Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Pentagram

Guilt, shame, low self-esteem, frustration and hopelessness are all negative gifts from the devil. Remember, the devil wants you to think and feel these emotions. They’re not of God. Christians who are weak in faith and insecure about their fate will judge and ridicule you about how you live- regardless of what ‘sin’ you’re committing in their eyes. God has taken away the sins of the world with the death of His son. Nevertheless, evilness still roams around aimlessly, hoping to trap us into its web. There’s a big difference between evil motives and a ‘human heart’ for God. We all sin. Just being inside our physical bodies is seen as sinful. The earth is sinful

Think about this… The five elements, which consists of earth, metal, fire, water and wood are all “of this earth”. Each material is crucial to our living here on earth. They are “of the earth”. The pentagon- the five-pointed star is now looked upon as sacred to new age religions, due to ‘loving the earth’. In my belief, we are not to worship the earth, for it’s only a stepping stone into our new home in the afterlife. The earth is to be respected and taken care of, but not to be worshipped. It scares me that many people have adopted the five-pointed star, in order to show their love for the earth. In my belief and opinion, the five-pointed star resembles Satan. It resembles his ownership to this world. There is much more evil on earth than there is good. Don’t be deceived by the pentagon.

One day, I walked into this little antique and art shop in upstate New York. There was a sign on the door that read, “The pentagram is often misunderstood as the symbol of the devil. The pentagram is a symbol of the five elements, which are earth, metal, fire, water and wood. This is all of the earth, it is all of nature which we belong to. We should never fear the pentagram, instead, embrace it.”

The devil will do anything in his power to get you to believe that ‘nature is all good’, and that we should basically worship it, instead of God. Or – some people will say, believe in the “gods”, which also sounds wishy-washy to me. I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing other religions or beliefs, but as I see it-- it’s a way to lure in young kids with the mindset of idolization. They focus less on God, and more on what God created. This earth will wash away soon enough, then what’s the main focus? Our primary focus should be the Kingdom of Heaven – the main goal of our afterlife.

There are many other ways the devil tries to lure us in, even giving us one of our own to deceive us. If you’ve been reading my blog for quite some time, you’ll know that there are many people who come on here trying to throw guilt, shame and judgment upon me. If I was a weak person in faith, I would have taken on these negative emotions, and possibly draw further from God- thinking that He was a hateful and mean Creator. God does punish those who have evil hearts and evil desires—this I believe. However, God loves all of us who love Him. We also must be respectful to those around us. Does this mean we have to like every single person that comes our way? No. But, if we try our hardest to act humane to everyone, God sees our hearts.

Don’t you think that God wants you to enjoy life, without the feelings of guilt and self-loathing? I remember a good friend of mine who went through a dilemma regarding her lifestyle and how she viewed God. All her life, she knew she was a lesbian. She dated a girl for a few years and then came to the conclusion that being homosexual was absolutely wrong and an abomination in God’s eyes. I was okay with how she thought, because I didn’t judge her. If she thought this was ‘right for her’, who am I to say anything? The ironic part was, she condemned me for being with my partner of many years. She said that I was going to hell and how sinful it was to sleep in the same bed as my partner. The church she went to promised her a life of happiness and joy, if she would leave her current lifestyle as a lesbian. She had a wonderful girlfriend who she truly loved. The conflict between God and having a life partner lingered for a long time in her mind. Did she have to give up one or the other? In my opinion- no. She could have both, just like a man and woman.

She went through years of suffering. Even though she was professing heterosexuality and living what she called, “a normal life”, she went through a bad depression. She got married to a man in her church that had the same mindset. He was controlling and condemned anyone for doing humanly things. He was also a hypocrite, because he had a problem with drugs and alcohol as well as being unfaithful to her. He never mentioned that to anyone. My friend would tell me what he went through, and how awful she felt, because deep inside, she wasn’t happy. She said she was living a tortured life. Years later, she realized that the torture came from within the church and through the judgmental criticism of her husband. He was looked up to in the church and had a good reputation…except inside his own home. She was a battered housewife. No one ever suspected. It was a blessing they didn't have children.

