barryjones

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If Christians cannot say what God wants me to do right now...
« on: October 23, 2020, 05:48:45 pm »
A skeptic and Christian meet at a coffee shop.  When he learns of the skeptic's skepticism, the Christian says "God wants you to accept the Lord Jesus".

If the skeptic said  "What does your god want me to do RIGHT NOW?", how could the Christian respond?

Does God want me to ask you for a bible?

Take another sip of coffee?

Look out the window at the truck that just hit that telephone pole?

If the Christian cannot seriously state what God's will is for the skeptic concerning the skeptics next action or thought, then why shouldn't the skeptic conclude that God doesn't want the skeptic to have the answer...thus morally justifying the skeptic to provide that answer for themselves?

So that if the skeptic declines the salvation invitation, this is reasonably construed as god's fault for refusing to reveal his particular will?
« Last Edit: October 23, 2020, 05:50:56 pm by barryjones »

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GRWelsh

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Re: If Christians cannot say what God wants me to do right now...
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2020, 10:00:17 am »
I would say no, that is not fairly representing the Christian worldview.  A Christian can claim to know some general truth about God's will, without having to also claim to know every particular truth about God's will.  I see no inconsistency here.
The morning sun rose and burned off the ghosts; it seems they were nothing but shapes in the fog.

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Gordon Tubbs

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Re: If Christians cannot say what God wants me to do right now...
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2020, 12:13:00 pm »
It's a basic category error to assume that because someone believes what God wants you to do with your whole life, that they also ought to believe what God wants you to do each and every minute.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2020, 12:14:48 pm by Gordon Tubbs »
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barryjones

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Re: If Christians cannot say what God wants me to do right now...
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2020, 07:51:47 pm »
I would say no, that is not fairly representing the Christian worldview.  A Christian can claim to know some general truth about God's will, without having to also claim to know every particular truth about God's will.  I see no inconsistency here.

But if you cannot say with reasonable certainty what god wants me to do next, don't you forfeit the right to balk if the skeptic chooses to answer that question for themselves?  If you don't know whether God wants me to read a bible or Popular Mechanics in the next 5 minutes, you forfeit the right to balk if I decide it shall be Popular Mechanics, right?

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barryjones

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Re: If Christians cannot say what God wants me to do right now...
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2020, 07:55:59 pm »
It's a basic category error to assume that because someone believes what God wants you to do with your whole life, that they also ought to believe what God wants you to do each and every minute.

I never said Christian theology requires that they know that much.

I'm only arguing that IF the Christian cannot be reasonably certain of what God wants me to do in the next 5 minutes, then they forfeit the right to balk if what I decide to do in the next 5 minutes is something not involving Christianity. 

If we extend the argument, then the Christian cannot even justify evangelism, since for all they know God could just as likely want the skeptic to walk away, as to stand there and listen.

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noncontingent

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Re: If Christians cannot say what God wants me to do right now...
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2020, 09:25:29 pm »
Before they could answer that, they'd have to find out what your problem was.

There is no one size fits all answer.

If you don't think you have a problem and you're happy as you are, then I'd leave you be.

But clearly you have issues, otherwise you wouldn't be hanging out on a forum like this asking these kinds of questions.

You have google. If you can't find an answer there, then it must not be given you to get one.

The bible says "faith is not a possession of all people" and also that it's a fruit of God's spirit. So if you want to have any faith, you have to first figure out if you're living in any way that's blocking God's spirit. You have to take steps to get clean first. If you think you're squeaky clean already, then you're blind. No one is squeaky clean.

If you don't believe in God and you can't google up any deficiencies in that world view, I'd say you haven't tried because you don't want to.

If that's the case, as a person who's trying to live like a Christian, I'd let you be who you want to be. God's not forcing you to do anything and neither will I.

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Gordon Tubbs

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Re: If Christians cannot say what God wants me to do right now...
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2020, 09:35:12 pm »
An evangelist's ignorance of what God wants you to do in the next 5 minutes shouldn't dissuade them from trying to persuade you to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior; nor should it dissuade you from hearing them out. Why? Because it's not their job nor their place to tell you to take a sip of coffee, or tell you that they believe God wants you to take a sip of coffee, or whatever. That's the cool thing about having freedom.

Let's trade out the evangelist for say.... a salesperson offering you a special deal on a cruise, and they begin their pitch with "you need this vacation," and you quip back saying "oh yeah? well if you can't tell me whether or not to take a sip of my coffee RIGHT NOW, then you can't tell me I need the vacation you're trying to sell me. GOTCHA!!!!!"



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DPKING1

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Re: If Christians cannot say what God wants me to do right now...
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2020, 06:08:22 pm »

Hi Barryjones,

This is an interesting scenario you have dreamed up here, as I think it raises some questions for how Christians and non-Christians understand God’s Will.
From your conversation “parable”, it seems like you are asserting:
P1) If Christians claim to know God’s will for someone, then they need to show what God’s will is for that person at any and every particular moment.
P2) Christians cannot show what God’s will is for that person at any and every particular moment.
C1) Christians cannot claim to know God’s will for someone (MT P1,P2)
P3) If Christians (and thus the Skeptic) cannot know God’s will for someone, then it is God’s fault for refusing to reveal his will to them (or the Skeptic)
C2) It is God’s fault for refusing to reveal God’s will (MP C1, P3)

It seems pretty clear that this expectation of knowing God’s will is a bit outlandish and would make any kind of claim about God’s will, or even our own wills, impossible to uphold.
Think of two students in a classroom who have just been assigned a project by their teacher. Student One turns to Student Two and says, “The teacher said we need to build this whatchamacallit.” If Student Two was to respond by saying, “well, you may think that the Teacher wills that, but you tell me, what does the teacher want me to do next in this very moment?” we would not assume that Student One knows nothing about the Teacher’s will for Student Two. Nor would we go even further to assume that the Teacher has refused to reveal their will to either student because they do not tell them what he/she wants in that very moment. What if all the Teacher wants is for the two students to work on the project, and the rest is up to them? Surely Student One can still claim to know the Teacher’s will, and Student Two can’t claim that the Teacher doesn’t want their will to be known by the students.
So, I think I’d reject Premise 1 and Premise 3, believing that they are a bit farfetched to assume as necessary for knowledge of God’s will. We don’t require this kind of knowledge in our other decision-making processes, so we don’t really need it here either, I don’t think Christians would even assert that God has an explicit will for every infinitesimally small moment of your life. It seems more like God has created beings like Godself, that have some kind of autonomy and free will to make the decisions they want to in response to God’s will. 

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barryjones

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Re: If Christians cannot say what God wants me to do right now...
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2021, 06:51:38 pm »
An evangelist's ignorance of what God wants you to do in the next 5 minutes shouldn't dissuade them from trying to persuade you to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior; nor should it dissuade you from hearing them out. Why? Because it's not their job nor their place to tell you to take a sip of coffee, or tell you that they believe God wants you to take a sip of coffee, or whatever. That's the cool thing about having freedom.

Let's trade out the evangelist for say.... a salesperson offering you a special deal on a cruise, and they begin their pitch with "you need this vacation," and you quip back saying "oh yeah? well if you can't tell me whether or not to take a sip of my coffee RIGHT NOW, then you can't tell me I need the vacation you're trying to sell me. GOTCHA!!!!!"

Fallacy of false analogy:  the salesman doesn't claim to know any divine will about me whatsoever, the Christian does. 

Furthermore, you appear to be ignoring the larger point:  Does God have a will for what I do in the next 5 minutes, yes or no?

If so, why doesn't he make it clear?  Is it because I didn't grovel before him long enough?  Gee, maybe you don't know, and so you disqualify yourself from further contribution to this thread?

How could I possibly be irrational to ignore God, when I'm just as willing to accept demonstrations of his authority over me no less than i accept demonstrations by my employer than he has authority over me?  Nobody says my submission to my employer is false because I didn't demonstrate undying devotion reading books about his personality type, so Christians are irrational to claim that God doesn't reveal himself because I refuse to drown myself in bible study. 

If I can be rational to ignore my employer because he refuses to indicate he has any authority over me, how could it be irrational for me to ignore God for the same reason?

Your conclusion that God has provided sufficient evidence, is nowhere near convincing or compelling, and regardless, still doesn't answer the question of why a child should believe a parent cares, if the adoption agency continually tells them every excuse in the world for why the parents can't or won't make a personal visit.

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Paterfamilia

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Re: If Christians cannot say what God wants me to do right now...
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2021, 10:27:49 pm »
“Furthermore, you appear to be ignoring the larger point:  Does God have a will for what I do in the next 5 minutes, yes or no?”

The cool thing about freedom is that it allows you to demonstrate what sort of person you are, without outside force or coercion.  God’s will is that you would freely accept His lordship in your life. And make decisions that demonstrate the selfless love that a person being led by the Spirit of God makes.  Those decisions might take you in a number of different directions, any of which would be within God’s will.

"First I knocked them out of a tree with a rock.  Then I saved them."

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jayceeii

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Re: If Christians cannot say what God wants me to do right now...
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2021, 06:03:02 am »
A skeptic and Christian meet at a coffee shop.  When he learns of the skeptic's skepticism, the Christian says "God wants you to accept the Lord Jesus".

If the skeptic said  "What does your god want me to do RIGHT NOW?", how could the Christian respond?

Does God want me to ask you for a bible?

Take another sip of coffee?

Look out the window at the truck that just hit that telephone pole?

If the Christian cannot seriously state what God's will is for the skeptic concerning the skeptics next action or thought, then why shouldn't the skeptic conclude that God doesn't want the skeptic to have the answer...thus morally justifying the skeptic to provide that answer for themselves?

So that if the skeptic declines the salvation invitation, this is reasonably construed as god's fault for refusing to reveal his particular will?
Jesus said that no one comes to the Father but by Him, and this means the souls have no other interface with God, than the Lord’s Word. He also said that He would send the Comforter, which is to say the Holy Spirit, but the angels are powerful enough to live free from the Holy Spirit’s influence, although humans require it, and in any case whatever is received from the Holy Spirit is certainly not instruction in divine standards or lifestyle.

But if someone were wise and had a list of God’s selfless standards, these could be presented at least in a general sense, as guidance for daily actions. The Bible did not supply these, or barryjones would not have found it necessary to generate this post. But to do what God wants, a soul must be pure. An impure soul experiences these demands as unreasonable. This is why Jesus had to stop after saying a rich man can’t get to Heaven.

To reiterate, God has no means of communicating His will directly to the people. The Lord’s Voice is His sole meaningful or intelligent interface with the creation. If one is with the Lord and asks what God wants, the Lord can tell you, but I don’t think the angels need direction like this. In the deepest part of the soul, as Swedenborg attested, there is a stern image of the Lord, or one might say the true divine. Yet only angels can access this.