What Makes a Theologian

Oswald Bayer wrote Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation > summarizes Martin Luther’s thinking on what makes a theologian and what rules should govern the theologian.

Luther argued that a theologian is made through six things.

  1. The grace that is worked through the Holy Spirit
  2. The agonizing struggle
  3. Experience
  4. Opportunity
  5. Constant, concentrated textual study
  6. Knowledge and practice of the academic disciplines

Luther goes on to say that three rules should govern the life and task of the theologian.

  1. Prayer = Oratio (prayer)
  2. Meditation = Meditatio (meditation)
  3. Agonizing Struggle= Tentatio (affliction)

theologian = to know both sides of a theological concept: the objective + subjective

theologian = responsible to study, pray, meditate + agonize

+

Preceding articles:

Mental Enslavement and Sins Syndrome (MESS)

Luther on Being a Theologian: Oratio, Meditatio and Tentatio

The Pastor Theologian

Theology as Discipleship

+++

Gospel & Gratitude

Oswald Bayer wrote a fine book titled Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation. In this book he summarizes Luther’s thinking on what makes a theologian and what rules should govern the theologian. Luther argued that a theologian is made through six things.

  1. The grace that is worked through the Holy Spirit
  2. The agonizing struggle
  3. Experience
  4. Opportunity
  5. Constant, concentrated textual study
  6. Knowledge and practice of the academic disciplines

Luther goes on to say that three rules should govern the life and task of the theologian.

  1. Prayer
  2. Meditation
  3. Agonizing Struggle

I love the intersection of experience, suffering and study in Luther’s thought on the development of a theologian. It takes more than books and a degree to make a solid theologian. As the quote goes, “a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.”

One must know the roaring of a condemning conscience and the silencing power of the gospel to bring the…

View original post 216 more words

Epicurus’ Problem of Evil

In the philosophy of religion, an ancient discipline, being found in the earliest known manuscripts concerning philosophy, the problem of evil is the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil with that of a deity who is, in either absolute or relative terms, omnipotent, having the quality of having unlimited power with the capacity to know everything and this even in a state of omniscience or ubiquity, the property of being present everywhere, and omnibenevolent (from Latin omni– meaning “all”, and benevolent, meaning “good”) (see theism).

All About Evil

All About Evil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lots of people have already spend lots of words and time to discussions about the existence in this world and the position of or no position of a deity in this matter.

We may have logic, reason or moral intuition, not derived from purported supernatural revelation or guidance (which is the source of religious ethics), seeing what happens in the world every day. Strangely enough as long as everything goes all right people do not need a god or say they do not believe in God. But as soon as something bad happens they all seem to blame that God Which they say does not exist.

They overlook the fact that through logic and reason, human beings are capable of deriving normative principles of behaviour.

For humanists it is clear that we do have a universal morality based on the commonality of human nature, and that knowledge of right and wrong is based on our best understanding of our individual and joint interests, rather than stemming from a transcendental or arbitrarily local source, therefore rejecting faith completely as a basis for action. When there is some wrong in the world this does not have to come from any supernatural power. No god or not the God has to be called responsible for the wrong-going in this world. Most humanists look for viable individual, social and political principles of conduct.

People who do not believe in God do not exclude our secular ethics, secular beliefs as a matter of influence on good and bad in our environment. Most thinkers are aware that lots of evil that comes over man comes over the human beings by their own fault.

Though lots of people do ask if there is a God willing to prevent evil, but not able? In case, they think, this god is not omnipotent. That is also what the Greek philosopher Epicurus thought. He wrote a riddle which turns out to be loaded with a couple of erroneous presuppositions.

He also questioned:

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

The problem with a lot of thinkers is that they assume that God must do so in exactly the way we think he ought to, and if he doesn’t, we’re going to get all uppity and tell him that he doesn’t exist.

Portrait of Epicurus, founder of the Epicurean...

Portrait of Epicurus, founder of the Epicurean school. Roman copy after a lost Hellenistic original. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to Epicurus we do have a a mental perception of our nature which is usually ridiculous. Man having created gods who live eternal lives of contentment in the void of the universe and have no concern with men. There are no rewards or punishments after death; death is extinction, according to him. Dying might reasonably — though mistakenly, he feels — seem a cause for fear; to fear death itself, however, is absurd, since it brings nothing in its wake.

Because we are confronted with elements and with problems we can not cope with, we consider that God to be responsible that He has not given us enough power to avoid such problems and all that suffering it brings with it. We take such an attitude that we blame Him to be responsible for all the badness that comes over this earth. We consider Him responsible and point our finger at Him, finding that He ought to deal with evil. Funny thing is also that most people give the impression that they know just how He ought to do deal with it.

Epicurus continues:

If God exists, then God is omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect.
If God is omnipotent, then God has the power to eliminate all evil.
If God is omniscient, then God knows when evil exists.
If God is morally perfect, then God has the desire to eliminate all evil.
Evil exists.
If evil exists and God exists, then either God doesn’t have the power to eliminate all evil, or doesn’t know when evil exists, or doesn’t have the desire to eliminate all evil.
Therefore, God doesn’t exist.

Epicurus does seem to forget that The God can really eliminate all evil, but Epicurus does not question why He allows it to exist. He also in several of his texts gives the impression that God would not know that evil exists, but the Word of God, given to us with the Holy Scriptures let us know very well that God is conscious about the existing evil, but also how evil is in man.

When we look in the Bible, we can get a good impression of what evil is, how it came into being and why there is still evil in this world. All the answers are in the Scriptures. Evil is defined by God as being that which is opposite to him. The “Satan” is any adversary or any person working against the Divine Creator. In every person there is a satan, or a character of opposition or adversary, against the “I am” the own personality and against the “I Am Who I Am” the Divine Superior God in Whose image we are created.

Most people when they look at evil in this world want God to solve it because they have come aware that human is worthless in solving it all. They hope that God can deal with all the problems in this world, the evil the suffering, in such a way that will give them a problem-less world, with no bad things in it. But they themselves would not like to be changed. Because God offers them a world with less problems. He does give the world advice to avoid problems and suffering.But the world does not want to know.

Blaming God is all-right but listening to Him?

Epicureanism afforded a role to gods, they were not thought to be involved in the universe in any way, and it rejected outright the idea of an afterlife. That last bit made it not so loved by many people who loved to have something to look forward to after they had to endure this life full of misery.

English: Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, d...

Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The disdain with which Epicureanism was treated has led to it being misconceived to this day. Epicureanism is still thought of as a commitment to sensual pleasure, to fast living. Though Epicurus did conceive of pleasure as the highest good, his conception of pleasure was far from hedonistic: all that Epicurus sought was a peaceful life free from discomfort and distress. Though for many religious people it seemed so wrong to enjoy life. They all forgot that this is also something God would love His people, to have joy of this world and to live nicely. But for God the nice living does not come undeserved or without any action of man himself. We all have to grow up, have to learn, have to think about matters, have to make decisions, have to act and to react, and by the actions we do take we shall have to bear the consequences of our actions.

Many do think if God is omnipotent He would not allow evil to be, but why not?

There have been many attempts to defend God‘s goodness in view of the existence of evil. They are common to monotheistic religions based on the Abrahamic tradition, namely Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as these all suffer from the problem of evil.

In short, the problem of evil occurs when specific attributes are ascribed to God:

David Hume argued:

“Why is there any misery at all in the world? Not by chance surely. From some cause then. Is it from the intention of the Deity? But he is perfectly benevolent. Is it contrary to his intention? But he is almighty. Nothing can shake the solidity of this reasoning, so short, so clear, so decisive; except we assert, that these subjects exceed all human capacity”

We would not say that “Free will is assumed to be a greater good than the evil that it causes”, but with free will or free choice human beings have most in their hands. We also would not say that free will is needed by God to serve some purpose. It is a free gift from God, which can be used by people like they want. But they also can leave it for what it is, and God cannot be called responsible for that.

It is true God could have created humans such that they would always freely choose the good. This He did not do and therefore many call Him ultimately responsible and blameworthy for any evil act which humans perform. This gives the indication that they preferred the God having created human beings who only would follow His Will and only could do what He wanted.

Humans must be free to commit actions which would qualify as “evil” as well as “good” in our argument, in order to have free will. When they only would be made to have restriction, only doing the Will of God, they would be like robots or machines not able to think and act for themselves. Those who want God having to have created beings which only could do good, should wonder if such a being uberhaut has any free will or free choice to do something. In this case, all humans born without this capability, possess no free will. Should then all human beings all be the same? Because what is going to determine that one person is going to do this or an other job, having an advantage of strength, size, or skill. This are factors now determined by the choices being made by that person. The development of a human being depends on how he or she wants to use his or her free will. Are then the potentially smaller, weaker, or less skilled persons than victims? Would a difference in capability also not be part of evil or part of the good?

In case all would do the same job and would be totally the same that would place God in a worse light than now. This would put God in the position of denying free will to someone regardless of God’s position on an action, whether God intervenes, or not.

People limiting God by not allowing Him to let nature develop and have what we call natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes, do not want to see the necessity of certain developments in nature, or they would not want nature to evolve. Natural disasters are not to be defined as evil. The fact that they occur, and that God does not prevent them or the deaths and suffering they cause, people should question if those people were living at areas provided by God to live. Often people do want to take parts from nature to house themselves, whilst they were provided for the animals or as natural buffer. A lot of people just think they are master of nature and can decide where they may live and where animals may not live. Now lots of people do not take enough account of nature and ignore the laws of nature. By not showing any respect for nature and its laws they do have to bear the consequences of their bad behaviour against the universe.