My friend found a new church that accepted her as a ‘human’ and didn’t shower her with guilt and shame for who she was. They were non-judgmental, and treated everyone with love and respect. Sounds kind of familiar, since Jesus did the same when He was here on earth. If you feel negative emotions when you’re speaking about God, or hearing words from another person that’s negative and makes you feel all sorts of emotions that are completely depressing, remember, God doesn’t send messages that tear down. He sends us messages that edify and lift our spirits up. He gives us hope, joy and love. And yes, God does get angry. He gets angry with those who spread the seeds of hatred and guilt. He gets angry over the evil motives of other people.

True, there are a lot of misunderstandings in the bible; tons of contradictions. If you ask God for understanding, He’ll give you the gift to grasp the bible’s meaning, instead of just reading it. Some people will continually throw scriptures at you, but there’s always a counteracting scripture that can be thrown at them. But, my question is, why do Christians have to battle over God, when God is all about love? The scriptures are meant for us to learn, not to belittle, discourage or condemn.

We’ll never live in peace. We’ll never agree to disagree, because we’re strong in what we hold true in our hearts. The one thing we can try to do, is see things for what they are. If you’re ‘right with God’, then be happy about it. Don’t condemn others who live differently than you do. Live among them, you share the ‘earth’ with them for a very short time. Why battle? Life’s too short.

40 comments:

Dave said...

May i suggest that you read "Converstions with God" by Neale Donald Walsh. He says what you say and he gives thought provoking ideas to God, Love, Humanity and the human condition.

~Deb said...

Dave, I've read all of his books, however, although I agree upon a lot about what he has to say, I disagree upon most. There is a section where it says that it's okay to have sex with many people- just not out of reasons of power or money. I had a problem with grasping that as a good idea. But, overall, there were great messages in the book too. Thanks for stopping by!

Zoe said...

regarding the pentacle...
let me begin by stating my definite non-christian-ness. As with many people who take this stance, it is with the judgemental, condemning people who adopt the mantle of 'christianity', not with the teachings themselves per se that I have problems.
That said, (and let me also say that I don't consider you 'one of them', not from anything I've read that you've written), I agree neither with the woman in the antique store nor with you about the pentacle. I feel it is absolutely not the work of the devil (although, to profess belief in one of those presupposes belief in god, which I don't, so I couldn't believe that). My understanding is it sybolized earth, air, water, fire, and spirit, that which is non-tangible, which makes us uniquely us. That which is all around us, giving meaning. One of the great difficulties I've had with christianity since I was a little kid, is that it externalizes responsibility, morality, power, strength. I believe that if we 'own' these characteristics based on fear of reprimand, or hope of reward, we don't really posess them at all. We don't internalize and honor those characteristics. We play them out, but don't really know them. Only when we are answerable to ourselves for just and right action, is it in us. My children aren't kind to others because that is how god has called them to be. They are kind because they have experienced cruelty, and cannot ethically take responsibility for causing feelings of hurt and pain in another. They do good because they have a firm sense of rightness, and fairness, not because they are buying eternal whatever from the grampa in the sky. They are good people because they are good people... those characteristics have been internalized within them. They do not fear repercussion from without; they know they must wake each morning and look into their own eyes. They must be able to live peacefully with the person they find looking back.
To externalize the very world they live in as a place for exploitation and gain, without honoring the air they breathe, the water they drink, the earth that provides them food, and the fire that keeps them warm, they can have no hope to love and honor that which makes them who they are, the alive, loving beings, unique in the world; their spirit.

Nancy said...

Thank you for sharing this post. My relationship with God is quite personal and intimate and shouldn't be damaged, questioned, or affected by the words of others on their own journeys...I lose sight of that sometimes when I am feeling hurt or vulnerable.

xoxox

Sue said...

I also disagree with the stance that the pentacle is devil driven. In going through my own changes and difficulties in accepting who I am, I studied several different religions to find one that felt "me". I studied Wicca for awhile and found it to be a wonderful religion. While most see the focus to be on many gods and goddesses, the major focus has been on the earth. It is what nourishes each and every one of us in some shape or manner no matter what our religion is, no matter what our orientation is, no matter what our color is. I found that although Wicca was not the religion for me because I could not shake my belief in Jesus, I do still carry the reverence for the earth, ritual and many non-traditional teachings and healing modalities such as reiki. In my opinion, the fear of the pentacle is more superstitious than anything else, along the lines of black cats crossing your path. For me, when a black cat crosses my path, I buy a scratch ticket and inevitably win something. My friends who are wicca are so laid back and loving -- I have not seen a fundamentalist wiccan to date.

~Deb said...

I've always wondered why people who worship Satan use this symbol then. Why is it so big with worshipping Satan? Then, years later, it's known to be "good", because it's a symbol about respecting the earth. (Which I can understand- but at the same time, for me, the earth is a 'stepping stone'.) That's when I have to raise questions about the acceptance of the pentagram in many religions these days.

just me said...

I'm noticing a theme with your writing lately re: judgment... Wondering (only wondering, I could be totally off) if judgment from the church/other christians has "hooked you" or caused you pain in a way that you are still feeling: (?) sad, angry, fearful, voiceless... something like that about???

~Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Deb said...

Good question. The entire theme of my blog (aside from the stories about my wacky life) is to inform those who feel guilt and shame, is that it all stems from the devil. Ever since I got out of the bondage of negative ways of thinking, and drew closer to God, I feel more joy and happiness. I want everyone to have that same feeling. I want people to know that God loves them no matter what.

Zoe said...

re: those who worship satan using the pentacle.

If you look, those who worship satan turn it upside down. Wiccan use, there is one point at the top. Satanic use, the two lower points are at the top, so that the pentacle resembles a horned head. This is analogous to the Nazi use of the swastika by flipping this ancient symbol of peace around backwards, so that it represents the opposite of the original. Make sense? Those who worship satan also, remember, believe in god. otherwise they wouldn't be able to worship satan. Thus, they use a symbol of good and subvert it, as they also worship the opposite of good, and value the negative.
Although, I've known a few satanists too, and they would argue they worship freedom to do whatever one wants, not evil. At least the mainstream satanists. Of course, from a christian perspective, there's really no difference, because what one wants is often in opposition to what god wants. I think.
There's my 2 cents of an explanation.

~Deb said...

Thanks for explaining that, Zoe. I never knew Satanists turned the star upside down, just like the cross. Interesting.

Sue said...

And so many people are so fixated on the pentacle/pentagram symbol that they don't notice that subtle difference. As with any religion, I suppose there will always be some that will take it to extremes i.e. Satanists. But as Zoe said, in order to believe in Satan you must also believe in the Christian God. Most wiccans believe in many gods and goddesses (though I find more goddesses than gods) and pray to specific gods for specific needs. Satan is not in their repertoire.

TrappedInColorado said...

Hmmm.. I believe we are all part of "God"... including nature and the universe. Religions tend to teach to know OF God instead of knowing God. God is inside us all and is not an entity sitting up in the heavens writing down every transgression we perform and, in anger, sending punishments down on us. If there was a "devil", religion would be his greatest tool.

After all, the devil created Ketle One.

Anonymously Saying said...

I regret to say that my beliefs are towards Deb’s views. The pentagram has been known for millions of years to belong to the evil one.

They say,

“The pentagram has long been associated with mystery and magic. It is the simplest form of star shape that can be drawn unicursally - with a single line - hence it is sometimes called the Endless Knot. Other names are the Goblin's Cross, the Pentalpha, the Witch's Foot, the Devil's Star and the Seal of Solomon (more correctly attributed to the hexagram). It has long been believed to be a potent protection against evil and demons, hence a symbol of safety, and was sometimes worn as an amulet for happy homecoming. The potency and associations of the pentagram have evolved throughout history. Today it is an ubiquitous symbol of neo-pagans with much depth of magical and symbolic meaning.”

Magic is associated with witchcraft, which is associated with Satanism. Am I wrong in this assumption?

Leesa said...

You asked: "...why do Christians have to battle over God, when God is all about love? The scriptures are meant for us to learn, not to belittle, discourage or condemn."

Even in Jesus' time, this battle was going on. The parable about the greatest commandment? A battle over scripture. About who was right and wrong.

Me, I am more of a "big picture" person when it comes to the Bible.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love he Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:36-40

Matt-Man said...

I think people of all walks get to hung up and protective of not only symbols but specific doctrinal and denominational issues. I say that if you're Pentagram-Wearing Jew or a Crucifix-Wearing Swedenborgian, walk a rightgeous path and you'll be just ducky. Cheers!!

Enemy of the Republic said...

This is a great post, Deb. Shame and guilt are our biggest enemies when we walk the Christian path. It is not Jesus. I won't lie: I struggle a lot with both, but I know it is my problem, not God's. There is righteous conviction in your heart when you do something that displeases God and then there are the guiltmongers. The Catholic Church got rich off the guilt of so many; now many of the nutjob evangelicals want to do the same. Ugh!

Zoe said...

"Magic is associated with witchcraft, which is associated with satanism. Am I wrong in this assumption?"

I would argue that you are, partly because all belief systems incorporate ritual, which is a form of magic. Whether it is Catholic incense, or Holy Water to sanctify, or indeed prayer itself, it can be looked at as a form of 'magic'. Asking a supernatural spirit being to intercede on one's behalf, or show one the way, is ritual and magical at its base. Thus, magic is not in and of itself evil or negative. Again, anything of goodness can be turned on its head for opposite purposes. Witness the attrocities committed in the name of god, even now. (check out the westboro baptist church website if you haven't already). I think any belief system, or symbol can be inserted here for illustration.
So, yeah. Ritual and magic are kind of universal, it is just the definitions we place on symbols that determines whether we see them as good or bad, and how we define actions that determine if they are 'magic' or 'calling on god'. Again, every religion has ritual, which is, at base, magic.

Sorry if I get annoying. I teach sociology, and this stuff fascinates me! I'm all about looking at every possible interpretation of the situation. And, in my school of thought, there is no inherent value, truth or meaning to ANY symbol. It has no meaning until we humans decide to agree (or disagree) on what it means to us. Without agreement by a group of people, who can then share those meanings, any symbol is meaningless.

mmmkay. done

Gary Baker said...

I know that lots of symbols are associated with various things, though I don't believe any of them have intrinsic power. People tend to gravitate towards symbols as a matter of convenience. The pentacle for Wicca, the cross for Christianity. (Though my understanding is that for a considerable amount of time, the Christians did not use the cross as a symbol. Considering the associations with death and pain, I can understand that. It's far easier for modern Christians to look at the faith aspects associated while knowing that they will never be nailed to one literally.)

I don't look at Wicca as inherently evil, though I think it is easy for it to turn into that. I am not talking about evil as in magic or sacrifices, but in idolatry. The scripture that leesa quoted was pretty much right on in how God feels about our worship. He made it pretty clear that he will not share his glory with anyone.

Zoe,

While I don't want to be insulting, you and I have a basic philosophical difference. You believe that it is possible to be good apart from God. I do not. Without a set standard, as in the Bible, what meaning does goodness have? You talk about an innate sense of goodness that lets people get up and look themselves in the mirror and know they are good. My observation is that the only people that cannot look themselves in the mirror are the ones that know they have sinned and regret it. I have no doubt that the people that flew the planes into the World Trade Center, bombed the US barracks in Beirut, killed over 30 people at Virginia Tech, and any other number of despicable people have no trouble facing themselves in the mirror. During the inquisitions, people carried out murder and torture in the name of Christ, a thing he never thought of or commanded. And despite that, they still used him to justify their actions. Without a set standard, the best we can do is say that we are better than the other guy. Often, that isn't very good at all.

kathi said...

Although it's done out of love, God does admonish us. Doesn't feel good at the time, but God is the ultimate Father and He doesn't agree, approve or enjoy everything we do.
I've had people admonish me in ways that, at the time, may have seemed uncalled for, but most children don't appreciate being corrected. Looking back, I'm grateful that they were true to what God told them to do, because it got my attention.
There have been times in church the last 20 years that I felt very convicted, extremely uncomfortable, because I was in the wrong in areas that I needed to change. So, I don't believe that God's people only speak loving words...they may be very painful to hear sometimes, but they should always be said in love, and out of love.

I remember a long time ago when Mark and I were first married, we went through a period of time where everything went wrong. One thing after another, money...house...car...health, everything. Our neighbor who was a christian came over and told Mark he was sorry for all the troubles we were having and said "Mark, have you been faithfully tithing?" Mark was so mad, but that was a fight I'd had with him for a long time, he was greedy with money. Mark was so offended, and mad...but convicted all the same. We prayed about it and he began tithing faithfully, and slowy but surely things got better and better and better.
You know it had to be HARD for my neighbor to do what he did, but he was faithful to do what God told him to do. He admonished us and we were convicted...and it was the right thing to do.

