Why would God test His children?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by lunamoth, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Don't worry friends, I am not losing my faith, but a question asked elsewhere prompts me think about this question.

    Especially for the "big three" Abrahamic religions, but also for Baha'i and the eastern religions, why would God not make it very clear and easy for followers of a previous revelation to 'see and hear' the connection to the more recent revelation??

    Sure, we are blinded by our egos and ambitions, and pride, yet there are very clear discrepencies between the scriptures and religions. Someone else asked, why would the Quran not confirm the death and resurrection of Christ when that is the heart of Christianity? Why does the Baha'i Faith propose yet a third interpretation of Christ's mission and resurrection? Why would Christ not come in power the first time, as the Hebrews expected? The Baha'i Faith explains it that only the 'social laws,' like divorce or observing Sabbath change, while the metaphysical and deeper truths (like the golden rule) stay the same. But this is not the case. Some religions are based upon practice, others on orthodoxy (beliefs), some think heaven, or one's station in the next life, is earned by good works and developing virtue, while others think it is achieved by grace. Some think God is unknowable, others that we can have a personal relationship with God, others that there is no God. Some religons do not view an afterlife at all, or the afterlife is significantly different than other views. Why would God/the More always manifest in clouds of (mis)understanding?

    All of these people earnestly seeking God and/or enlightenment: why would we be set up to mostly get it wrong?

    It cant' be. God must be breaking through in different ways for different people. My own conclusion, today anyway, is that while God has manifested Himself to us in various ways, He has always allowed us to experience this manifestation for ourselves, individually. Scripture is God-inspired and a record left to point us toward God, but it is not as if God wrote it once and once only. If you explain why you love your spouse today, will you use the same words tomorrow? (Today you love him because he helped give the kids their baths, tomorrow you love him even though he never puts the toilet seat down.) Yes, it is True, and if there can't be mutally exclusive Truths, then these must be complimentary truths, given to us in different ways because God is gracious and merciful--not because He wants to leave some people out of His light and love (yes, this has my Christian/Abrahmic faith bias, yet Hinduism and Buddhism seem also to allow for other 'spiritual refuges' (thank you Vaj for the term). The Holy Spirit speaks through the prophets, yet we don't all hear the Words in the same way. We are left to struggle and learn, and choose to love. I think it must be the choosing to love, choosing social justice, and choosing the 'skillful way' that it is all about.

    If I judge others for "missing the boat" am I missing the boat myself?

    I'm not looking for a "my religion explains it better than your religion thread." But, do you think this really is a test by God to single out the pure in heart, or do you think it is a necessary thing so that we may each come to God or grow spiritually by our own choice or is it some other reason altogether?

    pondering,
    lunamoth
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2006
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I think this is clearly the case. And that our understanding is collectively slowly growing.

    The fact that there exist comparative religion discussions, that pluralistic concepts exist, that more and more people are accepting and tolerant of others beliefs.

    Why wouldn't G-d test his children? Aren't all scriptures in all religions full of them? Did we think we were born in some special time? Doesn't steel, and gold and silver become stronger or more pure by testing?

    Look at what we can build today between smaller computers and taller buildings....years and years of testing, of trial and error...culmination of thousands of years of engineering....we are all works in progress....all here to learn.
     
  3. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    they are valid questions Luna.

    i think it comes down to, I accept this part but i reject that part. it is impossible to connect them all because it either happened this way or it happened that way. religions are different because they contradict each other, rather than compliment each other. it appears in some places they complement each other & this is where i see the straight path intersecting with the crooked path & that is where options & choices are given & choices are made.

    does truth contradict itself?

    i dont think God sets us up to get it wrong. we set ourselves up to get it right or get it wrong. God does not leave us out of His light either, rather we choose to be children of light or children of darkness.

    who are we following? who do we choose to follow? who is your leader, who is your founder? & what does your founder & leader say is best for you?
    can we serve two masters who are teaching different things?

    do not some blind follow the blind & they all fall into the ditch?
    what fellowship does righteousness have with unrighteousness?
    is all 'enlightment' the truth?
    is it possible to believe a lie & believe it is the truth?
     
