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Experiencing God
August 10, 2008
12:14 pm
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Giggles_29
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I am doing this book with my bible study group, well actually since I can't make it to bible study I am now doing it on my own. This is my first bible study attempt and I must say this book is truly amazing for a first timer as myself. It is really opening up my eyes to my relationship with God and making me realize I always had one, I just never paid too much attention and didn't nurture it, therefore it was pretty much one sided I guess you could say!

One of the most interesting parts of the book so far to me was the "Seven realities to experiencing God". It really makes me stop and think about how my life has changed in ways I could've never imagined since I accepted God into my life. It also makes me think about how I've known all along He was there, I just chose to walk the other way. This book is wonderful because you can do it at your own pace. It's very detailed and gets you to learn scriptures and memorize them and apply them to your everyday life. I am really enjoying this book! Has anyone else read this book? I just thought I'd share the part that really caught my attention.

7 Realities of Experiencing God

1. God is always at work around you.
2. God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal.
3. God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.
4. God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.
5. God's invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
6. You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.
7. You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.

August 10, 2008
12:42 pm
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StronginHim77
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I would have to question #7 (You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.)

My own experience does not line up with that statement. I continue to know God, more and more intimately, through a series of personal encounters with His Presence. He TANGIBLY connects with me. These encounters have rewritten my theology and also helped me to understand that my relationship with Him is not built upon my WORKS or "performance," but upon my intimate time spent with Him...PERSONAL ENCOUNTERS.

- Ma Strong

August 10, 2008
12:43 pm
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StronginHim77
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P.S. The above posting lines up with the written Word of God which states that we are saved by FAITH, not by works ("...lest any man should boast..."). Something to think about.

- Ma

August 10, 2008
12:44 pm
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Randomwomen2
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I have the book I just haven't read it yet. i will have to do that. I found mine for 25cents at a good will store. Now does it talk about Jesus too?

August 10, 2008
12:46 pm
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Giggles_29
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Very true. Without faith we cannot connect to Him. Good point Ma Strong.

August 10, 2008
12:47 pm
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Giggles_29
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(((RW))) Yes it does.

August 10, 2008
12:58 pm
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Giggles_29
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"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11:6 NIV)

August 10, 2008
6:52 pm
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Giggles_29,

"...faith it is impossible to please God ..."

Is it possible for your God to be displeased by a anything at all?

August 10, 2008
7:09 pm
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'Pleasure' is the noun form of the word used in the biblical quote above; the adverb form of which is 'pleased' and the verb form is 'please' and the adjective form is 'pleasing' or 'pleasurable'.

Pain is the polar opposite of pleasure.

Pain is a warning caused by a possible threat to our survival. Pleasure is the behavior reinforcement resulting from a well being enhancing experience.

Both pleasure and pain are only possible because of the vulnerability inherent in our human condition.

Is it possible that the God of the bible could also be in some way vulnerable???

August 10, 2008
8:00 pm
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StronginHim77
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Tez -

Pleasure and DISpleasure are legitimate concepts. Check out Webster's.

- Ma Strong

August 11, 2008
4:37 am
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StronginHim77

"Pleasure and DISpleasure are legitimate concepts. Check out Webster's."

Did I say either were illegitimate concepts?

On the contrary. You seem to have completely misunderstood my post.

Your God, being not of this world - that is not having an amygdala or any other physiology - I questioned whether your God could experience either pleasure of displeasure.

Check out the functions of the amygdala as the centre of the limbic system of the brain. See the research of Dr. Joseph LeDoux of NYU.
- Tez

August 11, 2008
11:46 am
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StronginHim77
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We are talking about faith here. Nothing to debate, as faith is a personal perspective, to be respected and left in peace by those around us. Not debated. My take on it, anyway.

- Ma Strong

August 11, 2008
1:35 pm
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lewis
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People are allowed to debate though if they so want.

I think the experience of God starts when we have fell, suffering brings an ability to open your heart and except guidance.

🙂

August 11, 2008
7:43 pm
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Thanks Lewis.

August 11, 2008
8:19 pm
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"We are talking about faith here."

Strange that! I thought I was talking to Giggles_29 regarding her biblical quote.

A you "bashing" me?

August 11, 2008
8:21 pm
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WizardofAus
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I think our discussions achieve more when we talk about God in terms of what She/He could be (possibilities) rather than what She/He is or is not (not certainties).

