Marco Banks wrote:Allow me to muse for a minute on the original premise in the OP of the thread:
"There are two types of people in this world now. The kind that believe that god will punish them for being immoral, and the type that don't believe in that kind of god or any god."
I agree with you: "I don't believe in that kind of god", as you put it. But those are not the only two options: belief in a negative vindictive god, or no belief at all. And morality cannot be found in either of those --- not true morality.
My concern with your statement is that it seems to be written from a negative perspective. God's character and the basis for the kind of morality that He desires is not rooted in punishment. Rather, motivation to do good and do right is based in His good and right character. Its based in love. Morality is rooted in a relationship with that loving and good God. The Bible speaks of judgement as "His strange work" --- in other words, it's not characteristic of God to be going around twacking people on the head and smiting them for bad deeds. His character is compassionate, long-suffering (patient) and tolerant. But there is right and wrong. There is a moral standard, and while He shows tremendous patience, ultimately, like any loving parent or teacher or friend, there is a time where moral standards must be held and even enforced. That's loving.
So what is God like? Compassionate, creative, forgiving, merciful. He invites us into deeper relationship and intimacy, which is our deepest longing as people. Morality comes from that place, not a place of fear of punishment. We don't do good deeds because somehow we dig deep inside ourselves and find some good place from which to do them. We are selfish and fallen people. Any good that I happen to do in this world flows from the loving relationship I share with my Creator, not from some goodness inherent in me.
Why did my children obey me when they were young? Because they knew how deeply I loved them. I told them that daily, and demonstrated that to them a million times. Did they ever disobey? Certainly -- every kid pushes the boundaries. The loving thing was to correct them and make my expectations known to them. Call that morality, if you will. At the end of the day, my expectations for them were to see them be blessed. To thrive. To grow and mature and become all that they have the potential to be. In the same way, God's desire is to see people be blessed and to enjoy a relationship with Him. He takes no delight in punishment, any more than I did in disciplining my children.
And now that my children are grown and emancipated, living on their own and moving forward in this world . . . why do they still obey me and the precepts that my dear wife and I taught them? Certainly because they love us, but more so because they know intimately that God loves them and that His ways are best. Fear of punishment has absolutely nothing to do with it. They have experienced the love of God and nothing short of obedience to Him would make any sense for them. It's exciting to see them grow in that love.
Let me end with this (my long-winded missive): the perception that God is somehow holding out on us and that morality is a way of keeping the best from us is so screwed up. God's ways are right, and His standards lead to blessing. If you see morality as some sort of negative stick by which some divine figure "up there" is waiting to hit you with, that couldn't be further from the truth. We follow God's ways because that is the best way of life. Why would I settle for less? Why would I want anyone who I love to settle for less than what is best for them? Its a broken and fallen world, not because God is somehow withholding His blessing but because humanity has chosen to go their own way, assuming that their ways are right.
Grace to you as you continue to seek truth in all these things. You are deeply and dearly loved. In this broken world, there is hope in that.
Nicole Alderman wrote:Maybe a forum called "Farewells" or "Remembrances"? We could restrict it to just animals, or maybe open it up to the passing of humans, too?
If you can find 20 threads that are about the passing of animals, I could probably get this forum made.
Question: Do we want this forum to be only for animals, or for humans, too? Would having human obituaries with the animal ones make people less likely to share their mournings?
Tyler Ludens wrote:Looking good! The pillbugs might stop being a problem once you get enough soft moist mulch for them to eat. I have bazillions of pillbugs also, but find they much prefer to eat rotting vegetation than healthy plants (even seedlings).