Inviting the light of reason to guide our way.

Response to John, my Classmate and First Baptist Church Sunday School Mate, and Friend

John,

Forgive me, I have to quote people with whom my thoughts resonate. Truly how many thoughts originate from ourselves alone? If I am quoting them, they usually mean something to me.

“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” (Renè Descartes) I have attempted to do this. My, oh my, how the cards tumble with no foundation.

You question me questioning Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John not being the author of the purported Gospels. If you research this you find they are not and there is no name at all that can be attached as the author. I am not going to point out all of the things about the the Bible that is called the infallible and authoritative Word of God and how it lost its hypnotic power over me. But I will share a few that really sealed the deal.

I do want to interject that my goal is not to turn people from Christianity or the bible. The Bible doesn’t say half the things that people make it say. In the lyrical verse of The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 21st Century, “Read me a scripture and I will twist it.”

That aside, if you just take the first 5 books of the Old Testament and ask who wrote it, everyone assumes it was Moses. The events at the ending of the book of Genesis occurred three hundred and something years before Moses was supposed to have been born. Dueteronomy 34:6 states “…So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. 6And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day.” If Moses was the author how does he write this? Also, who speaks in third person while writing about themselves? It can and could have been written this way, but if Moses was writing in third person, if truly “Moses was very meek, above all men which were on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3) his meekness now comes into question by declaring it.

With that said, there are some questions if Moses was not the author.  If he isn’t who is? Nobody knows.  For me, in agreement with Thomas Paine, “if the Bible be not true, or the truth of be doubtful, it ceases to have authority over anything.”

As far as it seeming like I am attacking Christianity and why not the other religions, Christianity is the religion that was instilled in my being since I was born. I still live in a town where people like to put signs in their front yard that say JESUS. That is great. There are churches on every corner. Most everyone I know is most likely a “born again” Christian. There is some built in fear to keep one from questioning and even more so to abandon a belief system that has been ingrained in them since birth and is the predominate thinking in the culture they live.  I find people really don’t like it if you talk about disbelieving what they believe and why you don’t, even if they ask. The most fanatical are usually the ones that know the least about the subject they are talking about.  Most people as so sure that they know the Truth because the Bible says it is.  (How many of these people have ever really examined any of their beliefs, why they believe them, and if they are even true or make sense?)  And getting to what you were saying about the other religions, they also believe their book to be the divine and infallible Word of God, hence the reason people are cutting heads off.

Or is it, could it possibly be, a power play, political, empirical reason.  (The wealthiest institution in the world is the Vatican.  Could there be some kind of connection to religion and their grasp in power?)  Had Hitler preached his Mein Kampf being a direct revelation from God he may have gotten a lot further.  (I could spare you the quotes from others and just plagiarize, but most of the time it is clearer than I could say.)  “Each of those churches show certain books, which they call revelation, or the word of God. The Jews say, that their word of God was given by God to Moses, face to face; the Christians say, that their word of God came by divine inspiration: and the Turks say, that their word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from Heaven. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.” (Paine 1794)

I disbelieve them all. I disbelieve that the future of my soul rests in “accepting Jesus as my savior”. If I don’t believe in Original Sin, or Hell, I don’t need a savior. “To anyone who’s listening, you’re not born into sin. The guilt they try and give you, puke it in the nearest bin.” – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Shallow Be Thy Name

I was created by God, supposably in His image, and if I can have, feel, and, be Love, Peace, and Joy, am I cut off from the creator? I don’t think it is possible. The only way I would think or believe so is if I believe what others want me to believe because that is what they have been taught to believe and to preach, “unto the ends of the earth”.

It truly is an incredible thing to have ones’ mother call them a “Stupid Fuck” because I doubt Jesus existed, and if he did, to doubt he was crucified, and even more so, to deny a resurrection by him. I must clarify that my mother states she did not call me a Stupid Fuck, and I quote “I said, I wish I could call you a Stupid Fuck!”  That conversation could be compared to most of the scriptures in the Bible because now we need multiple translations, commentaries, perhaps some sermons to help get to the heart of what is being said, every “jot or tittle”.  I think not.

Speaking of denying a resurrection, the Gospel of Mark: “He (Mark) has no account of the virgin birth of Jesus–or for that matter, any birth of Jesus at all. In fact, Joseph, husband of Mary, is never named in Mark’s Gospel at all–and Jesus is called a “son of Mary”.  But even more significant is Mark’s strange ending.  He has no appearances of Jesus following the visit of the women on Easter morning to the empty tomb! – James Tabor, The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference

My father doesn’t really know what to say, but in a more Christ like manner, he says that he appreciates my curiosity.  Most of the rest of my family tries to refrain from talking to me.  I share this with you to let you know it isn’t a fun thing that I am doing, seeking truth, but it is my passion, next to sex with my wife.  I do not deny these things for attention.  The foundation of the supposed truths in which I have grown up in, or been brain washed in, or magnetized in, has crumbled and lost its power.

