People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations

Books of many interpretations

christadelphian church kedron brook (1)

christadelphian church kedron brook (1) (Photo credit: bertknot)

People often wonder when they look at persons who read the Bible or discuss the Bible how it comes there are so many interpretations. In Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs a reader rightly remarks that in certain faith groups a child/young adult may believe that the God of the Bible is real & no further examination of this conclusion is necessary, which could bring in the danger that there will be no-critical thinking any more. The person reacting thinks this leads many Christadelphians to actively seek sources confirming their beliefs and actively avoiding sources that challenge these beliefs – pure confirmation bias. For that reason the Christadelphians ask their members always to search each saying and not to restrict themselves to our own literature, but to read the Bible everyday plus to read also other writings on the different Biblical subjects from all sorts of denominations. In our community we do not want denominational restrictions and prefer to have individual freedom. For others this may look strange and make it that they do not understand that there may be several different opinions over certain matters in the different Christadelphian groups. They also accuse us of not being in union, but than they do not see that we are in union with Christ and that there is also the union in the brotherhood because we accept each-other as brothers and sisters in Christ having the same faith in Christ and having the same hope for the Kingdom of God.

In case there are people in our community who dare not to take up writings from others, or are afraid to listen or look at the new visual and audible media (radio, television, computer) we think they could feel like that because they could be not strong enough in their faith. Somebody who is build firmly in his believes, does not have to fear, when he sincerely surges for the truth and always considers the Will of God in his or her actions.

Origin of different interpretations

Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity church (Photo credit: stevecadman)

The difficulty for humankind today is that we do have the consequences of the adversary by the first human beings. In the Garden of Eden God has given humankind the liberty to decide everything themselves and to find out everything themselves. So we also do have to find our own way. We shall not have to face a dictator of an “omniscient God” who did “ensure that the Scriptures were clear enough to leave no room for interpretation”. In case people would just take God his Words like they are written black on white in the Scriptures there would be no problem and everybody would think the same. But in the past there have been workers against God (the adversaries or satan) who started to twist the words of the Supreme Being and who tried to bring in false teachings and false gods. As such the Trinity also became part of Christendom and created much confusion. One false teaching brought in a passage where again a solution had to be found and some dogma had to be created.

As a Good Father the Elohim Jehovah, the God of gods gave the people living on this earth His advice. Like we as parents can give advice to our children they all may interpret our sayings differently or take liberties with our thoughts. In the same way the creatures of God take the same liberties and some may twist the words their heavenly Father said. This twisting makes them to react differently on one or the other saying. This makes that today we can find many denominations, many churches with even in those churches several interpretations of one passage in the Bible.

Freedom to find out yourself

As God has given freedom to man at the beginning of time, to allow them to rule the world and to find out things on their own, we now have to bear the consequences and live with the possibility of different interpretations. But when people would be prepared just to take the Words of God for what they say, black on white, and would listen to their inner voice, God will be prepared to guide them and to give them inner feelings and insight so that they really shall find the Truth. But it is that preparedness to listen to the heart, which shall make it in many cases difficult, because most people do want to keep onto traditions and want to belong with the majority. They shall have to understand that perhaps the lovers of God do not belong to the majority of the world and that it is that what Jesus is about talking of the small gate to enter the Kingdom of God.

Ability to find God and Truth

To be able to find the God of gods and to find the Truth, people shall have to be willing to open their mind and to give their full attention to the Word of God as it is notated in the Book of books, the Bible.

As the critic on our writings remarks we can see it happening all the time that even two Bible-believing people can have opposing views on a certain passage of Scripture. Both claim to have solid supporting evidence in terms of context, cross-references and consistency. Both make what they think are reasonable arguments for their interpretations. So how can we determine which view is right? And does it matter?

When we do hear or are confronted with different views we should now that it can be that both views are partly right and partly wrong. With the exception of clear-cut fundamental Bible teaching — sometimes called “first principles” — no one should expect to find the full, complete, all-aspects-covered answer. We are all human beings which do not have the possibility to be perfect in everything. We all have our own deficiencies and fallacies. We also do have to face the things which are know but also those which are unknown. Even Christ had to tell his disciples he could not give all answers, because it is only given to God to know everything. Christ even did not know when he would be returning to the earth. He will certainly be involved in that important event where he shall have to come to judge the living and the dead, but even there he could not say when the end-times would take place.

In case Jesus did not know such important things concerning himself, how would we know such things?

A Book of books for discovery

Scripture is so richly significant and interwoven that discovery of another aspect or realization of another line of inquiry is just a matter of time. Several times in the 20th century alone, discoveries of ancient texts — in fact, whole libraries of ancient texts — have thrown new light on Bible passages. Ongoing archaeological investigations continue to help us understand God’s inspired Record better.

Brother George Booker looks into the matter why we even can not be 100% certain of first principles. In Which View is Right? he looks at our first principles which are expressed in man’s imperfect wording and warns us that there is always the possibility of simple misunderstanding of what, precisely, those words mean.

As serious Bible students we should have always an open mind and look at all possibilities. We should be prepared to continually  grow spiritually as disciples of Christ. Everyday our thought should be by the Most High and always we should continually be seeking to increase in knowledge and understanding. God’s Truth and Biblical Truth invites… indeed, it welcomes… investigation. So when encountering a different view, we should seize the opportunity at least to understand the evidence provided. We can always learn something, and if we’re wise, we may need to adjust our own views accordingly.

So what has all this to do with Bible study? Simple. There are many differing interpretations of Scripture. Which view is right? The measuring stick for soundness and rightness must be God’s Word. It’s that simple.

Of course, many other views (with which we may disagree) cite Bible verses as evidence. Thus it becomes a matter of determining:

  • The relevance of the cited passage: Does it contain the same or similar words and ideas?
  • Its validity: Does it really support the point being argued?
  • Its clarity: Is the reference self-explanatory, or does it, too, need interpretation?
  • Its consistency: Is the interpretation in harmony with undisputed fundamentals of Bible teaching?

For example, if an opinion is inconsistent with or contradicts well-known Bible facts and doctrine, then it must be modified accordingly, or abandoned. So just because a view is argued by citing dozens of verses does not, in itself, make it Biblically sound. What counts is clear, relevant evidence, logically arrived at. {Which View is Right?}

Being right or wrong not so evident

It is not up to decide this guy or that one is right in everything. Probably not one of them is right in everything, and both can have many things right but also some thing(s) utterly wrong. Would that be a reason to exclude them? As long as it are not the most important basic elements of faith, we would say “No”. And we also would say those differences of opinion do not have to exclude union in speech. Both can still have the same basic faith for belonging in the “Church of God”.

It does matter if a person’s misunderstanding of a Bible passage, or several passages, will take him or her out of the way that leads to salvation. It doesn’t matter if the view is simply differing details such as timing and location and protagonists.

What is more important is how we deal with our inevitable differences.

Suppose a person with a particular view is 100% right on an issue that could easily affect the salvation of a person with a different view. The matter doesn’t stop here. If the first person (the one who is perfectly right) is not patient, gentle and meek in trying to persuade the second person (2 Tim 2:24,25), but rather impatient, harsh and accusatory (manifested by strong words, condescension, indignation, arrogance, or threats), then his correctness counts for little:

“The Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:24,25).

Wrong behaviour more than cancels out right knowledge. If anyone has been blessed to have the right understanding of Scripture, then he or she has the responsibility to be forthright but caring toward those who do not yet share that understanding. Such patient, gentle teaching imitates the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus himself.

Getting knowledge at different moments in time

Not every one is at the same time gifted with the same knowledge. For some it make take ‘ages’ before they come to Biblical insight. Others may see things very easily. Some might remember appropriate Bible verses very easily,others easily forget them, though they know and remember what has been said and meant in the verses.

The one who may think he or she is right about the meaning of a certain part in the Bible, has to take on the Agape love of Christ and be patient, willing to give the other person the time to find out how it really is. In the meantime he can provide enough study material and show interest in the other person his or her way of thinking. Together they should unite to go into research of the different matters we should get knowledge of.

When we encounter differences in opinion, we also should ask ourselves if those differences are so important or can interfere with the real belief.

  • Does the difference really matter?
  • How should you deal with the difference?

Clear language

To find clarity we always should look in the Bible to find the Truth, by comparing verses in other books and by looking if one saying does not contradict an other saying of way of thinking. The Bible does not contradict itself. God is a God of order and clarity. He did not speak in “broebeltaal” (a strange language nobody can understand), He also does not speak in a “broddeltaal” (a ‘bungle language) scribbles or a clumsy language. He has given clear words, but people do have to be willing to take them as they are written down. As soon as they fabricate their own dogma’s they shall get in trouble. But that is not because of the Words written in the bible, but because of man’s own fault of thinking god’s Words can only be understood by learned people. God does not ask from man to have a special education to interpret His Words. In all people He has given the possibility to get to understand and to know what they should understand and know at the time.

