God Can't by Thomas Jay Oord - Introduction, Chapters 1-4

Mrs.Anteater

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Here a re-gift idea for the next Secret Santa- if you plan not to keep your book - I am interested:D
 

Mendalla

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Here a re-gift idea for the next Secret Santa- if you plan not to keep your book - I am interested:D
Not sure you can re-gift Kindle books but I wonder if there's a way.

On topic with chapter 3, I have to start by saying he disappointed me here. If some of us have to wait for a possibly non-existent afterlife for healing, then we've hit a hard stop for me. That requires not just belief, but faith, in an afterlife. It's exactly the sort of thing that many people who have turned their back on God have abandoned faith in so how can you offer that as part of God's healing plan for the universe?

He also gets into the "God works through our healers" discussion which is fine and good, but offers no reason to believe or have faith in a God. It's a faith statement again and he really offers no reason why we shouldn't just credit those healers for having the knowledge and skill to do their jobs. Where does God enter into it unless you already believe God enters into it?

In the end, if he's directing this to people who are believers but struggling, maybe these ideas will take hold. But they don't really hold much for an atheist or agnostic, esp. one like chansen who never was a believer. I mean, I grew out of belief rather than rejecting it hardcore and I don't swallow these. How much more so does that go for someone who has always rejected belief?
 

Mendalla

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Oh, and also on the afterlife front, he actually "goes there" and starts in with the NDE arguments, which puts him on the same footing as our friend Mystic. It's simply not a credible argument since the statement that NDEs prove the afterlife is, at this point, a statement of faith. There is simply no rational reason to think they aren't a neurological or other physical phenomenon that will be explained someday. It's "God of the gaps" logic.
 

Redbaron

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Oh, and also on the afterlife front, he actually "goes there" and starts in with the NDE arguments, which puts him on the same footing as our friend Mystic. It's simply not a credible argument since the statement that NDEs prove the afterlife is, at this point, a statement of faith. There is simply no rational reason to think they aren't a neurological or other physical phenomenon that will be explained someday. It's "God of the gaps" logic.
To me, NDE's are signs that there MIGHT be, not definite proof that there IS, an afterlife. I have a few friends and acquaintances who have had such an experience, and for some of them, their experience has been life changing enough that I would see them as real religious experiences; but as far as proof of life beyond this, maybe not so much.
 

Mendalla

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To me, NDE's are signs that there MIGHT be, not definite proof that there IS, an afterlife. I have a few friends and acquaintances who have had such an experience, and for some of them, their experience has been life changing enough that I would see them as real religious experiences; but as far as proof of life beyond this, maybe not so much.
Some people with temporal lobe epilepsy also have life-changing experiences during their seizures (some speculate this is what happened to Paul on the road to Damascus) but we now know it has nothing to do with God, just an electrical storm in the brain (unless you're going to say God causes that, but that kind of thinking is what Oord tends to oppose).

To paraphrase astrophysicist Matt O'Dowd (who says it about aliens), "It's never God, unless it is God." I.e. you can't cite God (or other metaphysics) as an explanation until you have either no other physical options or actual proof it was God.
 
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PilgrimsProgress

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On topic with chapter 3, I have to start by saying he disappointed me here. If some of us have to wait for a possibly non-existent afterlife for healing, then we've hit a hard stop for me.
If the premise of the book is God can't - then it seems to be that God can't heal us physically. (From my own experience, that's obvious) But, it's possible that God works through doctors etc - as God "doesn't have a body.")

Maybe because we humans fear death and illness so much - we want God to heal us - but what we want isn't what happens.......
Seems to me the most we can hope for is that God works to heal us spiritually, rather than physically.

I'd like to think that when my time comes I'll be spiritually prepared - that said, God and I still have a way to go.......
 

Mendalla

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If the premise of the book is God can't - then it seems to be that God can't heal us physically. (From my own experience, that's obvious) But, it's possible that God works through doctors etc - as God "doesn't have a body.")

Maybe because we humans fear death and illness so much - we want God to heal us - but what we want isn't what happens.......
Seems to me the most we can hope for is that God works to heal us spiritually, rather than physically.

I'd like to think that when my time comes I'll be spiritually prepared - that said, God and I still have a way to go.......
Yes, but for that healing to be meaningful to many of us, it can't be post-death because there is nothing to heal post-death. Death ends our cycle of existence. Even if the matter/energy that makes us up goes on, us as a distinctive personality does not. Essentially, saying that healing for some happens post-death only works if one believes there is something post-death.
 

Seeler

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When Seeler girl was very ill, she received a card that gave us hope and comfort. It was a verse that explained that God couldn't be everywhere so he sent his angels in the form of doctors or nurses, friends who would listen and share our burdens, or family members who love us. The verse went on to reassure us that she was loved and surrounded by light and love and watched over from the by the angels about and all around her.
God works through us. Thank God for all God's helpers (angels).
 

PilgrimsProgress

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@Mendalla I didn't express myself very well......
I was referring, not to an afterlife, but life now. I have no idea whether there is an afterlife so, for me, it's not part of the equation.
But, for me, we humans have an elusive part of us -spirit, soul -whatever terminology you use - that accompanies us through this human life.

One of the biggest demands that will be made of it will be how do we face our own mortality? Do we go raging into that night or are we at peace with our fate? I would like to be spiritually prepared when my time comes -as it surely will - but now in my Autumn/Winter years the spirit still has some way to go.
 

Mendalla

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One of the biggest demands that will be made of it will be how do we face our own mortality? Do we go raging into that night or are we at peace with our fate? I would like to be spiritually prepared when my time comes -as it surely will - but now in my Autumn/Winter years the spirit still has some way to go.
That's where Epicureanism has come in for me moreso than anything Christian or even theistic. They teach that death is to be welcomed or at least not feared, and that the lack of an afterlife is actually part of that. I can post more detail but it's a bit off topic for this thread. And if you search the board for "Epicureanism", I have probably talked about it before, too.
 

PilgrimsProgress

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Life presents us with many difficulties - so I've come to think that you'll engage with life more affectively if you have a belief system to act as your guide or compass.
Either a philosophy or faith - whatever you personally find more helpful. This faith system or philosophy might well change -due to cognitive dissonance -and that's fine too!
I stress a guide or compass - once you set your beliefs in concrete there's no room for further reflection - and then you get in the business of telling folks "it's my way or the highway.", and become just another pain in the arse...........
 

Pinga

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For those following along, here are chapter 3's questions:

From your experience, what good arguments do the Deniers of healing make?

What good arguments do the True Believers of healing make?

Why might people feel inclined to add “if it’s your will” when praying for healing?

Why might people like or not like the claim God always works alongside creation when healing?

What’s at stake in believing God cannot heal singlehandedly?

Why is it important to believe God can’t control our cells and other bodily members?

What importance does life after death play to understanding healing?
 

Pinga

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I too struggled with Chapter 3 -- only because he tried to prove the existence of God or afterlife.
For me, the question that rose as I read it was "then, why God?"

The Near Death Experience (NDE), and afterlife seemed to be tacked on, were not useful to me.
Is that because I am primarily a logical person, and have dismissed them in mutliple fronts, so finding them in this book is something that I find disconcerting.

I did enjoy the concept of God as companion in this space, and companion to the cells, as well.
 

Seeler

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For those following along, here are chapter 3's questions:

From your experience, what good arguments do the Deniers of healing make?​
Many people know at least somebody who was praying for healing. They are good honest respectable people; they don't deserve to suffer. They trust God; they have faith. Other people to pray with them. And yet healing doesn't take place. The light doesn't answer their heart-felt prayers.
There are too many cases of people taking advantage of people's hope for healing. I am very suspicious of anyone who claims to have the cure for cancer, or a miracle food or supplement that will take away Parkinson's or arthritis. I am likewise suspicious of people who claim to be channels for God's healing.

What good arguments do the True Believers of healing make?​
I have trouble with the concept of 'true' believers. Either a person believes or doesn't believe. So I'll just answer for 'believers'.
They may know someone who was healed or they may have been healed themselves, and the credit the healing to God.
Whether it was a misdiagnosis or an unexpected or spontaneous healing they think God for restoring them.


Why might people feel inclined to add “if it’s your will” when praying for healing?​
The phrase 'if it is your will' might denote a submission to the will of God. It might indicate humility. Or it may be used when the person has some doubt about whether God will answer their prayer in the way they would like.​
Why might people like or not like the claim God always works alongside creation when healing?​
]​
 

Seeler

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Why might people like or not like the claim God always works alongside creation when healing?

What’s at stake in believing God cannot heal singlehandedly?

Why is it important to believe God can’t control our cells and other bodily members?

What importance does life after death play to understanding healing?

Why might people like or not like the claim God always works alongside creation when healing?
My guess would be that it upsets their idea from God and creation being separate. To me this seems like dualism – lives and works as a spiritual level, creation and all material things are influenced by the devil.

What's at stake?
Everything. If God can heal single-handedly, then God can't be all powerful, almighty. Not believing would shake their whole belief system.

Why is it important?
Because that would take away our free will. If God is in control of everything we do, then the idea that outcomes depend on our decisions is an allusion.

Life after death? I don't spend much time thinking about it. I'm much more concerned about life here on earth (before death). I hope to live it abundantly and joyously. And like Paul, I am convinced that nothing .... can separate us from the love of God. Us being everybody, all of humanity, all of creation.
 

Mendalla

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My guess would be that it upsets their idea from God and creation being separate. To me this seems like dualism – lives and works as a spiritual level, creation and all material things are influenced by the devil.
God as a remote transcendent being who rather paternalistically takes care of us is one of the more problematic legacies of patriarchal religion, isn't it? A who acts out of truly caring and truly being present in the world and feeling its pain, rather than a paternalistic pat on the head for those in favour, is one of the most important things in the process vision of God.
 

Seeler

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What happened on this thread? There hasn't been a post since March 13.
 

Mendalla

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Been thinking the same thing. I think we need to open up ch. 4 for discussion but it's @Pinga's thread so I am a bit reluctant to do that myself.
 
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