Tuesday, May 8, 2007

ANSWERING A COMMENT

This world of blogging gets more interesting by the day......sometimes by the minute.

On my blog of Sunday, May 6th on "Developing Friendships" I was left the following comment:

"You can't seriously believe all that propaganda about an almighty everlasting heavenly father, can you? I mean the one who is supposed to be up there looking after us all? The one who answers prayers so arbitrarily? The same one who seems to be so prejudiced unto whom he bestows his favours? The same one whose mercy bestows HIV on thousands of hapless and innocent children each year in Africa? Come on, get real, you are a slave to a superstition, are you not?
May 7, 2007 6:09 PM"

I, of course immediately clicked on the link to see who this was and where it had come from. Turns out it was a male from Cumbria, U.K.

I replied by posting the folllowing comment on his blog this morning.

"Oh, I MOST seriously believe the truth about my almighty everlasting heavenly Father!!! The God I serve is a Good God. He is not the one causing HIV on thousands of hapless and innocent children each year in Africa or any other calamity or horrible thing the world might want to blame on Him.

I am so sorry that you haven't been exposed to or met the True and Living God but He is very real to me. I met my Lord and Savior when I was 18 years old and I have served Him for 51 years now. He has never let me down or forsaken me. Have I had harmful, hurtful things happen in my life? YES! Have I been disappointed in loved ones? YES! Have all my prayers been answered? NO! Does any of this cause me to doubt my God? NO!

Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you will return. I enjoyed very much seeing and hearing about your trip to St. Petersburg. What a treat to get to go and see all those wonderful sights. You have seen sights my eyes will never behold. I, like you, am a great lover of classical music. We have that in common. I, like you, have great friends. We have that in common.

May our commonality override our differences.

Susan"

Then on my blog this morning "I've Been Critiqued" I received this comment:

"Dear Penless,I came through to your blog through Maalie, my big brother. I am so glad you wrote back as you did. I find it very difficult to talk about faith with most people, but with him I find it totally impossible. It's not as if I am trying to convert anyone; I have too much trouble trying to keep myself on track to pester anyone else! I do find athiests are the most evangelical people you can get though.
May 8, 2007 8:13 AM "

I wanted to share all this with you my blogging friends. THIS is a perfect example of this powerful and wonderful world of blogging that we are all privileged to be a part of. I don't know about you......but I feel so blessed and excited about it.

84 comments:

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

That is great, I commend you on going to his blog and explaining yourself rather than scolding. I don't know that I would have been that nice about it. It was so great of his sister to write back to you too--God is good!

Ruth said...

Good for you! You did a great job. Keep on planting the seeds!!

Our Peculiar Life said...

HALLELUJAH!! Praise God!!

Myrna said...

YOU GO, GIRL!
Well said!

I have my answers to your questions posted. I have proven my husband correct--He has always said I tend to be a little wordy!:)

danny wright said...

You get a sense from this guy's comment that he is the Holy and Righteous one passing judgement on God. I suppose if a person sees himself as the reference point for all things good and evil, what he is saying would make sense, and he would be correct in his judgements. What he fails to grasp however is the fact that he is not the reference point and thus is wholly incapable as a sinner (he would say "not perfect") to pass judgement on God. This though is what I don't understand; it is as if he thinks these atrocities about which he is complaining would not be happening if only YOU didn't believe in God. This begs the question of what has HE done to help these people.

I understand his plight however for it was my own. This man-like C.S. Lewis did-sees the world as a great injustice. Lewis said in "Surprised by Joy": "I maintained that God did not exist. I was also very angry with God for not existing. I was equally angry with Him for creating a world." (page 115)

Trella said...

How wonderful! What a wonderful comment you left for him, very loving and sincere. Like Ruth said, Keep on planting seeds.

Have a great day,
Trella

marallyn ben moshe said...

wadda world eh penless...yahoooo and good for you!!!

Maalie said...

Susan, maybe evangelical because we have had the scales of superstition and prejudice removed from our eyes. We can see that religion is a human tax-collecting mechanism devised by the powerful to control the weak ("Know thy place peasant, you'll be in heaven soon enough").

We have witnessed the futile misery, suffering, strife, wars, hatred and wretchedness brought about in the name of some so-called 'god'.

To Danny Wright I would say that I'm not in a position to cast judgement on something that doesn't exist. I am a sinner like the rest of you but try to lead a good life because I choose to do so, not because I was instructed to by an ancient tome of dubious reputation.

Now, Susan and friends, I challenge to read a book The God Delusion"by the eminent British Biologist Richard Dawkins (ISBN 9780593055489) available on Amazon etc, now very popular in the States.

If you do not accept this challenge you will realise that you seriously expose yourselves to the risk of being accused of prejudice.

I believe in human rights, free speech and persuasion by logic and evidence. I mean no harm and I wish you all well.

Please let me know when you have read the book.

lorenzothellama said...

