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Here's A Puzzling Question

 
 
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 10:40 am
Now contrary to popular belief, I am a believer in God as I have stated before.

The first quarter of the year is always a squeaker for us, and every penny counts during the winter.

Today I have to deliver and setup balloons in two car showrooms. We need that money. Last night my brakes went out on the van. Completely. As in 100% there one second 100% gone the next. obviously either a wheel cylinder, master cylinder or brake line let go all at once, but I digress.

The van shot past the end of the driveway and came to rest inches from crashing into the back fence and the house.

Now here's the question. Why am I supposed to thank God and give him the praise for my car not hitting the house or the fence, but I'm blasphemous if I blame him for the brakes failing and screwing me out of getting these balloons delivered and he gets the credit for the bad event?

Doesn't seem very equitable.

for the sake of this discussion (FRANK!! :wink: ) remember I believe in God.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,047 • Replies: 31
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yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 10:49 am
Explanation #1:
It had nothing to do with God.

#2:
You were supposed to die in that accident but God saved you.

#3:
Good fortune comes from God and bad fortune comes from Satan (see Job).
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 10:50 am
Bear

Last I remember, Gus was watching you get your brains beaten out by Squinney using a rolling pin.

Am I to suppose that you survived -- or should I suppose that you are a goner -- and someone has hijacked your moniker and is now stitting up a bit of mischief in your name?

Hummm...so much to ponder -- so many newbies to set straight.

Well, just in case you did survive -- complete with the ability to think -- here's what I think:

I think the undercurrent of your post is absolutely on the dot, so to speak.

If you give thanks for the good; it makes sense to piss and moan about the bad.

If the thanks go to some god -- the pissing and moaning should be offered in that direction also.

But I think the best thing to do -- (for someone like you who "believes" in god) -- is to "believe" in a god who, like any reasonable parent, has decided to let the off-springs eventually make their own beds -- without any help.

In that case -- there is no need for thanks -- and you are spared considerations about the other stuff.
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blueveinedthrobber
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 10:55 am
Frank it's me....squinney would never beat me with a rolling pin....that's wishful thinking on Gus's part. He, like most men lusts after the unobtainable squinney and was indulging in some bizarre fantasy/wish fullfillment....sad really......Frank, you got my point and undercurrent perfectly.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 10:56 am
I've known at least one person who would have considered both exclamations to be blasphemous, possibly because Christians should expect both their rewards and punishments to occur in the hereafter.
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onyxelle
 
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Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 11:03 am
I (a well-known believer I think) am often faced with the same damn question BPB - quite often btw.

What I think, is that not all the bad comes from satan, some comes from us making a bad decision and it costing us in the long run (not so, with your breaks)...

in a sitch like this, I'd say if you believe in God, and you're doing so pretty openly, you could possibly be in a job-like sitch yourself, in which case you would could be-moan God for the wrongness of your breaks keel'n over and dy'n, and in the next breath thank God that A) it happened not in a place so as to endanger other civilians, B) no one was hurt.

Now, i'll be honest, while I'm giving you this shpiel, I often have to give Mr. Onyx the same thing...and myself as well. It's natural to blame satan for all the bad things, but I think equally God is sometimes to blame in that he doesn't cause the bad things to happen, but let's it happen...for whatever omnipotent master-planning reason he has...

sorry about your breaks dude.
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blueveinedthrobber
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 11:06 am
All I know is I want to hit somebody and even a Polar Bear can't take God on...I'm no sissy but I'm not stupid......
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 11:14 am
Okay, Bear -- so here's the way to go.

God caused the brake failure.

He did it when and where he did, because he knew Satan was gonna do it later in the week when you were coming down that steep hill over by...well, you know where.

He saved your life.

You oughta thank him for that.

Brownie points all the way around.
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onyxelle
 
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Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 11:14 am
indeed. try screaming, it works for me.
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blueveinedthrobber
 
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Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 11:23 am
ye110man wrote:
Explanation #1:
It had nothing to do with God.

#2:
You were supposed to die in that accident but God saved you.

#3:
Good fortune comes from God and bad fortune comes from Satan (see Job).


Bad luck only comes from Satan when God allows it to happen...see Job......

I'm not to thrilled about God allowing Satan to F**k with you just to prove to Satan that He's the toughest either......
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SealPoet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 11:48 am
Yeah... you can tell God was behind the timing. I mean, you're in a van full of balloons. Extra airbags...
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Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 12:08 pm
Pardon me for intruding into an exchange whose premises about the nature of the universe, I reject. However, I think I can suspend my disbelief in the Abrahamic notions about God long enough to make a contribution that is at least of some small interest.

The problem, it seems to me, is that you expect each outcome to fit rather easily into the "good-evil" mold. If your God is pulling the strings for one event in the continuous series that make up mortal life, then the question of "good and evil" is constant. Was it good, or evil, that I had that second cup of coffee this morning? Was it good or evil that I slipped on the ice going out to the mailbox? I may have sprained my back, but that may only mean that I stayed home and avoided an auto accident later in the day. Is every thing we think, say, or do equally weighed out on the scales of "good and evil". Is there some sort of equivlence between drinking a glass of water, and drowning puppies? Are things ever that simple? Can't you imagine an thought, word, or act that may be "good" in one case, yet "bad" in another? Who can ever know what the ultimate outcomes are for ANY of our thoughts, words, or actions? God? Certainly not any mortal I know of. The best intentions can sometimes lead to unexpected consequences far beyond our kin.

