What would God say?

I have a quick question for the Bookwormroom readers.  Do you believe in the Judeo-Christian God?  If you do, what do you think He thinks about the holy war declared on His people by the Islamist extremists and His people’s reactions to it?  I am not a believer, but I have this picture in my head of God looking down from heaven, watching His people demonstrate they have no stomach for a protracted war and saying to Himself, “why are my followers such wimps?” 

Or maybe I miss the point, and this is all a part of God’s plan.  Anyway, what do you folks think the real story is?

Update:  Lulu asked me to clarify the question and she’s right.  I should.  I started with the assumption, perhaps incorrect, that Jews & Christians believe that there is a Judeo-Christian God and that, in a battle between Jews & Christian on the one hand and Islamists on the other, He’d want the Jews & Christians to win.   And that He’d be quite upset, or at least sad, that they give every appearance of not being up to a long and difficult struggle. 

Perhaps this stems from my upbringing.  I was raised in maintream protestantism with a very personal, not tribal, view of God.  I was taught that if I do right I will go to heaven and if I do wrong I will go to hell.  I was further taught that God rejoices for every saved soul and mourns for every lost soul.  How much more, then, would He mourn the loss of all, or a large portion, of the Jews and Christians that worship Him.   I was also taught that Jews and Christians share the same God (the Jews are just wrong about Christ) but that other religions, including Islam, worship false Gods.  This view is probably less popular today; it seems that most people now believe that we all worship the same God in different ways.   

Anyway, the Islamists have declared a Holy War.  In nearly all wars in the past, both sides have believed that God is on their side (the comments on the Nazis in this thread illustrate the point nicely).  The Islamists clearly believe that God is on their side.  But I hear very little about what role the Jews and Christians believe their God has in this fight.  So, what do you think?  I’ve learned from the comments so far and would very much like the discussion to continue.  I’d especially like to hear from those of you who believe deeply in God and have a strong belief in what His role is in the affairs of mankind.

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Comments

  1. Lulu says

    I’m not sure I fully understand your question. By “His people” do you refer to Radical Islam’s war against the Jews, or their war against all they declare to be infidels?

    Crimes committed in the name of God , as Radical Islamists do, are far graver sins than crimes committed in one’s own name only. Because by committing evil in God’s name, they soil the name of God.

    The ten commandments specifically state to not commit murder,”Thou shalt not murder” (not “kill”- this is a watered down translation of the original which makes a distinction between killing and murdering). Every suicide bombing, beheading, or other sickening atrocity reflects an opposite view of this basic principle.

  2. says

    The Islamic tradition no longer worships Moses, Jesus, etc. Mohammed is their man and their God.

    Moses and his clan of folks were killing loads of folks. It would be really really hard to tell them not to kill folks, given that anyone else would have indeed wiped them out as they traveled the lands. HIs people were probably desperate, running low on supplies, and constantly on the run in not exactly friendly territory.

    Could have been loads of murders and what not going on inside the clan, due to the frustration. Moses probably put a stop to that. Or maybe he problems with captives dying on him.

    I definitely don’t believe in the Judeo-Christian God. For exactly the reason that they continue to portray him as a sort of father figure. I tend to think he is a bit more alien and distanced a figure than that.

    Far as I’ve observed, Christians place prime importance on the 10 Commandments as a judge of behavior and morality. Jews place their faith in the Talmud and various other traditions. The Muslims place their faith in Mohammed’s jihad and the K book. That just seems to be the primary inspiration for these various factions. Every Christian will speak about the 1st Commandment. Every Muslim speaks about the Koran and what Mohammed said was the right thing to do is the right thing to do.

    Christianity replaces Mohammed with Jesus, a far more moderate and reasonable kind of guy.

    The Jews don’t seem to worship Jesus or mention him (much) in that vein however, though I don’t hear them mention much of anything. Jewish morality seems pretty informal, almost like the Amish or the Quakers.

    The real story is pretty similar to Off Armageddon Reef. Which is a nice book to read if you’re interested in how to use religions to start wars.

    Humanity has a lot of improving, evolving, and blowing stuff up before we get to the point where God is closer to us.

  3. says

    I am not a believer, but I have this picture in my head of God looking down from heaven, watching his people demonstrate they have no stomach for a protracted war and saying to himself, “why are my followers such wimps?”

    If you believe that God is like that or would say something like that, then you are a believer, Don. For the idea of a personal god interested in human affairs is the core of Judeo-Christian’s view on God.

    A lot of people don’t seem to believe in God, but they believe in Christianity’s portrayal of God. Which seems a rather interesting study on sociological and hierarchical conditions and influences.

  4. T.S. says

    I watched a fascinating documentary on the war in Iraq last night, from soldiers’ perspectives,and have a hard time believing that God’s hand is in any of this, unless, of course, the End Times faithful are 100% correct and we’re facing the “Bye-Bye Israel, Hello Jesus” years.

    Which reminds me….Didn’t Nazis wear “God is With Us” on their belt buckles?

  5. greg says

    The tribal Israelites were an aggressive bunch, but they had a special covenant with God, so we’re on pretty thin ice if we use their behavior as model for ours. Jesus Himself treated adversaries with a mixture of compassion and pragmatism, except when He encountered those whose actions blasphemed God. For them, He cut no slack. Which boils down to interpretations of God’s will that include Lulu’s spiritually immaturity (yet sterling adherence to conservative dogma).

  6. JJ says

    Probably a fight he should stay out of, since all sides claim to be his special pets.

    The Old Testament, hard-assed version would likely side with Islam. They haven’t evolved enough to soften the revelation, they just go with it. The god of Abraham would have been pleased.

    However. Two thousand years of silence, in the face of however many hundreds of billions, maybe trillions, of prayers, (none of them answered any more than were those sent up by the dinosaurs); means that his right to say very much of anything and be taken seriously has been comprehensively abrogated.

  7. Art says

    From an observant but not Orthodox Jew:
    > Do you believe in the Judeo-Christian God?
    Nope. I believe in the Creator God who started the Big Bang to see how it will turn out.

    > what do you think he thinks about the holy war
    He doesn’t. We’re a tiny ball of mud circling a third-rate star on the outskirts of a middle-sized galaxy. We’re just not that important.

  8. zhombre says

    “Didn’t Nazis wear “God is With Us” on their belt buckles?”

    I read many years ago that Hemingway, while roaming Europe as a free lance journo during WWII, wore a Gott Mit Uns belt buckle liberated from a dead German, who had no further need for the ornament. Whether this was standard issue in Wehrmacht, I don’t know.

