.
I believe I have the moral 'right' to hold God answerable and maybe even accoutable or responsible even. God says 'come and let us reason together'. I don't think He'll mind me wondering why He uses such violent means to kill off people and how that equates to a God of love. He knows my reasoning abilities are limited and maybe malfunctioning and so He'll know why I'm thinking the way I'm thinking. I don't mean to be direspectful or 'angry' at God, although I do get angry and frustrated.
With all due respect, this makes no sense. I'm sure there are others on here who see where I'm coming from.It's like saying that a scale is wrong because you don't like what it says. Stop to ask yourself what you mean by "moral right." What would it mean for God to be accountable to anyone, much less you? That would imply that He was under some standard. Is God under a standard, Catherine? Is He subject to any laws? If so, then who or what is the source of THOSE laws, because THAT is the God you need to be looking at. It is a meaningless notion to talk about holding God to a moral standard because God is the moral standard. It is silly to say that God can wrong you when the entire notion of wrongness is completely and totally relative to God in the first place. Here is an example of where I 'judge' a standard, set out by Jehovah, and compare His standard with our standards. I must be able to do this, otherwise I wouldn't be able to come and reason with God. When I read the account of Pharoah having all the male babies killed, it is a sad account. 'The Prince of Egypt' -great film- 'brings out' the atrocity of Pharoah's act. I watched a 'Jesus' film at Easter and it had a scene where Herod ordered the killing of the babies and children. It was a sad scene. Everything I stand for as 'Catherine' cries out against such atrocities. Now why do I suddenly have to alter my 'understanding' or 'shift' my moral compass, when it comes to the Israelites killing (in the same manner) the babies and children? Why is one 'evil' and the other 'justice'?

This is why I told you that you need to look at the actual evidence and think it through. I don't for one second doubt that you have been thinking about this a long time, but it is evident that you haven't yet grasped the significance of some of the points, whether it be the nature of the Gospel (if you fully grasped that, you wouldn't be trying to 'ask Jesus into your heart') or the nature of God and morality. I don't know why God required a human sacrifice. I don't know why our deaths require more 'death and blood' ie Jesus' death. I know that if you don't appreciate the 'crux' of the gospel, then you are drowning in your doubts. I've also been praying that I would understand and appreciate the 'ransom sacrifice'. I've read many articles about this and know all the main 'viewpoints' and I still don't get it. I want to get it, but I don't. A ransom is something that is paid 'in exchange'. So how can Jesus' life, given for us, be 'paid', if it's taken up again? How does He die in our place, when we still die? If He died eternally, then that would make sense, but wouldn't be good. If He died to share in our humanity etc, then I can quite understand that aspect. I just can't grasp, no matter how hard I try and pray, why Jesus had to die. That is another big topic for a different thread, no doubt. When I watch 'The Passion' I am very moved by that film and how it portrays Jesus. I am moved by Jesus' suffering and death, but many humans have died similar deaths and more ghastly deaths. I don't appreciate the significance of Jesus' death. As one atheist put it to me once: 'What's the big deal? God came down here for a holiday as a human for a few years, and then went back to heaven.' To you guys that is no doubt very blasphemous, but dare I say he has a point?
No. The fact I'm struggling with my faith is either because God (of the bible) doesn't exist, or I'm not a sheep and my lack of faith displeases God and so He doesn't answer my prayers.
Or C, that you haven't come to terms with the evidence. Notice the assumption here--you assume that you fully comprehend the evidence and that you don't find it compelling. If I hadn't found the evidence compelling, why would I bother with the Bible, Jesus, etc all these years? It is compelling enough that I am prepared to step out , despite my doubts and ask the God of the Bible, to be my God and help me. Maybe he has helped me and the problem is with me. Perhaps you are right, but if so, then that means that the rest of us either DON'T understand the evidence, and YOU DO--in which case, we should all be here seeking your guidance and your enlightenment to help us understand where we have gone wrong--or it means that we do understand the evidence but simply choose to ignore its contradictory nature but instead are mere sheep. Either statement is rather arrogant on your part.

