On Free Will—In the Beginning

It may feel good to think you have free will, but do you?

If we are born sinners by nature and regardless of our effort—subject to sin, we would have no freewill to be “sinless,” especially since we are intellectually damaged long before we understand concepts of evil in a religious sense.

Adam and Eve were created with the capacity for disobedience, but the real crime would be god creating men and women who are gullible, easily tricked by whimsical rules, clever speech, flattery (and shiny things) Whose fault is that?

it is God that worketh in us to will and to do“—Phil. 2:13

Since god is using sin to accomplish his will, is it possible that sin is not evil at all, but merely a label of semantics—a certain set of arbitrary rules for the game? Only by the establishment of these random rules in which the human mind is ineptly programmed to adapt, sin would be the plan all along, manufactured by god.

As a non believer in any religions god, do I have the freewill to truly believe? Simply giving my mind to appease society or my own insecurities would ultimately be pretending to believe.

Then, if I do decide to believe—who cares? Hundreds of thousands of churches closed for the pandemic…I never noticed. Me thinks they have overrated their necessity.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

95 thoughts on “On Free Will—In the Beginning”

  1. Jim, I’m doing my best here to try to engage, and respond, but I certainly don’t think I’m more select than you are if that’s what you’re saying. I might be misunderstanding. Christians think the whole point of the reality of the incarnation is that God fully entered into human life and suffering to make Himself known. We are all chosen.

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    1. “We are all chosen.” Becky, you might be better off if you prefaced some of your comments with “I believe” since so many on this blog don’t believe in your god .

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    2. Of course I don’t think at all that you consider yourself more select than others. That is the role of the serious one—the Lord in the flesh. He said those things. Jesus, encapsulated in a 1000 pages whose relevance could be printed in a pamphlet. But the chase continues in an endeavor that for 3500+ years has never once met its objectives or fulfilled a prophecy.
      Like Ron said though, He, would put me in line with the goats for endless, eternal punishment merely for being created with a faulty set of religious receptors.
      My apologies if I sound a little crass. I just see a lot of humor in this.
      If you were to look at every point of doctrine, the special pleading and the virtual buffet of hand picked beliefs from top to bottom (even the syllables count) while handwaving the contradictions one doesn’t like (but were obviously meant) you have a step by step of belief covering beliefs, cover over cover a massive set of gps coordinates stuffed in a hope chest trying to find your way home. The mapping to get out isn’t any conclusion and never has been from day one. Why, I ask myself would that be? This God is a god of confusion? The pure ambiguity of a billion pages of conjecture proves beyond any doubt that it has no substance and it’s all confusion. Belief is irrelevant and even you have disagreed with your own links. Now that is funny dear. It’s funny that belief is so cherished when it is nothing but hand-picked thoughts that sound cool to the one who made them.

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        1. It’s a lot to keep track of—this or that, jots and tittles to sort through and arrange. A good Christian like myself could mentally empty the entire quiver before they finished their thought.
          I can imagine a time when everyone believes and there is no more yin to counter the yang. It would be the color bland. A definitionless milky-grey of purely numbbing apathy, violating every law of the universe. It can’t happen.

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          1. Well, Jim, your faith was not bringing joy to your life. Perhaps it was best that you walked away from it. Maybe you will explore and find a new path.

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            1. I have found joy in being honest with myself. I don’t really have any spiritual inklings but I find what makes people, people, interesting. Rather than dance to no music, I’ll just watch.

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            2. I believe many Christians think that our former Christian belief did not bring us joy. It shows how very little they understand about those of us who were former believers.

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          2. But, Jim, how could faith contribute to joy if it only led to numbing apathy and blandness, or if you constantly felt as if you had to sort through every jot and tittle? Maybe we are talking past each other, but who would want to be a part of that. I think I might want to look for a way out even if I thought it might be true in any measure. Have I misunderstood?

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            1. ”I might want to look for a way out even if I thought it might be true in any measure”. But I wanted to believe and if only one part were true probably would have done the trick—If only one part were true. But you actually seem to get it very well, but hardly notice the circuitous tail chasing and never ending bouts of conversing with yourself. I had an answer for everything too. And if it wasn’t scriptural we would reason a way that it might possibly have been this or that (make it up) It’s a tiring way to live. It is a neat trick that has played on the foibles of human psychology, biases and hormones.
              Paul nailed it in Athens. I can see it clear as day at the altar of the unknown god, said, “You men of Athens, I perceive that you are very religious in all things. 23 For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I announce to you”
              Flattery, challenging their tribal side, presenting some secret information. It’s all very well played.
              For a (mass movement) doctrine to be effective it must be vague and unintelligible. If it is not vague and unintelligible, it must be unverifiable”. —Eric Hoffer.
              Christianity got all three. Was this by accident, or is faith just too tempting for humans to resist all its implications?

