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Blinded By Belief


JosephM
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Man is a wondrous creature. Even the very thought that we are conscious at all is enough to baffle the most intelligent of men. Yet it is even more amazing that this wondrous creature we call man that has been mysteriously endowed with a mind and reason will voluntarily give it up rather than use these faculties. He gives it up to have a book he can believe in with all the answers spelled out for him and then attributes this book he knows was written by men to the divine creator.

 

What is it that would cause a man to do such a thing?

 

Inevitably a man will come to the place where the entertainment of this world no longer holds his interest and the questions of life come foremost before his mind. In his sincere search for his creator he reaches out and cries out for meaning. And when this desire reaches to his very core, something happens. He has a revelation or communications with the very essence of life itself. This he instinctively and understandingly recognizes as God. And it is revealed to him that this God loves and has been with him always and is not far away. Many Christians call this the new birth experience but it is in no way an experience that is limited to a particular religion.

 

From this point the man "knows" that He has a spirit and connection to the unknown questions of life itself. What he does from this point is most paramount in his journey. He usually has this burning desire to know more of this phenomena and connection that resembles finding a lost treasure. He becomes renewed and excited in purpose to know more and live in this experience he has just had. Not having all the answers, in his impatience he searches the data of his mind and recall teachings about a book of answers to his questions whose author he was taught is God. And if that knowledge was missing he shares his experience with others having had the same experience and is passed on to this same conclusion. His focus now is placed on a book. In it he seeks to find more of his experience and inevitably makes a decision of mind to accept this conclusion as a fact and through it he continues his search.

 

Though many things in this book neither go well with his mind nor reason he makes a decision to believe the book by a concept he is told is faith. He then uses his intellect to make it fit within that concept and puts the reason and mind as inferior to the book itself. After all, he has made a conscious decision to believe the author is God. In essence he gives up his right to doubt, question or otherwise disagree with the book whose words reinforces his decision as being correct. He believes he is in the process of learning yet his learning is always made subject to the premises of the book he has made a decision to believe in. His thinking process must always be made limited to the revelations of the book which he no longer separates from God.

 

To the outsider, this seems absurd, ridiculous and foolish. Yet to the believer the book speaks of itself as foolishness to the mind and therefore justifies the mind=s belief in this newfound faith. Because of the words in the book the believer sees others as blinded and lost. He sees himself as special and to be rewarded in a future life for his belief in this newfound faith concept. The book is purpose driven and gives him purpose by its command to make more disciples of the book or his newfound God. He will be so daring as to refer to his book as the Word of God as though that were the same essence of life that he connected with in the beginning. And thus starts a vicious cycle.

 

Reason cannot deliver him from this cycle because his decision to believe has negated its use. History, contradictions or errors in the book have no power over his belief as he is trapped within the confines of the book which declares all others to be blinded. It declares the understanding of all the concepts or premises of the book to be foolishness to the natural mind and beyond its comprehension. Yet the fact that he is blinded by this belief is hidden from him.

 

What can be done for him? Nothing! He must make his own choices and decisions. Those on the outside can only continue in love to include him as one on a journey and an equal partner of God's wondrous creation.

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The sad thing is, there probably are many men and women who do just what you've described.

 

Seems like you've outlined two extreme positions, either swallowing the bible whole as God's "dictation" or rejecting it all as a fraud. There is a middle ground.

 

The way I've learned to see the bible, from reading progressive theologians, is as a human response to the experience of God--written by two groups, the ancient Hebrews and the early Christian community. It's part history and part metaphor; a collection of stories, prayers, religious practices, etc. It tells us how they saw the relationship between God and humanity. It doesn't tell us "this is the way God says things should be for all time," but "this is how we understood God in those days." The idea is not to ask "is this narrative factual, did it actually happen?" but "why was this story preserved for so many hundreds of years? what does it say to me?" The stories are true because they show us something about human nature, our search for meaning in life, our need to feel connected to the ground of being.

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The sad thing is, there probably are many men and women who do just what you've described.

 

Seems like you've outlined two extreme positions, either swallowing the bible whole as God's "dictation" or rejecting it all as a fraud. There is a middle ground.

 

The way I've learned to see the bible, from reading progressive theologians, is as a human response to the experience of God--written by two groups, the ancient Hebrews and the early Christian community. It's part history and part metaphor; a collection of stories, prayers, religious practices, etc. It tells us how they saw the relationship between God and humanity. It doesn't tell us "this is the way God says things should be for all time," but "this is how we understood God in those days." The idea is not to ask "is this narrative factual, did it actually happen?" but "why was this story preserved for so many hundreds of years? what does it say to me?" The stories are true because they show us something about human nature, our search for meaning in life, our need to feel connected to the ground of being.

 

Hello rivanna,

 

Actually I would agree to neither accept nor reject. I would believe it neither as God's 'dictation' or a fraud. It is what it is. As you pointed out there are other options available.

 

Why allow a belief either way to blind one to truth. Many books are inspired and testify of the things of God. It is the decision to accept or reject that locks us in to a perceptual error. If a book testifies that all revelation knowledge and understanding is found in Christ then it would be good to seek Christ and check out that possibility. It is only necessary to set no limitation or boundary either way to be open to truth. Truth is self revealing but belief and past programming can be an obstacle or obscuration preventing its light from illuminating your consciousness. Books of course can only point to something. Subjective experience on the otherhand is of much more value and always more accurate than the limitations of the pointer.

 

Just some thoughts to consider.

