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October 14, 2007


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Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

In other words: Get to work, the fruit doesn't grow itself. Except of course if you don't put your whole life in the hands of some guy that lived thousands of years ago that told stories well to an uneducated population, because if you don't do that it's pointless to live anyway.

FMF, you are right on, especially with point #2. The challenging part of "working" for God is that even when your boss is gone, you have to keep working hard. But, the great thing about working for God is that whether your boss realizes or not how much work you put into a project, God does. So, if your boss doesn't reward us like we deserve, we don't have to worry because God will - and His rewards are a whole lot better :)

As an atheist I don't agree with you, but in turn, if you look at it as working for yourself, and your own self-respect then that will take you a long way.

Plonkee, biblical ideals focus on selflessness, humility and servanthood. By contrast, atheist ideals seem self-centered.

Proverbs 21:5 (NLT) states: "Good planning AND hard work lead to prosperity, buy hasty shortcuts lead to poverty."

One of my favorite verses for budgeting(planning) yet you clearly says that hard work goes with the planning.

There's no such thing as an "atheist ideal." Ideals vary from person to person regardless of religion. Also, your criticism of atheism is out of line. Judge not . . .

Proverbs 12:11
He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.

Proverbs 14:23
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

Proverbs 21:25
The sluggard's craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work.

Proverbs 31: 9b-31
The Wife of Noble Character A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.
6 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

"Let everyone be sure that he is doing his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work well done, and won't need to compare himself with someone else." - Gal 6:4 Living Bible

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might..." Ecc 9:10 NIV

Brad, are you an atheist? Seems ironic that you would be quoting Scripture - or did I misunderstand? If you are familiar with the passage, you know that the Bible does not forbid judging. Check it out: Matthew 7:1,2.

Just so I am not misunderstood, I have no ill-will toward atheists. I disagree with their view of theology, but no personal bitterness. I enjoy discussions of ideas - defending my own and asking questions about others. It is fun and I often learn something.

Is "not judging" an atheist ideal?

Back to the post - good post, FMF, I enjoy your Sunday posts - there are a huge number of verses regarding work in Scripture. How we apply ourselves at work is a reflection of our view of God.

rocketc --

I too find it amusing that people stop by here on Sundays, say they don't believe the Bible or believe in God, then quote scripture in support of whatever argument they make. And, by the way, their references are generally out of context or even made-up versions they recall hearing somewhere -- not something actually found in the Bible.

Yes, I have been an atheist for about 12 years now. Not judging is my ideal, and it should be yours too. You don't know me or plonkee, and you may know an atheist or two but they don't speak, act, or (dis)believe for all of us. Sure, "judge not" has its origins in the Bible. But it's a common phrase now and we all know what it means.

I take offense to your statement that "atheist ideals seem self-centered." I also take offense to FMF taking your side despite that obvious dig at someone who doesn't share his/your beliefs. FMF, I didn't come here on Sunday to make any point. I like to read your Sunday posts and the corresponding comments because it helps me in my understanding of others. I found one comment to be beside the point, off the mark, and somewhat ignorant. Surely you won't begrudge me adding a comment in response?

FMF, perhaps you should make a post some Sunday about atheists-- perhaps the most misunderstood group of Americans-- and what, if anything, their disbelief in your god means with respect to their personal finances? I'd be curious to hear your take.

Brad --

Certainly it's fine for you to comment. Like I said, I just find it interesting that people quote something they don't believe in as justification for what they're saying.

I'm not really qualified to write a piece on atheists and personal finances, but if you (or any other atheist) would like to share your thoughts, I'd be open to publishing it on a Sunday. If you're interested, email me and we can set something up.

Well, generally speaking they quote what they don't believe because from their perspective, someone else's actions/words are in violation of what THEY supposedly believe. It's not a justification from their POV, but instead an attempt to point out a contradiction. I understand why people do this and I've done it before many a time. But I understand why you chuckle at it, especially when they just make stuff up. We get the same thing thrown our direction all the time, and you get to the point where it's funny instead of aggravating.

As for a guest article-- I'll try to come up with a topic that's not too broad and run it by you via email.

Brad --

Yeah, I understand what they're trying to accomplish, but, as you point out, it often doesn't come off well.

I am looking forward to your piece and I enjoy interacting on this thread.

It is interesting that you say that "not judging" should be my ideal. Why? Shouldn't we all just live by our own ideals. Why should it be my ideal? What right do you have to enforce it upon me? Are you judging me for not "not judging"? :)

I believe that the Bible encourages us to judge - not with grand generalizations and stereotypes, but on content of character, actions and spoken words. Discernment and good decisions are an integral part of Scripture. However, the Bible also makes it clear that 1. we are to judge ourselves by the same standard to which we hold others and 2.we are also to act in the best interest of the other person.

Let me give you an example: I have a 3 year old daughter. In our day and age, it would not be good judgement for me to hire my 16 year old male neighbor to be her babysitter. Am I judging? yes Do I believe that all 16 year old males are child molesters? absolutely not Am I judging him personally to be a child molester? absolutely not However, I would not be exercising good judgement to place him in that position - even though I like him a great deal and would hire him to mow my lawn in a second.

In the US, the cry to "not judge" has become a way to insulate everyone from any and all criticism of their actions and words. I prefer a society that allows interaction with all points of view equally.

I'm not sure how we got here from a post about work. Maybe I need to hang out at more religion and philosophy blogs.

Brad, as a new investor, I find your blog interesting and will be visiting it more often. Your post about "dogma" is challenging.

I laughed when you mentioned my blog. It's dying a slow, painful death as I've had very little time to write lately. :-\ I enjoyed it but I just haven't found the time to write much. The post on dogma is near and dear to my heart. As an atheist I have very strong feelings on dogma. I think it causes people to do bad things, to themselves and to others.

As for all the words on "judging," I don't believe that your story about using good judgment is really what I'm talking about. That's not the sort of judging I thought you were doing in your original comment . . . seemingly judging all atheists to be self-centered. That's a completely different animal from your example above.

My philosophy on judging is very much like the passage from the bible that you reference above.

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Now, how to digest this passage and use it in one's daily life . . . that's going to vary. I think it urges us to NOT JUDGE, since we all fall short of what we desire to be (and what others would wish us to be). It can certainly be taken differently and used to varying degrees. I judge everyone, but I wish I didn't. And I don't mind it being pointed out to me when I am doing it.

It's a generous offer by FMF and if I take him up on it, I hope to do it justice. FMF's Sunday posts mean something to the Christians that are interested in how their religion and finances relate, and perhaps I can provide them with some outside perspective on both. I hope so.

Are you dogmatic about not being dogamtic? - just kidding - don't answer that -

I enjoyed the discussion. Anytime you want to talk theology or religion, come on over. :)

The confusion can be explained by looking at the original texts of the bible.. the words translated as "Judge" in English include: krinō (condemn), diakrinō (decide) and anakrinō (discern).

That may be a little oversimplification but shld provide some insight! You are both right.. Christians are supposed to judge (decide/discern) but not to judge (condemn).

Very, very, very true. I heard the other day that if we do what we know we are suppose to do then God will ALWAYS provide for our needs.

Working for God is a lot more satisfying that working for people - whether it's folding clothes, washing dishes, mowing the lawn, or doing trial work. :D

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