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3 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2012 - 8:50AM #21
Kwinters
Posts: 21,936

Feb 20, 2012 -- 10:02AM, johnacancienne wrote:


Feb 19, 2012 -- 7:15PM, 57 wrote:

How do works help you open up to accept God into your life?  Do you ave a chapter and verse to support your claim?





James 2:14-17


New King James Version (NKJV)



Faith Without Works Is Dead


14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.







I don't think forged letters carry weight in terms of credible theology.  We have no idea whom this author was, and his moral character is immediately suspect because he is pretending to be an apostle for the purpose of deceiving his audience.


earlychristianwritings.com/james.html

Jesus had two dads, and he turned out alright.~ Andy Gussert

“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.

If someone says, “Oh, I’m not a feminist,” I ask, “Why, what’s your problem?”

Dale Spender
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3 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2012 - 9:57AM #22
dio
Posts: 4,919

I see it as an X, Y graph. starting from coordinates  0,0 going to the right X positive to infinity positive, is how much good is possible or, how much good work you have to do.


On the negative side From coordinates 0,0 to - X infinity is how much bad works you can do.


Goodness or badness is simply the direction you are going, toward absolute goodness or away from it.


 All a person has to do to be good is stop moving toward infinity evil turn around and begin the move toward infinity goodness.


If you've gone down the neg. infinity path, you can be forgiven where and when you turn around and start moving toward pos. infinity. If you want to move toward infinity goodness do good works. Forgiveness alone does not make Christian a good boy. After Jesus forgave sinners he dismissed them saying do no more evil. To me that means do good. Do you know the difference between good and evil?

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3 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2012 - 10:18AM #23
Heretic_for_Christ
Posts: 5,488

Feb 21, 2012 -- 9:57AM, dio wrote:


I see it as an X, Y graph. starting from coordinates  0,0 going to the right X positive to infinity positive, is how much good is possible or, how much good work you have to do.


On the negative side From coordinates 0,0 to - X infinity is how much bad works you can do.


Goodness or badness is simply the direction you are going, toward absolute goodness or away from it.


 All a person has to do to be good is stop moving toward infinity evil turn around and begin the move toward infinity goodness.


If you've gone down the neg. infinity path, you can be forgiven where and when you turn around and start moving toward pos. infinity. If you want to move toward infinity goodness do good works. Forgiveness alone does not make Christian a good boy. After Jesus forgave sinners he dismissed them saying do no more evil. To me that means do good. Do you know the difference between good and evil?




This model seems harmonious with my idea that our lives are about following a path rather than reaching some pre-defined destination.

I prayed for deliverance from the hard world of facts and logic to the happy land where fantasy and prejudice reign. But God spake unto me, saying, "No, keep telling the truth," and to that end afflicted me with severe Trenchant Mouth. So I'm sorry for making cutting remarks, but it's the will of God.
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3 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2012 - 10:25AM #24
lope
Posts: 11,480

Feb 20, 2012 -- 5:20PM, johnacancienne wrote:


You want to honor your god? Do it by honoring people. It's just that simple folks.... And when people dishonors people by looking down their long noses, or taking the divine authority of determining what another's motives are, you dishonor people. Don't judge....... now that's a job all by itself!





This is a fairly good post, but compare it to your post number 17.

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3 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2012 - 12:55PM #25
Keyfer
Posts: 2,798

Feb 20, 2012 -- 1:56PM, Heretic_for_Christ wrote:


So much attention the motives of people who do good works! Do they do it to "earn" salvation? To make themselves feel good? To show God that their faith is not dead?


What absolute blather, to judge good works by the mindset of the person who does them (and of course we are not talking about accidental good outcomes from evil-intended acts).


Earning salvation? No matter how fervently a Christian may grovel and denounce his own life as a cesspool of sin and wickedness, pleading for yet undeserving of mercy, desperate to be saved by the blood of Jesus... he does expect to receive mercy as a result. This is inescapable because doctrine teaches that salvation is by faith. He has faith and therefore expects salvation. Faith is something that is offered up to God, and offering up faith OR works is an act aimed at quid pro quo: Christian supplies the faith, God supplies the salvation. This is the essential self-contradiction of "salvation by faith," which, by the way (as I have posted before) reduces God to the status of a vending machine. The only recourse to avoid turning God into a vending machine is to have God decide in advance who will and won't have the faith that leads to salvation, bringing us to the happy land of predestination.


Making ourselves feel good? Is it somehow nobler if we are indifferent about doing good deeds? Then would resenting doing good deeds be the noblest state of all? Or maybe the ideal is to do them as naturally as breathing, and being totally unaware that we are doing them. But if a person is unaware of his own good deeds, someone else may be unaware of his own bad deeds, and then how can there be any such thing as responsibility?


Showing God that our faith is not dead? "Uh, God? I know you're busy, but I just wanted to make sure you noticed that I have been doing good deeds to keep my faith alive, since I know that faith without works is dead...  Well, I didn't have to tell you that... I mean, you're God, right? Ha ha... Well, anyway, I just wanted to say that I haven't forgotten that salvation is by faith and I'm not bragging or anything about my good deeds... Certainly not, because I know that my good deeds are like filthy rags before your great holiness... and I certainly haven't forgotten that I am a worse-than-worthless sinner who deserves no mercy though I sure am grateful to you for granting mercy to me... even though I don't deserve it... but of course you can do that, I mean granting a gift even if it isn't deserved... because you're God... So if I can just summarize quickly, God, 'cause I know how busy you are with your Plan... I have faith and I've been doing good things, but it's not to earn salvation, because I can't earn it, I can only be given it… by you, of course… If you choose to give it... Anyway, I'm doing them to keep my faith alive, because that's how I get saved... Through my faith… my alive faith… Well, I mean, that's why you save me... If you choose to save me... Well, you know what I mean, don't you? I mean, you're God, so of course you know what I mean, you know everything... Hell, you probably knew all this even before I said a damned thing..."


Such questions emerge from a dogmatic insistence that human motives and actions are always sinful and wicked. That means good deeds must be regarded with intense suspicion. Was the person pleased to do it? Then it was a hedonistic act. Was the person resentful at doing it? Then it was a bad-faith act.


Maybe we should just look at the deeds themselves. Jesus said we are known by our fruits--our deeds, not our doctrines and not by our particular mindset at the time we do our deeds.




I think that you made some good points here, HfC but I think that motives become more important as we develop spiritually.  



Thinking of spiritual growth as a journey rather than a destination, I suspect that the first step on the journey could be to cease from doing harm to others(lying, cheating, stealing, murder, etc.). Perhaps the next is to do good to others without too much regard for motive. However, I think that as one develops spiritually, motive and intent will become more important. Eventually it is not all about what I do but also about why I do it. I don't deny that good done for any reason helps the recipient but if I do good for selfish reasons, am I really doing good as far as I am concerned? For example, if I am a dishonest politician who does good for the purpose of earning votes, am I to be commended for the "good" that I do? 

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3 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2012 - 1:37PM #26
Heretic_for_Christ
Posts: 5,488

Feb 21, 2012 -- 12:55PM, Keyfer wrote:


Thinking of spiritual growth as a journey rather than a destination, I suspect that the first step on the journey could be to cease from doing harm to others(lying, cheating, stealing, murder, etc.). Perhaps the next is to do good to others without too much regard for motive. However, I think that as one develops spiritually, motive and intent will become more important. Eventually it is not all about what I do but also about why I do it. I don't deny that good done for any reason helps the recipient but if I do good for selfish reasons, am I really doing good as far as I am concerned? For example, if I am a dishonest politician who does good for the purpose of earning votes, am I to be commended for the "good" that I do? 




I agree completely with the idea that spiritual growth is a path to be on rather than a destination to be reached, and that we may be capable of greater spiritual insight at certain times than others (maybe but not necessarily associated with being older and wiser). As part of that growth, self-examination is vital--why do I feel as I do, why do I act as I do? That said, the answers we may find from self-examination do not alter the essence of the works we have performed. The purpose of self-examination is to gain greater understanding of who we are, not to build a gauge for judging the moral value of ourselves and our acts. Is it reprehensible if my self-examination reveals that I do good deeds simply because that makes me feel wonderful? Does that diminish the value of my works? How about if I hate giving to charity but I do it anyway? Should I feel bad about myself for hating what I am doing or good about myself for doing it despite my own inclinations? Ultimately, it may come down to this: Should I feel bad about feeling good or good about feeling bad? We can tie ourselves into spiritual knots with such self-absorbed concerns. Judging ourselves on the basis of our own thoughts and emotions is a set-up to moral self-condemnation. I take responsibility for my acts, not my thoughts unless those thoughts are so obsessive and distressing that they are cloaking the light of God within--and that would be manifest in my acts. (Note that obsessive self-judgment itself can cloak the light.)


The answer is that self-understanding need not be tied to self-judgment. Self-understanding is "I feel good about doing good deeds"; self-judgment is "I am good/bad, deep/shallow, selfless/selfish, whatever, because I feel good about doing good deeds." One is simply the statement; the other is a moral comment on the statement.


As to your question about whether "a dishonest politician who does good for the purpose of earning votes" should be commended for the good that he does: I am not sure in what sense this person is dishonest. Hypocritical, as in, "I can't stand these yokels, but I'll help them if I must, if that's the only way to get their votes"? I suppose the answer would be to look at this person's record in office. Did he continue to help people or did he disregard their needs after he won the election? If we judge him by his mindset, which was one of contempt before and after the election, then we would have to conclude that there is no moral difference between helping people and disregarding their needs--and that, of course, would be absurd.

I prayed for deliverance from the hard world of facts and logic to the happy land where fantasy and prejudice reign. But God spake unto me, saying, "No, keep telling the truth," and to that end afflicted me with severe Trenchant Mouth. So I'm sorry for making cutting remarks, but it's the will of God.
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3 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2012 - 2:42PM #27
Keyfer
Posts: 2,798

HfC,


Your comments are in black, mine in blue.



I agree completely with the idea that spiritual growth is a path to be on rather than a destination to be reached, and that we may be capable of greater spiritual insight at certain times than others (maybe but not necessarily associated with being older and wiser). As part of that growth, self-examination is vital--why do I feel as I do, why do I act as I do? That said, the answers we may find from self-examination do not alter the essence of the works we have performed. The purpose of self-examination is to gain greater understanding of who we are, not to build a gauge for judging the moral value of ourselves and our acts. 



I disagree here. To me, the purpose of self-examination is both to gain greater understanding of myself and to judge my actions in an attempt to grow spiritually; generally speaking, this means to me to become less selfish and materialistic. How could I grow without judging my actions by my convictions? 



Is it reprehensible if my self-examination reveals that I do good deeds simply because that makes me feel wonderful? Does that diminish the value of my works? 



I suppose that it would depend on why doing good deeds makes me feel wonderful. To use the example of a dishonest politician, if doing a good deed for someone because taking their bribe makes me feel wonderful, I would say that my action is reprehensible. 




How about if I hate giving to charity but I do it anyway? Should I feel bad about myself for hating what I am doing or good about myself for doing it despite my own inclinations? 



I think that I am doing the right thing if I act against my inclinations and compel myself to do what I think is right. I believe that my nature will gradually change and I will begin to enjoy doing the right thing because it is the right thing, not for any selfish/materialistic gain. For illustration, I will enjoy doing good anonymously.  

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3 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2012 - 3:12PM #28
Heretic_for_Christ
Posts: 5,488

Keyfer,


You wrote: To me, the purpose of self-examination is both to gain greater understanding of myself and to judge my actions in an attempt to grow spiritually; generally speaking, this means to me to become less selfish and materialistic. How could I grow without judging my actions by my convictions? 


If I am aware that I have acted selfishly, I really don't need to scold myself with "Bad! Bad!" to appreciate that I can do better. The problem with moral self-judgment is that it actually interferes with the ability to do better. "I have done wrong" leads to "I can do better." "I have done wrong because I am bad" leads to "Being bad, I probably can't do any better."



Concerning my question about doing good simply because it makes me feel good, you wrote: To use the example of a dishonest politician, if doing a good deed for someone because taking their bribe makes me feel wonderful, I would say that my action is reprehensible.


I agree, but that has nothing to do with how I feel about taking the bribe; the act of taking a bribe itself is what is reprehensible, for it is a betrayal of public trust.



Concerning my question "if I hate giving to charity but I do it anyway? Should I feel bad about myself for hating what I am doing or good about myself for doing it despite my own inclinations?" you wrote: I think that I am doing the right thing if I act against my inclinations and compel myself to do what I think is right. I believe that my nature will gradually change and I will begin to enjoy doing the right thing because it is the right thing, not for any selfish/materialistic gain. For illustration, I will enjoy doing good anonymously.


In that circumstance, I would want to know why it is that I resent doing something good; since I am doing it anyway, the end-result is not the issue, but I think self-examination to gain insight into why I feel as I do would be valuable as a means of spiritual growth; your suggestion is to keep doing what you are doing anyway in the hope/anticipation that you will eventually come to enjoy it instead of resenting it. Your comment about learning to enjoy doing good anonymously presupposes that my theoretical resentful do-gooder was doing good for purposes of gaining public approval; actually, I was not even thinking of that but merely of someone who intellectually knows that charitable giving is good and therefore does it, but resents doing it, unrelated to whether it is done anonymously or in public.

I prayed for deliverance from the hard world of facts and logic to the happy land where fantasy and prejudice reign. But God spake unto me, saying, "No, keep telling the truth," and to that end afflicted me with severe Trenchant Mouth. So I'm sorry for making cutting remarks, but it's the will of God.
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3 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2012 - 5:43PM #29
johnacancienne
Posts: 7,314


Feb 20, 2012 -- 5:20PM, johnacancienne wrote:


You want to honor your god? Do it by honoring people. It's just that simple folks.... And when people dishonors people by looking down their long noses, or taking the divine authority of determining what another's motives are, you dishonor people. Don't judge....... now that's a job all by itself!





Feb 21, 2012 -- 10:25AM, lope wrote:

This is a fairly good post, but compare it to your post number 17.




Tell me Lope.... Have you ever once been introspective? Have you ever considered your own lapses while whining about other's lack there of?


I don't dwell on such things as having to work for salvation, especially when there is nothing to be saved from. As such, my gods tell me to honor only what deserves honor. If you'll kindly take note, Lope, I said something about you showing honor to your god...... Seems like he's the one who craves it. And showing respect to man or god who has not shown himself worthy isn't in my battle plan.


So why don't you go back and take re look at a helluva lot of your own derogatory posts (which you'll no doubt deny ever having posted, as usual) and clean your own house?

It isn't about waiting for the storms to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.
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3 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2012 - 9:27PM #30
Keyfer
Posts: 2,798

HfC,


Again, your comments in black, mine in blue.




Keyfer,



You wrote: To me, the purpose of self-examination is both to gain greater understanding of myself and to judge my actions in an attempt to grow spiritually; generally speaking, this means to me to become less selfish and materialistic. How could I grow without judging my actions by my convictions? 



If I am aware that I have acted selfishly, I really don't need to scold myself with "Bad! Bad!" to appreciate that I can do better. The problem with moral self-judgment is that it actually interferes with the ability to do better. "I have done wrong" leads to "I can do better." "I have done wrong because I am bad" leads to "Being bad, I probably can't do any better."



Perhaps this is where we have a different spiritual perspective. I am Christian but can only speak for myself, not for other Christians. I see my nature as being "bad". IOW, "I have done wrong because I am bad". However, I believe that I can do better because God indwells me and enables me to shun evil and do good. I credit God with providing the desire and ability to shun evil and do good and believe that it is His nature in me. I am free to act from myself and be selfish or to act from God and be unselfish. I see this struggle to shun evil and do good as being long and difficult. It is the struggle to cease living "from and for myself" and to "live from God and for others". I believe that God is the only source of selflessness, of all good and truth and that He indwells everyone. 



Concerning my question about doing good simply because it makes me feel good, you wrote: To use the example of a dishonest politician, if doing a good deed for someone because taking their bribe makes me feel wonderful, I would say that my action is reprehensible.



I agree, but that has nothing to do with how I feel about taking the bribe; the act of taking a bribe itself is what is reprehensible, for it is a betrayal of public trust.



I agree but we were talking about motives, not feelings. I was responding to your statement, "Is it reprehensible if my self-examination reveals that I do good deeds simply because that makes me feel wonderful?" If I see that my motive for doing a good deed is so that I will benefit by the bribe rather than doing the good deed simply for the sake of doing good, I will recognize that my motive is wrong (I am acting from myself) and correct my behavior if I wish to. 




Concerning my question "if I hate giving to charity but I do it anyway? Should I feel bad about myself for hating what I am doing or good about myself for doing it despite my own inclinations?" you wrote: I think that I am doing the right thing if I act against my inclinations and compel myself to do what I think is right. I believe that my nature will gradually change and I will begin to enjoy doing the right thing because it is the right thing, not for any selfish/materialistic gain. For illustration, I will enjoy doing good anonymously.



In that circumstance, I would want to know why it is that I resent doing something good; since I am doing it anyway, the end-result is not the issue, but I think self-examination to gain insight into why I feel as I do would be valuable as a means of spiritual growth; 



My response above would explain my view of why I may resent doing something good and do something bad instead, i.e., my selfish (bad) nature. 




your suggestion is to keep doing what you are doing anyway in the hope/anticipation that you will eventually come to enjoy it instead of resenting it. Your comment about learning to enjoy doing good anonymously presupposes that my theoretical resentful do-gooder was doing good for purposes of gaining public approval; actually, I was not even thinking of that but merely of someone who intellectually knows that charitable giving is good and therefore does it, but resents doing it, unrelated to whether it is done anonymously or in public.



Please forgive my presupposition. 

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