Oh Maalie, not banging on about Mr. Dawkins again. I know some scientists that do believe in God, but I suspect the vast majority don't. If one tries to be rational about faith, you lose every time, as there just isn't any rationality about God. This is what faith is, believing in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. However, as I've said before, I'm not into conversion as I have too many problems myself to try to convert anyone else, and as the Catholic priests of old used to say 'convert by example' well then I've no chance.

Maalie said...

Errrm, Professor Dawkins, if you please...

Kc said...

Hi Susan! Thanks so much for your visit and for offering your thoughts here to the Blogosphere. I’ve enjoyed looking over your site and especially appreciate your testimony page.

I have to admit I am in agreement with Maalie concerning religion and I share his disgust for the atrocities that have been committed in the name of God but I think it unreasonable to credit them to Him in any way. I think the evidence is clear that these acts were not committed out of a love for the God of all things but for the love of a lesser god that we call control and His name was used in vain toward that end.

Maalie, while I am sure you are atheist, I’m not sure you don’t have your own religion that is borne out of your own beliefs. By what means do you determine what is good and what is not? Is it a universal metric by which we are all measured? How do you know yourself to be a sinner? How do you define sin?

I cannot know your heart but based on the evidence I suspect that you are a humanist and have unknowingly established yourself as a god to be the judge of good and evil and the savior of the world. Would you really want to save me from my faith in Jesus as the savior of the world and my certainty that only God is good and as such is the only righteous judge of what is good and what is not? Why would you want to convert me from a faith that calls me to love all men?

Tortoiseshell said...

Seems that I have to intervene in another pointless creationism v darwinism debate, which only leaves bitterness on both sides.

I can only refer you both to

http://www.unitarian.org.uk/

God bless.

Barbara said...

Glad I came over today. Maalie sounds very angry and obviously in pain. Having known God for nearly 50 years and in a personal and intimate way my heart goes out to Him. He is obviously not aware (and this comes only by revelation to the one seeking as we know) that God created a perfect universe and man in order for man to contain,express and manifest his creator. Then Lucifer who was an angel of light did not want to express God but be his own light and said "I will be like the most HighGod". Impossible, he ws a created being not the Creator. Hence the arrival of Satan. Hence the beginning of the fall which as we know led to Adam and Eve's rebellion in the garden. God in his wisdom before the beginning of time knew that in giving man free will that this would happen so made a way of redemption for those willing to receive it.All suffering began here with man's rebellion. We can all pray for this dear man whose eyes have been blinded through unbelief that he will come to know this God of Wonders who knows the beginning from the end and has made a way out for us. Not a way out of this world, but a glorious way through it with a certain hope of everlasting life.

~Ginger said...

Wow Susan, things are hot here today!

Praise Jesus that I will be sitting at His feet someday! Thank you for being so open in sharing the Way the Truth and the Life. We know that no man comes to the Father, but by Jesus.

"For God so loved the World that He gave His only son the WHO SO EVER (that's any and all) believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life" John 3:16

It is my prayer that ALL my come to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Maalie said...

KC, Barbara: Please read that book. It explains it all so much more eloquently than I can.
But I bet you won't, the arrogance of religious nutters who think they are "right" and know the "truth" staggers me.

And I'm not in pain, and I'm not out to convert anyone but I am horrified that anyone can make life-decisions based on superstition. It scares me even more when super-power presidents do it.

kc: I appreciate your measured comment. There is more there than I can possibly reply to just now but:
>By what means do you determine what is good and what is not?

Easy. I try to use my late mother's axiom taught to me as a child: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I consider myself to have "sinned" if I contravene this principle e.g. by being selfish. You don't need to hook into the supernatural to know right from wrong.

In my opinion, of course.

I should just add that my disappearance from here at this point doesn't mean that I am ducking out of the conversation, I am off to Spain shortly for my retirement party, I'll take up the thread (if it's still going) on my return.

lorenzothellama said...

I agree that we should pray for the poor man whose eyes are blinded by disbelief.

Maalie said...

Sorry, I meant to add, best wishes to you all, peace be with you and may you have joy from your pursuits.

Yeah, I guess Humanist is about as close as I can get. To tell the truth, I have a sneaky regard for sun worship. I went up to the Arctic Circle in Norway at the summer solstice last year to pay my respects to the Sun at midnight. What a dependable and impartial guy he is. I wish everything else in life was as reliable. I think I might have druid ancestry somewhere ;-)

TCA said...

Well said Tortoiseshell!

Hard-core atheistis and fundamentalist Christians will NEVER see eye-to-eye because there is no conclusive, measureable proof regarding the existence of God - something which the former require and the latter ignore. They will just make themselves and each other red in the face with frustration.

While I remain agnostic, it is difficult to argue with your philosophy; it seems to have tolerance, acceptance and flexibility as it's central tenant. You are unlikely to meet with confrontation because you can easily compromise without loosing face: I doubt there has been much blood lost in bitter war or persecution of minorities in the unitarian cause, unlike past and present Christian and aethiest regiemes alike.

