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Tamir



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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Location: Israel

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Squeeself wrote:
And yes, most of the time, jealous isn't the best word for the translation, especially since we've lost some of the alternate meanings of jealous over the centuries. Though zealous isn't quite right either from what Squee remembers.

Well. I'm not quite pretentious enough to claim that it's a perfect translation, and I'm not even sure it's a better one than what I quoted. But at least I can back up my translation a little:

The word being translated here is "Kano", spelled Kuf-Nun-Alef. It comes from the root "Kana", spelled the same. Now, that root has two branches, one meaning jealousy (Kin'a) and one meaning zeal (Kana'ut). Modern Hebrew has well-defined usages for both branches, neither of which include the biblical "Kano". So interpreting it as "zealous" as opposed to "jealous" isn't just taken out of nowhere.

I take the word to say something about the fierceness with which God cares about the actions of humans, that He doesn't hesitate to punish those who worship idols and doesn't hesitate to reward those who follow His commandments. (Human characteristics of God are of course not literal.)
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Lani



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*pats Tamir on the back*

nice. ^_^


My take on predestination is where it comes from in the Authorized version--
Romans 8:29--

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."

What G-d "predestines," in this sense, is that it is always a primary of our Father, as Christians, that we become more like Christ. In my head, it's kind of the main point-- hence why we're called Christians (first at Antioch... the most literal translation is "little Christs").

Christians are "predestined" to become more like Christ, because that's what G-d wants for all of us. We're not forced to. We can choose to live for ourself, or we can choose to dedicate ourselves to a cause greater than us. The predestination doesn't take away from that choice, it is just a goal that exists for each of us.


Like I could have a goal of losing 10 pounds this year. Does that take away from my choice to eat the cheesecake? Obviously not. ^_^ I can choose to stick to my goal, or I can choose to deviate. Also, if my parent's goal is to send me to Harvard, I can choose to go along with that-- or not. Goals don't take away the necessity of choice.




Speaking of the freedom of choice... here:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2010/02/freedom_from_free_will.html


What do you guys think of that? It kind of blew me out of the water and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. It's not that I haven't heard this argument before, I've just never heard it put so... forcefully.
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Nem



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thatís roughly the way I always remember thinking about free will, the old fork argument. I think Tam asked at some point whether it was possible to imagine something that was neither random nor caused.

Heh, I keep trying to come up with a response to this stuff but the rest of this post is a bit of a mess ^_^

Tamir wrote:
So, we're talking about injustice. Your claim, I suppose, is that it's unjust for God to be biased towards people who love him and against people of other religions. Morality should be the same for all people, regardless of who or what they believe in. Also, people should be held accountable for their own actions, not those of others. Something like that?

A common explanation for why idolatry is forbidden is ingratitude. If you've been given life by God, and then go on to worship the sun, then you aren't being properly grateful to your creator. In fact, you're insulting the creator by thanking the sun for what the creator gave you.

As for children being punished for the sins of their fathers - Rashi (most famous of the bible commentators) says that the verse is referring to children who hold on to the ways of their fathers, as children often do. The asymmetry between the good and the bad here (four generations compared to a thousand) shows the mercy of God - though he won't really punish children for the sins of their fathers, he will reward them for the good deeds of their fathers. Even today, standard Jewish prayers often lean on the virtues of their forefathers for help from God.

Jealous is much better translated as zealous, I think.


My argument went something like:

People should not be punished or neglected for their mistakes. Punishment serves to alter a personís intentions, but if their intention was not in error to begin with and simply arose from a deficit in knowledge then to punish them makes no sense. Equally there might be a certain argument to be made for allowing people to make mistakes and experience limited consequences from them, (though I would question, of someone who made such an argument, what the point of learning from that mistake would be other than to prevent some other mistake the child might make when they were not around,) that still seems to be an extremely limited license. It would not, for example, warrant letting a kid play with a loaded gun while you leave the room; the potential costs would be too high to be justified.

While itís possible to take offence at many things itís unwise to take offence where none is meant. To perform the act of insulting someone requires that you desire they take insult from it. If you donít think something exists, or donít hold that desire conditional to their existence, (You might desire that if a given thing existed that it would take offence. Though I doubt many of the people worshipping alternate gods seriously think that way since theyíre so often mutually exclusive.) Then you canít desire that it take insult for in the desiring you would affirm its existence.

