Since I see myself as a monotheist, I have concluded that Jesus' Father is my God. I also believe Jesus of Nazareth was God incarnate here on earth. Like other theists through the centuries, I struggle with a complete understanding of the Trinity. Haven't achieved it yet and may never. I see it as part of the journey.
I struggled with the Trinity as well when I was a Christian. The reason you "struggle" with the Trinity is because it is a an illogical and contradictory doctrine. I hate to give you this bit of bad news but you will never achieve a complete understanding of the Trinity. I know you see it as part of your journey but your journey is always going to take you to a dead end when it comes to understanding the Trinity. The doctrine is illogical and contradictory!!!
Example: You say that Jesus' Father is your God. But then you say Jesus of Nazareth was God incarnate here on earth. If Jesus of Nazareth was the one true God and he was "God incarnate" as you say, then why does Jesus say he has a God in John 20:17?
The reason why you will fail to give me a logical answer to this is because the Trinity doctrine is illogical and contradictory. If Jesus was "God incarnate" here on earth then why would he confuse people here on earth and say that he has a God? Illogical and contradictory!!!
After doing extensive research on the Trinity, I have a humble opinion that anyone who can worship a Trinity and insist that he/she is a monotheist, is gullible enough to believe anything. Notice I said gullible and not dumb. I have read many of your posts and find you to be intelligent. I wasted a whole year of my life learning everything I could on the Trinity and when it comes to trying to understand the Trinity, my advice is to give up and avoid the "struggle".
On the topic of the Trinity Robert Price writes:
What a tangled web you weave;
once you think you can believe.
I've had a variety of situations in my life which I interpret to be an indication / proof of God's existence. Being involved in this website is one of those experiences. I freely admit this is a subjective attitude and without any way of proving my interpretation is correct. My life may very well be random chance working in my favor (to quote an old Star Trek episode). I don't think so, but am unaware of any way to prove that belief.
Would you mind sharing your most influential individual experience/situation in which you interpret as proof for God's existence?
In addition, why do you consider your involvement on this forum as one of the experiences that you interpret to be proof for God's existence?
You don't have to answer if I am being too intrusive but I am an open-minded agnostic atheist and always enjoy hearing how people interpret different things in their life to be proof of some god's existence.
Follow-up question: Do any of your individual experiences make you think that Yahweh/Jesus/Holy Spirit is God or do your individual experiences just make you think that there is a god (any god)?
Forth follow-up question: What do YOU think the exact requirements of BELIEF and/or ACTION are in order for one to be saved and spend eternity in heaven?
Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.
First I would like to point out that you say one has to only DO something in order to get to heaven and Skeptic said at the beginning of this thread that one has to only BELIEVE something in order to get to heaven. I'm not saying that this surprises me but would like to simply point out that Christians are proving my point that the exact requirements needed for salvation are not clearly laid out in the bible. And my question remains: If your god is neither able or willing to give humans a book with exact requirements on how one can get to heaven, then why call him god?
Secondly, this requirement of yours is extremely vague. There are degrees to love. I love my sister but not nearly to the degree that I love my wife. I love my sister but find her quit annoying and I don't respect the fact that she is extremely selfish. My wife, on the other hand, is extremely selfless and she has earned my admiration. Without question, I love her more than my sister. You see, there are degrees to love and if you are honest with yourself you will agree with me.
Sooooo, what is the minimum amount of love for god and one's neighbor that one must have in order to get into heaven? You see.....too vague of a requirement. You can possibly say "love God and love your neighbor as yourself" is a "vague" requirement for salvation but you can't say this is an "exact" requirement for salvation. I would have to know "exactly" how much I have to love god and my neighbors and how do you measure love? Measuring love is always subjective!
I would like to continue by separating your two requirements and let you know what I think about your 2 requirements for salvation.
Love cannot be commanded. To me, the biblical god is not a god of love if he has to command people to love him. No one has the right to tell me to love someone else. I can treat people with fairness and I can give respect where respect is due. Love is reserved for those who are dear to me and have earned my admiration.
The god of the bible failed at earning my admiration when I started studying his character. I was deep into Leviticus learning about god's character and in addition to all the other disgusting (for lack of a better word) commands and actions of Yahweh I ran smack into Lev. 21:16-24 where Yahweh says people with certain defects would "profane his sanctuary" if they approached his veil or altar. I am someone who has one of the mentioned defects in Lev. 21:18-20. I am thankful I don't have "crushed testicles" whatever that is because that sounds extremely painful to me. However, I was created with one of the other mentioned defects. I asked myself if I would still love this god if I lived in the time of Leviticus and was a priest and was commanded by this god to not approach his veil or altar because of the defect that he created me with
. This seemed to add insult to injury. I no longer could say that I love this god with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. After reading this in Lev. 21, I honestly could say without question that I loved my family and friends much more than this god because there is no way my family or friends would ever degrade me because of the defect I was created with. After meditating on "god's word" I realized I could no longer worship this god.
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF:
I cannot explain what I think of this requirement better than Dan Barker in his book "Godless":"While we all agree what love is good, this rule is not specific. It does not give any advice about how to treat others. What about people who do not love themselves-how can they love others 'as themselves'? What if you were raised in a dysfunctional and abusive family and have a very low self-image? What if you are suicidal?
What if my neighbor is a jerk? What if after all my sincere attempts to be friendly and fair, my neighbor continues to act destructively? Is it healthy for me to pretend to love this person? I might be concerned for this person's lifestyle (or I might not) and wish to see an improvement for his or her sake as well as mine, but I certainly am not going to feign love. The biblical Jesus should have known better than to command believers to fake an emotion that is often inappropriate, unnatural and insincere.
As with most other biblical rules, Jesus makes 'love thy neighbor' a condition for reward: 'For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans do the same? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.' (Matt. 5:46-48. The biblical god didn't love everyone, so he isn't perfect either).
Try saying to someone you love: 'The reason I love you is because I am trying to attain perfection and hope to be rewarded someday'. These sayings are based on self-interest and a 'spiritual' goal that is out of touch with the real world where morality matters. A better guide for human behavior would take into account the physical conditions, the individual cases, the nature of human feelings and the results of certain actions before making a blanket commandment. 'Love thy neighbor' might make a lofty sentiment, but is an impractical moral guideline."