Open Discussion: Seeking Knowledge of God vs. Worshipping the Unknown and Unknowable

In another post the comments have taken a turn into an interesting discussion that has nothing to do with the original post.  I am starting this post in order to continue that discussion.  I am not going to move those comments to this post because I don’t know an easy way to do it and I am not going to do each one individually.  You can go to that post to see how the discussion progressed to this point.

I hope you enjoy the discussion and if you have something to add, feel free to do so.

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36 Responses to Open Discussion: Seeking Knowledge of God vs. Worshipping the Unknown and Unknowable

  1. Tom Shelton says:

    child of god,

    You said (in your last comment on the previous post)

    First question… if you know the truth then tell me how to derive “the truth” without using the truth. In other words, give me a logical statement, an equation, or scripture that says something like T = x + y and not T = some function of T… in other words, you can’t use the Truth to derive the Truth. For example, your ilk usually says something like “the Bible is true because it says so”… I hope you see the absurdity in that argument. …and yes, I’m guessing you have no issue with it, but you have got to know that it can’t work with non-believers.

    Truth is defined as “that which has fidelity to the original”. Therefore, in order to derive truth, we need to find the original and learn everything that we can about it. The more we learn the more firm our understanding of the truth becomes.

    For the purposes of our discussion, God is the original. This is because He is eternal and has no beginning or end. We know that He is eternal because if there was ever a time that there was nothing then there would be nothing eternally. Something can’t come nothing. I can expand this concept for you if you need me to.

    Since God is the original, He becomes the standard of Truth. Not only is He the standard of truth, He actually defines what truth is. You could even say that all truth comes from Him because He created all things. Are you with me so far?

    Now, I have a question for you? You have said in a previous comment that truth is relative. If this is the case, what do you do if your truth and my truth are in direct conflict? We both can’t have the truth, only one of us can have it. So, how do we determine who has it and why?

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  2. child of god says:

    my point exactly… neither of us have access to the absolute truth, only god.

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    • Tom Shelton says:

      My point is not that we don’t have access to absolute truth. I am unsure how you come to that conclusion from what I have written. My point is that God is absolute truth. So, by getting to know Him, we have direct access to absolute truth.

      I am still interested in how you would address my question concerning two conflicting “truths”.

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      • child of god says:

        For me we have an illusion of conflicting perspectives… neither of us have THE TRUTH.

        And consider that there is no conflict, people who engage in debate have a common commitment. The conflict is a perspective about the partnership. It’s not real.

        You have your strategies, I have mine, but we share a common commitment to sharing ideas that help humanity.

        I see no conflict.

        But there is a difference. You believe you “know” THE TRUTH. I believe that limits you, makes you vulnerable to fear and hate, and could lead to violence. In short, I think you could be dangerous to the world.

        I suspect you think I’m a lost soul who is vulnerable to evil, the devil, etc. and could be dangerous too.

        And hence, we’ve got two perspectives again… we could be coming from sharing, loving, and a commitment to contribute to each other… or we could be afraid, dominating, etc.

        I see this conversation cycling somewhere in the middle.

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        • Tom Shelton says:

          You said

          For me we have an illusion of conflicting perspectives… neither of us have THE TRUTH.

          This seems to be where our disagreement of based. We CAN have the truth. As I have said before, the truth is God. He is the standard. He gets to define truth and He has said that we can know it and that it will make us free. John 8:28-36 says “28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him. 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave [1] to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

          Sounds fairly simple, doesn’t it? If we will get to know God (who IS truth) we will be made free from our slavery to sin. We live in a world of absolutes. Men have created grey areas but these are not where God deals with us. There is one absolute authority and we are all subject to it. God, as creator, is that absolute authority. He has defined Himself as truth. He is truth. It can’t be separated from His other attributes. If He is not the final arbiter of truth then He is not God and is unworthy of our worship.

          You said

          But there is a difference. You believe you “know” THE TRUTH. I believe that limits you, makes you vulnerable to fear and hate, and could lead to violence. In short, I think you could be dangerous to the world.

          I suspect you think I’m a lost soul who is vulnerable to evil, the devil, etc. and could be dangerous too.

          I accept this as a fairly accurate assessment except for one thing. If you are truly a “lost soul” then you are more than just vulnerable to Satan, you are his slave (as all unsaved people are). Sin rules your nature because that is what we inherited from the fall. This point can’t be overlooked because if we don’t grasp this we have a false understanding of what we are saved from when we become God’s child.