Gary Baker said...

trappedincolorado,

Your statement "God is inside us all and is not an entity sitting up in the heavens writing down every transgression we perform and, in anger, sending punishments down on us" reflects the major idea that I find frustrating in people's perceptions of God. It isn't what God is threatening to do to us. Our own actions are what lead us to death. God is trying desperately to give us a pardon. This also goes to what matt-man wrote. Yes, if we could lead a righteous life we would be fine. Unfortunately, no one can. That's why we need a pardon. Once you accept the pardon, then you don't have to fear punishment and you really are free to do the good works that you are capable. Even better: you are empowered by God to do even more!

Natalia said...

Well the only devil I believe in is my car, Lucifer.

Other than that, I think all emotions are part of the human psyche. I think we must experience them all to see the full spectrum of emotions we are capable of. And every bad emotion teaches us something, not the least of which is how to really appreciate the other end of that emotional spectrum.

-N

kathi said...

Zoe, I understand what you're saying. It's like the rainbow becoming a symbol for homosexuality, the moon and stars became a symbol for new age. I remember having quarrels with my mom-in-law about having all these things in my kid's rooms when they were babies. She thought they were 'evil' and I said they're all beautiful creations of God.

I practiced witchcraft for several years in my late teens, early 20's. Studied Anton LaVey for years. The biggest difference I see from the two religions (withcraft and Christianity) is that one practices to advance oneself, the ultimate motive is to help oneself (withcraft), Christianity; the follower puts himself last and the ultimate motive is to help others.
Just one difference that I see, anyway.

Maddie said...

It is very true Deb in this day and age, many people due view the pentagram as "earthy" and naturalistic. It is easy to overlook its true meaning and difficult for those who do not have the spiritual eyes of discernment, that God freely gives when asked. Thank you for the in depth review. Very, very much needed post. Excellent!

Catch said...

why cant people just live and let live?

Miss 1999 said...

Deb-- this was once again, a wonderful post. I recommeded someone to your blog who has just "come out" to his mother-- and his cousin (one of my best friends) tonight. He is a Christian as well, and is having problems with himself-- feelings of guilt and confusion about being gay and loving God.

You've been a great inspiration to many (gay and straight) and I thank you for all you do!

Even though I don't get by as much as I used to, you're still in my thoughts and prayers, daily! *Hugs and Love*


To Anonymously Saying, "Magic is associated with witchcraft, which is associated with Satanism. Am I wrong in this assumption? "

Witchcraft and Satanism are two completely different things.

From my understanding of witchcraft, (IE: Wicca, ect), those who pratice this form of chosen religion do so with the "best of intentions"-- not wishing to harm others, but to live life in harmony with the earth and one another.

Satanists, believe in "do as thy will"-- meaning, do whatever the hell you want, screw the rest. They live life according to their own rules. There is no right or wrong to them. They do whatever they want. They worship NO ONE.

Satan Worshippers, obviously, worship satan, and follow in what they believe are his ways.

So, comparing Wiccans/Witchcraft to Satanist aren't exactly in the same ballpark-- unless you're saying that they aren't Christians or recognize God as the ultimate Creator (which, in that case would be true).


Hope that helps some.


*Note, I've never praticed any other religion other than Christianity, however, I have known many people of all different religions, and seen/read documentaries/literature about other religions to better educate myself.) :0)

The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

A thought provoking post - here is my thought. The earth and all the creatures upon it were created by God. And God looked upon all of it at each step of the creation and said that "it was good." We should honor the earth in the same way we honor one another and the other creatures with whom with share our temporal lives because all of it is of God and was created for good by God. That does not mean we should worship it, but we should honor it. If you have a chance, take a look at Sallie MacFague's "The Body of God."

Anonymous said...

The pentagram is one of the most powerful and popular symbols used by many Neo-Pagans, including those involved in Wicca and Ceremonial Magic. In working magic, Pagans may draw the shape of the pentagram in the air with the athame, or sacred blade, sometimes in the four directions as part of the ritual. A physical pentacle in the form of a flat disc is often the a main feature of the altar and is a widely used ritual tool. The symbol is used to decorate magickal tools or items such as a chalice, cauldron, or the handle of the athame itself. For some it represents feminine energy relating to the Goddess and may be used to bind elemental spirits of the earth as well as to hold consecrated objects such as herbs, amulets and crystals. The spoken or chanted text of a spell or invocation may be repeated five times to help insure its effectiveness. (3, 5, 7, 9 and 13 being some of the most commonly used repetitions in this context). The pentacle is worn both ornamentally and symbolically by many Pagans for protection and to signify that they are involved in the world of magick and divine wisdom.

