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markdohle

Am I a good person?

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Am I a good person?

People will ask me at times what I think of our human nature. I will speak from my own experience of myself, as well as use the words and concepts of a Christian.

Am I a good person? Well no, I do not believe that I am. I often have to struggle to simply make the more humane choice, because at heart I am still self centered in the worst sense of the word. I am prone to self destructive behavior; I have to work on not using others, to reducing them to the level of a ‘thing’ or an ‘object’ to be used. I am lazy, driven by my desire for comfort and safety.

If left to myself, if I become indolent in my spiritual life I will drift towards chaos. In the Christian tradition this is called ‘sin’. It is not an action, but a state of being, of self centered being, of making oneself the only real thing, the center of the universe. The evil that I actually carry out is ‘sin’ but it has its roots in my human nature. In Christianity we call this fallen. So left to myself, I am in hell, isolated from others, but only capable of using or of going against them, at heart I am at war. This does not mean that I am totally evil either, but in need of healing mercy and grace. I say this without being neurotic about it, guilt is guilt, and it leads to self knowledge.

The ‘flesh’ is concerned with survival, with eating, procreating, acquiring power and prestige. The more I desire any of the above, things that I find ‘good’, becomes in the end, that which causes me to do evil. Because I have to go after what I desire, over and against others who seek the same things. We see it in our cultures. Life is hard, we seek to escape it, either through pleasure, power or love in all of its forms. All or much of it is self centered and doomed to failure.

Yet I also desire the good, the holy, to become whole and to love others. Christ says in order to find life we have to die to ourselves, so that a bigger, better, more expansive life can take root and grow. It is grace I believe that calls us to this new life. Christians know this because of Christ Jesus, all others who seek this are responding to the grace of Christ I believe. Jesus said “seek and you shall find”.

Many people fight this concept of sin, yet it seems to be the best term to show the mess we continually get ourselves in. Our wars, with other countries…. with ourselves and those around us, as well as the inhumane aspects of our cultures, the striving of personal power over others, and the acquiring of more wealth that we can ever spend and ignoring the needs and suffering of others…all point to the reality of sin.

In the end, all must submit to the truth, we each seek it I believe, some more consciously than others, but we are all seekers. It is the submission that is the hard part, to understand that there is a deeper center calling us, to me that center is Jesus Christ. Knowing that I am loved, sought after by the Infinite love, compassion and intelligence, causes me to respond by allowing this love, mercy and grace into my heart. Life changes after that, the center changes, and is replaced by the True Center. When we seek, we are responding to graces promptings. It is not esoteric, hidden, but there in our everyday lives, in the people we meet, the friends we make, what we read. We are challenged by our culture, by others, to choose, the way to a deeper more expansive life is the harder road to travel.

Understanding the reality of sin and my own struggles, I am not shocked nor am I surprised by the failures of others, be it politics or in the religious arena. Without grace, or our seeking after it, we will sink into an abyss. In order for the world to change, it has to come from the transformation of the heart, from that will flow the healing of our societies. Government programs will not help, nor will more laws, nor fighting, nor endless debates. The transformed heart is a loving heart, for it then is free to live out the image that it is made in.

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I really like this post, it is really good. Thanks! And I believe it deserves at least one reply!

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All anyone can seek to be is good enough, perfection would be awfully hard to live with! We shouldn't angst about our failings as long as we seek to put right anything we do wrong. Religion seems to cause many feelings of guilt, which isn't a productive feeling, imo.

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All anyone can seek to be is good enough, perfection would be awfully hard to live with! We shouldn't angst about our failings as long as we seek to put right anything we do wrong. Religion seems to cause many feelings of guilt, which isn't a productive feeling, imo.

What about people who aren't good enough?

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What about people who aren't good enough?

That is their problem. I think we all cease to be when we die anyway.

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Posted (edited)

That is their problem. I think we all cease to be when we die anyway.

Well, you do your thing then. Those people are important and valuable to me.

Edited by Bluefinger
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Well, you do your thing then. Those people are important and valuable to me.

Love this, well said.

Peace

mark

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Well, you do your thing then. Those people are important and valuable to me.

Why?

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We evolved and our ancestors survived by having genes that promote behaviors that enabled them to stay alive and successfully have children.

In sentient beings the most important way genes accomplish these things is through manipulation of emotion. We experience fear and it causes us to avoid trouble. We experience lust and we have sex. We experience love and we care for children and our spouse. We experience disgust and we avoid disease. In Buddhist terms we have desires and revulsions.

We also experience emotions that are not seen by society as a whole as so good. This is because there is sometimes a conflict between what is best for us and best for the group, so we experience greed and envy and jealousy and pride, and we end up lying and stealing and even murdering.

Now no two people are alike because no two people have the same genes, so some are more saintly and some are more criminal. The group, now evolved into society and even the world population, discourages the behaviors that may be beneficial to the individual but harmful to the many. The definition of a good person is therefore one who puts his or her own interests at no higher a level of importance than the interests of everyone else. This defeats instincts and behaviors we evolved that are no longer beneficial.

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Posted (edited)

Why?

Why are they important? Because they were made in God's image. I can't love God and not my fellow man. In addition, God has forgiven and loved me greatly. Who am I to withhold the same to those who have wronged me or others?

I am a man of many mistakes and stubborness that God has forgiven time and again. He has placed patient people in my life to bear with me, though I caused them disappointment, frustration, and sadness. He has also given me an unbelievable amount of grace. I have far more happiness in my life than I deserve.

Because of all of this, I have learned one thing that I see lacking in your response: Love.

Love is only truly realized when the one receiving it has not earned it. Love is known in mercy and grace. If those who have failed mean absolutely nothing to you and have no value to you, I dare question whether there is truly any love in you at all.

Edited by Bluefinger

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Because they were made in God's image.

What part of us is? The mind or the Body? If you consider the body to be nothing more than an animal and the mind the seat of the soul. Then all of us are piggy back riding an upright semi-hairless ape. If we are made in the image of God, is that image flawed? or is our standard of that image flawed? What does it actually mean to be in god's image in non-human terms?

Love is just a chemical, we give it meaning by choice.

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Posted (edited)

What part of us is? The mind or the Body? If you consider the body to be nothing more than an animal and the mind the seat of the soul. Then all of us are piggy back riding an upright semi-hairless ape. If we are made in the image of God, is that image flawed? or is our standard of that image flawed?

No, the image is not flawed. God made mankind and called it good. From the beginning, we were wonderfully and fearfully made. Wonderful because we are capable of so much love. Fearfully because we are capable of so much destruction. Just like God. The potential lies in us. That is why God told Cain that sin was at the door and that he needed to resist it. The potential was always there. So, not flawed at all.

I would argue, instead, that humanity is enslaved to sin; and with it God's image.

What does it actually mean to be in god's image in non-human terms?

Do you mean in Spiritual terms? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control.

Love is just a chemical, we give it meaning by choice.

I tell you what. You live your life being helplessly under the influence of chemicals in your brain and I will go about my life helplessly under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Humanity is all the better when the least of people are valued just as much as the greatest.

Edited by Bluefinger

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Posted (edited)

I tell you what. You live your life being helplessly under the influence of chemicals in your brain and I will go about my life helplessly under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The way I follow is a whole lot better for humanity.

I see little difference. Being filled with the holy spirit is just the same as being overpowered by emotion. Except your emotion have a mean that is different than mine.

Do you mean in Spiritual terms? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control.

How are these spiritual? Anyone can possess these at any time. Many of these are mental state and actions based upon that mental state.

Wonderful because we are capable of so much love. Fearfully because we are capable of so much destruction. Just like God.

Then god is not much better than us. And truly has no right to judge us. To judge us would be to judge him/her/itself.

If we are god's then the ultimate responsibility is to ourselves. We have in our hands to power to create and destroy. Any may who prays to any religious deity is just praying to a false image. The god's we bow to are of our own creation.

Edited by XenoFish

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I see little difference. Being filled with the holy spirit is just the same as being overpowered by emotion. Except your emotion have a mean that is different than mine.

I see a very big difference. One actually means well while the other doesn't mean anything.

How are these spiritual? Anyone can possess these at any time. Many of these are mental state and actions based upon that mental state.

In regard to these, they are walking by the Spirit. People who walk according to their emotions often lack these things.

Then god is not much better than us. And truly has no right to judge us. To judge us would be to judge him/her/itself.

I don't see how your logic works that way. Of course God can judge us. He is able to rightfully control that potential. And His Spirit helps us do the same.

If we are god's then the ultimate responsibility is to ourselves. We have in our hands to power to create and destroy. Any may who prays to any religious deity is just praying to a false image. The god's we bow to are of our own creation.

That attitude hasn't served us well yet in the last seven millennia. Why do you suppose it will work now? Because we have science? News flash. Science in the hands of evil people isn't anymore helpful. Change the person, then you can start doing good.

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Your still not validating your point. Basically your stating that you can't do anything meaningful unless your filled with the holy spirit. That basic emotions are unfit unless god is at the forefront.

That attitude hasn't served us well yet in the last seven millennia.

Nor has religion done any better. In fact religion is the easiest tool for evil to wield. If you can control and manipulate the beliefs of the weak minded you've got an army.

So tell me what is the real difference between spirit and emotion? Being filled with the spirit often comes with a strong emotional response. Which can be nothing more than a mind-body reaction. Completely based on one's own expectations.

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Your still not validating your point. Basically your stating that you can't do anything meaningful unless your filled with the holy spirit. That basic emotions are unfit unless god is at the forefront.

That's not what I'm saying. As we discussed earlier, we have the potential to do great acts of love; meaningful things. So, the Holy Spirit helps us choose those things. But most importantly, the Holy Spirit helps us find peace with God and enter into His kingdom; where these deeds are multiplied.

Nor has religion done any better. In fact religion is the easiest tool for evil to wield. If you can control and manipulate the beliefs of the weak minded you've got an army.

Religion and science are things that can be used for good or for evil. They can feed bellies or destroy entire civilizations. All you are indicating is that man is sinful and in need of forgiveness, a peace with God that the Holy Spirit helps us obtain.

So tell me what is the real difference between spirit and emotion? Being filled with the spirit often comes with a strong emotional response. Which can be nothing more than a mind-body reaction. Completely based on one's own expectations.

The Holy Spirit isn't necessarily followed by an emotional response. A changed life is the result of the Holy Spirit. It is something that comes from God, not our emotions.

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So in your view there is no such things as free will. Because it takes the holy spirit to do any good.

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Why?

Other people are important to us, at the very least the two people that caused us to come into being. Unless you're a hermit, you have to live with others, and you can do it the hard way or the easy way. Even if you were a hermit, you'd still use products & equipment & things made by other people, so you can't escape the influence of others. Given that we have to live with one another to some degree, it makes sense to treat people with compassion & good will.

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We have psychological mechanisms that allow the vast majority of us to think we are good. Religion is perhaps the worst offender, allowing many to practice discrimination and hateful acts and credit it to their beliefs.

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Posted (edited)

That's very similar to the point I'm trying to get at. There is no way to tell the difference between an emotional response and holy spirit. Anyone can do a good deed. Doesn't matter if it's because religious or nonreligious beliefs.

Edited by XenoFish
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So in your view there is no such things as free will. Because it takes the holy spirit to do any good.

I'm beginning to think you aren't even reading what I am saying.

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I've read.

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So in your view there is no such things as free will. Because it takes the holy spirit to do any good.

As I said before, we were made in God's likeness, having the free will to harness our potential on our own terms. We also valued the same things He valued. But sin enslaved us. It enslaves you, though you think you are free. Every time a command from God comes that mandates you obey, sin takes dominion over you and causes evil to rise up. So then, your master is sin.

A simple test is to try to live a holy life. You will find out that sin has control over you.

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As I said before, we were made in God's likeness, having the free will to harness our potential on our own terms. We also valued the same things He valued. But sin enslaved us. It enslaves you, though you think you are free. Every time a command from God comes that mandates you obey, sin takes dominion over you and causes evil to rise up. So then, your master is sin.

A simple test is to try to live a holy life. You will find out that sin has control over you.

And what is god's likeness? I would certainly not wish to be like the depiction of the deity in the Bible which is of an evil entity!

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A simple test is to try to live a holy life. You will find out that sin has control over you.

Speak for yourself.

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