Maalie said...

Lorenzo: now you're just being runcible!

TCA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Penless Thoughts said...

Just for the record....the above comment was not deleted by me. I will never delete a comment anyone wants to make, unless it gets into profanity or vulgarity. Just didn't want anyone who reads my blog to think I am into censorship. I do not favor censorship or hiding behind anonymous comments although even the anonymous are welcome here.
Susan

Morning Glory said...

What a beautiful answer you gave. A what a beautiful testimony of the faithfulness and love of the God we serve.

Barbara said...

Susan I have just posted the introduction to My Story on my blog.

Jennifer said...

I got chills reading that. You never know how much of an impact you will have on someone. Keep letting God use you

Just Mom said...

Loved your response. And you were intimidated by my title as "freelance writer." I love your way with words, Susan.

roffe said...

Hi there! Thanks for your comments....

Jill Norwood said...

Your reply comment to him was wonderful and kind and just what God wants us to do. This is a perfect example of Him working through us.

Ann said...

Maalie; If you do need change, I will leave it under my pew after Mass on Sunday.

Danny; Love the comment about being angry with God for not existing. Dont be too hard on him though, I think a deity has the right to choose whether or not he exists, dont you? A little more humility please.

danny wright said...

Tortiseshell

I think that you might be projecting your own feelings onto others.

TCA

This is the blogosphere, the color of ones face is hidden from view. If by red faced you mean impassioned debate, why would that be so horrible. Intellectuals have debated about truth with passion throughout history over subjects much more mundane than the preternatural. Even the rational Atheist would have to admit that at least one side of the Darwin vs. Creation debate is wrong, and the stakes for the truth of the matter, given our mortal position, are-to say the least-high.

Mallie

I will try to take you up on the reading of your suggested book, time permitting, but I also challenge you to read the book “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis, or you too might be subject to your impositions of prejudice. Also, when I implied by citing Lewis that you were angry, I didn’t mean necessarily an anger directed at anyone specifically, but a deeper more general anger about the plight of so many millions of people in the world starving and dying of Aids. Not even the denial of His existence however can remove the fact that we are His image bearer and so are also disgusted, and yes angry at the sight of such injustice. How else can you explain your response to such things?

As to your claim to be a sinner, and your answer to KC’s question about the definition of that word, your answer only transfers the question onto the opinion of your mother. And if it is only her opinion, I ask you an admittedly rhetorical question, but one that deserves an attempted answer all the same, and that is, what right do you have to impose your mothers views on anyone else, including the president of a super power? Would you go so far as to say that that President is immoral, and if so, on what objective value do you base his immoral behavior other than an imposition of your mother’s opinion?

As to the placement of Christians as servants, again you speak as if, by your atheism, you are not a servant, but you have perhaps accidentally swerved into one of the wonderful truths about Christianity. Yes, heaven does bring solace for all who put their faith in Jesus Christ, from the Slaves of old, to the rich man by the side of his wife of thirty years as she suffers to the ravages of cancer, and yes even to me to some degree as I write my check to the IRS. But do you not pay taxes because of your spiritual viewpoints, or are you just pointing to the tithes levied on the Israelites in the Old Testament?

Also I want to thank you for your civility.

Penless: Thanks for the opportunity to speak.

lorenzothellama said...

Well said Ann. I have just left a comment on kc's blog.
What really gets up my nose is the lack of humility with both fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist scientists of the Professor Dawkins stamp. As tca says, they are all convinced of their own righteousness. It's this 'I'm saved, you're not' attitude of the Christians or the 'I know, you don't' point of view of the scientists.
There is so much condemnation of 'sinners' but I ask you, who are we to judge. Remember what Jesus said on the subject of judging. And please don't give me that awful saying about 'hating the sin and loving the sinner'. It is just too smug.
The sort of Christian who pins you against the wall and asks 'if you are saved' is offensive to most people who genuinely struggle with their spirituality. I have met the most spiritual people, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews as well as Catholic, Methodist, Unitarians and in fact from all Christian denominations. BUT Christians don't have a monopoly on faith, spirituality or goodness. We have so much to learn from Eastern religions, we would be foolish to dismiss them.
If I am accused of being angry, well yes I am angry and like Maalie, I'm not in pain either.

Ann said...

I'm in pain!

lorenzothellama said...

Just read Danny's comments. They popped up while I was angrily tapping away!
I find it very difficult to understand how a president (yours) and a prime minister (ours) who both claim to be Christians, can authorize the war in Iraq. Some numbers for you:
People killed in cross-border raids by Sudanese army on Chad last month: 400.
People killed in single day of terrorist attacks in Iraq last week: 200.
People killed in single day's fighting in Somalia last week: 60.

There is no such thing as a 'just war' and presidents who claim that they go to war because 'God told them to' is something the majority of the UK cannot understand.

