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

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Redbaron

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I just found this book again, after a somewhat disorganized move. I've re-read the first 4 chapters, which brings me to the point where this study seemed to stall. I'm interested in ch 4 about the idea that 'Everything happens for a reason', and the idea of what discipline is about.
a) sometimes the reason is sheer caprice
b) Discipline is not a simple equivalent to punishment (though every 'disciplinary board' or 'disciplinary action' seems to involve acts of punishment).

To get this discussion moving again, any thoughts on these 2 matters?
 

BetteTheRed

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To me, "discipline" and consistency are more related than discipline and punishment.
 

BetteTheRed

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Discipline is a habit. What often feels temporarily painful is good for you.
 

Mendalla

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I'll have to look at that chapter again. It's been too long. But Bette kind of hit the gist of discipline. Discipline as an external force for punishment is problematic, but as an internal system of self-regulation, it has value. It should be something we take on ourselves, not something we inflict on others.
 

Mystic

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I am going to put the questions here to make it easy for folks to quote & reply. (Thanks to RitaFee for doing that for question 7!)

Questions from the book:
1. What answers have you heard for why God causes or allows evil? What do you think of them?
2. What experiences of evil — personal or public — have shaped your view of God?
3. Why do some people think all evil is necessary for some greater good?
4. Why does it matter that what God considers loving matches what we consider loving?
6. Why should we think some pain and suffering is unnecessary or pointless?
6. Is it easy for you to believe God is always good? Why or why not?
7/ What question do you hope this book will answer?

What other questions would you have asked?

EDITED: Changed from numbered list, to a series of questions with a number preceding. This aids those who wish to quote it.
I don't have the book but wanted to respond to these questions. When I was a student at Princeton Seminary, I initially wanted to specialize in Philosophy of Religion. I'm glad I switched to New Testament as my specialty because I think the standard formulations of the philosophical problem of evil are seriously flawed. Why? Because its concept of an omnipotent, omniscient God is not justified by Scripture! The Bible often admits that God changes His mind and regrets what He did. It also teaches that God is not in control of the forces of chaos, the unpredictable harm caused by natural forces: e.g. "All are victims of time and chance (Ecclesiastes 9:11)." In other words, God does not micro-manage the universe. So the 2 real questions for theodicy are:
(1) How much control does God exercise in global and human affairs anyway and in what sense does God do so?
(2) How can we reconcile God's lack of total control with the difference petitionary prayer is biblically alleged to make? For if God can amswer any prayer, why can't God suspend the Laws of Nature to heal a fatally ill child?

This question is particularly problematic if we accept the common concept that a true miracle is a divine violation of the Laws of Nature.
For this reason I find it useful to invoke St. Augustine's standard early Christian understanding of "miracle: "Miracles are not contrary to Nature, but only contrary to our understanding of Nature." On that understanding, a theoretically full understanding of the Laws of Nature might allow the healing potential divinely invested in the human soul to perform healings that we have previously wrongly assumed to be contrary to the Laws of Nature. This interpretation is predictable from Dr. Kenneth Miller's explanation of how natural selection and genetic mutation facilitate evolution. For that reason, I urge site members to watch his Youtube lecture that I posted in the OP of my thread on miracles.
 

Redbaron

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Please Note:

1. This thread is in a specially moderated part of the forum, intended to keep it on track. Specifically, it is a book study, intended for those who have actually read the book, and taken time to read, mark and inwardly digest what Dr. Oord has written. The OP of this thread says as much; the introduction to the forum as a whole. It is not a place where anyone can just pop in and share their "thoughts' Moderation will make sure the thread is kept for its purpose.

2. The thread will be temporarily locked until such time as the study can resume.
 
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