Can You Connect to God Without Religion?

Written by Karen Schenk

soulcravingsfindreligionIs there a difference between God and Religion? There is definitely a difference between God and religion.  God is someone I have a relationship with.  My view on God can be altered by many factors in my life.  It can be affected by my relationship with my own father or even by my culture and the people I spend time with.

I see religion is a set of beliefs that have guidelines for behavior associated with them.    There are many religions with many differing beliefs and rules.   I don’t  think God needs religion.  He wants to have a relationship with me.   It is so easy for me to get confused and think that my relationship with him has rules of engagement.    I love knowing that God cares about me and that my relationship with him does not need a lot of order and structure.  I want to participate in religion or church to celebrate his holiness, but it’s not a condition of knowing God.  Do you believe you can you connect to God without religion?

If you have questions, we’d love to hear from you. Use this form to  be matched with one of our mentors. Mentors are trained volunteers with real life experience.  They can answer questions, point you to other resources or just listen when you have something to say.

Your mentor will email you using our secure system, The Mentor Center (TMC).  TMC ensures your privacy by protecting your information.  If you want to keep talking, just hit reply.  The conversation is free, confidential and non-judgmental.   You can keep talking to your mentor as long as you like and there is never a fee.   If you’re curious, start a conversation.  We’re ready when you are.

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742 Responses to “Can You Connect to God Without Religion?”

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    We do respond differently when the one who is wronged is of greater value. Remember my examples of hitting a mosquito, dog, or a person with a car? The consequences are significantly more severe when the crime is against a more valuable being. God being of infinite value is the pinnacle of that progression. I believe you had a significant conversation with Tom earlier about the value of an unborn fetus in comparison to his/her mother. I think you are being selective in your application of morality.

  • Seon says:

    Yeah IF people ever lived to 900. Come on, Dinosaurs living with humans, living to 900? But if faith is what helps you be a nicer person as I keep saying I am trying not to judge and tolerate it.

    I think most of those people would have died when hose events were written down. Wasn’t the Bible an oral tradition at first? So how long in between when the stories were told to when they were written down? Of course if the Bible was divinely inspired like Christians claim that doesn’t matter- God told the writers. But my point is would the “witnesses” have been alive to object to the first manuscript?

    By the way you touched on one of many reasons I am against the God of the Old Testament. We lived in peace and he ended that peace and harmony because we made a tower too high? Have you ever wondered why God would rather we lived in war and suffering?

    I think God, whatever it is (still can’t define him or her) is of infinite value. Yes. But do we place a value on crimes? It starts a slippery slop like if someone commits a crime against a police officer should they get tougher penalties then if they did it against a scientist? Who is to decide who has more value?

  • Seon says:

    Hey Ken,

    I’ll check out the videos later. Faith can make genuine Christians love all of us.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Seon, the way the Bible presents the history of humanity, it makes sense that there are things like the ancient Chinese characters that show a remarkable link to the accounts of Genesis: the Bible says we have a shared heritage and a shared source of events of history. I know that many people would dismiss the longevity described in the Bible of the lives of humans prior to Abraham, but if they are true, the accuracy of those shared stories is understandable. Adam was said to live 930 years and when he was 700 years old his great, great, great, great, great grandson Methuselah was born. Methusaleh lived right up to the time of the Flood (969 years) and was about 400 years old when his grandson, Noah, was born. Noah’s son Shem was about 150 years old when the Flood happened and lived until he was 600. He was still alive when Abraham died (Abraham lived 175 years). So there are only 4 degrees of separation from Adam to Abraham, and the accounts of the significant points of human existence in those early years (Garden of Eden, the Fall, the Flood, the Tower of Babel) could have been easily verified by eyewitnesses to those events. You can bet that Noah and his offspring would have told their descendants about the Flood, and about the Fall of humanity. When the Tower of Babel occurred and people spread across the face of the Earth, those stories would have gone with them. That’s why it is not uncommon to discover similar stories of a global flood from many different cultures, or that the ancient Chinese characters seem to have a familiarity with stories from Genesis. I know that many people would dispute the accuracy of those events described in the Bible but the evidence seems to suggest otherwise.

    Seon, awhile ago I was explaining about the infinite value of God and how human rebellion against that infinitely perfect God requires an infinite penalty. If God refused to deal with our sin He would be acting in a ‘less-than-just’ manner; or in other words, a corrupt judge. Would you agree that the more valuable the victim, the more severe the penalty must be? Would you say that God, as the Creator of all that is, perfect in all He is and does, is of less then infinite value?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Thanks for telling us about your connection to Jesus, Kenneth. So was it the videos you watched that brought about your change of mind? Or was there something else that led you to submit to Him as Lord of your life?

