Addicted to Addictions?

The argument comes in various forms but it goes something like this (courtesy of a previous comment from Shieldsy):

We’re all slaves to something or someone. We’re never free, we simply get the occasional opportunity to choose/change our master. You’ve simply replaced your slavery to churchianity with something else.

Another comment from Josh S makes the same argument, just phrased differently:

Everyone is dependent on something. It’s just a question of what. I have found that the world outside the church is not full of free thinkers, but on people who are dependent on a whole host of other things for very similar sorts of things, whether a political party, a business mantra, or a political candidate.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject and these comments since they were posted, thinking about myself and asking, “What or who am I a slave too? What or who am I dependent on? Is this idea true in my life?”

When Shieldsy made his statement, I suggested that we might view this idea differently if we substituted the word “addict” for slave. The same is true for Josh S’s comment. I wonder, is it really true that everyone is a slave? Are we all dependent? In essence, are we all addicts to something, but some addictions are healthy and others are not?

It’s been well documented that those with addiction problems tend to switch addictions albeit from something that may be more harmful to something viewed as less harmful. Many go from booze to God. Others might go from gambling to sex. And I challenge you to go to an AA or NA meeting anywhere and not find at least 90% of the people smoking cigarettes before or after the meeting.

I fear Shieldsy and Josh S. are right. Apparently most people are slaves and have become dependent on something or someone. As Josh said, “The world outside the church is not full of free thinkers.” But does that make it right?

Personally I don’t think it’s healthy to have a slave mentality, regardless of ideology, philosophy or religion. I don’t want to be dependent on something outside of myself for my happiness or contentment. Addiction to anything or anyone is unhealthy regardless of the spin you want to place on it.

After much thought, I’m convinced that I haven’t replaced churchianity in my life with slavery to anything else. Maybe someone can prove me wrong, but I can’t think of anything. Also, I personally don’t use the term “free thinker” since my thoughts don’t exist in a vacuum, but I do consider myself a reflective thinker.

I certainly wish at times I could have the simple mind of a slave. Or maybe it’s just that eventually a person just stops thinking and acquiesces to their captors. It would also be nice to be completely dependent on someone or something to bail me out when life gets tough, but in my experience life doesn’t work that way. And recently, I have discovered that I am not powerless over the things and people I felt I needed to cope with life’s stresses. Creating, clearly stating and keeping good boundaries has been the key in my own personal recovery towards contentment.

64 thoughts on “Addicted to Addictions?”

  1. <>Define ‘happy people.’ Happiness is a transient state. No one is always a happy person.<>Fair enough Dorse, but I wasn’t suggesting that happy people are never anything but happy. I was just challenging the “God shaped hole” concept that what is missing in everybody’s lives, that which serves as a barrier and gateway to real happiness, is a personal relationship with the God of the Bible.

  2. Steve, after reading your last couple comments, I think that it should be made clear that your opinions are different than what the Bible teaches. That’s not a slam against you (we’re friends!), but an observation (feel free to prove me wrong). Let me explain without being too long-winded.The Bible teaches the experience of being “crucified with Christ,” which means that we no longer live for ourselves or even under our own power. We willingly give up our desires to do Christ’s will. This, of course, was taught by Christ himself (not just a Pauline thought – even though I think those too were inspired by God)when he said that we must follow him by taking up our own cross daily. He lived selflessly, therefore we should also. And not just in a natural way, as one who does not know the Lord (Zeke’s good person), but in Christ’s way, being led by the Spirit and pointing men to God.The free gift is salvation from ourselves, in many ways. Theologically it is an offer of eternal life from the God who created us, instead of the alternative, which is death because of our sin.On a side note, I am slightly annoyed by the time wasted arguing over assumptions. So, for the record, I believe that the Bible is the written Word of God, given to men as a love letter and standard by which to live their lives. Men should study it well and interpret it using good scholarship as well as the Holy Spirit. I believe that it was written primarily so that we would believe that Jesus is the Christ (savior of the world), and that by believing, we can have life <>in his name<>.Steve, you mentioned unnecessary guilt. Guilt about what? Not being like Jesus? If Jesus is everything good and we are not, should we feel secure in the parts of us that are bad and keep doing them? Isn’t guilt a good thing when it comes to sin?The Bible clearly states that if we fall away from the teachings of Christ we will not have fellowship with God. And since so much of what Christ taught has to do with selflessness, service, humility, attitude, sincerity, and faith (all of which are a struggle for humanity), my conclusion is that we must become dependent on Christ in every way for our own good.We can reject Christ’s teachings if we want to and feel secure in our own ways. But how foolish would that be if He indeed is our Creator?