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          • child of god says:

            So, for you… god is truth.

            You worship truth. (clearly)

            I don’t…

            for me, god is love… love, light, people, etc. are all mysteries with many facets… I can no more understand god than I do you, me, your wife, your daughters, etc.

            Any other perspective (yours) limits all of it. You have a limited view of god, wife, etc.

            god is infinite… love is infinite… and so are you.

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  3. child of god says:

    Just curious, which is more true… love or hate? good or evil?

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    • Tom Shelton says:

      Interesting question. I have never considered it so I must ask for some time to think about it. How would you answer? I assume that you have a point you wish to make by asking the question so feel free to go ahead and do so while I consider my response.

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  4. child of god says:

    Also… there’s a lot of unanswered questions in this old thread…

    Hilarious… I’m trying to get you out of your black and white, all or nothing mindset… and you’re trying to get me into it.

    I’m the guy who loves the spring… I always welcome the 7th dayers, the mormon boys, and the jehova witnesses into my house. They come every spring.

    I always start the conversation this way… “Welcome… you want to share the truth with me, right? …and you believe you have answers that you’d like me to have too, right? Right. My goal is for you to leave with more questions than you have now. Okay?” … and then we start… so far, I’ve yet to be saved or become a mormon or a witness, etc. and they usually leave scratching their heads.

    For me, that feels like a victory for god, love, peace, etc.

    Shall we play?

    First question… if you know the truth then tell me how to derive “the truth” without using the truth. In other words, give me a logical statement, an equation, or scripture that says something like T = x + y and not T = some function of T… in other words, you can’t use the Truth to derive the Truth. For example, your ilk usually says something like “the Bible is true because it says so”… I hope you see the absurdity in that argument. …and yes, I’m guessing you have no issue with it, but you have got to know that it can’t work with non-believers.

    If you don’t want to deal with that question, how about this one… What’s the difference between a soul and a person? … and does your soul have a personality? Once I know your answer, I’ll know how to ask the next question… so? Is your soul a person? Does it have an identity? An ego?

    I have many, many more…

    Also, my quest for god is not a buffet and is not remotely inconsistent with your scripture that says you should study god. I’ll bet god wants you to study other religions. I’m pretty sure jesus studied buddhism too. Your instant knowledge of me is extremely righteous and arrogant.

    I’m not insulted, just inspired to make a difference with you.

    You will get out of your fragile black and white world and begin to see every spectrum of god/love soon.

    I promise.

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  5. l3rucewayne says:

    Relativism is maybe the most self defeating worldview in existence, it holds that there is no such thing as objective truth, and that this is objectively true. Or in the rhetoric of this comment thread it says that there is no such thing as absolute truth, and that this is absolutely true. Or using current rhetoric again, “truth is relative, and this is true for everyone”. The worldview is intellectually bankrupt, you have to check your brain out at the door to hold to it once you understand it a bit.

    I think we can have access to absolute truth without being able to know truths in an absolute kind of way.

    Love or hate, good or evil, are not propositional statements, so why would they be true or false? They exist.

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  6. l3rucewayne says:

    You didn’t address any of my points that I can tell. If you did, then will you consider elaborating?

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    • child of god says:

      This statement is a fundamentalists way of conveying relativism without being relative…

      “I think we can have access to absolute truth without being able to know truths in an absolute kind of way.”

      It made your whole argument moot…

      So, we can call my truth relative and yours un-absolute… I don’t care.

      My question about which is more true: love, hate, good, or evil is rooted in our agreement that we mortals don’t “know truths in an absolute kind of way”…

      so, I’ll re ask… for you two… which occur as more “true”? … and you can use any truing device you like. 🙂

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  7. l3rucewayne says:

    I don’t think you understood my statement. I believe we can know the truth, and that we have access to it, but I think we know the truth in a way that is not utterly absolute. I’m not sure it is possible to convey what I mean by an absolute kind of knowledge using the english language as we have very little if any experience with such a kind of knowledge, but I think we can know things with a great deal of certainty, in the sense that I know that nothing is not all that there is. Saying that one doesn’t know the truth in an absolute way doesn’t at all equate to saying that there is no absolute truth, one can apprehend absolute truth with certainty without having experiencing an utterly absolute kind of “knowledge”. I’m sorry if the distinction is difficult to for you to grasp, I am not the best communicator.

