Because the bible says so?


There are passages of the bible I have read with earnest intent in an earlier part of my journey.  Passages I read now with great amusement (and may read again with a different scent in the future).  This is one such passage:

“After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”  Luke 10:1-9

I was in the audience listening raptly and taking instruction.  Taking notes so I could replicate my instructions.  Ready and willing to be sent out.   Champing at the bit.  Seeking the unbelievers.  All fired-up to “Save Save Save”!

Now I chuckle.  Now I feel on the edges of the audience.  The old-timer watching the newbies.

And yet I know something now I never knew then.

This journey is not work – but it is a journey.   Sitting still is not journeying – it is atrophying.  The harvest is not work – it is relationship.  My eyes to see have changed, my ears to hear have changed, my heart to love has changed.  There is a harvest – but of love and relationship – not work.

And as for “lambs and wolves”?  I now see “youthful exuberance” rather than “noble sacrifice”.  Innocence and enthusiasm rather than innocence and experience.  For I carried that checklist and I have seen casualties.  I have seen lambs devoured.  I have been “nibbled” along the way.   I saw wolves at every corner waiting to devour me.  And I still see those who follow the checklist, who tick the boxes.  But the me “then” and the me “now” … ?

I have found that I am not one of the seventy.

I tarry on the road.  I speak to those along the way.  I carry a few bits and pieces.  I tend not to announce myself in the recommended fashion.  I tend not to stay in anyone’s  house.  I don’t cure the sick.  I don’t tell them very much at all.  I am not one of the seventy.

I am one of the millions.

My “telling” is sharing.  My “journey” is connection.  My “not taking anything” is having no “baggage”.  The stuff I have remains “temporary”.  For I have something better – something deep and personal and eternal.

That is what I journey with – that is who I journey with.  So this I know now.

Unless I had tried-on the “seventy” … tried-on the checklist … tried walking the walk of the seventy … I would never have found I was one of the millions … because I would never have journeyed at all – and I would not have allowed (what is now the important stuff) to ever become a part of my life.

So I chuckle (with affection), I read (with love), I see those who now listen earnestly (with kindness).  Because I was once a novice “seventy”.

And that is why these words make more and more sense in my journey:

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”   John 14:6

 

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27 thoughts on “Because the bible says so?

  1. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

    Nonsense though it is, who knows if he ever even spoke these words? Bearing in mind what we know about the Church that invented Christianity one could be forgiven for believing, ”He’s making it up as he goes along”, with apologies to Monty Python team and the Life of Brian.

    Humanity will breathe a huge sigh of relief once it finally grows up and shrugs off the shackles of religion.

    • Hiya Ark – love the way you doubt so much but speak for humanity 🙂

      Yet something of all this resonates deep within – and to deny it takes more energy than not. Does that mean I believe ever utterance as an exact transcript utterance? You (and those who believe the same as you) moved me past that – to a place where “truth” in all of this is as fleeting as the clouds in the sky. And that is place of freedom! A place that resonates. Go figure!

      • Would you consider it perfectly normal for you, as a grown man, to believe that a man in a red fur coat came down your chimney last xmas eve and left you the Marks and Spencer shirt and tie you are still wearing in the middle of October?

        There are only two answers:
        Yes I think it is perfectly normal.
        or
        No, it would not be normal and I would likely be considered either delusional or suffering from a more serious mental disorder.

        Pick one.

          • Arks’ question is a good one because it is about whether beliefs about magic and supernatural events are accepted by you to be ‘normal’, to be okay, to be reasonable, to be trustworthy. It’s not about whether you have a chimney or own M&S clothing; it’s about to what extent you are willing to suspend your disbelief.

        • Now for the sensible answer. Your question assumes Santa and God are comparable. And whilst there may be some similarities, there are not enough to make the question one I feel any need to grace with a yes or no.

          Bit like: there are two blokes called Ark and Paul – pick the one who is most loving. It might require a tad more to make any sane person want to participate (and even then they might reject the question).

          • When you say ‘God’, you are, once again ascribing your version to a creator deity.
            There are no viable grounds whatsoever to do so and this is why I used the Santa analogy.

            That you would then go on and include allusions of love etc attributed to the biblical character, Jesus the Nazarene merely highlights how spurious such attributions are, especially when one considers what is generally believed to happen to those who do not subscribe to this nonsense, and why these same warm fuzzy feelings you claim can just as easily be attributed to Santa Claus … and at least you have a tangible gift to prove it.

            And to go back to my assertion that humanity will breath a sigh of relief etc.
            One only has to look at the societies that have sloughed off religious dependence and embraced secular humanism.

            Can you put your hand on your heart and say honestly that societies that still cling to god belief are better?

            As to who between us is the more loving?
            Define more loving, Paul.
            I think you might be surprised at the out come.

  2. If you first infuse your mental model of a god to have nothing but highly admirable qualities, then compare it with another mental model to which you then lend less admirable qualities, you cannot use your first construct as if it were a real object to then justify assigning the more admirable qualities! This is clearly circular thinking. That’s why there is no question the two constructs are comparable and why the question about the reasonableness of assigning more belief to one rather than the other is relevant. All you’re doing, paulfg, is avoiding his question.

      • The question is important because it reveals why scripture is necessary to differentiate. So the trustworthiness of scripture lies at the heart of the difference. Ark returns to the reliability of scripture over and over again to demonstrate why as a primary source it is not deserving of high confidence. This is important for two reasons: scripture fails to bolster the magical and supernatural difference religious believers use to separate the Jesus story from the Santa Claus story. Both stories are equally worthy of confidence, which is why he’s asking you if it is as reasonable to believe each.

        • And I keep returning to something similar over and over again – yet find something that resonates beyond the pages and the words.

          My confusion is that neither you nor Ark seem content unless I agree with you that: “the bible is not provable” = there is nothing of “God” = anyone who has something of “God” is wrong = and that is because of the bible.

          Which is a circular argument and something that has no beginning or end (bit like “god” really). 🙂

  3. When you slough off fundamentalist readings of scripture, you are in fact sloughing away the primary source to justify your religious beliefs to be qualitatively different from any other magical and superstitious beliefs.

    • tildeb – you are adding comments faster than the answers. So conversation is not really happening here, You are great at the telling and listening – so long as it meets your standards. Which is kind of “fundamental” 🙂

        • tildeb, thank you. I guess you find my answers less than satisfying. Ark calls it me “dancing”. So I think you and he deserve the following.

          a) You and he have moved me past needing the bible to be factually accurate and provable.
          b) in moving past that I have found something I will never convince you of.
          c) that “something” I struggle to describe in words that makes sense to anyone – and the bible comes closest (and a lot of that is to do with being brought up in a Christian country).
          d) there are those of other faiths or who have rejected Christian denominations who find something that resonates.
          e) there are those who suffer the suicide of a loved one who find something that resonates.
          f) none of it “provable” as we use the word in everyday living.
          g) whatever your preference and belief compared to my preference and belief neither of us will ever convince the other unless one of us chooses.
          h) I chose to question the bible and I am glad I did.
          i) I would never ask you to choose my preference and belief
          j) that preference and belief sits with those of religion as it sits with you – “prove it”. Which I find odd from those of religion.
          k) I like you – I like Ark – I like all those who name themselves of one belief or another.
          l) we all have the choice to choose of what we believe – because love is choice and choice is love. And I believe in love.
          m) people spends tons of cash for therapy that leads them to live a balanced life. Most catch a set of beliefs along the way. Counselling does the same – find balance in your living. None of it is infallible and none of is above being abused.
          n) I don’t believe in abuse.
          o) I don’t believe in inequality of love
          p) I am content that you see nothing of value in my achieving balance,
          q) for that reason I have no motivation to “prove you wrong” or “prove me right”

          ((hugs))

          edited for typos!

  4. It’s not a question of, ‘Therefore, God is wrong’. It’s recognizing that the level of confidence about this critter – His nature, His desires, His purpose, His role, His intentions, His preferences, His morality, His commands, His leadership, His example, and so on – is entirely misplaced because the primary source – scripture – is itself untrustworthy. Once that recognition is made, only then do we begin to better understand why there are as many versions of ‘God’ as there are believers.

    And this is powerful evidence that all gods are constructed by the believers – each believer him/herself the primary source for creating God – and not adduced from reality as an independent object that can be ‘known’.

    Why does this matter?

    Well, that recognition has profound effect when either scripture or believers themselves try to present their religious beliefs as being trustworthy because the divine object is independent of them, really does independently exist, really does have a casual influence in the world, really can be known. All of this becomes highly dubious when the source for the belief is so badly confused.

    What we are left with once the recognition that God is constructed from each believer are all the same questions but without this intervening agency of pseudo-answers. And when this accomplished, then we can have an honest and open conversation at the adult table where we can share our humanity and knowledge rather than demand our superstitious beliefs have not just equal billing to them but supersede their contribution by fiat. And the evidence for the value of doing so is made plain by the improvements to the quality of human life by societies that do not allow this superstitious placement to have a mitigating voice to the advancement of human rights, human values, human dignity, and human solutions. And that’s really what people like Ark are after: improving the human condition by relegating today’s superstitious beliefs to the dustbin of history one believer at a time.

    • And none of what you say horrifies me, repels me or leaves me anything other than curious to sit down at a (comfortable) coffee table – mug in hand – shoes off and feet up – and see where the conversation takes us. Those who do church call that fellowship. Those that don’t call it “good crack”.

      And these comment boxes do not lend themselves to the coffee table I find – but here goes.

      This conversation and the points you make are your beliefs. And as such become universals in the telling. Nothing (in my experience) of which you speak is all bad or all good. The human condition is neither static nor universally anything. And consigning “superstitious beliefs” to the dustbin of history a very belief oriented statement. The current Weinstein headlines are also the human a condition. My beliefs are also the human condition as are yours. Diversity is our strength and sameness our weakness. Your attempt at sameness I resist.

      Yet I find a lot of what you say relevant to the religion and faith complaints as you. And I find myself attempting a different journey. One of acceptance that belief structure of religion are a reality of our lives and human condition. So rather than go for killing it off one by one, my view is to focus on the good. Or a case of two sides of the same coin.

      Because in reality I was never damaged by religion. I had my ego let down badly. And guess what – that is also part of the human condition. As for the excesses of abuse of any belief structure or institution – that is not the fault of “god” and religion – that is the human condition as well. And I have no time for that – however it is dressed up.

      • Paul, you say, “This conversation and the points you make are your beliefs.”

        Right there you’ve made a very important mistake which then colours and misguides the rest of your opinion.

        What I’m stating are not my ‘beliefs’. I’m talking about the evidence independent of each of us needed to justify the level of confidence we place IN beliefs. This is what Ark keeps hammering away at, that high levels of confidence require demonstrable evidence linking the trust place in primary sources to be justified BY independent linking evidence. He points out that that is what you’re missing. You just wave his point away and go back to talking about love, talking about relationship with – as far as I can tell – your version of a divine Harvey.

        That requirement for justified confidence – what in philosophy underpins ‘justified true beliefs’ – is not my belief; it’s a fundamental requirement, a means to acquiring knowledge. That’s why scriptural appeals to authority have no knowledge merit, why claims about this god or that one are equivalently without any knowledge merit independent of the person who mistakenly thinks faith-based belief is equivalent to knowledge adduced confidence. Your religious beliefs have very low levels of independent veracity, very low levels of independent evidence. They should be presented as such rather than not just high levels of confidence but with untethered, unmoored certainty severed from linking evidence from reality! The same is true of ALL religious belief based on faith. It deserves no place at the adult table of conversation about human issues and human concerns because it contains no knowledge. It is a complete fabrication, a complete projection by a religious believer who then avoids responsibility for it by falsely claiming that their beliefs are adduced from reality when they are not! If they were, there would be equivalent and strong linking evidence from reality to a single entity you call ‘God’.

        But we don’t find this, do we Paul? That’s not my ‘belief’. That’s a fact. There is no singular ‘God’ but tens of thousands of religions subdivided into countless sects all of which claim ‘knowledge’ about some divine agency that no one – including you – can define well enough to locate, well enough to discover its properties, well enough to share its profound effects if true.

        To get around this fatal problem, believers try to create a false equivalency by claiming that anyone who disagrees with the believer is operating by exactly the same ‘belief’ method.

        No. Not true.

        That’s rubbish as you yourself demonstrate: you do NOT accept with an equivalent amount of certainty Santa Claus. Your level of confidence in this selected superstitious belief is adjudicated by your privileged religious belief! All the rest of how you differentiate is pure rationalizations.

        Let’s compare and contrast this method of belief with those whom you claim also utilize belief.

        The non believer uses the SAME requirement of linking evidence to equivalently award both with very low levels of confidence for exactly the same reasoning. Not belief. Reasoning. Nor do they ‘hate’ Santa Claus! Your religious belief is an a priori belief, one that you import; the non believer is a post hoc conclusion open to change depending on new and compelling linking evidence. That is adduced belief and not another kind of religious belief.

        The Santa Claus example should reveal this to you if you follow the reasoning. You arbitrarily award confidence to one and arbitrarily withhold it from the other for no other reason than you think yourself justified. You’re not. And that should open your eyes to better understanding that HOW you think determines WHAT you think. After all is said and done, no religious believer to date has been able to demonstrate that any god exists independently of the person willing to believe it does. And you’re no different. Your projected god – like the ‘love’ the stalker thinks his object of love has for him or her – becomes real only in the mind and does so by how one thinks. This cannot help but pollute any relationship with reality including a loving relationship that keeps inserting a fictional third party between real people.

        • Phew! A proper computer again! 🙂

          “What I’m stating are not my ‘beliefs’.”

          tildeb, I know Santa is fictitious – I used to take turns with my wife each year – along with the tooth fairy. It was fun, and it gave a great deal of joy – and caused a lot of work maintaining the fiction. And then school happened and the mystery was gone for ever (but we did sleep better each Christmas Eve).

          And now they are all adults and have their own families/partners – we find them still coming home each Christmas because they cannot face the thought of having Christmas and the memories of the fiction and tradition elsewhere.

          One year many years ago the family was going through a tough time. Extended family was imposing significantly and our children were being pushed aside. So one sunny summer midweek day my wife and I decided no one went to work or school. We told the children it was Christmas – a “practice Christmas”. We pulled the curtains shut, locked the doors, decorated the house with pretend decorations, and gave each other pretend presents. We all sat together and watched Christmas films and played board games (it was a few years ago), and then had a pretend Christmas dinner and pudding. The children loved it – but were so embarrassed they never told their friends for a long time. And for a few years that became a new tradition in summer.

          What I mean is that knowing something is fiction, or pretending it is not – even to the point of believing it is – is not always a bad thing. You write eloquently, but I have lived long enough to know that a lot of science fact becomes science fiction as new advances and discoveries are made. The mechanism by which we are conversing is one such advance. And yet even in my lifetime that will be superseded by another not yet known. Just as flight was in my grandfather’s day. Just as so many “facts” in each of our lifetimes.

          That does not make “God stuff” fact, and it does not make your evidence worthless. But neither does it make your evidence universal or eternal. And your belief that it is is simply that: belief in your scientific “Harvey”. It is a Harvey of arrogance rather than humanity. It is a Harvey to prove things right and people wrong. And it is a Harvey I live with daily – just as I live with the “figure of fun” Harvey (you name) in my life.

          You speak in universals and mix that with emotive conclusions: “There is no singular ‘God’ but tens of thousands of religions subdivided into countless sects all of which claim ‘knowledge’ about some divine agency that no one – including you – can define well enough to locate, well enough to discover its properties, well enough to share its profound effects if true.”

          It is a debating skill to put down rather than build up. Even if I agree with you I am not built up but torn down. I have no desire to either win or lose – or to be torn down. I happily admit I cannot give you evidence, and I happily accept that you will never believe as I or me as you, and I have stated more than once that I see a similarity in “objective”: you wish to cease the harm of religion as do I. You wish to tear it down and make it extinct, I see both good and bad and focus on the good. Except by not aligning with you I seem to be the enemy to you as much as those who need religion as you describe see me as well.

          That I don’t get. Your need to be right, and to be seen to be right. That is a “fundamental trait” I see in those you consider totally unlike you. And that is why I see belief in you. It is your modus operandi that you deny.

          • Faith-based belief is always pernicious because it supports and coddles and promotes under different names the very thing that causes so much unnecessary suffering: refusing to treat reality with respect and honour what’s true about it. It ios played out a thousand ways every minute of every day causing unmitigated harm and pain and suffering so that some people can live in their bubble worlds while doing nothing but doubting the real. We see this coming from alternative medicine, from climate change denial, from racism, bigotry, ignorance, the ongoing attack on the biological sciences, on the maintenance of human inequality based on sex, on granting privilege to faith-based belief in the name of ‘tradition’ and ‘nature’. We have disenfranchized half the global population on the faith-based belief that women are somehow objects to service the needs of people, namely, men in the name of aligning our behaviour with the goals of some divine misogynistic paternalistic god.

