Friday, March 21, 2008

Day of the suffering God

Good Friday. What an odd name for a day that commemorates suffering and death.

It's a day that sets Christianity apart from other religions. What other faith celebrates the agony and destruction of God?

Does "celebrate" seem too strong a word? Perhaps. Especially since many Christians prefer to sidestep Good Friday, the day of Jesus' crucifixion and death, and skip directly to Easter, the day of Resurrection and brightly colored eggs.

But there's something powerful in the notion of a God who knows what it's like to thirst, to feel pain, to cry out in abandonment. Not God as invincible superhero but God as helpless victim.

This week I was ill (nothing serious). In the worst of it, while I burned with fever then shook with chills, I thought of the worst days of my husband's cancer, those days when the pain was unremitting and his body became a battlefield. Remembering gave me a sense of perspective about my own discomfort, which would soon pass. And I knew that he would have understood how awful I felt, just as I had an inkling in my little illness of how he felt in his greater struggle. Pain isolates, but the shared experience of it connects.

Good Friday is a reminder, too, that we are not alone in our suffering. That God understands from the inside out, not just in theory.

And when our souls and bodies ache, that can be a greater comfort even than the hope of Easter.

Comments welcome, as always.

81 comments:

D.J. said...

"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." - Hebrews 4:14-16

"In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live"

- "In Christ Alone," by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

Thanks for a great post, Jane, and praise be to God for his grace, and the hope that we have in this truth - "rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed." - 1 Peter 4:13

Solus Christus
Soli Deo Gloria

Iztok said...

How do you call a father that tortures his own son?

How do you call a person who tortures himself?

rod said...

With all due respect to iztok, Jesus was not tortured by his Father; God did not torture Himself. Jesus was tortured by OUR sins, which he willingly chose to take upon himself, because we could not pay the price for them.

BTW, while I understand that crucifixion is a very painful method of execution, I don't believe that it played much of a part in Jesus' agony on the cross. I believe it was the guilt of sin and the abandonment of God that caused him a far greater pain than any possible physical pain.

Just one man's (hopefully informed) opinion.

D.J. said...

rod said...
"BTW, while I understand that crucifixion is a very painful method of execution, I don't believe that it played much of a part in Jesus' agony on the cross. I believe it was the guilt of sin and the abandonment of God that caused him a far greater pain than any possible physical pain."

Great observation, very true.

Soli Deo Gloria

Iztok said...

So you are saying that Jesus' crucifixion wasn't God's sacrifice to himself?

Danbo59 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danbo59 said...

It's amazing that people who insist on denying the very existence of God spend their waking days and nights hovering over this blog; amazing that they who insist on applying the laws of man to God cannot differentiate between masochism and self-sacrifice.

My great solace is that Christ's Divine Mercy stands ready to pour out on those people just as it does onto those who believe.

The first day of The Divine Mercy Novena -- which is today -- calls for the prayerful to "bring to Christ all poor sinners." That's a tall order, but definitely within the realm of possibility for the Son of God.

As we stop today to ponder the ultimate sacrifice our God made for us; as we pause to attempt to comprehend the irony that God should place Himself at the bottom of Creation and suffer the death of a criminal, let us recall that Jesus came --

1) not to call the righteous, but to call sinners and
2) for all men and women.

For Thine is the Kingdom
And the Power
And the Glory,
Now and forever. Amen.

Iztok said...

"With all due respect to iztok, Jesus was not tortured by his Father; God did not torture Himself. Jesus was tortured by OUR sins, which he willingly chose to take upon himself, because we could not pay the price for them."

How do you call people who like to take pain on itself?

How do you call fathers who allow their sons to be tortured despite the fact that they can prevent it?

Just for example: My soon to be adopted daughter just came out last night for the first time in her life that she was severely abused by her biological mother (beaten against hardwood floors, used switch so she had wells all over her body). Would I had an opportunity to prevent it I would surely do it. Then again she was (still is) a minor not an adult that wanted to endure pain on her own free will.

BTW: here is a definition: "A willingness or tendency to subject oneself to unpleasant or trying experiences." If the shoe fits. On the other hand, it seems it was just a rough weekend anyway.

Danbo59 said...

self–sac·ri·fice
Function: noun
Date: 1591
: sacrifice of oneself or one's interest for others or for a cause or ideal

Danbo59 said...

Iztok wrote, "On the other hand, it seems it was just a rough weekend anyway."

Forgive me for being crass, but that is an ignorant and hateful statement made by an ignorant and hateful person. It is purely inflammatory and it is insulting to Christians. You should have such a rough weekend.

My apologies to Jane and the other faithful of this blog, but enough is enough. Sometimes anger and intolerance are justified. Even Jesus chased the moneychangers out of the temple.

On a side note, if the only way to protect your "adopted" daughter was to stand between the whip and her and take the bruises yourself, would you have done it? Would that make you a masochist? Honestly, a third-grader can refute your nonsense.

Iztok said...

"On a side note, if the only way to protect your "adopted" daughter was to stand between the whip and her and take the bruises yourself, would you have done it? Would that make you a masochist? Honestly, a third-grader can refute your nonsense."

I would. Your god didn't. (His son was sacrificed to himself.) See the difference?

Iztok said...

"You should have such a rough weekend."