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            2. Part of this might be that all of us come from differing backgrounds and are gifted with minds that think and reason differently
              I mean my undergraduate major was cultural anthropology. My thinking is naturally global and runs to shades of grey. Plus, I don’t feel that I have to always have the answer either. So for me to think about truth running through sacred myth, or consider what various scholars are saying doesn’t feel exhausting
              To me, it’s totally interesting and I feel has led to a deepening of faith and richness in my life. I’m also intellectually persuaded toward Christian faith as well. But, Jim to tell the truth atheism to me feels too simplistic, and even just boring and sterile. I’m not saying this as a put down. Not at all, but sharing to illustrate the difference in people. But, we all have to decide and walk this out for ourselves. I wouldn’t want to base my life in a lie either. That’s for sure. Still think you are a great guy, Jim, with a very interesting blog. Have appreciated the conversation.

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            3. Egualmente! I’ve enjoyed your company. Atheism may seem boring because I have nothing else to call myself. True there are no gods, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there is nothing at all. Atheism is simply a waypoint and a clean slate to sit back and observe.
              Am I to discount every esoteric perception of 8billion people and determine they are all bonkers, or accept there is something going outside/inside the five common prepackaged solutions? I think it’s likely all real, but has been hijacked by cultural bias and a few charismatic souls that rose to self importance. It’s not what you think it is (there is no monarchial boss of the universe) The experiences and wisdom of the ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts that surpass Abrahamic religion, or the ways of the shaman, just as an an example.
              The world is not at all what it appears to be, but whenever and wherever someone has an experience it is attributed to god. How else to interpret it when that’s all we’ve been taught our whole lives?
              The truth does not require a belief. To the contrary, the key to the mystery is unbelief and a systematic access to perceive these glimpses of the WHOLE thing, requires no belief at all. And it isn’t god.

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  2. A tree symbolizing the goddess of wisdom was a very old concept. It goes back into the old Hebrew religion with the trees dedicated to Asherah, though it is found everywhere else as well. I suspect that is the subtext behind the Genesis story. Not a new theory, it is an old idea. I think it was yet another snipe at Asherah(The Old Testament is full of them), blaming her for having to work for food, childbirth pains, and losing the easy life. For yet more subtext, I think that the story ultimately referred to the conquest of Judah by Babylon and the deportation of its elites. Exile from Eden for eating from the tree meant exile from Judah for worshiping Asherah. To the Yahweh priesthood of Jerusalem that wanted to promote exclusivism, that was an important message. The Primary History of the Old Testament has a recurring theme of exile and return, showing in my view that it was written with the situation of the Babylonian exiles in mind. Making it about some metaphysical concept of sin was the doing of others that came later.

    Jews in Egypt blamed the conquest of Judah on the attack on Asherah. Her symbols were defiled, her pole or grove was removed from the temple in Jerusalem, her priests were killed, and the countryside shrines were destroyed. This is according to 2 Kings, anyway. I would say that the Egyptian Jews had a good argument. Yahweh waited until after what the Yahweh only faction wanted was actually done, and then punished the nation anyway? Yahweh waited until after they did all that to Asherah’s followers and items, like he supposedly wanted? But Yahweh sat for centuries, not punishing them like that when everyone was actively worshiping Asherah. The Old Testament narrative goes out of its way to justify this by claiming that Yahweh was sitting there fuming for centuries, but withheld his wrath. The Yahwists had a poor argument, and I think they knew it. Even Josiah died a failure, not victorious like he was promised(much like what is supposed to happen to the unrighteous). It would be very easy to flip their narrative into one of hubris on the part of some priests and the king, leading them to divine punishment for angering Asherah and possibly Yahweh as well.

