Saturday, February 25, 2006

Praising God / Adam and Eve

Re petty terms (the comment on my previous 'God' article), read this fun article on Praising Him. I was told by Webby that it is very biased, extreme, unfair and offensive really - but I say that if one is trying to prove a point, of course one would be extreme and biased towards the point one is trying to make.

But to try to be fair, let me put her points against this article forward. She said that (the Christian) God doesn't demand us to praise him in the Bible (I have not yet read it through so I don't know - if anyone has references to the Bible that does say that God demands our worship and praise, let me know please!) although there are numerous - almost all over the Bible - reports of people giving praise to God in the Bible. Praising God could come after winning a war or a healing - it is their belief that those are gifts from God. Although whether wars are a gift from God is debatable. Webby says that there is a good lesson in the Bible because at that time, this mechanism was practical as it kept the people at that time more humble. Webby also says that the Bible is very much about that particular period, that culture, and may not be applicable to people today. Otherwise they would be more arrogant than they already were.

Praising God, according to Webby, is simply expressing thankfulness to a superior power for everything good that we have. Oddly enough, I like the idea of having a superior power that one can thank for good things. BUT, I don't like the idea of this superior power ONLY having responsibility for good things and NOT the bad. Bad stuff is either Devil's fault (poor guy - gets the blame for EVERYTHING) or it's our fault for having sinned - or worse, for Adam and Eve's sin which we had nothing to do with! Incidentally, Webby says that the devil shouldn't get that much credit for being responsible for all the evil either! The Christian view is that good is always God and evil is always the Devil, rather than looking at themselves.

Adam and Eve's sin is my pet subject. I am a mere mortal mother, and I have a child. I KNOW that my child does not know any better so I will put away dangerous stuff out of his reach. I won't tell him, hey don't touch that 'cos it will kill/hurt you. I simply make sure that anything that could harm him is way out of reach. Why would God, in his infinite wisdom and omniscience, leave something wide open to Adam and Eve? Being omniscient, he would have KNOWN that Adam and Eve would eat the freakin' apple and damn the rest of humankind. So why did He do it? We are told that it's all about free will and obedience. So God, knowing that A&E would be disobedient still tests them? To prove what? Anyway, since Adam was made in God's image and at that time sinless, how could someone sinless and pure be disobedient? Was he not pure to start with?

What I found interesting in Genesis 3:4 was
"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

The only lie in this was that the serpent said you will not die. The serpent did NOT con Adam and Eve when he said you will know good and evil.

And God's biggest upset was that when Adam and Eve ate the apple, they would be like him. (Wasn't that his pet peeve too with Lucifer? That Lucifer had the balls to think he could be like/equal to God.. the arrogance of the fella - chuck him outta heaven for that one!)

Genesis 3:21
And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."

So because Adam and Eve did not listen to Him, God cursed them - he actively decided that they should suffer. It wasn't a natural law of Karma which is out of control (because of course God is omnipotent) but does this punishment show me a compassionate and loving God?

Genesis 3:16
To the woman he said,
"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you."

17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.

and 3:21

After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side [e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Why didn't God simply put this flaming cherubim with flaming sword to flaming guard the flaming tree of knowledge?!

Then we wouldn't have to have sinned and could still be living in Eden eating fruits... hmmmm no astro, no steak, no champagne, no sushi...

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Last night I slept at 5 am after I couldn't keep my eyes open. What was I doing? Pat and I were chatting online about Christianity and I was asking her about her God. I was trying to reconcile the God whom Pat and Webby KNOW (not feel or think) as real and the contrary view of Buddhism.

I was reading about the Dalai Lama's visit to to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1979. A monsignor in the receiving line recalls his encounter with the Buddhist patriarch: The Dalai Lama approached him, gazed into his eyes, and queried, "Father, do you know the difference between you and me?"

"No, Your Holiness," replied the monsignor.

"You believe in a personal God," the Dalai Lama observed, "and I do not."

I am having huge difficulties reconciling the God so many Christians believe to be real, and the complete opposite from Buddhists. There have been so many reincarnated high Lamas and Rinpoches - coming back lifetime after lifetime. And not one has come back saying - hey guys, guess what, Jesus LIVES! And oh, God is definitely there - and what he wants is... etc.

When I have asked about inconsistencies in the Bible, such as why is there so much violence in the Old Testament (see Book of Joshua - where there is killing after killing after killing..."Everyone in it they totally destroyed. They left no survivors." and "He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded." Reading it makes me want to cry. All this death and killing because the LORD, the God of Israel, commanded it? Christians justify it by saying that they had to die because they are evil/did no obey God etc. Or that it is simply metaphorical to show the power of God, as in if God is on your side and you obey him, you will win all battles. I don't buy it. You can't pick and choose - oh this part in the bible is metaphorical and this part is literal. It's either all metaphorical or all literal otherwise how will people know which parts are which.

Or best defence of bible I have heard is - God's ways are higher than ours. Ours not to question God. He has his reasons.

What a cop out. Great.

So we just blindly believe? All that we don't understand we simply say He knows best? Wasn't that how we ended up justifying apartheid, lack of women's rights, slavery etc - because it was all 'justified' by the Bible? And now, the Christian prejudice against homosexuality and gay marriages? How does gay marriage undermine the family? Are Christians worried that there will be no offspring to be little Christians? If all these sins were so evil, wouldn't Christ have specifically said so?

'Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened' says Christ, Matthew 7:7

I've been asking for years... I still don't have answers. I guess I will still continue asking and seeking and knocking... and see who is finally behind the door.