Oh, we've seen such threats delivered by your particular church in the past Danbo. If it wouldn't have lost its power I am sure it would have loved to do it again. In fact it goes so far that it protects child molesters amongst its ranks. Church that performs exorcism on mentally ill and kills them in the process.

You surely are prone to violence.

True colors always come out at the end.

But one thing you are right. I would have not killed my daughter as a sacrifice to anyone or for anything. I wouldn't even attempt to kill her to prove my loyalty to something. I am sorry I don't subscribe to forms of child abuse you so cherish.

Edie said...

Jane,

Your entry brought tears to my eyes. Seeing, feeling, understanding the suffereing of others definitely puts our own lives and trials into perspective.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter week-end with your son.

Jane Pope said...

Iztok and danbo, please stop the personal attacks. Iztok, that includes blaming danbo for everything the entire Catholic Church has ever done wrong, and saying that he cherishes child abuse. Danbo, that includes calling Iztok "ignorant and hateful."

Both of you are making interesting points that could take the discussion deeper, but the points can be made without insults.

Why is this one rule so hard to follow?

pornstudent said...

When the Jews stoned Jesus for blasphemy, Jesus defended his right to call himself God by saying we are all gods. See John 10:30-34.

Through us God experiences being Human. Through us the Universe is aware. We little gods have the ability to imagine other worlds and create them.

Iztok said...

Jane, I didn't blame Danbo for what his church does. Not at all. I've said that we've seen what his church has done in the past. I also didn't say he cherishes child abuse. I stated that his church (as institution) protects child abusers amongst its ranks. None of it has anything to do with Danbo personally.

Only thing that might be taken in such light is the last 3 sentences: "I would have not killed my daughter as a sacrifice to anyone or for anything. I wouldn't even attempt to kill her to prove my loyalty to something. I am sorry I don't subscribe to forms of child abuse you so cherish."

#1: It was reference to Judges 11:29-39

#2: was reference to Genesis 22:10

I call both of these accounts child abuse. Both accounts are cherished not only by Danbo but most (if not all) Christians.

It is child abuse to kill your own daughter. It is also child abuse to threaten your own son with a knife. I just call it what I see it. Should this be in any other book you would agree with it as well.

Gamecock said...

Today is the day to marvel at the scope of the agape love of God who knew when he created man, that in order to achieve his goal of creating sons that could inherit eternal life in fellowship with him, that he would have to lower himself and become one of us, suffer like us, shed his blood into the bloodstream of history and die, to achieve that result.

We are offered a gift today. It is our choice whether to accept God or choose to be our own God and reap the results.

Gamecock said...

Edie, Jane and what I call the "cosmic calculus" that we are incapable of understanding

There is something about Jesus's death that is the lynch pin of grace and what makes it possible for us to become heavenly creatures that can enter eternity with God. For God to achieve his goal for us, he HAD TO DO IT THIS WAY. He had to sacrifice his son and have his BLOOD enter history.

CS Lewis compares it to us choosing to become a dog to save dogs.

The love that has been shown to us is immense. We can't earn heaven. We can only accept it. God will spend eternity with those of us that want to spend it with him.

Gamecock said...

iztok, you raise a valid question

The answer lies in (1)the mystery of the trinity.

see CS Lewis's explanation in Mere Christianity, and

(2) what I call the "cosmic calculus" and its relation to God's purpose, i.e. making sons of God that are capable of inheriting eternal life, ie becoming heavenly creatures.

Its a mystery to us. But inheriting it is simple.

Just as in this life, we end up spending out time with those we want to be with and vice versa,

If we want to spend eternity with God, then we will.

It is the wanting.

Iztok said...

"Its a mystery to us."

And you are satisfied with this? My parents raised me to respect knowledge and to seek it. They raised me in a manner to not accept things on faith, only on evidence. That included lessons that came from them. They told me not to accept "because" as a valid answer but to require proper explanation. They told me to look towards rational explanations, not towards mystery answers.

I am amazed that those who think that evolution is not likely due to some probability issue have no qualms accepting that Jesus supposedly raised again. I can see few more probable answers. One that he never died at the first place (drugs and meditation are amongst things that are known to be able to reduce breathing and heartbeat to practically non detectable levels). Second is that followers stole his body during the night. What is more probable? That a nature goes out of its course or that man would tell a lie? We haven't seen nature go out of her course in our lifetime but we have seen plenty of people lie. Does anyone thing "back then" was different? The odds are that reporters of miracles told a bold lie.

It is a fact of history and of current events that human beings exaggerate, misinterpret, or wrongly remember events. They have also fabricated pious fraud. Most believers in a religion understand this when examining the claims of other religions.

David Hume wrote: "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle unless that testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish." Carl Sagan liked to say, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Such evidence is exactly what we do not have with the resurrection of Jesus.

There are more then four descriptions of this event in the Bible. None of them match. One can't write a narrative out of these stories without having significant issues or omitting facts to fit the story.

Questions to ask:

What time did the women visit the tomb?

Who were the women?

What was their purpose?

Was the tomb open when they arrived?

Who was at the tomb when they arrived?

Where were these messengers situated?

What did the messenger(s) say?

Did the women tell what happened?

When Mary returned from the tomb, did she know Jesus had been resurrected?

When did Mary first see Jesus?

Could Jesus be touched after the resurrection?

After the women, to whom did Jesus first appear?