    As for answering DQ’s question, I don’t presume to second guess the Deity, but I suspect God hates cowards.

  9. Trimegistus says

    I’m an atheist, but a long time ago I decided that a civilization based on Christian principles is not a bad place for an atheist to be. A lot of our ideas about secular government come from Christianity — Christ’s words “render under Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, render unto God the things which are God’s” are the basis for the idea of separation of Church and State. I know of no other society in which Church and State were separated; even the Roman emperors were also Pontifex Maximus.

    When I see the West under attack by Islam from without, and by self-loathing “post-Christians” from within, I am, frankly, terrified. I don’t want my daughter to grow up in an Islamized society. I don’t want my son to have to fight in a world war against an Islamized Europe and a nuclear-armed Iran.

    Right now, America and the West are powerful. We could defeat our enemies without even breathing hard. But if we wait and squander the opportunity, our enemies will grow much stronger, the outcome will be uncertain, and the death toll incomprehensible. Yet that is precisely what the liberals in America and Europe are bringing about.

    By paralyzing us and dividing us they are making certain that the war (which is coming) will not be quick and merciful, but long, savage, and horrifying. We will either wind up committing genocide or experiencing it, when now we could destroy the Iranian regime and destroy international Islamic terrorism with minimal loss of life.

  10. Deana says

    Trimegistus -

    Well said.

    As a Lutheran, I believe in the Judeo-Christian God. I really do not know what He thinks. But I do know that from a strictly human perspective, I do not want to live in a society that was not developed and is currently sustained by Judeo-Christians.

    This does not mean that I am not interested and or do not appreciate other cultures – far from it. But I can’t help but notice that so many people from these cultures go to great lengths to come to our shores. Or adopt our ways. They must know something that folks on the left here don’t.

    What happens if we don’t fight for what we have? That terrifies me. And I mean that. Because history does not appear to be on the side of those who wait until problems get bigger.

    Deana

  11. pacificus says

    Don,

    We live in the “now but the not yet”; that is, much as in geologic time we are in between ice ages, in redemptive history we are between revelations, the first appearance of Jesus, and the Second Coming. All those who believe in Christ must take all that appears in human history as some how a part of the routing of evil. It appears that evil must be allowed to run its course for a time–actually, until the time when every person who will come to faith has in fact done so. Then Christ opens a can of whupass and evil and death are done away with.

    Those who accepted in time the salvific sacrificial grace of Christ are kept from the judgemment their evil deeds deserved; all others will face the judgement full force and will die the everlasting death. Sound like a fantasy game or movie? You are betting your (eternal) life on your answer.

  12. rockdalian says

    “For God so loved the world that He gave His own begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have ever lasting life” (John 3:16)

    “Jesus said to him,’I am the way, the truth, and the life.No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (John 14:6)

    These verses show that the only way to heaven is through Jesus and cannot be done through deeds.

    The Bible is replete with verses that say God is our Father and that we are as children.

    Islam treats Jesus as a prophet only.

    Ditto the Jewish faith.

    Without the Bible there would be no objective standards prohibiting certain behaviors.

    The purpose of Prayer is to have a conversation with God. The Bible says that He listens to us and does answer Prayers.

    God does indeed know what happens in His world. The Bible says that He knows you before you are born.

    As far as God participating in the world, I believe He does through people. The founding of this nation had divine guidance. The Constitution is a brilliant piece of work.

    We do not always receive what we want but we will always receive what we need.

  13. says

    It’s an interesting subject to speculate on, as long as we remember that this is all we can do. My own speculation would be that God takes the long view. He knows how our struggles will work out, or not, but what we cannot know is how our struggles fit into carrying out His plans, and how long those plans will take to work themselves out, in ways that we may not even be able to imagine.

    I think that we have to show ourselves worthy: not necessarily of salvation — that’s a different question, and a problem that each of us must work out on his own. But the question of whether western society survives is another matter. Whether it makes it is up to us, and God will involve himself to the degree our civilization’s survival figures in His plan. The west may lose its struggle with Islam; it may prevail; or it may prevail and lose itself in materialism…and so on. Meanwhile, we all have our own parts in the story and our own salvations to work out.

  14. Lulu says

    Hi Y, I am kind of puzzled by your Comparitive Religions comments. It’s kind of naive to assert that Christians place more importance on the 10 Commandmants than Jews. after all, the 10 Commandmants appear in the Old Testament (otherwise known as the Torah), which is THE numero uno Jewish Holy book. So, those are a fundamental guide for Jews to live by, though they have a lot more rules than those 10- the book is known as “the written law”.

    The Talmud was written later. It is a compilation of analyses of Torah teachings by learned scholars. Theoretically it creates a “fence around the Torah” to teach ethical behavior and religious practice.

    I have no idea what you mean by Jewish, Amish, or Quaker morality being “informal”. Non-religious people, whatever the faith, may have informal morality, or at least not clearly defined, often simply based on feelings or societal mores. Orthodox or religious Jews, just like devout people of any faith, do not have informal morality at all- quite the opposite. I have spent time with the Amish and with religious Jews. They are both scrupulously conscious of behaving in accordance with their faith and what they believe are God’s instructions for them, including the 10 Commandmants.There are some good introductory books to Jewish beliefs that may resolve some confusions for you. One old classic is “Basic Judaism”.

    Incidentally, the 1st Commandmant is “I am the Lord, your God”. God establishes authority first, or the other 9 wouldn’t even be listened to. And not to be nit-picky, but the Moslems replaced Jesus with Mohammed, not the other way around. Christianity is a much older faith than Islam.

    Theologically, I believe that God gave humanity free will, and with it the ability to choose to do good or evil. now we face an enemy which chooses to commit evil acts in a bizarro belief that this sanctifies God. A just and moral God would not want people to do nothing and allow this evil ideology to engulf the earth.

  15. Al says

    I believe in God.
    I believe that God is on man’s side in this conflict as He is in all conflicts.
    I believe that the uncountable prayers that have been thought, or whispered, or cried, or shouted out since Abraham have in some part been answered by the creation of a nation which allows all religions and peoples to exist together in peace. And that nation is still (probably always will be) a work in progress.
    God has given us free will to make our own choices, and a universe to explore. We grow as we explore. What at one time seemed to be a truth set in stone by the deity later on becomes immaterial because we have developed a broader perspective. The need to circumcise was just one such belief.
    The need to confront and terminate the Islamofacists is a no-brainer. In my view, one of the effects of this conflict will be to force the libs to wake up, realize what we have, and develop a more responsible perspective about man and society. Maybe they will come out of their adolescent myopia and become responsible adults. But, then, that’s probably just wishful thinking.
    Al

  16. says

    It’s kind of naive to assert that Christians place more importance on the 10 Commandmants than Jews. after all, the 10 Commandmants appear in the Old Testament (otherwise known as the Torah), which is THE numero uno Jewish Holy book.

    My observation is that Christians talk about the Commandments all the time concerning morality and standards. I can not remember any Jews, orthodox or otherwise, talking about the 10 Cs in this manner. They may, but I don’t think the individual does it often or in public, not compared to Christians.

    The reasons are unclear, they just do. I could probably benefit from Book’s experiences with Jews here or in Israel, whether they talk about the 10Cs and how much importance they place upon it as a guide for their lives.

    I have no idea what you mean by Jewish, Amish, or Quaker morality being “informal”.

    Informal in the sense that they are not informed by the same standards that Christians or Muslims operate under. Perhaps precisely because of the Talmud or fence as you term it. The Talmud changes even the 10Cs through interpretation and theology.

    Christianity is a much older faith than Islam.

    I don’t think anyone replaced anything, except for Islam replacing Zoroastrianism, since Islam just chose Mohammed over Christ. He suited them more I suppose.

    A just and moral God would not want people to do nothing and allow this evil ideology to engulf the earth.

    The very act of free will allows the possibility for an evil ideology to engulf the earth. It is sort of like quantum probabilities, which path of probability is the “right” one? If a particle exists can potentially exist in two states, which state should exist when the particle is observed and the wave function collapses?

    It is true that you needed evil in order to produce good, simply because only the possibility of evil existing allows for the possibility of good to exist. The question then becomes, why does God favor one result over the other, why wouldn’t God just want to see what results of free will, what comes to be of the creation?

  17. says

    There did not seem to be many Jews or Christians commenting, so I figured I’d take a stab at your question. I hope you will excuse the length.

    First, my qualifications to comment:

    I was born into a Christian family and culture, and today I believe in God as I am personally (and imperfectly) able to understand Him, following a prolonged period of youthful atheism, years of both pleasant and hard learning experiences, and ongoing study of human nature, philosophy, history, psychology, religions and the Bible and its context. I cherish my Judeo-Christian heritage more the older I get and the more I learn. My former atheism seems to me now to have been a youthful backwater based on very incomplete and immaturely limited understanding. Now I can accept there are things beyond my understanding that are nevertheless important to deal with as best I can; religion provides a rudimentary vocabulary into that realm.

    I have learned that being humble does not necessarily mean being humiliated, and I have consented to shift myself out of the center of my universe. Thanks to people I have met and things I have learned, my personal concept of God as I understand him is now quite different than the capricious Santa/Father figure surrounded by unpleasant acolytes and unintelligible mumbo-jumbo which many visualize as a child. As a thinking, adult Christian, I follow the teachings of Jesus and am free and able to have a personal concept of and relationship with God.

    I understand this freedom and personal view of God is very different from the Muslim faith, unless I am mistaken.

    I do not presume to push my faith on other people who have been predisposed not to see the positives in it that I do.
    Jesus is my model: he merely talked with people; he brought good news and comfort to people who needed and wanted it and took it, and he moved on from those who didn’t. Each individual has free will to make faith choices and use their God-given brains, in the Christian religion as I understand it.

    Not so in Islam, unless I am mistaken.

    Despite lots of current talk about the scary theocracy and the frightening “Religious Right” in America, it seems to me that believing in God as Jesus taught us to do, and ordering one’s life around that, results in a net positive for oneself, one’s family, one’s community, one’s nation, and the world. It brings life lived abundantly. And yes, I am not discounting all the bad things done in the name of religion by flawed people that have gotten it wrong. All of this, in a Judeo-Christian Western culture, is worthy of continuing discussion. In fact, I believe the openness and the seeking and the discussing among equals is a legacy of Judeo-Christian values and their veneration of the individual’s worth.

    No so in Islamic cultures, unless I am mistaken.

    I lean heavily on the Protestant freedom to read the Bible and find a very personal path to the universal “way, the truth and the life” as Jesus showed and taught us. Life on this earth is not perfect, logical, simple, or kind, but I see spiritual progress in human values, over all, over history, led by the Judeo-Christian beliefs, including the Golden Rule of the Greeks that Jesus also taught.

    Now, what would God say about a holy war, you ask?

    First of all, I don’t presume to speak for God; the Bible relates what he has reportedly said and what Jesus said about Him. Anyone with a serious interest is free to study it and draw his/her own conclusions. Beyond that:

    It seems to me this nation was founded very largely and primarily on Christian values, beliefs, and inspiration; as many have recognized, this experiment in self-government depended on the Christian and Judeo-Christian morality of the populace to succeed, and it did. Many through our history believed God was furthering the success and existence of this nation against terrible odds, and prayed for exactly that. The Pilgrims and Abraham Lincoln were among them, to mention only two examples. I believe that the more people in our nation who sincerely and humbly believe this and live by it, the better off our nation will be.

    It is not so much a question of begging alms from a celestial despot, as it is recognizing our realities and limitations and humbly calling upon and tapping into a source for inspiration and good that is bigger than ourselves. You can even pose this in sheerly psychological terms if you wish. Whatever it is, it has succeeded amazingly since our nation’s founding. Among the stories of our history, miracles abound. Read -1776- by David McCullough, for just one such story.

    We have been blessed by many individual Christians (none of them perfect) who forged our nation humbly and who keenly felt their human weaknesses and limitations and appealed to divine providence for strength, guidance, mercy. They gave God credit for the glory and there was much glory and divinely inspired prosperity and success. They felt–and I think I am convinced too–that man alone operating for his own self-interest could not accomplish what was done here without divine help. It takes humble people recognizing this and God’s role to be able to tap into that powerful force for good. It will take humble people to recognize the gift they’ve been given and to cherish it and take care of it in the future.

    There are many grey areas where values and actions can be debated, but some clear ones where we know and will what to do. I don’t know if God loves the pacifist Quakers more than he loves the soldiers fighting to defend the innocent and maintain human rights, law and order and justice. I am pretty sure he forgives all those with humble and penitent hearts who seek to know him and ask for his forgiveness for their human flaws and mistakes.

    Unless I am mistaken, none of this pertains to Islam. The differences between Christian and Muslim believers are stark, and will have huge consequences even if we are unable to answer such rhetorical questions as “What would God say about a holy war?”

    I think on my very grumpiest days I do in fact consider Muslims to be infidels, blasphemers, and idolators, by the definition of old Judeo-Christian precepts. The important difference here is, my religion does not bid me to kill them or even to bother them for this, as theirs bids them to literally kill me. I am quite comfortable, living in this country of individual rights, to accept that they are free to worship and live in peace as they choose, as long as they break no laws and harm no one. I can love these neighbors as myself, and consider them also children of my God, who have yet to know Him.

    I have a hunch the Christian response to holy war in this era (like or unlike the Crusades?) would be heavy on the individual path, each one searching his/her own heart for what God’s will for him/her would be and what the right action to take should be. There will be pacifists, missionaries, Christlike martyrs, warriors, prophets, and exhorters, divinely inspired courage and human cowardice and vice. There will be an acknowledegement that each soul, each life is precious. There will be a search for justice, and a righteous anger to defend the innocent.

    I don’t think atheists and secularists will be able to tap into anything greater than themselves, which isn’t much of a force. Concerning jihad, I don’t have much faith that many of “the libs” will ever “wake up” no matter what the provocation. But Christians fighting for the love and the will of God to prevail as they understand it will be a mighty counteraction to anything a jihad of robotic, misogynistic killers angling for 72 virgins could dream up.

  18. JJ says

    Lulu – Islam has not replaced God with Mohammad; Mo is a prophet, Allah is Allah. The twain may meet but they aren’t remotely the same.

    The first commandment’s interesting too. You quoted the first phrase, but left out the second: “… thou shalt have no other gods* before me.”

    God here does something unusual: he admits that other gods are possible – something no Christian (or Muslim, or Jew*2) admits. He doesn’t illegitimize them, either: “no other gods BEFORE me” is quite different than “there aren’t any.” He’s also not claiming exclusive right for himself to lead the parade – he just says he marches in the front row and nobody else can be ahead of him.

    (* [note 1] There are numerous references in the Old Testament to other gods {the elohim}; and the sons of gods, {bene ha-elohim}, and in Genesis 11:17 when God spots the people building their tower {of Babel} he says: Go to; let US go down…” (A) who’s he talking to? (B) who’s “us?”)

    (*2 [note 2] The Old Testament did so admit. Often. One of those mentioned throughout it is Ashtoreth {or Asherah, or Elath} – she is mentioned no fewer than forty times in the Torah. Prior to the Babylonian invasion she was as important a figure as Jehovah in Hebrew culture. This is because she was Jehovah’s wife, and Baal and Anath may have been their children. 1st Samuel, 7:4 relates that in about 1060 BC: “the children of Israel did put away Baal and Ashtoreth and served the Lord only” – but not for long. The book of 1 Kings 11:5 explains that Solomon worshipped Ashtoreth and the Holy of Holies was deemed to represent the womb of the divine Mother. In Jeremiah (44:15-19) you’ll find their daughter, Baal’s sister Anath decpicted as Queen of Heaven. Lots of gods scattered through the Old Testament!)

  19. Danny Lemieux says

    Zabrina’s tome is a hard act to follow and I agree with much(most) of what she said. I respond in turn as an Anglican Christian. What are some of the stark differences between Islam and Judeo-Christianity.

    Judeo-Christianity recognizes the principle of free choice -we can choose to be good (close to God) or bad (rejecting God). To Christians, everyone is on a moral journey that we are obligated to help others travel. Islam does not and the Koran advocates that apostates be killed.

    Christianity recognizes that this time on earth is a time of trial and preparation for what is to come – we won’t gather our riches until we get to Heaven. Islam seeks heaven on Earth (Dar es Salaam) and the Koran invokes its followers to convert, destroy or enslave those that stand in the way (Dar al Harb).

    As a Christian, I am obliged to view my fellow human beings as my brothers and sisters in Christ (“Go and love others as I have loved you”), whether Jew, Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim, even if they do not accept Christ as their Savior. To Muslims, however, I am an infidel – somewhat less-than human.

    Judeo-Christians live in wonder of God’s gifts (talents)and feel obligated to use them to create and innovate in the name of the good. Islam does not – it forces individuals to bury their talents and submit to the confines of the Koran. This is one reason why Judeo-Christian society has flourished while Islamic societies have descended into dispair and decay.

    Islam claims to worship the same God as conceived by Judeo-Christians and to revere Jesus and Moses as prophets. Yet their depictions of God, Jesus and Moses defile God, Jesus and Moses as we recognize them. Islam is what Jesus warned us about in regard to false prophets.

    As to how God views this Holy War developing between (some) Muslims and non-Muslims? I believe that He probably views it the same way that He views all wars between His fallen angels – with sadness but a recognition that, without free choice, we cannot be free to make those fundamental and existential decisions that ultimately determine the state of our souls and ultimately lead us back to Him.

    This is all guesswork, of course, based upon what I know of revealed Scripture. God is far too great a concept for me to even attempt to fully comprehend. I and other mortals just have to make the best moral decisions that we can and muddle along the best way we can.

    Oh, and I hope that Islam can change and find a way to live in piece with non-Muslims. If not, we really have a problem on our hands and some very tough moral choices to make. Submission to Islam, however, will never be an option.

  20. says

    As usual, some of the most intelligent “comment-ary” on the Web is in Bookworm’s room.

    I’m a solid and firm Christian believer raised in a very multicultural environment — Dad’s overseas postings, including an Islamic country (Turkey) and a Buddhist one (Japan). Buddhism sucked in my mom and brother, but after a lot of wandering, I came back to Christianity.

    Back to Don Q’s original question, since there’s been a lot of meandering above: What do you think He thinks about the holy war declared on His people by the Islamist extremists and His people’s reactions to it? So, with the usual “we’ll never know His will” disclaimers:

    “His people” are, as far as we know, only the Jews. Christians may be His people, but if they are, He hasn’t said so in so many words. This conflict is no different from earlier conflicts between the Jews and the Egyptians, the Jews and the Babylonians, the Jews and the worshippers of Baal, so we have a pretty good biblical record of what God’s view would be: He would expect and want Jews to stand up for the faith of their fathers, for the land God promised them and gave them, and fight with holy fervor to protect Israel and Judaism from Islam.