  3. I don’t think “faith” is an addiction per se… but the things surrounding that faith could be… or the object of that faith could become an obsession or addiction. To your point regarding “good” addictions… I think it’s an oxymoron. That’s sort of the crux of my post. Many things are good or healthy on the surface aren’t they… at least many things in moderation cannot be deemed harmful. But left unchecked to the addictive mind almost anything can be detrimental…in the event one is consumed by it and drawn away using their time, money or other resources. I think the addictive mind is a dangerous one…because it is still an unhealthy dependence on someone, some thing or some activity to cope, distract, or numb oneself. I am trying to rid myself of such dependencies that are not beneficial.

  4. dufflehead,I would never assume my wit to be astounding, or singular for that matter, but my apologies for taking your precious username in vain…it’ll never happen again.I would never dare to judge any persons personal conviction, however it doesn’t take that much digging to find that these acts you describe are mostly fueled by a few radical individuals who have managed to wield the minds of those who would follow them. I don’t question that God fit in to their picture somehow, but I will put money on the table that they were following human orders…not God’s (even if they were being told otherwise!).Relationships with God are an individual matter, and so we shouldn’t be surprised that there are those who will misrepresent and distort a core belief we share. I support my presidential candidate, but I am also grievously embarrassed by many in that same party.I find your conclusion rather shallow. Sorry. Just because Jim Phelps “hates fags” and we both claim to believe in God, doesn’t mean that I to hate homosexuals.I personally know many Germans who lived in Germany during WWII and actively participated in the Nazi party (some more than others). Most believed what they were doing was good and right. Hitler had complete control of that country. Where they ignorant? Sure. Scared too? You bet.This is how churches and/or crazy Christian leaders (many other religions fill this category) go bad. The people end up following the leader…in the NAME of God. Compare any of those heinous acts you listed to the God of the Bible and I would say that your might find some discrepancies.Difference: Addicted to someones idea of God vs. being addicted to God = two different things.

  5. There’s a lot to comment on here, but I will begin with SOCIETYVS.I believe it is limiting to confine the word addiction to only substances such as drugs. A person can be addicted to a thing or an activity as well. All you have to do is observe my son’s obsession with PS3 to see that. Things (including relationships) and activities (including church attendance and worship) are certainly capable of being psychologically or physically habit-forming…and removing them from one’s life can definitely be traumatic.KURT: There is a certain “spin” you are putting on slavery, especially in regards to the passage you reference.In Romans, the greek word “doulos” is used throughout and means “a slave, one bound to serve” and “is used of the lowest scale of servitude”. Certainly, as a Christian, calling oneself a slave or servant of Christ is an honor, but the word servant here seems to be one bound or one in bondage to his master. I get the idea, that if Christ has set me free from death, then I pledge to serve him with my life. But my question is, as others have touched on, if I have been set free, then Christ shouldn’t demand my service, nor should I feel indebted (or indentured) to offer it. A free gift is just that… FREE! There’s no service I can offer that would repay such a debt anyway. Being a slave to Christ does not lead to eternal life. I understand what you are trying to say, but that subtle type of bad theology is what causes people to feel guilt where there should be no guilt. If Christ’s gift is truly FREE, we are not slaves, not even to him.

  6. One more off topic post:I’m the one who nominated Deacon Blue for Certified Honest Blogger. And although he gave you an “out” for completing the list… I’m a reader here too and would love to see it. 😉= = = = = = <>Give to classroom projects in high-poverty schools via DonorsChoose 2008: <>< HREF="" REL="nofollow">Friends of Fackin Truth Blog<> (Participating via the AfroSpear with Black Bloggers for Education).

