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worshipping freely...

Myrrh23

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This is something I have spoken to GreekisChristian about, and couldn't answer:

If God gives us free will to worship freely, why would He then punish those who don't share certain beliefs? I thought about it being "You're free to touch the burning stove, but something bad will happen to you if you do", but somehow, this doesn't quite explain theological situation.
I would like to believe that God shows us the Truth of it all close to death or a little bit after death, but then someone said there's no salvation after death.
 

ialmisry

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Myrrh23 said:
This is something I have spoken to GreekisChristian about, and couldn't answer:

If God gives us free will to worship freely, why would He then punish those who don't share certain beliefs? I thought about it being "You're free to touch the burning stove, but something bad will happen to you if you do", but somehow, this doesn't quite explain theological situation.
I would like to believe that God shows us the Truth of it all close to death or a little bit after death,
You can lead the horse to water, but you can't make him drink.  As Milton had Lucifer say "better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven."  It seems some would prefer their own error over God's Truth. God doesn't abolish free will in those cases.
 

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ozgeorge said:
Does He? I would check on that.
People were struck dead for touching the Ark of the Covenant.
I don't see how that negates their free will.  Just because there were negative repercussions doesn't mean there wasn't an exercise of free will.  Otherwise, we would have to deny that Adam and Eve did not have free will when they sinned and were cast out of Paradise; if we don't have free will, we're merely automatons acting according to our programming and have no capability for moral or immoral action.
 

ozgeorge

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Veniamin said:
ozgeorge said:
Does He? I would check on that.
People were struck dead for touching the Ark of the Covenant.
I don't see how that negates their free will.  Just because there were negative repercussions doesn't mean there wasn't an exercise of free will.  Otherwise, we would have to deny that Adam and Eve did not have free will when they sinned and were cast out of Paradise; if we don't have free will, we're merely automatons acting according to our programming and have no capability for moral or immoral action.
I wasn't saying that it negates free will, what I was questioning is the validity of the statement: "God gives us free will to worship freely". Are we really free to worship God any way we want?
 

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ozgeorge said:
I wasn't saying that it negates free will, what I was questioning is the validity of the statement: "God gives us free will to worship freely". Are we really free to worship God any way we want?
Are we free to do so?  Yes, in the same way that you and I are free to go out and commit all kinds of horrible crimes.  We're free to engage in those actions, but those actions still come with consequences.
 

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Veniamin said:
ozgeorge said:
I wasn't saying that it negates free will, what I was questioning is the validity of the statement: "God gives us free will to worship freely". Are we really free to worship God any way we want?
Are we free to do so?  Yes, in the same way that you and I are free to go out and commit all kinds of horrible crimes.  We're free to engage in those actions, but those actions still come with consequences.
I think you're still missing the point.
Look at the context of the statement in the OP:
If God gives us free will to worship freely, why would He then punish those who don't share certain beliefs?
The premises are:

A) God gave us free will
and
B) We are free to worship as we please

Therefore
C) God is not justified in punishing those who don't share certain beliefs.

Now, let's ignore the question of the validity of the conclusion for the moment. While premise (A) is true, the conclusion (C) is based on both premises (A) and (B) being true (i.e. C is true IF A AND B are true). What I'm saying is (B) is not true.
 

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Within Christ we are to follow worship as we are 'instructed' by God.

The Lord says we are to worship God "in spirit and in truth".

This is very far from being "free" to worship "any way we want".


 

ozgeorge

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Amdetsion said:
Within Christ we are to follow worship as we are 'instructed' by God.

The Lord says we are to worship God "in spirit and in truth".

This is very far from being "free" to worship "any way we want".
Exactly. Yes, we have free will, but no one is "free" to worship the Holy Trinity by making human sacrifices. This would not be accepted by the Holy Trinity as worship, and is therefore not worship but murder.
 

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Actually, I think the issue is we're working under different premises.

I think that your premise A is implied within your premise B and is therefore redundant.  I would phrase it as such:

A) We are free to worship as we please
and
B) All methods of worship in which we engage are equally valid because we are free to choose them
therefore
C) God is not justified in punishing those who don't share certain beliefs.

Under your construction, I believe what is missing is something that equates being free to do something as being valid (ability=validity or however you'd like to phrase it), which seems to be the underlying assumption of an "all forms of worship are okay" argument.  I disagree and think that needs to be an explicit premise of the argument.  In the construction I offer above, I would agree with your reasoning concerning premise B not being true, thus requiring conclusion C to also not be true.
 

ozgeorge

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Veniamin said:
Actually, I think the issue is we're working under different premises.

I think that your premise A is implied within your premise B and is therefore redundant.  I would phrase it as such:

A) We are free to worship as we please
and
B) All methods of worship in which we engage are equally valid because we are free to choose them
therefore
C) God is not justified in punishing those who don't share certain beliefs.

