God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways

His thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not ours.[i]  Lean not to your own understanding.[ii]  God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.[iii] The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the glory of God in the face of Christ.[iv] These are only a few of the many scriptures Christians use when reason runs dry, when there is no reason for a specific belief, when core beliefs are diametrically and demonstrably opposed to known truth or when they are logically backed into a corner.  It’s a dilemma of one’s own making.

There are many such verses and I am on the receiving end of these almost everyday because I am in regular dialogue with (usually Evangelical and often Fundamentalist) Christians about my own journey, the robustness of the tenets of their faith and all the assumptions that go along with faith.  Just yesterday it was Matthew 11: 25.

“I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”

A few days ago, it was this one from a friend:

“At the risk of ripping out an over-abused point of Scripture, I’ll say that if there is a God who created the universe, then that God would be supra-logical, that is to say beyond logic.”

Not long ago, I had this one hurled at me, perhaps the granddaddy of them all, the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 2. It concludes with this gem, the idea that I do not grasp God’s supernatural logic because I am in another class of human being, those without the Spirit of God, perhaps the most arrogant and discriminatory of religious claims I have ever faced, delivered straight-faced without a second thought:

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord 
so as to instruct him?’  But we have the mind of Christ.”

I had initially intended to embed this discussion within another post, Hell, No! (coming soon) but the more I wrote, the more it took on a life of its own and I realized it needs its own rebuttal.  It comes up very often in discussions about the legitimacy of eternal torment.  It also often comes up when things don’t go the way Christians thought they would, when prayers aren’t answered as expected, generally when all kinds of bad or unexpected things happen.  I have a number of things to say about it.

Context

Context is sometimes a problem with the verses above, but not always.  Sometimes the bible does explicitly seem to condemn critical thinking and reason and in some cases, like Matthew 11, actually values the mental simplicity of infants over wisdom and intelligence because infants are open and will truly believe anything. This is how we must come to the Christian Faith (and it is also a convenient and frequent excuse for ignorance and not educating oneself). In some cases though these verses are just plain taken out of context.  Consider the passage from Isaiah 55.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord”

On the face, this looks like it could possibly be used to confound those who would restrict the plans of God to logic and reason.  But consider the entire passage, which puts things into some perspective:

Call upon him while He is near
Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the Lord,
And he will have compassion on him
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon
For my thoughts are not your thoughts

Nor are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord

It is clearly making reference to God’s unending mercy, not his unending wrath. The point here is not God’s suggestion that we suspend the use of reason and logic, but rather it is a testimony to unfathomable virtue! Those who are inclined to use this verse in an attempt to confound logical arguments use it incorrectly. They are not using it to make a point about the mercy of God, but to point out that we simply are too low, too primitive and unrefined, fallen, not spiritually awake or quickened to understand the mind and designs of God. Note that the appeal to the mercy this passage extols unfolds using reason and logic.

Even Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:27 is not making the argument that we should not rely on our reasoning faculties.  After the infamous “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise,” he gives his rationale; “so that no one may boast before him.”  One would have expected something else entirely if Paul had meant by this verse to nullify critical thought.  Again, he uses reason to make his point.

Appeals to Reason

What is the first chapter of 1 Corinthians if not an intricately constructed reasonable argument?  How then can Paul be asking us to suspend reason?  This passage is not an attempt to suspend reason, but to lay out a different, more radical rationale for his preaching, confounding what people might have expected.  But he does so using reason.

How clear is it, by use of reason, that the writer of Isaiah believes God’s mercy is unfathomable?  What a marvelous If-Then statement the writer of Proverbs 3:5 provides in the context of, and immediately after asking us not to lean on our own understanding:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
[If] in all your ways submit to him,
[Then] and he will make your paths straight.

As it is in every case, the exhortation by the religious (and this is true of any worldview, not just Judeo-Christianity) to suspend logic because God’s ways are not ours or any such argument, is itself an appeal to reason!  Even the much –loved and oft-cited (incorrectly) Pascal’s Wager (If you believe you lose nothing and gain everything, if you do not believe you lose everything), arguably the first defense of hedging one’s bets, requires the inadequacy of reason as one of its explicit assumptions (click the link and look at point #3), but then uses reason and logic to make its point.

There is no possible world where using reason to ask someone to suspend reason in accepting a statement then made from reason makes any sense at all.  That is, unless that last statement is logical gobbledygook that is simply to be accepted blindly.  Who would knowingly do such a thing and still be considered cogent?

What’s Good For The Goose…

The suspension of reason works both ways.  Implicit in the requirement to suspend reason is the idea that we cannot know God’s loftiest ideals, designs and plans.  Fair enough, but I have a question.  Why then should anyone believe that you have the inside scoop on God’s plans and ideals, that God should be trusted blindly? If God’s plans are so much higher than ours, then how is it that you have any idea of God’s plans?  Why should I be listening to you telling me what God wants?

“Ah,” you might say… “We have the Bible, the word of God to guide us!”  Well, first, now we’re back to relying on reason.  It requires reason to read and comprehend, so the argument is lost there.  Second, even in the bible there is no schematic for some alternate form of thinking that would supersede reason.  Oh, there are plenty of examples of what we now would call irrational or perhaps less offensively and more politically correct, “cultural” commandments and commands, precepts and lines of thinking, but those are not justified by some alternate reality of cognition.

Perhaps it is the Spirit, as Paul says, that only those believers with the Spirit know or understand the mind and plans of God. Perhaps the workings of the “spirit” of believers is the alternate reality superseding reason.  What is the mechanism for that?  Feeling?  Is there some spiritual structure inside you that works alongside or even separate from your brain?  How does it work?  How does it communicate with you in ways that are different from anyone else’s intuition, giving you a sense of certitude that what you’re feeling or thinking is divine?  It can be asserted all day long, but can it be supported or backed up with anything?  Can that be done?  Can anybody even explain it?  “No,” you might say!  “It’s the realm of the Spirit and above logic and explanation!” Yet to maintain the rationale for the existence of such a device you use reason.  Well, at that point there is nowhere to go.  “The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.”[v]

Third, how do you know the bible is guiding you?  We are told in that Bible a number of times that God sends delusion, and especially in 2 Thessalonians that God intends to mislead people specifically so that they will believe a lie!  We are also told in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that Satan also deludes us:

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the glory of God in the face of Christ”

As Ebon Muse points out, the Koran also says that God leads people to delusion and asks how you know whether you are one of the deluded or not?  What if Allah or Shiva is the true God and Christianity is the delusion God created so that you would believe a lie? Or what if Christianity is true and Islam is the delusion God created to deceive infidels and prodigals? Who can know, who can say without appeal to reason?