  7. For those still reading, the point of my post is somewhat clearly stated, but I will summarize again after thinking and re-thinking it and I can put it into two words: Personal Responsibility.For me this means:1. Don’t just do what you are told blindly because someone tells you too because you want to please them, or not rock the boat, etc…even if they call themselves pastor and are quoting a passage of scripture to support it.2. You can hope, pray, wish or meditate for things to change, but my experience is that at some point you will have to take action for real change to occur in your life.3. You cannot control everything and everyone around you, but you can control how you respond.4. Having clear boundaries for your life is a vital key to personal contentment.

  8. societyvs, I can’t find a post on your blog that refers to Timothy or to Gracehead.Unfortunately, via my own wife, I am familiar with Timothy and the problems he and devotion to him are causing.

  9. It’s funny, but pretty much anytime Dorsey comments nowadays I say Amen. It’s great that he’s come round to my way of thinking ;o)

  10. i keep going to the dictionary because you keep throwing around these words as if you know what they mean:addiction-the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.if you ceased to believe in god, would that cause trauma? if you ceased to go to church, would that cause you trauma?“One might even say we are all addicted to our belief systems” one would be wrong at best, unhealthy at worst (which is the point of the post).“sureley you didn’t think I was imposing some external addiction on you” in my interpretation of the context of this post, yes, that is what i thought.“Explain to me how you are not the most powerful sentient entity of the known universe without a deity?” I command world peace! did it work? hmm, guess i’m not.more later . . .

  11. SOCIETY – I disagree, I think the way we use the word “belief” is exactly as it was used in the NT. I took John 3:16 for example and cracked open that dusty Greek dictionary and the word “believes” is translated “to think to be true, to be persuaded, to place confidence in”. That is no different than how I use the word believe. I think the key word is not “believe” but the word “in” that follows it in John 3:16.That Greek word “eis” is often translated “in” as it is here, but the more literal translation is “into”. So it would read “whoever believes into Him”.As you state, the question in Biblical terms and in todays terms isn’t just what I believe or think, but what do I “believe into”. This implies the direction of our lives and where are true values lie.Think about it. What are you into?? That’s what you hold dear, that’s what you want more than anything else, that’s what you believe in truly… regardless of what your mouth says. My kid is “in” school but he’s not “into” school, he finds it boring. He is “into” PS3 and will spend hours figuring out a game and how to beat it. He says he wants to go to college and make good grades…but what he says doesn’t line up with how he spends his time or prioritizes his life.I agree with your conclusions…and I think people with an addictive mind think they believe one thing, when they really believe another. They just have learned lie and cover up their true beliefs – and that’s called being a hypocrite. It’s also called denial.

  12. You know, I think there has been a good thing or two done in Jesus’ name. Helpful to remind myself of that while I see what the fundies are trying to do to gays in my home state.

  13. steve, how would you differentiate being “into” something versus an addiction? So if we were into God/Christ the way your son is into PS3, would that be a bad thing?Curious minds with addictive tendancies want to know…good times.

  14. “This ties in to what I was trying to convey” . . . dude, that conversation must have been in your head because the text string doesn’t make the leap you just did.“I believe in grace too. But, what does it mean to believe? Can we really confine it to what’s in the head?”do i need to quote the dictionary for you? belief is all in the head. you can act on that belief; either in a healthy way or unhealthy way (which is the friggin point of the post), but the root of it all is still “just in your head”

  15. JB – The Bible teaches a lot of things that are up for interpretation. Most certainly this subject (grace, salvation, etc) is among them since many scholars disagree with your interpretation and mine…so I am not sure how often we can ever say “this is what the Bible teaches” with much confidence” especially regarding salvation.I happen to believe (if I believe anything at all) in GRACE. Complete grace and not works of any kind. It’s a gift from God (not from ourselves as you imply) and there can be NOTHING…absolutely NOTHING that a person can do or say or wish or try to gain it. I was responding in an earlier comment to Kurt who said that “being a slave to Christ leads to eternal life”. I don’t think the Bible teaches that. Jesus was asked, “What are the works we must do to inherit eternal life?” and he replied “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”To me that sums it up. Jesus said it, I believe it, that settles it… HAhahaha!! Thought it was funny that I said that.I don’t believe that eternal life has anything to do with anything we do or don’t do. Belief in Christ alone is enough. What I meant by my statement about guilt is this… when people imply you must be a “slave to Christ” to receive (or keep as you suggest) eternal life and do this or do that to be a Christian – that’s not Biblical either. Preachers specifically use this around serving, or giving, etc… and I think it’s bad theology and as Jesus would say, it places burdens on people and uses guilt (not real guilt but manufactured guilt) as a motivational tool.Finally, JB I believe that if your dependency and service to Christ leads you to do things that are detrimental to your beautiful wife and kids, in time, service or money, then it is not a good thing. I think many pastors would agree to that statement on the surface, but sadly devote so much time to building their churches and ministry that their families pay the price. I’d like to see that change.

