A man steals my wallet then asks Jesus for forgiveness.Imagine this.... I plan to buy my daughter a life-saving operation. So I go to the bank and withdraw the necessary $10,000 in cash. But...

A man steals my wallet then asks Jesus for forgiveness.

Imagine this....

I plan to buy my daughter a life-saving operation. So I go to the bank and withdraw the necessary $10,000 in cash. But then a man steals my wallet and runs away. My daughter can't have her operation and so she dies.

After spending the money on drink, drugs and prostitutes, the thief feels remorse. His Christian upbringing tells him he should beg Christ for forgiveness. So he goes to church and he begs Christ for forgiveness. Christ forgives him and his eternal happiness is no longer jeopardised by the death of my daughter.

Wait a minute??? What about my family? Why were we not consulted in this forgiveness? What about my daughter? Why does Jesus have the right to forgive this thief for the terrible pain he has caused my family? For all I know he sent my daughter to hell and the thief to heaven. Jesus did not suffer this thief's sins. The sins were not his to forgive. How can he forgive the crimes we suffered without our consent???

Asked on by frizzyperm

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jmj616's profile pic

jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

@18... Sorry, jmj616, but I am sitting here, looking at your post, scratching my head and frowning in confusion. I mean... did I say God was to blame for natural disasters??? It doesn't say that in my post. It only says humans are not responsible for them.

If you had read what I wrote with just a little more care, instead of hurriedly launching yourself into your confident rebuttal, you would have spotted the obvious option that I don't believe God or Man makes cancers et al, I believe these things to be random, unplanned events.

(And BTW... Why does your God insist on taking all the credit for the good things that happen but then dumps the blame onto us for all the bad things that happen? To an outside observer it seems your God is pathologically incapable of accepting responsibility for his half-baked creation and has serious anger-management issues regarding constructive criticism.)

a) You're right friz, I was a bit presumptuous in interpreting your post.  I hope you can forgive me (since I do not believe that God will forgive me if you don't forgive me first).

I'm not sure why you refer to my post as a "rebuttal," since I did not challenge or refute anything you have said.  I merely asked for a clarification of your views.

b) You write:

Why does your God insist on taking all the credit for the good things that          happen but then dumps the blame onto us for all the bad things that happen?

Two thoughts on this comment:

1) I'm flattered that you refer to the Deity as "my God," but I'm sure He can take care of himself.  (If you're wondering, the male pronouns are merely convention, since in my system of belief the one and only divinity is non-corporeal.)

2) Regarding God's "taking credit" for the good but not the bad, consider this verse in Lamentations (4:38)

Is it not from the mouth of the Most High 
that both calamities and good things come?

According to this, God takes credit for everything equally.

There is a rabinnic tradition, however,  that places the credit and the blame entirely on mankind; they interpret the verse not as a question but rather as a statement:  It is not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come; rather, everything is caused by mankind's actions.

I would be a fool to try to rebut your comments; what I would like to share with you is that the God that you don't believe in, I don't believe in either.

 


justaguide's profile pic

justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

So Frizzy, there you have it. You're daughter did not die in vain. She saved the thief from having to go without the drink, drugs and prostitutes. Do you still hate the thief whom your daughter "saved." As far as the previous post goes, you shouldn't.

kapokkid's profile pic

kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Frizzy,

I really enjoyed reading this thread.  As someone that does believe in God and considers myself a Christian, I would respond this way to your original question:

If you think of God as a father-figure and imagine that he looks on us as his children, I think there is a tendency to forgive more quickly than any of us will forgive each other.  Partly because of a powerful love he feels for them (that we likely don't for strangers) and partly because he would actually know if they are remorseful, etc., and actually deserve forgiveness.

I don't think forgiveness is just a prayer away, and in the situation you draw up, I have no idea how or what that thief would have to do in order to be forgiven, having inadvertently caused the death of an innocent child.

Would I expect you to forgive him?  No, absolutely not, and I don't know what the process or requirements God might have to forgive him either.  Though I do think he would view it differently, knowing that the thief had no intention of killing anyone when he stole your wallet.

