Faith and Spirituality discussion

Spiritual books

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message 1: by The other John (last edited Mar 31, 2008 02:14PM) (new)

The other John (theotherjohn) | 14 comments In addition to the current discussions, I figured I'd try to start a discussion on books that folks have found to be especially beneficial or thought provoking in their spiritual life.

I'll start the ball rolling by mentioning Community and Growth by Jean Vanier. Vanier has lived in L'Arche, a community committed to helping people with developmental disabilities. the book talks about the challenges and blessings of living in community. Even though I don't live in a commune, I found it to contain many insights and challenges to my daily relationships in my workplace, church and neighborhood.

message 2: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments I have to say, the most influential "spiritual book" that I've read (apart from the Bible, of course) was the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. It details very many different temptations used by Satan. It's also fairly humorous, and I think that it's an unbeatable combination.

message 3: by katie (new)

katie (phunnynygirlwindstreamnet) Well, a VERY benefical book is Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. it has a lot to think about!

message 4: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 64 comments The Bible is of course a source of SOME great spiritual teachings. I still believe it is biased by men's biases and is not literal. But many teachings are great.

a book I really enjoy is: Emmanuel's Book II: The Choice for Love (by Pat Rodegast (Compiler), Judith Stanton (Compiler), Ram Dass (Introduction) (BUT that said I am not fond of the whole channeling thing) but to me that is not what is important about it but many of the dialogs about Love and Fear are important things to explore.
I do believe that the struggle with our fears is what causes much of what is negative in our lives and that LOVE is the solution to those fears.

I believe that reading what others consider important to their faiths is important in understanding them as well and that reading books on their beliefs helps us understand them.

one book I enjoyed along these lines was: The Trouble with Islam: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith by Irshad Manji

Another interesting book was A History of God by Karen Armstrong (though boring in parts) which discussed the evolution of the three principal Judeo-Christian faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and how they evolved from thwir inceptions. I think we Faith and History are intertwined as are social values and THEIR evolution. Life is fluid and so is faith.

message 5: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments Personally, I think the most influential book that has affected my belief or at least substantiated it to a degree is Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today. I loved the manner in which Ms. Adler went out without judgement and spoke to the public regarding their views of their pagan beliefs. I am still reading it, as I tend to read things in pieces, aside from fictional stories.

message 6: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 64 comments That was a very good book Georgia!

I tried to explain beleifs and correct the misconceptions about various neo-pagan religions that were emerging or re-emerging at the time. I think many have evolved since it was published as well.

message 7: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments as the Pagan and Neo-Pagan beliefs have less outside structure than conventional organized religions I think that it is hard to pinpoint what exactly it is...I am of the school of thought that there is a difference between Pagan and Neo-Pagan beliefs, but then that varies as well...there are so many misconceptions about the earth based religions that the only one that tends to not be criticized as much is that of the Native Americans. Yet we have created a community even for our children as I have chartered a SpiralScouts group...granted we do not hold our Scout meetings for religious reasons, but it still allows our children to see that they can also be part of a community...I think that the more books out there on the subject such as this one, can only help those of an earth based spirituality understand that they are not alone as well as help those who are not of such a belief to see that it is not exactly what so many believe it to be. I believe that Ms. Adlers book is an exceptional one of the choices that are out there...I do wish that there were more that were geared towards children though (not by Ms. Ravenwolfe - as I am not personally a fan of hers).

message 8: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments To be honest, I don't know very much about the Pagan and Neo-pagan religions. In fact, I actually know very, very little (much less than I would like, that's for sure :) ).

message 9: by Catamorandi (new)

Catamorandi (wwwgoodreadscomprofilerandi) The book that turned me from an atheist to a Christian was "Your Best Life Now" by Joel Osteen. It totally turned my life around.

message 10: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments really?? in order to understand Paganism in general...well..that is a tall that even I (after over 10 years of study) am still trying to grasp...but in general it is an earth based spirituality...there are many who believe that the Pagan faiths have some relation to Satan or the devil...this could not be further from the truth, as true pagans (of any belief) do not believe in any such Satan or the that is a Christian are 'Satanists'...which is not actually a true belief in Satan (now understand that the only reason that I know this is because I got into a ..well..lets call it a 'debate' about whether or not Satanism is a neo-pagan belief - I say no way..but I had to know what I was talking about before I could make my argument) I, as well as most pagans that I know and have been in contact with, whether that is via person to person or online, agrees that they have nothing to do with true Paganism...the term 'pagan' actually comes from the term that the Christians called those out in the country that they did not it refers to 'country dwellers'...

