The importance of Spiritual gifts, callings and position.

I was flicking through Dave Black’s blog that is not a blog and followed a link to a paper written by John Piper, on the subject of Spiritual Gifts. My nutshell paraphrase of what he says is that;

The importance of gifting, callings and position within the Christian faith is of utmost importance. The purpose is not one of self promotion….rather quite the opposite. Their purpose is to always encourage, build up and strengthen another’s faith – for that is the purpose God grants us of himself.

Do you make it a priority to strengthen another’s faith?

About Craig Benno

I'm an average aussie guy who has lived perhaps a not so average life.
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11 Responses to The importance of Spiritual gifts, callings and position.

  1. tildeb says:

    No. I try to show how and why it cannot be trusted, that it raises gullibility into a virtue. I try to show how and explain why faith separates us from respecting what’s true in reality, how easily we lead ourselves astray from what is true in fact through exercising it, why it costs us our intellectual integrity in exchange for piety, and so on. There is nothing good to be found through faith alone; it is the primary conduit through which good people can justify doing the most atrocious things for the worst of reasons. Its exercise gives back false certainty and makes it extremely difficult to be mature, responsible, and reasonable people. Its epistemology stands contrary to the scientific method. Faith produces no knowledge, no new applications that work, opens up no new avenues for further inquiry; rather, it lulls people into a false sense of insight immune from contrary evidence that looks and behaves exactly like delusion. You think all of this is a good thing but all you are really doing is fooling yourself into thinking you are doing god’s rather than a fool’s work. The Good News, however, is that faith is not a permanent condition. It can be let go without the sky falling and wholly replaced and superseded by respecting what’s true.

    • Craig Benno says:

      Do/ did you get everything you asked your parents to give you? Because they didn’t give you every thing you asked for, does that then prove they never gave you anything?

      • tildeb says:

        The analogy fails, Craig, because parents are real and their support does not come from praying to them. By suggesting that you have a parental figure in your god reveals the kind of relationship you are establishing: that of a dependent and not an autonomous, healthy, capable, responsible adult relationship built on mutual respect. Dependency at the root of a relationship is not a mature relationship because there is a power imbalance. Yet you think creating such a childish dependent relationship is somehow character building whereas I think it is an emotional regression that impedes one’s ability to deal with life honestly and on equal terms. God, as far as I can tell, has not given you anything that can not be better explained by non-supernatural means, although you seem more than willing to believe in that intercession first. I have no doubt that such divine intervention on a personal level by some universal agency makes you feel rather special. That feeling, and not the fact of any actual intervention, probably drives the belief… a belief that so effortlessly obscures in one’s own mind just how egotistical and arrogant one must be to assume such personal attention. An honest introspection would reveal as much to yourself.

  2. Craig Benno says:

    Tildeb you have been repeatedly asked to do so…yet you have not even tried to prove that Christ did not exist, nor was he who he claimed to be.

    As for myself, after examining the historical evidence, having experienced many answers to prayer and experienced a deep inner personal experience of the Holy Spirit … and your right. The Love of God does make me feel very special and very secure in what I both believe and know… and the simple truth is that while you think you know it all… you do not know the love I know and therefore you are in no position to say with an absolute that it doesn’t exist.

    • tildeb says:

      Sorry, Craig. I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you underwent an historical search and came away with a belief that jesus was the christ. I think you first accepted the belief and THEN began to try to justify it with historical references, conveniently associating the stories ABOUT jesus to be equivalent to historical ‘evidence’ of his divinity. Even if jesus existed in fact – and I think he probably did – doesn’t mean that evidence to this effect is historical evidence that he was god incarnate, nor does it fall on me to prove he wasn’t.

      I do not for a nanosecond think I “know it all.” But in order for me to know anything at all, I have to be willing to accept reality – and not my own beliefs about it – as the final arbiter. That means that if I want to gain knowledge about the universe and anything it contains then I must be willing to respect what’s true over and above what I believe is true. Otherwise there is no way for me to differentiate between self delusion and and my beliefs. That’s why I write that supposed knowledge derived from faith must be untrustworthy (for there is no way to test it for veracity) and lays the groundwork necessary to raise gullibility to be a virtue. Your personal experience with what you call the “Holy Spirit” is untrustworthy for exactly the same reason: how do you know your interpretation is the correct interpretation if you have first rejected reality (rather than your beliefs about it) to be the arbiter? The short answer is that you cannot. It’s a mind trick to protect how you attribute the cause of your experience to merely back up your assumptions that you have been specially selected to have some special access to a special agency. I see those signs as indications for delusional thinking, whereas you see them as ‘evidence’ for maintaining the correct beliefs. So how can we know which is probably correct? Well, I am willing to allow reality to be my arbitrate: show me this Holy Spirit outside of those who merely claim to have special access to it.