I know you don't intend to be arrogant at all. I'm trying to help you see the root of your problem, which ultimately is bad assumptions. We've seen so far three: a wrong assumption about the nature of the Gospel, about the nature of God and morality, and about the nature of the evidence presented.
That's right, like the guys who have 'hell' experiences, or 'heaven' experiences. Like the guys who have a powerful experience of the peace and love of God and His presense. Hmmmm.....
I believe I already started by noting that people of every religion have experiences. Think about what you are saying . . . if experience is any evidence for the truthfulness of Christianity, then it is also evidence for the truthfulness of Islam, Buddhism, and every other religion under the sun. Obviously, though, that can't be right, since all of these religions make contradictory claims. In short, people's experiences are no evidence for the truthfulness of a position whatsoever. I realize that this position is not popular, and probably many on these boards would disagree, but I'm sorry, in my view, facts are facts, and I don't see any way around this. I think you are right here. I don't seek those kind of experiences. I just want the assurance that comes from a strong faith, although I wouldn't say no to 'peace'.The upshot for you is that you have no more or less evidence than anyone who has had an experience of heaven or hell, because those people's experiences provide absolutely no evidence for the truthfulness of their beliefs.
I'm not demanding. I'm requesting.
And He has told you that you have enough. You can request more all you want. He will say no. If you get frustrated or angry by that, then you are demanding. The fact is simple: you have enough evidence to lead to belief if your properly arrange the issues instead of, as you have done above, conflating unrelated issues (i.e., inerrancy with the validity of the Gospel).
Yes, that's right. LIke Thomas.
Thomas was an apostle. Are you? Beyond that, Jesus rebuked Thomas and pointed to the faith of future believers who would not have his experience. Still further, Thomas was already a believer, so Jesus was, at best, dealing with a disobedient child, not someone who was trying to decide whether or not Jesus was really the Messiah. So if you want to compare yourself to Thomas, I'd like to see your apostolic credentials and hear about how you are already persuaded of Jesus' Messiahship. Are you for real?
I had hoped the Holy Spirit would persuade me.
Yes, you wanted it the easy way. Don't we all? Unfortunately, you are in the same boat as all of us. You have to look at the evidence and use that brain God gave you. And a little humility wouldn't hurt in the process . . . again, I know you don't intend the arrogance. None of us do. It is, again unfortunately, a part of the fallen human nature. But so long as you are persuaded that you have the right to hold anything against God--which, however you may protest, implies that He does owe you something--or that your case should somehow be different from the rest of ours, I don't know how you can come to the place you want to be anyway. We must be receptive after all, on His terms, not ours.
I cannot expect to receive anything from God? Well, that does sound like a great kind of relationship to have................
I said you cannot DEMAND anything from God and expect to receive it from Him. As it stands, you have asked for evidence, and He has provided it. You stand there and say, "Nope, God. That didn't do it. You may have thought that was good enough, but it wasn't. Try again!" And you think God should respond to that? There's that A word again . . .

Pride is a dangerous thing, my friend. It is often the one thing we can so easily see in others but is so impossible to see in ourselves. You said it. I hope that you can come to the place where you can put God in the proper perspective. Ah, that's good of you.

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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#69

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:33 pm

Catherine,

I think this might be my last reply in this particular thread as 1) I think we agree on the original topic, and 2) I think we've come to agree, for the most part, on my fundamental point about the need for evidence and persuasion.

I do want to respond to the issue of having to suspend your moral compass, though. Just food for thought, but let's consider the issue you raise about Herod's slaughter of the children of Bethlehem and Joshua's slaughter of the children of Canaan. You are certainly right to regard the former as being evil; the text of the story says nothing about God's approval and, more importantly, it gives us Herod's motive: the desire to kill Christ. That makes it murder, plain and simple.

But what of the other account? There are two reasons you should 'suspend your moral compass' with regard to Joshua. In the first case, there have been very solid reasons put forward to explain why what happened had to happen. In the philosophy of ethics, we distinguish between the object of intention and the means of intention. For example, suppose someone breaks into my house with the intent to murder me and my family, and the only way to protect us is to kill him first. In such an example, a good case can be made that my killing of the intruder was not wrong, namely, that my intention was not to kill; my intention was to protect myself and my family. It is a regretful fact (an accidental property, in philosophical terms) that such an intention--and note the intention is good, to protect me and my family--resulted in the man's death. We, then, must distinguish between Joshua's intention and his means. What murder his intent, or was the death of those families a regretful necessary consequence of what he was forced to pursue? Links like the one K provided present very solid evidence this is exactly the case.

In the second place, even if no one could provide no good reason, you are still assuming omniscience, which is hardly appropriate of you. Are you in possession of all the facts God was? Isn't it possible that there were reasons God had him do what he did that He simply didn't feel the need to tell us? How are you to know? Put it in this form:

1. Catherine can think of no good reason for Joshua to kill entire familes;
2. X
3. Therefore, there was no good reason for Joshua to kill entire families.

