Religion

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What is true religion and what part should it play in our lives?

"Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:26-27

True religion is not about forms and rituals, of creeds, holy books, and ceremonies, nor of services. True religion is about keeping ourselves pure, how we treat others, and living a responsible, obedient, & compassionate life. It has to do with how we think and behave towards others and learning to live a life worthy of a child of God.

Instead, much of what is called "religion" today is about doing endless "spiritual duties" that do nothing to genuinely help and serve others. It is like a fog that settles over the hearts and minds of each religion's followers. It prevents them from seeing or seeking the truth. The followers call their religion the only true religion, and block their minds to all other points of view. They are not open to see that what they may know about God and holiness is only a small piece of what is true.

 

 

Healthy Religion

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Of what value is man-made "religion"? Over the centuries countless people have been killed and tortured in the name of religion.

True religion is about a way of life, of serving and caring about people. It has nothing to do with fancy buildings, services, etc.

James... has it right, "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:26-27

Religion, in its purest sense, is supposed to be all about helping people to become honorable and noble, and to live better lives. Part of this is helping them to live pure and blameless lives, to think clearer, and to act with love, compassion towards around them. Healthy religion seeks to bring everyone together in true unity.
True unity encourages everyone to have their own thoughts, ideas, opinions, and beliefs while, at the same time, teaches everyone to respect the thoughts, ideas, opinions, and beliefs in other people. True religion is about people, not about making an organization.

 However, in unhealthy religion, the organization becomes the important thing. People are there to serve the organization. Unhealthy religion is all about obeying rules and trying to get everyone to 'believe" the same way. Unhealthy religion tries to substitute uniformity (having everyone dressing, acting, and believing the same) for unity.

Healthy religion encourages everyone to think for themselves, to have their own ideas and to use their own gifts to serve others in ways that have meaning to both the servers and the recipients.

Unhealthy religion wants to make sure that everyone believes the "truth", which so happens to be the same as what the leaders believe. Anyone who believes differently is wrong or is going to hell (to be tortured forever and ever).  This religion has programs that they want done. The leaders see people as being there to do the programs, which gives an appearance of  life, but in reality only brings death.

Lessons from the World of Computers

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There is a realm in the computer world called "Open Source". In this realm many people all work together on software to make it better,

I use an Open Source website software called Drupal to make this website.

 In a Drupal Video Tutorial called  "Essential knowledge for Drupal beginners" (DrupalCon Denver) by Itangalo the speaker had this to say about Drupal Certification

"We have no official certification in the Drupal World. You will not find an offical paper saying 'I'm an official Drupal developer. And if you find that paper, I can tell you right now, that you should not to take it too seriously because there is no official certification. There has been quite a bit of discussion about this,and there certainly are certain positive affects of having certification, like credibility is a good thing. On the other hand there are people who think that.certification will harm the drupal community because people will start focusing on the certification skills and the things that you need to become certified and focus less on the things we do to make the community better...."  http://www.10minuteflash.com/t6045      37:27 minutes into the video 

This caught my attention because it seems to applicable to the "Christian" community. I would equate certification in the computer world with "Christian ministries" and "Christian" titles, etc.

 

 

Fighting Evil

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"Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good." Romans 12:21


In your life many times evil shows itself, trying to entice you. There are at least two evil enticements. One type is to participate in the evil. The second enticements is to fight againsts the evil. This second enticement, the fighting againt evil, may actually be more enticing to some people than participating in the evil. Fighting evil is so enticing. It is a call to our pride, that "we are right" and that "we" are not evil. Evil is that other thing, that which are fighting. However, in many ways, we become like the thing that we keep our mind on. If we keep our mind on "fighting evil", then our mind is on the evil. That is what fills our minds.
If you stop to fight it, then You stop doing the good that you have been doing, and you stop growing.
You actually open yourself up to let evil find a way into your life


Our primary defense against evil is the shield of righteousness. Righteousness is, by ... definition "right acting", or, in other word, "doing good."
In doing good, you continue to build your character, you make yourself, and others, stronger, and you keep your focus and attention where it belongs, on that which is right and true.

However, if we keep our minds filled with doing that which is right, then evil has no place in our lives.

For example, let is take a look at abortion. Many people take up signs and picket abortion centers. They sometimes march and protest, etc.

However, all this "fighting evil" prevents people from looking at the root cause of abortion. It's ownly focus is on the killing of unborn babies. It neglects to cause of abortions: the children who are growing up without loving parents

The fighting evil is much easier. It gives us something to do that doesn't require much from us. We make signs, make a few speaches, make a few protests, and then we go on with our lives.

 

Successfully overcoming evil usually involves us getting involved, finding solutions, and working through the many difficulties in challenges. Overcoming evil often means that we leave the comfortable status quo and find real solutions to real problems.

 

We also have to define what evil really is. All to often evil is subtly defined as "things we don't like or are not familiar with" OR things that we don't do" OR "consequences of our own behavior". For instance, if we don't smoke or drink, we look upon smoking and drinking as "evil", but we don't look upon our own gluteny (which is just as bad) as evil. We don't look upon our own prejudice and bigotry as evil, but we judge the prejudice and bigotry of others whom we don't like as evil.

Idolatry

It is easy for us to look at someone kneeling before a small statue of a Buddha or some other "idol" and condemn that person for worshiping an idol. At least "we" don't worship an idol, right?

Think again. What things do we put great value on. A fancy new car, a big house, that new high-paying job? and the list can go on and on. Are these things idols? What is an idol? What is worship? Let's have a look ....

It's so easy to say, "That thing over there (that someone else has) is an idol. We make idols out to be things that are outside ourselves and which are owned by other people. It's also easy to say that things that are big or fancy or expensive are the idols. As an example, we might be living in a modest $150,000  house and say that a person who owns the $5,000,000 has is living in his idol. OR we might own a modest used $4,000 car and say that a person who owns the $200,000 dollar has an idol. After all, who needs a 5 million dollar house or a two hundred thousand dollar car. It's easy (for us) to see how waistful and idolatrous "they" are. But, what about the people in this country, or in foreign countries, who live in one-room adobe huts an who only own a donkey for transportation. How do we with our "modest" possessions look to them?

Idolatry of the Mind

There is nothing in this world that is inherrantly good or bad. For example: A new car is not good or bad, it is just a hunk of metal that takes you places. A Big house is neither good or bad, it is just a collection of wood, glass, floors, walls and a roof. It is place to eat, rest and sleep.  A higher paid job is not good or bad. Its is just a place to earn money to live. A cross is neither good or bad. It is just wood, metal, or clay, etc. Gold is neither good or bad. It is just a mineral, a rock, or metal. The Bible, or any other religious book, is not good or bad. It is just ink printed on paper.

However, how many people buy an expensive car (that perhaps they can't afford) just to impress others? How many people buy a big house to show off. What about that high-paying prestige job? Why do people want to have or be the best?

What is an idol? An idol is anything in our lives to whiich we give our time and attention, to the detriment of our family, relationships, our duties and responsibilites

What is idol worship? Worship is the (act?) of giving an excessive value ....

We humans are so quick to make idols out of anything that we find attractive or desirable. Anything that we put great value on.....But the problem is not the item. The problem begins and stays in our minds, it is our distorted way of thinking. It is good to get rid of idols out of our lives. But more important is to get rid of our perverted way of thinking that allows us to make idols out of anything. There is no benefit or improvement to getting rid of one idol just to replace it with another.

"Taking every thought captive ...."

What does Bible Idolatry Look Like?

To think of the Bible being an idol can be shocking to many people. First let's look at what

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Is Hell Real?

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Is What We've Been Taught About Hell True?

Is Hell real? When we look through religious literature at how hell is used, we see that hell is used as a threat. The threat is that you must believe a certain way (that is suspiciously in agreement with the beliefs of the speaker) or you will be burned and tormented in hell forever. Let's take a look at this. Is the only way that God can get people “saved” to threaten them with hell unless they “repent”?

Many modern day preachers seem to try to scare people out of hell into heaven. But is Hell real?

An example of some religious teachings about hell:

It is humanly impossible to comprehend the Bible description of hell. Nothing on earth can compare with it. No nightmare could produce a terror to match that of hell. No horror movie could describe it’s fright. No crime scene with all it’s blood and gore could begin to match it’s horror.

It will be beyond anything humanly imaginable!

The Bible warns in Psalm 9:17, you will not only be in hell — you will BE TURNED INTO HELL! You will literally BE HELL!

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
Psalm 9:17

YOU will see HELL. . .
YOU will smell HELL. . .
YOU will breathe HELL. . .
YOU will hear HELL. . .
YOU will feel HELL. . .

YOU WILL BE HELL. . .

1 http://www.av1611.org/hell.html

 

From reading the above mention web page about hell, one might assume that the purpose of hell is:

  • to scare people into "coming to God". With so many preachers using hell in their sermons, it is obvious that God can't get people to come to him unless he "scares the hell out of them."
  • and to "punish evil-doers throughout eternity

But, Is that True? Is there really a hell?

To listen to many preachers, you would think that the purpose of hell is to keep people on the "straight and narrow" road. The logic behind this would seem to be that God gives us "free will", but he has to scare the living daylights out of us for us to choose him. We are told that God created mankind with free will, and yet we are told that if we don't "chose" to follow God, then we will be sent to hell to be punished and tortured forever.

It has been said that God made man with "free will" because he wanted man "to freely choose" to accept him. Then, if hell is true, that means that if anyone doesn't "freely choose" to come to God, he is sent to hell to be punished and tortured forever and forever. This is free will?

Some Questions about the Concept of Hell:

If there truly is a hell, then let's look at these questions.

  • If hell is true, did God plan it from the beginning of time OR was it an afterthought
  • If hell is real, when was it created?
    • Did God created hell at the same time he created the heavens and the earth?
      • If so, then that would mean that God knew in advance that people would "fall away".
    • OR Did God create hell afterwards?
    •  
  • If hell is real, then who created hell?
    • If God is the creator of all things, then does that mean that God created hell?
    • If God didn't create hell, then that means that God is NOT the creator of all things.
  • If hell is real, then why was it created?
    • Was hell created because God failed in his creation of the perfect man?
    • Was hell created because God is retaliating against man for disobeying him
  • If hell is real, then what is its purpose?
    • If hell is real then is God using it as a device to scare men into following him?

If hell is true, then it means that:

  • before the foundation of the world God's plan was for many people to go to hell. This would mean that God knew that his plan for mankind wouldn't work and that he'd have to scare them into living right. OR it would mean that God likes to torture and torment people.
  • OR hell was an afterthought because he found out that his plan wasn't working.
  • God didn't do a very good job making man to be good enough to escape hell
  • OR hell is part of God's plan from the beginning, which means that
    • God planned to torture people for eternity because .....

Modern day Christianity has taught us that God is loving, kind, faithful, etc. At the same time, it teaches us that if someone doesn't "accept Jesus Christ as Lord and savior" that God will send that person to hell to be punished and tortured forever and ever. Quite frankly, if this was true, God sounds like a vengeful mean and cruel God. It is no wonder that so many people walk away from this portrayal of God.

Quite frankly, I don't believe that God is like that.

In reality, if we are truly living our life according to God's will, then does it really make any difference whether or not there really is a hell.

Is God capable of making things as they are supposed to be?

Free Will

The whole idea of there being a hell goes against what God is all about.

Going back to the idea of "Free Will". If you were put up against a wall in front of a firing squad and told that you could leave there any time that you wanted, but if you left you would be shot, is this free will? How is the concept of hell any different. "You have the freewill to reject God, but if you do you will burn in hell forever and forever.

A conversion under threat?

"A person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." If someone "accepts Christ" and is "converted" ONLY because they are afraid that they will go to hell, then they aren't truly changed. Instead, they are just living in fear and pretending to be a "christian".

 

The Concept of Hell

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Let's Examine the Concept of Hell

People are so afraid of the idea of "hell" that they don't take time to think out the implications of their fear of and their beliefs about hell. Let's put aside all fear of hell and think out what hell would mean?

If hell is a real place, then these questions must follow:

What is hell?

For this purpose, let's look at what at the typical religious beliefs about hell. to quote, "The abode of condemned souls and devils in some religions; the place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death, presided over by Satan." from Hell, theFreeDictionary.com

Who created hell?

If hell is real, then where did it come from? Who made it, did God create hell, did Satan create hell, or was it made by someone else? If God created hell, what does that say about God? If Satan created hell, what does that say about him?

When was it created?

Is hell part of the original creation? Was it created at a later time? If so, when? If God created hell at the time of the original creation, then did he intend to put the people he created into hell? Why would he do that? If he created hell at a later time, was it because he had failed at his purpose in creating humans. So he created hell as a motivation for humans to come to him? Let's think about this. Let's look at an example of a father. What would a father do? (and God is said to be a far more loving Father than any man on earth.) Would a loving father say to his children, "You children must obey me or I will throw you into a large fire where you will be burned alive."

Why was it created?

Was hell created because he failed at his attempt to make a perfect creation with perfect humans?

What is the purpose of Hell?

How do people get into hell?

Where is hell?

How was hell created?

What kind of mind or person would create a place of the most extreme everlasting torture? If a person here on earth would create a place like that, and put his victims into it, what would be said of him? How would the police and courts act towards him?

Is Hell Real.

Various authors have studied out the concept of hell.

"There is no mention of "hell" or any possibility of suffering after death anywhere in the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament (OT).  The Hebrew word Sheol clearly means "the grave," not "hell." This can easily be confirmed because if Sheol is translated as "hell" the Christian dogma of hell as an inescapable place of suffering where God is absent is immediately refuted."1

"Hell was not a place in early Jewish thought. Sheol, the original place all dead people went, was just a place dead people went, sort of like Heathen conceptions of afterlife, where we think in terms of the “halls of our ancestors” – the place where all our dead family go. 2

 

 What About Evil-Doers?

Some might argue: "If there is no place called hell, does that mean that "evil-doers" get off scott free? Does that mean that they are not punished for their sins and their crimes?" That presupposes that "we" are the good people who deserve better, and that "they" are the bad people who deserve all the hell can dish out. 

Are "we" really any better than "them." If we had been through their childhood and been through their life, would we have acted any better or any differently? Your response might be, "I" accepted Jesus. What did Jesus mean when he asked this question, "Why do you call me good? There is no one good except for God." Mark 10:17-27

I might go on to ask, "What about the people who have never heard, who have never had a chance to hear and to repent?"  What if I were to go on and ask about where it says about God, "I will harden whom I want to harden and have mercy upon whom I want to have mercy..."  and "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?"  Romans 9:11-25  If hell was true, this verse could be interpreted to indicate that God created some people just to send them to hell.

I would strongly suggest that you really think out what you believe. In addition, think out the implications of your beliefs. Remember, just because we believe something, our beliefs don't make it true.

Random Notes

If someone says that "There is a hell", then we have to ask some questions:
If there is a hell, then when was it created?
Did God create hell at the creation? At that time did he know that he was creating faulty people? Did he create faulty people on purpose, or was he unaware of his sloppy workmanship?
 
The common argument is that God created humans with free will (i.e. they had the freedom to choose God or reject God.) However, this is faulty reasoning. If God truly gave humans "free will" and then threaten them (with hell) if they made the wrong choice, is that truly free will? Truly, if God gave humans the freedom to make any choice that they wanted, then he should not punish or destroy them for "making the wrong choice". That's not true free will.
 
Now, let's look at the .... of choices. To be truthful, man can only choose what is available for him to choose. He can't choose what he doesn't think of or what is evident. If men had a thought to choose something, then where did that thought come from.
 
Too often men say that the thought (to make a wrong choice) comes from Satan. Then we have to consider, where did Satan come from.
 
 
One common instruction today says that the Bible is .... This is a subtle way of saying that the Bible shouldn't be questioned. "If you question the bible, then you are defying God!" Really? Where did that thought come from.
 
Everything in life is up for questioning. Even the question of God should and must be questioned. Is there truly a God? If so, then what is God?
 
If so, then why was it created?

The Debunking of Hell

Here is a video (the first in a series of 5 videos) that I found that talks about the history of hell.

The Fundamentals

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Many Christians say that "true believers" must agree with and believe the "fundamentals". Some go so far as to say that they couldn't have true fellowship with people who don't believe the fundamentals. That brings up, "what do they mean by the fundamentals".

My thought is that we all should have different beliefs. We are all a product of our backgrounds and experiences. Our true beliefs are the outworking of our own personal ....... We interpret our beliefs through our own filters. And this is how it must be. If we all say that we believe the same (i.e. we all believe the same about the fundamentals), then someone isn't being real. there is no way that we should be in "agreement" about the fundamentals.

However, we should all be living out our beliefs.....

What is Correct Doctrine?

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Let's have a look at the definition of the word "Doctrine".

Definitions:

doc·trine   [dok-trin]     noun

  1. a particular principle, position, or policy taught or advocated, as of a religion or government: Catholic doctrines; the Monroe Doctrine.
  2. something that is taught; teachings collectively: religious doctrine.
  3. a body or system of teachings relating to a particular subject: the doctrine of the Catholic Church.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/doctrine?s=t  
doctrine:
"That which is held to be true by any person, sect, or school; especially, in religion, a tenet, or body of tenets"
http://www.innvista.com/culture/religion/diction.htm  

Doctrine:

"A belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a church, political party, or other group"
A Google search 

If good doctrine were the most important thing, then all churches, or even all religions, should have the same doctrine. However, but the very fact that there are many thousands of "Christian" denominations, we know that isn't true. Each denomination has their own set of doctrines. If that isn't true, then why the need for all the different religions?

What it is not:

Often used like a weapon, the word "doctrine" is often bandied about to try to prove that someone else is wrong. "That's not correct doctrine!" What is meant, "you don't agree with my beliefs, so YOU are WRONG?" How prideful and arrogant is that?

In this country there is a strong emphasis on having "correct doctrine." There seems to be countless doctrines and countless varieties of those doctrines. These doctrines are what separate and divide those who should be acting as brothers.

In reality, I don't think "doctrine" is nearly as important as many religious people place on it. Most of what I've seen that has been called doctrine has just been some men or group's opinions. Then people get their pride attached to their opinions and things can get really explosive. Each person or group has to be "right". Then, when someone claims that they are right, by implication, that means that everyone else is wrong.

Instead of claiming correct doctrine, shouldn't we put our emphasis on (our) correct thinking and behavior? Jesus said, "All men will know that you are my disciples by your love for one another." That is focusing on correct thinking and behavior, not focusing on doctrine. If one's doctrine does not major on loving one another, then that doctrine should be discarded.

Doctrines Are Divisive Opinions Masquerading as Truth

Doctrines are not facts, but they are only opinions. Doctrines are one of the major barriers that separate people. They make it impossible for people of honor and good character to join and become part of a wide variety of churches. It is my opinion that churches should throw away their docrinal opinions and just focus on love, which is the greatest...

Many churches falsely believe that they need to maintain their doctrines to "keep their church pure" or "on track" or "separate from the world." These false assumptions are part of what is destroying the churches.

Instead of focusing correct doctrine, they should focusing on developing honorable character.

I would like to see churches where people can come together and share no matter where they are on their journey. The churches should focus on how we live our lives, not upon supposed correct doctrine. Doctrines are very divisive. They don't let people be true to themselves. In order to be part of a church body the people either have to keep quiet about their thoughts or risk being asked to leave it they express thoughts that go contrary to the "beliefs and doctrine" of any given church. This is not how it should be.

Why

 

Why am I spending so much thought and so much energy on debunking the Bible misconceptions?

Because the focus of many Christians is on the wrong ...... Our main focus should be on...

We need to think beyond just studying or memorizing the words on the page

We also need to realize that God is all around us, and he has much to teach us through each interaction or situation in our life. God can give his word to us through our families, friends, employers, co-workers, etc.

One main reason that I'm writing this information about the Bible and the Word of God is to study out what is true and right

Another reason is that there is a common belief around that says, "If you don't believe that the Bible is the Word of God, you are going to hell. I'm also writing this out as an answer to this.

I'm not trying to convince anyone else of these ideas, but am only studying and writing out what I've been thinking for the last few years.

What is Salvation?

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We hear the words "Salvation" and "Saved" used quite a lot in the modern day Christianity. The common "accepted" meaning of these words is that we will be "saved" from hell and therefore have a place in heaven.

I propose that this is a misunderstanding of what is meant by "Salvation" and "Saved". These words speak of coming to a wholeness and wellness here on earth. These words speak of the result of God transforming our lives here on earth.

To Further explain, when we start out our lives hear on earth we are very self-centered. The world (we think) revolves around us. Because of this immature way of thinking, we make decisions and do things that cause damage to ourselves and others. In our self-centered blindness we don't see that we do anything wrong. Our behavior and actions are caused by our immature thinking patterns and behaviors.

When God "calls" us He "saves" us. This means that he takes us through experiences that show us the error of our ways.

What is meant by those words?

Well, let's look at some verses in the Bible where these words are used, and then look them up in the Greek dictionary  and see what the definition of each of these words. (The Numbers preceded by "G" are the numbers referring to the Greek definitions.)

"Neither  is there salvation G4991c in any other : for there is none other name under heaven given among men , whereby we must be saved G4982." Acts 4:12  (KJV)

a.) G4982 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G4982 σώζω sozo (sode'-zo) v.
1. to save, i.e. deliver or protect
{literally or figuratively}
[from a primary sos (contraction for obsolete saos, "safe")]
KJV: heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole 

 

b.) G4990 σωτήρ soter (so-tare') n.
1. a deliverer, i.e. God or Christ
[from G4982]
KJV: saviour 
Root(s): G4982

c.) G4991 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)|
G4991 σωτηρία soteria (so-tay-ree'-ah) n.
1. rescue or safety (physically or morally)
[feminine of a derivative of G4990 as (properly, abstract) noun]
KJV: deliver, health, salvation, save, saving 
Root(s): G4990 

"He who endures(the trials) to the end (of the trial) will be saved (healed or made whole).
God sends trials our way for a purpose, to show us that our own way of thinking leads to disaster (There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end (of that way of thinking and living) leads to death.(disaster))"

"The word salvation has been hijacked by many different groups of Christians in recent years. It has been misinterpreted, used as a weapon for submission or control, and has basically lost its vitality and power to keep us on the road to abundant life. While there are many interpretations of salvation in the Bible, I would like to define salvation using modern terms and thinking. Salvation is the healing of the human race; the process by which we are transformed into the likeness of Christ. Salvation comes from the Latin word, salve, which has the meaning of healing. So instead of making you nervous by asking you if you are saved, I would like to ask you this instead. Are you healed? Are you whole? Is the human race healed and whole? And if you and the human race are not healed and whole, then what must you do in order to experience true healing?"1

In a very real sense, God's process of saving us is opening our eyes to how selfish and destructive we have been and then giving us the power (through changing our thoughts and behaviors) to live our lives differently. We learn to live in a way that brings peace, restoration, and healing to ourselves and others. This is the "salvation" of which the Bible speaks.

Not By Works - Work Out Your Salvation

 

Works of righteousness

For it is by grace

Work out your salvation

We become what we to. For example, a man becomes a thief by stealing. A man becomes a carpenter by building stuff with lumber.

It works the same way in the things of the spirit. We become righteous people by doing righteous (right actions) deeds.

 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

 

 

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." Philippians 2:12-13

 

 

Salvation: Saved From What? Saved to What?

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In the Christian world we are taught that we are all sinners bound for hell. Christ is said to have came to save us from hell. Consequently, some websites try to scare people out of hell and into heaven.

 

What if hell (as taught by Christian churches) doesn't exist? What if hell was just a mistranslation of .....

If we are not "saved from hell", then what? What is salvation all about?

Confession

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""For there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ."

Confession is quite simple. It is correctly stating what happened or what is.

For a doctor to be able to correctly diagnos someone, he needs to know that facts as they truly are. He needs to know the family health history. He needs to know any injuries or illnesses the patient has had. As the patient (hopefully) accurately and fully shares with the doctor past and present conditions, he is, in a large sense, confessing. There is no condemnation from the doctor of anything that the patient shares. This information is needed for the doctor to accurately prescribe medicines or forms of treatment.

 

True and full confession is most helpful when it is done to knowledgeable person or a trained professional. They know what information is needed and ...

 

However, confession given to an immature or person of little knowledge is really just waisted effort.

 

True confession..

Many people are so resistent to the idea of true and deep confession that most won't be real. At most, they might "confess" by saying something like "I sinned" with little or no details. Consequently there is little or no true release or forgiveness. So many people want to be forgiven, but they are willing to say what that want to be forgiven of.

The Purpose of Confession

 

Repentence

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In recent times I've been giving more and more thought about the concept of repentence. What does it mean, and how do we repent?

Today I had two times of realizing that I needed to repent.

On one time I went to the chiropractor. I had thrown my back out a week ago. While it had gotten better, it still wasn't back to normal. I finally went to the chiropractor today. While I was in his examining room, I had made a comment that in the past I had found that "If I didn't go to the chiropractor, my back would hurt for half a week. But if I did go to a chiropractor, my back would only hurt for 3 or 4 days." The message is that going to a chiropractor didn't help at all.

After I left his office I realized that I had said that same thing to him before. It was a rude thing to say. I shouldn't have said it. I went back to him and apologized.

Later I went to the hardware store. When I was ready to check out I went up to the cashier. After she had rung up my purchase, while we were waiting for the cash register to activate the electronic signing device, she said, "It'll be about 15 seconds." I immediatly started counting to myself. When the device was finally ready I said, "22 seconds". I've done this before in this hardware store. Today it finally dawn on me, what I did is wrong. That is my pride of wanting to prove them wrong. I need to change that. This time I didn't go back in, but just thought about and rehearsed a new response. In the future when the cashier says, "It'll be about 15 seconds", I will just say something like "Thank you."

Repentence is not an event (something that we can do oece and then forget about it), but rather an ongoing process, a change in our life's thought patterns and behaviors. It's:

  • An awareness that one's thinking processes and behavior patterns are wrong
  • A decision to make changes and to live differently.
  • An ongoing process of continuously monitoring and examining one's own thinking and behavior
  • Making corrections as necessary. Sometimes the correction will be going back in one's mind, examining what one did wrong, clarifying how one should have thought and acten and then rehearsing how one should have acted.
  • Whenever appropriate or necessary, going back and apologizing and say that "I was wrong" and making amends, as appropriate.

It's not just having to repent of doing the big things wrong. It also includes those tiny seemingly insignificant things (i.e. judging & condemning people in our minds, thinking or saying cutting words about others)

To help others out of being critical or condeming of others, we can't do it by being condemning of them. We have to get those characteristics out of our lives before we can have a meaningful impact on others.

I'm not convinced that we should ask for forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness is often used as an end in itself. The subtle implication can be, "If I'm forgiven, then all is well. It is done and finished." In reality, it is more important that we change our thinking and change or behaviour permanently. Then a forgiveness for our inappropriate behavior will naturally flow out of others. The forgiveness may not even be realized by the previously offended party because they will see us acting differently and therefore will respond to us differently.

What is Sin?

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Sin has two or more parts, the act and the motives. One part is the sinful part, which is the act of sin. The other part is the reason for the act. True sin is committed with intention. A person intended to do the act. When we speak of intention, we also speak of a pattern of wrongful thinking.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires.  Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. 16 Do not be led astray, my dear brothers and sisters. 1

Sin doesn't spring out of a pure mind.

In addition, there is also a mind that is very willing to sin, that makes excuses for sin and justifies their thinking and behaviors.

Too often we focus on the sinful act itself, and we don't acknowdge or confess that the power to sin dwell within us.

 

"Everything that does not come from faith is sin..."

When we don't have faith, we seek to ...,, ourselves through whatever means possible to make sure that we have enough. We don't think about the people that we injure, but only think of ourselves.

 

What is sin
In some sense, sin is a way of thinking and behaving.
One might argue that no (thought?) or action is sin in itself. What makes it sin is our way of thinking about it. Could it be that when we change the way we think about XXXX that we no longer sin.
Is making a mistake sin? That depends, what was our attitude and thinking about it...
  • 1. James 1:13-15

Labeling

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I've noticed how quick some Christians are to give negative labels to people or ideas that they disagree with. For example, one common negative label is to call some beliefs "New Age". Once the Christians give the idea a label, then they can just quick disregard the idea or belief. In many ways giving something a negative label is a very prideful thing to do. It implies, "I am right" and "You are wrong."

In a way this is kind of humorous. When Jesus was here on earth, it seems that the main people he have labels to were the religious leaders.

The Word of God

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(To see all the pages about the Word of God and the Bible on one page, click here.)

Many people in this nation and world call the Bible "the Word of God". This article attempts to present another thought and what the phrase "the Word of God" means and it's appropriate use.

Before we begin our dicussion about the "Word of God", let us take a look at that term itself. When the term "word" of God is used, what is meant by "word"? What is a "word"? Among other things, a word is a thought or idea that that has been crystalized into an expression of communication.

Greek definition of Word:

G3056 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)

G3056 λόγος logos (log'-os) n.

  1.  something said (including the thought)
  2. (by implication) a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive
  3. (by extension) a computation
  4. (specially, with the article in John) the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ)

[from G3004]

KJV: account, cause, communication, X concerning, doctrine, fame, X have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, + reckon, remove, say(-ing), shew, X speaker, speech, talk, thing, + none of these things move me, tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work 

The "word" of God is a message, not a book.

When we limit "God's Word" to just a book of 66 smaller books, then we limit our awareness of the many ways that God can and does speak to us and to others. It has been said that a group of godly men wrote the original documents that compose the book that we call the Bible. But God did not stop speaking after the Bible was canonized. He continues to speak today.

The word of God is much more than a book. God speaks to us at many times and in many ways. God's word is any message that comes to us from God, through any means. This word can come through watching a movie, or when we are "correcting" or "teaching" or children and then we realize that our words are actually meant for us. It can come to us through a normal family or business interaction.

 

In the Bible there are number of places where it says something like, "the word of the Lord came to....." In other words, the word of the Lord came to those prophets by whatever means. The writing about it is not the same thing as the word of the Lord. The writing about the word of the Lord coming is just that, some writing. In each of these instances the word of the Lord may have come in various methods. It may have come through some life experiences or .....