It seems then that thereís a distinction between the idol worshiping that someone who believes in god might indulge in, and the worship of someone who is simply mistaken as to a matter of fact; and that while punishment for the former may be justified by a, necessarily wilful, insult the latter offers no such warrant.

Tenshi wrote:
[...]

Hope this helps, Nem!


Thanks, Ďtis something to think about ^_^

In a way that trust part is a very large bit of the problem, in terms of analytical integrity Iíd require that the system be at least internally consistent but on the faith side... Iíve got no idea what that sort of thing feels like. I can say that someoneís likely to do a thing and there are people I feel affection for; but at the same time you always maintain a reserve on the chance that they donít act in your interests. Is it really trust when youíre constantly preparing to be betrayed; does affection approach what people mean by love when you know you can turn it off and live in the moment if you have to? I donít imagine thatís what people mean somehow =p Never gone out with someone romantically for entirely that reason; everythingís planned, everythingís controlled. You work it out, and without spontaneity it all feels like a trick; somehow disingenuous. One of my friends expressed that lack of spontaneity by claiming I didnít have a soul; there may be some truth in that if a soul is something you win by struggle, and if struggle stems from things going awfully wrong rather than from overcoming stuff through deliberated effort.

Edit: Although I suppose if you accept the idea that trust is a spectrum rather than a binary state... though it then becomes much more difficult to explain exactly what trust is in the context of faith. When you're doing systematic philosophy you want to come up with an explanation that looks vaguely Theory_X shaped at the end of it. If you build your concept of trust on probability, as I'd be inclined to do, then by the time you end up speaking about the divinity of whoever you're still saying that there's a chance that ... assessed against the chances of ... & ... etc.

Kant, IIRC, expressed a very similar idea to your own Ė that you become righteous by doing righteous acts, kind by doing kind acts Ė would that make the expression of faith in godís love in man love for other people? That aspect certainly makes me reluctant to be around a lot of the more formalised religions. The concepts of a rich person of compassion can have a very strange set of feelings associated with them. Yet if you buy into Lao Tzuís idea that you make people happy and safe by filling their guts and emptying their minds the extreme alternative doesnít really feel very desirable either Ė although maybe thatís just a selfish aesthetic.

spellingmistax wrote:
Do you believe that I exist as a person? Could I not be a ĎStraw maní made up by another member of this forum? In this forum, can you point to a post and say that this is absolute proof that Spellingmistax is not ________*?** You cannot, you can only be sure that ĎIí am not you. You can give great arguments leaning for one side or another but proof based on posts? not really. Ultimately you will have to take it as a matter of faith that I am a different person then everyone else currently active on this forum. So it is with the existence of G-d. Except for the fact that is a vastly more complicated issue, it essentially boils down to this. I cannot give you the undisputable proof that you require that he exists, only the disputable reasons why I think he does. (Trust me; what convinced me will not convince you.) It is highly unlikely that my belief in the existence of G-d will be undeniably proven one way or the other until after I die. By which piont I will know and it will become moot.


You could be a puppet of another; you might even be a part of my own mind that Iíve forgotten about, or that has splintered from the disparate voices, ĎI,í exercise dominion over. In acknowledging that uncertainty I reject a belief as to what/who you really are. ^_~
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Durtan



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not sure what the topic is right now (and since I am a little bit sickish i do not care to read through these massive posts to find out) so I will start a new topic Very Happy

What is the purpose of life?
For the LDS, people will give many answers, such as "to be tested" or "to become like God" which are all correct, but I have recently learned one that is the most accurate I have heard; the purpose of life is for us to become happy. I can give a more detailed explanation of this with references to scripture if anyone wants me to but that is the gist of it.

Also, just so I know and can better understand where each person's ideas come from I would like to know what religion you follow or what theological beliefs you have if you do not wish to define yourself w/a religion. I am LDS so I will be able to help most with questions regarding this faith.
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Asa



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting question, and interesting answer. Where do you draw the line on being happy? I'm sure thieves are happy when they steal things, and terrorists are happy when they blow themselves up, but if the purpose of life is to be happy, should they be punished? They're fulfilling their purpose, after all.

Disclaimer: This is my opinion, and is definitely not held by all Jews. Tamir might have a different take on the matter.

