Dogma Tells Us
What To Do
Philosophy Tells Us Why
I frequently take a philosophical approach to the Bible. I wasn’t taught to do this, it just came naturally, but it isn’t thought of as the right approach so some take offense.
Hand slaps aren’t unusual.
I’ve been called both liberal and unbelieving but there are many reasons why philosophy can be very useful in Bible interpretation. I’ve listed several below.
And I’m philosophical about it. Read more
Think Outside The Box
Or Repeat What Everyone
As the story goes Sir Isaac Newton sat in his mother’s garden and observed an apple fall from one of her trees.
Legend says the apple fell on his head. We can’t verify that with certainty but there is good reason to think it might be true.
Apples had fallen from his mother’s tree many times before so this wasn’t new but on this occasion the apple really caught his attention and it stimulated a life long pursuit.
In light of his response, a hit on the head seems likely.
Newton was puzzled. The experience provoked many questions and being the curious person he was, he did what all inquisitive people tend to do. Read more
The Season For Live Saving
Is Always Open
From an early stage in my Christian experience I was told that “Jesus is ‘THE‘ Savior not ‘A‘ Savior,” with no qualification. The meaning was obvious. There was only one Savior and Jesus was it. When said the idea was expressed enthusiastically, with a hint of accusation.
If you didn’t agree, you were in trouble.
Needing to think about it was reason to question one’s loyalty.
Of course, in the early years I loved it. Thought it was a very clever way to make a strong point. It made a great party cry for believers.
Looking back, I now realize the statement is a little misleading and smacks of religious totalitarianism.
When you think about it, and I’ve had a lot of time to do that, you realize that Jesus isn’t the only Savior. In fact, there are many saviors in the world and you really can’t get the right perspective on Jesus till you’ve given all of them due consideration.
Let’s take a look at a few. Read more
The following is guest posted by Tim Pepper – single father to one, brother to one, friend to many, master of biotechnology, writer of over 100 songs and singer of many more.
Fear Causes Inaction
It Doesn’t Excuse It
Fear. “Fear will establish the limits of your life.” That statement really resonates with me. I think it’s because I have experienced the limitations that fear can place on a person. Not all fears are bad but I don’t think our lives are meant to be characterized by fear. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s healthy to live in fear and I don’t think a persons actions ought to always be determined by fear.
The counterbalance to fear is apparently Faith. But faith in what? Faith in God? That’s all very well but what is it about God that I’m supposed to have faith in? Am I to have faith that I will inherit a million bucks? Am I to have faith that I will experience no loss or disappointment or difficulty? The things I grew up believing are these: God is good. God is kind. God is loving. God is my father and friend and master. God has a plan. God has a partner for me. God has a purpose for me.
It is hard for me to understand or know exactly what all of that means. I don’t know if I believe anymore that God has a partner for me. I want to believe it but I find it hard to do. As for God’s plan; I don’t know what to believe about that either.
I think about all the problems in the world. Difficult things like idiot countries with idiot laws that oppress their people. Difficult things like people who rape and murder other people. In a world where these things exist it’s difficult to understand how God’s plan is taking shape.
I think about God’s purpose for me and I wonder if I’m right in the middle of that purpose right now? I don’t want to believe that mostly because I don’t really like where I’m at right now. It’s not what I want. But I pray and pray and pray for things to change and nothing changes. So I wonder if I’m supposed to actively try and change things or if I’m supposed to just try and accept what is happening in my life.
I don’t know the answer to that but I think about things like slavery and medicine and wonder what would have happened if the abolitionists had only prayed? What would have happened if a few people hadn’t stowed away some Jews under the Nazi regime? Where would we be if doctors and nurses hadn’t studied and hadn’t administered treatment and had instead only prayed? Would we be here at all?
If you have certain heart conditions you can reduce your chance of having a heart attack by taking half an Aspirin every day. If you simply make the choice to eat right and exercise you can possibly prevent yourself from getting those heart conditions.
There are actions that people take that change the course of their daily lives and even sometimes change the course of history. Sometimes those actions are as easy as taking an Aspirin but I imagine it wasn’t that easy to abolish slavery and I imagine it was fairly fearful to have Jews hiding in your attic when the Nazis came knocking on your door.
People do these difficult (and sometimes easy) things because something in their being tells them that they have to do them. Something tells them that what they are doing is the right thing to do. So they do them despite the difficulty and despite the fear. They do them because they believe in that thing that is talking to their conscience. They have faith. Read more
On Vibrant Perspectives
Must Be Tempered
Unfortunately, discovering one truth or fact – here to fore unknown – is not the end of the journey.
Truth never stands alone. One piece of truth, like digits on a hand, form only a part of the picture. A finger does not a person make, so it is difficult to draw conclusions based only on one truth or even two or three separate truths.
For example, if you found an unclaimed finger on the sidewalk and reported it to the authorities their first response would be to answer several questions, the most important one being, “who does it belong to?” You couldn’t know for sure without further investigation. It’s not an easy question to answer. More detail is needed.
Getting a finger print would help but only if the person’s print is in the system and in the case of mutilations the print might not be so clear.
If the person’s print isn’t in the system the DNA is probably missing also, so there may be no help there.
Even with a witness there is no guarantee. The value of the witness is determined by how well they knew the victim, if they knew them at all, and/or how accurately they remember what they saw. Assuming, of course, they are willing to come forward.
I think you get the point.
One truth is not an answer or a conclusion. It is nothing more than one truth. You can make up a “missing finger” story and use that to guide your search for other truths but until you have more detail you can’t draw conclusions. Your hypothesis remains unproven.
But that’s not all. Read more