Where did Jesus first appear to the disciples?

Did the disciples believe the two men?

What happened at that first appearance?

Did Jesus stay on earth for more than a day?

Where did the ascension take place?

Things just simply don't match. If witnesses would tell such a diverse story in front of the court we would definitely know today that something is fishy (no pun intended) in their stories and we wouldn't accept them. I am not asking you to believe me, just read your Bible (and 5 or so accounts of resurrection in it) and make your own notes (answer questions above or make your own narrative) and make your own conclusion. If you find the answers satisfactory so be it. (Then I actually have a bridge to sell you.)

Gamecock said...

iztok

I am satisfied with the evidence of the Bible, the confession of the Church, and my experience of the Holy Spirit.

The answers to most of your questions are in the Bible. Some answers we cannot know. God gets to be God.

Do you have a dog? You are real even if the dog doesn't have all the answers about iztok.

Is that bridge a toll bridge? What is its annual income?

smile

In Christ

Iztok said...

"Do you have a dog? You are real even if the dog doesn't have all the answers about iztok."

I have a dog. Of course I am real from the position of my dog. He can see me, he can touch me, he can smell me, I get to walk him, he gets food and water from me. Further more, I would appear just as real to each and every dog there is. There would be no confusion if I exist or not to any dog who gets to meet me. However, I am certain that dog doesn't see me as any supernatural being at all. To him I am real because I am real not because he imagines me so. I don't appear supernatural bending any other thing he experiences. I am just as real as the sofa he lays on right now. I bet he doesn't attribute any supernatural to the sofa either.

See the difference?

As far as the "answers are in the Bible" goes... sure they are, they just are different answers to the same question. Let's face it, you can not reconcile the Easter story in the Bible and that doesn't seem to bother you. But that doesn't make it any more real. It is like we had two accounts to the same car accident and one would claim it happened in Charlotte and other in Toledo. Do you still think this is these are accounts to the same car accident? I don't, you seems to.

"Some answers we cannot know."

That doesn't mean we will not be able to answer them in the future. It also doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to find the answers. Religion tries to prevent inquiries instead of encouraging them. Institutional religion is even worse in that regard.

Gamecock said...

Blind dogs can't see you. What do you look like to an ant? Can you see wind? No, but you can see what it does.

Gamecock said...

Psalms 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom...

Who founded most of the colleges in Europe and the US?

Churches.

Iztok said...

"Blind dogs can't see you. What do you look like to an ant? Can you see wind? No, but you can see what it does."

You are right. However I didn't limit myself to sight. I included several other senses.

You are also right I can see what wind does. I can even measure the effects of the wind. Now tell us what your god does that we can not attribute to anything else and will not be able to attribute to anything else and that we can measure?

Mind you not all things have a cause unless we can demonstrate it and if you claim all things have a cause then all things have to have a cause no exceptions.

Iztok said...

"Psalms 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom..."

Except billions of people in this world don't fear your lord. (In fact more people don't fear your lord then those who do.) Plus why would you fear someone who you claim is love?

"Who founded most of the colleges in Europe and the US?"

What is this supposed to prove? Science progressed way faster in secular world then in religious one. You can look around and compare more secular society and their science progress compared to theocracies of the world.

Gamecock said...

iztok

I am very impressed with the great faith you have in your religion.

CS Lewis's "Mere Christianity" answers your questions better than I can. The book is not long. Read it and get back to me.

Iztok said...

"I am very impressed with the great faith you have in your religion."

Just for the record I don't have faith nor religion.

I am as religious as bald is a hair color.

Iztok said...

I've read that particular book and don't find he addressed issues properly. CS Lewis was simply an apologist that tried hard to reconcile what can't be reconciled and as many others invented new definitions in order to address the issues.

Good example is re-definition of word wine by many churches that it merely was "grape juice". Reality check is in order.

Gamecock said...

Iztok

You do have a religion, and it requires much more faith than mine!

And your evangelical zeal approaches that of the Apostle Paul and Billy Graham combined!

Iztok said...

Gamecock, please tell us what is your definition of religion and definition of faith?

So we can discuss.

Iztok said...

Gamecock, also, there is a subtle difference and misconception. I think you are saying that I believe there is no god. While I am trying to tell you that I don't believe there is god. Perhaps subtle but important difference.

Gamecock said...

Iztok

You defined your faith when you said:

"While I am trying to tell you that I don't believe there is god."

I am assuming that you believe what you said. I know you can't prove it.

Iztok said...

Gamecock, you are avoiding telling me your definition of religion and faith. I guess you don't have one or change it to fit certain needs at times?

Please tell us what is your definition of religion and what is your definition of faith.

I said "I don't believe there is god" I didn't say "I believe there is no god."

Please notice the difference. One involves belief, other doesn't.

It is like saying bald is a hair color.

Gamecock said...

Iztok

Ever heard this famous story that Paul Harvey often told about the man and the birds?

excerpt:

""If only I could be a bird," he thought to himself, "and mingle with them and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to safe, warm...to the safe warm barn. But I would have to be one of them so they could see, and hear and understand." At that moment the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sounds of the wind. And he stood there listening to the bells - Adeste Fidelis - listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. And he sank to his knees in the snow."

http://www.tyny.com/christmasstory.html

Iztok said...

Gamecock, can you tell us your definition of religion and your definition of faith?