    “It made your whole argument moot…”
    Even if it happened to be a bad point and meant that I too was somehow a relativist, it would do nothing to negate my main point that relativism is self defeating, a point you have not addressed. It would only mean we were both wrong to be relativists.

    I would appreciate it if you would clarify something, are you a relativist that holds that truth is relative as you have stated? Or are you just an epistemological relativist, holding that truth is objective but that we do not know anything of the truth at all? These are very different.

    I’m not sure what a truing device is, but an occurrence also is not a propositional statement, but as far as the proposition that both occur, I would say it is equally true that both occur.

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    • child of god says:

      I am neither… I like to wonder. I think answers should be questioned. I believe questions are the key to wisdom and enlightenment and the TRUTH is only certain to god, the unfaithful, and the mentally lazy.

      You all like to use the work IS a lot… have you ever wondered how inaccurate and how limiting that word IS is?

      All words are relative… they are not reality… they are at best a loose access to our very limited memories.

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      • Tom Shelton says:

        Is your name Bill Clinton? It is funny at how this discussion has come to the point where we have to define the word “is”. 🙂

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  8. l3rucewayne says:

    Not reality? Then why are you using them?

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    • child of god says:

      Words are like a map… they’re not the adventure. My hope is that my words will launch you into a new world of discovery… but first, you’ll have to give up knowing and be willing to explore the unknown. Kinda like tom did when he turned his truck around… it was unknown territory and it was the most spiritual experience of his life… unfortunately his ego has retreated again into thinking he knows all about it again… before he knew he wasn’t christian, now he knows he is… no difference.

      I suspect you have a similar testimony about when you were saved… and in that moment you were in the unknown and likely miss it now… so what’s different now? You’re stuck in certainty.

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      • Tom Shelton says:

        child of god,

        You are right that the point in time in which I got saved was the most spiritual moment in my life. It was incredible. It was that way because I was in the presence of my Creator. He had opened my eyes and now I could see the truth for the first time. He was calling me into His family.

        It was “unknown territory” only in the fact that I had never gone through it before. But, in reality, my citizenship has been in Heaven from eternity past. I was simply being called to begin my process of sanctification.

        Also, there is a huge difference in knowing that you are not a Christian and then knowing you are after you are saved. Before I was actually saved, if you had asked me, I would have told you I was a Christian. I now know that I was deceiving myself because I had a wrong understanding of what a Christian really is.

        God is a God of absolutes and certainties. If not, He would not be God. There must be absolutes because there has to be a final authority for everything and there can only be one. God is that final authority. Since there are absolutes, relativism can’t be true….no matter how much we might prefer it to the absolutes.

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  9. l3rucewayne says:

    More like I was “in the known” lol, I wish I had a strait forward testimony like I guess Tom’s is to give, but my story is more unusual. I think you should consider re-reading our conversation and reflecting on some points that haven’t been explored much but only brought up.

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  10. child of god says:

    I’m still waiting for you all to wake up and realize that worshiping god = truth is a very limited path that leads to righteous isolation.

    Why not worship god = love?

    … and enjoy an infinite experience of all of it?

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    • Tom Shelton says:

      Why do you keep putting God’s attribute of love about God’s attribute of truth? God is both, equally, and fully. No one attribute is greater than any other and they are all as infinite as He is.

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  11. Tom Shelton says:

    child of god

    You said (in the other thread)

    Ethics is the thought… “What I say and do matters”
    Morals is the thought… “Almost everything is wrong”

    Morals tend to create a victim’s outlook.
    Ethics tend to create a sense of Responsibility.

    Morals are always looking out… Ethics are looking in…

    god is in you… not up in the clouds… god is in your heart.

    I’d much rather be around people who believe they matter and are therefore responsible… then the ones who think they’ve been wronged by the world, the devil, god, etc. and are searching for salvation.

    I don’t think your definition of morals is right. Webster’s dictionary defines them as being synonyms. Both morals and ethics speak of conforming to or teaching accepted standards. I can see in no way that morals can be defined as you have defined it.

    Also, please explain what you mean when you say that “god is in you”. I want to make sure I understand what you are saying.