Many Evangelicals and Fundamentalists themselves believe that God deceives in asserting that He created the fossils simply to make it appear as if the earth was old and that it was created with history.  How can anyone be held responsible for not choosing correctly when God’s ways are not only incomprehensible but when he himself admittedly deludes people and allows them to be deluded? (see also 1 Kings 22:23, 2 Chronicles 18:22, Jeremiah 4:10 and 20:7, and Ezekiel 14:9 and 2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

The bottom line in all this of course, whether or not you can accept that God actually does delude people, is that this works both ways.  The answer to this tangled fishing line of folly is simply that we cannot suspend reason and still be the least bit coherent outside our own brains. Even faith needs reason.  You believe what you believe for a reason.  You have heard words spoken or read words written.  You comprehended them and acted on them. This is a cognitive process and there is no getting around that.  Functional changes to your brain will surely bring functional changes to all your spiritual stuff as well.  Any appeal to the override of reason and logic to undermine a skeptical argument also undermines all arguments on all sides.

Well, We Don’t Really Need to Suspend Reason…

I suppose that there are those who would argue that we are not to suspend our own reasoning at all, but we are simply to acknowledge that a Supreme Being with infinite understanding and wisdom is necessarily high above us and that we could not possibly understand the mind of such a being.  We are to simply instead accept the bible as God’s word from a loving and faithful father and assent to it without expecting answers to unanswerable questions, because after all, God’s ways are not our ways.  We are, when things make no sense, simply to resign, to throw up our arms in trust without reason.

Would you expect the same of your children on matters of critical import? And does God really work this way in the scriptures?

The bible is full of God’s attempts to make logical sense to his oracles and those he communicates with.  Every book, every story, psalm, epistle, gospel, every prophet, judge, patriarch, and king, all have a point to make and all use reason; human reason.  How else would they do it?  We must read and comprehend after all, and that is a cognitive process.  If there was some other mechanism superseding reason, one might expect a different medium than the printed word, or perhaps a spiritual language that only those with the “spirit” understand.  But no, in the world that we all live, this is all we have.  Even those who “have the Spirit” must read or hear.

In the book of Job, where God schools the poor man by putting things into perspective, establishing His sovereignty and power, where He did  have an appropriate situation to insist that Job put his reason aside and bow to God’s infinite understanding and transcendent wisdom He does not do so.  He does not ask Job to suspend his thinking when it would have been most appropriate!  He uses argument and reason laying it all out in a most compelling (to Job) fashion.

How many times is the phrase “For this reason…” found in scripture?  It certainly seems God’s preferred way of doing business.  And why not?  If there is a creator, if this God is real then this is the way he created things.  This is the way things work.  These are the universal physical  laws.  Why put Himself above it?

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD.”

Why Is This Such A Popular Argument?

In the paper I linked to above, Creationism and the Appearance of Age, Scott Pfahler discusses the reasons why those who embrace the appearance of age theory find it popular.  His reasons also seem applicable to those who suggest that God is above logic and thus cannot be understood through human reason. I have synthesized and expanded on his reasons and I am indebted to his work:

1)    It renders whatever the proposition being advanced outside of human reason impossible to disprove. By removing reason and appealing to a supernatural transcendent rationale, we can do nothing more. It has also thus inoculated the claims it protects against falsification, a cardinal sin in science.   Who can argue with God?

2)    It is a theological proposition and thus like all theology it is not testable.  It is completely out of our hands.

3)    It is intellectually lazy.  God said it, you believe it, that settles it.  There is no reason to study further, to do what humans were created to do, to learn and grow.  God’s ways are not our ways.  Or if one is to study, it is either to study theology (see #2), which again, cannot be disproved or falsified, or study in such a way as to not disturb or challenge the foregone conclusion. Once the conclusion is challenged, the “God’s ways are not our ways” defense is invoked.

4)    It does not allow us to explain why things are the way they are, but only asserts that they are that way.  Again, throw your arms up.

Of course this whole essay is an appeal to reason, and there are those who will reject it on those grounds, especially if it involves challenging sacred cows.  Those who invoke this argument in order to make or refute any point should know that as far as I am concerned, the conversation is then over.  There is simply nothing else to say, there is no basis for anything further.  We throw our arms up.  There can be no more entertaining any points made from their position.

What This Means For Me

I want to understand things.  I always have. Even when I was an Evangelical Fundamentalist I aspired to a coherent faith, asked a lot of questions, read many books, soaked up all I could.  Yes, there were mysteries that only God understood, but as far as what I was expected to believe and assent to, I thought it all made sense and had to make sense; it had to have structural integrity. That was never negotiable to me.  If I ever ran out of reasoning headroom I went looking for a better answer and cannot remember ever appealing to the abandonment of human reason.  The more I learned, the more I freed myself from a rigid mindset where the desired and predetermined conclusion had to color the evidence rather than the evidence independently leading to a conclusion.  “Follow the argument, wherever it leads,” as Socrates said.  That is a toxic process for scriptural literalism. Thus the argument from so many evangelicals; God’s ways are not our ways.

I am not interested in being right for the sake of being right, or winning arguments. My goal is not to prove anyone wrong.  I am interested in the truth about the world I live in and in the application of my truth to the cultivation of love in my life.  I am interested in authenticity in what I profess and believe and in who I am.  I am not a philosopher or a scientist; I am an artist and a music educator.  This is not simply a cerebral exercise either.  My head and my heart inform each other and are united and unified on this. With that in mind, I close by recounting some of my replies in online discussions that have involved reason and the mind of God.  Hopefully this will highlight why this is important to me and how I think about it.

After stating that I think much of the bible and its main story is not worthy of a good and loving god:
Now I draw that conclusion strictly using the only faculties I know and have without invoking anything that I do not know or have. I cannot bring myself to commit the sin of violating those faculties.

After stating that I cannot fathom a loving god who would not feel like he owed those he intended to banish an explanation for what He does:
Granted, I am making that statement based on my own understanding and my own conscience and mind. Unfortunately that’s all I’ve got and those words [love] have meaning because that’s the way we understand them. Given that, why wouldn’t god want to explain himself? I know I do with my kids, to the best of my ability, and I certainly wouldn’t condemn them for not understanding something so far beyond their means.

On being presented with a fantasy scenario at my death, where I am met by Jesus at the Pearly Gates, who then affirms that He is everything He is portrayed in the bible, author of Leviticus, destroyer of Amalekites, sentencer of people to hell, the God who hung on a tree to save his people, who offers no explanation or justification for any of that and will not sit in my dock, but does offer me one last chance at forgiveness if I will only ask. If not, then I will walk away and He will leave me to my unpleasant choice for all eternity, my existence marked by futility and frustration and an insatiable thirst for Him.

