Can we "buy" blessings?

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Can we "buy" blessings?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 Feb 2018, 16:16

Back to the question of the post:

I do not think we can buy blessings, but I do believe strongly we can be "blessed" as a result of our actions and mindsets. That applies to life, generally, not religion, specifically.
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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SamBee
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Re: Can we "buy" blessings?

Post by SamBee » 11 Feb 2018, 16:20

Curt Sunshine wrote:
11 Feb 2018, 16:16
Back to the question of the post:

I do not think we can buy blessings, but I do believe strongly we can be "blessed" as a result of our actions and mindsets. That applies to life, generally, not religion, specifically.
Kind of. I do point out above that if you do bad, some of the bad things which occur will be of your own making. The reverse is true - some of the good things which occur will be of your making if you do good.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Can we "buy" blessings?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 Feb 2018, 17:03

I have had a few experiences I chalk up to divine blessings, but I believe more "blessings" are natural cause-and-effect than we tend to realize or want to believe.
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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DarkJedi
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Re: Can we "buy" blessings?

Post by DarkJedi » 11 Feb 2018, 17:42

Curt Sunshine wrote:
11 Feb 2018, 17:03
I have had a few experiences I chalk up to divine blessings, but I believe more "blessings" are natural cause-and-effect than we tend to realize or want to believe.
I know of some things that could have been "blessings" or divine intervention in my life and the lives of others close to me as well. It's really my own biases that keep me from firmly stating these things are blessings. Still, as I look around my small town of about 350 residents with two empty nest member couples (and one very hardcore inactive lady) I ask myself are any of us more or less blessed than anyone else? It's pretty hard for me to see much of a difference in any of us, Catholic, Protestant, JW, NR, or atheist. We're pretty much average Joe's making our way in the world today giving it everything we've got.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Reuben
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Re: Can we "buy" blessings?

Post by Reuben » 11 Feb 2018, 18:42

Curt Sunshine wrote:
11 Feb 2018, 16:14
I just don't think it is valid to use the Lord's Prayer to criticize the idea of asking for blessings in prayers. I think that approach requires a heaping spoonful of distortion with which I personally am not comfortable.
I wasn't criticizing. I was pointing out a possible explanation for the inconsistency between 1) the lack of begged-for personal blessings I've observed in my own life, and 2) the fact that Jesus tells us to pray for things.

This is how my friend reconciles the inconsistency: Jesus might have meant that blessings are for groups rather than individuals, and it's up to the group to pass them on. FWIW, his experience is similar to mine, though in his faith crisis he lost belief in the teachings of a provincial fundamentalist Christian church, and somehow ended up as full-time clergy.

I'd actually rather the thread picked up on the bit about Job, though. I think Satan makes a keen point in that story. It happens to be the positive version of a point atheists are fond of making when believers say that they need religion to act morally: if you need to be threatened in order to do good, then you're not a good person. In the story of Job, Satan says that if you do good in order to get a reward, then you're not a good person... and God doesn't correct him, but lets him carry out his suggested experiment on Job.
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nibbler
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Re: Can we "buy" blessings?

Post by nibbler » 12 Feb 2018, 06:11

Reuben wrote:
11 Feb 2018, 18:42
... if you need to be threatened in order to do good, then you're not a good person. ...
The person issuing the threat or the person being threatened? Or both to some degree?

We spent some time during Sunday school yesterday on the following from the Book of Moses:
...this is a cursing which I will put upon thee, except thou repent...
I stripped the quote of the greater context, but it was likewise stripped of context when presented to the class. The context really doesn't help though. It's all speculation but we typically bend the story to match the conclusion we want, in this case Cain equals bad because we know what comes later in the story. I'll bend the story a different direction.

Cain worked in agriculture, Abel worked in livestock. Both gave sacrifices from their respective vocations in an attempt to please the lord. The lord wasn't happy with Cain's sacrifice. Cain worked hard to produce his sacrifice and was legitimately confused when it was rejected. The lord then showed up, told Cain what a bad attitude he had, told him he was the father of Satan's lies, told him he was Perdition and was always a bad seed, and threatened him with a curse if he didn't shape up... which he couldn't anyway because at this point the lord is running Cain into the ground, turning him into a self-fulfilled prophecy because the story needs a bad guy. And for all we know, from Cain's perspective the lord was being unappreciative of something that Cain had sacrificed in order to please the lord.

So the moral. Be careful in how you obey, lest you guess wrong about what the lord wants and you end up upsetting him through what you interpret to be obedience?

Cain: Merry Christmas dad, I bought you a new car.
Lord: Thou wicked and slothful servant, knowest not that I have a great number of children? I needest a minivan. Cursings. A curse and a pox upon thee and thy car. Thou art the absolute worst of mine children. And now thou poutest at mine rebuking and and recoil at mine fickle nature? Knowest thou what, thy name is now Perdition. That's right, Perdition. Ponderethize on that! [gets in the new car and drives off]
The night stared me in the face, amorphous, blind, infinite, without frontiers. Not a single star relieved the darkness behind the glass.
― Stanisław Lem

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DarkJedi
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Re: Can we "buy" blessings?

Post by DarkJedi » 12 Feb 2018, 09:12

On my commute I sometimes listen to Catholic radio. This morning's mass had the James 1 as the scripture. They didn't do the whole chapter, just the first part - but it clearly applies to me starting in verse 6:
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
So there you have it, I can't buy blessings through prayer anyway because I am double minded and unstable (which is probably what some members of my ward think as well) and shouldn't expect to receive anything. Fortunately for me, I don't expect to receive anything, but at least I now know why.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

Roy
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Re: Can we "buy" blessings?

Post by Roy » 12 Feb 2018, 09:55

So ..... 1) Everyone has good things that could be termed blessings. 3) Some good things happen randomly. Others are the natural result of good choices and dedication. 2) An individual believing in blessings will likely begin to look around their life and reframe/reinterpret good things as heavenly blessings. 3) In order to expect to receive blessings through prayer the believing mind (and therefore the strong potential for confirmation bias) is a prerequisite.

I posit that the believing mind is its own reward in that it will start to identify blessings and hopefully increase a sense of gratitude for the positive things in life.
"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

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SamBee
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Re: Can we "buy" blessings?

Post by SamBee » 12 Feb 2018, 10:20

Cain and Abel is an interesting story for a variety of reasons.

* Does it actually hide a human sacrifice? We have the story of Abraham and Isaac as an open and admitted human sacrifice, but which is turned down. Was Cain actually sacrificing his brother in the original story to make up for his failure otherwise?
* It is the story of the hunter/herder vs the agriculturalist, or perhaps the hunter-gatherer vs the settled existence.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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SamBee
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Re: Can we "buy" blessings?

Post by SamBee » 12 Feb 2018, 10:22

Roy wrote:
12 Feb 2018, 09:55
So ..... 1) Everyone has good things that could be termed blessings. 3) Some good things happen randomly. Others are the natural result of good choices and dedication. 2) An individual believing in blessings will likely begin to look around their life and reframe/reinterpret good things as heavenly blessings. 3) In order to expect to receive blessings through prayer the believing mind (and therefore the strong potential for confirmation bias) is a prerequisite.

I posit that the believing mind is its own reward in that it will start to identify blessings and hopefully increase a sense of gratitude for the positive things in life.

1) To some extent, but some more than others.

3(!)) Random, yes. But good choices definitely affect our lives to some extent.

2) Depends on the mindset. I believe in blessings but my paranoia and pessimism make them hard for me to see sometimes.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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