God is not unaware of people’s suffering, but He has given them on their demand, what too many do forget, the right to decide for themselves what they want to do, which way to go and how to behave. He is not therefore not omniscient; or He is therefore not unable to do anything, and therefore not omnipotent. Some may find it not right that He does not want to intervene. Because He is unwilling to intervene they do find Him not omnibenevolent. The latter word being primarily used as a technical term within academic literature on the philosophy of religion, mainly in context of the problem of evil and theodical responses to such. Although even in said contexts the phrases “perfect goodness” or “moral perfection” are often preferred because of the difficulties in defining what exactly constitutes ‘infinite benevolence’.

For many God not showing directly infinitely compassion makes Him not worthy to be called a Omnibenevolent Deity. But is it not like any parent who has his children doing things and when something did something wrong and therefore got himself or herself in problems tells them that if they did not want to listen had to learn from what happened to them because they were not willing to listen to what the father said beforehand.

Belief in a God’s omnibenevolence is an essential foundation in traditional Christianity; this can be seen in Scriptures such as Psalms 18:30:

“(18:31) “as for god, his way is perfect, the word of ADONAI has been tested by fire; he shields all who take refuge in him.” (Psalms 18:30 CJB)

According to the Bible Jehovah, the Elohim is The Rock Whose work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. (Deuteronomy 32:4) Too many people are forgetting that This God of faithfulness and without iniquity is Just and right, having a perfect law which restores the soul. The people should remember they are nothing without God and that His testimony is sure, making wise the simple.

“(19:8) the torah of ADONAI is perfect, restoring the inner person. the instruction of ADONAI is sure, making wise the thoughtless.” (Psalms 19:7 CJB)

Jehovah is righteous in all His ways, and gracious in all His works (Psalms 145:17). It is not because we do not understand why certain things happen in nature, earthquakes, flows of water, etc. that they do not have the right purpose or are meant for the better, because we do not see straight ahead the good results.

Too many people do believe their way of thinking is the best. Often they consider others their idea less good than their own. And most people consider it impossible that there could be a Supreme Being which nobody can see or feel, would be even better and more knowledgeable than they. For them it is difficult to accept that great and marvellous would the works of that One God, the Almighty and that His ways would be righteous and true (Revelation 15:3 )

Many ancient authorities read nations:

“who would not fear you, king of the nations? for it is your due! —since among all the wise of the nations and among all their royalty, there is no one like you.” (Jeremiah 10:7 CJB)

This understanding is evident in the following statement by the First Vatican Council

The Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church believes and acknowledges that there is one true and living God, Creator and Lord of Heaven and earth, almighty, eternal, immeasurable, incomprehensible, infinite in will, understanding and every perfection. Since He is one, singular, completely simple and unchangeable spiritual substance, He must be declared to be in reality and in essence, distinct from the world, supremely happy in Himself and from Himself, and inexpressibly loftier than anything besides Himself which either exists or can be imagined. {“First Vatican Council”. dailycatholic.org. Retrieved 2008-05-02.}

Notice how also the Catholic Church agrees that The God of gods “is one, singular”, but also an “unchangeable spiritual substance”. According to the Bible God is a Spirit, Who was, is and ever shall be the same. so He did not became one moment a man who could be seen and be tempted, because God can not be seen and can not be tempted. God His divine qualities are consistent.It is only those who want to believe in the human doctrine of the trinity who can see inconsistency, which would be normal because God and Jesus are two totally different characters.

God contains within himself the cause of himself. Being self-sufficient, having within Himself the sufficient reason for His own existence, He also has given others, His creation, the ability to be and to have cause for existence. It is not that God would be without emotion or is “impassible”, because in the Bible lots of times is given an indication how God feels and is given an idea of His emotions.

All things came into being through Him, and without Him not one thing came into being. The aorist tense implies that everything that exists (other than God) came into being at some time in the past. This verse carries the weighty metaphysical implication that there are no eternal entities apart from God, eternal either in the sense of existing atemporally or of existing sempiternally. Rather everything that exists, with the exception of God Himself, is the product of temporal becoming.

We also should come to understand that everything is as such also temporarily. The badness we see now can turn out something good in the future. And in the end we do know that God shall provide the best for every creature, man, animal, plant, in His Kingdom.

Human beings should know that there is nothing God needs from us and that there is nothing we can do to improve on God. God is sufficient unto Himself. Human Beings should know that the “end purpose of all things” is God. God loves mankind but like any father who loves his children it does not have to mean he does not allow bad things to come over them. Lots of people do not seem to notice how He His caring for those who suffer, His desire to be in communion with us. The “grand object” of Scripture is God’s saving purpose worked out in human history.

We should come to understand that every journey is a process, from beginning to end, by which we have choices and can have faith in some things some ones and/or in Some One, whereby the energy in the beginning can be matter and be the product of Faith. When there is faith in the One God matters can become clear, and than we can understand cause of pain and how we can live wit it.

All those who are willing to find the one, and Only True God, by seeking Him, shall find assurance, even when they do suffer, that God shall be prepared to listen to them and to be near to them. When you seek, the One and Only True God, with an honest, open heart, and with humility, you shall be able to come to understand lots of things. God wants to enter your life. He shall give you insight.

Many may say

“Where is God when a child cries from hunger, fear, loneliness?”
“Where is God when a young mother dies of breast cancer?”
“Where is God when we cry out in the night?” {Where Is God?}

People may not forget that always God is here waiting for us to reach out, to invite Him into our lives. He has given us the world to live in and to develop. He has given us the taks to name the animals and the plants, but he did not ask us to destroy His creation by our selfishness and by polluting “our Earth”. God is love. God does not hate. God does not kill. God does not make war, God has never given any man the authority to kill another man in his name.  That is man again, doing the evil that men do for their own evil reasons.
God is waiting for us “in our hearts, if only we would call.”

+

Preceding articles:

  1. Does God stands behind all evil on earth
  2. Is God behind all suffering here on earth
  3. I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer
  4. Why God permits evil
  5. Evil Never Ceases
  6. Pain, sanctification and salvation
  7. From Despair to Victory

+++
Additional reading:

  1. Epicurus and the problem of evil
  2. Satan the evil within
  3. It is a free will choice
  4. National Natural Disaster and Bible Prophecy
  5. Tragic coach crash in the Swiss Alps
  6. Facing disaster fatigue
  7. Profitable disasters
  8. Reacting to Disasters
  9. From pain to purpose
  10. Bad things no punishment from God
  11. Doubting the reality, genuineness and effectiveness of God’s love
  12. We are ourselves responsible
  13. I said God it hurts
  14. Dealing with worries in our lives
  15. I Only hope we find God again before it is too late !
  16. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #1 Listening Sovereign Maker
  17. Faith Over Fear
  18. Faith because of the questions
  19. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  20. God is my refuge and my fortress in Him I will trust

+++

  • What Role Did Psychology Play? (psychologytoday.com)
  • Happiness (todayssigns.wordpress.com)
    Not understanding that has to be the main reason for why criticism of hedonism involves pursuit of pleasure as an end in itself. Any student of Epicurus knows that happiness results as a byproduct of pleasurable activities. Any student properly schooled in American history knows that “the pursuit of happiness was included in the basic philosophy upon which America was founded. Think of this the next time someone tells you America was founded as a Christian nation. We are a nation of hedonists very ignorant of how to apply that fact.
  • Letter: Whose ‘right’ should we follow? (norwichbulletin.com)

    Whose right and wrong? That of the American Atheists Inc.? Mine? How about ISIS? If you throw away the “whims of some bronze age mythological figure,” whose whims rule the day?

    As for leaving religion in the history books, isn’t that what we’ve done as least as far as the schools go? How’s that working?

  • What is Morality? (seesharppress.wordpress.com) > What is Morality?
    The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry defines morality as “Morality is the distinction between right and wrong. It is the determination of what should be done and what should not be done. Morals deal with behaviours as well as motives. There is a great deal of discussion on what is the source of morals and whether or not they are objective. Biblically, morals are derived from God’s character and revealed to us through the Scriptures”
  • Above the Gray: How We Approach Ethics As An Organization (prsay.prsa.org)
    As a Society, we represent the very largest and smallest of enterprises worldwide. Issues such as transparency, privacy and personal identity are now far more challenging, thereby increasing our responsibility as public relations professionals. Transparency is part of the larger conversation around ethics, which frames it with other such conventions as truth, accuracy, fairness and a responsibility to the public. While it’s tempting to think of ethics as the domain of philosophers debating theoretical concepts, the reality is that we all face ethical decisions every day, and they are almost never black and white.
  • Is SEO Immoral? (moz.com)
    By learning and manipulating the system to accomplish its goal, SEO makes it more likely that you will come upon a target that is irrelevant.
  • Epicurus’ Problem of Evil (keskyisnotbusy.wordpress.com)
  • Jesus Was Tortured And Killed, Today Most Christians Are Highly Supportive Of Torture (blacklistednews.com)
    Let’s get this straight, Jesus who was interrogated, tortured and then killed has modern followers who actually support government sanctioned torture. If they are Christians and are familiar with his history then they would know what happened and reject such savage methods. Today so-called terrorists are picked up on the street and hurt severely without even being put before a judge and jury. These people are the antithesis of Jesus and have nothing in common with him.
  • ▶ Nullification The Rightful Remedy – YouTube (chasvoice.blogspot.com)

Is God behind all suffering here on earth

At Bijbelvorsers, vereniging voor Bijbelstudie – Bible Scholars, Association for Bible study on June 29, 2011 at 9:42 am was written by Bible scholar Marcus Ampe. Until 2014, December 22 it got 400 viewings

Often we do find people saying it is a vengeance of God when people suffer. By earthquakes, tsunamis and other disasters they like to warn people that it is a penalty from God and that they should change their way of life.

The central character of the Book of Job, Job (Arabic: أيّوب, Ayyūb‎), as portrayed by Bonnat

In the ancient Hebrew writing The Book of Job we can find a story of the suffering Job and the attempted explanation of these events by his friends. But at the end we also do get to know God’s answer. This is so much different from what lots of people do want us to believe.

In some Christian denomination the preachers even do focus on the terror. They proclaim that it is God who punishes the evil doers. And because the people do such wrong they and their environment has to undergo all the suffering.