My Reply:
Jesus, I’m not going to play by those rules because that’s not the way you made me. But neither am I going to walk away. I am going to sit right here and listen. I am ready to talk when you are. If anyone is going to walk away it will be you. Jesus, this is the only way I know to be faithful to what I am, to what you have given me, and to the rules of the universe and the human heart that you have made. I am not giving you an ultimatum to ‘sit in my dock’ but neither can I assent to things by committing the sin of violating all that I am and all that you have expected me to be by virtue of how you made me and the laws of nature. I will sit right here and wait. I’ve got time.

Finally:
But I am done with any belief system that would have me suspend the only faculties I know I have been provided with to blindly accept by faith things we don’t know, or even worse, know cannot be true. That would be the gravest sin I can imagine. No god would ask me to commit it. The cool thing is that science does work, those faculties that we are given and that are part and parcel of who humans are, work. We know that. The rest not so much.


[i] Isaiah 55

[ii] Proverbs 3:5

[iii] 1 Corinthians 1:27

[iv] 2 Corinthians 4:4

[v] Delos McKown, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Auburn University.

73 thoughts on “God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways

  1. Ojo, I am constantly laid low by your insights…………….you have the ability to say what is in my head……………..Sterling

    • Ojo is God. Let’s worship him because he agree’s with what is in your head. Have you ever made a God to suit your own desires and thoughts? It’s called “idolatry”? As is bowing down before a human being. As is worshiping your own thoughts. “though hand join in hand, God will destroy the wicked” Sterling and Ojo joining figurative hands against the God of the universe? In a universal mind, god consciousness. (sarcasm intended) You brilliant thinkings who love your own thoughts will die and face God. Don’t worship a man, they will die like all men.

      • Sarah, you need some kind of professional help…………you have totally taken out of context what I was saying and will not gratify you with a response other than “PPTTHHHH”…………..this is why I’m tired of brain washed christians who can not think out side of what some one else has told them what to think…………Bollocks and piss off,
        yours in christ,
        Sterling (please notice small letters just to piss you off)!

  2. Your arguments are falacies. It is completely logical to believe in God. The thing that blinds anyone from the obvious is PRIDE AND DENIAL.

    You can’t teach anyone who thinks they know everything. Pride blocks people from learning. Denial can be a powerful delusion. So can emotional hurts that put up defenses against believing something and arguing against it from a place of. your picture is based on a falacy of argument. Using mathematics as an alegory to show christianity is not logical is like trying to explain music with a chalkboard.

    Love, music, relationships, beauty, poetry, creation…….these things are beyond our ability to “Logically” explain, they are beyond our minds ability to chategorize in a left brained “mechanical” fashion. God does have “logical wisdom” but it requires your “right brain and your heart to function together with your left brain”…….God is bigger than your brain and your heart. Hardness of heart blocks people from seeing God. The head works with information gathering, the heart works with “experience gathering”. If someone has a “bad experience” they can blame God and christians. and close their heart which gives them over to the “futility of their thinking. “circular reasoning” … if you put that into an math equation it would look like this: A + B = No God, X= Proof of God The X was not allowed into the equation.

    X is the mysteries of the heart, spirit, the universe, and otherworldly dimensions…….WE CANNOT WRAP GOD UP INTO A LOGICAL MATH EQUATION……the whole concept is ridiculous. Ojo, you are willingly ignorant of God because you have hardened your heart against him. You intellectual pride is blinding you to the other aspects of life besides “logic”. God is not against logic, he opperates outside of the realm of logic detached from “spiritual discernment”. To see God your heart must be rightly involved in the search. Jesus said “You will find me when you search for me with ALL of your heart. ” Brain scientists and counselors will tell you the mind has a logical side and an experiencial/ somatic side that is realational and senses subtleties. A emotionally healthy person has their “emotion/experiences” linking up with “logic”….. people can become split off from proper brain functioning, both sides switching back and forth, working together. “The knowledge of Good and evil” makes us see the world in black and white….it separates us from the “relational side of the brain. people who see in black and white, miss the All the realm of subtleties of life. I’ve been there, I know not just intellectually/logically, I have also experienced this self deception when I became pride filled and self focused. I have experience God’s wisdom coginitively and experiencially. I KNOW HIM. no one could EVER convince me otherwise. Have I ever had doubts, sure. Faith is not a straight line, nor is it empty of logic or learning. there is head knowledge and their is EXPERIENCIAL KNOWLEDGE. Do i study the Bible, yes. But I aslo see the results and experience the evidence as I live it. GIVING ME A TESTIMONY of God’s life changing power and wisdom. “Greeks look for wisdom, and Jews look for miraculous signs. But jesus christ has become the wisdom of God and the power of God. There are two kinds of minds…..those who look for logic and those who look for miracles or experiencial proof. JESUS has both, wisdom from God and POWER that can’t be denied. He has changed my life. I have moved from information to Knowing His love and forgiveness.

  3. Some thoughts on “right brained” learning. The right brain picks up subtleties in body language, facial expresions, and subliminal subtleties outside of logic. Looking at someones picture or face can tell you if they are arrogant, smug, defensive, a know it all, we can perceive things beyond logic. A+B in geometry math equations can be written out in linear form but they can also have a “total shape” like a square, triangle or circle. The equation can be graphed out. Its the same way with the mind. Looking at the equation only leaves one blind to the Shape of God outside of the equation.

  4. “The natural man understands not the things of God for they are spiritually discerned” 21When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
    6We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9However, as it is written:

    “No eye has seen,
    no ear has heard,
    no mind has conceived
    what God has prepared for those who love him”B–
    10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
    The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:

    16″For who has known the mind of the Lord
    that he may instruct him?”

    But we have the mind of Christ.

  5. @ sarah, i’m sorry but i didn’t read anywhere joe saying he knew it all. i see his post as saying he doesn’t know and isn’t gonna throw out logic and say ‘oh i just believe with faith” i see him being honest.

    i see you being judgemental and arrogant in thinking you know what he meant. why not ask rather than lay YOUR thoughts out as the truth. are YOU god?

    the things you call “experiential” ARE explainable scientifically even though you may not be aware of it, yet in your ignorance you say joe has hardened his heart?????

    do you know when we feel joy or love it’s because the body releases certain chemicals that make us FEEL those things? that’s scientific. do you know that the things you say must be taken by faith are VERY scientific?

    also, you do NOT know by a photo of someone is smug or any of the things you said. all you know is YOUR experience. many others may see something different. and that’s even scientific. you learned to think a certain look meant “smug” and your brain was trained to think that when seeing that “face” and you call it something else.

    just becuase YOU dont know doesn’t mean it’s NOT scientific. we just may not know it yet but we are discovering more and more just how scientific emotions are. how love makes chemicals in your body that make you feel JOY. that’s totally in line with the bible in saying it’s better to give than receive. scientifcally it’s HEALTHY to give. it makes your cells better and body and brain stronger. it’s GOOD for you. (steven post a scientist and devout christian) has some great studies on the benefit of giving and loving.

    anyway, i’m a little sadded by your harsh judgement of joe. he’s being honest and you may not agree but if you read back, you sure sized up his heart… and him, something which i think ONLY god can do. read the intent of a man’s heart.

    dont mean to be harsh. just my experience of reading your post.