It is interesting to note that five-fold symmetries are rarely found in non-organic life forms but are uniquely inherent to life, as in the form of the human hand, a starfish, flowers, plants and many other living things. This pattern of five exists even down to a molecular level. Five, therefore, embodies the form and formation of life, the very essence of life.

The pentagram is a very widespread sacred symbol used since ancient times in many areas including Egypt, India, Persia and Greece. Almost all cultures had a five-fold symbol, which was very important to their religious and spiritual life. The sacred nature of five, the important nature of "five-ness" is amply attested to in Celtic tradition from which much of modern Paganism is derived. Five appears in numerous Celtic contexts: Ireland had five great roads, five provinces and five paths of the law. The fairy folk counted by fives, and the mythological figures wore five fold cloaks.

In the ancient Irish tale, "Cormac's Cup of Gold", the hero "saw a royal fortress with four houses in it, and a bright well with nine ancient hazels growing over it. In the well, were five salmon who ate the nuts that dropped from the purple hazels, and sent the husks floating down the five streams that flowed therefrom. The sound of the streams was the sweetest music...The spring was the Well of Knowledge, and the five streams the five senses through which knowledge is obtained. No one will have knowledge who drinks not a draught out of the well itself or out of the streams. Those who are skilled in many arts drink from both the well and the streams."

In another part of the world, around 500 B.C.E.(Before Current Era) lived Pythagoras, an unparalleled scholar, teacher and leader renowned for his knowledge of arithmetic, music, government and sacred geometry. He tapped into the divine mysteries, and, like the ancient Celts, (and many Neo-Pagans) learned from and existed comfortably between both worlds.

Pythagoras set up a school where he taught many people, both male and female, who flocked to him in pursuit of divine knowledge. Unfortunately, the school was suppressed in a brutal fashion for political reasons. After this, his followers and the knowledge itself were forced underground, Pythagoreans considered the five-pointed star to be a symbol of life and of the divine human. Therefore, it became the secret sign of the pythagorean followers, "so that they may know each other, "

The Pythagorean schools continued on in secret and from this line of descent came the Gnostic and Hermetic Mystery Schools (which contained both men and women and were Christian to varying degrees), as well as the Masonic Guilds, expert stone-masons initiated into Mystery Schools learning which included sacred geometry. Even though the Church considered the Masons to be quite heretical, they hired them to build the most sacred structures in Europe- the great cathedrals-many of which contained pentagonal or five-fold symmetries. Parallel with Masonic culture were the alchemists of medieval Europe, scientists, philosophers and magicians, both male and female, who studied the mysteries of the Universe. These societies held onto this five-fold symbol which kept its positive, ancient attributes and signified hidden, luminous knowledge.

This ancient wisdom lived on underground through the mystery schools and other sources and continued throughout the Middle Ages up until modern times. However, because this Divine knowledge threatened the authority and power of the Church, those who pursued it and the symbols they used were severely persecuted.

The star of life, which had been a symbol of divine illumination, became stigmatized as a sign of heretical thought and eventually as something evil. These negative attributes were further reinforced by the use of the upside down pentagram by some satanic cults who are probably more "Anti-Christians" than "Pagans". as their beliefs are not those of most Neo-Pagan groups. Modern media continues to distort the meaning of the pentagram by showing it in both its upright and inverted position, yet portraying all who use it as evil.

In spite of this difficulty history, the symbol has survived, and continues to be used by those who uphold the search for divine knowledge. The sacred pentagram maintains its many wonderful and magickal ancient attributes and is still the symbol of life it has always been.

tkkerouac said...

very interesting post, I'm with Catch!

Zoe said...

Gary,

Just a thought... it would seem by this logic you are arguing that people such as Ghandi were not "good", as he did not believe in god. This is where I find difficutlty. There are so many people in the world who do not put themselves first, who do amazing good works, and yet do not profess a belief in god. Another sticking point is those who lived and died before christ, or those who lived in a part of the world that could not physically receive his message. Are they all punished eternally for being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Zoe

Gary Baker said...

