1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Featured What’s up with God? Is He really sending us tests?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Trailblazer, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2017
    Messages:
    23,656
    Ratings:
    +6,829
    Religion:
    Baha'i
    I was not referring to human suffering that is brought on by evil choices and actions, I was referring to all the other human suffering which can in no way be attributed to human free will choices or actions.

    “Some things are subject to the free will of man, such as justice, equity, tyranny and injustice, in other words, good and evil actions; it is evident and clear that these actions are, for the most part, left to the will of man. But there are certain things to which man is forced and compelled, such as sleep, death, sickness, decline of power, injuries and misfortunes; these are not subject to the will of man, and he is not responsible for them, for he is compelled to endure them. But in the choice of good and bad actions he is free, and he commits them according to his own will.” Some Answered Questions, p. 248

    And WHY is man forced to endure them? Because the God you believe is loving set it up that way by creating a material world in which we must live until we die.
     
  2. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2017
    Messages:
    23,656
    Ratings:
    +6,829
    Religion:
    Baha'i
    Yes, I agree some suffering comes to us this way, from other humans and from out ego.
    Yes, I always look at why I am suffering.
    I do not believe we can know these things, whether God sends tests or what their purpose is or why the same things keep happening over and over again. If the tests were never more than people could handle there would be no suicides. I think people read texts of religions and that is how they interpret them because they want answers and they want everything neatly tied up on a little bow so that God can never be anything but loving and benevolent, since they want to believe God is loving and benevolent.

    Since we can never know if what happens to us is a test from God I think it is dangerous to assume it is from God and act according to that belief, believing that we are on the wrong track and God is trying to get us on the right track. We can never know what God is doing, all we can do is believe.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  3. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2017
    Messages:
    23,656
    Ratings:
    +6,829
    Religion:
    Baha'i
    That's true, but the question is whether such an entity actually exists.
     
  4. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2017
    Messages:
    23,656
    Ratings:
    +6,829
    Religion:
    Baha'i
    I believe the correct answer is "nobody knows."
     
  5. RestlessSoul

    RestlessSoul Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2021
    Messages:
    435
    Ratings:
    +387
    Not from an Abrahamic tradition, but I’ll pass on a friend’s experience in the hope it might help someone;

    This friend, who is a practicing and quite devout Buddhist, had been having all sorts of personal difficulties, a proper hard time of it in all areas of his life. He turned up one day at the Buddhist Centre he attends in London, and a Japanese guy he half knew by hadn’t really spoken to before, turned to him and said, “Ah, Mr *****. I hear you have been suffering. Very good, very good. Congratulations.”
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  6. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2015
    Messages:
    6,198
    Ratings:
    +4,153
    Religion:
    ?
    Escaping God is actually extremely easy once you no longer believe. In any encounter I have where "God" is brought to bear, I maintain an understanding that it is the human that stands before me that is invoking Him. God never invokes Himself, in other words. There is nothing to escape from at that point - except the foolish humans who keep talking about God as if they were doing it for Him. And there is obvious evidence that displays that these humans are NOT speaking for God - most of it boiling down to these humans getting all sorts of things wrong, making all sorts of foolish assumptions, and not being able to argue their case well AT ALL. If God were truly behind these endeavors to convince others, would there be so much mess in it all? Given the state of affairs as we witness them here on Earth - God Himself would have to be entirely inept if He allows Himself to be represented by the people I have borne witness to, honestly.

    I accept that there is no one and nothing to blame when suffering finds me in life (unless, of course, my suffering is directly tied to another person through their actions - though this happens far less often than things that are not), and from what I have witnessed in those around me, versus myself, this is a MUCH healthier mindset to adopt. When others around me suffer who "look to God" or "look for reasons", they are far slower to pick up the pieces and move on. They allow the suffering to knock them down fully, and they cavil and complain, and their spirits are dashed. While I, myself, start the clean up process immediately, without any delay. That delay, and taking those moments to contemplate the issue and "who is responsible" are completely wasted in my opinion. And I remain much, much more contented in my life than any of those around me who are to be found casting around for reasons or scapegoats. Hands down.

    It can certainly be much a matter of perspective on your suffering. If you view it as a personal affront - then you will be insulted - and you will likely play the insult over and over and over in your mind - or try to figure out how you can seek vengeance against what you feel insulted you. If, however, you understand that things simply happen that may not be beneficial to yourself, and that this time was one of those, and you assign no further meaning to it, then you are not affronted - you are not insulted. You simply move on, and leave that crap where it belongs behind you.

    Another interesting observation here - I very often find that I am even much more contented in my life than those who believe in things like an afterlife as well. I honestly believe that thinking that there is "something better" waiting for you literally provokes you to see things in a worse light here in "this realm" (current/real life). That is, if you think something so much better is waiting, then everything that happens here is (as you stated) just another reason to get moving and get on to that next realm. It is unhealthy to believe this, because it, again, gives you the perspective that things here are "just so terrible", because it gives you some "understanding" (to my mind, a false one) that it "can be so much better." My mind is primed to understand that it doesn't get any better than this. And so... this life is "the best" there is to experience. And the good in it is prized as something GREAT! Instead of the "good" in this life still falling short of the "glory of heaven" or whatever crazy assumption one has made about their "next life."
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Messages:
    48,675
    Ratings:
    +4,850
    I believe ......the only test that mattered was the intial item on the garden event
    and......Adam and Eve passed that test

    what we suffer is random
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2017
    Messages:
    3,070
    Ratings:
    +606
    Religion:
    Disciple of Jesus
    My answer is the same for all suffering. People were expelled to this death, because they wanted to know evil and that is what we can learn to know here. Here we can see what I means to be without God and His protection.
     
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  9. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2017
    Messages:
    3,070
    Ratings:
    +606
    Religion:
    Disciple of Jesus
    …by anything of this world. Obviously, God can do that, but God is not of this world.
     
  10. We Never Know

    We Never Know Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2019
    Messages:
    4,371
    Ratings:
    +2,158
    Religion:
    It exists
    How many people will go to heaven? What is the significance of the 144,000?

    Revelation 14:1-4
    King James Version

    14 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

    2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

    3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

    4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
     
  11. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    14,324
    Ratings:
    +2,350
    Yes, does Satan actually exist (?) is the question.
    In Scripture, Satan does exist as a real spirit person or fallen angel.
    So, I suppose the question then would also be if angels exist (?).
    Then, we come down to does God exist _________
    People who believe in Jesus (as found in the Bible) then would also believe God and Satan do exist.
     
  12. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    14,324
    Ratings:
    +2,350
    I find Jesus knows 'what's up with God' according to Matthew 24:36.
    Although we do Not know the 'day and hour' we do know when the ' season ' is ripe - Matthew 24:32-33.
    The 'season is ripe' according to the selfish distorted form of love the world now displays - 2 Timothy 3:1-5,13.
    Plus, the declaring world wide about the 'good news of God's kingdom' (Daniel2:44) just as Jesus said it would be done is now done on a grand international scale as never before in history- Matthew 24:14; Acts 1:8.
     
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  13. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    14,324
    Ratings:
    +2,350
    Rather, I find we must die (be dead) until Resurrection Day (meaning Jesus' Millennium-Long Day of governing over Earth).
    Satan challenged Job (Job2:4-5) with suffering and by way of extension Satan challenges all of us.
    'Touch our 'flesh'( loose physical health) and we would Not serve God.
    Both Job and Jesus under adverse conditions proved Satan a liar and so can we.

    Angels live in the heavenly invisible spirit realm and that is where they belong.
    Mankind was created to live in this visible material world and that is where man basically still belongs.
    ALL the resurrections Jesus performed were back to healthy physical life on Earth.
    Thus, Jesus was showing us a preview, or a coming attraction, of what kind of resurrections Jesus will again perform.
    During Jesus' 1,000-year governmental reign over Earth the majority of people will have a happy-and-healthy physical resurrection to live life again on Earth with the opportunity to live forever on Earth as originally offered to Adam before his downfall.
     
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  14. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2017
    Messages:
    23,656
    Ratings:
    +6,829
    Religion:
    Baha'i
    Buddhism and the Baha’i Faith are strikingly similar in many ways. This article compares Buddhism with the Baha’i Faith and points out their similarities and differences. Buddhism and the Bahá'í Faith

    "a. Suffering (dukkha). Both the Buddha and Bahá'u'lláh see the suffering of humankind and their wish is to lead humanity out of this suffering. This is a primary focus of their teachings"

    I think the goal of Buddhist teachings is to rise above suffering by being detached and that is similar to the Baha'i teachings. However, some Baha'i teachings go on to say that suffering is good for us and we should thank God for it. There is some truth to 'suffering is good for us' but I am not going to thank God for it. I also think that enough is enough, and if the suffering is so great that we cannot function normally in society how is that good for us?

    I believe that detachment is the only way to rise above suffering.
    I can be detached about what my husband does and what other people do, but unfortunately I cannot be detached from my cats and their loss through death is what causes me the most suffering.

    The remainder of my suffering is caused by material things in this world, so I have to be detached from these things in order to avoid suffering. I can do that most of the time but it would be a lot easier if I did not have so many things.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  15. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2017
    Messages:
    23,656
    Ratings:
    +6,829
    Religion:
    Baha'i
    My answer is the same. All suffering is not caused by evil. The proof of that is that many people who are not evil or touched by evil still suffer due to other causes. Thus the Christian explanation is too simplistic.