Under your construction, I believe what is missing is something that equates being free to do something as being valid (ability=validity or however you'd like to phrase it), which seems to be the underlying assumption of an "all forms of worship are okay" argument.  I disagree and think that needs to be an explicit premise of the argument.  In the construction I offer above, I would agree with your reasoning concerning premise B not being true, thus requiring conclusion C to also not be true.
But we are not free to worship as we please. It is not a true statement to say that "we are free to worship God as we see fit" neither in Divine nor civil law. You cannot worship any deity with human sacrifices now for instance, so the issue is not the "validity" of the worship.
 

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St. John Chapter 4:20-24

20. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

21. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

22. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

23. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:  for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth
.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (blessed is His holy name...Amen) has given us the way we are to worship God and again it is NOT freely in any way shape or form but is within very strict guidlines.
 

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ozgeorge said:
But we are not free to worship as we please. It is not a true statement to say that "we are free to worship God as we see fit" neither in Divine nor civil law. You cannot worship any deity with human sacrifices now for instance, so the issue is not the "validity" of the worship.
Since I apparently don't get what you're saying and am also apparently not worth the effort for you to explain it, I'm just going to save us all some trouble and skip to the point where I drop out of the conversation.
 

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Ok, what I'm trying to get at is, how do I prove the validity of Christianity and the falseness of other beliefs and practices? What can I say to..I dunoo...a NeoPagan that says "Prove your religion is the right religion. Prove that reincarnation and astral travel aren't true. Prove that my Gods and Goddesses don't exist, and the only way to honor the Divine is through Christianity and Jesus Christ." This is what I'm trying to get at. With all the religions that were and are, it does seem God gives us the leeway (for lack of a better word) to worship as we see fit...(shrugs).
 

username!

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Sia,

One way we can tell others what we believe is through the Nicene Creed.

I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not created, of one essence with the Father, through whom all things were made.
For us and for our salvation, He came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and He suffered and was buried.
On the third day He rose according to the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who spoke through the prophets.
In one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
I expect the resurrection of the dead.
And the life of the age to come. Amen.

While this doesn't answer all of your questions it is a concise explanation of what Orthodox Christians believe in.  To a certain point we must approach "proving" our Faith is correct.  By that I mean we must be attentive that we aren't inducing the sin of pride and taking the Lord's name in vain while we argue with others about whose religion is "correct." Too often I see people getting into "my god is better than your god" type arguments.  Growing up we were always taught to be a witness through our life, live the message of Christ that it may lead others to follow Him. As Orthodox Christians we have one calling;  to be more like Christ.  There is a time and place for every situation and how to witness and talk about religion is something learned over time (it is a life-long process) that it may be done correctly and not done for our sake but for His sake. 
 

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Myrrh23 said:
Ok, what I'm trying to get at is, how do I prove the validity of Christianity and the falseness of other beliefs and practices? What can I say to..I dunoo...a NeoPagan that says "Prove your religion is the right religion. Prove that reincarnation and astral travel aren't true. Prove that my Gods and Goddesses don't exist, and the only way to honor the Divine is through Christianity and Jesus Christ." This is what I'm trying to get at. With all the religions that were and are, it does seem God gives us the leeway (for lack of a better word) to worship as we see fit...(shrugs).
While I second username!'s post, I must also point out that it is logically impossible to prove a negative ;)
 

username!

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Schultz said:
Myrrh23 said:
Ok, what I'm trying to get at is, how do I prove the validity of Christianity and the falseness of other beliefs and practices? What can I say to..I dunoo...a NeoPagan that says "Prove your religion is the right religion. Prove that reincarnation and astral travel aren't true. Prove that my Gods and Goddesses don't exist, and the only way to honor the Divine is through Christianity and Jesus Christ." This is what I'm trying to get at. With all the religions that were and are, it does seem God gives us the leeway (for lack of a better word) to worship as we see fit...(shrugs).
While I second username!'s post, I must also point out that it is logically impossible to prove a negative ;)
good catch!
 

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Myrrh23 said:
Ok, what I'm trying to get at is, how do I prove the validity of Christianity and the falseness of other beliefs and practices? What can I say to..I dunoo...a NeoPagan that says "Prove your religion is the right religion. Prove that reincarnation and astral travel aren't true. Prove that my Gods and Goddesses don't exist, and the only way to honor the Divine is through Christianity and Jesus Christ." This is what I'm trying to get at. With all the religions that were and are, it does seem God gives us the leeway (for lack of a better word) to worship as we see fit...(shrugs).
I don't know how to argue with neo-Pagans.

BTW, I also have no idea how to argue with those who say (like my daughter and son-in-law) that Christian mythology is exactly as "truthful" as the story about Santa Claus living on the North Pole and riding on a sledge with reindeer.