Or is it too much to ask?

Gamecock said...

Well, Iztok, I guess one of us should answer questions, so let it be me.

I am using the word religion in our conversation interchangeably with faith and beleif system.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Iztok, are you searching for God?

Iztok said...

Here is what I consider as definitions:

Religion: Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.

Faith: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

So no I am not religious nor have faith.

"Iztok, are you searching for God?"

Yes and no. I see no need for a deity (god or gods). We can explain things without invoking supernatural. Now for the things we can't explain yet I am sure at one point we will have a natural explanation in the same way we now have a natural explanation for fire (we as humans used to attribute this to various gods). As far as the yes part if you refer to "seeking god" as in seeking knowledge of things we can't explain yet (commonly known as god of gaps) then answer is yes.

Hope this answers your question.

It makes me wonder why would someone have a need or want to seek god at the first place instead of seeking right answers to the problem? I.e. why would someone say answer to where fire comes from is certain god vs. finding true answer behind origin of fire?

Difference is that one curtails seeking knowledge (it is much simpler to say "god did it") and other encourages seeking knowledge.

Gamecock said...

American Easter numbers

http://race42008.com/2008/03/22/a-christian-nation/

pornstudent said...

Often I walk in Boyce Park where there are many birds, deer, turtles and other animals. I enjoy hearing the wind blow through the trees and birds singing. There's a Christian school nearby that plays some Christian hymns on it's electronic bells every hour. I can't hear the birds singing over their noise.

Iztok said...

From the link Gamecock posted: "over 3 in 4 Americans believe that Christ rose from the dead:"

Many of your kids believe in Easter Bunny as well. What do we know about Easter Bunny? We know it is not real.

Most Christians tell kids to believein Easter Bunny, Santa and God. Turns out later that kids were told a fib by their own parents at least in regards to the first two, yet some still believe their parents about the last one? Track record should tell them different story.

Believing is not the same as knowing.

pornstudent said...

Jesus said only a few are chosen to enter the Kingdom of God. So, are the chosen maybe 3% of the population.

Think about it ... How many "Christians" do you know who are giving all their possessions away as Jesus commanded? I'd say not even close to 3% do. I don't think they really believe.

Since there are so many evangelicals, fundamentalists and Catholics, they can't be the few who are the real Christians. Maybe the real Christians don't even call themselves Christian. Maybe the chosen few were already raptured during Jesus' generation as he said they would be.

Gamecock said...

You could be right o one with the vile name

Gamecock said...

Iztok

http://www.townhall.com/TalkRadio/Show.aspx?RadioShowID=22&ContentGuid=05432cd3-98cd-4468-9c54-9845e901d470

http://www.tkc.edu/debate/

Iztok said...

Gamecock, do you consider yourself Christian?

Are you a True Christian?

Do you love Jesus?

Is Jesus your Personal Lord and Savior?

How much do you love Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit.

Are you Spirit filled?

Do you display any of the fruits, love, joy, peace, happiness, etc. of the Spirit as described in Gal. 5:22-23?

Do you believe that it is the Word of God?

Is it infallible?

Is the Bible as appropriate for today as it was two thousand years ago?

Iztok said...

"Do you believe that it is the Word of God? "

Obviously this should be "Do you believe that bible is the Word of God?"

Gamecock said...

Iztok

yes

yes

yes

a lot

I have been filled with the Spirit at least two times that I can identify.

yes

The Bible is the infallible Word of God.

yes

asc said...

I was up late and looking for an interesting read, and came upon this blog and subsequent post, which seems to have some very spirited debate. I read pretty much everyone's comments...

In getting at the heart of Iztok's questions to Gamecock, what forces us to ask certain questions is often times our want for truth. Iztok seems like a reasonable person who has done a fair share of research and seeks to know truth. The problem with our searching is that right when we feel like we might be there, what we come to is a fork in the road with many more options or possibilities. A good verse that rang true to me was Ecclesiastes 1:18, which reads, "For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief."

I believe that it is our tragic place in this earth, born to sin, seeking truth, and able to find knowledge (Enlightenment and reasoning take hold), that we can often times outthink ourselves, because we now NEED physical evidence to believe in ANYTHING. There is evidence of God, as people can have near-death experiences and see Heaven or an angel or even hear God, but someone else will say that it didn't happen, even though there are MANY cases which seem awfully similar. There is evidence of literal medical miracles, ie. one day someone having cancer and the next day not (usually prayer is involved), but it can written off as an unexplained scientific mystery because no one saw God literally fix the ailing individual. There is evidence of prophecies in the Bible which have come true, like the re-creation of the Jewish state (see last chapter of Isaiah, though everyone probably knew that), and the turmoil surrounding Israel (speaks volumes to me!), but some see it as just another day in history in a messed up part of the world.

I could go on, but I guess the point is that until God LITERALLY and PHYSICALLY shows up and shakes hands, takes pictures, and signs autographs, many people can write it off, and reason such "coincidental" occurences are not proof enough (again, thank you Enlightenment and scientific method!). Without literally believing the Bible and the Word of God, such evidences are simply not enough to point out truth. But for those who do subscribe to it's teaching, and do believe, it is as plain as day, the hand of God at work.

So recapping, we have wisdom enough to search for truth and reason it's validity, but as we gain more wisdom and knowledge, we end up with more grief? And we don't get things right? Why? We can do such great things with the power of our minds! To me, it is simply meant to happen this way, because the Word says it. To everyone else without faith, our fallen nature is revealed in the greatest possible way: we actually can end up reasoning ourselves to death when the answer may be right in front of us, authored, hand delivered, and signed by the Creator.

Concerning the claims of Christ and truth in this life, the greatest evidence to me is found in Matthew 5:11-12, Jesus stating: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Anyone who is truly honest with themselves can see the path that this great country (like many before, Rome, et. al) has taken is headed to the dumper in terms of moral decay, which ends up killing all great societies. Witness HOW MUCH MORE Christians are persecuted in this "progressive" day and age than in decades past (centuries and milleniums past were pretty bad too!), and how DIVISIVE morality and religion is in terms of everyone getting along peacefully. The Bible says near the end that we will all face greater persecution, but I guess that is our cross to carry.

I will close with this. If we have seen a definition of faith provided earlier, that is exactly what is missing. Faith is personal, and it is tough for most christians because God usually doesn't ring our cell phones and speak to us explicitly. For non-christians, one path that can be taken on this fork full of opportunities is to seek God, where reasoning and "progressing" society encourages us not to go. Jesus said in Mark 10:15, "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not recieve the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." That's just it, the Word says that we don't need J.D.'s, M.D.'s or Ph.D.'s, all we need is the faith and understanding of a mere child. Funny thing is, that's the hardest part.

He is risen...

pornstudent said...

A child wouldn't be reading the Bible. They'd rather go out into nature, explore, play and learn. It's when adults teach them about the Bible and God that things get confusing.

My understanding of existence is easy ... I am animal. I am nature. I surrender to what I am, such as getting old and dying. I let myself enjoy these moments of existence. Not only don't I need a higher education, I don't need the Bible and the concept of God.

Iztok said...

Gamecock, cool. I am glad you think you are.

"Therefore by their fruits shall you know them. Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to me in that day Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by your name and by your name cast out demons, and by your name do many mighty works? And I will profess to them, I never knew you. Go away from me you who work evil." Matt 7:22-23

"Give to everyone that asketh thee; and from him that taketh away thy goods ask not again." Luke 6:30

"Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." Matt. 5:42

Luke 6:35 sums it all up...

"But love your enemies, and do them good, and lend never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be Sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil."

So here is for a test to find out if you are really a True Christian or just a fake one.

Can I have the deed to your house and car and all your savings (including 401k, IRA etc...)?

Once I am in possession of the above we can proceed to second part of your test to determine if you are a True Christian as you claim you are.

Gamecock said...

Iztok

There are many things I don't beleive in that others believe. I don't spend all my time obcessing over them.

It is obvious that God is dealing with you and that you are resisting him. God will not be mocked. If you and PStudent insist on being your own Gods, then you will reap the whirlwind.

Today would be a wonderful day for you to surrender to that still small voice and claim eternal life with the Lord who loves you so much that he came to Earth and became man and died that you might have same. But Up from the grave he arose!

Rather than try and talk me into Hell, which you can't do as I am in God's hands, why not surrender today in Faith?

God, not Iztok is my judge.

Christ the Lord is Risen today!

Gamecock said...

asc

ditto

Iztok said...

Gamecock, I guess you are a fake Christian as I've thought. I am not mocking god or testing god. I am testing you. You've failed simple first part of the test for a True Christian. It is obvious that you don't subscribe to Bible being appropriate today (unless it fits your particular message, you pick and choose).

QED

Gamecock said...

Iztok

No matter what you conclude about South Carolina roosters, there either is a God to whom you must account or there is not.

You face that question alone, whether Gamecock does or does not meet any particulat test will matter not a whit.

I will try and make thru the day under Iztok's judgment...

woe is me

asc said...

Gamecock, what was the ditto for? I am a christian, and might be late to my bible based church because I am responding to this again. The point of my post was that reasoning (Iztok and Pornstudent) can and usually will lead PEOPLE away from God. And that's sad, because it's often flawed logic which causes people to reason God out of the equation. People can accept what they'd like, if they think they're an animal or whatever, but you and I gamecock, we're on the same page, that we were created by a loving God, who gave his son to be our saviour. I feel especially sad for those who don't ask questions and seek truth, and are accepting of other's flawed logic as it applies to their lives. I applaud Iztok for at least searching in this area...

Gamecock said...

ASC

I agree with all you say, including that we agree that it is a great sign that Iztok is obviously responding to the void that only God can fill and the still small voice that beckons him.

I attended the early service.

Praise the Lord. He is Risen.

Iztok said...

"because it's often flawed logic which causes people to reason God out of the equation."

Flawed logic? Care to point it out? Last time I've checked it was the other way around.

Also, I don't consider people who willingly not follow what Jesus commanded True Christians.

Gamecock: There are hundreds of available gods. Question is, do you follow the right one? Considering majority of people on this planet think you are not I think odds are against you.

Gamecock said...

Iztok

I have concluded that you are not God, and am continually fascinated at your self-appointed position of the judge of who are "true" Christians.

Ever read Dante's Divine Comedy? Check out Purgatorio levels and see also CS Lewis's Screwtape Letters. Several of those letters were written for you.

pornstudent said...

