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Posts posted by VonNoble

  1. On 3/16/2018 at 8:17 AM, Pastor Dave said:

    Ok I have another piece of ancient Jewish wisdom to share. Let's see what you all think of this story. It's been a few years since I heard this one, and it's probably written down somewhere but I can't find it. Forgive me if you know the story and I get anything wrong.


    There was a Rabbi who upon coming home found that there was a thief in his house robbing him. When the thief heard the Rabbi come in he fled with whatever he already had. The Rabbi ran after him and yelled to the thief, "You can have it". In doing so the Rabbi had released the man from the guilt of his actions.




    One time when I was a small child...we were in a restaurant when two men came in and indicated they had weapons (never seen)(presumed to be handguns) in their jacket pockets.


    Our family was sitting in a curved booth at the far end of the restaurant with mom on one end of the very large booth & dad on the other.   It was rare for us to get to eat anywhere but home  - so 1) we were on our best behavior 2) we were so engrossed if the big platter of French fries (another rare treat) that none of us kids even knew what was happening till it was over.  We were NOT traumatized...we never missed a French fry


    While the incident was in progress the woman in the next booth leaned over and told my mom to “ put her diamond ring in her shoe” to avoid having to give it to the thieves presumed to want such thing in a minute or two.


    There was no robbery.   The would-be theived got spooked and ran out without getting anything and everyone went back to eating.  We kids never stopped :gathering:


    When told to hide her diamond my mother had replied. “No.”


    After the fact the lady next to us walked around the table to question my mom....and mom explained....1) look at this table....I invest in the future...look at this herd of kids-there is no money for diamonds  2) if I did have a diamond I would have given it freely to them


    Mom’s reasoning is they might well be desperate ( we always had enough...JUST BARELY enough...sometimes we were hungry but never got long)...  and material things should never matter enough to cause harm (she was big on letting go of things always) ....and lastly she said allowing a person to wear the label of “thief” would follow not just this person but the next three generations to follow...so no ring is worth that ripple.  


    I have nothing to add other than my mom was rather unique with her teachable moments. :D


    • Like 1
  2. 12 minutes ago, cuchulain said:

    Faith as an instinctive need?  I am not certain about that one.  There is a lot of historical data, lots of societies and cultures through the centuries that appear to have clearly made things up simply to explain the universe, so maybe it's true.


    Of course, another thing that's true about people is that we are capable of recognizing our baser instincts and correcting those behaviors.  So, if faith is not instinctive, it's a non issue.  If it is, then we are capable of bettering that flaw(I see it as a flaw anyway, can't speak for everyone).  


    I agree that thinking about belief isn't belief.  It's kind of like thinking about drinking water doesn't quench your thirst...

    THANK YOU....very helpful to me and I am rowing in the boat with you on much of this....von

  3. 22 minutes ago, mieshec said:

    I dont understand faith. Is it something your unsure of. Is it a God you dont understand or you think is listening. Is it the prayers you think are being answered. What about death. A faith that God will welcome you.....But you just dont know. I think my Mom has faith....she goes to church on Sunday...They give her faith.....until next Sunday.......I dont have faith....Its not a question.....or a..... what if???.....or the truth is out there....I know this...and its my strength against those that just dont get it...

    Please elaborate....you have strength over those who don’t get it...


    Does compassion for them factor into your world view?


  4. On 3/16/2018 at 11:18 AM, Dan56 said:


    Any belief is a choice, you hear it and choose whether or not to believe it.

    If you choose not to believe, that is also a choice.

    I am not sure it can be characterized that way.


    it is true and I agree we assess everything around as friend or foe.... useful or not....  but those things are more survival based decisions.   Those choices keep us from drinking poison or playing with fire.  Those are more experienced based.


    With faith we are not dealing with a tangible.   There is not a measurable cause-effect (fire = burn) (poison drinking = death)...... so the conclusions are less certain.   The reason applied far less straightforward.


    Making a choice to believe without evidence is asking g someone to believe without knowing.     


    You allow that that is NOT really a choice for some.    

    On 3/16/2018 at 11:18 AM, Dan56 said:

    The only exception might be the;  I don't know category (Agnosticism). These are people who have determined there is not sufficient data to arrive at a conclusion, so they make no definitive determination either way. 

