Classical Theism, Philosophy, and Religion Forum

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?



5/04/2017 2:37 pm  #21


Re: Relationship with God

Proclus wrote:

While I do believe in miracles and the power of ritual, my point was simply that building a relationship with God is best done in community along with others who are attempting the journey with you.  I only hope to encourage you not to give up the quest before giving it a try with the best community you can find (there are after all many bad ones).

Correct me if I am wrong, but is it not so that Christians only need Jesus Christ to have a relationship with God? If so, then what is the need to join a community? If it is needed to join a community what is the role of God in changing  man's heart? It seems as if God has no role.

Though one might be say that it is through Jesus Christ that one's sin is washed away and the possibility to approach God is given. However, when it comes to change of heart in practice, it is up to man to change and God has no influence. I'm wondering how is that the heart of pharisees and Jews was not changed by Jesus; Not even Judas. It is not clear for me how God helps. Does he give us the knowledge of Good, or also the willpower to do good? If yes why should I need a community then?

Proclus wrote:

Also, this brings up an important point relevant to your original question:  Why am I at all keen to press this point and encourage you not to give up?  Out of love for you.  Why?  Because I am convinced that the very best thing that could happen to you is to encounter God in a personal way.  If this is true, there is simply no loving someone without this dimension.  Everything else pales in comparison, so there is no way to understand how to love other people disconnected from the truth or falsehood of the claim that incredible blessedness or misery depends on one's relationship with God.

Thank you for your effort and kindness. I appreciate it. It is a pity that good intentions alone do not amount to much.

 

Last edited by nojoum (5/04/2017 3:11 pm)

 

5/04/2017 2:50 pm  #22


Re: Relationship with God

Alexander wrote:

Sorry for not responding for a while, I have exams on the horizon at uni.
Certainly not, for the reasons I have given. If loving union with God is really what we are made for, the only thing that can bring us to perfection as human beings, it is sheer madness to put it aside for the sake of... well, anything. It is our highest end, and giving priority to some other end - even an admirable one, such as the pursuit of justice and peace - such that religion becomes an instrument to that end, rather than a relationship with the living God, will always be irrational (for some theologians, sin is often understood precisely as putting other goals before this perfect love of God). Not to say that we shouldn't pursue these goals, obviously, but we do so without compromising our relationship with God.
 
True, but again, humans are made for more than gradual improvement of this-worldly life - we were made to share in the far greater joy and life of God. I'm not disputing that great and valuable social changes can be achieved through secular means, but I am disputing that this can ever be seen as the point of human existence, for a Christian.

The saints are our preeminent example, and I do think anyone who seriously enters into friendship with God will improve. But, again, "improving moral character" is only one aspect of the Christian life. The saints do not merely become better people by secular standards, and often they seem far too extreme by those standards. First and foremost, they become people who love God. I keep stressing this, because it needs to be made clear that Christianity doesn't present itself as just another way to be a basically decent person, but as the way to God. Understood this way, it should be clear why none of your suggestions are quite hitting the mark.

 

No worries. Take your time. Thank you  for the comprehensive answer.

Thanks to you and others, I can see the idea of Christianity. I will add one point though, that even in Islam such people are found (people who have sacrificed their life). The existence of such people is at odds with Christianity which holds that only through Christ (which gives the possibility to have relationship with God) people can change. What am I to make of this observation? One might deny the goodness of these people? One might say even giving your life is not an indication of having a relationship with God? If so what is the sign of having a good relationship with God?

Last edited by nojoum (5/04/2017 3:12 pm)

     Thread Starter
 

5/04/2017 3:08 pm  #23


Re: Relationship with God

Jason wrote:

 
This is exactly where Jesus comes in, because he is the one who bridges that gap between God and us. This is what he said https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11%3A25-30&version=RSVCE. Interestingly, the labour he talks about is exactly that, where you are heavy laden in following certain rules and regulations and they become your life instead of being a guide.

 
I think there is a misunderstanding here. The problem is not that I feel the need to have forgiveness from God. I know that I have it. Even if I want to abandon him, he still loves me. The problem is that I want to love back. If I cannot love God, his enormous forgiveness is of no use, because for me the pain of not being able to love back is greater than his love and forgiveness.

Jason wrote:

So your deeds are not because you are motivated to feel good or even be afraid of going to hell but are due to your love of God. The anointing at Bethany is a perfect example, where what Mary did was to show her gratitude / love (since Jesus had risen Lazarus from the dead) to such an extent that she did not care what others might think of her or her actions. She was willing to give up her reputation and her wealth which unbeknown to her also prepared Jesus for his death. 

I see your point, however I had another reason in mind. The point is to say that Loving God is more important than helping poor.

Why was this waste of the ointment made?5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
 

     Thread Starter
 

5/04/2017 3:23 pm  #24


Re: Relationship with God

I would like to add one point here.

It seems that only a few words can be said about God. That he is the final and ultimate goal for humainty, the goodness itself if. I actually do not expect anymore. If one considers Christ when he says that anyone who has seen me has seen the father, he or she concludes that perhaps love along with sense of justice and holiness are important aspects of God. Beyond that, it seems there is not much more.

I have heard many sweet things about God, But I would this say this quote below is one of the sweetest which fills my heart with Joy.

You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for Him: in the heart of a true lover.

Shams Tabrizi


 

Last edited by nojoum (5/04/2017 3:23 pm)

     Thread Starter
 

5/06/2017 4:00 pm  #25


Re: Relationship with God

Proclus wrote:

Jason wrote:

So your deeds are not because you are motivated to feel good or even be afraid of going to hell but are due to your love of God. The anointing at Bethany is a perfect example, where what Mary did was to show her gratitude / love (since Jesus had risen Lazarus from the dead) to such an extent that she did not care what others might think of her or her actions. She was willing to give up her reputation and her wealth which unbeknown to her also prepared Jesus for his death. 

Thank you for this Jason.  I have frequently meditated on this passage, and you just added an angle to my considerations that I did not have before, especially the link between gratitude for Lazarus playing a role in the relationship between Mary and Jesus.

You are welcome, glad I could help.

 

5/06/2017 4:01 pm  #26


Re: Relationship with God

nojoum wrote:

Jason wrote:

 
This is exactly where Jesus comes in, because he is the one who bridges that gap between God and us. This is what he said https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11%3A25-30&version=RSVCE. Interestingly, the labour he talks about is exactly that, where you are heavy laden in following certain rules and regulations and they become your life instead of being a guide.

 
I think there is a misunderstanding here. The problem is not that I feel the need to have forgiveness from God. I know that I have it. Even if I want to abandon him, he still loves me. The problem is that I want to love back. If I cannot love God, his enormous forgiveness is of no use, because for me the pain of not being able to love back is greater than his love and forgiveness.

I think as a Christian, one of the first things that I had to realize is that my life is not about me or what I wanted but really about what God wanted to do in my life through me. If the pain of not being able to love God back is greater than His love and forgiveness for you then I think you really have missed the point. As Christians we believe, God is all Powerful, all Loving, Wise and a Holy God so we are asked to align with His Loving Will freely rather than on what we want. This is because He has something for us, far better not only in this life (or the life to come) than what we could ever conceive of, and that is why we are asked to carry our cross (suffering and pain) just like Christ did on the cross.

nojoum wrote:

Jason wrote:

So your deeds are not because you are motivated to feel good or even be afraid of going to hell but are due to your love of God. The anointing at Bethany is a perfect example, where what Mary did was to show her gratitude / love (since Jesus had risen Lazarus from the dead) to such an extent that she did not care what others might think of her or her actions. She was willing to give up her reputation and her wealth which unbeknown to her also prepared Jesus for his death. 

I see your point, however I had another reason in mind. The point is to say that Loving God is more important than helping poor.

Why was this waste of the ointment made?5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
 

 
I agree loving God is more important than helping the poor but the love of God leads to helping the poor (if that is what God has called you to do).

 

5/06/2017 4:02 pm  #27


Re: Relationship with God

nojoum wrote:

I would like to add one point here.

It seems that only a few words can be said about God. That he is the final and ultimate goal for humainty, the goodness itself if. I actually do not expect anymore. If one considers Christ when he says that anyone who has seen me has seen the father, he or she concludes that perhaps love along with sense of justice and holiness are important aspects of God. Beyond that, it seems there is not much more.

I have heard many sweet things about God, But I would this say this quote below is one of the sweetest which fills my heart with Joy.

You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for Him: in the heart of a true lover.

Shams Tabrizi


 

 
I agree with Shams, the heart of a true lover is the place to go, no doubt about it, and the person of Jesus Christ embodies the heart of the true lover of God above all things. The Holy Trinity takes that even further.

 

5/07/2017 3:33 am  #28


Re: Relationship with God

nojoum wrote:

Thanks to you and others, I can see the idea of Christianity. I will add one point though, that even in Islam such people are found (people who have sacrificed their life). The existence of such people is at odds with Christianity which holds that only through Christ (which gives the possibility to have relationship with God) people can change. What am I to make of this observation? One might deny the goodness of these people? One might say even giving your life is not an indication of having a relationship with God? If so what is the sign of having a good relationship with God?

I would not say that only a Christian can have a relationship with God in any sense, though I would say that anyone who isn't a Christian is inevitably "missing out" on a lot - the adopted sonship of the Father through the Son, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the sacraments, the mystical body of the Church, not to mention innumerable specific "ways of holiness" that have emerged over the centuries. Certainly those in Islam (and, more generally, people who do not acknowledge Christ as the Son of God) can lead good lives, and can be in a relationship with God. But that is not to say that it would make no difference to them if they were to become Christian disciples.
In answer to your last question, "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him". So giving your life in love is certainly an indication of having a relationship with God (though, as St Paul points out, it is in principle possible even to be martyred without having any real love).

 

5/07/2017 4:49 am  #29


Re: Relationship with God

Jason wrote:

I think as a Christian, one of the first things that I had to realize is that my life is not about me or what I wanted but really about what God wanted to do in my life through me. If the pain of not being able to love God back is greater than His love and forgiveness for you then I think you really have missed the point. As Christians we believe, God is all Powerful, all Loving, Wise and a Holy God so we are asked to align with His Loving Will freely rather than on what we want. This is because He has something for us, far better not only in this life (or the life to come) than what we could ever conceive of, and that is why we are asked to carry our cross (suffering and pain) just like Christ did on the cross.

I don't know how to clearly explain my problem. I am aware of the Christian's notion of taking up one's cross which basically means to give up your desires (the difficult part) and to follow God.

The problem is for me is that I have been trying to do that for 3 4 years or more and I see no progress. Our actions are testimony to our love for God and we are expected to bear fruit. So then If I cannot produce anything, what is the point in trying to follow God? There is no light at the end of this tunnel. So I gave up on mourning on the fact that I cannot follow God and just forgot the whole thing.

     Thread Starter
 

5/07/2017 5:05 am  #30


Re: Relationship with God

Alexander wrote:

I would not say that only a Christian can have a relationship with God in any sense, though I would say that anyone who isn't a Christian is inevitably "missing out" on a lot - the adopted sonship of the Father through the Son, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the sacraments, the mystical body of the Church, not to mention innumerable specific "ways of holiness" that have emerged over the centuries. Certainly those in Islam (and, more generally, people who do not acknowledge Christ as the Son of God) can lead good lives, and can be in a relationship with God. But that is not to say that it would make no difference to them if they were to become Christian disciples.
In answer to your last question, "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him". So giving your life in love is certainly an indication of having a relationship with God (though, as St Paul points out, it is in principle possible even to be martyred without having any real love).

I see your point. However, since I have not experienced neither what true Christians nor Muslims have experienced, I cannot make any further comments. Thanks for the explanation anyway.

That which ST. Paul says seems to be possible, but these people who I am talking about are not those without real love.

     Thread Starter
 

Board footera

 

Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum