Pope: God was silent towards Mother Teresa to teach her empathy for nonbelievers

posted at 7:22 pm on September 1, 2007 by Allahpundit

He truly does work in mysterious ways. Had he spoken to her throughout her life, it would be taken as proof of his existence. The fact that he didn’t speak to her? Not proof of his nonexistence, but of his charity towards those who disbelieve. He can’t lose.

Pope Benedict said on Saturday that even the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta “suffered from the silence of God” despite her immense charity and faith…

It is significant that the Pope mentioned Mother Teresa’s torment about God’s silence as not being unusual because there was some speculation that the letters could hurt the procedure to make her a saint.

“All believers know about the silence of God,” he said in unprepared remarks. “Even Mother Teresa, with all her charity and force of faith, suffered from the silence of God,” he said.

He said believers sometimes had to withstand the silence of God in order to understand the situation of people who do not believe.

Meanwhile, one of her biographers insists that it’s not that she didn’t believe in God, it’s simply that he ceased communicating with her directly after 1946. I’ll take his word for it, although given some of the things she wrote, his interpretation seems somewhat … nuanced:

“Where is my faith?” she wrote. “Even deep down… there is nothing but emptiness and darkness… If there be God — please forgive me.”…

“What do I labor for?” she asked in one letter. “If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true.”

According to the same Christianity Today piece, she felt the absence of Jesus from the time she started working in Calcutta’s slums “until her death.” I.e. it wasn’t just moments of doubt. Exit question: Was Hitch right?


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Comments

Because God is God. If God were not perfect, He would not be God and would not therefore be worth anything.

The idea in this whole thing is if God exists, then He’s smarter than you and everyone else in the world, just like I’m smarter than my fat cat who is a little pissed at me that I don’t feed her as much as she thinks I should.

Even if god existed, it does not logically follow that he would have to be perfect, or that he would have to love us and be concerned for our welfare.

As for your cat, I assume that you didn’t create it. If not, the analogy you draw between god and you, on the one hand, and humans and cats, on the other, is unrevealing. Also, feeding your cat, though commendable, is not a sign of perfection.

paul006 on September 2, 2007 at 1:20 AM

The book of Job has an excellent example of three idiots who kept filling Job’s ear full of those same cliche’s while he was suffering and at no time did any of the chaos that happened to him ever get explained to him or have it shown to him that it was fulfilling some higher purposefull plan of God’s.

This is a great point Joshua, but the Pope is playing the part of one of the friends with the ‘answers’. Not trying to dog the Pope, but the parallel presents itself unavoidably.

Spirit of 1776 on September 2, 2007 at 1:28 AM

Nice long thread as usual on topics like this. Sorry do not have time to get real involved right now. But if you will allow this, or if you won’t He He, there is one obvious thing missing. With M.T. I mean. It’s all about the Bible and it is very obvious she did not seem to spend much time in it. Faith is a choice and that choice can be reinforced and increased only through the hearing the Word. Doubt and unbelief are things that have to be combated, it is a spiritual matter. She talked about her mind and reason, great but mental ascension will not get it done. God is a spirit, His word is spirit and truth. Would have been nice if one of her so called superiors would have taught her about God’s word instead about how to suffer. God Bless her and good night.

mjkazee on September 2, 2007 at 1:58 AM

yawn…

why do you always put these threads on the weekend, AP?

i think you are being somewhat disinegenous in your comments regarding the Pope’s comments…how was he trying to make it a “proof” for God’s existence?

i can understand your antipathy to people psychoanalyzing you, but it’s clear the subject is important to you (as it is important to believers: it concerns the very meaning/lack of meaning of existence).

WillBarrett on September 2, 2007 at 2:13 AM

Honestly, this is one of the most frustrating, if not the most frustrating, things for nonbelievers to talk about with people of faith. Any setback you have, any hint that God might not exist or might not be quite the champ that you think he is, is spun shamelessly to somehow redound to God’s advantage. If something wonderful happens, thank God. If something terrible happens, God is “testing” us or he’s working mysteriously. Mother Teresa doubted God’s existence? Just another one of God’s tests. Other priests and nuns feel God’s existence? Just God showing them the way. Everything he does is right right right.
Allahpundit on September 1, 2007 at 9:26 PM

This is one of the many reasons why Christian theists do not argue from an “experiential basis.” We do not argue from the perspective that Allahpundit is referring to here.

Rather, we discuss transcendental arguments that establish the pre-conditions of knowledge.

We argue, via transcendental argument, that God’s existence is necessary to establish that knowledge is even possible.

This theistic argument is very, very different from Allah’s point. And yet no atheist wants to discuss this subject.

Why?

ColtsFan on September 2, 2007 at 3:10 AM

Does atheism do a better job of answering the question of human suffering?
I’m curious.

terryannonline on September 1, 2007 at 10:03 PM

No, atheism does not do a better job answering the difficult and painful question of human suffering.

The Incarnation–Jesus Christ in human form, the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53–best answers that question.

ColtsFan on September 2, 2007 at 3:12 AM

I think all religions would be a lot more persuasive if they allowed for the idea that God occasionally lets us down. But almost by definition, they can’t.

Allahpundit on September 1, 2007 at 10:02 PM

All anthropological-centered religions do in fact allow or include the idea that “God occasionally lets us down.”

Theology does not permit that. But all anthropological-driven, man-centered religions do allow that concession often.

ColtsFan on September 2, 2007 at 3:14 AM

All I’m saying is, is there any evidence that a believer will accept as suggesting that God doesn’t exist or at least isn’t quite the hero they think? And the answer, of course, is no

Yes, there are evidence that a believer will accept that potentially could serve as a “defeater” for the belief that “God exists” is a true belief. The existence of evil poses a problem for some theistic conceptual systems (not all) that entail that evil’s existence poses a logical contradiction with the belief, “there is a God.”

But the existence of evil does not pose a problem for my conceptual grid because the Bible teaches about evil from page 1 and all throughout.

Anthropological-driven, man-centered religions struggle under the weight and burden of the problem of evil. Biblical theology does not.

There are other “potential evidences” that could possibly serve as present or future “defeaters” for the truth of Christianity. Therefore, I politely disagree with your earlier statements above.

ColtsFan on September 2, 2007 at 3:20 AM

I’m always amazed that believers think it’s a worthy point to say that I can’t prove God doesn’t exist

I agree with you on this point, Allah. And I am a Christian believer.

ColtsFan on September 2, 2007 at 3:23 AM

OK look, here again not caring what the Pope says is important in understanding. The Pope is a Christian, Mother Theresa was a Christian. Sorry AP, but NO, Hitch isn’t correct when he brazenly and gleefully asserts that Mother Theresa was atheist.

AP, you just think this is so funny because a Christian might not be so Christian. Do we really need to have posts about all the ‘atheists’ who have turned their lives over to Christ as ‘proof’ of Christianity? Would it make it more or less truthful? NO it adds nothing to the debate either way. The only reason this might be important is if the CATHOLIC church wants to make her into a SAINT. . . Big f’in Deal.

I guess it is a big deal if the atheists think it is a big deal. But a good portion of Christians on the planet don’t care if she ‘becomes a saint’ or not.

AP, Christians only get defensive and throw up the ‘prove God doesn’t exist’ when atheists bring it up. Mainly when atheists indignantly say ‘prove that God exists’. Sure I can point to many different things as evidence of God’s existence, but you and atheists would say ‘that’s not proof, here’s why’.

I can also point to holes in the evolution theory, and sure enough you and your atheist friends would come up with some nifty reason why it still fits evolution theory. Or even you will say ‘well the theory hasn’t quite developed that far yet, but like the periodic table of elements, surely the evidence will be forthcoming in the future.’

The atheist argument is hogwash. You depend on PEOPLE slipping up in their faith as your ‘proof’ that the almighty doesn’t exist.

Lament all you want about Christians defending their faith. But as long as you continue to challenge it, don’t be surprised when people attack back. Hitchens is NOT right. . . HMM sounds like the title of a good book I might want to write to compete with his ‘God is not Great’ book.

ThackerAgency on September 2, 2007 at 3:43 AM

I think all religions would be a lot more persuasive if they allowed for the idea that God occasionally lets us down. But almost by definition, they can’t.

Allahpundit on September 1, 2007 at 10:02 PM

I believe in God and I believe God is imperfect. I think the likelihood of a creative intelligent force or something behind this universe, considering all the various physical and chemical things that have to exist for life to be sustained is very high.

My personal spiritual experiences are strong and add to my belief even though I was once as committed an atheist as you.

I believe in good and evil — things that don’t have to exist in a merely physical world. If atheism is true, then child diddling and abortion are A OK. I object to both. You to just one, I think, but we agree on that.

Yet I think God is enormously imperfect and the proof is in the world he created: child diddling, Hitler, war, hunger, disease, tooth decay.

Why I think these things exist is because God IS flawed and not “perfect” as Christians bizarrely maintain. If this is perfection, you can have it.

I believe God is great and did the best “He” could, but is obviously angry and violent and has other “qualities” to the degree that human words can define these things that are not great… or at least not great according to Christianity.

I believe we, the Mormons, Jews, Christians, pagans, Buddhists, and others, create long elaborate theories to explain God and the world, but the physicists are closer than most, although they ignore number theory too much and the likelihood that morality itself descends from it.

I can’t explain all of this in the scope of one comment and it’s unlikely I could if given the rest of my life… but whether God is true or not, I choose to believe He is (and in reality, my belief came first through hard and profound spiritual experiences, not the other way around).

Because my girlfriend lives on the other side of the world and I love her to bits… I will love her whether it makes sense to do so in a rational world and work toward living with her despite all the woman I did have and could have and do not have as a result of this choice.

I will cleave to her so I can protect her from some of the terrors of the world, if only not being loved and being lonely, even if this means I have to give up my citizenship and endure financial loss and hardship. I will move to a country I consider far less secure than my own too.

Because of love for her… yes, and God, faith, in a way I can’t describe.

I think Allahpundit won every substantive point on this thread… and God exists anyway and created you.

Imperfect though you are.

Christoph on September 2, 2007 at 5:38 AM

I often wonder who actually does more to brighten the lives of more people – someone like Mother Teresa, or people like Bill Gates, Beethoven and Jonas Salk?

Halley on September 2, 2007 at 6:30 AM

I often wonder who actually does more to brighten the lives of more people – someone like Mother Teresa, or people like Bill Gates, Beethoven and Jonas Salk?

Halley on September 2, 2007 at 6:30 AM

I don’t know — but it’s a great competition to have.

Christoph on September 2, 2007 at 6:37 AM

It seems like AP is trolling his own page; is that legal?

tlynch001 on September 2, 2007 at 8:04 AM

AP,

I don’t know your life story, but from the things I have experienced (one being a year in Iraq), there is no arguement that you can present that will cause me to doubt. However, one day, sooner or later, I will know the answer and unfortunately, I will not be able to tell you the answer.

Claimsratt on September 2, 2007 at 8:22 AM

I think Allahpundit won every substantive point on this thread

Christoph on September 2, 2007 at 5:38 AM

I don’t think anybody “wins” on these kinds of threads. It actually pains me to see the Hot Air “family” get testy with each other over our individual beliefs. Our freedom to believe as we see fit was the #1 reason why this country was founded in the first place. We should celebrate our freedom to have differences. Not argue over them.

Guardian on September 2, 2007 at 10:33 AM

don’t think anybody “wins” on these kinds of threads. It actually pains me to see the Hot Air “family” get testy with each other over our individual beliefs. Our freedom to believe as we see fit was the #1 reason why this country was founded in the first place. We should celebrate our freedom to have differences. Not argue over them.

I celebrate religious freedom even as I debate religious ideas. That’s what religious freedom means.

The ability to practice your faith — or lack thereof — and convince others of same.

For example, I enormously respect evangelicals including young Mormons for having the courage to express and sell their views, which I disagree with. And they’re not the only ones who have that right: I do too.

When we talk about items of faith, we argue. Why? We disagree.

When I say AP won the points, what I mean is his reasoning is more direct and less circular. When you start from faith, even though you may be right, your reasoning is by necessity circular.

Christoph on September 2, 2007 at 11:01 AM

When I say AP won the points, what I mean is his reasoning is more direct and less circular. When you start from faith, even though you may be right, your reasoning is by necessity circular.

Christoph on September 2, 2007 at 11:01 AM

I am not endorsing the arguments or various points made by some of our HA commentators. I would only like to point out that the atheist’s reasoning is also inherently and ultimately circular, that is why us Christian theists believe in the practical benefits of using transcendental arguments instead of saying, “the Colts won the Super Bowl, therefore God exists,” or the “I have cancer, therefore God exists, because God works in mysterious ways.”

Not every Christian uses the same arguments posted here on this thread. Some of us believe in arguing transcendently.

ColtsFan on September 2, 2007 at 11:21 AM

It actually pains me to see the Hot Air “family” get testy with each other over our individual beliefs.

I agree with you. Polite, respectful philosophical argumentation is cool. I have no time in writing or listening to testy stuff.

Besides, the historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth once said that the “Final” apologetical argument for the Truth of Christianity is Love.

ColtsFan on September 2, 2007 at 11:23 AM

I believe in God and I believe God is imperfect

My understanding is that you believe that God is not perfect.

What is God’s nature?

What is the source for your knowledge about God’s nature?

I believe in good and evil — things that don’t have to exist in a merely physical world. If atheism is true, then child diddling and abortion are A OK. I object to both. You to just one, I think, but we agree on that.

Yet I think God is enormously imperfect and the proof is in the world he created: child diddling, Hitler, war, hunger, disease, tooth decay.

Evil exists, and it is horrible. Personally, I think moral evil (evil actions committed by humans that are defined as “morally evil”) is worse than natural evil (“impersonal” acts of nature, like ravaging storms, or even development of cancer)

Can your God, being imperfect, destroy evil ultimately?

What is the nature of the God that you believe in?

Has your God said whether or not evil will ever end?

Does your God possess a “moral willingness” to end evil, but simply can’t?

Because my girlfriend lives on the other side of the world and I love her to bits… I will love her whether it makes sense to do so in a rational world and work toward living with her despite all the woman I did have and could have and do not have as a result of this choice.

I will cleave to her so I can protect her from some of the terrors of the world, if only not being loved and being lonely, even if this means I have to give up my citizenship and endure financial loss and hardship. I will move to a country I consider far less secure than my own too.

Dude, it sounds like you have a great girl. :-)

More power to ya!!

Love is sweet indeed.

Does your imperfect God possess infinite Love as an attribute of His nature?

How do you reconcile Love with the nature of your God?

Is there a physical (meaning a bodily reflection or example here in our world) reflection of God’s Love for you and your girlfriend to emulate?

Concerning the last point,

The Christian doctrine of Love states that..

1.) the Cross (Calvary) was the Act of Love

2.) 1 Corinthians 13 is a list of the description of various attributes that compose concepts that define Love essentially

3.) and the Incarnation was the historical, “in this real, concrete world” example and testimony to God’s Love. Thus, God’s Love is rooted in this physical, concrete world. The Incarnation—Jesus Christ in physical flesh—is the historical linkage between immaterial God and our physical, everyday world.

But you would have to be a Bible-believing Christian to adhere to points 1-3 above. And that would logically entail disbelieving that God is imperfect.

ColtsFan on September 2, 2007 at 11:40 AM

I would also point out that the absence of Love in any Christian also serves “as a defeater” for them.

The lack or absence of love in a Christian actually points against them being what they claim to be.

ColtsFan on September 2, 2007 at 11:49 AM

AP, Christians only get defensive and throw up the ‘prove God doesn’t exist’ when atheists bring it up. Mainly when atheists indignantly say ‘prove that God exists’. Sure I can point to many different things as evidence of God’s existence, but you and atheists would say ‘that’s not proof, here’s why’.

Christians, by the grace of God alone, may politely go on “the offensive” concerning philosophical discussions simply because our conceptual worldview allows for transcendental arguments that establish that God must exist in order for certain things to occur, i.e., for humans to have knowledge, etc.

Atheists do not argue transcendently because they lack the philosophical tools.

ColtsFan on September 2, 2007 at 12:02 PM

According to the same Christianity Today piece, she felt the absence of Jesus from the time she started working in Calcutta’s slums “until her death.” I.e. it wasn’t just moments of doubt. Exit question: Was Hitch right?

Lets say he is. Mother Teresa still did more help people, change lives, and share more love by “faking it” than the most devout atheist will ever accomplish.

Theworldisnotenough on September 2, 2007 at 1:42 PM

As for your cat, I assume that you didn’t create it. If not, the analogy you draw between god and you, on the one hand, and humans and cats, on the other, is unrevealing. Also, feeding your cat, though commendable, is not a sign of perfection.

paul006 on September 2, 2007 at 1:20 AM

The analogy wasn’t to speak of perfection but of the inability of mankind to understand God the same way my cat cannot understand me.

It’s no more commendable that I feed my cat than it’s commendable that others feed their children. I took her in and therefore took the responsibility of feeding her.

The only thing that analogy was trying to get at is that though she may think she’s right, she only thinks that because she cannot comprehend me, and I’m not even God. I’m just a flawed human. How much worse is it for us when we try and understand the being who created us?

We cannot create life except by using the biological process we were given, and even if we could pull a Frankenstein, we cannot create something from nothing. That is simply beyond us, just as it is beyond my cat to understand why I leave her food bowl empty throughout the day. She doesn’t know about diabetes and doesn’t understand that I wouldn’t have the money to care for a diabetic cat.

Even if god existed, it does not logically follow that he would have to be perfect, or that he would have to love us and be concerned for our welfare.

Yes, if god existed, your statements would be true, but I used the capital God for a reason. In English grammar, God, denotes the Christian God and not just any god.

So my statement remains true that God must be perfect or else be a liar and thus is not God, the one written about in the Bible. God could still be god, but He wouldn’t be God.

Esthier on September 2, 2007 at 1:58 PM

No hitchens wasn’t right. Neither is the pope on this one and neither was the pope right with appeasing the islamists. This pope is having some issues with his words ever since he became pope. Appease the clerics of islam and shake the finger at America. What he said is nothing that I’ve ever heard in any church I have been to so this isn’t a basic belief of Christianity.

This woman saw the worst of the worst stuff. That takes it’s toll on someone’s psyche and heart. Why can’t people just leave it alone? She was a good woman and was a Christian? Why degrade her by trying to give god hating people such as hitchens (who wouldn’t know a thing about christianity if it bit his ass) any credibility as to whether or not she lost faith or not? That is really kind of rather pompous I think. It is degrading her..she isn’t here to defend herself.

Highrise on September 2, 2007 at 2:13 PM

I think all religions would be a lot more persuasive if they allowed for the idea that God occasionally lets us down. But almost by definition, they can’t.

Allahpundit on September 1, 2007 at 10:02 PM

AP, I’m a Christian. I do not belong to a religion or a church really. And yes, you can be Christian and not do so. I attended various churches when I was younger and now it’s just a few times a year maybe..been awhile. This is where it is sorta sad to see people that might be interested in a relationship with God but are turned off by churches and the like. Some people get caught up in pomp and circumstance and rituals and give credence to man and lose sight of God.

It isn’t in a Christians realm to tell you and others that God is a liar and his bible is a liar by saying he lets us down. If you are a Christian, you believe God is who he said he was. If you think God lets people down, maybe you should tell him then. Maybe he’ll have an answer for you. I’m not being smart aleck here at all when I say that in the previous two sentences, he talks to us in various ways over various things and you never know when you’ll hear him nudge you in a direction.

Highrise on September 2, 2007 at 2:24 PM

Hitchens wants to have it both ways on Mother Theresa. On the one hand he will say the work that she did was more bad than good even though she did work with the poor. She didn’t allow them contraception or medicine and encouraged them to be satisfied with what they had. Therefore, he concludes that Catholicism is bad because Mother Theresa was doing bad things for the church.

HOWEVER, he also claims that her questioning her faith makes her ‘atheist’. So if she was atheist all this time doing all these bad things, you could not indict the church for things that Hitchens considers a blight on Catholisism because he argues she wasn’t Catholic – the evidence would be against atheism as a ‘good thing’.

He has been on CSPAN for 3 hours. I was going to call in, but then he characterized Billy Graham as a bad man who lied to millions of people and took their money. The only reason he classifies Graham as a liar is because Hitchens doesn’t believe the Gospel. It is fair enough that he doesn’t believe the Gospel, but saying someone is lying for preaching the written Gospel is completely disingenuous. I would have gone ballistic on his penchant to HATE people tied to religion.

His HATE for religion clouds his view of what these people are doing. Hitchens himself makes money spreading his views. How would that be different than what Billy Graham did, but they weren’t Graham’s views, they were in the BIBLE.

Billy Graham brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people in FREE ‘crusades’ around the world. He never charged a penny for attendance in his gatherings. He never hurt anyone, he never said anything bad about anyone. He merely went around the world telling people about Jesus Christ as it is written in the Bible. It is hypocritical of Hitchens being angry at Graham for making money telling people his thoughts.

Anyway, I’m sure that such an old and public figure will have a few statements he might wish to take back. And I’m sure that people will vilify a good man for ‘support’ of their argument that Christians make mistakes.

Hitchens loves to say that atheists can be as kind as any religious person. . . yet he doesn’t also say that atheists can also be as bad. He doesn’t also say that having religion CAN BE a good thing. He concludes that all religion is bad. He feels a need to spread his own religion of atheism. If he wants all religions to be banned, his ideology is not different from a religion such as Islam that wants all the world religions to be banned except Islam.

Fortunately for atheism there aren’t texts or documents that espouse violent conversion to atheism. . . but if it is left to the desires of Hitchens, those manifestos should be here soon.

ThackerAgency on September 2, 2007 at 2:59 PM

Just out of curiosity…

About Hitch…Couldn’t it be construed that because he is taking periods of doubt in Teresa’s life, and then extrapolating that she was then an atheist, that he is putting himself in a place to judge her Christianity. Something that on another thread we were told was the sort of thing done by “bigots.” If she said she was a Christian, despite her moments (or, years) of doubt, isn’t the argument that we should merely accept that?

I mean, Allah – the other day you said something to the effect of “once again we see how much the Christians love each other,” when we were debating Mormonism. Is it ok for Hitch to question someone else’s faith because he is an atheist…and off limits for me, because I am a Christian?

I seriously would like to know.

nailinmyeye on September 2, 2007 at 3:00 PM

It seems to me that Hitch is saying that because MT no longer heard God, and had doubts she was a closet atheist. Implying that her continued works of charity were a form of denial or mental impairment. Well if taking care of the poorest of the poor is mental impairment, I’d hate to see what Hitch thinks sound reasoining is.

Iblis on September 2, 2007 at 3:08 PM

I think all religions would be a lot more persuasive if they allowed for the idea that God occasionally lets us down. But almost by definition, they can’t.

Allahpundit on September 1, 2007 at 10:02 PM

The Psalms are full of pillars of faith who expressed serious doubt, painful disapointments and utter confusion. One particualr Psalmist even says “my only friends are darkness and the grave”.

Joshua P. Allem on September 2, 2007 at 3:11 PM

It is interesting that atheists see Hitch as a hero for his vicious anti religion crusade but look down on us for our discussions on religious doctrine.