You ask where I stand, what do I believe? I believe that there is ONE. One God. One creation – evolving, devolving, inhaling, exhaling. In the words of Isaiah, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” – Isaiah 45:7 (King James Version) If you take this for real, there is not an opposite evil power. I share this quote, because it cannot be said better, “The “Supreme,” if IT is infinite and omnipresent cannot be anything but that. IT must be “good and evil,” “light and darkness,” etc., for if it is omnipresent it has to be present in a vessel of dishonour as well as in one of honour, in an atom of dirt as in the atom of the purest essence. The whole trouble is that theology and the clergy are not consistent in their claims they would force people to believe in an infinite and absolute deity, and dwarf this deity at the same time by making of it a personal being with attributes, a double claim mutually destructive, and as absurd philosophically, as it is grotesque and soul-killing.  The fact then that showing good and evil intermingled in the deity creates “religious difficulty,” i.e., “theological confusion,” is the fault of and rests with the clergy and theology. Let them drop their idea of a personal god with human attributes, and the difficulty will disappear.” – Helena Blavatsky

I restate, I believe in one “God” Supreme, all that is, all that isn’t.  I would not exist without this supremeness, nor would you.  So if we cut through the rigamarole of the original sin, being saved by “accepting”, or believing, or being baptized, or eating his flesh and drinking his blood, or hating our mother and father, or whatever way to enter the kingdom, accepting that the son that had to be murdered for our salvation to bring us back into oneness with the Father again through Jesus Christ. Lets look at math, of which I was not great at. If you divide the whole into however many pieces, you still have the whole thing. Unless you bring in theologians, commentaries, priests, and translations and use “funny math”.

I am quite sure I am leaving my self vulnerable to much argument by not putting all the reasons I do not believe the Bible to be the Word of God, nor any book written claiming to be a revelation from God.  I do not think my soul needs saving. I definetly do not think God would hinge the eternal “decision” of my soul (heaven or hell) to be a written book that no one can authoritatively say who wrote it, except for saying it was written by God.  Therefore I don’t not believe it.  I make Jim Morrison’s words my own by saying, “Cancel my subscription to the resurrection.”

You are not sure how I am going to spin things like rape and molestation?  I have learned that good thinking comes with better questioning.  Let us ask how millions of theologians spin things like rape and molestation from the divine Word of God in the Old Testament.  Or better yet, I will just put what is claimed to be an act done by men that is permissible and has been recorded and preserved for us in the proclaimed “Infallible Word of God”. “And Moses said to them, “Have you spared all the women? 16 “Behold, these caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the Lord. 17 “Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. 18 “But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves,” (Numbers 31:15-18).  I am quite sure I would be told from theologians that “spare for yourselves” has some holy meaning that doesn’t pertain to anything sexual, but the way I read it, and I point out it is says girls in every translation, that they were molested and raped. Unless, God changed these “girls” hearts and caused them to desire these men of God, who are probably now better off because once the New Testament is written and hell comes into play that through their new rapists, I mean husbands, can bring them into the glorious eternal Kingdom of the Father through marriage.  Thank God those young girls’ mothers that caused the sons of Isreal, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the Lord and cause a plague among the congregation of the Lord.  Had they not, they would not have had their infant siblings and mothers and fathers be slaughtered by the sword, and been allowed to be pillaged, they would have ended up in eternal damnation. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord.

Oh, the genealogies of Christ in Matthew (1 : 1-16) and Luke (3 : 23-38) do not match. Only two match and a couple resemble each other. People argue one is Mary’s lineage and the other is Joseph’s lineage. Why doesn’t it say this anywhere in the Bible? Why do we have to do so much research to really not find out anything except something to disagree over? An even better question is why do we need Joseph’s lineage at all?!!!  Didn’t the Holy Spirit come upon her, and the power of the Most High overshadow her?  Why not just list what is said to be Mary’s lineage and then list Yahweh for the other?

Taking the first precept from Descartes, there is enough there to cause me to have way more than a single doubt, I do not accept it as true.

22 comments on “Response to John, my Classmate and First Baptist Church Sunday School Mate, and Friend

  1. Sarah McLaughlin
    June 11, 2015

    Ben,
    I read this post and truly only have one feeling about it. The feeling is sadness because you seem to be lost and wandering in the wilderness right now. It’s a journey only you can take and will likely be a long one. I could go the route of discussing the answers to many of your points. Some of the biblical research is inaccurate. However, I don’t believe apologetics saves people. I know that the only One who has the power to reveal truth to our hearts does it in His time and through His revelations. So I won’t argue. I would be happy to answer any specfic questions you do have if that is what you are wanting in this forum.

    What I will say is that I KNOW God exists because He has revealed Himself to me in an amazing way after we lost a baby in her sleep. He showed me something only He could show me. I also know His voice because He speaks to me in prayer saying things there is no way for me to know. And the Bible, His word is living, sharper than a double edge sword because He also speaks to me with it. He wakes me up at 4 am talking to me and leading me to verses that connect and speak His truth is ways that would be impossible in that large of a book unless God was directing you to the connections. I know…because He’s shown me Himself.

    God speed on your journey to truth, Ben. I know you’ll find that there is only One voice of truth. Look up Charles Templeton. He was a huge evangelist who turned from God. Near his death, while being interviewed, he was asked what he missed most about his past beliefs. Tearfully, he said he missed Jesus.

    And so, upon reading your post, I do not feel anger, pity, argumentative, etc. I feel sadness because I think you are looking for truth and it’s only in Him.

    All my love to your family,
    Sarah McLaughlin

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    • beliefsuspension
      June 11, 2015

      Sarah –

      Sarah,

      Thank you for reading, for replying and the article. Thank you even more for caring about my family. Please don’t take this wrong, but it is the sadness you feel for me that kills me. It is not you alone. Many others feel the same sadness and burden for me and especially for my children. The really sad thing is, only you (and the others I mentioned) are sad and burdened. I realize I put a lot out there when writing and I may not clarify what I think. I do not deny the God that you know exists because he has revealed himself to you. That is really what I am trying to get at! God revealed himself to you! That is incredible, personable and real for you! I don’t challenge it one bit. In your words, “He has shown me Himself!” Amen to that!

      Once you tell me the revelation, it becomes hearsay to me, as far as applying to me. All I have as far as believing is my trust in you and your character. God speaks a revelation to Moses, he comes off the mountain, glowing. (I can believe supernatural stuff happening.) He reveals the revelation to the people. It becomes hearsay.

      God reveals himself to me every day and all day, IF I choose to see him! Tonight, watching my daughter talk to me with the biggest glow in her eyes, and smile in her face, it is as if, excuse me, it IS God revealing himself to me. And the warmth and joy that resonates in my being just by experiencing her speak and move, no one can tell me I am not connected with the Supreme being.

      “And if you would know God, be not therefore a solver of riddles.
      Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children.
      And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in rain.
      You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees.” – Kahlil Gibran

      Why be sad for that?
      I understand the sadness. There is group mind and it is super strong within a church and the whole of the church, and can be strong in any group. If you step out of it there is a response from the people within it. I am just thankful your emotion is sadness instead of hostility. “A religion, even if it calls itself a religion of love, must be hard and unloving to those who do not belong to it.”
      ― Sigmund Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego

      As humans we are to grow. And at times we regress. The story of Charles Templeton reminds me of regression in the fact that when times are tough I can recall sitting on the hearth with my grandmother, with the smell of cookies in the air (that we had baked together), the fire crackling, and I miss Santa Clause. I am not kidding or making fun.

      I know that we will not see eye to eye. The purpose of this forum is exactly what we are doing, to think about what we believe? And more importantly why? Will we ever discover truth? I know your answer, you already have, in Jesus Christ.

      My answer is what does it matter? I am Peace. I am Joy. I am Love. Alternately, I can be the opposite of all these things, ask my wife. She has heard stories of me not being very beautiful, but she has a hard time believing it. When I die, will I cease to be these things? I know that most will sadly believe that I will end up in Hell for not believing I must take the route of salvation. It is a tough deal. And what if
      “One thing only do I know for certain and that is that man’s judgments of value follow directly his wishes for happiness-that, accordingly, they are an attempt to support his illusions with arguments. [p.111]”
      ― Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents. I concede that I may be supporting my illusions or delusions with arguments. However, can you? Again my goal isn’t to get you to question your faith except for the fact of why you feel sadness for me. It is only because I am outside the fold, group mind.

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  2. Sarah McLaughlin
    June 11, 2015

    Understood 🙂 I think it’s beneficial to only discuss a few points at a time. A conversation usually tends to get clouded and off topic when too many rabbit trsils are pulled in. So I’ll start with Sigmund Freud and hearsay.
    The quote you supply:
    “One thing only do I know for certain and that is that man’s judgments of value follow directly his wishes for happiness-that, accordingly, they are an attempt to support his illusions with arguments. [p.111]”

    Is interesting to me. I spent a good deal of time reading Freud in college. (All teachers do) Sigmund with all of his great “knowledge” and psychoanalysis ability died of addiction to tobacco. This addiction was led to 30+ surgies, jaw replacement and eventually a very painful death from cancer to which his Dr had to use morphine to kill him to put him out of his physical misery. Freud knew that cigars and cigarettes were deadly and damaging his body. Yet, he continued to smoke huge amounts even during the surgeries. My point in saying this is to address the quote. If Freud only knew one thing for certain, that should be a pretty important point for such a bright man, correct? And that point includes that a man’s judgement of value directly follows his wish for happiness, then should happiness not directly follow whatever thoughts or things the man judged valuable? If it is valuable, do your choices factually support that you are seeking out this valued thought or thing to derive happiness? And if the judgements are only an attempt to support illusions, then factual data should break those judgements and establish new ones, correct? However, Freud lived out the exact opposite of this quote. His very existence calls into questions his theory. For example, if Freud judged tobacco to be relaxing, beneficial, taste good, etc. then happiness should have followed. Momentarily perhaps, but in the long run? No. Yet in the face of factual data that tobacco was causing him great unhappiness (30+ surgeries and an eventually painful death), his behavior “judgements” did not change. Why? Because his illusions (tobacco is helpful or needed by myself) could not be argued in the face of factual evidence (it was eating his body alive). So his judgements (which can only be truly seen in your life choices) were neither seeking happiness or arguing for illusion. His judgements (read: choices and day by day actions) were actually seeking out death and distruction based on fact. Knowing it was killing him, he proceeded. This is pretty heavy hitting for a man who believed psychoanalysis and thought understanding could enlighten one to the past and reality of chosen behavior. He did not live out his “one thing he knew to be true”. And on the hearsay, speaking of Sigmund since we are quoting him, how do you know he existed? Did you meet him or did you read about him and other documents/meets supporting his existence? Photos…what about historical figures before photos? Prove to me that he existed. All proof that exists to prove Sigmund to have been real exists for Jesus to have been real 🙂 The common definition of hearsay is:
    information received from other people that one cannot adequately substantiate. The gospels, Jesus life/death etc. can be adequately substantiated as much as Sigmund Freuds existence. Based on definition, my experience with God showing me something in cloud form and you seeing things in your daughter, those would be hearsay.

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  3. beliefsuspension
    June 11, 2015

    You bring up a good point, however, the champion of Christianity was unable to conquer the thorn in his flesh. People love to guess what this powerful thing was that he could not shake. Perhaps it was tobacco?

    I started the article out with Descartes quote on doubting, as far as possible, all things. I was trying to keep from putting in too many quotes, but concerning, Freud, Jesus, Decartes, your, and my existence; “I suppose therefore that all things I see are illusions; I believe that nothing has ever existed of everything my lying memory tells me. I think I have no senses. I believe that body, shape, extension, motion, location are functions. What is there then that can be taken as true? Perhaps only this one thing, that nothing at all is certain.” Not to mention the difference between dream state, mystical states, and awakened states; there really is no way to differentiate. I don’t doubt you are familiar with this.

    This is exactly the reason that I like thinking and talking about these things. We take everything so real. It is real to us. But really the only truth in life is death and it is also an illusion.

    And yes, both your experience and my experience is hearsay to anyone else, yet it is a revelation to us individually.

    And around and around we go!

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  4. Sarah McLaughlin
    June 11, 2015

    Hmmmm, I’m not sure we are going around and around. Topics are brought up and then we information is provided to prove their are facts related to the topic, then the topic is changed. Like to Paul for example.
    Firstly, Paul at no point tried to “conquer” the thorn in his flesh. If you read the text very carefully, you’ll see Paul first hand state that the thorn is provided by a messanger of Satan allowed by God (think Job) to keep Paul from being proud or conceited by such large revelations. He approached God (not trying himself) to release him of this burden and was denied. While most scholars do not know what this affliction was, the primary guesses are physical in nature, an actual demon presence or the false prophets/leaders giving Paul all of the trouble in that area. The idea that he was struggling with an addiction is incredibly low in scholarly circles and not really ever suggested based on history and his writings. I’m certain Freud was not afflicted with a thorn in his side as Paul was through Satan at the permission of God because God was giving Freud divine revelation to write a large portion of the New Testament to keep Freud from becoming haughty. This is all verbatim in text though so I’m wondering how much time you are spending studying the Word and historical evidence/biblical study by Hebrew and Greek scholars as compared to absorbing these “concerns” from outside sources? You must study and read something very closely to use examples in opposition to it. Also, as a side note, I think Pia Mellody’s vast effect on treatment of addiction through 12 steps speaks a lot to the power submitting to a higher power has on addiction. I’ve seen many people come to know Christ through 12 steps and addiction…and be walk in a path of healing. Even sex addicts. But as with Freud, most people do not want to examine their addictions and submit them to a higher power for fear and pride of not wanting to actually let them go. The addiction will kill them though, like Freud. Addiction will slowly eat either the physical form or family/friends or all of the above.

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  5. beliefsuspension
    June 12, 2015

    How did we get away from Freuds’ thoughts and focus on an apparent addiction? I am concerned with the thinking. You are saying that Paul was so important that God sent “a messenger of Satan allowed by God”. This is the theological carnival ride that gives me nausea. Having to study the “historical evidence/biblical study by Hebrew and Greek scholars” in order to find out what anything means because what you read means something else without all this study. I recall a scripture 1 John 2:27 NIV
    “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you.” (I am sure it is out of context or doesn’t really apply to us today or something of that matter.) Perhaps you didn’t read the quote I put in the article from Helena Blavatsky. Here it is again; “The “Supreme,” if IT is infinite and omnipresent cannot be anything but that. IT must be “good and evil,” “light and darkness,” etc., for if it is omnipresent it has to be present in a vessel of dishonour as well as in one of honour, in an atom of dirt as in the atom of the purest essence. The whole trouble is that theology and the clergy are not consistent in their claims they would force people to believe in an infinite and absolute deity, and dwarf this deity at the same time by making of it a personal being with attributes, a double claim mutually destructive, and as absurd philosophically, as it is grotesque and soul-killing.
    …Let them drop their idea of a personal god with human attributes, and the difficulty will disappear.”

    I am not sure how fruitful our conversations are. You say Paul had these so extremely important revelations that he must have a thorn in his side to keep from being prideful because he supposedly authors much of the New Testament. His scriptures have been brought to us today by spreading the word by spilling blood with swords. I am certain all the crusade killings were through Satan but were allowed and permissible by God because it furthered his Kingdom. I am sure that since I am not getting this history from Christian Geek and Hebrew scholars and their commentary that I am mistaken.

    I know that from a Christian view point I may not be allowed to have the Holy Spirit within me to teach and lead me. My mother actually pointed out a scripture to me that says if I deny Christ, I have the spirit of the Anti-Christ. But I would like to mention Numbers 22 : 28-30. The Lord speaking through the donkey. “28And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? 29And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. 30And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.” Perhaps God can speak through what he wants. But, maybe that donkey was of a bloodline that was not infected with Nephilim DNA and therefore was of pure blood and that is why the Lord could do that.

    So back to busting on Freud because he liked to smoke tobacco from a pipe and didn’t write the New Testament. Could it be possible that the Lord has allowed Satan (a.k.a Adversary) to work through Freud to help people. How many Christians do you know that have gone to or currently work with a psychologist. Come to think of it there are even Christian Psychologists. That is funny.

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    • Sarah McLaughlin
      June 12, 2015

      I’m sorry you don’t feel it’s profitable. I was not in any way trying to offend at all. My apologies. I’ll stop replying. I didn’t make it up. Scripture says it exactly in 2 cor. 12:7-9.

      To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.—NIV

      I didn’t make anything up. We study because it was written in Hebrew and Greek in a different time and different culture. Same as we study Shakespeare or Beowolf to understand. There are whole classes in college for all of it.

      And your last question, I see a Christian psychiatrist monthly, my husband has concurred an addiction and we see a psychologist regularly. I’m not anti any of that.

      Finally, you are denying Christ but I don’t think you are the anti-christ. I’ve followed your family facebook regularly. I know you and your wife are believers. And I believe you have the Holy Spirit because you are a believer and even if you wander, scripture says you can’t be taken from His hands. That is the reason I responded and showed concern for you. However, because I do not wish to anger you or provoke you, I’ll stop replying. Good luck and your journey. I hope you find what you are searching for.