What is the only proposition you can put in (2) to make this logically valid? Answer: Catherine knows all possible reasons . . . that, though, is to assume omniscience. Since, then, you are not omniscient, (2) is false, and you have no logical basis on which to judge God or His actions. Your objection then, while I'm sure well meaning, is purely emotional and is simply irrational.

Also, let me remind you, again, that this objection of yours deals only with biblical inerrancy, not with the validity of the Gospel. You are still confusing the issues.

Anyway, please reconsider the evidence and put things in their proper perspective as you have time. In the meantime, if you have any particular questions, any of us here will be happy to help you as best we can.

God bless
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#70

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:38 pm

catherine wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:
catherine wrote:
Kurieuo wrote: I have thought deeply on this issue, and I conclude here that I believe when someone comes to Christ that such should be accompanied by a personal and immediate experience of God.
This is what I've been trying to say and what I thought you were not saying, hence my frustration earlier.
I can understand why you may have thought that, however I think you were reading into my words.

If Christianity is a purely rational exercise, then we are robbed of the personal God that we espouse. And if Christianity is a purely experiential exercise, then we have no reason except the delusion.

I think you are bang on here. It should be a mixture of the two, which is the case with the early church as we read in the NT. But that was 2000 years ago. It doesn't seem to be the case now, which does tend to make one think, did that stuff really happen back then?
It happens still today, and if I did not think I had both then I would likely be Deist (believing in God, but that He no longer really cares whether He involved Himself in our lives or not).

And I believe God's power still gets demonstrated today. Not "Toronto blessing" or Benny Hinn style which I don't give much credit to, but out there with strong-hearted Christians in the field who are being persecuted, or in helping those who are poor, hurt and down trodden.

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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#71

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:02 pm

catherine wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:Re: God endorsement of Israel taking the lives of women and children in an enemy nation, it is interesting given our comforts in Western society that many within place themselves up on a pedestal to judge people in earlier times in different cultures living in a very different hostile environment. There are good reasons why Israel could not just love their enemies, because many wanted to wipe them from the face of the Earth. There are two good articles by Glenn Miller I would recommend if interested to explore this issue further on your own:
Re: your belief in God, it remains open to then continue exploring which belief about God is most probable, if any. And if Israel's God, which I believe to be the same God of the NT, is the one true God... and you have moral qualms with Him, then that is a decision you will have to live with. Many judge God for things they do not fully understand and I am of the belief this is a main reason why many reject God and trample Christ's forgiveness underfoot. If God exists, many do not want to know Him because they do not understand why He allows bad to happen. But while many will judge God, God being sovereign over all will have final say.

I'll check those articles out. Thank you. I believe my experience of Christianity has required me to 'suspend' my instincts, or 'beliefs' about certain things in the Bible (more so the OT) because it's the only way for me to accept the rest of it's claims. Take the example of the killing of women and children.
Glenn Miller's website has many great articles. And very thorough responses. I recommend taking a look at some.

I'm sure the two I referenced above will help you greatly to understand the issues at play.

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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#72

Post by Gman » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:52 am

The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#73

Post by B. W. » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:07 am

Hi Catherine,

As I read through these posts, I see how the Lord is speaking through to you through others and uncovering more and more things: That in and of itself is an experience. Much of what I am hearing is the advice for you to look at evidences and this advice itself, if you can see it, is evidence that the Lord is speaking to you through others.

Now, regarding your inquiry concerning Joshua's conquest of Canaan and Herod's dispatch of young children seems to be a great obstacle for you. So let me delve into this a bit more and ask you to think on your own regarding evidence.

The Evidence from Non-Violent Protest

So to begin with, do you know anything about the philosophy behind non-violent protest? Martin Luther King used non-violent protest during the 1960's in the USA Civil Rights movement. Even Gandhi did so in India with the British. The idea behind non-violent protest was to expose injustice, evil, in order to cause an awakening of the realization of truth so a people forsake such evil. For example, what I mean is this: When the governing authorities brought out clubs, attack dogs, high pressure water hoses, harsh arrests — what was exposed? Answer: Evil was exposed and this evil was eventually conquered when the people saw the truth about what evil really does and then turned from their ways or prejudices which caused malice, injustice, evil.

Much in the same manner, God uses the silent non-violent protest method to expose evil. Herod was exposed for who and what he loves more than anything - evil. Ancient Roman abuses, torture and murders of Christians exposed tyrannies of evils. What of the own evils of our times, say, the serial killer and child rapist? God's silent non-violent witness now acts against them and waits for us to do what? Blame or act?