Edited by JosephM
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Well, I think you're "preaching to the choir" here if you're suggesting we need to be open to truth wherever it is found, free to question, doubt, think for ourselves, pursue our own path, value experience more than books. I'm just as likely to find profound inspiration in the Tao, or the poetry of Mary Oliver, as in the bible. On the other hand, I would hate to think that we couldn't quote from the bible on this forum without ruffling feathers! :-)

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Well, I think you're "preaching to the choir" here if you're suggesting we need to be open to truth wherever it is found, free to question, doubt, think for ourselves, pursue our own path, value experience more than books. I'm just as likely to find profound inspiration in the Tao, or the poetry of Mary Oliver, as in the bible. On the other hand, I would hate to think that we couldn't quote from the bible on this forum without ruffling feathers! :-)

 

Hi Rivanna,

Thanks for your post. Hopefully, I am not preaching to anyone. :) Just sharing and responding to posts. In my view, you are free to quote whatever book you like even the Bible. I am not in the least bit offended in it nor any other book. Perhaps the first post writing had nothing in it that was new or of interest to you? However, since this is more of a debate and dialog section, I assumed there would be readers with conflicting views that my post might speak to. My perception was that this was not the 'choir' section. :D

 

Love in Christ,

JM

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To be painfully honest, I was irritated that you used the word "man" repeatedly to mean "humanity."

At least I hope that's what you meant. :-)

 

Dear rivanna,

 

I do apologize for the provocation. A definite unconscious oversight on my part while writing. I didn't even notice it until I just re-read it. You are correct in the meaning. There is no male or female in Christ and humanity is what I meant.

 

Love in Christ,

JM

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Hello Joseph:

 

In regards to your original post, this is a little story I think about when dealing with people who have rigid belief systems.

 

Once upon a time a man somehow became convinced that he was dead. No matter what people told him the man believed that he was dead. His family ,his friends everyone tried,but they could not convince him that he wasn't dead.

 

Finally at their wits end they enlisted the help of a world renowned psychiatrist to convince the man that he wasn't dead . The psychiatrist worked with the man and worked with the man ,but the man insisted " I'm dead :I've been dead a long time"

 

As a last resort the psychiatrist asked the man "look, do dead people bleed ?"

The man said "of course not ;don't be absurd; dead people don't bleed." So the psychiatrist took out a knife

cut the man arm, and blood poured from the man's arm . "See look at that, now what do you say!!"

The man looked at the blood flowing from his arm and exclaimed"Well I'll be damned...............dead people DO bleed."

 

 

MOW

Edited by MOW
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Hello Joseph:

 

In regards to your original post, this is a little story I think about when dealing with people who have rigid belief systems.

 

Once upon a time a man somehow became convinced that he was dead. No matter what people told him the man believed that he was dead. His family ,his friends everyone tried,but they could not convince him that he wasn't dead.

 

Finally at their wits end they enlisted the help of a world renowned psychiatrist to convince the man that he wasn't dead . The psychiatrist worked with the man and worked with the man ,but the man insisted " I'm dead :I've been dead a long time"

 

As a last resort the psychiatrist asked the man "look, do dead people bleed ?"

The man said "of course not ;don't be absurd; dead people don't bleed." So the psychiatrist took out a knife

cut the man arm, and blood poured from the man's arm . "See look at that, now what do you say!!"

The man looked at the blood flowing from his arm and exclaimed"Well I'll be damned...............dead people DO bleed."

MOW

:D

Wonderful story Mow. Never heard that one. Sometimes a story is much more effective than many words. And this story says it well.

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However, since this is more of a debate and dialog section, I assumed there would be readers with conflicting views that my post might speak to.

I suppose I'm one of those. :) I really don't see the Bible as being the enemy of reason as you do. I see a beautiful tapestry woven of 66 books, written by 40 authors, over a 1500 year period, with one consistent and coherent message: God's salvation of his people. We see God's election of Abraham and Israel as the ones through whom all the nations will be blessed. We see the prophets testify of the Messiah's coming, and in the fullness of time, Jesus arrives to fulfill these prophecies. We read of Jesus' followers boldly proclaiming with one clear voice the Good News: "that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations." The Bible augments my faith. Christians can be confident that their faith is firmly rooted in history and evidence.

 

The idea is not to ask "is this narrative factual, did it actually happen?" but "why was this story preserved for so many hundreds of years? what does it say to me?" The stories are true because they show us something about human nature, our search for meaning in life, our need to feel connected to the ground of being.

I don't think the biblical authors allow us to read them that way. Consider Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. He tells them that if Christ has not been raised from the dead, they are all still in their sins and their faith is useless. John writes his first letter so that his audience may KNOW that they have eternal life. These men, indeed all the disciples, were passionate about the truth. And this wasn't just wishful thinking on their part: they were communicating what they themselves had seen and touched first hand.

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I suppose I'm one of those. :) I really don't see the Bible as being the enemy of reason as you do. I see a beautiful tapestry woven of 66 books, written by 40 authors, over a 1500 year period, with one consistent and coherent message: God's salvation of his people. We see God's election of Abraham and Israel as the ones through whom all the nations will be blessed. We see the prophets testify of the Messiah's coming, and in the fullness of time, Jesus arrives to fulfill these prophecies. We read of Jesus' followers boldly proclaiming with one clear voice the Good News: "that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations." The Bible augments my faith. Christians can be confident that their faith is firmly rooted in history and evidence.

 

Hello DCJ,

 

Your view is welcome here but I read it only as a different view and not a debate where one wins and one loses. It seems to me in that attitude (debate) no one can really make progress. Perhaps I do not see the Bible being an enemy at all. My point was only to say that ANY 'book' that is accepted (believed) as absolutely true and innerent locks the mind out by 'blindness' to other than what the book in question contains. Yes, you do see the Bible as different than I from my perception of your meaning above. That is okay with me and does not make you my enemy. In my reality there is no 'them' and 'us' or deserving few. I accept you as a brother regardless that your belief differs from that which is revealed to me.

 

 

I don't think the biblical authors allow us to read them that way. Consider Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. He tells them that if Christ has not been raised from the dead, they are all still in their sins and their faith is useless. John writes his first letter so that his audience may KNOW that they have eternal life. These men, indeed all the disciples, were passionate about the truth. And this wasn't just wishful thinking on their part: they were communicating what they themselves had seen and touched first hand.