If that was not enough they even tell those people that after all the suffering on this earth it shall not be finished. God shall punish them even more. (That is what they tell them.) Those preachers say that those evildoers are going to be tortured for ever after they die. They present them a picture of a hell, which is going to be a torture room full of fire for all those people who sinned veraciously. They want to give the others, who did some little sins, some hope, and present that they also have to face some extra punishment, but that will only happen for a short time in the purgatory.

But as you shall see when you read the Book of Books,  the Bible, you shall be able to come to the conclusion that this is not the truth they are telling. They do the same thing as the friends of Job and try to mislead the people who have trust in them.

In the world around us we are able to find believers and non-believers. People who do good and people who do wrong. Those who do bad things have mostly the opportunity to be confronted with more problems than those who do good. But do not make the mistake, that the ones who do good shall have it always good. No, also they can become confronted with a lot of badness and have to suffer a lot. Their doing good is no free way to have a life without problems.

Perhaps you think it being righteous that everything goes well with such people who do good. But you’ll notice that the world does not turn like that. Everywhere you look you shall be able to find good an bad things.

Throughout the history of humankind we found a lot of troubles coming over people who had nothing to do with it. Wars seem to be insurmountable. History books have pages over battles between different people. Those battles brought a lot of pain to many people. But it are not only such big events which can bring pain to humans or animals. Even the flora world came and still comes into problems many times

Job's Evil Dreams (illustration)

Job’s Evil Dreams (illustration) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Book of Books, the Bible, we can find a Guide Book to Life and a Guide to our Suffering. Each of those Books in that Library can give us the the power to change. We can find the history of humankind but especially also the history of the chosen people, who wanted to stay under the wings of their Creator, the Only One God.

It is normal that when we live that we wonder what on earth we are doing here. It is not so weird to question the reason of us being here and to think about what we have to do or to think about what is expected and by whom here on earth.
Would there be a reason to be here, and to go through all those problems to grow up, to get a job, a way of living, etcetera.

Do you know there is a Higher Being who took care that we can find the answers to many life questions? His Words are written down by patient scriptors who opened up a world of knowledge which had first to be brought over verbally, then written on tablets, later scrolls and at last found a better way to got multiplied so that They could become available to as many interested persons as possible. Thanks to Gutenberg and many Biblestudents the Words of God became spread over the whole world and were put against the human teachings of several persons and institutions which proclaimed being spokesmen of God.

But be careful, as you shall be able to see in the book of Job, those so called friends can bring misleading messages and even can tell you things which are not according the Truth. Therefore we always have to listen carefully but also look at their sayings and compare them with other sayings or with reactions on their words.

Also in the book of Job we get to hear at first many things about God, which seem to be very acceptable. Some denominations use those words of the friends quite often to tell their story of the picture. But they forget to bring into attention the lost chapter of that Book, when God gives His reply to Job and his three friends. For some people that chapter does not give them the satisfying answers, but their at least we get the real answer from God who we do have to believe.

The bible is full of examples of difficulties people had to encounter. But the Book of Job is in a certain special, because it treats the subject of Suffering in particular.

We can find a more than blessed man who had at first nothing to complain of. But at a finger click everything can change quickly. Such a wealthy man got pulled down under until he did not see any light any more. Though he considered himself as a man of God he did not see any use any more to live longer. He just wanted that his life would come to an end soon, because he had enough of all those problems.

As in the other stories of the assemblage of scriptures we can find an example of a person in need who can not be helped by his friends. We get to see that man is not always the right guide nor able to help sufficiently. Perhaps people can give us wrong advice. But we may find that there are also others who sincerely try to help us but who are also not always able to bring the right solution.

In the Holy Scriptures we do find on several places One Helper who always came back into the picture. Several people were helped by Him and it is not because we do not seem to get any answers or signs from Him this day that He would not be around us. Job also thought that God had abounded Him. Do you think at certain moments that God has left you? Do you think God would leave you on your own?

Look very carefully around you and you shall be able to see the Hand of God. He is there at places where you would not expect Him.

Today we can have the opportunity to find God His Words at our coffee-table. The only thing is that we do have to take the Book and have to open it and read it. Without reading it we are not going to get as much answers as God is willing to give to us. Also in our time of affliction He is there to guide us, but we do have to want to see His stretched out arm. Let Him carry you through the storms.

The Bible is not just a book from and for the old days. It still can be very very useful. Also today we find a lot of people who are wrongly accused of something. More and more we can find people being bullied. This often because they dare to be different or to do good. It is as if today the world does not like people who want to be goodhearted. Working hard and doing what is expected from you by the higher ones is being looked at as being week. The world today does not like to have people who want to live according to rules, morals and ethics, and they prefer to scum them.

In case we have to face problems it can be good to look at the problems of some one else like Job.

Let us be aware that everything we have to undergo in this life can be a learning experience. Even from the moments we do not like we can learn. We also can learn from suffering. The experience of the pain, having to face problems can bring us to moments to look for solutions and give us the chance to grow stronger.

I do agree than we have to make a big shift in our attitude how to look at that suffering. But we should be able to manage.

The Book of Job can be a very good teaching tool for us to make a new start or to find new ways to dope with our suffering and with all the problems which seem to be too much for us.

Therefore I would like to advice you to take that Old Book at hand and to read it. Perhaps my Bible Study I wrote on our ecclesia site can help you to go through it and to see solutions to your own situation.

+

Please do find out in the Bible Study at the Christadelphian Ecclesia Brussel-Leuven.

  1. Bad things no punishment from God
  2. Profitable disasters
  3. Facing disaster fatigue
  4. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  5. Fragments from the Book of Job #2: chapters 12-20
  6. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  7. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  9. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  10. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  11. Let us recognise how great God is

++

Additional reading:

  1. A world in denial
  2. Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?
  3. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
  4. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  5. A risk taking society
  6. Securing risks
  7. God does not change
  8. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  9. Bad things no punishment from God
  10. I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer
  11. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  12. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  13. Newsweek asks: How ignorant are you?
  14. We are ourselves responsible
  15. Weekly World Watch 24th – 30th Oct 2010‏
  16. Reacting to Disasters
  17. Certainty in a troubled world
  18. Tragic coach crash in the Swiss Alps
  19. If there is bitterness in the heart
  20. A great man does not lose his self-possession when he is afflicted
  21. The blessing of a broken leg
  22. Signs of the Last Days
  23. National Natural Disaster and Bible Prophecy
  24. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  25. Just be yourself…
  26. What happens when we die?
  27. All Souls’ Day
  28. Fear and protection
  29. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  30. Finish each day and be done with it

+++

  • The Secret Book of Job (npr.org)
    the tornado went away. Wait, wait – the things the tornado said came to pass. My harvest was bountiful. My flock stretched out like the sea. My wife, she gave me more children, 10 sons. And once again, she held her head high in the marketplace, servants trailing after her. And only I heard her sobs at night.
  • ‘The Norton Anthology of World Religions: Volume II’ (rss.nytimes.com)
    the selected Jewish writings show that contrary to some popular assumptions, religion does not offer unsustainable certainty. The biblical story of the binding of Isaac leaves us with hard questions about Abraham’s God, and later, when Moses asks this baffling deity for his name, he simply answers: “Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh”, which can be roughly translated: “Never mind who I am!” The Book of Job finds no answer to the problem of human suffering, and Ecclesiastes dismisses human life as “utter futility.” This bleak honesty finds its ultimate expression in Elie Wiesel’s proclamation of the death of God in Auschwitz.
  • The Norton Anthology of World Religions (3quarksdaily.com)
    At a time when religious faith is coming under intense scrutiny, “The Norton Anthology of World Religions” is presenting a documentary history of six major faiths with sufficient editorial explanation to make their major texts intelligible across the barriers of time and space. – See more at: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2014/12/the-norton-anthology-of-world-religions.html#sthash.msely1Oh.dpuf

     

  • Leviathan wins best film award at IFFI in Goa (in.rbth.com)
    The film is a modern reworking of the biblical book of Job. It is set on a Barents Sea peninsula and tells the story of a man who struggles against a corrupt mayor who wants his piece of land. 
  • In One of William Blake’s Final Works, the Engraved Trials of an Unfortunate Soul (hyperallergic.com)
    When his younger brother died of tuberculosis in 1787, the Metropolitan Museum of Art explains, Blake “reported discovering his wholly original method of ‘relief etching’ — which creates a single, raised printing surface for both text and image — in a vision of Robert soon after his death.” This technique also meant he had total control over his books, even if it involved incredible patience, including writing backwards onto the plates for the types of dense borders that are part of the Illustrations of the Book of Job.
  • Is Atheism a Specifically Western Phenomenon? (the-american-interest.com)
    dam Garfinkle, the editor of The American Interest, asked me this question. He told me that he had met a Saudi who claimed to be an atheist: What does this mean? We know atheism in its Jewish or Christian context, as a rejection of the Biblical God. What would atheism mean in a Muslim, or Hindu, or Buddhist context?
  • Russian film Leviathan nominated for Golden Globe awards (tass.ru)
    A 2014 Russian drama film Leviathan directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev has been nominated for the Golden Globe’s Best Foreign Language Film.
  • Wrestling with the Big Questions: A Day In Job at LICC (bibleandmission.redcliffe.org)
    The book of Job speaks a compelling word of honesty and hope into the deepest and most difficult of human experiences. Job’s story of suffering and the process he goes through with his comforters and with God is just as relevant for Christians and local churches today as we wrestle with our own questions and the questions of those around us.

Does God stands behind all evil on earth

Previously posted on Bijbelvorsers, June 29, 2011, obtained the article “Staat God achter al het kwaad hier op aarde” (Does God stands behind all evil on earth) to December 11, 2014 1029 viewings by Bible scholars on Webs, the website of the Association for Bible study.

Neuroimaging sheds light on the seat of suffering

Neuroimaging sheds light on the seat of suffering (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The article looked at the bad elements which may come over us in our life and how they influence our relationship with others and with the Divine Creator.

We often hear people give the remark that it is God who punishes the world. They say that disasters are on this world, the wrath of God. According to them it is a rebuke of God for the people living wrong. One may well ask why people still do their best to live well are also ‘being punished’. Why should people who do well suffer also?

Day, Fred Holland (1864-1933) - Da Suffering t...

Day, Fred Holland (1864-1933) – Da Suffering the ideal 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the ancient Hebrew scriptures one can find the Book of Job, in which an image is outlined why there is suffering on this planet. We can read the story in the book of Job, the wealthy man who is unexpectedly hit by calamities of all sorts of nature which make life difficult for him so that he even wants to put an end to it.

The Book of Job can be a very good teaching tool for us to make a new start or to find new ways to cope with our suffering and with all the problems which seem to be too much for us.

Therefore I would like to advice you to take that Old Book at hand and to read it. Perhaps the Bible Study I wrote on our ecclesia site can help you to go through it and to see solutions to your own situation.

Perhaps it can be interesting to look at what happened to the biblical figure Job. This rich man who lived according the Will of God but suddenly had to find that everything went wrong in his previously so blessed live. What had gone wrong? was it a penalty from God? Did somebody found that vengeance should have come over this godly man and his family?

>

Please do find out in the Bible Study at the Christadelphian Ecclesia Brussel-Leuven.

  1. Bad things no punishment from God
  2. Profitable disasters
  3. Facing disaster fatigue
  4. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  5. Fragments from the Book of Job #2: chapters 12-20
  6. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  7. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  9. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  10. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  11. Let us recognise how great God is

+

Dutch version about this subject / Nederlandse tekst over dit gegeven: Staat God achter al het kwaad hier op aarde

++

Additional reading:

  1. Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs
  2. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  3. Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain
  4. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  5. Because men choose to go their own way
  6. We are ourselves responsible
  7. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  8. Dealing with worries in our lives
  9. Self inflicted misery #1 The root by man
  10. Self inflicted misery #7 Good news to our suffering
  11. Self inflicted misery #9 Subject to worldly things
  12. About suffering
  13. Seems no future in suffering
  14. Partakers of the sufferings
  15. Suffering continues
  16. I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell
  17. I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer
  18. Choices to make in suffering
  19. Suffering produces perseverance
  20. Suffering leading to joy
  21. Suffering-through the apparent silence of God
  22. Suffering redemptive because Jesus redeemed us from sin
  23. Words from God about suffering
  24. Gospel = Good tidings, good news, a good message
  25. God’s promises to us in our suffering
  26. God’s Comfort
  27. Miracles in our time of suffering
  28. Objects of God’s final wrath
  29. He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger
  30. Not holding back and getting out of darkness
  31. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  32. National Natural Disaster and Bible Prophecy
  33. Reacting to Disasters
  34. Cancerous Black Holes
  35. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  36. Thoughts on Passover
  37. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #1 Suffering covered by Peace Offering
  38. A love not exempting us from trials
  39. From pain to purpose
  40. Dying or not
  41. Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
  42. Commit your self to the trustworthy creator
  43. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  44. Let us recognise how great God is
  45. God should be your hope
  46. You God hold the future
  47. Heed of the Saviour
  48. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  49. Continuing Paul’s Prayer Requests
  50. Prayer for the day
  51. Songs in the night Worship God only
  52. Rejoice even though bound to grieve
  53. Profitable disasters
  54. Character is built
  55. Pain and Suffering is inevitable but Misery is optional
  56. The blessing of a broken leg
  57. Faith and trial
  58. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God
  59. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
  60. True riches
  61. What moves mountains? Trust!
  62. Poetry of Peace
  63. Aligned
  64. Importance of parents 1
  65. We all have to have dreams

+++

  • Questioning God (dailybibleplan.com)
    The next time you feel tempted to question God or to try to explain His actions, remember this passage.  Remember that we were not there for creation.  Remember that we cannot explain the intricacies of this world.  Remember that we cannot explain how the wind blows or how storms move.  Most importantly, remember to trust God.  He has a plan.  He is in control.  He loves you and will always do what is best for you.  When we submit to God’s authority in our lives, we can rest in the knowledge that He will care for us completely.
  • I think ignorance should be punishable (maasaiboys.wordpress.com)
    It is a long stretch of imagination to read in Job the hope for a future Christ, one born of a virgin. There is nothing in Job that can be read to mean he is making a prophecy of a future Messiah.
    +
    If one believed they were headed for heaven, they wouldn’t be holding on to life as hard as they do even in the face of terminal illness. If there were true theists, they would be praying more than they are actually doing and we would have them concerned more seriously in finding out which of the many religions is the correct one for insurance against finding oneself in the wrong place. And I think if they truly believed the words found in Mark, none of them would work, they would live like birds expecting their god to provide for them. Being non-believers, they pray halfheartedly knowing all they believe is a lie and do it only for show. They work their asses off because no god is going to bring food on their tables.
  • Making Sense of Suffering (enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com)
    Eventually, in God’s timing, the story of Job became incredibly real to me as I began to experience deep suffering in my own life. I learned I had a choice: to either let the suffering accomplish the goal and purpose that God wanted in my life; or, let the suffering crush and destroy me. God put the book of Job right in the center of the Bible for a very good reason: it’s an example of faith in the night seasons. God intends for all of us to use it as a “road map” on our journey through the dark night, always keeping in mind that at the end of the road, Job finally “saw” God as he never had seen Him before, and it changed his life forever.
  • With Friends Like These… (thebluepaper.com)
    “don’t fight the law because the law wins” or “burning the chicken on the barbecue might not be a bad thing” or “if you see God and Satan having a drink together and they happen to glance your way, grab your ankles and…” Well. You know the rest.
  • Protecting Your Heart from Entitlement (pastortyrus.com)
    Job, he never charged God foolishly for his lost, and in the end he was awarded double than what he had before his divine test. If you are reading this blog today and you feel that you have allowed possessions to lead you to entitlement, stop and repent. Ask God to clean your heart from the ungodliness that can come with riches, and vow to always be conscious and grateful of everything in your life.  For this is the sentiments of a grateFull heart – if I lose it all, to God be the Glory for what I had, if I gain more, to God be the Glory for what he has given.
  • Wrestling with the Big Questions: A Day In Job at LICC (bibleandmission.redcliffe.org)
    The book of Job speaks a compelling word of honesty and hope into the deepest and most difficult of human experiences. Job’s story of suffering and the process he goes through with his comforters and with God is just as relevant for Christians and local churches today as we wrestle with our own questions and the questions of those around us.
  • The Weather (frmilovan.wordpress.com)
    In the end, however, the weather doesn’t have to be any sort of indication of God’s disposition. As our Lord tells us: “For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45).
  • I Am Job (billboardministry1.wordpress.com)
    He has given him power over all that I have, even me /  But death is not near / I have lost all and at moments thought of death.
  • Proverbs and fart jokes and other ancient wisdom literature (patheos.com)
    Read Job, the Psalms and Ecclesiastes and you’ll have a proper perspective for reading those platitudes in Proverbs.

    “The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the abode of the righteous,” Proverbs 3:33 says.

    “Funny you should say that,” says the Psalmist. “I just came from the house of the wicked, and they’re doing pretty well. They’re expanding the place, actually, since they just took over the abode of the righteous and sent those poor saps packing.”

    “Trust me,” Job adds, “the world does not work that way.”

  • November 28, 2014 – wrestling (cohdailyprayer2014.wordpress.com)
    If our pain is something that needs to be removed as soon as possible, the opportunities it sets before us are stifled. The world offers us solutions to our pain: technology gives us peace and distraction, psychology fixes our interior life, medicine helps us live forever and promises us well-being.

    But we will still get sick, we will still suffer, we will still die. The promises of the passing-away world are empty, but they stoke our vain expectations nonetheless. Even when our pain does not require psychological or medical help, our society provides experts to save us from discomfort.

    Our struggle does not belong to the experts, it is ours. It is part of the upside-down gift of redemption by which we can be driven to God and experience light casting out darkness. The impact of the new creation is not instant, however. I’m not sure God is into the quick fixes; spritiual recovery is a process. Learning to appreciate the process is a big part of participating in the solution.

     

Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God

Last Autumn and the previous months we noticed that certain groups wanted to use the Christian religion to mock. Also Rana (that’s pronounced ‘Reh-na’) does not mind people to be a Satanist? But what bothers her and us is that they:

steal a consecrated Host from a Catholic Church

so they can desecrate our Saviour

(although I believe the stolen Host was returned to the Church). I don’t care if you hate Him. You wouldn’t be allowed to get a bunch of people to rally and use a stolen Koran as toilet paper. That would get shut down immediately. {United, We Stand}

A large crowd of fans wait outside of a Borders store in Delaware, waiting for the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

The Harry Potter hype may be gone. _ Crowd outside a book store for the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, on 16 July 2005,

Those people joining in the Halloween celebrations do not hesitate to say all bad things about believers in Christ and do not mind taking many symbols of the Catholic Church to make caricatures of Christian religion.
Around the Halloween festivities lot of attention is pulled to the Worship of Satan, or the devil and to all sorts of occult figures which may have a connection with him. Some years ago the Harry Potter series introduced again an interest in witchcraft and the occult. Though we must admit that interest is fading again and last year we saw already less attributes of Harry Potter and other witch television series characters in the shops. Not as the Biblical meaning of the word, namely the subservient to adversary and accuser of God. The participants of such satanic gatherings forget that they are the real satans, the Bible is speaking about. In these times coming closer to the end-times we may see the postbiblical traditions were Satan emerges as the tempter of humankind shifting to being the preferred master of the world.

The Sigil of Baphomet: emblem of the Church of...

