My debate with Bob about God
Okay, so here's how this all started. One day out of the blue some guy named Bob sends me an e-mail cuz he found my page on spirituality and wanted to share with me the "good news' that it was possible God might consider not sending me to Hell for eternity if I were to give up my "detestable lifestyle" of homosexuality and accept Him as my personal savior, etc. So naturally, I replied, and pretty soon we were debating the whole fundamentalist Heaven & Hell thing. Actually, I wouldn't call it a "debate" exactly. You'll be able to tell why I say this as you read it . . . oh and for the record I have not changed or omitted any of Bob's words.
First letter from Robert _______: I read your interpretations of the scriptures and of the Apostle Paul. Must say I didn't know whether to die laughing or become upset at your ignorance of scripture. But then the Holy Spirit reminded me that apart from Him you can not understand the true meaning of scripture. So Iam writing to you to tell you very kindly that you are so very wrong about what the Bible is saying about your sickness and totally wrong about Paul and his teaching (which was Spirit inspired just so you will know, and not his personal opinion unless he states it to be). I am praying that you will become born again and give up your detestable lifestyle (which God does not approve of)....... I'm sure you willhave an opinion about this email and i am willing to tolerate your misguided opinions in order to try help you understand real biblical truth. Just understand you are very, very wrong and you need to seek Jesus with all your heart and leavethe abominable lifestyle you are now in. Or someday, when you stand before Jesus, you will surely wish you had listened.
Dear Mr. ______:
I am no longer surprised when certaintypes of Christians speak such hateful things "in the name of Jesus."
Thank you, though, for the warningthat when I stand before God at Judgment that He will completely ignoreevery good and giving and loving thing I have ever done in my life andsend me straight to Hell for the "sin" of loving a woman instead of a man. Yes, I know all about the various "abomination" quotes in "Scripture,"but they mean nothing to me -- except to remind me that supposedly-religiouspeople have been hateful long before you joined their pompous ranks. I do not believe that Jesus or God would say the hurtful things that havebeen written in their name.
Jesus embraced the outcasts ofhis time and broke bread with them. He taught us to love our neighborand to care for the weak and the oppressed. As Jesus healed and taught,the Pharisees could only complain that he was not following the letterof "The Law" -- as when he dared to heal someone on the Sabbath for example.
Paul was a Pharisee before his conversionto Christianity and in his numerous letters he lectured the early churcheson how to pray and when to cover their heads and so on -- still behavinglike a Pharisee so focused on "The Law". Jesus would share a mealwith anyone, but it was Paul who turned the shared meal into a ritual reservedfor the elect. I doubt if Jesus would approve of much of what Paulwrote about him.
Today we have a new type of Pharisee-- Bible-quoters like you who go around pointing to "scripture" evenas they deliver hateful message that we outcasts do not belong inthe sight of God. We are "abominations" not because of any unkindnesswe do or hurtful thing we say to others. We are "abominations" becauseit says so right there in the "Holy Scriptures."
You happen to believe thatwhat we now call the Bible was written with Divine guidance and that itsays exactly what God wants to say to us. I do not. You canquote verses to me all you want, but I don't accept that as the word ofGod, and I can't imagine a real God behaving the way people like you describe. If Jesus returns I believe he will take my hand and invite me to sitat his table -- while Pharisees like you stand around quoting verses.
You probably believe that allthose billions of people in China and India will be sent straight to Hell(along with me) unless they adopt the version of Christianity which youespouse. You apparently believe that every Buddhist and Hindu whohas been born and died in the past 2,000 years must surely be burning inHell right now. And you believe Jesus would approve of this??! Not the Jesus I know.
For the record, sir, I wish noevil upon you. I wish you only the blessings of Life. I believeGod is in you, as God is in me, and I have no fear of facing God aftermy death.
And what if I'm wrong, you mayask? What if I find myself at Judgment Day looking up at the Godyou worship, the God who sends people to Hell for such "sins" as homosexualityand Buddhism? Well, if that happens I will go off to Hell quite willinglybecause that kind of god does not deserve my worship, nor would I wantto look around "heaven" and find it populated only by people like you.
Peace be with you -- Libby
Hello again... I read your letter with some interest as to how you can feel the way you do. All I can say is... I pity you on the judgement day... You have blasphemed God and all He stands for.. Oh and to correct one of your many errors of judgment.. God does not send anyone to hell, each person who goes there does it to themselves, just as you willto yourself, and the many buddist, hindus, and all the -ism religions of the world. You must be "born again" and be washed in Jesus sacrificial blood to go to heaven..... Good works will not get you there, they are merely an outward sign of the inward change that has taken place in a believer. And with those good works you will not wanta lifestyle contrary to what God has ordained, and do be assured thatthe homosexual lifestyle is not one ordained of God nor liked by Him. You can twist scripture all you want, but you will not go to heaven onyour present course. I just hope you change your course before it is too late. Contrary to what you may think, I do not hate you and I care enough about your eternal destiny to try to warn you now before itis too late. Make no mistake about it, one of these days it will be too late to decide to live God's way. Ask Jesus to forgive you right nowfor your sinful life and accept His true teachings. Then you will see us Bible Quoters in a different light, the light of truth.... Your Friend, Bob.
Thank you for your expressionof concern and friendship. I know you are sincere in your feelings. But please quit assuming that I am just ignorant. I understand yourreligion and I read the Bible regularly. I just disagree with you.
I understandthat you believe that the Bible is the exact word of God, and its messageis that by accepting Christ as my personal savior I will have eternal lifewhile failing to do so would result in eternal torment. I understandthat you believe that we will all stand before God at Judgment Day andthat we would go to heaven or hell based entirely and only on whether wehad been saved and had abided by God's Scriptures, which include the prohibitionof homosexuality.
I understand what you aretelling me -- but I don't believe in it. In fact, I find your versionof God to be so selfish and mean-spirited that I gladly risk hispetulant wrath rather than bow to such a tyrant. Please don't bother telling me yet again that I am a blasphemerand that you pity what will happen when I stand before God at JudgmentDay.
Do you know what I pity? I pity those who choose their religion based on fear and self-interest. You seem to think we should choose our spiritual beliefs based the rewardsand punishments that would result from that choice. How selfish. My faith is not based on "what's in it for me." Suppose someone walked up to you with a can of gasoline and abag of money and said "here's your choice -- join my religion and I'llgive you this bag of money, or reject my religion and I'll douse you withthis gasoline and set you on fire -- it's your choice!"
If you say "yikes,sure, whatever you say!" is that a noble decision? Is that a decisionbased on thoughtful prayer and good intentions, or is it just made basedon fear and self-interest?" Suppose, on the other hand, you stand up to the guy and say "no,I won't join your religion just because you are threatening me". And then he goes ahead and sets you on fire -- was that a "just" act? Do you admire someone who would do such a thing?
Yet this is exactly howyou describe your religion to me. And don't say it's okay if Godis the one doing it -- because an unjust act is an unjust act whether doneby man or God. You say God doesn't "send" us to hell, but that we make thatchoice ourselves, but clearly God established the choice and the consequences. He presumably COULD have simply said, if you choose not to follow me thenyou will just die when your body is used up and you will not have eternallife in heaven with me. But He apparently was not satisfied withthat choice. For some reason your supposedly good and loving Godis content to allow billions of people to suffer eternal torment for thegrievous offense of not worshiping him. Do I dare to defy such aGod. You bet I do.
Some day you will look back at these conversations and wish you had believed differently. I do feel sorry for you, as you know the wordsin the Bible but not the power behind them. Have a nice life and I dohope you have a change of heart before you breathe your last breath. Your chosen eternity will not be a pleasant one and there will be no doingit over or changing anything. Now is the time to change, and I reallyhope you do. You may be happy to know this is my last email to you. You seem toknow what needs to be done and just won't do it. May the Lord have mercyon your soul.... Love, Bob.
I agree that you might as well stop writing to me -- because youalways say exactly the same thing -- as if you believe that mere repetitionmight make it sound more convincing.
You started this conversation, butyou have not participated in it.
You make your little speech about helland then you ignore my reply and make your little speech again. If youTRULY wanted to try to convince me that I'm wrong maybe you'd actuallytry to respond to what I've said.
Oh, but that would require actual brainactivity on your part. You know, I hate to call you a name, but you seemto be a spineless coward to me. You are SO afraid of the possibility ofgoing to hell that you accept without question what the preachers tellyou. And when I challenge you to THINK about what you believe you areincapable of even responding to my arguments.
I think you are afraid ofthinking because that bully you worship might get mad and smite you orsomething. And because you are a coward you assume everyone else willshake in their shoes when you tell them they are destined for hell. Isay to you again: I do not believe in the god you describe.But if thattype of god were to exist, I repeat to you I would not kneel to that tyrantno matter what the consequences, and I would not regret that decision.
You can't relate to that because all you know is selfish fear for yourown precious "salvation." Some of us have higher motivations that that.
P.S. -- Do NOT bother responding if you are just going to say the samething again.
Replying to your mis-information would require no brain power at all. And i can assure you i am not stupid and quite capable of arguing witha mis informed fool like you. I have repeated what i said because itis the truth and not idiotic ramble like you are good at writing. Justso you know where i stand on the matter. I thought your examples to be quite off the mark and bordering on stupidity to be honest. You think you are so smart and learned, but biblically you are
so stupid ithurts and you don't even know enough along these lines to know how wrongyou are. I truly do pity you, I only wrote you in the hope that you still had enough hope to listen. I see that you don't and refuse to listen,so there is no point in trying to explain anything to you. The devil is probably laughing away right now, cause he has you firmly in his grasp. Have a nice life.
You thought I "had hope enough" to accept your message? Don't you mean "had fear enough"? Your "witness" is only of fearand intimidation. You have so far said NOTHING positive about yourgod. Your entire system of belief seems to be based on wanting to avoidhell and go to heaven. You accept without question a god who wouldintentionally torture billions of souls for the "sin" of not worshippinghim and this is okay with you -- as long as YOU get to go to heaven. You keep saying that you are "quite capable"of refuting my arguments because I am "so misinformed." And yet younever even try. I didn't mean to call you "stupid" when I questionedyour brain activity. Rather, I question whether you are willing touse the brain god gave you to think and reason about what preachers andthe Bible tell you about God. How can God be "good" if he behavesthis way? You think it is perfectly proper that Adolph Hitler andI receive the same punishment. He killed 6 million Jews and I (gasp)sleep with a woman. To you it is perfectly okay if God goes aroundroasting people for such "sins" because you accept it all without question. And that's why you can't argue with me about any of this -- because youaccept it without question. Hitler killed 6 million Jews, but yourgod (apparently) will eternally torture every Jew who has ever lived ifthey fail to accept Jesus as their "personal savior." And somehowthis is "just" to you and you say it is "idiotic ramble" for me to questionit. Had Hitler accepted Jesus on his death bed he would be in heaventoday, while Mahatma Gandhi burns in hell because despite a lifetime ofgood works and self-sacrifice he was a Hindu and not worthy of heaven. This somehow makes sense to you because you refuse to let your mind question the obvious injustice of it all.
I don't claim to know who and what God is. I canonly decide what kind of God I will worship. All I can know for certainis that I was given the gift of life on this beautiful planet. And I wasfortunate enough to have a healthy body and not to be born in poverty. And so I believe that my mission from God is to be God's hands helpingothers and tending to this beautiful planet, and being a good steward toits abundant life. I ask of God no heavenly reward, nor do I live in fearof God's condemnation.
Peace be with you