 

Your first assumption here of course is based on the belief that the biblical authors are who it is recorded they are and that their original words are recorded accurately and furthermore that they are from God. If I do the same, I will probably come to your same conclusions which I have in the past. However, God has showed me that truth is not reserved for a book or a few men from times past. I am now communicating to you that which I have seen and touched first hand. With your belief, where does that leave us? It leaves me in love with you and possibly leaves you thinking I am deceived, have a devil, and fallen from grace.

 

Love in Christ,

JM

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Man is a wondrous creature. Even the very thought that we are conscious at all is enough to baffle the most intelligent of men. Yet it is even more amazing that this wondrous creature we call man that has been mysteriously endowed with a mind and reason will voluntarily give it up rather than use these faculties. He gives it up to have a book he can believe in with all the answers spelled out for him and then attributes this book he knows was written by men to the divine creator.

 

What is it that would cause a man to do such a thing?

 

Hi Joseph,

You ask why "man that has been mysteriously endowed with a mind and reason will voluntarily give it up rather than use these faculties". First of all, I would say that he does not do this, at least not in all cases. In my case it has been rather the opposite. Now if you want to ask why a man would believe in the Bible, I would say that one reason would be (though certainly not the only and maybe not even the most important) because of evidence. As God says through one of the prophets "come now and let us reason together". It's a fairly easy process to see what the Bible has to say regarding the world and the things that will happen in the world, and observe if there is any accuracy there. One of the reasons the Lord provided the prophets was so that "then they will know that I am the Lord And that I Lord have done it". "They" being those who study the words of the prophets, and then see how things are worked out.

 

For one quick example ( out of many), no other book ever written ever said about what would become an ancient, extinct nation that if they did not obey the commands of the Lord, that they would be expelled from their land that the Lord given them. After He brought a faraway nation against them to destroy them. And then He would chase them through the nations with His figurative sword, and that they would be hated in all of these nations where He sent them. But while punishing them, He would provide enough protection for them in these nations so that they would not be completely destroyed, and that finally He would bring them back from the faraway lands -- from the farthest nations of the earth -- and give them the land of Israel again.

 

And thus it has happened, exactly as described. Now I'm sure many will argue that it is not God that has done this. Nonetheless, things have worked out exactly as written. And it has never happened in such a manner with any other ancient extinct nation that has ever existed on the Earth. Somewhat coincidently, it has happened in exactly this manner regarding the only nation of the earth about which the Bible said such things. Go figure.

 

In the meantime, various yet unfulfilled prophecies of the Bible appear to be in the process of working out as described. For instance,We can go to the words of Jesus when he tells His people Israel that they will be taken prisoners to all nations, and that Jerusalem will be trampled under the feet of the Gentiles, UNTIL the times of the Gentiles are complete. Or, one could go to Zechariah and read of God's promises to someday gather all nations against Israel. But this time, the outcome of this story does not tell of Israel's destruction, as when Rome came against Israel. Instead it describes how they will finally repent and look upon the one they have pierced and mourn for Him as though for an only Son, and then the Lord will return and go forth and fight those nations which have been gathered against Israel. Other than America, are there any nations on the earth to do not hate the nation of Israel? And even America is quite shaky in this regard. So it's not hard to one day see all nations (United Nations?) gathered against Israel. But we will just have to wait and see regarding these prophecies. ;)

 

Anyway, you ask why one would put their trust in such a book. I ask why anybody could read this book and not put their trust in it, if they desire to think in a rational fashion. At the same time, I say there is no other book -- religious or otherwise -- that contains such evidence indicating that it is the Word of God.

 

 

 

Bill :)

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Dear rivanna,

 

There is no male or female in Christ and humanity is what I meant.

 

Love in Christ,

JM

 

Hi Joseph,

I was just wondering, where do you get this concept? Is it something you came up with yourself, or did God communicate directly with you to reveal this truth to you? Or did you get it from the book where this truth is proclaimed? If the latter, since you seem to think this book is full of contradictions and error, how do you know this part of the book is true? I believe it because, for one reason, I believe the book the phrase comes from is the Word of God. But why would you believe it, considering the source from which it comes?

 

Bill

Edited by corinthian
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Hi Joseph,

I was just wondering, where do you get this concept? Is it something you came up with yourself, or did God communicate directly with you to reveal this truth to you? Or did you get it from the book where this truth is proclaimed? If the latter, since you seem to think this book is full of contradictions and error, how do you know this part of the book is true? I believe it because, for one reason, I believe the book the phrase comes from is the Word of God. But why would you believe it, considering the source from which it comes?

 

Bill

 

Hi Corinthian,

 

You make good points. If I may, I will attempt to explain to your satisfaction.

Yes the Bible does contain truths. Of this there is no doubt. However just because part or even most of a book contains these things does not make ALL of it true unless we limit ourself to the viewpoint that since A + B +C are true then D must be true.

 

The quote concerning male and female is valid and it could be quoted out of other books for that matter. It is a self evident truth to any serious spiritual seeker or non-seeker for that matter whether the Bible said it or not. Plato and other great writers spoke truths long before any Bible ever appeared on the scene. It is logical within reason itself that if God made all creatures and if He is just then he would love all equally and unconditionally. Does not even an earthly Father love his children equally regardless of their sex? An earthly father may not but then one might perceive him as prejudice which is not an attribute one would ascribe to a God that is above the pettiness and prejudices of men.

 

If you believe that I count the Bible as totally false then you do err in your perception of both my writing and me. For every true saying you can show me in the Bible (And I myself can show you many) I can also show you an error but then again if you limit yourself to the viewpoint that there is no possibility of error then it would be fruitless. That is the point of my post. That is what blinds a person. And it is nothing more than a belief that is accepted from a limited viewpoint that is so rigid that it will not allow reason to consider otherwise.

