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Scriptures under a new LIGHT

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In reply to an earlier post on 22 Apr 2012 01:20:51 BDT

I couldn't remember whether you'd said you were religious, so I hadn't assumed it, I think. [Added later: Or maybe I did make that assumption. Not sure now. Well, apologies if I did.]

I hadn't got everything you meant from your post, but I'll blame my reading rather than your writing.

Do you think that when Jesus was talking about eternal life he meant being remembered rather than a heavenly reward? I doubt that the early Christians read it that way, but this thread is about seeing things in different ways.
The lesson being taught would be better with your 'being remembered' interpretation, but I still have a nagging doubt about it. If we want a moral tale of willingness to sacrifice and help others, wouldn't it be better to help with no expectation of reward, even being remembered for good deeds? To help and improve the welfare of others just because it's the morally right thing to do.
I don't know whether you have ever watched the tv series 'Babylon 5', but there is an episode where two of the heroes are tested to see whether they are doing the right things for the right reasons. Are they acting because it's the right thing to do, or are they acting for their own glory and ego? There is an exchange between Delenn (one of the heroes) and Sebastian (the man sent to test her):

Delenn: If I fall, another will take my place, and another, and another.
Sebastian: But your great cause!
Delenn: This is my cause--Life! One life or a billion, it's all the same!
Sebastian: Then you make the sacrifice willingly? No fame. No armies or banners or cities to celebrate your name. You will die alone and unremarked and forgotten.

The episode is teaching the same lesson, and I think it makes the point better than the parable (in my view)

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Apr 2012 01:24:01 BDT

Yes, pitching to the audience can be useful.
As I've said before, I have no problem with learning from stories. It's when those stories are taken as literal truth that problems arise.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Apr 2012 01:36:16 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 Apr 2012 01:47:31 BDT
light says:
glorify the LORD,

I've been told that when we read the bible we should take into consideration the time it was written, the people who was being addressed, and the culture of the people.

" Matthew's Gospel is directed to an audience steeped in Hebrew tradition. The Gospel of Matthew stressed that Jesus Christ is the Messiah foretold in Hebrew Scripture, our Old Testament, and that the Kingdom of the Messiah is the Kingdom of God in Heaven."

"Jesus offers us a way of life that promises eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven."

"The teachings of Christ Jesus were simple but unique and innovative at the time of his life on earth. He began teaching about 30 AD during the ruthless Roman occupation of Palestine. At the time there were four major groups in the Jewish religion, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and the Zealots, all of whom presented a different viewpoint to the Jewish people. The Pharisees demanded strict observance of the Mosaic law expressed in the Torah, but also accepted the oral tradition of Jewish customs and rituals. The Sadducees were mainly from the priestly families and strictly accepted the Law of Moses but rejected oral tradition. The Pharisees, unlike the Sadducees, believed in the resurrection of the dead. The monastic Essenes awaited a Messiah that would establish a Kingdom on earth and free the Israelites from oppression. The Zealots were a militant Jewish group who wanted freedom for their homeland, and were centered in Galilee; one of the Twelve Apostles was Simon the Zealot."

" The message of Jesus was one of humility, charity, and brotherly love. He taught transformation of the inner person. Jesus presents the Beatitudes in a positive sense, virtues in life which will ultimately lead to reward. Love becomes the motivation for the Christian."

"While the Beatitudes of Jesus provide a way of life that promises salvation, they also provide peace in the midst of our trials and tribulations on this earth."

"One of the first contemplations on the Beatitudes came from St. Gregory of Nyssa, a mystic who lived in Cappadocia in Asia Minor around 380 AD. He described the Beatitudes this way:
"Beatitude is a possession of all things held to be good,
from which nothing is absent that a good desire may want.
Perhaps the meaning of beatitude may become clearer to us
if it is compared with its opposite.
Now the opposite of beatitude is misery.
Misery means being afflicted unwillingly with painful suffering."


"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
"Poor in spirit" means to be humble. Humility is the realization that all your gifts and blessings come from the grace of God. To have poverty of spirit means to be completely empty and open to the Word of God. When we are an empty cup and devoid of pride, we are humble. Humility brings an openness and an inner peace, allowing one to do the will of God. He who humbles himself is able to accept our frail nature, to repent, and to allow the grace of God to lead us to Conversion."

"It is pride, the opposite of humility, that brings misery. For pride brings anger and the seeking of revenge, especially when one is offended. If every man were humble and poor in spirit, there would be no war!"

I agree with this interpretation of, "poor in spirit". Keeping the ego under control or the spirit poor would allow room for spiritual teachings to enter.

Poverty could easily keep the ego under control and the spirit poor because poverty usually means that a person has to accept help from government agencies, family, friends, charitable contributions, the church....which would lead one to a humble and open attitude, this does not happen in all situations because some people become embittered and gain an attitude of, "They owe it to me" and "I deserve more"

Many life circumstances can lead to, "poor in spirit." I agree with what you said that poor in spirit can be related to poverty and reliance on help from others.

The bible does mention that God looks for a broken spirit and a contrite heart, to me this means, poor in spirit/humble.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Apr 2012 01:52:23 BDT
light says:

I don't think that I am projecting my ideas onto the parable, I have gathered my ideas from taking the bible as a whole and learning what the message is in it entirety. If a message or parable is isolated from the rest of the bible it can be taken out of context and used for personal gain or used to control others.

Posted on 22 Apr 2012 01:56:46 BDT
light says:
Here is another good learning story in 2 slightly different versions:

A Cherokee Legend
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Here is the same story, but it is called "Grandfather Tells" which is also known as "The Wolves Within"
An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, "Let me tell you a story.

I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.

But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times." He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.

Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed."

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Apr 2012 02:00:24 BDT

The Bible is many writings by many authors cobbled together. Some things were left out and some added. There is no cohesive whole. If the stories were originally meant to be taken separately, there's no reason they can't be now. People were reading these stories long before there was any such thing as the Bible.

Posted on 22 Apr 2012 02:05:55 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 Apr 2012 02:06:56 BDT
light says:
Yes, I agree, and not only the Hebrew/Christian bible but also writings from many other religions as well.

There is enough universal truth left to help society but there is no good reason for it to be used to control others.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Apr 2012 02:12:29 BDT
So you agree that the Bible doesn't need to be taken as a whole?

Posted on 22 Apr 2012 02:17:16 BDT
light says:
I don't believe that every word should be taken into account because as you have mentioned some things have been added and deleted. It's the message and parables of how to love your neighbor as yourself that I take as a whole.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Apr 2012 07:25:06 BDT
So, you've already decided on your interpretation, on the lesson that you want to learn, and go with those bits of the Bible? Why not just be nice to people? Why the need for the Bible at all?

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Apr 2012 10:57:10 BDT
Whoops. I should be saying that the Koran is the word of Allah through his messenger. I tend to agree with it, luckily.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Apr 2012 00:35:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 Apr 2012 00:38:09 BDT
light says:
"So, you've already decided on your interpretation, on the lesson that you want to learn, and go with those bits of the Bible?"

Sort of but not quite. The Bible and other scripture speaks to each individual on a personal level, which includes speaking to each person according to the level of understanding they have.

"Why not just be nice people?"

I agree, everyone should be nice whether they are religious or not.

"Why the need for the Bible at all?"

I enjoy group study of all religious writings, that's why it is important to me.


Best wishes to all of you!

Take care light
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  87
Initial post:  20 Apr 2012
Latest post:  23 Apr 2012

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