    Zechariah 5:
    5 Then the angel who talked with me came forward and said to me, “Look up and see what this is that is coming out.” 6 I said, “What is it?” He said, “This is a basket coming out.” And he said, “This is their iniquity in all the land.” 7 Then a leaden cover was lifted, and there was a woman sitting in the basket! 8 And he said, “This is Wickedness.” So he thrust her back into the basket, and pressed the leaden weight down on its mouth. 9 Then I looked up and saw two women coming forward. The wind was in their wings; they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and sky. 10 Then I said to the angel who talked with me, “Where are they taking the basket?” 11 He said to me, “To the land of Shinar, to build a house for it; and when this is prepared, they will set the basket down there on its base.”

    “Iniquity in the land”(of Judah) depicted as a woman, who is going to be sent to Shinar. Shinar refers to the land of Babylon. I think the allusion here is obvious. Would the Genesis story be out of place as yet another example?

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  3. I think it is silly that many Christians will fall back to allegory or symbolism for much of the Bible, but cling desperately to their origin story. They need that original sin, otherwise there is no guilt for them to sling. Though I think that more of them need to read the epistles and pay attention to how strange some of the views expressed in them are. They look to me like a gnostic sort of understanding, not some legalistic one. And it was definitely heresy by any mainstream Jewish standard. Paul even wrote that the law was given by angels, not his god. Where is that found in the Old Testament? It isn’t, but there were so many alternative texts back then that anything went. There were cults devoted to obscure figures like Enoch and Melchizedek as divine men and mediators. That is one reason why Jesus does not seem original to me. Some say that a god-man was a very un-Jewish idea, but the Jews already had that. Enoch even receives Yahweh’s name as part of his new name, becoming a second Yahweh of sorts(the Metatron). Christians had to argue among themselves whether or not Jesus outranked Melchizedek. There is a text quoted by Origen that states that the patriarchs were incarnated divine beings, and Jacob existed before anything was created. Divine mediators were a common concept.

    Free will in a sense exists(or appears to). We make decisions, we choose between options, we can think of outcomes beforehand. But most of what we are and what we have is not under our control. All our decisions are filtered through those things we have no control over. Most religions and philosophies had and have no problem with acknowledging that. It only troubles Abrahamists, and Christians most of all. The emphasis on free will is not Jewish, their scriptures don’t really have that idea. Many Christian sects have not believed in free will either. We owe the concern over free will to Socrates and Hellenism in general, probably going back to Zoroaster.

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    1. I would venture to say the majority of Christians sitting in their favorite pew seat on Sunday have NO CLUE about anything you just wrote. All they know is what comes from the pulpit. Even if they are a rebel and actually read their bible, it’s all colored by what they’ve been told/taught.

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    2. I’m no scholar but I think Hellenistic beliefs and so-called paganism had a huge influence over early Christianity the further it distanced itself from Judaism. In its independent beginning Christianity likely had no use for the Old testament at all.

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  4. Hi, Sha, I agree with you. If I read something in the Scripture that does not accord with the reality of God’s love expressed in the incarnation, I don’t automatically accept it as true, either. I feel like Jesus is God’s last word. He expresses the nature and purpose of God.

    So, I don’t view and interpret the Scripture in a more fundamentalist kind of way. Of course, I’m not ready to ditch the baby with the bathwater, one of my favorite sayings. 🙂 I think the Scripture is important as it does contain and express the word of God, but I don’t feel like it’s inerrant or should always be viewed in a literal sense, either.

    Sha, this is the opinion of virtually everyone I know in the mainstream of the church. But, unfortunately, these are generally not the folks who are posting on the blogs, or for whatever reason, are considered representative of “the Christians.” It’s difficult for me to understand all the reasons why.

    Folks seem to think that all the Christian believers must believe that God is like this homicidal maniac who is ready to cast people into the Hellfire for not thinking a certain way or holding to an errant opinion or something. And, of course, all think the earth is only a few thousand years old, and we are in a heap of trouble because someone happened to eat an apple, and that’s that. 🙂 End of the story.

    Lord have mercy.

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    1. Becky: “Folks seem to think that all the Christian believers must believe that God is like this homicidal maniac who is ready to cast people into the Hellfire for not thinking a certain way or holding to an errant opinion or something. And, of course, all think the earth is only a few thousand years old, and we are in a heap of trouble because someone happened to eat an apple, and that’s that. 🙂 End of the story.”

      Zoe: OMG where would they get such ideas?

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    2. First let me say that you’re a very nice lady and your comments are gentle and I want to know I certainly respect that. That said, if God doesn’t talk to you directly and the Bible is only partially and sometimes conveniently the word or revelation of God how do you know you’re not just making it up as you go along? If I’m learning how to drive and there is no driving instructor and I already know my instruction book is full of misleading instructions where does that leave me? You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Becky, sorry. For an almighty divinity God’s system is pretty shitty.