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Preceding articles:

Finding God amid all the religious externals

Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God

People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers

To be continued:

People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions

People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms

People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life

People Seeking for God 6 Strategy

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Please find also to read:

  1. Faith
  2. Epitome of the one faith
  3. My (Christadelphian) faith
  4. Hope
  5. True Hope
  6. Did the Inspirator exist
  7. God, Creation and the Bible Hope
  8. God of gods
  9. Sayings around God
  10. Full authority belongs to God
  11. Who Wrote the Bible?
  12. Bible Word from God
  13. Pure Words and Testimonies full of Breath of the Most High
  14. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #4 Words in Scripture
  15. Creator and Blogger God 10 A Blog of a Book 4 Listening to the Blogger
  16. Creator and Blogger God 12 Old and New Blog 2 Blog for every day
  17. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  18. Bible guide Taking the Bible as a lead
  19. Statutes given unto us
  20. Absolute Basics to Reading the Bible
  21. Digging in words, theories and artefacts
  22. Bible Translating and Concordance Making
  23. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  24. Finding and Understanding Words and Meanings
  25. Out of Context: How to Avoid Misinterpreting the Bible
  26. Which View is Right?
  27. Bible in the first place #1/3
  28. Bible in the first place #2/3
  29. Bible in the first place #3/3
  30. Missional hermeneutics 1/5
  31. Missional hermeneutics 2/5
  32. Missional hermeneutics 3/5
  33. Missional hermeneutics 4/5
  34. Missional hermeneutics 5/5
  35. Story and Typology
  36. Accuracy, Word-for-Word Translation Preferred by most Bible Readers
  37. Knowing old sayings to understand the Bible
  38. Archaeology and the Bible
  39. Fear knocked at the door
  40. Getting to know the Truth
  41. Why believing the Bible
  42. The Bible: God’s Word or pious myth?
  43. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  44. Unsure about relevance Bible
  45. Appointed to be read
  46. Youth has difficulty Bible Reading
  47. Learn to read the Bible effectively
  48. We should use the Bible every day
  49. A Bible Falling Apart Belongs to Someone who isn’t
  50. Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
  51. The manager and Word of God
  52. Scripture alone Sola Scriptora
  53. What English Bible do you use?
  54. NWT and what other scholars have to say to its critics
  55. Christian clergyman defiling book which did not belong to him
  56. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  57. Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit
  58. Prophets making excuses
  59. The Bible is a today book
  60. Bible for you and for life
  61. Bible like puddle of water
  62. Cell phone vs. Bible
  63. How to look for and how to handle the Truth
  64. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  65. Relapse plan
  66. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  67. American atheists most religiously literate Americans
  68. Power in the life of certain
  69. Be an Encourager
  70. Possibility to live
  71. Determined To Stick With Truth.
  72. Feed Your Faith Daily
  73. Faith antithesis of rationality
  74. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  75. First Century of Christianity
  76. Many churches
  77. An ecclesia in your neighborhood

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If Jesus was God, why did he pray to himself?

If Jesus was God, why did he pray to himself? (Photo credit: Zombie Inc. Wholesale Zombies for Over 25 years)

When Jesus is God,
how does it come there are so many pictures and statues made of him by those who say he is God,
whilst God tells His followers not to make any picture of Him?
Why do they not keep to those commandments of the Most High God, who says they may have only One God
and not worship any other being?

  • There are many Trinities! (onthehillgilayjun.blogspot.com)
    While the majority of the Christian world considers the concept of the Trinity vital to Christianity, many historians and Bible scholars agree that the Trinity of Christianity owes more to Greek philosophy and pagan polytheism than to the monotheism of the Jew and the Jewish Jesus.
  • Trinitarianism Is Not __________ (onetheology.com)
    Modalism  (also known as Sabellianism, named after it’s earliest proponent, Sabelius, in the 3rd century.) believes that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are different names for the same God acting in different roles or manifestations at difference times in salvation history. God is not really three distinct persons. In some circles people often call Modalism “Oneness” or “Jesus Only”. This view has also been called “Monarchianism.” Today, the largest Modalist group is the United Pentecostal Church. Modalisms emphasis on there being one God makes it attractive too many.
  • In Another Post On A Really Bad Idea (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com) can be seen how far one can go when start believing one person is the other. Like when is assumed that Jesus is God that would make the mother of Jesus also the mother of God and than it would be very strange if that mother could sin. Therefore ther are people who claim she could not have sinned. they than dare to say:
    “To deny her perfection and her relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost would be heresy.”

“She only questioned the angel as she did not know how she would have Christ without a man. Gabriel explained. Mary, all her life was in harmony with God’s perfect Will. She trusted God. She was not anxious. These are all Protestant interpretations. She did not talk to Joseph as she trusted in God.”

  • Theophany, Epiphany and the Holy Trinity (orthodoxmom3.wordpress.com) may look at “Theophany”, to be celebrated on January 6th being the Feast Day celebrating the manifestation of God. They do not seem to listen to the words of God Who clearly says who is being baptised. At the time of Jesus his baptism by John in the Jordan God revealed not Himself to people as the Holy Trinity (not at all found in Matt. 3:16) but he revealed that the Nazarene Jew was God His beloved son.
    Matthew 3:16-17 according the Bibles we do have clearely states:   Yeshua, when he was immersed, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him.  (17)  Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (HNV)

One can wounder if Scriptures can not be lear enough when one person speak about the other. Do the Trinitarians not want to believe Jesus or iIs jesus also not clear enough with saying: “This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the Messiah. ” (John 17:3 HNV)?

  • Nineteenth Century Protestant Doctrines of the Trinity (redeemingthetext.wordpress.com)
    The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity is, in brief form, one of how Enlightenment philosopher-theologians developed innovative ways to discuss the Trinity and their effectiveness leading into the twentieth century. Samuel Powell, Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Point Loma Nazarene University, makes the point that there is a typical narrative associated with nineteenth-century theology: Schleiermacher delivered the final blow and Barth revived it (267).
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    Not being convinced scripturally of the nature or the necessity of the Trinity, nineteenth-century theologians turned to philosophy to answer their questions. Powell describes it as providing “philosophical answers with expressly Trinitarian features (269).” This move loosened the shackles of theological presuppositions and creedal traditions. Nineteenth-century theology was freed to philosophically construct a new horizon for the doctrine of God. Powell examines four prominent figures to structure his argument.
  • How to Identify a Christian Cult (924jeremiah.wordpress.com) overlooks the fact what really makes a cult and talks about a figure, which is according the Bible the adversary of God. Though on the site is also written: “The followers of such cults will say that they believe in Jesus. They will use the terms “God” and “Holy Spirit.” They will talk about baptism, salvation, Heaven and Hell. Some will even acknowledge the cross as a means of atoning for sins.”
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    “Satan simply can’t afford to let his followers get too close to the truth about who Christ is, and what He accomplished on earth. So if you want to find out if you’re talking to a real Christian or not, start drilling them about Jesus.”
    But then overlooks that this Satan has his followers who do not want to accept taht Jesus really was tempted, could sin but did not sin. And gives the impression that those who do not want to take the words of God and Jesus for what they say are the good ones, or the churches to follow, whilst the ones who accept Jesus his offering for our sins (like we) and accept hat he is the “son of God” like God Himself said would be belonging to a sect, though they really believe in what Jesus himself said, accepting that he nor God would ever lie:
    ” (3)  “And this is everlasting life, that they should know You, the only true Elohim, and יהושע {Jehsua} Messiah whom You have sent.” (John 17:3 The Scriptures 1998+)
    What always surprises us is that such websites accusing certain denominations, like the Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons to be cult, never leave any place to react on what is said. (On January 23, 2014, there is no possibility to reply on the writings on that website, nor the above mentioned article.)
  • How to Avoid Being Led Astray by False Shepherds (924jeremiah.wordpress.com)
    If you’re like most Christians, you don’t know your Bible very well. You never went to Bible college or seminary. You’ve had no theological training. Can you really engage with the professionals and not get hurt? Can you really become wiser than them even though you don’t have any diplomas in Hebrew or theology? Of course you can. Keep reading.
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    As a member of God’s flock, you need to be constantly listening for His Voice in the things you hear and read.
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    The Holy Spirit is your resident Counselor. He is with you at all times. He is your Guardian, Teacher, and Truth Tester. You must not let any earthly being become equal to Him in your mind. No matter how many brilliant posts, books, or sermons someone cranks out, their next one could be a pack of lies. Never put your trust in a label, a name, a face, or a reputation. Everything must be checked with the Holy Spirit.
  • Like most websites on the Trinity Reflection: The Trinity (sydneystaggs.wordpress.com) does not leave any place to comment. though she writes luckily: “Take a look at scripture. What does it say about God the Father? What does it say about God the Son? What does it say about the Holy Spirit? How are they different?”
    We can only hope people would come to see what God says about Jesus and what Jesus says about his Father.
  • A Call for Division in the Visible Church (5ptsalt.com)
    if Unitarianism by its denial of the Holy Trinity has patently forfeited every claim to the Christian name, it is difficult to see how a church which has wittingly and willfully accepted the control of modernism, with its denial of the essential deity of Christ and such supernatural events as His virgin birth and bodily resurrection, has any right to be called Christian. Such a church should be denominated a false church and declared to be outside the Christian fold. If that were done, one of the greatest obstacles to the unification of the visible church would be eliminated. For theological liberalism, in all its clamor for ecumenism and church union, is working more effectively toward the disruption of the church of Christ than is any other force. The first need of the church of this day is not union, but division; however, division unto union.
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    the failure to keep the various teachings of Scripture in balance with each other and the consequent stressing of one or some of them out of all proportion to others, have frequently destroyed the visible unity of Christ’s church. Riding a theological hobby is by no means an innocent pastime. Of such sins it behooves churches everywhere to repent, and from them they must desist.- R. B. Kuiper, The Glorious Body of Christ, pp. 51-54
  • World Mission Society Church of God is saying the core of the Bible – God: Christ ahnsahnghong and God the mother (followersofahnsahnghong.wordpress.com)
    2000 years ago, the disciples who met Christ could find the way to the kingdom of heaven through his teachings. But as the time passed by, the way taught by Jesus disappeared by Satan who tried to disturb the Work of God’s Redemption (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 5:1.) How can we, human beings who lost the way of salvation, find it again? The Bible prophesies that Christ is to appear once again for our salvation.
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Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up

Coming to own spirituality

The inability to take one’s stated goals seriously is widely shared among the human race, as easily found among traditional religious believers and committed social justice workers as within the ranks of spiritual types.
How many Christians truly seek to follow Jesus’s teaching about wealth (shun it), retribution (“turn the other cheek”), or religious pride (definitely not for the Christian)?
How many social critics pursue their political goals with close-mindedness, arrogance, or careerism?

Many Christians like others are so consumed with living their own life of faith that they don’t have time left over to worry about other people’s failings.

creation spirituality

creation spirituality (Photo credit: lars hammar)

Modern spirituality tries to detach itself form conventional creeds, particularly willing to utilize a wide variety of traditional and non-traditional (e.g. psychotherapy, physically oriented hatha yoga) resources. It nevertheless faces the same struggles as serious people of any denomination. It will always be extremely difficult to discipline the mind, renounce addictive pleasures, care for strangers, accept disappointment, and be grateful when times are rough.  Whether we are motivated to do so because God commands us to, or because we just think it is the only way to a really good life, living this way will never come easy. And therefore the struggle to do so is something that “spiritual but not religious” types and the most orthodox of the faithful have in common.

File:Tahia.JPG

Getting carried away. – This Tahia is made of coloured papers flowers wattle and crock. It multiplies the beauty of image to a great extend. Such a decoration creates spiritual emotions in the hearts and mind of devotees in Car Festival. – Photo: Taraprasad Jena

We do have to avoid many common pitfalls by focusing on spiritual virtues of compassion and self-awareness, and not forgetting to look at the critically important goals of social change.
If compassion for others and willingness to ask oneself hard questions are part of what you are about, then spirituality  is something you can respect, for it is part of your life already. And if as a spiritual person you care about the fate of humans and the earth, political activism beckons as a vital spiritual practice.

Internal angst may not be the basic for our spiritualism. Though for many the quest for our being, the reason and why of our person shall be a good reason to become looking for more and to dig deep in to the grounds of spirituality. Looking for the reasons of this universe you may find that to deny God is to debase one’s own mind and dehumanize the whole person.

The world should know that it are not the ones who fear Jehovah as the Only One God that are fools. Those who do not believe in God bilious and bloated may laugh and say “God is gone.” or “There is no God.” For the ones who believe they may be a danger because they, by many times hearing the same corrupt words and breathing the same poison gas, fouling the air; they might believe that those vile deeds of unbelievers are more successful than the good deeds of Christians.

The spiritual minded, accepting the deeds of Jesus Christ should know that the atheists their thistles are their cash crop on which Jehovah God looks down. He sticks his head out of heaven. He looks around. He’s looking for someone not stupid — one man, even, God-expectant, just one God-ready woman. The Creator looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. For a long time God came up empty and perhaps He still finds there is no-one who does good, not even one.

File:Bosch follower Christ's dispute with the doctors in the temple (Louvre).jpg

Christ’s dispute with the doctors in the temple. – Jesus among the Doctors, Follower of Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)

We do have the choice to become one of “The ninety and nine who follow their fellow” or to become one of the few followers of Jesus Christ, the Messiah who many consider a joke.  See all those impostors and wonder if they don’t they know they can’t get away with this — Treating people like a fast-food meal over which they’re too busy to pray? Night is coming for them, and nightmares, for God takes the side of victims. Do you think you can mess with the dreams of the poor? You can’t, for God makes their dreams come true. When you are looking for God, willing to dig deep in your mind, meditating on His words you may be sure the True God is present in the company of the righteous and will be willing to come to you also. God is around, not only to save Israel, but also to save you.

14 The foolish* one says in his heart:“There is no Jehovah.”+Their actions are corrupt, and their dealings are detestable; No one is doing good.But Jehovah looks down from heaven on the sons of men To see whether anyone has insight, whether anyone is seeking Jehovah.They have all turned aside;+ They are all alike corrupt. No one is doing good, Not even one.  Do none of the wrongdoers understand? They devour my people as if they were eating bread. They do not call on Jehovah.  But they will be filled with great terror,+ For Jehovah is with the generation of the righteous.  You wrongdoers try to frustrate the plans of the lowly one, But Jehovah is his refuge.O that Israel’s salvation may come from Zion!+ When Jehovah gathers back his captive people, Let Jacob be joyful, let Israel rejoice. (Psalm 14)

The one true God who has revealed Himself in Scripture as a God of grace and forgiveness, who so loved the world that He gave His Son as an atonement for sin, so “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness,” according to 1 Peter 2:24, shall be there with those who are willing to follow the footsteps of the Nazarene and to take on the mind of Christ to become spiritual and following the Spirit of the Most High.

21 In fact, to this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you,+ leaving a model for you to follow his steps closely.+ 22 He committed no sin,+ nor was deception found in his mouth.+ 23 When he was being insulted,*+ he did not insult* in return.+ When he was suffering,+ he did not threaten, but he entrusted himself to the One who judges+ righteously. 24 He himself bore our sins+ in his own body on the stake,*+ so that we might die to* sins and live to righteousness. And “by his wounds you were healed.”+ 25 For you were like sheep going astray,+ but now you have returned to the shepherd+ and overseer of your souls.* (1 Peter 2:21-25)

He graciously compels us to thank Him, and He himself should top the list of things we are thankful for.

Please do look around you and see how people bring into practice what they say they believe. Look at those who call themselves Christian and check if they are living according the commandments of Christ.

In the previous chapter we did ask:

Can you identify the people who are following in the footsteps of Christ and preaching the good news of the Kingdom around the world?

Everywhere in the world there are many people who are loving God so much that they are prepared to go out on the streets and to preach in His Name. Many are afraid of those who witness about the Creator God, whose Name should resound all over the world, and than the end would come. Are you recognising those who preach in the Name of Jehovah God and who would love to get to know as many people as possible Jehovah‘s name and His Kingdom?

Find people who study the Word of God and who are sharing the love of God with each other. Find people who are wiling to come together in the Name of the Only One True God, to worship Him according His rules and regulations and not according the many pagan rituals and human traditions.

Of course, there are other characteristics that identify a truly spiritual person, but how do you measure up to those already considered? To find out, ask yourself:

‘Do I regularly read God’s Word, the Bible, and reflect on what I read? Do I manifest the fruitage of the spirit in my life? Am I a man or a woman of prayer? Do I want to associate with the people who are carrying out the worldwide preaching of the good news of God’s Kingdom?’

An honest self-examination may help you to determine the depth of your spirituality. We urge you to take the necessary steps now so that “life and peace” may be your lot.

8 Therefore, those in union with Christ Jesus have no condemnation. For the law of the spirit that gives life in union with Christ Jesus has set you free+ from the law of sin and of death. What the Law was incapable of doing+ because it was weak+ through the flesh, God did by sending his own Son+ in the likeness of sinful flesh+ and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us+ who walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.+For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh,+ but those who live according to the spirit, on the things of the spirit.+For setting the mind on the flesh means death,+ but setting the mind on the spirit means life and peace;+because setting the mind on the flesh means enmity with God,+ for it is not in subjection to the law of God, nor, in fact, can it be. So those who are in harmony with the flesh cannot please God.—(Romans 8:1-6-8)

13 “Go in through the narrow gate,+ because broad is the gate and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are going in through it; 14 whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are finding it.+ (Matthew 7:13, 14)

For this very reason, put forth all earnest effort+ to supply to your faith virtue,+ to your virtue knowledge,+ to your knowledge self-control, to your self-control+ endurance, to your endurance godly devotion,+ to your godly devotion brotherly affection, to your brotherly affection love.+ For if these things exist in you and overflow, they will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful*+ regarding the accurate knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For anyone lacking these things is blind, shutting his eyes to the light,*+ and has become forgetful of his cleansing from his sins+ of long ago. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling+ and choosing sure for yourselves, for if you keep on doing these things, you will by no means ever fail.+ 11 In fact, in this way you will be richly granted* entrance into the everlasting Kingdom+ of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.+ (2 Peter 1:5-11).

Let us all be aware or remember:

Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a person is sowing, this he will also reap;+because the one sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but the one sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit.+ (Galatians 6:7, 8)

By our willingness to become spiritual and are preparedness to follow God His commandments we can free our mind and become true followers of Christ Jesus, helping each other by exhorting and edifying each other in the mind of Christ and by strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith even when we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.

24 “Exert yourselves vigorously to get in through the narrow door,+ because many, I tell you, will seek to get in but will not be able. (Luke 13:24)

22 There they strengthened the disciples,*+ encouraging them to remain in the faith and saying: “We must enter into the Kingdom of God through many tribulations.”+ (Acts 14:22)

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Preceding articles:

Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro

Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite

Looking for True Spirituality 3 Mind of Christ

Looking for True Spirituality 4 Getting to Know the Mind of Christ

Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit

Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer

Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News

Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful

Dutch version of this article / De Nederlandse versie van dit artikel: Op zoek naar spiritualiteit 7 Prediking van het goede nieuws

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Additional reading:

  1. Determine the drive
  2. Compassion and Discipline
  3. Digging in words, theories and artefacts
  4. Exceeding Great and Precious Promise
  5. The builder of the Kingdom
  6. Kingdom of God what will it be like
  7. Christ’s ethical teaching
  8. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  9. A Living Faith #9 Our Manner of Life
  10. Some one or something to fear #7 Not afraid for Gods Name
  11. Rejoice even though bound to grieve
  12. Those who make peace should plant peace like a seed
  13. Looking forward to God’s faithfulness
  14. Bringing Good News into the world
  15. The Involvement of true discipleship
  16. Testify of the things heard
  17. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  18. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  19. A Voice to be heard
  20. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  21. Blogging for Jesus…
  22. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  23. Words to push and pull
  24. Good or bad preacher
  25. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  26. How should we preach?
  27. Breathing and growing with no heir
  28. Breathing to teach
  29. Bringing Good News into the world
  30. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  31. Holland Week of billing
  32. Trying to get the youth inspired
  33. When discouraged facing opposition
  34. Who are you going to reach out to today
  35. Praise the God with His Name
  36. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  37. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  38. Belonging to or being judged by
  39. Not all will inherit the Kingdom
  40. Knowing where to go to
  41. United people under Christ

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  • How Does One Measure True Spiritual Satisfaction? (jordanbattiste.wordpress.com)religion
    I don’t think there are any monks praying in a hidden temple amongst the clouds, but I do know a little about the people who practice yoga and go to AA meetings and commit to altruism and humanitarian acts.
    +
    Can someone be spiritual and not believe in God? What about atheists and agnostics? Austin Cline from About wrote, “if spirituality really is best described as a highly personalized and privatized religious belief system, then the answer to the question is clearly “yes.” Atheism is not only compatible with the adoption of a public, organized religious belief system, it is also compatible with the adoption of a very personal and private religious faith.” Of all my speculation, this is the most satisfying answer yet. It’s objective and not riddled with bias – less truly is more.
  • I’m Confused About My Spiritual Beliefs. (thespiritualguru.wordpress.com)
    Every person is free to explore their Spirituality as they see fit. This just happens to agree with the Bible. As in Genesis God created man, and he gave man the power of Free Will. Man could choose for himself the path he would take.
    In many eastern traditions the concept of freewill is paramount. Buddhists believe that the choices we make not only affect our lives and Karma, but those around us as well. This is true, when you consider the interactions you have with others.
    What a person believes, or has faith in will determine their path in life. Faith is necessary for spiritually. It is belief in something you can’t explain. Some will say that if it can’t be proved logically it can’t exist. However humans are not the logical creatures we think we are.
    The Human mind has a logical and illogical side. The illogical is imagination, faith, belief, hope, emotion. None of which are logical. The logical side is the reasoning side, where we interact and classify what we see and touch. Where we solve problems and use our experience to keep from making the same mistakes. This logical side, however, can’t explain the other side.
    +
    Am I Crazy?
    A person will believe many things during their lives that have not been proven as 100% fact.
    +
    Whatever you choose to believe is OK. In the end your the one who has to decide to stand behind your convictions what ever they might be.
  • Short Sermons (attycortes.wordpress.com)
    a post of Peter Leithart on Pope Francis’ advice on preaching. > For Short Sermons
    Francis gives sound advice on preaching: The homily “is a distinctive genre, since it is preaching situated within the framework of a liturgical celebration; hence it should be brief and avoid taking on the semblance of a speech or a lecture. A preacher may be able to hold the attention of his listeners for a whole hour, but in this case his words become more important than the celebration of faith. If the homily goes on too long, it will affect two characteristic elements of the liturgical celebration: its balance and its rhythm. When preaching takes place within the context of the liturgy, it is part of the offering made to the Father and a mediation of the grace which Christ pours out during the celebration. This context demands that preaching should guide the assembly, and the preacher, to a life-changing communion with Christ in the Eucharist.”

  • New Creation (bhkmparish.wordpress.com)
    Paul prays first that we would be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Paul wants us to know what God’s will is for our lives as individuals and as a congregation. To get that knowledge we’ll need spiritual wisdom and understanding. This is not just book-learning about the Christian faith (although some of that will help), but rather a deeper sense of who we now are in Christ.
    +
    Paul prays that we would grow in holiness, or in his words, that we would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
  • ‘Be born in us today’ (bhkmparish.wordpress.com)
    Those with whom our Lord is pleased and in whom His peace rests are those who, on this joyous day, glorify and sing praise to God in their hearts
  • Do Preachers Know the Power of the Holy Spirit? (Martyn Lloyd-Jones) (chosenrebel.me)
    If a pastor always gets “expected” results, is he in danger of doing ministry apart from the power of the Spirit?
    +
    He may have been very ill, a thousand and one things may have happened to him, and he may go into the pulpit with fear and trembling, feeling that he hasn’t done his work; he’s got nothing. And it may be one of the most glorious services he has ever had the privilege of conducting. Why? Because he doesn’t control the power [within of the Holy Spirit]. It varies. And not only in preaching but in daily life and experience. It is the well of water that is within us and we don’t control it. It controls us.
  • Raising Children to be Witnesses, Not Just Spectators (astrugglingdad.wordpress.com)
    Raising my children with the eyes of faith, I have come to realize that this grace given to us comes with an even greater responsibility. I realize more and more that it is not enough to merely raise children who go through the motions of practicing their Catholic faith no matter how sincere or well-intentioned they may be. The task must be to nurture them to live their faith in a way that will engage and impact the growing faithlessness in the world.

  • Should a believer wait to have a “burden” before witnessing? (marcminter.wordpress.com)
    When is the right time to witness to someone?  What does a Christian need to know before witnessing or evangelizing?  Must a Christian wait to witness to someone until he or she is burdened or compelled by some inward sensation?  This question may be phrased in numerous ways and yet ask basically the same thing.  I think asking and answering three larger questions will help us answer these and others more definitively, as well as guide our understanding of evangelism or witnessing in general.
  • Meditation to Develop Witness Consciousness (rhondamills.wordpress.com)
    Regardless which style of meditation is practiced, the mistake that many people make is to think they are not good at meditating, or not being successful in the meditation because their mind wanders. Yes, your mind is going to wander. Coming back to the focus of the meditation – again and again as many times as needed – is part of the practice. Having to do that doesn’t mean you’ve failed; it means you are practicing.
  • Witnessing (hrobertsonblog.wordpress.com)
    It is precious and sacred to think on babies, and to remember my own special young motherhood and firsts in parenting. However, it is the magnitude of  a maturing relationship with Jesus Christ, my Savior that brings me to my knees. Unbelievable, that he would care for me a rebellious sinner. Care enough to die for me…is wonderful.
  • the last hour’s letter from the last apostle of the first twelve (kzlam36.wordpress.com)
    By this we know that we are in Him.  He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
    +
    Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
  • “On Meditation” – channelled spiritual message from The Circle of The Light of The Love Energy (earthmessagepress.com) discusses if we have to look in the quit to come to the light of creation.
  • In spite of insight (justmebeingcurious.com)

    One problem with written materials is that you only have whatever the author wrote down. If you have additional questions or don’t fully understand, you’re stuck. The attitude of many was, “I would prefer to learn from a disciple of Jesus or a disciple of a disciple than from a scroll.”

    And then comes The Main Man into the equation. Tapping the blackboard, whispering quietly, listening and nodding, laughing and rolling around on the floor … making it Fun! Some call it insight – I call it “in spite of insight”.

  • On Faith and Spirituality (zebrapotential.wordpress.com)
    I have felt for quite some time that god is a form of energy.  That palpable part of the universe for me that I feel everyday.  My personal energy is what I rely on the most.  It is my gauge for happy, competent or tired and needing to recharge.  I haven’t really developed this belief in god as energy.  Obvious to me is that spirituality is shared.  So, how will I share the energy given me and be receptive to that energy flowing back from others?
  • The Revisionaries (2012) (docdailyblog.wordpress.com)
    The Revisionaries is frightening because I can’t help but think about what a disadvantage Texan schoolchildren who are affected by these textbook changes will have when they get to college. Unless these Texan children attend a religious specific college they will be behind and a lot of the information they have [such as God being in the constitution] will be challenged and they will suffer as a result. At the least in college they will have to re-learn everything religion has touched in their educational career. I believe these board members’ decisions to make religion the priority will put the kids in Texas at a major disadvantage compared to the rest of the country.
  • Why study the Bible? (illustrationstoencourage.wordpress.com)
    Today there is more information available than ever before. But the big questions- questions about life, suffering and death still remain. Where can we find answers? What if the answers have been there all along, in the Bible.

Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people

My Philosophy Bookshelf(bottom)

A Philosophy Bookshelf(bottom) (Photo credit: jddunn)

As a human being we are constantly confronted with many thoughts. Some tried to mould these thoughts in a shape which they could make understandable for others. Humans also tried to understand the ultimate foundations of spiritual intuitions, questioning if such spiritual intuitions could ultimately be grounded in the nature of fundamental reality, and not wholly be reflective of socio-cultural conventions or neuro-biological mechanisms.  Investigation of this open issue is important because of the implications, whichever way the answer turns out, for social and political policy, and personal and social health and welfare. Many of the questions posed by man should come to be answered to  succeed in the quest to understand and adhere to one’s spiritual intuitions. The main question al people carry in their heart is the reason of our existence. How many of us do not wonder if life has a positive purpose? Many also would like to see that the life, their are going through, would be fair and compassionate.  This is distinct from religiousness, which designates one’s adherence to the tenets of an institution regarded as having authority concerning how one should live and what is ultimately true.

Beyond the personal struggle for survival and security we can not repudiate that there lies a universal human quest to find answers to such perennial spiritual questions:  What is the meaning of life?  Does existence have a purpose?  How should we live?  What has real value?  Does anything matter?

Handbook of Religion and Health

Handbook of Religion and Health (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Therefore according to many “spirituality” is indeed typically defined in terms of a “personal quest for understanding answers to ultimate questions about life, about meaning, and about relationship to the sacred or transcendent” {Koenig HG, McCullough ME, Larson DB. Handbook of Religion and Health. New York  N.Y.: Oxford University Press 2001}. In the previous chapters we saw already that  spirituality in this sense is distinct from “religion”, which is typically defined as “an organized system of beliefs, practices, rituals, and symbols designed

(a) to facilitate closeness to the sacred or transcendent (God, higher power, or ultimate truth/reality) and

(b) to foster an understanding of one’s relationship and responsibility to others in living together in a community”. {Koenig HG, McCullough ME, Larson DB. Handbook of Religion and Health. New York  N.Y.: Oxford University Press 2001}

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several philosophers tried to explain the way things are, looking for concrete measurable answers (sometimes). They want to give the people around them explanation how everything could have come into existence and to which order could stay into existence. Often the philosophers love to think they could bring an objective picture of reality without telling us explicitly (although often they do implicitly) how we should be in relationship to that picture. All through the years thousands of philosophers gave their opinion of the way everything could be placed in order. Lots of them thought they could give an answer or convince people of the answer of the good and the bad of humankind.

For the philosophers ‘Philosophy‘ is in the thinking, searching mind. By going deep in ourself we even could come to an illumining mind. this going into the self could bring us further into the sacral. Both the philosopher and the spiritual minded do perhaps have the same goals, wanting to find the origin and reason and the height of life. Though the lover of the higher existence, the “what is behind life’ wants to reach a point of connection with that ‘Higher Point’, which can be the Void or a or the Supreme Being, a or The Spirit or Nature Phenomenal. The religious person may ad the dimension of conscious or unconscious response to the beckoning ‘Light‘ and responding to beliefs in the lofty experiences of predecessors and organisations, temples or churches, wanting to see the depth of life. In contrast the man of spirituality wants to go much further and does not want to be restricted by any sort of dogmatic teaching imposed on him by other humans. In his quest and meditation he wants to come to see the reality of life and the reality in life.

For the philosopher there is no reason at all to come into a relationship with somebody else when it is about the being of himself. Some may consider that the philosopher is only using everyday language, which is locally normed and cultural defined, to explain the things which can be clearly seen or which we clearly understand to be present in the universe. The philosophy as such is by some seen merely as an ideology supporting accepted wisdom of the moment, like economy, mathematics, physiology, archaeology, natural science and the rest of the humanities. The anthropologist may study all others in relationship with each other and the environment, leaving himself excluded.

The Spiritual person on the other hand wants to come into relationship with something more than the ‘I’ or ‘Self‘. As a person the spiritual minded person also would love to see a relationship with everything what is around him or her. For the spiritual minded person the spirituality is a description of a position that he or she as a human being should take in relationship to the way things are.

Festival of Spirituality and Peace, Edinburgh 2009

Festival of Spirituality and Peace, Edinburgh 2009 (Photo credit: Student Christian Movement)

Philosophy of Spirituality is concerned with understanding the ultimate foundations of spiritual intuitions.  Although the nature of this grounding is unresolved, there are some philosophical and empirical reasons for thinking that.

A lover of philosophy may talk about human’ existence, man’s  and God’s Vision, even without mentioning The Creator God. But the Divine God Creator has created human being in His image with a purpose, to live in the universe, to give animals and plants names and to take care of the whole earth as good as he can. The God loving person may find in this Divine Creator the reason for him being here and could find it necessary to take part in actions which would give a sign of his recognising the Lord of lords to be the Most High to be worshipped.  In such instance, recognising the Divine Power of the Creator, the lover of religion shall also talks about God’s Power. The person recognising God His Power to be the Most High, but also the extreme highest position a being can have, not out of selfishness or wanting to get in the place of the Supreme High Being, but wanting to come as close as possible near to that Supreme Highest Spirit, shall try is utmost best to come into the knowledge of That Being  and to transform himself into a better being than he is at that moment. The one believing in God, loving to become close to Him shall know that it will be necessary for him to get to know the Rules of This God and to apply those rules, guidelines, instructions or commandments. He shall also know how important it is for accepting that he shall have to give an opening to allow the Glory of God appearing in our character. The Spiritual person shall do his utmost best to get over all his material indispositions and get his spiritual being more in the forefront. We should know that the spiritual side of the human being should be more important than the material side of it. A lover of spirituality shall come to know that God is a God of Compassion, willing to accept the deficiencies of our human state. For the spiritually minded it might not be so important as for the lover of philosophy to see God’s Face. The spiritual minded person may also get himself involved in philosophy and also may become religious, trying to get to know the Beginner or Maker of all things and to come to face Him or It and to come to see straight in That God’s Eye.

English: Russian ancient book, «Spiritual Rule...

Russian ancient book, «Spiritual Rules», 1721 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The religious person may be more concerned in the involvement of his person in the honouring or worshipping whilst the lover of spirituality shall be more interested in the real relationship with that Supreme Being and be concentrating on his way to grow into God’s all compassionate Heart.

In this materialistic world a man of philosophy may be considered a dreamer, a man of religion of foolishness, being carried away by dreams while he wants to be an observer. Next to them there is the man of spirituality who is a divine lover, knowing that

A divine dreamer, a divine observer and a divine lover are good friends.

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Preceding articles:

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences

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Please do find to read:

  1. The business of this life
  2. Meaning of life
  3. Live …
  4. A philosophical error which rejects the body as part of the human person
  5. Thirst for happiness and meaning
  6. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  7. Religion and spirituality
  8. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  9. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  10. Glory of God appearing in our character
  11. We all are changed into the same image from glory to glory
  12. Created to live in relation with God
  13. Without God no purpose, no goal, no hope
  14. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  15. From pain to purpose
  16. Chief means by which men are built up
  17. A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses
  18. It is a free will choice
  19. Your life the sum total of all your choices
  20. What part of the Body am I?
  21. Golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters obedience
  22. Growth in character
  23. Greatest single cause of atheism
  24. Golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters obedience
  25. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  26. How we think shows through in how we act
  27. Raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair
  28. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  29. Followers with deepening
  30. Thomas Aquinas on Wisdom by Robert M. Woods
  31. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  32. Wisdom lies deep
  33. Science and Religion Harmonized (Once and For All…)

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Additional reading:

  1. What is the difference between Philosophy and Spirituality
  2. Philosophy is a Dead Language – RIP
  3. The Problem Is That (You Think) You Think Too Much
  4. Philosophers, those bloated parasites…
  5. Word of the Week: ‘Philosophy’
  6. Why Take Philosophy A Level?
  7. Religion Vs. Spiritual
  8. Mapping the Possible Relations between “Religious,” “Spiritual,” “Humanistic” and “Secular” Sensibilities
  9. What Wishes to Come to Being through You?
  10. Is There Still a Place for Religion?
  11. Who is religious?
  12. Spirituality is the world around us
  13. Consumerism vs Spirituality

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  • Where are the thinkers? (thehindu.com)
    Much of the freedom movement was explicitly inspired by a sense of pride in the achievements of ancient Indian philosophies and traditions. Influential public thinkers like Coomaraswamy argued the case of the unity of Indian philosophy and aesthetics. And few countries can boast of having an eminent philosopher as President — India had S. Radhakrishnan.
    However, at a concrete level, the status of philosophy as a serious academic discipline is nowhere near what might be suggested by its role in the freedom movement. In the years since Independence, it has disappeared from the public and cultural imagination and this has, in turn, led to it become something of a backwater even in academia. It no more captures the imagination of political figures, or new generations of students.

Illustration: Satwik Gade

  • The Forever All: A Philosophical and Spiritual Guide (thepeacefulpantheist.wordpress.com)
    ”In my viewthe-forever-all-cover-art-01-300dpi, the entire universe is the Supreme Being, an infinite, purposeful system of positive and negative forces which has always existed and always will, and each of us is that eternal being of light and darkness.
    +
    How I Became a Pantheist by Guyus Seralius
    Even now, when I search the term pantheism on the Internet, it seems to be a very untapped subject in comparison to atheism, deism, Buddhism, and so on.
    +
    The church gave them a sense of community and provided them with a social network. This of course predates all the online social networks now so available on the Internet. Sociologist have claimed for years, based on studies, that social networking is one of the main reasons most people do attend church or why they join a religion—it allows them to feel a sense of belonging.
    +
    Anyone of us can say “I am the universe or I am the All.” Philosophers and Spiritualists have been saying something along these lines for centuries. Hippies were definitely known for saying such things during the late 60s and early 70s, but most of us never gave it much attention or took it too seriously. It was usually just something a hippie often said to sound philosophically deep or spiritual. The truth is though, I don’t think most hippies even truly knew just how accurate they were.
  • Postmodernism, Wisdom & Rebuke (rethinkerblog.wordpress.com)
    Postmodernity has found its way into our architecture, our entertainment, our technologies and certainly our philosophies and religious systems. In a philosophical nutshell, postmodernism is the belief that there is no one universal belief: that your truth is your truth, and my truth is my truth. But more than that, it is skepticism toward Any system of belief. In his seminal work: The Postmodern Condition, French philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard, Lyotard describes postmodernism as an “incredulity towards metanarratives.” Individually, postmodernism affords us our own adoptable moral criteria, unchallenged by others. But holistically, it keeps us all in a state of mistrust.
    +
    How can you tell someone what he or she is doing is right or wrong if his or her personally adopted belief system may claim the exact opposite?
    +
    Historically as a culture, when we distanced ourselves from God and his dogmatic mandates, we distanced ourselves from wisdom. And when we brushed off God’s holistic intent of prosperity and protection, we invited in its postfall antithesis: disease, decay and destruction.
    +
    Becoming People of “True Faith”
    The secular world might concede a slight bit more, accepting that perhaps these people of faith did at some point in their lives experience something “spiritual” or, according to science, “unexplainable.” That unexplainable spiritual (or more likely psychological) phenomenon is then called “God.” Just as another’s unexplainable phenomena might be personally claimed as an encounter with Buddha, or the Great Other, or Nature or some other metaphysical expression.
    Unfortunately, much of the American Christian church has not only surrendered itself to this secularized label of “faith,” but it also has offered little objective evidence of anything to the contrary.

    But for those having experienced true eternal life conversion, the secularized faith label is not merely annulled; it is completely transformed, and, as I soon will show, to the betterment of society as a whole.
    +
    a true Christian’s faith no longer is relegated to merely the hope that God does in fact really exist and that the Christian’s belief system is a valid one. The evidence of that initial faith is crystallized with the first actual experience of His presence and His voice. Not a metaphysical force or an idea – but a real and tangible encounter with a true and very real God.

    A true person of faith no longer clings to the shallow hope that his or her God might exist while still never having experienced a modicum of His presence or nature. Like Columbus’ crewmates, proven faith transcends hope. For a true Christian, faith is transformed. It is not based on the reality of a now proven God, but in the assurance that the words this very real God has spoken – are possible in our lives.

  • Mapping the Possible Relations between “Religious,” “Spiritual,” “Humanistic” and “Secular” Sensibilities (villasophiasalon.wordpress.com)
    The Dialectically Related  Mutual Approach takes the position that words like religious, spiritual, humanistic, and secular need not necessarily be construded as either absolutely exclusive, tolerantly inclusive, or impossibly ambiguous. Instead, they are words that suggest different psychological temperaments and casts of mind, as well as fluxuating moods within a single individual across a period of time. Our relationship to these words may be more aesthetic and metaphorical than scientistic and metaphysical. By way of analogy we may resonate with and enjoy many different kinds of music…in historical era, compositional genre, emotional mood, and artistic style.
  • Bertrand Russell on the science v religion debate | Clare Carlisle (theguardian.com)
    Bertrand Russell did not consider himself an expert on ethics and religion, and it is true that his writing on these subjects lacks the originality and sophistication of his philosophical work on mathematics. His criticisms of religion are often similar – in essence if not in tone – to opinions voiced by contemporary atheists: he argued that religious beliefs cause wars and persecution, are moralistic and oppressive, and foster fear. However, it is precisely for this reason that it is worth looking again at Russell’s rejection of Christianity. Anyone concerned with defending religion against its typical modern detractors must recognise Russell as a worthy opponent, for he was an intelligent, principled and humane man of the world who undoubtedly led a meaningful life.
    +
    Is religion based on fear?
    The most powerful aspect of Bertrand Russell’s critique of religious belief is his claim that religion is based on fear, and that fear breeds cruelty. His philosophical arguments against the existence of God may not touch the lives of many ordinary people, but his more psychological point about fear has to be taken seriously by all of us. In his 1927 lecture “Why I am not a Christian” – delivered to the south London branch of the National Secular Society – Russell expressed his point with characteristic clarity: “Religion is based primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing – fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things.” No doubt he was preaching to the converted on this occasion.

    There are actually two elements to Russell’s diagnosis of religion here. The first is that religious belief is a symptom of fear: aware that our lives are precarious and vulnerable, we seek the protection of a powerful deity, to comfort ourselves with an illusion of safety. The second is that fear is a symptom of religion: in particular, doctrines of punishment in both this life and the next cause ignorant believers to live in fear unnecessarily. There is little doubt that this analysis has some truth on both points; perhaps it explains quite accurately the causes and effects of religious belief in a significant number of cases. But do such cases represent religion itself, or are they a distortion of it?

  • Spirituality (dustindemille.wordpress.com)
    I believe in Goodness, Peace, Love, Faith, Truth, Compassion, Honesty, Character, Integrity, Strength, Courage, and Wisdom.  I enjoy reading and writing about spiritual, religious, and philosophical subjects.
  • Patterns of manipulation and how to Spot Them (aquarianagethings.wordpress.com)
    The only answer is to get True Freedom. One of the most important is Spiritual Freedom and that includes freedom from religion.
    +
    the answer lies inside of you and that these is no need for religion per say because you are inextricably part of that Source already. I call it Source for lack of a better term.
    +
    Most want to keep you docile and looking for something outside that can never be reached or found. The Sages, Yogis and Wise men of the East have known this for a long time, but they have failed miserably at letting others know.
  • A Misconception of Spirituality (suskiwen.wordpress.com)
    The misconception of spirituality is that once we turn to it, we should be positive and then we will be healed. We have taken the wrong approach because struggles cannot be sublimed, they can only be confronted and experienced in spirit. Spirituality is not a means to an end (healed).
    When we surrender from the practical world and turn to seek the spirit for guidance, we are entering a commitment that requires our part to do the act of seeking. Each time we ask, we allow ourselves to be fully conscious and present in momentary experience so we are able to see what is true; and whether good or bad, the spirit will find itself there, and where it leads you is where you need to be. It is the “there” where spirit feels and spirit heals.
  • A Misconception of Spirituality (wilddose.wordpress.com)
    Spirituality is a commitment. It is the commitment of the body, the mind and the spirit to co-exist into one entity to deal with the experience assigned to you. It is not a destination, it is not an accident that at random, decides to splash the hues of life into your dullest hour, it is the commitment to a life of continuous practice to act as a vessel to patience, joy and balance in any situation or circumstance.
  • Why Science Doesn’t Trump Spirituality (speakablepath.wordpress.com)
    It is often thought that life can be understood either scientifically or spiritually. Strict adherents to science believe that, since the universe can be explained scientifically, there is no need for spirituality or mysticism. They think that scientifically proving and explaining the physical causes for phenomena eliminates the necessity for spirituality. What is the point of having faith in something non-physical when there is perfectly credible, physical proof? Surely in this advanced technological age humanity has outgrown the need for a higher power.

Reconciling Science and Religion

Reconciling Science and Religion

Science and religion [are] no longer seen as incompatible.”—The Daily Telegraph, London, May 26, 1999.

Clerks studying astronomy and geometry. France...

Clerks studying astronomy and geometry. France, early 15th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Both science and religion, in their noblest forms, involve the search for truth. Science discovers a world of magnificent order, a universe that contains distinctive marks of intelligent design. True religion makes these discoveries meaningful by teaching that the mind of the Creator lies behind the design manifest in the physical world.

“I find my appreciation of science is greatly enriched by religion,”

says Francis Collins, a molecular biologist. He continues:

“When I discover something about the human genome, I experience a sense of awe at the mystery of life, and say to myself, ‘Wow, only God knew before.’ It is a profoundly beautiful and moving sensation, which helps me appreciate God and makes science even more rewarding for me.”

What will help one to reconcile science and religion?

An Enduring Quest

Accept the limits:

No end is in sight in our quest for answers about the infinite universe, space, and time. Biologist Lewis Thomas noted:

“There will be no end to this process, being the insatiably curious species that we are, exploring, looking around and trying to understand things. We’re not ever going to get it solved. I can’t imagine any terminal point where everyone will breathe a sigh and will say, ‘Now we understand the whole thing.’ It’s going to remain beyond us.”

Similarly, when it comes to religious truth, the reach is boundless. One of the Bible writers, Paul, stated:

“Now we see only puzzling reflections in a mirror . . . My knowledge now is partial.”—1 Corinthians 13:12, The New English Bible.

Partial knowledge concerning both scientific and religious questions, however, does not prevent us from reaching sound conclusions based on the facts we have. We don’t need a detailed knowledge of the origin of the sun in order to be absolutely sure that it is going to rise tomorrow.

Let the known facts speak:

Science and Religion are portrayed to be in ha...

Science and Religion are portrayed to be in harmony in the Tiffany window Education (1890). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the quest for answers, we need to be guided by sound principles. Unless we stick to the highest standards of evidence, we can easily be misled in our search for scientific and religious truth. Realistically, none of us can begin to evaluate all scientific knowledge and ideas, which today fill huge libraries. On the other hand, the Bible provides a manageable compendium of spiritual teachings for our consideration. The Bible is well supported by known facts.*

However, concerning knowledge in general, earnest effort is required to distinguish between fact and speculation, between reality and deception—in both science and religion. As the Bible writer Paul advised, we need to reject “the contradictions of the falsely called ‘knowledge.’” (1 Timothy 6:20) To reconcile science and the Bible, we must let the facts speak for themselves, thereby avoiding conjecture and speculation, and examine how each fact supports and adds to the other.