      You see the problem?

      • Craig Benno says:

        I didn’t say that I did do a historical search before I became a believer. What I said is since becoming a believer I have done much historical research in which I am satisfied that Jesus Christ is who he said he is.

        The reality is that I have experienced many forms of what the Scriptures call – Supernatural experiences… this includes being set free from demonic spirits….something which I also have been involved with in setting free others who are bound by such…some of those experiences which I have spoken about beforehand..which don’t need retelling at this point in time. I have experienced many answers to prayer…some extremely extraordinary. As for truth… well I have a great deal of internal peace…which is something I never had before being a believer.

        My faith and trust in God helped me through some extremely difficult times, helping me to remain peaceful and not bitter towards those involved. You can attribute all this to being wrong…. as for having access tot he Holy Spirit… its the spirit who convicts you when you lie! It’s the spirit of God who makes you uncomfortable when your own sinfulness is mentioned and brings about a measure of internal mumur when you deny your own need for forgiveness and when you deny your own need and deep longing for peace…

      • tildeb says:

        You used the word ‘after’, implying your belief came ‘after’ your historical search. That aside, I don’t know if you can appreciate why going into an inquiry with a highly biased viewpoint to look for whatever backs that up is such a problem. For that understanding, it requires rather strict education, meaning faculty that will destroy your work by revealing its inherent weakness of epistemology and grade your efforts accordingly. It is how we learn to be self-critical, to recognize and deal with the best arguments against our thesis position and not just the ones we prefer (if at all). In other words, your inquiry needs to show how the historical jesus overcomes the best arguments against his divinity. Turning to faith as a suitable method of explanation is simply not an option for an honest historian any more than it is for a mathematician to show a solution (insert something magical here to explain how to go from this point to that). Once you understand that any and all evidence for your historical jesus merely addresses his questionable existence, only then can you appreciate that the claims about his divinity are just that: claims. That means these claims may be true or may not be. The honest question then becomes How can we know? It is at this point where faith inserts itself and tells you to simply believe or all kinds of nasty things will befall you in lives other than one you are currently living. This approach does not breed confidence nor address the central question of how we can know. What we do know is that dead bodies do not reanimate even after much prayer. We doknow that a successful reproduction of a human being requires pregnancy requires both sperm and egg. We do know we have no evidence other than hearsay that jesus performed miracles of healing. And so on. We know that all these claims about divinity are against laws of nature we rely on to remain consistent every day of our lives. To accept the belief in the divinity of jesus requires not only faith to do so (with no way to test its veracity) but have to suspend what we know to be true about the universe in this special case. And we do so without any strong evidence whatsoever.

        So you begin to attribute all kinds of miraculous experiences to this belief as if they support it in some way. All you are really doing is going further down the rabbit hole where you suspend more and more of what you know to be true in exchange for what you want to believe is true. For example, your belief in demons as malevolent agents is simply incoherent. To make room for them, you turn more and more of reality into gateways into the supernatural realms necessary for your beliefs. Even with your interior dialogue, you turn it into a wireless receiver for your ‘Holy Spirit’ which is identical in all ways to various delusional conditions. Sure, talking to god is called praying, but insisting that god is talking back is called schizophrenia. Interpreting the real world using the blueprint of a supernatural wonderland does not help us to determine a reliable and consistent way to answer the fundamental qustion how do we know; instead, your approach completely undermines it because it relegates reality to be a fabric of Swiss cheese (to these other realms) in service to your beliefs rather than your beliefs to be in service of reality. This is a fatal flaw in your ‘historical’ approach and one that should warn you that you are on the wrong path to what’s true and the right path to being unable to differentiate reality from delusion.

  3. Craig Benno says:

    What a load of codswallop… every scientist I know, who is involved with research…goes into that research because they have a prior belief in that this is the way forward. Einstein believed so much in his inventions before they existed and set out to prove that they were possible.

    • tildeb says:

      You mistake an hypothesis for a position of belief. Sure, many scientists want to know if something is true but… and it’s a HUGE but… no good scientist simply believes an hypothesis to be true on faith. That’s your codswallop. Any scientist worth his or her salt will accept whatever the evidence in reality tells him or her.

      As for Einstein, his hypotheses remained just that until he could prove that gravity bends light. Only THEN did his hypothesis gain credibility beyond the math. You make it sound as if these scientists only look for evidence in support of their hypotheses, which – for anyone who has gone through the peer review process – is the superhighway to scientific oblivion and dis-accreditation. Very specifically, a requirement for publication is to adequately address the best counter-arguments against an hypothesis with strong evidence.

      You confuse the kind of belief that means “I think that…” with religious belief that means “I am certain in faith that…” This is a typical word trick meant to obfuscate the subject of inquiring. Whereas a scientist of repute will seek honestly, a theologian will start with the supposed revealed ‘truth’ and work backwards to bolster it. That’s why religion produces no new knowledge, no new avenues of inquiry, no new practical applications. Its ship of discovery about what’s true in the real world never leaves its theological moorings but lies rotting in its still dank and murky water and confuses its opaqueness for depth of wonder.

      • Craig Benno says:

        You are saying that there can only be one way of knowing something to be true… and that subjective experience plays no part at all in determining truth and therefore if subjective experience cannot be scientifically proven; that experience by default is not true.

        Say your running around barefooted. You stub your big toe. In fact you stub your big toe so badly, that you rip the nail off it. Not only do you rip the nail off it; it is also bent at a funny angle. Your subjective experience is that of pain. Your experience is telling you that it hurts. You have it x rayed and it shows that the bone is broken. You can see the nail has been torn from that toe and it is bleeding. You say you are in pain. Yet, that so called pain you are in, is only a subjective experience. How can you prove that you are in pain?

        I mean, you seem to be grimacing, groaning and yelling and even perhaps swearing. By all accounts your subjective experience would indicate that your in pain. But after all it is only a subjective experience, which appears to be tied into the fact that you have stubbed your toe. Prove to me that stubbing your toe actually causes that amount of pain… After all, I didn’t stub my toe…how do I know your pain isn’t caused by other things? Your subjective experience of pain just isn’t a good enough basis to provide a frame work of knowledge.

      • tildeb says:

        I’m saying a couple of things.

        The first is that only reality is the final arbiter of what’s true. A belief system that relegates what’s true to what some believe to be true cannot be trusted. For example, your christian faith is absolutely dependent in every way on other human beings’ hearsay. We know that people can fool themselves and there are no good reasons to suggest these folk’s attributions are true in reality when their stories are contrary to the laws of nature and bereft of any other source of evidence.

        The second is about attribution. I am not arguing that the subjective experience is by default inaccurate; what I am saying is that how people attribute the cause of their subjective experiences is untrustworthy. Your example illustrates my point: pain evokes a physiological response of arousal… meaning increased respiration, blood pressure, the release of adrenaline and endorphins, and so on. It is the brain that determines how to attribute these signals, which may help explain why some people attribute pain to be sexually arousing. When you experience the physical arousal from interacting with your environment, you attribute it according to an assortment of data and in your example decide it’s from a change of state to your toe. You have physical evidence to aid you in this self-diagnosis. With attention to this physical change of state of the toe, you will judge if that in fact and in reality is the cause of your arousal.

        But in a dream state you may experience exactly the same brain stimulation, making it difficult to know which experience is real (happening in reality) and which is not (imagined only in the brain)… except by the addition of lasting physical evidence that remains constant in both states of awareness. Your brain undergoing the same state of physical arousal doesn’t know the difference, but your cognitive function does when you learn to trust the consistency of reality and the laws of nature. That’s why we need to remember to allow reality – and not merely our subjective experience – to be the arbiter of what’s true.

        In addition, we need to remember that our attributions are not sufficient to know what’s true based only on how we interpret our subjective experiences because these attributions are often wrong. There is a huge library of knowledge to back this up. When we justify a belief system on such attributions, we know we are vulnerable to misleading ourselves; when we reject reality and the laws of nature (which we know are consistent and reliable guides) to maintain the attributions for our belief system, we know we have left the realm of knowledge and have willingly embraced the potential for gullibility and self-delusion… with no way to differentiate between what’s true in reality and what’s true in our beliefs about it when we make faith (belief aloof from evidential support) a virtue rather than a vice. That’s why faith is irrational and why religious faith is contrary to knowledge but identical with delusion. And that’s why religion produces no knowledge: it can’t when it insists we disregard reality as the arbiter of what’s true.

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