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  12. Tom Shelton says:

    child of god,

    You said (in the other thread),

    The key is to give up judging others and start being responsible for everything you say and do… people who think they matter tend to think other people matter too… the reason die hard fundamentalists tend not to value “the others” is because they don’t really value themselves… they value their truth more than they value life, love, etc. and that is what makes you all so toxic, violent, and ultimately dangerous.

    I am not sure what type of fundamentalists you have encountered before but I don’t know any who think like this. We believe that our value was established by God when He send Jesus to die for us. In other words, we were/are valuable enough to God that He came to earth in human form and died so that we could be reconciled to Him. We matter to God and we know it.

    Since God values us, no true Christian can overlook the value of others. In fact, God tells us in His word that the world will know we are His by the way we care for one another. We can’t do that without valuing each other. If God’s love truly abides in us, then we can’t help but love and value others.

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  13. child of god says:

    This conversation started about the death penalty, war, etc. vs. stem cells.

    Christians do not value life over their truth… The tribes of abraham have proven over and over and over that they will kill for their “truth”

    For me, this is not worshiping love.

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  14. child of god says:

    “… as infinite as He is…”

    Why does your god have a penis? Somewhere your book says god has a purpose for all things… what’s the point of god’s gender?

    You also never answered by inquiry about souls and personalities… but for the sake of expedience, I suspect your answer is that souls are beyond person hood and ego. Atleast I hope you think so… and if so, why on earth would your god need a personality?

    If god is infinite, timeless, and omnipotent, got can’t possibly be bothered with a gender, a preference, emotions, etc.

    I’m taking the weekend off… later.

    Try not to start a crusade.

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  15. Tom Shelton says:

    I never answered the soul question because you seemed to put more importance on the truth question. We were already bouncing all over the place so I saw no reason to complicate things further.

    But since you have answered for me I must correct your answer because it is not the one I would have given. The soul is part of the person. It is in no way separate from the person. It does not have physical form but it is just as much a part of the person as the body is. So, it does not have a separate personhood but it is part of a person’s personhood. The soul is that part of us that continues to exist when the body dies. It is the part of us that will live eternally in Heaven or Hell.

    As to the gender of God question, the Bible teaches that God is spirit. He has no body and no gender. He is referred to in the masculine form in His word because that is the way He chose to define Himself to us.

    I don’t want to start a crusade but I would like it if God started a revival in our country. Let’s pray that He does.

    Have a good weekend.

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  16. rogeriopfm says:

    “I would like it if God started a revival in our country.”
    Why in you’re country and not in any other? Why would americans want to keep Him all for themselves?
    If all of you would pray all the time even instead of taking care of you’re other basic necessities would it make the process more efficient?

    Best regards Tom and always enjoying the discussion

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    • Tom Shelton says:

      My intention was not to slight any other country when it comes to revival. All of God’s creation needs a revival. It is my desire that He would work everywhere not just in the United States. Having said that, I see nothing wrong with asking for revival here. God is glorified when we ask Him to do what He already wants / plans to do.

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  17. rogeriopfm says:

    “I see nothing wrong with asking for revival here. God is glorified when we ask Him to do what He already wants / plans to do.”

    So you really think God would want to perform a revival in the US?
    That is clearly a leap of faith to affirm, but that probably doesn’t come that unnatural to you.
    Anyway what if people have a revival in understanding, critical thinking and questioning instead of faith?
    Last time that happened the earth started going round the earth, instead of the other way around.
    Renaissance vs Revival?
    I know i’m probably just jumping all around the place as you might say.
    Nevertheless I think these subjects are damn interesting.

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  18. Rich L says:

    Reading through this thread Brings to mind a story that I read many years ago.

    A philosopher (I dearly wish I could remember his name) was teaching a class on reality. By the end of the term it had been proven that nothing existed. To paraphrase the last thing he told the class on their last day. “As you leave here today I would like to remind all of you to eat. If you quit eating you will no longer be alive to know that you do not exist.

    The moral of the story: There can be many valid realities (truths), each valid within it’s own context.

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  19. l3rucewayne says:

    I would like to know what is meant by nothing and how it was proved. The way I see it that would be impossible since if there was nothing then nothing would be able to prove that that was the case. At most he might have been able to make a convincing case that we don’t know the nature of reality, but that is very different. On the multiple realities thing, there would still have to be an overarching reality that is the way things truly are, even if it contained other “realities” within it.

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  20. l3rucewayne says:

    Oh, it was a story, sorry I thought you were relating youre own experiences.

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