  16. steve, I completely agree with everything you’ve said. I would only add that PS3, church, drugs can in now way shape or form be compared to God. In so much as these are all man-made or man-influenced–as you accurately described them–benign and temporary things. God however is at best perfect, at worst supernatural. He’s also a living entity, and thus being completely “into” Him will also lead to being completely “into” oursleves (according to His Word) as well as everyone else in the world…at least that’s the promise if we choose to follow through in the relationship. “In Him” we learn that we must be “in this world, but not of it.”So in essence, what all the other “into’s” lack, God has it all. Whatever poison they hide whithin, He has none of it.When it comes to christianity, chruchiantiy, church, or any of those constructs that are man made (no matter how well intended), they must be treated with the same extreme caution as all the other “into’s”…but God…Christ embodied the ultimate nearness/likeness to/of God, and we are called to build our lives on Him.When we (and I am very first in line for this!!) whip out the label-maker for God’s little cubby-hole and thus place him on par with all the other “into’s” in our lives…I believe that God accutely feels pain, and it is such self-righteous behavior that causes it. great post.

  17. thanks shelly!duffle, we are all slaves to our ideals. I think the “free gift” comes in the form of relation with God and eternal life. What’s the reward for your addiction?Even if Bible/Jesus/Christianity is unacceptable to you, but you concede that there is/was some kind of Creator-like-Being, wouldn’t life/nature/universe be gift enough, and wouldn’t we somehow be indebted (indentured) to Him/it? Are we that superior as sentient beings that we can declare ourselves masters of this universe? For if there is no God, than are we not the next wrung down the old food chain? And if you/we are in fact the masters of our own destiny/universe than aren’t we simply indentured to ourselves?So what’s better, being stuck forever tyring to please myself (and don’t tell me that one doesn’t get old) or someone/thing bigger/better more complete than us? The end game for the deist outcome seems to leave us with a bit more to gain than watching an instant reply of our sad little lives seconds before the old final-curtain-and-fade-to-black. (and btw, just to clarify, I believe there’s far more to all this than just the ‘after’)I guess in the end, for me, it comes down to a matter of inward versus outward perspective.

  18. I think the sum of what Steve’s post (and comments) is driving at, is a completely counter-human behavior: selflessness.The word slave automatically brings up negative connotations in our minds based on present culture. However I believe the bibles use of the that term is there merely to illustrate Jesus’s uber-human selfless character that we are to emulate.Are we willing/able to completely put ourselves last for the sake of love/grace/Christ? Truely? I sure as hell can’t, but what an image of Heaven to be able to do so here and now.What would our lives…this world look like if we all were to apply even 10% of this? We are so concerned with our physical/spiritual/and intellecutal freedoms that such selflessness presents a major threat to us.This ties in to what I was trying to convey to Duffle regarding our sense of greatness in the world. Our endevors, issues, careers are SOOO important, that the idea that there might be something bigger than us seems silly. That’s not to say that we are worthless. It’s actually the opposite, but not until we first are able to realize our smallness before God can we see what greatness we are in Him.

  19. duffle,Look at the two founders of this blog. If that isn’t the very definition of cessation from an addiction, then I don’t know what is. And look at the multitudes of recovering addicts who flock here. The nature or subject of our addiction might change, but the reality of it does not. You are obviously very teathered to yours, if it’s not than why not just shake it off and go work for TBN? Even those who say they believe in nothing are committed/addicted to their belief in nothing. I’m not even comparing one with the other when I speak of the nature of addictive beliefs. I believe that it is impossible to not be addicted to ones own ethos…whatever it peace…silly and weak retort.zeke,I believe in a Creator who made amazing beauty all around us. I believe that He longs to be in relation with all those He created and has attempted to make contact via the bible (think about how the Creator of a universe might communicate with humans…). I believe that the truths therein are there for those who seek with an honest and open mind/heart. That people have taken the bible, their beliefs, and any number of extraneous ingredients, and attempted to make it their own. I am not bound by them. I might fellowship with others who are searching like me, but anyone who tells me they’ve got the whole Christian Doctrine blah blah blah all figured out, to them I say you haven’t even begun (not suggesting that I have somehow achieved a higher level or whatever…still just taking those first few baby steps).I am humbled beyond words or actions by the very idea that someone might have set the perfection of life in motion. So if I can find some way to show gratitude…nay…enjoy a relationship with Him…well call me the dumbest guy in the room and watch me do the happy dance.I look at my life and the collective human history, and if I thought even for one second that we’re smart enough to ‘figure it all out’…I’d be on board 100%. But history and my mirror shows me otherwise. That is why I choose the Creator over me.– Vizzini

  20. “Yes, but I think the destinction of a prior willful choice is important.“i don’t. addicts and slaves don’t have reason or free will (i’m putting choice in with free will since what i oringinally wrote seems redundant). that’s my point. to have reason or free will means you are neither a slave nor an addict (or are on your way out of either of thos positions.)“With the presupposition that God is the Creator, we must also concede” no, we don’t have to. we have choice and reason.

  21. “Addiction to anything or anyone is unhealthy regardless of the spin you want to place on it. “yep.addictions are probably something all of us can get closer to relating to than slavery. we have no real understanding of that word.

  22. how did i lose the “ings”? . . . let’s assume that you are, in fact, responding with some astounding singular wit . . .

  23. dufflebag – I’m afraid that your two-dimensional thinking (comprised of semi-self-awareness and your online dictionary) leaves me stumped. I rest.

  24. <>(hey, if christians can talk in christianese, i should be able to talk in pseudocode, right?)<>I’d think so. 😉<>btw, if slave to christ == indentured servitude, where’s the “free gift”?<>Exactly.Also, indentured servants don’t work for all time–only until their debt is paid.(Unrelated: Congrats to Lowend and the missus!)

  25. <>Just because the gift itself does not have any strings attached, is there not something within us that wishes to reciprocate in some way?<>Let’s revisit that “gift” as described through the lens of evangelical doctrine: the merest puff of breath followed by an eternity of torment. Unless, of course, you subscribe to just one of the thousands of belief systems that you will be exposed to as a human being. Exactly one, particular belief system.Some gift.(Note: I actually love life and I am grateful for it, just not grateful to God as walled in by evangelical doctrine)

  26. right, cause everything paul says is truth and applies to everyone for all time and is beyond scrutiny (otherwise the terrorists win). the context of slavery that you’re referring to, kurt, is not what the discussion is about.slave to church != slave to christ slave to church == slave to anything else == addict == unhealthybtw, if slave to christ == indentured servitude, where’s the “free gift”?(hey, if christians can talk in christianese, i should be able to talk in pseudocode, right?)

  27. “Now the Bible tells us that we are all by nature, sinners, that we are slaves to sin and Satan, and that unless we are converted, or born again, we must be miserable forever” – J. Hammon

  28. <>“Now the Bible tells us that we are all by nature, sinners, that we are slaves to sin and Satan, and that unless we are converted, or born again, we must be miserable forever”<>My problem with that is it elevates a supposition about human misery to the level of doctrine. Here’s something for you: lots of people who are not born again Christians are actually happy people. Only among born again Christians can such a statement be <>controversial<>.

  29. I have come to believe, when considering that God created us all in His own image, that we’ve all been implanted with an instinctual need to connection to Him. Think of it as a homing beacon. The fun part is learning to interpret that signal. We are all driven to discover the source of the signal, but all to often simply substitute it with (fill in the blank).I wouldn’t say that I am a slave to my wife (okay…sometimes, especially now that she’s preggers!!), but am I addicted to her? Am I not dependent on her? So too do I feel about God and me. It’s not always a happy kind of connection (me choosing to distance myslef from Him for example), but nonetheless nessacary to silence the beacon inside of me.The true test that you’ve found what you’re looking for, is when it’s enough. Most often when people find the thing that is supposed to silence the beacon, they are dissapointed when it doesn’t and so they need more (intellectualism, money, sex, drugs, fame, success, etc). With God, what more is there? That’s not to say that the journey ends. Of course there is still all kinds of living and growing to do, but that urge to “fill the hole” seems to subside. Just to be clear, I’m not claiming some kind of Olesteenian bliss, but a deep and significant sense of having arrived or found something long lost.That’s been my experience anyway.

