Do We Really Have the Freedom to Choose?

No, but it’s always in the back of my mind and comes front and center when I’m tempted to take things for granted.

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Wow. I can only imagine! You must have a lot of family stories in your memories. Have you ever written them down?

I’m working on it. It’s about the grandkids. They need to know who they are.

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Oh, that’s great—if you ever feel like it, share some in the Lounge—or here! :bulb:

I’ve forgotten about the Lounge. The discussions here just exploded as soon as the muzzle was removed.

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Same here, I rarely think about the almost defunct LoungeGate.

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the danger is nullifying other texts and responsibilities, once the nullifying ball gets rolling…the danger is ending up with an understanding that is necessarily different than when nothing is nullified…

no sane, rational person is going fixate on a doctrine like the lake of fire…if someone does fixate on the lake of fire, it’s an indication that they could be unwell, and need help…it isn’t an indication that the lake of fire should be nullified…

i think there’s the real question of whether any portion of preserved inspiration can be considered superfluous or detrimental when placed in a proper balance…certainly an overall synthesis of preserved inspiration is going to be substantively different if it excludes one or more elements believed to be detrimental in isolation…possibly intended checks and balances operating when all preserved inspiration contributes to an understanding is going to be skewed or missing if something deemed harmful or even unpleasant, in isolation, is excluded…

let’s not pretend that our understanding doesn’t inform our faith or our choices in life…the way we understand inspiration determines unavoidably the tone and substance of how we live our lives, which in turn impacts very directly whether we’re ultimately saved or not…tampering with portions of preserved inspiration because we don’t like them, or think they don’t matter, could prove costly in the end…an essentially altered bible that leads us down the garden path could in fact be worse than no bible…no bible, of course, is what satan tried to achieve, for yrs, through the papacy…what if his plan now is an altered bible that in fact leads to the same loss of eternal life…what if it’s bible translations that obscure the type of religion that connects us directly with christ…what if it’s hermeneutics that leave us feeling good, but destitute of any awareness that we’re out of step with christ…

Harrpa was right, it’s still pretty fun over there!


[quote=“vandieman, post:192, topic:15771”]
what if it’s hermeneutics that leave us feeling good, but destitute of any awareness that we’re out of step with christ…

ALL hermeneutics contains error; we just don’t know which part is in error. On an intellectual level, when doing any kind of research, we aim to access first person reports. Years ago, when it became clear to me, I couldn’t trust any human source as infallible, I decided to place myself among the crowds that followed Jesus - to hear him speak, and witness what he did. I concentrated on the words, printed in red, realizing even they had been probably edited somehow - but you have to start somewhere.

The next best source are the reports of those who personally witnessed Jesus. Again, there is work to be done to understand what they are saying in their time and place. Add to this, changes time has made in perceptions etc. one has to rely on Jesus’ promise to send us the HS to guide us. If, after that, someone claims they have found truth about Jesus (“here is Jesus or there is Jesus” as reported in Rev.) I approach carefully. In my experience and background Ellen White belongs in that category.

If those extra-biblical sources don’t negate or even change what the first two sources have said to me, I can accept them. If that information goes beyond anything revealed to me before, I can accept it cautiously. If there is an out-and-out contradiction, I have to pass.

I figure if I follow the gospel as I understand it from the first two sources, what I believe about things that don’t impact my basic understanding that everything else hinges upon, is not vital for me to believe - like the lake of fire. If there is a lake of fire where the unsaved burn for any time at all, it doesn’t apply because I plan not to be among them. Being, or not being among those in the lake of fire doesn’t depend upon whether I believe in IT or not.

The only problem with that “lake” is that it goes against my understanding of God has revealed by Jesus. You might say that Jesus had something to say about judgment as well. I don’t doubt there might be something that would look like a “judgment process” to us mortals; and since he was talking to us, he would have used concepts that are meaningful to us (like judgment). But then, Jesus also assures us God knows everything about us - even our hairs are numbered - so he/she wouldn’t need X-number of years to decide our fate. Much of the Bible is in language (concepts) we understand to some degree; but we can’t know reality the way it actually is. It’s about that “dark mirror” we like to stare at.

In any case, Jeremy, I understand you have accepted Ellen White as one of your secondary sources, equal to the Bible writers - I have not. I assume she was waiting for Jesus to appear in 1844, and was also disappointed. We like to turn that disappointment into revelations about “new truth”. At this point in time, that sounds like “spinning” to me.

All any of us can do is trust God not to “lead us” into dangerous waters. If I have to second-guess what I have come to understand from my Bible, then why bother.

Is this a perfect, objective book? Is any book? Have I read it all? Have I fact-checked it? Am equipped to analyze this sociologically? No.

Are the issues brought up crucial and needing discussion?

I believe they are.

Is implicit racism real?

If it is real, is it God’s will?

If it is real, and it is not God’s will, the only way out of it is CONSCIOUS CHOICE TO DO GOD’S WILL.

Do you have the ability to make that choice?

Do We Really Have the Freedom to Choose?

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Will certainly revisit. Sometimes the conversations here become too “cultic,” that’s when the Lounge comes handy as a place for more sanity… :innocent:


My mom said, “Don’t touch the stove, it will burn you.” i touched it and got burned. She did not burn me.

She also did not kill you.

[quote=“ajshep, post:84, topic:15771”]
Dying was a natural consequence of eating, it was not God killing.

I’m sorry, but although what you say is an accurate summary of EGW’s argument, God explicitly said that UNLESS GOD TOOK ADDITIONAL EXTRAORDINARY ACTION, ADAM AND EVE WOULD LIVE FOREVER.
And the Lord God said, “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:” (Gen 3:15)

If God had said, instead, I’m going to cut the brake lines on their car, and He did, and they died, would it be the whole truth if we said, “God didn’t take their lives.”

Gilbert and Sullivan insisted that justice requires that the punishment should fit the crime. (That’s why it’s called justice. Right?) I believe that we’ll learn someday that theodicy presents a lot more sophisticated problem than our speculations give it credit for.

I’m not arguing that God was/is unfair. I’m arguing that serpents do not talk and that the authors did not expect their audience to think that Gen 2:4b ff literally happened.

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What you are saying then is that what actually brought death was not the eating of the tree, but the exclusion from the garden. They did nothing that brought death by eating, but it was the act of God of excluding them that brought death.

God punished them by excluding them, thus killing them.

I think your mistake is this: They were not naturally immortal. They HAD to have access to the tree to continue to live forever (this is not the case with the redeemed, who have immortality).

So, by eating of the tree, they lost access to the tree of life. The garden was only theirs by probation. If they took of he tree, they lost the thing that had only been lent to them in the first place.

My assumption is that you believe death was too great a punishment for the crime, simply stealing a bit of fruit.

That is another mistake. The crime was terrible. the reason I say that is that it was so trifling a thing they were required not to do! God had given them everything, life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. They had it all, except for one thing, the fruit from one tree in perhaps 100’s. They even had God’s companionship, and could have asked him anything about it.

So, with everything provided, they took the one thing that was excluded.

In the parable of the talents, the Owner says, “You have been faithful in little, I will make you ruler over much…!” Adam could not be faithful even in what was little.

And I think you are acquainted with some who you may have hired or dealt with that cannot be faithful in little. They are thus utterly untrustworthy.

That is why the punishment really did fit the crime. Adam did a terrible thing.

And if you take it as myth, or allegory, fine. The story reveals the sinfulness of our characters, as we do the same and deserve our situation. A good book as I have mentioned is “The trial of Innocence” by La Coque.

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I looked at most of your video: The New Jim Crow.

Two things I had not known much about were covered in it:Tulia, TX, and the Iran-contra affair with the sale of Cocaine by the CIA

The “New Jim Crow” is the drug laws that were passed in the '80s and 90’s. These have caused a large group of black men to be incarcerated for drug related crimes, mainly possession. This is according to the video.

I did not check the stats on that but will accept them as accurate.

They give as evidence that this New Jim Crow is alive and well by citing the Tulia incident and the CIA’s trafficking in drugs.

The Tulia incident was the arrest of 48 people (40 blacks, 9 whites) on drug charges by the police of a small (pop 4000+) town in central TX by a free-lancing cop. Most of he Blacks pled out for lesser sentences to avoid longer ones they felt that prejudiced all white juries would mete out. Some were in prison for a few years before all being released because of some reporting by a paper in Amarillo, a little ways from Tulia.

The assumption of the video is that the whole country is like this little town, full of racists and people trying to imprison blacks. There has not been another incident like this one, so it is hard to extrapolate a universal Jim Crow on an incident in a small town.

The second line of evidence is the CIA Iran-Contra affair and the allegation that the CIA was funneling drugs to black neighborhoods in LA.

This was reported by reporters of a paper, (something or other) Mercury and then investigated by the WaPo, the NYT, and the LA Times. The evidence was “thin”, and even with congressional committees looking into it, it was thin.

The video assumes that the CIA was active, and was getting drugs into black communities so that they might be jailed. It is a great conspiracy theory.

Soo… I am not convinced that any kind of “New Jim Crow” exists. Not by that evidence, at least.

I do know that blacks are over represented in prison. The reasons for this are complex, and to say that any one issue is the overwhelming one, ie, White supremacy or racism, is to grossly simplify the matter.

I do not deny racism. It is just that I don’t think it is the underlying motivation or issue of all or even a majority of white individuals. Hillary mentioned implicit racism, implying that the whole system is racist. I think that is a reach.

Recently, a Starbucks manager called the police on two black guys who would not leave, and would not buy anything; apparently she was following the rules set up by the corporation, you are to buy or leave (which are not racist because they do not mention race). But the idea is that they are applied discriminately.

She has been fired, or she quit. Now, the response has been Starbucks doing some kind “sensitivity training” for all its staff, as if the whole corporation is racist, when it fact the corporation has a very liberal record on such matters: remember the “lets talk race” campaign? One individual might even be (sounds like she was just doing what she thought her job), but not the whole corporation! So, manage the manager, and don’t assume that the whole place is crawling with racist. It is not. Especially Starbucks.

In other words, the MANAGER may have been at fault, not the corporation. Correct her, not everyone. This is a shotgun approach.

And even when she did call the cops, several white patrons objected!

The video was slanted and poorly done. It’s claims were really not verified. There is not any New Jim Crow.

So, to ask me to view something that really does not prove your point, really, actually, only proves mine. I need better than a small town in TX, and make believe accusations against the CIA.
(I looked up the material on Wikipedia, not a conservative information site)

I did learn some things, though.


I know that, and knew that when I posted it. I posted it to put the issues on the table, not to prove a federal case.

You watched part of what we both agree is not sufficient ground to establish that there is a New Jim Crow.

Now, if you want to shut down all further thinking after merely dipping a toe in the water, that is up to you, but it appears to me that you’re bowing out without fair examination.

Did you watch Michele Alexander’s TED Talk I posted?

How about the two attorneys discussing implicit racism?

Anecdotes are not what this is about.

This is about the systematic exploitation of black and brown poor people by the United States military/industrial/prison complex.

This is about soul murder, and it always has been.

This is about endemic implicit racism.

It appears to me that Jim Crow merely went underground.

Now, I’d be happy to see the Adventist people discuss all that.

Potato too hot?

Lucy Byard’s blood cries from the ground, “How long, O Lord, how long?”

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Implicit racism is the conspiracy theory of the left. It extrapolates anecdotal racial incidents into generalized racism by the whole white population that is not there. There just may be other reasons for the large black prison population than implicit racism. I know, I have relatives that have gone to prison.

Trayvon Martin was a thug. So was Michael Brown. But these two are considered martyrs of white prejudice. They were not, and subsequent investigations have confirmed this. There is much more by far, black on black homicide, but such incidents as these are put forward to show implicit racisms. They don’t.

And yet even the President spoke of them as “victims”.

That is why I don’t accept implicit racism. Is there racism? Sure But it is not implicit. Not all whites are infected with some sort of virus like thing that makes them all racist. You just can’t generalize like that. It is not implicit, it is personal, that is, it is different in different people and times.

Lucy Byard? You think there has been no change since 1944?

I said, while arguing this with Harry A., that Obama’s election meant something.