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      1. Sha, thank you for your kind words. I understand. People’s minds reason and process things differently. When I view Scripture as containing both the word of God and the words of fallible humans trying to get it right, yet growing and progressing in their understanding of God, I appreciate the record and importance of the Bible more than ever. It seems more interesting and precious to me, like a cracked glass that allows the light of God to shine through. But, when folks from conservative backgrounds see say errors or inconsistency in the Scripture, they think things like God lied. Nothing can be believed, or there is no God. This is why these conservative Christian apologists tie themselves into knots trying to find ways to justify obviously immoral actions in the OT attributed to God, or feel such a need to explain away every possible error or problem. Their view of an inerrant Bible is completely wedded to faith in Jesus Christ or in some cases to any faith or trust in God at all. I’m sure that I don’t always get it right, either. But, I think that’s ok too. We’re learning and growing all the time. Focusing on Jesus as like the lens to interpret and apply the teaching of Scripture to my life has proven to be a blessing and helpful to me.

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        1. Doesn’t answer my question(s) but it does show me how you manage light stepping over the thin ice of religious conundrums! With climate change, be careful that ice doesn’t break under your feet, the water underneath is very cold. I’m being semi-serious.

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    3. Becky,

      What do you make of the parable of the sheep and the goats in which Jesus states that when he returns he will say, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” and send them away to eternal punishment?

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      1. Hi, Ron, my husband is a Christian who for a long time leaned very much toward universalism. So, I thought that I would share a link with you which illustrates a probable interpretation centered in the word that is translated “eternal punishment. ” It is interesting to me that the criteria is not based in a person’s belief system, but in their deeds which, of course, could also reflect their beliefs.

        Tell me what you think of the link. What is your opinion? I suppose for myself, I lean toward a more CS Lewisian explanation. Have you read “The Great Divorce?”

        Either way, what I’m very confident in is that we can trust the love, justice, and mercy of God.

        Anyway here is the link. https://reforminghell.com/tag/sheep/

        I also want to mention that I noticed that the well known NT scholar, Bart Ehrman, is offering a two month free corona virus subscription to his blog. Dr. Ehrman and I would not always agree since he is agnostic. But, I also think that he has some good insight and knowledge relating to the Bible, and there is interesting discussion on the blog. I think he is offering a new book relating to heaven and hell.

        Ultimately, we have to consider the scholarship, possible interpretations, seek God in meditation and prayer in our lives, and come to a personal decision.

        It is interesting to me that Dr. Ehrman’s own mentor, Bruce Metzger, (from Princeton) arguably the most eminent NT scholar of the twentieth century remained all his life a committed, orthodox Christian believer. This illustrates to me how people can look at the same information (evidence) yet come to very differing conclusions or interpretations.

        Pax.

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        1. Not addressed to me, but I want to point something out. I quote, “what I’m very confident in is that we can trust the love, justice, and mercy of God.” You probably don’t see a problem with saying that, but look at your pronoun “we” and think about that. It is meant as all inclusive and as such becomes a direct insult to those of us who have learned, often in very pain-filled ways, that trusting God is the sure path to personal disaster. Why can’t religious people learn to keep their personal beliefs personal? What would be wrong with saying, “what I’m very confident in is that I can trust, etc.” You do not have the “right” to tell me, or assure me, I can trust God when my personal experience says I cannot. God lies, then disappears when challenged about his lies, leaving ignorant clergy to stommer and stammer trying to explain until you want to slap their stupid faces. Instead you walk away, insulted and diminished until you pull yourself together again and learn to “lean upon your own understanding” in direct contravention of biblical teaching. When will religious people learn that “faith” in their particular deity is a totally personal matter, a personal choice and it has nothing to do with anyone else? Stop pushing! You’re like drug dealers trying to get kids to take their first hit so they become addicted. I’m a recovered addict, Becky.

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          1. I’m sorry, Sha. It’s very difficult to communicate across these blogs in a sensitive way because we don’t know each other’s background at all. I’m still learning after all this time. Your point is heard and well taken.

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          2. Sha, before I go, I want to come back in and share with you one more time. I know people have had hurtful experiences with the Christian faith and it breaks my heart. Sometimes we don’t say the right thing to people that are hurting or simply don’t know what to say. This could be one of those times, but I’m taking a risk..