  30. BTW, addicts DO have “choice, reason, and free will”. They may forfeit them based on their CHOICES. The same goes for those who would volunteer themsleves into slavery.

  31. “I believe it is limiting to confine the word addiction to only substances such as drugs. A person can be addicted to a thing or an activity as well” (Steve)Good point – I couldn’t think of an example for some reason – but your son’s PS3 addiction really did hit the spot. As for ‘trauma’ – that’s an exaggeration within the definition. I am almost sure if your son loses his PS3 today – he may cry – but years from now it’s not something he’s going to find he needs some sort of counselling for…probably will barely remember it. I am also not a big fan of calling something an addiction that I am not sure really is – like faith in God. I may be wrong on this – but if it is an addiction – then it can be seen as something ‘good’. I am not sure I would use addiction for something we deem worthwhile. Just an opinion – I had this talk with my younger brother a few times – and I never felt right labelling something that can be healthy as addictive (maybe to not downplay via comparison true addiction I have seen in addicts to drugs and alcohol). I think the ‘slave’ ideal – or pattern – or whatever the heck it is – just has to be dropped altogether…terminology in this country and that term – yeah – not quite a good use for that term. I do not feel the need to call myself a ‘slave to Christ’ – when we are known to ‘sons/daughters of the Father’.

  32. ah, the crux of what you are saying (finally)committed does not equal addicted. look up the definitions.addiction doesn’t equal conviction, or passion, or many other words that you have somehow equated.silly and weak retort . . ok, how about, thanks for the compliment of calling me the most supreme sentient being apart from a deity?i’m still confused as to how that is even relevant to the discussion. if you think that power is what it’s all about and that we absolutely must bow to the will of the most supreme power, hey, that’s your call to give up your free belief is “obviously sans God” . . .where did i say that? again, how presumptuous.“I believe that it is impossible to not be addicted to ones own ethos” to which i reply with a quote “you keep using that word. i don’t think it means what you think it means.”

  33. I joined this conversation late in the game and I just read all the comments. Steve, your summary comment (right above mine)is the perfect period at the end of the sentence. I agree with your “Personal Responsibility” list 100%Hawa, author of< HREF="" REL="nofollow">Fackin Truth Blog<> (Personal Blog)and< HREF="" REL="nofollow">Cleanse Master Remix<> (Health Blog)

  34. lowend,“clearly you have a dizzying intelect” slaves to ideals: maybe you are. please define slave and ideal. i’m going with the context of this post and dictionary.comslave – a person entirely under the domination of some influence or personmy addiction: how presumptuous of = gift and we are indebted: no. if it’s a gift, there’s no debt or obligation. let’s go to the dictionary (it’s the good book of semantics) again for this:gift – something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present.the rest of the part about masters of the universe and top of the food chain is a false dichotomy.stuck forever – we do all die, right? after that, no one knows. i’m fine knowing that i may be wrong. are you a slave, then, to the fear of death?

  35. Thanks Steve. The last paragraph of your response spoke to me especially. I see what you’re driving at and get a better picture of the spirit of your post. I agree with that completely.I believe in grace too. But, what does it mean to believe? Can we really confine it to what’s in the head?My argument was that we can fall away from belief by abandoning the teachings of Christ. And this can happen knowingly or through deception. 2 John 7-9 are just some verses that makes this clear.

  36. Not to keep it going, but some other people who were really into Jesus built schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, etc. So merely being devoted to God isn’t the real problem here.

  37. Doesn’t have anything to do with this post, but FYI…I’ve named you on my Certified Honest Blogger post today. Don’t…I repeat, do NOT…feel obliged to go through with the process yourself. Just wanted you to know I’ve given you some respect after getting some myself.

  38. Paul often refers to himself as a slave, or bondservant, of Christ. I think it’s important to remember that the connotation of slavery has shifted dramatically from the 1st century to the 21st century. We think of slavery in the context of North American disenfranchisement of Africans. People unwillingly taken from their homeland to become slaves. In Paul’s day, slavery was much more akin to indentured servitude (although, to be fair, prisoners of war were often made slaves by their captors). Pledging yourself as a slave to pay your debt was a common reason for self-inflicted slavery. More than anything, being a slave to Christ (which leads to eternal life) is by no means the same as being a slave to alcohol or gambling (the end of which is death). Romans 6:15-23 lays this out in detail.

  39. “BTW, addicts DO have “choice, reason, and free will”. They may forfeit them based on their CHOICES. The same goes for those who would volunteer themsleves into slavery.”then we agree that they don’t have them.

  40. Addictions huh – interesting convo. I think the key is defining addictions – which Dufflehead does in this blog. I am not sure Christians are ‘addicted’ to faith and I am not sure everyone is an ‘addict’ to something. I think we all have our desires to certian things. Can a person become an addict to their spouse’s attention? In a way, but once it’s gone the person doesn’t quite salivate at the mouth. Addictions is a term that i would use how Duffle defined it – “psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma”. The definition is a little ‘extreme’ but captures the point. I also do not believe humans are addicted to themselves – as compared to being addicted to faith in God. Neither of those are addictions from what i can tell. It’s type of antitheical set-up putting faith in God vs. faith in one’s self (which may not be the case) – usually with regards to the focus of one’s worship. Worship is far from an addiction. I think humans become addicted when they lose control of a substance they thought they could control. For example, I smoke. I am addicted to smoking – by all admissions. Do I go into trauma when I do not have a smoke? No – but I do get cravings for that substance. For me, addictions are things we can live without and are usually detrimental. As for ‘everyone being reliant on something’ – well this is true. We all have formed ideas, thoughts, and values based on things we have learned and been taught. But what is so bad about the admission of that? I am subject to the views of another scholars work some of the time – by addmission. That isn’t bad – that isn’t much of anything but the ‘way it is’.

  41. duffle,Thank you for that enjoyable ride down dictionary lane.You are a sentient-living-breathing human being (safe assumption on my part), therefore you have an ideal (lets use belief system to be clear). Yours is obviously sans God…fine. So is it really a streatch to say that you are a slave to…yourself? One might even say we are all addicted to our belief systems (sureley you didn’t think I was imposing some external addiction on you…come on!).Just because the gift itself does not have any strings attached, is there not something within us that wishes to reciprocate in some way? Is that behavior wrong? Is being grateful wrong?Explain to me how you are not the most powerful sentient entity of the known universe without a deity?I am not afraid of death. I simply choose to believe in an option beyond death and the implications this has on my present life-purpose (damnit…I used the “p” word didn’t I…be gentle Steve!).

  42. I would like to invite you Steve, and many others here, to a discussion on my blog with 2 ladies that are struggling with the prophet Timothy (yes – he’s ruining more lives). These two ladied are married to husbands that help run – where Timothy writes a lot of stuff. Anywho, these ladies are struggling with their husbands being involved with Timothy and this brand of fundie faith they are heading into. Basically, they could use the discussion and maybe some of you may have some answers for them – I am not sure. But I invite you all to join in on the discussion – maybe we can us out blogging powers to help someone out? Wouldn’t that be nice.

  43. “then we agree that they don’t have them.” Yes, but I think the destinction of a prior willful choice is important.Old Testament…that’s an awefully broad and potentially shallow retort. The Old Testament is as much a historical account as it’s a look in to the progression of God’s relationship with man. One can not simply pull a specific situation from that culture and time and transport it to present for a parallel comparison.With the presupposition that God is the Creator, we must also concede that He reserves the right to lay down as well as change the rules. Specifically, I regard much of the Old Testament as the adolescent phase of our history with God. Whereas the entrance of Christ radically changed the nature of our relationship and catapulted us in to an adult-like relationship with God.It’s almost like judging a parent disciplining his/her child at the grocery store (short of beating it bloody), we must take the full picture of that parents method/relationship in to account. I don’t pretend to understand everything that transpired during those OT times, but I see a continuous thread of love that permiates the entire book.

