Good or God? Why Good Without God Isn’t Enough

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Devils' Advocate, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    This is a book by John Bevere. I have not read it from beginning to end, although I did browse through a lot of the material.

    This is the kind of Christian book that makes my blood boil. Here is the basic premise of the text:

    This book can transform our thinking and our desire to fall in love with God and not good. Good without God can never be enough! Many things in the world appear good but are actually drawing us farther from God. But God has good for us.... His good... and it's a good the world can never give! "There is nothing good for you outside of Gods wisdom or Word, nothing at all."

    Soooo, good is no longer good enough. It has to be God good or it's worthless. And of course our esteemed author is here to tell us the difference inspired by - well by what exactly? Divine guidance? Personal interpretation? Both? Neither?

    Now I freely admit to a knee jerk reaction to this type of mortal posturing, so it seemed reasonable to throw this out there to the group and see what the rest of you think. If you'd like some further information on the book, here is the link to its page on Amazon:

    https://www.amazon.com/Good-God-Wit...=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471797222&sr=1-1

    I realize that it may be difficult to make any definitive statements without actually reading the book; I'm simply interested in your thoughts and feelings on the premise being presented. In my reality if good is done for good reasons it is good. Period! It is an outrage to suggest that good actions and intentions are not sufficiently good enough unless it is a good interpreted through the lens of the Christian God.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. Aussie Thoughts

    Aussie Thoughts Just my 2 cents

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    Haven't read it, but with so many 4 and 5 star reviews, may deserve more than a casual look. As to the concept, I'd say good is good no matter how you slice it. God however, represents the ultimate good. All else just benefits our temporary existence in the flesh.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
  3. Nasruddin

    Nasruddin Active Member

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    I started to read the first chapter. Childish, and poorly written. The author makes a false assertion in the first paragraph, and then continues to build on a fallacy. More ego than God.
     
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  4. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Don't know. This seems to me to be one of those authors who is filling a niche writing for a particular select audience who is looking for reinforcement on what it is they already want to believe.

    I tend to agree with your statement that good is good and that it is more than sufficient in the eyes of God. I did skim through quite a bit of it and my take is similar to Nas's. The guy is really full of himself. And of his 'special' connection to the divine is pure ego.
     
  5. Aussie Thoughts

    Aussie Thoughts Just my 2 cents

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    I did say, good is good, but not that it was more than sufficient in the eyes of God. What I said was, God represents the ultimate good and that all else just benefits our temporary existence in the flesh.
     
  6. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    I misconstrued. So are you saying that there is doing good for good, and then there is good for God? If so, could you elaborate a bit cause I'm not getting it. Is there an example of good for God that isn't good for good as well?
     
  7. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    This is one of those areas you can agree with on certain levels and disagree with on others. It reminds me of what Krishna told Arjun in the Bhagavad Gita that in action there is inaction and in inaction action, but I digress. Yeah doing good is always a good thing and both believers and non-believers are capable of it, but as Aussie alludes to, from a Biblical perspective, that's not necessarily the ultimate good.

    God is the ultimate good. Mark 10:18 Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. The Bible also tells us that faith and good works go hand in hand. James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? In other words, if you claim to have faith, yet are not living under God's ordinance and encouraging others to do so, you have not good works. The same goes if you are constantly doing good deeds, yet ignoring or denying God in the process. As Aussie says, in this case your works only benefit your existence in the flesh.

    That said, I can't imagine, except for maybe adamant sowers of disbelief, that good deeds wouldn't at least count for something in the hereafter. After all, according to scripture, our works, both good and bad, do follow us into the beyond.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
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  8. Aussie Thoughts

    Aussie Thoughts Just my 2 cents

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    It's not a question of there being separate categories of good. As I've said, good is good. Full stop. It's more a question of doing good with God in mind. If you believe God is the source for all that is good, this is essential.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Er ... but it patently is in the case of the publican in the temple, the parable of the widow's mite, the poor of the Beatitudes ... it's the lesson of the tanner of Alexandria,


    Ah, that's a whole different argument. That's the 'it's not what you do it's the reason why you do it' argument. The author is clearly confused.

    Let me admit a bad: I make instant judgements in these situations — the more it's a best-seller, the less I think it worth reading.

    Having said that, I tend, from first glance, to agree with Nasruddin.

    I think a debate that gets overlooked is that a lot of religion is about wanting to know God here and now, to be in communion here and now, but that's a hard road, because such knowledge is a 'dark' or 'negative' knowledge, which is what faith is, 'the peace that surpasseth all understanding' (Philippians 4:7).

    That does not mean it cannot be had. It's a delusion (and an elitism) to assume that the 'simple mind' cannot know such Peace, in fact I'd say simplicity of mind is a requisite, it's just out-of-step with the contemporary zeitgeist.
     
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  10. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Yes. Precisely. This author is picking certain passages, ignoring others, in order to make his point. Or at least so it seems to me.

    Which is the argument I reject. As long as your intentions are to do good when you do good - that is God enough. The suggestion that has been made that unless one does good with God in mind, the good is a merely mortal action. One has to do good while thinking 'I do this good in the name of God' in order for it to have meaning for your immortal soul.

    I never would have guessed this! :D Specially as the best selling book of all time is - uh - the Bible.
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    That's what the Bible says to me, and most philosophies would agree. and for the sake of others' sensibilities: That's what most philosophies say to me, and the Bible would agree.



    Quite. I think the author misses a significant point of the meaning of religion, is that it is the path to a dialogue with It/the Divine/the Cosmos here and now, in which doing good for its own sake is a pre-requisite and a given.

    So the good man does good, and his reward is in the hereafter. The man who does good with God in mind does so as a means of realising God in the world. It's a different order of endeavour.

    When St Paul preached to the Athenians on the Areopagus (Acts 17) he said "For passing by, and seeing your idols, I found an altar also, on which was written: To the unknown God. What therefore you worship, without knowing it, that I preach to you" (v23). He was not condemning them for idolatry, rather he was saying they were reaching in the dark, as it were, for the light, and he applauded that.

    Jesus used the metaphor of light and darkness to explain this, and St John's Gospel is an extended commentary on it. Light and dark play a big part of the Johannine literature/Johannine spirituality, and was for a long time assumed to be gnostic, and then Essene, but really it's quite distinct in its determination. It's set out more explicitly in the Johannine letters, which were most probably not written by John, but written by his school at Ephesus.

    It's a difficult topic to broach, because it's human nature to see one way as better than the other, when in reality both have their place.

    The good man who does good for good's sake is never condemned by Christ, rather his 'blind faith' is exalted. Just look at the Beatitudes. Who there is a guru, a spiritual master, a mystic? The poor in spirit, they who mourn, the meek, they who hunger and thirst, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness ... they are the 'little people' of God.

    This way is harder in the sense that he does good because his heart tells him it's the right thing to do, whereas the man who, schooled in the Gospels (for example), might well do good because he finds it a necessary obligation, rather than a heartfelt desire.

    It's the God Paradox. If God reveals Himself unequivocally, then man has lost his freedom. He would have no option but to do the right thing (he would be mad to do otherwise) and there is no virtue in his actions, they are determined by necessity. As long as God remains behind the veil, then man is free and there is every opportunity for his nobility and virtue to shine forth.

    :eek: OMG! What have I said? 'Hoist with his own petard'!
     
  12. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    I replied to one of your posts in July related to this topic in a new thread! Yayyyyy!

    See the thread called Absolute Faith.
     
  13. Courage

    Courage Member

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    Theoretically, if you are good enough you should be able to pass the final judgment by God's Law. The Bible however warns or rather predicts that few to none can pass it this way.
     

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