Part of the problem is that we see things like "goodness" and "fairness" from a human perspective, which is inherently relative. I am "good" compared to Hitler (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it). God doesn't use a relative standard. When determining "good" he uses the absolute standard, which none of us can meet. The law was provided in the Old Testament mainly as a demonstration of God's standards and how people don't meet them. From that standpoint, we are all condemned. This condemnation is not through an act of God. It is by our own actions. There is no "being in the wrong place at the wrong time." All have sinned. Period.

However, since God is merciful, he gives us the opportunity to move beyond the legal standard. The answer is faith. He says if you have faith, you will be saved. This is not the same as belief. As the scriptures say, demons believe in God, and tremble in fear. Faith involves not just belief in God, but belief in what he says. I have no idea what a person who has never heard the Gospel needs to do to show that faith. I suppose that they have to earnestly seek God's presence in their life. For the people like us in America, the choice is a good deal more clear. We have been given the scriptures. We can show our faith by believing what God says about himself and his Son, and enter into a relationship with him.

This is quite a stumbling block for many people. They say they belief in God, but they don't believe what he says. Instead of worshipping him as he desires, they substitute their own views. In short, they are not trying to honor God's views, but their own.

I believe that Gandhi was a good man, as far as men go. I think that God thinks that's great, but it is not really what God is after. What he is after is for you to know him. He wants that deep, intimate relationship with you.

Look at it from this standpoint. Say that you had two children. One was great at everything. Art, science, music, you name it. He was pretty aloof, though. In fact, he never even acknowledge you as a parent. The other child was pretty average. The first child moved out as soon as they could, and went on to well deserved fame and fortune. The other really tried, but wasn't very talented. In fact, he couldn't even move out of the house, but in all things he honored you as a parent and was grateful for everything you gave them and always tried their best to please you. In short, he really cherished the relationship. If both of them came to you in a time of need, which one would likely get your love and mercy?

~Deb said...

” However, since God is merciful, he gives us the opportunity to move beyond the legal standard. The answer is faith. He says if you have faith, you will be saved. This is not the same as belief. As the scriptures say, demons believe in God, and tremble in fear. Faith involves not just belief in God, but belief in what he says. I have no idea what a person who has never heard the Gospel needs to do to show that faith. I suppose that they have to earnestly seek God's presence in their life. For the people like us in America, the choice is a good deal more clear. We have been given the scriptures. We can show our faith by believing what God says about himself and his Son, and enter into a relationship with him.”

And this is exactly my point with each post regarding religion. (Which I dislike calling.) Faith saved the sinful woman, while Jesus was in her presence. Her faith alone saved her- not her good deeds or obeying the law. Jesus saw her heart and motives- although she was seen as an immoral woman.

I truly believe that each person who believes in the trinity has his or her own personal relationship with Him. Each one has a different mission in life and each person interprets the bible in many ways. God talks to us through scripture. For you, it may mean something else, to me- the message may come through in another light. If we all had the same message and abided by each rule of thumb, we’d all be the same. There has to be a balance in all of us.

Gary,

The story you told of the two children, one going off to succeed and the other staying close to home was a beautiful example of what I’m trying to point out. It hit close to home actually. With a deep connection and love for God, we have grace through the Lord for our loyalty- being there with Him, being faithful and loving towards Him and to others. Our ‘good deeds’ without faith are invisible. It’s meaningless. There’s a big difference between sinning by nature, and sinning with an evil heart. Those who tear down someone’s spirit, and those who edify and uplift someone through conviction.

I firmly believe that we have to be careful how we treat others. If we can just look at the ‘big picture’ and not just a small scope of what we choose to view, we can understand that we’re all in this together. Who’s to say who’s a “good man” or not? Humans literally CANNOT judge- due to human limitations.

And back to the point of the post- there are people who will come across as ‘holy’, and will tell you part truth, and part lies, in order to make it look appealing. I believed that with the book of “Conversations With God”. It told people they could have sex with anyone at anytime (promiscuity), unless it was for reasons of power and money. Unfaithfulness was okay. There were many other points of the book, which revealed many things that were bad for us, yet, looked appealing the way they brought it across. I believe the same applies to the pentacle. It brings forth goodness, yet, with a history of worshipping Satan first.