I tend to think about forgiveness often in light of the reaction of the Amish to the man that killed those little girls at the school in PA several years ago.  Their ability to seek out the parents of that obviously disturbed man and express their love and forgiveness to them is, in my mind, a powerful example of the idea of forgiveness in a Christian context.  And I think their decision and ability to act in that way is cathartic and powerful for their community regardless of religion.

justaguide's profile pic

justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

# 16, "Forgiveness is just a prayer away," and you tell your daughter that it is "we" who make the world fair or unfair.

When according to you even a person like Hitler can demand forgiveness from God for all the people he tortured and killed with just a prayer, why don't we all turn into people like him. After all the heinous crimes we commit, a couple of words would be all that is required to get the slate wiped clean. I don't know why we have the words justice, law, crime, etc. in the English language, just "prayer" should do, shouldn't it.

How we kill logic and sensibility with arguments like these, of course you are right that it is we who made this an unfair world!

jmj616's profile pic

jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

And, as I tell my daughter all the time, life is not fair. There is no question about that. But God doesn't make it that way: we do. - booboosmoosh

Did we make the viruses, cancers, earthquakes, meteor strikes, mental illness, hurricanes, tsunamis, ice ages, crop failures, droughts, etc that have plagued mankind since the dawn of time?

Yo, Frizzy, my impression was that you don't believe in God.  It seems in your latest post that you do believe, because you're blaming God for viruses, cancers, earthquakes, etc.  Only someone who exists can do that.   What's going on?

booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Wow.

The question of faith is a very personal one. Christians are taught that forgiveness is a prayer away. This is available to every person: the pretty good and the downright awful. The idea is that God is greater than any sin, and Jesus died so that our sins would be forgiven. Jesus was the last and ultimate sacrifice.

If a man steals the money, whatever he does with it, it is between him and God. If he does not ask for forgiveness, he will be punished. In terms of religion, it is not our place to decide who is forgiven or not.

If he is convicted in a court of law, he will be punished, and his faith will not change that, only the condition of his soul.

The idea of forgiveness is guaranteed to all that want it. However, it is not our place to judge others as we think God should. We are all imperfect creatures. Sin is sin. We sometimes like to think our sin is not as bad as someone else's, but I believe the Bible says all sin is bad—black or white: it's wrong or it's not.

I do not perceive God to be an angry God. The Old Testament God taught "an eye for an eye," but with the coming of Christ, He then taught us to turn the other cheek. I cannot imagine God sending a child to hell just for the heck of it. God loves children.

God has the right to judge as He sees fit. If you can recognize that He is God, and that we are simply imperfect beings, how can we question God? Having faith is the most difficult thing in the world. The best we can do is try to make the right decisions, try to be kind to others— regardless of how they treat us—and have a "right" relationship with God.  He'll take care of the rest.

If you do not believe in God, then the question is academic. We live on faith or we do not. And, as I tell my daughter all the time, life is not fair. There is no question about that. But God doesn't make it that way: we do.

jmj616's profile pic

jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

Sure, there couldn't be anything better. But the "victim forced to forgive," idea makes this equivalent to asking God for his forgiveness. Only here, a God has been replaced either by the victim himself or a quorum of 10 men. Not much of a difference.

What do you think would be the restitution for Frizzy's dead daughter?

a) The victim should forgive the perpetrator, but he is not forced to do so.  Furthermore, obtaining the victim's forgiveness is a prerequisite to obtaining forgiveness from God, but not a guarantee.  Forgiveness from God depends on one's t'shuva, which is roughly translated as repentance.  It includes a sincere regret regarding past deeds, and a sincere decision to mend one's ways.  The judge of sincerity is the Almighty--so watch out!

b) Regarding Frizzy's daughter, the first point that must be reiterated is that the thief owes Frizzy 10 grand, and must attempt to appease Frizzy for his heinous crime.  Then--and only then-- it is possible for the theif to attempt to "convince" God to forgive him through the process of t'shuva.  Although I ain't God, I think this thief's got a hard sell in front of him.

justaguide's profile pic

justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Sure, there couldn't be anything better. But the "victim forced to forgive," idea makes this equivalent to asking God for his forgiveness. Only here, a God has been replaced either by the victim himself or a quorum of 10 men. Not much of a difference.

