God Does Not Care If You Are Happy or Not

This title is about a post today at Christianpost.com.  I’m not sure I paraphrased it exactly right, but that’s how I read it.

The post reflects what in sports metaphor is “sharp elbows”, a basketball term.  This is not about basketball, it’s about religion.

Joel Osteen, the very popular preacher,  says the God/Jesus wants everyone to think well of themselves.  The God wants you to be prosperous and enjoy it.

The attached article, aimed at Osteen, says something else.  The correct Christian message is not about feeling good.  It is about sin and the forgiveness of sin and not much else.

Thus, this view says, people who say accepting the faith took them from being miserable to being happy are misinterpreting things.  They have merely been forgiven for their sins, period.  Jesus wanting them to be Osteen happy about their lives is not part of the deal.

Part of this, too, is whether or not their is a hell that punishes sinners.  Osteen’s view of the faith omits this downer message.

Both sides can quote scripture to defend what they preach.  The sharp elbows come into the picture when on side starts making inroad into the others market.  That seems to be happening.

The Osteen and Osteen clones have huge and, apparently, growing fans.  Their message is uplifting and popular. The Christian Bible leaves open the question of who is right.

Even when sharp elbows are used, there is no ref to blow a whistle.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-man-at-the-bottom-82103/

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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47 Responses to God Does Not Care If You Are Happy or Not

  1. Henry says:

    Jon: “God Does Not Care If You Are Happy or Not”

    I don’t believe you are right again, Jon.

    Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

    James 5:13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.

    I often hear people sing songs of praise. I can’t imagine the Lord would not care for this.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 1:51 The post covers, to some degree, the attachment. That author is trying to separate the “true” faith from imposters like Osteen. Osteen is trying to separate the true faith from imposters like the attachment author. Trying to say I am “not right again” does not apply. I don’t think there is evidence to support either brand of god.

      • Henry says:

        Jon: “Trying to say I am “not right again” does not apply.”

        You do not claim your own headline? Ok. I’d be a little embarrassed as well.

        • entech says:

          What I find most embarrassing is when you don’t close the tags properly and your whole post is in italics.
          Worse, I remember leaving a bold tag open and not only mine but the rest of the posts were in bold.

          • Henry says:

            I must compliment you on focusing on minutiae as opposed to substance. You are very detail oriented having the ability in seeing the vascular cambium, but cannot find your way out of the forest.

          • entech says:

            Compliment accepted, I would only suggest that there is no substance. Mathews words about the relative value of a human and a sparrow do not indicate any sign of happiness or if any entity cares about happiness.

            I must confess I have learned a lot from you.

          • Henry says:

            Matthew also doesn’t declare God cares about your feet with ten toes and hands with ten fingers. Although it is implied. Your reading of it would indicate God is only concerned about numbering the hairs on everyone’s head. Clearly, this isn’t the context. The trees/forest won over you once again.

          • entech says:

            Oh, you are writing as if this entity actually exists and cares for each and every one of his creatures that survived his earlier attempt to drown them all?

          • Henry says:

            He cares.

          • entech says:

            As always, whatever you say Henry, whatever you say.

  2. Paul says:

    Respectfully I’m confused by Jon’s comments … but am just flabbergasted by sparrows following to the ground and the like … can we all speak more clearly and with more logic?

    Oh, right, logic has no place in right wing Christianity … sorry … forgot that.

    Sparrows … got it. Following like snowflakes.

    • Henry says:

      Sparrows following? Following who? Please tell.

      • entech says:

        The talk of sparrows comes from you, no one else has mentioned them except Paul asking about them. You say, “please tell” So be told, just this once, for a change.

        • Henry says:

          If you didn’t notice, Paul was unclear, the very item he complained of others. Please allow him some room to clarify “sparrows following” (his addition).

          • entech says:

            I thought Paul was very clear he found Jon’s comments confusing (or perhaps he would have been more clear if he had said ‘confused’, subtle difference but your razor sharp mind would be needed to discern the difference – was he himself confused by Jon’s words, or, did he think Jon was confused, not fully aware of the subject, when he was writing them.
            Your own post was unclear due to the formatting and the way the lines ran together, falling/following so what the “flabbergasted” would more likely because of the unrelated remarks you were making. see also 12:42

            I think you were stretching to make an attack and let yourself down, don’t try so hard – Jon does give grounds for a valid and vehement contradiction of his position, be patient wait for the good moment, it will have more impact and you will not look silly and cause people to be flabbergasted.

            Paul, if I have misrepresented you I apologise.

          • Henry says:

            Thank you for that long, windy dissertation. Please allow Paul to clarify “sparrow follows” (again, his addition). I am not flabbergasted by your behavior.

          • entech says:

            I am sure Paul will clarify, if he hasn’t been driven away by the nonsensical analysis we have made.
            The reality could just as well be that he was let down by his spell checker, mine comes up with some amazing alternatives and it is so easy to flick the mouse on the wrong one.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            entech 1:13 I’ve been wondering what poster Paul was referring to when he found something I wrote confusing. Perhaps Paul was left wondering if I was serious in inquiring of Wanna about the “conditions” of bondage and hardened heart. I was being facetious in asking Wanna–they are silly concepts apparently taken from “experts” in the Bible.

          • Henry says:

            entech: “he was let down by his spell checker”

            I was unaware there was a spell checker feature.

          • entech says:

            There are many things you are unaware of Henry. When everything has to be squeezed through the sieve of scripture a lot gets lost.

          • Henry says:

            The preceeding is nonsiquitur, but I’ll bite.
            Thank God for the gift of spell check. It is beneficial to the good of those who use it. Please tell how it is in this blog. I haven’t seen a tab for it.

          • entech says:

            Admittedly it does not follow from sparrows, but it does follow from everything you say.

            Spell check. no Tab for spell check it is automatic.
            I really would have expected you to have noticed this.
            Click on reply to any post.
            Type in something deliberately misspelled.
            press the space bar to go on ready for the next word.
            notice that the wrong word is underlined in red.
            position the mouse over the word and right click.
            a list of suggested spellings is presented.
            click on the one you want.
            Note if you are being a bit quick it is possible to select the wrong word and although it is now a correctly spelled word it is not the word you meant, if you don’t notice the wrong word is used in the post.
            Alternatively if you use a word processor that will have a spell checker built in, mine is set for British spelling so sometimes the ‘z’ and ‘s’ can be different, I realise that this is so but let it go.

  3. entech says:

    The article Jon quotes is from Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free.

    So if we have free will and “he” wants us to be free it follows we must suffer. It is true that he does not care if you are happy, just ask Job.

  4. Avatar of Kevin Kevin says:

    We are all in purgatory.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      The earliest (and viable) usage of “purgation” (purgatory) was in the area of Church discipline. Not discipline in today’s understanding, but more on the order of respectfull correction. for instance; if one admitted to, or was caught in a “sin”, like stealing, he/she was recommended to pay back or return what was stolen. The victim publically or privately forgave the guilty one, and life went on. Not sure in matters like murder or rape, etc. . But this was a matter of the local church, not civil. The civil side would have been less tender. They would have probably murdered or raped you back.

  5. Michael Ross says:

    “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15)

    “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
    A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4)

    • entech says:

      “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.”
      (Ecclesiastes 3:14)
      Hard to be happy when you are expected to live in fear.

      • Michael Ross says:

        “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, That one may avoid the snares of death.”(Proverbs 14:27)

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Michael 2:41 Proverbs 14:27

          That passage does kind of summarize one thread of the faith–being scared and miserable gets you to heaven.

          Joel Osteen is a different thread.

          • Stan says:

            I am neither scared or miserable and I have faith on where I am going. I WAS fearful and miserable when I was making decisions which hurt others and were selfish but since reading the New Testament a number of times I have changed many of the ways I react. If sometimes I may seem a little out a upon, I have to admit I am still maturing.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Stan 10:41 Your happiness should cause concern for you soul. That’s what I took from Michael’s scripture. (Actually, I hope you ignore it and remain happy.) : )

          • Stan says:

            Not only that but helped another 20 people on the road to happiness a week ago. Keep telling you Jon, when they accept the Lord their troubles don’t disappear but seem mighty minute compared to heaven.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Stan 2:32 “20 people on the road to happiness..”

            I’m glad you could help them. I experience a few new people all the time who ask if there are any others out there who do not believe. Like you, I’m always pleased to my them happy, or, happier than they were.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; “The fear of the Lord” IN BIBLICAL CONTEXT, is—”"Reverence, awe, great respect, true piety. Conjoined with love and hope. Not a slavish dread, rather a filial reverence.”" You and others take a shallow knee-jerk biased interpretation of the contemporary use of the word “fear”. Simply do a word search of “Fear of the Lord-Bible”. Don’t be lazy now.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 3:05 “You and others take a shallow knee-jerk biased interpretation of the comtemporary use of the word ‘fear’.”

            Ah yes. We do that, as Christians do. Christians don’t like to see the ancient references to two men in any way except the contemporary concept of homosexuality. And, they don’t want to take the norms of the time of Jesus to see he probably had a wife.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Cute spin to go off topic.

            Re: “Probably had a wife”; Didn’t read the whole article by King, or other credable experts on the subject did you? Jumping to conclusions and speculations again, the same as you do with “fear”.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            And I’m surprised, ( Not really), that Entech, the expert on the English language, and familiar with middle English, (shakespeare), conveniently does not make the correction of the context of “fear”. He has been generous with many great words of wisdom related to the correct use of words in the past. Not now, since the evidence would go against the argument FOR unbelief. Not only bound will, but purposeful, which is worse.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            He would be participating not in “comission,” but “omission”. equally as bad, but more deceptive.

          • entech says:

            I must confess to being a little bored lately, as a foreigner I am not entitled to a voice in any political debate and this looks like increasing until the election. So looking back on a couple of old topics I see friend Wanna has crept in while I slept with a devastating putdown. I had, more or less, decided that it was becoming increasingly futile to try and get any sense out of him. However, I will try, one more time.

            Middle English was quite a varied thing from Northumberland to London it was almost a different language. Up to about 1480 – when the use of the printing press started to see a standardisation
            Shakespeare wrote mainly around 1600 by which time English had become intelligible to the modern reader. The language of Shakespeare’s day is called early modern English

            Middle English is unreadable to a modern English speaker.
            I haue lerned that alle werkis, whiche God made, lasten stidfastli til in to with outen ende; we moun not adde ony thing to tho, nether take awei fro tho thingis, whiche God made, that he be dred.

            I have learned that all the works, that God made, last steadfastly unto without end; we may not add anything to those works, neither take away from those things, which God made, that he be dreaded

            Ecclesiastes 3:14 – first in middle English (John Wycliffe died 1384) and then a word for word modernisation.

            Dread (dred in middle English, dreden in old English) does mean “fear and dread”.
            ___________________________________________________________

            In what way could I make the correction of the context of “fear”. perhaps if you explained what you meant? but fear is fear.

            The rest of post(s) lack any sense:
            generous with words of wisdom this is fine, I am afflicted with pedantry.
            evidence against unbelief what relevance has the definition of fear have to do with belief?
            bound and purpose Do you mean a wilful refusal to accept the truth of your words? then yes, is it my purpose to argue against their validity? yes again.
            Having said that I am now “committed”, Have I left anything out? any omissions?

            Next time try , at least, to get the time period correct.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            So the time period may have been off a bit. (My copy of Shakespeare is a quite early version, and it does not read as easily today as it would have then, yet you didn’t broach the main subject of the earlier understanding of “the FEAR of the Lord.” (mostly from the KJV. Many words on your part, but mostly unrelated to the subject at hand, other than to go off topic———–again. I am reminded of the word “Guile”- – Insidious cunning in attaining a goal. Crafty deception.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Entech; If you know so much about the older word usage, (there, feel better now?) why didn’t you clarify the earlier use of the word “fear of the Lord”, or was it better for your cause just to ignore it? Since you like to be so precise in these matters, (and like the world to know,) one would expect more from you. More guile?

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            In fact, I used to be a pretty good schpeller untill I read this version. After I got done reading it all, my spelling never recovered fully. The first KJ versions are equally difficult, both in words, and spelling.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            The readers of the time would not have had such a problem though. They would have understood the then common usage., (if they could read).

          • entech says:

            Sorry, must have skipped over (failed to read properly) an earlier post of yours – fear in biblical context.
            Still the same answer, fear and dread are still what they are, your bible can mean anything you want it to mean, doesn’t make it true.

            Isn’t there a bit in Genesis somewhere that has God telling Noah that all the animals will regard humans with “fear and dread”, when faced with a charging Lion I would be more reassured by the iron bars of a cage than the words in some musty old book, Lions can’t read anyway.

            But please, enough is enough.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Our Entech has a problem with the context of “fear of the Lord”, and conveniently so. Synonyms of guile= Cunning, trickery, fraud, crafty, slyness, see deceit, Again do a word search of “the fear of the Lord”.

        • Henry says:

          Michael, I agree. Reverence for the Lord is a wonderful thing. Not scary in the least.

  6. Henry and Michael Ross…you are “right on” but quoting scripture to Unbelievers is like casting pearls before swine. Jesus’ own words in the Gospel of Matthew(7:5 and 6) “Hypocrite! First remove the plank in your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Do not give what is holy to the dogs;
    nor cast pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you into pieces”
    Now I am “casting pearls” but many times we who are B elievers feel like we are being trampled and torn to pieces by the Atheists who elevate their own arrogant selves to “be as gods”.

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