And I don't know how to argue with those who say (like my wife) that there is absolutely no way in the world we can learn anything about anything supernatural, so it may exist and it may not exist, we just do not know.

All I know is that I believe (see the Nicene Creed). :)

 

ialmisry

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Myrrh23 said:
Ok, what I'm trying to get at is, how do I prove the validity of Christianity and the falseness of other beliefs and practices? What can I say to..I dunoo...a NeoPagan that says "Prove your religion is the right religion. Prove that reincarnation and astral travel aren't true. Prove that my Gods and Goddesses don't exist, and the only way to honor the Divine is through Christianity and Jesus Christ." This is what I'm trying to get at. With all the religions that were and are, it does seem God gives us the leeway (for lack of a better word) to worship as we see fit...(shrugs).
You mean, why doesn't God strike the pagans dead?
 

ialmisry

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Heorhij said:
Myrrh23 said:
Ok, what I'm trying to get at is, how do I prove the validity of Christianity and the falseness of other beliefs and practices? What can I say to..I dunoo...a NeoPagan that says "Prove your religion is the right religion. Prove that reincarnation and astral travel aren't true. Prove that my Gods and Goddesses don't exist, and the only way to honor the Divine is through Christianity and Jesus Christ." This is what I'm trying to get at. With all the religions that were and are, it does seem God gives us the leeway (for lack of a better word) to worship as we see fit...(shrugs).
I don't know how to argue with neo-Pagans.

BTW, I also have no idea how to argue with those who say (like my daughter and son-in-law) that Christian mythology is exactly as "truthful" as the story about Santa Claus living on the North Pole and riding on a sledge with reindeer.
Did the elves go out to proclaim it across the world, knowing that they would get killled?

Btw, note I am saying the Apostles were willing to die to spread the message, not that they were willing to kill for it.  That came later, and is not what I call a proof.

And I don't know how to argue with those who say (like my wife) that there is absolutely no way in the world we can learn anything about anything supernatural, so it may exist and it may not exist, we just do not know.

All I know is that I believe (see the Nicene Creed). :)
Which is best.  If you haven't read Kierkegaard's "Exercises (or Practice/Training) in Christianity), do so.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Practice_in_Christianity
http://www.amazon.com/Practice-Christianity-Kierkegaards-Writings-Vol/dp/0691020639/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224110492&sr=1-1
http://www.amazon.com/Training-Christianity-Soren-Kierkegaard/dp/0375725644/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224110492&sr=1-2

I've only read part of Dinesh D'souza's "What's-So-Great-About-Christianity"
http://www.amazon.com/Whats-So-Great-About-Christianity/dp/1596985178/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224110248&sr=1-2
 

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Myrrh23 said:
Ok, what I'm trying to get at is, how do I prove the validity of Christianity and the falseness of other beliefs and practices? What can I say to..I dunoo...a NeoPagan that says "Prove your religion is the right religion. Prove that reincarnation and astral travel aren't true. Prove that my Gods and Goddesses don't exist, and the only way to honor the Divine is through Christianity and Jesus Christ." This is what I'm trying to get at. With all the religions that were and are, it does seem God gives us the leeway (for lack of a better word) to worship as we see fit...(shrugs).
Simple. "If your religion is based on the premise that my religion can't prove your religion false, then your religion is based on a logical fallacy and is therefore is not worthy of my or your attention."
 

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ialmisry said:
BTW, I also have no idea how to argue with those who say (like my daughter and son-in-law) that Christian mythology is exactly as "truthful" as the story about Santa Claus living on the North Pole and riding on a sledge with reindeer.
ialmisry said:
Did the elves go out to proclaim it across the world, knowing that they would get killled?
No, they did not, simply becuse they do not exist; men and women do exist; Christ and His apostles were merely men - and, according to my dear atheists, poor, misquided men, fanatics who were during their lifetime driven by a purely mythological Jewish idea of the coming of the Messiah (which is as "truthful" as the arrival of Santa Klaus to our homes on the night before Christmas... 

ialmisry said:
Btw, note I am saying the Apostles were willing to die to spread the message, not that they were willing to kill for it.  That came later, and is not what I call a proof.
According to my dear atheists, they were very willing to kill, just like all those barbarians in the old times were; they were just impotent to materialize their wishes, although sometimes they managed, at least to make an impression that they invoked some supernatural forces to help them kill (see the myth about Ananias and Saphyrra).

