Author Topic: "Good news"?  (Read 1262 times)

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Jacob1207

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"Good news"?
« on: August 06, 2007, 09:10:41 AM »
I've been thinking about this analogy for some time and Debbie's recent post has spurred me to toss this out there. 

    Imagine that you are taking a commercial flight across country.  Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure I don't know, but the plane is really crowded and noisy and then about halfway through the trip the plane hits some turbulence.  The man seated next to you gets up and proceeds to the front of the aircraft, apparently to investigate the disturbance.  He returns momentarily and distracts you from the magazine that you're reading.  "I have good news," he says.

    "Great, I like getting good news.  Tell me what it is," you reply.

    "Well, the airplane is about to crash and everybody on board is going to die," he says, adding that this cannot be prevented by any means whatsoever.  "But I have two parachutes, so that you and I can jump out of the plane and not be killed with everybody else."

At this point, would your response be:

    (A) Wow!  That really is good news! OR
    (B) If that's the good news, I'd hate to hear the bad news!

Now, doesn't the doctrine of eternal torment make most presentations of the gospel look rather like the declarations of the man who sat next to you on the plane?  Why would someone with no conception of an afterlife think it was good for there to be an afterlife in which the vast majority of people would be endlessly tormented?  I think it'd be immoral to be happy at the prospects of a pleasant existence for yourself it if entailed a horrible existence for most everyone else.  If Christianity means that most people will be endlessly tortured, why would you want it to be true?

Anyway, I think the idea of endless torment is pretty deeply embedded in common perceptions of what Christianity and even general theism is all about.  Is it any wonder so many people back away when told that we have "good news"? 

Thoughts?  Comments?  Criticism?

-- Jacob

lovetruth

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2007, 11:28:16 AM »
i agree very much.  i appreciate your analogy.

i read a biography recently where a tribe was unresponsive to the good news and the missionaries, in their frustration, changed their tack.  they decided to tell the people the bad news, then the good news would sound good.   :o  so, they started to teach about how there's this satan guy and all these scary demons everywhere and how they're gonna come get you and take you to hell if you don't get in the Jesus boat!!  can you imagine!!  there's lovely feet bringing good news for you.  :'(

i was really grieved by that story (and the story-teller thought this was a great thing because all these laid-back villagers got scared and started "becoming christians"), but it demonstrates how foolish we can become in our own thinking and our own desire to accomplish things for God.

Offline 97531

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2007, 11:47:36 AM »
Good posts

Thing that amazes me of ET is their justification of a wrathful God.  They all bring out examples from the OT that refer to various times God smites/killed people esp. the Hebrews when they disobeyed.  Point they seem to forget, where are the dead now? Killed so that God can put them in the eternal fryer?

A good challenge is to ask them to show anywhere in the NT where God exercises his wrath, ask them to exclude Revelation as no one has consensus on interpretation. 

There is none.  After Jesus paid the price we entered into a new covenant.

They also like the Noah story and only 8 people survived, are the drowned now frying? What did God promise Noah after the flood? He said I will never again destroy the world with water.

That sounds vaguely familiar to "..I shall remember their sins no more"

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lovetruth

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2007, 11:54:40 AM »
when i look at new testament wrath, i see ananias and sapphira.  will you tell us what you see there, seeker?

Offline 97531

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2007, 12:57:14 PM »
when i look at new testament wrath, i see ananias and sapphira.  will you tell us what you see there, seeker?

Embarrassed!

I forgot about that.  I had always wondered about it?

As for the account in Acts, it does say they both fell down dead/gave up the ghost/expired.  No specific and God struck them down.  IMO it could have been akin to a heart attack, not like the ground opened up and swallowed them up.  In fact if you read in Acts 4, nowhere does it indicate that there was a command to sell up and bring, people were led to do this.

Act 4:34-37  For neither was anyone needy among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35  and they laid them down at the apostles' feet. And distribution was made to every man according as he had need. 36  And Joses, who was surnamed Barnabas by the apostles (which is, being translated, The son of consolation), a Levite, a Cypriot by race, 37  a field being his, selling it, he bore the proceeds and placed them at the apostles' feet.

It then goes on

Act 5:1  And a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2  And he kept back part of the price, his wife also knowing, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. 3  But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart for you to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4  While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own authority? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God. 5  And hearing these words, Ananias fell down and expired. And great fear came on all those who heard these things.

Seems that these two were copying others but still holding onto possessions just in case and the revelation via the Holy Spirit comes to Peter and they are found out. 