What do you think would be the restitution for Frizzy's dead daughter?

jmj616's profile pic

jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

And if you did something to me for which I do not forgive you, will you have to carry the guilt for doing it throughout your life. And also live the rest of your life knowing that there is no longer any place for you in Heaven.

Seems a very tough punishment that should make any Jewish who practises the religion as it is supposed to be, never commit any crime.

a) Jewish law states that the victim should forgive (as long as monetary restitution is made).  If the victim repeatedly refuses to forgive, there is a method for the perpetrator to gain forgiveness: he gathers a quorom of ten men, tells them that he has sinned against the victim who has refused to forgive him, and the quorom responds, "You are forgiven."

b) Having one unabsolved sin does not necessarily preclude a person from being rewarded in the World to Come (or, as you refer to it, "Heaven").  When a person dies, he is judged on the totality of his actions.  If his good deeds outweigh his bad ones, he will be rewarded; if the other way around...

c) I would say that having a system that truly discourages people from doing harmful acts is a good thing; wouldn't you?

justaguide's profile pic

justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

And if you did something to me for which I do not forgive you, will you have to carry the guilt for doing it throughout your life. And also live the rest of your life knowing that there is no longer any place for you in Heaven.

Seems a very tough punishment that should make any Jewish who practises the religion as it is supposed to be, never commit any crime.

jmj616's profile pic

jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

According to Jewish legal tradition, a sin committed against another person will not be forgiven by God until and unless the victim of the crime has received compensation for his loss and has forgiven the perpetrator.  For example, if I stole your money, I would not be forgiven by God until I return the money to you and you forgive me.

Even if the "crime" did not involve any monetary loss, the perpetrator is not forgiven by God until the victim has been mollified.  For example, if I insulted you, I would not be forgiven by God until I asked for, and received, your forgiveness.  To this day, it is customary for Jews to ask each other for forgiveness for possible slights (or greater crimes!) before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

FYI:   http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/989859/jewish/Asking-Forgiveness.htm

 

justaguide's profile pic

justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Religion is nothing more than a loop-hole through which people can pass effortlessly after they commit the gravest crimes they want.

They are going to pay for their sins in God's (??) court. Now, whether that exists or not is anyone’s guess. The man who stole the wallet from Frizzy wasn't the least bit concerned about what the result of his action would be. He didn't have to care about what would happen to him. All that happens in God's court. And as far as he knew, a few words from the Bible told to a priest would solve his problems in the court at Heaven too.

Religion is a philosophy that if only left behind in the pre-historic period would have made our lives today so much better.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

Since we believe in Christ, we must also believe that regardless of what happens it is part of a greater plan and God's will will be achieved. With regard to pain and suffering, the Bible offers many promises for us to claim such as "A peace that passes all understanding." Christ's forgiveness is all inclusive if we have asked him into our hearts to be our savior, and thankfully NONE of us are judged by Christ so mercilessly as we sometimes judge others.

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larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Asking forgiveness is not a "get out of jail free" card. In the Gospels, a man who had stolen told Jesus, "behold, if I have wronged any man, I will repay him fourfold." There must be genuine remorse and a genuine effort to make restitution for that which one has done wrong. In the scenario you created, the daughter cannot be brought back; but the thief can be imprisoned, and appropriately would be. Even then, he eventually is freed from prison. Surely those who, as yourself, express no belief in God understand that at some point, one must move on, for ones own sake as well as that of the offender. At some point in time, the debt to society is paid. One does not "ignore" the "obvious inconsistencies:" rather one strives to understand them with the hope that one day it will all make sense. Everyone agrees that we live in a far from perfect world, and our concept of "justice" isn't always realized. However, we cope as best we can, and move on.

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

This is one of the hard things about having faith in God. We do not always see or understand why he allows things to happen to certain people around us. We have to have faith and believe that God indeed knows best and will take care of all of us. If you think back to your Sunday school lessons you will remember plenty of stories from the Bible that are similar to this situation.

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