Another approach is to question exactly what is "good" and what is "evil". How do you define these abstractions? As a Buddhist, I equate "good" with that which mitigates, or reduces suffering, and "evil" is attached to those causes that result in greater suffering for the individual, and by extention the whole of the sentient world. I don't think most of the Abrahamic folks agree with that sort of definition. "Good" is, presumably, that which leads a person to God, and "Evil" drives a wedge between mortal and Creator. Disbelief is "evil", though it may result in sensual and worldly success and luxury. Belief is "good" and makes kings of tortured slaves. This approach seems to argue that the relative comfort and convenience of the individual has little, or nothing to do with the Eternal Judgement of "good and evil".

The Abrahamic faiths do, of course, have a number of absolutes that they must believe in and follow without deviation if they are to please God. However, the penalty (or rewards) for following those strictures seems to be disconnected in time/space from the thought, word, or act itself. One doesn't give a penny to the poor, and find it returned ten-fold that same afternoon very often. So seldom in fact is there any relationship between the supposed virtue, or sin, and some consequence that we should be suspicious of coincidence.

God may be less interested in the details, than in the totality of one's life. Live a life without gross violations of the explicit taboos, and the Almighty should be satisfied. Even if God knows and sees all, he must either leave the stream of events alone, or constantly put his "butcher's thumb" upon the scales. These are mutually exclusive conceptss. To argue that God may know all, but leaves the universe to work its ways according to the underlying laws of mathematics and physics is often regarded as heretical. The more common notion that God intervenes on a rather frequent basis, is problematic for several reasons.

First, if God is actively running things and can see the results of all thought, word and action, then mortals can have no freedom of choice. The future and the results of all our lives is already mapped out, and we can do nothing to alter it. We can only submit to Divine Will, and receive later our rewards or punishments. Not very Just, but then God is beyond mere Justice, right? This notion of predestination was quite popular during the 19th century, and continues even today. The infant who dies before baptism is regarded as being damned, while the brute who accepts God's Will that he should torture and murder in God's Name is on the fast-track to heavenly bliss. Go figure.

Second, if God "over-rules" the laws of physics and mathematics (the most fundamental definition of a miracle), then we would live in a world of unpredictability and chaos. Throw a ball against the wall, and it might disappear, or bounce away in a spiral, or go through the wall and into the trees 50 yards away ... it all depends on God's notion of what would amuse him at that moment. Stop the movement of the earth around the sun and the consequences reverberate throughout the totality of the universe, even 50 lightyears away. If miracles exist, then order does not, for they are mutually exlusive notions.

There have been many who have "wrestled" with God, so why not punch him in the snout, and gouge out an eye, if you think that would make your life better. The thing is the God we wrestle with is always insubstantial, and we must rely not upon our physical strength, but the strength of the mind and character we possess. Are those the extentions of God, or are they instead the result of our lineage and experience with interacting with the perceptual world? Are we all saints tempted by evil in every waking moment, or are we mere mortals who try and do the best we can given our best understanding of things?
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Diane
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 12:18 pm
Tough love???
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onyxelle
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 12:30 pm
interjection: diane, are you keeping that candycane until this christmas :-)
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yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 12:38 pm
How about this one, all things good and bad are in God's master plan and you should be grateful he doesn't strike you down with lightning right now, you insignificant mortal.

Or God allows all things to happen. He has no hand in accidents. But he will watch over those who ask for his help. So God may have prevented you from dying or not. You don't know. So you thank him just in case.
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Laptoploon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 04:18 pm
Look, this isn't difficult.

The patient dies, you blame the doctor.

The patient lives, you thank God.

Always has been, always will be.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 04:56 pm
Hmmm . . . sort of like those occassions when you point out to the devout the horrid crimes of christians over the last couple of thousand years, and they reply that those guys weren't real christians?
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PDiddie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 05:13 pm
Re: Here's A Puzzling Question
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:
Why am I supposed to thank God and give him the praise for my car not hitting the house or the fence, but I'm blasphemous if I blame him for the brakes failing and screwing me out of getting these balloons delivered and he gets the credit for the bad event?


Maybe God, you know, just took His eyes off the road for a moment, when a burning seed from His loosely-rolled thumb-thick doobie fell in His lap and caught His robe on fire, distracting Him long enough to cause His Eminent Power to rupture your master cylinder or whatever and your brakes to fail.

Just for a moment, mind you. If God made us in His image, then I suspect it's at least possible that He could suffer the occasional brainfart.

Sooooooo, after the fire in His lap was quickly extinguished (the previously-referenced moment), He regained control of your vehicle and missed the fence and the house.

Keep in mind that if it hadn't happened exactly like this, then you'd have more to complain about than the missed business opportunity.

So this could be one of those times when nobody (and I mean Nobody) gets either the credit or the blame.

Tangentially:

Why do football players give a shout-out to God when they score a touchdown (pointing to the sky, etc.)? God's not really responsible for the cornerback's lapse, or the linebacker who got pancaked on the sweep...is he?

Is the defense just cursed (on that particular play)?

And from the overview, why is God even a football fan who takes sides?
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 07:47 pm
Well, it's all a response to those signs at the end zone about John 3'-16".
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Montana
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2004 12:04 am
Thank God you're ok Bear ;-)
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