    He would likely have been pleased with the early results of this battle, but like the Israelites in the wilderness, the Israelites of today have forgotten the miracles the Father performed, the promises he made, the faith of their fathers, and it showed in the languid, inept war of the summer of 2006. Did that make God unhappy? Probably not, because he saw it coming, right? Did it make him happy? Probably not. His mode is to let us follow our free will, get weak, have to fight, and get strong. He’s taking the long view.

    I pray often and hard about the war with Islam. It is something I see no end to, a perfect storm that will blow and blow and blow some more. God obviously doesn’t see it as we do, and we need someone to lead us who understands what God means by all this, and leads accordingly.

    Christianity has understood its Jewish roots well over the years and has risen up to defend the Holy Land and Judeo-Christian values many times in the past. Colonial America saw America as a biblical allegory: Europe was Egypt, America was the Holy Land, we were God’s new children with a weighty moral responsibility. God certainly blessed that vision of what America was, but now we have weakened with time, and so has (or will) His blessing.

    If the raise of Islamism and its declaration of jihad against us is meant by God to be our wilderness, our testing to make us strong, it is a savage wilderness and a good test. We will not prevail by multiculturalism, which God refers to as “putting other gods before Me.” We will not prevail by weakness or concession. In times like this, God asks us to prevail by thoroughly and completely whupping the butts of our opponents.

    So, if that’s the case, God’s probably not smiling about where we are at this point in time … but since He doesn’t live in time, He may be smiling anyway.

  21. Lulu says

    JJ, you are of course right about the First Commandment. It was a careless omission. Of course, at the time the Jewish Bible was written, many of the local peoples were polytheistic, hence Abraham smashing the statues of idols as he embraced monotheism.

    Re your other comment, I was responsing to Y’s statement that Christianity replaces Mohammed with Jesus.

    I do not believe that the God of Abraham would side with the Islamists in this fight. The God of Abraham gave us free will, yes, but God wants people to follow His laws- and “thou shalt not murder” is one of them, so it is inconceivable that God would side with suicide bomber murderers. Moreover, Islam is all about submission. Believers must submit to the will of Allah. This is the very opposite of free will. Ayaan Hirsi Ali views devout Moslems as slaves to their faith.

    Laer, I love your insights.

  22. says

    Re your other comment, I was responsing to Y’s statement that Christianity replaces Mohammed with Jesus.

    I didn’t mean to imply any causal link between the two. Just that Jesus occupies the same psychic niche amongst Christians as Mohammed occupies amongst Muslims, extreme or otherwise.

    so it is inconceivable that God would side with suicide bomber murderers.

    I only say that God has no reason to side with anyone. Unless it is the victors. This is due to the fact that I don’t think of God as a He or a She or even a person.

  23. says

    Islam has not replaced God with Mohammad; Mo is a prophet, Allah is Allah.

    One of the particular interesting facts is the numerous times Muslims named their children “Mohammed”. There’s a Mohammed everywhere it seems. Some of this could be culture, true, but it also raises the question of if Mohammed is just a prophet, why then does Christians not name people after the son of God, Jesus or Moses, but Muslims do.

    And if Jesus, Moses, and Mohammed are all prophets, why then the elevation of Mohammed in Islam?

  24. says

    http://wolfgangbruno.blogspot.com/2006/07/islamic-dictionary-for-infidels.html

    This site covers a comprehensive spread of some of the things Lulu said about Islam or Muslims.

    My own perspective is that when you translate words from one language to another, there will always be hidden meanings, unintended meanings, and extraneous meanings. An English word has a connotative and a denotative set of meanings. The combination of such can even produce irony in specific situations. Other words in foreign languages may have “some” of the meanings, but they also may lack others or have extraneous meanings that was never in the English word. This is why Chinese or Asian phrases tend to translate as utter crack, something like Cherry Flower Blossom that literally means “Flower Power” so to speak to a Westerner.

    So aside from that, there is also purposeful manipulation, which I think may play a large part in the Islam vs West dialogue. Sure, some words may communicate misunderstandings, but I tend to think people mistranslated it on purpose. Choosing which words you will translate “peace” to, matters.

    Anyone that knows both languages can easily pick it up, if their vocabulary is around or above the 70 percentile.

  25. JJ says

    Y – check out South and Central America, still in many places predominantly Catholic. Can’t throw a rock without hitting a Jesus.

    Mohammad was elevated because he invented it – he’s the homeboy.

    Oddly enough, returning to the first paragraph point, the West somehow or other went back to the Old Testament – I’d imagine we all know at least a couple of Davids, Sarahs, Abrahams, Isaacs, Samuels, etc. I even somehow know two guys named Moses, though one lives in Lancaster, PA and is Amish – very pure Old Testament!

    Though Josephs and Marys abound, maybe it was seen as disrespectful to actually name your kid Jesus. No idea, but it’s an excellent question.

  26. says

    Sadly, although Jewish, I regret to say that I can’t add a learned Jewish response to this incredibly thoughtful line of comments. There is one thing I do know. Although Jews are God’s Chosen People, and have a covenant with him, it doesn’t mean He is their good buddy, who’s got their six whenever they need him. The Old Testament God is a harsh task master and willingly abandons them when they abandon their obligations under the covenant. I suspect Old Testament believers would say Israel’s/the Jews’s travails now are because they wandered from the Godly path. God may not care whether they win or lose. He cares only that they follow the rules — and their being in trouble may be a result of not having done that in the first place.

  27. Danny Lemieux says

    So true, Bookworm. The Old Testament is full of stories about the bad things that happen when people turn their back on God. However, history is also full of stories of the bad things that happen when people or nations turn their backs on the Jews.

    Sure, Israel has its travails, but it remains a strong, vibrant and creative nation that has already contributed great things to humanity during its oh-so-short existence.

  28. says

    Ah, Bookie, I don’t see God being as harsh and cruel as all that. If God exists, he gave us His laws, which we do try our best to follow. But living as a human is difficult – sometimes the path is cloudy, sometimes the decisions are hard to make. I think we learn through adversity, and that learning to make the right choices and to overcome our selfish inclination (the yetzer hara) and to choose good is the point.

    I think God loves ALL His creations, Jew and gentile. We all have both selfish and good (yetzer ha tov) inclinations and what separates humans from the animal world is that we are able to discern that there is a difference between good and evil. God’s laws help us to overcome our selfish animalistic instincts.

    Man has been given 2 gifts – the gift of life and the gift of free will. God, being all powerful and all knowing, could impose His own will upon us, but He doesn’t. The only possible reason He does not that makes sense to me (not that I am capable of knowing the mind of God, but this is what I hope to be true) is because He wants us to learn to choose good and to love one another of our own free will.