    Those are some beautiful examples of lovingly standing up for others who are targets of discrimination. Have there been times when you have had the opportunity to take a similar stand?

  • Anonymous/Kenneth says:

    Ok as my posts have said. I do not accept Jesus Christ as my lord and savior but do love him. I have said I have my own personal connection with GOD and with that I will tell you something amazing that happened to me today.

    As I was meditating/thinking/connecting more neurons I thought ‘today, right here right now I am going to accept Jesus Christ as my lord and savior and will complete submit and ask his love to enter my heart and guide me. And so I humbly asked Jesus to enter my heart and guide my path. I didn’t feel anything. So I begged Jesus please let me feel your love I need to feel your love, please talk to me. Still nothing until something spoke to me, not like in words or a distinguishable voice but it spoke loud and clear and said;
    “Do you remember that video this morning that impacted you so much you broke down and literally began trembling and balling your eyes out withy the joy and happiness you felt from the compassion and love those beautiful Christian people showed, did you feel my love then?”

    Here are the 2 videos: a few of the most beautiful people to grace this planet!
    http://youtu.be/6Kw8deQQjxU
    http://youtu.be/wQ_BObVA5Hs

    Praise Jesus.

    Love you all

  • seon says:

    Hi Jamie,

    That’s something we can both agree with. Plus everything that has a beginning has a cause. Yeah God has done that to me as well. I have some Christian friends that I know he sent to me to remind me you aren’t all bad.

  • Anonymous says:

    Jamie
    I know you asked seon, but I would like to share.
    The forces of nature came from god, from the beginning.

    Yes you can have a direct relationship with GOD. My understanding is GOD is not that much into praying. GOD would much rather you simmer down and listen. Funny story, I was talking with a beautiful Christian man and I started to pick and tear at his beliefs and right when I ‘went that route’ GOD smacked me upside the head and told me to apologize to the man and never tear anyone’s belief system down. funny part was GOD did it with total love but at the same time I could not escape GODS seriousness about it.

    I usually just turn to GOD for Guidance in specific situations. Making sure my actions are helping and not hindering ‘the plan’. Most the time it’s pretty simple and it becomes second nature, but there will always be times where we need GODS help/guidance. Beauty of it is, you have free will to choose and GOD is not and will not judge you during your physical life experience but when you are on your deathbed, will you have a pure enough soul to present to GOD?

  • seon says:

    Yeah I believe we are spirits so obviously at some point in evolution the human soul was placed into humans. Maybe not at first, or maybe it was. Good points.

  • Anonymous says:

    Seon
    14 billion of our earth years just to get the first signs of life (as far as we know) and creatures evolving adapting assimilating fighting for the right to continue on. Yeah I’d say God has a major purpose. My feable brain can’t completely see the ‘end game’ but I’ve seen enough to know there is some sort of organic purification of the human soul and tremendous power. Almost like the most purest most powerful ‘conscious’ energy is being harvested for…

  • seon says:

    Hi Jamie,

    When I was an atheist (or thought I was) I would have said just because something looks like it was created doesn’t make it so. But since I believe in a creator now I see your point. He could have a purpose. Or he or she could have created us to observe life through us. Lots of religions and philosophies claim to have the reason. I just keep praying for answers.

    Yes, some prideful people have fallen but what about the one’s who don’t get what they deserved? There has been no justice for those who took part in the tiananmen square massacre. The Chinese government did nothing. In Rwanda gangs murdered their neighbors. They got a few years in jail if any. Many of the thugs are out now. In India people are being oppressed just because of their caste (which Buddha opposed) God isn’t saving them. Priests who molest children are still getting away with their crimes. If God set up a system where people receive justice he is failing. Plus I don’t believe God set up the justice system. Man did, and as you know we are not perfect.

    See, you proved my point. Most people would read the story of Elisha and be horrified. But Christians justify it. I can show you many more examples. What more is there to that story or of the story of the man killed for gathering sticks?

    The Bible is supposed to be the word of God. So if God somehow told the writers the story he could have told them the whole story, yet this is what he wants us mere mortals to know.

    So what does the Bible say happened to those born before him?

    God is the creator of the universe. So in his infinite wisdom he could have found out another less barbaric way of connecting with him. But the Bible clearly says he loves the smell of a poor animal being burnt alive. Think about it. That is the same God of the New Testament.

    Wow Shangdi is interesting, I don’t believe there is one path to God but maybe that was God’s way of reaching out to the Chinese people who had no way of knowing about Israel.

    Well I don’t see great unity and beauty, I just see a tyrant jealous sociopath who loves smiting people who don’t agree with him.

  • seon says:

    Hi Jack,

    What evidence is there that the universe had no beginning? The evidence points to the big bang but maybe there is evidence the universe is eternal as well…

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    While I know there are some who would like to think that the universe is infinite, Jack, the Laws of Thermodynamics say that it is impossible. If the Universe were infinite, entropy would have brought the energy within the universe to a equilibrium of absolute zero temperature at some point in the infinite past, with no motion at all. Obviously that is not the case in our Universe so therefore our Universe had a beginning. I know that in the past you have stated that the energy within our Universe is reactivated by the collision between the infinite number of other universes in the multiverse. But as I have said to you before, unless the infinite multiverse has different laws of thermodynamics then our universe, it would still be subject to entropy and the result would be the same: at some point in the infinite past an equilibrium would have been reached at zero Calvin. Now if you want to suggest that the Laws of Thermodynamics do not apply to the rest of the multiverse you would have to have some sort of proof that there even is a multiverse and then prove that the natural laws there are different. As it is, there is absolutely no proof; it is just wishful thinking of people who refuse to acknowledge the clear reality that our Universe is not infinite.

    The so called ‘Goldilocks Planets’-those planets that have the right conditions for life-are becoming more of a statistical anomaly as our investigation of the requirements for life to exist increases. Currently experts have identified over 200 factors vital for life to exist on a planet. If any one of those were missing, life on that planet would be impossible. The statical analysis of the known universe based on that understanding suggests that life in the universe is rare indeed. Peter Schenkel, a member of the Interplanetary Society, wrote, “In light of new findings and insights, we should quietly admit that the early estimates [of the number of planets capable of supporting life] may no longer be tenable.” (SETI Requires a Skeptical Reappraisal)

    It seems Jack, that you are projecting your own frailty on the Divine. A God who requires entertainment sounds like a weak minded God indeed. The Bible suggests that God has existed in a perfectly unified and harmonious community of Father Son and Spirit for all of eternity. He is completely self-sufficient. He does not have needs that require input from His Creation. He creates because it is His nature to create. It is an expression of His perfect love that He has made us to have relationship with Him. He is not some cosmic slacker who needs outside stimulation to experience completeness. I think you have been watching too many Star Trek episodes.

  • Canadian Jack says:

    Astronomy informs us that we live within an eternal universe. This universe will be reincarnated in several trillion years. Galaxies and solar systems with GOLDY LOCK planets will have sentient beings on them. Why are we here for an eternity? Simply because we were put here to perform. All the World is indeed a stage. We are no more than entertainment for the angels. Eternity and mortal life are terribly boring in the absence of entertainment.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Seon, do you really believe there is no purpose for Creation? Is that something that corresponds to the reality we observe? When someone creates/builds/invents something it has a purpose; necessity is the mother invention, right? It does not make sense that God would create this universe without a purpose intended. That just doesn’t seem consistent with the evidence we see in what He has created.

    I see all kinds of evidence of God addressing injustice. First is the evidence that you have pointed out, our moral conscience; we have this innate knowledge of what is right and wrong, and a sense of justice that recognizes when things are not right. God has also established societal systems that respond to evil and injustice, so that evil people are held accountable for the ways they hurt others. We also see divine judgement in situations where God defends the oppressed and the needy. That is a little more difficult to identify because we don’t actually see the God passing down a sentence, but we see evil men eventually receive recompense for their cruelty. How many megalomaniacs have come and gone through this world but ultimately they all fail in their plans. One day we will see their ultimate demise as they stand before the Divine Judge and receive their final penalty for all they have done.

    I know that sometimes the record of ways that God has dealt with nations, groups or individuals seems exceedingly harsh. But first we can admit there is likely more to the story then what we have access to. God has an infinitely fuller picture of any given situation than what you or I have, and therefore much more qualified to make judgements. The Bible is not a document written to justify the actions of God: He is the Creator, He has the omniscience in all circumstances, and the perfect moral purity that always does what is right. The purpose of the Bible is to give us a clear picture of how our relationship with God was broken and presents the lengths that He has gone to in order to restore that relationship with us. Stories like the one about Elisha and those young people who were eaten by the bear helps us to realize how important the revelation of God is; even the ones chosen as messengers of that Word of God are not to be disrespected.