Rose on September 2, 2007 at 4:28 PM

Yes, if god existed, your statements would be true, but I used the capital God for a reason. In English grammar, God, denotes the Christian God and not just any god.

Get stuffed, Esthier.

I capitalize the noun out of respect for MY God… the Creator of life… which may or not be Christian…(which I also capitlize out of respect for its adherents, as I capitalize Mormon, Jew, and even Muslim), the capital letter G is not trademarked by Christianity.

And you can’t win a theological argument by referring to capitalization.

Christoph on September 2, 2007 at 5:46 PM

From what I read in the newspaper, until she started working with lepers, Mother Theresa frequently had visions and heard the voice of God. She said she heard God tell her to go and work with the lepers. These visions, etc. were a big part of her faith experience. She must have felt very close to God and very special.

These experiences stopped after she started to work with the lepers and it sounds as if she never adjusted. I wonder what kind of personality she had as a girl and young woman? Perhaps much of her faith was based on, or rewarded by, a certain type of emotional experience. When God stopped speaking directly to her, she suffered. Without the frequent emotional reinforcement, she doubted her faith and her God.

If you believe in saints, etc., then you might believe that her visions and voices were from God. If not, you might believe that she was likely over-emotional and suggestible or that she was hallucinating. She believed the experiences were real and she mourned their loss for the rest of her life. It sounds as if she thought God had withdrawn from her because she lacked something.

If you believe in saints, etc., then you might believe that God was testing her or asking her to experience the suffering of Christ. It seems as if she tried to tell herself these things but it doesn’t seem to have helped her feel better.

Meaning no disrespect, but perhaps she would have done better on anti-depressants.

Most Christians, even the most devout, do not hear God’s voice or have visions. Most of us live in the here and now with hope for a better future beyond this earthly existence. Some try to understand things based on emotion, some use reason; probably most of us rely on a mixture of both. Most of us feel doubt and question our beliefs at times.

I judge Mother Theresa on her work. God can judge her soul.

Josephine on September 2, 2007 at 6:12 PM

Dude, it sounds like you have a great girl. :-)

I do. She’s a great Christian girl, too.

Does your imperfect God possess infinite Love as an attribute of His nature?

Not that I’m aware of. However, He created a world where great love is possible.

And I consider the highest meaning of the word love to be its use as a verb. You can have strong fuzzy feelings over anything, or not. But, as Jesus, who was often a great philosopher if the issue of His divinity remains very much in doubt, said, “A man has no greater love than that he lay down his life for his fellows.”

Now where this gets interesting is if a person does not believe in a reward or afterlife in heaven it is an even greater act of love.

I love HER regardless of whether doing so will get me into heaven. I hope and pray heaven is real and I have a chance to get there. My favourite song that I’ve shared with her is, “Heaven – Featuring Do” (legally licenced version no less) and the video pretty much describes what I MOST want in life.

But regardless of whether there is a personal God concerned with me or not, I love her, and not the more available women. So my love for her is not less, but equal to or even more whether I’m religious or not.

How do you reconcile Love with the nature of your God?

I don’t need to. Love is one of the many realities of the world as is hate. As in most cases, it comes down to what we believe more than what happens.

I was reading about a biography from a special forces soldier who was captured and tortured for 11 days during blackhawk down in Somalia.

His attitude was he would not be defeated and he wasn’t. Other people are defeated by losing a job or getting bad grades or getting turned down for a date or having their plans interrupted.

God, my God, created a world where we could emulate the founding fathers, who in some were cases Deists who believed in a Creator and morality, but that it was our job to better things on Earth because he wasn’t going to do it for us.

Or we can sit around praying.

Someone asked whether Mother Theresa or Bill Gates brought more light into the world. I said it’s a good competition to have.

What I mean is I believe they are both serving God’s will… they are maximizing who they are. If anything, Gates is the one creating more, but Theresa is showing enormous resilience in the face of discouragement, which is another type of accomplishment, arguably greater.

Is there a physical (meaning a bodily reflection or example here in our world) reflection of God’s Love for you and your girlfriend to emulate?

Concerning the last point,

The Christian doctrine of Love states that..

1.) the Cross (Calvary) was the Act of Love

2.) 1 Corinthians 13 is a list of the description of various attributes that compose concepts that define Love essentially

3.) and the Incarnation was the historical, “in this real, concrete world” example and testimony to God’s Love. Thus, God’s Love is rooted in this physical, concrete world. The Incarnation—Jesus Christ in physical flesh—is the historical linkage between immaterial God and our physical, everyday world.

That’s a whole bunch of religious high minded speech and theology that simply isn’t necessary to understand love.

An extreme, but all too real, example of love was the article I read some years back that affected me profoundly. I was going to paraphrase, but I have it in my scrap book (it’s what inspired me to start one and remains one of its few items) and I will write it verbatim.


Mother Dies Sheltering Baby Daughter in House Fire

By Anne Kyle

Regina &#bull; A young mother trapped in her burning apartment building last weekend made the ultimate sacrifice to save her infant daughter.

Realizing there was no escape from the raging blaze, Linda Zeka swaddled her six-month-old daughter, Hanna, in blankets and sheltered her from the flames.

Ms. Zeka was found dead at the scene of the fire on Saturday that devastated her family and left two other families homeless.

But the little girl survived.

“When they found her, Linda was lying on the floor, nestling Hanna, who was covered in blankets, shielding her from the fire. The air trapped under the blankets is likely the only thing that saved the baby,” Adrian Leusink, a family friend said.

Ms. Zeka, 28, died of smoke inhalation. Her husband, Arben Zeka, 34, remains in critical condition in hospital, and her three year-old son, Noll, is being treated for smoke inhalation and burns to his face and hands.

“Doctors are saying it’s a miracle someone so young survived the smoke and the fire,” Mr. Leusink said, adding Hanna, who suffered burns to her face and right leg, is expected to make a full recovery.

This is love and is much better of a definition than the theologies you relate.

I simply don’t give a damn whether this woman was a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Mormon, pagan sex-partying Druid, or an atheist.

Apparently, unless she accepted Jesus Christ as her Saviour she is not getting into Christian heaven. More offensively, she will go to hell.

If that is true — and the majority of Christians believe it is — certainly if the laypeople don’t, their theologians do by and large — then that God is not only someone who I won’t worship, I oppose Him.

Damn Him.

IF that is the nature of God, which I don’t believe it is. Yet Christians want me to worship this psychopath who lets in diddling child molesters who have sincere changes of heart, but sends Muslims and others to hell who do the above?

No thanks.

While I believe God is imperfect, I believe the best intentions of our Creator are for us to be good. BUT WHETHER THAT IS TRUE OF GOD OR NOT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO ME.

I’m an independent being. I decide what is right for me, not God.

Just as I strive against the evil parts of my nature, I strive against the evil parts of God’s nature. I don’t ask, “What does God want me to do?” rather, I ask, “What is the right thing to do?”

There is a difference.

A perfect example is Abraham and Isaac. He showed his love for God by following ORDERS to murder his defenseless son?

That’s not love. Linda Zeka is love. Abraham is cowardice and God, as depicted there, nothing more than a gang leader demanding an evil act to show loyalty.

And don’t tell me that God stayed His hand. I don’t care. He still failed the test and that God is an evil twisted bastard.

If I was in that position, if I could muster the courage considering all the things God could and, according to the Bible, would do to me then and throughout eternity, I would have told God no.

If ordered, I would have told him to —- Himself in no uncertain terms. I would have taken my spear or a rock or my shoe and flung it at the heaven in a vain attempt to injure God if that is the only weapon I had at my disposable.

That is love. I do not know if I have Linda Zeka’s courage and (true) God willing, will never find out, but if I do find myself in either of those situations… I hope I pass the test FOR MYSELF.

I’m reminded of the God-awful (no pun intended) Robin Williams movie based on the even worse book about the man whose wife commits suicide, goes to hell, and Williams character goes after her.

Damn right. And to hell with God (no pun intended) if He gets in my way.

He may destroy me, but I would never worship Him and would actively seek to thwart Him, certainly in this case.

Fortunately I do not believe this is the nature of God; rather, I believe it’s a result of Christians’ incorrect interpretation of the nature of our Creator — and refusal to admit they don’t know these things.

I’ve enjoyed your feedback, ColtsFan, and thank you.

Christoph on September 2, 2007 at 6:27 PM

Is there a physical (meaning a bodily reflection or example here in our world) reflection of God’s Love for you and your girlfriend to emulate?

Having reread your comment again, the short answer is yes:

Linda Zeka

What not to do:

Abraham

Christoph on September 2, 2007 at 6:39 PM

I capitalize the noun out of respect for MY God… the Creator of life… which may or not be Christian…(which I also capitlize out of respect for its adherents, as I capitalize Mormon, Jew, and even Muslim), the capital letter G is not trademarked by Christianity.

And you can’t win a theological argument by referring to capitalization.

Christoph on September 2, 2007 at 5:46 PM

You really should remove that stick and seek professional help.

I’m not making a theological argument there. I’m simply explaining English grammar. You may not care about grammar, but that is literally a grammar rule in English, that all references to the Christian God are capitalized.

Esthier on September 2, 2007 at 7:16 PM

Christoph on September 2, 2007 at 6:27 PM

You just don’t get it. Here you are judging God as though He is below you.

Oh and the woman you refer to, she was going to die anyway. Yeah it’s great that her dying gesture was to protect her child, but it didn’t make anything worse for her.

A loving sacrifice means you actually have to give something up. Zeke did no such thing. Abraham was prepared to do that for God, who he loved more than his own son. Think of it what you will, but you’re only judging it by your wisdom, something the Bible frequently refers to as pure folly.

Esthier on September 2, 2007 at 7:28 PM

You’re so profoundly stupid, Esthier, that it is almost impossible to debate with you.

I don’t mean just that I disagree with you… I disagree with many people here I can converse with… I mean that you are dumb.

Christoph on September 2, 2007 at 7:39 PM

You’re so profoundly stupid, Esthier, that it is almost impossible to debate with you.

I don’t mean just that I disagree with you… I disagree with many people here I can converse with… I mean that you are dumb.

Christoph on September 2, 2007 at 7:39 PM

And again Christoph proves how brilliant he is by resorting to childish insults.

Esthier on September 2, 2007 at 7:49 PM

It’s just a statement of fact and I could tear apart your statements including showing you the non-inclusive syllogism in your 7:16 PM statement as it referred to your earlier discussion with AP, but you wouldn’t understand it anyway.

Christoph on September 2, 2007 at 7:58 PM

It’s just a statement of fact and I could tear apart your statements including showing you the non-inclusive syllogism in your 7:16 PM statement as it referred to your earlier discussion with AP, but you wouldn’t understand it anyway.

Christoph on September 2, 2007 at 7:58 PM

People often prove they can do something by simply telling others its true.

Esthier on September 2, 2007 at 8:08 PM

Esthier on September 2, 2007 at 8:08 PM

Dude. You’re making yourself look bad worse. “God” does not mean “Christian God” in English.

Nonfactor on September 2, 2007 at 8:16 PM

Dude. You’re making yourself look bad worse. “God” does not mean “Christian God” in English.

Nonfactor on September 2, 2007 at 8:16 PM

In English, we capitalize names that refer to a specific person. If we’re just talking about a nameless supreme being, there’s no reason to capitalize the word god.

Grammatically, all references, including pronouns, are frequently capitalized when used in reference to the Christian God.

The Bible is capitalized but not underlined as are all of the chapters of the Bible. Other religious texts are not given the same treatment.

This isn’t my opinion. This isn’t my theology. It’s in the AP style book.

Esthier on September 2, 2007 at 8:33 PM

It’s in the AP style book.

From The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual (1990):

Capitalize God in references to the deity of all monotheistic religions. Capitalize all noun references to the deity: God the Father, Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit, etc. Lowercase personal pronouns: he, him, thee, thou.
Lowercase gods and goddesses in references to the deities of polytheistic religions. . . . [and] in references to false gods: He made money his god.

VerbumSap on September 3, 2007 at 1:19 AM

I have been following this for several days w/ limited access to a computer….
.

“All believers know about the silence of God,” he (the Holy father) said in unprepared remarks. “Even Mother Teresa, with all her charity and force of faith, suffered from the silence of God.”
.

“He said believers sometimes had to withstand the silence of God in order to understand the situation of people who do not believe.” http://africa.reuters.com/top/news/usnBAN230056.html
.

“…this is the stuff nightmares are made of
the final arrival of atheist
being eaten up alive by devouring worms
what possible purpose???…
save some evolutionary-custodial-cleanup
.

I have seen the feeding frenzy of maggots
devouring dead animals in the woods, or roadside
it is a study in directed chaos
not unlike a murder of Crows in the late-Autumn-Champlain Valley sky….
it seems w/out direction
yet accomplishes a purpose.
.

I have seen the Heaven of the Animals w/my own eyes
God does not view His Creatures as so much garbage
to be trashed or re-cycled
the atheists can keep their hopelessness
Mercy originates in Heaven
& dwells in a contrite Heart
.

what purpose, therefore, to embrace final death
save, this Vision of the maggots of ‘No God!’
eating the Spirit up alive.
.

though yet i falter! my eyes are pinned on Heaven”

lobosan5 on September 3, 2007 at 12:40 PM

VerbumSap on September 3, 2007 at 1:19 AM

I’m using one that’s a little more current, but they’re likely the same. If that’s the case (mine’s at work), then I mispoke on the pronoun reference, at least as far as AP is concerned. The rest, as you’ve shown, is accurate. A nameless god would not already be part of a monotheistic religion.

Esthier on September 3, 2007 at 6:17 PM

A person can believe in a creator or creators without beleaving a guy wearing a dickhat.

TheSitRep on September 3, 2007 at 6:25 PM

I’m using one that’s a little more current, but they’re likely the same. If that’s the case (mine’s at work), then I mispoke on the pronoun reference, at least as far as AP is concerned. The rest, as you’ve shown, is accurate. A nameless god would not already be part of a monotheistic religion.

Esthier on September 3, 2007 at 6:17 PM

Shorter Esthier: Once again, I was wrong.

Christoph on September 3, 2007 at 11:05 PM