However, when we are talking about our individual personal experiences of our God, we are actually talking about an experience rather than God. In this case, it may be best if the speaker is heard with respect and an intelligent curiosity for how another human being is putting his or her world together.

A friend of mine has a Mother who likes to pray before dining, although in his family they have abandoned the process. The other night, Grandma came for dinner and as they sat down to eat she privately murmered her prayer. My friend's four year old son wanted to know who Grandma was talking to. "Oh, she is talking to a very beautiful idea." I thought that was a pretty good answer under somewhat stressful circumstances.(lol)

Surely, it is not a lot to respect someone else's beautiful idea, if it is helpful for her/him and benign for the rest of the world.

Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.

August 11, 2008
9:13 pm
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WizardofAus

"However, when we are talking about our individual personal experiences of our God, we are actually talking about an experience rather than God."

Exactly! Attributing validation of the existence of some imaginary God to one's own experiences of that God is OK at a personal level. But when this experience is used as the driving force to evangelize others into the Christian religion - that is another matter.

We end up with born again Christians, like President Bush, doing their own version of their Christian God's will.

Christians want the freedom to evangelize others about their God yet deny an athiest the right to evangelize the opposite message that God is a figment of fertile, albeit insecure imaginations.

"Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with" the Christians, especially Mr. George Bush, as Christ so deemed it to be.

August 11, 2008
9:29 pm
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There yuh go - I helped boost the theists' thread hit rate!

Now all you 'God botherers' please do the same for me on my thread.

August 11, 2008
10:17 pm
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bevdee
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"Surely, it is not a lot to respect someone else's beautiful idea, if it is helpful for her/him and benign for the rest of the world. "

I guess because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there will always be those that try to impose their interpretation of beauty, or interpretation for that matter on others who do not believe the same way. But it's not respecting the journey.

I still notice that on threads that are not necessarily Xtian or thiestic, there will be those that will interject those beliefs into the discussion. E.g. Dalai Lama thread.

I overheard a conversation once between two nurses at work. One was telling the other that she was marrying for the second time to a Muslim. The other one gasped and said,"Ohh - how will you raise the children - you're Catholic?" The engagee said,"I hope we raise them to be good people"

I liked that.

August 12, 2008
3:30 am
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Thanks BevDee for your very insightful post.

I was at the chemist shop(a drug store in the US) yesterday. A young mother was trying to insert eye drops into the eyes of her loudly protesting 3 year old girl. The next thing I hear is the sanctimonious mother saying to the child: "Pray to Jesus. Ask him to make you brave!" I felt sick when I heard that.

Thankfully the girl behind the counter, realizing the inappropriateness of this remark, leaned over and said to the child: "This medicine will make your sore eyes better. You do want to be better, don't you?" The child then quietened down a little.

Once again I realized how early the indoctrination of Christian children begins.

August 12, 2008
10:10 am
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soofoo
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Okay, I want to back up and answer Tez's question, about whether it is possible for God (as I, a Christian, understand Him) to be pleased or displeased.

My answer is Yes.

When we humans have pleasure, brain stuff happens.

God does not have a human brain, and His pleasure is surely different than ours, being perfect, whole and complete. But we still call it pleasure.

August 12, 2008
11:01 am
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soofoo
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Now I am going to address the problem of the 3 year old in the pharmacy. This is not a problem of religion but of basic child psychology.

All 3 year olds are necessarily indoctrinated with something and everything. They are not yet capable of critical thought. That doesn't happen until much later.

The child did not respond to the stranger's logic or reason. The child did not think "Gee, I never realized the drops will make me feel better. I guess I'll stop squirming and screaming and being afraid." Not a chance. The child was responding to her emotions. The intervention of a stranger (in a position of authority, behind the counter) scared the child. She knows her mom loves her, but this stranger, if she disobeys her, what will happen? That fear overrides the fear of getting drops in her eyes. That's why she settled down. I can guarantee you that it had absolutely nothing to do with the logic of the girl behind the counter.

August 12, 2008
8:54 pm
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Soofoo

On the 12-Aug-08 you wrote:

" I can guarantee you that it had absolutely nothing to do with the logic of the girl behind the counter."

Upon further reflection and after considering the cogent argument that you presented, I can see that you are probably right about why the child quietened down and I am wrong in that regard.

However I still stand by my indoctrination claim, with which you so obviously agree when you said:

"All 3 year olds are necessarily indoctrinated with something and everything. They are not yet capable of critical thought. "

This is so true. They take on board uncritically all that their parents tell them, model for them, including religious iconic images, and stories.

What a massive challenge it is for the mind to overcome such uncritical conditioning when the mind of the child reaches the stages of critical thought. Pagan images seem so grotesque and foreign while Christian iconic images seem so familiar, natural and unquestionable. No wonder so many religious adult of all denominations accept uncritically the faith of their fathers. Very few children are taught to challenge the beliefs of their parents and those of their religious authority figures. I know my struggle to free myself from the dangerous religious crapola that I was fed.

Regarding a less harmful belief, I well remember the anger aroused in my father when I challenged his firmly held belief that the sun actually slewed miraculously across the horizon during the so called 'divine' visitations at Fatima. He couldn't see what effect such a movement of the sun would have on our earth, our solar system and probably on the whole universe. Life as we know it on earth would not have survived such a cosmic movement and shift in the sun. I felt terrible about challenging his childlike beliefs even as an adult. Yet he was not a stupid man - he was a good man. But he could never overcome his own fears and to question everything. Why I have had that courage, I don't know. I have a hunger for truth and a distaste for mindless crapola.

August 12, 2008
9:14 pm
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Soofoo

On the 12-Aug-08 you wrote:

"... His pleasure is surely different than ours, being perfect, whole and complete. ... "

Consider the needs for a moment of a God who is perfect, whole and complete. From your definition, such a God would have no needs, wants, desires, aspirations, attachments, emotions ... whatsoever.

Yet the God as described in the Christian bible is anthropomorphic! This Christian God is very demanding, needy, wanting worship and praise, offended by non compliance wth His will and easily duped into a challenge/wager by the devil(see the Book of Job). Such a God is not too bright, let alone omniscient and unconditionally loving!

Can you not see how inconsistent and contradictory the God you describe as being perfect, whole and complete and the image of that same God contained within the Christian bible? I suggest that your past childhood conditioning blinds you - as it did me for so many years - to these blatant 'inconsistencies' and that's to put it mildly.

August 13, 2008
12:14 am
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soofoo
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Tez,

To begin, I'd like to explain that past childhood conditioning is not a problem for me. I was raised by a baptized Catholic turned agnostic mother. We did not go to church. Even when I decided to become an altar girl in middle school, my mother said "that's fine" but she chose not to attend and I had to walk the 2 miles to church myself. All of my interest in religion came from within. I don't want to give you the impression that I continued on a Catholic path either. I have studied a lot of religious texts and I've also explored new age ideas about spirituality, ghosts, ouiga boards, if not the whole 9 yards, well at least like 6 of them.

So why do I believe in Christ? I believe in Christ, because of what happened at a time when I was meditating, reading, praying, dreaming and writing a lot. I received a message from God that He loved me and everyone, that all religions were sacred, that not one person would suffer in hell. I received other information too, some of it personal to me. I did not hear a voice and yet it was much more than a thought. It is difficult to describe the experience I had. It was much more like an event than a thought or feeling. I asked God to tell me, if all religions were sacred, which one I should follow or use, to help me continue to learn and grow. I did not get a clear answer but when I woke up in the morning there was a cross with a necklace in my mailbox from covenant house, a charity for wayward youth that I had donated to in the past. This was my answer. I began praying to Christ and felt an amazing power and comfort. I was in a state of grace. Now, mind you, I had been reading the Vedas (Hindu) at the time that this happened. Christianity would have been my last choice, if this hadn't happened. I had met more than a few cruel Christians. Christianity is unfashionable and common to boot. The bible, when read as a text book, is full of inconsistencies and troubling concepts about God. But none of these have anything to do with the Christ. Knowing Christ is like discovering diamonds in your basement, taking off a straightjacket, floating over earth and growing a heart that can fit the whole earth in it all at once. And this doesn't even describe it.

So while I am capable of having an argument, and making a good case, my reasons for believing have nothing to do with my intellect. It is a matter of faith for me.

I will have another post for you too, in response to some other things, mostly critical thought and Christianity. Maybe tonight and maybe tomorrow, I'm getting a little tired. You are one tough cookie! With respect, soofoo

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