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      • beliefsuspension
        June 12, 2015

        Sarah,

        I really do appreciate you replying. I stated in the home page of this site that part of the objective is to increase my discussion and debating skills.

        I see you are correct about not reading the verse. I was replying at softball practice and sometimes I rush, otherwise I would sit and research and respond all day and my wife would not be very pleased.

        I wasn’t ever upset about any of your responses. My writing style seems to be somewhat sarcastic and I like putting together fragrant language like “theological carnival ride making me nauseous.”

        Comment anytime! Another goal with the site is to have differing viewpoints and to be discussed like we were/are.

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  6. Sarah McLaughlin
    June 13, 2015

    Ok, my bad. Sorry for the confusion. Yes, I’m usually typing with a herd of children running around.

    You mentioned above:
    His scriptures have been brought to us today by spreading the word by spilling blood with swords. I am certain all the crusade killings were through Satan but were allowed and permissible by God because it furthered his Kingdom.

    Just a note. The crusades were not to spread the gospel. They were are war the Turks started and Alexius used the knights to fight. There will always be war and rumors of war because man is sinful and some men are evil whether they hide behind a cloak of Christianity or not.

    For centuries, Jerusalem had been governed by Muslims, but they tolerated Christian pilgrims because they helped the economy. Then, in the 1070s, Turks (who were also Muslim) conquered these holy lands and mistreated Christians before realizing how useful their good will (and money) could be. The Turks also threatened the Byzantine Empire. Emperor Alexius asked the pope for assistance, and Urban II, seeing a way to harness the violent energy of Christian knights, made a speech calling for them to take back Jerusalem.

    As to why God would allow that to happen…why allow Hitler? Why allow slavery? It’s why I recommended you read about Charles Templeton. He saw the Time magazine cover of the starving young girl and said he couldn’t worship a God who would allow that. The same question I asked when are baby girl died. The answer I got back…I was made at the wrong “person”. God didn’t allow it. He set us up in the garden of Eden in His direct presence and gave only one rule. But in that rule, He gave you the choice you are utilizing on this very blog. A choice. A will. Don’t eat from the tree and you won’t have to know death. You won’t have to choose between good and evil. Why? Because man is always tempted to choose poorly. BUT, He gave us the choice in the one rule. Adam and Eve choose poorly and sin/separation entered the world. And even though Christ was gracious enough to die to cover all of that, man still asks God why He won’t stop other men from making poor/evil choices. The answer I got when I cried out…ask Adam and Eve. I told them no. Not His choice, but He gave us ours. And the wages of sin is death. Meaning we’ve earned it and it will come for every one of us. And it isn’t “fair”. But the free gift from God is salvation through Jesus Christ. So what did he do about Hitler? Suicide bombers? Crusaders? He made it so death is conquered. “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Hitler may hurt you but he can’t kill you. Death is but a passing. A door. But do not for one moment believe our God is not just. He let us make the first mistake and has provided a free gift in Christ to make all things as they should have been. He will not keep you from your own choice if you choose death. And death is eternal separation from Him and loved ones. It will grieve Him as Adam and Eve did in the garden. But He won’t keep you from it if you desire. Sometimes we don’t want to be told what to think and what to do…but you do when you make a 911 call. When you are giving cpr, you desperately want to be reassured you are doing it right and the ems is 3 minutes away in route. The Bible is the 911 call and Jesus is the ems. He’s the only one that’s going to save your life. The Bible is a giant story all about how God redeemed us in all His glory. And if you do have the Holy Spirit in you…the Spirit will pull at your heart until the day you die like Charles. But God will let you make that choice to refuse Jesus. He’s made that abundantly clear in history.

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  7. Sarah McLaughlin
    June 13, 2015

    Since you are a very bright and well read guy and your wife is also super smart getting her psychology degree, I have a challenge for you because I thought about y’all today in prayer and Bible time. I’m studying discernment right now which is actually something I struggle greatly with at this time. My challenge to you is: pick any book that you think is beneficial to opening my eyes to not following group mindedness. Anything, I’ll get it on Kindle and read the whole thing trying to see it from a neutral perspective. As long or short of book as your wish to recommend. In return, I would ask you to read the verses on discernment on this webpage in your Bible so you can see them in context. There are 62 but it really shouldn’t take as long as a whole book. But instead of staying neutral like I’m supposed to and not judging what I read. Before you sit down to read them, I’d ask that you ask God to let the Holy Spirit reveal to you if any of it is actually truth. If you get nothing, so be it and you did the challenge. You could even write a blog article flaw and untruth you saw in them and I won’t comment at all. My word. I’ll only comment on insightful things I may have learned from the book you challenged me to read. No topic is out of bounds. Be creative lol. Anyhow, you can accept the challenge or not but I think it fits nicely with your goal of open-mindedness and might actually make a funny blog post.

    http://www.openbible.info/topics/discernment

    Ball is in your court.

    Like

  8. beliefsuspension
    June 14, 2015

    Cool. Here is your book, Anatomy of the Spirit, by Caroline Myss. Send me my info.

    I will not make an article making fun of anything you send. I may get a sarcastic tone now and then, but I will not make fun.

    Let me share a time when other’s thought I was on fire for the Lord. I experienced incredible things during worship at church. Some of these things were similar experiences while taking LSD, years earlier. Both experiences drew me closer to the Divine. I was living an incredibly healthy Christian life. Bible studies, church consistently, prayer, witnessing (influencing people through the way I lived) laying hands on a huge guy who wanted to be saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.

    This was incredible, he had prayed with me and had prayed for salvation and the church I was involved with had been teaching on the importance of laying on hands for people to be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Mind you, from how I grew up, Church of Christ, and First Baptist, this kind of activity will cause people to become concerned.) (sorry for jumping around, but I am. I was maybe 5 or 6, my parents were divorced, and my dad started attending a Baptist church. I heard my grandparents on my mom’s side discussing this and they were flabbergasted. The heretical behavior of belonging to a church praying the same way, in a church laid out the same way, pews and alter was the same, the songs were the same, the style preaching and collecting money was the same. Apparently the Devil had come into and corrupted Christ’s church through the playing of a Grand Piano!)

    So I lay hands on this big guy and I pray for him to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I swear to you, and he will confirm it, he started bouncing around the parking lot crying in a sort of ecstasy. As he came back around to me he said, “Dude, can you do that again?!” I told him it wasn’t me, that it was God. Me and another guy bought him a really nice Bible with his name on the cover of it and kind of discipled him for a brief period. I ran into him about a year ago and he told me he still has that bible on his coffee table in his living room. That was about 15 years ago.

    Another incredible moment was at a funeral right after High School. A really good friend of mine had died in a wreck. I had a wreck on the way in from college the night before. I fell asleep driving about 65 and flew off a curve that dropped about 15 ft and hit a big tree head on. I walked out of the wreck with only my knee cut from the steering wheel dropping down. As I lay in bed sore that night, I really felt like God wanted me to get up and talk. I discussed back, that I really didn’t want to, but if I did, I didn’t want to make a fool of myself and that he better speak through me.

    I have to share another story that happened before this. I was at church on a Wednesday night. They usually got into deep study on Wednesday evenings and I really liked it. At the end of the normal worship period, of which I was always uncomfortable because they raised their hands in worship and went to the alter and some prayed in tongues and I rather liked the Baptist style of worship by just holding a book and singing. This style made me very self conscious and was awkward. I was really worshipping that night by singing along loudly. Well, at the end of normal worship the pastor says that we are going to continue worshipping and to do whatever is in your heart. As soon as he said this I heard within myself to scream out “Jesus, I love you!” WHAT?!! No way was I doing this, especially in church. So, I kept singing and sang a little louder. Most people were sitting down. This desire inside was pushing me and I kept compromising. I stood and and became extremely self aware. There was no one standing near me. And I continued to sing. As I did this, a tingling began at the top of my head and near my face. As I compromised more, the pressure within built, like a water hose being kinked. I raised my hands while worshipping, and I promise it felt like everyone in the world was staring at me. The voice was clear. Scream out Jesus, I love you!. I said this out loud. The voice seemed to laugh. I said it a little louder. The voice laughed again. I liked the growing tingling feeling and I surrendered. I screamed out as loud as I could, in a sanctuary with at least a hundred people in it, a lot that knew me personally, and when I screamed “Jesus, I love you!” as loud as I could, I was no longer in that room. There was no one else there. I was in nothing but an ecstatic bright light. And that tingling had released from my head throughout my entire body to my toes and hands. It was electric, warm, and I loved it. I had similar experiences during worship later, without screaming, that had to do with that electric energy flowing intensely throughout my body.

    So, back to the funeral. I was a little late to the funeral, which put me standing up and in the back. It was a nice funeral preaching before you go to the grave site. I could tell the preacher was wrapping it up and I had learned that there are opportunities to work with this Spirit or you pass them up and have that sense of regret. As I started walking forward I had that little bit of tingling at around the top of my head. The preacher was stepping down and I said I would like to say something. (That was part of my issue was no one knew I was going to do this. It wasn’t on the program.) (And these were all my friends from high school that I hadn’t seen in a year or so.) I got up there and as I did, it seemed like a cloud settled over everyone and what I was saying was going right to them. I shared my wreck experience. I shared that I had total peace about dying. I had this peace because I knew Jesus. And I stepped down. The mother of the man / boy that had just died came up to me, hugged me, and said that this could have been the whole reason he died, so I could share what I just shared. Heavy stuff.

    So you can see what John was talking about when he mentioned the last time he saw me I was “really on fire for Christ”.

    Here is what I really wanted to share. I kept being pulled to the pyramids. We learned about them in high school. There were three in Egypt. They might have mentioned one of the ones in Mexico in High School. It may have been one of the many days I skipped or wasn’t paying attention. To my amazement I was hearing about pyramids under the ocean and all over the earth. I am in college and this is new information! Just about a year ago I discovered. there are just over 100 pyramids all in the vacinity of the great Pyramid in Egypt. 100!!!!!!!!!!! How do you fail to put this in a conditioning book, I mean history book?

    I would go to the university library and research pyramids. There is a lot of new age and occult stuff that links in with pyramids. Just like you are wanting me to do, I prayed. I prayed that I would not be led astray. I prayed I would not be deceived. There was a fear in reading some of what I read JUST BECAUSE it was in the new age section, or occult. I wasn’t learning how to conjure demons. I was reading about pyramids. After I prayed, I had total peace about pursuing my study. One day I saw in a newspaper that a planet was occulting a star or something to that effect. My mind was like, “what?”, and I looked up the definition of occult – hidden. That took a lot of fear away. (A side note, there is so much math connected to the pyramids and the layout of the ark of the covenant and our human bodies, all of which I think are linked.)

    Have you ever seen the movie The Village by M. Night Shamalan? These people, all of whom have had loved ones killed by the evil in the world, start an experimental community to keep evil out. At the edge of the village they create a boundary with rituals and watch keepers to keep these monstrous beings from entering and killing. They made a contract with them that if the people kept their vows, respect, regarding the boundary, they, the village, would be left alone in peace. These monsters are an instrument of fear to keep the younger generation from leaving. Love becomes a motivator for a girl to have to cross the boundary. I am sure you can catch some of what I got out of it.

    There is my story of discernment. Some think Satan has grabbed a hold on me. One time I had a group of people ask to pray for me because my heretical viewpoints had come out in the open. I said sure. They asked how I felt afterwards. I felt exactly the same as I did before, I had peace and joy, but they felt better. Their minds had been pacified.

    I am not perfect and in 15 years I haven’t necessarily been the most discerning person. But I can attest to this. I am the same person that screamed out “Jesus, I love you!” The same spirit is in me now as was then. It is my Spirit. The same spirit that manifested or however we arrive here in this earthly plane. It is the same spirit that I believe will go back to the Supreme, the IT, God, whether immediately, or after other incarnations, I don’t know.

    And I tell you today, I have total peace about dying.

    Like

  9. Sarah McLaughlin
    June 14, 2015

    I’m up at 2:40 am. God always wakes me up at 2:40 after we lost the baby. I call her the baby not because of lack of love but because of restrictions on confidential info. At first, I mourned for her greatly at this time. The day was hard but the night was brutal. I cried out to God my every thought, anger, anxiety and how it was all not fair. She was so beautiful and young. He took it all and allowed me my grief. He was the only comfort and peace I found when I literally, physically thought I was dying of heartbreak. And He has slowly used this time to pull me closer to Him and bring me onto my knees. What turned from Him holding me for comfort in my grief to Him sheparding me in the way I should go is a real treat for me now at 2:40 instead of a burden.

    I believe you. I have no reason not to believe you. I am not of the frame of mind to think Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists, etc have a corner on the market or the right way to approach God. As believers, we are the Body of Christ (1 cor. 12:12-31) There are hands and feet and we are all given different gifts of the Spirit (1 cor. 12: 1-11). It sounds like you are in a time of spiritual warfare and seeking discernment like I am. He is faithful to walk you through it though others might judge or abandon you in anger or fear. But we are told to hold on to the pattern of sound teaching by guarding, through the Holy Spirit that good thing entrusted to us (2 Timothy 1:12-14). Because demonic influence will cause some to depart from the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits (1 Timothy 4:1-10). We are all in a spiritual battle, my friend, agreed. It isn’t sinful to learn about pyramids. Yes, they are all over the world. Mexico, some in a lake possibly in the US and Egypt too. Why? Because for thousands of years we have been crying out to find God, seek Him, look for truth, it is written on our hearts. But we must have discernment in our seeking. David Platt, the author of Radical, did a series called The Secret Church on youtube I’m watching right now about Angels, Demons and Spiritual Warfare. I’m watching it and learning about discernment now because of my own issues during prayer. Having trouble knowing uf the still small voice is Him, me or other. Remember that Satan poses as an angel of light, knows scripture (Jesus temptation in the wilderness) and even demons know Jesus is Lord (proclaimed while He cast them out.) So the occult is not something to be approached lightly. It is walking into enemy camp because you are in a very, very real spiritual battle of life and death. Satan goes about this Earth like a lion looking for someone to devour. It’s why we are called to put on our suit of armor (Eph. 6:11). If you ask Him to teach you discernment (Psalms 119:66), then He’ll show you through practice (Hebrews 5:14) that the fear (read awe) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10) which is what we are looking for in our search. You MUST go into enemy camp prepared or you can be devoured, puffed up with false knowledge and mislead because His wisdom seems like foolishness to the world. You must test every spirit. It’s very real and extremely dangerous. What I heard you say above is a testimony. But if so, you should identify with Paul even more in those about the thorn, because it’s tempting to start thinking that is our power and not His. When He used you to minister and came upon you, it is for His glory. And then you became an enemy of Satan. You stepped up ranks from a simple soldier to a lieutenant. You then had to be addressed as a threat to Satan’s plan to mislead or pacify as many as he can as the lambs march to the slaughter. Your children are lambs. Your wife is a lamb. And you, the husband, will answer not only for yourself but all those little lambs too. In your search for wisdom, do not be crippled and distracted as Solomon was and he was the wisest man who ever lived. Everything is futile (Ecc. 1:1-11), there are limitations to wisdom (Ecc. 1:12-18) and there is emptiness in pleasure and possessions (Ecc. 2:1-11). So use caution in God’s presence (Ecc. 5: 1-7), do not hasty to speak and guard your step (even on this blog because you have believers and friends you have ministered to and those also searching who may be devoured). Our tongues can set our life on fire. And if your testimony is true, which I’m not doubting, then I know that you’ve seen enough to have proper fear of Him and a proper respect of the camp you’ve entered of the enemy. I hope you’ve put your armor on because you indeed are not welcome there if your testimony is true because you are marked for God. You now have a target on your head like Paul, Solomon, David, Noah etc. And they may have seemed welcoming and appeared enlightening before but they will destroy your life. I think you are starting to see the beginnings of that with your mom you mentioned and friends concerned for you. They are telling you that your light is covered and you are now in darkness in his camp. You are in danger and they don’t want to see you devoured in front of them.

    I got the book. It will take me a bit to read it because 4,000 pages is a lot with 3 kiddos. But I’ll do my best. The link is above and the article is just the list of verses to read on discernment in your bible which I’m also reading now too. Lol. Same places, same time of life I guess. I’ll check anove and if it didn’t come through then I’ll put it again. Happy reading.

    Like

  10. Sarah McLaughlin
    June 14, 2015

    This link has the 62 verses. That is the reading in your own bible. Helps with context 🙂

    http://www.openbible.info/topics/discernment

    Like

  11. beliefsuspension
    June 14, 2015

    4,000 pages? It is 320 pages.

    Like

    • Sarah McLaughlin
      June 14, 2015

      It’s 4000 on kindle phone app because smaller pages. Lol I looked up time to read and it only said like 5 hours. So only a couple of days then with my kiddos. I forgot to account for kindle app number pages. My bad.

      Like

  12. john
    June 18, 2015

    first off, i grew up going to mobberly. 🙂

    sarah, you have some very wise advise and answers. thanks for your honesty and openness about your baby…… cant imagine the pain.

    ben, i enjoyed your replies in this thread. you really seemed to open up and talk…… not a bunch of big words and quotes but what you think and how you feel. thanks for sharing your spriitual journey.

    so you do believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God the Father and in the trinity but just not the bible, correct?

    why do we have commentaries on the bible? for me, its because i dont speak hebrew or greek. they will have the samething in 500 years for when they are reading OUR stuff. bad=good, what up dog? ect. Funny story, youll appreciate as a guy. I always heard song of solomon was the “sex” book of the bible, thus i read it. About the only thing i understood was mountains of myrrh. Later in life, i learned of Tommy nelson, and he explained it very well. How so? because he took the time to figure out what “hair flowing like goats running down a hill” ect meant.

    in 100 words or less, :), whats our purpose for here? I guess im looking for how do we get to heaven.

    i appreciate your openness or vulnerbility.

    i know you are putting lots of effort into your study of why the bible isnt real. I would like you to now try it from the angle from “why it is real” see what they have to say. I recommend chuck messlers study on apologetics.

    Like

  13. beliefsuspension
    June 18, 2015

    Sorry John for thinking it was First Baptist.

    I am not putting much effort into why the bible isn’t authoratative and infallible word of God. However, I find myself having to share why and that takes a lot of effort.

    On what I believe about Jesus and the rest, you must not be reading very thoroughly John. I understand you getting lost or bored in what I say.

    I have read and listened to Chuck Missler, I have read The Case for Christ, and this was while a whole hearted believer of my East Texas, Bible Belt Conditioning Program. I appreciate people’s concern for the salvation of my soul from the eternal depths of hell. In my blasphemous opinion, the message within Chrisianity to be applied is to become Christ, and bring forth the kingdom of righteousness, peace and Joy that is within to the without, now. The Kingdom is now.

    If God wanted to let us know how to be saved through a written language, rather than use an obscure language from an obscure people group, and let His Word develop and be put together over several centuries till it was fought/argued over and voted upon by a government leader and church leaders with political agendas, even if their hearts were pure, where His Word was shared with the people from the priestly hierarchy because the people didnt know Hebrew, Greek, and then Latin, and were not allowed to disgrace such holy writ by translating it to the common tongue. But thanks to Martin Luther nailing his 95 thesis/proclamation/theocrat to the church door, hid out to protect his life while he worked to give us the Sacred Word of God in the German Language. How many people have gone to hell or even knew that there was a hell because they were not given a chance to read this word that told them the truth about the decision they must make and believe to enter into heaven or the even better news that they could cease to be separated from God by having a relationship with Jesus? (This seems so absurd.) Here enters the theological carnival rides we must have a seat and buckle up for while these lives must be explained away through your and Chuck’s apologetics. If God really wanted us to be saved through written words, he could have written in a universal language, or even a Rosetta stone scenario, upon the sun and moon. And in a twenty four hour period, the whole world would have seen the message and in one day arguable the whole world could rejoice in Jesus being their savior from a hell and allowed to enter heaven. (The language on the sun thought is from Paine or Decartes or someone I couldn’t find again as I wrote this.)

    I am probably going to lose you now because I am over a hundred words. (I happen to know that you were in advanced classes John.) and if you choose to take the time to read through the quotations you will find what I believe. This is the fourth time to put the quote in the thread.
    “The “Supreme,” if IT is infinite and omnipresent cannot be anything but that. IT must be “good and evil,” “light and darkness,” etc., for if it is omnipresent it has to be present in a vessel of dishonour as well as in one of honour, in an atom of dirt as in the atom of the purest essence.
    …Let them drop their idea of a personal god with human attributes, and the difficulty will disappear.” – Helena Blavatsky

    Like

  14. john
    June 20, 2015

    i was only in advanced math and science. 😉

    is your quote the answer to how you get to heaven?

    sorry. ill make my excuse…….. tonight is my 66 graveyard in a row. so when i read im a bit tired and sometimes distracted. ill try to do better.

    Like

  15. beliefsuspension
    June 20, 2015

    With that many days on the night shift I see why you keep wanting brevity.

    I don’t have an answer about heaven. I do NOT believe in the hell we were taught nor an opposite Evil deity. Exactly what happens when we die I can’t say, but here is my thought on it:
    The analogy is water. All water, regardless of physical state, frozen, liquid, or gas, it is water, H2O. Let’s say the ocean is THE Source. All the individual drops are “individuals” whether they experience their separate individual experience as holy water, sewage, rain, being absorbed through a root system and help give life to a flower, perhaps joining a chemical process in the flower to become necter, it is still all water from The Source. However many times it can be circled around, it will end up back in the source. I don’t think that we will necesarrily retain our individuaness when we are absorbed back into THE Supreme, of which we were never really seperate, for we are always “H20” or God, whether we have the understanding of it or not.

    Like

  16. john
    June 22, 2015

    if there is no hell, what has Jesus sent for? whats His purpose?

    Like

  17. john
    June 25, 2015

    then since He did come, maybe His purpose is real and there is a hell.

    Like

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