  44. “do i need to quote the dictionary for you? belief is all in the head. you can act on that belief; either in a healthy way or unhealthy way” (Duffle)They way we use belief now matches up with what you say – but I think the way belief is used biblically (buy people like John for example) is not merely about believing something ‘in your head’. It was more about how the faith would effect the way you acted.Granted, what you believe starts in ‘your head’ – but ypur actions are the proof to your beliefs (as in ‘ you are doing what you are saying you believe’). If I believe everyone deserves to be treated like a king (in my head) and do not act upon it – do I really believe that? That’s how the bible approaches a concept like belief.

  45. In the context of what I said, in my opinion yes it would be a bad thing to be into Christ/God (and I would add here Church) the way my son is into PS3. As a result of his addiction he makes poor choices, tunes out his family, is making poor grades…so therefore it has been removed from his life. He couldn’t control it so I placed him in “detox” from it. I know when I was a teenager, my mom wished at times that she could ground me from church since it seemed to consume my life. My social involvement there caused me to pull away from my family and my time involvement with my youth group was a result of poor grades and even bad choices. My mom’s most damning comment of my involvement in church was that if the people at church could see the way I sometimes acted at home they would wonder if I was really a Christian. The church wasn’t the problem. The PS3 isn’t the problem. These things in and of themselves are mostly benign.Being “into” something is a fine line to walk. I want my son to be into school, but do I want him to be consumed to making good grades to the detriment of everything else?? No. You mentioned balance and I think that’s a good place to start for most of these “good things gone bad” scenarios. As I stated before, I think anytime being “into” something becomes detrimental to yourself or your family or loved ones in time, service, health or money it should looked at as a possible “problem” area.

  46. Define ‘happy people.’ Happiness is a transient state. No one is always a happy person. Even contentment is an internal compromise, at best. Pain, discomfort, discontentment, unhappiness, etc. are the only things that drive any sort of change/progress in the world.I think what the bible tells us, in the instance described, is not so much an “if you do this, then…” type of statement as it is an observation of the natural order, not necessarily a doctrinal tenet. I agree that we are all driven by something, whether our own wills or the will of another.The deeper issue is the mindset at the core of that driven-ness/slavery/addiction/dependence/bent. Where the conversation veers into absurdity (to my thinking) is the point at which I decide that I am fully in control of my world, that I cannot be acted upon by external influences. That’s a fool’s errand.

  47. wow…that’s increadibly deep burlapcranium. This completely changes my whole perspective on God! I had no idea that people have used God to justify their own psychotic means. That’s almost like saying that there are people in government who say they are there to help the people but in actually have their own selfish agenda…say it ain’t so!!!!That’s it…I’m just not going to believe in anything anymore, because the world is just way to fucked up and I can’t trust anything anymore.Come on dude. Either that was a lame joke, or you have me really concerned…

  48. steve,Your post was clear. My point about selflessness speaks to the motivation and balance of all this.I completely agree that churchianity has taught us to blindly follow the leader and pretty much just wait for God to shower us with good things (while standing perfectly still).However, I do believe that we must seek to find that unatainable balance between personal responsibility and submitting ourselves to God’s authority. I believe that Christ represents that perfect center and all we can do is try and model ourselves after that, excepting our imperfections and continued defeats. With our petty successes/failures as a sidenote, the dynamics of the relationship between God and us being formed are what counts.

  49. heres a funny one for you.They had a meeting for functional families and only 2 showed up, and they were both in denial.

  50. wait . . . lowend are you referring to me as burlapcranium? can you not be civil enough to use the correct username?let’s assume that you are, in fact, respond with some astound singular wit . . .prove to me that the people involved in the crusades, flagelation, burning “witches”, and genocide didn’t think they were completely devoted to doing what they thought was the will of God? what about the people that bomb abortion clinics and kill gays? what about the phelps and westboro baptist? you’re saying none of those people truly believed they were “into” God? that they wouldn’t gladly accept the label of being addicted to God? and that’s a good thing?i say addiction is bad. all addiction. you say, addiction to God is good. i disagree completely, me this discussion all boils down to choice, reason, and free will. addicts and slaves have none of those.

  51. “Compare any of those heinous acts you listed to the God of the Bible and I would say that your might find some discrepancies.”2 words for you:old testament

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