Gamecock,
If you think about what Iztok is saying, you will likely come to a better understanding of the truth and your life and religion will be less of a contradiction. Of course you shouldn't care what Iztok and I think of you; it's the integrity of your life that's important.

Gamecock said...

I do not oppose thinking about what people say, for gamecocks

Or for presmptuous young people that choose vile on-line names.

Iztok said...

Gamecock:

I am not judging you. I am merely stating the fact that you do not walk the walk, you merely talk the talk. I am just pointing out that until you fulfill what Jesus instructed you can't consider yourself a True Christian and any attempt of doing so is deception. You do know what Jesus tells about those who try do deceive.

How you live your life from now on is up to you just that now you can't pretend any more that you are what you think you were as until you do what Jesus told you you are not. You are a pretender and now you know you are. You can't escape this knowledge.

Denying Jesus is what you are doing. Something you are accusing me.

Gamecock said...

Iztok

Do you know me? You presume to know that I am not perfect, and that therefore I can't be a Christian.

Gamecock said...

Iztok

I am not the issue. So get off it.

The issue is the truth about God, the topic ofthe blog, as if!

So get off me.

'k?

pornstudent said...

I'd rather not die, but it's inevitable. After I accept this truth, I'm able to see other truths.

I see that all the stuff in my brain that seems so important, isn't really. All my passions, loves and fears end when I die. Knowing this helps me to not take myself too seriously.

There isn't a big meaning and purpose in life to understand. So, I've quit looking for them. Often I ask myself, "What do you want to do with this time on Earth?" My answer might be, "I want to find a warm, sunny spot on this winter day. If there isn't one near by, I can sit by the fire."

asc said...

Sorry gamecock, simple misunderstanding, thought your "ditto" comment insinuated you lumping me in with the other folks debating you. No worries there.

Iztok, flawed logic, needing physical, measureable and tangible evidence to believe that anything is real. And yes, pardon me for saying, human logic is flawed logic. So much so, that no matter how much evidence anyone comes up with, people will have their "logic" to stand on because they have not seen or measured an event or experience, were not alive when Jesus was around, and thus do not believe, or simply stand aside neutral, which in God's book is choosing not to believe. Jesus mentioned how blessed people will not see and yet believe (faith builder!)...I am sure you the verses I am talking about, because you seem to know your way around the scripture.

The Enlightenment, which has shaped the way people think so much, that nothing is true unless it can be scientifically proven. If morals are not encoded in our DNA, then there is no such thing as finality of right and wrong, they say. This leads to the reasoning that what we take as truth now, such as morals or knowledge, is not truth to others, and thus it is reduced to relativity, subject to personal choice and culture, making the now insignificant, and Christ unnecessary or simply set aside. Rational thought can take people in circles if they are not careful. Kind of a paralyzing deal, and quite frankly a sad place to be, because I would be a very sad if I had nothing to look forward to, nothing to believe in, and questions in this world that cannot be answered in TOTAL PHYSICAL EVIDENCE, save God showing up at one's house and talking to you personally.

As I said earlier, Enlightenment teaches us to think ourselves to death, and to accept everything as theory, when low and behold salvation and God are right there, as tangible as can be in this strange world that we know VERY LITTLE ABOUT. If you died today, that faith in proof and theory might not help you.

And it's too bad that many people think they are born of monkeys and not made from a loving God, unique on this world, with a purpose. It's the flawed logic of Enlightenment thought and evolution which honestly takes more faith to believe in than the very belief that is in question in this blog.

I am going to enjoy Easter with my family now, and hopefully see Davidson take it to Georgetown. God bless you all, I hope we all can learn something from each other in a meaningful dialogue, as opposed to attacking each other as previous posts I've read have suggested. God is working here, I see it, though many might not...

pornstudent said...

When our brains rot, the memories, emotions and personalities that are inside our brains cease to exist. Dead people lying in graves don't talk, move and think. Accepting this truth is difficult because we don't want to die. Yet, it's easy, because it doesn't require any faith or explanation.

Iztok said...

Gamecock: "You presume to know that I am not perfect, and that therefore I can't be a Christian."

No, I don't presume to know. I know you are on purpose denying Jesus' teachings and instructions. Not because your ignorance but because of your deliberate actions.

Honestly I don't care as you are the one who has to live life knowing that you are deliberately not following what Jesus tells you to do. I am not the one living life pretending, you are.

Enjoy.

Iztok said...

asc: "And yes, pardon me for saying, human logic is flawed logic."

I am referring to a logic defined in mathematical sense. This is human logic. Please show how it is flawed.

Gamecock said...

Iztok said: "No, I don't presume to know. I know you are on purpose denying Jesus' teachings and instructions. Not because your ignorance but because of your deliberate actions."

The evidence that Christ rose from the dead:(eyewitnesses, esp those that went on to die as martyrs, history).

Anti-intellectual scoffers that make things up bore, bore me.

The "evidence" that gamecock denies Jesus's teachings and instructions:

a declaration for Iztok unaccompanied by any quotes from gamecock or any other evidence.

Iztok "just knows" (mystic mind reader?)

Izzie, let's resume this dialogue when you decide to be a serious person. maybe when you get mugged by reality 5-10 years after the brainwashing you are or have received from university.

Iztok said...

Gamecock, you were asked series of questions on which you answered positively. They you were asked to follow Luke 6:30 and give what you were asked. Which you failed to do as instructed by Jesus. On which you were told that you willingly are not following Jesus' teachings.

Simple as that.

pornstudent said...

Gamecock,
If you don't have the faith to follow Jesus' teachings as told in the Bible, you can say, "Yes, Iztok, you're right. I just don't have the faith now to do all that Jesus asked me to. Maybe, in time, I will." You'd probably feel less like a hypocrite if you sat out those "All to Jesus I surrender" hymns.

D.J. said...

Iztok,

You’re diverting the discussion from the validity of belief in God to an ad hominem attack on Gamecock because he/she (sorry if you’ve told us which, Gamecock) wouldn’t fork over his/her house and IRA to you. Perhaps Gamecock is like me and owns neither a house nor an IRA, but that’s beside the point. To interpret Scripture correctly, you have to understand it in its context. For example, if I hand you a stack of 100 pieces of paper and a stamp and tell you simply, “Stamp every piece of paper,” what am I telling you to do? If you remove that command from context it might appear that I have commanded you to stamp every piece of paper you come across for the rest of your life. Obviously, though, the context of the situation informs you that I was commanding you to stamp all 100 of the pieces of paper that I had just given you. Studying Scripture is the same way, and you and I have been through this discussion countless times before. A committed Christian must diligently search and study the Scriptures to find what exactly God is saying, rather than simply taking verses out of context to suit our purposes and our whims.

So, what context is important in this case? First, consider cultural context. Jesus was speaking to an ancient culture in which begging and almsgiving was a common everyday occurrence. There was no support structure in place to assist the blind, crippled, etc., who could not be productive members of an agriculture-driven society. They couldn’t even sell themselves as indentured servants to support themselves, because they were physically incapable of work. Thus, they were quite literally professional beggars. The gospels are filled with descriptions of Jesus and the disciples running into these people. Thus, when Jesus said, “Give to anyone who asks/begs of you (the Greek iaitounti carries a connotation of begging, which is reflected in the translation of Luke 6:30 in the ESV),” his audience would have instantly had their minds drawn to the destitute beggars they passed every day while seeing to their business. Thus, context informs us that this passage is commanding us to give generously and sacrificially to help the needy.

Textual context is also importance here. What is Jesus talking about in Luke 6, not just Luke 6:30? This passage is part of a discourse on showing love, even when love is very difficult. Jesus tells his followers to love their enemies and pray for their persecutors, a very lofty calling. He then tells them in verse 30 to give generously of what they have from a heart of love. Is giving always loving? Not exactly. For example, my church is located in the poorest zip code in the city of Louisville. Coming into contact with people who live their entire lives drunk of their rockers or high on who-knows-what is a weekly occurrence. These people are unable to function in society because of their addictions and as a result are dirt poor and living in government housing, if not homeless altogether. Obviously, we want to follow the command of Christ and help these people. However, my church has a policy to not give away cash to anyone. This cash would 99% of the time be used to buy the very thing that would fuel their problems, and thus it would be unloving for us to give in that way, for that would make us disobedient to the contextual meaning of Christ’s command. Thus, we give away boxes of food instead. Sometimes I’ll drive people down to the local gas station and put gas in their tank, if that is what they need. Many times, upon helping someone like that, I find that their sob story is untrue and they really just wanted the quick cash. Other times, I find that I was genuinely able to help someone in need. The point is, if I were interpreting Scripture sans context as you have here, I would just throw cash at everyone who asked. However, the textual context indicates that doing so would actually be contrary to what Jesus is commanding here, so I seek to give in other, more productive and loving ways.

That brings us to your demand of Gamecock, Iztok. Now, as I said, I have no IRA or savings, but if I did, would my faith in Christ demand I give it to you per your last request? No. For one, all I know of you really is a name on a webpage – I don’t know you, I don’t know your situation, all I know of Iztok is what you type here on the blog. You could be a 75 year old woman in Panama City for all I know. Thus, not knowing your situation, I don’t know whether cutting you a fat check would actually be loving or not, and thus I don’t know if I am being a responsible steward of the material possessions God has blessed me with (after all, every dollar I give to a charlatan is one that I can’t use to provide for my wife – another command of God – or to give to someone who really is in need). Biblically, the way that you should find help is to seek out a church in your neighborhood who can meet you face to face and determine how best to help you. After all, blogger.com isn’t exactly in the realm of the cultural context in which Jesus addressed his comments.

So there you go. It is crucial that we examine Scripture in its context to understand the teachings it presents. After all, the demands of following Christ are hard enough (impossible, in fact, by human strength) without us laying extra demands on the backs of believers (as the Pharisees were so fond of doing). If you’re really as concerned as you claim to be with logic and evidence, then get your hands dirty seeking to really understand what Christianity really is and really teaches, rather than painting a caricature of faith that bears no resemblance to what Christians actually believe and attacking that.

And happy Resurrection Day to all a day late!

Soli Deo Gloria

Iztok said...

DJ, so when Jesus told to sell all your possessions and give money away then follow him he didn't really mean that part either?

D.J. said...

Iztok said...
"DJ, so when Jesus told to sell all your possessions and give money away then follow him he didn't really mean that part either?"

