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Old 09-22-2010, 02:05 AM
 
Location: West Coast USA
1,577 posts, read 965,470 times
Reputation: 3126
As promised, here I am.

First of all, I don't know this Weise Guy, nor have I read his book, nor would I. That out of the way . . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by ditchlights View Post
I recently read Wiese's book 23 Minutes in Hell and couldn't help but write him a few lines. I truly was not expecting to get a response, but I did. The response seemed more like a marketing tool than anything else. I'll let you be the judge. I welcome any and all users on this forum to answer the questions that I posed to Bill in my letter. I asked some very specific questions, and did not get the response I was looking for. I value any and all responses that people could provide. My letter went as follows:

Hello Bill,

I write to you today not as an enemy of Christianity, but as a person that struggles with his faith. To begin, I will give a brief history of myself. I was raised in a die-hard Christian home. As a youth, I was raised in the church, and I attended AWANA's for many years, ultimately achieving the Timothy Trophy before leaving the program. I attended Calvary Bible Church in Burbank throughout my childhood. The current pastor is a person you might be familiar with, Dr. Jack Hughes.
(I've never heard of this fellow either.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ditchlights View Post
But in the end, my mother was so hardcore that she diverted me away from religion. As an adult, I still went to church, but not for the right reasons. I went out of obligation, not because it captivated my interest or because I wanted to grow with my knowledge of the Lord. I have said the sinners prayer many times in my life, but felt no change. I never understood people's fascination with going to church. I never "wanted" to be there. It seemed like an unwanted task verses a desired event. I have prayed many times that God just put the "Vulcan Mind Melt" on me so that I can appreciate the lifestyle that a "true" Christian does. I have never experienced any kind of change in attitude or desire to walk the walk. I bought your book for $13 dollars because the title caught my interest at the supermarket.
I am sorry, Ditchlights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ditchlights View Post
I am now beginning to believe that I have the tendencies of a Deist (verses a Monotheist). I believe that God created the universe, but has since washed his hands of his affairs with humans. What else can possibly explain the atrocities that we see in daily life? Just recently, a strong Christian entity in my town lost his son in a car accident. Why would God allow this to happen to a dedicated Christian man, while evil people thrive in every aspect of their lives? I'm so tired of the "You just gotta have faith" mentality. Is this how God rewards his faithful? Why did God allow YOU to have this experience of Hell? Would it not make infinitely more sense to drop that kind of bomb on a wildly popular devout atheist the likes of Christopher Hitchens or Bill Maher, who control the publicity side of the Atheistic fight? They have mega-millions of unsaved followers. Don't you think that would have been a much more realistic approach to the problem? I mean, after all, he is an omniscient God, yes? What makes you think that people will believe you more than any other hellfire and brimstone preacher? If God really wanted to make an impact, he would have allowed an extreme disbeliever this revelation, not you. Heck, I wish that I could experience what you did, as it would surely change my life. You see, I believe in things that I can feel, taste, smell, touch, and understand. The Trinity is one of the major things that does not fall into that catagory for me, amongst many other pieces of Christian doctrine.
Well, Ditch, G-d does not work according to the things humans think up or the way they think He "ought" to work. That is not His point. His whole purpose is to save those He will save, using whatever means He knows it will take. He does not do things according to our reasoning or ideas of "fairness."

As far as your desire to be scared into the faith, that just doesn't happen, other than in sweating-screaming-preacher tent meetings where emotions and fear cause people to cry out for a bypass of hell. That is emotional religion. It usually only lasts as long as the fear followed by the euphoria of feeling saved. Then life strikes with its good times and bad, and that kind of salvation dissipates more quickly than a mirage on hot pavement in the desert.

