Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


GOD IS MERCY BUT IF HE IS THEN HE MUST BE JUDGEMENT

Main points:

Christian belief is that love is a person and so is judgement.  God is love and judgment.

We all judge even if we pretend we do not.  We judge indirectly.  For example, saying nobody should judge is an indirect judgement against anybody who admits they are judging something.  So if we are drawn to God we will invest him as a judge.

If we adore God we are sanctioning our judgementalism not avoiding it.

There is no point in having a Bible or revelation from God if you are not going to judge true and false doctrine and true and false morality.  Your interest however slight is about judgment.

To tell somebody you don't judge but God will is using God as a threat and deflecting your own responsibility.

Mercy is cancelling a punishment or reducing it because the person shows some remorse.  It means you judge the person as bad and now you judge them as trying to change.  So if God is mercy God is firstly judgement. 

Firstly

If you see that somebody is doing drugs or having promiscuous sex with strangers, you can see what they are doing as harmful to themselves. That is not judging. It is being concerned.

Judging means wanting to see something punished and to see a person get what they deserve. They are given the condemnation they deserve. They are categorised as bad or sinful. Judging necessarily ignores the doctrine: “Force or punishment does not help people to become decent.” It is really a form of revenge for it refuses to consider the wellbeing of the person. The only concern for the wellbeing of the person is in its view that a person has asked for this treatment and thus it is in keeping with her or his dignity to grant her or him the wish. But as hate is warped love we must not be surprised at that. It is still hate. You need some love to make hate.

If doing good, means you deserve to receive good in return, then doing evil necessarily means that you deserve to receive evil in return. The Christians tend to believe that you should punish the sinner by condemning his sin and punishing it but they say this does not mean you must hate the sinner. Surely if you hate and its wrong you deserve to be hated too? The Christian answer is that hate is about wanting to hurt somebody for its own sake. It is not about punishing. It is not about justice but about causing suffering. As it is wrong to hate, even if a person hates, two wrongs do not make a right and he cannot be hated back. Hating a person can look like punishment if they have hurt you and you are paying them back. But the problem is the motive, “I am using what you did to me as an excuse for destroying you. I hurt you because I want to and not for the sake of justice or for your own good.”

The Bible teaches that God is just and is our judge, not just on the last day but right now and it commands us to hold that divine justice is to be welcomed and celebrated. It is a vindictive load of drivel.

Judging a person is only acceptable if the judgers are able to directly stop the person doing serious harm to themselves or to other people. We need judgers in this world but to wish that somebody who did terrible things in life will get their come-uppance in the afterlife is just vindictive. We should not want people to be judged when it is not about stopping evil. Though evil should be punished, it should only be punished when punishing is about revealing that it is evil and trying to stop it. So if murderous John is dying, do not punish. If murderous John is young and healthy and he might stop murdering if he gets caught and dealt with by the law then punish.

What the Bible means by God

The Bible teaches that God is the creator of all things to whom all worship is due. He is spirit [Jn 4:24] - that is he is real but not a material being. He is almighty and all-good. God reveals himself through the Bible. He is a personal God as shown by his name: Abba Father [Rom. 8:15]. Yet he is judge - he is a God of justice. Is God as judge a biblical doctrine and if so, is it an important one?

Character and Attributes

The doctrine of God says God must judge us. Under the law of the land, we have to be judged. The law cannot function if it lets us judge ourselves. Neither can God’s law.

If there is a God, then how does God’s character qualify him to judge us?

Let us look at what Christian theology means by God's character. It has to do with the kind of being God is. Character is personal characteristics and qualities. God is very different to us and we may use the word personality to describe his character though God is such a mystery that words are inadequate. The human character is full of contradictions and inconsistencies. The mouth that praises God can savagely rip apart the reputation of a neighbour. God’s character is not complex like ours is. Nevertheless, it needs a bit of explaining. His character does not have the contradictions our nature has. While our characters are a mix of bad and good, his is solely just and good.

God has many attributes - his attributes form his character. We will chiefly concern ourselves with his justice - one of his qualitative attributes. The qualitative attributes are concerned about what God is like in terms of his being a personal God.  God is not mere power. He is very different from us but nevertheless he has qualities such as justice (ie righteousness) wisdom, knowledge, honesty, love, and power etc.

Some correctly state, “God’s attributes are qualities that are all true of God and do not exist in isolation. In other words, God’s justice exists with God’s love.  One does not exclude the other” [Mc Dowell, J & Stewart, D., Understanding the Cults, (Campus Crusade for Christ, 1982) p. 44] I perceive that to say that an all-perfect God will be forced to choose between say his love and his justice is contradictory.  It implies that he is indecisive and therefore not all knowing and all wise. It also denies that love and justice are complimentary and harmonious. The Bible’s most important command is the command to acknowledge that the Lord our God is one Lord and to be loved with all our power and strength [Mark 12:29,30] - this attests to the harmony in God.

If God is loveable and therefore loving he has to be just. An unfair God for example would not be loving to the people hurt by evil people for he is as good as not taking the evil seriously.

We have seen that God's justice depends on his love and it is a justice of hate. You cannot hate the unless you love them at least slightly. The doctrine of God implies that we should hate the sinners and the unjust.

Biblically then whoever denies that God is judge and punishes does not know God and cannot have a real relationship with him and thus cannot go to Heaven.

Sacrifice and judgement

The Bible says much about God’s right to be worshipped by sacrifice - we will examine sacrifice made for the purpose of atonement. Sacrifice presupposes a God who judges and who needs to see justice done. Sacrifice is about making an offering to satisfy divine justice – to make up for the injustice done to God.

Leviticus uses the word kipper which means to make atonement. The word may have been derived from “the Akkadian verb kuppuru,’ to cleanse’ or ‘wipe’” [Wenham, G J, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Leviticus, (Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 479) p. 28].  If sacrifice is to wipe sin away, the sin must be acknowledged. It must be judged. God then asks us to judge ourselves and to embrace his judgment of us. Sacrifice was a reminder that one must be ritually and morally and spiritually clean to approach God. For Christians, this insight was promulgated by Jesus who said mercy is what God prefers even to sacrifice [Mt 9:13].  

Atonement sacrifice tells us that God requires us to answer for our sins and to make amends for them. As he judges us, he offers us mercy and pardon. In New Testament theology, he provides Jesus as the atonement for our sins out of pure love and mercy.

Sacrifice does not entail forcing God to forgive because forgiveness is a free gift from God [Is 55:7]. Scripture stresses how God forgives voluntarily [Tit 3:5].
 
Israel had to offer and slaughter sacrifices through the priesthood because it had a covenant or peace agreement with God. The sacrifices picture the perpetuation of the agreement.   These sacrifices were set up as a system by God. Christians claim that God provided Jesus’ sacrifice for us. As God is our judge, it is up to him and not us how we get rid of our sins.

In summary, sacrifice is a major biblical concept and it attempts to express the divine attributes of justice and mercy and love and how they are to work together.

God’s Word will judge
 
“He who … does not receive [Jesus’] words, has that which judges him…in the last day” [John 12:48].
 
This teaching makes the role of God our Judge and the role of scripture inseparable. If you follow the Bible, you simply cannot neglect the teaching that God is judge. Jesus reveals that the scripture, the Bible by implication, is the tool of judgment, the standard we will have to be weighed against and the basis for the account we have to give of ourselves to God.
 
Jesus spoke of the good and wise and fair character of God. When he made scripture the standard against which we will be measured, he was declaring that it demonstrated and revealed the attributes of God from start to finish. That implies his approval for the brutal Old Testament laws God made. He wanted gay men stoned to death. If Jesus claimed to be God he was claiming to be the murderous entity responsible for the Bible.

Trinity and God as Judge

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity says that there is only one God and that God is three persons who are united in love [20].  The doctrine does not say that God is three Gods in the same way and at the same time. Nor does it say that God is three beings or natures in one being or nature. It merely says that there is one being who is God and there are three persons in God. The Christian faith says that the three persons are united in love - so we can say that God is a relationship.

God is best described then as the perfect relationship. To love requires that one distinguish between what is love and what is not love - it requires that one be a fair judge. And so it is with God.

The Christians say that it is a fact that God is a relationship and this relationship sanctifies and sets a model for human relationships. They should be patterned after the divine. God’s nature as a relationship sets a standard against which relationships must be judged and measured.

All that sounds marvellous but Christianity says that the three are not three persons and that they have to be called persons for the sake of calling them something. There is no real relationship unless there are real persons. The Church denies that the three are three individuals. Thus how can there be a real relationship? We can only be inspired by the relationship of the trinity if it is a unity of three individual beings and persons. The Christians are inviting us to delude ourselves about their God and how meaningful he is for us. Repeat it. The relationship argument is a trick to make the trinity sound like something we want to believe in. But unless the three are three individuals or three gods there is no real relationship.

The Church says it’s a relationship but says its different from the way we imagine relationships. Thus it has no relevance to us at all.

The Church says that sin, even if it is secret, damages our emotions and our outlook and tends to make our relationships less genuine, honest and authentic. If God is a relationship, he wants us to be like him and in relationship with one another and with him and so he must judge sin in order to identify the evil so that it may be rooted out. The doctrine then is not such good news for us after all!

The believers say that "justice upholds love and makes it possible. Injustice is the enemy of love. It ruins and pollutes the relationship we have with God and with one another. It is fitting that a God of relationship should be a God of justice. It helps us to see his justice not as a cold abstract fact but as something edifying and desirable." If we have to delude ourselves that God is relationship in order to take his justice seriously then we only prove how much we like our enemies to be punished!

The notion that God is a relationship implies that God is a God of justice for relationships are based on justice and love. It is bad news for the unjust and for those who think justice is just glorified evil!

FINALLY

God goes with the notion that judgement is a good thing and is so good that God is judgement.  This does not suit our modern mentality at all.  If you see judgement as a bad thing that you may have to do at times then you cannot glorify it by making a God of it.