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Old October 10th, 2016, 02:21 PM   #1
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Half Truths

Our church (Methodist) often offers book discussions/classes on topics of interest. The book we are currently discussing is called "Half Truths" by Adam Hamilton.
Rev. Hamilton is senior pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City. He attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK, then graduate school at SMU in Dallas.
I realize we have a lot of non-believers on DTT but the topics discussed in this book, although certainly apply to people of faith, also may help anyone who has questioned ordinary cliches we have heard throughout our lives. I know I have.
Hamilton calls these expressions 'half truths' and then explains why. He encourages his readers to disagree, but also to examine these particular half truths because sometimes they hurt people. In fact, sometimes these half truths push people away from God or whatever higher power they have faith in.
The first chapter is called "Everything Happens for a Reason". Most of us have heard that platitude and many of us have said it. The statement is true if, in saying it, we mean that we live in a world of cause and effect. Actions create consequences. Our own choices produce results. But sometimes this phrase is used when something bad has happened and we're trying to help someone through a difficult time so we say "It was meant to be. It happened for a reason." We've also heard 'It must have been their time' or 'It must have been God's will'.
So, I pose these questions to DTT. Does everything happen for a reason or is this another example of a half truth..? Does this eliminate the concept of personal responsibility for our actions? If there is a God, does God pick winners and losers? Does God ordain car accidents, criminal acts, presidential elections? If there is a God, does God micro-manage? OR does God have a hands-off approach? If there is no God, is everything random?
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Old October 10th, 2016, 02:32 PM   #2
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Ecclesiastes 3:1.
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Old October 10th, 2016, 06:03 PM   #3
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Does everything happen for a reason or is this another example of a half truth?

Many things happen to individuals and groups of people for a reason. Imo, sometimes the reasons are from prior lifetimes, e.g. called karma by some, or reaping what you have sown by others.

Does this eliminate the concept of personal responsibility for our actions?

Just the opposite. We do reap what we've sown.

If there is a God, does God pick winners and losers?

On rare occasion, but mainly we choose whether to be winners or losers or also-rans.

Does God ordain car accidents, criminal acts, presidential elections?

Nope, we have free will and with it comes ultimate responsibility.

If there is a God, does God micro-manage?

Again, on occasion, though the micro-manager may be one of God's representatives.

OR does God have a hands-off approach?

Usually.

If there is no God, is everything random?

If there were no God, yes, everything would be random.
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Old October 10th, 2016, 06:04 PM   #4
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Ecclesiastes 3:1.
Amen.
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Old October 10th, 2016, 09:24 PM   #5
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Does everything happen for a reason or is this another example of a half truth..?
i think everything happens for a reason in the sense that it had a cause, the reason it happened was before the event. i dont agree that things happen for a reason in the sense that it was preordained, or that it was fate, or that an event occurs for the purpose of making something else happen afterwards.

Does this eliminate the concept of personal responsibility for our actions?
not at all. whether god exists or not, you have free will. god is irrelevant to the question of personal accountability

If there is a God, does God pick winners and losers?
i think no, there is no convincing evidence this has ever happened. there is "evidence" i guess, but it is unreliable and unconvincing.

Does God ordain car accidents, criminal acts, presidential elections?
again i think not. these things occur because of what human beings decide to do.

If there is a God, does God micro-manage?
i think not, as above, there is no convincing evidence for this.

OR does God have a hands-off approach?
thats the one that makes sense. a really hands off approach. in that there is no god to have hands to keep off. there might be a god in the sense of a force that created the universe and continues to enforce the rules, but this isnt a god who cares about individuals. and its not a god who breaks the rules for a select few.

If there is no God, is everything random?
well, many things are random, and that randomness can create patterns. each individual grain of sand at the local beach randomly washes around in the surf. but when the tide goes out, that randomness has predictably formed a beautiful pattern of rippled sand. understanding the 'rules' of randomness allows casinos to make big profits, without divine intervention.

also, there is still free will. there is a hot coffee sitting next to my computer because i wanted one and made one. nothing random about that. the weeds in my lawn blew there on random winds and landed in random places. they are still there because my free will failed to extend to pulling them out.
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Old October 10th, 2016, 11:30 PM   #6
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Reason is another way of saying rationalization. Meaning is a byproduct of our own desire for it; things happen because of cause and effect. Any other way of looking at it only exists within our own frame of reference.

Like all things, perspective is the origin point. And perspective is something only you can control. In that sense you can believe an event has meaning or not, it really doesn't matter.

Personally, I don't look for a preordination; as someone who doesn't believe in anything superstitious that's to be expected. I've learned over the years that I personally am a man who craves meaning, so I reconcile that contradiction by trying to take something away from what happened, to look at it from another angle.
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Old October 11th, 2016, 01:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clara007 View Post
Our church (Methodist) often offers book discussions/classes on topics of interest. The book we are currently discussing is called "Half Truths" by Adam Hamilton.
Rev. Hamilton is senior pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City. He attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK, then graduate school at SMU in Dallas.
I realize we have a lot of non-believers on DTT but the topics discussed in this book, although certainly apply to people of faith, also may help anyone who has questioned ordinary cliches we have heard throughout our lives. I know I have.
Hamilton calls these expressions 'half truths' and then explains why. He encourages his readers to disagree, but also to examine these particular half truths because sometimes they hurt people. In fact, sometimes these half truths push people away from God or whatever higher power they have faith in.
The first chapter is called "Everything Happens for a Reason". Most of us have heard that platitude and many of us have said it. The statement is true if, in saying it, we mean that we live in a world of cause and effect. Actions create consequences. Our own choices produce results. But sometimes this phrase is used when something bad has happened and we're trying to help someone through a difficult time so we say "It was meant to be. It happened for a reason." We've also heard 'It must have been their time' or 'It must have been God's will'.
So, I pose these questions to DTT. Does everything happen for a reason or is this another example of a half truth..? Does this eliminate the concept of personal responsibility for our actions? If there is a God, does God pick winners and losers? Does God ordain car accidents, criminal acts, presidential elections? If there is a God, does God micro-manage? OR does God have a hands-off approach? If there is no God, is everything random?
Jump right in, posters.
I was confirmed in the United Methodist Church when I was 14 and an acolyte before that and an usher after that and sang in the choir after that. I was taking piano lessons at the time and think but not sure that I played the organ during service at least one time. We have a common heritage.
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Old October 12th, 2016, 12:08 PM   #8
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CHAPTER 2: GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES

Remember the Jay Leno Show and his 'man on the street' segment?? He would ask questions of random people. On one occasion he asked people to name one of the Ten Commandments. It was startling how many people answered him by saying: God helps those who help themselves.
That, of course, is not one of the 10 Commandments. IN fact, it's not in the Bible at all, but 8 in 10 Americans think it is. Ben Franklin is credited with that in Poor Richard's Almanac.
The phrase certainly contains truth. Obviously God isn't going to drop food on our tables or force someone to hire us or pay for our home. So we pray and we work. Some work harder than others. Some get lucky. Some make their own luck. Some are smart. Some have resources, like family support, but the fact is that some people truly cannot help themselves. Some are trapped in poverty or struggling financially. Sometimes people are in a hole so deep that they can't climb out without help.
In scripture, God consistently calls us to help those who cannot help themselves.
*James 1:27 True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widos in their difficulties.
*Matthew 25 and Luke 10, Jesus tells us that God judges us not only by our faith but by whether our faith led us to a greater compassion for the poor and needy.
*Paul says that we are saved by the kind of faith that moves our hearts to action--faith working through love. Galatians 5:6
And there are many other passages encouraging Christians to help those who can't help themselves.
Christians are called to change the world in God's name and through God's grace. We receive blessings from God even though we cannot earn them and don't deserve them. Even when we make a mess of things and can't fix them, God extends mercy and forgiveness to us.
There are many kind of help we need in life: food, shelter, clothing, security, healthcare.
But we also need love, acceptance, hope, forgiveness and comfort.
So, we become the hands of God. We become God's answer to someone else's prayers, God's intruments of grace.
OH, and one more thing. There are three tenets we need to remember, from John Wesley which should guide every Christian: 1) Do no harm. 2) Do good. 3) Stay in love with God.

Please add your thoughts...remembering these three rules.
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Old October 12th, 2016, 12:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clara007 View Post
CHAPTER 2: GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES

Remember the Jay Leno Show and his 'man on the street' segment?? He would ask questions of random people. On one occasion he asked people to name one of the Ten Commandments. It was startling how many people answered him by saying: God helps those who help themselves.
That, of course, is not one of the 10 Commandments. IN fact, it's not in the Bible at all, but 8 in 10 Americans think it is. Ben Franklin is credited with that in Poor Richard's Almanac.
The phrase certainly contains truth. Obviously God isn't going to drop food on our tables or force someone to hire us or pay for our home. So we pray and we work. Some work harder than others. Some get lucky. Some make their own luck. Some are smart. Some have resources, like family support, but the fact is that some people truly cannot help themselves. Some are trapped in poverty or struggling financially. Sometimes people are in a hole so deep that they can't climb out without help.
In scripture, God consistently calls us to help those who cannot help themselves.
*James 1:27 True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widos in their difficulties.
*Matthew 25 and Luke 10, Jesus tells us that God judges us not only by our faith but by whether our faith led us to a greater compassion for the poor and needy.
*Paul says that we are saved by the kind of faith that moves our hearts to action--faith working through love. Galatians 5:6
And there are many other passages encouraging Christians to help those who can't help themselves.
Christians are called to change the world in God's name and through God's grace. We receive blessings from God even though we cannot earn them and don't deserve them. Even when we make a mess of things and can't fix them, God extends mercy and forgiveness to us.
There are many kind of help we need in life: food, shelter, clothing, security, healthcare.
But we also need love, acceptance, hope, forgiveness and comfort.
So, we become the hands of God. We become God's answer to someone else's prayers, God's intruments of grace.
OH, and one more thing. There are three tenets we need to remember, from John Wesley which should guide every Christian: 1) Do no harm. 2) Do good. 3) Stay in love with God.

Please add your thoughts...remembering these three rules.
That quote predates Franklin by quite some time. It comes from Chapter Two, Section 23 of Algernon Sydney's Discourses Concerning Government in 1698.
God helps those who help themselves; and men are by several reasons (suppose to prevent the increase of a suspected power) induced to succour an industrious and brave people: But such as neglect the means of their own preservation, are ever left to perish with shame.
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