    The world learns from each episode of man’s inhumanity to man. The learning comes in smaller increments than we’d like, it is not spread evenly throughout the planet, and not all of God’s creations follow His laws, to their detriment and ours.

    It is my belief that not only does God wish us to choose good, but we also must fight for it at times. When we see people who ignore or pervert God’s laws (suicide bombings, beheadings, wanton murder of innocents as during 9/11, concentration camps, gulags, etc), when we see these things and we don’t act out against them, we condone the evil and allow it to flourish. Not only do we have to choose good, but there are times when we have to insist upon it for our own survival.

    It is my belief that God hopes man will not disappoint Him. But what good would it be if He intervened? What would we learn from that other than to be robots and automatons? I see the human relationship with God similarly to a father’s relationship to his children. When a parent wishes a child to follow the rules, is it cruel?

    The desire for everything to be easy, for there to be no challenges in life, for God to grant every wish – is that really what we want? Do we wish to remain chidren or do we wish to attempt to grow and attempt to transcend our human nature and learn to choose the right path of our own free will?

    There’s a story I read somewhere once – I don’t remember where – that tells of how God feels about man in relation to the angels. Angels do not have to live on earth, they do not have any challenges, they don’t have to worry about food and clothes and shelter and paychecks. It is easy for them to be good and pure, but not so for man. Therefore when man achieves goodness, God truly rejoices.

    Ymarsaker – your view of Judaism is incorrect, by the way. Jews very definitely have a strict moral code and in fact have been studying and discussing and writing about it for thousands of years.

  29. says

    But what good would it be if He intervened? What would we learn from that other than to be robots and automatons?

    This is a relationship is that replayed in Iraq and Afghanistan as well. Because it is the same relationship any powerful faction has with a weaker and younger faction. Parent and son. Creator and created.

    That seems like one of those quantum pairs; a physical principle even.

  30. says

    If you read my words, i didn’t say “unstrict” view of morality. I said informal.

    in·for·mal /ɪnˈfɔrməl/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[in-fawr-muhl] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation
    –adjective
    1. without formality or ceremony; casual: an informal visit.
    2. not according to the prescribed, official, or customary way or manner; irregular; unofficial: informal proceedings.
    3. suitable to or characteristic of casual and familiar, but educated, speech or writing.
    4. Grammar. characterizing the second singular pronominal or verbal form, or its use, in certain languages: the informal tu in French.

    Jewish morality is not according to the prescribed, official, or customary way or manner of Christian views on morality. For those needing a translation. There are similiarities, but unless the Talmud and Jewish traditional law is something Christians follow, similarities are just that.

    I know that most people think informal as meaning lax and casual in the common denotative definition, but how many times do I have to explain myself/

  31. says

    “Jewish morality is not according to the prescribed, official, or customary way or manner of Christian views on morality.”

    Which therefore makes it “informal?” Please believe me – murdering, lying, cheating and stealing are wrong both formally and informally to Jews – period, end of story, just as they are to Christians.

    Judaism emphasizes works over faith. Following God’s laws and doing the right thing are far more important than having faith in one’s heart. Doesn’t matter what you feel or think – it is what you do that counts. The outcome of this is that it places emphasis on man’s behavior. Jews don’t have the concept of damnation for those without faith. It is possible to have doubt in God’s existence and still be considered a good person – if one follows the laws of God and if one’s behavior is good and kind and responsible.

    Want to call that less formal, go ahead, but to me calling it informal implies that morality is less important to us or that we don’t spend much time thinking about it. This is not the case. Sorry if I misinterpreted you, but I wanted to make it clear since there were few Jewish voices involved in this discussion.

  32. says

    Hi Gail,

    Thanks for you thoughtful comments, but I have a question for you. Take a look at the link in comment #2 above. I can understand your comments about free will, but why wouldn’t God at least do as much as the Onion piece suggests? Why does He remain a mystery wrapped in a enigma, so much so that many people who honestly and passionately believe in Him become suicide bombers in His name? And, for all that God actually appears in this world, who is to say they are wrong? God’s complete absence from our world, except in some mystical, not scientifically verifiable way, is what led me to my disbelief to begin with, so, for me, this is THE critical question.

  33. says

    “I can understand your comments about free will, but why wouldn’t God at least do as much as the Onion piece suggests? Why does He remain a mystery wrapped in a enigma, so much so that many people who honestly and passionately believe in Him become suicide bombers in His name? And, for all that God actually appears in this world, who is to say they are wrong?”

    Don – I found a potential answer that satisfies me at least, in a quote mentioned in Dennis Prager’s book, “The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism.” The quote was written by Emanuel Rackman, and was originally mentioned in Rackman’s book, “The Condition of Jewish Belief.”

    God may have His own reasons for denying us certainty with regard to His existence and nature. One reason apparent to us is that man’s certainty with regard to anything is poison to his soul. Who knows this better than moderns who have had to cope with dogmatic Fascists, Communists, and even scientists?

    Crusaders, Inquisitors and Islamofascists simply believe too deeply. They believe they have a lock on THE ANSWER. And they are bound and determined to impose it on us all.

    I don’t know if God exists and so I can never impose anything I believe on anyone – the furthest I will go is to try to explain myself, I am not going to hold a gun to anyone’s head and make them believe what I do. I simply live in the hope God does exist, because I hope that man is not the best being the universe has to offer. God’s potential existence gives meaning to my life and makes me want to try to be a better person to the best of my limited and flawed abilities. The potential of God’s existence helps me try to transcend my human flaws – provides hope that there is something better than humanity to which I can aspire. God forbid I should ever think I know everything. To know everything is to be God. Man is not and never could be God. When man gets too full of himself, watch out.

    God’s presence and absence are a mystery to us. I assume He has His reasons – some of which I may not be capable of perceiving or understanding. When my children were young, they didn’t understand why their mother wouldn’t give them all the candy they wanted, why she said no. They had to grow into understanding. The growth process was – and still is – sometimes painful.

    Ymarsaker: Ok, I went back and saw that I’d missed a comment by you explaining yourself further. I simply don’t agree with you, but that’s ok. People of reason sometimes disagree with one another.

  34. says

    Thanks, Gail, for your answer. It does not satisfy me, but as you say, “People of reason sometimes disagree with one another.” I love that statement and it should be the fundamental premise of all of our discussion.