     So here we can agree it is not a choice.   It is a “holding” position.    Allowing 1) they do not know 2) they are continuing to explore 3) allowing new information could move the needle 4) until new information is available.....it is not a choice


    On 3/16/2018 at 11:18 AM, Dan56 said:

     Kind of like a person lost in the woods, they don't know whether to go north or south, so they just stand idle.. But I reckon that's a choice too?

    Hmmmm....undecided does not seem to be “lost” in my view.    That has a value judgement.


    How does actively searching for new information and being fully engaged equality with being idle or stagnated?   

    Help me to understand.


  5. On 3/16/2018 at 10:30 AM, Key said:

    Hmm... Does require some thought, doesn't it?

    First statement: If considering a belief system (Judaism, Catholic, Buddhism, etc), then faith is a choice. Within a system, choice may be limited.

    Example: Many Christians hold that free will is merely choice that allow us accept or deny what God has commanded of them. You are free to choose what will take one to heaven or hell. But, outsiders see this as not having a choice, at all. It is commandments that must be obeyed.

    These outsiders also question how an all knowing God can allow choice, knowing the end results or He is not all knowing. He does not wish us to perish, but He is all powerful? Why say for us to repent while knowing if we will do so or not? If He doesn't know what choice we will make, but only the possible outcomes of those choices, than He is not truly all knowing. Outsiders see contradiction.

    Or do they simply choose to see it that way.


    Second statement: Again, using Christianity as an example, as I am more familiar with that faith based system than others, believers follow that God allows choice to test the faithful. That we are as we should be if we do not repent from sin, which is the only true choice, aside from acceptance of Him.

    Outsiders can not help be see there are choices if they believe we are shaped by our experiences and shared knowledge, for that is a process of ongoing decisions to have been made.

    As for the "he is wrong, I am right" argument? Man hates to be wrong about anything. Man equally hates the unknowable. This is why man strives for knowledge or faith. (Which can be seen as yet another choice.)


    As for the last two questions: Peace is subjective to how one personally defines it. Thus, it is obtainable according to however one wishes to pursue it.

    I enjoyed your very well organized response.   I am continuing to sort through it .... it is helpful.   von

  6. On 3/16/2018 at 8:00 AM, mererdog said:

    There is a simple experiment you can do.

    Pick something that you have a belief about, but that is unimportant to your life. Something like "George Washington was the first president of the US" or "There are windmills in the Netherlands" or "My great-grandfather was born in a schoolhouse."

    Now try to not believe it. Try to believe it isn't true.

    If belief is a choice, there is no risk, because you can simply wait a week and then choose to believe it again.

    If belief is not a choice, there is also no risk, because you will fail to change the belief.


    An underlying truth about assumptions about faith being a choice is that they are the moral justification for punishing and rewarding people based on their faith- they are what make people feel good about engaging in religious discrimination. Which is not to say that everyone who believes faith is a choice will engage in religious discrimination. Necessary but not sufficient, dig?


    I actually did this experiment.    I got a couple of other people to try it as well.   

    EXCELLENT thought experiment.  


    Thank you you for this.


  7. On 3/16/2018 at 6:54 AM, cuchulain said:

    I don't believe faith to be a choice.  If it were, there would be many people who would have a lot of work to do researching all the claims made of a religious nature or requiring faith, in an effort to determine for themselves if those claims were worth having faith in.  And how would they differentiate?  How does somebody choose to believe in Apollo the sun god but not Ra?  Not Bel?  Not Ishtar, or Shiva, or...well, the list goes on and on and ON with religion.  There are so many deities to CHOOSE, if it were a choice.  


    I think that perhaps, to choose an example just for example, the pope had been born in ancient Greece, he most likely wouldn't have been a Christian.  A lot of people born in the United States are Christian, and most studies I have seen indicate it's primarily  a family upbringing issue.  They have been raised as Christians, they have been around other Christians, they have heard others make fun of people who choose differently...in other countries that are less religious, it's somewhat different.  It isn't that they haven't heard about the bible, don't know about Christianity, or anything like that.  It's that they see it as fairy tales, and can't understand how grown people believe that sort of thing(I can't remember the country in question or I would cite it, but I saw lots of interviews with the people there, and it was primarily an Atheist country in Europe).


