Ok, so I’m going to state here all of my questions about Christianity. I’m always open for dialogue, I like to hear responses from Christians as to their thoughts regarding these questions.

Question 1: The Christian religion portends God knows past, present, and future, and only a select group of people will go to heaven. The rest, whom he gave their own ability to think for themselves are condemned to hell for eternity. If God allows people to be born he ultimately already knows will reject Christianity and are destined for hell would this not preclude God’s love and benevolence?

People believe what makes sense to them which is largely influenced by how they are raised and the ideas, concepts and experiences they are exposed to. When asked how they feel about hell, Christian’s explain it’s not God’s decision, it’s not God sending you to hell, it’s your choice so it’s you that sends yourself to hell.

I think this allows Christians to rationalize the hell doctrine. It seems reasonable a loving, holy, omnipotent and omniscient being would have the power to allow you to be in heaven regardless of your ability to accept a belief.

Question 2: God put his first two creations, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, where he also put Lucifer, the most devious deceptive trickster of all time whom he already knew would succeed in tempting and convincing to disobey him, creating original sin and damning all human descendants to hell for eternity, doesn’t this seem like a set up? Didn’t he already know what was going to happen?

Question 3: I hear Christians say either all of the bible is true, or none of it.

There are all sorts of verses that seem incongruent with the idea of the Christian God being a loving god: In the old testament God murders the entire world save Noah and his family because he’s angry and jealous some are worshiping false idols.

God commands Abraham to murder his son.

God kills first born sons during passover.


Even in the new testament, it talks about masters being good to your slaves.

There are many stories that further highlight these incongruencies but, if you take them at face value many will tell you you’re taking them out of context, that you have to be qualified to truthfully and accurately interpret the bible. Would God not want any common person to be able to pick up his holy book and be able to read, understand, and believe.

I believe our ability to question and reconsider our opinions and beliefs when presented with new information is what makes us open minded.

Our opinions and beliefs in of themselves (no matter how moral or justified) doesn’t.

Instead it makes us locked in our thinking and unable to consider new ideas, beliefs and our ever changing, ever evolving knowledge about Earth and the universe.

The pursuit of knowledge is led by researchers, scientists, astronomers, inventors, philosophers, theologians and others endeavoring to further the advancement of humankind. People of all faiths and beliefs are made wiser with consideration of new ideas and discoveries.

Brandon

61 thoughts on “Questions about Christianity, do you have answers?

  1. Hello Brandon! First of all, I enjoyed reading this blog. I sense you have an open, inquiring and honest mind. I also appreciate the “respectful” way in which you ask your questions, and the sincere responses of your readers. I’m new to your blog, so I went back to read some of your story. You mention your interest in psychology, philosophy, religion, and mental health. I would like to recommend an author and Christian apologist to you, Ravi Zacharias. He spent a life-time addressing questions such as yours and can answer them much more eloquently than I ever could. Sadly, Ravi passed away recently from cancer. It is a great loss to the world. He has written many books and you can find many videos on YouTube of his teachings. Please check him out. You will be blessed. Listen to the whispers of your heart!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you and I am glad you are enjoying poking around here :). Respect for each others ideas is critical for open dialogue and for all to have possibilities for learning. Thanks, I like to think so. I’m actually quite familiar with Ravi, I listened to him as a child on talk radio with my Dad growing up and had the pleasure of meeting him at an event I went to last year with Legionnaire Ministries. I was very sad to hear of his passing but he touched so many lives and left quite a legacy. I haven’t read any of his writings or seen any teachings for some time but I’ll check him out some more. Thank you I appreciate your encouragement! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. bak5187 says:

    I may have posted this by accident but not within my account. Sorry for the double post if it happens. I would recommend C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce regarding your question on hell. May give another frame to see the question. One of the most influential books I’ve read. And it’s a short read. Appreciate the honest questions!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your comment, I’ll check it out, I know my dad has read that before. My dad loaned me another book called New Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell, I’ve been meaning to read that, I’ll post an update once I do.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. bak5187 says:

    Regarding your question on hell, I would highly recommend reading C.S. Lewis’ book The Great Divorce. Doesn’t answer it exactly but may give a different frame for thinking about. Maybe the most influential book I’ve read personally. Appreciate the honesty of your questions by the way!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I responded to your second comment 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fred says:

    Thanks for following my blog Brandon. I find yours intriguing.

    As an ever work-in-progress, good/bad example Christian, I’ve pondered many of the same questions RE Christianity you’ve asked. As a finite mortal I’m unable to fully comprehend infinite Deity and offer definitive answers. For the creation to fathom the Creator would render them equal, and negate faith to bridge the unknown. Based on what I’ve witnessed in creation and my own and others life experiences, I relinquish my unanswered questions to simple faith.

    Life has taught me when Christianity is exhibited as a noun, it’s merely controlling religion. When authentically exhibited as a verb, it’s a vibrant relationship. I delight in the inexplicable certain eternal assurance of that relationship . . . I am His and He is mine.

    Be blessed my friend.

    Keep Looking Up +

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your response Fred and sharing your thoughts and experience, I appreciate that.

