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Testimonies of Believers


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#1    ambelamba

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 11:55 PM

Testimony/Witnessing is a huge thing among Korean Christians. Often it's half a bragging about how God helped them to be successful. It's a typical prosperity gospel thing and there's nothing surprising about it. Korea was dirt poor for last few hundred years, right before 1960s. When the whole society has been strangled by poverty and hopelessness for centuries, people are gravitated toward messages of material prosperity.

But it doesn't end there.

Some testimonies do have a pattern. 1. A person is very successful without God. 2. Then God strikes him down. 3. He is broken and look out for God. 4. Then he finds his peace/whatever through God's grace. Sounds pretty much like The story of Job, aren't they? Yes, it's a scare tactics.

Some of you will argue that this is a pure blasphemy because those testimonies reduce God into a sadistic, possessive bully. I do agree as a pantheist/agnostic. Usually the kind of peopel drawn to this kind of drivel are those with great amount of misfortune throughout their lives. And pastors exploit such vulnerability for their own gains. Not just monetary exploitation, which is beyond despicable, also about spiritual manipulation.

But...believers put God before anything else, and often it can be very bizarre. God is more important than anything else, including life itself.

I digress a bit. Maybe Graham Hancock and...David Icke(!) stumbled upon the resaon why people can be so fanatical for a religious deity. Sometimes I wonder hyper-religiosity was a result of some manipulation and engineering.... Heh...

They came with a Bible and their religion. stole our land, crushed our spirit, and now they tell us we should be thankful to the Lord for being saved.

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#2    astab

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 08:38 PM

Personally, I believe that God is real. I also deny that God is a creator, intervener, answerer of petitionary prayer, miracle-maker, king or judge.

I believe that God's only power is a spiritual Presence and activity in the soul. Imo, God never intervenes in the physical world because God is not a creator. Since God is not a creator, God is not responsible for the condition and maintenance of the physical cosmos. God is not obligated to intervene in the world; moreover, God is not capable of such intervention, for the simple reason that such intervention is not inherent in God's nature. Physical intervention/miracles is simply not something that God does.

Having said that, I find the witnessing you mention especially repulsive. It's worse than the "Jesus turned my life around" type of witnessing. It says that God/Jesus not only morally/spiritually transforming a person's life: it says that God manipulated events in order to bring financial and material prosperity to a person. This, of course, contradicts everything that Jesus and Buddha and other enlightened people said about wealth vs. spirituality. It creates an intervening God made in our own greedy image.


#3    Dark_Grey

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 08:49 PM

Here's my testimony: ever since I stopped going to church, my career has taken off, I bought my first house (new) after only renting for a total of 2 years, I got married (beautiful wife and wedding in Banff,) new car, absolutely turned my outlook on life around completely and solely through my own conscious efforts.

Has God been blessing my life immensely so I will come back to Him? Maybe.
Is my life now the result of years of fervent prayer just coming to fruition later than I expected? It's possible.

What I do know is that I feel fantastic now and I haven't prayed in years. It has made me very seriously question everything I was brought up to believe.

"Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness."


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#4    ambelamba

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 11:01 PM

View Postastab, on 05 June 2014 - 08:38 PM, said:

Personally, I believe that God is real. I also deny that God is a creator, intervener, answerer of petitionary prayer, miracle-maker, king or judge.

I believe that God's only power is a spiritual Presence and activity in the soul. Imo, God never intervenes in the physical world because God is not a creator. Since God is not a creator, God is not responsible for the condition and maintenance of the physical cosmos. God is not obligated to intervene in the world; moreover, God is not capable of such intervention, for the simple reason that such intervention is not inherent in God's nature. Physical intervention/miracles is simply not something that God does.

Having said that, I find the witnessing you mention especially repulsive. It's worse than the "Jesus turned my life around" type of witnessing. It says that God/Jesus not only morally/spiritually transforming a person's life: it says that God manipulated events in order to bring financial and material prosperity to a person. This, of course, contradicts everything that Jesus and Buddha and other enlightened people said about wealth vs. spirituality. It creates an intervening God made in our own greedy image.

It's not just that. I mentioned that God in their testimonies break people to obey him, which is beyond scary and repulsive.

They came with a Bible and their religion. stole our land, crushed our spirit, and now they tell us we should be thankful to the Lord for being saved.

-Chief Pontiac (1718-1769)

#5    Paranoid Android

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 11:40 PM

I'd just like to say that the example in the opening post is not at all like the Job story. The testimonies  suggested by the OP are of people who were successful WITHOUT God and somehow came undone. The story of Job is of a believer who persevered through faith.

Massive difference.

