Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religion

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nibbler
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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by nibbler » 01 Jul 2014, 05:40

I recently touched on this in a different thread so I'll try to be brief in the repetition.

I see both a works based approach and a mercy based approach as equally valid... otherwise the debate would have ended a long time ago because there would have been a clear winner by now. ;) That said I currently find myself in the mercy camp, which my comments will reflect.

Some see the performance based model as the clear winner because from their perspective you don't get something for nothing, is based on justice. Why should John Doe receive the same reward when they have not put in the effort? There's also the supposition that there would be no incentive to do anything in the absence of a performance based model. I think that's probably the largest concern and I see it as completely valid.

I think one danger in the performance based approach lies in judging effort. There's no way of knowing what a person has to work with. Silly example time: two people are tasked with constructing a bridge but one isn't making any progress. We might jump to the conclusion that the person not making any progress isn't putting in as much effort as the person that is successfully constructing a bridge. What we might not realize is that the person that is successfully constructing a bridge has an impressive budget and team of workers on his side and the person that isn't making any progress at all only has a few logs and a paperclip (but isn't Macgyver ;) ). The unsuccessful bridge maker might be giving 100% but due to circumstances fails to produce results... which brings me to why I eventually had to side with mercy.

For certain personality types (mine) the demands of a performance based religion could never be satisfied. I always judge my efforts to be lacking, I always see myself as less than perfect. Those feelings weighed me down like a yoke that became too heavy to bear. The only way forward was to seek for mercy, to make that yoke light and easier to bear.

Side note: perhaps that's why the bible appears to contain contradictory statements, to speak to different personality types or people in different circumstances.

Side note 2: are we in some ways conflating lack of participation in church programs with sin? Again I'd say that people are unique and a church program might be an impressive budget and a team of workers for one person but be a few logs and a paperclip for others.

mikegriffith1
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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by mikegriffith1 » 20 Jul 2014, 10:56

Just because God loves you unconditionally does not mean he will or should reward you unconditionally.

If a parent loved his two children the same but one of those children frequently disobeyed him, that parent would not give both children the same reward, for that would be unfair.

There is no conflict between God's unconditional love for us and his requiring us to do certain things to return to live with him. No conflict whatsoever.

Roy
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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by Roy » 21 Jul 2014, 12:29

mikegriffith1 wrote:Just because God loves you unconditionally does not mean he will or should reward you unconditionally.

If a parent loved his two children the same but one of those children frequently disobeyed him, that parent would not give both children the same reward, for that would be unfair.
Mike, I don't think we're going to come to a full agreement on this and that is ok.

I agree with your assessment that there are natural consequences to our behaviors - even eternal consequences.

I see no problem with certain individuals "progressing" more than others in the hereafter. But it is very important for me individually that my relationship with my Heavenly Father be a personal one. This would mean that He does not compare me to others. He looks at my heart with love and cherishes every baby step I may make towards becoming a better person. He accepts where I am today and helps me grow into where I will be tomorrow.

I am the prodigal son returning to throw myself at my father’s mercy – I am not returning to demand that I receive an equal share of my brother’s inheritance.

For me, my Father’s love and acceptance allows me to work on my flaws without fear of rejection. I feel that my Father will always be on my team and that he will always be there to help me take the next step when I am ready. According to my view, He will never abandon me.
mikegriffith1 wrote:There is no conflict between God's unconditional love for us and his requiring us to do certain things to return to live with him. No conflict whatsoever.
I suppose this is really where we diverge. I’m ok with God distributing thrones and principalities according to who might be the best administrators. I’m not ok with God using a similar assessment to determine who should “return” to Him and to “Live with Him.” To me that seems like part of the "reward" is to remain in the family. I don't feel that one's family membership should ever be in jeopardy.

Do you understand where I draw the distinction?

Are you saying that if my actions are bad enough that Heavenly Father might eventually abandon/disown me?

This is where I see a conflict. This is where Pres. Uchtdorf might say, “It is not that simple.”
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by Curt Sunshine » 21 Jul 2014, 13:42

I think God is long-suffering and has "all eternity" to make us what he wants us to become.