Faith in G-d is a gift. You can't work it up. A gift. If you desire faith, pray for faith.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ditchlights View Post
I have watched people struggle with faith in God throughout their lives. They try so hard, yet fail in the end. I crunched some numbers recently. There are 1.5 billion Muslims on the planet. There is roughly an equal ammount of Hindus and Buddhists. That right there is half of the worlds population. They say that there are roughly 2 billion "Chistians" on the planet. This, of course, includes many faiths that are not going to Heaven according to Biblical definitions of Christianity, such as Mormons, JW's, and Catholics. That leaves 2 billion people to be accounted for, which are "other" faiths and atheists and agnostics. I last read that 70% of Americans identify with Christianity. We all know, though, that the TRUE number is roughly 20%, if that, per the Bible's definition of "Christianity". We are nowhere near being a "Christian" nation in the U.S. That would mean that, in an optimistic estimate, only 1/14 of the worlds population at any given time in the history of our civilization is going to make it into the "Kingdom of God". That would be roughly 500 million out of 7 billion people. I have a hard time believing that a "loving" God would damn 13/14 of his population to hell. And if this is really true, this is not a God that I feel I can associate with, nor want to spend eternity with. If He was truly omniscient, He would have known at the time of creaton what his creation would divert to, and if he was truly "loving", he would have put a countermeasure in place. Remember, according to the 1.5 billion Muslims on the planet, you're the one going to hell. Now, I'm not trying to stand up for Islam. I'm just stating a point. They were brought onto this earth knowing only Islam. Who is correct by telling them they're wrong. This is all they know. This is just one example.
Well, of course, you are asking questions that many of us have wrestled. I wrestled with them several times over my life as a believer, but that has made the difference -- "over my life as a believer." When I didn't have the answers, when faith would waiver, when I hated what I thought was "unfair" in G-d, when things did not make sense to my human mind, sure, I would step back, sometimes angrily! But because of the faith I see as a gift -- a gift from the Almighty -- I would dig deeper into the Scriptures. I would learn more, try to understand, use the original languages, not take one Bible's translator(s) as the "final answer."

And yes, I admit what the agnostics and atheists find so troublesome: sometimes, because of my continued gift of faith (it is not something I made, not something I conjured up, not my creation, not something I worked up), I would have to bow to Him and say, "You are G-d and I am not: blessed be the Name of the L-rd G-d."

Quote:
Originally Posted by ditchlights View Post
It seems so simple for "Christians". Jesus is the "Be all and end all" of discussion. There is no other. All other religions are going to eternal damnation except for them, right? I'm sorry, as this just does not "compute" with me. I cannot hold logical debate with my mother, as she ends all discussions with me when she gets flustered. She proves the validity of the Bible with the Bible, and that ends all arguments as far as she is concerned. Once complex issues enter the equation, she ends the conversation, as it is a threat to her belief system.
Not every believer is able to study, to "dig deep," to gather instructors about them and be taught. The fact is that many churches do not encourage learning: they are threatened by it! It upsets the status quo! It makes the leaders study, and they don't want to! It challenges them! It makes them uncomfortable! Don't blame your mother.

And of course, we prove the Bible with the Bible. Seems like circular reasoning, doesn't it? But the bottom line in this is that most churches -- I would suggest about 99% of them -- only have the Bible. Why? Because back even before Constantine threw the Jews out of worship, murdering them for simply worshiping on the 7th day (and for other ideas, some of which existed only in his mind), they had already thrown the Jews out of what had been synagogues, because they didn't want the stigma of being people of the Book.

They didn't want the ridiculously heavy taxes that came from the Romans for practicing any of the Judaisms. They didn't want to take the blame for the wars and social problems that the Greeks and Romans gave them. They wanted to be separate, to recreate their religion, taking the parts they had learned in the synagogues and adapting them to their pagan traditions. Therefore, they kicked the Jews out with their history, their books, their practices, their knowledge. They created a new "knowledge." And most of Christianity has flowed from that scene through Constantine to now.

What do ya' do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ditchlights View Post
I could write thirty pages on why I struggle with my faith. Unfortunately, I am a fairly busy individual that regrets he does not have the time to do so. I am not naive enough to believe that I will get a response to this e-mail, but if you choose to respond, I thank you in advance. Any "advice" that you can give before I completely convert to "the dark side" would be appreciated.

Thank You,

Mark (Oregon)

And the following is the response that I got from Bill's wife Annette:

Thanks for writing. Most of your questions are addressed in Bill’s new book, “23 Questions about hell” which comes with a bonus DVD. If you don’t want to spend the $10-15 for the book/DVD, I’m sure you can read it while at Wal-mart or a bookstore. We encourage you to get scriptural information first, before falsely accusing God of being unfair. Mark Twain even said, “We’re all ignorant, it’s just about different things.” Hosea 4:6 says, “My people perish for a lack of knowledge… because they have rejected knowledge (God’s Word).

Annette
Okay. You wrote a VERY long email. People, in general -- especially people who are trying to make money with their productions -- do not have the time to sit down and go through every email and snailmail they receive. Rather, they generally open the snailmails, and if there is a check, they deposit it and go on their merry way.