    Why do you think we are without God and His protection?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2017
    Messages:
    23,656
    Ratings:
    +6,829
    Religion:
    Baha'i
    I do not believe that Satan exists but rather the Bible made it sound as if he exists and Christians believed that he existed. Much of what is in the Bible is metaphorical, not literal. Satan symbolizes hate, the evil ego within us, our lower material nature as contrasted to the noble higher nature of man, man made in the image of God.

    “God has created all in His image and likeness. Shall we manifest hatred for His creatures and servants? This would be contrary to the will of God and according to the will of Satan, by which we mean the natural inclinations of the lower nature. This lower nature in man is symbolized as Satan—the evil ego within us, not an evil personality outside.” The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 287
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  17. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2017
    Messages:
    23,656
    Ratings:
    +6,829
    Religion:
    Baha'i
    That’s true, but one cannot stop believing in what they believe and see evidence for, not anymore than an atheist can start believing in a God they see no evidence for.
    You have a legitimate point there. Many believers believe that can speak for God as if they know what God is “doing” by reading their scriptures. These believers make all sorts of foolish assumptions, and they are not able to argue their case well AT ALL.
    God does not get involved in what people say and do on earth because God gave humans free will to choose. That is why things are in such a mess. God allows Himself to be misrepresented because God does not interfere with human free will.
    I agree that looking for reasons or blaming other people or God is a waste of time. It is also a waste of time to blame myself and feel guilty unless it is my fault. I used to try to find reasons for what happened but I don’t do that anymore. What’s done is done. Rather than dwelling on the event that caused the suffering, I start to pick up the pieces right way and find solutions that will ameliorate the suffering. It is others who have put these ideas in my head about God sending me tests, and it is kind of an indoctrination that I am trying to shake off. They don’t know what God is doing so I consider that rather arrogant, but they are so attached to their beliefs and so sure they are right that they cannot see it any other way. I have found that it is best not to talk to those people because they have a pre-recorded message waiting of me and it never varies.

    All that said, I do analyze my life situation and try to determine what is causing me to feel hopeless or what s keeping me stuck. I have a pretty good idea what that is but I cannot do much if anything about it so I try to go with the flow and accept it, hoping for better days but not expecting those either. It will be whatever it will be and there are so many things we have no control over so I have found that adjusting is the best way.
    That’s true, and as I said above, I have left them and their crap to themselves. I try to have no ill will towards them even though they hurt me with their words, which really are understated insults, even though they cannot recognize them as such wit their religious blinders on. These kinds of people cannot view anything from a non-religious perspective so they are the ones who look down upon atheists even though they don’t usually come right out and say it. I have no use for such prejudice. I always try to accept everyone for who they are, not for what they believe or disbelieve.
    I have been thinking about this lately and I understand the reason. Whereas I am comparing this life with what I believe the afterlife will be this life comes up short. I don’t think all believers compare, it is just something I do, and obviously nonbelievers don’t compare at all. I mean if there is no afterlife you are going to make this life the best it can be since it is the only life you have. I by contrast sincerely believe in what Jesus said because I believe that eternal life trumps anything we can find in this life, which is fleeting by comparison.

    John 12:24-25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

    Moreover, I used to live for my life in this world during my non-religious period, so I have experienced all the worldly things and I can compare them to the spiritual life I have now so I have no desire to go back.
    It could have that effect upon people but it does not have to have that effect. It all depends upon how they view this world vs. the next world. I highly doubt most believers think like me, and they probably wouldn’t if they have a good life they are happy with, and that is the case for most people. The reason I do not have such a life is NOT because I look forward to an afterlife, even though knowing there is an afterlife gives me hope. It is not like I sit around thinking of the afterlife. I do the best I can to better my life in this world but as I said before there is only so much I can do given my life circumstances, psychological issues, and genetic predisposition, which are all against me. What I do have in my favor is my physical health, my mental functioning, and my financial situation, all of which are much better than most people have at my age.

    As for the false understanding that it could be so much better that is only a matter of what you believe vs. what I believe.

    Interestingly, in the Baha’i Writings the reason given for why we are not told more about the afterlife is because if we knew what it was like we would not want to remain one more minute in this world, so you are correct in saying that we should not be comparing this life to the afterlife for the reasons you gave.

    "Bahá'u'lláh says that were we to have the proper vision to see the blessings of the other world we would not bear to endure one more hour of existence upon the earth. The reason why we are deprived of that vision is because otherwise no one would care to remain and the whole fabric of society will be destroyed."

