Thursday, March 29, 2012

Brief Thoughts on "The Will of God"

She has a very good point.... 
When anyone (my past self included) presumes to know the will of God - be it from a sudden realization, from a passage of Scripture they read, whatever - their knowledge is tainted by their personal views, desires, experiences. So, what is the difference here between Christians and non-Christians? Non-Christians have sudden epiphanies and then tell people, "Hey! I just had a great idea! I've been thinking about this for awhile, and after a lot of research, counsel, and trouble-shooting, I now know what I should do." Christians have the same epiphany experience and tell people, "Hey! Guess what God showed me today! Yup, He definitely revealed His will to me. Praise God for showing a sinner like me what He wants for my life!"
It's not that they have a very different experience, just that one person has the guts to take responsibility for their work and ideas while the other group claims it's divinely inspired and now a holy quest. Conversely, when the non-Christian discovers he/she was wrong about the former decision/action, they can take responsibility for the mistake and change the course of action. If the Christian feels he/she was in the wrong, either they must think God had a bad idea (blasphemy!) or His once-so-clear guiding was grossly misunderstood, and if the Christian so grossly misunderstood things, well, he must be "living in sin" or something, right? 
Personally, in my past, I would read through the Bible regularly, study it through outside writing about it, and pray to God every day - I wanted to know His will. As I read and prayed, I thought about everything I saw and felt, and from those experiences I drew conclusions about what was the right thing to do, and considered it to be God's will. Then later on down the road, when I realized that my original conclusion was wrong, I would feel confused (it had been so clear before, and that was what Scripture had said) and then feel a sense of guilt for being such a sinful idiot for misunderstanding things. After all, God wasn't cruel and vindictive enough to lead me on or hide His perfect will from one of His children... was He? If I sought Him earnestly and did as His Bible told me to do, was I not following Him and considered to be His child? Consider this passage:

Thursday, March 22, 2012


"Reason is the Devil's harlot, who can do nought but slander and harm whatever God says and does." 
~ Martin Luther

“Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom… Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.”
~ Martin Luther, Works, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148.

“Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but—more frequently than not—struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”
~ Martin Luther, Table Talks in 1569.

“Heretics are not to be disputed with, but to be condemned unheard, and whilst they perish by fire, the faithful ought to pursue the evil to its source, and bathe their heads in the blood of the Catholic bishops, and of the Pope, who is the devil in disguise.”
~ Martin Luther, Table Talks (as quoted in Religious History: An Inquiry by M. Searle Bates, p. 156).

Let me interject that there are many excuses made for what Luther said about Reason, and that these quotes are taken out of context, because Luther was only referring to Reason when in got in the way of people believing the Bible/listening to God, so it doesn't apply to Reason in general. *pfft! Such excuses seem to prove the point far greater than the quotes themselves! So, Reason is fine and dandy until it interferes with our ability to question the Bible and it's god? This whole thing makes me laugh...

"We sacrifice the intellect to God."
~ Ignatius Loyola

"Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That for all they care, I can go to hell."
~ W.H. Auden, "The More Loving One"

This quote tickled my fancy more than anything else, but at the same time there was a certain profundity about it.

A Brief Book Review (with quotes)

The following paragraphs are quoted from Christopher Hitchens' book god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (capitalization as printed by the author). I discovered this book at my local library, and found it to be a very interesting read. The author is a staunch atheist, so I disagree with him there, but his overall look at religion was both intelligently written and fascinating to read. I would highly recommend reading it (if you are an open-minded person and not one to have your feelings easily hurt, as he is not "nice" at times), particularly the chapters on the Old and New Testaments. I typed out these particular sections (all italics are the author's), but would have liked to type out the whole chapters he wrote on the Old and New Testaments - they were that good.

"Ask yourself the question: how moral is the following? I am told of a human sacrifice that took place two thousand years ago, without my wishing it and in circumstances so ghastly that, had I been present and in possession of any influence, I would have been duty-bound to try and stop it. In consequence of this murder, my own manifold sins are forgive me, and I may hope to enjoy everlasting life.
Let us just for now overlook all the contradictions between the tellers of the original story and assume that it is basically true. What are the further implications? They are not as reassuring as they look at first sight. For a start, and in order to gain the benefit of this wondrous offer, I have to accept that I am responsible for the flogging and mocking and crucifixion, in which I had no say and no part, and agree that every time I decline this responsibility, or that I sin in word or deed, I am intensifying the agony of it. Furthermore, I am required to believe that the agony was necessary in order to compensate for an earlier crime in which I also had no part, the sin of Adam. It is useless to object that Adam seems to have been created with insatiable discontent and curiosity and then forbidden to slake it: all this was settled long before even Jesus himself was born. Thus my own guilt in the matter is deemed "original" and inescapable. However, I am still granted free will with which to reject the offer of vicarious redemption. Should I exercise this choice, however, I face an eternity of torture much more awful than anything endured at Calvary, or anything threatened to those who first heard the Ten Commandments."
~ pg. 209-10