 

Love in Christ,

JM

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Hi Joseph,

You ask why "man that has been mysteriously endowed with a mind and reason will voluntarily give it up rather than use these faculties". First of all, I would say that he does not do this, at least not in all cases. In my case it has been rather the opposite. Now if you want to ask why a man would believe in the Bible, I would say that one reason would be (though certainly not the only and maybe not even the most important) because of evidence. As God says through one of the prophets "come now and let us reason together". It's a fairly easy process to see what the Bible has to say regarding the world and the things that will happen in the world, and observe if there is any accuracy there. One of the reasons the Lord provided the prophets was so that "then they will know that I am the Lord And that I Lord have done it". "They" being those who study the words of the prophets, and then see how things are worked out.

 

(snip)

Bill :)

 

Okay Bill,

 

You are correct. Not all voluntarily give these things up. I did not use the word ALL or ALWAYS but the inference was only applicable to those who do. Nevertheless, I will stand corrected if need be.

 

Your reasoning appears sound except I must ask.... Have you believed it because you examined all the evidence completely for yourself and determined it to be true? Or, have you examined some of the evidence and found some of it to be true and therefore assume it all must be? Or do you believe since some of it is true and it is believed by so many people that it has to be true? (herd instinct) Or, have you merely chosen to believe that God would not leave us here without an instruction manual without errors in it? Or did God speak to you and tell you every thing in it is both accurate and true? Or, a combination of these things?

 

Whatever your answer, I am interested in hearing it but if it is any of the ones I have mentioned except the first, I have failed to see any validity in logic or reasoning with these faculties we have been endowed with but rather a surrendering of them to a concept man created called blind faith.

 

Love in Christ,

JM

Edited by JosephM
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Hi Joseph:

 

Glad you enjoyed the anecdote . Its bounced around my family for years.

 

The concept of Biblical inerrancy has many problems. One of them is that it leaves believers vunerable to attacks from atheists and skeptics. All they have to do is find one error and the whole concept falls. Its like a large math problem that goes on for pages. It doesn't matter how brilliant it is ,if there is one miscalculation anywhere the solution will be wrong. For example Deuteronomy says "thou shall not kill",Ecclesiates says "there is a time to kill " ."Aha! , gotcha!", they would say . Now progressives know there is all the difference in the world between these two books. If anything the books of Job and Ecclesiates refute the Deuteronomists philosophy.

 

I don't know if you've heard of Howard Thurman. He was a writer theologian and preacher in the Eighteen hundreds. His book "Jesus and the disinherited " influenced Dr King . Anyway he was raised by his grandmother who had been born into slavery. In his autobiography he recounts how she would make him read to her from the Bible. But she forbade him from reading anything to her from Paul. The reason for this was that whenever white preachers would preach to the slaves they would read"slaves obey your masters with fear and trembling" and it enraged her. He writes that toward the end of her life ,when she had learned to read a little bit, she took a pair of scissors and cut everything Paul wrote out of her Bible. I'm sure for her it was cathartic in a way. As an African -American myself I can relate. However I know that some scholars now doubt that Paul wrote that passage from Ephesians.

 

Again I'm glad you enjoyed that"dead people do bleed" story.

 

 

MOW

Edited by MOW
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Hello Mow,

 

Yes I enjoy anecdotes now in my older age more than ever before. They seem to subtly get a point across on many levels without raising emotions as much as being direct to the point does. And of course if the person doesn't get it, it was just a story and no harm is really done. lol

 

To Mow and All,

 

Yes the concept of Biblical inerrancy has many problems as you say. I had wriiten a short writing on it under the pen name of Koshada that even used a short true story to get across the point. Its probably a bit more gentle than this first post of the thread so I will include the link here since it is related. Those who might still hold a view that the Bible is innerant but be bold enough to read are welcome to read and comment or point out any errors the writer (myself) may have made. I would be most interested if any are found. Here is the link:

 

http://home.fuse.net/mattioli/Bible/Bible%20Inerrant.htm

 

Thanks in advance for any comments,

JM

Edited by JosephM
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Hi Joseph,

Thanks for your responses. I'll try to answer a few of your questions to me. You asked me a series of questions regarding why I believe that the Bible -- I guess you are asking me -- is the Word of God? As opposed to just to a book that happen to contain some truths, just as many other books do? I suppose it would have to primarily be the first choice you gave me, although even that one cannot quite explain my reasoning. No, I certainly have not examined all the evidence completely. That would be pretty well impossible, don't you agree? Just like if I was to try to prove that God did not exist based on the visible evidence, but then I wouldn't be able to say I had been to every corner of the universe to search for Him. Just because I had not seen him here in my very limited experience on earth, would not suffice as proof that He did not exist anywhere. But for the atheist that might be good enough evidence. In the same way I cannot examine every possible part of the Bible and every possible part of history and current event's that might prove it right or wrong, in order to say I have absolutely determined every bit of it to be true.

 

I am pretty scientific in nature, which for many years kept me from believing the Bible. But in the same way I have not examined every piece of scientific evidence that science has ever provided and put it to the test. But I have examined a large amount of it, and found it to be true, and therefore I more or less accept most tenets of science without arguing with them. Because science tells me that voltage squared divided by resistance equals power, and/or that the voltage divided by resistance equals current, and in my laboratory days I was able to prove scientifically that these things my instructors were telling me were true -- after seeing enough of these, I now generally accept one is in a science book. With the exception of what I consider to be the pseudoscience of evolution. This doesn't mean that everything in a science book is true, but it seems to me like a fairly good bet that most of the time it will be true and applicable to my life. I can pretty well count on the law of gravity to kill me if I am careless while mountain climbing, and I'm not going to need to put it to the personal test. And neither are most people. Although it is possible I could step off a cliff and then just fly away, it seems like a poor bet based on what science has told me so far which has proved correct.