  4. didymus

    didymus New Member

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    I think what we are witnessing is an evolution in faith. Every belief and every concept pertaining to God over time and now is valid. We are merging in this day and age, there will be an awakening and conglomeration of faiths and beliefs that will be stronger and more inclusive than ever before. We discovered that the world wasn't flat and there was an uproar, we discoverd that the solar system doesn't revolve around the earth. I think we are at a turning point in human history. The signs are so clear. Everything done today is done before the world's eyes, evryone is being held accountable. Islam vs Christianity, Judaism vs Islam. We're able to question thing collectively and are moving closer and closer to collective consciousness on a global scale. We have the Buddhist passively sitting on the sidelines waitng for humanity to open its eyes. God isn't testing us, we are finding God. A friend of mine once said that he played hide and seek with his son. He would always let a part of himself be seen by his son so that his search wouldn't be too hard for him. So he would leave a part of his foot or arm etc exposed hoping that his son would see him. God has His foot out right now and more and more will be revealed. I don't believe we are capable of seeing him in its entirety yet, not in the physical realm. We will see him when we return to pure spirit. I feel God is anxiously waiting for us , saying, " you're almost there, lift up that rock, search over there, look within and you will find me. I love you".
     
  5. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    every belief & every concept? i must be missing something.
    God must be a lunatic & the author of confusion.

    I exist, I dont exist.
    My Son shed blood for a purpose, my Son was simply murdered.
    the messiah has come, the messiah has not come, there is no such thing as a messiah.
    Christ was crucified, Christ was not crucified.
    The cross is real the cross is foolishness.
    everything is real, everything is an illusion.
    There is One God who should be loved, there are many gods to be loved, there is no God to love.

    All those concepts are coming from God?
     
  6. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    I'm the luna-tic for starting this thread.

    These are distinct religions. I would say that they can't be merged, but we can learn to co-exist.

    peac,
    lunamoth
     
  7. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    i dont think you are a lunatic at all & i am just as honest & sincere about the questions as you are. i pop the same things around in my head that you have many times.

    i guess i can only say it is valid within that religion or belief system, but merging them would require some head chopping. i TOTALLY agree, they are distinct but we most certainly can co exist & love each other:)
    maybe that is part of the test.
     
  8. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    You have children...So do I. Why do we push them to succeed? Why do we harp on their grades? Why are we there at their recitals, football games, swim meets, and wrestling matches, highschool and boot camp graduations?

    What makes us think God the Father is not the same way?

    We are made in God's image, and it is about time we figure that out...:rolleyes:

    v/r

    Q
     
  9. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Brilliant! :) (picture lunamoth with a lightbulb over her head)
     
  10. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Hi Luna,

    Great thread!

    I don't have time at the moment to respond, but i'll mull it over and come back tomorrow and post a few thoughts.

    Have a great day!

    Loving Greetings, Amy
     
  11. didymus

    didymus New Member

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    Bandit, I don't think those concepts come from God, IMO, they come from man.
     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    ... why would God not make it very clear and easy for followers of a previous revelation to 'see and hear' the connection to the more recent revelation??

    'There are none more blind than those who will not see', as the saying goes.

    A simplistic answer might be 'it's in the nature of the beast' or 'it's because of the Fall' ...

    ... but basically it's because we put ourselves first ...

    Because it is very clear and very simple if we take it on board that "not my will but thine be done" (Luke 22:42) is an absolute, it is not negotiable nor is it possible to render it to some mode of relativity by which we justify ourselves by including what we want within God's will, or perhaps more accurately how.

    Just before this, Christ says "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me" ... the intoxication of the world and the flesh? ... St Augustine expressed the human condition exactly:

    da mihi castitatem et continentam, sed noli modo
    "Oh, Master, make me chaste and celibate – but not yet!"
    Confessions, 8,7
    (Chaste and celibate applies not only in the physical but mental and spiritual domains. It's to do with fidelity and integrity with regard to the truth.)

    Thomas
     
  13. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Yes Thomas, but adherants of each religion sincerely believe that they are the ones with ears to hear and eyes to see, who have put aside their pride and turned to God's will. There is some apparent choosing of our own, even if it is the work of the Spirit that prompts us.

    I'm currently reading a little book about Augustine. It's called Augustine for Armchair Theologians :) . I want to read Confessions and City of God but I need something lighter to pique my interest first. I relate to his experience with Manicheism and subsequent conversion. His emphasis on sin is kind of heavy, but I think his ideas about original sin are often misunderstoon.

    cheers,
    lunamoth
     
  14. enton

    enton www.theoldpath.tv

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    REASONS WHY GOD TESTS HIS CHILDREN

    Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

    Deuteronomy 13:3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

    Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
     
  15. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant New Member

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    I dont think the majority of this board wants to hear my belief on this subject.. so Im not going to post it.

    When I first opened this thread I thought it was going to ask why God gives us trials and tribulations in which I had an answer for...

    I believe God sets us up to fail at certain times because thats all we can do in trying to reach Him through our own means. He also makes it glaringly apparent to us. Its humbling. It builds character and allows us to grow spiritually.. our bodies may age but our spirits are young and as all children do.. they make mistakes and learn from them and grow because of them.

    We are dealing with a God thats eternal.. our souls are meant to be eternal but they are babies to Him. Its awesome when you think about it. I look at my 3 and 14 yo and how easy it is for them to make mistakes and how badly I dont want them to make the same mistakes I did.. but its futile because they probably will.. I think thats how God must feel. He wants us to listen to Him and not make the mistakes that comes with growth.. He must also know its futile and He has to let us grow whether its towards Him or away from Him.

    FS
     
  16. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Hi Faithfulservant,

    I don't know, I think part of what prompted this question was the fact that I have a very hard time with the idea that God would deliberately test us, test us harder than we can bare (IOW, that we could 'fail' even though we love God and desire reunion with God), or test us if we have not asked Him for a spiritual test (I know some people do this to strenghten theri faith; I would not dare!).

    I think the tests come from ourselves, and from the disharmony of living in a fallen, dualistic world.

    peace, and I hope you will continue to contribute to this thread and others,
    lunamoth
     
  17. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    One thing I have learned over the years, and earnestly believe to be true:

    We are never given more - than we can handle. :)

    Love & Light,

    andrew
     
  18. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant New Member

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    James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

    Romans 5:3-4 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

    I understand where you are coming from. Dont lose hope :)
     
  19. didymus

    didymus New Member

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    Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.
     
  20. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    tests encourage us to use our spiritual eyes. to look beyond the immediate physical ramifications. they teach us to rise above the chaos and learn from the experience. if there were no tests, would we grow? i'm not so sure. it seems to me that in order to appreciate the good, we must have something to compare it to.

    imho human beings have 2 natures, the lower animal nature, and the higher spiritual nature. i believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience. In human form we are susceptible to falling prey to the things of the flesh, and can easily forget we are spiritual beings first. From an early age we are bombarded by intense material stimulation from all sides, but i believe we all have this spiritual longing within us, it's always there, tests serve as an impetus to explore and develop that part of ourselves, if we choose.

    most of you are probably familiar with the Baha'i teaching that this earthly world is a 'school' for our souls. Just as in the womb we are developing the physical attributes we will need to survive in this earthly plane of existence, so too is this world the womb for the next. Baha'i's believe that we are here to develop the spiritual attributes we will need when we leave this world.

    one spiritual attribute that comes to mind is that of detachment, all scriptures teach the importance of detachment. In this world of attachment to people, places and things, it can be a difficult concept to grasp. but through tests, we realize that material things are not important, we learn the value of detachment. and i'm just musing as we speak, but if we learn detachment while on earth, perhaps our souls will have an easier transition if we are not so attached to the things of this world when we die.

    tests are therefore a blessing in that they remind us what is really important. our eternal spiritual selves.

    also, in times of trouble, we turn to God and ask for help, and how often in those times, does a feeling of calm wash over you. this is not to say that God needs us and is a power hungry God and wants us to grovel at His feet, but rather that life is so much simpler if we could always remember to ask for guidance and assistance even during times of good things, in my own humble experience it seems that that is all that's required 'ask and ye shall receive', we must reach out and whatever we truly need miraculously manifests itself in our lives. (as opposed to what we think we need).

    it seems to me that we often view these things and relate them to a God that is vengeful, but i am beginning to realize that that is not the case. these things are done out of love for us, for our own progress and growth. but since we have free-will, we are free to take the advice in the scriptures and take it to heart or ignore it. the choice is always ours.

    (hey, look at that, not one single quote. not that i wasn't tempted. lol!)

    Have a great day!

    Loving Greetings, Amy
     

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