Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings

Exercising restraint for sharing

It seems very difficult to get Christian people to share a place with others on the same platform. The idea of bringing religious news from different view-points could be really interesting for both parties, the readers as well as the writers.

No one wants to write blog posts and have them sink into the bottomless pit of the internet. We as Christians are no different. We want people to read what we want to tell. Many like Facebook and spend lots of time posting notes in that system, but they do forget they only reach a few already connected people of a circle which can grow, but always shall have to find readers from their own circles and ‘friends of friends’.

Why do so many keep unresponsive to come to gather with other believers? What is it that held back people to join hands and make something new to happen? We should not be deterred by a few small setbacks. Many people may scrambler back as soon as they are asked to join forces and to come out in the wide world.

Freedom to join and to make fertile

Personalizando WordPress 1.5

Personalizando WordPress 1.5 (Photo credit: juanpol)

Having the opportunity to come on a more open system with WordPress, having the liberty to start an own website or blog or making an effort to join ranks and bring writers together on one place to talk about certain specific fields. The best way to attract readers is to read and comment on others’ blogs, allowing them to find your main blog, under your own name. But why not put in an extra dimension, not only to let yourself be found on your own blog, but giving hands with others to try to make a website which can be interesting for many, trying to find different subjects put together?

Those studying the Bible could find it interesting to find religious news at one place they could visit regularly or subscribe to. It would be lovely to see “Stepping toes” growing to become such a place where several writers could bring different ideas about ethical, philosophical and religious matters.

Backgrounds to choose

English: The Bible Students' Convention in Ski...

The Bible Students’ Convention in Skien, Norway, 1923 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who are free Bible Students have the advantage that they are a lay-based community where people can act independently. That independence can be good but it may not be that small units are formed, which excludes themselves from others, or do not want to know at all of other groups or denominations. It also would be wrong to say as a religious layman that we do not need theological seminaries or people who pursue studies in the humanities and add minors or majors in philosophy or ancient history, or even major in Biblical studies.

Some serious Bible Students even may think a study of philosophy, derived from Greek roots that mean “love of wisdom”, could interfere with the study of the Bible and could bring the faith in God in danger. We do believe such fear is unfunded. It is not because philosophy is not built on acceptance of belief in God that a person interested in reading philosophical works would not be interested in supernatural powers, gods or the God of gods.

Brains to use

God has given men brains to use. He provided them with a system to think and to allow to order their mind. Every human being should question the things. The Creator God has given us life and wanted us to do something with it. Therefore we do have to reason and wonder why we live, why certain events occur. God allowed people to bring their ideas together in a field of science about the thinking of man. That field tries to give people a unified view of the universe and endeavours to make them critical thinkers. According to some it employs chiefly speculative means rather than observation in a search for truth. We should have some philosophers to go deeper into that matter of reason to think and why we should question so many questions. But there is a lot to ask and a lot to say.

Limitation of man

But when we look at that field of ‘wisdom‘ we always should remember that it only comes from people. They may have been atheists, deists or theists, believers in something or some one, but always they got their capabilities to think and write from the Creator who gave them those abilities. Though no human person is been made perfect, so everyone of us has his or her limitations. As such when we read each others work we should keep that in mind. Never may we put ourself above somebody else nor may we put somebody else above the Creator God.

The Bible informs us:

“It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23)

History testifies that trying to ignore that limitation has not produced good results. Humans by nature have limitations. Additionally, their experience in life is relatively brief and is usually confined to ones culture or one environment. The knowledge they possess is thus restricted, and everything is interconnected to such an extent that they constantly find aspects that they had not adequately considered. Any philosophy that they originate will reflect these limitations.

We all are connected with the time and culture in which we live. We all ere dependent on the upbringing we got and on the experiences and lessons we wanted to take out of life. There exists a way that is upright before a man, but we get blinded by the things around us, and whatever we try to do we shall all have to encounter the ways of death which  are the end of it afterwards (Proverbs 14:12)

Learning from others

Having the knowledge that we are only just small elements in that big universe, we should be humble enough to recognise that we can and should learn a lot from others around us. The willingness of sharing ideas is a matter of brotherly love. Being prepared to offer your ideas and those of others, to other people around you, even to those you might not know, shows your interest in other human beings. By searching for good ideas, by which you can learn but also others could learn, and the preparedness to share them with others, you can show your love to your neighbour and your willingness to show respect for the Creation of the Most High, where we should try to help each other to become better humans.

We can help each other by giving information and by sharing our knowledge. It is true that the wisdom of the wise men may perish, and we shall also see that the intelligence of the intellectual men will be shoved aside. (1 Corinthians 1:19-25) Many books full of human ideas have disappeared in oblivion. The writers are already long gone, but there are still some few ideas hoovering around. Many wise man, interesting scribes and good debater of this world (the system of things) are already long forgotten, some of those writings having taken with several people to set them thinking. We should know they can give us some ideas, they may set us off to start a debate. Because the Creator has gifted many people they will have told also reasonable things which could help us to grow. We can make use of them. We can listen and meditate about those writings. though we may never forget to put them in the light of the most important writings the world has received.

The book of books to be placed first

Philosophical Studies

Philosophical Studies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we look at the evolution of science, read some old ‘wisdom books’ we can notice that lots of those creative writings in the end did not pull the right string, and many of them had ideas which are already long time ago surpassed. Many of those older writings, wisdom of the old times has become foolish in the world of today. We all should be aware that what we consider to be so today might be not so any more in a few years time. (Look for example at the smallest element of an object which is not any more the molecule or the atom.)

When it is about the universe, its creation and Who is behind everything the world through its wisdom did not get to know the Divine Creator God. God saw good through the foolishness [as it appears to the world] of what is preached to save those believing. The Most High Creator has given The Writings which can bring enough wisdom to have a good life and to find the way to even a better life than we do have hear at the moment, on earth. In those Words given by god we should go and look for the most accurate teaching we can have. In the Bible we can find all the answers we do need to make the best of our life. The Book of books gives us in many writing styles in different ways of telling over and over the same message, so that we can not have any excuse that after reading them we could not understand.

Many people might find those old Writings ‘passé’ and laugh at the wording. They do not understand that a foolish thing of God [as the world views it] is wiser than men, and a weak thing of God [as the world may see it] is stronger than men

“19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:19-25 NIV)

Wisdom on its head

In the passing of time, the history of humankind, we see that God turned conventional wisdom on its head. The Creator of allthings, showed by the works of Creation how many times man was wrong with his ideas how to handle the world. So-called experts became exposed as crackpots. when we do write we also should consider that. We should know that we can not have all wisdom in us, and we may be utterly wrong in certain facts. Also the other person may be right in many facts but may also have it at the wrong end in other facts. Therefore we should be humble and patient when we look at writings from others. We should be aware there can be lots of good in it but also lots of bad. When there is something we do not agree with, that should not mean that it is bad. That what is contrary to our opinion can be wiser than our ideas.  Also the opposite may be true, things which others consider wrong about our way of thinking can be right at the end. We should always look at the wise spectrum which we receive in front of us and be thankful that we can read such a diversity of opinions. This diversity can be more richness than many people think. We should use it more than the critics of this world.

Knowing that not all wisdom can be found it the worldly human writings, we should be content to find find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age. Knowing that God has exposed it all as pretentious nonsense what many have written in the past, we should always turn to His Book of Wisdom, the book of books, the Holy Scriptures which we call in short: the Bible.

Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—[preaching], of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.

Going right on preaching

While atheists laugh at the ideas of a supernatural being, Jews clamour for miraculous demonstrations and doubters or those who do find themselves contemporary thinkers, go in for philosophical wisdom, we should go right on proclaiming Christ,’ the Crucified’ and let the world know that it was a man of God who died at the wooden post to look a fool. We know the sign of having this man taken out of death is a sign for what can happen to us. Jews treat this like an [anti]-miracle — and many civics pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God Himself, Christ Jesus, the son of man and son of God, is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one.

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.” God has provided in the Bible, the most widely circulated book in the world, a clear statement of his purpose. He has sent his witnesses to discuss it with all who will listen. How foolish for any creature to think that he has wisdom greater than that of God! What a sad mistake it would be to choose such deceptive human philosophy in preference to acquiring true wisdom as a disciple of Jesus Christ, the second-greatest person in the universe, next to God himself!

Danger of unrestrained approach to Biblical interpretation

In an attempt to reconcile the Bible with philosophy many, like the third-century theologian Origen, relied heavily upon the allegorical method of interpreting the Scriptures. More theologians assumed that Scripture always had a spiritual meaning but not necessarily a literal one. As one scholar noted, this allowed Origen “the means of reading into the Bible whatever non-biblical ideas were congenial to his own theological system, while professing (and no doubt sincerely imagining himself) to be a particularly enthusiastic and faithful interpreter of the thought of the Bible.”

This unrestrained approach to Biblical interpretation blurred the lines between Christian doctrine and Greek philosophy. For example, in his book entitled On First Principles, Origen described Jesus as ‘the only-begotten Son, who was born, but without any beginning.’ And he added:

‘His generation is eternal and everlasting. It was not by receiving the breath of life that he is made a Son, by any outward act, but by God’s own nature.’

Origen like many after him violated the basic Scriptural principle: “Do not go beyond the things that are written.” — 1 Corinthians 4:6.

We should be careful not to mix human writings, be it philosophical or theological with Biblical writing.

Disciples of Christ gathering

Those who call themselves Christians, should be followers of Christ. As such they should be eager to get to know the teachings of their Master teacher Christ Jesus, the Nazarene Jew Jeshua of the tribe of King David. His words are written down in the New testament which is complementary to the Old Testament or Hebrew Writings.

Coming together, looking at others, going out to preach, we should always remember that it should not be our aim to prejudge others based on their religious convictions. Among our fellow worshippers are many who at one time sincerely embraced false religious beliefs.

In the New Testament we have the example of the apostle Paul who had established common ground but knew that his listeners were educated in Greek philosophy and unfamiliar with the Scriptures. He adapted his approach in several ways. First, he presented Biblical teachings without directly quoting from the Scriptures. Second, he identified himself with his listeners, at times using the words “us” and “we.” Third, he quoted from Greek literature to show that certain things he was teaching were expressed in their own writings.

The Dawn Office in East Rutherford, New Jersey

The Dawn Office in East Rutherford, New Jersey

We should remember those first followers of Christ and see that they also where willing to listen to others and did dare to use their sayings to let them see how they thought and where they went wrong. Today we also can use those worldly sayings, the many writings of people who are respected by the world. We can and may present the many thoughts which circle the world, be confronted by them, loo at them, think about them, criticise them whenever needy, use them for our advantage, and continue our path on or continuous learning process.

So, some may not find it appropriate to find different denominations their ideas placed together on one platform, we do believe we can learn from each other, as well do show interest in each other and know what is happening in this world.
It is not because we are serious Bible Students and active Christians that we should not look at others their writings, ignore the many ideas which are uttered in this world. It is also not that we should not be allowed to meet with others who do not think exactly the same as us. No, by coming together and by willing to share thoughts, we all can feed each other, and be helpful to develop as human beings.

Not trivial

Andrew Perry notes the problems of confessional bias and liberal unbelief that can subvert the unwary student, then concludes:

“It might therefore seem surprising that we advocate degree level Biblical Studies as a university choice.

“There is much of lasting value in such a choice; a value for life. First, there is the grounding in Hebrew and Greek which is of obvious benefit. Second, there is a vast amount of historically pertinent information to be had about the Bible—information that does not call into question beliefs about the Bible.

“Accordingly, any challenges to faith can be met head-on and handled. Here a study of Philosophy is valuable for the analytical skills it imparts; these skills help a student pick apart the challenges to faith. Furthermore, for every critical viewpoint on a matter, there is always a conservative counterpoint. So, while there are dangers, there are also paths to follow.”

If even one in fifty Christadelphian university students took a minor in philosophy, ancient history or ancient languages, and used that knowledge to the service of our faith, the flow-on effects would not be trivial.

Welcome to all

May we welcome you, and let us do hope we can share many thoughts, being little cogwheels of this world system in which we all together would like to look for a better world for every one, be it a believer, non-believer or other believer.

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Find also to read:

  1. Words to push and pull & Words to bring message
  2. Wisdom lies deep
  3. Many Books, yet One
  4. Unsure about relevance Bible
  5. The Bible: God’s Word or pious myth?
  6. Scripture alone Sola Scriptora
  7. The importance of Reading the Scriptures
  8. Why believing the Bible
  9. Appointed to be read
  10. Do Christians need to read the Old Testament
  11. Getting to know the Truth
  12. Bible for you and for life
  13. The Bible is a today book
  14. Possibility to live
  15. Bible like puddle of water
  16. Loving the Word
  17. The radiance of God’s glory and the counsellor
  18. Science and God’s existence
  19. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  20. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #5 To meditate and Transform
  21. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  22. History of Christianity
  23. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  24. Thirst for happiness and meaning
  25. Change
  26. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  27. Power in the life of certain
  28. Be like a tree planted by streams of water
  29. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  30. Chief means by which men are built up
  31. Golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters obedience
  32. Bringing Good News into the world
  33. Feed Your Faith Daily

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  • October Series of the Month: Kant’s Questions (routledge.com)
    “Have the courage to use your own understanding! – that is the motto of enlightenment.” – Immanuel Kant
    The Enlightenment is one of the most important and contested periods in the history of philosophy. The problems it addressed, such as the proper extent of individual freedom and the challenging
  • The Problem Is That (You Think) You Think Too Much (coriwong.com)
    Hardly anyone has heard of philosophical counseling, but now that I’ve started my own philosophical counseling and consulting business, I’ve had loads of opportunities to describe the “how’s” and “why’s” of this form of philosophical practice. I start by emphasizing that, at the heart of the matter, philosophical counseling entails thinking about our lives and experiences in ways that help us become better people who think, live, and feel better along the way. Even though I think that’s a pretty compelling description of what’s at stake, it’s been met with a variety of responses.
  • Philosophers, those bloated parasites… (naughtthought.wordpress.com)
    Philosophy…the very world bears a halo so tarnished with the fingernail scratches of a desperate hold that its meaning is as dim as it is persistent.Philosophy begins in wonder, in disappointment, with anything except instantaneous experience (according to Laruelle). So say the philosophers. Though few comments have seemed as honest as Lyotard’s – that philosophy is at best graffiti on the ruins of the world.
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    There is also too much to be said about the conceptual engineer figure of philosophy according to Deleuze – the false modesty of ‘just being a brick layer’ but Deleuze does not think he is just a brick layer. He thinks the philosopher can fold the unknown outside into thought. That’s a power beyond brick handling.
  • “For Nietzsche a philosopher’s ideas were less important than the quality of his striving” (kingslandrogue.wordpress.com)
    For Nietzsche a philosopher’s ideas were less important than the quality of his striving towards existence on a philosophical or supra-historical plane.
  • Sartre and some faux intellectuals – An obnoxious view on obnoxious people (semifeminist.wordpress.com)
    I guess coming from a science background, I’d rather hear things about what people do.  If there’s a contradiction between what a person says and what a person does, then the essence of what they say is lost on me.  Show me your faith by your actions… :D :D :D (pssst it’s a reference to James)
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    Ok it’s cool you made some great observations about society and humans. But what have you done about it? Have you presented any model that could change an aspect of society?
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    Walk the talk. Do the deed. Say what you will. It’s that simplicity we need.
  • Word of the Week: ‘Philosophy’ (therelateblog.wordpress.com)
    Philosophy is made up of a range of different branches each discussing different topics which makes it a tricky word to define! For example, metaphysics looks at questions about realty whereas aesthetics considers beauty.
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    There are many other famous philosophers such as Kant, Descartes, Aristotle, Hick, Spinoza and Nietzche. How many can you name?
  • Why Take Philosophy A Level? (scribblingsofasimpleton.wordpress.com)
    Philosophy is not, I repeat not, what you would call a “doss” subject. People often assume that Philosophy is a subject you can take because it’s easy. Anyone that says or believes that couldn’t be more wrong. To be brutally honest, Philosophy is hard. And I mean really hard. Universities look at it at the same academic level as Physics or Maths.
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    Philosophy requires an inordinate amount of brain-power and a Philosophy student will need to question everything-including their own existence. It is not a subject for the faint-hearted.
  • Has David Birnbaum solved the mystery of existence? (theguardian.com)
    David Birnbaum

    David Birnbaum: ‘There must be an answer. How is it possible that so many brilliant people, over thousands of years, have missed it?’ Photograph: Brian Finke for the Guardian

    In the summer of 2012, a number of philosophers at British and American universities received a bulky, unmarked package in the post. It contained a 560-page book, written in English but with the Latin title Summa Metaphysica, by an amateur whose name they didn’t recognise: David Birnbaum. It isn’t unusual for philosophy departments to get mail from cranks, convinced they have solved the riddle of existence, but they usually send stapled print-outs, or handwritten letters; Summa Metaphysica stood out “for its size and its glossiness”, says Tim Crane, a professor of philosophy at Cambridge. The book was professionally typeset. It even included endorsements from Claude Lévi-Strauss, the legendary French anthropologist, who described it as “remarkable and profound”, and from the Princeton physicist John Wheeler, who once collaborated with Einstein. It would later transpire that 40,000 copies were in circulation, a print run any academic philosopher might kill for.

  • Essential Readings on Universalism (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    I thought it might be helpful to others to share the essential stuff that I have read and consider worthy of consideration:
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    As a Catholic theologian, Balthasar could not and would  go beyond the hope that God would save all, but that we must hope and pray for universal salvation, he fervently believed.
  • On being an attractive woman and being taken seriously in philosophy (leiterreports.typepad.com)
    I also use twitter to connect with philosophers around the world, and find it a generally supportive and stimulating space to communicate with like-minded people. But I received a troubling tweet in response to a (non-sexual) photo I posted recently. The tweet was by a male philosopher. He said that philosophers are not supposed to be pretty.These experiences have made me wonder whether being perceived as pretty, to some, will also mean that I will be taken less seriously in philosophy. Clearly, the tweeter’s comment was not well thought out. It was a tweet. But  do we still have distorted understandings about what philosophers are “supposed to be” or “supposed to look like”?
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Recommended sites

From December 1, 2012 Multiply shall end its service to bloggers. This makes that we shall see a lot of changes in blogging world.

Following Christadelphian sites have moved and can be found:

  1. Bijbelonderzoekers > Christadelphian World
  2. Christadelphians > Christadelphian World
  3. Bijbelvorser > Bijbelvorser – Bibleresearcher

But the Belgian Christadelphians shall now more concentrate on their ecclesia and Flemish websites:

  1. Christadelphian Ecclesia
  2. Broeders in Christus

We would gladly like to invite you to go and visit those places where you can find much more articles.

 

Hallo

Hi everyone! I’m just getting started on Xanga… Drop me a comment if you’ve got some ideas on what to do first – or just to say, “Hi!”

Image representing Xanga as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

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This Xanga site got transferred to a WordPress site under the direction of the Belgian Christadelphians in October 2013.

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A pity we do not have a photograph of the old site.
From the Autumn 2013 Stepping toes goes through life as:

Stepping Toes -aim Nov. 14 14.12

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  • Xanga vs WordPress (infinitymadness2.wordpress.com)
    You know what I love about WordPress? How easy it is to meet new bloggers! On Xanga, I would occasionally pick up a new blog here and there, occasionally being the key word. It wasn’t as easy to find people to read, follow or read your stuff, because of the way it was setup.
  • Why start a new one? (siuyujolin.wordpress.com)
    Well, now that I can’t use xanga any more… I realized how I’ve been using xanga as an outlet.
    I don’t know if this is something I will keep up with, but as least for the time being, I have somewhere to say what I want to say.
  • Xanga to WordPress! (corijthonen.wordpress.com)
  • New platform for Stepping Toes (steppingtoes.wordpress.com)
  • hallo usfb world (olineusfb.wordpress.com)
  • Hallo Welt, hello world (stefanplaysguitar.wordpress.com)
  • Let’s Get Real (hollytwopointzero.wordpress.com)
  • Hallo. Hallo. (mixedbagzurich.wordpress.com)