That's my own baseline.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

foodoctor33
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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by foodoctor33 » 22 Jul 2014, 16:26

Amen Ray. I want to belong to The Church of RAY DEGRAW of Latter-Day fallen Saints.
I truly think ..... "Obedience with exactness" "Be ye therefore perfect.." and it's all true or it's a fraud" statements and themes that are very pervasive throughout our culture and lesson manuals are at the root of most of our posts in general. We have become a bunch of Pharasees and Saducees fighting about how many steps to take on Sunday to assuage our guilt when Christ came not only to FULFILL the law but to knock down the rules and laws of the Jewish faith and CULTURE. Love, tolerance, meekness, kindness, brotherly love, forgiveness, charity....etc. is what Christ brought to eliminate the Law of Moses, Judaic rituals and laws and focus on silly rules that pushes many from a relationship with God... I truly feel like TBM blog sites are exactly what Pharasees blog sites would be like if they had them back then. Worried about garment length, what color shirt to pass the sacrament with, who is worthy enough to take the sacrament, percentage of home teaching....I could go on forever.

I agree. We need The Diet Church of JC of LDS. Christ-centered....not so policy and regulation based...performance based. Probably unrealistic as a body but it is how I am going to approach my faith within the current structure and if that keeps me from callings...so be it.

jhp33
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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by jhp33 » 04 Aug 2014, 15:40

mikegriffith1 wrote:Just because God loves you unconditionally does not mean he will or should reward you unconditionally.

If a parent loved his two children the same but one of those children frequently disobeyed him, that parent would not give both children the same reward, for that would be unfair.

There is no conflict between God's unconditional love for us and his requiring us to do certain things to return to live with him. No conflict whatsoever.
This paradigm assumes several things that I'm not convinced of.

1) That living with God again is a "reward" given by God
2) That God requires us to do certain things so he will let us live with him again
3) That sin equals disobedience

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On Own Now
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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by On Own Now » 08 Jul 2015, 09:46

bumping this thread due to contemporary discussion of this same article.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

amateurparent
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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by amateurparent » 10 Jul 2015, 21:47

Nibbler wrote: For certain personality types (mine) the demands of a performance based religion could never be satisfied. I always judge my efforts to be lacking, I always see myself as less than perfect. Those feelings weighed me down like a yoke that became too heavy to bear. The only way forward was to seek for mercy, to make that yoke light and easier to bear.
As somewhat of a perfectionist .. Or a full-on Control Freak in the right situation .. The LDS culture feeds into my basic feelings of never being able to be good enough. The idea of mercy and grace is very freeing to me. I can be trying and striving to do everything right, and still feel lacking. I can watch someone else do a half-baked job and fell quite certain of their place in God's eyes. We are all made so differently. We are not better or worse .. Just different.

I am grateful that my savior doesn't compare me to anyone but me. He knows my heart, he knows my trials, he knows my fears. He loves me.
mikegriffith1 wrote: "If a parent loved his two children the same but one of those children frequently disobeyed him, that parent would not give both children the same reward, for that would be unfair."
That above statement is classic LDS culture. I wish it was true. I see health and wealth and fertility and happiness given equally to the wicked and the righteous. Rain falls equally of the wicked and on the righteous. The belief that we somehow earn our blessings is a nice thought, but it leads to the thought that we earn our trials. Those who believe such things are the people who come to me --and because 3 of my children died -- they ask me how I sinned against God. Their comments and their judgement hurts me deeply, it hurts my family, and it is not Christian.

The scriptures tell us that the Master hires people to work in the vineyard. Some work all day, some work part of the day, some work a very short time. The Master has made a contract with each worker separately. The worker who worked all day shouldn't be concerned about what the half-day worker is paid. It isn't any of his business. Each contract is directly with the Master. If our heavenly father gives another of His children a gift that is different from mine, it is between that person and God. It isn't a punishment of me. It has NOTHING to do with me. It is solely between God and that person. Too often we look at other people's lives, and we try to figure out how their failures or successes reflect our relationship with God. I believe that they have nothing to do with it.

If a parent loves two children the same, but one child frequently disobeys him, that parent is going to treat those children very differently. Children do not just randomly disobey their parents. They have fears and motives and issues behind those acts of disobedience. I think God cares more about those underlying issues .. and less about the simple act of disobedience itself.
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Unconditional Love of God in a performance-based religio

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 Jul 2015, 14:37

Well said, ap.

I think God's ways are not our ways - and accepting that simple idea can be incredibly liberating and faith-amplifying.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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