Sunday, February 5, 2017

Conversations About Things That Matter To God

By Raymond Cooper

Humans more often than not are conscious that there is a supreme being. The concept of some sort of god is found in most cultures, although more modern philosophies may be dedicated to the idea of a godless universe governed by chance. However, anyone having conversations about things that matter to God has presumably accepted that God is an entity mindful of man and the things of the earth. So, the question to start with is perhaps: what does matter to God?

Someone who feels that divinity is in everything will have to look inside for revelation. Their belief will depend on feelings about what is right and wrong, or true or false. Since people are invariably subjective to a degree, this probably happens anyway. However, many people arrive at a faith that comes partly from ancient sacred writings and partly from their own experience. This is called New Age philosophy and may incorporate almost anything.

A good example of this is the idea that there is a code of conduct and failure to comply result in punishment in some sort of hell. Many people like the idea of a loving spirit and can't accept that such a one could condemn its own creation to eternal torment. They therefore accept the love but deny the judgement. This in essence also denies the standards of right and wrong, or at least finds mitigating circumstances for wrongdoing.

You can see why some common ground is necessary before conversation can be meaningful. If sin matters to God as much as the Bible says it does, conduct will be an important topic. Those who choose to believe that the Lord of the Bible has defined Himself will base their arguments on scripture. Others may choose to believe what they are comfortable with, what makes sense to them, what makes them feel good.

There are many who point to archaeological proof for the Bible as history and it's preservation as witness to it's special character. Others are skeptical that anything made by man can meet this standard. There is a wide division between those who stand on scripture and those who find it irrelevant. This can spark great discussions if people can 'keep their cool'.

It is necessary to have two or more participants for true conversation. A certain amount of common ground is also needed. It is easier for two Christians to talk about things which are spiritually significant than it would be for a Christian and a New Age devotee who's seeking guidance and help in crystals.

Some enjoy studying the Bible in an effort to understand God and his expressed will. They are comfortable with helping the poor, since this is a recurring commandment. Discussions of how best to implement this and other obligations are both enjoyable and productive. Those with no one to talk to can listen to Christian talk radio and call in if they want to participate more deeply.

The Bible teaches believers to talk about the things of God. The Book of Ephesians is full of guidance about what constitutes worthy discourse. If spiritual life is important to someone, he or she won't be loath to enter into discussion about it.

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