    So to answer the last two questions:  I do not think people of faith choose their path to find peace, initially.  I think they CAN choose to think critically about their path, and I think that many of them do find ways to justify their faith and stick it out.  Lots of people are afraid of looking foolish or having others think they were wrong about anything and will fight tooth and nail to prove they were right, even if they might be wrong.    Accepting that people of no faith arrive at peace as well seems relatively easy for me.  But maybe that's because I have studied various religions and encountered Buddhism.  They don't believe in a deity that I am aware of, and they certainly seem pretty peaceful.  


    Does faith or the lack of it matter to humanity in practical terms of survival?  I don't know.  I can see arguments for both sides, arguments from the faithful that sticking together as a society is important(of course, ignoring that they could choose to side with us instead of us with them :) ), and the argument from the non faithful, who can often point to the religious as deliberately sabotaging progress in the scientific arena(remember when stem cell research was such a major issue)?  I guess that question comes to an "I don't know" from my side of things, but I am open to arguments from both sides.  

    Thank you for all of this.


    As a follow up.... in this morning’s newspaper there was a lengthy editorial noting .....that thinking about belief, by definition ....isn’t belief. 


    He continued that “faith” is also not belief.

    Faith...in his view was the result of emotionally driven need ( psyching ones to articulate a belief based impart or in whole by rationalization).....and should not be linked to belief.


      The writer was a career military man.   I would be interested in your opinion of that editorial.    I am still trying to sort out his assertions in my mind.


    Thx.     von 

  8. ONE SIDE.... holds FAITH is a choice.   If you want it you can have it..... just choose it. 

                                 (a secondary group in that camp holds that all you have to do is pray or ask and you shall receive

                                      ...after all that is a WELL KNOWN quote from the Bible...knock and the door will be opened...)

    - therefore if you do not have faith it is a choice.  



    THE OTHER SIDE....does not see - that there is a choice.  

    it is an ongoing process.      You don't choose.....you accept that life shaped you and this is who and where you are....today


                                         (a secondary......Hundreds of groups claiming they and they alone represent God. )

                                                Each pointing to others and claiming we...we are right ...not them...not those over there - they got it wrong

                                                        ...... if there is a choice - it is impossible to choose between them......    



    To the world at large - there is no noticeable difference in the behavior of a faith-filled person of integrity... from a non-believer.....



    Is faith a choice?   Is lack of faith simply a byproduct of life's journey...it is an unintended (not chosen) landing spot? 

      Is faith or lack of it  - a choice (if it is a choice) that matters to humanity in practical terms of survival?


    Can we accept that persons of faith choose that path to find peace?

    Can we accept that persons of no faith arrive at peace too ?


    von   (adjust the content so you are able to join in - you can take the puzzle pieces and make them work for you) 

  9. 3 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:


    I understand.  You're a kind person.  You don't want to be mean or cruel or disagreeable or rude  or confrontational.  You don't want to hurt anybody's feelings.  What about your feelings?  What about your integrity?  There is no reason to accept the vocabulary off the pious.  There is no reason to be impolite, but neither is there a reason to cede the intellectual or moral high ground.  If the pious don't respect you, there is no point in engaging.  The ULC is for all of us.  Even me.  Even you.  There is no need for humble pie.

    Thank you for understanding.


  10. 44 minutes ago, ReverendDaveULC said:

    So, if there is just a small minute chance that I infact am right, then I would want to make totally sure I was never goingnto that place, how about you?


    I have no fear of hell.  Not knowing thst God exists .....denies me dreaming about heaven’s rewards and eliminates hell’s damnation.  So pressure off there.


    So being good to avoid burning is not necessary. I choose good because my life is easier that way.   



  11. 51 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:



    That's an interesting turn of phrase.  Is faith a gift?  Is it given?  Do you really want it?


    I'm not challenging.  I'm asking.  There seems to be a few invisible assumptions here.  



    Faith in God....is (to a believer in God) ...viewed as a gift.    At least that has always been my understanding of that process.


    So my position is to accept that line of reasoning.   Therefore, if GOD CHOOSES to give me that gift....I will accept.


    That way me and any earthly reps can both agree to trust God.   I accept God knows how and where to find me.   God knows I am open to a meet up.   


    Until God makes a date to sign me up .... I am allowed to be a free agent..... doing what good I can ...where I can - to the best of my abilities.  So far God has not objected to that arrangement.




