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It might be considered selfish for a Christian to express happiness—or the more resilient joy.  How can a follower of the Jesus who wept rejoice, given the state of the world?

Consider the recent news and pictures of ISIS terrorists, dressed in black, with faces covered.  In front of them, on their knees, were fully-disclosed Christians--about to be martyred.  Everyone in this scene believes in God.  Of course, the two groups are different.  So, who is right?
 
In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve are in the Garden of Eden—paradise.  God gave them free reign, telling them to only abstain from the fruit of The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The Devil comes as a serpent, and says that if they eat from that tree they shall become like God.  Consider this—if you are like God do you need God?  Satan’s invitation is to rebellion—independence from God.  To take the fruit is to declare, “I know good from evil.  I am like God!”

Again, who is right?  Which group is LIKE God—having decided for themselves what is good and what is evil?  Which group is WITH God?

Easter is the declaration that God’s promise in Genesis 3 is fulfilled.  God told Adam and Eve that from their offspring would come one who would “crush the head of the serpent.”  When I submit myself to the Son of God I renounce being LIKE God.  Instead I become WITH God.

What if I die?  I already have.  I’ve died to my self-deification, but have become eternally alive to God.  

That’s why Easter reminds me of my joy.

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I do not believe that most ISIS personnel believe in God, at least not in any God I would recognize. I cannot even imagine the bitterness, hatred, and cynicism necessary to be a member of such an organization. Most Muslims disclaim them, and for obvious reason.

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I do not believe that most ISIS personnel believe in God, at least not in any God I would recognize. I cannot even imagine the bitterness, hatred, and cynicism necessary to be a member of such an organization. Most Muslims disclaim them, and for obvious reason.

Did Joshua and his followers believe in a God you would recognize when they massacred the population of Jericho?

 

Maybe the God of the Islamic fundamentalists is a false God, and the God of Joshua (and us) is the true one, but I don't see how we can argue this on the basis of nice vs. not-very-nice.

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Did Joshua and his followers believe in a God you would recognize when they massacred the population of Jericho?

 

Maybe the God of the Islamic fundamentalists is a false God, and the God of Joshua (and us) is the true one, but I don't see how we can argue this on the basis of nice vs. not-very-nice.

 

There's no easy answer to this.  On the surface, the two Gods appear to be the same.  They appear to be commanding their followers to do the exact same thing:  go in and wipe everybody out.  Heck, you could even argue that the God of the old testament is worse than the Allah of ISIS because, ISIS are supposedly just trying to "convert" everyone (albeit with the sword, or at the barrel of a gun..)  Whereas, did Jehovah not sometimes command His followers to wipe everyone out... no questions asked?  So doesn't that make Jehovah the bad god?  or the worse god?

 

I don't think so.  But I'm not going to try and prove this with a long convoluted argument.  I think the basic "proof" really lies in the results, or "fruits" and experiences of the individual.  What does a person become when they join a particular organization, church, religion, etc.  How does their membership in and the teachings of said organization help to transform them?  Is it a positive transformation or a negative one?  Again,  no easy pat answer... Very personal journey...  Individuals sometimes come to very different conclusions on this one.

 

 

Consider this:  (Galatians 5:22-26)

 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

 

 

To piggyback upon what PC originally spoke about.  Ours is the good news!  Christ lives!  He is our Savior!  And despite all the ugliness and chaos in the world around us, we can find peace in turning to Him and abasing ourselves before the true and living God.  He can whisper peace to our troubled hearts and minds, even in troubled times and circumstances.

 

So.. is Joy selfish?   Not if it is a gift from our God.  True joy is a fruit of the Spirit.

Edited by theSQUIDSTER
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Did Joshua and his followers believe in a God you would recognize when they massacred the population of Jericho?

 

Maybe the God of the Islamic fundamentalists is a false God, and the God of Joshua (and us) is the true one, but I don't see how we can argue this on the basis of nice vs. not-very-nice.

 

I don't think we have nearly enough of a clear picture of the historical happenings to pass that judgment. But we do know what's going on today, at least approximately.

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Guest MormonGator

On the contrary, sadness is selfish. Seriously, who wants to be around someone who carries around their trauma and drama and acts like a killjoy all the time?

 

This is such a pet peeve of mine, actually. Usually the people who are sad, sour and  gloomy have amazing lives. There are people much happier than they are living in far, far worse circumstances. 

 

Usually, people who walk around constantly sad and depressed are doing so because they want attention or to bring others into their foul and unpleasant moods.

 

In other words, lighten up everyone!   :D

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Than, you can bring up Christian morality into it. Do happy people rob banks? Generally not. Do happy people dope themselves up with drugs or beat their children? Again, I think not. 

 

I've known in people in life firsthand who are lonely, sad and miserable...and then complain about being lonely, sad and miserable. I bluntly told a family member once "You are a downer. No one wonder you have no friends. You mope around like the weight of the world falls on your shoulders than complain non stop about how bad you have it. Think hard why no one  wants to hang around with you. Could any of it be your fault?" 

Edited by MormonGator
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I do not believe that most ISIS personnel believe in God, at least not in any God I would recognize. I cannot even imagine the bitterness, hatred, and cynicism necessary to be a member of such an organization. Most Muslims disclaim them, and for obvious reason.

 

My argument is that the crucial failure of ISIS is their co-opting God's will and way.  They have embraced the lie that they can determine for themselves what is good and evil.  They have "a form of godliness that denies the power thereof."  They think they are LIKE God, but they most certainly are not WITH God.

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MormonGator, the argument is not happy vs. pity-me.  Rather, there is a suggestion that if we, who know God, can look at this world's condition and be 'happy,' then we are callous and shallow.  The call is to earnestness, mission-mindedness, and sobriety.  The Squidster is right, though.  Joy is a gift from God--a fruit of the Spirit.  You are also right--it is a gift to those around us.

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MormonGator, the argument is not happy vs. pity-me.  Rather, there is a suggestion that if we, who know God, can look at this world's condition and be 'happy,' then we are callous and shallow.  

 

Even there I have a different perspective. I look at the world and still see a lot of joy and beauty in Gods creations here. Like Gordon Hinckley said, "What a marvelous time to be alive." Sure, we can look at some of the things going on in the world and say "Yikes!" but no. Look deeper and you'll see so much joy. 

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And don't get me wrong, lots of things depress me in the news and we could complain for ours about the moral decline out there.

 

Than I'll think of something cute like a bulldog surfing or babies in duck costumes and things will be fine. 

But yeah, in my twenties I was like "It's a sick world, we are all doomed." I was so Emo back then. Yuk. 

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To elaborate a bit on why: I was in my dark clothes phase, listening to only the Cure and complaining about all the "sin, evil and immorality" in the world when my old man and I were watching a news segment about the holocaust. My dad said "She's been through horrors and seen things no one should. Yet she still smiles, has faith in God and enjoys life. What's your excuse Gator?" 

 

(And no, my Dad doesn't call me Gator ;-) ) 

Edited by MormonGator
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What is joy and happiness?  In the musical “Wicked” we are told that happiness is having all our dreams come true.  I was taught by my father that such happiness and joy is not true happiness and joy and will not last.  Because such happiness and joy is external it is always conditional on things we cannot determine – or if you will; control.   The art and science of joy and happiness is a learned and acquired taste that requires discipline.  I believe because joy and happiness is learned that it is a sign of intelligence.

 

I think the idea that if we become like G-d that we will not need him is a false concept based in false, shellfish and dark doctrines that is in opposition to the great intelligence and goodness of G-d.   I will explain – because G-d is good and as a good being – G-d needs to be involved in service to be good and maintain goodness.  In essence G-d needs us in order that he can be good and perform service for us.  The greater the service the greater is the joy and happiness in the service.  As we become good through service like G-d we will experience his same kind of joy and happiness.   We need to serve G-d to become and be like him and he needs to serve us to be a good G-d.  His joy is a true and intelligent joy that can only be acquired and learned through service.   Because such joy in internal and not external it is intelligently learned.

 

We increase in both intelligence and joy through loving service to others.  That is the great paradox.  Serving self is the apex of selfishness - having all one’s dreams come true brings misery not joy.  Thus if we suffer or are made to suffer we must intelligently learn to do so as a loving sacrifice for the benefit of others.

 

 The creation was a great sacrifice of G-d that is similar to the sacrifice of Christ to bring about a condition to give us agency and in turn take responsibility for our sins we create because of our G-d given agency.  Thus it is a sacrifice of G-d to grant agency and to take responsibility for our sins.  But the time will come when we will no longer need G-d to grant us agency or take responsibility for our sins – and then we will either use our agency to serve ourselves or to serve others and be joyful or miserable because of our choice.

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When I walk WITH God I will become more like him.  However, when I strive to be like God, this becomes my work.  It becomes what Satan promised.  I become deluded, and can conclude that chopping off the heads of the infidels is good, whereas allowing our women to drive is evil.  The closer I walk with God the less deluded I am--the more like God I can truly become.

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When I walk WITH God I will become more like him.  However, when I strive to be like God, this becomes my work.  It becomes what Satan promised.  I become deluded, and can conclude that chopping off the heads of the infidels is good, whereas allowing our women to drive is evil.  The closer I walk with God the less deluded I am--the more like God I can truly become.

 

I see no difference in trying to walk with G-d or trying to be like G-d.  I also believe that Satan never wanted to be like G-d - he just wanted all the power and glory to do what he wanted.  The difference is that G-d makes sacrifices and Satan demands that everyone else make the sacrifice but him.

 

It also seems to me that G-d wants all to be like him but that Satan wants to be the only one with power and glory.  Striving to be like G-d is very different than Satan's desire that there is only one G-d with all the power and glory -- being him.  I see G-d as wanting to share everything with everybody but Satan wanting to keep everything just for those that are worthy.

Edited by Traveler
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I see no difference in trying to walk with G-d or trying to be like G-d. 

 

The difference is light and darkness, good and evil, life and death.  Jesus disciples walked with him for three years.  They heard his teachings, saw his miracles, observed his actions and reactions.  They supped with him and he with them.  They were in communion.  After Jesus ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit to fill us and lead us.  He promised the Samaritan woman a fount of living water that would never run dry.  That fount flows from the heart, with Christ as its source.

 

Striving to be like God apart from God is what leads to spiritual disaster.  It invites corruption and death.  It is pride, self-righteousness, and ultimately, self-deification.  What is the doctrine of exaltation (I really do not know the answer to this)?  Is it that I strive to be worthy, and eventually achieve it?  Or, is it that, through faithful communion with Heavenly Father I reach the place where He grants me exaltation?

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When I walk WITH God I will become more like him.  However, when I strive to be like God, this becomes my work.  It becomes what Satan promised.  I become deluded, and can conclude that chopping off the heads of the infidels is good, whereas allowing our women to drive is evil.  The closer I walk with God the less deluded I am--the more like God I can truly become.

 

Hi prisonchaplain. I hope you are well! :)

 

I am having a hard time distinguishing the difference between walking WITH God versus walking LIKE God, especially if walking WITH God leads to becoming more like Him..

 

-Finrock

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The difference is light and darkness, good and evil, life and death.  Jesus disciples walked with him for three years.  They heard his teachings, saw his miracles, observed his actions and reactions.  They supped with him and he with them.  They were in communion.  After Jesus ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit to fill us and lead us.  He promised the Samaritan woman a fount of living water that would never run dry.  That fount flows from the heart, with Christ as its source.

 

Striving to be like God apart from God is what leads to spiritual disaster.  It invites corruption and death.  It is pride, self-righteousness, and ultimately, self-deification.  What is the doctrine of exaltation (I really do not know the answer to this)?  Is it that I strive to be worthy, and eventually achieve it?  Or, is it that, through faithful communion with Heavenly Father I reach the place where He grants me exaltation?

 

 

Here is where I have a problem.  I believe that there is a word play going on when someone says that becoming like G-d invites corruption and death - that it is pride, self-righteousness and so on and so on.  How are these things like G-d???  Every reason that you give to why we should not be like G-d has nothing at all to do what anything that is G-d or even like G-d.

 

I honestly believe that anyone that thinks that we should not be like G-d only believes such things because they really do not know G-d and what he is like.  My experience is that we can only come to know G-d by trying to be like him.  In fact the very doctrine and idea of taking upon us his name is in essence the making of every effort to be like him.  So also is being one with G-d.  Therefore, the only way that being like G-d could become prideful is by thinking that G-d is prideful therefor one must allow pride to guide them to be like G-d.

Edited by Traveler
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We cannot be like God without God.  This is my point.  When we take it upon ourselves to determine what is right, what is wrong, etc. we run the risk of making ourselves God.  To give an example from my community, I heard one of our well-known psychologists say that, after working with 100s of ministers who were under discipline (usually for sexual immorality) he had not met one who had not lapsed in their daily prayer and devotional Bible reading.  Yes, they prepared their teachings.  They counseled.  The administered.  They helped out with youth and other church events.  And, they figured that because they were the ministers, the ordained, the leaders, they could skimp on getting alone with God, hearing his voice, reading his words, sensing his direction.  They came to the place where they were striving to be like God, but without God. 

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The problem is that being like G-d requires a focus neither on G-d nor ourselves but on others.  Prisonchaplain is correct and spot on when our journey becomes our efforts to become like G-d then the very concept of me and my efforts is nothing other than an exercise in pride.  The trap for the religious is making the course a matter of me and mine the whole idea is made upside down.  This plays out whether or not the idea is “me trying to be like G-d” or me trying to “walk with G-d”.  It all becomes about my salvation, my journey, my repentance and forgiveness, my place in heaven or even my walk with G-d.  The point is that our focus is all about me and mine.

 

Jesus clearly taught that in order to find ourselves or to even travel the path of being like G-d or walking with G-d we must lose ourselves.  Even the argument – that we cannot accomplish anything without G-d is still misdirected because the very idea of it is still about the me and mine.  In essence it is simply an ‘I” problem.  As long as our efforts are about self – it is all selfishness and even service becomes veiled acts of selfish gradation.   I know and am an expert in all this – it is why I always fail.  I know I am right about this!!!

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It might be considered selfish for a Christian to express happiness—or the more resilient joy. How can a follower of the Jesus who wept rejoice, given the state of the world?

Consider the recent news and pictures of ISIS terrorists, dressed in black, with faces covered. In front of them, on their knees, were fully-disclosed Christians--about to be martyred. Everyone in this scene believes in God. Of course, the two groups are different. So, who is right?

In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve are in the Garden of Eden—paradise. God gave them free reign, telling them to only abstain from the fruit of The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The Devil comes as a serpent, and says that if they eat from that tree they shall become like God. Consider this—if you are like God do you need God? Satan’s invitation is to rebellion—independence from God. To take the fruit is to declare, “I know good from evil. I am like God!”

Again, who is right? Which group is LIKE God—having decided for themselves what is good and what is evil? Which group is WITH God?

Easter is the declaration that God’s promise in Genesis 3 is fulfilled. God told Adam and Eve that from their offspring would come one who would “crush the head of the serpent.” When I submit myself to the Son of God I renounce being LIKE God. Instead I become WITH God.

What if I die? I already have. I’ve died to my self-deification, but have become eternally alive to God.

That’s why Easter reminds me of my joy.

Jesus wept because those he loved wept...even though he knew that in a few moments they would be rejoicing when he resurrected their loved one. This is how loving he was and how emphatically he was. In Mormon theology, "Men are that they might joy". Even if not a Mormon, the fact that there is salvation you should be filled with joy. Edited by Pa Pa
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