    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, October 22, 1932)

    But the flip side if that is this:

    "In His Tablets Bahá'u'lláh says that were we able to comprehend the facilities that await us in the world to come, death would lose its sting; nay rather we would welcome it as a gate-way to a realm immeasurably higher and nobler than this home of suffering we call our earth. You should therefore think of their blessings and comfort yourself for your momentary separation. In time all of us will join our departed ones and share their joys."

    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, January 13, 1932)

    (Quotes from Lights of Guidance (second part): A Bahá'í Reference File)
    I am glad your life has gone this well. You are truly fortunate. By contrast much of my life has been a holy living hell in spite of the fact that I have fought it tooth and nail, never giving up. Most of that time I never even thought about the afterlife, as I was just struggling to get through one more day. I had serious addictions and then I had major depression and generalized anxiety disorder for most of my earlier adult life. I was cured of those conditions after many, many years of treatment but I still have PTSD and life circumstances outside my control.

    I cannot even imagine what it would be like to feel GREAT, and there is no way in hell I am going to take any more drugs in an effort to achieve that mind state. It simply was not my destiny and I try to accept it.

    Glad you stopped by my thread. You are one of my favorite atheists. :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  18. SeekingAllTruth

    SeekingAllTruth Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2020
    Messages:
    1,393
    Ratings:
    +736
    Religion:
    agnostic deist
    The pagan god of the Bible tells us to test him and see if he will not pour out a blessing on you if you just tithe.

    Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and put Me to the test now herewith,” saith the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open to you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:10

    In my opinion, this verse is used by every huckster pastor on TBN to fleece poor widows who can't even pay their electricity bill. Needless to say not only will you not get a crust of bread from God by tithing but sending your last dime to billionaire pastor Kenneth Copeland instead of paying your rent because he promised you that if you just put $500 on your credit card instead of paying your rent God would buy you a mansion could land you out of your apartment and on Skid Row. It's no wonder Copeland is able to buy matching Lear jets for himself and his wife. Jesse Duplantis is obviously jealous.

     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2015
    Messages:
    6,198
    Ratings:
    +4,153
    Religion:
    ?
    Many of the things you said resonate with me, and I understand where you are coming from. I readily admit that I probably have been very fortunate in this life - having had a mediocre childhood within which I was often bullied, but the solace of home and loving parents was always waiting. This dichotomy of facing outright disdain at school versus being loved at home taught me early on what to look for in truly caring versus uncaring relationships. It has pushed me into a mindset where I simply don't maintain uncaring relationships. I have always been relatively healthy, physically, but I wanted to be so as well, to the point that I took care not to abuse my body with detrimental activities or substances. I am a stubborn introvert - but not because I fear public gatherings or being social - I fare pretty well in those situations, actually - but it is because I like my time spent alone, in solitude, able to do whatever my mind leads me to do without the tiresome effort sometimes needed to fend off scrutiny, judgment or reprisals. I often wonder how my views might have been shaped differently had some of my circumstances not been as they were for so many of my formative years.

    This particular quote of your struck me. I feel that I am a fairly antagonistic character on these forums - and it surprises me every time someone has an even remotely nice thing to say. I consider you among the more reasonable theists I engage with, and I very much enjoy our conversations, I do want you to know this.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  20. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2017
    Messages:
    23,656
    Ratings:
    +6,829
    Religion:
    Baha'i
    I have been fortunate in some ways, and unfortunate in others. My childhood was no picnic as i was always very shy so I never fit on at school and I was bullied when I got to junior high. But the worst of it was that I had no caring parents to come home to because they were emotionally unavailable since they had their own emotional problems. Both my parents were fallen away Christians and my dad became an atheist although my mom retained a belief in God, although she never talked about God that I can recall.

    I have never had a 'bad' relationship as I won't tolerate abuse and I was never attracted to abusive people. I was not abused as a child, just abandoned, and that is why I would never abandon anyone, as I know how that feels. My health has always been good but I exercise a lot and don't eat too badly. I have always been an introvert and although I fare okay in social situations I find most group activities rather boring. I do not even attend the social activities of my own religion because I feel out is place since I am so different in lifestyle than most of the Baha'is, and also because my attitude towards God is often suboptimal I don't feel like I fit in very well with religious people.

    You might 'feel' antagonistic but you do not come across that way because you are very honest yet respectful of other people even if you do not agree with them. I would much talk to people who are direct as opposed to people who don't come right out ans say what is on their mind because I don't feel I can trust those people. What I do not do well with is sarcasm and people who are overly critical of the same things in a repeated fashion. Life is too short to deal with people who cannot be polite and respectful.
     
    • Like Like x 1
Loading...