Rochester and the Curse of the Fast Ferry
Eliot Spitzer and Jesse Ventura

Bend it Like the Boreans

Regarding the first century spread of Christianity, here's a scripture from Acts [Acts is the "authorized" history of the new Christian faith]: 

"Now the latter were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so."    17:11

We look for the same today. You want people that are "noble-minded," not like they were in Thessalonica, where the disciples were run out of town. Noble-minded.....people who are open, who are searching, who don't assume they already know everything. Noble-minded, yes, but note....not gullible, for they "carefully examin[ed] the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so." They never had to take a "leap of faith" They carefully examined evidence already in existence.

In some places, that still is all that is needed....to "carefully examin[e] the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so." But in our part of the world, it's not always enough, since learned society invests much time in trashing authority of "the scriptures." So you have to reestablish that authority before you get some folk to benefit from examining scriptures. Often you have to reestablish that authority before you even get them to agree to make the examination.

This is not an insurmountable task, but it is an extra step. Several publications of Jehovah's Witnesses are devoted entirely to this purpose....considering the Bible via several lines of evidence to establish, beyond reasonable doubt, that it is what it claims to be....God's message for our benefit.

Can't you just uncover such evidence within the university setting, since that's where people are smart? Oddly, no, for the upper echelons of human society are especially intent on denigrating matters pertaining to faith. Their motive? Essentially, they don't like conclusionsthe Bible points to and/or the personal responsibility it implies, and so they seek with all their might to undermine it. Since we operate within society, such dominant attitudes can rub off....in fact, they certainly will unless we do something to counteract the flood of Bible-trashing propaganda.

The Bible's promise of living forever on a transformed paradise earth attracts persons of humble backgrounds. But in western lands, educated folk smile knowingly and dismiss the idea as a fairy tale. They are too clever to believe in fairy tales. Thus, this friendly fellow I trade letters with, let's call him Dan, declared he would not check into such a notion because a) he would not know how to check, and b) he feared it would be a waste of his time since c.) it struck him as a big fantasy.

Well, of course it would! Trust me, I would look askance were he, with his background, to say "This is great! Where do I sign up?!" No, it strikes him as a fantasy, as should be expected. However it will also strike him, hopefully, as an appealing fantasy.

Now, if checking into it called for some outlandish allotment of time, you would reasonably expect a person to pass. Ditto if it were expensive. Why waste time and money on a likely "fantasy?" Would that not be naive? But if checking was fast and cheap, then what's the hang-up? If it truly is fantasy, the one sharing it is the naive one, not the recipient, since the sharer does so free of charge.

Jehovah's Witnesses' signature offer is a program of home Bible study. It's free. It's an hour or so per week. And since folks here have usually not heard of the "live forever on earth" promise....well, that's why we visit people, even though some (many?) wish we would not. It’s a model as old as time: if you have something worthwhile, you must tell people about it. They rarely come to you. At any rate, the home Bible study is a viable way to check into it. It may be the only way. It certainly is the most direct.

Strangely, if the program was offered at the university, and if people had to pay a fortune for it, and devote much time, and if they could earn a degree in it, it would be enormously popular. But, as it is, who offers this program? Clods, bumpkins, Jehovah's Witnesses! What could they possibly know?

So people take odd consolation in modern day "prophets" such as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-February 28, 2007), who writes: "..........because all important problems are insoluble: that is why they are important. The good comes from the continuing struggle to try and solve them, not from the vain hope of their solution."

If someone as smart as he says problems are insoluble, well, then they must be. And if another claims to have found a solution.....what, they're smarter than Mr. Schlesinger, are they? What degrees from what universities do they hold? All the more so if they come from some unsophisticated camp like Jehovah's Witnesses!

But one must be discerning and consider the nature of Christianity, which was historically a movement of the common folk....carpenters, fishermen, not the upper classes. For example:

For you behold his calling of you, brothers, that not many wise in a fleshly way were called, not many powerful, not many of noble birth; but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put the wise men to shame; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put the strong things to shame; and God chose the ignoble things of the world and the things looked down upon, the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are... 1 Cor: 26-28

And when the apostles were summoned before the Sanhedrin (religious leaders of the day): "Now when they beheld the outspokenness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were men unlettered and ordinary, they got to wondering. And they began to recognize about them that they used to be with Jesus."                     Acts 4:13

In other words, the common folk had the answers back then, not the sophisticated ones.

In time, the upper classes hijacked Christianity. They found a way to make a buck off it. They found a way to surround it with social prestige and influence. But they so changed Christianity in doing so that it became unrecognizable, worlds apart from what Jesus taught, fully capable of acting contrary to his teachings. That is why Sam Harriscan latch onto religious conduct as raw material for his doctrine.

 

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Tom Irregardless and Me               No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Comments

Screech

Very good and well-thought out. Here's a thought regarding a well-known (In the USA, anyway) speech by President John F. Kennedy. In it, he stated, "...our problems are created by man, therefore they can be solved by man." I disagree.

The rebellion in Eden was instigated by a spirit creature, now known as Satan the Devil (translated as Resister the Slanderer). By getting Adam and Eve to rebel, he effectively gained authority over the Earth for a time. Tom has a post describing this in more detail, so I'll leave it as a statement for now.

So if the world as we know it is ruled by Satan and his demons, and mankind are under their influence, can the world problems be truly man-made? It is fair to say (following this line of thinking) that since these problems are supernatural in nature, then only a supernatural being can solve them (Supernatural not meaning ghosts, but simply God and His spirit creations)?

Of course, this line of reasoning depends on whether or not being fashionable is more important to a person than making their own decision. Not meaning offense to anyone, but if someone simply wants to believe in evolution or dismiss the Bible simply because all their friends are doing it (and some very smart and learned individuals), that counts as being fashionable. If a person were to consider the points that you brought up, and also accept a free home Bible study, the world will suddenly make more sense and such a person would have a solid hope for the future.

tom sheepandgoats

Odd that you should quote Kennedy after I quote Schlesinger. They were best of chums.

This from Wikipedia entry on Schlesinger:

He served as Special Assistant to the President in John F. Kennedy's administration. He wrote a detailed account of the Kennedy administration, entitled A Thousand Days.

Schlesinger was a prolific contributor to liberal theory and was a passionate and articulate voice for Kennedy-style liberalism.

Screech

It is a good quote. It also provides a line of logic that can be very interesting to explore. Also, it's a great conversation starter, especially for political people. I haven't found anyone who has asked that question before. ;-)

BTW: my new blog is at www.screech1976.typepad.com

Romulus Crowe

So let's see if I have this right...

Satan (Serpent) goes to Adam and says 'Why do you take orders from the Big Guy? You can run things yourself.'

Adam decides this is true. God, who could at this point have simply blasted Satan to atoms and told Adam to get back in line, instead says 'Oh, you think so? Right. I'm going to sit back and watch you do it. Let's see how you get on with you and that snake running things for a while.'

From a purely scientific viewpoint, I'd say Adam's way of doing things didn't work out, and isn't getting any better with time. Perhaps that's because of supernatural interference from Satan, perhaps it's simply because we just can't get along on our own. Perhaps both.

There are spirits around that aren't dead people. What they are, where they come from, nobody knows. Angels and devils - perhaps. The malevolent ones make themselves known more than the 'good' ones so it's hard to say how many of each are here.

Are they interdimensional beings? Are they the devils and angels of the Bible?

I don't know. Nobody does. My chosen line of work puts me in the no-man's land between religion and science, unable to fully accept or deny either. Evolution, I don't 'believe', but I consider the evidence. Similarly, I find many correspondences between what science reports today and what the Bible reported thousands of years ago. The X and Y chromosome tracking was one example. The Neanderthal/Nephilim link is another. I'm a scientist. I don't discount a historical document that's showing potential links to modern findings. To do so would be fundamentalism, and scientists shouldn't be doing that.

The Big Bang? Well, there's a new cosmological theory that suggests the structure of the universe is fractal, just as is found in many Earth-bound structures. If that should prove to be correct, the Big Bang will be wrong, Einstein's equations no longer fit, and the whole age of the universe has to be calculated again. So I can't give a definitive argument for or against the age of anything. No scientist with any sense would try.

From my perspective, I can't see why there's an argument between evolution and creation. As long as you don't insist on seven literal days of creation.

Adam doesn't turn up until 'day' 6, long after all the animals, birds and fish. There's no serious evolution since the dawn of Man in science. No dinosaur dynasties, no mass extinctions. It all happened before we appeared. Nothing much has changed since.

So why not? Dinosaurs might well have been running the place on 'day' 5, before God decided he didn't want a planet full of reptiles and diverted a convenient asteroid to wipe them out, then created man in his image to fill the planet instead. Those early chapters in Genesis cover a lot of time in a brief summary. They're short on detail.

I have to wonder sometimes if He might have been better off sticking with the reptiles. At least they didn't make bombs.

tom sheepandgoats

Rom:

I've never heard of this new fractal theorey. Now you make me do more homework.

J.Conrad

Me neither! I just got caught up on the 11th dimension and how it relates to the weak force of gravity and allows both Quantum and String Theories to coexist nicely.

Romulus Crowe

The fractal idea is in New Scientist, 10th March 2007. Some libraries might hold copies. It's no surprise that those who've built their careers on the current model are calling it all bunk.

Maybe it is, maybe it's not. Time will tell, but this idea is going to meet some pretty stiff resistance.

Good luck to them, I say. I do like to see complacency given a good shaking now and then.

TC

@Romulus Crowe

You are correct in that there aren't 7 literal days , and that the Idea or concept of evolution could look like a very slowed down creation .

And I appreciate that the Big Bang , is probably more of an Asymetrical introduction of particle matter to the Universe , I REALLY appreciate that .

It reminds me VEry much of the statement of the Boreans , Being more Noble minded , and that would they not research the matter in front of them , it would be something ignoble on their part.

So if I may , I would like to introduce some scripture , with a certain idea attached ,
#1 Numbers 14: 34, As God was stating to this prophet a pronouncement against Israel , A Day for a year , a day for a Year is what I have given you "
in reference to Israel spying for 40 days , they received 40 years of wandering in the desert ( remember that they had JUST seen God part the Red Sea, so to doubt his command at THAT moment was probably not wise)

#2 Psalms 90 :4 and 2 Peter 3:8
Both state that a Thousand Years is as but a DAY to God .

The Idea here is that God does NOT measure Time the way we humans do , in Fact , we measure time but the rotation of our lonely Blue dot in the vast universe rotating around a rather average star . If for example we measure our years by the turn of the Galaxy instead ..... 1 Galactic year , our life span would equal some simple 3 or 4 seconds at most .......(Take a deep breath , your dead life is over). That thought was presented to me many years ago exactly the same way .

It was sobering because of the truth of it .
God's 7 creative "days" were indeed millions of years , ...... each .


tom sheepandgoats

Thanks, TC.

As this is an old post, I'm sure Romulus won't notice your comment. So I let him know.

Or address him yourself if you like. You know how bloggers enjoy thoughtful comments.

Lesia Valentine

A Day for a year , a day for a Year is what I have given you

This is the formula on which astrologers base (some of) our predictions. In addition to the ephemeral movement of the planets each day, if I use the positions of the planets say, five days after you were born, and compare them to the position they were in at the moment you were born, it will tell me what will happen in your fifth year of life. If I take the positions on the 40th day after your birth and do the same, I will learn about your 40th year of life. And so on.

I'd like to keep up with this conversation. Is there some way to subscribe to this blog?

tom sheepandgoats

Lesia…

I didn’t know that about days and years. But I know lots of things found in the Bible are found other places too. Legends of a great flood are found in cultures the world over. And we imagine the ill tempered gods of Greek mythology find their origin in the Nephilim of Genesis chapter 6.

I never learn anything tech-wise until I absolutely need to know it. Consequently, I don’t really know what subscribing to a blog is, though I’ve heard the phrase. You can sign up for a Google reader account to track whatever blogs you like and alert you when any of them have a new post. Is that what you mean? Other than that, I don’ t know. But if I have to do anything to make it happen, let me know and I will do it.

Lesia Valentine

That's very thoughtful of you, Tom, but truthfully, I'm not much of a techie, myself. I managed to find you again, and that is good for me.

Have you heard from Rom lately? Is he still among the living, or should we be taking photos with infrared film to try to locate him?

tom sheepandgoats

I'm not at all sure where he is, Lesia. Don't they holiday all summer in Europe? Or is that only on the continent? I miss him.

Lesia Valentine

Me, too. I don't know much about the customs of Europe. I just hope he's okay.

Lesia Valentine

He's baaaaaack. And thank goodness he's okay, mostly.

tom sheepandgoats

Cool! did he find if they are out there or not?

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