    By the way, the reason it doesn’t satisfy me is that there is a far distance between certainty He exists (or even certainty that He opposes Islamist, or any other, Holy Wars in his name) and certainty that one has a monopoly on the truth and everybody else should bow to my truth or be killed. I don’t think God’s revealing Himself to us in a scientifically measurable and indisputable way would have anything but positive effects on mankind. That He does not take this positive step is the most powerful evidence imaginable that He does not, in truth, exist.

  35. JJ says

    Don, you raise an interesting point. I don’t particularly believe either. But I did, years and years ago (you send me to the dusty depths of my library!) come across an explanation that addresses your question. (Given that what your question boils down to is: why no signs and wonders? Why doesn’t he just get off the pot?)

    From William Peter Blatty’s “Twinkle, Twinkle, ‘Killer’ Kane” – a much more philosophically-inclined book than the title might lead you to believe. (And far, FAR superior to his rewrite of it: “The Ninth Configuration.”)

    “(The explanation) is simply this. If a man were to appear tomorrow in the streets of New York City wearing white shining garments and possibly floating in mid-air, saying, ‘I am a messenger from God come to tell you clearly what He expects of you,’ and then said, ‘I’m willing to give you proof of my credentials,’ what do you think the reaction then would be? Of course – the people would ask for the proof. And what if they demanded, as proper proof, that the following day at precisely – PRECISELY ten-o’clock – the sun be made to stand still; to stand still for eighty-two minutes – not one second more, not one second less? Now, what would happen the following day if the miracle were accomplished – to the letter, to the second? Can you guess? Well, I will tell you. There would be countless explanations: coincidence, autosuggestion, mass hysteria, mass hypnosis and the like. The phenomenon would prove nothing – except to those who want to believe – to those who are men of goodwill. It has happened before, you understand that. An even greater miracle was performed. A man was raised from the dead. And then another raised Himself. Many have ached – perhaps like you – to have looked on Christ, to have touched His garments, seen the proof. As for myself, I’m glad that I wasn’t there. Better to doubt. Better to doubt. Better to have some excuse for the blood. I hope this helps you.”

    And, at another point:

    “To those who are not of goodwill, well – the truth can be harmful. As long as there is doubt, there is a lessening of guilt. But to give the truth to those who will believe it – but ignore it – is to seal their final damnation. I believe that’s why God hides.”

    That’s an interesting idea. He doesn’t reveal Himself because if He did, too many of us would have to go – it’s for our ultimate protection.

    I’m with you, though. My basis for disbelief is that I spend too much time in research, and know entirely too much about the origins to be comfortable with what emerged. But that’s still an interesting idea.

  36. Binder says

    ymarsakar-

    In addition to the preponderance of people named “Jesus” in Central & South America which JJ pointed out, there are many European/Western names based on “Christ”; flat-out “Christian” (follower of Christ), the Greek name “Christopher” (Christ-bearer) or straight up Christos (Christ). The Hebrew name Emmanuel can still be found, though it’s not nearly as popular as variants of “Christ”. (The website I got these names and their meanings from listed “Jesus” as the 84th most popular name for newborn boys, “Christopher” placed 6th, and “Christina” 59th among newborn girls. I don’t recall exactly which website I stole this data from, and therefore don’t assert that it is 100% accurate, but I do suspect it shows trends.)

    So, if all you’re looking for is people named “Jesus”, and nothing else, I suppose it would seem that there are far more Mohammeds than Jesuses, at least in America. But “Jesus” was not Jesus’s only name or title.

    Not limiting it to merely people named after Jesus Christ shows a far more interesting trend; of the 46 people working at my company, 4 are named Christopher; 8 are named after the 12 Disciples, 5 are named for leaders or Kings of the Israelites, 4 after archangels, 6 after other major figures of the Old and New Testaments. 27 of 46 males between the ages of 18 and 28 surveyed, then, have obviously Judeao-Christian first names. Of course, these are staff at a Boy Scout camp, and the BSA is a conservative, faith-promoting organization, so it’s probably unlikely to take this as representative of the entire Western population.

    Perhaps a similar cluster of names can be found among Mulsim populations, with a large group of people named for major figures of Islam besides Mohammed. But I do think it short-sighted to disparage Western culture for a (perceived) lack of people named for Jesus Christ.

  37. says

    Hesus and Hose was the Spanish term it seems. I’m not convinced that they actually see that as Jesus, although it would not be surprising. Certainly Latin America is in the dumps enough to want a savior, which naming their children after Jesus might fullfill.

    I think you misunderstand my point a bit, Binder. I don’t think naming your children after the son of god or a religious prophet is a good thing, because it tends to idolize them (prophets) and make legends into gods. It is excusable somewhat at times if things are desperate and you want a savior, but the whole gig with Mohammed in Muslim affairs is just too extreme. It shows that Mohammed is truly their God, not just their prophet. He is their savior so to speak. That and the 12th Imam.

    This is not actually a theologically sourced argument, but a sociological one. Based upon group and cultural behaviors. Theology is always a hard subject to get into, especially when one of the comparative religions don’t use English.

    So, if all you’re looking for is people named “Jesus”, and nothing else, I suppose it would seem that there are far more Mohammeds than Jesuses, at least in America. But “Jesus” was not Jesus’s only name or title.

    As a comparison, the number of times I see Mohammed crop up in comparison to Jesus or the forms you’ve described, still says much about the different viewpoints of Muslims and Christians.

    The point about Jesus is a good one of course, so thus the reason for the modification. It still doesn’t account for the near ubiquity amongst Muslims of the name “Mohammed”.

    flat-out “Christian” (follower of Christ)

    There’s a slight difference between follower of Christ or part of Christ and ‘Mohammed’ is our prophet and “Mohammed” is our soon to be martyred son.

    I don’t dispute that Christ is a powerful name and people like it for their own reasons, just that Muslims take it overboard from what I’ve observed.

    I simply don’t agree with you

    That’s fine. I don’t want people to agree with me, just to recognize my arguments for what they are.

    That He does not take this positive step is the most powerful evidence imaginable that He does not, in truth, exist.

    What was your counter-argument, Don, concerning the US parallel scenario I introduced? I can’t quite remember.

    To make it again, why would God coming and intervening directly be positive when you don’t think America coming out and intervening directly on the world stage is a positive thing? God may or may not have infinite power, they may just be like the US in relation to Zimbabwe. Powerful, yes, but not all demonstrably powerful. Certainly that argument can be made when you base your own argument on the premise that if God was all powerful, why doesn’t he step out and intervene positively. You would have to assume God is all powerful, because if he isn’t, your argument becomes inconsistent with the position I remember you have concerning American foreign entanglements.

    If you are willing to entertain the belief that God is a He, meaning a person with personal motivations, and if you are willing to believe in the notion that God has all the power to spare infinitely, then why does your faith not extend to God’s existence? You seem to believe a lot of other things about God that is equally undemonstrable and unscientific, Don, that you don’t of his existence.

    In a simple conclusion. If you say God’s lack of intervention is a justification for why he doesn’t exist, then what justifies your belief that God “has to be” a He with personal motivations?

    That He does not take this positive step is the most powerful evidence imaginable that He does not, in truth, exist.

    Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that this is justification for why God is not a person with personal or human motivations, more than it is a justification for God’s non-existence? It does to me.

  38. JJ says

    I don’t know what “Hesus” and “Hose” are, but those names are spelled “Jesus” and “Jose,” (though Jesus is, in Sapnish, pronounced as “Hay-soos” – Spanish doesn’t pronounce “J as we do. Nor for that matter does German, Danish, Flemish, Swedish, or Walloon. Or, oddly enough, Hebrew. In his own time, Jesus was known as “Yaysus,” a diminutive of “Yeshua.”) People bearing the name, especially in South/Central America, are in no doubt about for whom they were named.

    But even when Europe and this country were completely in the thrall of Christianity, nobody was named Jesus. As I said previously, they reached back to the Old Testament. Possibly this was a mark of respect. Or maybe, to Western non-Spanish ears, “Jesus” is just a weird name.

    “Mohammad” (or “Muhammad”) was pretty much the most common Arabic name before, during, and after the life of the prophet, probably second only to “Ali.” He was the prophet, not Allah, and was never confused with Allah – and never allowed himself to be so confused, either. (Otherwise his words would only have been his words, and carried zero weight.) And he isn’t the Twelfth Imam, either – that’s Muhammad Ibn Hasan Ibn Ali, who was born 300 years after Mohammad the prophet was.

    Followers of Islam are followers of Allah. Mohammad told them in detail how to do it – evidently Allah never told them anything before him, or since, for that matter – so he’s the only one available to be quoted. Thus everything becomes a matter of “the Prophet says…” because nobody else ever said anything.

  39. says

    I put the H up to simulate the sound for the J words. Precisely because I don’t like spelling J words that dont’ sound like… J.

    Or maybe, to Western non-Spanish ears, “Jesus” is just a weird name.

    They might have thought themselves a bit pretentious to name their own son, the Son of God.

  40. Danny Lemieux says

    Don, with all due respect: there is a crucial difference between “Faith” and “Belief”. How would it affect one’s free will to chose between Good and Evil if one was given incontrovertible proof that God existed? I think that we have to find our own way. Nobody said that it would be easy.

  41. Lulu says

    Don and all,
    Wonderful discussion. Don, the struggle to believe in God in the face of an unjust, unfair, and imperfect world is in all of us. People tend to believe more when they NEED a miracle. I wouldn’t be surprised if behind the over-confide, there wasn’t an attempt by the Islamists, Inquisitors, and so on, to squash some underlying and cognitively unacceptable doubt.

    And yet, miracles don’t have to be all fireworks and fanfare. Every day you wake up, your lovely family is well, you are well, your body responds, your mind is alert, nature is present with its wonders, complexity and beauty, you have love and friendship in your life, you have food, shelter, art, joy and sorrow- well, then, you could say you have a life full of God’s blessings and miracles. Unfortunately, we tend to expect these blessings and take them for granted. Even when the chips are down.

    Just like others who wrote here, I am uncertain, but I’d rather go with God than on my own because God gives me a values, a community, and a moral framework that helps me deal with a full life full with struggles, challenges, and immense joys. There is an old saying, “sometimes you have to believe to see.”

  42. says

    Thank you all so much for taking the time to share your thoughts on this most personal of subjects. Much as I don’t believe, I admire and greatly respect especially the expressions of belief written here.

    Gee, Danny, I would think it would be much easier to choose Good if I knew (knew, not believed) that there was a point to all this and if I had a better idea what Good is. I misspoke above. I was taught that if I was good I’d go to heaven and if I was bad I’d go to hell, but I was also taught that being good was never enough. No matter what I did, I was born into sin and I could only make it to heaven by God’s grace and forgiveness. If there is no God, what is the point? If there is a God, but I can never be good enough anyway, what’s the point?

    JJ’s second point was the best – “But to give the truth to those who will believe it – but ignore it – is to seal their final damnation.” I hope I wouldn’t ignore God if I knew He existed, but how can any of us ever know for sure?

  43. says

    Gee, Danny, I would think it would be much easier to choose Good if I knew (knew, not believed) that there was a point to all this and if I had a better idea what Good is.

    Aristotle, Plato, and the various other Greek philosophers did not believe in the God anymore than you do, Don. The difference is, they sought out the Good using their own talents; they didn’t require that the truth show itself to them because they went out and sought the truth out using their human abilities.

    It is only true that atheists don’t have any guidance if they don’t use the ancient knowledge already available since a lot of atheists are atheists because they have had bad experiences with religion in the past. This sets up a little paradox in which atheists are the ones that often very closely operate by the standards and beliefs of Judeo-Christianity at the same time that they deny their history or their belief in that god.

    Don’s concern over God showing “himself” is just like the concern of any believer in a religious crisis. The results and the choices made, however, are different from person to person. Some may recover their faith, others lose it, and so forth. Some never had it in the first place but still believe in the Judeo-Christian teachings that they have rejected. That’s the paradox.

    It is a simple choice in a way. Faith is the spiritual manifestation of a person’s will and choice in life. What you choose to see as the Good is what you have faith in, otherwise you begin to doubt yourself and that creates cracks and weaknesses.

    Every person decides for himself what they would wish to see on Earth, what actions are right or wrong, etc. A lot of people interfere, help, advise, etc but the person has to make the choice himself or else it was never his choice to make because he lacks free will. Most people don’t lack free will though, they just lack opportunity and knowledge and strength.

    Asking for what the “Good” is from someone else, even God, is opposite the point. Every individual has decided or will soon decide, what he or she will be willing to kill and die for. Their faith in their cause, that their actions will do lasting good for future generations, is a testament to their inner strength and fortitude. Then you have the Fallen, those who speak of righteous causes but are corrupt and weak at heart.

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