The Sigil of Baphomet: emblem of the Church of Satan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The cults associated with Satanism love to have demonic figures with the name Satan, Lucifer or Beelzebub as their central feature in their meetings and their black mass. The corrupted and inverted rendition of the Christian Eucharist may not only call a strong aversion by the Roman Catholics. All Christians should consider those practices which include animal sacrifice and deviant sexual activity as an abomination in the eyes of God but also something not done by decent people.

Their worship may be motivated by the belief that Satan is more powerful than the forces of good, and so is more capable of bringing about the results sought by his adherents, and that is why with Halloween people should bow down in front of him and his adherents, also bringing sacrifices or gifts to buy of his good heart, so that man can continue the next year without having to much trouble. (That is the spirit of the true Halloween.)

The Villain Authoress finds it a sick and twisted parody of religion designed to mock her god. Though mostly they ridicule Jesus Christ, who is the son of God and laugh with his dying on the ‘cross‘. Those crosses in our regions are often put on fire in the fields as a ‘light beacon’, and we wonder if they not give a special meaning on such a burning of a cross?

Just as abortion is a sick parody of the words Jesus spoke at the Last Supper when He said, “This is My Body,” satanists twist the Catholic Mass to spit in God’s face.

Image from The Onion's spoof article "Har...

Image from The Onion’s spoof article “Harry Potter Books Spark Rise of Satanism Among Children” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rana writes, but those celebrators of a Black Mass spit mainly in Jesus his face and none of them dares to mention the name of God. Probably it frightens them too much to call onto the name of God (Jehovah/Yahweh) and therefore they only use the name of the son of God (Jeshua/Jesus) and the name of their gods. The Real Only One True God is the One about Whom they do not want to talk. If you dare to mention His Name they droop off. Luckily this Name of God still frightens most of them. But we may see a tendency of more people, wanting not to know anything from the God of gods, ridiculing faith in God, but liking to make fun in a world they love to create for a few nights, with all sorts of gods and ghosts.

Those people also like to shout about free speech and the right to have a free opinion and to do what they want to do.

For them we would like to quote the above author:

Free speech should be limited to only the laws of libel, obscenity, sedition, and slander. {United, We Stand}

About the Satanic Masses she writes:

This would fall under obscenity and slander. I have no clue why the state would legally allow this to happen other than the fact that they don’t care and are part of a society that hates God. {United, We Stand}

When we look at those in control of the Western countries we only can see that often a lot of them are more interested in their own material well-being than in the social welfare of the whole community. Most of the people in charge of a country are not active religious persons and many of them do not like the Christians because they mainly have a restricted view of certain denominations in Christendom who in the past used their power too much to oppress the common people.

For sure the last few years the governments have loosened the robes of decency too much. All those who have a faith in the Divine Creator should come to react against the many blasphemous things which happen around this time of year.

The organizer Adam Daniels of the Black Mass in Oklahoma City returned his pilfered Communion wafer to the Church, which they intended to desecrate, to Archbishop Coakley of Oklahoma City who is still concerned that they have not backed away from all the other blasphemies and sacrileges involved in this ritual worship of Satan.

As for the attendees, Monsignor Brankin, the official exorcist for his diocese for the last four years,  said

“I would think that there would be a real strong possibility, especially in the state of sin, that they would walk out possessed. They’re going into a situation where people are calling upon Satan to exercise dominion over everything in the state–dominion over people, places, our very land.

“They promise to do an exorcism of the Christians there, which, in their own foolish talk, involves puling out of the Holy Spirit. If someone went there out of curiosity, especially if there was a possibility that they were not in the state of grace, they could easily come out with a demonic attachment, whether it would be an oppression, obsession or a full possession.”

Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan us...

Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan used the phrase as part of public rituals (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Another exorcist, speaking under the condition of anonymity to Aleteia, didn’t think that there is necessarily a rise in public black masses, but believes there are plenty of them going on behind closed doors. However, when they do take place in public, he argues for the strategy employed by the Catholic Church in Boston, when another group of satanists planned to hold a black mass in a pub on the Harvard campus in May. {Exorcists Warn of Danger from Oklahoma City Black Mass}

In a statement posted on the Archdiocese Website, he said:

“Even though our city leaders apparently do not take this threat seriously, I do. As a Catholic priest and bishop, I have witnessed in my ministry the battle between forces of good and evil, in both ordinary and extraordinary ways. It is not merely a struggle rooted in human weakness and ignorance, though these are certainly the source of much suffering and mayhem in our lives and in our world. Demonic activity and the chaotic forces of evil are very real. The madness of war, accompanied by increasingly brutal acts of terror, the violence in our schools and communities are all evidence that something is terribly wrong.

“The crucial battleground for the forces of good and evil is the human heart. As a Christian, I believe that Jesus Christ came to conquer the power of sin and to cast out demons. This was an essential part of His mission and ministry. It continues in His Church.”

It is true that a lot of remarks by Flemish people are grounded in a certain truth.
For several citizens Catholicism perverted “pure” religion, producing deviant sexual practices originating from “unnatural” vows of chastity violating “nature” — Catholic sexual repression engendered the veiled hypocrisy masking the orgiastic sexuality performed in unnatural monasteries and convents. The last ten years we had one scandal after the other unveiled, priests and nuns having sex with youngsters and often at first denying it, but when proof of it came onto the surface they had to admit it. The last few years also the variety of sexual, political anxieties, specifically anxieties about masculine women and feminine men go more attention and was extravagantly demonstrated in gay- and love parades and in the costumes for Halloween.

According to a poll in 2013 only one in five actually believe in the existence of the Prince of Darkness (Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer) and therefore, in the United Kingdom, from January 2014 evil is to go from some christening services after clerics were told to no longer ask parents and godparents to reject Satan during baptisms in the Church Of England faith. In true Christianity and Judaism there is no devil figure in the sense of a torturing or frightening figure. According to the bible satan means adversary, and could be any body who is against some one or something. Some religions have a trickster or tempter. For instance, Buddhists believe in Mara, who tempted Buddha with visions of beautiful women — but others believe the devil is merely a concept, symbolising man’s own base instincts and sinfulness, and this is also what real Christians should believe. They should not go into the stories which are told around this period, making children afraid that their grandparents and the dead people can hear their thoughts, see what they do and could come to punish them for what they have done wrong.

That punishment from the dead is what the worshippers of All Hallows’ Eve or Halloween hope to accomplish by bribing the dead, the ghosts and the spirits on the 31st of October and by putting flowers, candles and food on the graves of their beloved on the 1st and 2nd of November, in the hope they can satisfy those in the graves. The sacrifices made on October the 31st and November 1 & 2 shall not bring liberation for those who gave candy or money or flowers. The saints or souls people do think to talk to on those days shall not be able to help them out in whatever difficult situation. Though many feel guilty when on All Saints or All Souls not go to the graves of their death family members. They are even a little bit frightened when they would not honour those dead they could have more problems in the coming year. It is that superstition where God is against.

God makes it clear to all people, that they should not think them being much more than the other elements of creation. They should respect the full creation which is given to them to use it properly, whilst they are alive. Because when they die it will be too late to change anything. They shall not be able to take anything with them in their grave to use it in a sort of other world. For we as living beings should be aware that time on this earth is limited. We can not buy some more time or pay for postponing our death. All of us will have the same end, all die and shall either be put in a grave or be incinerated or be burned. For such an action many are afraid, but they forget that the dead not feel such a thing, because they know not anything and like animals they return to the ground. We all return to dust.

“All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.” (Psalms 22:29 NAS)

“19 For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. 20 All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust.” (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20 NAS)

“For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5 NAS)

“Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do [it] with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10 NAS)

“His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish.” (Psalms 146:4 NAS)

+

Autumn traditions for 2014 – 3 Black Mass, Horror spectacles and pure puritans

++

Find also to read:

  1. Lord in place of the divine name
  2. Some one or something to fear #7 Not afraid for Gods Name
  3. Glorification of Name of God
  4. Heavenly creatures do they exist
  5. Satan or the devil
  6. Satan the evil within
  7. Christendom Astray The Devil Not A Personal Super-Natural Being
  8. The Existence of Evil
  9. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  10. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  11. The Soul not a ghost
  12. The Soul confronted with Death
  13. Death,dead and after
  14. Grave, tomb, sepulchre – graf, begraafplaats, rustplaats, sepulcrum
  15. How are the dead?
  16. Self inflicted misery #2 Weakness of human race
  17. Bad things no punishment from God
  18. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
  19. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  20. Phoenicians sacrificed infants
  21. How is it that Christ pleased God so perfectly?
  22. Wishing to do the will of God
  23. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  24. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  25. Living in faith
  26. Songs in the night Worship God only

Find in Dutch:

  1. Duivel, Satan, Lucifer, Demon, Goed en Kwaad en God
  2. Satan het kwaad in ons
  3. Bestaat er iets als engelen en kunnen die zondigen
  4. Gevallen engelen en hun verblijf
  5. Hoe de Satan vandaag rond toert
  6. Media geen werk van Satan, een duivelse engel
  7. Hedendaagse wonderen geen werk van Satan
  8. Laatste dagen omroepers

+++

Further reading:

  1. Catholic Officials File Lawsuit to Stop ‘Black Mass’ Ceremony
  2. Stuck with a Satanist?
  3. Matthew Lewis’s Black Mass: Sexual, Religious Inversion in ‘The Monk.’
  4. Lucky Devil; Exclusive Royal Navy Satanist Promoted to Top Desk Job at HQ in Whitehall
  5. Satanists Seek Spot for Statue on Okla. Statehouse Steps
  6. Satanists Seek Spot on Statehouse Steps
  7. Probe into How a Satanist Was Free to Kill Young Diego
  8. Christian Is Stabbed to Death by
  9. Sandra’s Advice: Black Deeds; Satanists Inspired by Scholar His Satanist Pal
  10. The Devil’s in the Detail for City Band; Banned after Being Wrongly Called…
  11. Satanist sex abuser back behind bars; Neighbours Battled to Have Him Removed
  12. Satanist Sex Offender Jailed
  13. Lucifer
  14. Jesus and Beelzebub – Reflections Today
  15. Lucifer Ascending: The Occult in Folklore and Popular Culture
  16. Neil Gaiman’s Lucifer; Reconsidering Milton’s Satan
  17. Devilishly Delightful; Lucifer – and Scores of Other Crocosmia – Add a Blaze…
  18. Lucifer to Have Devil of Chance
  19. Casting out the Devil; A Hellish History of Satan, Beelzebub and El Diablo
  20. A Ruthless Operator Who Takes Pride in Being ‘To the Right of Atilla the Hun; Yesterday’s High Court Ruling Is Just the Latest Chapter in the Colourful Life of Nicholas Van Hoogstraten. Alun Thorne Examines the Man Once Described as “An Emissary of Beelzebub

+++

  • Devil Worshiper Hell-Bent on Controversy (abcnews.go.com)
    In a small, darkened room, Adam Daniels, the self-proclaimed head of his own satanic church, spat and stomped on the symbolic body of Christ in a ritual devoted to Satan.The smells of incense and smoky dry ice vapors wafted over his small band of followers, who watched him and others perform the so-called “black mass” and destroy bread that was meant to symbolize the Eucharistic, which Catholics say is supposed to symbolize the body of Christ.

    Only about 40 or so people attended Daniels’ demonic service, which was held in the basement of an Oklahoma City civic center in September, but it was enough to draw nearly 2,000 Christians from all over the region, some of which drove in from out of state, for a massive protest against it.

  • Satanic Group Wants To Put Holiday Display In Florida’s Capitol Rotunda (alan.com)
    If the state is to stay religion-neutral and still permit religions to put displays on public property, they can’t deny those who worship Satan.
  • Wesleyan/Anglican: Halloween: What’s a Christian to Do? (methoblog.com)
    You know, when I was a kid, our church used to have Halloween parties every year. We used to hold it out in the woods at the Optimist Club building. It was a great time. I remember going, and our family arrived early one year. It was the year that I was dressed up like the Incredible Hulk. I had a rubber Hulk mask and inflatable muscles. Anyway, because we arrived early, we split up and hid. I think I hid behind a tree in the surrounding woods. Then we would each one “arrive” at different times, so as to help disguise who we really were. One year I was Scooby Doo. (That was before I could do the Scooby Doo voice.) We had a really great time.However, as time went by, I encountered Christians at other churches (even within the same denomination) who would never do such a thing. From their perspective, Halloween was an evil, even Satanic celebration. It was to be avoided completely.

    Some suggested Christian alternatives, sometimes called Hallelujah Parties, instead of Halloween Parties. These ranged from events where you could dress up, so long as there were no monsters, or evil costumes, to events where you could only dress as Bible characters, to no costumes allowed whatsoever. – And I learned never to assume anything about people’s position with regard to Halloween.

  • Kirk Cameron Proves Pagans Tried To Steal Halloween From Baby Jesus (wonkette.com)

    Onetime teevee actor Kirk Cameron, getting into the spirit of the pre-Christmas movie release season, gave a very exciting interview to the Christian Post, in which he revealed that Halloween is a 100 percent Christian festival of 100 percent Christian origins.

    OK, sure, by pure coincidence, it also occurs at the same time and has many of the same trappings of much older pagan harvest festivals, but it is utterly unrelated to those, really. Cameron’s interview was part of the prerelease publicity for his terrible upcoming movie, “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas,” which makes the completely reasonable claim that there is also no connection whatsoever between the historically verified date of Jesus’s birth and some pagan solstice festivals that just happened to occur at the same time, and which may have some similar traditions.

  • Apostate American Church: Waiting for the Man Of Sin (endtimesprophecyreport.wordpress.com)
    America is a Christian nation™” is not a statement of fact.It is a brand name–like Velveeta™ or Burger King™. It is a lie which has been marketed to deceive Americans into believing they are righteous–regardless of their actions and lack of obedience.

    Some facts and figures put into perspective exactly how many real Christians live in America, a country which has been relentlessly marketed as a “Christian nation.”

  • Conspiracies & Catholicism: Halloween (catholicstand.com)
    Like pretty much every other big Catholic thing, it’s supposedly Pagan to have a party during the vigil before All Saint’s day. There is a long history of having a sort of harvest festival in pretty much any culture that can produce more than they can store (frequently it’s when you harvest fruits or slaughter the animals before winter) and there was one called Samhain in Ireland. There’s another one coming up in the US, called Thanksgiving. Since becoming Catholic didn’t suddenly make it so they had modern means of storing food that spoils quickly the parties would have kept happening, and when centuries after the pagan practices were gone the feast of All Saints was instituted there was nothing there to “steal.”
    +
    Many American Halloween customs are most likely taken from Guy Fawkes’ day, November 5th– it’s entirely possible that they shifted over from the prior All Hallow’s Eve celebrations of the English, just as the harvest feast got hooked to the Feast and its vigil. People are very good at finding a reason to have a party and have fun, and fire is fun, food is fun, candy and costumes are fun.
  • The Pagan Roots Of Halloween (endoftheamericandream.com)
    Even though approximately 70 percent of Americans will participate in Halloween festivities once again this year, the vast majority of them are clueless about the fact that this is a holiday that is thousands of years old and that has deeply pagan roots.
    +
    An existing Catholic festival known as All Saints Day (or All Hallows Day) was moved to the same time as Samhain.  Eventually, All Hallows Eve became known as “Halloween”, but many of the ancient Celtic traditions never disappeared.
    +
    You may say that “it doesn’t mean that to me”, but even today there are large numbers of people that take this stuff deadly seriously.On page 96 of the Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey wrote the following…

    “After one’s own birthday, the two major Satanic holidays are Walpurgisnacht (May 1st) and Halloween.”

    Most people will never see it, but in dark corners and out of the way places some incredibly sinister things will take place in America on Halloween night.

    Just like for the ancient Celts, there are people out there that truly believe that it is a night to commune with the spirits.

    If you are a pagan, you probably already know all of this stuff.

    If you are not a pagan, you might want to think twice before you do things that could potentially open up doorways to the spirit realm.

  • Re: Satanism Sold To Kids (forum.prisonplanet.com)
    Satanists have announced that they will be joining a national atheist group in handing out controversial literature to public school students in Orange County, Florida.Among the materials reportedly planned for this school year are a Satanic-themed coloring book, “pamphlets related to the Temple’s tenets, philosophy and practice of Satanism, as well as information about the legal right to practice Satanism in school,” according to a press release from The Satanic Temple.
  • The Miscreants behind the Pulput… (audacityandsupposition.com)
    The Clergy regardless of persuasion have a somber responsibility to guide and direct God’s Children to the truth and conviction of God’s Word without regard to political correctness or threat from worldly persecution. Finding the fiber of early American Spiritual Leaders in today’Council of Gods Clergy is difficult if not downright impossible. Instead we find those bent on building great edifices and notoriety of their great popularity bolstered by spewing out book after book, packaged teaching materials, and radio and television appearances all of which makes them the super-stars of religion. To address their congregations to the elements of truth as it pertains to societal issues to include the political realm is taboo to them because of fear and a lack of conviction on their own part as to the call of God, his statues and principles as put forth by scripture and seemingly forgetting that a day of accountability to the Lord is scheduled.
    +
    The clergy of Organized Christianity are hirelings. They are directors of a multi-billion dollar syndicate. They establish fiscal goals and financial targets. Just like any other modern business, they hope to buy and sell and get gain. To this end, they offer holy oil, crosses, pendants, trinkets, travel, prayer, lobbyists, videos, and amusement, in exchange for dollars and adoration. Many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.
  • The Internet knows you love the devil (buzzryan.com)
    There are few ideas that grab hold of our imaginations quite like Satan. Over the last year, the Prince of Darkness has been trending big online. In fact, you could say 2014 was the year the Internet saved Satanism. Why would it do that? Because the Internet knows Satan sells.For weeks now, the Internet has been abuzz about a Black Mass that’s scheduled to take place in the American heartland. Oklahoma City is set to be ground zero for a spiritual showdown of biblical proportions: God vs. Satan, battling for the soul of America. Or, at least, that’s how the Catholic Church is selling it. Rev. Don Wolf of St. Eugene Catholic church told The Oklahoman that “to engage in this is to open the window up to the presence of the forces that are not to be trifled with.” (He means the Devil.)

I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer

How could a loving God allow an innocent child to suffer? Surely he cares enough to prevent the suffering (if he didn’t care, he wouldn’t be very loving). And surely is able to prevent to suffering (if he couldn’t, he wouldn’t be very powerful). And yet we know that in this imperfect world children suffer. So does that mean there is no God? Or could God have good reasons to allow such suffering?

The Suffering (video game)

The Suffering (video game) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we talk about the reasons for suffering there is a real danger that anything we say will sound glib or even insensitive to those who have been bereaved. The mother who has lost a beloved child doesn’t want reasons, she wants her child back. Trying to intellectualise the problem will be cold comfort for such grief. Trying to explain away the suffering would be heartless. Because what possible reason could you give that would make the death of a child acceptable? What explanation would justify so great a loss? And that is the first thing to recognise. When we seek to understand the existence of suffering we are not seeking to give a reason for individual acts of suffering. Some acts of suffering, when considered in isolation, have no reason. They are not caused by God, they are not for some eventual gain, they are, essentially, meaningless. We do not live in a world where everything has a purpose, where everything happens for a reason. The Bible says God has subjected the world to “futility” (Rom 8:20), that is, God has purposefully made this world imperfect and subject to imperfection. God does not cause suffering, but has made the world where suffering occurs. The question is, why would he do that?

Step back and consider: what is the cause of so much of the evil in the world? Answer: human beings. Whether it is cold-blooded murder or just casual neglect, so much suffering and pain is caused by humans making bad choices. Sometimes people will choose to do something truly wicked, more often people just choose to do what is easy, but it is those choices that produces the suffering. God could have created a world without such suffering because he could have created a world without people or only with people whose minds he controls. That would have prevented a lot of suffering. There would be no murders, if God didn’t allow people the freedom to choose. But God has allowed people the freedom to choose. Because a world in which people have free will is better than a world without it. Imagine a world without free will. Sure, there would be no evil but there would also be no good. Without free will there could be no love and there could be no relationships. There could be no acts of kindness, no moments of generosity, and no real charity. The world would just be filled with choice-less robots, neither good nor bad, just behaving as instructed. A world with free will is better, and world where people freely choose to do good is best, but if people are truly free then that means they have the option to cause evil.

But this isn’t the whole answer. Murderers may choose to murder, but waves don’t choose to drown people, rocks don’t choose to crush people and viruses don’t choose to infect people. A lot of the suffering in the world is caused by natural processes, by the laws of nature operating as they always do, the victims just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why does God allow such suffering? Well, imagine the alternative. Imagine that rocks would always fall down to the ground EXCEPT when a child was underneath. That might seem like a wonderful idea, but think of all the exceptions and kinks in the laws of nature that would be needed to make children invulnerable. Bullets would turn to jelly when fired at children, fire would become cool when a child was close by, man-eating tigers would become lovable kittens. Suddenly the ordered and regular world that we’re used to has become chaotic and difficult to predict. No longer could humans depend on things behaving like they always have and so could no longer make even reasonable guesses about the outcome of their actions. Without the laws of nature, without the regularity of nature, human free will cannot operate because without that regularity you cannot make informed choices.

Okay, you say, I understand that free will is a good thing and I understand that the laws of nature are necessary, but even so couldn’t have God made the world better? Couldn’t there be less dangers? Or couldn’t we be less vulnerable? Why not make humans impervious to harm so that we can carry on whatever the world throws at us? Of

+

Preceding article: I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell

++

Additional reading:

  1. About suffering
  2. Foreword to suffering
  3. Choices to make in suffering
  4. Crucifixion for suffering
  5. God’s instruction about joy and suffering
  6. God’s promises to us in our suffering
  7. Importuning for suffering hearts
  8. Seems no future in suffering
  9. Suffering through the apparent silence of God
  10. Suffering continues
  11. Suffering leading to joy
  12. Surprised by joy
  13. Surprised by time in joys & sufferings
  14. Miracles in our time of suffering
  15. Offer in our suffering
  16. Temptation and its conquest
  17. Words from God about suffering
  18. Mission son of God perceived as failure
  19. Patient waiting
  20. Moving mountains
  21. Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?
  22. Attributes to God
  23. Disappointed with God
  24. God’s measure not our measure
  25. Full authority belongs to God
  26. God Helper and Deliverer
  27. God is Positive
  28. God’s design in the creation of the world
  29. God’s hope and our hope
  30. God His reward
  31. God’s promises
  32. God’s salvation
  33. Incomplete without the mind of God
  34. Is God hiding His Face when He is seemingly silent
  35. Jesus his answers about God’s silence
  36. Based confidence
  37. Chrystalised harmonious thinking
  38. Our way of life
  39. Life with God
  40. Nuturing a close relationship with God
  41. Concerning gospelfaith
  42. Epitome of the one faith
  43. My faith
  44. Hope
  45. Working of the hope
  46. Looking for blessed hope
  47. Hope for the future
  48. Expiatory sacrifice
  49. Content with the no answer
  50. Free will and predestination
  51. Meaning of life
  52. Death and after
  53. God’s Comfort
  54. A world in denial
  55. Fear and protection
  56. Because men choose to go their own way
  57. It is a free will choice
  58. Free will and predestination
  59. Let you not be defined by the effect of your wrong choice
  60. The Existence of Evil

+++

  • Why does God allow evil? (pastormikesays.wordpress.com)
    The Bible describes God as holy (Isaiah 6:3), righteous (Psalm 7:11), just (Deuteronomy 32:4), and sovereign (Daniel 4:17-25). These attributes tell us the following about God: (1) God is capable of preventing evil, and (2) God desires to rid the universe of evil. So, if both of these are true, why does God allow evil? If God has the power to prevent evil and desires to prevent evil, why does He still allow evil? Perhaps a practical way to look at this question would be to consider some alternative ways people might have God run the world:
  • God’s Gift & Our Response: Mercy & Worship (jamespaulgaard.wordpress.com)
    God gives us many good and wonderful gifts that we need. But a gift does not give its intended benefit if the one receiving the gift does not open the gift and use it. You could be given the greatest gift in the world, but if the gift sits in the corner unopened, that gift will have no benefit in your life. So through this series, we want to encourage you to reflect on the many gifts God has given you, and how you respond to those gifts. In today’s sermon we are thinking about God’s gift of mercy and our response of worship and the three points of the sermon
  • Why You Shouldn’t Teach Your Children That Hell is Real (patheos.com)
    If teaching heaven is bad, teaching hell is downright mental child abuse. There is no way around this one. You are telling a child that for bad deeds done, or not worshipping the right (or any god), you are going to burn in a lake of fire for eternity. Pure torture, unimaginable pain and it is forever.The myth of Hell needs to be destroyed faster than the myth of heaven by far. Children and countless adults fear any of their actions will result in them spending eternity in Hell. Why? It is such a childish and illogical idea. For starters, their almighty God created an evil angel, and instead of destroying him, gave him his own kingdom? And let’s not get started on the fact that if Satan is the one punishing the bad guys for their evil, doesn’t that make Satan the good guy? If Hell is for the most evil people in the world who listened to and or worshipped Satan, wouldn’t Satan be glad to have them? It simply doesn’t make sense and even Christians and other religious followers are deciding they don’t believe in Hell anymore. It seems that all the rest of their religion is true, but Hell sounds too mean, so that part is obviously just an allegory. So, just like the endless rape, murder, genocide and other atrocities of the Bible, let’s go ahead and cherry-pick Hell right out of it.
  • The Man or The Devil In The Mirror? [Part 1] (corbenstreet.wordpress.com)
    People must understand and know how to differentiate between the reason and the purpose of doing things. But because humans are always so good at taking things for granted, it is not surprising that whatever the reason and the purpose of using mirrors, it no longer means anything to everyone – anymore!
  • David Haines killing is ‘an act of absolute evil’, says Archbishop of Canterbury (christiantoday.com)
    The Archbishop of Canterbury is among the Christians expressing their sorrow over the killing of hostage David Haines at the hands of Islamic State militants.The 44-year-old aid worker’s beheading was shown in a video released on Saturday night.It has been strongly condemned by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has vowed that Britain will take “whatever steps are necessary” to keep the country safe and bring the killers to justice.Archbishop Justin Welby used his Twitter account to ask every church in the country to pray for Haines’s family, saying he had been “evilly killed in the place he was serving in love for its suffering people”.

    In comments to the BBC later on Sunday, the Archbishop described the aid worker’s murder as “an act of absolute evil, unqualified, without any light in it at all”.

    He said there was a sense that in places where militants have taken hold “the darkness is deepening”.

    “It’s being done in the name of faith, but we’ve heard already today faith leaders from Islam across the world condemning this,” he continued.

  • William Lane Craig vs Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: evil, suffering and God’s existence (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    This is one the top 4 best debates that William Lane Craig has done in my opinion. (The other two are Craig-Millican debate and the first and second Craig-Dacey debates) This one doesn’t seem to get a lot of play on the Internet: there’s no video, transcript or anything. But it is a great debate, and on a problem we are all concerned about: the problem of evil and suffering. One other thing – Sinnott-Armstrong is also a very courteous, respectful and intelligent scholar and he is very good at defending his side. This is a very cordial and engaging debate, and because it was held in front of a church audience, it was targeted to laymen and not academics.

I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell

Me neither. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to go to suffer everlasting torment, however bad they were in life, and I don’t like the idea of a god would want that either. The idea of unending pain is not only intolerably cruel but to pretend that in any sense someone could deserve that fate so unjust as to be positively wicked. Regardless of how bad someone behaved, regardless of how many crimes they committed, no-one could do enough evil to justify an infinite punishment. Even worse is the suggestion that anyone who misses out on salvation will end up with the same punishment; petty crook and genocidal dictator alike, they all must endure an eternity of pain and suffering. A god who behaved in this way could not be described as “merciful“, could not even be described as “just”. Such a god could only be described as wicked. But the God I believe in is both merciful and just, so I can’t believe that He would send anyone to hell.

There is another reason why I can’t believe it – the idea isn’t even biblical. Look at what Jesus says about hell:

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28)

Leave aside for a moment what Jesus meant by “soul” and “hell”, it is clear that Jesus did not think of hell as many Christians do. For Jesus, hell is not a place where the soul suffers eternal conscious torment. Instead hell is a place where the soul is killed, destroyed, finished, done.

Look at what Jesus promises to anyone who will accept it:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them (John 3:36)

Jesus promises eternal life. The opposite of eternal life is not eternal conscious torment but eternal death. Jesus makes this clear in the words considered above. Whoever rejects the offer will “not see life”. They don’t go on living in torment and agony for all eternity. They just stay dead. That’s the fate of the wicked, that’s the fate of those who reject Jesus’ offer of life, they stay dead.

The question then is why do so many Christians believe in hell, given that is a horrible idea and not what Jesus taught? For some people, though they call themselves “Christian”, just use the doctrine of hell as a stick to beat their neighbours. There also probably some truth in the claim that the historic church used the threat of hell as a way of controlling its followers. But there are also many sincere and well-intentioned Christians who still believe in hell. This is because they are used to reading the Bible a certain way and have never been shown that it was written differently.

Many Christians believe that the soul is immortal, that it not only survives death but can never die. This is not what Jesus or the early Christians taught, but if you believe that the soul cannot die then you must believe it goes somewhere after death. You wouldn’t want to belief that wicked people end up in a good place (a lot of Christians believe they go to heaven when they die), so there must be a bad place for the bad people to go to. Once you’ve got this idea in your mind then you read the Bible to fit that idea. For example, whilst Jesus never talks about eternal conscious torment, he does talk about “eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46). If you already believe that bad souls go to a bad place when they die, it is convenient to read “eternal punishment” as though it said “eternal conscious torment”. That’s not what Jesus said, but that’s what many Christians think.

English: Ge-Hinnom, c. 1900.

Ge-Hinnom or Valley of Hinnom, c. 1900. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It also does not help that Christians today have forgotten what Jesus meant when he used the word “hell”. When Jesus talks about hell he is usually using the word gehenna, which literally means “Valley of Hinnom“. This was a place in ancient Israel where the worshippers of the pagan god Molech would perform human sacrifices, including burning children (e.g. 2 Kings 23:10). This practice is condemned by God through the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 32:35). Jeremiah uses the imagery of being burnt in the Valley of Hinnom to portray the fitting punishment for those who practiced such evil (Jeremiah 7:31-32). This is the background to the word gehenna in the New Testament where it represents the fate of the wicked. When Jesus talks about the ‘fire of hell‘ (Matthew 5:22) he is using the word gehenna, using this imagery for the destruction of death. The other word used by Jesus for hell is hades. Though in greek mythology hades was both the abode of the dead and the god of the dead, in the New Testament hades simply refers to the grave. In either case Jesus was not referring to a place of eternal conscious torment for the wicked, as many people now think about hell.

As you can see from this overview I do not think that Christians should believe in hell and as such I do not think that hell provides any obstacle to believing in God. Jesus does not teach that the wicked go to hell and I do not know of any other part of the bible that teaches this idea. Wherever people got the notion of hell from it was not from God and not part of his message to mankind. I can understand that you would not want to believe in a god that condemned people to hell, though your personal dislike would not determine whether or not such a god existed. But the notion of hell is inconsistent with everything we know about the God who does exist; inconsistent with his goodness and inconsistent with his message to mankind.

+

Additional reading:

  1. Another way looking at a language #3 Abraham
  2. Sheol, Sheool, Sjeool, Hades, Hell, Grave, Tomb, Sepulchre
  3. Grave, tomb, sepulchre – graf, begraafplaats, rustplaats, sepulcrum
  4. Darkness, light, burning fire, Truth and people in it
  5. Jesus three days in hell
  6. Hellfire
  7. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  8. The soul
  9. Dying or not
  10. Is there an Immortal soul
  11. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  12. Set free from any form of mental torment or self-condemnation
  13. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  14. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  15. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  16. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  17. We are ourselves responsible
  18. Self inflicted misery #6 Paying by death
  19. Self inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  20. Bad things no punishment from God
  21. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  22. Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists
  23. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  24. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  25. Edward Wightman
  26. Fear and protection
  27. Fear of God reason to return to Holy Scriptures
  28. Eternity depends upon this short time on earth
  29. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower

+++

  • Biblical Hell (focusedandfree.com)
    Because of the symbolic nature of the language, some people question whether hell consists of actual fire. Such reasoning should bring no comfort to the lost. The reality is greater than the symbol. The Bible exhausts human language in describing heaven and hell. The former is more glorious, and the latter more terrible, than language can express.
    +
    In Christian tradition it is usually associated with the notion of eternal punishment, especially by fire. This idea appears in Isaiah. 66:24, but it is not clearly associated with a place. Jewish writings from the third century B.C. onward, speak of places of punishment by fire for evil spirits and the wicked dead (1 Enoch 18:11-16108:3-7152 Esdras 7:36-38). The book of Revelation describes a lake that burns with fire and brimstone in which the wicked will be eternally punished (Revelation 19:2020:14-1521:8).
  • Gehenna in the ‘Love Wins’ controversy (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
    One aspect of the great controversy about hell, and about Bell’s thesis, is the meaning of the word Gehenna in the New Testament. Most English translations contribute to the confusion by replacing the word Gehenna with hell, instead of leaving it untranslated, as it should be, since it is the name of a specific geographical place on earth.
  • Is Gehenna the same as the lake of fire? (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
    Arthur W. Pink compared Gehenna with the lake of fire in Revelation 20 in his article on Eternal Punishment. He thought these two things were identical. But Pink may have been mistaken about this, as he was about the doctrine of dispensationalism. He eventually realized dispensationalism was false, and wrote a series of articles against that theory, which he previously supported.In his discussion of Gehenna, Pink compared things said of it with the information that is provided about the lake of fire. His comparison is summarized
  • Is Literal Hellfire Torment A Bible Teaching? (debatepolitics.com)
    The teaching of literal hellfire torment is commonplace in Christendom and non-Christian religions. This teaching defames the Creator and portrays him as a sadist who tortures people in flames of fire for all eternity—as punishment for wrongdoing committed during the relatively brief human lifespan. The hellfire dogma was brought into Christianity by the Roman Catholics who copied it from pagan religions. (Pagans are those who do not worship the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible.)
    +
    The scriptures indicate that hell is nothing more than mankind’s common grave. Proof of this is provided by a verse of scripture in the Bible, which no hellfire-believing Christian can explain away. I’m referring to the scripture that says Jesus Christ–the epitome of a perfect, sinless, and obedient man–died and went to hell.
  • What and Where is Hell Anyway? (robertjrgraham.com)
    When most people think of hell, they think of Satan in that red suit with two horns and a pitchfork somewhere in the depths of the Earth where souls are tormented day and night on some kind of giant char broiler. Do something wrong in life and you’re condemned to an eternal damnation of flames. None of this could be further from the truth, and we should know better, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (II Corinthians 2:11).The English word hell comes from the Anglo-Saxon hel, or in the genitive case helle, which means a “hidden place”, from the Anglo-Saxon word helan, meaning “to hide”.
    +
    Whether it’s the word sheol in the Old Testament, or gehenna or hades in the New Testament, they all mean either the grave or the state of death.
  • Is Hell eternal or do those who do not choose Christ just cease to exist? (askthepastors.wordpress.com)
    There are four words used in the Bible for the place of the dead, Sheol, the Hebrew term for the grave and also for the place of departed spirits, Hades, the Greek version of Sheol, the Abyss (used for the place of the dead in Romans 10:7, but usually reserved for place of judgment for demons, Luke 8:31; Rev. 9:1,2, 20:1) and Gehenna, the term taken from the Valley of Hinnom just south of Jerusalem where trash was perpetually burned. This last word refers specifically to the final place of torment, most properly translated “hell” (Matthew 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:9, etc.)
  • Comments on Walter Balfour’s interpretation of Gehenna (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
    In their disputes about the meaning of Gehenna, both men overlooked the significance of Gehenna as a topographical feature in the land of promise, and one of the valleys which Isaiah said will be filled, as John the Baptist proclaimed. [Luke 3:5]From Gehenna, one views Jerusalem as an outsider; the teachings of Jesus encourage us to get into the kingdom of God, and obtain life.
    +The sayings of Jesus about Gehenna also apply to the present age. Gehenna is a judgment. [Mat. 5:22, 23:33] Jesus referred to it as something we should avoid at any cost, even if it means loss of our right eye, or our right hand, or our right foot. [Mat. 5:29, 30] Jesus said God is able to destroy “both soul and body” in Gehenna, and that we should fear him. [Mat. 10:28, Luke 12:5] This suggests that the warnings about Gehenna apply to our present lives; being cast into it represents the spiritual condition, of being outside the holy city.Being cast into Gehenna contrasts with entering into life. [Mat. 18:9] Scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites are called “children of Gehenna.” [Mat. 23:15] Balfour correctly pointed out “no Gentile is ever threatened with Gehenna punishment,” as that threat applies especially to those in Jerusalem. One must be in the holy city, in order to be cast out of it. While the threat of “the damnation of Gehenna” applies only to Jews, the heirs of salvation, who are “in Christ,” are called Jews, and “the circumcision,” in a spiritual sense; Jesus used the threat of Gehenna figuratively and metaphorically to warn the saints who dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem.
  • Is Punishment Eternal? (pilgrimpassing.com)
    Thus, sheol and hades were the same place and must have been occupied by the redeemed since the Messiah was there while His body lay in the grave. That the lost were also there, but in a separate area, is clear from Christ’s statement that when the rich man died, “in hades he lift up his eyes, being in torment….” That in his torment he could see Lazarus and Abraham in comfort (Luke 16:19-31) further indicates that the redeemed were also in hades yet distinct from the damned. That part of hades, which Christ referred to as “Abraham’s bosom,” must have been the “paradise” in which Jesus promised to meet the believing thief on the cross that very day (Luke 23:43).
    +
    If God is so loving why doesn’t He universally forgive everyone? Love is only part of God’s character. He is also infinitely and perfectly just. How can God forgive someone who admits no guilt? How can He forgive those who insist that there is nothing for which He needs to forgive them? And would it not be the utmost folly to do so? If in His mercy and grace God simply passed over human rebellion, would that not be condoning evil and even encouraging it? Would that not in itself undermine God’s control of His universe?
  • Walter Balfour’s discussion of Gehenna
  • Hope in Gehenna?
  • John Calvin on Gehenna
  • Gehenna applies to the church, not the world
  • Gehenna in the ‘Love Wins’ controversy
  • To Hell with Hell
  • Philosophy – What Is Hell?
  • Jason Erb critically analyzes biblical doctrines on Truth Hertz with Charles Giuliani, January 1, 2013
  • Lost Soul in Hell
  • The Amazing Race of God
  • God versus Satan
  • A Full Documentary About the Signs of Apocalypse
  • Reality of Hell…
  • To Hell with HellIs Punishment Eternal?
  • There Is No Hell, Look It Up