As a Christian, I’ve struggled with the concept of sin and what the scripture says. I read the bible inside and out, trying to grasp the true meaning of it---the best I can. I came to God, with all I had. Gave him 110% of myself. I asked for wisdom and understanding before I picked up the bible each time I read. Amazingly enough, I read the bible with clear eyes. I read the message God gave to me. With spiritual experiences through the Lord and the relationship that I have developed with God, there is absolutely no way for a mere human to come up to me and say, “This is the truth,” when I heard from God myself that the truth was totally different from theirs.

In conclusion, what God has pointed out to them may have a WHOLE other purpose altogether. So, believing in that alone leaves me to have a great respect for what they believe. If they believe that homosexuality is a sin, then it’s a sin. If they believe not going to church on the Sabbath day is a sin, then it’s a sin to them. Who am I to judge? I’m only human. God has those rights…not me…not them…not anyone.

In this Scripture found in Romans 14:1-4, it says this:
"Accept Christians who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it is all right to eat anything. But another believer who has a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won’t. And those who won’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord’s power will help them do as they should."

Irisi said...

Booyaka! There are a lot of posts here, so I didn't read all the comments, and someone else has probably already said what I'm thinking.

Re: Witchcraft = Satan worship
Witches don't even believe in Satan. The idea that Witches are all Satan worshippers came about while attempting to convert Pagans to Christianity, years and years ago. I would not even include Satanism under the umbrella term of "Pagan/ Earth Based Faiths" because most Pagan faiths are focused on community, growth, and giving back to the world, whereas Satanism is focused on individual growth at the expense of others.

Re: "It scares me that many people have adopted the five-pointed star, in order to show their love for the earth."
It was not adopted to show the love for the earth, since times before Christianity the pentacle has been a symbol of protection and fertility. Part of the process of demonizing pagans for conversion included labelling them Satan worshippers, and hence the pentacle was, like the swastika by Hitler, demonized as well.

Re: Inverted pentacles
Well, many satanists use inverted pentacles as their symbol to symbolize the perversion of the pagan beliefs, but it is also the single of a second initiate priestess in many of the more high ritual pagan faiths. So, basically, keep context. The inverted cross can stand for Satanists, or for the cross of Saint Peter, depending on who's wearing it and what value they instill into it.

Re: Earth is a transitory place, earth worship is useless
Well, This is all really a matter of opinion. There is a lot of evil in this world, but there is a lot of good in it as well. And really, this evil vs good dichotomy is really complicated to try and work with. There are many shades of grey. Earth worship is not inherently evil because it has different roots and ideas than Christianity. Well, I could write a whole novel on this topic so lets just leave it at that: different ideas are not necessarily bad.


For full disclosure:

I have been a practicing pagan for six years, and it has been key in improving my life immensely, an getting me to a position where I can not just help myself, but help others as well.

I mention the conversion of pagans to christianity, which was a bloody and terrible time, but may I remind everybody that we all have blood on our hands. The Pagans used to feed Christians to lions, remember? If we are constantly holding one another accountable for the ill actions of our ancestors, we will constantly live in hatred of every other human we come in contact with. Thus, I only mention the conversion to provide historical context to common misconceptions.

Brightest blessings!

Gary Baker said...

Irisi,

I would gage paganism and Christianity as having irreconcilable differences. Under Christian law, Earth worship is categorized as inherently evil, simply because it gives worship to anything other than God. There is also the whole "shades of grey" thing. I am not saying that I believe pagans are any worse than anyone else from a good vs. evil standpoint. I am saying that I don't think the religion holds any power with regards to salvation or eternity.

Seven said...

There is no devil. No Satan. There is only the inarticulate and improper use of free will.

Gary Baker said...

Seven,

As a rather fundamentalist Christian, I disagree with your points of course. I find it interesting, however, that you link them together, as though some type of dependency is assumed. While I accept that Satan helped to get the ball rolling, people are certainly capable of doing things warranting punishment without his direct involvement. A more interesting subject, from my perspective anyway, is what constitutes an "improper use of free will." Absent an absolute standard of right and wrong, does the statement really have any meaning?

Queenie said...

Very thought provoking, thanks for sharing.

QUASAR9 said...

lol Deb,
it is hard not
to live on Earth
and love the things of the flesh

Neers said...

pentagram isnt bad!
why cant all of us... live happily with ourselves?? accept ourselves as we are!! :)

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