Harry answered:

I think such an answer betrays a misunderstand of the situation that will not be changed by further discussion.

You are a sensitive soul that has gone through “hell” in a way. I commend you for your fortitude and equanimity. Kudos to you, but I am bowing out on this. Thanks.

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You’re white. Are you a racist?

from what i’ve seen, this is the fundamental dividing line between people in our church…egw believers and egw unbelievers both exist in the church, of course, but i don’t think they will ever harmonize…it is curious that egw believers are generally strong, committed adventists, whereas egw unbelievers are frequently on the margins of the church, or on their way out…the bible generally isn’t enough to keep people adventists, distinct and separate from non-adventist christians…

but when we think about it, it really shouldn’t shouldn’t be so surprising…the bible explains that the purpose of spiritual gifts like prophecy is to bring church members into “unity of faith”, among other qualities,
Eph 4:11-16…obviously people who are in denial of these spiritual gifts won’t be experiencing that unity of faith…clearly, people who make use of these spiritual gifts are just on a different track than those who don’t…

but on the subject of the lake of fire, you do understand that it is john, the closest disciple to jesus, who is our main source of this doctrine, although jesus himself alludes to a “hell fire” in Matt 18:9, which we assume is the lake of fire…according to moses, god himself is “a consuming fire”, Deut 4:24, which raises the possibility that the lake of fire experience is direct, unfiltered proximity to the presence of god, which naturally destroys everything even remotely tainted with sin…maybe that’s why we’re in a fallen world, where we don’t see god, angels, or heaven…that is, god is shielding us from the second death while we still have probation, and the opportunity to free ourselves from the contamination of sin…

You make perfect sense coming from your perspective. I agree, hell or the concept of hell, is a basic separation, or absence of God.

If I understand you correctly, you’re saying Ellen White is the unifying factor in Adventist faith. See, I have a problem with that, as a Christian. Shouldn’t Christ be that unifying factor? In fact, as you keep reading in Eph. 4 it says just that:

…but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up infall aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, bing fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

Sure sounds like Christ , the head, is what keeps us in unity.

That, my friend, is the definition of a cult. If the Bible alone can’t keep us believing the SDA pronouncements of truth we have a problem. Maybe that’s why people are hanging on the fringes, having questions about mom and dad’s religion. You would have a point if our main objective is to be “strong, committed Adventists” rather than win the “good fight of faith”.


the purpose of the spiritual gifts is not harmony with the spiritual gifts, or the possessor of spiritual gifts, as an endpoint in itself…the purpose is to grow up effectively into christ…there are many antichrists, or false conceptions of christ, 1Jn 2:18…the holy spirit uses spiritual gifts to delineate the true christ, and what it means to grow up in him, and be ready to meet him in joy and peace when he comes…what i personally value about egw is her consistent call and portrayal of the self-denying christ of the bible…i find it impossible to read her without feeling drawn into this christ’s presence through the holy spirit…

it’s a pity that egw is the only prophet we have in our church…we have many teachers, pastors and evangelists, but to date we have only one prophet…while the time for the gift of apostles is forever in the past, i believe there is the possibility that we will see more prophets…in the bible, prophets tended to arise when the church needed special instruction…surely the time when god and jesus left the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to begin the investigative judgement in the most holy place in 1844 was such a time…but i tend to think the transition of Dan 11:45 into Dan 12:1 is another critical time…i don’t believe god will leave his people without a prophet during a time so fraught with consequence…

the gift of prophecy is a spectacular gift…visions and revelations are supernatural phenomena that tend to grab peoples’ attention…the power of this gift rivets the church into certainly and surety, like no other gift can…

in reality, people who follow the bible will be looking to be guided by spiritual gifts, which are designated by the bible as the way the holy spirit matures his church…i would think this is especially true in the case of a spectacular, supernatural gift, like prophecy, which is evidently of divine origin…and given that christ himself was called beelzebub, his followers won’t mind being called a cult…

of course, if people are not looking to follow the bible, but just want to live like the world around them, there’s no point in their looking into spiritual gifts…this is because spiritual gifts aren’t designed for them, or given for their benefit…