Something that I just realised, this is similar to the fall of Adam.  Eve was deceived and only when Adam partook, did the zap effect take place in both. Adam is cursed first and then Eve.  Seems there are parallels in these two events. Ananias drops dead and then Sapphira.  Now how come Sapphira was not with her husband when he laid it down?  Reading into this one may draw the conclusion Ananias yielded to his wife who like still wanted to hold onto and trust in their own abilities and Ananias was disobedient to the HS.  This is conjecture but that is how I see it, the wife mentioned here has to mean something.

I actually posed this on an ET site and surprisingly, they did not bring this example up. (we were not discussing Tithing  ;D)  I have heard many different sermons on this but most relating to tithing and/or being fully honest with God.  Was their deaths a punishment? Looks like it. Maybe they needed reminding but even then both of them are not in the eternal roaster,

As I said, it's only my opinion but then again, God holds all our puny little lives in His hands.

Should be interesting other's take on this event.

Blessings
« Last Edit: August 06, 2007, 12:59:35 PM by SeekerSA »
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lovetruth

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2007, 01:03:00 PM »
it's so odd because there's no commentary in the story and it's so uncharacteristic. 

it says the effect was that fear fell on the church.  maybe knowing that God is dead serious about sin is just really important.  i know that we who understand His mercy need to also hold to the fact that He has no interest in games.  He's being merciful with a purpose, not just passing things over lightly.

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2007, 03:41:55 PM »
it's so odd because there's no commentary in the story and it's so uncharacteristic. 

Yeah, who knows what went on behind the scenes?  We don't know if  God and Ananias had been talking about the whole situation for a while.  But still, death is one thing while tormenting someone forever is another!


Jacob, I do see God as a a God of righteous judgement.  I see him as a merciful judge but a judge indeed and that is part of the good news!
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shibboleth

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2007, 03:56:23 PM »
 
i read a biography recently where a tribe was unresponsive to the good news and the missionaries, in their frustration, changed their tack.  they decided to tell the people the bad news, then the good news would sound good.   :o  so, they started to teach about how there's this satan guy and all these scary demons everywhere and how they're gonna come get you and take you to hell if you don't get in the Jesus boat!!  can you imagine!!  there's lovely feet bringing good news for you.  :'(

When I first started reading this, I thought, that the ending would be, that the villagers started a riot and killed all the missionaries who brought the good news/bad news to their village. I also thought I wouldn't blame them if they had.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2007, 04:07:51 PM by SeekerSA »

Offline 97531

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2007, 04:09:00 PM »
When I first started reading this, I thought, that the ending would be, that the villagers started a riot and killed all the missionaries who brought the good news/bad news to their village. I also thought I wouldn't blame them if they had.


You had to do your hell bit now didn't you?
« Last Edit: August 06, 2007, 04:12:12 PM by SeekerSA »
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arcticmonster2003

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2007, 01:36:27 AM »
edit
« Last Edit: May 24, 2008, 02:43:57 AM by arcticmonster2003 »

Michael Dankoski

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2007, 10:01:20 AM »
I think verses 4 and 9 tell the reason Peter was so severe, and the Lord honored it:

Quote
Act 5:4  While it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

Act 5:9  Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.

It seems that Ananias and his wife knew they were lying directly to God and the Holy Spirit. They knew that it was not just Peter and the church.

My wife and I recently witnessed to a family, and they all came to the Lord, and in 9 days, they believed and were following on into the UR message. I got tired of hearing about how they didn't need God (complete with all the usual swear words) and didn't care if they went to hell or not, so I just told one of them "I'm with you on that. I wouldn't worry about going to hell, either, if I was already there!" He asked me what I was talking about, and I just said "I've already been in hell, didn't like it much, so I got out."

He got the rest of the family, asked me what in the world I was talking about, and the Lord worked it out.

rockclimber

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2007, 03:13:18 PM »
The Lord works everything out, most of the time we we don't know it Him.

Seeker

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2007, 06:29:11 PM »
I was thinking about the parachute example, and although I am much more of a universalist then a charasmatic Christian, I would have to say that charasmatics would argue there was a parachute for everyone on the airplane, not just two people.  The others would simply CHOOSE not to believe the plane was going down until it was too late!  (Of course the problem I've always had with this belief is that if God is so great, why wouldn't he make SURE we understood!!??)

Anyone have a response to this one?...I'm just thinking of the debates I'm going to end up in if I try to tell this story to my charasmatic friends.

SeekerRuth

Jacob1207

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2007, 07:14:01 AM »
Good post, SeekerRuth.  A response like you suggest (that everyone has a parachute under his or her seat, they just choose not to believe the plane is going down) is a red herring.  I think the implicit argument in the parable still stands without adding any new elements.

The story aims to put two alternatives about the afterlife side by side and to determine which is more good.  In the first scenario, there is no afterlife; oblivion awaits everyone after death.  The second is that the vast majority of people are going to be eternally tormented and a very few will have eternal bliss.  I would aver that oblivion for all is better than pleasure for a very few and eternal torment for the vast majority.

If an interlocutor of mine replied by saying "Well, everyone could go to heaven, they just choose not to; it's their own fault," I would respond by making him or her defend the proposition that most people in hell + a few in heaven > no people at all. The defense of that ground will lead them into absurdities.  Unfortunately, most people have a pretty high tolerance for those, when they're on the producing end.

But let us argue by analogy again.  Let us suppose a similar set up to the above story but this time everyone knows and believes that the plane is going to crash and, since no one has a death wish, all want to escape the doomed aircraft.  Happily, a parachute is stored under each seat on the plane.  Unfortunately, the directions, being written in Greek, are very difficult for most passengers to understand and, due to the small amount of time before the plane hits the mountain and the great complexity of the devices, those few who do manage to get their parachutes on properly have no time to assist those who do not. 

Ask your interlocutor if the airline acted responsibly if they knew that (1) studies indicated that 90% of passengers wouldn't be able to use their parachutes to escape in an emergency and (2) the plane had a very high (indeed, 100%) chance of crashing.  I think that if you condemn the airline for their actions you'd also need to condemn God for making a universe which will result in much more suffering than good.

Seeker

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2007, 09:34:44 AM »
Jacob,

You beautifully wrote,

But let us argue by analogy again.  Let us suppose a similar set up to the above story but this time everyone knows and believes that the plane is going to crash and, since no one has a death wish, all want to escape the doomed aircraft.  Happily, a parachute is stored under each seat on the plane.  Unfortunately, the directions, being written in Greek, are very difficult for most passengers to understand and, due to the small amount of time before the plane hits the mountain and the great complexity of the devices, those few who do manage to get their parachutes on properly have no time to assist those who do not. 

Ask your interlocutor if the airline acted responsibly if they knew that (1) studies indicated that 90% of passengers wouldn't be able to use their parachutes to escape in an emergency and (2) the plane had a very high (indeed, 100%) chance of crashing.  I think that if you condemn the airline for their actions you'd also need to condemn God for making a universe which will result in much more suffering than good.


I knew there was a logical response...this is exactly why I've always struggled with the charasmatic belief that I came from, but couldn't quite put it into words.  The airline...of course...would be held responsible for not preparing their passengers in the case of an emergency.  I've always struggled to believe we love a God who would set us up for such misery, of course He would want us to know how to escape.  This is a fantastic logical argument.

Now on for the next one...the Jesus' death is the "medicne" we must accept in order to have eternal life analagy...oh but that would be a whole different post :) 

Thank you!

SeekerRuth

jesushandsarekindhands

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2009, 01:49:29 AM »
Thats a great shame.

You know, i know atheists who have been on CHRISTIAN forums for YEARS upon YEARS debating with them.  I now know why.
These poor atheists ARE seeking some truth, they DO believe in God, (or why would they hang around?  What benefit would it do them to destroy someones faith?)...Ok perhaps some atheists are just cruel and do want to destroy faith, but, i think they hang around those forums in the HOPE that ONE DAY the GOOD news, WILL be GOOD NEWS to them.

I will try and hunt some of them down and show them the beliefs we have here.

Tim B

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2009, 06:55:53 AM »
Thats a great shame.

You know, i know atheists who have been on CHRISTIAN forums for YEARS upon YEARS debating with them.  I now know why.
These poor atheists ARE seeking some truth, they DO believe in God, (or why would they hang around?  What benefit would it do them to destroy someones faith?)...Ok perhaps some atheists are just cruel and do want to destroy faith, but, i think they hang around those forums in the HOPE that ONE DAY the GOOD news, WILL be GOOD NEWS to them.

I will try and hunt some of them down and show them the beliefs we have here.

It's much easier to communicate with atheists once you drop the God who eternally tortures people and accept the living God, who is the Savior of ALL men, and actually LOVES.  :bigGrin:

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Re: "Good news"?
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2009, 07:37:11 AM »
You know, i know atheists who have been on CHRISTIAN forums for YEARS upon YEARS debating with them.  I now know why.
....
I will try and hunt some of them down and show them the beliefs we have here.
Nah, atheists only cause havoc. Fouble faced liars. Trust me  :laughing7:
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Romans 4:5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous ...