Honest questions for believers.....

by Paulapollos 52 Replies latest jw friends

  • snowbird

    PaulApollos, I consider myself a kind person, sometimes even sentimental.

    Still, I have no problem with God's leading or sending His people on a killing rampage.

    I wish it didn't have to be, but if there had been another way of handling things, I trust He would have done just that.

    I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to challenge His way of doing things - question respectfully, yes, but not challenge.

    Am I making sense?


  • Paulapollos


    I don’t think you’re nuts. I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of your posts, and I happen to think you are a very sweet lady, with a lot of good to share. If you believe God is looking after you, then good for you. I, for one, certainly hope He is. :-)


    Yes, you are making sense actually. I think I get where you are coming from – in essence, you seem to be saying that you believe that God has done whatever he had to do in the past, even though that sometimes may seem terrible to us. Your faith in God’s goodness means you trust him, trust him to do the right thing. Rather than concern yourself too much with the rightness of his actions from our perspective, you are focused on his rightness as a person. At least, that’s what I think you mean.


    I don’t think your view is simplistic at all. You are right – there is a degree of a leap of faith required even in some aspects of science. And you are right, in the end, we will always find some annoying person who tells us that our views are wrong, and proceeds to argue with us! :-)


    Thanks for your responses, I’m really enjoying talking to you. I see what you mean about the Bible not being a science book, since 2Tim 3:16 makes reference to it being inspired and beneficial for teaching, but I do think it is a stretch to imagine that the writers of it, and orthodox believers down the centuries since, have ever considered it anything other than God’s Inspired Word (TM). That seems a view taken in the face of ever-increasing doubt about the Bible’s reliability.

    It is here that the real conundrum comes. I appreciate your position, but it does seem , to me at least, to be slightly lacking (please don’t take that as an insult, it isn’t meant that way). Take this point – “I do indeed view it to be a book that was written by inspired men and edited and compliated by other Men, some inspired and some simply doing their jobs.”

    Some of these inspired writers have made demonstrable mistakes. In some, it is a simple question of lack of understanding of population growth, in others, such as Joshua's destruction of the city of Ai, it is historical mistakes. In some, there are prophecies which have not been fulfilled, in others it is prophecies that are clearly taken out of context. How does a believer like yourself account for the mistakes that these inspired men have made? Does God make these kind of errors?

    Accepting that it is inspired, that means that the accounts of God’s behaviour are correct. So how does a follower of Jesus like yourself come to terms with fact that YHWH says:

    Those who leave my religion should be killed

    Those who commit X/Y/Z should be burned/stoned/cut off

    Entire cities should be razed, all the inhabitants slaughtered

    Cities far away should have all the men killed, and you may take the women for your wives if you wish

    Caananites may be taken for “forced labour”, even though Israel complained about being “forced labourers” in Egypt

    And so on, and so forth. When you look at the person you follow, the kind Jesus, how do you maintain your faith in God, who ordered atrocities, who seems to act like Big Brother in 1984, who gives no real free will, and has committed vile episodes of abhorrent violence? If a man committed these acts today, even in war, we would call him a war criminal. Why is it ok for God to get away with it? Isn’t God even more morally accountable?

    Which of course, leads me to this point – if, as some believers say, God didn’t command these activities – how do you know that?

    You are right of course, each person ends up interpreting the Bible to suit himself. But that doesn’t mean it is right, or healthy, surely? If the Bible claims it is all inspired, I can’t see what possible justification the Bible gives for believers to pick and choose which bits they like? They have to take it at face value, and weigh up it’s claims against the evidence of Biblical scholars and archaeology, surely?

    I would love to believe that God has granted unconditional love. But it seems to me he hasn’t. As far as I know, his forgiveness and love extends only to those who “repent” and “exercise faith”. In other words, it is conditional. It is similar to the “free will” God gave to Adam in the garden – “you have free will, in that you can choose to obey every order I give, and live; or you can choose to say, ‘no, I would like to do my own thing’, and then you will die.” Is that really free will?

    I’d just like to echo what Wobble, LeavingWT, and Clarity said. It’s great that we can have these kinds of discussions, that we can debate and question, in an open, friendly atmosphere. It’s fantastic to experience. I know JWN sometimes gets a bad rap, in the sense that sometimes people feel the atmosphere gets sniping etc. And I can understand why it gets that way, because strong opinions are involved – and I actually think it is important that people sometimes express their frustrations with each other. But I’m glad that we can debate, and disagree, without having to necessarily scream at one another. So, I take this opportunity to pay tribute to all of you posters on this thread, for reasoned, honest, thought provoking discussion. Viva JWN!