ialmisry said:
If you haven't read Kierkegaard's "Exercises (or Practice/Training) in Christianity), do so.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Practice_in_Christianity
http://www.amazon.com/Practice-Christianity-Kierkegaards-Writings-Vol/dp/0691020639/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224110492&sr=1-1
http://www.amazon.com/Training-Christianity-Soren-Kierkegaard/dp/0375725644/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224110492&sr=1-2
I've only read part of Dinesh D'souza's "What's-So-Great-About-Christianity"
http://www.amazon.com/Whats-So-Great-About-Christianity/dp/1596985178/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224110248&sr=1-2
Thank you, I will try to read that. Of all Kierkegaard, I've only read "Fear and Trembling," and it impressed me tremendously - but again, to my dear atheists, the myth about Abraham willing to kill his only son - because some nonexisting Santa Klaus asked him to, - is the ultimate barbarianism, something that the humankind must get rid of, or it will eventually come to the point of self-annihilation (look at the numerous Abrahams in Iran and elsewhere in the domain of the strictest Abrahamic monotheists...). I have also read C.S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity," and found it absolutely repetitive, circular-logical and useless overall.
 

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Heorhij said:
...Christian mythology is exactly as "truthful" as the story about Santa Claus...

...there is absolutely no way in the world we can learn anything about anything supernatural, so it may exist and it may not exist, we just do not know.
If they define myth in the popular sense, as a false story, then there is no reasoning with them.  But if one defines myth, especially religious myth, in the scholarly sense, as a sacred story, one intended to convey a kernel of truth often through a fantastic account, then you may find common ground.

If she limits her acquisition of knowledge to the scientific method, then I am afraid she is stuck with the natural world, and agnosticism with regard to the supernatural is the most honest approach.  But if one allows that scientific knowledge and religious knowledge are obtained somewhat (not entirely) differently, that the natural and supernatural are not necessarily opposed to one another, then a dialogue may be opened.

Heorhij said:
According to my dear atheists, they were very willing to kill, just like all those barbarians in the old times were; they were just impotent to materialize their wishes....
There are enough examples of Christians offering the choice "Convert or die!" (St. Olaf of Norway comes to mind) that I would concede this point.
 

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Myrrh23 said:
Ok, what I'm trying to get at is, how do I prove the validity of Christianity and the falseness of other beliefs and practices? What can I say to..I dunoo...a NeoPagan that says "Prove your religion is the right religion. Prove that reincarnation and astral travel aren't true. Prove that my Gods and Goddesses don't exist, and the only way to honor the Divine is through Christianity and Jesus Christ." This is what I'm trying to get at. With all the religions that were and are, it does seem God gives us the leeway (for lack of a better word) to worship as we see fit...(shrugs).
I think that this can be done is several ways. First, we can argue for the existence of God. Aquinas' five ways are helpful and build a skeleton for proofs for the exitence of God. But more is need. There are also the design arguements which are compatible with the idea of evolution, but recognize the blatant truth that the universe looks designed (look at the functioning of a cell for example). There is the muslim arguement knonw as the Kalaam arguement that is very helpful. Take a look at Peter Kreeft's book, Handbook of Christian Apologetics. It will give you an elementary overview of many of these arguements.
There are also the historical arguements for the resurrection of Jesus. Again, take a look Kreeft's book. It provides an elementary exposition of these ideas. You can also read, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell (a protestant). Most of the work is pretty good. A shorter and more digestable version of the work is called More than a Carpenter.
No proof is perfect. But I certainly believe that perpondernace of evidence is in favor of the Triune God.
Ulitmately, though, one can only come to know God by experiencing him.
 

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Myrrh23 said:
Ok, what I'm trying to get at is, how do I prove the validity of Christianity and the falseness of other beliefs and practices?
One way is to fast, pray, and "show" them Christ through your non-judgemental words and actions towards them. :-\
 

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GabrieltheCelt said:
Myrrh23 said:
Ok, what I'm trying to get at is, how do I prove the validity of Christianity and the falseness of other beliefs and practices?
One way is to fast, pray, and "show" them Christ through your non-judgemental words and actions towards them. :-\
I would totally agree with this.  We cannot logic people into believing, much as we might like.  If it were that easy, the whole world would believe.  The question is the openness of heart of the person one is speaking to.  Christ Himself could appear before them and open the Scriptures to them and they would still not believe if their heart is closed (we see this in the Scriptures).  All we can do is, as a dear priest I know says, "BE Christ for them."  In other words, be the best example of Christianity that we can for them, fast, and pray that God will help us to be that example, that we will not commit the sin of judging them, and that God will open their hearts to Him. 
 

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GreekChef said:
GabrieltheCelt said:
Myrrh23 said:
Ok, what I'm trying to get at is, how do I prove the validity of Christianity and the falseness of other beliefs and practices?
One way is to fast, pray, and "show" them Christ through your non-judgemental words and actions towards them. :-\
I would totally agree with this.  We cannot logic people into believing, much as we might like. 
Agreed. But for some people they cannot follow a God that their mind will not allow them to believe in. Apologetics does not convert people to God. But apologetics do clear some of the mental barriers that stop some from believing.
 
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