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22 hours ago, Maytoday said:

I don't understand where you're getting the vengeful from? Maybe a have a wrong definition of vengeful?

I don't mean to speak for Grunt.  But I'll add my 2 cents.

Maybe vengeful is not the precise word for it.  It would be almost sinister.

If we believe:

  • In Ex Nihilo creation.  This means that God purposefully created every single aspect of our being, good and evil.
  • God is all knowing from the beginning to the end of time
  • He has set up the universe in one giant, perfectly synchronous clock that will simply move the way He pre-designed it to move.

Then we must conclude:

  • We don't really have free will.  God made us exactly as we are when we're born.  He gave us the circumstances to which we would react and by which we learn good or evil.  And we react in perfect harmony of God's predictions/desires for our eternal destiny.
  • By our experience here which God designed, some people will go to hell.  God wills it so.  He created them for the purpose of going to hell.  This is the concept that we might call sinister.

We don't believe in ex nihilo creation.  We have prophecy that tells us differently.

Edited by Carborendum
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2 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

I don't mean to speak for Grunt.  But I'll add my 2 cents.

Maybe vengeful is not the precise word for it.  It would be almost sinister.

If we believe:

  • In Ex Nihilo creation.  This means that God purposefully created every single aspect of our being, good and evil.
  • God is all knowing from the beginning to the end of time
  • He has set up the universe in one giant, perfectly synchronous clock that will simply move the way He pre-designed it to move.

Then we must conclude:

  • We don't really have free will.  God made us exactly as we are when we're born.  He gave us the circumstances to which we would react and by which we learn good or evil.  And we react in perfect harmony of God's predictions/desires for our eternal destiny.
  • By our experience here which God designed, some people will go to hell.  God wills it so.  He created them for the purpose of going to hell.  This is the concept that we might call sinister.

That is why we don't believe in ex nihilo creation -- in addition to the fact that we have prophecy that tells us differently.

 

Creatio ex nihilo is actually the belief of creating something out of nothing. Which is why we don't believe in it. 

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20 hours ago, LDSGator said:

Boom.

I’m convinced beyond all doubt that some people join religions because they want that power and authority over others to bully them, or much much worse. Ravi didn’t join because he’s a “beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” He joined because he wanted to flex his muscle, get accolades for it, and he eventually turned into a complete monster.  

I believe (or at least I want to believe) that many begin with good, honest intentions of following God. When they find that their position gives them power and the ability to satiate carnal appetites, they veer off the way, step by step, until they are intentionally deceiving and manipulating people for sex, money, luxury, and fame.

This is priestcraft, among the greatest of perversions, and is not completely unknown in LDS circles. I do believe it's uncommon for Latter-day Saints to stray to that extent, but I have been acquainted with several who appeared to take entirely too much pleasure—dare I say pride?—in their own fame (or notoriety).

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1 minute ago, Vort said:

I believe (or at least I want to believe) that many begin with good, honest intentions of following God. When they find that their position gives them power and the ability to satiate carnal appetites, they veer off the way, step by step, until they are intentionally deceiving and manipulating people for sex, money, luxury, and fame.

This is priestcraft, among the greatest of perversions, and is not completely unknown in LDS circles. I do believe it's uncommon for Latter-day Saints to stray to that extent, but I have been acquainted with several who appeared to take entirely too much pleasure—dare I say pride?—in their own fame (or notoriety).

All excellent points. 
 

Just to be clear, I also think 95% of Evangelical leaders are appalled by the 5% who are scumbags. Same with LDS, Catholics, Muslims, etc. 

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3 hours ago, Carborendum said:

If we believe:

  • In Ex Nihilo creation.  This means that God purposefully created every single aspect of our being, good and evil.
  • God is all knowing from the beginning to the end of time
  • He has set up the universe in one giant, perfectly synchronous clock that will simply move the way He pre-designed it to move.

Then we must conclude:

  • We don't really have free will. ... 

Suffice to say that many of us believe in Ex Nihilo creation but do not believe that we lack free will. Joseph Smith strongly opposed the doctrine of predestination. So do many of us Evangelicals. What some of us suggest is that while God foreknew all, he did not predestine all. He certainly did not predestine sin. I remember an Introduction to Religion professor arguing that if God knows something then it becomes an absolute certainty, so free will cannot exist. My retort is that just because God knows what will happen does not mean that those who partake didn't have free will. They chose what they would do and God's foreknowledge of it does not detract from their willful decision.

The good news is that we are in agreement about free will. We don't agree about Ex Nihilo creation, but we agree that humanity is free to choose sin or not.

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5 minutes ago, Vort said:

but I have been acquainted with several who appeared to take entirely too much pleasure—dare I say pride?—in their own fame (or notoriety).

The LDS (and perhaps it's everywhere) habit of praising speakers and teachers for their talks and lessons makes me very, very uncomfortable.  No matter how often I might say that it wasn't me, it was the Spirit, there's always a "yeah, but..." (they don't understand what I mean when I say it wasn't me, it was the Spirit - that I'm being very literal).  I know people are just trying to cheer and encourage, but I don't think they understand the burden and risk that goes with such things - making it easy for the recipient of praise to start thinking too well of themselves.  I wish people would instead praise God for blessing the teacher / speaker and the hearers with the Spirit to guide both.  This would be a far better thing.

NOTE: Saying "thank you" - I have no problem with.  Saying "oh you're so wonderful / smart / brilliant / insightful / whatever" - I gots problems.  I once had a sister tell me she loved everything I (ever implied) said (I wasn't teaching - I'd just made a comment in someone else's lesson).  I told her not to lay that burden on me, and not to put herself at such risk - to study scripture and listen to the Spirit instead.

People, do your fellow saints a favor - thank them, but don't praise them.

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@zil2, I understand the temptation, but offer a different take. Saints/believers do well to give honor to whom honor is due. It's great when the recognize that God has used a speaker/story/incident to encourage/strengthen their spiritual lives. If God used us to bring that encouragement, then our duty is to say, "Amen, praise God!" Most people don't express gratitude or praise enough. I'm loathe to discourage any of it. If I sense there may be misdirection, then I should redirect. However, I always want to encourage the impulse to praise.

To offer a comparison, we criticize Muslims (or fundamentalist Christians) who cover women in excessively uncomfortable garb, in the name of modesty. We suggest that the males ought to have more self-control. Modesty is good, but it is my role to guard my heart and mind (or ask God to do so). I cannot blame another for being immodest--especially to an extreme.

Immodesty, pride, etc. are sins. However, it is my job to walk in modesty and humility, not the role of others to not tempt me.

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10 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

Immodesty, pride, etc. are sins. However, it is my job to walk in modesty and humility, not the role of others to not tempt me.

Fair point.  I try to be gracious when receiving praise (and most people don't seem to be bothered like I am), but I'm also not going to let someone continue in the false notion that everything I say is God's own truth - I know better.

Perhaps I simply like praise too much and am over-compensating.  Excuse me while I go check the leader board - I'm hoping to overtake that @zil person by the end of the year. :P

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3 hours ago, zil2 said:

The LDS (and perhaps it's everywhere) habit of praising speakers and teachers for their talks and lessons makes me very, very uncomfortable.  No matter how often I might say that it wasn't me, it was the Spirit, there's always a "yeah, but..." (they don't understand what I mean when I say it wasn't me, it was the Spirit - that I'm being very literal).  I know people are just trying to cheer and encourage, but I don't think they understand the burden and risk that goes with such things - making it easy for the recipient of praise to start thinking too well of themselves.  I wish people would instead praise God for blessing the teacher / speaker and the hearers with the Spirit to guide both.  This would be a far better thing.

NOTE: Saying "thank you" - I have no problem with.  Saying "oh you're so wonderful / smart / brilliant / insightful / whatever" - I gots problems.  I once had a sister tell me she loved everything I (ever implied) said (I wasn't teaching - I'd just made a comment in someone else's lesson).  I told her not to lay that burden on me, and not to put herself at such risk - to study scripture and listen to the Spirit instead.

People, do your fellow saints a favor - thank them, but don't praise them.

Particularly for new members, in my opinion.   Sometimes it can be very confusing when you receive constant praise, then assume you have a good grasp of things you really should study better.  New members often receive notoriety that isn't deserved.  Joining the Church is just the beginning but you're often looked upon as though you won some major award.   

This also ties into leaders wanting callings for "power", as discussed above.  I needed a few good spiritual kicks in the nethers after being told repeatedly that I was the Golden Child.   I can't imagine why anyone would want a calling with any authority.  I keep my chin down and do my calling as best as I can, but it's draining.  I constantly feel inadequate.  I feel like I fail those who need my support the most.   I need more hours in the day.  I feel I disappoint God when I just want to strangle people I'm supposed to be serving.   

That said, this post resonated with me.  It's almost like we set each other up for failure and do it with the best intentions.   I am so very grateful of the support and praise I get, but I feel like I'm just not living up to the hype.

Edited by Grunt
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On 1/16/2024 at 10:54 AM, prisonchaplain said:

Suffice to say that many of us believe in Ex Nihilo creation but do not believe that we lack free will. Joseph Smith strongly opposed the doctrine of predestination. So do many of us Evangelicals. What some of us suggest is that while God foreknew all, he did not predestine all. He certainly did not predestine sin. I remember an Introduction to Religion professor arguing that if God knows something then it becomes an absolute certainty, so free will cannot exist. My retort is that just because God knows what will happen does not mean that those who partake didn't have free will. They chose what they would do and God's foreknowledge of it does not detract from their willful decision.

The good news is that we are in agreement about free will. We don't agree about Ex Nihilo creation, but we agree that humanity is free to choose sin or not.

My dear friend @prisonchaplain:  When we begin a logic journey we begin with assumed assumptions.  There is a problem with assuming ExNhilo creation as an initial condition.  Other than that, your arguments about G-d foreknowledge and predestination would have some credit.  But if there was nothing prior to creation (ex nhilo) then all that exists after creation is the result of G-d’s creation and therefore his responsibility.  This of necessity, would also include whatever else happens because of what is done by any of his creations – for as long as such creations exist.

For example, your statement, “He certainly did not predestine sin.  If there is a creation ex nhilo then the only possible reason that sin is possible is because G-d created both sin and all the possibilities of sin.  Especially if he knew exactly and preciously what would happen because sin was created and made possible and yet he determined to create something that previously did not exist or have any possibility.  If He did not pre-determine results from his ex nhilo creation – the only possible conclusion is that He really did not know what would be the results of his ex nhilo creation.

If there is no predestination the only possible logical reason would have to be that something existed prior to the creation over which G-d had or has no control.  For example – sin and human’s free will.  If G-d has total and complete power over sin and humanities free will then whatever happens because of sin and humanities free will is His responsibility alone.

I realize that many Traditional Christians want to wave a magic wand and say G-d can create whatever He wants and because he is G-d, He can blame whoever and or whatever He wants.  But for me, such logic leaves me with no other option other than to proclaim that I do not believe in such a G-d – nor do I believe such to be intelligent or possible or for that manner reliable and worthy of faith.

This all may sound harsh but for me – I believe in a G-d that sacrifices Himself to provide those that love him the power to overcome sin – which is something that otherwise will continue because it existed prior to creation had G-d offering is the only method to defeat sin.

 

The Traveler

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2 minutes ago, Traveler said:

My dear friend @prisonchaplain:  When we begin a logic journey we begin with assumed assumptions.  There is a problem with assuming ExNhilo creation as an initial condition.  Other than that, your arguments about G-d foreknowledge and predestination would have some credit.  But if there was nothing prior to creation (ex nhilo) then all that exists after creation is the result of G-d’s creation and therefore his responsibility.  This of necessity, would also include whatever else happens because of what is done by any of his creations – for as long as such creations exist.

For example, your statement, “He certainly did not predestine sin.  If there is a creation ex nhilo then the only possible reason that sin is possible is because G-d created both sin and all the possibilities of sin.  Especially if he knew exactly and preciously what would happen because sin was created and made possible and yet he determined to create something that previously did not exist or have any possibility.  If He did not pre-determine results from his ex nhilo creation – the only possible conclusion is that He really did not know what would be the results of his ex nhilo creation.

If there is no predestination the only possible logical reason would have to be that something existed prior to the creation over which G-d had or has no control.  For example – sin and human’s free will.  If G-d has total and complete power over sin and humanities free will then whatever happens because of sin and humanities free will is His responsibility alone.

I realize that many Traditional Christians want to wave a magic wand and say G-d can create whatever He wants and because he is G-d, He can blame whoever and or whatever He wants.  But for me, such logic leaves me with no other option other than to proclaim that I do not believe in such a G-d – nor do I believe such to be intelligent or possible or for that manner reliable and worthy of faith.

This all may sound harsh but for me – I believe in a G-d that sacrifices Himself to provide those that love him the power to overcome sin – which is something that otherwise will continue because it existed prior to creation had G-d offering is the only method to defeat sin.

 

The Traveler

 

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1 hour ago, misfit said:

Too many 'Christians' think they can pass judgment on Mormon's, Catholic's, etc. If fact, many believe it's incumbent upon them to do so. They think they can determine when someone IS and is NOT a Christian.  I'm actually tired of it.

Alright that's probably true...I do think it depends on the motive.  A lot of the time people are just wanting to pass judgement on others, and push themselves up.  And certainly you can't tell if someone's a Christian, that's between them and God.  However, you can tell if a doctrine is Christian.  Doctrine doesn't save people, but it expresses their faith. And I'm not saying that it needs the be the same doctrine as mine. For all I care, you could believe the sun is a fireball from giants playing catch and still be Christian.  Its not my job to tell you whether you are Christian, I understand that, but here is my motive for asking: Look at the world, it's crumbling. Do you know how often I lie awake at night in sorrow for all my friends, family, the whole world that is going to eternal sin because they aren't Christian?  I'm not asking to tell you if you're Christian, or judge you for being or not being Christian. That's between you and God. But if I can convince myself you are, it means that there are 17 million more people that I'm not laying awake for, that my heart doesn't have to break for.  I try to lie to myself a lot, make as many people Christian in my mind as I can. In reality, I know

 

1 hour ago, misfit said:

The numbers are way worse than that. People today are being driven out of 'church' mostly because of hypocrisy, judgmentalism, as well as some of the outrageous teachings within 'Christianity'.  Calvinism, fundamentalism, Pre-trib and trinity to mention a few.  I'd rather be a Mormon than a Fundamentalist any day.

From an outside viewpoint, doesn't the entirety of the Gospel sound outrageous?  When all the world tells you that the only thing there is is the physical world, wouldn't an omnipotent God sound outrageous?  When you give it a chance its clear its real, but we're also too impatient to give it a chance. I knew a kid that isn't Christian today because when his parents gave him a Bible, he said it was boring.  

As a member of multiple of your outrageous church teachings... But really, I've never met a person who has left the Church because of Pre-Trib.  I'm sure some have. I'm sure some have also left because in their minds this guy came back from the dead. It's another way of seeing the afterlife.  Most ways sound outrageous.  Salvation and choice based ones, like Calvinism would indeed pull people away from the Church.  If I was taught Calvinism I probably would have left.  But to blame other doctrines and theories for people leaving the church, it seems like a stretch to me.  Way more people leave because of controversy and politics, like abortion or homosexuality, wanting to follow the world. 

On 1/23/2024 at 2:15 PM, Traveler said:

I realize that many Traditional Christians want to wave a magic wand and say G-d can create whatever He wants and because he is G-d, He can blame whoever and or whatever He wants.

He's God. He could. Whether he does or doesn't is the question.  

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I find it hard to talk about the judgemental-ness of others without becoming judgemental myself.

When someone asks me "Am I a Christian?" I answer yes... because I believe that answer is correct.  When someone (rarely) asks "Why do "others" consider you to not be Christian?"  and I can answer that one too.  There is a doctrinal difference that is at the foundation of the disagreement.  A lot of people like to make a big deal of the difference, but for me when I ask myself if I were to believe differently on the doctrinal point would I be acting differently.  And I have to say the answer is No.

While I disagree with the other doctrinal interpretation for many reasons I have never found the difference to make a difference in how I act.

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6 hours ago, Maytoday said:

.....

He's God. He could. Whether he does or doesn't is the question.  

Do you believe G-d created everything from nothing and is responsible and accountable for all that he creates?  (everything that exists?)

 

The Traveler

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On 1/26/2024 at 5:05 PM, Traveler said:

Do you believe G-d created everything from nothing and is responsible and accountable for all that he creates?  (everything that exists?)

 

The Traveler

Yes, I do.  

But my point was...God could. So are we really waving a magic wand to say he did?

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1 hour ago, Maytoday said:

Yes, I do.  

But my point was...God could. So are we really waving a magic wand to say he did?

In essence you would be waving a magic wand if you believe that G-d created everything from nothing – including the free will of man to choose between good and evil, and then judges man for choosing poorly.  The magic wand would be that G-d creates some with free will to chose better than others – and yet G-d is not in any way responsible for creating individuals with a free will that chooses poorly.  Like the person that says that 12 + 13 = 20 because if 12 + 13 = 25 they are stuck with an answer that does not fit their narrative.

 

The Traveler

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18 minutes ago, Traveler said:

In essence you would be waving a magic wand if you believe that G-d created everything from nothing – including the free will of man to choose between good and evil, and then judges man for choosing poorly.  The magic wand would be that G-d creates some with free will to chose better than others – and yet G-d is not in any way responsible for creating individuals with a free will that chooses poorly.  Like the person that says that 12 + 13 = 20 because if 12 + 13 = 25 they are stuck with an answer that does not fit their narrative.

 

The Traveler

Your will is only limited by the limitations you set upon it. Just because someone does something does not mean that they were created with less free will to choose good, simply that they choose to sin.  God does not create some with better choices, he just created us with free will.  The choice is to follow God or follow the world.   Is God responsible for the person that chose the wrong thing? Love the person, hate the sin. He is not responsible for the choice.

 

God did not create a person with free will that chose poorly.  That would be predestination. God created humans in his image with free will, and we chose poorly.

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34 minutes ago, Maytoday said:

Your will is only limited by the limitation you set upon it.  God does not create some with better choices, he just created us with free will.  The choice is to follow God or follow the world.   

 

God did not create a person with free will that chose poorly.  That would be predestination. God created humans in his image with free will, and we chose poorly. To say God is accountable for out choices is to say the police are responsible for speeding.

First off, I do appreciate your opinion and attempts to answer.

I am having trouble with your logic.  Police did not create anyone’s ability to drive or speed.  Obviously, G-d created many creatures, and no other creatures are condemned or rewarded by G-d for their choices – good or bad. 

The only way I can conclude that G-d is not responsible is if there was something over which both he did not create and does not control.  Some may argue that G-d could create something that he did not control so he is not really responsible.  But there is another factor in that G-d knows exactly what his creations will do and what the result is so the argument that He has no control over the results mute.

The reason that I have difficulty accepting the standard Traditional Christian doctrine of G-d and creation is that the logic of faith in something that is not responsible for what they alone do and think it just makes no sense.

I do not like or adhere to the arguments of modern apologist that claim that they are only what G-d made them to be.  The argument would be valid and G-d responsible, if creation was from nothing.  On the other hand, if each individual’s uniqueness is something that G-d does not control nor create – then and only then is G-d not responsible.

 

I would add something after re-reading your quoted statement above.  You say G-d did not create free will that chooses poorly because that would be predestination.   How then is it possible thatd anyone chooses poorly?  Why are some able to choose better than others?  What was created to cause a difference? and by who?

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18 hours ago, Traveler said:

I am having trouble with your logic.  Police did not create anyone’s ability to drive or speed.  Obviously, G-d created many creatures, and no other creatures are condemned or rewarded by G-d for their choices – good or bad. 

Yes writing that I realized it was flawed.

I believe the key difference in our logic is you are saying that the bad choices we make would be part of God's creation and therefore under his responsibility, bad choices would be his responsibility. I would say that evil-bad choices-were not created. Only choices, meaning it wouldn't be under his responsibility. Evil is the lack of good.  Cold does not really exist, it is just the absence of heat. In the same way evil is the absence of God. Why should he be responsible for that?

18 hours ago, Traveler said:

But there is another factor in that G-d knows exactly what his creations will do and what the result is so the argument that He has no control over the results mute.

If I know that my sister will steal my money does she not still have the choice to steal or not steal it?

 

18 hours ago, Traveler said:

First off, I do appreciate your opinion and attempts to answer.

Same for you. This is pretty interesting for me to hear and explore, hope I'm doing alright.

Also, sometimes when I make a quote I accidentally delete the line below and then have to requote...is there a way to add a blank line under a quote?

Edited by Maytoday
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