      I ask these questions wondering if maybe someday I’ll get answers but I think you’re right, under the umbrella of fundamental Christianity that’s the only real answer: that we don’t have answers and it’s a leap of faith. I had a video response from a Deacon I really liked which made a lot of sense. I have faith and assurance I’ll be in heaven after this life, I’ve been there before during this life and many times before.

      Be blessed yourself 🙂 Thank you you too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Brandon. Thank you for following me at hisshadowings.com. I will not be trying to answer all of your questions or anything like that. I will not try to speak for God and His Word, He does not need me to do that. But if you don’t mind, I will give you a few Scriptures to ponder in answer to a few.

    1) 2 Peter 3:8-9 8 “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
    This Scripture, and some others point out the fact that God does not want anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance. The God I have come to know through the Bible over the last 45 years of walking with Him, is a God who desires all people to know Him and come to Him.
    * He also speaks in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 30:18, saying this:
    Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
    And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
    For the Lord is a God of justice;
    How blessed are all those who long for Him.”
    *God tells us that if we seek Him, we will find Him:
    “11 For I know the plans that I [h]have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will restore your [i]fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
    Brandon, God is reaching out to you and drawing you to Himself. Go to His Word and ask Him to show this to you. I have asked a lot of the same questions of God and He has not answered them all. But we have been having a 45 year relationship and dialogue, and I have come to know Him as the most Gracious of beings.
    That is the only one I will comment on for now. I have other Scriptures for some of the other questions, if you want to hear them. But honestly, ask God for yourself and look for the answers in His Word. He truly loves you, His beautiful creation and longs to reconcile you to Himself. Be Blessed and thanks for following my blog, hisshadowings.com

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes of course. Thank you for your response, I appreciate all the thought you put into this and for being willing to help me understand. I would like to hear them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Heated Stew says:

    You came to my attention because you started following my blog. I am a Christian. An old retired surgeon not a theologian. There are a lot of questions to which I don’t know the answers and don’t expect to while here on earth. This I know that there is excellent evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. The sense of freedom I received when I accepted his offer of forgiveness has enriched my life heaps. I thank God for the freedom that He gives us to make choices. I thank Him that ultimately there are consequences in the long run of making good/bad choices. Psalm 2 a Messianic Psalm means a lot to me. Maybe we’ll continue reading and talking.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey there, yes I am always wanting to learn and explore new ideas. Thanks for your response. I understand how it can change someone’s life, coming to Jesus but I think perhaps surrendering ourselves to the high power of God and accepting him in our lives doesn’t necessarily have to take place through the way of Christianity – I think all paths ultimately lead to the same destination but again I don’t claim to understand how the bad consequences are enforced – I just can’t accept the idea of hell. I’d ike that. Sorry for not getting to your comment right away.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Heated Stew says:

        I believe that Jesus was God incarnate and he says that he is the way, the truth and the light and no one comes to the Father (God) but by him. I cannot claim to be God incarnate but if he was I’m not going to argue with him.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Robert Mitchell says:

    Hey Brandon. I’m a deacon and a seminarian in pursuit of the Holy Orders of the priesthood in the Old Catholic tradition, and I thought I would be good for you to hear some answers from a member of the clergy. So I made a short video to answer your questions. I hope you like it, and God Bless! http://remitchelljr.com/2020/05/17/brandons-three-questions-heaven-hell-and-genesis/

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey Deacon Robert,

      Thank you for going to the effort of making this video. I appreciate your ernest answers to my questions. From what I’ve heard from any Christian you’ve done the best job at giving contextual answers I respect and can accept in the realm of a Catholic belief system. I didn’t realize those of the Catholic faith were so free thinking and open minded. I have more questions about the bible itself I’ll ask at a later time, I’m interested in hearing your perspective on those as well. If you read my about me page you’ll have seen I was raised a born again Christian in a fundamental capacity. In faith I repented for my perceived sins countless times, earnestly asking Jesus into my heart. From your answers I wasn’t totally sure your direct answer to this: Someone who is unable to cognitively rationalize Christian doctrine even though they understand the concepts can still enter the kingdom of heaven? I thought you were indicating that yes it is possible which is the only way I can embrace the possibility of Christianity. I’m certainly not an atheist, I believe in the creator and in heaven but I have significant hangups on rationalizing how and why God lets children suffer and die. If he can do anything, regardless of his choice to let us have free will it seems like in these cases he would want to intervene when intervention is possible and called for. Miracles I believe are real but why create miracles for some and not others? I did very much like your video, I’m going to check out more of yours. God bless you as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robert Mitchell says:

