The reality of loving God is loving him like he's a Superhero who actually saved you from stuff rather than a Santa Claus who merely gave you some stuff.
To better understand God we must first shatter our own idea of God - maybe even day after day. Maybe he's too great to stay compressed in the human mind. Maybe he splits it wide open; this is why pretentious intellectualism so often fails to comprehend the concept of God: it is only accepting of what it can explain while in the process finding higher sources offensive. What we may confidently assert is that faith is the opening that allows God, this unpredictable, unseen power, to travel in and out of the mind without all the pains of confusion.
Realizing the seriously ruthless, venomous habits and agendas of evil always instills a more fierce passion and longing for a closer God. Men, out of pride, may claim their own authorities over what constitutes good and evil; they may self-proclaim a keen knowledge of subjective morality through religion or science. But that is only if they are acknowledging the work of evil as a cartoon-like, petty little rain cloud in the sky that merely wants to dampen one's spirits. On the contrary, a man could be without a doubt lit with the strength, the peace, and the knowledge of the gods, his gods, but when or if the devils grow weary in unsuccessful attempts to torment him, they begin tormenting his loved ones, or, if not his loved ones, anyone who may attempt to grasp his philosophies. No matter how godly he may become, God is, in the end, his only hope and his only grace for the pressures built around him - it is left up to a higher authority and a more solid peace and a wider love to eclipse not just one's own evils but all evils for goodness to ultimately matter. If all men were gods, each being would dwell in a separate prison cell, hopeless, before finally imploding into nothingness.
God judges men from the inside out; men judge men from the outside in. Perhaps to God, an extreme mental patient is doing quite well in going a month without murder, for he fought his chemical imbalance and succeeded; oppositely, perhaps the healthy, able and stable man who has never murdered in his life yet went a lifetime consciously, willingly never loving anyone but himself may then be subject to harsher judgment than the extreme mental patient. It might be so that God will stand for the weak and question the strong.
Christianity, like genius, is one of the hardest concepts to forgive. We hear what we want to hear and accept what we want to accept, for the most part, simply because there is nothing more offensive than feeling like you have to re-evaluate your own train of thought and purpose in life. You have to die to an extent in your hunger for faith, for wisdom, and quite frankly, most people aren't ready to die.
I cannot encourage any fabrication even for the sake of making people feel good. If I were to fabricate consciously and knowingly, I would not only be ordaining myself their enemy, but also ordaining myself God's enemy.
The theistic philosopher has a tendency to devalue insufficient worldviews, ideologies, and quite often common sense for the greater good, and in such cases, one should not be discouraged when seen as a bad guy. If he stresses over man's perception of a righteous heart, then he has given his heart to man.
It is never ridicule, but a compliment, that knocks a philosopher off his feet. He is already positioned for every possible counter-attack, counter-argument, and retort...only to find a big bear hug coming his way.
In essence I find that the foundation of modern conservatism is driven by a clinging to God in fear of the world, whereas the foundation of modern liberalism is a clinging to the world in fear of God; albeit, the true foundation should be one's clinging to God in fear of God.
It is the philosophers, theologians, and evangelists who are said to be filled with pride and bigotry due to the strong convictions that they represent. On the contrary, teachings can be either taken or dismissed; whereas voting is the only thing the average person can do to force everyone to live how they would prefer. A simple vote is among the largest yet most acceptable forms of bigotry, and that is because people play the card only when they feel that in doing so it conveniences themselves.
There was a time when skepticism was an act of rebellion. Since to a degree I both believe in evolution and have faith, I can only conclude that, as prophesied, to have faith will someday be an act of rebellion.
It is debatable whether blind faith is truly faith at all. Faith is the perceptive gray area where scientific facts meet an individual's experiential truths - the extreme of the former is left feeling in the dark whereas the latter is caught blinded by the light. By proper scientific method, it is intellectually dishonest for me to declare the existence of God with utmost certainty, but to my individual spirit, I would be intellectually dishonest to deny the existence of God even for a second. This leaves the best of both worlds, as the believer is called to be able to give reasons for his faith, a deviation from mere fantasy.
When we begin to reflect Christ, the Bible, when more understood as being centered around Christ, seems to be potentially every man's biography regarding God's promised experiences and truth for him - his individual, unique path of humbling oneself before the Lord and then being exalted by the Lord back into his true and righteous personhood. Many followers may speak of it merely to try to change other people (before changing themselves), but the prophets speak of it as a living word which miraculously tells their very own experiences.
In God's eyes, a man who teaches one truth and nothing else is more righteous than a man who teaches a million truths and one lie.
As followers of Christ, we are to be careful not to remain victims of the many cultural presuppositions of who he is, and what he teaches, insofar as taking for granted our own caricatures of him. Let it boil in both mind and heart the question, 'If Jesus were to appear today, how many of us would actually recognize him and his teachings (or would it simply be a recount of his first visit)?