  12. Sometimes we forget to say a few good words to those of a different belief than our own.  


    My my father was a devout Catholic.   He saw Imperfections in the church (and plenty of not perfect clergy)..., but he believed the dogma completely and totally. He prayed openly.  He went to confession often.  He never failed to share whatever we had.   Anyone could get a meal in our home.   He never tired anyone away... so a FULL plate of food was not a guarantee growing up :lol: .... but we always had enough.  He lived a good life and was a fine example to his kids.


    So while only one of my siblings followed his choice...in joining dad as a Catholic...I was exposed to some good things from my Catholic father.


    Hows about some positive comments about Catholics.... it seems over due 

    Add on to the list...positive comments only please...


    .....  education ....the times I opted (it was a choice with my parents who encouraged us to try lots of things)...when I chose to go to a Catholic high school.... I definitely learned some good stuff.... Latin has come in handy a surprising number of times.  


    .... after Hurricane Katrina ....Catholic Social Services was the first outside assistance we saw.... and they gave TO ALL without ever once asking our beliefs...preaching ....or mention God other than to quietly say.... God Bless New Orleans (or you) depending on who was there.... many said nothing but worked in horrible conditions to offer US comfort 


    the Pope.... the current one...seems pretty okay to me so far


    .....join in....



  13. ReverendDaveULC,

    With complete respect offered to your beliefs.... the only question I noted in your posting was :who do you want to believe.


    It seems you have found both comfort and inspiration in the Bible.     I am happy that is so.   


    I have not only only read the book (all the way thru) (more than once)...but also studied it.   I can see many valuable and in some cases beautifully written ideas.   


    I agree with the notion of pausing in our busy lives for spiritual refreshment.....


    Again with respect offered to you....so far I have not been given the gift of faith.   So my point of view is naturally different.


    So to answer your question.... I believe that which.... like you.....allows comfort and inspiration.    That is not, for me, The Bible as guidebook for living my life.    


    Keeping ALL days holy is an approach that works more easily for me....and for me...it does not include visiting a church almost ever....(although I have in the past  ....still do on now rare occasion).... it does include quiet reflection several times each day.....with an incredibly grateful heart that I have so much.    And frequent daily pause (at least a half dozen times a day) as a reminder to give back.... as I have far more than any human needs.   I am reminded I have be generously treated with kindness by others when I did not deserve it...and often did not know I was in need of it..... and I realize several times a day...I ought to pay it forward because the world is nicer when we choose to act that way.... and I am fortunate I am still able to be of use....some of the time.


    Again thanks  for sharing your insights


  14. 29 minutes ago, ReverendDaveULC said:

    Just posted a new one. unfortunatly I can not post in the Pulpit section. Im not sure why but it wont highlight as well as sevberal other sections

    I am technologically challenged.... so I M useless in this regard..... however the FORUM ADMIN TEAM IS AMAZING....contact any of them and they will help...... cannot praise them enough.


  15. ReverendDaveULC,


    if you will will allow me to step into your private conversation for just a moment....I have enjoyed many topics intoduced by cuchulain over the years.....also I have been assisted and supported  by cuchulain often.    Based on those many years of experience... I would suggest your conclusions may not be accurate entirely.

    You are certainly free to have them and hold them... I respect your opinion might differ from mine.


    Over a number of years of experience... I would have to say that cuchulain is quite the opposite of much of your observations.


    I thank you for not taking offense as surely neither of us would intentionally offer hostilities.


    Again  I thank you for your responses.


    You have taught both direct and indirect lessons.    ULC , in general, appreciated all manner of lessons and teachers more often than not.


    To my friend cuchulain- Please do not ever change.... you are quite valuable AS IS...:D



  16. 1 hour ago, ReverendDaveULC said:

    VonNoble, it is not offensive if you truely seek the truth and understanding of God's word. The answer to your question about why Jesus spoke in parables can be found in Mattew chapter 13 starting at verse 10 Bare with me as I recite scripture and then I will explain it.

            Matthew 13:10 

    10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

    11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

    12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

    13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

    14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

    15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

    16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.


