Divine abandonment of the reprobate.

This interesting thread reminds me of a topic I heard in a Greek monastery concerning God’s abandonment of certain individuals to a reprobate mind http://bible.cc/romans/1-28.htm There is an analogous verse in the Qur’an about how Allah will blind the eyes and stop the ears of the unbeliever so that their condemnation may be increased. On the other hand Paul seems to acknowledge “gifts differing” and a tolerance for diversity “let those who fast and those who eat do so for the glory of God” and his saying that “I shall become all things to all people so that by any manner some might be saved.” Now it seems to me that the parable of the sower of seeds clearly instructs us that not every seed would take proper root but perhaps only 1 in 4 (if one wants to be literal and fundamentalist.) I for one have never viewed someone like Paul as “the sock puppet of God” falling into some kind of trance and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through him which (if I am correct) would mean that each Biblical author is a subjective author stating things from their own human perspective and describing their own personal experience of the Divine in a very subjective manner. Maximus the Confessor took exactly the opposite position from Aquinas in the Summa regarding which comes first, understanding or faith. Maximus sees faith as a gift from God which God gives to some and not to others and gives in varying degrees and gives with a foreknowledge from His pre-eternal vantage point of how each individual will receive the gift of faith through their free will cooperation. Understanding develops only after the gift of faith and only as much understanding as might be salvific for a certain individual in certain circumstances. Such a view accounts for what it might mean for God to harden Pharaoh’s heart ten times. Aquinas on the other hand sees understanding as prior and from understanding proceeds faith or belief which explains why Aquinas quotes from Aristotle so often while the Greek patristic writers of the early centuries ignore Aristotle and the other pagan philosophers. Aquinas’s view as well as those such as Anselm who construct PROOFS of God’s “existence” seem to put religion on an equal footing with mathematical proof such that any reasonable person might be forced to believe as the result of some syllogistic line of reasoning.

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O.K. admittedly this is from a different Facebook thread:

One would not easily guess that Eisenhower thought in such terms. It was not until his first inauguration that Eisenhower was baptized. Rev. Billy Graham discovered that Eisenhower had not been baptized and inquired as to the “why.” Eisenhower explained “Well, I have been rather busy lately.” It has been observed that neither Eisenhower nor Reagan were particularly religious but chose to use religion to combat the Communist threat which they saw as atheist. I see Reagan as a somewhat simple but sincere person who felt that the end justified the means and that the Communist foe must be defeated by any means whether neutron bombs or whether it was supporting religious movements which might not be all that wholesome or pure in their agendas or all that conducive to fundamental notions of free speech, press and peaceful assembly. I suspect thats why Reagan so easily became entangled in the Iran-Contra scandal.

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Yet another thread: I have spent several years all together in New York City working around Orthodox Jews and I know from first hand experience that there are some who are quite middle class small business owners who work very hard and struggle to make ends meet. Then of course there are many very wealth Jews. I never attend parties or groups unless I am absolutely forced because I only enjoy interacting with single individuals in lengthy conversations and I have come to much prefer Internet exchanges. I am more comfortable with conversation as an exchange of small essays which has only become possible with the advent of message boards, instant messaging and social networking. I am very reluctant to tell lies for a complex variety of reasons although I am not incapable of telling a lie when it comes to some issue of self-preservation. But then I am hardly typical or representative and the fact that I do not fit the typical mold in so many ways has a lot to do with why I am a financial and career failure.

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