    Seon, have you ever been in a situation where you were privy to information about a given situation that others did not have access to? I have seen it happen many times where people who only had part of the story would rise up and cry, “Injustice!”. But when they hear the full story, their opinions drastically change. Don’t you think an unlimited God would have more information about situations than you? You are making a judgement about that God without all the evidence. Look at the full presentation of the nature of God. A God whose love leads Him to taking on our frailty and then suffering by taking all of our evil, cruelty, and selfishness upon Himself is a God that will not arbitrarily inflict pain on those for whom He died.

    Jesus death was sufficient to cover the sins of the whole of humanity, even those who had died before He was born in Bethlehem. It was His death that was symbolized in the coverings given to Adam and Eve. You will notice that long before the ritual sacrifices given by God through Moses that there is still animal sacrifices being described as a way of connecting with God. All of that was a claim to the promise that God would one day perfectly cover the sins of the whole world through the Messiah. There are even hints that other people from other cultures were connecting to God even though they were not descendants of Israel. The Bible does not fully explain how God was working this out throughout the world, but evidence of that shared heritage is clear in many ancient cultures. Have a look at this guys presentation of how ancient Chinese characters reveal an awareness of the stories told in the bible https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA-AkJzpKmg.

    There are always going to be things that don’t make complete sense to me; I am only able to respond to things that I am capable of understanding. But when you look at the whole presentation of God in the Bible I see a great unity and beauty.

  • seon says:

    Hi Jamie,

    That’s the thing though. Who says there is a purpose? What if God just created the universe so he can fulfil his purpose?

    Yes. Look at the injustices in this world. Do you really think God or karma is doing anything about them? Some of those are carried out by so called holy men as well. They don’t receive justice. Karma is just our fantasy that something bad will happen to people who mistreat us and hell speaks to our desire to see people who receive lenient sentences or get away with murder get punished. I’d love it if God made sure everyone received justice. I’d be the first to worship that god.

    The followers of your god carry out evil thinking they are doing good. That is why I oppose Old Testament justice. For example, Elisha sending she bears to eat 40 children just for mocking him. A bit overkill don’t you think? Now believers would try to justify that saying they were threatening him (even though the Bible doesn’t mention he felt threatened) but non believers see that story for what it is. A chilling example of a bully getting his god to murder 40 children. Not to mention the morning and pain and suffering caused by this one act.

    Also, no matter what Tom thinks slavery is evil no matter what. We all agree but believers justify this evil when it happens in the Bible and claim it is different.

    I can go on and on. Also you touched on “Biblical justice” the children of Adam and Eve did nothing yet they were punished for something they never did. That is not justice.

    And before Jesus people went to hell just for being born at the wrong time. What kind of God creates people only to send them to hell with no hope of being saved n this life?

    And Jesus was God, so what sacrifice did he make exactly? Being tortured on the cross?

    There’s also a purpose in all of the major religions and if they all make sense when you put them all together.

    I don’t like the evil in the Bible, or Koran for that matter I don’t discriminate.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Seon, do you really think God doesn’t justly punish those who do wrong? Isn’t that a tell-tale sign of corruption in human leadership? On one hand you are identifying that God has given us an internal moral compass but then you say that He does nothing about when we ignore those moral standards? That does not make sense.

    I agree that God is the same in the Old Testament and the New Testament, although I wouldn’t characterize Him as a bully. Yes, He does hold people accountable when they take advantage of those who are in need. Yes, He does punish those who follow immoral religious rituals like sacrificing children to idols, undermine purity of marriage with sexual promiscuity, and follow gods that are actually demonic and evil. But He is the one who is best able to make the judgements of how to deal with people’s sin; He is the standard of what is moral and He knows everything, even the hidden thoughts of the heart. It is His role to extend justice and if He abdicated that role it would be a sign of corruption.

    His justice is perfectly balanced by His love. You can see it from the very beginning of humanity’s rebellion against Him: He did extend justice for Adam and Eve’s rejection of Him but then provided a prophecy of how He would rescue them from their sin and covered their shame with the first animal sacrifice, that prefigured how our sin would be covered by the death of Jesus. God’s love continued on reaching out to us even when we persistently resisted Him. His patience is seen in allowing the people of Canaan 400 years to get right with Him. The Old Testament helps us to understand the seriousness of our sin and how we are unable to deal with it on our own; all the while pointing to the day when Jesus would come and rescue us, and extending grace to anyone who put their trust in that promise.

    All of that culminates in the coming of Jesus. God left His own divine reality and entered fully into ours by becoming one of us. He then sacrificed Himself in order to set us free from the penalty of our rebellion against Him. And now He lives to bring us new life, to lead us to live as He created us to, and to secure our place with Him forever.

    You see it is a cohesive purpose that weaves itself throughout the pages of the Bible. It connects to our reality and is consistent in its application of its themes. You may not like the parts that point out humanity’s issues and the consequences of our resistance against God’s authority in our lives, but when you compare it to any other worldview it consistently answers the four questions in a way that corresponds to what we observe and know. I challenge you to show me any worldview that has a better way to answer those questions. Even the things you identify as not believing in (talking snakes, magical arks) fit into a consistent presentation of a spiritual realm around us that is unseen but often intersects with our physical reality and impacts our lives significantly. All of it fits!

  • seon says:

    Also regarding morality I believe God gave us our conscious but we won’t get morals from the bible or koran. Maybe we can pick and choose the nice warm and fuzzy parts but why bother when it is something inherit in all of us despite what we believe?

  • seon says:

    Hey Jamie,

    Maybe there is no absolute truth, just that God created us and religion is man’s attempt at connecting with God (But we don’t need religion to do that). Just because justice requires consequences for evil doesn’t make that so. An example is we get angry when people do not receive just sentences, like when rapists get lenient sentences. Who is to say that we receive justice?

    True, for all I know my personal view of God is wrong. He could be the tyrannical bully of the Old Testament or Koran- But I hope not!

    I tried reading the gospels and tried the whole Jesus thing. But something kept bothering me: The God of the New Testament is the same bully of the old one. Plus this shows when Jesus told his disciples they had to hate their parents and their own life (it was clear he meant literally hate)

    And also I don’t think I answered the question in your last email. I disagree with religions when they teach we are sinners or have bad karma, I believe there’s nothing wrong with us. I don’t believe in talking snakes or a magical ark that had dinosaurs magically teleported into it. We aren’t evil beings who need saving.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Seon, as I am reading back through our conversation I feel like I need to address something. I am going to be a little more bold than I usually am, but I don’t mean this in a condescending way at all, although I can understand it might not come across that way. As I read the things you have posted here I don’t see your answers coming together in a cohesive, unified worldview. On one hand you say that God does not communicate with us when we are searching out morality. But when you talk about our meaning and purpose you say it is our responsibility to listen to the voice of God. You say that we all search for our own truth but later you admit that there can only be one truth. You agree that God is perfectly righteous and just but you refuse to accept the reality that justice requires consequences for evil. When you put it all together you get a mishmash of ideas that don’t connect with one another. They are more of a collection of your own ideas rather than any consistent revelation of the divine.

    If I can be so bold, the Bible addresses this very thing, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way that leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12) If you create a god that fits what you are comfortable with, doesn’t that make you into a tradition that one day, someone else will see as confining? Just because God doesn’t fit your preconceived ideas of how He should be, does that mean He is not real…that He is not right?

    Let me invite you to take a fresh look at the Gospels. Ask God to help you know Him as He is. Put His answers to the four questions to the tests of logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and existential relevance; see how they measure up. Lay aside your a priori distrust of the message of Jesus and evaluate it anew. I will be praying for you. In fact let me do that now: Jesus, I know You love Seon. You have been revealing Yourself to him in so many different ways. I pray that You would lead him to Your truth and let him know Your presence with him. Amen.

    Again, let me say, I know this could come across as condescending, but please believe that it comes from one who only wants you to experience the freedom and joy of knowing Jesus. If I failed in communicating it in that way please write it off as a passionate fool and don’t let it be another reason to dismiss all Christians. I do enjoy our conversations here.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Seon, it seems like you are suggesting that anyone who follows a religious tradition is doing so blindly without seriously investigating it. Do you really think that is accurate? Are only those who reject all religious traditions the ones who are serious about investigation?

    All worldviews must be able to answer four foundational questions: 1) How did I get here? [Origin]; 2) Why am I here? [Meaning]; 3) What is right and wrong? [Morality]; 4) What happens when I die? [Destiny]. Those four questions must be logically consistent, empirically adequate (corresponds to observed reality), and it must be relevant to our existence. It is my opinion that only Christianity answers those questions in a coherent way that matches historical evidence and our observable reality. John summarizes the Bible’s answer to those four questions in the prologue to his Gospel account of the life of Jesus:

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. [Origin] In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, [Destiny] who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. [Meaning]

    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; [Morality] grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

  • Seon says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I’m glad you at least look up what I recommend. While it’s true input from others are a factor- especially at seeing the positive ways faith has changed peoples lives, I still disagree and think it’s up to us to listen to the voice of god. Plus as you know blind faith can make us believe anything and give all our money to charlatans. So while other people are still important you should still research the evidence for what you believe (I admit there isn’t 100% proof of reincarnation)

    To answer your question there can only be one truth. So obviously someone is wrong. I’m not sure what the truth is yet. I know there is a god who loves us so to me all faiths posses some truth.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Love for others is noble and pure attribute. Jesus said that the second greatest command is to love your neighbour, and he clearly lived that out in His life here on Earth.

    My problem is I can’t love others very well because I get caught up in loving myself more and I make choices that serve me more than serving other people. Maybe you don’t have that issue Jack, but if entering Paradise requires me to love other people I am in trouble.

    I have also found that loving people is complicated. Is it love to let an alcoholic or drug addict continue to pursue their addiction? Does love put one person at risk in order to protect another? And how do I know if my love for someone else isn’t just a veiled attempt to selfishly fulfill my own needs.

    That is why I am so glad I don’t have to try and pull this off on my own. As I focus my attention on Jesus and follow His leading in my life I have the confidence that He will always give me perfect directions. And as my relationship with Him is my first priority, He transforms me so that I have more pure love to share with others. I think that is why He said that the greatest commandment is to love God. When that primary relationship is healthy it makes the other commandments, like love others, a natural outflow of who He has made me to be.

  • Canadian Jack says:

    To save your soul, you must try to save at least those souls that you can care for. To be primarily concerned with how you will be judged makes you overly self centred in GOD’s eyes. When you become a parent, your concern about how you will be judged by GOD becomes less important to you. You want your spouse and your children to be the main pre occupation of the All Mighty. This unconditional love for them will motivate them to look after you when you become old and enfeebled. The more you become concerned with the souls of others the more you have a real chance of entering Paradise.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    I am not sure I understand the distinction Jack. Are you saying that you, as a part of a particular nation, are punished for the evil done by others within that nation? Does that mean that your only hope for a lesser punishment is to try to do as many good deeds as possible to counter balance the evil? Does that also mean that evil will receive lesser punishment because of the off-setting good actions being done? How would that work itself out? Wouldn’t the people who were doing the good deeds get frustrated that they still are receiving punishment for the lunkheads who were doing evil? And wouldn’t the cruel ones continue to do evil because their punishment was being offset by those who were doing good? Don’t you think it would be likely that some of the people doing good would get fed up with trying so hard to make things right but still getting punished that they would soon lose the motivation to do good? It sounds to me like you are describing a ‘moral socialism'; I don’t see that as an effective way to promote morality.

  • Canadian Jack says:

    GOD looks at humanity as tribal. It matter very much to GOD, how each of us makes our neighbourhood, city, our country more caring. GOD punishes nations not individuals.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    So Seon, you would agree with most religions and worldviews that it is up to us to clean up our lives, fix what is broken, to earn our place with God? What is the minimum standard that is required? Can God overlook at little bit of evil?

    I did the search you recommended and came up with a lot of links to Baha’i materials that emphasize the requirement for all humans to acquire knowledge with their own eyes. Is that what you wanted me to look at? The sites I looked at were suggesting that there is one truth and through our individual investigation we each will discover our facet of the many different faces of truth, and ultimately be drawn into unity. Is that what you have observed happen in this world? People with contradictory ‘truths’ drawn into unity with one another? Are you suggesting that where there is disharmony between individuals that true ‘truth’ has not been discovered? If one person’s personal investigation leads them to a truth that creates conflict with another person are both individuals wrong or could one be right and the other wrong?

    I also find it curious that all traditions are rejected as possible truths. No one could do an investigation in perfect isolation. Any investigation must include input from others. Why would it be necessary then to reject all tradition which is the accumulation of other people’s investigation for truth? I am not advocating a blind acceptance of tradition without investigation, but the odds of finding truth is much better through the accumulation of truth of many people’s investigations over years as opposed to me finding truth by myself. The statements I read seem to suggest that anybody aligning themselves with a certain tradition has abandoned their own search for truth. In my opinion such a broad judgement is closed-minded. I know many people who have painstakingly investigated truth and discovered that within a given tradition.

    Sorry, I guess I should have let you acknowledge that I was looking at the material you intended before I go off like that :) If I missed the links you wanted me to find let me know what you did intend and ignore all the previous questions and critiques.

  • Seon says:

    I believe Reincarnation helps us learn lessons and develop our souls. Sure, life is suffering but there is so much to learn. I’m not sure how to break free though. If I knew I would be spreading it.

    Yep the true nature of god is an important question and I believe we should all come to the answer by ourselves and try everything. Google independent search for the truth to see what I mean. By the way I tried connecting with spirit guides but never got a validation.

    Other faiths teach love as well and teach their followers can know God. God’s creation is so beautiful, how would it be humiliating for him to become the universe? (one theory I have researched)

    Yeah and Christianity is the only faith that says it’s founder was God and that God came down and tried to connect with humans. So I agree it is a unique faith.

    I don’t think any spirit guides exist, they may be angels but there is a reason we can only imagine spirit guides in mediation…

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Jack, I think your question comes from a misunderstanding of time and a misunderstanding of the nature of God. Before Creation, there was nothing; nothing existed except God. Prior to that first moment, time did not exist. The Bible uses time-centred language because we are finite beings bound to time and space. Time is a part of this natural universe which God created but it becomes meaningless in the eternal existence of an infinite God. It is not something that our finite minds can comprehend because we are immersed in time. So your question of how long did darkness last for is unanswerable because there was no time to measure.

  • Canadian Jack says:

    Jamie:

    Before there was light,how long did the darkness last for?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    It is interesting when you look at the record of the beginning of sin in humanity, Adam also tried to blame God for his sin. When confronted by God Adam said, “The woman who You gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit…” (Genesis 3:12) It didn’t work back then and it still won’t fly when you try to pin the blame for sin on God, today.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    We have had this conversation before Jack and I know that you don’t accept it, but I will state it again: God is not the source of evil, because evil is the absence of God. You will notice that the Bible doesn’t mention that God created darkness; that is because darkness is the absence of light. Hence God’s creative command, “Let there be light!” (Genesis 1:3) John wrote that, “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1John 1:5) so it is inconsistent with God’s nature to create darkness. The Bible states that God is the source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17) Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon who defeated and destroyed the nation of Israel, testified “I praise and extol and honour the King of Heaven, for all His works are right and His ways are just”. (Daniel 4:37) So it is inconsistent with God’s nature to create evil.

    The Bible does tell us where evil did come from though, “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12) So it was humanity that brought sin into existence, not God.

    Now that may not be the God you believe exists, but that is the God who has revealed Himself in the Bible.

  • Seon says:

    Ok I don’t believe in a God that causes people to have a rush when we murder!

  • Canadian Jack says:

    Jamie:

    Nothing exists but through GOD’s consent. Is this not the GOD that you believe in?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Jack, The Bible says that those evil desires we have did not come from God but from our sinfulness. James wrote, “Let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:13-15) God created Adam and Eve in perfection, with out a nature that was bent towards sin; in fact, they were created to reflect the nature of God. But when they rebelled against God that reflection was marred and no longer matched the perfection that God had created. In Genesis 5 we see this shift described clearly, “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.” (Genesis 5:1-3) So all the generations after Adam, we no longer resemble our Father in Heaven, but our Earthly father, Adam. It is that broken reflection of God’s perfection that leads us to have evil thoughts and evil actions.

    I don’t know about you, but the idea that an all-powerful God is capable of both good and evil is a very scary thought. There are many religions that have that concept and it implants a deep-seated fear and mistrust. It is the experience of life in the home of angry alcoholic where no one knows how he is going to act when he comes home.

    That is not the God of the Bible at all. Even in His judgement and discipline He is consistent and clear. Everything He does is perfect and good.

  • Canadian Jack says:

    Wow Jamie:

    Serial killers are born with a GOD given desire to murder. There is no choice involved. You were born without a GOD given desire to murder. Most people are. Jamie according to the Bible why did GOD create serial killers?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Wow Jack! So you are suggesting that a person can connect with God and fulfill God’s purpose for them when they murder. That adds an unexpected twist to the nature of God.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Seon, you seem to see the process of reincarnation as a blessing. That is different from most religions that believe humanity is trapped in a continual cycle of reincarnation. In Buddhism and Hinduism the goal of life is to break free from that cycle. Are you suggesting that humanity was created for an infinite cycle of shedding one bodily temple for another? Or is there something that we need to achieve through those lives that will earn our freedom from that?

    You ask a fair question Seon, I know that I have known people who have had spiritual experiences that are even more captivating than what I have had. A friend of our family was deeply involved in connecting with a spirit guide who had helped her to have spirit journeys to places around the world. I have friends from Asian countries who have grown up communicating with their ancestors as they carefully venerate those who have gone before them. Spiritual experiences are not limited to those who are followers of Jesus. Figuring out who the true God is and hearing from Him is an important question.

    There are a few things that have given me confidence in my connection through Jesus Christ. First of all, is the evidence of God’s love for us, His Creation. That love in evidenced in so many different ways, but is clearly seen in the extravagance of His Creation. The vast diversity of tastes, sights, smells, textures. The extreme complexity of the universe and the amazing beauty it contains. The intricate structure of the micro-universe with cells, molecules, atoms, etc. The Creator did not have to create with such extravagance, but it reveals His love for His Creation to go completely overboard in creating all of this for all of us. A Creator that loves this intensely is doing so because He wants to be known. A Creator that wants to be known is not going to hide Himself from those He wants to have a relationship with; He is going to make sure that His Creation can know Him as He is and not get fooled into following a counterfeit. A written revelation that can provide a clear picture of who He is and how we can interact with Him fits that kind of Creator. But then actually entering our existence and becoming one of us is an extreme action of a God that wants to be known. It is an unthinkable humiliation that the Almighty Creator of the universe would become a part of His creation Himself. He then sends His Spirit to guide and direct His people to know Him and His purposes; for me that seals the amazing lengths that God goes to in order to be known.

    As I look at all religions, none of them fit the reality we see around us like the Bible describes. I know I have said this before but I also see the uniqueness of the message of Jesus as evidence that He is who He says He is. All other religions require us to do something to earn our access to God, and deal with our separation from Him. For some religions it is following a moral code, others it is through following ritual, and still others require spiritual enlightenment. Jesus is the only one who says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” and “Apart from Me you can do nothing”. All of our moral choices, ritualistic purifications, and attaining new planes of enlightenment fall absolutely short of bridging the gap we have made between God and ourselves. It is only through the sacrifice of God Himself that we have any hope of connecting with Him. All religions are an attempt to reach up to God. Jesus is the only example of God reaching down to us to rescue us from oursleves. That fits a Creator who loves His Creation intensely and whose purpose for Creation is to know Him.

    My friend who spent so much time with her spirit guide finally took the step to ask Jesus to reveal the true identity of her spirit guide. Her description of how this most beautiful creature suddenly morphed into a hideous monster is chilling. That moment she realized she had been fooled by evil and it began her journey to find a true connection with her Creator through a relationship with Jesus Christ

  • Canadian Jack says:

    Jamie:

    Serial killers get an endorphin rush when they kill. GOD allows all of us to have this experience even when some us enjoy doing evil. GOD moves in mysterious ways.

  • seon says:

    Hi Jamie,

    Yes. I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience. When we die we simply shed this temple for another one. So yes, our souls were created by god but our bodies are just a process of evolution through natural selection.

    How do you know it’s God communicating with you? What about people from other faiths who believe their God communicates with them just as sincerely as you do? I believe they are many paths to our creator but I can see how Christians and Muslims would disagree.

    I believe God sends people into our lives as well, so I guess he isn’t as distance as I once thought. I still believe atheists are capable of compassion as well. But if faith helps you be compassionate to the needy who am I to judge?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    I’ve been looking back on some of our older conversation where you were talking about how when this life ends we return ‘home’ to be with God until we can choose our next life to be reincarnated into. The form we are in when we are ‘home’, is that our created form? Do we have a relationship/communication with God in that form?

    I do believe that God communicates with me. In fact, because God is infinite, I believe that there isn’t a moment when His unlimited attention isn’t squarely directed at me. There are many ways that He communicates with me: 1) through what He has made-just like any piece of art, the character of the creator is revealed through what has been made; 2) through prayer – I have never heard any audible voice (although I know many people who have) God moves in my heart and mind when I focus on listening for Him. I ask for His help in dealing with situations in my life and I know that He directs my thoughts, attitudes and actions to be in line with His plan for my life; 3) through other people – As I interact with people God uses them to speak into my life. Sometimes it is intentional where God speaks specific things to a person who has come up to me and said, “God told me to tell you…” but more often it is when i am talking to people and hear how God has dealt with them that I understand what He wants from me; 4) through serving others, especially those who are in need – God has great compassion on the poor, the oppressed, the orphans, the sick and He is actively involved in their lives. When I serve those people I meet with God; 5) through the Bible – I know that I can get fooled sometimes by my own ideas and selfishness, as well as by others who are not listening to God. Everything that I hear from all the other sources needs to line up with the way God has revealed Himself in the Bible. If it doesn’t, I know that it is not from Him.

    I gotta say, knowing that God is with me always, directing me towards what He wants from me, gives me great confidence. I don’t have to be uncertain about my decisions or priorities. He is generous in the way He communicates and I can know that His direction is always perfect. I just need to make sure I am focusing on listening to Him and He will direct my path.

  • Seon says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I suppose in order to jump start the natural laws that created the universe it would have to have a supernatural origin.

    Nope, I don’t believe he communicates back. It would be great if she does and it’s great that some people have faith that he does.

    Do you? If so, how does God respond to you?

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