soteriology

Why doesnt God reveal himself so clearly that there are only two choices, instead of hundreds?

why doesnt god clearly reveal himselfWhy would God not reveal himself so clearly that the only possible choices would be to:

(a) reject him, having accurate knowledge of who he is

(b) accept him, having accurate knowledge of who he is

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1. Instead of knowingly choosing A or B, people have a more difficult choice, including dozens of different options in their own religion, some of which are claimed to damn one to hell (Trinity, Unitarian, Pentecostal, Catholic, Prosperity, Free Grace, Pelagianism, and hundreds of other views or “heresies,” etc etc).

2. Instead of knowingly choosing A or B, people have a more difficult choice, including hundreds of religions that are active today, each with dozens of interpretations, each filled with millions who sincerely believe they picked the right God.

3. Instead of knowingly choosing A or B, people are in ignorance and choose from thousands of options depending on their historical era, in many cases, the full truth being unavailable to those who lived before the time of the full truth. (i.e., Islam and Christianity only began after thousands of generations of people died).

1, 2, 3 could easily be averted if God simply revealed himself more clearly, and people could still have free will to chose A or B. So why did God not actualize such a system?

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There are competing soteriological theories in the gospels

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There have always been competing Christian groups that emphasized works vs faith. As it turns out this debate may be as old as the Bible itself.

Not only does Paul and James appear to be on two very different sides of this debate, but the four Gospels seem to take very different stances.

It’s possible that this is not a contradiction, that “both are true” and there does exist various theological explanations that zip them up together. However, it’s certainly fascinating that both groups of texts focused *solely* on one side of the equation, and fully ignored the other.

See this for more info.

Why is blind faith in an invisible God the means of salvation from eternal torture?

Why is blind faith in the existence of a hidden God, the saving factor that frees one from eternal torture in hell?

Why not require something that better reflects character, like obedience, respect, worship, friendship, or a trusting relationship with a God we can all see, rather than blind faith in an invisible being out of hundreds of also-invisible options?

As we think about this difficult question, keep in mind the common answers are rather dull:

  • Objection 1 – “This is the best way to test our heart” – Billions of people don’t believe in the right God *because* of where they were born. If God so obviously revealed himself that 100% of people agreed on his identity and on what he wanted, they could be judged based on (a) being obedient, (b) being friends with, (c) or being reverent to God. All these are better judges of character than blind faith in the invisible, for there are many kind people that have passionate faith in the wrong gods by error, if they knew the right God, they would worship him as passionately.
  • Objection 2 – “If God revealed himself clearly this would ruin our free will” – Demons purportedly know that God exists, yet still reject him, so knowing that God exists is clearly not an issue that prevents free will. The devil knows God exists, yet still gets to choose to be evil. In addition, in the ancient writings of every religions their gods all perform clear and visible miracles, like bringing down miraculous fire from the sky, to prove they are the real. Why did this change?
  • Objection 3 – “Faith is not believing that God exist, but trusting him as a person” – Most people confuse “propositional faith” with “relational faith.” The former, faith in a particular idea without good evidence is a test of gullibility, not trust in a person. If God first revealed himself very clearly, and then asked people to *trust* him as a person, this would be “relational faith.” A wife who trusts her husband has “relational faith” in him, but she already clearly knows that he exists, however, a woman who believes that she has a husband, but has never seen him because he is invisible, is showing her gullibility, not her trust. So why is gullibility more important than trust?
  • Objection 4 – “Blessed are those who believe and have not seen” – 
    Well, why is that true? Simply asserting it doesn’t make it so. (Besides, lets be honest, who thinks they are *more* blessed than the apostles because they haven’t seen Jesus?) Also, if such people are more blessed, why can’t the “less blessed” at least be given a Thomas the Doubter experience where to see God in the flesh. They may be less blessed, but at least be saved from eternal torture in hell.

Why does God allow mental illness, doesn’t mental state affect our ability to choose obedience or faith?

Why is there mental illness (according to various theologies)?

According to traditional Christian/Jewish/Islamic belief we are placed on this earth to have a chance to accept/reject God (or to be tested if we will obey/disobey God’s laws). It’s postulated that our testing is the best explanation for our existence, our world, free will, moral laws, suffering, the universe, and every other part of the human condition. It’s all so we could accept/reject God.

Yet, there are millions of people who are born with cognitive impairments and are not at all capable of making these kinds of spiritual/moral choices. They don’t have the same mental capacity that you or I have to make moral choices.

Why would God ordain/allow the birth of so many people with such cognitive deficiencies?

Why are children born as sinners who instantly deserve death and torture?

When defending the genocides of the Old Testament, the most common approach is to say that the children/infants who were killed were born sinners, and therefore deserved death, and in fact we all share that condemnation, thus we should be glad God is not killing or torturing us this very second.

But why?

Why is every child that is born already sinful, apart from doing anything?

Why are all people sinful?

Who made them that way?

Where does that sinfulness come from?

Is it fair for children to be born with guilt for something they may not want?

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Why is Gods ultimate goal merely the seeking of self worship?

Recently Victoria Osteen brought on intense criticism for saying “when you worship God, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy.”

Thousands of evangelical leaders and bloggers immediately responded saying it was sad, humanistic, and in error because worship is all about God.

But why?

  • Why does (our version of) God even desire to be worshiped in the first place?
  • Why should that be his ultimate goal and purpose?
  • Why should that be so important that God would rather force people to burn in hell forever than allow them to avoid worshiping him?

Since the Bible often gives us parables of God being a father (Luke 11;11-14), imagine, what kind of human father would torture and burn his children (or anyone at all) for not respecting him?

Why didn’t God give the perfect law of love from the very beginning?

Why would God give the Old Testament Law with its harsh and nonsensical rules that allowed slavery, mysogeny, violence, bloody ritual and more? Why not give the perfect law of love from the very beginning? Why make such a drastic change later on?

If the main point was to speak to a culture in it’s own language, doesn’t that mean God accommodated his law based on human culture?

Instead of saying “slavery is wrong, no matter what” he caved in and allowed slavery because “humans were going to do it anyway.” That is like God allowing homosexuality, because that is the language of our culture.

If the main point was to show the terrible consequences for sin, how is it helpful to show the tragic effect of one behavior by encouraging many more brutal and violent behaviors? How is it helpful to give allowance for men to marry their kidnapped victim to show that sin is bad?