Do We Really Have the Freedom to Choose?

(George Tichy) #63

I thought we were talking about Trump’s perversion and depravity. I though the Evangelicals were nuts for supporting such an evil man, but apparently even a SDA pastor can do it with straight face. Mind boggling, indeed.

It’s obvious that in order to obfuscate his moral condition you need to focus on Obama, Clinton, and … now you are including me? Who is next on your list?

(Allen Shepherd) #64

The problem with this argument is that I have not oppressed any blacks in my whole life.

I don’t look at the skin, but the capability and the policy stand.

Now I can understand why the blacks did it. Your point is true. But it is still racism, unless you feel that the voters skin is what make him a racist, and blacks cannot be it by definition.

When a black can vote for a white when the other candidate is a black, then there will be no black racism. When a white can vote for a black when there is a white on the other side, then there is no white racism (This has already happened, by the way)

Or when it is policies that are the only thing, and not skin color, then there is no racism.

The Jamaicans, a largely black nation, voted in a white prime minister some time back. That was a non-racist vote. They all thought he was the better candidate.

Now you can argue about it here, but race is become less and less an issue for most whites. They have already shown that they can vote for a black against a white.

it is not that way with blacks. They will vote skin color regardless.

(Allen Shepherd) #65

You refuse to see the faults of your argument. None of the candidates was perfect. And you do not even address her problems! What was she, pure as the freshly driven snow? Pshaw!

George. There were two candidates. You had to chose one. It was more than Trump was immoral and Hillary was not. They were both immoral.

How about this: Trump was immoral. I said it. Does that satisfy you?

Can you say Hillary was immoral? Can you? And yet you voted for her, and give me this song and dance about how bad the others were, and yet you did the same thing?

Can’t you see that they did it because he supported their thinking, even though a scumbag, and that voting for her, one who felt they were deplorable, would only lead to more problems for them? She shot herself in the foot. Can you admit that?

(George Tichy) #66

I can’t believe someone can make a generalization like this.

(Allen Shepherd) #67

Prove me wrong. Show me when it has not happened. Then I will retract.

But you refuse to discuss Hillary’s problems. I will speak of Trump’s, but you will not of hers.

That is hiding in the sand.

(George Tichy) #68

The initial point was, Why are the Evangelicals still supporting Trump even now when so much has been revealed about him?
Now, instead of focusing on this point, for obvious reasons, the focus has to shift to the election time. And for some intriguing reason, I am being personally targeted in this conversation… Interesting!

By the way, next time you mention Spectrum again in your sermon (maybe today?), please don’t forget to mention, also, that “George Tichy voted for Hillary!” It will certainly help your message.


(James J Londis) #69

You know that “justice” is the word “righteousness” in the New Testament, that justice, therefore, is congruent with God’s love and not God’s anger or fury? Furthermore, the book of Revelation, with its “judgments” upon the earth, is less about judgments on individuals than on the “principalities and powers” (using Paul’s language) that have dominated and oppressed all peoples, including God’s servants. Whatever will happen must presuppose that God is a loving Father/Mother who while not sentimental, certainly will rescue as many as possible, even those whose brutal life-experiences made them bitter and angry at the world. EGW’s comment that the wicked cannot bear to be in the presence of God (thus it is destructive to them) can be interpreted to mean that heaven is so alien to what they have decided to become they would not enjoy “heaven” or being in God’s presence.

(jeremy) #70

this comparison makes the white evangelical vote for trump even more egregious…the clintons really were on the side of women, even though bill abused them (arguably, because they wanted to be abused by him, which is why they threw themselves at him)…the clintons don’t have a history of ever not supporting women…

but in trump’s case, he is against abortion after he was for it, he is against LGBT after he was for it, he is for blacks after decades of discriminating against them, and he is now for mexicans after using discrimination against them in his campaign…he’s even pardoned a sheriff who made a name for himself discriminating against mexicans…and if the turn around aspect to all of this isn’t enough, isn’t it convenient that his “transformation” coincides so perfectly with the vote he’s been courting…

i think white evangelicals will have to accept the inescapable fact that they’ve been conned by a con man whose dimensions of deceit have exceeded their worst nightmares…the only reason he’s apparently fighting for their causes is he’s re-election plans, which, as in the case of all con men, have been laid before anyone thought to suspect they were being used for that purpose…don’t think trump will adhere to any of these principles once he’s voted for a second, final time…the man truly could not care less about the principles he’s pretending to be fighting for…

what white evangelicals, and republicans in general, really ought to be concerning themselves with is the extent to which they’re being used to destroy the concept of law and order to protect an obvious criminal…congress isn’t living up to its responsibilities now, and it won’t when mueller is finished, without a blue wave flip…love 'em or hate 'em, it’s the dems who are now the country’s only hope to thwart the complete extinction of any sense of right and wrong in the justice system, which don’t forget, is protecting our freedom to worship according to our conscience…once that justice system is removed - and i’m inclined to think it’s on it’s way to being removed, which may be the true significance of trump’s presidency - the horrors of egw’s end-time prophecies may have nothing to stop them from bursting onto the world…i don’t think any of us really and truly want this in our lifetime…

not necessarily…in obama, blacks were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to seal their inclusion as equal citizens…how can it be racism for them to reach out for that opportunity…

but in trump’s dogwhistles, what equal opportunity were white evangelicals reaching out for…they already had full inclusion as citizens…notice that they didn’t vote for hillary, who also was white…in fact they voted for trump because they translated his “make america great again” slogan into a “make america white again” slogan, without their even knowing it…they were sitting ducks for someone who wasn’t one of them, and has no intention of ever being one of them…they were wholly manipulated by someone who knew how to manipulate them…

i really think that white evangelical republicans will never be able to claim any moral high ground after trump is finished with them…it’s all downhill from here on out…


Hi Matthew,
Getting back to the question you asked in the title of your essay, I think the answer is that in this life and age we have been granted a degree of freedom.
We can make good or bad choices but only within the boundaries set for us by God. In the book of Job God set limits on what Satan could do. The same holds for us. I now believe that our ultimate fate is in the hands of God because He created us and thus in the final analysis He owns us and is responsible for us. (I believe this view is Scriptural even though it violates the Adventist insistence on our absolute freedom.)

The freedom God has given us means we can reject God even for our entire life, but I do not think that is the end of the story. Adventists believe that the issue in the IJ at the end of this age is our salvation. (I don’t see it that way because this coming judgment is based on our works (what we have done) but our salvation is based on what Christ has done). Rather, as I see it, the IJ decides the degree of chastisement we will subsequently undergo (please see my comment above in response to Sirje) and thus determines the timing of our entry into and our roles in the coming kingdom.

As I have tried to point out elsewhere, only a few reach the point of surrender and trust in this age that qualifies them for the kingdom. (It’s really about the seed of Christ planted within by the gospel coming to maturity). They are called the elect or firstfruits or chosen. Most will end up having to take the harder path through judgment.

Some have this idea that unless we have absolute freedom there cannot be love between us and God. Yet, Jesus said we are to come as children, trusting in God. Does a parent grant a three year old every one of his requests? Of course not, she imposes her will and puts limits on the child’s freedom out of love and concern for the child’s welfare. Doesn’t discipline assist in character development?

God shares with us some of what He is doing but His ways and thoughts are above ours. We really have very little idea of what He is doing and why. We prove this repeatedly as we struggle with the subject of theodicy. Hebrews 5:14 says that only the spiritually mature can even tell right from wrong. How many ever reach that point? How can this be squared with the assumption that God in His wisdom feels we are somehow qualified to assess the situation properly and thus decide our destiny?

Please continue to pray for your brother Ben. It would certainly be better for him to come to Christ now rather than later. But do not be consumed by worry about his ultimate welfare. Christ came to seek and save that which was lost, He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, and He abolished death on the cross. Rest in the love of God for him.

(Allen Shepherd) #72

Jeremy, Jeremy. You mean that Clinton’s abuse was really the fault of the women he abuses (they threw themselves at him)? Are you ready to blame victims here?

And then if someone changes their mind (doesn’t Obama’s stand on gay marriage come to mind) that that means they are a con man?

I think you might be right here. For if the Dems turn the house, he will work with them. He is not an ideologue, like Obama was. Obama almost could not work with Republicans on general principles. You could say Trump has no such principles. I mean, he was ready to let 1.8 million DACA folk in, when the Republicans were only willing to go for 0.8 Million. So, he is a bit more pragmatic then Obama (or unprincipled as you would say.)

Amazing that you can see into his head. But you may be right. At the moment, he governs from the right, or at lest right of center. That may be good enough.

?? Obvious? What has he done that is criminal? No charges so far, and none on the horizon.

Are you kidding? Clinton destroyed evidence and FBI agents tried to influence the election and Comey was thinking as a partisan when he did what he did. McCabe, a Dem, is cited for lying by a nonpartisan investigation and you think the Dems are the only hope?

THERE WAS NO COLLUSION, accept on the Dem side. In fact, I rest easier with Trump in. He will not use the IRS to squash the left. so, I know the time is not yet.

I asked if a person voted on the basis of skin color whether it was racism you answered:

So, why are WHITE evangelicals accused of racism if they vote white, but blacks are not if they vote black? You say it was a once in a lifetime deal. I can see that, though it is still voting on skin color. Well, how about on the local level, do they vote either race, the best, or do they always vote black when given the opportunity? I asked George to prove me wrong. You need to do the same.

Otherwise, they are as racist as any WHITE evangelical, and you have no right to criticize.

(Harry Elliott) #73

I feel sorry for anyone who believes that. She once wrote that children who died before they reached the age of accountability were the the lawful prey of Satan and would inevitably be lost. She had a lot of such thoughts she attributed to God…erroneously in my opinion.

To paraphrase an old war poem, those poor slaves have already served their time in hell.

(Harry Allen) #74

Thanks, @vandieman.

I’ve never read this E.G. White statement, though I’ve oft heard of it, and it sounds like nonsense.

Also, you said to @ezbord:

…that being a faith statement which can’t be proved biblically, though the fact that she, unlike they, wrote extra-biblically, can.


(Harry Allen) #75

Thanks, @Sirje:

You said:

In response:

I agree with this conclusion. I suspect that the term “lake of fire” was given more to certify the totality with which God would obliterate sin and sinners, using ideas familiar to the ancients; i.e., fire consumes completely, and what would be more complete than putting something into a lake of it?

I believe that this obliteration is the central concept. I don’t think it’s to convey that God’s punishment of the Devil’s sin is little more that what you’d experience if you were trapped in a burning and collapsed office building.


(Harry Allen) #76

Thanks, @ajshep.

You said:

In response:

It wasn’t “racism” for Black voters because Black voters can’t be racist, by definition: In a racist system, someone has got to be “the mouse,” and someone has got to be “the cat.”

Put another way, if you’ve ever seen a cat chase, or play with, a mouse, it’s rarely confusing what is going on; i.e., who dominates. Even if you’ve only ever seen this watching Tom & Jerry, it’s clear the characters are acting within a never-reversed paradigm. Jerry, the mouse, may momentarily outsmart Tom, but Jerry is always running from Tom.

It’s odd the degree to which white people will pretend not to see a system with such simple parameters.

As for “Christian evangelicals and Trump,” it really depends on if there is one or more racists—white supremacists—in the above set. If so, then, we should expect racism, because racism is what racists do.

Also, you said to @GeorgeTichy:

How would you prove this?


(George Tichy) #77

Thanks for helping Allen by providing him some rational ideas to chew on. For some reason he had to defend racism, mis-define racism, and make a statement kind of defending himself.