Now in regards to what most Pagans believe (this can also incorporate Wiccans) is mostly a belief that the higher power is looked at in the duality of male and female...or a God and Goddess...a balance...nature is a reflection of that balance...and most Pagans try to be very earth is difficult to go into how they practice their beliefs..but for the majority of Pagans, their holidays revolve around nature and the seasons...such as Ostara - the Spring Equinox...or Beltane, or Halloween - which is truly more of an appreciation of our ancestors, rather than the dead rising - though it is thought by some that the veil between worlds is thinnest at that time(but there is no flying around on broomsticks as the legend says)...and Magic is NOT as it is portrayed in Hollywood..we are not talking Harry Potter here...though those books are wonderful and quite entertaining - it is NOT reality...

well..I hope that it helps you, at least a bit to is not a bunch of lunatics who run around with no clothes on with our broomsticks under the full moon worshiping some Christian entity...Paganism is a natural belief that goes back to the pre-Christian many believe in more modern beliefs - which is where teh term Neo-Pagan comes in...Wicca, for instance, is a Neo-Pagan religion that actually started back in the 1950's...and though my belief began in Wicca, through my studies and my own growth, I have gone beyond that and there really is no other classification other than 'Pagan' for my belief...but for many...Wicca is where a lot of the literature is...and that is always a good place to start to get a basic idea...that does not mean, though that everyone has their athame & wand and sits down on the sabbats to perform their spells...not the case (and fyi - spells are truly not any more than prayer - with a bit of ritual with it - though even the Catholics are very ritualistic - as I was raised

ok..seriously..I will stop...and for those who do believe differently...I am not trying to convince anyone of anything different...I am only trying here to take the opportunity to allow some to have a bit more of an understanding...that is all...I do not expect others to say 'oh yes..I agree' it never a bad thing to have a better view of the truth behind it that opinions are better based on truth versus fiction... :)


message 11: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments I always have been interested in the pre-Christian religions, they seem very fascinating.

I also agree that it is good have an understanding (not necessarily an agreement) about these religions, to see how they relate to Christianity. Thank you, Georgia, for the information! :)

message 12: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments I actually have another question for you Georgia (I hope I'm not getting on your nerves :)!). You say that there is no other definition for your beliefs than Pagan. What are your beliefs?

message 13: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments You are most definitely not getting on my nerves!! In regards to my belief I follow an earth-based belief. I believe in a higher power, but we (my daughter and I) focus on the duality of the male & female energy...this does not mean that I follow the very ritualistic Wicca...I focus on the energy that everything in this world contains...visualization, meditation, positive thinking, even reiki...I believe that the God & Goddess (as I call the balance of male/female energies of our higher power) are not above us directing, but rather they are everywhere all of the time willing to assist us. I do not believe in heaven & hell, rather I believe in Karma & reincarnation...I do not belief in fate, and I believe that things happen because of personal decisions (though not always due to our own decisions, often due to the decisions made by others)....I believe that we make our own decisions and that we are responsible for having made those decisions, as well as we are responsible for ourselves in how we react...I do not believe that if I do something wrong that I am going to any 'hell'...rather, much like a pendulum, the activity will be 'righted' in some way...I will get back the negativity that I put out until I learn to not do so...I do celebrate the earth's holidays, as it is the earth that gives us life and the energies all I do celebrate the Pagan holidays as I touched on earlier..I celebrate the seasons as they come and pass...I celebrate family...and I try my best to contain all of the it can sometimes get the best of us...I do try...I believe that constant growth and education is of the highest importance, as we all should not just sit idly by while things happen around us...we should all question, and continue to question as it will eventually allow us a better understanding. I am raising my daughter in my belief, but she also understands that as she grows older, if she finds another belief that makes more sense to her, then I have no problems accepting that, as long as she makes the decision based upon knowledge and understanding, rather than following the flock because it is what everyone else 'is or does'...

now that I have rambled on and on..I hope that makes a bit of sense...

message 14: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments Okay, thanks for the info, Georgia! I have a couple of other questions, if you don't mind! :)

1) You said that the God & Goddess "are everywhere all of the time willing to assist us." So, do you believe that you can have a personal relationship with them?

2) What do you believe as far as the origin of the world and the universe?

Thanks so much for the time and consideration, I really do appreciate it! :)

message 15: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments as far as I can have a personal relationship with it/them (I say this because quite often I think of it as two sides to a whole..the same as many - though not all - think of a mom and a dad within the whole of 'home') much as one can have a personal relationship with any other energy...not so much as one can call up one's mother or father and have a conversation with them...but I do believe that there is a knowledgeable energy force that exists that can send guidance if we are open to guidance...though I feel that is more as though some doors are opened - we have to make the choice to explore and learn what is behind those doors...or not..I believe that we can have a considerable impact on our own lives simply by manipulating the energy around us...some choose to do this in a darker manner...though I think that the initial rewards of immediate gratification are often later offset by the negativity that is put out in order to get that initial reward...can it work?? maybe..but at what cost??...I do not believe that the God & Goddess are around to hand out punishments...rather, they allow the universal energy to right the is what it is...often we can be the brunt of other people's bad happens..but we can take that experience and learn from it...grow from it...or simmer in our own negativity...I may be getting off track here...but I hope that makes sense...

the origin of the world...well to be honest, I do not have a conclusion on this one jury is still out...I believe that the universe is made up of energy...and I believe that there is more to it than circumstance...but I also believe in the science of evolution...I do not believe that man was just 'created'..I think that the science of evolution substantiates the learning process which I believe that we are all meant to go far as what triggered it all?? not quite sure...but I think that science and spirituality can go hand in hand...

and I do not mind at all...I actually enjoy your questions...I understand that you may not agree with me...and I respect the manner in which you ask them...

message 16: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments Okay, I have another question that comes to mind. From what I understand, you've said that the God & Goddess are...energies. So, were they created or did they already exist?

message 17: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments I also have another question from reading your post again.

You say that the God and Goddess allow the universal energy "to right the wrong...." How do you define right and wrong?

message 18: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments well your first question regarding the God & Goddess...well as I consider it/them to be energy/ies, I do not believe as though they were created...but this then goes back to how did it all begin, to which I must again say that my Jury is still out...did they exist prior to what?? when?? I believe that their energies have been around since the beginning of anything alive...

In regards to your question about defining right and is actually quite there any harm being done? This is where my beginning in Wicca has stuck with me as the #1 rule is Harm None...and as long as you are doing no harm...then there is no wrong...and the more harm you are doing, the more wrong it is...and that is not just harm to one another...that is harming any one or any thing...people, animals, plants, the earth...ourselves...etc...I do harm by driving to is a necessary evil, as I must earn a living to support myself and my daughter and keep my animals healthy...but there is still a slight wrongness to it as I have an eats more gas on my hour plus commute to I could move closer to work...but then I would be compromising the education that my daughter is receiving, as that school district is known to not be a good I make conscious choices in regards to what my decisions will be after considering the facts...some of them are selfish...but then I am also a SpiralScouts leader for our Circle...I wish to help educate those children who I can about thinking about the earth...about turning off lights when they are not in use...not because it costs us money..because the more we conserve the more we help dilute the level of harm that we as humans are doing to the right and wrong are very simple...and there is not always an option of 'absolutely no harm done'...quite often there is some harm being done to something along the way...but it is up to us to think about those things..and the implications that our choices have no only on us, but on our children, on those around us, on all living things..we must try to make the best choice that we goal is to #1 make a living so that we have less to worry about so that I can raise my daughter to be a responsible adult who can make choices while understanding the pro's and con' adult that can make an effort to do what is right, just because it should be done..NOT because of what others will think...NOT so that something looks good on the surface...but because it will come back to you...I also want to raise my daughter to understand that there is not one human that is or ever has been perfect...we will make mistakes...always...the key is to learn from be responsible for the mistakes that have been made and to not wallow in self-pity...I think that one of the most harmful things that we has humans have done is to forget what impact our actions make on everything...we have forgotten to question question what is going on around make decisions based on knowledge rather than based on 'so and so says so'...question things so that we find our own true understanding...

It seems I tend to get on a roll and just ramble on...I hope that answered your questions the best way that I am able to at the moment...I am a bit confused what you truly mean by the first question...but I tried to answer it...

Keep asking anything you would like..and I will try to provide my opinion on it...I would like to again say that my beliefs are not the beliefs of all Pagans...but you are asking what I believe, and I do not mind sharing!

message 19: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments Well, with my first question, I was just trying to further understand your ideas regarding the God & Goddess. I was just trying to figure out if you viewed them as eternal.

I also have another question :)

You say that right and wrong are based on the amount of harm done. What about sexual relations before marriage?

message 20: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments I have no problem with sexual relations before marriage/outside of marriage...nor do I believe that sexual relations outside of marriage does any harm if one is responsible for ones actions...having the piece of paper makes no difference regarding responsiblity and what harm can be done...and since not everyone in this country is allowed to get married to their loved one (which is entirely a different subject altogether) then for many it is their only option, aside from abstinance that is... opinion :)

message 21: by Al (new)

Al | 9 comments i didn;t know it when I wrote it ; but these discussions make Soul Search Engine suddenly a very important book of our times.

no it's not a boast. i have suddenly become aware how many of these questions are answered in a new manner by the book.

if you think i might be commercially inclined to simply promote my book - i am willing to gift some free copies to whoever wants to encounter a new point of view as well as a good story. send me your orders free copies by private messages if you like and i'll send some copies to each of you. if it was possible -i would have posted the whole story here :)

message 22: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments I have another question :)

What do you believe as far as after death? I know that you don't believe in heaven or hell, but what do you believe happens.

message 23: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments Well I believe in reincarnation...I believe that after we die our body's energy leaves and it eventually reincarnates into another physical body.

message 24: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments Well, what's the point of living a good life? Why not live a life like Hitler or somebody? If your just going...disappear and that's the end, why care? Why do what's right?

message 25: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments Well...because of Karma..if you want your life to be a good's not rocket get what you put out...I do not know about you, but I think I would prefer a happier in which the Universe is not sending the extra negative energy back my way.. and it will eventually catch up...I believe that any unresolved issues can follow you to your next addition I believe that lessons not learned will repeat themselves until you get it actually benefits you to be good...

message 26: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments Okay, I see now. That's a lot like alot of Eastern religions. Okay...I thought that you you got reincarnated you lost your...personality. I think I misunderstood...

message 27: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments no problem :)

and one is 'stuck' with their own soul/spirit/ believe that there are old souls and new souls...I also believe that animals reincarnate as well...I believe that they too have souls...

message 28: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments So you believe that everything is eternal? That it keeps on recycling itself?

message 29: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments I do believe that all energy is eternal...not that 'everything' is eternal...the energy can change form as necessary...but I do not believe that we are reincarnated as animals, etc...though I do not believe that it could be impossible if for whatever reason humans ceased to be...but that is taking into account a lot of 'what if's'...and that is only my own personal theory...

message 30: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments Okay, let me see if I understand rightly. You believe that the energy that makes up everything is eternal, but you don't believe that everything is eternal. You also said that energy can change its form, but that humans aren't don't reincarnate as animals. Does that mean that we reincarnate into other humans? You also said that "I do not believe that it could be impossible if for whatever reason humans ceased to be." Maybe it was a type-o, but you seem to contradict yourself. Unless you mean that some day energy will cease to recycle itself into human form.

message 31: by Christopher (new)

Christopher (cmkeel) | 2 comments I just joined this group; it is so great to find a diverse spiritual/faith based group like this. It is very refreshing!

Georgia, I whole-heartedly agree with you regarding Margrott Adlers books. She has done allot to dispel some of the ignorance and prejudice out there regarding earth based religions. Others that I have enjoyed over the years is Starhawke, Cunningham and Z. Buddhapest (I have probably misspelled all these, sorry about that). For a time in my younger life, I was very interested in earth based faiths, and was sort of a part-time practitioner. My interest arose from being extremely disillusioned with the Christian faith that I was raised in.

Over the years, I have been able to reconcile some of the problems I had with the Christian faith. Today, I would characterize myself as a Christian; albeit, a very liberal one. I am eclectic and have learned to appreciate truth, wherever it is found.

With all that said, I would have to say that one book that entirely revolutionized my life was The Soul's Code by James Hillman. In this book, Hillman helps bring light to the idea of purpose in one's life. According to Hillman's perspective, we're not just living haphazardly, living without design and being powerless to the various currents of life. Each person is born with an inherent design and fulfillment in life is based upon finding that design and following it.

Hillman bases his premise upon Plato's Myth of Er. and uses many examples from people's lives. He shows many examples where people were wholly unsuccessful in numerous pursuits, until they found that one area that they were meant for, and then their lives come together like pieces of a puzzle.

Seeing life this way helps (me, at least) put failure into perspective. We often follow paths imposed upon us by tradition, family obligations, external demands, etc, all of which are unfulfilling and awkward. So many people actually live their lives, even being successful, yet missing inner peace and a personal feeling accomplishment.

Finding meaning in life is an irreducible facet of personal happiness. Hillman really does help bear this out in a refreshing way. I enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone looking for meaning in life.

A few more books along this line that has really impacted my life is Man's Search for Meaning and The Unheard Cry for Meaning: Psychotherapy and Humanism by Vikor Frankl. Another book that has affected me along these line is Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Dark Night of the Soul by Saint John of the Cross is also a great book that has greatly influenced my life.

I am very excited about this group and look forward to discussions like this in the future. Sorry that my first post is so long. Hopefully, someone will benefit from these recommendations.

message 32: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments well no not.."everything" is eternal...we as humans live and die...the trees live and die...everything has an energy to it...our earth is a living Earth...and the way that nature can recover is amazing...I do believe in reincarnation...but I also realize that there may come a day when we, as humans, destroy ourselves...we have become masters of the Earth, but we do not live "with" the Earth...and we are doing a pretty good job of screwing it that said...if for some reason humans ceased to be, due to our own I think that the energy that we have utilized would just "go away"?? no...I believe that it would be used in some way...but in general I do not believe that in a past life I was a cat..or that I can come back as a porcupine...I believe that we are reincarnated and are meant to live lives as I am not contradicting myself..but I do not believe that we as humans are the only purpose of the Divine...I believe that we are lucky to be a part of it..and that if we do not get our act together that we may very well come upon the day where we lose...

make more sense?

message 33: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments So then, Georgia, what is the purpose of life?

message 34: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments There it is...the million dollar question!!! In my opinion?? To live experience, to love, to feel, to learn, to try to exist in harmony with the earth...beyond that..I am not quite sure yet...maybe that is not yet for me to know...I think that I need to first focus on living, loving, learning, experiencing, and living in harmony with our Earth...once I master that (HA! Not in this lifetime!) quite possibly I shall take on the matter of what happens next...but since no one really knows this...well it is solely based on philosophy...granted, I am one who wants to know and learn as much as I can...but I think that the first portion of my belief of what the purpose of life is, is such a daunting task in itself, I must first try that...

message 35: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments If you don't know the purpose of life, what motivates you to "live experience, to love, to feel, to learn, to try to exist in harmony with the earth..."?

message 36: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments well to be one 'knows' what the purpose of life is...many believe that they have an idea..but no where is there some tried and true explanation for motivates one to live life?? well...we wake up in the morning and we have to do something...we can either get up with as positive an attitude as possible ( pre-coffee can be difficult)..or we can make things difficult...that is a choice that everyone must depends on what type of life one wishes to live...I have to do something with my life...and why not 'experience, love, feel, learn and try to exist in harmony with our Earth'?? That is what will make the life an enjoyable one and one that they can look back and have a better understanding of life...if one becomes stagnant well...that is a life of boredom and often misery...and that is quite evident when one is around those types of people...I want to be happy..and for the most part I am very happy..but I still wish to continue on the path that I am on...I have my moments of frustration which I try to handle and move living in the manner that I had said...well it has no 'criteria' that must be followed..but those are the types of things that makes life enjoyable...and it makes life enjoyable for those around you...and it makes one acknowledge that they are not the only thing that removes some layers of selfishness that we as humans tend to I believe that this life is not about me..or you...or any other one person...I believe that quite often we get caught up in a web of what society thinks is the right thing to do...but that is not always correct...just because society thinks so does not always make it right...

message 37: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments What if I told you that I know, know, the purpose of life for everything of the face of the planet?

message 38: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments Well first...depending on to what level you take this opinion that you 'know' for certain what the purpose of life for everything on the face of the planet is...I might have to recommend good medications.. lol...kidding...a bit

Aside from that..I would have to tell you that as you are a human like everyone else...that this is something that you have surmised...and that if you believe that you 'know' the purpose of life...then I am very happy for you...but that I do not feel as though any one human has that ability...that is a question that has been pondered for some time...and it is speculative...I know what I believe...because to me, that is what makes sense...but I also do not believe that there is only one path to the same goal of a spiritual path...I think for some Christianity works for them...Christianity, or the belief itself is not a bad thing...I do not agree with it...but it is not a bad belief..but I believe that throughout history it has often been those that have carried out this belief have gone about it incorrectly...and again this is my opinion...we all must find what makes sense for for some that maybe a negative belief...and it is those types of people that I try not to be around...or to limit my interactions with them...but you cannot have 'good' without 'bad'...there is a balance...if there were no 'bad'..then what would be 'good'?? It is only a matter of degrees at that point...just like you cannot have 'up' without having a 'down'...otherwise 'up' really doesnt mean much..there is no chance of a 'utopian' society when we take into account free is solely a matter of where you choose to place yourself on the scale and why..and how that affects you both in the short term as well as the long term..what may work in the short term, may very well kick you in the heinie in the long term...

I would be curious as to what it is that you believe that you know and why it is that you believ that you know this to be certain..but I would also keep in mind that this is still a 'belief' of yours...just as my belief is mine :)

message 39: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments Well, Georgia, I'll answer your question! :)

I believe that the purpose of everything single thing on the face of the planet is to glorify God.

message 40: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments :)

And I will say that I definitely respect your belief, even though I do not personally believe that everything that exists is about glory...but I do respect it...and it is differences that make the world go 'round..

Why, if you do not mind, do you believe that everything exists to glorify God? And what does that actually mean to you?

message 41: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments Of course I don't mind sharing with you!

I'll answer your second question first, as it is the easiest to answer. To glorify God means, to me, singing praises to the God of my salvation. It means that I get to be in the direct presence of God. John couldn't even describe God, all he could say was "and he who sat on the throne had the appearance of jasper and carnelian." The prophet Isaiah, when God came to him, had to fall flat on his face, lest he be slain. The sheer thought of being able to be in the presence of God just absolutely thrills me, sends shivers down my spine.

For the second question: I have two reasons, 1) God created all things, and 2) Christ glorified God; the only perfect person to ever lived, lived His life to glorify God.

First reason: I think that it is fairly logical to say that, since God created all things, He is deserving of the praise of all things. This was, after all, the reason He created the heavens and the earth, that all things would testify to His magnifence and glory. We see in Revelation that all things in heaven praise God constantly. We see throughout Scripture that the mountains will bow down to God. Everything, animate and inanimate, exists to praise its Creator.

Second reason: Christ came to glorify God. We can see this in John 17, Christ said that He lived His life for the glory of God and that His death would be for the glory of God. Christ was the most perfect thing to ever live. And His purpose was to glorify God.

I know that this was really short, but if you have any more questions, I wrote a post on my blog about this very topic. Here's the link, if you're interested:

message 42: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments Ok...I will ponder that (I am in the midst of laundry, animals, my book, and get back to you...but I do have another question for you believe that someone who does not accept Jesus Christ as their savior and who does not believe that he was the son of God goes to Hell for solely not believing?? i.e. if someone lives a good life...does not cheat, lie, good and honest and lives an honest you believe that because they are not Christian that they are going to the Christian Hell?

message 43: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments That is an excellent question, however, it is slightly misinformed. I do not believe that a person will go to hell because they don't believe in Christ, but because they are sinful. Allow me to explain:

All people are born sinful, there is not one righteous person on earth, no "good" people. You cannot keep every single law. Think of it. Have you ever disobeyed your parents? Have you ever lied? Have you ever made a promise that you didn't keep? Sin does not deal specifically with actions (though that is the physical manifest of sin) it deals with attitude and the heart. Have you ever thought about killing someone? Have you ever looked at some with lust, even though you knew you wouldn't carry out the action, the thought is just as bad. We see in Scripture that if you break even one of the laws, you are guilty of all. So, there cannot be a "good" person.

And yes, the punishment for sin is hell. However, Jesus Christ died on the cross. This death allows us to die to sin and become alive to God. This is not of ourselves, nothing that we have done or can ever do will earn us salvation. This is the beauty of the Gospel. It is solely on the grace of God that we are saved from sins, so that no one can boast. We are put to death to sin just as Christ was put to death, and raised again to life in Christ Jesus, just as He was also raised from the dead. We will be taken into the presence of God just as He was taken into the presence of God. This is the beauty of the Gospel and the glory of God.

I hope that answered your questions, I know I started to ramble, but I couldn't help it, lol.

message 44: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 55 comments My question is not misinformed - it is a legitimate question...I ask the question because many DO believe exactly that...that if one does not believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and as their Savior...and in your belief all of what you say may be true...

Yes...I have disobeyed my parents..and in the past I have lied...and I have in the past, made promises I did not keep...though these types of things have changed in the more recent I grow older and wiser...we are not perfect..and we must learn from our mistakes and I believe that once one has learned the lesson and has reassessed the way that they had previously lived their lives and took responsibility for their previous actions, and are willing to take responsibilty for any mishaps now...I do believe that we can be 'good'...I think that this is where you and I differ greatly in our beliefs...have I ever thought of killing someone...yes...though I would never act upon does that make the thought bad?? no...I have control over my thoughts...and that is not something that I would have ever truly gone through with...period...have I ever looked at someone with lust...sure...that is also not a bad believe in this 'Scripture'...I, on the other hand, do not believe that those are the true words of the Divine...

I personally see such a negativity to your words above.. "there cannot be a 'good' person."....or "nothing that we have done or can ever do will earn us salvation."..."that if you break even one of the laws, you are guilty of all."....I think that this goes hand in hand why I believe that the organized Church rules by 'fear'...but that is again my opinion..

and I do appreciate your ramblings :)

message 45: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 64 comments I do not agree that guilty of one sin makes one guilty of all.

And I believe "good or bad" are cummulative. We are all both to some degree. I believe a "good" person (and MOST people fall into this category) is a person whose good actions exceed their bad. Esp if they have learned from the bad actions and made ammends and taken responsibility.

And the fatalism of how you perceive the gospel TOmmy (your interpretation - because many Christians would not agree) seems really horrible to me. If nothing we could do could provide salvation, then what is the point of even trying? Which is actually something I beleive you asked me in another context. Do absolutely horrible things all your life, rape women, beat yoour kids, steal, lie have a grand all time, then accept Jesus at the end and go to heaven. There is no justice in that. And I believe God/dess is ultimately just. That is why I beleive in Karma

And frankly, I don't need to be "taken" into the presence of God/dess. He/She/It is present in everything that exists. Including within myself. That is another reason I don't believe in Heaven either, all of God/dess' gifts surround us. Including every human alive. All is created. All has the essence of the divine within. It is personal choice what you do with that.

message 46: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 64 comments I agree with you on the Fear factor Georgia. I think the most lasting change in people and societies is Love not Fear. And I think that to teach that there is no hope no matter what you need, leads to negative thinking and self fulfilling prophecies.

If you cannot possibly be good, then why try? Teachings like that would lead to people to "sin". Might as well enjoy oneself in that sense. It parallels the argument against sex education in schools. Teach about birth control etc and kids will be more likely to HAVE sex. Which of course has been proven time and again to not be true. But anyway, if kids feel they might as well, they will.

But I believe very strongly that whatever you put out in the world (negativity vs. positive actions, Fear vs. love, hate vs. love, control vs. peace etc...) comes back to you three fold.

You do good things, you pass them forward, inspire others to do good etc... You steal, lie, you encourage the same.

That is esp true in teaching children. If they are afraid they are bad, they will become bad.

message 47: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 64 comments Another thing I have to comment on too Georgia is your saying you have disobeyed your parents. Which of course, Honor They Father and Mother is one of the ten commandments. I too have done that, I think it is a matter of testing boundaries and most kids do.

But on another note, I have to argue that I would NEVER follow this commandment as an absolute. To honor a parent that abuses their child is CRIMINAL. They do not deserved to be honored in ANY way, they deserve to be punished. And abuse and neglect are VERY common and evil and to honor a abuser to me is a horrible sin and evil.

message 48: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments That's the beauty of it though, Georgia, the Gospel isn't about negativity! It's about hope, love, mercy, and grace. We live in a desperate and hurting world, full of disease and death. But in Christ, we hope for a future life in the presence of God, where there will be no disease or death, where our tears will be wiped away by God Himself.

message 49: by Tommy (new)

Tommy (frodo) | 133 comments Dear Terri:

"And I think that to teach that there is no hope no matter what you need, leads to negative thinking and self fulfilling prophecies."

This not at all what I'm saying! We are nearly fully hopeless, it is true, however, we are not completely hopeless. There is ONE hope, and that is Christ.

"But on another note, I have to argue that I would NEVER follow this commandment as an absolute. To honor a parent that abuses their child is CRIMINAL. They do not deserved to be honored in ANY way, they deserve to be punished. And abuse and neglect are VERY common and evil and to honor a abuser to me is a horrible sin and evil."

I agree with you that child abuse is evil. But let us take the concept of what you said (that its okay that if someone sins against you, it's okay to sin against them) even further and apply it to something else. Take for instance, murder. Say someone murders someone you love. They do indeed deserve justice, which is punishment. However, it is just as sinful for you to exact revenge on said person yourself. Instead of justice it becoms revenge, and revenge is just as sinful as murder.

The biggest thing to understand is that there is no difference between sins. One sin is just as sinful as anyother.

message 50: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 64 comments I DID not say this:

what you said (that its okay that if someone sins against you, it's okay to sin against them)

I never said it and totally disagree with it. It is okay if society punishes them. Not just okay, but the RIGHT way it should work.

One wrong does not justify another and I NEVER said it did.

ANd I disagree TOTALLY that all sins are equal. A rape/murder is NOT an equal sin to stealing a candy bar.

And see I also never said it was hopeless. I do not believe life is hopeless unless we chose to make it so for ourselves with our own choices.

And that said, I think the world is full of hope and goodness. More good than evil as well. More good people and good things than evil.

What my point was to teach that the only hope is after you are dead, leads people to accept misery in their lives NOW when they don't need to. Hope is here in the NOW. And if they believe no matter what they do NOW, the only thing that matters is after their death is giving them CAUSE to live and do whatever they want now and live with unhappiness

I even re-read my posts and still can't see where you thought I said those things.

Oh an regarding the absolute adherence to the Commandments. God did not say they were guidelines, he said they were the law. And those who take the Bible literally would argue that they are absolute.

I mean I am glad you agree it is not absolute, because it would be horrible if you condoned abuse. But the reality is children are taught the commandments and not told unless they abuse you, and I can say I have worked with a LOT of patients in the psychiatric hospital are very conflicted on this particular issue. They are taught to honor and love their abuser. And feel huge guilt when they hate them or feel anger, and then they express this through repeating the abuse cycles or hurting themselves.

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