A Possible Gospel And New Testament

More Fun Than Fundamentalism.

Posts have been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office under the name of the copyright owner.
For further information, email Darius at possiblegospel@yahoo.com.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Gospel, Chapter Four: Alpha, Omega, and the Kingdom

Alpha

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; and the Word was One with God from the beginning. All things came into being through the Word that was born to give the nameless form; truly without it not one thing came into being. What has come into true being is the life that is the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it. True light has come into the world; and anyone with eyes to see may testify. Cf. John 1:1-9

Omega

We will come into the presence of the One in whose presence we dwelt before the world existed: then, like a flower in the night. And the One will dwell in us as we have dwelt within the One: the circle opened like a flower to the light. Cf. John 17:5

Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Mat 13: 31-32

“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Mat 13:33

Hear the parables: The kingdom of heaven is the fruit of One act of creation. Like bread from yeast and flour, it rises from simple things.

Here we stand – yet all is in ferment. The tree will rise to greater heights, casting wide branches and catching flights of life greater than any that have come before.


Runner

Therefore tell not the tall tale of an Other-God with a divine plan and preconceived notion. We are the ones with divine plans and preconceived notions. God is just going, just running; knowing the direction.

God may be looking for a running partner.


Runner II: Seabiscuit

There is something transcendentally earthbound about a horse hurtling down a track, racked through the heat and dust with a desire that imposes its whole must upon a body trippingly muscled forward, bent low as a bullet train but on the fast track of a rippling four limbed ballet that flies through time in moments that can’t last long, his perched jockey an alert evanescence of finesse all soundless and slender in the teeming air while lending his own light and guiding leaning into that same twelve hundred pounds of really meaning it, and nothing else. At best, every man and beast is a hot dream that sometimes startles dust pounding down the rails, like comet trails that leave no trace of us, echoing the blind and blinding thunderblast that once crashed earth blazing into being, and still wills creation’s run in us by our sheer love’s must running down a dirt track, faith-first, a gathering strength of momentum spending itself vanquished and perfectly mindless with calm fury.

Amen

44 Comments:

At 9:18 AM, Blogger Homo Escapeons said...

For the record I really enjoy this semasiology. This theological sudoku is excellent!

Genesis...In the beginning was the Babylonian Captivity where we got the idea for the flood. This mustard seed,Genesis, one of the tiniest in Nature, has given me the opportunity to fully emancipate my brain from the notion of the Creation parable.
For this I am eternally grateful.

If God is just running with it then you're certainly on to something that I can believe. The only concern that I have is the time honored observation that you never see a runner smile.

 
At 10:29 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

'How many times do I have to tell you? You don't have to wait to die. You could have it all any time you want it. Yeah, the kingdom's all inside.'

Lyrics by Ian Brown (Stone Roses), Breaking Into Heaven

 
At 10:37 AM, Blogger Don Iannone said...

yxberriTo which, I would offer this:

I am One
By Don Iannone

I am one with the sun, moon and stars,
whose vastness makes me feel small and insignificant.
I am one with the flowers, birds and trees,
whose beauty erupts all about me in spring.
I am one with the deer and coyote
playing hide and seek in the forest behind us,
whose instinct outmatches all thinking.
I am one with the gentle wind--
lifting my spirits above the clouds
to where there is always light.
I am one with all sound--
both audible and beyond
creating music in my heart.
I am one with all notions of the divine,
including those denying my ability
to be one with all, and all with One.
I am one with with all sentient beings,
whose happiness and pain
are my happiness and pain.
I am with all--
beyond whatever seeks to separate
because ultimately there is only...One.

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger kevin beck said...

God unfolds and is unfolding-itself.

 
At 11:39 AM, Blogger mistipurple said...

someone once told me, trying to understand God and His works is like filling up a hole on the beach with sea water, and wondering why it never overflows. too much for the human brain to contain. not too clever analogy here but i got the point then. i guess my brain is kinda sized like a pea, and i only need faith as small as a mustard seed. so i stopped questioning. easier on my brain. i guess you guys have a bigger brain.
carry on... :P

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger crystal said...

Hi Darius.

So Gnostic :-) An interesting site - Gnostic Center

 
At 1:41 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I liked that, Don. Thank you x

Misti, Keep the Faith x

 
At 5:01 PM, Blogger Lady Wordsmith said...

So? Our faith may be small? But let it be true and pure? And no matter it's size, let it be cultivated? Nurtured so that it takes root and bears fruit?

Faith without action as a body without a soul? Okay. Given.

My faith - or more to the point, my comprehension of it - may be small. But let it dwell in me and show its existence in the truth of what do and create ... and then I find myself running with God?!?

So then are you saying our proof of faith is not in our avowal of He who is the One, nor is it even in disavowing of the OG, but rather in how we make our small actions offerings?

Become St. Therese?

 
At 6:25 PM, Blogger Darius said...

HOMOESCAPEONS: The reason I picked up on those opening lines from John was because of their beauty. As to content, they imply that ultimate reality is some sort of universal consciousness. And I don’t know anything about ultimate reality. However, it certainly appears that reality as we know it now is interconnected – is a single thing in some sense. It’s an assumption of science, which is always looking to see how the pieces fit together. So if I were forced to “pick a metaphysic” - some philosophical or religious belief concerning ultimate reality - I’d probably pick a belief along those lines.

But I can’t believe something just because it’s attractive to me. Therefore, I’d agree with Mistipurple…

MISTIPURPLE: … not that you have a relatively small brain, but that everybody does with respect to comprehending whatever it is we’re all doing here. I have to discuss the idea of God in these abstract terms only because most religions equate being religious with belief in an Entity I don’t believe in.

But I know that Existence exists. I don’t have to believe a thing for that. It doesn’t even require a human brain! I’m pretty sure brine shrimp know about existence on some level, and I’m right there swimming along with them…

BENJAMIN: Nice to know there’s still meaningful song lyrics being written. I haven’t been well tuned in there. I’d want to add that I think “the Kingdom is within us” at the places where we interface with more than ourselves.

DON I: Like I just said… (!) Thanks!

KEVIN: Exactly… and more succinct -

CRYSTAL: Thanks for that link. From what I can see, if I’m a Gnostic it’s in gname only. That is, while I agree with their idea that the primary problem is ignorance and not sin, from what I read on the link, a lot of what they’d call “knowledge” I’d call an “alternate belief system” that’s no more compelling than other religious belief systems. For example, the site says,

“Most Gnostics believed that the visible or material was created by a lesser being called the Demiurge, who was an imitator of the real God. Many identified the Demiurge with the God of the Old Testament, and saw the serpent who tempted Adam and Eve to disobedience as a liberator.”

I have no belief system, so to all that I’d just say, “Huh??” What little I do know – I haven’t posted anything about that yet – is just stuff that everybody knows.

LADY WORDSMITH: Good reading between the lines there, Lady “Wordsmith!" Not exactly how I’d phrase things, but if there’s a label for my approach that works, you seem to be indirectly pointing out that “pragmatist” wouldn’t be bad.

It's also experiential. Maybe I’m a “Gnostic Experiential Christianesque Pragmatist." But I'll have to ponder this until I can pronounce it.

There is a line in the New Testament about the futility of “faith without works.” In fact, there’s enough material in the New Testament about the importance of work – knowing the tree by its fruit and so forth – that theoretically you could easily have had a Protestant reformation that emphasized the centrality to faith not of our abject, unmitigatable sinfulness (“justification by faith alone”) but rather, in essence, “running with God.”

Which I frankly think would have been more useful.

 
At 7:50 PM, Blogger crystal said...

Darius, I was thinking that the demiurge of the gnostics is not unlike your description of Og?

 
At 9:23 PM, Blogger SusieQ said...

Darius, you said, "But I know that Existence exists. I don’t have to believe a thing for that."

I watched one of Wayne Dyer's presentations this weekend on PBS. In it Dyer told about a man of Eastern extraction who related the story of a dream he had had.

The man dreamed he was a butterfly. He awoke from the dream and saw that he was a man. But he began to wonder if perhaps he was a butterfly only dreaming that he was a man.

Maybe it takes a small amount of believing when thinking about even Existence existing. :-)

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger Keshi said...

** God is just going, just running; knowing the direction.


Love that!

U might like to contribute in my latest post :)

Keshi.

 
At 11:09 PM, Blogger kathy said...

Well its not Bush thats for sure!

So where is this kingdom?

 
At 11:11 PM, Blogger kathy said...

Didn't jesus say it was inside us?

 
At 12:21 AM, Blogger grumblefish said...

Very well put! God runs, period,
regardless of track conditions, audiences, or other runners. As
other runners ourselves, we're lucky if we recognize the course, or bother to even suit up.
Our own appointed system of free will pretty much assures that
(however it manifests itself), we
can explain how, if not why, we
get things catastrophically wrong,
now and then. We invited ourselves
to run, and if we wind up weaving and bobbing like drunkards, why should that alter the run itself?

 
At 2:58 AM, Blogger gautami tripathy said...

I love coming to your blog! You give me so much to ponder about!

 
At 6:21 AM, Blogger Stacey said...

Therefore tell not the tall tale of an Other-God with a divine plan and preconceived notion. We are the ones with divine plans and preconceived notions.

Perfectly stated.

You and I are of the same religion, whatever that may be.

 
At 7:47 AM, Blogger Darius said...

CRYSTAL: But since I don't believe that Og exists while Gnostics do believe that the Demiurge exists, wouldn't that make me an "a- Gnostic" in this respect?

I would be with them in viewing "ignorance" as a more useful idea of human wrongdoing than "sin" - inclining us, it seems to me, toward trying to understand and rectify wrongdoing in so far as possible.

SUSIEQ: I remember running across that basic idea before - "How do you know everything you experience isn't just a dream?" Still, no one lives that way.

And even if the only thing in all reality that exists is, say, Susieq's dream of reality (I'd beg to differ, ha ha), that's still "existence." Susieq is just putting the wrong interpretation on existence and not understanding that reality is completely subjective.

So I guess I'd say I agree that it might require some bare minimum of belief to think that anything outside our own heads exists; add that, if we looked at it, the evidence for existence as more than subjective must be pretty compelling for it to be a belief that's so universal; and finally, I'd want to mention that existence, in the sense that SOMETHING or other is going on, however we interpret it, is self-evident or nothing is self-evident.

KESHI, thanks, I'll take a look...

KATHY, like I said to Benjamin: "I’d want to add that I think 'the Kingdom is within us' at the places where we interface with more than ourselves." So mixing politics with religion, I'll take the cue I think you might be giving and say that, imo, Bush's aptitude for interfacing with the larger world, could really really use, uh, some tweaking...

GRUMBLEFISH: You say, "...if we wind up weaving and bobbing like drunkards, why should that alter the run itself?" That's my sense of it too. Humanity can get on track for a long run or not. Either way God is going where God's going. But I do wish we'd be a contributing member of "the Team..." (no, I'm not a pantheist, this is just metaphor-trouble...)

GAUTAMI, thanks. As for me, I'm still pondering whether I'm a “Gnostic Experiential Christianesque Pragmatist" and what the consequences might be.

STACEY: Oh-oh... Per my remark immediately above, we might both have to convert to "Gnostic Experiential Christanesque..." wait, wait, now I've got to modify...

Ok, "Gnostic Experiential Christanesque Pragmatic Non-Trinitarian Judaicism."

Actually there was a guy on NPR last night talking about "cosmopolitanism." I only caught a little of it, but I did hear that it involves treating all human beings like they matter. That's definitely part of my perspective. Plus cosmopolitanism is a lot easier to say. But then it sounds so secular and worldly...

 
At 10:58 AM, Blogger Nabeel said...

do you know the story about Gog and Magogh? Does any Gospel mentions them?

 
At 11:20 AM, Blogger Stacey said...

Cosmopolitanism? Interesting. Does sound very compelling to me. I like the definiton. However, I never thought of myself as "cosmospolitan." LOL.

Too bad GECPNTJ doesn't spell anything!

 
At 1:09 PM, Blogger Leila said...

It's all very well running. But what do you do when you finally get there?

 
At 3:26 PM, Blogger Darius said...

NABEEL: You realize you force me to say this:

Oh-ma-gosh!

I'm sorry, it was irresistible...

No, I don't know anything about Gog and Magogh, and they're not in any gospel I've ever read. And so far I've only blogged on Og and God. I have heard of Van Gogh though.

I'm not sure I should risk getting bogged down in this, it even seems odd to ask, but even so: re. Gog and Magogh - what do you know?

STACEY: Hmmm... GECPNTJ... I'll have to work on those letters...

LEILA: Good question.

As far as I honestly know, there is only running in faith - but that's a lot, or it could be if more of us were heading that way emphatically and consistently. I just added something to the post to suggest…

So far as I can honestly tell, anyone who tells of what it's like to finally get there is making it up, or following the lead of someone else who made it up - even when they've managed to convince themselves that it's God's (Og's) Truth.

 
At 3:59 PM, Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Well, do you think there is truly anyone who could match God in a race?

Of course, this is a retorcial question.

 
At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the movie "What the Bleep Do We Know? It suggests that we all have the potential to be Gods and I believe that. But it will never matter unless there is leadership.

 
At 6:02 PM, Blogger sirbarrett said...

That was a good meditation, highlighting a certain characteristic that the essence of being has -it's determination simply to be. I identified and more deeply admired the horse with all its muscles straining, and the idea that we are a dream, a crack of thunder which lights up the track, only for a moment, to reveal only that God is running, to who knows where.

 
At 7:04 PM, Blogger Lady Wordsmith said...

" ... I've looked at life from both sides now - From win and lose and still somehow - It's life's illusions I recall - I really don't know life at all ... " -- from Joni Mitchell's song, "Both Sides, Now".

Your comments brought the songstress to mind. Partly for the lyrics above. Partly for the way she is oft called a lyrical Experiential Pragmatist. Actually, you have me ruminating on the notion of a Gnostic Experiential Christanesque Pragmatic Non-Trinitarian Judaicism.

Especially being an Experiential Pragmatic.

Yes Darius. I did mean to suggest that to be a pragamatist would not be a bad thing. But of course, one who reads between the lines would always speak between them as well.

Fitting, no? Considering the philosophy of pragmatism is based on the understanding that all solutions lie in what may be observed - which, of course, is always changing. Hence, the constancy of your thread is movement. Swift movement.

Stop too long to ponder whether you are Gnostic, Christanesque, or Non-Trinitarian Jew and you will miss the wonder of waking to your self. That waking moment you and your friends have been ruminating - - the one Chuang Tzu first taught us:

"... Suddenly, I awoke, and there I lay, myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming that I am now a man."

So now I wonder less about what it mean to observe Gnostic Experiential Christanesque Pragmatic Non-Trinitarian Judaicism than wonder why we are not in discourse over the real issue:

Why are we seeking definition and meaning to our beliefs in the dogma of religion - and the running away from said dogma - instead of acknowledging Tao, and living religion for what it is.

Tao. A philosophy. Not a religion. Teaching that it cannot be defined. And that trying to define it takes us further away from it.

Is it not possible that we find, if we embrace the teaching of Tao, ourselves smiling to see ourselves running with God? Even when we are sitting still?

Namste.

 
At 10:42 PM, Blogger Chris said...

I like John's gospel. Let me continue where you left off. Verse 10.

"He [Jesus] was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not recognize Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, who where born, not of blood, or of the will of flesh, or of the will of man, but of God."

Verse 14 is great for the explanation of the intro verse 1-9:
"The Word became flesh and took up residence among us."

It sounds better when you get the whole story. In fact I would encourage everybody to read all of John 1:1-18 it explains more than it leaves open.

But John 17:5 sounds better like this:
"Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had with you before the world existed."

I could be mistaken, but it seems that you are taking the parts out of the bible that you like and sound cool instead of putting them to the test. It seems that you are doing the same thing that the Gnostics, Mormons, and anybody else that uses one part without the whole. The problem is you are left with a hole in your beliefs that can tear a man to pieces.

"Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts." -Hebrews 4:7b

 
At 1:30 AM, Blogger Liquidplastic said...

Darius I had to take my time with this one, indeed I am still reading it. I must admit the addition made me smile real big, because for me I finally got it –

Not only do I accept the challenge offered --- I run, I walk, I talk, and have my being with god as I know god to be --- and that is the god inside of me. If there is a race, it's the race for me to continue to understand that we are all connected, we are all one, and there's nothing wrong with us being individuals, and choosing different path. For in the end, I believe without a shadow of doubt that we will get to the same place eventually.

Nevertheless, it good to find kindred spirits such as yourself --- we need all the teachers we can get to help us reawaken our possibilities --- because to me that is what god means --- possibilities. Again, I thank you most sincerely.

 
At 2:21 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I think we run because we want everything. We feel separated and we yearn to become whole.

Leila's question is good, isn't it? I mean the obvious answer is to say 'Nothing', which is a bit like people saying 'It'd be boring if we were all the same'.

And that sort of tallies with some of the heavily Westernised, New Age version of Tao I've read by the Barefoot Doctor. His philosophical approach to creation is sort of that the world (or the perpetual dance between yin and yang) started because it was bored. It's an idea...

 
At 4:29 AM, Blogger Leila said...

I for one, I, would rather walk.

 
At 8:01 AM, Blogger Darius said...

BARBARA: If by “God” you refer to Og, guess I’d have to say that I think we can not only match but beat him in a race. Og appears to be standing quite still in recent millennia. If by “God” you mean what I’m calling God – the only One, meaning being or reality itself - then to me, it isn’t that kind of race. (Per my reply to Sirbarrett below and as suggested by Liquidplastic's comment.)

LEILA: I'd need some context for your metaphor or else just a non-metaphorical statement in order to follow. Your original question was, “What happens when you get there?” Here you seem to want to say something about the process of getting there, and to feel strongly about it - but it's too brief for me to be able to understand.

ANONYMOUS: Haven’t seen it myself so don’t know what idea of “God” it would be…

SIRBARRETT: Yes, that determination or will to be is a major aspect of what I was trying to point to, especially with the “Seabiscuit” paragraph. I would prematurely add – haven’t addressed this topic yet – that there is a sense, an experience (faith), that God is somehow taking us all along for that ride, one way or another.

LADYWORDSMITH: I can see how the ideas of running and racing would bring to mind associations of winning and losing – Barbara mentions this above too, though I wasn’t focusing on them. And I definitely wasn’t reaching the mournful conclusion that everything is illusion – my reaction to your song lyric (not familiar with the song however, so I don’t know the context of these lines.)

“Pragmatic” and “experiential” were the only terms I was being fairly serious about! I should use the what-nots I guess – “;)” etc. Tone doesn’t always come across in type.

Labels aren’t so meaningful to me. They put us into all these different “camps” without, imo, clarifying much. I can see their use as quick pointers, but even then, only as long as the person’s outlook really is a tight fit for the label.

As far as your equation of the pragmatic with what can be observed, that’s more like “empirical,” which is certainly a related concept. If observation includes carefully observing our experiences (people usually think of empiricism just in relation to observing the physical world), then I'm "down…”

As far as Tao goes, I listened to a tape of part of the book of Tao and read a summary of Taoism years ago. Only a vague recollection that I liked much of what I was hearing. If I recall correctly, it seemed to me that it contained some dogma of its own, which could explain why I didn’t say to myself: yes, I’m a Taoist.

Or you know... I’m thinking that it may be that I felt it was a bit experientially exclusive - heavily emphasizing the kinds of experiences that people sometimes have in contemplative prayer and meditation. Yet I know many good people who never have that sort of experience. For them, the experiential, lived aspects of religion may focus on, for example, love and faith.

You might want to let us know what you think it is that's central to Taoism.

Why am I spending any time talking about dogma? Because pretty much the entire language of religion, at least in the west, is rendered in dogmatic terms. The result is that in order to say what you mean, if you're not assuming or advocating a belief system, then you have to establish what you don’t mean or people will make assumptions about your words that you don’t intend.

In my own spiritual life, I spend no time thinking about dogma in either positive or negative terms. Like you, I find that this would be a distraction from living it. However, I’d add that this was not always the case; and that back when I was struggling with the beliefs I grew up with, this was really living too. And of course there are millions of people for whom belief works – it plays an integrated and constructive role in how they live, and they are able to believe without a sense of compromising their love of truth.

CHRIS: I think that everyone, all along, has been selecting and emphasizing what they find “cool" - but that the term cool trivializes this process.

The New Testament was written by people who clearly felt that belief in Jesus as the resurrected God and Savior was the most important thing they had to communicate. Certainly the institutional church was founded on that basis.

Yet it is equally clear that the NT has a powerful dimension as wisdom literature. Examples: the two greatest commandments; I Cors. 13 on love (as “the greatest gift”); the beatitudes; and the many verses against judging others and superficial shows of piety. Personally, this is the dimension of the text that I find significant. In my posts, I am indeed selecting for and stressing this aspect of the text, as well as highlighting those belief aspects that I find particularly unwise.

For example, you mention the gospel of John. Despite a great deal of New Testament wisdom against judgment, John consistently portrays Jesus as consigning to hell everyone who doesn’t believe in Christian theology.

Some Christians have told me, “Who are you to ‘judge the text?’” We all judge the text. All of us find and emphasize what speaks to us – Martin Luther, for example, in focusing on those verses that emphasize our sinfulness and need to be saved “by faith alone” while minimizing those verses that call us to lives of good work with tremendous urgency (e.g., "for the night comes when no one can work...")

If Christians are judged, maybe it will be according to how we select and emphasize our verses.

George Bush and Mother Theresa, for example, may as well have been using different Bibles.

LIQUIDPLASTIC: Yes, these are just the kinds of things I had in mind in replying above to the effect that I wasn’t speaking of a race.

BENJAMIN, your comment brings to mind what I mentioned above to Ladywordsmith: I think Taoism may have a belief system of its own. Not sure, though - it was a long time ago that I looked at Taoism, and I had limited exposure to it. It may even be a belief system that I would personally “like” or find more congenial than, say, Christian doctrine.

But liking something isn’t enough for me to believe it, which is why I responded to Leila’s first question about what happens “when we get there” with: I don’t know. (I also don’t need to know, or to feel that I know, but that’s getting ahead of things...)

 
At 8:33 AM, Blogger kevin said...

at times there seem to be too many great points to even comment on, what could be said that hasn't?

But I will try...

Two things that stuck out to me, was what Darius said:"...I can’t believe something just because it’s attractive to me." Couldn't agree more, I have run across this often, and I mean no disrespect, when people seem to accept or profess a belief about the nature of reality or G-d, simply by the identifing feature that it is an attractive quality to them personally. "It feels good".

I firmly believe Truth should be sought out based on its 'own' merits, and not from some apparent benefit we may like or recieve therein.

In saying this, it is not my intention to discredit the heart as a basis for knowing reality, far from it, I think it just seems that it is important to know one's heart first before a coming to a certainty in profession of belief about Reality.

And the other comment that resonated was the idea of treating all people as if they mattered. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, once said, "No one will attain to faith untill he or she wants the same thing for their brother as they want for themselves."

As with any statement by a prophet or a True Knower, there are many levels by which such an utterance could be understood.

Darius I hope you don't mind me plugging this - feel free to delete it if you think it is unappropriate, but I would like to invite any and all of you to share a post from your blogs for the Progressive Faith Blog Carnival which I am hosting on June 11th.

You can visit my blog for info if you are interested:http://musicandsufism.blogspot.com/

thanks! keep on running!

 
At 11:02 AM, Blogger Leila said...

Well, you could say that life is a journey, right? So when you get there - it's over. So why run when the end comes quicker?

I don't too much sense sometimes to people that can't read my mind...

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Let me ask you this Darius: is it God consigning us to hell, or ourselves?

In that what is hell? Hell is separation from God; complete and total. Everybody in this arena of thought seems to agree that God is good, and that they want to commune with Him. They also see that without God our lives would turn into an empty nothingness.

Back to the first question; the answer is found within our own world. This is the most relevant answer that I can give. Think of a person that you love- someone that you would do anything for. Being that the person is a free being it has choices. Suppose for a moment that the person you loved was going to make a decision that would be catastrophic. Not only would this decision hurt her, but others. Now since you love and care for that person you give them advice not to do that thing. But they decide not to listen. They then begin to follow that slippery slope, and in the end despair and death win the day. All the while you had the key to the true freedom that the person so earnestly was searching for.

The God of the Bible does not send people to Hell: we do it ourselves. By living our whole lives against the being that created us we chose to go down a path that is not His. God is not an abstract concept as Darwinism, or most scientists, would imply. He is real. And if He is real then He is knowable. Not only can we see God’s work here but he has given us divine knowledge of His existence.

You say that Jesus judges. John 3:16 is always used, but let us move on from there:
“For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved by Him.”

Simply put Jesus’ purpose is not judgment, but redemption.

We continue at verse 18:
“Anyone who believe in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.”

As a people we are fallen. This world is broken, and the father we get away from God the greater the evil. An example is the biblical view of sex. First God came up with the idea, so it is a good thing. It has a purpose, and connections into every part of our world. Now lets see what happens when we stray. First we go to let’s say homosexuality.(Not new it has been around) The effects have been interesting to see from the breakdown of the family as a unit to assumption that sex can fulfill a person completely. But overall I guess that is can be accepted in the secular world, and it seems in many churches. Moving to a more disgrace is rape. Rape is bad. (I don’t think that anyone would argue with that.) It is forced sex with a person. Defiantly un-biblical on many fronts. This one act can destroy a person who is raped, and leave the offender still searching to fulfill the lust. Society will not accept this one- hopefully. But worst is a 36-year-old man with a seven-year-old girl. The impact of this is extreme. Lives can be destroyed. In fact prison is not safe for these types. As we get farther from what God has made good evil reigns supreme and darkness covers the earth.

The Bible does not speak of the abstract, but of reality. You find wisdom in it because it is true. Taken as a whole, and understood with the guidance of the Holy Spirit you are not caged, but freed.

We have knowledge. We have the ability to question, and we should. We should test all things. We should judge all things with righteous judgment. And when the light shines in our eyes we should not turn away, but embrace it.

 
At 3:30 PM, Blogger Pastor Doug Hoag said...

Darius,

I enjoy your blog, and thanks for visiting mine.

As Alpha and Omega, Jesus revealed how the Kingdom of God is present in the world of the here and now. He is the beginning of this world, and he is the ending, the completion, the fulfillment, of the hopes and dreams of Israel.

 
At 5:05 PM, Blogger Darius said...

KEVIN: Don’t mind your plug at all.

Notice the contrast between how nonbelievers perceive themselves – unable to believe a given belief system simply because we want to, as a matter of integrity – with the perspective on non believers that Chris states below, and which is shared by many believers: we don’t believe because we recognize truth and deliberately choose falsehood.

Great distinction and you state it well where you say:

“...it is not my intention to discredit the heart as a basis for knowing reality, far from it, I think it just seems that it is important to know one's heart first before coming to a certainty in profession of belief about Reality.”

LEILA: Do you mean that you either know, or strongly believe, that the outcome of our lives is annihilation?

CHRIS, thanks for your interest and I appreciate the fact that you're coming into the middle of this discussion. I’ve answered the responses you've left to my May 24 and May 7 posts.

My reply to your remarks here could be largely inferred from the replies there, including everything having to do with your use of Bible quotes and view of the language of the Bible. So to pick up on a few additional things:

You write, “They {commentators to this blog} also see that without God our lives would turn into an empty nothingness.”

Your “God” is this blog’s “Og”, so to speak.

I’d say that maybe half of those who’ve been commenting, at most, see life as turning into empty nothingness without belief in Other-God. Don’t know the stats, but some huge portion of humanity, including most of China, all Buddhists, and all atheists, don’t believe in Og, but they’re doing fine except in the eyes of those believers who view them as either infidels or sinners.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but to briefly summarize my understanding of your view of unbelief, going by your references to “free choice," “deciding not to listen," and so forth:

Unbelievers are people who, confronted with the truth of the Christian belief system and recognizing its veracity, deliberately decide not to believe it. We see how very true it must be that Jesus was resurrected God and Savior, and how he would save us too if only we believed, but we don’t anyway.

God doesn’t send people to hell, but he’s arranged matters such that those who don’t believe that Jesus was the Christ end up going there anyway when they deliberately choose against truth.

PASTOR DOUG HOAG: Thanks, and you’re welcome. There’s been a lot of water under the bridge that responds to your quotation. Let me just briefly summarize a key point:

Many Christians, and I'm assuming this is your position, believe that the process through which the Bible was written differs from the writing process used by all other human beings in all times and places – that it was informed in some especially direct way by God.

Given this premise, whatever the Bible says has to be correct.

I don’t share the premise, per my posts on the topic of inspiration.

And of course the Jewish community would strongly disagree that what Christians term the “Old Testament” pointed to the particular person who was Jesus of Nazareth as “the Christ”. They’d call that perspective on their sacred texts, if I may try to speak from what I’m pretty sure would be the Jewish point of view, a highly tendentious and false reading.

 
At 7:12 PM, Blogger Ghost Particle said...

Thank you for inviting me. I live the way you dechiper each writing like turning pages of centuries. We are running towards the future!

The notion of GOD as a creator is to put an owner for this property we call the universe, I beleive humans can do better by unravelling the universe first rather than atributing someone to own it.

Cultural development in relation to religion and the writings signify the maturity of humanity and the constructive usage of the brain, pity they did not have internet then, they would have doubted God themself!

 
At 9:58 PM, Blogger Leila said...

All I'm saying is this - once we've run the course of our life, we die. We're only mortal after all.

 
At 10:46 PM, Blogger anonymous julie said...

The beginning of John has long been a favorite dwelling place, I'm glad to remember it again.

Our sheer love's must, and nothing else. Darius, that's so apt, so lovely, so true to what I've experienced - thank you.

 
At 3:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I Command all of you to rent the movie "What the Bleep Do We Know?" Anyone can rent it at the local movie store or at a library. I am making the prediction that it will further inspire most of you. IT IS A MUST SEE, TRUST ME.

 
At 6:18 AM, Blogger Darius said...

GHOST PARTICLE, thanks for stopping by. And this blog didn't even need any special equipment to capture you! (I'm not current on my particles - maybe you're a quark??)

You say, "I believe humans can do better by unravelling the universe first rather than atributing someone to own it." You know, that's a pretty good way of phrasing my gut reaction to all philosophical-religious (theological)-metaphysical belief systems. They strike me as really really - premature. I mean, don't we really need to learn more before we draw the "Roadmap of All Reality" so to speak?

LEILA - Would you mind if I started calling you Mona-Leila - maybe just sometimes? You have to be saying more than just that, don't you? Everybody already knows that people die, Ms. Enigmatic...

ANONYMOUS JULIE: Yes, the intro of John is so poetic - wish there were more of that sort of material in the NT. Incidentally, one thing I undertand concerning the Quran is that the language is highly poetic and wonderful to be heard read aloud - but this aspect of the text is lost in translation. (Just something I heard once on NPR, any Muslims out there feel free to correct/elaborate...)

ANONYMOUS, thank you. People might be more likely to rent the movie if you were to give an idea of what it is you like about it.

 
At 7:52 AM, Blogger Liquidplastic said...

"Yes, these are just the kinds of things I had in mind in replying above to the effect that I wasn’t speaking of a race."

I understood you Darius. I meant, "race" as in "running".

 
At 11:49 AM, Blogger Chris said...

I'd like to comment on one point. That you made.
"...some huge portion of humanity, including most of China, all Buddhists, and all atheists, don’t believe in Og, but they’re doing fine except in the eyes of those believers who view them as either infidels or sinners."

The problem with this is that most of the world is not doing fine. In fact that is why God is starting to take center stage again in the world. The Darwinian worldview is buckling under its own arguments, and with it all its philosophies of a pointless existence. This is not only due to Christian apologetics, but the stunning realization by people that we are in fact a created being. And if created then we have purpose. Hence why the Purpose Driven Life was such a big seller. Your are right in one respect that people can, and some are, quite content and even happy with Buddha as there religion and beliefs, but what the Christian's claim is a better existence. An existence that is based on the Truth, and a reality that frees an individual instead of boxing them up. Christianity focus is not morals per se, but existence as it is. Thus you start from creation and move forward.


I would also like to make a case for the inspired Bible. Maybe, the understanding of inspiration is not understandable, or rational. (I can in part understand this point though I find it wrong.) But the Bible is a primary source. Another wards in a historian's perspective it is worth more than any commentary, or anything written by people not there. The entire bible was written, as far as we have identified the writers, by people who saw and heard not only from God, but also the miracles and effects. Another wards these are not contemplation of a witches spell book, but a comprehensive account of actual events that the people took extreme care. For instance if God talked to you literally from a bush and gave you commands how much care would you take of writing it down, or in the oral traditions of the time? Another ward the Bible is good history. What is says are the actual teachings that Jesus said. What it says are actual events in history. What it says is Truth. Comment it on how you want but universal absolutes exist. One example is I just dropped a pen. It is a historical fact now and nothing that anybody says, does, or believes will change that Truth. Now we can put it into the category of myth, thus giving rein to the viewpoint of a naturalistic understanding, or we can accept that what it writes did happen.

 
At 3:19 PM, Blogger Darius said...

CHRIS: I was pointing out that people who don’t believe in Og are doing no better or worse as a group than believers. Didn’t mean to suggest “all’s well with the world!”

Chris, it really alarms me – I think that people, especially younger people in their teens and twenties, are being seriously misled by an extremely well organized and politicized Christian far-right.

What you say here isn’t true. Rather, public perceptions are buckling under the Christian far-right’s very calculated distortions about what science is – because they think they already know the answer about human origins since it’s in the Bible, and any means justifies the end of promoting their idea of “Biblical Truth” on this matter.

It isn’t coincidence that the theory of evolution “came into question” with the rise of the far-right. Creation science/intelligent design aren’t science at all; and the bought and paid for pseudo scientists who write scientific-sounding books over any average layperson’s head are doing a terrible disservice to the public mind. They’re completely at odds with the legitimate scientific community.

Science is a methodology, not a fixed set of conclusions. It works it exactly the opposite way that “intelligent design” works. (And it’s a methodology that hadn’t been invented yet when Genesis was written. Whatever the Bible is or isn’t, it isn’t science.)

ID rests on a conclusion it takes from the Bible. Then it searches around for whatever evidence supports, or seems to support the conclusion - while ignoring or distorting evidence that speaks against it.

Science starts with hypotheses. Then it looks at the evidence as dispassionately as humanly possible in order to develop a theory that best accounts for all of the facts, modifying or discarding its hypotheses as needed until it has something well-supported enough by the known facts to stand as a theory. Even then, if new facts are found, the theory is modified or even discarded.

A really good indication that the methodology that produced the theory of evolution is reliable is the fact that we’re on the computer. We’re literally surrounded by things that were made possible only by following the scientific method. Science doesn’t know and can’t address everything, but it’s the best approach we’ve found to making reality-contact when it comes to understanding physical phenomena.

Christopher Warren, from what I’ve seen, judging from passages I’ve read from his book, isn’t even very well informed about his own faith. For example, he completely misapprehends Christianity’s venerable contemplative tradition, equating it with the superficialities of “self-help books.” The reason The Purpose-Driven Life (which does at least have a good title) is a best seller is because the author is a mega-minister with one of the largest evangelical congregations in the country and has a huge marketing platform. Today’s publishing business is about money and so is The Purpose Driven Life. Much as I like the title, “The Market-Driven Life” would honestly have been more accurate.

Chris, the rest falls under the category of something we’ve discussed. As a quick reiteration, you state, “The entire bible was written, as far as we have identified the writers, by people who saw and heard not only from God, but also the miracles and effects.”

That’s what the Bible says… And your premise, again, is that Bible = God (Og) talking. Therefore you believe everything it says because God can never be wrong. I don’t share this premise.

Really appreciate your ability to discuss things. Most people with relatively conservative positions don’t seem to want to talk, going by my experience of the blogosphere.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home