        Hey Brandon, I’m so glad you enjoyed and appreciated the video I made for you. If you’d like to have a private zoom call to talk more, just let me know. Send me a gmail at “12thkey.” You asked, “Someone who is unable to cognitively rationalize Christian doctrine even though they understand the concepts can still enter the kingdom of heaven?” Well, the problem is, what exactly is “the Kingdom of Heaven?” I would say this — Jesus’ entire mission can be summed up as 33 years of rule breaking. He disobeyed his parent’s rules and stayed late at the temple. He drove out the moneychangers, violated Jewish purity laws by eating and ministering to the sick, sinful and unclean, healing the sick and gathering food on the sabbath, etc. and was ultimately executed for his transgressions. Does Jesus strike you as a figure who would set up rigid, unbreakable rules for getting into some locked place? Ask yourself: what if “The Kingdom of Heaven” is the mindset that you have when you accept Jesus as your king? What if “The Kingdom of Heaven” is the society we can create if we all live like Christ? What if the “Kingdom of Heaven” is a possible afterlife for people who accept God? And a radical question — what if the “Kingdom of Heaven” is all of those things at the same time? Without any contradiction? With Christ aren’t all things are possible? Talk to you soon!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Jesus does not strike me as that kind of person, hence my incongruencies with fundamentalism. I like what you say about the Kingdom of Heaven, I can get on board with that idea. I’ll send you an email that would be awesome to have the opportunity for a face to face conversation, talk to you soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. In Christ alone I place my trust, and find my glory in the power of the cross! My hope and future are based on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. It’s difficult when our hearts work to keep condemning us. Jesus paid the full price for all our sins, iniquities, diseases; basically to free us from the curse of death and hell. I”m sorry if you were hurt by church; most of us have been and still will be. Forgive us for steering you wrong and not answering your questions when you were growing up to lead you to your own revelation of Jesus. The devil is so uncreative! The questions you ask are the same as people have been asking for many generations and we have a whole slew of Christian apologists that have answered them over and over; many from different aspects. You’d think we’d stop asking them after a few seasons, but we persist.I pray on this Pentecost day, May 29,2020, that The Holy Spirit comes upon you to comfort, teach, guide, and lead you into all truth. Amen

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Thank you for your earnest, heartfelt prayer. I sincerely appreciate your desire to alleviate my pain and reservations and bring me back into the fold. I’ve heard the answers and have them still, yeah persist they do. Thanks again for your post and geniune attempt to help me. I was 100% in the fold, sincerely gave my heart to Jesus as a young child, I used to be afraid every time I realized I was sinning I had to re ask him into my heart every time. I never renounced my faith like in forcefully leaving the church but I came to a point where I cant intellectually accept the basic premise: God creates man whom he already knows will be damned to hell for eternity should they not be able to themselves logically accept that his son who is also himself had to be sent to be a human sacrifice to provide a way out of the hell he created as punishment for not being able to accept the belief.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Sorry, God created hell for Satan and the fallen angels. It was free will pride that befell them, it is free will choice for the rest of us, God doesn’t want us to love him because we have to, but because we see His goodnes, kindness and love and choose to. Shalom dear brother!

        Like

  8. Dwindle Me says:

    Hey CounselorBrandon,

    First, thank you for following my blog. I look forward to getting to read more of yours. As a Christian, the title of this blog entry intrigued me. I am going to answer your questions on my blog. So it’ll take me a few days. I think so of my other readers would like the same answers so instead of writing it out twice, I’ll do it once. But your questions are good and they need answers but I don’t want to give you half answers here.

    I will say this much here though. You are right in your assertions. But, unfortunately, you are wrong to. And that is our fault as Christians. We need to take 100 percent of the blame in that. Basically, we fought amongst ourselves and splintered off into major denominations. Then we couldn’t agree on the carpet color and splintered from that. So we have this massive group but if you ask one christian about his beliefs, the one on the pew next to him would disagree.

    Stay tuned….

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re welcome, thank you for following mine as well. Likewise, I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Naomi says:

    Dear Brandon,

    When you get a spare 5 minutes, I’d strongly encourage you to read the following article:

    http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0001/0001_01.asp

    It’s about full repentance from the heart unto life for all people, regardless of who they are or what they’ve done in life.

    May Jesus bless you.

    Kind regards in Christ,
    Naomi

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your response, I’ll check it out :). May God bless you also.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for following my poetry blog! You might also be interested in my blog about the novel “The Gospel According to the Romans – a non-believer’s view” – http://robinhl.com

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Absolutely 🙂 thanks for following me back! I will check it out! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ruth says:

    Each explains their idea of who God is or their understanding of who God is by their experience or knowledge or lack thereof. Each of us is confined to what is in our head or what we are capable of understanding. Some times and some things are hard for me to understand because I don’t remember a time before I was born but have to trust what I have read and seen and heard to understand things existed before me. I’ve never been in war yet I can read about it or hear about it and comprehend that there is a lot more to war than I can even imagine. With that reflection comes my understanding of God. I realize I can’t fully understand Him. I lack the knowledge and comprehension to fully get a grip on who God is. I just know that God is and is who He said He is. He was, is and will be. God is infinite. He created, gave life, is truth, is knowledge, is complete in who he is.

    For as big and complete and whole as God is, he is composed of three parts: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet one. In all of creation and all the world this big, massive, all-knowing, all understanding, all creating, all loving, all present Heavenly Father desires to have a relationship with each person, each of His creation, His children.

    Since God is all truth and all light, there is no lie, no untruth, no darkness that can be in His presence. They just can’t exist together. We were born with the ability to see light and see darkness. We can make a choice where we chose to exist.

    Being a parent gives me just a slight glimpse into how God may see things. I know my children. I know if given a choice which one will pick the color blue or pink. I know which child would pick cake over ice cream or which one likes mashed potatoes versus french fries. I know which child wants to go hunting or fishing or which one doesn’t want to be in the woods. Does that mean I control them or manipulate them or predestine them? No, it just means I know my kids and yes, I am wrong about my kids on occasion but I can generally know what they will pick or chose because I know them and have a relationship with them. Would I choose to direct some of their choices and keep them out of trouble, yes.

    I believe God is like this, He knows what we will choose and whether we will choose Him and chose to have a relationship with Him or not. The choice is still up to us. God doesn’t want anyone to perish. Our Heavenly Father, who is perfect, flawless, all light and truth and eternal has made a way for each of us to come to the knowledge of just who He is. He allows us to each go our way and gives each of us the opportunity to fellowship with Him or not. It is our choice and He loves each of us so much that He knows what we will choose.

    He has made a way for us to enter into His perfect presence by sacrificing His only son Jesus to make a way for those of us who are imperfect to have that fellowship with Him. He has made a way for those who dwell in darkness to come into the light. He made a way for sinners to be free of the bondage of their sin and their past. He has made a way to direct our path. He has built a mansion for us to dwell in with Him in eternity. He has plans for each of us that give us a hope and a future. He desires to walk with us and talk with us.

    He has made a way for each of us. It is completely up to us to either be with Him or be against Him. As for me and my house, we made a choice who we will serve.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ruth, thank you for your meaningful response. I hear you, but why create us and then create the circumstances for the most evil possible outcome for us (or allow us to create it for ourselves, which because he is all powerful, this outcome would be on him either way. Just because he created a way for us to possibly escape this most evil of fates, this does not redeem the evil act of allowing damnation to be a possibility in the first place. To me that is evil, pure and simple, and would make him even more reprehensible than the devil himself, if this were true. Why create hell in the first place? This is the most evil possible outcome for his children he supposedly loves. In addition to this, millions of children suffer and die needlessly daily in this world. To not save them when having the power to, also is among the most evil of acts.

      Have you seen Star Wars? A key difference between good and evil in that storyline, the light and dark side of the force is that only the Sith think in absolutes, One of the last things Anakin Skywalker says to Obi Wan Kanobe after completing his transformation to the dark side is “you’re either with me or against me.” The fallacy of this line of thinking has been shown repeatedly throughout history and has resulted in the suffering and death of countless.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Travis says:

      Let me start by saying there is survival mechanism we all have that will shut down the logic centers of the brain if the very act of disbelief will send us someplace unpleasant. Secondly, belief is not a voluntary action. If I dropped a glass on the floor in front of you, there would be nothing you could do save a lobotomy to make you believe I didn’t. To make belief the prerequisite for entrance into a heavenly realm and the consequences of the involuntary state of disbelief eternal torture is something that is most likely made up by 2000 year old humans, not an omnipotent loving God.

      To accept Christianity as truth, you have to accept that God has two very distinct personalities based on when the text was written. In the Old Testament, God orders the slaughter of every man woman and child of neighboring tribes, the execution or disobedient children, adulterers and non virgins on their wedding days. He sets up rules for slavery including permission to beat your slaves as long as they don’t die in two days. And if they do die, there’s just a fine. The Noah’s ark story is very unlikely. To fit 14 million species from all over the world onto a wooden boat in the Middle East isn’t possible. Kangaroos would have had to swim from Australia and then back. Poison dart frogs from the Amazon. Penguins from Antarctica, etc. And then fed and watered for a year. And then what did they eat in a destroyed world after? There is no fossil record of any of these animals ever existing anywhere other than they already are. Occams Razor states that the simplest most likely explanation is almost always true. In this case the most likely explanation for the Old Testament is tribal people with a limited understanding of decent human values and what is actually possible. They probably thought the world was very small.

      Jesus connects the New Testament with old when he states “Slaves obey your masters, even the cruel.” Hardly a moral position. But the rest of the New Testament is about forgiving your enemies and turning the other cheek. It directly contradicts the tyrannical God of the Old Testament. Animal and human sacrifice had been prevalent for thousands of years before the story of Jesus so it’s no coincidence that Christianity would be based upon someone else’s blood purifying your sins. The very term scape goating is based upon an ancient tribe casting all of their sins onto a goat and then driving it into the desert to die. There is no justice in this and is another non sequiter in Christianity.

      The Bible states that at the time of the resurrection, every grave in Jerusalem opened up and the dead once again walked the earth. If this happened, there would absolutely be a historical record of it other than the Bible.

      Jesus shares many attributes with many ancient mythological Gods such as born to a virgin on the 25th of December, healed the blind and sick, raised the dead, walked on water, had 12 disciples, crucified, went to hell (hades) and rose in 3 days. There’s nothing very original about Jesus.

      The bottom line is with all of these issues with the Bible and no recent revelations to go on, its not unreasonable to not buy into any of it. You have to ask yourself if a loving God would send someone like me to be tortured for eternity because I simply cannot force my mind to believe on bad evidence.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. colinandray says:

        This response surprised me because it shows a rather unusual perspective. I am certainly not a scholar of either Christianity or of “ancient times”, but I would have thought the following to be rather obvious:

        Given a lack of the internet and of world travel, the scribes could only write from the perspective available to them. Given the education level of the “average person”, analogies would have to be used in order to get the messages understood. Given those two basic understandings, one cannot take the Bible literally. Given the Ten Commandments, and how (regardless of their origins) they could form the basis of living, much improved from our own, it would seem reasonable to assume that somebody knew what they were talking about! Given that the flood, and a number of other events, are recorded in the texts of other religions, it is not illogical to assume a connection of value.

        In summary, one cannot take texts whose origin may go back to carving hieroglyphics on rocks, and interpret them with the knowledge that we believe we have now. Simply put, one cannot take the Bible literally.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. Bill,
    Thank you for your meaningful, substantive, and wise answers. They are among the best of those I consider good answers to these questions. I will read those authors at some point, thank you for your recommendations. That is relieving, thank you again Bill for giving of your time and self to connect with me and answer my questions 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Bill Ingram says:

    Question 1: You absolutely must reject the idea of a benevolent, sentient God when faced with this conundrum. The believe “god” is a force that surrounds us, penetrates us and binds the galaxy together. “God” might even be dark matter….that seems like the glue holding everything together! There is a creative force in the multiverse, but it doesn’t care what happens to one species on one tiny plante in an infinitesimal multiverse. I don’t believe it is sentient, but rather just a force.

    Question 2: This is a Jewish story, told to explain something that people living some 5-6 thousand years ago couldn’t possibly answer. Think of Genesis as one of Aesop’s Fables or Grimm’s fairy tales. There is some wisdom to be gained from reading it, but reading it literally is an exercise in futility. I mean, after all, there are three completely different creation stories in Genesis. Which do you take literally? None.

    Question 3: If you believe in the “god” of fundamentalist Christianity, which is akin to believing in the Easter Bunny, yes, it’s problematic. The Bible is rife with contradictions – ever read the four gospels separately? The two birth stories are completely different, they claim Mary was a virgin but trade Jesus blood lineage through Joseph (and neither lineage is the same), and then John and Paul go off on a tangent that would make Jesus of Nazareth start turning over tables in the temple again. And no, first born sons were never killed during Passover. No record of that whatsoever, and I’m pretty sure there would have been mention in the verifiable historical texts of the time. It only happens in one version of the story, anyway. There is Truth in the Bible, but not a whole lot of truth.

    Maybe I strongly recommend the writings of Marcus Borg, Dominic Crossan and (especially) Bart Ehrman? I think you’ll be relieved to know you are not alone in asking these questions and that Biblical scholars have come to very different conclusions about them than what you’ll hear in a pulpit on Sunday morning.

    B

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sorry Bill I just realized you may not have seen my reply as I accidentally attached it to someone else’s comment. I will post it now here so hopefully you will see it.

      Bill,
      Thank you for your meaningful, substantive, and wise answers. They are among the best of those I consider good answers to these questions. I will read those authors at some point, thank you for your recommendations. That is relieving, thank you again Bill for giving of your time and self to connect with me and answer my questions 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. colinandray says:

    *****Possible duplicate due to issues Posting*****

    I do believe that any literal translation of the Bible should be questioned due to the following potential translation issues:

    Translators not knowing/understanding the idiomatic expressions of the times.
    Education/experience of the translators.
    Political culture of the times both when original texts were created, and in later revisions.
    Church influences at the time of various translations.
    Literary creativity in order to “get the message” to the people.
    Grey areas between facts and analogies.

    In fact all those potential pitfalls have been relevant throughout our history, in that many religious groups are founded on a different interpretation of various scripts. I suspect that heaven vs hell was a ploy to get the masses to lead a humanely responsible life. Having a “fear of God” would also be a good motivator for a large proportion of the population.

    My perspective is simply that it is not important whether hell/heaven exists, or who will go in which direction. It is very important that we lead by example in the areas of compassion, understanding, selfless giving etc. In fact we should simply treat people the way we would like to be treated. If we can achieve that …. then we need not be concerned about the existence or not of a heaven/hell! In fact, we need not be concerned about the existence of God, because we will feel so rewarded at our soul/inner level. There is a quote “The giver always gets.” That is so true. The giver should not be looking for monetary or other measurable rewards, because the rewards will be the satisfaction of helping somebody outside of ourselves. The satisfaction of assisting the less fortunate is immeasurable.

    Finally, I highly recommend anybody to visit their nearest grave yard and read the epitaphs! They will all note who the person was; probably family connections; their work etc. i.e. they will define the deceased as best they can given space available. I have yet to see one which acknowledges the possessions of the deceased … no mention of expensive cars, no mention of large houses, no mention of fashionable clothes.

    Evidence clearly suggests that we are remembered by what we do throughout our life, and not what we owned. So the question that comes out of God and heaven/hell discussions is surely “Would we like to be remembered after we have gone?” Assuming the answer is yes, then we all know what we should be doing! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Colin, I am in full agreement with each one of your points. I do think though along with our desire to be remembered, it is also hope for continued life after death that sustains us. Thank you for sharing your perspective, it is highly valued and appreciated! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Looks like I should have proofread that one more time after I edited my final sentence haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I postulated God wouldn’t send otherwise good people to hell; I don’t know there’s not some horrible punishment or if those people and evil ones like them are banished from heaven. I think karma is real and I can’t pretend to understand how the cosmic system works but I believe the good we do and intentional harm we do will come back to us in this life, the afterlife, or the next life. What about Ted Bundy who supposedly gave his heart to Christ right before he was executed; under the Christian belief system he would get to go to heaven, and if one of the women he killed had some other religious belief system they would be condemned to hell. This kind of illustrates the incongruencies between my belief in what is justice and righteous and my the Christianity.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dr. Jack Fucci, Jr. says:

      Regarding your first two questions about Christianity. Both deal with God knowing things ahead of time. You appear to make the common error of thinking God sees time as we see time. We are part of the Universe, not just in the Universe but part of its creation. We are thus subject to Space, Time and Matter. God is not. God is Spirit and God is the Creator of the Universe. He is separate from the Universe like a painter is separate from his painting. He is also NOT restricted by time. The common mistake is that people see God looking and knowing the future as though He is in the time line looking into the future from the past. One might come to your conclusion if that were the case, but God see all time periods in one shot. So, He sees things happen as they happen. Think of it this way. Suppose you stand in a room and look at a large mural on the wall and all of history is on the painting. You see the beginning of Creation on the left and the Second coming of Jesus on the right end of the painting and all of history in between. You can step back and see it all at once. That is more likely how it works. Regarding “God sending people to hell.” God sends no one to hell. If you follow my car while driving your car and continue to follow it, you will end up where I end up. Now suppose you follow Jesus Christ in your life, you end up where He is, however, if you follow Satan in your life, you end up where he is destined to be. Choose you, this day, whom you will serve / follow.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dr. Jack, thank you for taking such time and care with your offerings to my questions. I greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness and I’m sorry for not responding sooner. I’ve never heard it put quite like that before, I can follow your logic and I think that helps me understand a little more but I still have questions; I hope you’ll reply to me again. I can accept God is creator and we are part of his creation, subject to space, time and matter and I in fact agree with that along with God being not subject to these laws. I follow your painter metaphor and I agree with that concept. However, I feel that those things can be true along with God being able to know the future. If God is all knowing and all powerful, omniscient and omnipotent it seems reasonable this necessitates he does know all that ever was, is, and will be and also has ultimate power to make anything happen he desires. Like you said, God is not bound by time or other laws of nature which frees him from any constraints to our logic and ability to understand him. Your answer to the Adam and Eve original sin paradox is better than I’ve heard from anyone else postulate and I do like your tapestry metaphor as well but it still seems to me God would not be constrained to the laws of nature intended for his creation to be bound by. So, in being all knowing he would have been able to foresee the fall prior to the act of creation; I can’t seem to rationalize it any other way. I do like your car serving/following metaphor, but again, by definition of being all powerful, for those mislead by the deceiver, God has the power to wash away their sin nonetheless and allow them access to heaven, or at least not let them be damned. As their car approaches the destination they got swept away in following, he would have the ability to appear before them, explain the mistake they have made and then transport them to heaven. So I can’t rationalize that concept in my mind of people sending themselves to hell. We are God’s children, could we allow our own children to be damned for eternity, even if it was their own choice if we had the power to save them?

        Liked by 1 person

  17. mlaclair says:

    You seem to think everyone is going to heaven, that a good God wouldn’t send anyone to hell. So, tell me, do you want to be in heaven with PolPot, Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Kim II Sung?

    Liked by 2 people

  18. My mom is still here and I don’t believe she is going to hell, that’s what I’m saying, I don’t believe a loving good would send otherwise good people to hell. That’s what I hear from most Christians, that there is hell, and that’s what we deserve because of original sin, that Jesus came to die to give us a free gift rout of hell. I have my own objective view of the world and also I had an afterlife experience, so experiential proof.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mary A. LaClair says:

      Jesus spoke of hell often. He gave examples. You admit you have your own objective view. Sounds as if you wish to stick to it, and you sound firm, so why pretend to ask? Scripture tells of those who are so content searching that they don’t want to find truth; but it is usually referring to old women busybodies.
      There are many kinds of afterlife experiences – the devil is a liar, you know that, and he can appear as an angel of light. If you saw Jesus in a near death experience, you would know it. If you are still alive, how do you explain an after life experience if you are still here? Lots of questions here.
      Man’s intelligence cannot find God. Saul (Paul) was well educated in Jewish Law,.God sent him to the Gentiles not to the Jews so he wouldn’t be tempted to show off his knowledge of Jewis Law to the Gentiles. Jesus also called Peter, Satan, when he was thinking of things from man’s point of view. Good definition of satanism – thinking of things from man’s view, not God’s view. education is not a pre-requisite to finding God.
      I would like to send you a picture of my cat – well I say my cat – it was a drop off a few weeks ago. It looks like a valuable cat and resembles your black/brown tiger with orange on its face. This one looks as if it could be part Scottish Fold or part American Curl.because of its unusual ears. Her fur makes me think of sable, it is so rich!
      Have you seen the article “Do Dogs Go To Heaven?” on my other site? I think you will appreciate it…

      Liked by 1 person

  19. mlaclair says:

    Brandon:
    My offering to your questions on Christianity:
    God gave, and still gives us FREE WILL. We have to WANT to know Him. We cannot know God with our intelligence. He has a way of separating those who want to know Him from those who don’t care or who think it is really necessary.
    This happens most frequently when folks are tired of the way life treats them by doing things their own way. Sad to say, but some people have to be backed into a corner before they will cry “UNCLE” or cry out to GOD – and when they find Him, they want to tell the world – who often, doesn’t really care. You see it is a personal thing with God.
    He does not want a bunch of puppets which He Himself controls .
    ASK, SEEK, FIND.
    We are told that we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our heart and all of soul.
    He doesn’t want to call us servants, He wants to call us friends.
    Do you want to know Him? Tell Him so. Start talking to him, use His Name of Jesus.
    Are you willing to know Him? If not so much, are you willing-to-be-made-willing?
    Tell Him it is OK with you if He would take your will, and give you His. He is able to do this.. But He waits for your permission. If it is alright with you, ask Him to take your thoughts and give you His thoughts. But be willing. And be sincere. It will open up a new and better world for you.
    Break through the veil, reach up to Him, and He will reach down to you. You be the initiator, because He is a Gentleman. He is not a dictator and will not force Himself on you.
    “What a Friend We Have In Jesus”.
    Forget the intelligence. Know Him with your heart.

    Thanks for being a new follower of my blog: http://www.TheProverbs120Column.wordpress.com

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful response and for following me back. It’s my pleasure, I like to be exposed to diverse experiences and information.

      I appreciate your efforts in addressing my questions, and I do get your perspective, I accepted Jesus into my heart as a child and considered myself a devout follower for a good portion of my life. I understand the philosophy of the leap of faith with the heart in spite of the brain’s reservations; I get all of your points and appreciate your efforts to help me but I don’t feel like it answers my questions. I know all these things yet have the same questions. When I took the leap of faith I accepted the Christian belief system and worldview but as I learned to question things and do my own critical thinking I came to a point where I had to take off the helmet which I found constricted my ability to understand God and learn about the world. When seeking answers as to why my Mom had to go to hell, I was only left with more questions.

      What about those who do seek him with all their heart and soul yet find some other God because of their circumstances, way they grew up, or otherwise? Are we to judge they weren’t earnestly seeking good enough or selflessly enough? Almost every religion holds they are the right one. I can’t seem to accept the idea that a Gentleman, non-dictator would condemn otherwise good people to hell not just temporarily, but for eternity.

      Thanks again for your response, I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. mlaclair says:

        WHAT on earth makes you think your Mom went to hell for eternity? Did she intentionally murder an innocent someone?
        What proof do you THINK you have of that thought which you have?

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Mary says:

    Brandon:
    My offering to your questions on Christianity:
    God gave, and still gives us FREE WILL. We have to WANT to know Him. We cannot know God with our intelligence. He has a way of separating those who want to know Him from those who don’t care or who think it is really necessary.
    This happens most frequently when folks are tired of the way life treats them by doing things their own way. Sad to say, but some people have to be backed into a corner before they will cry “UNCLE” or cry out to GOD – and when they find Him, they want to tell the world – who often, doesn’t really care. You see it is a personal thing with God.
    He does not want a bunch of puppets which He Himself controls .
    ASK, SEEK, FIND.
    We are told that we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our heart and all of soul.
    He doesn’t want to call us servants, He wants to call us friends.
    Do you want to know Him? Tell Him so. Start talking to him, use His Name of Jesus.
    Are you willing to know Him? If not so much, are you willing-to-be-made-willing?
    Tell Him it is OK with you if He would take your will, and give you His. He is able to do this.. But He waits for your permission. If it is alright with you, ask Him to take your thoughts and give you His thoughts. But be willing. And be sincere. It will open up a new and better world for you.
    Break through the veil, reach up to Him, and He will reach down to you. You be the initiator, because He is a Gentleman. He is not a dictator and will not force Himself on you.
    “What a Friend We Have In Jesus”.
    Forget the intelligence. Know Him with your heart.

    Thanks for being a new follower at my blog: I hope you will be duly inspired
    Mary at: http://www.TheProverbs120Column.net

    Liked by 3 people

  21. -Eugenia says:

    It’s good connecting with you and thank you for following Eugi’s Causerie.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Counselor says:

      It’s good connecting with you as well, thank you for following me. Looking forward to future interactions.

      Liked by 3 people

  22. colinandray says:

    Oh Brandon … so many questions:
    Q1 – I do believe that we were created by a “higher power”, and I have no problem calling it God. We were created with a brain with remarkable capabilities which we were expected to use, and were given a list of rules to live by. I suspect the heaven/hell scenarios were created to encourage compliance with the rules (and to ensure our survival), and do not actually exist as such. Where do we go when our body fails us? I really don’t know, but expect it to be of another dimension. I do not believe that God is either vindictive or protective per se, but rather created us and our world, and gave each of us the freedom to live how we wish.
    Q2 – I cannot come to terms with what may be representative of fact vs what was creative writing in an attempt to explain the unexplainable. It would seem very reasonable to assume that we were not the first “model” of humans, and therefore the Adam and Eve story may well be an analogy of what actually happened.
    Q3 – To cast the bible as simply either fact or fiction, is unrealistic and narrow minded. I would suggest that it is based on facts as understood at that time. It would seem reasonable to include a liberal dose of anecdotes, proverbs and anything else they could think of which would make the various points understandable by the people of those times.
    While I can acknowledge in general the value of science, it is based around known or perceived theories. For many, if science cannot verify something … then it does not exist. Thankfully, there are others who can accept that we simply do not know everything about everything!
    Brandon – Your questions are very complex and one could probably write a book sized response if all the “angles” were to be covered. Above is a brief overview of my take on the topic. Given how far we have come in genetics over the past hundred years, it would seem quite plausible that we could be producing another human very soon (I believe that ability already exists but is tied up in moral issues). It does not take much of a stretch in imagination to see that a few hundred years further down that road, we could well be populating a planet in another system. Perhaps God is simply a power that developed long before our time.
    As an aside, I wonder how our history would be written if a nuclear conflagration left only a small number of survivors. They would be back to basics of living having lost all ability to maintain any form of “through the air” communications. Their life style could well resort to primitive. The notes that they made as a matter of record would be passed on to future generations. As time passes and stories are elaborated; as societal needs change; as interpretations are made based on the knowledge of the time … I wonder how much would be factual after say 1000 years?
    Have a great day, and take care given the current state of our world. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hello ColinandRay, thanks for your thoughtful response.

      I believe the same and have no problem with that ether. I agree with all your points, I also believe we go to another dimension.
      I also concur with your points about the bible, I was merely pointing out that that is whatI hear from many believers, that the bible is not understandable by the common person and explain away the things that are either horrible or don’t make sense.
      Producing new humans is a pretty interesting concept as is the expansion of our knowledge of life elsewhere in the universe. Those are very interesting and provocative questions worthy of investigating. You have a great day and take care as well 🙂 Thanks again for such a thoughtful and detailed response.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. colinandray says:

        No problem Brandon. There are quite a few Christians (?) in my history that have isolated me for not following their literal beliefs. In fact, my favourite “label” from a long time ago now was (quote) “You’re the most Christian non-Christian I have ever known” I think it was a compliment.

        Finally, Ray cannot read or write so you don’t need to address him. I tell him what he needs to know! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I gotcha, is Ray your son? That does sound like a compliment, like that person was validating your inner goodness and the way you are with others, that you embody the good aspects of the religion. My Dad thinks I’m going to hell, whenever I articulate and qualify my reasons for disagreeing he tells me I’m not intellectually honest and that I’m taking the bible out of context when I refer to verses that explain my misgivings. Hope you’re having a good day! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      3. colinandray says:

        Ray? Not really. He is 80lbs of rescued German Shepherd/Rottweiller. My blog was created in October 2014 specifically to tell his stories. Over the years it expanded into numerous other areas. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      4. What a great br eed. That is very cool, I was just reading your page 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  23. annecreates says:

    I was raised Southern Baptist, and my father has a theological degree. I, too, have issues with the church and no longer attend. Religion was created to explain the unexplainable. Fortunately, we have science to do that now. I have issues with people who park their butts in church pews on Sunday and live their lives in ways that are anything but loving and what we perceive as Christian. I was abused in the church. I will never go back. I find spirituality elsewhere, like trail running. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think you are in good company.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Anne its my pleasure, thank you for sharing yours. I totally hear you and agree. I’m so sorry for your abuse, you are not alone and I completely understand. I too find spirituality elsewhere, in nature, in my purpose and connection to the universe. It is good to know I am in good company and there are kindred spirits here. Thank you for your warm welcome. When I first posted this it was a bit more brusque and I didn’t want to be harsh to discourage people who might believe those things to share their thoughts and reasons for believing, I want to generate a discussion and I’m just starting out on here. When I first posted this in its original version I lost a follower 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      1. annecreates says:

        So sorry about that. I posted around Christmas time about my challenges with spirituality. I, too, was apprehensive to share those feelings, but it was well received. I think you’ll find that more people have issues with organized religion than you know. Hang in there. You’re a good writer!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thanks Anne, I’ve made up for it by recruiting a few more :). I’m glad to hear you had that experience, I believe that, we are after all far more the same than we are different. Thank you that is very kind of you to say, I’ve had a lot of practice but haven’t really written much in a long time. The feeling is mutual you also are a fantastic writer!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. annecreates says:

        Thank you! I look forward to reading more of your work!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. 🙂 you’re welcome and I look forward to the same of yours!

        Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: