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Archive for September, 2010

September 2010

 

LOGIC OF THE BIBLICAL NARRATIVE

Skim Milk for the Initiate

Anyone reading and understanding the New Testament has to come away with the conclusion that religion tells one how to please God.  Christ, on the other hand, teaches that we please God with faith in His benevolent Fatherhood.  God, as the Father, wants a relationship with his children just as we want it with our families. Through Christ guilt and its oppressive power over the human soul are broken by trusting that Christ was the only and last blood sacrifice. 

The Cigar Lesson

There was once a father who caught his son smoking behind the barn.  One day he invited his son into his den.  He opened his desk, took out a box of cigars and gave them to his son.  He said, “You have come of age now.  I want you to feel free to smoke around me.  So, light up!”  The boy did and got very sick.  The moral of this moment was that we learn what is not good for us by being permitted to go to excess if we choose.

According to the Bible, God once used this same teaching lesson with the Israelites when they complained about having nothing but manna to eat.  They longed for the meat, fruit and vegetables of Egypt.  So God sent them quail.  They ate and died which they would have done in Egypt anyway.  (Numbers 11) The lesson is that ungratefulness, selfishness, overindulgence, greed, and arrogance are dire for us.

We may have been taught that God wants sacrifices and even gave them to Israel to satisfy some blood lust in his nature. Not true!  It appears that the sacrifices of animals were already invented pagan rituals to prevent disaster, guilt and the foreboding of the human soul. (Angst) They were an innovation of men as are “religions” and all systems imagined by human kind.

Sacrifices were very attractive because they gave false comfort. Since they were so attractive, God gave the Israelites more than they could handle to cover every occasion.  This is the cigar principle.   He gave them a great slaughterhouse in which to make their offerings.  He devised intricate rituals to satisfy their perverted drive to do something to make themselves pleasing.  He even told them must wear white garments and keep them and themselves immaculate so that they could be outwardly pure to approach him in his holiness. Do you want to be perfect?  Go ahead and try to be so.

In essence Temple worship was simply a great butchery!  It was founded on the cigar principle. The Temple was always meant to be the human heart.[1] See the irony? God gave “his called out ones” all the religion they needed to make them sick of their own devices.

All these things were mere symbols of outward perfection. They did not touch the heart and the people never got the message.  They went about their activities in the Tabernacle sandbox and in the front yard workplace of the Temple oblivious they were not pleasing God.  So he sent the prophets[2] to clarify.  They were still dense.  Their teachers took even the basic commandments of God and made them so complicated no one could keep them.  They still did not get the message:  We cannot please God.  If we require a sacrifice God has given one.  He is perfect.  He is the ultimate.  He is the son of God.  What of the sacrificial system?  “It is finished.” 

The believer in Christ is known in the New Testament as the people of the Way.[3]  The believer is liberated through a relationship with Christ by trusting in Him: his words, his life, his sacrifice, his resurrection and the promise of his coming again.  Religions tell us that we must measure up.  The good news of the gospel tells us that God treats us as having qualified to come into his fellowship by faith in Christ’s completed work on our behalf.  He has given us grace which is spirit of justice, mercy and fundamental humility before our Creator which Micah the prophet said God required of his people.

Religion appeals to the obsessive compulsive impulse[4] in our natures.  Freedom in Christ appeals to the longing for freedom and inspired expression in our natures. 

Bread for the Thinker

Proverbs 20

10 Differing weights and differing measures—
       the LORD detests them both.

This proverb regarding “weights and measures” might well be a statement against the moral and value relativism of our age.  Everyone must ask the question of the authority regarding their beliefs held passionately or otherwise.  Are there any universal values worth holding?  Are our laws founded on nature’s law or our opinions?  Is it realistic to think we must have 100% proof to before we commit to anyone or anything?  If so, what right do we have to any opinions even the opinion that we must have 100% certainty?  Is the belief that morals, values and opinions are relative and of equal importance?  Or, is faith a prime ingredient of life no matter what the discipline to which it is applied?  These are questions whose answers enable us to transcend and live with hope or leave us in a state of uncertainty and victimhood. 

It is clear that every human is committed to an opinion about most things.  So, we live by faith more than we would like to admit.  Our life task is a simple matter of finding our center.  If you believe there is a God serve him and all he represents or commands!  If you are your own center you will be a god whom, ultimately, you will demand others to serve.  You might even try to cobble together some idolatrous belief structure. Make it complicated.  Make it simple.  Make it religious or make it secular. Others have done both and they usually form cults and parties.  All decisions we make about our ‘gods’ will make all the difference in the way we live, our relationships and determine our personal peace, joy and meaning.  Your world view is about life and death and it should be approached seriously.  Whatever we decide demonstrates where our faith rests. To have no opinion is a choice in itself.

Meat for the Maturing

Social Consequences of Relativism as a Life View

1.  God is abandoned along with all values that have been proven to maintain order.

2.  The stronger, cleverer, more deceptive, more powerful and more intelligent people rule over the weaker, the innocent, the honest, the disenfranchised and the more dependent.

3.  The rules which are good for one are not good for another.

4. The accumulation of power and the reins of control go to those who are willing to prostitute their humanity and the values of the transcendent human quest to whatever it takes to gain power.

5. Values become arbitrary.

6.  The beautiful and good accomplishments of humanity go to ruin under the iron heel of those who want “progress” on their own terms. 

7.  Confusion and eventual chaos sets into the social order because the rules change, are up “for grabs” and people begin to live by doing whatever they can get “away with.”

8.  Humans qualify for life by their convenience, usefulness or desirability to those in power.  The weak, the infirm, the unborn, the aging and the physically or mentally challenged members of society are subject to concepts which marginalize, denigrate or discard them.

10.  Science and other disciplines which have built cultures and civilizations become enslaved to the aims of the powerful.  At any time the culture may be dominated by either “the ‘good’, the ‘beautiful’ or the ‘ugly.’”

12.  Because those who determine the values are ultimately driven by self-interest and power good will is threatened at every quarter.

13. God is replaced by a pantheon of capricious “human gods” who rule not from some mythic city but from a very earth bound one.

14.  Unpredictability becomes the rule of the day.  The rule of law becomes arbitrary.

15.  Honesty and trustworthiness disappears.

16.  Faith is translated to belief in oneself alone or in collective elite.

17.  Hope becomes the poignant and distant dreams of a demoralized society.

18. Love becomes is reduced to good feelings or the benevolence of an elitist minority.

19.  Betrayal becomes the means of advancement.

20. The expectation and hope for an ultimate justice fades for the many and rises for a few.

21.  There is a loss of “personal worth” and identity in the general population.  The only ones who have any of these elements are often the anti-social achieving their worth from personal power over others.

22. There will be no middle class in societies; only leaders and serfs.

23. Power will eventually be inherited or transferred to political or biological “clones” and not gained by hard work, virtue, wisdom, true emotional and mental intelligence or sanity.

24.  Chaos and anger will set into the general populace which will live with an attitude of reaction, fear, and violence.

25.   Suicide and despair will increase among the many who have adapted to the nihilism (life has no meaning) of the prevailing social order.


[1] Revelation 21:3; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

[2] Micah 6

[3] Acts 9:1-2; John 14:6

[4] Romans 7: 14-25

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