For example, when we understand that the Bible uses the term “day” to represent various periods of time, we see that the account of the six creative days in Genesis need not conflict with the scientific conclusion that the age of the earth is about four and a half billion years. According to the Bible, the earth existed for an unstated period before the creative days began. (See note 2: “The Creative Days—24 Hours Each?”) Even if science corrects itself and suggests a different age for our planet, the statements made in the Bible still hold true. Instead of contradicting the Bible, science in this and many other cases actually provides us with voluminous supplemental information about the physical world, both present and past.

Faith, not credulity:

The Bible provides us with knowledge of God and his purposes that cannot be gleaned from any other source. Why should we trust it? The Bible itself invites us to test its accuracy. Consider its historical authenticity, its practicality, the candour of its writers, and its integrity. By investigating the accuracy of the Bible, including statements of a scientific nature and, even more convincingly, the unerring fulfilment of hundreds of prophecies throughout the ages and into our present day, one can acquire firm faith in it as the Word of God. Faith in the Bible is not credulity but a proven confidence in the accuracy of Scriptural statements.

Respect science; acknowledge belief:

People should as such not look so much for words of people but should look more for Words coming from the Divine Creator Himself. When we do find His Word we should trust in that Word of God. The apostle Paul stated:

“When you received God’s word, which you heard from us, you accepted it, not as the word of men, but, just as it truthfully is, as the word of God.”—1 Thessalonians 2:13.

English: Home bible study with the help of a b...

Home bible study with the help of a bible teacher. The yellow book seen in the photo is What Does the Bible Really Teach? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course, as with science, damaging falsehoods and practices have infiltrated religion. Thus, there is true religion and false religion. That is why many people have left organized, mainstream religion to become members of other smaller Christian congregations. Those people came to understand it would be better to join those who are not of the majority mainstream Christian churches, but are people who live conform the Biblical truth. Many searchers for truth have been disappointed by the unwillingness of their previous religions to disavow human tradition and myth in favour of discovered or revealed truth. Therefore they found it more appropriate to join the perhaps more hated group of Bible readers and more active Bible Students, because they found it more important to do the Will of God instead of keeping to traditions and popularity.

What is more, true Christians find real meaning and purpose in life, based on an intimate knowledge of the Creator, as he is revealed in the Bible, and of His expressed intentions for humankind and the planet we live on. Those serious Bible Students have been satisfied with reasonable, Bible-based answers to such questions as, Why are we here? Where are we going? They would be more than glad to share these insights with you.

*

Notes:

1. See The Bible—God’s Word or Man’s? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

2. The Creative Days—24 Hours Each?

  Some fundamentalists claim

that creationism rather than evolution explains pre-human history. They

assert that all physical creation was produced in just six days of 24

hours each sometime between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. But in doing so,

they promote an unscriptural teaching that has caused many to ridicule

the Bible.

  Is a day in the Bible always literally 24 hours in length? Genesis 2:4 speaks of “the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.” This one day encompasses all six of the creative days of Genesis chapter 1.

According to Bible usage, a day is a measured period of time and can be

a thousand years or many thousands of years. The Bible’s creative days

allow for thousands of years of time each. Further, the earth was

already in existence before the creative days began. (Genesis 1:1) On this point, therefore, the Bible account is compatible with true science.

However, do not let this escape your notice, beloved ones, that one day is with Jehovah* as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.+ (2 Peter 3:8).

  Commenting on claims that the

creative days were only 24 literal hours in length, molecular biologist

Francis Collins remarks:

“Creationism has done more harm to serious

notions of belief than anything in modern history.”

+

Preceding articles:

Bible containing scientific information

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)

Science and the Bible—Do They Really Contradict Each Other?

Are Science and the Bible Compatible?

Science and Religion Harmonized (Once and For All…)

Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: Wetenschap en religie zijn met elkaar te rijmen

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Additional reading:

  1. God’s design in the creation of the world
  2. Only one God
  3. God is One
  4. Attributes to God
  5. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  6. Incomplete without the mind of God
  7. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  8. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  9. Creation of the earth out of something
  10. Life and attitude of a Christian
  11. Is it “Wrong” to Believe that the Earth is a Sphere? Inclusive the first generation of Christadelphians their views
  12. A dialogue about the earth moving and spinning around the sun
  13. Everyday beauty

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Find also related:

  • Fulfilled Prophecy – Proof of Bible’s Divine Inspiration?
  • Izak Burger who replied to Forbes article “Jerry Coyne’s Twisted History of Science and Religion”: Enter Copernicus. His book caused a massive change in the way people thought about the universe. If you think this was a problem for the church: It was even more of a problem for the universities. Copernicus actually delayed the publication of his book, not because he was worried about the church, but because he worried about the academics! If I recall the history correctly, this was more than just a new model: It was “experimental” mathematics.
  • How to falsify a religion using scientific or historical evidenceIf you prove that the universe is eternal than would falsify the Bible’s claim that God created the universe out of nothing. That would be a scientific disproof. If you could find the body of Jesus still inside a tomb, that would falsify the Bible’s claim about a resurrection. That would be a historical disproof. The nice thing about Christianity is that we make lots of testable claims. Christianity is about forming beliefs that are in line with the available evidence.

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  • Science & Religion: The Paramount Candour (umbrascriptor.wordpress.com)
    Scientific truths are cautious. Science believes that nothing is absolutely true. What is regarded as true today may be proved to be false the very next day by further experiments and observations. Thus, there was a time when the earth was supposed to be motionless and the sun was supposed to go round it but gradually science proved that this was wrong and showed that it is the earth which goes round the sun. Similarly, Newton’s law of gravitation held the day till Einstein came out with his superior theory of relativity. In this way, science advances towards truth as absolute. But whatever is written in religious books is regarded as absolutely true. Anyone who criticizes the teaching of religion is considered to be a heretic and is violently condemned. In the past, those who dared to question a religious truth were mercilessly persecuted and punished, and the example of Galileo readily comes to mind in this connection. Even more, who knows not about the Darwin’s theory of evolution. In short, science is progressive and dynamic while religion are static and orthodox and this shows that there is a great conflict between science and religion.
  • Science is not a religion. (twoculturescourse.wordpress.com)
    Some people scream ignorance at those who believe in God, or something greater than man. But look at what is around us, an incredible Earth filled with infinite opportunity and some of the most incredible natural occurrences ever.
  • Mendel Medal Recipient Seeks to Reconcile Science and Religion (vutimes.wordpress.com)
    The Villanova University Mendel Medal is an award presented to outstanding scientists, aware of the limitations of science, seeking to bridge the gap between science and religion. In the Mendel Medal Lecture given by the 2013 Medal recipient Dr. Sylvester “Jim” Gates, Dr. Gates emphasized the uncertainty inherent to science and how this uncertainty means that we will forever be unable to truthfully define reality.
    Truthfully defining something is not the same as accurately defining something. For a long time, science has been able to accurately define things in the natural world for the desired application. Consider pi. If you wish to use pi in an equation, a value of 3.14 will generally suffice. This is an accurate representation of pi. However, this is not the true value of pi. I could fill this entire issue of the Times and every paper that exists with digits of pi and it would still not be true, despite being incredibly accurate. Consequently, it is science’s ultimate inability to reflect complete and utterly certain truth that is what will always allow religion to coexist with and even to complement science.
    +
    With further understanding of science and its inherent uncertainty, we can begin to establish a dialogue between science and religion even in areas where fierce radicals on both sides stubbornly persist.
    +

    The Big Bang: From Humble Beginnings

  • Text to Text | Einstein and ‘Where Science and Religion Coexist’ (learning.blogs.nytimes.com)
    In this Text to Text, we take on the question of the compatibility of science and religion, with an excerpt from a Times Opinion piece written by Albert Einstein in 1930; a 2013 report on a conference between scientists and Buddhist monks hosted by the Dalai Lama; and a video in which the theoretical physicist Richard Feynman talks about trying to find answers to life’s big questions while living with doubt.
  • Politics, Science, and Religion (thefloridaconservative.com)
    Like politics and science, many people deny they are religious. This would mean they have no organized world view, or beliefs.  Even if you do not believe in something, you believe in something. The triad of Politics, Science and Religion is inescapable.
    +
    Those who would exploit Politics, Science, and Religion count on your ignorance in the area of critical thinking. They count on the herd mentality that affects the human condition. If someone I respect based on my world view says something, it is a common tendency to consider it factual.  Nothing could be more perilous than to fall into this trap.  Ask any sheep.
    +
    Critical thinking requires you to step outside your personal belief system. This is probably the most difficult.  It requires you to question everything and everyone.  You will need to be strict with yourself to create a discussion that argues the vice and virtue of both sides. You will need to build evidence that proves both sides.  You must be determined and constantly ask yourself if you are just trying to support your own personal beliefs.
  • David Barash explores science, religion and meaning of life in ‘Buddhist Biology’ (washington.edu)
    For better or worse, there has been a lot of intellectual conflict between science and religion these days, and although I consider myself one of the “New Atheists,” I am also an aspiring Buddhist and have been about as long as I’ve been a biologist: more than 40 years. The sad truth is that for the most part, science and religion do not get along very well – especially because religion keeps making various “truth claims” that are simply untrue! But Buddhism is a fascinating exception.
    +
    I don’t accept some of the more extreme notions of Buddhism, especially karma as it pertains to reincarnation. That is, I don’t believe that that each of us is going to be reborn in the future as some creature or other, or that our current situation is somehow a result of what we did in a prior life. By any biological or scientific standard, this is arrant nonsense. But biologists including myself acknowledge that every organism is literally composed of atoms and molecules that have been and will continue to be recycled from a “prior existence” as plants, other animals, dirt, rocks, atmospheric particles, etc.
  • Science Vs Religion (beccsbordom.wordpress.com)

Thomas Aquinas on Wisdom by Robert M. Woods

In which way has philosophy blended the theoretical and the practical many may wonder. In the early times there may have been the reflection and the proper moral action people wanted to take, but they were always bounded to their own limited thinking and their understanding of the world at that time.