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram! I am your shield1 and the one who will reward you in great abundance.” Genesis 15:1

How did the word of the Lord come to Abram? "in a vision". The method that it came was not the Word of God. Rather, the "words" and the message that came, they were the "word of God". Let's not confuse with the method by which it cqme with message from the Lord.

 

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[d] the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified." John 17:13-17

Let's take a look at what Jesus said in this page. In verse 14, speaking to God, Jesus said "I have given them your word." At this point he said the he has already given them God's word. Jesus was obviously not speaking about a book here.

In Verse 16, Jesus said, "Santify them by the truth." What is he saying here? Could it be as simple as Jesus meant exactly what he said? What is it that sanctifies in this verse? The truth sanctifies. Now let's look at the last half of the verse. "Your word is truth." That seems simple enough. Your (God's) word is truth. What does that mean? Sometimes things can be made clearer by just reversing the order of the sentence. "Truth is God's word." Now, let's look at that. One plausible meaning is, "Any time anyone speaks the truth (tells the truth), he is speaking God's Word, because telling the truth is God's Word. (Telling the) Truth transforms lives. When we learn to speak the truth in all situations, that has a transforming power in our lives and in the lives of others. We realise that when we have to always tell the truth, then we have to change our behavior so that we don't bring heavy consequences down upon ourselves. This is part of the transforming power of telling the truth.

 

When you call anything "God's Word" (i.e. the Bible or any other book) you make it into an object that can be held, objectafied, and even worshipped, rather than...inter

 

Being a Light, Witnessing

 

The true Word of God
is not about quoting lots of bible verses
but in living a life that
is pleasing to our God and Father.
This shows the Word of God
Expressed through you.

"You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself"

Being a light is nothing more than just living out what you know (Loving and caring for others in spite of how other treat you, training up your children to be responsible, obedient, trustworthy, and caring individuals.) As others see how you live (over a period of time) and they see the outcome of your way of life, then their eyes are opened. They see how they can live to improve their own lives.

For example, today I was out walking our dog Teddy (a Sheltie). As I came to a yard sale I decided to stop and have a look. I heard the owner of the garage sale say, "What a beautiful dog! What kind of dog is that?" I told her that it was a Sheltie, short for Shetland Sheep Dog. She wanted to pet Laddie. After a bit I handing the leash to her so that she could walk Teddie around. She eventually petted Teddie. She had been wanting a Corgie, but after seeing Teddie, she said that she had changed her mind. She called her husband over and told him that she wanted a Sheltie. Before I left I have her my card and the name of the kennel that we got Teddy from. 

I realize that this is a very superficial example, but it demonstrates how, when we just live our life, people will be drawn to us if we have something that they want.

Being a light, or witnessing, is not about going around quoting Bible verses to people. Instead, it's living our life in a way that is pleasing to God (being honerable, trustworthy, truthful, considerate, lving, kind, gentle, peaceful), people will take notice. It's nothing that we ourselves do, except to just live our lives.

Jesus said, "....you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:7

In a court of law, you can only witness to the things that you personally have seen or experienced. You would not be able to be a witness to something that you have only read about in a book.

John said, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touchedthis we proclaim concerning the Word of life." John 1:1

We are only to witness to the things that we have seen and heard, not that we have merely read in a book. Witnessing is NOT quoting Bible verses at people.

 

 

God Speaks to Us

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“God's Word” to us is simply that which God speaks to us. It doesn't have to be, and often isn't, called "God's Word." God can and does speak to us in and through many and various ways:

  • the message we receive from reading a book. It might be from the words written in the book, OR it might merely be other thoughts that the book triggers.
  • the words of comfort, reassurance, admonishment, or instruction that a friend speaks to us.
  • a message we receive from hearing a speaker.
  • the words we ourselves speak in correction to our children, which come back and remind us that those words we spoke were for us.
  • the lessons we learn from going through a trial or experience in life
  • the words that we write in our diary or journal.
  • the awe and wonder we feel as we admire God's creation
  • the consequences we experience for our wrong behavior. God disciplines those whom He loves1  That discipline is God's message of His love for us.

God's word to us is very personal and directly to us.

One reason that we don't hear God's word to us is that we are often hearing or reading God's message to other people and expecting it to be for us. Sometimes God can speak to us that way, but we should be open to hearing God's voice directed towards us.

God is everywhere and can be experienced wherever we are. As Paul the Apostle said, "In Him we live and move and have our being.2" We don't need to go anywhere to hear or experience God. We just need to be open to, or aware of God in our daily lives. We go through live blind to God's presence. It often takes (what we think of as) some trial or trajedy to open our eyes. In the midst of our pain and grief our eyes begin to open......

  • 1. .“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Hebrews 12:5-6
  • 2. Acts 27:28

God Spoke

When a person or a book says that "God Spoke" (not be be confused with "God told me"), what does that mean? When we think of another person "speaking" to us, we can visualize the process. First the thought was formed in that person's mind. Then the mind sends the message to the lungs to force out air through the air passages to.... then the vocal cords are called to ...  and then the tongue shapes in various ways to shapes the sounds. See Speech and Speech Production.

When we think of God (or of anyone) speaking, there are several parts.

  • The original idea
  • The message that is trying to be conveyed
  • The Vehicle of transmission. (in what form is the message being transmitted: by spoken words, by writing, in a dream, through another person, through life experiences.
  • The message received (What is the content of the message when it is receive?)
  • How the message is understood. (What did the reciever of the message understand it to mean? We often translate messages through the filter of our own understanding of words, how the words are understrood as they relate to our own life experiences.....)

Now, let's take a look again at that phrase, "God spoke". In what form did God speak? Did God use sounds projecting through the air so that others could literally "hear" God's voice speaking? Could other people hear the same words of God speaking.  OR did God only speak to one person inside his head by using the person's own thoughts? Or did it come as advice or a message from a friend or another person?

 

 

The Bible

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If we want to see all the articles about the Bible on one page, click here.

The Bible is-what-it-is no matter what we may think about it. Whether some believes that it is a holy book or if someone believes its a common book doesn't change what the Bible is. It is-what-it-is. Our beliefs don't affect what it already is. However, What we believe about the Bible can greatly affect what forces affect or influence our lives.

During most of my childhood and earlier life I heard over and over again that the Bible is "the inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God."

There seems to be this common misperception among Christians that they have to see the Bible as the "Word of God" or the Bible will be seen as not valid (full of errors, etc.). This is erroneous thinking. If you were to say that the Bible is of no value unless we can claim that it's perfect, then that is a black-or-white fallacy1. Consider the immense quantity of books that has been written and of the great value many of them are. Any type of writing, speech, is either true or false, or a mixture. (However, to be realistic, if something is mostly true, but some of the key foundations are false, then it is false.)

If we don't call the Bible the Bible the Word of God, then how will we (or others) know that it is true? Any book or writing is true because the writing in it is true and can be validated.

There are many many types of books that are not called the Word of God that are very beneficial.

One of the fallacies that people claim about the bible is that ALL of it (every word) is the Inspired Word of God. For an example of that teaching, go here.

 

Look at all the other books that have been written. There are many valuable books that have greatly benefited and changed many people's lives.

What is the Bible?

The word "bible" means "book". The Bible is a book, plain and simple. 'The Bible is said to contain records of God's laws, His speaking to and dealing with His people throughout time. The Bible gives principles and concepts and examples of how to live. It tells about God and His son.

 

Note

Whether the Bible is the Word of God or not, the important thing is how we live our lives. These articles are just a way for me to write out what I think or believe is true. But each person should come to their own set of beliefs

 

Explosive!!!

I've noticed that many people are explosive in their beliefs. If they perceive that someone is "attacking" the Bible, or their ideas of religion or God, they get very angry very quickly (otherwise known as an "Outburst of Anger".) If people are truly mature and well founded in their beliefs, they don't get angry when they hear differing beliefs.

  • 1. Black-or-White The black-or-white fallacy is a false dilemma fallacy that unfairly limits you to only two choices. Example: Well, it’s time for a decision. Will you contribute $10 to our environmental fund, or are you on the side of environmental destruction? A proper challenge to this fallacy could be to say, “I do want to prevent the destruction of our environment, but I don’t want to give $10 to your fund. You are placing me between a rock and a hard place.” The key to diagnosing the black-or-white fallacy is to determine whether the limited menu is fair or unfair. Simply saying, “Will you contribute $10 or won’t you?” is not unfair. http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/#Black-or-White

"Biblical" Greek

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I do a lot of thinking about many of the concepts and principles of life. I also do a lot of thinking about the meanings of many different Bible verses that I "learned" as a child and young adult.

I often look up the definitions of Greek words so that (hopefully) I can better understand a verse in the New Testament. In looking up the definitions in a Greek dictionary, I see that many words have a both religious definition at the top and then have "other" non-religious definitions at the bottom. I have found that the religious definitions often make the work unclear or hard to understand, or it brings some "spiritual" (magical) meaning to the word.When religion gets in the middle of defining greek words, it seems that the definitions get all muddied up and magitized (or sprititualized).

I'm not a Greek scholar, but in my limited understanding it seems that the non-religious meanings of the words make a lot more sense to me. So I've developed a habit to mostly disregard and look past the religious meanings of words.

I also don't think that Greek was a religious or a Christian language. I think that it was just a plain language of the times. Which means, I really wonder if, and doubt that, those religious meanings were part of the original Greek language.

It is my understanding that "Biblical" Greek was actually just the common language of the day.

"Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, (known as Archaic), c. 5th–4th centuries BC (Classical) , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD (Hellenistic) of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek. The language of the Hellenistic phase is known as Koine ( common ) or Biblical Greek, the language from the late period onward has no considerable difference from Medieval Greek." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek

What is called "Biblical" Greek (which is really Hellenistic Greek) spanned the time from the 3rd century before Christ to the 6th Century after Christ, although it seems to have its roots back to the 9th century before Christ.

Now, what does this mean? It would seem apparent that Greek was not a religious language, but just the regular language of it's time. I question the whole concept of putting "Christian" meanings to the common non-religious words. For example, let's look at the meanings of some Greek words.

Let us start with the word "word", as in "In the beginning was the Word...."

Greek Definition of "Word"

G3056 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G3056 λόγος logos (log'-os) n.
1. something said (including the thought)
2. (by implication) a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive
3. (by extension) a computation
4. (specially, with the article in John) the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ)
[from G3004]
KJV: account, cause, communication, X concerning, doctrine, fame, X have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, + reckon, remove, say(-ing), shew, X speaker, speech, talk, thing, + none of these things move me, tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work
Root(s): G3004

It is clear to me that definition number 4, "the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ)" was not a part of the original Greek language that was spoken at the time of Christ. The Greeks with whom the language originated did not know or believe in Christ. in fact, it would seem apparent that the Greek language was in existance centuries before Christ came to earth. So, how could the word "word" have the religious meaning, refering to Christ, since they had no reference point to even associate the word with Christ.

Greek Definition of "Spirit"

G4151 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G4151 πνεῦμα pneuma (pnyoo`-mah) n.
1. a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze
2. (by analogy or figuratively) a spirit
3. (humanly) the rational soul
4. (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc.
5. (superhumanly) an angel, demon
6. (divinely) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit
[from G4154]
KJV: ghost, life, spirit(-ual, -ually), mind
Root(s): G4154
Compare: G5590

Now, let us look at the Greek definition of the word "Spirit". Read down through all the definitions. When we come to the definitions 5 & 6 we see that they are religious definitions. If we eliminate the religious definitions (that were probably added later, see what the other definitions say.

When looking up the definitions of "Biblical" Greek (which can be presumed to really be a non religious Greek), look through all the definitons and eliminate any religious definitions. I would presume that this would bring us to a closer true definition of meaning of the words.

When we eliminate the religious definition of the Greek words, it would seem that we would come up with a better understanding of what was actually written and what it meant.

 

Greek Definition of "Scripture"

Consider how a couple regular Greek dictionaries define the Greek word

 γραφή

Dictionarist Defines γραφή like this:

Greek To English - γραφή  n. hand, quill, script, writ, Scripture, style, writing
http://www.dictionarist.com/
γραφή

Wicktionary Defines γραφή like this:

γραφή (grafí) f

  1. alphabetism
  2. writing (written letters or symbols that express some meaning)
  3. script (written characters)
  4. hand (style of penmanship), handwriting
    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/γραφή

Now let's look at how a "Biblical" Greek dictionary define

G1124 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G1124 γραφή graphe (graf-ay') n.
1. a document, i.e. holy Writ (or its contents or a statement in it)
[(not given)]
KJV: scripture

Notice how the religious definition of "Holy Writ" has been added to the regular Greek  definition. Again it seems that the religious definition has to be added in order to try to make the word into a "holy writing" in order to try to prove that the Bible to be the "Word of God".

So, if you strip away the non-original religious definitions to the words, the supernatural interpretation of is taken away. The the Bible is put into the status of a regular book, which it is.

 

Since I have mostly put aside using the religious definitions of the Greek, the New Testament has never been clearer to me. And, I think, the meaning has change to (my perceived) actual word usage, not the religious meaning word usage.

 

 

"The Bible Clearly Says"

Time and again I've heard various preachers and other Christians say "the Bible clearly says....." Now stop, think a minute. What are they really saying. When someone says the words "the Bible clearly says..." it is usually in the middle of a discussion or speach where they want to prove that he (the speaker) is right. For example one might say, "the Bible clearly says that women are to submit to their husbands" OR, on the other side, another might say, "No, the Bible clearly says that  both are to submit to one another."

Too many speakers draw out this weapon of "Biblical authority" in much the same way that the ancient gunfighters used to draw out their six-shooter.

This all shows sloppy thinking. Rather than claiming Biblical Authority, (such as quoting Bible verses, or claiming that the Bible says something,) Stop. Instead use clear logic and think out why you think something should be one way or another.

In saying this phrase there are a couple of subtle unproven assumption. The first unproven assumption is that the Bible carries some authority. (See, Does The Bible Claim to be the Word of God?) The second unproven assumption is that the Bible supports the speakers opinions about his or her topic. When a speaker resorts to "Biblical Authority", then we should more closely examine what he is saying. Does he have any substantial proof to back up his assumptions?

Authorship of the Bible

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Who wrote the bible, and under what conditions?

Did men write the bible as the "Spirit" told them what to say? Did the "Spirit" actually move the hands of the authors, so that in fact, the men's minds weren't involved in the writing process?

If we are to say that the Bible was actually written by God, let's look at the implications of that belief:

If the books of the Bible were written directly by the hand of God (basically grabbing ahold of the bodies of all these men and making their hands move to produce writings on the writing materials), what are the implications? Among other things it would mean that:

  • The (supposed) authors of the various books of the Bible had nothing of value to share from their lives. Perhaps living a godly life didn't give them anything of value to write about.
  • Men aren't capable of writing anything of true significance.
  • The minds of mens were of no value in the writing process.

If the Ten Commandments were written by the very hands of God, isn't that proof that God can produce writings without using human bodies and hands?

If God can and did wrote the Ten Commandments himself, then why didn't he write the rest of the books of the Bible the same way? Was He incapable of writing on papyrus or other fragile writing materials?

 

 

To say that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, that covers a period of XXXX years, is questionable. If we follow the line of reasoning that God gave him a supernatural revelation, or that God personally told him what to write, or that God, through the Spirit, took control over his Body and personally wrote XXXX, we then have to ask some Questions. Why did God not do that with the rest of the books of the Bible. But then you might say that God did write the rest of the books. If that is so, then why did God stop writing?
As I understanding it, the Pentatuch contains several writing styles, meaning that it shows to be the writings of several people.
It would seem that if God were indeed the writer of the Bible, then the stories of the Bible would progress sequentially in order, without all the jumping around, duplication of events, etc.

 

 

 

I was raised by parents who called themselves Christians, but had their own set of beliefs. As a result I developed my own set of beliefs about God, the bible, church meetings, etc. Part of my belief system was what seems common in the Christian world today. That belief was "The bible is the inerrant, infallible, Word of God, the final authority in all things relating to faith and practice".

However, when I went through some very long and difficult years my religious beliefs crumbled. I realized that my beliefs weren't based upon truth. Although my faith in God has been greatly strenghthened,  I've had to rethink and evaluate much of what I once thought and believed about the Bible and religion. As I write these pages, my working premise is that various parts of the Bible were written by some godly men. (They wrote as honestly and truly as they were capable of writing. They wrote about what they had seen and learned about history and God's working.) However, the perceptions of the Bible by many today is distorted and has gotten way off track. The Bible has been made into a form of an idol. (Everything is based on the Bible, and it is called the "Word of God".)

Much of what I've been learning over the years is kind of fragmented, and just in my head. I decide write these pages to help me to put together what I've been learning. In other words, I'm mainly writing these pages for myself so that I can better understand all this myself. These web pages are a collection of ideas and beliefs that I've been learning over the years. This section of pages are focused on what I've been learning about the Bible. I'm writing these pages to clarify:

  1. What do I think or believe about the Bible
  2. What is true?

It is my intent to study, research, and write about the Bible:

  1. What is the Bible?
  2. Who actually wrote the various parts of it?
  3. How is it perceived?
  4. What is it's purpose?
  5. How can it be used?

Claims of Bible Authorship

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Various writers, preachers, etc. have ideas about how the Bible was written and who the author or authors were. In this Article we will examine some of those ideas. Some people, such as the following writer, say that God was the writer of the Bible, that he told the writers what to write.

"How can a book that is written in a span of 1,600 years by forty men be so accurate and consistent? The Bible is accurate and consistent because it actually has only one Author.

The Bible says, "Every Scripture is God-breathed." (2 Timothy 3:16, WEB.) "Scripture" means "writing," and here, it refers to the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. What does "God-breathed" mean? It means that it was God, Jehovah, who told the forty men what to write. Jehovah is the Author, and the men acted like His secretaries, who recorded down in writing what He told them to write. This is why the Bible is accurate and consistent--it only has one Author!1"

Written by an All Knowing God

 

Written by an all knowing God,

"God sees the end of a matter before the beginning"

"In Him, we live and move and have our being."

Let's pretend that we are God and are writing the Bible. Since God is not bound by time, we can imagine him seeing everything happening throughout time as if it were all laid out before him on the table. Imagine yourself as God, with everything that ever happened or that will eve happen, all laid out on a table right in front of you. So, let's imagine that God is looking at every moment in every life of all 6 Billion people alive on earth today. Now lets also imagine that he also has all the millions and billions of people who have ever lived on this earth. God sees every moment of every life. Let's say that the average person lived 80 years (60 minutes per hour X 24 hours per day X365 days per year X 80 years =  525,600 minutes in a person's life X 50,000,000,000+ estimated people since the beginning of time = 26,280,000,000,000,000 minutes all before God at one time. Let's say that God is looking at all those 26,280,000,000,000,000 minutes of everyone's lives at one time. He is now working everything together. In addition, he ..

Does the Bible Claim to be the Word of God?

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(If we want to see all the articles about the Bible on one page, click here.

Many religious leaders and other people claim that the Bible is the Inerrant Infallible Authoritative Word of God. Many of those people also claim that the Bible itself claims to be the word of God. Let's look at what one of those authors wrote:

"One of the objections raised by critics of biblical inspiration is that the Bible is not the word of God but that it contains the word of God.  Is this accurate?  No.  First of all, this doesn't fit what the Bible says about itself.  The collection of 66 books that the Christian Church recognized as being inspired speaks as the very words of God in many places.

"Thus says the Lord" occurs over 400 times in the Old Testament.
"God said" occurs 42 times in the Old Testament and four times in the New Testament.
"God spoke" occurs 9 times in the Old Testament and 3 times in the New Testament.
"The Spirit of the Lord spoke" through people in 2 Sam. 23:2; 1 Kings 22:24; 2 Chron. 20:14."1

The inference here is that just because a book says "Thus says the Lord" OR "God said" in it's content, then that proves that all the text before and after "what God said" was also spoken by God. Does this even make sense?

It says that God spoke.... or God said. Now to whom did he speak each time. It doesn't say that God "wrote" anything. But rather, God "spoke" to specific people for specific purposes. In fact, was anything said about putting "what God said" in a book?

"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." Hebrews 1:1-3

 

Making a claim doesn't make the claim true. Just because a writing has some words that are claimed to be from God, does that mean that the entire writing has written by God? No, of course not. The Bible makes no claims about itself because it is not an entity in and of itself. The Bible is a collection of the writings of various authors spanning perhaps a couple thousand years. When the claims were supposed to have been made, there was no such thing as the Bible.

Let's look at a hypathetical example. Let say that, as a college student, you write a letter home to your mom who wants you to come home for the holidays. In your letter to her, as you explain why you can't, you quote your professor word for word. You write that Professor Smith said, "You failed that test, which makes up 1/2 of your grade for the course. I'm going to give you another chance, I will retest you right after the holidays. If you wish to pass the test, and thereby past this course, you will need to stay at college and study hard for the test." In your letter you go on to say how much you love your mom and how much you will miss her. You also write a lot of other information in the letter.

I ask you, who wrote that letter? You. Whose letter is it? Yours. Just because you would have quoted your professor doesn't mean that the Professor wrote your letter. It doesn't matter if you quoted the professor once or a thousand times, it is your letter. You wrote the letter. In the same way, if the writers who wrote the different documents of the Old or New Testament said that "God said" or  "God spoke" or "Thus says the Lord" doesn't mean that God wrote those entire letters. The human authors wrote each of those documents by their own hand. Within the context of their letters they quoted what they thought God had said.

The Bible is not an authority or an identity in itself. The Bible cannot speak itself. It can make no claims regarding itself. It is merely a collection of writings of various authors. We have to look at what each writer said in context.

Often times an whole bunch of Bible verses are given at one time to "prove" that the Bible is the "Word of God". Well, let's take a look at the common verses that are use to make that claim.

In reality, is there any such thing as the Bible, or the Old Testament or the New Testatment? Each of those is really just a collection of writings of various prophets and other authors. If you look carefully through each of the books of the Bible, or Old Testament, or New Testament, you will notice something. None of any of the writers had any idea that someday their writings would be part of something call the Bible, The Word of God, The Old Testament or the New Testament. It was only many centuries after they were written that MEN put them together into a book form.

 

They say that they need to have the Bible to have a guideline, a word from God, a standard, to know what is true and what is not.
If that is true, then what about all the people throughout history who never had a Bible. For well over XX years there were no Bibles in the hands of the common people. All throughout history how did people know what was true? How did God speak to people through all of this time...
To say that the Bible is needed as the Word of God so that we know what is truth, does not make it into the Word of God and saying that doesn't make it true.
Rom 1

Old Testament

 

New Testament

Much of the New Testament was written in Greek. Greek was not a "Christian" language, but was just the common language of the people. To find out the true definition of Greek words we should not go to a "Theological" or "Biblical Greek Dictionary". Instead we should go to a common language Greek Dictionary.

Biblical scholars are often promoting the study of (Biblical) Greek, as if that it he best way to understand "the book that God wrote". Consequently, in Christianity today you would think of Greek as a "Biblical" or religious language. In reality, Greek was just a common language of the day. It was not a religious language. (See "Biblical Greek".) Paul and the other writers used common Greek words. They did not make up words to write their letters, otherwise no one would have understood them.

Here is one of the verses that religious people have used to "prove" that the Bible is the Word of God. Let's examine it more closely.

Scripture

2 Timothy 3:16

" All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.........."

Let's look at the word "scripture" that is used in the New Testament. Let's see how a common Greek dictionary defines it:

According to http://en.wiktionary.org the Definition of the Greek word for Scripture

Etymology: From γράφω.
Noun: γραφή (genitive ?) ?, (graphē)
   1. drawing
   2. painting
   3. writing, a writing
   4. description

Greek: Noun
γραφή (grafí) f.
   1. alphabetism
   2. writing (written letters or symbols that express some meaning)
   3. script (written characters)
   4. hand (style of penmanship), handwriting

In other words, the word "scripture" means "the act, process, or the product of writing". There is no "spiritual" meaning to the word itself. It was just a common word to describe either the act of writing or a document (of any type).

Prophets

Now, let us look at the concept of "prophets". Is that a specially appointed office designated by God himself?

2 Peter 1:21

"For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

Definition of the word: "proph·et  (prft)
n.
1. A person who speaks by divine inspiration or as the interpreter through whom the will of a god is expressed.
2. A person gifted with profound moral insight and exceptional powers of expression.
3. A predictor; a soothsayer.
4. The chief spokesperson of a movement or cause."

Again, starting with the word "prophet", let's put aside the the thought of "Biblical Greek?" and the "religious" definition and look towards a more common down-to-earth definition. So, let's examine #2 above, and possibly #4. Let's also look at the meaning of Holy Spirit, as decribed here,  meaning "pure and blameless mental disposition". So, the meaning of the prophet goes very well with definition #2 "A person gifted with profound moral insight and exceptional powers of expression".

 

 

 

Evaluating the Bible

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Any thinking person will evaluate what he or she is reading. While reading it is normal to ask questions about the content of what is being read.

  • Who is the author?
  • Does the author have first-hand information about what he or she has written?
  • If the author doesn't have first hand information, did he or she thoroughly research the subject?
  • Does the author have any prejudice or biases that distort what was written?
  • Is what was written true? How much of it is true and to what degree?
  • Has the author proven himself or herself true in othe things that they have written?
  • Does the author write in a well reasoned and credible manor, or does he or she make outrageous claims?

 

I have been told by well meaning people that I could loose my salvation if I don't believe that every part of the Bible was written by God's Holy Spirit. Is this true? Upon what basis is this claim made?

Any thinking person should evaluate the writings in the Bible to see if the are true.

 

Inerrancy of the Bible?

It has been emphatically stated by numerous Christian leaders that the Bible is without error..... Is this true? The inferance seems to be that if there were to be found any errors in the Bible, then it would be found to be false. But this conclusion in itself is erroneous. This leads to many errors

 

Why are religious people afraid to examine the validity of the bible itself? If people claim

Many people stake their lives and salvation on a book they haven't critically examined.

 

Many people claim that the bible was inerrant in it's original....

However, no original copy of any part of the bible exists today. All we have are copies of.... So, no one who is alive today has ever seen or examined those originals. In addition, none of the authors of the books of the bible ever claimed that their writings were free from errors.

But, even if those original documents were written by divine inspiration and were totally errorless, what about the copies and the translation that are around today. Are they inerrant? Do the modern translators have proofreaders to check for errors? (I'm being rediculous here now) If God is in the business of making sure all of his writings are perfect and error-free, then what would be the need for proof readers? After all, if God is in charge, wouldn't the translators just automatically make perfect copies the first time.

If god was watching over the original documents to make them inerrant the first time through, then God could and would protect the following copies from error (in the same way that he is said to have guided the writing of the first documents.) Has that happened without fail?

  • Are all the copies error free?
  • Are all the translations error free?
  • Why are there so many translations?

With all the modern word processore (and their built-in spell checkers), typesetters, and other computerized equipment of today, there are still many  documents that have errors. Therefore these documents need to be proofread.

To say that Paul's pen never slipped, that he never made an error in his writing, is ludecrous.

 

Here's a problem. If one says that the Bible is the Word of God, that was written by the Holy Spirit, then you have to claim that "there are no mistakes in the Bible". When mistakes are found, then you have to say that they are really not mistakes OR

God himself will be our teacher.

What is the Bible?

What is the Bible?

For all practicle purposes, it is a book1, plain and simple

 

What does the book contain?

The Bible contains writings from a number of different people. In other words, it is a collection of writings.

  • 1. "2. The word Bible comes from the Greek word biblia, which means “books” which comes from another word, byb/os, meaning papyrus, a material books were made from in ancient times 3. The ancient Greeks obtained their supplies of paper from the port of Byblos, in what is now Lebanon. Their word for book—biblion (the singular form of biblia)—was derived from the name of this port, and from this we get our English word Bible, meaning the Book of books." http://www.holybible.com/resources/poems/ps.php?sid=626

Belief in the Bible

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I've learned a few things. Just because someone believes in something does not make it true. Just because someone believes INTENSELY in something does not make it true. Someone's belief in something has nothing to do with whether or not something is true. Something is true because it is true, and for no other reason.

My Belief:

My Faith is in God and in his working in my life and in the lives of others. He has demonstrated his love and his care for me through many trials. He showed Himself to be real to me. My faith is not in the Bible or in any other book. I believe that godly men wrote much of the Bible. But, like the writers of  any book they were human and were not perfect. What they wrote wasn't perfect, but it has great value to many people.

Written by Godly Men

The bible was written by the minds and hands of godly men.

  • "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." Luke 1:1-4
  • "I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand....." Philemon 1:19
  • "I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you." Colossians 4:16
  • "Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." 2 Peter 3:15-16
  • "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." 1 John 5:13
  • "I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete." 2 John 1:12
  • "I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink." 3 John 1:3

Paul would be appalled if he saw that his letters were taken to be the "Holy Word of God". He did not see himself as someone who would be viewed as equal to God.

"But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting:  “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them." Acts 14:14-15

 

Christ came to this earth to show us how to live. It's the life that we are to live that is important, not the words that describe.

God cares deeply about all of us on this early, so much so that he

The Word of God is very personal and very specific to each person and each situation.

We don't hold onto our beliefs; that doesn't give our beliefs a changes to grow and evolve. Rather, we hold onto those things that are true. Our beliefs will follow as we grow and mature into that which God has for us.

 

Paul considered his writings as letters

  • "After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea." Colossians 4:

Peter also considered Paul's writings as letters, 2 Peter 3:15-16

 

God's principles and concepts that are lived our are more important than how the words are expressed. Immature people, who have little or no true understanding, will focus on making sure that the words are said correctly. Mature(ing) Christians will understand and put into practice the principles and concepts of godly living.

The only time the phrase "word of God" is used is when God sent a message..

It is true that God is in all things. When the men wrote the documents that were later put into the Bible, these men wrote the things that they had learned from God through their own life experiences. They did not learn these things from just reading "Scriptures", but from God teaching them through each situation in their lifes. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete." 1 John 1:-4

Just because some men got together and put all these writings into a single volume does not make it into anything more than they were initially. After all, the name Bible simple means "book". To be practical, it is easier to read and refer to all these writings in a simple form of a book as they currently are. However, they are still the same documents as they were at the beginning.