            What you see as an attack against you ‘innocuous’ faith-based belief ton ‘tear down’ is in fact the very first step in building up a better world, of beginning to treat global problems as real problems all of us face. We need to recognize the difference between our faith-based beliefs and our evidence-adduced knowledge and you have demonstrated the same difficulty being able to differentiate. The only reason you have difficulty is because you are trying desperately to have your cake and eat it, too, by just nibbling a bit here and there, around the edges. while claiming you agree that those who take out big chunks are the problem, that your similar contribution but on a crumb by crumb basis isn’t about eating the cake but a way to demonstrate love.

            Paul, your empowerment of faith-based belief divorced from reality’s arbitration of them is the central problem that lies at the heart of so many global issues. So, yeah, it needs to be exposed for the core rot it is… no matter how gussied up you try to make it look. Your version of faith-based belief is just another brand of lipstick on the faith-based pig. And it’s still a pig no matter how earnestly beautiful you want to think your brand of love-lipstick looks in isolation.

            • I have no idea what drives your passion – your belief – in who and what you think I am. But know this. It is not only a belief, it is a false belief. The worst kind of belief.

              tildeb, I can happily alienate all sides. Here are you and I – there is a lot of religious folks and I – a lot of church going folks and I – atheists to the right of me, Christians to the left – here I am: stuck in the middle with you 🙂

              Tarring all with the same brush is easy but lazy. You fear relationship with even someone like me who is the least dangerous person I know. So does Ark. Which makes this all “functional” – and that is not how half the global population is wired.

              You scorn relationship and belief in love. You scorn relationship other than with a very few – yet here I find community as do others. You “scorn” a lot. And it doesn’t look good on you. You may appeal to the functional – but even your life must be more than that. Because life is more than that – life filled with love is so much more than that. A better and empowered world.

              And now we are talking the same language. 🙂

            • You may be right: I know I do scorn relationships that aren’t one-to-one, that try to import a magical third party and use that magical third party to make an imbalance in the numbers. I simply don’t – can’t – trust someone who is convinced they are always in presence of a Harvey and who act accordingly, who think they have a meaningful relationship with the invisible white rabbit. It kind of creeps me out.

              I comment to point out that even disguised as ‘love’, faith-based belief is always harmful, that delusion is always less respectful of reality and those who occupy it (and so a real and honest relationship cannot be shared in either direction), to state why I think this is so and to what pernicious effect this kind of thinking leads. I comment so that even those who think your version of faith is benign understand its malignancy. Most of all, I comment to try to get you to think before placing your belief in front of you first and only then trying to see the greatly distorted world beyond it. I comment to show the distortion, to show that your relationship with your god is equivalent to any child’s ‘loving’ relationship with Santa Claus.

            • Tildeb – thank you.

              The phrase “rose tinted glasses” comes to mind. The Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques come to mind. The phrase “consumed with grief” – “head over heels in love”. All those “delusions” through which we experience the world. Our perceptions and beliefs and version of anything I know is only the result of our personal mental playground we call “reality”.

              I value whatever you call this tenuous connection of internet words. You do and have made me think beyond. I still think “church” should welcome all – inclusive of your thoughts and comments. But if your conclusion is that “faith-based belief is always harmful” I have to point out that your findings will always support your presumption (just as you accuse those of their “faith-based belief”).

              And it is that I find tiring.

              My experience of the world and latterly “Harvey” is that we all live in “faith-based belief” of some kind or another. If I can “always rely on (pick a name)” – that is FBB. If my habits require me to perform some task the same way every time – that is not far from FBB.

              I see FBB as anything which cannot be proven – yet is real to the person believing it. Which is why your comment “faith-based belief is always harmful” is also a FBB. And that is why I see us as not much different “underneath”. And that applies to every single person I have met – we are “not much different” underneath. But how we are different on the outside … Wow!

              We go to war to be different – or should that be “all the same” – I get confused.

              And THAT is why I sense some kind of connection with you – and that is why I find it easier and easier each time to be more and more honest in my comments (and less so with Ark). NOT to convert you – but because (my FBB) is that I can trust you. And that (partly) comes from wanting to see good in everyone, but (mostly) comes from how these words and comments “sit” in me.

              And that is not because of “Harvey” – it is because Harvey and I align seamlessly in my version of Harvey (no surprise there then).

              BTW – I asked my partner last night what she thought of there being three in our relationship (and explained why). She just laughed. She has never seen it as you do, Nor has she any concerns over it changing anything between us – she sees and loves me for who I am and what I am – she sees no harm (with my version of Harvey) as you do.

              Which might just be an argument for relationship. 🙂

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