We cite and blame God for not coming down and stopping this. We gripe and complain about how we hate people who tell us what to do and go about endless moralizing. Yet, we want God to prove his great love to us — just come on and stop this — we cry. Yet, if God did, and came again in the flesh — we would charge him with pushing a moralizing restrictive tyranny on our civil liberties and would end up putting him on trial for pushing us around, for neglect of the world for allowing evil, and consign to him the death penalty.

So what does God do in his great wisdom? With great patience He uses a spiritual form of non-violent protest to expose evil and what it does. After all, in Genesis chapter one God gave humanity his word for us to have dominion over our affairs on earth. Do we really expect him to renege on His word? Maybe, through his wisdom he wants us to see evil for all its seductive allure and its full fruit so we repent of our own evil as well we do something about it to stop it, and return to him to be purified so we do do something about it. He gave us dominion and authority along with responsibility to use.

Sometimes the witness of non-violent protest, as in Herod's case is the wisest course. As terrible as the death of children were due to such butchery, remember, what evil is and ask — abortion. Has not our own people killed more than Herod? Those poor children at least made it to heaven and such serves up evidence to expose evil for what it does, rob, kills, brings to ruin.

I entrust such little ones of Herod's crime, Joshua's Time, Our own times into God's eternal care and damn anyone who manipulates what is revealed here as an excuse to justify slaughter of children to avoid the fate of unrepentant adults. Again, the non-violent witness works well exposing evil.

Imagine the Love of God, how his Son, bore that non-violent protest so we adult sinners can be forgiven of all our trespasses/sins and repent and have our lives transformed out of darkness into his light.

When Non-Violent Protest is No Longer Feasible

Now we come to the issue when non-violent protest method is no longer an option and direct action is needed to defend the weak. This occurs when Evil threatens to enslave, destroy, corrupt an entire civilization. What is one to do when your back is against the wall? Like a thief who breaks into a home seeking to rape and kill — you defend yourself and kill the intruder. Sometimes direct action is needed. Sometimes a preemptive strike is justified as was the case in 1967 when Israel wiped out the Egyptian air force hours before the Arab world launched an attack to wipe Israel off the face of the planet. There are times when evil must be directly confronted with deadly force. Such was the case set before Joshua.

Now before people accuse Joshua and God himself of War Crimes, all I ask is for people do some research on the religious practices and rites of ancient Canaan… Read the archeological records about the child and human sacrifices, demonic worship, bestiality, the mocking of the divine Trinity, how evil this entire people really were. There are people who have become so corrupt and corrupting that they are beyond redemption. They were not innocent, noble, they were corrupting - ruining thier own childern's very lives!

Being in the field of Criminal Justice has taught me truths about evil and its operations few realize. Take for instant child rapist. The majority of these types of individuals were victimize themselves as children in a terrifying and sadistic manner, usually feces and urine are involved in these attacks as well as other sadistic behaviors, things, and words. This twists the mind and causes these to do the same later to children.

Go back to the ancient Canaan. Average life span during the era of Joshua was around 30 to 40 years old. Middle age would be between 15 and 20 years old. Compound the mentality of teens tossed into adult roles, hormonal activity, poor diet, immature emotional and mental states - you got problems.

Now add into the mix a social norm of violence where babies were burned in fire alive, cannibalized, bestially, and sexual exploitation of a brutal nature with children by such middle agers — you got problems — new recruits ready to be just as perverse as their former attackers with rage tossed in as well.

Compound this with a religious system glorifying violence, sex with anything and everything, filthy dirty unclean hygiene (Sex Offenders love to be filthy), you have rampant diseases. The bible simply states these people did abominational acts. Their deities mocked own God's nature as Trinity of oneness and had images of pseudo trinities of individuals, god families — who condoned perversions and violence as the norm.

Now you had Moses leading the Children of Israel out of Egypt back to the Promised Land. From this group of people (note: entire world population was very small in those days) would come the redeemer who would be able to save and redeem those who found faith as Abraham did. If you just let the Israelites into Canaan land to blend in — evil would have prevailed. Future generations, including us, would never have a chance to experience redemption.

What is needed? Your back is against a wall. In order to save more than just the ancient Israelites drastic actions had to take place — untold future generations were at stake. A non-violent protest would not have worked as a good invasion tactic. Entire, small — very small city state kingdoms of extremely vile people whose majority of population, whom were trapped in their teenage mindset, who brutalized themselves and others posed a great threat.

What do you do? Can't love those people to change them - they'll manipulate, rob, steal, ruin you and eventually kill you. Love to them is something to be exploited and used for one's own gratifications - that is ingrained in them. They learned to view mercy as weakness to be exploited, taken advantage of, and gamed to get what they want. That is the way of evil.

There was no other way other than have Joshua purge the Land so that future generations would be able to walk out of darkness. The fate of humanity and God's own credibility was at stake. We do not live in those ancient times, nor do we have entire nations of people who are that perverse and brutal so it is difficult for us to fathom why such preemptive strike against Canaan's populace was necessary.

Considering the historical and archeological evidence of the people of Canaan and their hideous nature it does become evident. I guess it becomes easier to indict God on war crimes charges and accuse him of evil so you never accept him. Don't fall prey to the devil's own use of his violent induced non-violent protest that he uses to ensnare, entice, and entrap people to deny God.

Much like how a bully picks a fight, throws a few punches, sees a crowd, then you hit him, he cries and wails and the crowd thinks you are the real bully beating up on poor old defenseless him.

So what is God to do? Revert back wisdom of the witness of non-violent protest until people wake up to the truth about the seductive, alluring, conning, manipulative, power hungry, controlling side of evil and reject it. He did so with Christ's silent non-violent witness to the truth about humanities inhumanity. In the Last days, The Lord will react and directly confront evil again and that time will not be pretty.

Then we enter the true and new promise land where there will be no more sin, sickness, death, suffering…evil done away banished forever away...

So all I can ask Catherine look at the evidence, ask questions, and learn, which you are, and that is also evidence of an experience you seek...

1 Co 2:12-13, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual." NKJV

John 16:13-15, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you...." NKJV

+++++++++++

Let me add to post -Three Links to briefly check sources:

http://www.followtherabbi.com/Brix?pageID=2725

http://julianspriggs.com/canaanitereligion.aspx

http://www.theology.edu/canaan.htm

Please note that there appears to be two types of sources on interenet: straightforward and ethnocentric.

The ethnocentric types of references interpret data according political correctness and sort of paints the Ancient Canaanites as, just like everybody else is today, all according to the standards of Ivy Leagues intellectual elites who view the world through rose colored glasses. They have difficulty looking at the evidence from any other perspective except political correctness of justifying the noble savage ideal.

The straightforward just looks at the evidence and the accounts of ancient historians who recorded what the Canaanite religion was really like and does not dismiss evidences. They take into account the most recent archeological findings and text writings from the Canaanites themselves and their findings are straightforward.

The ancient Canaanites were brutal and a perverse people, unlike anything we have seen today. Judging them by 21 and 22 century ethnic and cultural standards fails to account how the ancient world was barbaric, brutal, and life so very short. Fails to account poor hygiene, cognitive development damaged by poor diet / ingested toxins — etc, short life span, effect of violence, abuse, neglect has on young victims and them becoming abusers themselves and much more.
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Science is man's invention - creation is God's
(by B. W. Melvin)

Old Polish Proverb:
Not my Circus....not my monkeys

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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#74

Post by catherine » Sat May 01, 2010 8:59 am

Hi guys, I've been sulking the past week........ y[-(

Thanks for the articles some of you provided. They do make much sense. I'd just like to comment on a few things Jac said:
Jac3510 wrote: In the second place, even if no one could provide no good reason, you are still assuming omniscience, which is hardly appropriate of you. Are you in possession of all the facts God was? Isn't it possible that there were reasons God had him do what he did that He simply didn't feel the need to tell us? How are you to know? Put it in this form:

1. Catherine can think of no good reason for Joshua to kill entire familes;
2. X
3. Therefore, there was no good reason for Joshua to kill entire families.

What is the only proposition you can put in (2) to make this logically valid? Answer: Catherine knows all possible reasons . . . that, though, is to assume omniscience. Since, then, you are not omniscient, (2) is false, and you have no logical basis on which to judge God or His actions. Your objection then, while I'm sure well meaning, is purely emotional and is simply irrational.

Also, let me remind you, again, that this objection of yours deals only with biblical inerrancy, not with the validity of the Gospel. You are still confusing the issues.

Anyway, please reconsider the evidence and put things in their proper perspective as you have time. In the meantime, if you have any particular questions, any of us here will be happy to help you as best we can.

God bless
It wasn't that I didn't understand the 'need' to drive out those nations from the land. I do understand this and the articles bring out many interesting points. I was (and still am to a certain degree) having trouble understanding the methods at Joshua's disposal: using swords to kill people. I still can't comprehend how a man can use his sword to kill a baby (while his own baby lies sleeping safely not too far away). God can make people drop dead if He wants. He can deal with these people Himself and not require Israel to have to live by the same barbaric warfare of the surrounding nations. This is what I don't understand. And just as I don't claim Apostleship (I think I was accused of that earlier) I certainly don't claim to know it all. It's because I don't know why God causes 'evil' as well as 'good' that I struggle with these things. As for me confusing Biblical inerrancy with the validity of the Gospels, I don't think I'm doing that. I've been discussing various issues on this particular thread: 'a supernatural experience of God that goes beyond mere head knowledge', 'the claims by various Christians that this kind of experience should follow your conversion ie baptism in the Holy Spirit', 'parts of the Bible that go against my moral compass e.g the killing of babies', 'the claims of Jesus in the NT, which yes are compelling, and as such have compelled me to ask Jesus into my life, but don't make Jesus any more real to me'.

DannyM mentioned a verse earlier that my friend (she's a Christian and has been meeting with me and trying to help me) mentioned to me yesterday. We met for lunch at the local Christian book shop and I was telling her about how I feel and about our discussion on here. She said to me 'Revelation is the few inches between your head and your heart' and then she mentioned the verse DannyM cited: Rom 10:9,10. I've been reviewing and studying 'the evidence' for many years now. Regardless of the problems I throw up, I still believe the bible contains amazing stuff that compels me to keep studying it. I need this head knowledge to be present in my 'heart' too, and then I believe I would know that assurance. 'for it is with your heart that you believe and are justified' verse 10.

Thanks for all your help so far guys. :clap:

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Re: Coming to Christ: What to make of no spiritual experienc

#75

Post by catherine » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:57 am

Hi folks. I wanted to tell you I have finally had a 'break through'. Since I last posted, I did my usual sulking, 'giving up' on God, doing my own thing, praying to God again, and thus the cycle continued. The last few months though, I earnestly prayed for help and I started to going to a 'New Frontiers' Church quite close to me. I also started getting up early and sitting quietly before God and NOT talking ie letting God actually get a word in for once. As soon as I started doing this, I sensed God was not far away, and helping me: certain scriputres came to mind that really helped me. I don't 'hear' a voice, I just imagine I'm outside 'heaven' and knocking on the door asking God to open the door and let me in. I know Jesus is the 'door' and so by spending this quiet time with Jesus and His Father, I am building a relationship with Them, by the power of the Holy Spirit. I've felt an 'excitement' since then, like food tastes better, the trees look brighter, love is in my heart. Three weeks ago I read a book 'LIfe in Spite of Myself' and it had a life changing effect on me. The author made me realise that it's not just enough to want a 'saviour'. Who wouldn't want saving? It's realising that Jesus must be your Lord as well, and so for the first time, I asked Jesus to not only be my Saviour, but also the Lord of my life. I relinquished my control of my life over to Him so that I can live His way, and not my way. So that was why I have struggled these past thirty odd years: 1) I'd wanted to hold on to parts of my life and keep control, 2) I didn't shut up long enough to 'hear' God and spend time quietly cultivating a relationship with Him. I praise God for His long suffering patience with me all these years and I can see how He has tried to steer me back to Him constantly but how I have had to learn the hard long way, but thank God the penny has finally dropped. Since I prayed that prayer after reading the book, I have not been sleeping very well, which is unusual for me. I can sleep for England, and so my time with God, in the morning, is harder to do, as I am tired most mornings. I hope my sleep gets back to normal, because it is wonderful to spend time quietly, in God's presence. What an honour! Heartfelt thanks to you guys for your prayers over the year and for anyone else who has been struggling like me, just keep asking God: a verse that came to mind during one of my first 'personal times' with God was Matt 7:7 '....the door will be opened'. Here was I imagining Jesus as the door, and this verse confirms that Jesus will open the way to God, IF we keep on asking and seeking. Oh, yes, I keep a journal of my time with God, so that I can write any verses down that come to mind, or any other things. One other thing, I have 'put aside' for now, my insatiable curiosity for all things doctrinal. I was caught in never ending cycles of doctrine based debates, that made me more confused and kept me from spending time with God. My priority at the moment, is building a strong relationship with God. I'm not going to worry about certain doctrines I don't understand but wait on God to eventually sort them out, in HIs time. God Bless you guys. Ah yes, I'm hoping to be baptised in the very near future. I can't wait. y>:D<

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