Monday, October 5, 2009

Why The Bible Still Applies - part 1

People have presented arguments all different ways about the Bible questioning how it can apply in any way today. I've been asked why I should go by a book that's out of date, over 2000 years old; I've also been asked why we should go by a newer book like the Bible when more ancient religions were developed closer to creation itself.

The main reason the Bible still applies is that people are still the same. We require laws and consequences, we need guidelines on how to treat each other, and we need guidelines on how to set up a successful society. The specifics in the scripture don't apply to every society today but the principles they come from certainly do. Things like being required to help even an enemy get an ox out of a ditch may never be a situation you come across but helping someone get his car out of a ditch may. Though if you DO come across someone whose ox has fallen into a ditch, I can't imagine a reason you would not feel obligated to try and help.

Many have trouble when reading things like this:
When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

I'm sure anyone in America or other western societies have a serious problem with this. But it's not like it seems now anyway. For one, we have to consider that Moses wrote it and it was applied to a lifestyle where an unmarried woman had no real recourse to anything but being cared for by some man. Instead of "taking" women and discarding them when they were tired of them, these men were taught that women must be taken care of one way or another.

The verses where a raped woman is required to be married to her attacker gives me the creeps but since a woman was considered ruined and would be left uncared for from then on, a man needed to think twice before raping someone. He doesn't get to just apologize or go to jail for a while then be done with it while the woman has been destroyed forever. He has to marry her and take care of her for the rest of his life. Yes, it's still a horrible nightmare for the woman but the only feasible best option is that no man rape a woman in the first place. Since that won't ever happen, this was a protection for women. Is it really so much better now that a woman has to pay taxes and support the man in jail? (I think yes to that, at least she doesn't have to see him again but it's better if he has to pay for all her therapy if she chooses it, pay to support her at least as long as she's too traumatized to work, etc. If a woman takes advantage of it, oh well, guess he'll know better next time. Scripture requires a man to provide for his victim.)

There are other issues, slavery for one. People are in slavery in the world now, don't know why people act like the bible specifically condones slavery, it merely addresses slavery. Being kidnapped and held as a sex slave wasn't the issue in the bible so the instructions for slaves and masters there don't apply; these are for a society where it's expected or at least accepted. And if we're all honest, we have to admit that there are people in America that would be better off as slaves than not - the ones who can't manage to care for themselves but don't mind being told exactly what to do because decisions are beyond them.

Health concerns are addressed as well, before anyone knew about germs, the Jews knew to use running water and how to make antibacterial soap (germ killing soap anyway, is there a difference?) Certain foods were to be avoided, pork for example. It's probably wise to continue to avoid these things, there may be other reasons than simply that they were unsafe in that area at that time due to lack of refrigeration and the swine diet. For some reason, people decided that following these health instructions made them not just healthy, but holy; that caused some trouble. Right in scripture it says that as long as you follow these laws, I will keep you from the diseases of the (surrounding peoples). Their good health was meant to be an indication of the power and glory of their God to the other people.

The only problem I can see about the OT is that when I AM gave a revelation or instruction to a prophet, people seemed to take everything that person said from then on as directly from the mouth of God. Perhaps they were meant to but only if the prophet refrained from ever speaking his own words as they were supposed to. Can you imagine how difficult that would be?

Friday, September 25, 2009

No Man Comes To The Father But By Me

This seems obvious to many but the traditional way of looking at it doesn't work for me. We don't say this in English, at least not anymore. What did it mean then? The word "by" in this case, according to lexicons and such, means basically "by way of" or "through". That supports the usual view but what sense does it make?

We might say, "I met this guy through my work," or "To get an appointment with him, you'll have to go through his dragon of a secretary first." So we get to the Father through the Son? Almost makes sense but people had been able to communicate with the Father many years before Yeshua was born. Plus Yeshua said we were to pray directly to the Father.

Okay, maybe it's that I AM gave all authority to the son, we now are the son's problem to deal with and the Father told him he didn't want his son losing any of us. So now we supposedly can't get to the Father at all without the son introducing us? The son is supposed to make us presentable first, then we can go in? Maybe.

Even that has a problem though. Yeshua said, "No man comes to the Father..." not "no man is allowed in to see Him". We are only drawn to the Father by way of the son, that's the method He uses to call us. That would have nothing to do with imputed righteousness, sacrifice, none of the things I've been taught to believe it means. Since the son is "the way, the truth, and the life", he is the embodiment of life with the Father. I found the following at a place called

One receives that Life by following the Way, the Way that He demonstrated and taught because He was the embodiment of the Way, He was the Word made flesh Who was the walking and living Human Example of the Way.

Those who met him were drawn to the Father because they saw the Almighty in him. We are to follow that same way and draw others to the Father because of the spirit in us - that's why the comforter, the holy spirit was sent after Yeshua died and rose again. How could we walk as he did, live as he did, drawing others to I AM without the same spirit that was in the Son? That's how we come to the Father "by" Jesus/Yeshua.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Faith and A Debt to the Awesome I AM

Eric on SavageSoto has just posted about Grace THROUGH Faith, I love this guy's blog, thinking, faith...his picture gets to me every time, he's so young (maybe it's an old photo, who knows?). He's clear and articulate and quite persuasive. Even if I didn't agree with what he writes, I'm sure I'd be searching hard to figure out where and how exactly I disagreed. But the more I study and pray, the more I agree and appreciate his writing.