I'm convinced that most men don't know what they believe, rather, they only know what they wish to believe. How many people blame God for man's atrocities, but wouldn't dream of imprisoning a mother for her son's crime?
The whole war between the atheist and the theist comes down to this: the atheist believes a 'what' created the universe, the theist believes a 'who' created the universe.
Those who live as though God sets the rules are not going by their own rules. That is the self-sacrifice, or selflessness, that peace more often than not requires. Those who insist on going by their own rules cannot make that sacrifice. They are the steady adherents of (global) conflict because they are forever fighting both themselves and others to do whatever they think that they want to do.
My belief is that, morally, God and Satan are vaguely on the same page. According to the common understanding of Satan's origins, holiness must be in his blood: but a corrupted formula. The vital difference is that God is willing to offer grace for our sins; he delights in grace. God is the one and only holy and just punisher of sin, yes, but that is partly so because punishment for the sake of punishment is not something he loves. Whereas Satan, as the accuser, and as it is written, actually seeks God's permission to punish; he, being a seasoned legalist, delights in finding wrongs and will defy his own morality just to expose immorality. This is why both the anti-religious soul and the violently religious soul are, whether consciously or unconsciously, and sadly enough, glorifying their biggest hater: Satan is not only a lawless lover of punishing lawlessness, but also the greatest theologian of us all. He loves wickedness, but only because he loves punishing wickedness.
Think outside the box? Indeed. But to add balance to that, one should not in the process forget what the inside of the box looks like as well. Those who are best at thinking outside the box do it not to puff themselves up, but to see how small they really are. As a contented fish in its fish tank appears to have a small, boring existence to us, imagine a larger, more perceptive kingdom (even by scientific taxonomy) to whom our contented existences may appear to be small and boring. This is where true creativity and massive perceptive abilities spawn a sense of intellectual humility; the kind which God adores.
When we look for success, it should be for the sole purpose of boasting sincerely in Christ. There's no other reason for it. Success is only worth it when the more intense it gets for you, the more you find yourself bragging for his glory rather than your own.
When we find that God's ways always coincide with our own ways, it's time to question who we're really worshipping, God or ourselves. The latter moves the nature of godliness from the King to our servant to a slave, a deduction into the realm of selfhood and then the lower, slavehood. It's a spiritual mathematics in that men who need God in his godhood are humble yet strong and spiritually ambitious while men who need a slave in their selfhood are ultimately paralyzed and will remain paralyzed.
When you mature in your relationship with God you realize how suffering and patience are like eating your spiritual vegetables.
Of all the major religions, or lack thereof, the atheist's is one of the best pretenders: his foundation for all existences, as well as moral behaviors for the permanent good of mankind, begins at science but ends at himself, the Napoleon complex of both intelligence and imagination. On the other hand the anti-theist wouldn't survive without a deity beyond himself to hunt. He doesn't pretend, he simply nullifies his own position.
The typical atheist rebels against God as a teenager rebels against his parents. When his own desires or standards are not fulfilled in the way that he sees fit, he, in revolt, storms out of the house in denial of the Word of God and in scrutiny of a great deal of those who stand by the Word of God. The epithet 'Heavenly Father' is a grand reflection, a relation to that of human nature.
Religion, like science, is only noteworthy when it emphasizes a matter of what is true rather than whose belief is greater or lesser or which deity works for whom. Sincere religion and tested science are similar in that their assertions can be argued logically and objectively; otherwise, we get false cults and babble.
When you find that a theology has nothing more to offer than what the world already offers, then that theology as a theology is impractical, and therefore, useless.
Man has 2 common problems with God: the one is that there is evil in the world; the other is that free will is limited. The one, he is charging that the world is too evil; the other is that it is not evil enough.
God will save whomever He chooses to save. The Christian should proselytize not because he thinks he can change everybody, he should proselytize because the Gospel being shared is the ultimate act of love: because he thinks he can love everybody.
There is a greater Christian faith than one which settles for the temporal happiness, and that is the augmentation of faith. The more faithful you become, the harder the obstacles get; but the harder the obstacles get, the tougher your spine grows; and the tougher your spine grows, the less dependent you are on man's approval. I came to know this about Christianity when valuing faith before comfort.
So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgment. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalising effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.
God's relationship with man does not work in a way in which man stumbles and then God has to drop what he is doing in order to lift him up; rather, man stumbles so that God can lift him up. Hence it is utterly impossible to truly diminish his glory.
Everyone claims to be okay with freedom of religion, but the moment you mention God there is a strange tension that fills the air. If there was a 6th sense, that would be it.
We ask, ‘Why the need for God?’ Maybe the better question is ‘Why the need not to need Him?’ And could it be that that question in fact evidences our need for Him?
Indeed, a quick glance around this broken world makes it painfully obvious that we don't need more arguments on behalf of God; we need more people who live as if they are in covenant with Unconditional Love, which is our best definition of God. (p. 21)