‘Yesteryear’ as today we can find enough people who would love to think about what is going on in the world and how we can find solutions for our living better than today. There are many who would love to see more mutual understanding, love and wisdom.

.

For many philosophers to reason, reflect, imagine, conjecture, was part of what it meant to act faithfully in accordance with being in the image of God. Where the world went wrong is that many started not only to consider themselves to be in the image of God, but that many started looking at themselves as being part of God or even worse being God themselves. Though having God in you does not mean yet that you become God, though many take Jesus to be God because he had God in him. They forget that we also should try to receive God in us, to be like Christ Jesus, and to show others how we have God in us. But that does not make us God, like it did not with Christ, who was first lower than the angels, but than was made higher by his Father and was taken at His right hand to become a mediator between God and us.

.

God has given the world His instructions, but He has given the humans the liberty to accept and follow them or to ignore them and to go their own way. The majority of the world has chosen to go their own way and to ignore God. So they have to bear the consequences of their choice.

There are not enough people who would like to take the time to look at them selves, how they are doing it in this universe, and contemplating which role they have to play in this universe. Lots of people are busy with thinking about themselves in a egocentric way but not in the relation of themselves with the others around them. Many might try to get wisdom, but often it is only to enrich themselves and not others. It seems that they do not come to see that wisdom is an understanding of the final cause. Like the writer of the article says “Sadly, this has all but been lost in science and philosophy today.”

+

Preceding articles:

Where is the edge

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)

Science and the Bible—Do They Really Contradict Each Other?

Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings

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Additional reading:

  1. The business of this life
  2. Created to live in relation with God
  3. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #5 To meditate and Transform
  4. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #3 Rejoicing in the insistence
  5. Missional hermeneutics 2/5
  6. Golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters obedience
  7. Truth never plays false roles of any kind, which is why people are so surprised when meeting it
  8. Wisdom lies deep
  9. Growth in character
  10. Preparedness to change
  11. Statutes given unto us
  12. Thirst for happiness and meaning
  13. A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses
  14. It is a free will choice
  15. Your life the sum total of all your choices
  16. Leaving behind the lives we have touched.
  17. Words in the world
  18. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  19. God is my refuge and my fortress in Him I will trust
  20. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah + Gain Christ, trusting Jehovah
  21. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
  22. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  23. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  24. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  25. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  26. Happy who’s delight is only in the law of Jehovah
  27. Being one in Jesus, Jesus in us and God in Jesus
  28. Morality, values and Developing right choices

+++

  • God + World ≠ 2 (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    “God” permeates our conversation. Each year hundreds of books are published about God.
    +
    if one engages in theological conversation long enough, whether with Christians or with non-Christians, one begins to wonder whether everyone means the same thing by the word.
    +
    The unity of divinity and the all other beings is most clearly presented in popular pagan religion. The gods of Olympian religion clearly belong to the world. They represent the necessities and natural forces that we confront in our daily lives and which we ignore only at great risk.
    +
    With the emergence of Greek philosophy the gods came to be seen as projection of worldly necessities. “The necessities,” Sokolowski explains, “became simply the way things were born to be; they became that which is ‘by nature,’ as opposed to that which is because of human making or because of human choice” (p. 15). The philosophers did not deny the divine, but it was now relegated “to those forms of being that were taken to be the independent, ruling substances in the world. The divine was part, the best and governing part, of nature, but its direct involvement with human affairs was no longer acknowledged nor was it feared” (p. 15). In Aristotle divinity is located in the highest and first substances: it functions as the cause of motion and development of beings in the world. In Plato divinity becomes the “motive and the object of the exercise of reason” (p. 17). Unlike Aristotle it does not function as the prime mover but reaches beyond substance; yet even still “it is taken as ‘part’ of what is: it is the One by being a one over, for, and in many, never by being One only alone by itself” (p. 18). Divinity in Greek philosophy is monistic—it cannot be conceived apart from the non-divine beings in the world.
  • Does Morality Inhibit Freedom? (Aquinas vs. Ockham) (insightscoop.typepad.com)
    Some people seem to think that expressing a clearly defined morality is locking them up in some kind of invisible prison that is constricting their freedom. They may equate moral standards with self-righteous hypocrisy. They don’t want to be “moral machines” following a “hard cold legalism.”
  • 5 Ways To Logically Prove The Existence of God (delightfuloak.wordpress.com)
    Everything that exists is contingent upon something that existed before it did. For example, a child is contingent upon the mother and father for it’s existence. Since things exists, it is impossible for a world where nothing exists because we would still have nothing. Since we have things, then there must be an original thing that exists by its own power and does not rely on other things to exist.
    +
    There is something that is more being than all the rest of us. “Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.”-Thomas Aquinas
    +
    There must be a creator with a plan for the unintelligent things. “Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.” -Thomas Aquinas
  • Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 20:27-40 (stjoeofoblog.wordpress.com)
    There were two heresies among the Jews, one of the Pharisees, who boasted in the righteousness of their traditions, and hence they were called by the people, “separated;” the other of the Sadducees, whose name signified “righteous,” claiming to themselves that which they were not. When the former went away, the latter came to tempt Him.
  • Unified Truth: Faith and Reason (str.typepad.com)
    Aquinas felt comfortable undertaking such incorporation because, as he said, “All truth is one.” He argued that what we learn from the natural world through science and philosophy, provided it is unquestionably true, can never contradict that which we learn from revelation, that is, directly from God. He compared Scripture and reason to two books, “the book of revelation” and “the book of nature,” which were both “written” by God and consequently compatible.
  • Leo Strauss’s Objections to Thomism (sancrucensis.wordpress.com)
    Leo Strauss’s critique of modernity was very penetrating, and there is much to be learned from it. But what are we to think of his idea that modernity was (at least in part) a reaction against St. Thomas Aquinas’s distortion of Aristotelian philosophy, and that thus a true return to the ancients much dis-engage them from their Thomistic mis-reading?
  • Existential-Phenomenology (philosophicalhealing.com)
    Existential-Phenomenological Theory has been an important model in the field of counseling and therapy for quite some time, and it continues to increase in popularity with new counselors entering the field. The practice of Existential-Phenomenology is a blending of centuries-old wisdom applied to modern day problems.
    +
    The goal of an Existential-Phenomenological counselor is to help clients make-meaning of their lives, and so it is reasonable to assume that counselors using this theory must also do the same work.
  • Philosophy is a Dead Language – RIP (brainmoleculermarketing.com)
    Fundamentally, philo is merely another example of magical thinking.  The core claim of magical thinking is “Mind over matter.”  Philo, like econ, etc, falsely promises that word/language-behavior (thinking, talking, etc) can both accurately describe the “matter” of human physiology and actions — or effect it.  Clearly a lie.  But before brain science, the best we could do.  Now, obsolete.
  • Summa Economica: The morality of economic action (catholicpopcultureblog.wordpress.com) > Summa Parsimonia: The morality of economic action
    like the Summa Theologica, the Summa Parsimonia will take its influence from Aristotle and the teachings of Church Fathers such as St. Augustine, in addition to present Catholic Social Teaching and economists such as Adam Smith and so forth. It will critique the given sources if need be
  • Thomas Aquinas’s Works and Philosophies  As an Italian philosopher and (bestessaycheap.wordpress.com)
    Like Aristotle, Aquinas believed that aroundthing could be learned from all author, so he also looked towards the beginners of Neo-Platonism, such as: Augustine Boethius, Psuedo- Dionysuis, and Proclus. opposite ideas came from Muslim scholars; such as, Avveroes and Avvcenna. In addition to the Jewish thinkers: Maimonides, and Solomn ben Yehua ibn Gabril. His eclecticist ragbag was later called Thomistic philosophy because it cannot be significantly characterized by anything shared with earlier writers and thinkers. Because of critics of the time, it is said that not a oneness work of Aquinass reveals his entire philosophies (Bartleby).
  • Thomas Aquinas vs The New Atheists
    [T]he new atheists hold that God is some being in the world, the maximum instance, if you want, of the category of “being.” But this is precisely what Aquinas and serious thinkers in all of the great theistic traditions hold that God is not. Thomas explicitly states that God is not in any genus, including that most generic genus of all, namely being. He is not one thing or individual — however supreme — among many. Rather, God is, in Aquinas’s pithy Latin phrase, esse ipsum subsistens, the sheer act of being itself.

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Thomas Aquinas on Wisdom

by Robert M. Woods

St. Thomas AquinasOn occasion, but it should be with great frequency, within the context of a class discussion or even a lesson at Church, the topic of wisdom is discussed. Frequently, but it should be on occasion, the definition is put forth as practical or applied learning. It is at times like these I desired that Thomas Aquinas’s definition of wisdom had won the day in Western civilization. In truth, the Liberal Arts would have done much better through the ages if his definition had been the one people lived by and taught.

For Thomas, and most Philosophers until the modern world, Philosophy was essentially the “love of wisdom.” To engage in the the practice of philosophy was the faithful pursuit of wisdom wherever it might be found. The primary understanding of truth was saying of a thing what was and not saying of…

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