Faith comes from God in the first place, I discovered that long ago. It's never been our doing to "work up" faith - I know, I tried that. All those years of being told I should 'just believe' sent me that way, I tried but it made no sense. It felt like I was trying to believe what someone told me; doubt meant I wasn't sure whoever told me had it right, what did that have to do with God's worthiness to be trusted? On I read in a forum about the etymology and context of the Greek and Hebrew words which led me to realize it's not just a matter of turning off one's brain; often in the OT God said his people could trust him because he had shown them so. It was always up to him to show the people and/or reveal to their hearts and minds that he was trustworthy - only after that were they expected to remember just who they were talking to!

Reading Grace Through Faith today reminds me again how much of a reason there is to love God and be grateful - it always puts me in a good mood and changes my outlook to put my mind on God and not my circumstances. I started a different blog that is to explore how much I AM intervenes in our daily lives because often I don't like what's going on. Stepping back and looking at the overall big picture often makes a difference.

Eric also talks about universal reconciliation, something I discovered just a couple of years ago. I believe scripture supports this which means those 'called' now must have some purpose beyond just being picked out randomly. It may be simple, be the incarnation of the spirit of God so that all can see how wonderful life with him is. Christians have such a bad rep in so many places, I'm thinking we're missing something. It's HARD to focus on something other than one's own circumstances! When I meet someone who hates God, doesn't believe, is skeptical or totally indifferent, it makes me wonder, "Why did I AM reveal himself to me? Why do I get to see miracles, know his love, trust him? Why not him? Or her?" That usually makes me determined to be a personification of the spirit to everyone, it makes me want to go out and see as many people as possible so that they can feel I AM near.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

He Is Who He Is No Matter What I Do Or Don't Understand

Something I am so very glad for is that no matter how hard I try to figure out I AM/God and how he works, what exactly he is, and all that, it doesn't matter. If I never know, he's still who he is and I'm very glad about that.

No Entrecard? :- (

I can sign in to entrecard, it says i'm logged in, all looks good but I can't drop any cards. It acts like I'm not signed in no matter what! Entrecard did send two replies to my emails but on their end it all looks fine and they figure I'm not signed in.

I'M NOT IGNORING PEOPLE, just to let you know. I like to drop cards, it helps me find sites I like and i can support them but it isn't working!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

On The Subject Of Prayer

Some of my beliefs and thoughts are very strange, even to myself. I believe prayer is in part answered through our own brains/energy/something else like that. When we are connected to God, we have the power scripture tells us about. He doesn't have to "come down" or "reach down" and change our circumstances. I believe (maybe) that we are created in his image and therefore are already set up to accomplish the needful things.

It struck me that always asking for the Father to fix things for us is a bit lazy. I even wrote a Hub about it: In The Image Of YHWH because totally trusting I AM is not the same as refusing to do anything but wait. Good works are prepared and waiting for US. We have already been equipped. Even if this means others can do some of the same things doesn't take away from the fact that the power and ability to do so came from the Almighty in the first place - others just don't give credit where credit is due. There are stories of great things happening when no one was praying about it and things that didn't happen when someone was praying.

Perhaps it's true that many times it's just the Father saying no, not yet; perhaps it's a test or a needed character-building trial; perhaps those involved didn't have enough faith. But faith comes from I AM in the first place, it's not like we can 'decide to go get some more'. I considered that our minds can heal our bodies or contribute to the healing of others by knowing more specifically what needs to be done, like how this disease works or how certain body organs need to function so that we can focus on that. And it seems to be true to a small degree. But that leaves a lot of healings and lack of healings unexplained! Really, my major experiences come when I freely admit to the Almighty that I'm clueless, he's not, please do whatever is best. Is that a lack of faith? Is that the same as saying, You didn't tell me what to do so I'll just sit here and let you do whatever'? Should I be so connected to him that his spirit flows through me and I know what comes next? Hard to say.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fascinated By The Human Brain

Behavioral biology, race and sex differences and non-differences, religion/spirituality, intelligence, morals, sanity/insanity, normal/abnormal - all these are subjects of great interest to me. They all involve neurobiology.

I read several reviews of a book I've got from the library called The Geography of Thought by Richard Nisbett. Truly I should probably quit reading so many reviews before reading the work, it often feels as if I no longer need to read the book! So far I'm disappointed to see that there is likely no specific discussion of neurobiological findings that correlate or not to the culturally induced differences in perception and thought between Asians and Westerners studied in this book. The whole reason I wanted to read this book was to find out if there are such differences and if so, are they genetic or environmental? Do the cultures actually change the physical brain? Now it seems that the focus is simply that culture 'determines' perception to a great extent - wasn't that always obvious?
Still, the first chapter brings up the question of the concept of free will so now I have to read it anyway.

The reviews of this book referred to another book that I definitely want to read - Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. This one addresses the fears of many that acknowledging genetic differences give rise to a justification of discrimination. I believe it also considers the opposite, that these differences will be used to excuse behaviors by saying "he couldn't help it, he's just made that way."

These two books will tie in quite well with the lecture series Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality that I just finished (watching, not writing, they're by Robert Sapolsky). Sapolsky teaches that the findings are showing experience literally changes the brain physically and chemically; then the behavioral outcome affects the environment of oneself and others which once again, changes or reinforces the brain's working. Fascinating!

I've wondered for a long time, since I've had children at least, how much one's innate traits can be directed. For example, a ... never mind, next post, it's late.