    • No I’m sorry. we do not feel love because of chemicals. We feel love because there is a heart connection with someone else. Love requires an object and a source. “WE love because He first loved us.” “God is love.” love may release chemicals…..but you can’t scientifically explain relationships, bonding, affection, sexual attraction, beauty, poetry, music. It’s not designed to be “analyzed” but experienced. I’ve met many people that because of Narcissism are incapable of love. because they can’t see past themselves. Love is sacraficial…..when you love someone, you give up time, energy and resources to benifit them and show them your devotion. Love is not just a feeling, it is an action and lifestyle of sacrifice. Chemicals? Duh, I think not. Sure chemicals play some role. But to think you can boil it all down to a scientific equation you know and understand is the ultimate statement of ARROGANCE. You cannot put love in a little box and study it. It is bigger and more mysterious than any of us know or understand. I would postulate that wherever you see sacrificial love at work, somehow the Spirit of God is behind it. Can I scientifically prove it. No because God cannot be contained. It would take all the resources in the world to pin this thing down. And the human is limited by many factors. Time, energy and resources are limited. God has no limit to those things. To try and “scientifically study love” would be like using a microscope to look at the milky way galaxy.

  6. As always, everything is well thought out and explained…………I agree whole with everything put forth here……..I have my own things I’m going through also and am wrestling with things………thanx a lot, It’s hard when everyone is so emphatic

    • Sterling…Blogs aren’t really the place to find compassion for your struggles. you CAN find people who will agree or disagree with you. Let me raise a compassionate point outside of your logic or agreement with thoughts. Do you feel loved? Cared about? Like someone is with you in the struggles of life. God can be that everpresent help in times of struggle. He will NOT always agree with you or your thoughts. He expects you to learn his ways and obey his teachings, but he knows you more than anyone else, he created you. You will reap what you sow. Actions have consequences, we experience pain when we make ungodly choices. We always do well to agree with God about how to live and what to believe than following our own minds and thoughts.

      • Sarah……..yes, I do feel loved but, I also feel that you are a wretched, judgmental person who uses the gospel of Christ as a bludgeoning instrument.
        There is absolutely no graciousness in your approach in stating your side.
        I came here to make a little comment on my friend, Ojo’s posting and not to be bullied in cyber-space by the likes of you……………I think you might be more comfortable living in the 1600’s with Cotton Mathers or perhaps maybe during the Spanish Inquisition whereby you can do what you want physically to sway a person to your thinking…………your bullying seems to point in the direction that you would, if given the chance and we all know “the end justifies the means”.

      • I am not stating “my side” to assume there are two sides to truth. Mine and yours is a fallacy of argument. God’s truth is the truth I seek to learn. REality is where I want to live. If you don’t like God’s truth and feel judged by it. Take it up with him. I love you and therefore I speak truth. I see that you have a reaction to it. I am not responsible for your reaction. YOU ARE….and you demonstrate your projection and hypocrisy by “judging me , and going at me personally. You’re free to talk about anythign you want. I’m free to respond. you’re free not to agree. you’re free not to like it. you’re free to be angry. But dont get all judgemental and call me judgmental. Its not winning your case. I don’t claim to be perfect or to have all knowledge. I do believe God is perfect and does have all knowledge. the things I am sharing are educated reflections of having studied the bible for 30 years, having studied my own nature, and the nature of other people. And the nature of nature itself.

      • I fail to see how responding with a srtrong opinion is “bullying.” or “ungraceous. You are bullying by making such an accusation. you are being judged the way you judge. Others have made strong opinions and statements here yet you don’t feel bullied because you are not threatened by their disagreeance. Is it possible that you feel guilt or insecurity which causes you to judge me and project your issues onto me?

        I have never attacked anyone personally, coerced them, or called them a name(which you have done to me)

        It doesn’t bother me. I’m secure enough to let your statements and judgements and projections roll of my back. But alteast look at your last staments and see the hypocrisy and projection in them.

      • Your comments about the Spanish inquisition are quite “drama queen” in nature. I am a respectful person. you have insulted me in multiple ways however. “judge not lest you be judged, the measure you use will be measured to you” Chock one up for the principles of God. your name calling will fall back on your own conscience and your overdramatic charactherizations of me and judgements , and will produce guilt on your own conscience. I’m just stating my biblically informed response to comments. If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. If you dont want a response then dont respond to me. Love and blessings to you.

      • As far as “we all know the ends justifies the means” no we don’t know that. I do not live by that credo. It is ungodly. “do unto others as you would have them do unto you, treat others the way you want to be treated” “love your enemies and do good to them” These are a few of the Bible teachings that go antithesis to “the end justifies the means”. AM I BEING unloving by having an opinion in a blog or sharing truths from God, nature, science, etc. NOT AT ALL. Again your feelings about my statements are not an accurate basis for judging whether it is right to say them or not. “the truth hurts”. Reality offends alot of people when confronted with it. Does that mean I should stop turning on the light, God forbid REally what you have done is projecting your own bullying nature onto me which you couldnt own in your self. resulting in personal attacks, judgement, outlanding speculations about me personally. I forgive you, but please own up to your projections.

  7. sterling. you accuse me of being brainwashed? I agree I have had my mind cleaned up by God. I lie, I lust, I deceive myself, . Do you need your brain washed Sterling?

    AS if I haven’t used any logic or am just brainwashed? I stated facts. The most important is that WE WILL ALL DIE AND FACE GOD. No brainwashing here, just a sober reality.

  8. One could just as easily brainwash themselves by their own thoughts or the thoughts of others on websites and blogs. Your dislike for my comments does not make them untrue. “Cognitive disonance” is when a thought goes into your mind and rattles around in there and it doesn’t agree with what you already think or believe. How unlogical to follow your dislike for my thoughts and look for others only who agree with you. TRUTH is a constant, A SOLID ROCK. It will not shift and bend to the tide of majority opinion or to suit your feelings. I’m sorry you have a reaction to my comments. Truth is truth whether our own minds line up with it or our feelings.

  9. Science is a method for trying to tease out the truths the universe has to share. The reason science works is because it doesn’t require us to, “lean not on our own understanding.” Instead, disputes in science are settled by appealing to something beyond ourselves — the evidence the universe reveals. I admit, it’s not a perfect process. People are prone to mistakes, and science is a human endeavor.

    What is the corresponding method used by religion? In other words, how does one discern the truth between two deeply held, yet mutually exclusive religious positions? If both parties are appealing to the Bible, what method can we use to discern whose interpretation is correct? It seem to me that faith starts with the assumption it’s correct. That means, if you believe something in faith, you believe it because you think you’re correct, and the guy that disagrees is wrong. Of course, with faith, you don’t have to demonstrate why you’re correct. Rightness is simply asserted by fiat. And…………. if that’s not leaning on ones own understanding, I don’t know what is.