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#6    astab

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 11:48 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 08 June 2014 - 11:40 PM, said:

I'd just like to say that the example in the opening post is not at all like the Job story. The testimonies  suggested by the OP are of people who were successful WITHOUT God and somehow came undone. The story of Job is of a believer who persevered through faith.

Massive difference.

Well, that's true as far as it goes, but as Carl Jung showed in his book, Answer to Job, YHVH's only concession to righteous Job's sufferings (all agreed to by YHVH) is that YHVH deigned to appear before Job to answer Job's agonized questions. For the rest of it, YHVH's "reply" was nothing but a sad example of divine bullying, threatening, and bragging. Some say Job's ultimate disposition was an act of persevering faith; others say that it was a fully understandable, survival-motivated, capitulation to the will of a divine bully.


#7    Mr Walker

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 01:45 PM

View Postastab, on 05 June 2014 - 08:38 PM, said:

Personally, I believe that God is real. I also deny that God is a creator, intervener, answerer of petitionary prayer, miracle-maker, king or judge.

I believe that God's only power is a spiritual Presence and activity in the soul. Imo, God never intervenes in the physical world because God is not a creator. Since God is not a creator, God is not responsible for the condition and maintenance of the physical cosmos. God is not obligated to intervene in the world; moreover, God is not capable of such intervention, for the simple reason that such intervention is not inherent in God's nature. Physical intervention/miracles is simply not something that God does.

Having said that, I find the witnessing you mention especially repulsive. It's worse than the "Jesus turned my life around" type of witnessing. It says that God/Jesus not only morally/spiritually transforming a person's life: it says that God manipulated events in order to bring financial and material prosperity to a person. This, of course, contradicts everything that Jesus and Buddha and other enlightened people said about wealth vs. spirituality. It creates an intervening God made in our own greedy image.

And yet god can, and does, act in this way But not necessarily for the purposes you impute.It is a whole lot more complex and yet simpler than that.

Certainly god and his power (and I don't mean just the Christian version here) can transform, empower and save, lives. This has been demonstrated countless times. How we interpret god's purpose and how we react to his intervention depends on us, and our reactiont will shape the rest of our life for positive or negative ends. God manipulates people and events for his own ends and purposes. I guess that is why humans tend to see him as a 'god"

Personally I have only found him loving, caring, protective and empowering so I am biased. But then I listen to him, let him educate and inform me, and act on his advice and wisdoms.

But  some people might not like the way god intervenes in their lives, or the outcomes he engineers. They might not want what god wants for them.

The most true and obvious thing in this whole debate is that, if you live with god, listen to god and work with god, your life will  be longer healthier happier and with more positive outcomes than if you do not. It is not about wealth or physical outcomes but the blessings of the spirit or the psychological and biological outcomes  that god's presence brings with it. Healing from hurt lust envy etc., removal of anger hate;   empowerment to resist temptations and to have greater self discipline, are only a few of the benefits of accepting god's presence.

By his spiritual presence in us, and his spiritual education and guidance of us, god can and does have a impact on the physical world, even if only through the changes he makes in us and thus how we interact differently with the  physical world.. God is like any intelligent being. He can intervene physically and directly but he can do more by educating others to think and act on his behalf  And it is the alteration of the very heart and soul of every human being which is gods intent; to enable every individual to live a happier healthier and more productive life and as a consequence  to help them develop a more caring, compassionate, just, equal and less selfish world, and to be more able to make changes to achieve that end.  When god empowers me in any way, it allows me to do more for others locally and around the world..

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#8    Mr Walker

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 01:59 PM

View Postastab, on 08 June 2014 - 11:48 PM, said:

Well, that's true as far as it goes, but as Carl Jung showed in his book, Answer to Job, YHVH's only concession to righteous Job's sufferings (all agreed to by YHVH) is that YHVH deigned to appear before Job to answer Job's agonized questions. For the rest of it, YHVH's "reply" was nothing but a sad example of divine bullying, threatening, and bragging. Some say Job's ultimate disposition was an act of persevering faith; others say that it was a fully understandable, survival-motivated, capitulation to the will of a divine bully.

Jung and you obviously had a very different deconstruction of the story of job than I do. Have you actually read and studied the whole book of job  to establish context, characterisation, dialogue, writers intent etc?

The story of job illustrates the relationship between a deity and a human, but the significant thing is how others, from satan, to god, to job, INTERPRET the nature of that relationship, and the context of the story is one in which job becomes an an example to illustrate that relationship to other observers who have to decide if god or satan is  correct in their assessment of god/jobs relationship and connection.

Satan says job is only loyal to god from the 'rewards" god has given him, even though those rewards actually flowed from jobs lifestyle choices as he followed god.