One of the things I've heard from Judaism's point of view - and there are several, each an aspect of the whole - is to reveal G-d's presence in the world. What this means is following His commandments, and sanctifying His name. At the moment, He is concealed from the world, meaning He's not obviously involved. He IS, but unless you're looking for it, you won't see it. So a Jew's purpose in life is to bring G-d closer to the surface. (I suppose this is a particularly religious point of view, and may not sit well with everyone.)

But that doesn't cover everyone, and another aspect of the whole is what simpletoremember.com calls 'refined action,' basically, making the world a better place through making yourself a better person. G-d created the world imperfect, and created humans as partners in creation. This is a phrase that is used a lot in Judaism. G-d and man are partners, and it's our responsibility to live up to our end of the deal. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen, which is why the world is the rotten place it is today. And no, I'm not talking about our generation in specific, it's been happening since the very first human - Adam didn't last three hours before he messed up, after all.

There's a story of a man who wanted to change the world (I'm sure I've repeated this here, before). Anyway, he decided that was too big a task, so he focused on his country, and found the same thing. He kept narrowing his focus, to his city, his neighborhood, his block, his family, his wife... and each time he found that the task was too great for him to handle. Finally he decided that the only thing he could really handle was to change himself. And as he changed himself, he influenced his wife, who influenced his family, who influenced his block, his neighborhood, his city...

The point is that humanity's purpose in life is to perfect the world in partnership with G-d. But a human's purpose in life is to perfect himself in partnership with G-d. That's all we can really be sure of affecting, and affecting permanently.

That's my opinion, and that's how I try to lead my life. I may have opinions about what others should do, but the only person I can really affect is myself and my actions. I try to refine myself and my actions to make my bit of the world a better place, and hope I influence others to do the same.
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Tinu.



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To borrow Asa's disclaimer: This is my opinion, based on what I've been taught, and things I've discovered for myself.

One of Christianity's main goals is the conversion of the nations. We are required to "preach the gospel to all creation." However, how someone chooses to do this is entirely up to them (to borrow from Catholicism: in the words of Saint Francis "Preach always. When necessary, use words"). Therefor, part of the purpose of life is to preach the gospel. In a way, it agrees with Asa's explanation--we're here to show God to the world. Like I said, how that's done is entirely up to the person. Charismatic Christianity believes that each person has unique talents or "gifts" that they can use to "preach." For some people that is your classic preaching Evangelist, for others its something like Mother Teresa.

I believe that everyone is created with a purpose. Part of the purpose of life is figuring out what that purpose is. I believe it ties into the "gifts" or talents we are given, and learning to use those talents to praise God. In my mind, He has given us talents, and what better way to use them than to glorify Him? I believe that God doesn't just create people willy-nilly. Everyone that is born has a purpose, a future, created by God. However, whether they choose to follow that future is entirely up to them.

There are a lot of other opinions I've heard on the matter--To praise God, to love him, etc.--but those are the main two I keep coming across in regards to Christianity. They're both still my opinion, but they happen to be other people's opinions as well. I'm not sure if Christianity as a whole could ever agree on one reason.
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll not give you a disclaimer, because if you take offense from reading my opinion, I suggest you not have read my opinion. ;P

(In all seriousness though, I mean no offense by anything I say.)

I have no idea how to classify myself, religiously. Currently I have no affiliations, at least nothing concrete and approved and all that. I'll explain that a bit further down.

Growing up, I was raised with a religious view similar to Tinu. While we were all created for a purpose, and G-d was working specifically in each of our lives, our goal was not as much praise and worship as it was doing His work. We were supposed to "Be Christ-like in all of our actions", I think we were told. We were taught to turn the other cheek when struck, to offer a helping hand to a hated enemy, to love the worst of us, and so on.

As time went on, and I fell away from the church, I drifted around for a while. I attended services in several churches, I attended Mass many times, I even poked my nose in synagogues and mosques. I spoke with the Ba'hai, with the Unitarian Universalists (or whatever that one is), and even spent half a year in Cache Valley, Utah. If you've ever lived in northern Utah, you know that living there essentially means you're surrounded by, and studying, LDS scripture. When all of that was relatively fruitless, I spent a few years studying anything I could find on almost all of the major Eastern religions. Buddhism, Daoism, Shintoism, even the real Bushido (not really a religion, but I still emulate several aspects of it). I can say I'm fairly well versed in many things, because of all this study.

I came to the conclusion that there was something bigger than what all my pastors had told me. I came to disagree with the idea that I needed a church to speak to G-d, and that my relationship with my creator was as much a part of life as breathing and eating were. Surely, I could stop any of those things at any time I chose. My chances of surviving long with out it were not very good, however. Mind, this was coming back from a stint of atheism, so it was quite a leap for me.

Without a religious leader to shape my religious views, I sought my own answers, and came to a similar conclusion as Asa. I may not be able to "earn" my way into Heaven, by the Christian scripture. I accept this, and if I'm wrong, I'm certainly okay with that. I can, however, live my days and make my efforts into an attempt to heal a hurting world. To show compassion to the callous, love to the angry, tolerance to the judgmental, patience to the lustful, and so on. Essentially, I took the seven deadly sins as a guidebook of things I should try and show people a better way through. Razz

For me, G-d is a part of that. If I do good works, I know it is because he gives me the strength to do them. I have faced situations where I could, and likely should have, died far too often to believe in dumb luck at this point. I know he has a role for me to play, and so I will do so for him. In his name. All of that.

And interestingly enough, I am rewarded for doing these good deeds. In them, I find greater inner peace and strength than I had ever known on my own. Since I receive something for my efforts, they are not selfless, and thus I have made no progress on redeeming myself. Ah, that's right, I suppose some of that Christian upbringing HAS followed me. "For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of G-d", right? ^_^ I'll just have to keep working at it, and let him judge me when the time comes.

Sorry for rambling.
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YatesOfYore
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've always got to be careful when using a term like "happy". It's just so loosely defined. Instead of "happy", I think I'd use "peace" - to find peace brings a calm and sustainable joy - one that most religions would say is to be found in keeping the commandments of God.


Quote:
"Preach always. When necessary, use words"


Nice. I like that.

It also brings to mind a conversation I had with some random evangelists who caught me eating a sandwich on campus (ie I couldn't get away lol). We had a big ol' discussion about faith, works and grace. For a lot of Christians I gather, grace is all they need. "Grace", over simplified, could be described as the mercy and sacrifice of Jesus. So if you "accept" Jesus and believe in him, you're saved. However, I disagree.

James 2:17 agrees with me, although they dismissed my use of this scripture saying that Jesus was only talking to his disciples and doesn't apply to everyone. I further disagreed with them saying that when Christ said something like "get yourself to Antioch" that THAT was meant only for the disciples, but this scripture, saying that faith without works is dead, certainly applies to us all. If you don't act on what you believe, then you don't really believe it.

They felt that since we could never do enough good works to balance out the sacrifice made for us that our works weren't required. I feel that this is sort of missing the point. We're not here for a (completely) free ride. We've got to do our best and then God/Jesus makes up the rest.

Anyhow, I could certainly do with performing a few more "works" and setting a better example, no doubt there. But I'm interested what everyone else's take on this is. Faith? Works/deeds?



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Tinu.



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

YatesOfYore wrote:

Quote:
"Preach always. When necessary, use words"


Nice. I like that.

It also brings to mind a conversation I had with some random evangelists who caught me eating a sandwich on campus (ie I couldn't get away lol). We had a big ol' discussion about faith, works and grace. For a lot of Christians I gather, grace is all they need. "Grace", over simplified, could be described as the mercy and sacrifice of Jesus. So if you "accept" Jesus and believe in him, you're saved. However, I disagree.

James 2:17 agrees with me, although they dismissed my use of this scripture saying that Jesus was only talking to his disciples and doesn't apply to everyone. I further disagreed with them saying that when Christ said something like "get yourself to Antioch" that THAT was meant only for the disciples, but this scripture, saying that faith without works is dead, certainly applies to us all. If you don't act on what you believe, then you don't really believe it.

They felt that since we could never do enough good works to balance out the sacrifice made for us that our works weren't required. I feel that this is sort of missing the point. We're not here for a (completely) free ride. We've got to do our best and then God/Jesus makes up the rest.

Anyhow, I could certainly do with performing a few more "works" and setting a better example, no doubt there. But I'm interested what everyone else's take on this is. Faith? Works/deeds?

To answer that question usually, I would immediately point to James 2:17 - but you have already pointed to it for me. =)
Faith is more than belief, it's acting out what you believe. You can't have one without the other, this is something a lot of Christians misinterpret. In my mind though, you can't cookie-cut things like this. Granted, there are a lot of things that Christians collectively do not do, that they are specifically told to do in the New Testament. The faith/works question is one of those that causes so many divisions in Christianity. That and the question of the Holy Spirit.

Something that generally comes in context with the Faith/works question is Mark 12:30-31. There's a lot of question about this and whether or not Christians are exempt from a lot of commands in both the old and new testament (some people even try to wiggle out of the "lesser" of the ten commandments). Which I think is just ridiculous. All this verse is saying is that if you love God and if you love your neighbor, you will follow his laws - not because you're bound to, but because you love God and wish to obey him. It's similar to the passage in James, because you can't do one without the other. You can't love God and not obey him, or you don't really love him. You can't believe and not do, or you don't really believe.

Of course, the definitions of "love" and "believe" are debatable, and how am I to judge what someone truly feels or believes?

This is though, I think, one of the beliefs of my denomination of Christianity. We believe that everyone is called to missions or evangelism in some form or another. No exceptions.
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@LadyYates: Faith/Works

I have no idea how this stacks up with other beliefs, but I have come to believe that Faith and Works are, like Tinu said, intertwined. If you have faith, you will do the works. If you do the works, it will strengthen your faith. Therefor, faith without works often does die.

Imagine it like this, if you will: An Olympic Gold Medalist comes home from the Olympics, and celebrates their achievement. Then, they do absolutely no training for four years. After all, they won a gold medal, why should they have to improve themselves any further? They are the best in the world, are they not? Their role is firmly placed. They return to the Olympics after four years, and not only do they place absolutely last in their group, they can't come CLOSE to their previous scores.

Why? For the same reason as any other thing. We humans are creatures of repetition, of patterns and exercises. Having Faith that we will be saved, alone, is not enough. I suppose I never believed it was, come to think of it.

I agree with you, I should have just said to begin with. Regardless of whether you believe in Jesus as the messiah or not, there is definitely no way that this life is a "free ride" as you put it. I could cite passages where it's written that we should go out and do good works, but... I mean, really? Where to START?!

As Tinu said, if you truly believe, then you will do His will. Not because you feel you must, but because you want to. A few passages from my favorite book (kidding! XD), thanks to Tinu's excellent ability to know what passages I was talking about: Matthew 7:15-20
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Asa



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, there are several levels of service to G-d. The easier is Fear of G-d - you do the right thing because you know you'll be punished, and so you comply out of fear. The far more difficult level to attain is Love of G-d, wherein you do things completely for the sake of G-d. However, it is my belief that you can't get the second without going through the first, otherwise its just lipservice.

There's also "because G-d said so," but that's a cop-out answer. Doesn't cut it, unless you've gone through the whole cycle and are out the other side, and are using the phrase as an expression of your love and devotion to G-d. But the vast majority of people can't honestly say that and mean it.
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Tyris



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Going from "fear of" to "love of" is usually called Stockholm Syndrome...
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Asa



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Except in religion, where it's called enlightenment or something similar. We call it 'returning', actually, is the literal translation - a returning to the preferred state of existence. Mankind used to be in a state of ahavas Hashem (love of G-d), but went wrong over the generations. One who returns to ahavas Hashem is a special person indeed.
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Nem



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can love exist without respect; can respect exist without a certain awareness of the other's potential for violence, a certain fear?

Someone who simply gives you things without any potential to deprive you of anything may, in a sense, be seen to do you what good they do because you permit it. Having made a covenant with you for the preservation of their power to be held only as long as they use it more to your advantage than you would make of it were you to deprive them of the majority of it.

In a sense is this not how we distinguish the slave, who we necessarily have no love for, from the friend or ally who we can?
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Tinu.



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
Posts: 3690
Location: The land of dreams

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was always taught that the fear of God was more like an extremely healthy dose of respect and awe. Because in the end, he is still God, and he is still everything that goes along with that. Mostly, I've just heard to it referred to as awe, of realizing how holy, or whichever reverent adjective one cares to use, he is.

In some cases, it can be literal fear, but it needn't stray into that realm very often. It's just remembering who's boss. He is God, and we are human. He is eternal, and we are merely mortal.

Of course, this is yet another point that many Christians disagree on.
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