Basically, you got what I got (only a little less) when I was concerned about a radio teacher who publically blew off those who had been reared in abusive homes. I was concerned. I wrote. I got a nasty little letter of reprimand for questioning the Great Man and a "free tape" of one of his sermons, intended to straighten me out.

That is the way of the world. What more can I write?

My suggestion: give this person exactly the amount of time and thought you, personally, believe he deserves from you. You know what I mean.
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Old 09-22-2010, 02:47 AM
 
Location: Southern Willamette Valley, Oregon
4,498 posts, read 3,364,147 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VelcroQueen View Post
His whole purpose is to save those He will save, using whatever means He knows it will take.

Faith in G-d is a gift. You can't work it up. A gift. If you desire faith, pray for faith.

Not every believer is able to study, to "dig deep," to gather instructors about them and be taught. And of course, we prove the Bible with the Bible. Seems like circular reasoning, doesn't it?

Okay. You wrote a VERY long email. People, in general -- especially people who are trying to make money with their productions -- do not have the time to sit down and go through every email and snailmail they receive. Rather, they generally open the snailmails, and if there is a check, they deposit it and go on their merry way.

My suggestion: give this person exactly the amount of time and thought you, personally, believe he deserves from you. You know what I mean.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my thread VQ. I believe that Wiese's "experience" would have been better suited for a non-believer. That is, if it really happened to begin with. When you use the term "whatever means", this is what comes to mind. It seems to me to be quite a waste to give this "experience" to someone who is already a self-professed Christian.

Faith in God must truly be a gift. I have prayed for it many times, yet struggled with it all my life. I try to read the Bible like any other book, but it just bores the heck out of me, just like sitting in a church pew on Sunday mornings. I feel like it is ancient text that does not make sense in a modern world. The call it a "living" Bible. I never understood that term.

Even though they receive many e-mails, I found their response to be more off putting than had they never replied. All I could picture was a scene from the Suicidal Tendencies music video for the song "Send Me Your Money" (Jim and Tammy Fae Baker). You probably have no idea what I'm talking about, but trust me, it's funny.

Anyway, I do appreciate your taking the time to respond. Have a great rest of the week!
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Old 09-22-2010, 03:11 AM
 
Location: West Coast USA
1,577 posts, read 965,470 times
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Oh, I am BAD. I am going to PAY for this. I should have been in bed hours ago.

But I'll keep this short.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ditchlights View Post
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my thread VQ. I believe that Wiese's "experience" would have been better suited for a non-believer. That is, if it really happened to begin with. When you use the term "whatever means", this is what comes to mind. It seems to me to be quite a waste to give this "experience" to someone who is already a self-professed Christian.
Oops. I AM tired. I initially thought you intended the Wiese Guy's sales pitch. Regardless, as for the sales pitch, it would have been better if he hadn't answered you at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ditchlights View Post
Faith in God must truly be a gift. I have prayed for it many times, yet struggled with it all my life. I try to read the Bible like any other book, but it just bores the heck out of me, just like sitting in a church pew on Sunday mornings. I feel like it is ancient text that does not make sense in a modern world. The call it a "living" Bible. I never understood that term.
Okay. If it bores you, you need to move on from reading to studying. Reading is not enough!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ditchlights View Post
Even though they receive many e-mails, I found their response to be more off putting than had they never replied. All I could picture was a scene from the Suicidal Tendencies music video for the song "Send Me Your Money" (Jim and Tammy Fae Baker). You probably have no idea what I'm talking about, but trust me, it's funny.

Anyway, I do appreciate your taking the time to respond. Have a great rest of the week!
No -- I am not familiar. Maybe I will try to find it!
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Old 09-22-2010, 04:52 AM
 
Location: Italy
6,387 posts, read 2,562,652 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SC122 View Post
23 minutes in hell? why not 30 minutes...why not one hour? why not 5 hours?? God can do anything,right?
oh,but 23 minutes makes it sound so techinical!

obviously as lie,starting with the title.
Funny, the first thing I thought when I read your post: it leaves 7 minutes of commercial time..!

Blessings,
brian
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Old 11-27-2010, 03:38 PM
 
154 posts, read 78,481 times
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Wow Ditchlights, and I mean in a sincere way, I believe, in my heart, Jesus is right their, your open and honest and your not holding back. I appreciate your openness…if you don’t mind, I would like to interject.

Because you are so candid, I would also like to be candid about myself too. I am a 31 year old male. I never grew up in a Christian home, I maybe went to church a handful of times when I was growing up. When I was younger, I was very insecure because my brother use to tear me up, calling me an idiot, moron, ugly, fat, acne filled etc…, you get my point. So when I was younger I got in weight training because I use to get picked on being small for my grade too. So I continued in weight lifting, however, I still had insecurity issues because of my brother; I dropped out of school, partying like many kids my age, broke in cars, stole, did ecstacy and some other drugs and drank. So as you see, no different than some, depending on who you know I guess. I was like most who thought “Jesus died for my sins, I am going to heaven.” But, when I was 13 years old, I struggled with this scripture in John 3:3 that my mom had told me about (I am not even sure she understood its meaning, I just remembered that she said it) Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” That kind of scared me so as a kid, not knowing what that meant, I use to pray that, and continue in my lifestyle.

When I was 21 years old, I had a friend, who formerly was an atheist, had some marital issues, and at that same time, I remember an intense feeling of lonliness and emptiness that I just could not comprehend. I could meet girls easy, I made ok money, I was having fun, and I was no longer a zitty fat kid, because of my bodybuilding I tried to push away the insecurities that I could not get rid of. But no matter what I did, what I accomplished, what I had, I was empty to the core. Anyhow, my buddy calls me one day and tells me to open the Bible, and what makes this so unreal, while I was feeling this emptiness feeling, I actually went to church with a different buddy of mine, I believe that same day…call it a coincidence?!

So I was ecstatic, and we started reading Proverbs that I have never read before and was astounded by the wisdom of this amazing book. Long story short, I asked the Lord into my heart, and remember feeling this euphoric feeling, sorry Jesus I don’t meant to relate a drug to this, but this feeling of being filled with the Holy Spirit was an intense high like a drug, but with no ill effects. I can’t explain it, and I won’t, it was just what I remember, and I know not everyone has this same experience. But what was the best thing from this experience, I no longer had this emptiness anymore, and I still don’t. I have never felt lonlely or empty, I always feel like He (Holy Spirit) is with me. No matter if I am by myself or with other people. That void I had was gone. And I remember being empty one day, and then one day not.

To continue, my mom was a bad alcoholic for years, went to mental institutions, and AA and my mom would nearly black out every day for months after my dad passed away in 1997, and she was bad, and bad as bad can get….I believe close to suicidal. But I opened the Bible to the book of James and read “The Prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective, James 5:16. So I put in a prayer request for my mom, the month I came to the Lord at the church I just started going to. Lo and behold, within a few days of that request, my mom was instantly healed. No withdrawals, no temptations…nothing, she even is disgusted by the smell of alcohol. And I told her what I did…she believed, she couldn’t quit by her own strength and she knew it and God delivered her. She has rededicated herself to the Lord and our once horrible relationship I had with her, has been healed.

Furthermore, I have on more than one occasion, through the power of God’s Word, laid my hands on people, and prayed with them and for them, and God has healed them. Just recently, my co-worker who is a new believer, had stomach issues for 2-3 years, called in sick all the time, went home sick all the time, she couldn’t eat a meal without pain or discomfort…constantly going to doctors. So I asked if she wanted prayer and if she wanted healing, so me and a few other Christians prayed for her, and the Lord healed her that day. No more pain, no more discomfort, nothing like she had. It has been 3-4 weeks and she can eat a meal with no more discomfort. I have prayed over my friends back and feel heat on my hand, like from a furnace, and his back pain was relieved. Those are just a few prayers that the Lord has answered, there are many more, but I won’t get into that now.

Today, I feel whole, satisfied in Him…though trials come, I can stand up under it through His strength. My insecurities are gone through the transforming power of His Word. Man, and even to this day, when I can worship Him with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength, without letting my mind wander….my head gets filled up, kind of like a cup of water being filled to the brim and I get very sleepy. Some feel His physical manifestation through goosebumps, but that is neither here nor there. Even if I didn’t feel His physical presence through these things, I would still believe, the void is gone and no amount of anything, money, fame, nothing would I ever trade for the peace I now have.

I also read through your childhood to where you are now and you stated you said the sinners prayer many times, but no change. Are you saying you never had inner peace through the Spirit of God? This is just a question, but, you went out of obligation, not for anything else, and you couldn’t understand ones fascination of going to church? Could it be you said it with your mouth, but didn’t mean it with your heart? Just a question. If that’s is the case, then you may have not been filled with the Holy Spirit, who can only bring change and transformation. If by your own will, then no, no one can live a Christian life, it’s simply not possible. It’s a sanctification process through our desire to know Him, repent to Him etc…

I cannot explain why this Christian man died in a car accident, or why evil people flourish as you stated, but I can tell you this, and my pastor use to tell it to the congregation, “one in every one person dies.” It may not answer your question, but in the grand scheme of things, this man is in heaven, enjoying the Lord and fellowship with the saints, the evil may flourish, but not on the day of Judgement, “The Great White Throne Judgment,” that is.