            I want to focus on this issue of addiction. Coming from the human service field, I would encourage you to consider seeking help and support with this. Maybe you already have. That’s great. It’s difficult to heal on your own.

            I want to share this insight from my experience. I have worked with people struggling with addiction. I’ve observed that if the root causes of the addiction are not really explored and addressed, one addiction can morph into another. People that were addicted to alcohol and drugs who move into abstinence can become religious addicts and so on.

            Also, to make matters more challenging, even very good things in life which raise dopamine and serotonin such as being outside in nature and exercising in some people could become addictive in a bad way.

            I personally think food addiction is one of the most difficult addictions to conquer. We can’t simply abstain from eating. But, when people receive therapy, they are able to explore feelings and things in their life that may have led to their unhealthy relationship with food, the things that they had wanted to avoid thinking about at all.

            Sha, best wishes and every positive thought coming your way toward healing and joy.

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        2. This is a bit off-topic, but your reference to Ehrman offering “free” subscriptions to his blog raised my hackles. First, I would be willing to bet he’s close to being a millionaire from the sale of his books and lectures and what-not. And then he charges people for the privilege of reading his blog?!!?

          Let me add … I have several of his books in my library and I have the utmost respect for his knowledge, research, and perspective on “godly” things. But c’mon. Greed is still one of the deadly sins.

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        3. Becky,

          I’ve read through your link, but I’m not sure how the author landed upon the alternate interpretations of “eternal punishment” because according to Strong’s concordance the Greek words match their English (as well French, German, Italian and Spanish translations for eternal pain/punishment/suffering/torment/torture)

          https://www.blueletterbible.org/niv/mat/25/46/t_concf_954046 (click on G166 and G2851)

          However, what really caught my attention was his assertion that God “rightly requires and deserves wholehearted worship” — because demands for worship and adulation are the things we’d normally associate with a narcissistic dictator — not an all-perfect being who lacks for nothing.

          Which leads to the crux of the issue:

          By definition, perfection means completion (that is to say, as good as it gets with no room for further improvement). So a perfect being would have no need or desire to create things or be loved. It would be blissfully content to exist forever within its own existential bubble. So the Christian conception of God is deeply flawed.

          Thanks for the info on Bart Ehrman’s blog. I will check into it.

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          1. Yikes, I didn’t catch that in the article. I’ve always believed that worship is more for our benefit rather than God’s. To, qualify, this has been personally true for me.

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            1. But god has specific opinions on how we should live or he gets angered. That God, according to yourselves, is not immutable, because the sins of men compel him to change his conduct in regard to them. Can a being who is sometimes irritated and sometimes appeased, be constantly the same?”

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            2. Jim, it seems to me that the Scripture often uses anthropomorphic ways of referring to God. To give an example, if I read something to the effect that God is angry because of sin, I don’t feel as if this is really like human anger which often involves petty irritation, thoughts of vengeance, personal offense, etc. It seems to me more connected with concern for human harm or with the destruction of the creation. I think this all comes around again to differences in how people read and interpret the Scripture. I feel like God is immutable in His basic essence, but it’s not as if His actions can always be the same depending on differing
              circumstances. That wouldn’t make sense to me, anyway.

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            3. Do you really think that if god was everything you imagine, so far above us “ants”, that no matter how he shouted or impressed his will you could even fathom one word of it? That men are relegated to writing fables about their interpretation of how god must in-fact-be, is laughable really. That you believe that you can outwit yourself with explanations coming from yourself is the role of the joker, or the old fashioned court jester. You have to laugh at the irony. Christianity his made the untouchable god, so far in fact out of reach of human comprehension, that only a select, choice few can get it. It takes a lot of words and interpretation to get what you want out of it.

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  5. Jim you’re right in one sense. I cannot prove that in some measure God is communicating truth through sacred myth around the world. My more conservative Christian brothers and sisters would probably readily agree with you. That’s for certain.

    But, my undergraduate major was cultural anthro. focused in comparative religion. This had an impact in my thinking because I was able to see a commonality in the sacred myth of many cultures. To me, there is a huge difference in tracing the collective memory of culture throughout the world through a great period of time as opposed to just the random thinking of one person speculating off the top of their head yesterday morning.

