We achieve faith in God only with difficulty. Some of us have parents who work energetically to instill such faith in us. Nevertheless, all of us have to learn God is real. All must learn He cares about us. All must decide to return God’s love or reject it. In Everything is a Miracle, insanitybytes22 replies to violetwisp . calls herself an atheist.
Violet has a post up called “coincidence, tragedy, and other acts of God.” It is one of my favorite subjects because I am all about the synchronicity, the harmony, the sweet music that plays connecting random events together.
Science and math are especially good at showing us the true story of synchronicity, about the interconnectedness of the world around us. Often we will speak of eco- systems, the way each part plays a role and to remove even one piece changes the entire design. I remember a ridge of trees in Hawaii that were cut down on the rainy side of an island and it changed the clouds, altered the rain patterns, created a drought in that area which killed the native plants, which lead to a mudslide, just an astounding series of events that transformed a little piece of paradise into a pile of muck, all because a tree line was removed without a good understanding of the significance, the purpose it served. (continued here)
Interested in this subject, I commented, and and rautakyy responded. Our discussion involved five issues.
and I debated these issues.
- Does the Bible promote slavery?
- Does the Bible promote sexism?
- Does the Bible promote animal abuse?
- Does the Bible teach us to hate homosexuals?
and I focused more on the subject of ‘s post. Is “it” coincidence or does God involve Himself in His creation?
has a post which is peculiarly related to ‘s complaints. In Values, argues that our values are the result of processes.
Values are results of processes, not some fixed ideals, that could stand on their own just because a god said so, or because we chose them through equally arbitrary method and then mutually simply agreed upon them. But processes represent change and that alone seems overwhelmingly threatening to some people. As if some of us were so inherently fearfull of even a thought of a change. The question is for us to evaluate the processes and choose them according to best results. How then do we decide what is best, or even good? To put it as simply as I can, the method to choose what is good and valuable is, to choose the values, that under most objective scrutany give us the results for general human wellbeing only for the simple reason, that we making the choise are indeed humans. As chosen by the largest group of people with the best awailable information who would prefer the values and conditions resulting in them to themselves and equally to others. That is the value of democracy.
There is an element of truth in ‘s assertion, but, fundamentally, he misunderstands. Because God is eternal and unchanging, God has fixed ideals, but we change. Therefore, how we obey God’s command to love and obey Him change.
In His mercy, God adapted the Mosaic Code to the needs of the Jews, and He says as much.
Matthew 19:7-9 Good News Translation (GNT)
7 The Pharisees asked him, “Why, then, did Moses give the law for a man to hand his wife a divorce notice and send her away?”
8 Jesus answered, “Moses gave you permission to divorce your wives because you are so hard to teach. But it was not like that at the time of creation. 9 I tell you, then, that any man who divorces his wife for any cause other than her unfaithfulness, commits adultery if he marries some other woman.”
Let’s use ‘s complaints as examples.
Does the Bible promote slavery?
In America we now find it relatively easy to survive. Hence, we can have a naive notion of the past. Thus, in the midst of an anti-technology rant, an otherwise serious blogger, culturemonk can say something like this.
The world used to be agrarian; prior to the Industrial Revolution, 97% of Americans were farmers. If the weather was bad one year, instead of being “unemployed” you merely migrated to a different part of the country to hunt for food, fish, or gather berries. You see, prior to the Industrial Revolution, people lived off the land and provided for themselves…….there was no dependence on “the man” for a job. (from here)
Was that the nature of famine? Imagine life a couple thousand years ago. No machines. You plowed your tiny plot with a stick. What if this year the rain either failed or drenched the land and rotted your harvest. What if some of your neighbors have better farmland? What if they are more skilled as farmers?
You see barns. You see your neighbors have managed to fill them, and you and your family are starving. What would you do? Would you simply take your family and venture into the wilderness. With an empty belly, would you just hope for the best?
In those days when the world was mostly agrarian, what kind of welfare program did most societies have? Was it slavery? Yes. When people could not find the resources they needed to survive, they offered themselves up to those more capable as slaves. Undoubtedly, some slaves were more trouble than their economic worth, and many slave masters abused their slaves. Nevertheless, those more capable were still expected to do what they could to help their neighbors, and that peculiar institution, slavery, provided them an incentive.
What does the Bible say about slavery? The Bible does not recommend slavery; it simply says that masters should treat their slaves as well as they can. God is more concerned by the fact that we enslave ourselves to sin than He is by the fact we enslave each other.
John 8:34 Good News Translation (GNT)
34 Jesus said to them, “I am telling you the truth: everyone who sins is a slave of sin.
If we did not sin, would we enslave another person?
Does the Bible promote sexism?
God is not partial, but we are different, and He has fitted us to different tasks. That’s why the Bible teaches is that men and women are different. Therefore, while in this life men and women are better fitted to different roles. That makes it possible to take verses out of context and pretend the Bible supports sexism. Thus, when neglected to quote the last passage in the verse in the passage below, that makes it sound like women do not have a critical role.
1 Timothy 2:12-15 Good News Translation (GNT)
12 I do not allow them to teach or to have authority over men; they must keep quiet. 13 For Adam was created first, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and broke God’s law. 15 But a woman will be saved through having children, if she perseveres in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.
When the Bible tells about the kings of the northern and southern kingdoms of ancient Israel, in each instance the Bible tells us the name of his mother. Thus, the Bible credits his mother, the hand that rocked the cradle, with the good or the evil done by that king.
For now, we can only see each other from the perspective of this life. God has an eternal perspective. Thus, when the Sadducees asked about the next life, Jesus explained.
Luke 20:34-38 Good News Translation (GNT)
34 Jesus answered them, “The men and women of this age marry, 35 but the men and women who are worthy to rise from death and live in the age to come will not then marry. 36 They will be like angels and cannot die. They are the children of God, because they have risen from death. 37 And Moses clearly proves that the dead are raised to life. In the passage about the burning bush he speaks of the Lord as ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 He is the God of the living, not of the dead, for to him all are alive.”
What is important to God? Is it the fact you are a man? Is it the fact you are a woman? Or is it the fact that you love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?
To Be Continued (Next Saturday, hopefully)
The subjects will include: