Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

Are you a sincere seeker who has questions about Christianity, or a Christian with doubts about your faith? Post them here to receive a thoughtful response.
User avatar
Tina
Established Member
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:19 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Female
Creation Position: Undecided
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#1

Post by Tina » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:05 pm

I'm concerned about something. Does GOD make it impossible for some people to believe? I read something about Jesus speaking in parables So that some could not understand? And something about GOD hardening people's hearts? Why? I don't understand and I'm concerned. =,<
"Love others as I have loved you." -Jesus Christ

Beanybag
Valued Member
Posts: 330
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:22 am
Christian: No
Sex: It's Complicated
Creation Position: I don't believe in creation
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#2

Post by Beanybag » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:16 pm

I'd love to know. For me, I can't even conceive of the possible evidence that would convert me to theism without flat-out mind control. I'd always have some measure of doubt.

Icthus
Established Member
Posts: 159
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 7:53 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Theistic Evolution
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#3

Post by Icthus » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:39 pm

I don't think that God makes it impossible for anyone to believe. I'm not very good on the Old Testament, but where it says that God hardened someone's heart or that someone's heart is hardened, I doubt God is forcing them to do anything. The Pharaoh, for instance, was likely given over to his own pride as a part of God's plan, but that doesn't mean that he was forced to make decisions against his will.

As for parables, Jesus did not intend to be deceptive or trick others out of salvation. A parable is a powerful, but indirect method for teaching a lesson, and those who are unwilling to draw connections from them to reality or are too blinded by their sinful ways to see them for what they are will, naturally, not get them. Remember that Jesus' own disciples were rather dense at times when it came to understanding their master's teachings. When Jesus spoke, the meaning of what he said was usually, from what we can gather from the New Testament, fairly clear to those willing to put themselves into the proper mindset, and throughout the Gospels, we meet several relative strangers to Jesus and his crowd who, because of their more righteous attitudes and faith, seem pretty quick to understand. Remember also that there is a difference between the pre-resurrection ministry and the post-resurrection faith as far as clarity of message is concerned. Jesus said a lot of things, like that he would rebuild the temple in three days, that likely didn't seem to make much sense before the resurrection. The disciples clearly didn't get the picture before then.

One last thing to note is that pre-resurrection Jesus had a good reason to be somewhat unclear. He couldn't very well have walked up to the temple, declared himself to be God, and not have to deal with a bigger angry mob than he was used to. By speaking in the way he did, he was able to make some very bold claims without facing an early execution.

I'm sure the others will have more to say, but I figured I might try and be of use by giving some preliminary ideas.

Oh, and Beany--a conversion to theism and "some measure of doubt" are not mutually exclusive. After all, we all accept that there is at least a miniscule chance that we are hallucinating every second of our lives or something similar, but such miniscule concerns need not impede our faith or exclude us from calling ourselves "believers." If one had to erase every last sliver of doubt in order to become a Christian, there likely wouldn't be any of us.
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” -G.K. Chesterton

User avatar
Tina
Established Member
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:19 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Female
Creation Position: Undecided
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#4

Post by Tina » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:58 pm

Icthus wrote:I don't think that God makes it impossible for anyone to believe. I'm not very good on the Old Testament, but where it says that God hardened someone's heart or that someone's heart is hardened, I doubt God is forcing them to do anything. The Pharaoh, for instance, was likely given over to his own pride as a part of God's plan, but that doesn't mean that he was forced to make decisions against his will.

As for parables, Jesus did not intend to be deceptive or trick others out of salvation. A parable is a powerful, but indirect method for teaching a lesson, and those who are unwilling to draw connections from them to reality or are too blinded by their sinful ways to see them for what they are will, naturally, not get them. Remember that Jesus' own disciples were rather dense at times when it came to understanding their master's teachings. When Jesus spoke, the meaning of what he said was usually, from what we can gather from the New Testament, fairly clear to those willing to put themselves into the proper mindset, and throughout the Gospels, we meet several relative strangers to Jesus and his crowd who, because of their more righteous attitudes and faith, seem pretty quick to understand. Remember also that there is a difference between the pre-resurrection ministry and the post-resurrection faith as far as clarity of message is concerned. Jesus said a lot of things, like that he would rebuild the temple in three days, that likely didn't seem to make much sense before the resurrection. The disciples clearly didn't get the picture before then.

One last thing to note is that pre-resurrection Jesus had a good reason to be somewhat unclear. He couldn't very well have walked up to the temple, declared himself to be God, and not have to deal with a bigger angry mob than he was used to. By speaking in the way he did, he was able to make some very bold claims without facing an early execution.

I'm sure the others will have more to say, but I figured I might try and be of use by giving some preliminary ideas.

Oh, and Beany--a conversion to theism and "some measure of doubt" are not mutually exclusive. After all, we all accept that there is at least a miniscule chance that we are hallucinating every second of our lives or something similar, but such miniscule concerns need not impede our faith or exclude us from calling ourselves "believers." If one had to erase every last sliver of doubt in order to become a Christian, there likely wouldn't be any of us.
Yeah, I think everyone has a faith-doubt ratio. I say you are a believer when the faith side is stronger than the doubt side. => thanks for explaining that for me => I get sad when I don't understand something about GOD that doesn't seem like our loving GOD. At first, it just sounded terrible and I didn't know what to think but thanks for clearing that up for me =>
"Love others as I have loved you." -Jesus Christ

Ivellious
Esteemed Senior Member
Posts: 1046
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:48 pm
Christian: No
Sex: Male
Creation Position: I don't believe in creation
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#5

Post by Ivellious » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:05 am

Just curious, how can you say that it was God's "plan" for the pharaoh to harden his heart, but the pharaoh still had a choice about whether to sin or not? I mean, are you saying that God's plan would have failed had he accepted Moses and God? It just seems odd that the all-powerful God's plan just happened to rely on certain people acting in an evil manner over the course of time, and yet somehow those certain people had an opportunity to do the right thing...Or would it have been the wrong thing to defy God's plan?

PaulSacramento
Board Moderator
Posts: 8946
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:29 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Theistic Evolution
Location: Ontario, Canada
Has liked: 115 times
Been liked: 334 times

Re: Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#6

Post by PaulSacramento » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:25 am

Tina wrote:I'm concerned about something. Does GOD make it impossible for some people to believe? I read something about Jesus speaking in parables So that some could not understand? And something about GOD hardening people's hearts? Why? I don't understand and I'm concerned. =,<
Well, there are a couple of different things there.
Jesus' parables "hid" the truth from those that would not seek and did not question ( the arrogant and prideful).
God may harden the heart of one that is already bent on doing a certain thing ( as was the case of Pharoah) so as to work to a specific end.
That said, for some the believe in election and predestination of believers, yes it seems that God does make it impossible for some to believe.

Icthus
Established Member
Posts: 159
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 7:53 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Theistic Evolution
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#7

Post by Icthus » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:49 am

Ivellious wrote:Just curious, how can you say that it was God's "plan" for the pharaoh to harden his heart, but the pharaoh still had a choice about whether to sin or not? I mean, are you saying that God's plan would have failed had he accepted Moses and God? It just seems odd that the all-powerful God's plan just happened to rely on certain people acting in an evil manner over the course of time, and yet somehow those certain people had an opportunity to do the right thing...Or would it have been the wrong thing to defy God's plan?
I think it depends on the way one views God's relationship to the world. I'm certainly no expert on the subject of divine foreknowledge or anything, but in my non-expert opinion the question of free will versus God's omniscience tends to be rather overblown. Although the idea seems strange, I don't see any reason to say that a decision that God knew about beforehand couldn't have been a free one. I suppose it depends on what version of the relationship between God and time one has.

Even if God does not have perfect foreknowledge, as some suppose, his plan couldn't be fouled up by the choices of humans. God knows people far better than we do, and I doubt an element of free will would be able to throw off his predictions very easily. Even if he does not know what people will do, he, with his infinite knowledge, knows all possible outcomes and could, in theory, make adjustments so that his plan continues regardless. Whatever the case, this board has had more than its share of debate (before I joined) over divine foreknowledge and free will, and I doubt I can add much to it. My point was that God doesn't need to literally control people to make his plan work--he can work around us and all our chaotic behavior.
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” -G.K. Chesterton

User avatar
Tina
Established Member
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:19 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Female
Creation Position: Undecided
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#8

Post by Tina » Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:41 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:
Tina wrote:I'm concerned about something. Does GOD make it impossible for some people to believe? I read something about Jesus speaking in parables So that some could not understand? And something about GOD hardening people's hearts? Why? I don't understand and I'm concerned. =,<
Well, there are a couple of different things there.
Jesus' parables "hid" the truth from those that would not seek and did not question ( the arrogant and prideful).
God may harden the heart of one that is already bent on doing a certain thing ( as was the case of Pharoah) so as to work to a specific end.
That said, for some the believe in election and predestination of believers, yes it seems that God does make it impossible for some to believe.
I don't believe in predestination =P
"Love others as I have loved you." -Jesus Christ

PaulSacramento
Board Moderator
Posts: 8946
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:29 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Theistic Evolution
Location: Ontario, Canada
Has liked: 115 times
Been liked: 334 times

Re: Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#9

Post by PaulSacramento » Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:10 am

I was just gonna say that it depends on who interpretation of predestination.

User avatar
RickD
Board Moderator
Posts: 20841
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:59 am
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Location: Kitchen
Has liked: 188 times
Been liked: 1031 times

Re: Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#10

Post by RickD » Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:16 am

PaulSacramento wrote:I was just gonna say that it depends on who interpretation of predestination.
Sorry Paul. I deleted my post before your post. I'm on my iPod, and I couldn't edit it properly. I was being too presumptuous, in assuming that Tina was probably disagreeing with the 5 point Calvinism definition of election and predestination.
I should have said that maybe Tina just disagrees with a certain definition of election and predestination.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

CallMeDave
Valued Member
Posts: 289
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:45 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Young-Earth Creationist
Location: Northwest FLorida
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 1 time

Re: Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#11

Post by CallMeDave » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:17 am

Tina wrote:I'm concerned about something. Does GOD make it impossible for some people to believe? I read something about Jesus speaking in parables So that some could not understand? And something about GOD hardening people's hearts? Why? I don't understand and I'm concerned. =,<

God has made it EASY to know he is real thru the physical creation all around us...and IN us thru our human anatomy being wired and designed in a very extraordinary way. Its just that Man has this veto instrument called Pride and Arrogance to look the other way and formulate futile thinking as excuses such as a pond protozoa being responsible for every species of animal, human, and plantlife on earth all by sheer accident without shred of purpose ! .

God isnt wanting ANYONE to perish for lack of knowledge about him and his freely offered global plan of Salvation . People willfully harden their hearts toward God and his Plan so they can continue in their dark deeds and living as they deem fit. They can leave their lifestyle choices at any time for God and his better way of living ending in eternity in Gods safe presence ...but they dont want to . They want to be in charge of their own way of living and they do not want anyone higher than them OWNING them ...even though God rightfully does own them.

Jesus spoke in parables so people would be able to grasp complex concepts easier...and relate to him better especially the need to recieve the simple Gospel Message which reconciles all people to God as a free undeserved gift. Jesus was masterful in his parables yet many still choose to go off into utter darkness once given the clear unmistable way to God. Things havent changed today have they ?
"I never asserted such an absurd proposition, that something could arise without a Cause" -- staunch atheist Philosopher David Hume.

"What this world now needs is Christian love or compassion" -- staunch atheist Bertrand Russell.

narnia4
Senior Member
Posts: 560
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:44 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Undecided
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 1 time

Re: Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#12

Post by narnia4 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:47 pm

RickD wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:I was just gonna say that it depends on who interpretation of predestination.
Sorry Paul. I deleted my post before your post. I'm on my iPod, and I couldn't edit it properly. I was being too presumptuous, in assuming that Tina was probably disagreeing with the 5 point Calvinism definition of election and predestination.
I should have said that maybe Tina just disagrees with a certain definition of election and predestination.
I don't believe even five-point, "double predestination" Calvinists would present the situation quite like the OP does.
Beanybag wrote:I'd love to know. For me, I can't even conceive of the possible evidence that would convert me to theism without flat-out mind control. I'd always have some measure of doubt.
One can have some measure of doubt and be a theist. But doesn't this sound very close-minded, that nothing could convince you? Isn't that what Christians get criticized for? I like honesty... I think more skeptics feel like this than would be willing to admit it. But here's my problem. What evidence do you have that makes atheism so convincing? I'm guessing most would say that its just the lack of evidence for theism... but how in the world can you cite "lack of evidence" (not that I'm claiming you are) if you admit that you're unwilling to accept any evidence for theism?
Young, Restless, Reformed

User avatar
RickD
Board Moderator
Posts: 20841
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:59 am
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Location: Kitchen
Has liked: 188 times
Been liked: 1031 times

Re: Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#13

Post by RickD » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:50 pm

I don't know that
Don't know what, Narnia?
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

narnia4
Senior Member
Posts: 560
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:44 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Undecided
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 1 time

Re: Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#14

Post by narnia4 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:52 pm

Sorry I hit post without finishing my sentence, edited now...
Young, Restless, Reformed

Beanybag
Valued Member
Posts: 330
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:22 am
Christian: No
Sex: It's Complicated
Creation Position: I don't believe in creation
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Is GOD making it impossible for some to believe?? =,<

#15

Post by Beanybag » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:58 pm

narnia4 wrote:One can have some measure of doubt and be a theist. But doesn't this sound very close-minded, that nothing could convince you? Isn't that what Christians get criticized for? I like honesty... I think more skeptics feel like this than would be willing to admit it. But here's my problem. What evidence do you have that makes atheism so convincing? I'm guessing most would say that its just the lack of evidence for theism... but how in the world can you cite "lack of evidence" (not that I'm claiming you are) if you admit that you're unwilling to accept any evidence for theism?
Well, I think the main problem is that I'm not wholly convinced of anything. I just assume some things to be true (reality exists, I exist, etc.) and try to limit these assumptions as much as I can while acknowledging my premises could still be flawed. Maybe theists just make one more assumption than I am willing to make. I don't think that makes me close-minded, I'm always willing to consider new positions and throw away old ones. But it doesn't change the fact that, for questions as great as the ones theism claims to answer, I'm not ready to commit to any answer as the absolute correct one.

What evidence do you have that makes atheism so convincing?

My atheism is not a position of belief, but non-belief. I don't find any position wholly convincing, hence my atheism. "Either the thing is true, or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it’s true or whether it isn’t, you should suspend judgment." - Bertrand Russell.

Post Reply