               God gave mankind free will to do and to believe what we want. God loves us very much, so much that he sent his only Son to us to die for our sins so that we may be forgiven. We were created by God in His image and just as we love our children and try to teach and guide them they utimatley choose their own path and when they do we scold or punish them. God is no different. He gives us instruction. 66 books penned by over 40 writers inspired by 1 author; God himself. It's called the Holy Bible. To just anybody picking up this book and reading it seems like gibberish. Only when we se to know God our Father on a spiritual level is His word explained to us. You do not need an interpreter to understand the Bible. If you pray to God from your heart and ask for u derstanding of his word he will grant you unsterading. This what Jesus was speaking of when he said they have eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear. They did not seek to understand His word, therefore they did not. Yes, Pastors, Reverends, Priests, Elders help to interpret the message but if you don't seek understanding then it still won't make sense. Many people go to church not because they seek God but because that's what they think they are suppose to do and it's more of a show than an act of faith. Every single person is a sinner, no matter how perfect they may seem to be on the outside.

    Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

    Romans 3:9-20 

    9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

    10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

    11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

    12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

    13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

    14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

    15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:

    16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:

    17 And the way of peace have they not known:

    18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

    19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

    20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

             This is the reason God no longer conversates with us in the traditional sense of verbal conversation. In the begining God walked and talked with man in the Garden of Eden. When man sinned for the 1st time by disobeying God's commandment of not eating from the tree of knowledge he separated himself from God. God is without sin and can't be anywhere near it so when man sinned he removed Himself from our presence. He now talks to us by other means; conviction of the heart (our conscience) by his angels guiding us, by our fellow man who bring us his word and plant the seed in our hearts. By you asking questions as you have shows you want to know more. That is the first step my friend. That is were your walk begins. God doesnt want to condemn us but rather give us eternal life with him in paradise. He longs for us to believe in Him. This is achieved by having faith

           Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    This means that salvation and eternal life is not granted by good works but by faith alone. You could do good works all your life and still not recieve salvation because you never had faith.

           John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    This means having faith and believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and was sent here to die on a cross for us, to pay a price that we never could, that the shedding of his blood would wash our sins away. This is the belief and faith God wants us to have. 

               I hope this answered some of your questions. please feel free to ask anything you want. As I said, I do not find it offensive, God called me to teach and preach his word and I serve him happily. May God grant you understanding of the message He has given you today. This does not come from me but is inspired by God alone. I am nothing but a vessel used by Him to bring His word to the world.  


    Thank you.




  17. 11 hours ago, PastorDave1974 said:

    VonNoble, it doesn't say the word Catholic for the same reason Jesus spoke in parables. For the ones who sought the truth they would recieve understanding of the word. For the ones who did not seek the truth and chose to turn away from God they would not understand what was written or spoken to them.

    Well just so I can understand.... why did Jesus speak in parables? ;)   I do not get this at all.    For non- Christians this is really confusing (and maybe in Christian world it is so unimportant it is a silly question)..... but why not just say it directly and eliminate the guesswork?    


    If God intended for all believers to set an example ..... a good enough example that the Agape love of Christians ..... as THE WAY.... the truth etc..... I just don’t get why the message is so confusing.... 


    If we want people to be wary of evil.... then why not call evildoers our by name?     In the book.


    Why not list the bad guys by name?   Why so complicated we need people to interpret it for us?


    How do you get to “ know God” if you have to have a middle man constantly helping you?    And how do I know this middle man is getting it right?... cuz that others dudes over there....with the same exact book.... tells me he is more right?


    it seems God has a bunch of free agents?  


    I do not mean that in a problematic way.   If God exists .... I have met some great human beings who served as ambassadors for generosity, and forgiveness and kindness..... operating wearing his uniform....but they taught by offering unconditional goodness even when others did not deserve it at all.


    Hiw does someone trust the message of the messenger with so much conflict in the process?


    why doesn’t God just assign one clear to understand spokesperson?    I sort of thought that was the job of Jesus.    But there isn’t much agreement amongst the zillion offshoots of Christian to get s clear consensus.   


    Sorry if any any of this is somehow offensive.  I REALLY AM just trying to understand.





  18. 22 minutes ago, PastorDave1974 said:

    VonNoble, it doesn't say the word Catholic for the same reason Jesus spoke in parables. For the ones who sought the truth they would recieve understanding of the word. For the ones who did not seek the truth and chose to turn away from God they would not understand what was written or spoken ....


    Thank you for the prompt and equvication free explanation  :thumbu: