I do believe a higher being might exist. However, I think God (in the traditional monotheistic sense) is either the weakest god in the cosmos or the cruelest one. I don’t know how to sum up my experience in words but I thought I’d ask anyway

Not in any recognizably human way except when human.

Okay. I see now what you’re saying. Thanks for setting me straight.

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What in the world does that mean? Please complete your thought. You don’t believe in God in any recognizably human way except when human?

EDIT: Now I think I understand. You skipped over answering my questions and merely replied to my comment regarding Jesus at the end? Do you mean that Jesus was not a personification of love in any humanly recognizable way except when he was a human?

By the way, you should also answer my question regarding your belief. If you are going to state an opinion about the nature and character of God, and you don’t believe in God, you should say so for proper context.

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Many of us here have felt God’s love. It may not be something you’ve personally experienced or would want to experience, and if so, this would be between you and God; however, it’s really not okay for you to say that “cognitive bias” is the only explanation for the experiences of God’s love that others have felt. Do you believe it’s okay to invalidate the personal faith experiences of others and tell them what they’ve learned and felt about God isn’t real?

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…before Abraham was born, I AM!" - Jesus

God was/is always ‘human’ in any way that matters.

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I agree (now that I’m reading it right :wink:). A minority view in Christianity (perhaps originating from Ancient Near East Wisdom literature) is the idea that if you do all the right things and follow all the religious laws taught by your leaders, you won’t ever need anybody’s help to deal with illness, suffering, or death because God will grant you nothing but happiness and endless blessings. Job found out the hard way that this isn’t so.

The majority view has always been that if you want to be in relationship with God, you have to be in relationship with God’s children, too – lifting them up to the best of your ability and, in so doing, living in imitation of Christ.

I’m thinking this is what you’re saying, Mitchell?

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Nope. That was a worthwhile addition to what I was saying! Though I will certainly confirm that I agree.

Indeed! I would even say that God is the source of our humanity. Our problems with sin is better identified with our inhumanity. And what we have from evolution would be described by adjectives derived from animal, mammal, and to some degree primate even.

been trying to figure out what those adjectives are…
animal or animalistic
mammalian
primate or primatal

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…Primal.

Perhaps the best to description of what we have from evolution is simply homo sapien, since I am not so sure primate is even such a good description.

Sorry Michael.

I want to believe in God who is Love, I choose to, I need to and at some level I nearly always do. Until a couple of years ago I always did for about 50. I find doing so in all but one remote Church context extremely difficult now as my realisation of God has changed. Jesus would be the personification, the human embodiment of that Love, yes.

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Where ‘human’ is representative of incarnate, agreed. God has incarnated for eternity.

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God the son is eternally begotten of the Father. But he hasn’t always been human. He became flesh at the incarnation. It is a Mormon belief that God started as a man.

It’s not about invalidation Jennifer. It’s about being rational, about being honest. I would love to feel loved by God, but I don’t know how He could do that. How do I know that my loved ones love me? Because it’s obvious. They demonstrate it. And - above all - because I have a theory of mind: I know I love them therefore they love me. I love Mrs. Brown. We went away for a week and she hasn’t come back for two days. I miss her. She missed me in her bird brain way and wrote me off even though I tried to leave signs; she couldn’t interpret hope in to them. We posit God’s existence and love - distorted horribly in the all too human Bible - from Him incarnating and by the Spirit, by being the ground of being in which beauty and love emerge; we just spent a week in Heaven, the north Norfolk coast. Whilst refugees on Lesbos lost their hovels. If God exists, then He loves me. I miss and love Him. Hopefully one day there’ll be no if and no missing.

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If this were the only time you had dismissed the experience of others as being irrational and dishonest, then I wouldn’t have spoken up. But you speak frequently about what is rational and what is honest in the context of people such as myself, and you do invalidate my experiences, as if you believe you’re inside my head and can objectively attest to what my personal relationship with God is like. Or should be like, based on your own beliefs.

You have your own beliefs about God, as everyone on this site has personal beliefs. I have no objection to anything you believe about God or hope for about God. That’s up to you, and if you choose to build your relationship with God through means that work for you, again that’s up to you.

What I object to quite strenuously is your repeated insistence that you know what’s going on inside other people’s relationships with God, and that you personally have the right to pronounce on whether other people are being “rational” or “honest” when they talk about their experiences. You have no such right.

If I were to say to you that there really isn’t a place such as the north Norfolk coast or if I were to say to you that nobody who’s being rational and honest could ever believe that the north Norfolk coast is a little piece of Heaven, would you think that’s okay? Would you think it’s okay for me to undermine, dismiss, belittle, and deny an experience that’s meaningful to you at a deep level?

I don’t think it would be okay. I’m happy for you that you had a splendid trip. I’ve only been to Norfolk once (and even at that, I only saw a bit of it). I thought it was lovely. You’re lucky you were able to go despite all the travel restrictions. Maybe you felt some of God’s love while you were there; maybe you didn’t. I wish you all the best as you seek what you feel is missing.

God bless.

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Thanks for sharing from your heart and being more complete and intentional in your words.

I see the all-too-human Bible as a blessing and quite consistent with reality. It is, rather, our own expectations of what God should do in the presence of pain and injustice that lets us down, I think. This is my own interpretation, and I’m sharing it as such. I don’t wish to minimize that problem that you bring up. As well, though, I don’t believe it is fair to think that you’ve discovered it either. I think that in post 9 above, the Jeremiah 29 passage highlights this same problem, but, I think that it also highlights the solution. Jesus’ life does the same. Again, thanks for sharing as you have here. Much easier to understand, now, what you are saying and from where you are coming.

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(Agreed. I had scare quotes around ‘human’.)

Jennifer. The opposite of honest in this context is not dishonest. But honest is still the word. Intellectually honest. Rationally honest. And yes I can speak for others’ mental states, because I have one. And God does not interfere with it. And rationality explains all of it without exception for anyone for a long, long time. God does not change our thoughts and feelings - which are compressed thoughts. I wish He did. In one terminally bleak situation my I burst out laughing and was so surprised I said ‘Was that you Lord?’. But no. He does not operate that way any more than He heals anyone. We interact with our own interior ikon of Him. Orthodoxly I do not see God changing anyone’s mind in the NT except by no holds barred intervention. Spectacular visual and auditory miracles and dreams. Not changing a feeling, a thought. And not since. At all. It’s time to grow up Jennifer.

Not that I am anyone to speak, as any who have been here a while can attest, since I am rarely spontaneously gracious and all too quick to return insult for insult and I am not a pinnacle of righteousness, but a large part of God’s showing himself to us has to do with our humility before him, and obedience.

Maybe the first part of humility is thankfulness, in that we do not deserve any of the good things we’ve been given. An excellent book on the subject is One Thousand Gifts*. The book begins with her toddler sister being killed in their farmyard by a delivery truck when the author was only five.
 


*She writes in a poetic prose style that takes a little betting used to, at least it did for me, and it may seem affected at first. (BablyonBee has a funny piece on her, and I’m sure she thought it was a real hoot. :grin:)

I think your god, your ‘rationality’, interferes in the extreme in your getting to know the real one.

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Sometimes I conjecture that the reason we have the Bible as we know it today is for it to be a test of our humility, of our willingness to submit ourselves to God’s good rule. Often it seems what I see here is our setting ourselves as judge, jury and ultimate critic of it. Of course, in one sense we are, but are we more typically ready to discard what we don’t like or are we more ready to examine ourselves instead.

“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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