Bill Newsome | Neuroscience, Faith & Free Will

Absolutely not, but this doesn’t mean that others won’t “in his name”, hence your analogy above is so terrible and I called it out.

Do you have to be devoted to give water to a thirsty man? And does it really count if you only doing this because someone promised you"12 million dollars"?

BTW, we are on the same side.

This is the expected perspective of the world, in which money / power / pleasure are seen as the highest goods - the ultimate pursuit over anything else. So, naturally, somebody who has more of all those things than others is paranoid - and realistically so - that others are trying to steal those away for themselves.

So the suspicion is also understandable, that perhaps Jesus and his immediate followers were just embarking on one of the longest con jobs: to just see if they can get a lot of gullible followers to part with everything in the name of religion in order to, in the end, line the pockets of the “enlightened messengers”. And indeed the way much of organized religion (including Christianity) has played out in the last millennia, this has indeed happened. Perhaps, though, a tree is known by its fruit?

The other possibility is, that there really is something to the “upside-down” kingdom that turns all this culturally pre-programmed priority on its head. Maybe the money / power / pleasure pursuit is shown to be a chimera as far as human fulfillment goes. What if the pursuit of those things is like scratching an itch? You get immediate relief and everybody wants to do it. But we quickly realize that the relief that scratching gives us is very temporary, and in fact ends up making things worse. What if Jesus really is trying to save us from ourselves and sees that our attachment to all our stuff is really a millstone around our necks? If that were true, it gives us quite a different perspective on our obsession with questions like: "how much do I really have to give up to be saved? … or to be considered a good disciple? Is 1/10 enough - that is a tithe after all! How about 1/2. That seemed to work for Zacchaeus! We quickly read past passages like Luke 14:33, desperately seeking instead that which we can construe as less demanding ‘loop holes’. We prefer the transactional Christianity where some specified demand can be met, after which I can breath easy and think that my obligation in that direction has now been satisfied; the remainder of all I want to pursue is now finally left to me. But all of this is to miss the very point - to miss our very salvation itself! It is like us begging Jesus: “may I keep 9/10 of my millstone around my neck as I flail about here in the water? How about at least half of it?”

In the end all of us (not just the rich young ruler) will be brought to realize that our salvation is not some sort of partial affair. We will in the end be brought to realize that none of what we think we have was really ours in the first place. Not 90%; not 50% … none of it. It all belonged and still belongs to God. What you are doing with the temporary stuff you’ve been placed in charge of is the only question of interest to God.

This second scenario above seems like a viable possibility to me too. While many ostensibly “Chrisitan” leaders through history may have settled on the first option above (revealing their lack of any actual faith), it seems a stretch to think that those who faced torture and death were really con men seeking power and pleasure. That would be very strange indeed. You don’t often see a con artist giving his very life in order to sell you on something that could only be ‘enjoyed’ (if even that) within the confines of his present worldly culture.


Sure. We have a long parade of con men and women who plot and live to take advantage of others in his name.
He has blessed my heart with love for most people most of the time. Before Him, I hated most people most of the time. It occurred because He is love. I had nothing to do with that infusion of kindness in my me. Nevertheless, I struggle mightily when I sense that phonies are using his name in death and fraud and schemes that leverage their superficial knowledge of him to take advantage of people He loves. I get really ticked, really ticked, over those kinds of things because He’s not like that. That rocks me. After all He did for us, it’s like He has to save himself from those who use his name to hurt others. He allows it, though, doesn’t He? I feel protective of him as though He is family and I want to punish people who abuse him, you know?
Without his ability to save to the uttermost those like myself I would find myself behind bars in about 9 seconds.

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The way of life He promises isn’t something built upon a 30 minute investment of our lives to him. It isn’t depositing 33 acts of kindness and giving in exchange for a 100 fold return in stocks, bonds, real estate and vacations.
It is more like the joy and freedom and confidence that comes from finding your soul mate. “Being in love” is the ultimate liberation. To be who we were meant to be through his love causes a deep love in us for others. The confined and lonely lives we didn’t realize we were living are fading away. Suddenly, we notice others in a new light. Suddenly, everyone has loving value. Everyone becomes an individual worthy of receiving the same love that is present now in us. We are being transformed by a love we never dreamed we would find and it is expressed in our concern for others. It is a radical revolutionary change in us that we didn’t create. How sweet it is to be free to see and hear and be touched by the importance of other people. The response by others who recognize our love and concern for them so freely given sows the seeds of love for us in return. As we give to others because we can’t help but love them with the love that means everything to us, they love and appreciate us–not all, but some will and our self-centered obsessions and fears of being alone and friendless disappear.


This is interesting, in conjunction with the neurophysiology discussion part of the interview:

Sounds like first love Ralphie. Good luck.

“But I have against you that you have abandoned your first love.”

Having been given an overwhelming and perfectly sober experience with the two greatest commandments, what terrible sin it would be to settle for anything less in working out my salvation daily with fear and trembling.

Hosea 2:23: KJV.
"And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.”

Here God is telling His people through the Prophet Hosea that He will in the end redeem Israel (His people). Israel can also be seen as a metaphor for all mankind.

As every human being is made in the image of God, Almighty God will rescue all people; He has The Master Plan to redeem every soul.

Christians know that Jesus Christ is preparing a place for His followers; at the resurrection they will all be Home safe and sound in some Heavenly residence. What is less clear is what our loving Heavenly Father will do with everybody else. Hosea’s verse offers some insight as it hints at Almighty God’s saving Grace being extended to those who do not know Him.

The details of God’s Holy Plan are not disclosed, but the Bible does tell us that non-believers are initially not in a good place. They are outside of God’s Grace and so they are in effect separated from God; which is what Hell must be like.

In the Hosea: 2-23 it describes Almighty God as loving and generous to those who do not know Him. Our God’s essential nature IS pure unconditional love and this kind of love is bigger than we can imagine.

The Triune God is a redeeming God of Consuming Fire, He rescues and brings Home ALL the lost, in His Way and in His Time. It is His Will which stands higher and wider than human beings can fully grasp.

God of Grace and endless love forgive us our sins, let us not judge others. We know you are the only true Judge, we do not have all the information to judge wisely. In a world full of fear and distress, have mercy on those who have no mercy and on those who do not know you. In their redemption dwells the healing of our world. Come Lord Jesus come and be with us now and evermore. We need you Heavenly Father, beloved Abba, we need you now so much. Please Lord Jesus bring your Heaven down to us on Earth. We ache and long for you Lord of All.

“The same can be said for our ‘selves’; with no deliberate effort of our own we come to know our selves as a constant entity much as we take others to be.”

I know what you mean and basically agree with you, but I did want to add that unfortunately there are some poor souls who can’t maintain that constancy of self so easily taken for granted by many.

It is estimated that Borderline Personality Disorder afflicts more than three million adults in the U.S. and it is characterized in part by a “distracted” or an “unstable” sense of self.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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