Warning, this may be long.
I don’t consider myself significant enough to matter in the first place. That is, if God has what you deem to be sadistic character traits, who am I to question it? Is it necessary for me to like, approve, and cherish everything He does in order to bow down to Him? Most of us have parents and siblings and friends who possess traits and habits that we dislike or do not agree with but that doesn’t prohibit us from continuing to interact with them and show love, understanding and compassion for. I simply trust that the Creator of our very existence is capable and fully empowered to do with us as He desires in order to fulfill His plan….and, yes, like it or not, ultimately we have no say in the matter.
By judging me and proclaiming God a tyrant,, you have elevated yourself to a position of superior intellect and wisdom…..yet you call me “arrogant” and a ‘sycophant?” You speak as though you possess the sum of all knowledge and that your views are indisputable and based on and spoken from an authority that you cannot even identify.
That is entirely the problem. What you are doing by bowing down to God is saying that you don't care whether he actually is evil. That means you are acquiescing to evil because it's powerful. I don't care how powerful someone happens to be, or how close they are to me, if I think they're in the wrong, then I have the duty to point it out to them. I do no good at all by simply staying silent, or by acquiescing to some "master plan" simply because someone is powerful. If that's judging, then so be it.
I do not find anything pleasant about any of those....nor would I condone or encourage any person to embrace them as "right."
Except that you would embrace them as 'right' if God commanded you to, as you state in your very next paragraph.
We are teetering on a debate about moral 'rights' and 'wrongs' and that will take on a life all its own. Suffice it to say that while I do not understand all that God has done or is presently doing in this world, I accept my place in HIS creation and concede to His power and might. I am in no position to judge that which CREATED ME nor do I claim to know a better way to fulfill His plan. That, to me, is arrogance and absurdity of the highest order. You and others may question and/or find fault in certain interpretations you have made with respect to God's actions but you are incapable of determining what the outcome would have been had those specific events never occurred.
In other words, if God commanded you to commit genocide, or to murder children by the truckload, you would do it regardless of how you felt about it. That's what "accepting your place" and "conceding to power and might" mean
. The problem is that means tend to corrupt the end; that's why we have the saying about power corrupting. Me, I prefer to speak truth to power, rather than letting power determine truth.
Because He says He does:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Anyone can claim that they're aiming for some nonspecific good end. It's a lot harder to show people evidence of trustworthiness than to say "trust me, this is for your own good".
Abusive ad hominem <snip>
Yes, those are ad hominems, and you are right to call him out on them, but that is no excuse to ignore the valid parts of what he's saying.
I believe He’s talking to those who believe in Him and have placed their faith in Him.
A good ruler does things that benefit everyone he has authority over, not just the ones he likes or who support him.
Christian or not, we are capable of diverting God’s “PLAN” (<--- key word). He allows us to make choices that run counter to many of the “PLANS” He has for us. The question asked was how do I “know God’s plan is a good one”. I answered it with a specific statement made by God about what His Plan is for us.
God’s plan is to ultimately do away with all sufferring, evil, and sadness….which I’m sure you will agree is a “good” plan.
I know one surefire way to do away with all suffering, evil, and sadness...kill everything that lives (which I absolutely do not advocate or agree with). I'm quite sure you will agree that this is not a good plan. Another way to do away with suffering, evil, and sadness is to make everyone into an unfeeling robot that does what it's told. No feelings means no suffering and no sadness, and if everyone does only what they're told by God, then there's no such thing as evil. Unfortunately, I can't be quite as sure that you will agree that this is just as bad in its own way as the first way.
I suppose it's a matter of interpretation. I read the Good Book and see a good plan....just the same way you might examine the plan for, say, a way of making peanut butter slices and determine whether it's a good plan or a bad plan. If you read the Good Book and feel that God is playing a big trick on all of us for the purpose of entertaining Himself then I fail to see how I could demonstrate otherwise.
No, it's not the same. I can test the plan for making peanut butter slices and determine whether it's good or not that way, and if it ends up not being very good, it can be improved on by trying variations. There is no way to test God's plan, thus no way to tell if it's good or bad, thus no way to improve on it if it happens to be bad.
God did not say that He regretted causing the flood....nor did He drown ALL of creation. He removed the evil which had almost completely destroyed all of mankind and preserved the only living humans who still recognized Him as the one and only God. Satan's grand plan to obliterate any chance of the promised Messiah was brought to an end. While it may seem harsh to you, the consequences of it not occurring would have been a fatal blow to God's plan to save any of us.
Presumably this is according to God (assuming you take the Bible as factual truth, which I don't), who had the opportunity to 'justify' it after the fact to the only people he allowed to survive. The problem with that is that there's no real way to tell whether there truly was any 'evil' there, or if it was instead something like God throwing a temper tantrum because he wasn't being worshiped enough. And as for not regretting it, why else promise that he wouldn't destroy the world by water in the future? If someone thinks they were perfectly right and justified in doing something, they don't arbitrarily say that they won't ever do it again.
Yes, granted, the abbreviated simplistic way I explained it probably does come across to some as sounding a bit like a tall tale. Regardless, it does provide an account (albeit brief) of some of the circumstances involved in the event. Who knows, though, even a more scholarly sounding account may come across the same way to you….I don’t know.
Dress up a myth, with no basis in reality and no evidence to support it, with scholarly rhetoric, and it's still a myth. That is why some Christians keep trying to distort the historical evidence that we actually have in order to 'prove' that there was a global flood.
I will also concede that some of the stories in the Good Book have a rather odd theme or take place in ways that do not register with our modern way of perceiving the world. I don’t think there are too many Christians who would deny being puzzled at some of the contents of the Bible. After all, it speaks of a spiritual world that our so-called “enlightened” way of rationalizing has difficulty understanding, much less appreciating.
What it speaks of is people who didn't really understand why things happened, trying to imagine the reasons why those things might have happened. The problem with that is that it results in speculation that cannot be proved one way or the other. That's why science focuses on evidence that can be observed and verified. The explanations for that evidence may be wrong, but they can be checked against the evidence and thrown out if they're shown to be wrong.
However, those impressions do not make it unreal nor do they necessarily mean the Good Book is a fairytale. Instead, it simply means that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55-8). If God's wisdom were to have a weakness, it would still be superior to man’s wisdom (1 Chorinthians 1:18-20). Just because we do not understand something or agree with it does mean we are to dismiss it. We are cautioned not to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). The result of failing to recognize this is self deception….(I might start a topic on self deception as it relates to the ToE….would love to hear some ‘evolutionary’ explanations for that one).
God created every good thing in this world, including man. It only follows that He knows far more than we do and His wisdom far surpasses our own.
It is true that we can't disprove a "spiritual world", but that is because it exists entirely in the realm of speculation. There is no evidence for it one way or the other. I can speculate about telepathic horses and cats on other worlds, and you can't disprove my speculations. Does that then mean we should treat those telepathic horses and cats as real despite the lack of any evidence about them at all?
God’s original plan for man included a way out of the predicament of sin and its consequences. He certainly had to know that the temptation in the Garden could result in man turning away from Him. Again, His foreknowledge anticipated this along with a plan to remedy it but the some of the events in-between were not specifically forseen. They had to occur which just reinforces the argument for free will. It makes less sense to me that God would plan or foreknow every single thing that were take place. That would make us nothing more than robots with no free will and thus pawns in some spiritual game.
That begs the question of why God provided such an easy means to sin in the 'paradise' of the garden of Eden to begin with. The way it plays out in the Bible comes across like a parent leaving a knife out on the table, warning their little child not to touch it or they'll hurt themselves, then when the child cuts their hand and the parent finds out, the parent kicks them out to go live in the wilderness for disobeying. And it doesn't get any better from then on.
Yes, that pretty much sums it up. I trust that everything God has commanded or allowed was for the preservation and betterment of the human race over the entire course of time. He is the Creator, not just some politician in the sky trying to show off.
Then I guess allowing the tree to be there so that Adam and Eve could eat from it even though he commanded them not to "was for the preservation and betterment of the human race over the entire course of time"?
I think I would be more interested in determining whether I chose to believe He exists rather than picking apart what you perceive as questionable methods. Once you have made a decision that you are completely satisfied with, then you will either see things as He sees them or will continue to challenge his existence on the basis of what your mind deems to be the sum of all knowledge.
If you don't pick apart questionable methods, then you can't possibly base your belief on anything other than sand, perhaps even quicksand. And you don't have to think you possess the sum of all knowledge to see and realize that something's fishy about a belief when the evidence doesn't support it, and when it depends upon accepting a being as 'right' because it's mighty.