Ann said...

Dear Penless

Where does your particular Church stand on Homosexuality. I ask this, because the Church of England is split on this matter at the moment.

Lori B said...

I agree with everyone else. How wonderful of you to go to his blog and comment. Also how great for his sister to comment to you commenting to him.

Barbara said...

In reply to lots already said here, I would be the first to say that yes, 'religion'andmany churches must answer for some terrible things. I personally am not talking about religion or spirituality but faith in a living God found through my own experience.I hate religion but I love my Lord who is as real to me as anyone or more so. Faith has to be experienced and does come to the seeker. I could say a lot more but do not want to get political. I have read Dawkins and feel sorry that he can only live by what he can prove scientifically.

Don said...

tca, your right!! Atheistis and fundemental Christians will never see eye-to-eye. Whether is is Dawkins book or Darwins book it is ONE book written by ONE AND ONLY ONE of God's creation.
The Holy Bible was written by many Men under GOD'S direction. MANY MEN!! The prophesies as given in the Holy Book have proven accurate,true and fulfilled over time. The reemergence of Israel is but one example. Yes faith is required--however maalie has faith (ie trust) in the 1 book by 1 man vs my 1 book by many (fulfilled)!!! PRAISE GOD. My heart(soul) tells me this is RIGHT. maalie you do not speak of your soul only human rights, freedom and persuasion. What does your soul say ?? GOD, has never failed me and is forever faithful, even when I question WHY LORD....He is sufficent for even me and all who will seek him. I question who's eyes the scales are on? As a beliver in HIM, they have been removed from mine eyes and I see clearly what he GAVE ME. Because I certainly did not deserve, earn, nor merit his GIFT.. Susan, thanks for your continuing stance for our GREAT GOD AND OUR SAVIOUR...Bless you and your family Don

Kc said...

Susan I apologize for the controversy and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this important issue.

Lorenzo I assure you I meant no disregard with my thoughts and I’m confident Maalie understood my philosophical approach. I have found philosophy to be the only common ground for discussion in the absence of any agreement concerning theism. Please forgive my ignorance but I don’t understand how my thoughts were condemning toward anyone. If you would show me I would be grateful and I assure you an apology will follow.

amy said...

Im glad I stumbled on here. YOu have a blog of encouragement and I am thankful for you and your posts today

Penless Thoughts said...

Ann - In response to your comment:

"Dear Penless

Where does your particular Church stand on Homosexuality. I ask this, because the Church of England is split on this matter at the moment.

May 9, 2007 12:26 PM "

I don't think it has anything to do with "my" particular Church or "any" Church. I, as a believer, believe (as I write this I realize just how much that says!)
Pure and simple.....I believe... in God, in Jesus, in the Bible as the unfallible Word of God. I base my conduct and my life on those 3 things and those 3 things alone.

Further, to your comment the "church" is devided on MANY issues. It may surprise you but I am not a "religious" person. In fact I consider it an affront for anyone to call me religious. I am a believer....pure and simple.

To quote from the Bible which I believe wholeheartedly: "Oh Timothy, keep that which is committed to they trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called." I Timothy 6:20

I will abide by that instruction and keep that which has been committed to my trust.

Jennifer Pendley said...

Hey Susan! Holy cow your comment section is a red hot one right now! I just wanted to say thank you for your kind words on my blog. I wish you luck on all the comments of this post!

Maalie said...

Danny Wright

I have accepted your challenge and have purchased the cited book on Amazon.com, it will be on my doormat when I return from Spain and I will read it. I am counting on you to reciprocate!

Now, I sincerely appreciate your most considered response and I don't have time to do anything like justice to it here and now. But I respect many of your points, and I accept some of them, at least in part.

Allow me to cherry-pick a couple of the points that I can deal with now.

> but a deeper more general anger about the plight of so many millions of people in the world starving and dying of Aids

I can accept that point.

> How else can you explain your response to such things?

All I can say now is that I don't feel the need to explain anything in terms of the supernatural [god].

> what right do you have to impose your mothers views on anyone else, including the president of a super power?

That is a point well made, however
I don't recall ever trying to impose it on anyone else, but have simply adopted it as an code of conduct for myself. The point I was trying to make is that I don't require reference to the supernatural (i.e. any supposed god) to distinguish right from wrong. My late mother's code ("Do unto others...") seems to be so self-evident as to be axiomatic.

The point I find more interesting is the implication that I was 'indoctrinated' by my mother. I had never thought of it that way, and must accept that might be true. However I have had plenty of time to decide that it's not a bad axiom.

It is a fact that almost (almost,) all religious people adopt the faith of their parents or community. Genuine conversions are actually quite rare. So what is believed in is an accident of birth: where and to whom you are born (c.f. the Jesuits "Give me a child" etc.).

Now, this apparently purely arbitrary assignment to one particular religion (only one of which presumably gives you a passport to heaven) is something that is absolutely unacceptable in a genuinely all-merciful omnipotent everlasting heavenly father. It is simply beyond credulity. I think Lorenzo makes some good points here.

> but you have perhaps accidentally swerved into one of the wonderful truths about Christianity.

No, I would not agree with that, it has been a very structured and progressive pathway to what I now consider believable (scientists try to avoid the word truth; truth is what you believe to be correct. There were astronomers who were tortured as heretics for doubting the (then) "truth" that the earth is the centre of the universe).

Until teenage years I was a pretty devout Catholic (indoctrinated by my parents and nuns). It was only after some years of scientific training that doubts crept in. It was the eponymous Professor Dawkins in one of his earlier books (The Blind Watchmaker) who asserted: "We now no longer need to invoke the supernatural [god] to explain the origin and development of life on earth". I knew he was right. It doesn't mean you necessarily have to prove exactly how it happened, only that it could have happened without the hand of a god. Of course it does not prove that a god didn't do it, but invoking a god is now no longer the most parsimonious hypothesis, and therefore it has to be rejected.

That is why I get a bit bristly about claims that I "haven't seen the light" (it seems that people are actually praying for me!!!) - on the contrary I feel that I have seen the light only too well!

I'm sorry I haven't dealt with all your points, that does not mean to say that I have not considered them, only I would need more time than I have got now to deal with them. I would be keen to continue another time.

And I thank you also for your civility Sir.

danny wright said...

I’m sorry to hear you’re angry. Perhaps you can see through your anger and prejudices of Christians long enough to answer the same question I posed to Mallie. On what basis beyond your own opinion do you propose that Blair and Bush were wrong in their actions, and do you think them immoral for those actions? Further, if you think them immoral, what right do you have to impose your opinion onto anyone, even a Christian despot dictator, if such a person exists?

As to the accusation of self-righteousness, I am stuck. If I were to detail my unrighteousness you might conclude that in my special case, I NEED a redeemer, a need from which you might be willing to exempt the masses. But in any case, your judgments of Christians is misplaced other than to accuse us of believing that the Bible is the very Word of God, in which case I am guilty. But please try to understand that we also see ourselves under the same judgments and resulting condemnation as are place on every human being; and that not by us but by God through the Bible. That is why Jesus is the central theme of Christianity; he IS our redeemer, who reconciles to himself those who are willing to place their trust in him; this is his doing not ours so that we cannot be proud. The Bible should be your object of hatred, not us; we are simply sinners who believe it to be true. If the Bible were not true, our crime would most certainly not be self-righteousness but of gargantuan gullibility.

I know that what I’ve said here may sound arrogant to anyone that disagrees, for-believe it or not-I have made the same accusations myself against Christians; in reply I can only make the case that just about all charges of arrogance, almost necessarily come from a heart of arrogance itself. Your incredulity speaks for itself on this matter.

Perhaps tortushell was correct after all about the “red faces”, but I do not discern a red face on Mallie, or the Christians commenting here. I do discern heart felt compassion for the most part.

Please give me grace on the typos, I have very little time.

danny wright said...

I'm sorry, I thought that Mallie was on his way to Spain :) that last post was directed to Lorenzo. Wow there's been about a hunderd post sense I started on my reply ot her/him!

I;d love to stay and blog this out,but I really have to go. See ya tonight, blessings to all!

Tina said...

Great response Susan, very kind and loving. I pray God opens this man's eyes.

Maalie said...

Tina, please don't patronise me. I have been fortunate and privileged (thanks in part to sacrifices made by my parents) to have benefited from a very thorough scientific education. I can respect all arguments. My eyes are already wide open, thank you.

In my turn I hope that you will have the opportunity to see another point of view in order that you can make objective and unprejudiced decisions in your life.

lorenzothellama said...

Oh dear Danny, I do seem to have ruffled some feathers. Can you honestly say that Bush and Blair have done the right thing by slaughtering so many innocent people? What good have all those poor little childrens' deaths done? I felt the same way when Mrs Thatcher went all gung-ho into the Falklands. What right have we to bully weaker countries? I cannot recall Jesus saying anything about killing except 'thou shall not' and if 'loving each other as I have loved you' means bombing innocent civilians to pieces in the hope of flushing out some terrorists, then surely this is the proverbial sledge hammer to crack a nut?

I don't think we will agree on politics, but if I have offended you, then I really am sorry. Please Danny, visit my blogsite (not a contraversial word in it, I promise) and leave me a comment.

We are ahead of you timewise so soon I will be off to bed, and on Friday I will be going to Spain for Maalie's retirement party. I'll catch up with the comments in the morning. Night night.

lorenzothellama said...

Just before I retire to my bed, I must make a comment on Maalie's parents, as we shared the same two.

My mother had to convert to Catholicism when she married my father as in those days 'it was the law'. She also had to swear that any children would be bought up as Catholics. In many ways she resented this as she was by birth an Anglican.

My parents did their duty and duly bought up Maalie and me as Catholics. When we were confirmed (about aged 14) they stopped going to Mass and never insisted we did either. I carried on going (partly if I'm honest because I fancied a boy who also went to Mass) but go I went.

My father was at heart a Druid, or so he said. He used to make a pilgrimage to Stonehenge whenever we were in the area. He was also very flippant and teased our priest whenever they met. There was a lot of good natured banter.
When he died the priest told me he was nearer to God in his love of nature, the sun and his general compassion for all people and animals than many regular Church goers.

I lost my little mother last year. She was also very sceptical about belief and although she loved the liturgy of the Catholic church, she found it hard to believe the doctrine and in her last few years I think she probably downright rejected it all.

I am saying this because Maalie and I had the same spiritual upbringing. Maalie the scientist and Dawkins fan has rejected everything the priests and nuns told us. I can honestly say my parents did not influence us in any way.

I struggle with my faith. I cannot let it go. There is that within me that yearns and pulls and tugs me back. Within the Mass the liturgy, the music, the incense, the candles all move me, rather the same as Beethoven or Mozart, Michelangelo or Leonardo would do. I call this the Holy Spirit. I'm not sure what Maalie would call it.

Maalie is an amazing man.

Tina said...

i have seen and heard all the arguments i need to. It takes more faith to believe I came from nothing or a rock than to believe in God. If you feel that makes me stupid, so be it. There is overwhelming scientific evidence to support creation and NONE to support evolution.
And I am not patronising you. I am praying for you whether you like it or not. :):) and if you are interested, I just read an incredible treatise on the whole subject of atheists.
I will gladly read that book you refer to if you give the title again.

Tina said...

See, I am not afraid because I know whom I have believed in. I have seen too much of HIS power in my life, too many answered prayers, too much scientific evidence to believe anything else.

There are two choices; we are either here by chance or we were created.

Do you believe in evil? If you do, then there must be good, which means there MUST be a God because none of us are GOOD!

Tina said...

I have applied every principle the Bible commands and have not found one yet that doesn't work!! Yet the world's systems and ideas have failed miserably. What about all the prophecies that have been fulfilled?? How do you explain that?

lorenzothellama said...

Tina. I'm not sure that there is no evidence to support evolution. Have you ever read any of the books by Richard Leakey? He is the son of the famous archiologist Louis Leakey and his wife Mary, who was also an archiologist in her own right.
Richard's books are fascinating. I learned so much about early homo sapiens and the way we evolved. Surely there can be no conflict between evolution and creationism? We are all one with God and nature, aren't we?

Penless. Would you rather we didn't carry on this discussion on your blog site. I have just read your comments on Maalie's blog and am feeling a bit guilty (my Catholic upbringing, no doubt) about hijacking your site.

Tina said...

Susan I am so sorry that I got going here. Once I started I could not stop myself. You are right, only God can remove the scales. May He do so. Bowing out now. I tend to be way too zealous sometimes!

Lorenzo,

I would commend you to read Bones of Contention as far as the so called proof that we evolved from apes.

dew said...

I don't share your beliefs, but I still find Maalie's original comment to be out of line. I think the friendly message you left was so much more appropriate. Yours was saying, "We have differences, but we also have things in common." That's how I like to live, too. Aside from that, this is your blog, your place to express yourself. That, too, should be respected. If people are offended by your beliefs, well, they aren't being forced to read your blog, after all. No need to get confrontational.

Momma Roar said...

Susan, I thought your response was lovely. You addressed his questions without casting judgement, and you shared God's Truth, as it is real to you. And, this, my friend, is what He calls us to do. I also liked how you encouraged his return to your blog, extending friendship.

I, too, feel blessed and excited to be a part of blogging and those it brings us in contact with.

Only God knows the reason this took the turn it did!

Revelation 3:20 "I stand at the door and knock."

Betty said...

I certainly believe in our Heavenly Father and everything He says........

He has the power to back up everything He says He will do. He has been faithful to me even though at times I've let Him down...

Tina said...

Hi Susan will you please delete my comments? Thank you

Ann said...

Dear Penless

Thankyou for answering my question. I don't fully understand your answer, but I think it means 'refer to the bible' which of course, denounces homosexuality as an 'abomination'.

I understand that you follow the teachings of your faith, and not your particular church, but since you say that you are active in the latter, may I be a little further indulged?

At what age does your Church consider it o.k to expose innocent minors to the graphically violent idea of hell, as described variously in the Bible?

Maalie said...

TINA: >I would commend you to read Bones of Contention as far as the so called proof that we evolved from apes.

What's all this about "proof"? Scientists can't and don't claim "proof". Since we were not there to witness it, we depend on evidence. The evidence from the fossil records, biochemical uniformity, DNA studies etc. in support of human evolution is now so overwhelming as to be incontrovertible.

There is now no longer any rational, objective, unprejudiced scientist who disputes that the extant anthropoid apes and humans evolved from a common ancestor species, now extinct. I suggest you try some more broad-based reading rather than confining yourself to that which suits your superstitions.

Penless Thoughts said...

Tina - To your request that I delete your comments I refer you to this post that I had writen easlier yesterday about my stand on deleting comments:

"Comment deleted
This post has been removed by the author.

May 9, 2007 8:27 AM "


" Penless Thoughts said...
Just for the record....the above comment was not deleted by me. I will never delete a comment anyone wants to make, unless it gets into profanity or vulgarity. Just didn't want anyone who reads my blog to think I am into censorship. I do not favor censorship or hiding behind anonymous comments although even the anonymous are welcome here.
Susan

May 9, 2007 8:36 AM "

As you can see it is my stance that comments not be deleted. What has been said, has been said.
I know this is a matter, like most things, of personal opinion. This is my opinion and my stance on my blog. What others do on theirs is their choice and right. Maalie deleted my comment off his site and I told him that disappointed me. It did.

diana said...

wow! you have 58 comments already to this post. there will always be a debate, won't there.

there was this same debate on nightline last night. i was going to blog about it but i was too tired. i think i might do that today.

thanks for sharing your faith without hesitation and with love and non-judgemental emotions. i think God is using you.

lorenzothellama said...

If you all enjoy reading, I commend you to the books by Anthony De Mello. De Mello was an American Jesuit, but grew up in India. He very successfully combined his Jesuit beliefs with Eastern philosophy, much to chagrin of the Catholic Church. In fact the Pope ex-communicated him at one stage, but I believe he was reinstated again. He died a few years ago. Here is a man that is full of wisdom and compassion and really is worth reading. He doesn't push anything down your throat, so to speak, illustrates his points with amusing little stories, and is generally a wonderful man to read. I even think Maalie might enjoy the books. We'll see. I might take one to Spain and try him out on one.

Tina said...

Dear Maalie,
the so called evidence is just not there. evolution is not science, it is a religion. Have you ever looked at the evidence for creation?? Have you ever heard and listened to the other sides arguments? If not, then you are the one who is prejudice.
I watched a debate between a Rutger's professor and a creation scientist and the evolutionist was made to look like a total fool simply because he had no answers for the evidence put before him.

and i have not confined my reading to that what suits my what you call superstition. I checked my library for that book you referred to and they have it. I will be checking it out today. Notice how you weren't willing to let me send you the info I had.

Listen to this quote by nobel prize winner George Wald

"There are only 2 possible explanations as to how life arose. Spontaneous generation arising to evolution, or a supernatural God.. There is no other possibility. Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others, but that just leaves us with only one other possibility.. that life came as a supernatural of creation by God, but I can't accept that philosophy because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation leading to evolution."

And one more thing. I noticed that you referred to yourself as a sinner. Maalie, if there is no God, then there is NO SIN. If there is no God, then we are all animals and there is no moral absolute. In declaring yourself a sinner, you are proclaiming there is a God.

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,[d] as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith."[e]


God's Wrath on Unrighteousness
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Kitty said...

Wow, Susan, I was not expecting to read such a passionate debate so early in the morning!! :-) I just came over to tell you that we are going to visit your hometown on a field trip today, and if I get any good pictures, I will post them on my blog!! :-)

I do want to echo what so many have said, you have handled this discussion with such grace, and you are truly a lady that I admire very much!! :-)

~Ginger said...

Blessings to you today, my friend. Just stopped by to say, "Hats off to you!" Our God is an awesome God and is faithful to His Word!

Maalie said...

> the so called evidence is just not there

Tina, like I said, I suggest you widen your reading before you make such preposterous statements!

~ Amy ~ said...

Way to go Susan. You make God proud.

Tammy said...

Isn't amazing how God uses this blogging world to help speak to the lost? The world is SO big...but this blogging thing brings us in touch with people we would never have had the chance to, otherwise.
Sometimes, we simply meet wonderful new friends from different states and countries...sometimes God speaks through us to an individual we may never see or even know about.

I just loved reading this...:)

michelle f said...

So awesome. Thanks for responding in love. I believe your response was a great example to us all!

Morning Glory said...

This is the most thorough hijacking of a blog I've ever seen.

Susan, your original response to Maalie was kind and extremely generous. He should not have attacked you in your comments section. If he objected to your content, he could have just clicked away and gone elsewhere, or addressed the subject on his own blog.

Your blog has been a place of encouragement and kindness, and I don't think these people are doing you any favors by continuing this on your site. Neither side is going to convince the other, and argument is nonproductive.

Your witness to God in your life is beautiful and hopefully the discussion here will have planted a seed of hope to help someone, even if some of these here don't accept your point of view.

Tina said...

morning glory you are absolutely right and I am bowing out.

ann said...