  • Rocky_Girl

    Sorry it took so long to respond. I do believe in God as a specific being, I just don't think he really involves himself with our affairs.

    I believe that we are a product of his creation, but not the direct intention. And, I think that we are, in some ways, creators ourselves.

    Because of this, I see him in the way I described earlier. Directly or indirectly, he is the reason I have the keen intuition I have. Does it matter whether he actually gave me direction, or created the matter that eventually developed into me?

    It may be self-serving to believe in God but not think that I have to do anything about it... But that is what I believe!

    As for truth, I don't believe that there is any truth when it comes to God, at least that we can know.

  • Rocky_Girl

    Clarifying my confusing para graph above: Whether he directly guides me or created the matter that evolved into me, he is responsible for the intuition that I guides me after praying/meditating.

  • PSacramento


    If I may respond in regard sto the issue of us Judging God base don what we read in the bible.

    That is indeed our perogative since God has chosen, amongst other ways, to reveal himself by the word of man.

    BUT that said, we have to be careful as to what we are judging and HOW and with wha measuring tool we are using.

    We can't have it both ways for example:

    We criticize God for genocide and murder in the acts attributed to Him by Man's writing BUT we also criticize that same God for NOT intervening in OuR world when the likes of Hitler and Stalin and others are running rampant. Would we be accetpting of God if he destroyed Berlin during WW2 in a rain of fire and brimstone? Perhaps, but 1000 years from now HOW would God be judged for THAT ?

    The issue of God's morals is an interesting one and one worthy of a thread of it's own, that's for sure.

    Many a book has been written on it that's for sure.

    God's love is unconditional, just like our love for our children is unconditional, right?

    It is actually FAR MORE cuncondtional than ours.

    We just need to remember that, like US, when God needs to do soemthing that we don't like or approve ( just liek when we have to do that for our kids), we He does is NOT putting conditions on His love ( liek we are not putting it on our love), God is doing what God feels needs to be done.

    THAT said, we also need to remember that God's issues with the Cannanites were not a simple as many make them out to be and what ALSO needs to eb said is that the writing of ancient man was just that and the bible shares much commonality with other wriitings of that tiem and genre in its' language.

  • startingover

    I spent most of my life never even considering any of this debate. But the last ten or so have been consumed with it, and I have come to a simple conclusion.

    Believers believe because they want to.

  • Rocky_Girl
    Believers believe because they want to.

    Well said, startingover. I don't think this is a bad thing as long as they don't use that belief to hurt others. Though, I would like to see more believers admit that they believe because they choose to despite the lack of evidence instead of insisting that there is no other reasonable conclusion.

  • startingover


    Exactly, instead of doing all the mental gymnastics necessary to try to make it fit, why not just admit they just like the idea of it and would probably stick with it even if Jesus himself told them it was a nonsense.

  • ziddina
    "...Take the Bible. ... It seems to be a clear compilation of myths, legends, and exaggerated stories. ... So how can it ever be relied upon as a guide to Jesus? Which parts of the Bible are "prophecies pointing to Christ", rather than prophecies pointing to a deliverer for Israel, from whoever was oppressing them at the time? ..."

    I've never understood this sort of question - or resoning.

    If the bible had never existed, you would never have even heard of a "Jesus". Which is also the same situation with that Middle-Eastern Bronze-Age volcano 'god' in the Old Testament.

    So, since you agree that the bible contains myths, legends, and exaggerations - but it is the earliest source of the stories of "Jesus" - why is it that you accept "Jesus" as real?? [Mind you, the same thing could be said of the books 'banned' from the New Testament - and they could be described as "myths, legends and exaggerations" too...]

    This reminds me of Flying High Now's blind spot - she believes in the bible "god", but when pinned down on the relatively recent existence of this supposed 'god', due to the rather recent authorship of the bible books, she reverts to "Well, "god" existed before the bible did..."

    Problem is, if the bible had never been written, then that bible 'god' would never have been worshipped. Without the bible, OTHER gods and goddesses - many of which are FAR OLDER than the bible - would still be percieved as the 'prime' deities.

    And you - and Flying High Now, and many other Jewish and Christian and Muslim peoples - would probably still be worshipping the various deities that their ancestors did....

  • ziddina


    The website malfunctioned, and now I can't see my own post...

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