Writings of godly men are unquestioningly valuable to other believers and all people trying to live godly lives.

You might ask, what difference does it make if we call the writings of the bible as the "Word of God". It makes a lot of difference.

  1. We are not being true to the intent of the original authors to distort their purpose and meaning.

Too many people hold onto their beliefs about the truth rather than holding onto the truth itself. John had it right when he said, " That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us." 1 John 1:1-3a

Church

Look at the wide range of "Christian Churches" that claim to believe the Bible (Bible-preaching, Bible believing). And yet, why do they fight and quarrel about so many different things. Why are there some many different denominations, with all the many split-offs.

Examining Some "Traditional" Beliefs About The Bible

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On Bible.org, in an article titled Introduction to Bibliology, I found these two paragraphs.

"Our view, approach, and attitude toward the Bible is foundational. If our view of the Bible is inadequate we will naturally handle the Bible accordingly. If I do not think it is God-breathed, I won’t think it is profitable and vital. If I think it might contain errors, or that only some of it is inspired, say the thoughts, not the words, then I am left with a dilemma and I must approach it much like a cafeteria line, choosing according to my own likes or bias. What do I believe and not believe? If it is wrong in some places, then how can I be sure what it says about Jesus is true? On the other hand, if I believe it is God’s infallible and inerrant Word, as the evidence supports, then I should accept it all and study it carefully. An unfortunate element very obvious today within the evangelical community is that most who call themselves evangelicals will theoretically, at least, claim allegiance to the Bible as the all-sufficient and authoritative rule of faith, but in practice, many are raising other sources on a level with or even above the Scripture as their authority for what they believe and practice.

We believe that the Word contained in these books [of Scripture] has proceeded from God, and receives its authority from Him alone, and not from men. And inasmuch as it is the rule of all truth, containing all that is necessary for the service of God and for salvation, it is not lawful for men, nor even for angels, to add to it, to take away from it, to change it. Whence it follows that no authority, whether of antiquity, or custom, or numbers, or human wisdom, or judgments, or proclamations or edicts or decrees, or councils, or visions, or miracles, should be opposed to these Holy Scriptures, but on the contrary, all things should be examined, regulated, and reformed according to them. (Italics added)"

Let's examine what this says:

"Our view, approach, and attitude toward the Bible is foundational."

This is so true. However I approach any book or idea will greatly affect how I view what it says.

"If our view of the Bible is inadequate we will naturally handle the Bible accordingly."

Where does the author get the idea that "the bible has to be adequate" for anything? The author is true in his assessment that how we view the Bible will affect how we handle it.

"If I do not think it is God-breathed, I won’t think it is profitable and vital."

The author is false in his assessment here. In the world today there are literally millions of books and writings that are immensely valuable to many people, without the claim being made that they are '"God breathed". For someone to say that I have to view a book as "God-breathed" or I won't value it is an invalid claim. A book, or any writing, stands or falls on the truth of the content it contains.

"If I think it might contain errors, or that only some of it is inspired, say the thoughts, not the words, then I am left with a dilemma and I must approach it much like a cafeteria line, choosing according to my own likes or bias. What do I believe and not believe? If it is wrong in some places, then how can I be sure what it says about Jesus is true?"

The author sets us a false dilemma, saying that if I acknowledge that the Bible contains any errors, the "I must approach it much like a cafeteria line. Any reasoning man knows that even great books will have errors, that nothing is perfect. Anyone can do a search using the Google search engine to see that numberour errors have been found in textbooks. You can do a similar Google search to see that errors happen frequently in newspapers as well. You could probably do a similar search in many of even the most valuable writings in the world and find many mistakes. Do people still find these writings profitable and vital? I would think so.

You can do another Google search to find many sites that list Bible errors and contradictions. An article called A List of Bible Contradictions1 gives a long list of contradictions. Any reasonable and honest person can clearly see that the Bible isn't perfect. It is not inerrant. But that doesn't mean that it is without value. It has great value to those who believe in God.

"On the other hand, if I believe it is God’s infallible and inerrant Word, as the evidence supports, then I should accept it all and study it carefully."

Here the author claims that the evidence supports the Bible being:

  • Infallible
  • inerrant
  • God's Word

Just making a claim that the evidence supports something doesn't make it so.

Is The Bible Inerrant?

Inerrant? This word is not in the Bible. So, where did this word come from? I don't like to say anything about the writings in the Bible that they don't say about themselves. Did any of the writers of the various parts of the Bible say, or even think, that what they were writing was inerrant?

Inerrant?

Definition of Inerrant: " free from error "

To litterally be "inerrant" it would mean that there couldn't be even one letter out of place, there couldn't be even one misspelled word in the entire Bible.

Many christians say that "We believe that the Bible was without error in it's original..."

What difference does it make if the original manuscripts supposedly were without error.... we don't have the originals, or even first generation copies of the originals. We have translations made from multi-generational copies that have errors in them. Is it really logical to say that God wrote the original manuscripts (through human hands) without error, but then to say God couldn't or didn't keep all the copies error-free?

We are told by well-meaning Christians that the bible was "inerrant" in the "original" manuscripts. However, this is illogical. For one thing, none of the original manuscripts are still around and no modern scholar has ever seen the original manuscripts. Therefore, no one can rightfully make a claim that they are without error.

Secondly, if God had the power "through the Spirit" to have the original documents created without error, then it only stands to reason that He would also have the power to keep the subsequent translations free from error. It makes no sense to say that the "Spirit" caused or enabled the original writers to write error free, only to have the following translations contain errors. What's the point in there being error free original manuscripts unless all the following translations were also to be made error free?

Thirdly, in order for the assertion of inerrancy to stand, their could not be even one error in the original writings and of all the following translations. 

of unholy lips

Where did these claims originate?

Think about it. Did ANY of the writers of the individual books of the bible make any type of claims that their writings were inerrant and infallible? I have not seen such claims by any the authors of the books of the Bible.

If the authors did not make any such claims, where did those claims originate?

Why are people making that claim?

Then the next question that begs to be asked is, "If the authors of the original documents made not claims of inerrancy or infallibility, why are other people trying to make that claim? What is their true purpose?

Is The Belief of Inerrancy Necessary? 

Many religious people think (and adamantly claim) that the Bible has to be viewed as perfect and without error to be of value. However, God is constantly telling us to look at the lowly things, for in them we find God.

"Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Many Christians so strongly try to claim that the Bible is inerrant. Yet They are promoting an unprovable illusion. Anyone with an open mind can find countless websites and books that show the myriad of mistakes and errors in the Bible.

Would The Bible Be Of Any Value it Had Errors?

The power of any writing is not in the supposed perfection of the text, but in the truth and reality of which the authors wrote. Truth can be found in the midst of the errors and contradictions. As humans, they did not write perfectly (perfection is only an illusion, it is not real), but they spoke truth. 

Here, can you read this:

"For God so lveod the wlrod taht he gvae his one and olny Son, taht wohveer bieleves in him sahll not piersh but hvae ernteal lfie."

Here is another paragraph from here:

"RDIAENG.

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe."

 Could you read those paragraphs? If you were like me, and I presume many others, you could probably read those paragraphs without too much trouble. You might ask, "What was the point of my asking you to read those paragraphs?". Before I answer that question, let me ask you one more question. Have you ever seen any other writing, such as a letter, that had a lot of mispelled words? Were you able to read and understand the meaning of the letter?

My Point it this. All this discussion of the "inerrancy" of scripture seems irrelevant. As you have seen for yourself, you can read and understand text that has mistakes in it. So what if the original manuscripts of the bible had mistakes in it. (And I believe it did. But what would the problem with that be.)

An Incorrect Focus

When people call the Bible the Infallible Inerrant Word of God, they poison it, because that statement is not based upon truth.

Trying to claim inerrancy of the text takes the focus away from the message that was written and instead tries to make a lie into a truth. Whether or not the original documents had errors in them is not important. What is important is the message that the authors were trying to convey.

The "Black Or White Thinking" Falacy

A Black and white, or and "Either OR" Falacy only gives your two choices. 
In this case, the Either Or Falace is, "The Bible has to be viewed as 'inerrant' OR it is of no value." This is a thinking error. In fact, the Bible can still be very useful even when we realize that it does have errors. 

Notes:

 

If the Bible is Error Free,

then that means that God wrote it himself, because anything written by men would have mistakes.

If that is true, then the Bible is God's Word

Then the Bible is the only book that God has spoken through

It is the only error free book

Is the Bible Infallible?

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Infallible?

Definitions of Infallible:

  • Incapable of making mistakes or being wrong.
  • Never failing; always effective: "infallible cures".

Authority of the Bible

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Using verses out of the Bible to try to prove the authority of the Bible must presuppose the authority of the bible, and therefore renders that proof useless. No matter how many verses one might use to prove this case, it always comes back to assuming the authority of the Bible to prove the authority of the Bible. This is circular reasoning and leads nowhere.

Is the Bible True?

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Is the Bible true? Can we trust the Bible? When someone asks these type of questions, we need to answer with truth. It doesn't give the bible any more credibility when we speak falseness about it. The Bible will stand or fall on its own. When questioned about the validity of the bible we need to give credible answers that have meaning. Just replying that "the Bible is the Word of God, so of course it's true" doesn't prove the credibility of the Bible. Instead, we need to give truthful and meaningful answers. For example, what are the concrete specific things that we know about the Bible the show that it is reliable?

Like any other book or writing, the Bible is true or false depending upon whether it contains truth or falsehood. Having a certain belief about the Bible does not make it true or false. Like any book, the Bible has to be judged and accessed by the character and truthfulness of the authors of the various components.

Many of the things written in the Bible we can't prove one way or the other. Other parts we can find out about.

Another way we can judge the trustworthiness of the authors of the bible is looking at the manner and .... of how they wrote.

Providing Proof

In any court trial (such as a person who claims to be the rightful heir of a large estate, etc.), the testimony of the claimant himself is not enough to prove his claim. There must be other reliable witnesses, documents, etc. to colaborate his testimony. To prove that the Bible is true we can't use the Bible (by itself) to prove that it is reliable. That would be like ONLY having the defendent's testimony as the only proof needed to claim his estate.

As I write this, I'm reminded that the Bible is a collection of the writings of fourty different authors of XXX number of years.

Follow the Logic

If something has mistakes in it, that doesn't make it untrue or worthless. We homeschool our children using homeschool text books. Sometimes we find typos in the text book. For example, in the Saxon mathbooks we have found several wrong answers in the teacher's manual. We just recognize that there is a typo and go ahead. We still value the lesson book. Having a mistake in the answers is no problem, as long as we recognize it as an error. But, if we thought of the teacher's book as Inerrant and infallible, then we'd have to see the incorrect answer as correct. That would cau Ese other problems.

Were the Authors Right about Everything?

The authors were human just like the rest of us. They were not perfect, they could make error judgements just like any other human. Even the most godly men make mistakes, even when they write things out. The difference is that when the realize they have made a mistake, they correct themselves.

The Maturing Process

In the life we grow and mature. The things that we think we know when we are younger, when we grow and mature we see how little we knew when we were younger. Paul the apostle was no different. When he was younger he said, "I am not the least among the Apostles." That was a prideful statement made by an immature man, and shows that not everything he wrote was perfect in faith and practice. Much later in life, after he had matured more, he said, "I am the least...." This showed how he had grown and matured over the years.

Like any of us, the apostles and prophets all had to grow and mature over the years. The advice they gave earlier in life was not as good as what they gave while later in life. If we look closely, we can see evidence of some of the apostles and others actingly immaturely and had to be corrected. i.e. look at how Peter ate with the Gentiles until the Jews came, then he drew back. Paul corrected him for his hypocracy. In another instance take a look at how Paul and ... got into a sharp disagreent about John Mark rejoining them after Mark had disserted them earlier. The argument was so strong that they split up. This was an immature behavior.

When we begin to realize that the apostles were human, and had human frailties like the rest of us, we begin to see how improperly they acted at times.

Does that mean that what they wrote was worthless. Of course not!

Demystifying the Word(s)

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I would suppose that the documents of the Bible (see footnote below) were originally written as very practical everyday letters and documents to help others live a responsible and fruitful life. However, over nearly two thousands years of retranslations and adding religious meanins to the original Greek and Hebrew words, the meaning of the writings can be altered considerably. But, once we remove the layers of layers of built up religiosity from the defintions of the words in the Buble, then we can begin to understand the original intent of the authors.

Let's start with a very basic but foundational concept. In the period of time that Christ was on the earth (and before this time), very few people could write. (see history of writing_) So writing was more in awe. Scripture was a term for writing in general, and for generic written documents.

(note to myself: look up the history and usage of writing in general. Also look more into the word "scripture")

The books1 2 in the Bible were originally written as individual documents, letters, etc. At the time they were written there is no indication that any of the authors intended their writings to become part of a "holy" book. The authors wrote each document for a specific purpose, some of which we know and some that we don't know.

The documents of the bible are very practical and they have the ring of truth.

Religious people have taken the term "scripture" and made it into a "spiritual" term. But is there really an indication that at the time of this word's usage that it was considered anything other than the act or ... of plain writing?

The word Bible originally meant "book", as in it contained scriptures (documents).

Truthful words are helpful whether or not they are said to be "inspired by the Spirit". But, to go a step further than that, since God is the very embodiment of the truth, all truthful words are "inspired by the Spirit".

Definitions of the words.

As I look through a Greek or Hebrew dictionary of "Bible" words, one thing I notice is sthere is of then the "Religious" definition of the words and then there is a natural or plain definition. It's almost as though there are two primary definitions of the same word. I often wonder if the religious definition was put there to support people's religious beliefs. Then the natural definiton seems more like the real definition that was actually used in the time period that was written about. It seems to me that if we would just strip away all the religious definitions of the words then we would have a closer understanding of what the original authors really meant.

[note to myself: look up "revealed truth" as used in religion."]

  • 1. Bible:

    Look up Bible at Dictionary.com early 14c., from Anglo-L. biblia, from M.L./L.L. biblia (neuter plural interpreted as fem. singular), in phrase biblia sacra "holy books," a translation of Gk. ta biblia to hagia "the holy books," from Gk. biblion "paper, scroll," the ordinary word for "book," originally a dim. of byblos "Egyptian papyrus," possibly so called from Byblos (modern Jebeil, Lebanon), the name of the Phoenician port from which Egyptian papyrus was exported to Greece (cf. parchment). Or the place name might be from the Gk. word, which would then probably be of Egyptian origin. The Christian scripture was refered to in Gk. as Ta Biblia as early as c.223. Bible replaced O.E. biblioðece (see bibliothek) as the ordinary word for "the Scriptures." Figurative sense of "any authoritative book" is from 1804. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Bible

  • 2. Main Entry: bi·ble

    Pronunciation: \ˈbī-bəl\ Function: noun Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin biblia, from Greek, plural of biblion book, diminutive of byblos papyrus, book, from Byblos, ancient Phoenician city from which papyrus was exported Date: 14th century

    • 1 capitalized a : the sacred scriptures of Christians comprising the Old Testament and the New Testament b : the sacred scriptures of some other religion (as Judaism)
    • 2 obsolete : book
    • 3 capitalized : a copy or an edition of the Bible
    • 4 : a publication that is preeminent especially in authoritativeness or wide readership

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/netdict/bible

Words Versus Concepts

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The writers of the different documents of the Bible describe their lives and what they had experienced and learn ed. They give us examples of how to live our lives. Many of their writings give us examples of how to live our lives. Some of those are examples of what NOT to do, and the consequences.

The lessons, concepts, and examples are what is important, not the words that were used to express them. Other words could have just as well be used to tell about them and the message would have been just as valid.

When people get stuck in idolizing the words that are in the Bible, they  then they

Reading the book

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Attitude in Reading

Our attitude will make a lot of difference in what we learn and/or understand from our reading.

Prideful Reading

Some people read with a purpose of proving that they are right in their (opinions that they call their) beliefs. They look for words and phrases that support their opinions. They disreguard or retranslate in their minds anything that may contradict their opinions. This may be so automatic or habitual that they don't even realize they are doing it.

Reading for understanding.

It takes a lot of work to think out what you are reading. Many people just read the words and don't think about the true meaning of what they are reading. Nor do their think about the implecations of the words they are reading in relation to their own opinions.

Transformational Reading

"be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only". There are many good books out in the world, the Bible being one of them.
Read carefully to try to understand what has been written. Use a dictionary and/or a thesaurus to look the meanings of words that you don't understand.
Rewrite out the passage(s) in your own words, according to your own understanding.

The reading is only of value if we put it into practice. In a way, the understanding is cyclicyle. We can't really do it unless we understand what to do. The other part is that we won't really begin to understand until we start to do what it says. At the beginning we will make many (seeming) mistakes. But, if we are open and aware, we will learn much in the mistakes that help us to succeed.

Study it Out

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We have some excellant examples of intelligant thinking people....

Luke 1:1 "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

The Bereans: Acts 17:11 "11Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

 

These are excellant examples of people wanting to know something was true and studying it out.

Any reasonable person should ask these questions, and more ...

  • Is the Bible true?
  • Is every part of the Bible true?
  • To what degree is it true?
  • What is important, the words or the concepts?
  • Is the Bible inspired?
  • What is meant by the Word of God?

People of true faith should not believe something just because they have been told that it is true.

Bible Errors and Attrocities

This page consists of a compilation of various websites that talk about errors and attrocities in the Bible.

 

Bible Absurdities : Compiled by Donald Morgan

"IMPORTANT: These lists are meant to identify possible problems in the Bible, especially those that are inherent in a literalist or fundamentalist interpretation. Keep in mind, however, that what constitutes a valid problem is to some extent a matter of opinion. You may disagree that these are, in fact, genuine biblical problems, but it is the author's opinion that a perfect and omnipotent God could, should, and would see to it that such problems did not exist in a book which s/he had inspired."

Fatal Bible Flaws?: Compiled by Donald Morgan

"IMPORTANT: These lists are meant to identify possible problems in the Bible, especially those that are inherent in a literalist or fundamentalist interpretation. Keep in mind, however, that what constitutes a valid problem is to some extent a matter of opinion. You may disagree that these are, in fact, genuine biblical problems, but it is the author's opinion that a perfect and omnipotent God could, should, and would see to it that such problems did not exist in a book which s/he had inspired."

Bible Atrocities: Compiled by Donald Morgan

"Note: In the Bible, words having to do with killing significantly outnumber words having to do with love."

God is Impossible

"Christians consider the existence of their God to be an obvious truth that no sane man could deny. I strongly disagree with this assumption not only because evidence for the existence of this presumably ubiquitous yet invisible God is lacking, but because the very nature Christians attribute to this God is self-contradictory."

A list of over 700 inconsistencies in the Bible

When you click on the above link a pdf document with the information will load.

10 Religious Verses Used To Justify Terrible Atrocities

"People passionately disagree on exactly what impact religion has on the horrors we inflict on one another. What is certain, however, is that many people use the teachings of their particular books to justify and spread their inhumanity. Each of the following verses has served as ammunition for someone to make the world a much more awful place."

How many has God killed? Complete list and estimated total (Including Apocryphal killings)

   "  I kill ... I wound ... I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and mine sword shall devour flesh. -- Deuteronomy 32:39-42
The table shows two numbers: the number given by the Bible, if any, and an estimate, when no biblical number is available.
Total number killed by God in the Bible
- Using biblical numbers only: 2,821,364
 - With estimates: 25 million
(The table has been updated to include God's killings in the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical books."

Bible Atrocities

Many in the religious culture insist that the God and the Holy Bible provide the foundation for all morality.

With that in mind, take a moment to browse some specific examples of God-endorsed atrocities. Then, ask yourself (honestly) how you would feel about these accounts of rape, incest, slavery, torture and infanticide if the acts had been perpetrated by a human being: Hitler, Stalin, Hussein, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.

Doesn’t your moral code require you to denounce these acts as horrific and monstrous? Do you hold God to a different standard simply because "He is God, and he can do whatever he wants?"

Think about it. Even if Yahweh existed, would he be truly worthy of our praise and allegiance? Or is the truly moral person obligated to shun and denounce this petty, jealous, cruel and murderous tyrant?

194 CONTRADICTIONS, New Testament

Title194 CONTRADICTIONS, New Testament
Publication TypeWeb Article
Access Year2017
Access DateOct 30, 2017
Keywordsbible contradictions, Bible errors
Abstract

194 CONTRADICTIONS, New Testament

from http://www.innvista.com/culture/religion/bible/contrant.htm

There is an old tradition of listing the contradictions in the bible

New Testament 

1.       Jesus' lineage was traced through David's son Solomon. Mt.1:6.
Jesus' lineage was traced through David's son Nathan. Lk.3:31.

  1. The announcement of the special birth came before conception. Lk.1:26-31.
    The announcement of the special birth came after conception. Mt.1:18-21.
  2. Jesus' parents were told of their son's future greatness. Mt.1:18-21; Lk.1:28-35.
    Jesus' parents knew nothing of their son's potential. Lk.2:48-50.
  3. The angel told Joseph. Mt.1:20.
    The angel told Mary. Lk.1:28.
  4. There were 28 generations from David to Jesus. Mt.1:17.
    There were 43 generations from David to Jesus. Lk.3:23-31.
URLhttp://www.skeptically.org/bible/id6.html
Citation Keyctkey779

Giving Biblical Advice?

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Giving Biblical advice is a false concept.

Stop and think about it. When a man says that he gives "Biblical advice", what is he implying? Why does he use that phrase? The implication is that his "Biblical" advice is correct, right, and true, and should be followed. If the "bible" is the word of God, if it is infallible and inerrant, then would not any advice given from it also be infallible and inerrant? Really?As any rational person can see, with there being thousands of various denominations and cults all claiming to follow the Bible, there is no guarantee that such advice would be practical or right.

Relying upon such advice hinders a person from developing a strong moral reasoning character.

History of the Bible

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When we look at historical events we need to realize

  1. There are the events that actually happened. There is a lot more happening, and a lot more people being affected by what happens, than anyone can ever know.
  2. Each person who ...... the event interprets it within the framework of his own past experiences, biases, prejudices,  and his ability to understand and express what he knows or has learned.
  3. Written documents (of history, prophecy, poetry, psalms) etc. don't just get automatically written. They are written by educated people who have learned how to read, write, and to adequately express themselves.
  4. There are the perceptions of what happened of the people who actually lived through the events. They generally saw and interpreted the events by how those events affected them. They were also limited in their awareness and understanding by what they saw, heard, and experienced.
  5. There are the perceptions of what happened of
  6. Each person cherry-picks the bits of the event that happened that tends to (prove their case?).
  7. A true historian will thoroughly investigate, research, to find out what actually happened. He will also truthfully and accurately record events to the best of his ability and understanding. He will be truthful, honest, and ... in his writing out the record. Even so, he will only see what he sees from his limited perspectives.

How can we know if a written document is truthful and acurate?

  1. The document can be verified by what is known elsewhere. We probably won't be able to very every word and sentence in the document, but we should be able to verify bits and pieces of it.
  2. Our ability to recognize and understand whether or not something is true depends greatly on our awareness, education, knowledge ....
  3. Throughout history, when very few people could read, they depended upon those who could read.

Bible Copies and Translations

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The religious beliefs of a translator will greatly affect how they translate the text. There is not a direct word for word corelation between Greek and English.

The Dark Ages

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Is it just a coincidence that after the "Word of God" was canonized (about 393-397 AD) into a book that the dark ages ( starting about  400 to 500 AD) followed this event?

Is the Bible Reliable?

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There has been much talk today about whether or not the Bible is the Word of God, whether or not the Bible is inerrant, authorative, the final authority in all things relatiing to faith... In this post I won't address any of those issues. The one issue I will address is if the Bible is reliable. But, before we can attempt to answer that question we must examine what we mean by reliable. First, let us look at what the dictionary says about the definiton of reliable:

re·li·a·ble:adjective
    1. consistently good in quality or performance; able to be trusted.
    "a reliable source of information"
    synonyms:    dependable, good, well founded, authentic, valid, genuine, sound, true More

Now, let's look at what "Bible" means

Bi·ble:noun
    the Christian scriptures, consisting of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.

The English word "Bible" comes from bíblia in Latin and bíblos in Greek. The term means book, or books, and may have originated from the ancient Egyptian port of Byblos (in modern-day Lebanon), where papyrus used for making books and scrolls was exported to Greece.  http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/qt/Bible-Definition.htm

So we can see that the Bible is not one book but is a collection of 66 books. For simplicity sake, the 66 books are referred to as the Book (the Bible). Before we can answer the question of whether or not the Bible is Reliable, we have to first determine, "reliable for what purpose?"

Let us that a hyperthetical example of f farmer named John Abernathy. Mr. Abernathery has spent many years being a farmer, he has studied the sciences of raising plants, crop rotation and nurrishing the soil. He has learned to maintain and repair his equipment. Let us just assume that he is extremely proficient at everything necessary to being a good farmer. Now, let us assume that his neighbor, Bill Crombly, had a heart attack and needs a bypass operation. Mr. Abernathy was called to come treat Mr Crombly for his heart condition. Now the question is asked, is Mr. Abernathy reliable? Well, yes and no. He is a very reliable farmer, but would not be reliable as a heart surgeon (unless he also had that specialized training.)

Now, let us go back to the Bible. is the Bible reliable? I would ask, reliable for what purpose? We need to take a look at each individual book of the Bible and examine why it was written, to whom it was written, for what purpose it was written. Assuming the each book was written by a man of integrity and honor, I see no reason why it should not be considered reliable for the purpose it had originally been written.

However, when men come together and put all those individual books together into one large book and make extraordinary claims about the book, I see no reason why this new reason should be considered reliable. If you will carefully examine each book of the Bible, you will find that not one of the individual books makes any mention or claim to being part of a larger book. While the original purpose of the book may have been reliable, the new extraordinary claims of the book may be suspect. These new claims are that the those original 66 books are now part of a special "holy book" called "The Word of God". Then, from this erroneous claim, other .... claims have been added, such as the Bible is "inerrant", "infallible", the final authority in all things related to faith. in addition, claims have been repeatedly made that God speaks through the Bible.

Now, returning to the our original question, "Is the Bible reliable?" Again, I ask, reliable for what purpose? If you want to know what the original thoughts of the writer were, then perhaps we can assume that it is relatively reliable. But, it you want to know if the claims made about the Bible are true, then you may run into problems.

Quality of Writing

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There is a difference between well thought out, well researched writing and emotional .... off-the-cuff writing.

If we have the mind of Christ, then a well thought out document will reflect Christ's mind.

Scriptures

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What does the Greek word for scripture really mean?

In Christianity there is much said about the "Scriptures". But what did the Apostles and other really mean with they wrote in their original languages? Let's look at what a Greek dictionary says about the word:

G1121 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G1121 γράμμα gramma (gram'-mah) n.
1. a writing, i.e. a letter, note, epistle, book, etc.
2. (plural) learning
[from G1125]
KJV: bill, learning, letter, scripture, writing, written
Root(s): G1125
[?]

I'm no expert and I'm not a Greek scholar, but some things seem evident to me. During a time when very few people could read or write, those who could (including the apostles and prophets) valued greatly the ability to read and write. They knew how important it was to keep a written record and note about what someone wanted to remember or to learn. It is much easier to remember something accurately if you keep a written record and refer to it as needed.

Take a look at the above defined Greek word "G1121 γράμμα gramma (gram'-mah) n.", which has been translated in the Bible as "Scripture." Gramma looks strikingly similar to our English word "grammar".

It really seems to me that when authors of the biblical (book) content talked about scriptures, they meant "the act of writing" or "the product of writing". Plain and simple,there was no religious meaning to it. They knew the importance of learning and of the written document.

When we have a corrected view of the word "γράμμα gramma" means, then written documents take on a whole new meaning. We begin to realize the great value of the process of writing and of the written documents. We understand that God has spoken to many people through many writings, and that he will continue to speak through current and future writings.

Before we leave this subject, let us understand that God is not limited to speaking through written texts. He speaks to us in many other ways as well.

The Law and the Prophets

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

It's not important that we memorize a whole mountain of Bible verses. More important is living by the message of these and similar verses.

Word of God - Bible?

What the word of God is....

What the word of God is not....

It is simplistic to say that any one book (i.e. the Bible, or any other religious book) is THE Word of God. If there is a God, and if he spoke to prophets and others, who wrote it, is it rational to believe that God quit speaking once some words were written down and bound into a book? It is more rational to believe that if God spoke over a long period of time to people in the past that he also continues to speak.

It doesn't matter whether we think the Bible is the Word of God or not. The bible is whatever it is no matter what we think about it. What we think or believe about the bible does not change what it is.

"The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword...." This says that when God message comes to us, it hits us where we are, down to the deepest reaches of our souls.

Bible, Only Way to God?

It has been said that the Bible is our (only) way to know and come to a personal relationship with God. When Christians are asked "What about those who have never had access to or heard the words of the Bible?" They answer that the heavens and the creation are a clear evidence of God, therefore the unbelievers will be judged because God had made himself plain to them through the creation. Therefore He will judge them based upon God revealing himself through creation and then rejecting God's proof.

This is a contradiction. If the Bible is the only way that we can come to God, then God can't judge those who have never had access to the Bible. Conversely, if God can judge people because they have rejected his proof displayed in creation, then that shows that people can come to God without reading the Bible.

In addition, if people can't come to God without the Bible, then all the people throughout the ages who didn't have access to, and never heard of, the Bible, those people are going to hell. In this case, God is an unjust tyrant who condemns people to hell with no way to escape it. But if God reveals himself through his creation and people will be judged by that, then that proves the Bible is not (the only) the way to God. It shows the God can bring people to himself through whatever means is appropriate to each person.

People who haven't heard

What happens to people who haven't heard the gospel or the bible.

If God has made provision to judge those who haven't heard by something else, then that shows that there are other ways to come to God besides the gospel.

The Word to Us

The word means a message for each of us individually and/or corporately. The Word is any messages, whether it be written, spoken, a thought, picture, landscape, location, etc. that gives me messages of help, hope, correction, insight, etc. God speaks to us through many vehicles. But the core of his message is  (always the same?)