    • What im talking about is not “religion” by your definition. re -read my emails again and actually open your eyes and think about it instead of a surface read.

      Religion is method and ritual…I’m talking about something that is Spirit and Truth. Religion I do not argue for. You won’t understand or see God unless you search for him with all your heart, not just your left side analytical brain.

      • Fair enough. I should have used your terminology in my response. But my main question is easily reformatted to accommodate Spirit and Truth, instead of religion.

        The question is: How do you discern which is true between two mutually contradictory positions revealed by the Spirit and Truth? That is, the Spirit reveals something to you, and you’re fully convinced. But, someone else believes the Spirit reveals something else that is contradictory. How do you convince them that they’re wrong?; that what you know through the Spirit is correct? In science, disagreements are resolved by appealing to facts — actual observations. What method does God give to resolve spiritual disputes, which, I might add, are ubiquitous.

        Finally, I would say, you clearly don’t know my history, because I don’t think many people have searched as hard for God “with [my] whole heart.” It’s a common assumption that unbelievers just didn’t look hard enough. And it’s pretty common for that to simply not be true. 🙂

      • Disagreements are not resolved in science. The facts are that scientists disagree vastly across the spectrum. The problem is to get published there is powerful peer pressure to the point of exclusion. Not all that is called “science” is scientific. To say that scientific disagreements are resolved by evidence is a falacy. its not observable. Every person looking at the same evidence filters it through their world view bias. If they believe the world is billions of years old they look at the evidence through that filter. If they believe in creation they see evidence for a great flood and a young earth.

      • That’s just it. The mind is not all knowing and sufficient in itself. God’s spirit is. His truth is reavealed revelation because God transcends human wisdom and understanding. Analyzing on its own produces no transcendant wisdom. I don’t have to proove it to anyone who disagrees with me that they hear something else from the Spirit. If I believe something or the Spirit of God shows me something. I can test it many ways. Does it line up with his revealed word. Does it produce fruit over time, in otherwords is it testable as I apply Gods wisdom. Does it line up with what is observable with revealed wisdom through “real” science and nature. does it transcend “intellect only” and have application for relationships, love, healing, learning, growing physically and spiritually. Bible prophecy is another aspect of testing truth. The bible makes predictions and records historical events. Can we look through history to historical writings, archaology, paleantology, and other fields and see that the Bible or other revelations from God are testable with the sciences, philosophy, psychology, etc. ..etc….etc…Also lastly, when one has the Holy Spirit inside, the spirit will give you peace and confirmation that something is true. This cannot be explained to someone that has not experienced supernatural relationship with the Holy Spirit. jesus said “He will lead you into all truth” “the Holy Spirit never contradicts God’s word, or speaks different conflicting things to different believers.” his truth is universal inside of those who have the Holy Spirit living in them.

  10. Ah, such a long post! So many great discussion points, yet I feel the medium of posting comments makes it challenging to work through the nuances and sub points.

    But if the very basis of this post is logic and reason, then here’s where I would start. Apart from any Biblical or religious influence, I find the idea that the notion that the world (and universe) that we live in is a result of random, chance to be illogical. It makes no sense that the presence of such intricate design and systems came together in a world that, scientists admit, is prone to decay and breakdown. The two logical responses in my mind are:

    1. Some force, or being, possessing intelligence did in fact create the world as we know it without any plan for evolution to be part of the process

    2. The intelligent force/being put into motion a system of evolution that was designed to play out as it has

    Although many scientists seem intent on saying the above two are unreasonable, I find their claims the least logical…

    • Well… I don’t think it’s fair to say that “scientists admit” the world/universe is prone to breakdown and decay. Rather, I think we all simply observe that breakdown and decay are simply part of our reality. I don’t think it’s an admission to state the obvious. 🙂

      It is also true that the universe appears intricately designed. The real question is whether a designer is a necessary part of an explanation for that intricacy. And again, we observe that, no, a designer isn’t necessary. There’s a lot of examples of complexity arising from simple processes. An example off the top of my head is crystals. They form from the evaporation of supersaturated water. Cosmology has many other examples.

      The main problem is that every observation is consistent with a “designer.” But, so far, no observation makes a designer necessary.

      • Sexuality is powerful evidence for God’s design. You can’t have an ofspring unless you have a male and female of most species. The two have to exist at the same time to procreate. This is called “interdependance”. Multitudes of other things in the world and the universe are also interdependant on other things or perfect circumstances to exist. Flowers need bees to polinate. Mountains bring fresh water to us. If the moon was farther away we’d have no tides, or if it was closer we would have Chaotic seas. If the sun was any closer, we’d burn up. If it was farther away, we’d freeze. All life depends on the sun. God made the moon to light the night and also for signs. The sun represents God, the source of all life, pure unapproachable light”. The moon represents the devil or lucifer, he pulls on the seas representing temptation, he has a false light, but is really darkness. In the bible the stars represent angels and believers symbolically. Jesus spoke in parables, because everything created is a living alegory for God’s spiritual truth. Parables are to engage the spiritual eyes of people. most people can’t see God because he has concealed it from their “logic process”. you must bring your right brain(heart) to the equation. open your eyes. “the heavens declair his majesty”

      • Well, actually, no, sex isn’t powerful evidence for design. For sexual reproduction, you don’t even need male and female. Sex is just a method of mixing the chromosomes. So, for instance, there are haploid bacteria (bacteria with half a chromosome), that fuse with another haploid bacteria to reproduce. The fusion makes a diploid cell, that then splits into four haploid cells. That is sexual reproduction in it’s simplest form. There’s a lot of information online about how these processes can evolve. It’s really not the mystery you seem to make it out to be.

        In fact, all the interdependencies you mention, while having a superficial appearance of design, don’t require a designer for a complete explanation. The other things you mention remind me of the story of the puddle that exclaimed, “what wondrous designer made this ditch that I so perfectly fit into it!” It seems like the assumption is that it was made to suit us, not that we are made to suit it. That’s what I meant be all observation are consistent with a designer, but no observation, so far, requires a designer.

  11. fyi, i banged out that last comment very quickly…heading out the door on the way to our weekly pilgrimage to Trader Joe’s! You ought to open a line of stores…Trader Ojo’s! Hopefully what i wrote makes some semblance of sense…

  12. @JBR – a few thoughts about “design” or “intent” in the realm of sexuality:

    1. attraction

    2. pleasure

    3. complimentary components (iow, guy and gal parts that work together)

    4. transmission of sperm to fertilize the egg

    Was the design of attraction and pleasure set up so man (and others) would most certainly reproduce? I mean, if sex was akin to eating some dung, the world would likely be less populatied! 🙂

    You stated above: “It is also true that the universe appears intricately designed. The real question is whether a designer is a necessary part of an explanation for that intricacy. And again, we observe that, no, a designer isn’t necessary.”