Dear Penless

Will I be getting an answer to my question? - It is an important matter and one that genuinly worries me. I really would like some help with this. Deciding what we do and dont expose our children to, is a very serious matter indeed. Don't you agree?

Jennifer Pendley said...

Susan-
I just wanted to say hello my dear friend. I am not going to get into this debate but I do have some advice to Ann. I had talked with our children's pastor on this subject. My daughter got into a debate with my mom on whether or not the devil existed. My daughter did not think he existed because they never talk about it in church. If I remember right my children's pastor said that they usually wait until 2nd or 3rd grade to start talking about the devil because any younger than that will terrify them and they don't quite grasp what all "hell" entails. Not sure if that helps but just that I would put that out there for you!

lorenzothellama said...

I know I was scared stiff of Hell when I was little. We learned all about it from the nuns before we made our First Communion, about the age of six.
I have met many nuns since being an adult, and they are without exception wonderful, kind and compassionate women. They apologise for the teachings their forebears were responsible for, but still, when you are so little, fear gets into your very soul, and I still get so worried and guilty about things.
My parish priest is a fantastic man. He is actually quite high up in the pecking order of priests, but to all he is simply known as Father Harry. He is a delightful man, full of humour and sooooo kind. Maalie likes him very much too. He did a wonderful funeral for my mother last year.
I do think someone more qualified than me should answer Ann's question about Hell, and also her question on homophobia.

Antoinette said...

Jennifer, yeh, second or third grade sounds about right. You can tie it in with the truth about Santa Claus. Before that you've always got the Bogey Man to threaten the little blighters with.

Ann said...

Well said Antionette! If hell was communicated via any other media than pulpit rantings it would either by x rated or banned along with all other violence and pornography.

Antoinette said...

Ann, yeh but to be honest I did find it a bit tricky having to explain to my kids that all that stuff about Santa Claus, choirs of angels, shepherds, wise men, stables and mangers was a load of mythology. They seemed a bit upset at first but at least they weren't indoctrinated like the other kids. I'm very proud of them now.

lorenzothellama said...

Do you really mean Antoinette that Santa Claus isn't really real?

Linds said...

Wonderful, Susan! What a gentle reply you have given.

Jennifer Pendley said...

Antoinette-
I am not sure I understand your reply to me, are you agreeing with me or mocking me?

Penless Thoughts said...

I believe everyone has had ample time and opportunity to express their opinions and have done so. It's time to put this to rest and since this is, after all, my blog that is what I choose to do.

Susan

Antoinette said...

Penless Thoughts: Is that so you can avoid answering Ann's question?

clever[art] said...

First off, reading just the comments (81 of them) alone would take up my daily blogging time. Wow, you're a popular little lady, Miss Penless Writer.

I'm not sure what or how to comment about this at this present moment. Maybe my photography and the short captions below each image speak better than this. So thanks for checking in with me there at clever[art].

stolmit said...

Wait... Santa Claus isn't real? I just read that. Say it isn't so!?!?

lorenzothellama said...

good look at Penless's site and the debate. I
thought JImmy was doing a very good job of defending
himself. Some of the Christians there got right up my
nose with their Oprah Winfrey guest type 'you get him
girl!' comments.

I had a good think about things but couldn't fit
together a coherent reply to any of the comments. You
may correct me on this, you've spent more time with
him, but as far as I'm aware, Jimmy doesn't try to
convert believers or those with beliefs based on
nonscientific grounds (when I said that I'd had a
conversation with Nanny shortly after he died, he
simply said that his view was that it was probably
based on a reaction caused in my brain by the extreme
grief and left it at that). He tends to attack those
who try to ram Christianity down his throat, which is
fair enough.

The problem with the majority of Chrisitians on her
site is that they have had a religious experience,
which can only be described as highly subjective and
personal (you don't get many Aborigines seeing the
little baby Jesus in their visions I imagine!). On
the basis of this personal experience and a book which
has almost no connection with their personal
experience (you experience God, not the Bible, and its
up to you whether you wish to connect the two), they
wish to set universal standards of behaviour for
humankind. Such arrogance needs to be resisted,
particularly as has been pointed out in the debate,
some of the most powerful people on the planet are
self-professed Christians. I think that's the crux of
Jimmy's grievance rather than a desire to preach
fundamentalist atheism.

Regarding spirituality, I've got far more regard for
someone like yourself who has struggled with
spirituality for most of your life and somehow remain
convinced of a spiritual dimension to existence than
the Christians on the site. Any insights you have are
much more likely to be valid.

As I said, I couldn't think of anything to write on
the site, but you're welcome to cut and paste these
thoughts if you think it is pertinent to the debate.

Anyway, see you soon! If you are still running, we'll
have to go on some runs togeher.


This is a cut and paste from an email my son sent to me. He lives in Japan and is visiting with his wife and little baby (my first grandchile) next week. I had a delightful three week stay with them in February this year.