Can I explain why Bill experience Hell and why He didn’t reach out to an atheist or an unbeliever, who knows, but if someone is making money off of their atheism beliefs and traveled the world speaking about it, why change?…the Lord knows. But, my friend, would you really believe if you had Bill’s experience…would you really. You amonst others on this and other forums fight again his experience as a false teacher, liar and a dream. I believe its real I would have to copy and paste in another forum that I am on for you to know what I am talking about.....and no, he didn’t tell of his experience for money, as I have listened to the CD and read the book. Before he wrote the book, when churches asked him to speak, so as people wouldn’t think he was making money….he paid for everything, on his own dime- airfare, hotel, food etc… and you can print the cd’s for free! And still you can print them for free.

Bro, your heartfelt, but your making some strong assertions for something your mind hasn’t quite grasped. Don’t try to explain why so and so is going here or there, but just be concerned on knowing Him… please, reconsider your comment on not wanting to spend eternity with Him because you think He is not loving. What you have to understand His gift is available to everyone, and yes God is reaching to the Muslim world now…through visions and dreams and an astounding number of them are coming to Christ because they have been enslaved by their religion and government…there are testomony’s with many in the middle east who have seen Him. Joel Rosenberg, who many claim is an end time prophet…(web site is joelrosenberg.com) he talks to many former Muslims about their conversion. So yes, He is still reaching out to those oppressed. So if Christians are to scared to witness, in the Lords love, He is reaching out this way. Don’t ask my why you haven’t had a vision, but you know what you have that they do not, is the Bible. They get slaughtered and killed for having that, so it is very far and few between, but we are fortunate to have.

I appreciate your candidness, and your heartfelt testimony. I hope your appreciate my openness also.

Ty
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Old 11-27-2010, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Southern Willamette Valley, Oregon
4,498 posts, read 3,364,147 times
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Thank you tdinh for the response. I am quite busy right now, but I just wanted you to know that I got your visitor message, and that I will disect your post and respond to it in just a matter of time. We're still rushing through the Thanksgiving weekend, and things are quite hectic around our house. Because of the personal nature of the post and subject, I will respond to you in a direct message versus on the thread. Thank You for taking the time to reply, and for your patience.
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Old 11-27-2010, 08:14 PM
 
Location: Gaston, North Carolina
4,191 posts, read 3,074,292 times
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ditchlights
Please dont take this the wrong way but it looks like your problem might be selfishness. In your email to Weiss you seemed focused on yourself when you need to be focus on Christ. You seem to have the desire but your focus is flawed so dont expect some big happening for your salvation just focus on Christ and it will come. I will pray for you.
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Old 11-27-2010, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Texas
4,345 posts, read 3,525,443 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobinD69 View Post
ditchlights
Please dont take this the wrong way but it looks like your problem might be selfishness.
Ya' think? As it is so with all humanity.
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Old 11-27-2010, 10:51 PM
 
Location: Washington State
3,371 posts, read 1,894,852 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firstborn888 View Post
Ya' think? As it is so with all humanity.



Not me, firstborn, not me!!

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Old 11-27-2010, 11:50 PM
 
2,981 posts, read 2,600,079 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ditchlights View Post
...

And the following is the response that I got from Bill's wife Annette:

Thanks for writing. Most of your questions are addressed in Bill’s new book, “23 Questions about hell” which comes with a bonus DVD. If you don’t want to spend the $10-15 for the book/DVD, I’m sure you can read it while at Wal-mart or a bookstore. We encourage you to get scriptural information first, before falsely accusing God of being unfair. Mark Twain even said, “We’re all ignorant, it’s just about different things.” Hosea 4:6 says, “My people perish for a lack of knowledge… because they have rejected knowledge (God’s Word).

Annette
You know, she was helpful to you in saying that he had addressed what you said, in his book, and she said you could read it for free in a store....and so you can.
You got a problem with that?

BTW: my husband and I live in WA state, and if you drive up [100 miles from Portland] we'll be happy to answer your questions -and give you dinner.
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