    Of course, there are other possible explanations for this as well, I’m sure. But, I have a strong intuition that I’m on to something. But, I could be wrong, of course. Leave it at that. 🙂

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    1. For once, I am not going to disagree with that. I do see value in sacred myths. The issue with Christians is that they don’t(historically and the majority today) see myth as something worthy of respect. They see their dogmas as “fact”, “myth” is what others have, and is denigrated by them. I have seen again and again both past and present Christians mock and denigrate the myths and even dogmas of others, with no basis for doing so. There is always some kind of myth underlying culture. It can be simple or complicated. Even modern society has a central myth.

      There is a Roman story (from an ancient compilation called Fabulae) that I read again recently. There is no Greek parallel to it that I am aware of, it seems to be uniquely Roman. In it, Cura(care, or worry) shapes a figure of a man(homo) out of mud. Cura calls down Jupiter(whose name is literally Sky Father) to breathe life into the figure. Cura then wants to name the figure, but Jupiter says that wants to name it after himself because he animated it with his breath. Tellus Mater(Mother Earth) then objects to both, saying that since the figure was made from her body, he ought to be named after her. They get Saturn(an ancient agricultural god of time, seasons, and limits) to judge the dispute. Saturn comes up with a solution for all parties. He decides that when the figure dies, the breath(anima) will return to Jupiter because he gave it. But the body will return to Tellus Mater, since it was her substance. Since Cura shaped the figure, he will be hers as long as his life lasts. And since the name was not agreed on, Saturn decides to name the figure “Homo”(man or human, related to Latin “humus” meaning soil), since he was taken out of the ground.

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        1. Would the story be improved by making a theology out of it?

          There is another story I know, found all over Siberia. Many Siberian origin myths have two creators, a younger brother and an older one. They have slightly different names depending on the tribe. Seveki and Kargi are what I will use. Seveki is the kinder younger brother, while Kargi is the cruel older brother. It resembles Persian dualism in some respects. Seveki is the ruler of heaven, and Kargi is associated with the underworld and death.

          In the beginning, these two powerful spirits were active, and they started to make things and put them in order. Seveki makes man out of wood in most tellings(though sometimes it is clay or stone). He puts the figurines of the first humans in his storage house, and leaves his assistant Dog to guard his house while he is away. This Dog is the first dog, which at that time had the power of speech but did not have fur, and was Seveki’s assistant. Dog guarded the house as asked, until Kargi came to him and asked to be let into the house. Dog refused, but Kargi offered Dog a fur coat if he let Kargi in. Dog agreed, and Kargi went in and breathed on all the human figurines. This is why we have diseases and other ailments. Kargi then leaves. Seveki comes back and finds out what happened. Seveki curses Dog to not be able to speak, and to follow after and serve humans, and to eat scraps(and in some versions to be beaten if he disobeys).

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  6. If God connects with people in where they’re at, might He condescend to their understanding, using culturally relevant myth to communicate deeper truth?

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    1. We are only as stupid as that? Sorry, but any discovery, even complicated technology is easily mastered with a little instruction. We’re that dumb? Gullible, but amazing aptitude for thousands of things.
      How is it then that for 2000 years there is no advance in that understanding, but less?
      It’s more like we have to condescend to the myth and imagine how anyone could believe that. Like we typically think of the Greek and Norse mythology. Just add faith. Thor is real
      Intentionally speaking in parables shows the people were actually able to understand the whole game, but he chose not to deliver

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      1. I don’t know, Jim. I can see your point, but would it have served God’s purpose in that time to attempt to give the ancients an up to date treatise on the scientific origin of the cosmos, or a lecture concerning macro-evolution and human DNA? And, how do we even know that some of the most up to date science that we accept as objectively true today, might be almost relegated to the status of myth 1000 years from now?

        How do you feel about some of the Native American mythology relating to the great creator? Do you see truth or usefulness in any of this? I was listening to Russell Means describe how he would take his children out before dawn to greet the new day, and pray to the Great Mystery under the North Star. It connected with me, and I was deeply moved.

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        1. I did add to that comment after I sent it. “Intentionally speaking in parables shows the people were actually able to understand the whole game, but he chose not to deliver”. This tactic works well, even today as shown in this guru experiment by an amateur filmmaker.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumar%C3%A9 He developed a huge and growing following but never answered any questions directly. Convincing the subjects they had been scammed was much harder than making the movie.
          A treatise on dna would’ve been helpful to reduce suffering and disease. But we see the drip-fed advances in science and morality coincide with the efforts of men.

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          1. Well, when I read Genesis One, I think I am reading deep truth conveyed through story, allegory, myth, but not something that is literally or scientifically true. It seems to me that this is about more than a couple of people eating a forbidden fruit and suddenly realizing they are naked.

            It conveys to me that God is the creator, that He has made human kind in His image and likeness, and that we also have a responsibility, really a vocation to be stewards of the creation.

            I think at a certain point in our prehistory, individually and collectively, the story is communicating that we turned away from the pole of God. We went our own way, rather than God’s way, and became alienated from God and from each other.

            The good news of the Christian faith communicates that God’s love remained steadfast, and that in Jesus Christ this broken link has been restored and brought healing and reconciliation.

            As a Christian, I feel that I need to walk this out in my own life as well.

            IMO, it is God who has uniquely gifted humans with the kind of mind to soar and to reason, to make these needed advances in science and medicine to ultimately make a difference.

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            1. Becky, you wrote — when I read Genesis One, I think I am reading deep truth conveyed through story, allegory, myth … It conveys to me that God is the creator

              Think about what you just wrote … story, allegory, myth. Yet you accept it as an indication of truth that the biblical god is “the creator.”

              Curious — if you had never had ANY exposure to Christianity (say, you were born in the jungles that Jim has occasionally referenced), do you think you would you read these words and consider them as “truth” that “God is the creator”?

              Liked by 1 person

            2. I don’t know, Nan. But, in some measure, it maybe that God is also communicating truth, albeit not scientific fact, to people through their own creation stories. I don’t think it is necessarily either or. It is something to explore and think about more deeply. What is your feeling, Nan? I know you are not an atheist? What are your beliefs concerning this?

              Hey, the one thing about all this is that we certainly have plenty of time to blog. Although, I’m doing alot of hiking out there every day as well. My Border Collie actually gave up, and wanted to go home. Not a good sign when a Border is sick of walking around. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            3. See, the thing is, Becky, you believe there is a god so you automatically attribute any beliefs these people might have as being from that god. To truly understand what I’m asking, you have to step outside the box and recognize that it’s only because of your direct or indirect exposure to the Christian god that you even consider a biblical god is part of their creation stories.

              The Christian god is just that. A god for Christians.

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            4. maybe that God is also communicating truth, albeit not scientific fact, to people through their own creation stories”. This is grasping at straws and nonsensical. Sorry. Essentially any thought you have, no matter how ridiculous can be god communicating truth, albeit not fact? Seriously?

              Liked by 1 person

            5. I was raised in, indoctrinated in, and for a long time followed your line of reasoning, Becky, but now, having stepped off the “straight and narrow” railway track to watch the god train trundle by with the slogan, “Be on board or get crushed” I go, “Yikes, people still believe that way?” I know it’s your faith talking, but where’s the connection to objectivity? I’m a bit different in that I am not an atheist and I don’t need “faith” to know that “god” does exist but from serious scripture study I had to conclude that this living god is a seriously twisted psycho. You really should try, really try, to read the psychotic biblical episodes and ask yourself the tough questions, beginning with the divine tantrum against Adam and Eve before he threw them out of Eden. I especially like the part where he says to Eve, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbirth, and etc.” How many women have died in childbirth? If you are a true believer, don’t you have to ascribe that to your God? The various slaughters by the Hebrews/Israelite’s on their supposed way to their promised land which they had to steal from the original inhabitants and are still killing to steal to this very day? A bit before, the massacre of Egyptian first born’s to prove a point, just one of the divine plagues? If none of that is true then where was the “God of love” when some monster pretending to be “Him” imposed these evils upon this world? There are many more examples, many of which have been detailed on this blog so I ask in a different way: how do you reconcile what your are wishfully saying about your God to biblical “history”? Have you tried talking to Him so He could explain? I have and then we parted company – permanently. I have no use for psychos claiming to hold supreme authority over nature when they can only do so piecemeal by using “special forces” like Christians to massacre or force convert non believers (check your history).

              Liked by 2 people

      2. Sometimes Jim you make me wish it were possible for me to believe in physical evolution. Based on this comment I could imagine god as “the worm of life” as described in Notestoponder’s latest post. His name is, quote: “ikaria wariootia, ancient wormish creature roughly the size of a grain of rice. New research dubs it 1st ancestor on the tree of life for most animals including humans.” Ref: https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2020/04/06/worm-of-life/ I got some totally unexpected new “input” on the role of gods and goddesses in the flow of life last night. May share that on my blog today or tomorrow. Have a great day. It’s our turn to have clear blue skies today. Hope it lasts for a bit.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Did you know the human virome contains about 380 trillion viruses? There are but a handful of types in vast quantities that call planet sapien their home, but to imagine we descended from a worm isn’t that big of a stretch when you consider a good portion of our normal existence is comprised of the virus. Stay tuned for the bacteria count—more to follow… the question is who is in charge? It certainly isn’t you. The selfish gene and the virus may very well be directing the whole show..making suitable hosts.

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            1. The fact that many humans can relate to the idea that humans are viruses (matrix?) we are like Christians who try to separate themselves from Christianity. If we separated from our viruses we would cease to exist. We cannot be without them, but they would do fine without us.
              You might enjoy this

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            2. Great video, that. I hate going there, I get “trapped” in all the wonderful offerings, sweet drugs for the questing mind… but thanks anyway Jim, I forgive you!

              Liked by 1 person

  7. Adam and Eve’s sin? Awareness. That’s it. I’m me and your you and we’re screwed. For that, I had to be baptized at 8 days. Who told you that you were naked? LOL… What a story.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. If God, there could be no “non-God.” Knowledge, not belief, would exist at birth. That knowledge does not exist at birth. There is no God!
    The original sin is sex. Without sex there would be no children. Without children there would be no god. There is no original sin.
    IF god gave humans the ability to not believe that he exists, he would be the stupidest creator in the universe. “I exist but I’m letting you believe I don’t so I can entrap you and send you to hell.” The logic does not seem to follow.
    What is logical is no god, no sin, and no hell. This I know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I don’t get that every day. I’ll take it with a Trumpish, alpha gorilla type nod and scan the crowd. Haha. Really though, if we are to solve the contradictions of Christianity we will have to look elsewhere and insert the proper contexts.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That would make sense. I don’t know, but as you know everything god has put in motion leads to more suffering, I wouldn’t exempt prayer form that, even at a philosophical level. More prayer equals less action equals more trouble.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. There’s a meme gaining traction about a national fast and prayer day on the 10th. If your correlation is correct, that day we should see another spike in the virus.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Well played sir. No matter what, it will be the fault of lackluster faith. Shoulda prayed harder. But the fact that humans and their 360 trillion viral companions will likely win over prayer, since we are basically skin bags housing the human virome.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, on gods end it would be sort of like “house rules” in UNO or Monopoly©. You are required to play by these specific rules for the duration of the game, but there is no “evil” in sin but simply arbitrary standards that really don’t mean anything at all.

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  9. It seems to me that god sets human to fail right from the very beginning. Just your mere existence renders you a sinner already.
    Not to talk about the great multitude of people that god placed in the wrong place, wrong time and wrong religion with no hope of ever hearing the “good news” of christianity. Their continual living in sin is no fault of their but their “maker”.
    For the rest of us what choice do we have when all we do is in accordance with god’s plan, we are noting more than puppets playing a script with god as the puppeteer

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I think we have the ability to guide some of the input to change the way we think, but our decisions and religions obviously align closely with where we are born and to whom. Everybody is free to choose from about five option.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well Eilene, we like to think we’re in control. To play on that is a stroke of genius—but choose what we tell you to choose lest ye end up in hell. If there were a god, capricious comes to mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. the claim of freewill by some Christians is such a complete failure. As you noted, the forcing of “original sin” on everyone destroys the concept. Add to that, 1. miracles destroy free will 2. this god repeatedly controls people’s minds to do things they wouldn’t, 3. Paul and JC saying that this god picks and chooses who it will allow to accept it, 4. this god killing people for the actions of others, and the whole thing disintegrates.

    I’d also say that the real crime in Eden is a god that intentionally doesn’t want its creations to know what good and evil are. This would indicate, to me, that this god is evil since there is no reason to want this information a secret.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Knowledge is still the dirty little secret, withheld as long as possible until the neurons are hardwired, also making freewill a limited set of choices.

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    2. Some sects concluded that the god in the Genesis story was evil for that reason. They explained that the tree of knowledge was there because it was a form of the heavenly Wisdom(Sophia) that incarnated in this world. That at least explains why Yahweh would even have it there, he couldn’t get rid of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gnosticism made much more sense than Orthodox Christianity, no? Which is why for a thousand years the Church Fathers slaughtered so many people to root out the alternative. The Cathar Crusades is my favorite example of Christian love!

        Liked by 1 person

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