 

So going back to your first choice, I have not examined all of the evidence but I have examined a whole bunch of it. And I have found enough examples in the book so that it is clear to me that there are many things in the book that are of supernatural origin. Confirming to me Jesus's words that these words that He spoke are spirit and are life. At the same time, nobody has ever presented me with adequate evidence that there is any other book that has this trait. Now once I have ascertained that there is a good bit of the book that -- as Far as I'm concerned -- is proved to be the Word of God, then it seems to me a good bet that the same God who could provide this supernatural word and make sure that it has been preserved through the centuries (millennia actually) can also make sure that it is preserved along with, and in the same body and is, His other words. In other words, the abundant produce that I see present are enough to make me figure it's a good bet that the rest of it is true also, even for the parts that I don't have as much evidence for.

 

In addition to the prophecies (there are hundreds of them) such as I have already given as example, which I find to be overwhelming evidence, I do not find scientific error in the book, if you allow for normal figure of speech. And once I am convinced by the initial evidence (a large amount of it), I have no problem allowing for symbolism, allegory and figure of speech. I mean even the modern scientific weatherman -- as well as all the rest of us -- says every day that the sun is going to rise in the morning, right? Yet we all know that the sun doesn't rise, and we don't feel a need to accuse a weatherman of dabbling in mythology.

 

But conversely and inexplicably for an ancient book, I find in the Bible statements saying that God has hung the earth in space upon nothing. That the sun goes forth in its orbit (only recently discovered to be correct), and many others that I can not think of without stopping to look them up. And if that isn't enough, from 1400 years before Christ, we have a book with essentially correct modern medical germ theory presented in it. All of the health laws given to Moses by God, so that they would not die of disease while expedition in to the desert for 40 years. Law was to bury waste outside the camp, to wash in running water, to not touch dead bodies -- even of animals found dead -- to burn with fire various objects which today we know would be contaminated with disease causing germs. None of this became well known in science until about 200 years ago, but there it all is in the law of Moses. Presented by Moses, even though he was raised and educated Egyptian. Egyptian medicine of the age bore no resemblance to the above. It was more likely to tell you to apply some dung or ground-up flies to a wound. It seems unlikely that Moses could have gotten these health-related matters correct without any major errors 1400 years before Christ. We couldn't get these things right until the late 1800s.

 

Well I better quit, I'm already getting long winded.

 

Later

Bill

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Joseph,

 

PS: regarding your other choices. I don't think there's any herd instinct going on. Most people I know don't really know anything about or care about or believe these things I have talked about. They're certainly not much about the prophecies in my church, unfortunately. Other than what comes from me. And I can say that, apart from what is contained in His Word, God has not revealed anything specific to me. Or if He has, I have for the most part been to dense to pick up on it. Which is not to say that he doesn't guide me in various ways, but I'm not aware of any specific messages just to me. I often wish He would just speak audibly to me, it would make things easier. And no, I have not just chosen to believe that God would not leave us here without an instruction manual. It's just that after many years of rejecting it, once I finally actually examined it (the Bible) thoroughly, and compared it to history and even science and even current events, I've found it to be overwhelmingly reliable.

 

Bill

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Hi Joseph,

Thanks for your responses. I'll try to answer a few of your questions to me. You asked me a series of questions regarding why I believe that the Bible -- I guess you are asking me -- is the Word of God? As opposed to just to a book that happen to contain some truths, just as many other books do? I suppose it would have to primarily be the first choice you gave me, although even that one cannot quite explain my reasoning. No, I certainly have not examined all the evidence completely. That would be pretty well impossible, don't you agree?

 

Thanks for your thoughtful response.....

Yes Bill I do agree. That's exactly why no decision has to be made to believe all that it says. The whole can only assumed to be true based on the part. Therefore there is no need to give ones mind an instruction to accept it as the final word or all true. That is what is meant by 'blinded by belief'.

 

 

Just like if I was to try to prove that God did not exist based on the visible evidence, but then I wouldn't be able to say I had been to every corner of the universe to search for Him. Just because I had not seen him here in my very limited experience on earth, would not suffice as proof that He did not exist anywhere. But for the atheist that might be good enough evidence. In the same way I cannot examine every possible part of the Bible and every possible part of history and current event's that might prove it right or wrong, in order to say I have absolutely determined every bit of it to be true.

 

Excellent logic Bill but don't you see a hole in it. It is not necessary to go anywhere to prove that God exists because there is no place God is not. Besides, you can't prove God to anyone. His presence is self-evident once the barriers are removed. There is no need to examine every part of the Bible. God is within you and you need not that any man (nor book) should teach you for the anointing of his spirit which is present in all is sufficient.

 

I am pretty scientific in nature, which for many years kept me from believing the Bible. But in the same way I have not examined every piece of scientific evidence that science has ever provided and put it to the test. But I have examined a large amount of it, and found it to be true, and therefore I more or less accept most tenets of science without arguing with them. Because science tells me that voltage squared divided by resistance equals power, and/or that the voltage divided by resistance equals current, and in my laboratory days I was able to prove scientifically that these things my instructors were telling me were true -- after seeing enough of these, I now generally accept one is in a science book. With the exception of what I consider to be the pseudoscience of evolution. This doesn't mean that everything in a science book is true, but it seems to me like a fairly good bet that most of the time it will be true and applicable to my life. I can pretty well count on the law of gravity to kill me if I am careless while mountain climbing, and I'm not going to need to put it to the personal test. And neither are most people. Although it is possible I could step off a cliff and then just fly away, it seems like a poor bet based on what science has told me so far which has proved correct.

 

Even science changes. We find new discoveries every day and some of them prove what we thought was true was actually in error. The science/health industry is excellent testimony to this. For the most part, the things of the flesh are subject to the things of the flesh but the things of the 'Spirit' (and God is a Spirit) are not the same. Science will not experience God for you. It has its limitations. You cannot even see the kingdom of heaven unless you dwell in the spirit (born of the spirit). (I don't need the quote in the Bible to know this but it is true) However it does not make all the words true unless that is what you choose to believe and then you have willingly put your blinders on.

 

 

 

So going back to your first choice, I have not examined all of the evidence but I have examined a whole bunch of it. And I have found enough examples in the book so that it is clear to me that there are many things in the book that are of supernatural origin. Confirming to me Jesus's words that these words that He spoke are spirit and are life. At the same time, nobody has ever presented me with adequate evidence that there is any other book that has this trait. Now once I have ascertained that there is a good bit of the book that -- as Far as I'm concerned -- is proved to be the Word of God, then it seems to me a good bet that the same God who could provide this supernatural word and make sure that it has been preserved through the centuries (millennia actually) can also make sure that it is preserved along with, and in the same body and is, His other words. In other words, the abundant produce that I see present are enough to make me figure it's a good bet that the rest of it is true also, even for the parts that I don't have as much evidence for.

 

You make my point well in that you use the words 'it seems to me it is a good bet'. Since when do you give up your spiritual sight for what 'seems like a good bet'. I could show you literally 100's of obvious errors but if your mind has been programmed by your decision to belief it all, where is the room for scientific evidence to prove otherwise?

 

In addition to the prophecies (there are hundreds of them) such as I have already given as example, which I find to be overwhelming evidence, I do not find scientific error in the book, if you allow for normal figure of speech. And once I am convinced by the initial evidence (a large amount of it), I have no problem allowing for symbolism, allegory and figure of speech. I mean even the modern scientific weatherman -- as well as all the rest of us -- says every day that the sun is going to rise in the morning, right? Yet we all know that the sun doesn't rise, and we don't feel a need to accuse a weatherman of dabbling in mythology.

 

I have been through my 4 years of Bible College and ordained and am well aware of the prophecies. If you spent just one day examining the contrary evidence with no decision up front you would not come to such a conclusion. Excluding figures of speech, allegory, and symbolism, it is still possible to show you geographical, historical, translation, math, and conflicting errors without even going outside the Bible.

 

If you are really serious try sites like:

 

http://www.freethoughtdebater.com/tenbiblecontradictions.htm

 

http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/science/long.html

 

Some of them can be explained away and are errors on the part of those blind and taking the opposite view of yours.... However, in my view many of them are not defendable except to a closed mind. So why take either position and rather let God himself be your teacher as I have found God to be no respecter of persons.

 

Love in Christ,

JM

edited spelling

Edited by JosephM
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Joseph,

 

PS: regarding your other choices. I don't think there's any herd instinct going on. Most people I know don't really know anything about or care about or believe these things I have talked about. They're certainly not much about the prophecies in my church, unfortunately. Other than what comes from me. And I can say that, apart from what is contained in His Word, God has not revealed anything specific to me. Or if He has, I have for the most part been to dense to pick up on it. Which is not to say that he doesn't guide me in various ways, but I'm not aware of any specific messages just to me. I often wish He would just speak audibly to me, it would make things easier. And no, I have not just chosen to believe that God would not leave us here without an instruction manual. It's just that after many years of rejecting it, once I finally actually examined it (the Bible) thoroughly, and compared it to history and even science and even current events, I've found it to be overwhelmingly reliable.

 

Bill

 

Hi Bill,

On the contrary, Being an ordained Christian Minister I can tell you that in the fundamental Christian community the 'herd instinct' is very strong. Perhaps you are speaking outside that circle where the 'herd instinct' is non-christian. It works both ways...

 

One thing I will ask you and then close... Pray about this and ask God in Faith for yourself if he who says thou shall not kill ordered his servant to do this:

 

Numbers 31:17-18

Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. [18] But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

 

Ask God if he is or is prone to revenge, favoritism of people, anger, hatred, violence, vanity, egotism or the need for compliments or if he changes his mind. These are all projected vanities of the ego mind of men. Yet they are painted as being of God in the Old Testament. The God I know is beyond all these conceptions. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and not vunerable to these things. God is all-loving, all-meriful, complete, changeless, self-revealing and does not direct floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, storms etc.. All these things were present before their were living societies. God does not get mad and trash cities and civilizations. God condems no one. These are creations of men. That which is love and absolute perfection has no lack or need for such things. Just some thoughts for you to contemplate and pray about.

 

Love in Christ,

JM

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Hi Joseph:

 

Glad you enjoyed the anecdote . Its bounced around my family for years.

 

The concept of Biblical inerrancy has many problems. One of them is that it leaves believers vunerable to attacks from atheists and skeptics. All they have to do is find one error and the whole concept falls. Its like a large math problem that goes on for pages. It doesn't matter how brilliant it is ,if there is one miscalculation anywhere the solution will be wrong. For example Deuteronomy says "thou shall not kill",Ecclesiates says "there is a time to kill " ."Aha! , gotcha!", they would say . Now progressives know there is all the difference in the world between these two books. If anything the books of Job and Ecclesiates refute the Deuteronomists philosophy.MOW

 

Hi MOW,

 

Though I'm sure you have other examples of finding error in the book, the one you have provided, it seems to me, does not present a problem. It's simply a matter of translation. Some translations of course say "thou shall not kill" while many other translations say "thou shall not murder". There is a world of difference between "kill" and "murder". Although, to "murder" would naturally include killing, although killing does not necessarily include murder. Either a translation could reasonably be used in this verse, but context determines the correct one to be "murder", it seems to me.

 

Now what of the context where this is used? It clearly rules out the translation "kill" if that is meant to exclude any and all killing. Because the same God who is giving that command has already given other commands requiring execution, and indeed it immediately follows that command with multiple examples of sin that must be punished by execution. Of course, it could still be argued I suppose that the command is to the individual who is to never "kill" in the sense of acting in anger or taking revenge. This must be left to the appointed authorities, who are commanded by God to take a life under certain circumstances.

 

Ex 20:13Thou shalt not kill

Ex 21:12He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death

 

Now, an atheist would be free to argue that the above is an example of error in the Bible. They are commanded not to kill in one verse followed by a command to kill just a few verses later, all by the same God. It is not necessary to go all the way over to Ecclesiastes. You just have to go a couple of pages. Though it seems to me that if they were correct that this means error, the Bible would be useless, just a bunch of gibberish that nobody could make any sense out of. But instead it seems rather obvious to me that "kill" in 20:13 is simply a rather poor translation, a translation that is only partially correct best, and is totally out of context with the rest of the book that it appears in. Partially correct in the sense that "murder" includes "killing".

 

When I look to the Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament), I see that the word that has been translated in verse 20:13 is the Hebrew word "ratsach". The first definition given in bold letters is "murder", followed by "kill, take the life of another...... ( note: this action can refer to an accident, manslaughter, premeditation, or governmental execution)

 

When I look in the NASB be dictionary, once again the first meaning listed is "murder". Looking in Strong's lexicon, I see 1: to murder, slay, kill.

 

However, in verse 21:12, when I look at the Hebrew for "surely be put to death", I see that is another word: Hebrew transliteration "mut", for which the DBL Hebrews shows first definition: die, be dead, be killed and so in a state of physical absence of life. The use of "murderer" for this word is way down the list. Looking to the NAS be dictionary, there is a long list of translations/definitions, but "murder" is not even on the list. It's the same thing with Strong's, no mention of murder , with the primary definition being " to die, kill, have one executed".

 

So to me this is no example of error at all, but more an example of a translation that is not specific enough in the choice of the several shades of "killing" that could have been chosen for the translation. And indeed, many other translations -- maybe most -- use the word "murder" rather than "kill".

 

As far as I'm concerned, most so-called "errors" in the word of God turn out not to be "errors" when examined closely enough. But to a believer like me, it doesn't matter if one can find a few examples that I am unable to explain. Because once I have become convinced, from the many examples I have already provided, of the miraculous and supernatural aspect of the book, then I don't really worry about a few minor areas that I cannot explain. These "errors" are dwarfed by the other evidence, and therefore to me would just be examples of my small human mind as yet being unable to understand. Indeed, there are many difficult areas in the Bible that caused me a great deal of problem for a lot of years, of the type you are pointing to. But the vast majority of them disappeared with further study, because the problem was with me and my lack of understanding and lack of study, rather than with the book itself.

 

But that's only one way of looking at it, I realize! :)

 

Bill

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Hi Bill,

On the contrary, Being an ordained Christian Minister I can tell you that in the fundamental Christian community the 'herd instinct' is very strong. Perhaps you are speaking outside that circle where the 'herd instinct' is non-christian. It works both ways...

 

One thing I will ask you and then close... Pray about this and ask God in Faith for yourself if he who says thou shall not kill ordered his servant to do this:

 

Numbers 31:17-18

Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. [18] But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

 

Ask God if he is or is prone to revenge, favoritism of people, anger, hatred, violence, vanity, egotism or the need for compliments or if he changes his mind. These are all projected vanities of the ego mind of men. Yet they are painted as being of God in the Old Testament. The God I know is beyond all these conceptions. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and not vunerable to these things. God is all-loving, all-meriful, complete, changeless, self-revealing and does not direct floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, storms etc.. All these things were present before their were living societies. God does not get mad and trash cities and civilizations. God condems no one. These are creations of men. That which is love and absolute perfection has no lack or need for such things. Just some thoughts for you to contemplate and pray about.

 

Love in Christ,

JM

 

Hello Joseph,

 

When I said "no herd mentality" I was just saying that I don't believe that provides a reason for the judgments I have come up with. I'm only talking about my specific case. I'm sure there is much "herd mentality" many places and in many churches. And not just in the so-called fundamentalist churches, as you indicate. I'm sure there is also a fair share of herd mentality and the so-called progressive, liberal churches. People are influenced by the thoughts of other people, particularly people they admire, such as pastors. But they would be better off paying closer atention to the Word of God rather than the words of men.

 

I certainly believe, having prayed about these matters a lot in the past, that God asked his servant to do the things they you quoted. I certainly believe God punishes individuals and nations for their sin, in the past and presently. God has said "vengeance is mine". This is what He says about Himself, and Jesus did not contradict this. As I said already, Jesus himself said "you will fall by the sword and be taken prisoner to all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled under the feet of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are complete". (Perhaps a paraphrase, but pretty close).

 

It seems to me that we have two choices. We can believe what God has revealed about Himself in the Bible. Or we can hold God to our standards of what we think is appropriate. Even though He has said "my thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways" (paraphrase?) Which leaves us throwing out at least half of the Bible, probably more like three quarters of it. If we choose the latter, then as far as I'm concerned the entire book needs to be thrown out as far as any kind of divine Revelation goes. It simply comes down to the words of fallible men, and we pick and choose the parts we like and toss out that we don't like. Once again, going by the judgments of fallible men ( ourselves).

 

Since everything that I have read in the Bible pretty much corresponds to what I observe in the world -- at least regarding things that can be observed (according to the examples I have already provided and many other examples I have not provided) -- then I will stick with believing the whole word of God, and not just the parts I prefer.

 

But again, that's just me! Please pray about the God who said regarding ancient Israel that, because of their sin, He would destroy their temple and their city and chase them through the farthest nations of the earth. Where they would be hated by all of these nations where He has chased them. Where they would constantly fear for their lives. But yet, because they were His chosen, that he would not allow them to be destroyed completely. But then finally He would gather them from these far away nations, and bring them back, and give them the land of Israel again. And that he would use these other nations to accomplish this. There is chapter after chapter after chapter on this very subject throughout the entire Old Testament. There is even some of it in the NT. Please read those words, think in terms of world history culminating with Nazi Germany, nuclear weapons, and the rebirth of Israel in 1948. Think of the hatred for Jews that all nations, whether Christian or Muslim or any others, have had all of these centuries. And yet they have survived, and finally come to exist again as a nation just as the Bible said. Has there ever been any other ancient people that, after having suffered such destruction and deportation -- did not simply disappear? That was not simply assimilated into the nations where they were sent or where they escaped for survival? But God said this would not happen to the Jews, and it didn't.

 

Luke 21:5And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,

6As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

7And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? ...............

20And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.........................

21Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.

22For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled...................23But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.

24And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

 

These prophecies simply echoed the Old Testament prophecies. They were fulfilled within 40 years of Jesus's death. Whose vengeance was it that Jesus spoke about in verse 22? Was it not Gods?

 

Of course, we can choose to insist that Jesus did not actually say that. Along with many other hard teachings attributed to Jesus. But somebody said it. Just as somebody said it from the Old Testament. So is it that whoever said these things was not God, but just an extremely lucky fortuneteller? Also, if God does not do things like "trash cities", and yet these things happen continuously throughout history, does God not have the power to stop it? Is He powerless, or is it that He just doesn't care that these things happen? I think it is as the Bible says it is, that God will punish sin.

 

In the case of Jerusalem, God warned for centuries through the Old Testament prophets that He would destroy Jerusalem and scatter the people through the nations. But He also foretold the restoration of the nation. He foretold that they would live in Jerusalem again as a sovereign people. You may feel that punishment such as this is a humanlike attribute being given to God to whom it does not belong. Nonetheless, the Bible quotes God is saying these things and these things have happened in exactly the way that the Bible claims that God said it. To me that makes the Bible believable, including all the attributes the Bible gives to God.

 

As you have said, not a debate to be won. But discussion to be shared.

I appreciate your thoughts!

 

Bill

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Thanks Bill for your very civil discussion. I have respect for your point of view and am confident God will reveal to you all that is required on your journey as you allow him.

 

I see you addressed Mow's perceived error but did you address any on the sites I mentioned? Perhaps you missed that post? You are correct that the Bible, especially the Old Testament contradicts what God has shown me and I have shared with you. You see God as that which I see as the ego projections of men. This would toss out most of the OT as you said. You see me as picking and choosing but I do not use the Bible as authority for my words, only sometimes so as not to put a stumbling block before those who require such so as not to reject before giving consideration. I could just as well use any book that has true sayings.

 

Jesus is recorded in the book you believe as letting a woman go who by rights should have been stoned to death for adultery. He did not condemn her for such an act and they were still under the law at the time. I think that says much. God is no respecter of persons yet it appears respect was shown if you buy he must punish according to his law. But regardless, when one experiences the essence of love, one finds no room for condemnation or punishment. These things you attribute to God have been shown to me to me as nothing more than the natural spiritual laws of sowing and reaping. We punish ourselves. God hates no one. There is no room in love for hate. It is an opposite created only in and by the mind of man.

 

You say... "It seems to me that we have two choices. We can believe what God has revealed about Himself in the Bible. Or we can hold God to our standards of what we think is appropriate."

 

Can you see the error in the choices you have spoken? It is not an either this or that. You have made the assumption up front in your mind that all of the Bible is innerent, therefore you cannot see that there is another alternative. I do not hold God to my standards and neither do I believe God has revealed himself in general in the OT and parts of the NT. I have not limited myself to those beliefs as options. But rather God has revealed his nature as self-evident truth within me not by study and reading but by direct experience which is available to all once the barriers to truth are removed. One of those barriers are man's rigid belief systems and flawed perception from a limited mind. His truth is in all for the viewing when the clouds are rolled back. These clouds include a mind that has been blinded by its own faith in its limited view and perceptions. These clouds (to mention a few) include a belief in the reality of opposites, having opinions on every subject with incomplete knowledge, unforgiveness in ones heart, condemnation of others and a belief in God based on other men and attributed to him without direct knowlege.

 

Even your Bible speaks a mighty truth when it says .... 1 John 2:27

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

 

Its the annointing .... not the book... the letter killeth.... but the spirit maketh alive...

 

 

So you see. We have a large gap in the flesh. Your beliefs say I am deceived and possibly in possesion of a devil and that if I don't change I am headed to hell. Mine, on the otherhand is in love with you and all of God's creation and most of the time operates in the heaven that you wait for. My heaven has room for all regardless of beliefs because all are in reality an inseparable part of the One except for the illusion that exists in some minds and says otherwise. (believers/nonbelievers us/them saved/lost Jews/Gentiles the elect/the n-ondeseving etc. etc.

 

Thanks for your patience and wishing you peace beyond all understanding.

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What is it that would cause a man to do such a thing?

 

I would say the ego causes man to do such a thing because it wants to be right in what it sees as multiplicity and division. It does not see the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost as one unit. The son denotes that which is born of pure consciousness, where the spring of the Holy Ghost shows the love of the Father. Unsophisticated people, not aware of pure consciousness separate, divide and judge others with what they hear or read in the Scriptures. They don’t understand the words of unity in the Scriptures because they are not moved by pure consciousness whereas the people who wrote the Scriptures were in contact with Christ consciousness. The tragedy is that not all people are creative and constructive thinkers and can see the unity of the whole. These people need to engage their minds in intellectual and rigorous practice to break the boundaries between their minds and other dualities. This differentiation is within ourselves so we need to understand our own unit consciousness to be able to see Christ consciousness expressing to us One Power, One Principle, One Cause and One Source of Love. By visualizing Christ in contemplation or meditation is one way to experience the non-dual through the images of the dual. We can’t change love, but must understand and bring ourselves into harmony with it to let pure consciousness work with us, through us and for us.

 

This was not written to offend anyone because I respect both arguesments on this thread and the thoughful presentations.

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