He may not be a racist, I get that; but when preaching he knows very well what to say about those who he despises, dislikes, and does not tolerate (aka we, the Spectrumites!). Have you watched the video on YouTube that was posted here at Spectrum? If not, man… you should…

Because of the outrageous, irrational and sometimes un-Christian things he says, I am out of any conversation with him. He is NOT the person I thought he was for a long time. After I watched that video, everything became evident.

If one doesn’t want to reveal their real psychological identity…, don’t ever let a psychologist to see you talking live… you will be caught!

(James J Londis) #78

You do realize that whites, holding power, wealth and privilege, who vote “white” (whatever that means), are often voting (intended or not) to extend their control over the system which favors racism and segregation in various forms. The systemic data is overwhelming, even if specific white persons or groups, do not participate directly in that system.

When blacks vote “black” (again, race is a social construct, not a scientific one) they are voting for those they are “more certain” will protect their admittedly overlooked (or deliberately sabotaged) interests and fight for justice. And, as history has shown, they will vote for white candidates who support their agenda as well. It is a truism in social theory and ethics that if you want to make strides toward justice, the voice of the oppressed is far more eloquent than the voice of the oppressor.

(Bruce Clements) #79

It would seem incredible to me that a discussion about free will and God’s Plan for Mankind could have devolved into an argument about politics and race, were it not for the fact that I know everything expressed on the internet—or anywhere else for that matter—is anything other than relatively true. That is, the assertion that certain individuals are incapable of racism, by definition, is no more honest than the claim that God is Love, or the assumption that humans are—or are not—free moral agents. In other words, I find it easy to dismiss any statement of the absolute given that these type of remarks are always expressed by finite minds using a form of expression which is admittedly less than perfect or honest, i.e., language.
By definition blacks can’t be racist? This is only true if one accepts a certain definition of the term. Conversely, if racism is defined as hatred of another simply because of the color of his skin, racism is possible—and perhaps predictable—in anyone, as even newborn children seem to express a tendency toward such biases. Maybe we must be taught to fill in the blanks by our environment but the precursors of this trait seem to be hereditary in all of nature.
Are men’s thoughts and actions free? Try to stop singing a song that’s stuck in your head, or resist the temptation to have your eyes follow a moving object in an otherwise motionless landscape. But then again it’s hard to argue with the claim that whether we have free will or not, we have to behave as if we’re responsible for our “decisions”.
But most importantly, does God have a plan? If so, and everything we observe is the result of that plan being put into action, then the god of the Bible, EGW and SDA’s is sadistic, blood-thirsty coward who dare not show his face, as he would be rightly derided by nonbelievers for being a monstrous villain. Personally, I’d prefer an eternity of fiery anguish to spending even one sabbath in the presence of such a “loving” maniac, or being forced to listen to even the first of his “well-intentioned” explanations for such feeble results.
There is another definition of God, though, which rejects the belief that he is “Omni-anything” and which understands, instead, that his “plan” is being formulated as creation moves along. Is this definition absolutely validated or can it be verified to a logical and emotional certainty? Of course not. It’s only words. And as such, the claim is similar to any other scripture in that it cannot rise above language. Hence, and like any other effort to express the ineffable, the notion that god and his intellect are evolving in tandem with the wisdom of his creatures can be described as infinitely useful or rejected out of hand as utter nonsense, depending on what one wants to believe.

(Frankmer7) #80


Firstly, you started by comparing Trump’s character flaws with Bill Clinton. I engaged with you on that. Then you managed to flip the script to Hillary. The bottom line is you refuse to engage about Trump, and make it solely about Trump. Not just why the religious right supported him as a candidate, but how they can continue to justify supporting him as president.

You trot out the tired Trump line that nothing has been proven by these investigations regarding collusion, as if that proves that there is no substance there. That’s exactly what investigations are for. … to find out if there is. Watergate took two years. This one is little more than halfway there. It needs to be allowed to run its full course, without Trump trying to publicly undermine it or its credibility.

And to claim that it’s a witch hunt? Trump’s former campaign head is facing up to 305 years in prison for inappropriate contact with a foreign, hostile power, amidst other charges. Another staffer has already been found guilty of such. Flynn faces similar charges. This is amidst multiple indictments, and the knowledge that his son, son in law, and Manafort participated in a meeting with Russian contacts whose sole purpose was to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton. Nothing there??

And that’s not to mention that every US intelligence agency has confirmed that Russia meddled in our electoral process… ostensibly an act of war. And Trump has yet to publicly agree with that assessment, or lay out any plan to defend our country against further attacks. Rather, he spends his time attacking the justice department, attacking the special counsel, and attacking our intelligence community and throwing them under the bus, all while deferring to Putin and his claims on this issue. He believes a murderous thug over US intelligence. This is the behavior of an innocent man?? I couldn’t say it with a straight face!

Additionally, he has made a career of attacking the free press, not only with the constant cry of fake news over any story that he doesn’t like, but intimating that he would like to jail journalists over what he deems such. He’s also blurred the lines between government and the independent press, by ostensibly including Hannity as a policy advisor. This is absolutely outrageous behavior, more befitting a banana republic dictator than the president of the U.S. And Hannity and Fox have only been too willing to oblige and basically become his personal propaganda machine, while the Republican led Congress does nothing!

Alan, these are threats to our democracy and country that we have never seen under any president. And I’m not even delving into the cluster of white supremacists that are or have been on his staff, and the white supremacist groups that support him and that he has never unequivocally disavowed. Trump is a racist…a term you seem to not fully understand, and that others have already explained here. He always has been, and he now legitimizes this ugliness among threatened whites in America. His Charlottesville remarks are symptomatic of this.

This all goes well beyond his abuse of power and position to sexually assault beauty pageant contestants, against their will, which is on audio record, his dalliances with playmates and porn stars, to whom his lawyer paid hush money during the campaign, and now faces probable indictment for misappropriation of campaign funds, obstructing justice and who knows what else, and the general chaos of his revolving door White House.

My question isn’t how could the religious right vote for him over Hillary. It’s how can they keep supporting him in light of all of the above? How can you, Alan? How does supporting this mess, and an immoral and narcissistic monster, square not only with what is good for this nation, but how ones idea of faith informs our political views and choices.


(jeremy) #81

i certainly agree that god is not willing that any should perish, 2 Pet 3:9, but i also note that there are times when mercy doesn’t seem to be operating in god’s actions, Rev 14:10…i think we have to view this in terms of a probation, in which mercy operates before it expires, but doesn’t after it expires…this would explain why the mercy of god didn’t intervene during the flood, or sodom and gomorrah, and why it won’t intervene at the lake of fire…

there are a fair number of NT texts that paint a picture of a god of vengeance…off the top of my head, these would include:

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” Heb 10:26-27.

i don’t think this is talking about the punishment of “principalities and powers”…

“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1Thes 1:10.

“Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway; for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” 1Thes 2:16.

i think this pair of texts points to a future day of wrath, from which some people will be saved, while others won’t be…

“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1Thes 5:9.

this text suggests that some people are being appointed to divine wrath…

“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” Eph 5:6.

this texts links disobedience with the reception of divine wrath…this is describing something more than the forfeiture of heaven because of a decision that it wouldn’t be enjoyed…

“Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Eph 2:3.

this remarkable text suggests that everyone is subject to the wrath of god by virtue of the way they are born…

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.” Col 3:5-6.

this is more evidence that disobedience is linked to divine wrath which is a physical reality…we are definitely talking about something more than the loss of heaven here…

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Matt 3:7.

this is clearly talking about a day of divine wrath that is in the future…

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Jn 3:36.

i think this text links the loss of eternal life with the additional horror of the wrath of god…it suggests that everyone is earmarked for that horror outside of faith in christ…

(Allen Shepherd) #82

Well, there you have it. No matter what blacks do, they can’t be racist, and the only racists are white people, and since they are ALWAYS going after blacks, like cats do mice, they are the bad oppressors etc.