    My question is, it really the path of logic to see all the design and say that a designer isn’t necessary. I mean, that may be true. but the evidence appears to point to a designer. Logic and reason fully intact.

    • No your question is not “the path to logic”. and no “we do not believe that a designer is not necessary” AND whether you believe it or not is irrelevant. Truth is what really exists whether anyone believes in it or not.

      You can’t have chemicals ordering without an outside aranger of information in sytems and categories to build complex machines. Every cell is an incredibly complex microcosmic machine. one cell is vastly complex. with ordered functions that can link together with other cells and information to create a large functioning human being or animal or plant. It is unintellectual to believe that nothing becomes something given enough time and energy added. There must be an intellegent. Look at a factory. Even if there the factory is all built and the product already exists on the assembly line. (which couldn’t happen on its own) you would still need someone overseeing. Retooling, re-energizing, compensating for errors. adding chemicals and fuel when it runs out. It take intellegence to form anything, let alone something useful that performs complex functions.

    • Sex is more evidence for the bible because humans are created in God’s image. More people get together and procreate through a loving family longterm, that just pure animal sex for the sake of sex. Those that use sex properly inside of marriage tend to have happier more loving lives and more healthy mature children. I’m not saying there is not grace for broken families or imperfect people. IT is observable that an Ideal family is one based on love, long term commitment, and godly principles. So God’s truth as it relates to the sexes and family relationship is testable evidence that God’s blueprint when followed produces the optimum for everyone who participates in it. “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life…”
      sin has consequences. “He who sins sexually sins against his own body”. There are many addictions that destroy the family and sexual relationships can become destructive. sex can only happen when people can be attracted and relating long enough to have sex. And those relationships cannot hold up long term to produce healthy breeding ofspring long term without love. Sexual disfunctions would be a bad apaptation that stands in the way of “reproduction” and the furtherance of genes and ofspring.

  13. Kurt! I just got home from TJ’s, too… 🙂 My point about sexual reproduction was that it really doesn’t require all the hardware that we possess. In fact, sexual reproduction doesn’t necessarily have to be pleasurable. However, it does help. And those who enjoy sex would, on average, procreate more than those more apathetic. (Jared Diamond wrote a great book called, “Why Sex Is Fun.” Despite the provocative name, it’s a pretty dry and academic discussion of the issue. I happen to like that kind of thing.. If you do, too, you might want to check it out.)

    I don’t think logic has a path, so I’m not sure I have your question quite right. I say that because reason or logic is just a tool we use to see whether a conclusion is validly derived (in the case of deductive reasoning), or to understand the probability a conclusion is true (in the case of inductive reasoning). If the input, or premises, are wrong or incomplete, it doesn’t matter how logical the conclusion. That’s why science requires evidence, something to ground a conclusion in reality, to back up any conclusion. Without evidence, it’s trivially easy to make validly logical claims that are still inconclusive at best or simply wrong at worst.

    With that as a back drop, I hope you can understand what I mean when I say that it doesn’t matter whether positing a designer is logical. Also, as I pointed out earlier, every conceivable observation can point to a designer, if you want it to. (“Why is grass green?” “That’s how it was designed.” “What about bluegrass?…” “Well, that too.” hahaha) The point of evidence is to ground reasoning back in reality. That’s why I say that while a designer accounts for every possible observation, a designer isn’t necessary for any actual observation.

    So, all that to say, no, the path of logic isn’t to rule out a designer. But, using the tools of logic coupled with actual observations, we can tease out the things that are most true about the universe. It’s not a perfect method, but it’s the best we got. And, so far, saying there’s a designer, isn’t necessary at all. And that means, all the evidence does not point to a designer. I’m actually not aware of any evidence that points specifically to a designer.

    • you speak of sexual reproduction as if it is only a mechanical process to get the job done. sex is designed by God as an act of intimacy to promote a loving commited family environment. The human family is designed by God. Sex is not an empty urge just to reproduce. In love it is the desire to be close to someone you are bonded to emotionally and spiritually and desiring to give them selfless pleasure . It is by design an act of God’s creating. When it becomes selfish, it is destructive to the individual and also the marriage and then ultimately in consequence to the children, through divorce and or parental modeling break down.

      • No, I didn’t speak of sexual reproduction as if it’s merely a mechanical process. I responded to your assertion that sexual reproduction required males and females, and this somehow points to a Designer God. I pointed out that sexual reproduction doesn’t require anything of the kind.

        You made a lot more assertions here… Care to back them up with some facts?

      • not everything is about “left brain” facts. There is a whole other “right brained” aspect to viewing the world and contextualizing facts in the big picture. Intuition, subtlelies, love, music, beauty, feelings, purpose, one cannot take a strickly “empirical” , “data” approach to God , you wont find God inside your small brain. He exists in the Spirit places that must be discerned. I could give you “facts” all day and you wouldn’t be able to contextualize them without God’s Help. Opening your eyes. humble yourself and become like a little child….then you will see the kingdom of God

      • I’m sorry, Sarah, but you wouldn’t even know about the left/right brain distinction if it weren’t for neuroscience. But, it seems that you’ve misunderstood what that distinction means. And still, my first question is just kind of hanging there: how do I discern the truth between two contradictory revealed truths? You clearly have very strong opinions about God. Other people with equally strong opinions disagree with you. How can I know that you got it right? How do YOU know you got it right, when so many with equal conviction would say you got it wrong?

      • I never said I was against “science”. There is good science and bad science. I am against the whole theory of evolution. It starts from error and fills in the blanks. some science mixed with error, lies, fantasy, assumptions and flat out fairy tale.

  14. Thought about another mark of design in sexuality: the appearance of lubrication!

    It is amazing to me that female arousal brings about one of the world’s best lubricants to make the sexual experience much more pleasurable. Coincidence Random evolution? Hmmm… 🙂

    JBR…our TJ’s just opened this week…very first one in the inland northwest. Grew in So Cal where TJ’s was everywhere. The place was packed!

    • ha! Ok, I will agree that’s cool… 🙂 But, there’s nothing about sexual arousal that can’t be explained through evolutionary processes. There’s actually quite a lot of info on it! (Apparently, people take sex questions very seriously.) And, just for the record, evolution is not a random process. It has a random component in that gene mutations are random in terms of fitness. But it’s the physical conditions of the environment that determine whether a mutation is good, bad, or neutral.

      • Evolution doesn’t exist. Natural selection selects genes also commonly called “micro evolution” exists. its limited. The genes are already programmed with information. It’s limited the options that can come out of it.

      • Patricia Churchland recently wrote a book called, Braintrust: What Neuroscience Can Tell Us About Morality. In it, you’ll find a great explanation for how we develop strong bonds in relationships. That’s not a mystery either. But, knowing how it works, doesn’t negate the fact that we do feel these strong bonds.

      • I’d rather trust the many thousand year old book written by God’s Spirit. Than trust the writings of some supposed expert. It may be a fine book and all. God created the brain, the body, the universe, I know him. He is an expert , the source of all wisdom and knowledge. He dishes out bits and pieces to human beings. Ego creeps in and makes truth into a lie. No human being is God. They just think they are.

    • Hey Kurt, I’d have to say that, no, logic doesn’t reveal a path. Logic alone can take you pretty much anywhere you want to go. Logic can only draw inferences based on the information that is fed into it. So, if I start with nonsense, logic will give me perfectly logical nonsense out the other side. That is why I say our reasoning needs to be grounded back in reality by using real, tangible evidence as the input. And while that might not reveal a path, it does give us the best understanding of the universe we capable of. Unless, of course, someone discovers a better way… hahaha

      • JBR this is a great point. This is why “evolutionary” interpretation of “the evidence” in nature is faulty from the getgo. It asumes falsely that God doesn’t exist so all the information after that is falsely forced into a framework of interpretation. Startingfrom millions and billions of years ago is a falacy. They can’t know how old the universe is, they make that part up for the rest of their theory to make sense. They start from error and work backwards, they have to , to make evolution even remotely plausible. We should start from the obvious. Something can’t come from nothing. it must have a causation. Order cannot come out of chaos. I Believe the Bible. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”

      • I’m sorry, Sarah, but again you’re wrong on every point. No scientific theory assumes God doesn’t exist from the get go. Even a brief history of science will show you that, in fact, the existence of God was actually assumed by scientists for a long time. However, using God as an hypothesis simply didn’t help discovery. Cosmology didn’t begin it’s enquiry assuming the universe is 13.7 billion years old. The age of the universe is a conclusion based on a vast amount of observation. The age of the earth isn’t merely asserted by be 4.5 billion years old. That age, too, is the conclusion of a great deal of observational effort. And finally, evolution isn’t assumed at the beginning, as it too is the conclusion reached after examining literally mountains of evidence. I really think that if you want to be a critic of science, you should learn it first. It’s painfully clear you don’t understand what you’re talking about. But there’s nothing hidden in science. If you have the will, you can learn it. But telling me things about science that I know are simply untrue doesn’t help you spread your message at all. In fact, it hurts your message. Please, learn the subjects you wish to criticize.

      • I know God personally. I have moved from the realm of science to experience. To know something intellectually is one thing. To know something experiencially is another. God exists. WE are designed, interdependant, and able to perform complex functions. We are more than machines, we love, we sin, we philosophize, we enjoy music, and poetry, we make pottery to hold beautiful flowers. I know God intellectually and spiritually. I experience his love everyday. I also know what its like to be cut off from that love when I sin. I also know what it’s like to find forgiveness and restoration on a regular basis. Your “science babbel” may make you feel intellectually superior but it it not true knowledge. It is a smokescreen you through out to make you feel justified through pride of intellect. your knowledge can’t cover your sins. you feel as if you are smarter than the God who created you. you are willingly ignorant of God. Two proofs for God outside of the bible, Creation exists and conscience. you know instinctively right from wrong. lying stealing lust greed hatred envy gossip slander coveting fornication adultery…….everyone knows these things are wrong that is why they do them in darkness and in secret. That is why they must blind themselves to God’s existence, because they are morally accountable to him through conscience. You have an inner science in your spirit. “Con” means with….”Science” means knowledge. Science is from God. Conscience. With true science you know of your own guilt. “He appeared that he might take away our sin and in him is no sin”. “The wages of sin is death, but the Gift of God is eternal life through JESUS CHRIST” “God made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that IN HIM we might become the righteousness of God by faith in his sacrifice”

  15. Ojo, I enjoyed the thoughts very much, as I always do from you. I am on my own journey and search and I LOVE how you actually used scripture to support your thoughts. You truly write from your heart and mind together and I love that you have found peace. I think that is what we ultimately all want and what I am striving for. While I do believe in God, I do think man has fucked things up so much that “we” don’t have a clue what his intentions really were or are.

    Sterling thank you for being honest yourself. That is one of the things I respect about you and why I have been a fan of yours for years and am honored enough to call you friend (albeit a Facebook friend but I consider you a friend none the less).

    Sarah, I firmly believe that you are in for a rude awakening some day.

    • “woe to those who have their comfort now, they have already received it” “blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. “woe unto those who are wise in their own eyes” “woe unto you when all men speak well of you.” Jesus

  16. so the challenge for those of us who see sarah as judgemental… etc… can we love her unconditionally???? believe she shares what she does because she truly believes it with all her heart or thinks it’s the way to eternal salvation?

    can we love her in her desiring to convince us, even if we think she’s really ‘off’? can we respect her as we wish she’d be respectful (if we think she is not)

    can we love her while thinking she is being unloving?

    i think though i disagree perhaps part of her arguments are coming from a pure heart, part from pride. don’t we all share that?

    for those of us who seek love, can we also seek to understand even when it comes off as harsh and judgmental and genuinely and passionately or compassionately LOVE that person?

    are we up for that?

    • again you are projecting and judging me. And also speaking for others. I suggest you speak for yourself. it sounds like you might need to draw others in so you don’t feel alone in hating me.

      I love you. thats why i tell the truth. : )

      • sarah, i don’t hate you. i’m sorry you think that.

        interesting that’s what you see though…. it sadly reveals the direct opposite of what you say.

        take a deep breath and read my words and ask yourself why YOU thought there was hate.. that came from INSIDE you sarah.

        anyway, i wish you the best as i do think you are like most of us, doing the best you can.

  17. Ojo, really deep and thought-out post. You kill me with the insatiable thirst line.

    Sarah, there was a time in my life when I used to speak for Jesus like you, but you are taking it even further, and I read your comments with my hand over my mouth aghast. You are setting yourself up for immeasurable inner pain if you discover Christianity isn’t true, which is what happened to me. You are captive to an evolved cultural meme that has stolen your mind in the name of truth and goodness, a self-insulating false message that preemptively accuses non-Christians of the very things it does to survive. It is ok to not be a Christian.

    • I have God and his peace. thanks for your concern. Pain comes with christianity. I have counted the cost. I didn’t sign up because it would make me popular or give me a comfortable life. I trust Jesus completely. I have already gone through many “doubts” and “crisis” of faith experiences. I retain my faith and its even stronger. God’s word is always true, even though my feelings go up and down like the waves of the sea, Christ is the anchor for my soul. A firm foundation in the storms of life. I really mean this sincerly, its not just something I say. Jesus is more reliable to me than any of the most wonderful life experiences I’ve had. When you know his peace, nothing else compares. I can see how someone who’s never known that would give up on christianity. I don’t follow religion. I follow Christ. when religion lets me down, I press into him and his word. Its always a safe place.

  18. I’m not suprised many give up on the “religion” of “christianity”. That is not what the Bible is about. There is plenty of bogus “churchianity” and christian cults out there. When you know the real thing, the counterfits are not a bother or a temptation.

    From my understanding Ojo was a catholic, which sadly explains his loss of faith. There has never been a more seductive counterfit christianity than Catholicism. It is opposed in many ways to the teachings of JESUS. One must know JESUS to be born again. “if you obey my teachings you are my disciple” JESUS Said……….. He didn’t say. “If you put a label on yourself as christian you are my disciples.” read the parable of the seed and the sower.

  19. Sarah – Do you really think you will attract anyone with your tactics? I am much more drawn to the responses to someone like Callie with her message of love than your judgment. I feel very sorry for you. You have achieved one important thing with me though; you have completely underscored why I too cannot take yet another step towards Western organized religion. Thank you!

    • hey there, let me comment as sarah’s posts make you take a step back, yet you were drawn to mine,

      i consider myself to be a “truth seeker” and that shows itself my being what you would call a “christian”. i don’t express it how sarah does, and let me tell you, none of the christians i know do either. (well a few)

      so… just know, i see a good place in society for organized religion, however, i also think the best churches i have found, welcome questions, doubts, (gosh even thomas one of jesus’ disciples doubted) to deny doubt in one’s mind is to be in complete denial. in my opinion. and i’ve heard some of the most amazing christians (who some happen to be well respect scientists) even express some doubt. i mean we ARE human after all aren’t we?

      aren’t our common doubts and questions the ONE thing we all share?

      anyway, i also believe when you reject someone’s words like sarahs, you aren’t rejecting God or Jesus, quite the opposite, you are rejecting THEIR PRESENTATION, which doesn’t sound like “good news” does it.

      i believe one can be saying YES to Jesus while rejecting words some of those who love him and believe in him say.

      now… no matter what our beliefs, can we still love someone who’s words, attitude, and stuff we don’t agree with? who we think is wrong? judgmental? the answer for me is WE MUST. our thoughts about them reside is US! if we are loving we will see love.

      i think sarah does what she does, out of love for you, me, and anyone who hasn’t believed as she has. she believes she knows the truth, so with that how loving would she be if she DIDN’T share it?

      despite people telling her she’s wrong and all they said, the continues to share it… why??? i’d like to say because she loves them.

      now mind you, my first “reaction” is OMG NO NO NO, NOT ANOTHER ONE!! UGH… SHUT UP!!! not christian speak, NO nO nO!!!!

      but when i get “still” and silent, and try to see sarah as a person, like me, who wants to know truth, love, etc… all i can see is a loving girl, who really cares… and what can LOVE do but say “thank you sarah for caring so much that you always share with me about Jesus”.

      just another way to look at it from a person who does consider themself a “western christian” 🙂 (but hopefully open to honest inquiry)

      thanks for your comment 🙂

      the c

      • hello friends, my attempts were never to get people to join “organized religion” in fact the gospel is the exact opposite. “repent” “be reconciled to god”. Is the message from God’s holy spirit all through scripture. Scripture also teaches all the way through 6000 years of history the dangers of “religious” people to miss God’s plan of relationship based on faith in his mercy. I have no interest in making friends with people or getting them to like my approach. The law shows us our sin, it is a mirror…..lying , stealing , lust, greed, envy, gossip, idolatry, fornication etc. The knowledge of sin brings guilt. if you feel judged it is because God has written his laws on your conscience. I have accused no one or “judged” them. the law shows us ourselves in truth, conscience alerts you that you have a guilt problem. The good news is that God is reconciling the world to himself through his gift of mercy and pardon purchased through the innocent blood of his only Son JESUS CHRIST. God is a just judge, we are all criminals in his eyes. The only hope that we can go free and not be judged and sent to God’s prison called hell is to throw ourselves on the mercy of the judge and hope that he will be merciful. He has demonstrated his justice already in condemning sin through the law and punishing sin in Jesus Christ. If we reject God’s son, and his pardon we reject the only means by which we can be saved. DONT join “organized religion” dont “intellectualize”. Look at yourself honestly in the mirro of God’s laws, the ten commandments. you should see your need for his mercy and forgiveness. Jesus is the way to God. not “religion”, philosophy, or good deeds. “all the secrets of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in JESUS CHRIST”. “This is the testimony, God has given eternal life, this life is in his only Son. He who has the son has life, he who does not have the son has not seen life”. “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through JESUS CHRIST”

  20. Hey Joe, read through your discussion.

    What perplexes me though, is why bother discussing Christianity in particular *or any other religious system when you state quite clearly that Christians often lean on “faith” rather than reason. Knowing this, why feel compelled to defend your position, or persuade them differently?

    Why make it a mission in a sense to discuss the views of people who want to believe in God, when you have turned to free thought reasoning and being agnostic?

    It’s like continuing to talk about an x-wife or former girlfriend for years and years after the relationship has ended. People do it, but there is no freedom in it.

    I can only imagine (since I do likewise), that you have spent an enormous amount of brain energy contemplating and reasoning through everything you have discussed in this blog post. You spent hours writing it out, being selective in your wording, examples and illustrations. But I am perplexed why any of it was worth your time and efforts if you no longer believe any of it, and those who believe it are going to continue believing it. Seems you would be more successful discussing closer to where your at with people who are where your at.

    Just saying…
    Randy G.

  21. Pingback: Tornadoes and Prayer | Ojo Taylor

  22. Dear Ojo,

    I am moved by your articulate thoughts on the inadequacies of fundamentalism and the need to rely on reason to be freed from its limitations and delusions. I think there are many Christians, though not so visible in the fundamentalist/evangelical milleu, who would agree with you on many things. I agree with you on many things and find your reflections interesting and courageous, just like I found the music of yours I discovered way back in the day.

    On the other hand, how does reason, or its popular label of “freethought,” embody something completely liberated from a suppressed, non-rational supplement? In other words, have you found a satisfactory “reason-only” explanation for why it it is better to be kind than cruel, to exist than not exist, to love rather than to hate, etc?

    Or even in the realm of “science,” where you put some confidence that actual knowledge is possible, is this knowledge really direct and independent of interpretations based on non-provable assumptions?

    I only ask these questions because I am doubtful that supplanting religion with rational inquiry necessarily allows us to know more about answers to ultimate questions than we may be deluded into thinking we know through our faith. In the zen tradition, we meditate to let go of conditioned thought, and learn to accept the resultant silence. How this practice cultivates gratitude for the silence and compassion for others centered in this silence, is something I can’t explain nor feel would benefit from such an explanation.

    Best regards,

    Mike

  23. Pingback: Breaking reason to insert God – Critically Constructed Memoirs

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