Did you really read what I wrote? I never said that Jesus didn't mean what he said. I said that its important for us to understand what exactly he meant when he said it. Sometimes that involves some intellectual gruntwork, which I have attempted to do with your question. If you have a specific problem with my exegesis, please tell me, but quickly and cleverly misrepresenting what I took a lot of time to say doesn't help our discussion at all.

Soli Deo Gloria

Gamecock said...

p**nstudent

I don't "feel" like a hypocrite. This blog is not about me, so get off it.

Thanks DJ, and its never too late to celebrate the Risen Lord! P.S. Iztok did not read what you wrote. In the law we call the objection to his follow up, "asked and answered", to prevent witness badgering.

pornstudent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pornstudent said...

Thousands of people die each day from starvation and malnutrition. Millions die each year from malaria that could have been prevented if they had mosquito nets. We've seen the commercials on TV begging viewers to help starving children.

What Jesus asked of the multitudes who were listening to him is hard to do. Few of them and few Christians today are able to do what he asked. To say, as DJ did, that we've taken Jesus' words out of context is an excuse to keep the televisions, CDs, air conditions, vacations, etc..

Whether Jesus even existed or not doesn't change the fact that billions of people have more than they need while others starve. Iztok and I think Jesus addressed this and told his followers to sell all their belongings and give the money to the poor. DJ doesn't think Jesus meant this for modern day Christians and Gamecock calls those who challenge him brainwashed.

D.J. said...

Pornstudent said…
“What Jesus asked of the multitudes who were listening to him is hard to do. Few of them and few Christians today are able to do what he asked. To say, as DJ did, that we've taken Jesus' words out of context is an excuse to keep the televisions, CDs, air conditions, vacations, etc…”

No question, what Jesus called (and still calls) his followers to do is hard. Indeed, none of us are able to follow his commands save for the grace of God being manifested in our lives, hopefully in increasing measure. Am I as generous as I should be? No – I’ll be honest and admit that is a struggle I face. However, I don’t think you’ve got much of a leg to stand on when you say (with no evidence, just an assertion – why not interact with the text and demonstrate to me specifically why my interpretation is flawed?) that I’m simply making an excuse so I can keep my TV. I spend a great deal of time seeking to understand the commands of Christ and how I can best live them out. That can be a complicated task. Let me explain with the example you gave…

Pornstudent said…
“I think Jesus addressed this and told his followers to sell all their belongings and give the money to the poor. DJ doesn't think Jesus meant this for modern day Christians and Gamecock calls those who challenge him brainwashed.”
Actually, Jesus never told his followers that, he told one follower that – the man we know simply as the rich young ruler. This man was obsessed with himself, yet thought that he was perfectly keeping God’s commands. Jesus pointed out his dedication to self above God and his failure to keep the law by laying his finger right where this man’s great problem was – his love of his status and his money. This specific challenge was not given to all believers (though God may lead others to do that same thing), just this man. Let’s have a fuller view of what God expects us to do with our money. Proverbs 13:22 indicates that it is the mark of a good and wise man to provide for his children by passing on wealth to them. One of Jesus’ followers, Joseph of Arimathea, was a very wealthy man. However, that same Joseph gave his own tomb for Christ to be buried in, giving Jesus the great cultural honor of a rich man’s burial. Abraham, the “father of faith,” was an incredibly wealthy and influential man, as was Job. God gives to each of us differently, and he asks different things of us accordingly.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times – this is the danger of ignoring the context of a passage and pulling it out as ammunition to slam someone else. You heard that Jesus said, “sell everything you have,” and so you tell people that if they don’t do that then they really aren’t Christians – that is preaching ignorance, pure and simple. I can never tell another Christian that they ought to sell off this or that and give the money away – that is between them and God. I can only tell them to treat all that they have as a blessing from God, yet also as expendable should he lead us to give it all away. I seek to have this attitude in my own life, and though I’m not perfect I do believe that I am improving in this area by the grace of God.

The great irony is that you are telling two people whom you have never even met that they’re doing a crappy job following the tenets of a faith that you don’t believe in and have admitted before you don’t know as much about as we do. That reeks of arrogance. If you are going to claim that my understanding of Jesus’ specific commands is a faulty mental construction I use to conceal my own greed, then you should be able to demonstrate where exactly I am erring in my interpretation of the text. You’ve not even attempted to do so, thus your critiques don’t hold a lot of weight with me.

Soli Deo Gloria

pornstudent said...

It's easy to criticize a faith I'm not trying to keep. But, I'd ask the same question of atheists who say they love people, "If you love people, why do you spend money on air conditioning while they are starving?" I'd tell them they really don't love people as they say they do. Maybe I'm arrogant, but I want them to be honest. They can say, "Yes, I should give the money I spend on air conditioning to buy food for the starving." Or, "I really don't love people all that much. I'd rather be cool in the summer than feed a starving child." Myself, I let the children starve. I don't claim to have instructions from God telling me to love.

Jane Pope said...

There are some interesting comments being made here. I especially thank d.j. for his thoughtful remarks on reading Scripture in context and Iztok and pornstudent for pushing Christians to live up to their values (that is one of the benefits of having non-Christians take part in the conversation).

Again, though, I remind everyone to avoid making the arguments personal. The purpose of this blog is neither to insult believers nor to convert nonbelievers.

Thank you.

Gamecock said...

Jane

To me, you are a spiritual giant, and I thank God that I was led to know you and learn from you. You are always in my prayers.