There is really nothing I could say to that. So I won’t. It is clear you have figured it out. Thx.

I get from this that “the system” favors only whites at the expense of blacks. You have bought into Harry’s view, Whites are racists whatever they do, and they support “the system” that suppresses blacks.

How in the world did Barak do it when only 20% of the electorate is black?? Did they vote 3 or 4 times each? How did America not keep that black man down???

And here I thought segregation was outlawed, when 1956??

Look, all of you. I know there is racism, but it is not so prevalent as you aver. When the blacks were arrested at the Starbucks, several white patrons objected. Etc.

I am proud of my white heritage. The constitution is a wonderful document, written and adopted by whites, to the benefit of blacks, whites, hispanics, even illegal aliens. Wow, and it was a white devised document. I am proud that whites died in the civil war to free slaves. And that Eisenhower (a Repubican) put into effect the 1954 school ruling, passing it through a congress where the ones who were against were Democrats. I am proud that capitalism has succeeded in freeing millions, even billions from their poverty in China and India. It has done more to destroy poverty than any ideology that has existed so far. And this came about from the efforts of white nations.

You of course can bring up slavery and Jim Crow. But that was not done by all whites in contrast to Londis’s claim, and to blame some who had no interest in such things as if they did is to be unjust as well.

I told you: He has said he will institute polices they favor. It is that simple. Blacks support blacks or whites that promise to do things they favor, as Londis says. I think he is right. So evangelicals favor some of the things he says he will do.

The question is whether to vote character or issues. In Obama, you had an apparent home run if you were a liberal (though I think there may have been some shady dealings). Obama seemed to have a sterling character. But for conservatives, his policies were anathema. So they voted policies.

For Turmp, you had a man who said he would institute certain policies that conservatives favored. His character was a mess. And though he is big mouthed talker, i have not seen anything criminal as yet. So you held your nose and voted policy.

You have to realize, that Hillary had her faults as well, and this was a choice between the two, and you cannot separate that. You guys had to hold your noses and vote for her.

I have already said Trump is immoral. Apparently that is not enough. He is, a sinner for sure. But he has shown himself willing to institute policies that conservatives favor, and does it in a way that no one else could do, or would dare to do. I like that.

Wait a minute. Are you speaking of Manafort? The accusations have nothing to do with Trump at all and occurred years before Trump started to run. So what is the issue here?

Are any journalists in jail? Has he done what Obama did by putting some under surveillance?
And if the press is so stomped down, how is it that 90% of the reporting at the NYT, WaPo, adn other outlets is negative and hostile? If Trump were so effective a manipulator, I would expect a bit more reporting in his favor. Maybe he is just bad at manipulation.

I am awaiting an inditement. You can start crowing when you have more than speculation

I will tell you.

  1. He has stopped the government support of political correctness. I think this is the main one.
  2. The economy is humming. Black unemployment is as low as it has been in 40 years, and Hispanic unemployment is way down as well.
  3. He is showing American strength on the world stage rather than the weakness of Obama policies (Red Line anyone?). Even liberals have noted this.
  4. Taxes have been reduced.
  5. Government intrusion is being reduced. (Not so with Hillary)

And as far as faith informing political views, the homosexual issue is the issue that will cause our institutions real problems It was about to be made such an issue that our teachings on it were going to be challenged in court, and it looked like we as a church supporting the traditional view of scripture would suffer.

That is not going to happen with Trump in the WH. And it would have with Hillary there.

Now you may disagree on the issue, or even the prediction, but it was clear that that is the way things were heading.

Read Habakkuk. God used a wicked people, the Babylonians to punish Israel. It may be that a wicked man,Trump, will give the church a bit more time before it has to face that crisis.