God says no, job is loyal from love, and from the heart, and would remain loyal even in the greatest distress.  In the end(as one would expect from such a text) god is proven right and job and he are reconciled with job regaining all he has lost and more.It is satan and those who doubted job's fidelity to god in his own community who are proven wrong.  God and job understand each other perfectly and correctly although job does not understand why god has visited misfortune on him (as is very common in humans) Job knows god is causing this but not because job has done something to alienate god he trusts god loves him and continues to serve him throughout the trials.

  This example shows, not only that satan was wrong about job's motivation, but informs the heavenly observers of the true nature of a relationship that can exist between god, and a man who loves him, trusts him, and obeys him.

Edited by Mr Walker, 09 June 2014 - 02:02 PM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#9    JJ50

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 12:19 PM

As there is no evidence to prove either the deity or Satan exist, everything claimed for them is pure speculation.

“The wise recognise their failings and laugh at their idiosyncrasies” RJG



#10    Mr Walker

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 12:27 PM

View PostJJ50, on 14 June 2014 - 12:19 PM, said:

As there is no evidence to prove either the deity or Satan exist, everything claimed for them is pure speculation.
That statement might be true for you, but you cannot claim it to be true for all people.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#11    JJ50

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 12:58 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 14 June 2014 - 12:27 PM, said:

That statement might be true for you, but you cannot claim it to be true for all people.

Of course it is true for all, no one has any actual evidence that they exist. However much they might believe they do they cannot prove it to be so.

“The wise recognise their failings and laugh at their idiosyncrasies” RJG



#12    Mr Walker

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 02:53 PM

View PostJJ50, on 14 June 2014 - 12:58 PM, said:

Of course it is true for all, no one has any actual evidence that they exist. However much they might believe they do they cannot prove it to be so.
Factually wrong  Many humans have evidence that god exists. Real physical concrete evidences from within their own lives. Now proving this to YOU or a third person is difficult if not impossible, but  anyone, using evidence and logic, can prove the existence of god if they encounter god, inexactly the same way we can prove the existence of any physical thing we encounter in our lives How do you know your dog exists and is not an hallucination?? Well you can know god exists in exactly the same way.

Now let us suppose that was all a lie. STILL you cant claim it as a falsehood, based only on your limited experience. You physically  cannot know what other people have experienced in their lives, and so you cannot judge the reality or validity of anyone else's experiences. You cannot say "no one can know god, because god does not exist." That is simply a belief statement .  You are saying that you don't believe god exists, ergo it is impossible for anyone to know god no matter what they experience in their life. Because you don't believe god is real, anyone who encounters god is having a break from reality. Can you see how illogical that is, not to mention discourteous. That what you believe is real must determine what is real for everyone on earth?

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#13    astab

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 08:19 PM

The problem is defining "proof" and "evidence". Knowledge acquisition is always a subjective experience. Looking through a telescope and seeing what we are told are the moons of Jupiter is knowledge acquisition, but it is also a personal, subjective experience. Untilizing the various spiritual "telescopes" or lenses and perceiving God, Spirit, and/or attributes thereof is knowledge acquisition, but also a subjective personal experience. Seeing Jupiter's moons can be a shared experience along with other individuals who also look through the telescope; perceiving the divine or attributes thereof can be a shared expperience along with others who also adequately perform the injunction, which is the same for both kinds of experience, namely:

"If you want to KNOW 'A' .... then DO 'B' "

If you want to know if Jupiter has moons, look through an appropriate lens. If you want to know about Spirit, look through an appropriate lens.

If one hasn't looked through the lens and seen Jupiter's moons for oneself, then one is not allowed to vote about the planets, because experience trumps "knowledge-about".

If one hasn't utilized the meditative/contemplative lenses for oneself, then one is not allowed to vote about God, because experience trumps "knowledge-about" as well as "belief-in".

This category - of the seeing of Jupiter's moons and the perception of God - proposes that both matter (moons) and Spirit (God) are objects not of faith or philosophy, but of experience. Not only that, they are objects of shared experience, shared among those who have correctly and adequately performed the Injunction.

"Proof", "knowing", and "evidence" are all personal, private, subjective functions, even when the experiences are shared and notes compared, as in peer review as occurs in science or in satori evaluation in the Zendo.

The primary ground of "knowing matter" and "knowing God" is the individual human psyche, and knowing about both Jupiter's moons and God occur in that subjective realm before they are shared and "published".

Since God can be a datum of experience, it would seem that the issue of proving God's existence is more productively discussed along the lines of mystical union rather than philosophic or faith-based avenues. It is a case of:

God exists:
http://www.patheos.c...ies-question-1/

God exists on several different levels appropriate to one's understanding of the spiritual domain:
http://www.beliefnet...Believe-In.aspx

God is not only immanent ("here"), but transcendent ("more than here")
http://gnosis.org/naghamm/apocjn.html

Edited by astab, 15 June 2014 - 08:22 PM.





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