Contains the Word of God

It is obvious that there are a number of places throughout the documents of the bible that say that the "word of the Lord" OR "the word of God" came to this individual or to that person. But what the text says it is clear that the word of God came to that person. However, just because a document or letter "contains" a message that is the word of God does NOT mean that the document itself is "the word of God". If that would be true, then ANY letter, document or book that contains any those word of God messages would have to be considered the Word of God. For example, if I wrote a letter contained any of those verses , then my whole letter would be a Word of God.

Implecations

The Bible either has errors or it doesn't have any errors. What are the implecations of either way?

If the Bible is indeed the Word of God, what would the implecations be? Would it be free from errors? If the Bible has errors, would that mean that it is not the Word of God?

If someone claims that the Bible is inerrant, does it mean that:

  1. They have exhaustively researched and studied it out themselves and they know for certain that it is error free.
  2. Are they relying upon the claims that they have heard others make "inerrant.... Word of God"

If someone believes that the bible is error free, then:

  1. The Bible is truly error free.
  2. The bible has errors, but they are relying upon the word of others about it being error free.
  3. If the Bible has errors and they don't know it, then some possibilities are:
    1. They haven't studied it out for themselves.
    2. They are blind to the errors
  4. If the Bible has errors and they do know it, then some possibilities are:
    1. They are lying to cover up the errors.

Making A Claim of Inerrancy is Huge!

Claiming the any book is totally perfect and completely free from error is a huge statement of great magnitude. To make a statement like this there would have to be exhaustive tests given the Bible to examine every aspect. Even then, could anyone be certain that every possible tests that could reveal any error had been given. What would the test criterea be?

  1. On what basis does anyone claim that the Bible is inerrant? Is it just a matter of one's belief with no proof or evidence to back it up?
  2. What criteria was used to prove that the Bible has no errors?
  3. What is considered an error?
  4. What test method was used?
  5. How did they seek to discover any errors in their test methods?
  6. Who did the testing?
  7. What are their biases and prejudices?
  8. What have they to gain or lose depending upon the outcome?
  9. What are their perceptions of what finding an error might mean?
  10. What is the credibility of the testing persons, methods, and equipment?
  11. How many other books or materials have they rated?
  12. What was the outcome of those ratings?
  13. Who certifies and monitors them and their equipment for reliability and accuracy?
  14. Show me where any of the authors of the documents of the Bible made any claims that their documents were free from error. Show me where the authors made any claim that they were writing the Word of God.

If someone knows that the Bible has errors and doesn't say anything about the errors,

I would assume that all books have some errors of some kind. If the information or instruction in the book works, then the errors don't make the information in the book any less valuable

Inerrant in Original?

I see many writings that say that the Bible was inerrant in it's original form. So, my thoughts are: No original exists today, so no one has seen the original. Consequently, no one can prove that the originals were without error.

But, even if the originals were written with divine inspiration (so that the were without error), then God could and would protect the subsequent copies and translations from error. However,

  • are the copies error-free?
  • Are all the translations error-free?
  • Why are there so many translations?

Even with all the modern typesetting and computerized equipment of today, many documents still have errors. Therefore we have proofreaders. To say that Paul never made mistakes with any of his writings is not reasonable.

If not the Bible, who will be our teacher?

God himself will be our teacher

These verses have been endlessly quoted by Christians to prove that non-christians will be judged.

God's Wrath Against Mankind

"Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

Well, if it is indeed true that non-Christians (who have never seen a Bible) can be held accountable because God has revealed himself through nature, then it is also true that people can find God through nature (without ever having seen or read the Bible). This clearly shows that the Bible is not the only way to find God.

Notes

1Pet 1:23 You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

When you use the word "the", you usually mean that there is only one. When you say that the Bible is "THE" word of God, then that means there is only one. There is none other. When you say that the Bible is THE Word of God, this is what you are also saying:

  1. God only speaks by means of the Bible. God doesn't speak to us any other way.
  2. Everything that God has to say to us is contained in the Bible.
  3. God stopped speaking almost two thousand years ago. He hasn't spoken since.

Word of God Came to Me

Although I had read and studied the Bible for years, the word of God never reached me during all those years. The word of God came to me and became real through my journey through my journey through the Oregon criminal justice system

Working Premise

When we begin with a  premise about a subject we distort the outcome. For example, if we believe that the earth is flat, and we "know" that to be true, then everything we discover must fit within that parodym or we won't accept it. In other words, we only accept proof that supports our premise.

For  example, if we begin with a premise that says that Christianity is the one true religion we will only accept evidence that supports our premise. This is true for the other religions as well. If we believed that Buddism, or Atheism was the only true belief, then we would likewise only accept evidence that supports our premise.

For example here is a text box from my son's Science book. 

"Thinking Christianly1 

1. Study everything the Scriptures have to say about the subject, not just a single verse. 

2. Determine whether the Bible speaks directly about the theory. If it does, then you must believe the Bible and you must reject the theory or modify it to conform to what Scripture clearly states

3. If there is disagreement because the Bible does not make a clear statement on the theory, then the presuppositions for each position must be examined. If the theory is based on any presupposition that excludes God as Creator or denies the Bible as true, then one must be cautious about accepting or rejecting the theory, because it is possible to have a workable scientific model based on wrong presuppositions

4. Investigate the possibility that conditions affecting the theory in the past may not be identical to conditions today. To assume conditions were the same gives credence to the uniformitarian view of the universe, which claims that the present is the key to the past. 

5. Research what other Christian scientists say about the apparent contradiction."

 

Notice the underined text (underlined by me) in the box above: in #2 it says that "must believe the Bible and you must reject the theory or modify it to conform to what Scripture clearly states". Here the premise is that the Bible is true and anything that contradicts the Bible is to be rejected. the author if that "Thinking Christianity" text is working with the supposition that the Bible is the infallible inerrant2 Word of God.

In much of today Christian "Faith", a presupposition is asserted and then everything has to fit into faith system. It doesn't matter if something is true or not, what is important is if one believes something to be true. 

 

 Instead of beginning with a presupposition, such as that "The Bible is true" or (or view of) "God is true, we should begin fresh to find out what is true and what is not.. A good beginning point would be to use something like the Scientific Method.3

Here are some Scientific Method Steps4 

Scientific Method Step 1: Make Observations
You may think the hypothesis is the start of the scientific method, but you will have made some observations first, even if they were informal.
Scientific Method Step 2: Propose a Hypothesis
It's easist to test the null or no-difference hypothesis because you can prove it to be wrong. It's practically impossible to prove a hypothesis is correct.
Scientific Method Step 3: Design an Experiment to Test the Hypothesis
Scientific Method Step 4: Test the Hypothesis
Scientific Method Step 5: Accept or Reject the Hypothesis
Scientific Method Step 6: Revise the Hypothesis (Rejected) or Draw Conclusions (Accepted)

These steps are also common 

Scientific Method Step 1: Ask a Question
Scientific Method Step 2: Make Observations and Conduct Background Research
Scientific Method Step 3: Propose a Hypothesis
Scientific Method Step 4: Design an Experiment to Test the Hypothesis
Scientific Method Step 5: Test the Hypothesis
Scientific Method Step 6: Accept or Reject the Hypothesis

A main difference in Christian faith and in the scientific inquiry is that the christians begin with the idea that they are right. In science the quest is to find what is true, but also realized that there is a lot that can't be proven.

 

 My Background

I was raised by parents who called themselves Christians, but had their own set of beliefs. As a result I developed my own set of beliefs about God, the bible, church meetings, etc. Part of my belief system was what seems common in the Christian world today. That belief was "The bible is the inerrant, infallible, Word of God, the final authority in all things relating to faith and practice".

However, when I went through some very long and difficult years my religious beliefs crumbled. I realized that my beliefs weren't based upon truth. Although my faith in God has been greatly strenghthened,  I've had to rethink and evaluate much of what I once thought and believed about the Bible and religion. As I write these pages, my working premise is that various parts of the Bible were written by some godly men. (They wrote as honestly and truly as they were capable of writing. They wrote about what they had seen and learned about history and God's working.) However, the perceptions of the Bible by many today is distorted and has gotten way off track. The Bible has been made into a form of an idol. (Everything is based on the Bible, and it is called the "Word of God".)

Much of what I've been learning over the years is kind of fragmented, and just in my head. I decide write these pages to help me to put together what I've been learning. In other words, I'm mainly writing these pages for myself so that I can better understand all this myself. These web pages are a collection of ideas and beliefs that I've been learning over the years. This section of pages are focused on what I've been learning about the Bible. I'm writing these pages to clarify:

  1. What do I think or believe about the Bible
  2. What is true?

It is my intent to study, research, and write about the Bible:

  1. What is the Bible?
  2. Who actually wrote the various parts of it?
  3. How is it perceived?
  4. What is it's purpose?
  5. How can it be used?

How can you know God's will

 

1 Peter 2:15 For it is God's will that by doing good you

Many people agonize and struggle of trying to know God's will for

What are you good at? What do you spend your time thinking about and dreading about? What do you like to do? Can you do it with honor and integrity? Can you do it while fulfiling your responsibilities and obligations?

One could say that it is God's will that we do the things that we enjoy and that we are good at PROVIDING that we can do those thing with honor and integrity, while fulfilling our other responsibilities and obligations.

Every good gift is from above. God has given you your gifts for a reason.

Do you enjoy farming and want nothing more that to be a good farmer? But you heard a missionary or preacher speak about getting more missionaries in foreign lands. Now you feel guilty that you are not a missionary. I ask you, do your really and truly want to be a missionary? If you would really do what you wanted to do and enjoyed, would you rather be a farmer? Then put aside all your guilt about not being a missionary, and be the best farmer that you can be, with complete honor and integrity. That is God's will for you.

Do the other mature adults in your life agree with your desire?

Is your spouse in full agreement with your desire?

 

1 Peter 2

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22 “He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”[e]

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,”[f] but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

 

 

 

 

Contrasting Traditional Christianity With One Person's Reality

First Rough Draft

Comparing Traditional Christian Beliefs with One Person’s Reality

Compare Traditional Christian paradigm Versus an Alternate Paradigm

(or, Comparing Traditional Christianity with Reality [reality defined as “what seems ‘real’ to me".]

This chart is not finished, and I plan on continuing to work on it as I have time, but it is useful now.

 

For many years I have been transitioning into a new paradigm, a new way of thinking and acting in life. I have found it increasingly difficult to explain where my thinking is at in this stage of my life. For example, when I say that I no longer believe in hell, most Christians have a hard time relating or understanding. Modern Christianity is largely based on the concept of hell. if that is taken away, then what is Christianity, or religion, all about? I’ve been writing for years on my website www.live-anew.com , mainly to clarify my thinking to myself. Finally an idea has come to me to make this chart as a comparison of where I used to be (and what I think Christianity largely believes) and where I am at now, which I call an Alternate Paradigm.

 

 

Paradigm: which would include the basic assumptions, values, goals, beliefs, expectations, theories and knowledge that a community has about.

 

NOTE: I make no claims as to the rightness of my paradigm, this is merely what makes sense to me. The Traditional Christian Paradigm makes no sense to me. How could I have every believed that? How could anyone really believe that?

 

Note: I could not get the chart to show nicely here, so, to see the chart go to the page on my website here: Compare Christian Beliefs versus an Alternate Belief or Thought Paradigm

 

There a lot of uncertainties in this life. I don’t see God as requiring us to be certain about whether or not he exists, or whether or not we believe in him or in Jesus. It seems to me that, if anything, I think that God just wants us to be real about where we are at in our understanding, no pretenses, no trying to please other people. That is what faith is all about, in living out our lives with integrity, honor, and compassion to all people no matter where we are in our doubt, belief, or uncertainties.

 

Traditional Christian Paradigm

Description

Alternate Paradigm

     

 

Angry God, Loving Father, said to be a spirit.

God

Father, as in The Source of all things, Great Spirit. Perhaps because I was raised as a Christian,  it just makes sense that everything was created by a God,  rather than it came from nothing,  or was always here.

 

Understanding God

 

Son of God, also God the Father. Born of a virginhip

Jesus

Since I strongly doubt the magical/supernatural impregnation of Mary (see below), that leaves me with not knowing how to see Jesus. He is who he is no matter how he got here. In the very least, he seems to be an example of a good life to pattern our lives after

 

Relationship of Jesus with God

 

The third person of the Trinity, He comes to live in believers

Holy Spirit

Not a Person, but a condition: Holy (pure & blameless) Spirit (mental disposition). OR "Holy Spirit = The strong ongoing desire to do what is right". See Holy Spirit.

A description of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, How they are three persons making up one God.

Trinity

The word Trinity is a made up term, it is not in the Bible. There is no justification for this belief.

Sends his enemies to be tortured forever, Kills his enemies,
Tells us love go our enemies

Character of God

 

To die to bring salvation, to Save humans from the wrath of the Faither

Jesus’ Purpose on earth

Since there is no literal hell, then he did not come to save us from hell nor to save us from the wrath of God.

He showed us that in dying we truly live. He was an example of how to live our life on this earth.

The literal raising of Jesus from the dead.

The Resurrection

 

birth of Jesus was to Mary, a young woman who had never had sex. The Holy Spirit is said to have impregnated Mary through supernatural means so that there was no sex involved. Some people believe that Mary remained a virgin even after Jesus’ birth.

Virgin birth

I doubt that Mary was magically-supernaturally impregnated.

From what I’ve read and studied, it seems that the word for “virgin” actually refers to an unmarried woman…….  born of an unmarried woman was a term denoting shame and disgrace. He may have come through this means so that he could reach and relate to the lowest of the low.

Sinners, bound for hell, unless they accept the message of the church “Believe in Jesus….”

unchanged humans

Immature adults who have never matured nor have they learned to live responsible lives.

A place of everlasting punishment and torture reserved for the devil and his angels. Also, the place where everyone goes who has not accepted Jesus as their savior.

Hell

There is no actual place of hell. It is the type of harmful consequences that we cause ourselves (and others) by our irresponsible behavior and actions.

Saved from God’s wrath and saved from hell.

Salvation

means to come to a wholeness and wellness.

Called the “saved” or the “redeemed”, people who have been saved by “accepting Jesus” into their hearts.

Changed humans

Maturing adults who have put aside selfish childish ways and who are endeavoring to live responsible, compassionate and obedient lives.

 

Faith

Faith is not convincing oneself to believe something that you don’t believe. Instead, it’s proceeding to live out your live with honor and integrity as a son of God even though there are a lot of uncertainties

Often telling God what to do, or asking for God to provide daily needs. Talking to God.

Prayer

Focusing of the mind, taking time regularly to remind oneself of important matters

The Bible

The Word of God

Words, thoughts, ideas that are given to us from God. It does not refer to a book.

The infallible, Inerrant, .. Word of God, The final authority in all things of faith

The Bible

A collection of manuscripts that were written by men about God as best as they knew him at the time. None of the authors gave any indication that they wrote their work to be part of a larger holy book. The authors were not stupid people, they wrote many wise things.

"Only the original autographs (original manuscripts written by the apostles, prophets, etc.) are under the divine promise of inspiration and inerrancy. The books of the Bible, as they were originally written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21), were 100% inerrant, accurate, authoritative, and true. There is no Biblical promise that copies of the original manuscripts would equally be inerrant or free from copyist errors. As the Bible has been copied thousands of times over thousands of years, some copyist errors have likely occurred"

www.gotquestions.org/Bible-inerrancy.html

Inerrancy of the Bible

If it was important enough (to God) that the original manuscrips were "under the promise of inspiration and inerrancy", the why were not the copies under the same guaratee. It makes no sense that if an all powerful God would make sure that the originals were inerrant, that we would then let the copies get errors in them.

Which is more important, the ink on the original manuscripts (which would decay and pass away), or the message that was to be conveyed, presumably, for all time?

God created the heavens and earth in 6 literal days about 6000 years ago.

Creation

unknown and doesn’t matter. In the end everything was created by the Father, the source

Christians are told not to doubt as it could destroy their faith.

Doubt

Honest doubt is the gateway to knowledge. It should motivate you to let go of preconceived notions and to earnestly seek out what is true. Closely examine your own beliefs and your own thinking to see if it is true.

Heaven, a place reserved for the saved who have accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Streets of gold, with Jesus for all eternity, singing is glory.

Afterlife

 
Lucifer, who was one of the highest angels, who got prideful and ... and was cast down out of heaven. He knows his time on earth is short so he is trying to ...

Satan

An allegory for

Often used as a scapegoat for the consequences of poor judgement or wrong choices. Also used to intimate or scare ..

Satan's workers, who inhabit humans and animals

Evil Spirits

 

God is constantly portrayed as someone who is only interested in getting glory for himself. This makes God sound like a very conceited person who always wants to be center stage.

The Glory of God

God is not glorified by any attempt of ours to glorify him. Saying the words “Glory to God” does not glorify God. In fact, we don’t know how to glorify Him.

If bringing glory to God is important, which i doubt, it would be just through living your life fully and treating others with integrity, honor and compassion.

God is said to be unchanging, and yet in the Old Testament he  is said to have ordered the children of Israel to kill the enemies of God. Yet in the New Testament Jesus says to Love your enemies.

The evolution of God?

I recently read an article that said men have pretty much viewed God as they are. For example, in early civilization men were more warrior and barbaric, and that is how they viewed God . Through the years, as men have become more civilized the kind to one another, they have viewed God as a kind and loving Father.

Many Christian churches claim or imply that theirs is the true doctrine.

Claims

I do not claim anything, except this is closer to what makes sense to me.

The general claim is that “Jesus is the truth.” (“I am the way, the truth and the life”)

What  is Truth?

The truth does not refer to a person, but rather it refers to things as they really are, without any deception or ….

Apparently to make sure that members are “genuine Christians”, many churches or other religious organizations require members to sign a Statement of Faith or other type of covenant agreement.

Statement of Faith

Since a statement of faith is only valid for those who wrote it, I will not sign such a document.

 

The Christ

Christ is a term denoting a condition...

Christians attempt to create unity through uniformity, and telling everyone what to believe.

Unity

True unity comes about in diversity in a spirit of love and cooperation. Everyone is allowed, and even encouraged, to think for themselves. They are also taught/encouraged to treat one another with respect, honor, and compassion.

 

The Light

The purpose light is not to draw attention to the light. Rather, the purpose of light is to help us see our way more clearly so that we can help others see their way more clearly.

 

Conversion?

We are not here to convince others to believe the same as we do. Instead, it is to help others learn to search out their own path.

As wicked sinners, whom he cannot bear to look up, “God cannot accept sin, which we  are full of.. he can only look at us through is Son so that we are pure and blameless in his sight, but in reality we are filthy sinners.

How God Sees us

As his beloved children whom he loves. He knows that we are very immature and takes through many often difficult times to mature us into the character and likeness of Christ.

 

The Gospel, The Good News

We are free and pure in God’s sight. We just don’t know it yet. Our lack of knowledge keeps us in bondage. We just need to walk out our freedom

All others are wrong and of the devil

View of Other Belief systems

 

unsaved, lost, doomed for hell and everlasting torture and punishment. People to be preached at and to be converted to the belief system of the preacher.

Sets  up division and pride, "us”, the saved AND “them”, the unsaved

How “non-believers” are viewed

We are brothers on a common journey. We need each other to help one another on our individual paths

Preaching at church, witnessing, quoting Bible versus at

Method of transferring good news

Don’t spent so much time talking. Rather let the quality of your life by the light for others to see.

 

Who are seen as mature and righteous

 

Pray for them...

Method of sharing concern for the hurting.

 

Going to church, reading the Bible, praying.

Method of Growing.

 
 

Who are seen as mature

 

Viewed as lost and headed for hell unless they accept Jesus.  Pray

Attitude towards people who are dying

 
Call the elders, anoint with oil, say a prayer of healing for the sick, Healing  

Use to denote specialness or to denounce… i.e. Christian, 144 thousand, or to deride and scorn, i.e. saved (us) versus lost (them) heretic (anyone who disagrees with church doctrine) “New Age”, heathen, etc.

The Use of religious labels

I don’t use labels in that way. I don’t know what to call myself. I’m just a person on this journey called life.

Preacher, minister, elder, deacon, evangelist

Religious offices

Don’t see religious offices, rather I see functions. For example, and elder is someone who has lived life well and has a good reputation. He has often successfully worked through many trials and consequently has a lot of genuine wisdom acquired by experience.

Something to be endured until I get to my real home in heaven.

This life

This life is what we have right now. Put your thoughts and your efforts into this life in living with honor and integrity,  Be kind and compassionate to those around you.

Often viewed as attacks of Satan

Trials, either from consequences or from life

Face the trials head on. Examine it to see if I caused it, or it is from another source. “it matters not so much what happens to us, but how we respond to it.”

Often seen as “Satan” sending bad thoughts, or financial problems, or enemies, or ...

Attacks of Satan

Often used as an excuse to not search out and solve a problem. Sometimes used as an excuse to deny responsibility for creating or contributing to a problem. Many “attacks of Satan” are just the consequences of our own poor choices.

God is said to have instructed the Israelites’ to kill off the inhabitants of Canaan (who can be assumed to be enemies of God).  God is also said that he will throw all of his enemies (sinners) into hell to be tortured mercilessly forever.
It is also said the God, through Jesus, told disciples to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matt 5:44

Are God’s actions consistent with what he expects his children to do?

Attitude towards enemies

Be kind, responsible, and compassionate to all people, even your enemies. By doing so (some of) your enemies may turn into….

Christians claim that we have free will.

Free will with threat of everlasting torture if you make the wrong  choice is not free will.

Free Will

We do have the ability to make choices, and to experience the consequences of our choices, both good and bad..

     

Magical / supernatural

Much of what I see in the Christian Paradigm seems to be based upon God working magically (supernaturally)

Versus

Normal Processes

What I have seen in my 60 plus years has just been God working through normal processes.

     

 

 

 

 

Free Will

What do we mean by free will?

Here is a combination of definitions from several sources1234:

the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion.
synonyms: self-determination, freedom of choice, autonomy, liberty, independence1

Definition of free will: noun

  • the ability to choose how to act
  •  the ability to make choices that are not controlled by fate or God
  • voluntary choice or decision <I do this of my own free will>
  • freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or by divine intervention

1. (Philosophy)

  • a.  the apparent human ability to make choices that are not externally determined
  • b.  the doctrine that such human freedom of choice is not illusory Compare determinism
  • c.  (as modifier) a free-will decision

2. the ability to make a choice without coercion he left of his own free will: I did not influence him
Examples of FREE WILL

He argues that all humans have free will.
<all of the workers at the homeless shelter are unpaid and are there of their own free will>

Now, let's look at the word "coerce5"

Defintion: co·erce  (k-ûrs)
tr.v. co·erced, co·erc·ing, co·erc·es
1. To force to act or think in a certain way by use of pressure, threats, or intimidation; compel.
2. To dominate, restrain, or control forcibly: coerced the strikers into compliance. See Synonyms at force.
3. To bring about by force or threat: efforts to coerce agreement.

Do we have free will?

If, as we are told, God gives us free will to receive him or to reject him, is this free will free from coercion? Is coerced free will actually free will?

Does God give us free will

We are told by (presumably) well meaning Christians that God gives us free will. These same Christians go on to tell us that if we reject God's son, then we will burn and be tortured in hell forever and forever. Now look up to the defefinition of coerce (see above). "To bring about by force or threat: efforts to coerce agreement." Is the threat of hell coercion?

If we have free will, does God honor our free will

 

God Told Me

.....

Over my many years on ;this earth, I have heard various people mention that "God told me......" OR "God spoke to me". Sometimes these words are used as a pre-defense mechanism. It is a subtle way of implying "You are not allowed to question my decision or my words here, because my words are from God himself. This can be used to cover up selfish motives, poor decisions, etc. I would say, that when someone says that "God told me..." then their motives and actions should be closely examinined. (If it truly is from God, then it will survive the examination). But, if the speaker tries to evade closer scrutiny, or makes some type of excuse, then there is some monkey business going on. Don't believe a word of it.

In many ways it seems that Christians are too gullible, too fearful, or too foolish. They are too hestitant  and don't question someone who says, "God told me (to do this or that). They don't want to be seem to be questioning God's authority or direction. I say DO question deeply anyone who claims to speak for God. The higher the claim, the more that it should be investigated and questioned.

Ministry Versus Service

One big challenge with having a "ministry" is that the focus is often directed toward the ministry. If a person is working in the "ministry',then that person thinks that he/she is doing "God's work".

Religion and Relationships

Religion can be so destructive to relationships. It says, "you have to believe like I do or we can't be true friends." Religion sets up the barriers to friendships, "saved versus unsaved, or lost" heaven or hell

How many people have been griefstricken for countless years for fear that their friends or relatives are going to hell? How much better could their time have been spend on just spending time and interacting with each person? However, the religious mental barrier keeps telling the religious person, "he is unsaved, what can I go to get him saved" or .......

The Concept of Satan

Site Keywords: 

The concept of Satan is very seductive and very popular among Christians. Satan is a convenient scapegoat to take the blame for:

  • anything bad that happens.
  • the consequences of one's own actions.
  • anything that a person can't or doesn't want to explain

Whenever a person says that he is being "attacked by Satan", he assumes or claims that:

  • He doesn't have to take any reponsibility for whatever  happened or is about to happen.
  • He doesn't have to change, it's not his fault. Something else is to blame.
  • He is the innocent victim.
  • He is a "good guy" that is being attacked by an evil being.
  • This is an easy way out. Then he doesn't have to search to find the real cause of the problem.

If he claims that someone else is a "captive of Satan": then that other person is indirectly at fault. This is an attempt to shift the blame away from oneself onto another person.

Instead of taking responsibility for the consequences of one's own actions, a person can say, "Satan is attacking me." This can be a attempt to get the attention off of oneself, while at the same time attempt to appear spiritual. After all, Satan doesn't attack one of his own. Satan only attacks Christians who are following God.

Instead of admitting failure due to poor planning, one can claim that Satan is attacking.

Sometimes Christian ministries claim that Satan is attacking them. Some have given a list of different ways1 that Satan attacks them.

The Attacks of Satan

Although I grew up in the midst of Christianity that intensely believed in Satan and demonic attacts, I no longer believe in Satan.
I do believe that there are genuinely harmful things (called evil) and their are "seemingly" harmful or evil things in this world.
Take a look at tornados. This is a natural life process of this world that we live in. It becomes harmful when we step into its path.
Many of the things that people call "attacks of Satan" or merely the consequences of one's own ignorant (unknowing)  or irresponsible behavior.
We can eliminate a lot of the .... from our lives by educating ourselves ... and avoiding things that stir up strife or cause calamity in our lives and the lives of others.

How we look at life, we

In this world we see what we look for. If we are looking for "satanic attacks", that is what we will see. For example, if we see someone come down with a serious illness, such as cancer, we might see it as an attack of Satan. Or we can put aside the whole thought of Satan and look to find out what might be the cause. Could it be that the person has been smoking for forty years, or was he eating improper foods for most of his life, or was he living in a neighborhood that was being poluted by a nearby chemical plant, or was the house he was living in unsafe because of asbestos .... or....

If we merely focus on someone (or ourselves) be "attacked by Satan" then we stay in victim mode, unable to rise above the circumstances.

Back in the centuries past, when people were ignorant of .... it was easy for them to believe in evil spirits or other ... that caused the calamities or illness.

Giving Up Satan

As I said before, blaming everything on "Satan" is very seductive. It means that I can go on being the "good guy", and everything I do that is bad is really just caused by Satan and every bad that happens to me is an attack of Satan. The end result is that I remain the good guy. I never have to look at my own bad choices or my own irresponsible behavior.

But once we give up the whole idea of Satan, then we can start looking at and correcting our own thinking and behavior patterns. We can start learning how to live responsibly and compassionately. We stop bringin disaster upon ourselves. We can then begin to experience that "abundant (and peaceful) life" spoken of by Jesus and other great men.

Many of the seemingly bad things that happen to us can be changed for the good by how we respond to the situation.

The Only True Religion

Today I was skimming the titles of my email inbox I saw a subject of "Do XXXXX Believe They Are The Only True Religion?" (I deleted the name of the religion because that is irrelevant.) The whole point about whether someone believes if they are the only true religion is not the question that you should be asking. Questions about which is the true religion OR "My religion is the true relgion" is all about human pride. It goes back to the childhood behavior of "My dad is bigger than your dad" OR my X is better than your X. That is childish and immature behavior.

In reality, it doesn't matter which religion is "better". What matters is:

  • Are you living out the truth that you know?
  • Are you acting in true love towards all others, even to those you don't like?
  • Are you treating others with true respect and honor?"
  • Are you being kind and considerate to those who believe differently than you do?

 

 

What does "Seeking God" mean

I recently was looking through Facebook and saw this quote:

"God you have the answers I need. I'm seeking you first." Matthew 6:33

  I looked up the reference, Matthew 6:33

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Matthew 6:33, New Living Translation

It is so easy to say, "I'm seeking the Lord", but what does that really mean?

"The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living." Romans 13:12 New Living Translation

 

 

What is a Prophet?

 

What is a prophet?

Definition of the word: "proph·et  (prft)
n.
1. A person who speaks by divine inspiration or as the interpreter through whom the will of a god is expressed.
2. A person gifted with profound moral insight and exceptional powers of expression.
3. A predictor; a soothsayer.
4. The chief spokesperson of a movement or cause."

To understand how I try to determine the definition of Greek words, see "Biblical" Greek.

Clear thinking, can see cause and effect, and outcomes of behaviors...

When I think about the perceived ability to "foretell the future, see a vision, see cause and effects

Notes

Perhaps make out a multi-part questionaire, survey, or test, or use CCK (as I did in the homeschool writing website) Say in the questionaire that there are no wrong answer. This is about you, and helping you discover what you think and believe. We would suggest that you not ask anyone else about this. (It's OK to show the questionaire to others to get advice about the questions, but in giving the answers you should think about what you yourself think and believe. The answers shouldn't be about what others have told you, or what you heard somewhere. Again, this is about you and your ideas and beliefs.

 

If a person has held firmly to his same beliefs all his life, then he is probably an immature literal thinker and has never let himself grow.

 

I still have to study this out, but I seem to remember that "we" are supposed to be the "Living" word of God. I'm not sure if I'm remembering it correctly, so will have to look at it more.