December 05, 2023
Human beings like to believe they have the word of God written down in a book, handed down from their ancestors, given by God to Saints or prophets or Sages of old. Since there are quite a few holy books handed down throughout the world in quite a few very different religions, it is a little hard to tell which book(s) is the right one. And members of the same religion also have their quarrels, some quite heated, about the true meaning of their sacred book(s) and which parts qualify.
I find it interesting to read these various books and contemplate the mysteries of life that my ancestors have also tried to understand. I like some ideas in these traditions but think others not worthy of God.
I personally suspect that the actual word of God is Reality, and who else but God could have written it? Reality is open to all people in all times and places. It has no favorites.
My peculiar theory has the advantage of resolving any possible contradiction between science and religion.
But if clinging to your favorite Holy Book makes you happy, I am happy for you. If it satisfies you completely and answers all your questions, that is wonderful.
With respect to morality, I treat this as a matter for reason more than revelation (reason is also God given). Moral actions are actions which are voluntary and mutually beneficial. Immoral actions are inflicted on others by force and not mutually beneficial. This is simple enough idea for most children to understand. The difficulty is with government which uses compulsion but claims it is for the "greater good.” This is where most of the disagreements come.
Tim replies: As God remains largely veiled from out senses BUT at the same time imposes a moral law it must be assumed He did in fact find a way to communicate with Humanity. He doesn't use Western Union.
I am of the opinion that one of the great religions is probably correct; they have stood the test of time and permeated much of humanity. As we assume God created humanity with the intent to draw as many of us to Him as possible, we must therefore assume any religious faith must stand the test of time and grow so that nobody can say they did not know. Salvation would depend on accepting God as afree-will choice,not under compulsion. That means people must make an informed decision, which means there must be a true faith, not just one faith of many. (It is human inability to think clearly and our limitations that lead to more than one faith.) So one must be right and the others may chew on the edges of truth but in the end must be wrong.
God reaches down to us; we can't reachup to Him.
So that necessitates that the Scripture of one religion is correct and while the others may contain some truths they are, in the end, in error.
I built a cabin in the woods using old, repurposed stuff. It is servicable. I have spent winter nights there and been quite comfortable. But the thing is a monstrosity of jury-rigging. It may work after a fashion but it would never pass a building code inspection.
Now imagine if I were to write a book on cabin building. My method seems logical and works after a fashion. But if you try to build it on,say, Martha's Vineyard the wreckers will come and tear it down; it's unsightly and improper and perhaps even dangerous.a
One sacred scripture is correct and the others are Homebuilding by Tim.
I think we can determine which is which by looking at what these Scriptures say and how they comport with both the reality we observe in the Universe and our human nature.
The God of the Bible is beyond our ability to grasp. One of the things that hampered the growth of Christianity was the concept of the Trinity. People couldn't wrap their heads around that. But isn't that exactly what one would expect from a being who created the entire universe? A being that creates but is Himself eternal?
And there are so many other things that make Christianity too difficult for us poor mortals. Loving one's enemies is a prime example; it's wholly unnatural. Yet we sense it is an ideal worthy of aspiring to and grasp intuitively that we fall well short. It is not natural to forgive your executioners while hanging on a cross as did Jesus.
Now take the Islamic scripture, the Koran and the Hadithas. They dismiss the Trinity. They celebrate humanfailings, like anger or lust or greed. They promote dishonesty and oath-breaking. Yes, Islam does speak of charity and kindness, but it is mostly limited to other Muslims. That's easy and all-too-human. And Jihad is the most human of all things; warring to make yourself more powerful and promote YOUR vision for others.
I have read a number of holy books by faiths other than Christianity and just don't agree with them. I think pantheism is intellectually unsupportable. I think God MUST be transcendent or nothing about what we must go through makes sense. I think reincarnation seems pointless and gratuitous by and large.
So I choose Christ. And I believe the Bible, a compendium of books written over many centuries and by many different people and having almost every aspect of life discussed, is more sensible than the writings of many other faiths, many of which are written by just one or two holy men.
Some may disagree. But I think the books themselves all point to some truth, but I believe the Bible points to all ttruths and the others were forshadows or corruptins.
Without a sacred text we have no way of knowing the mind of God,and why would God bother to create us if He didn't want an active roll in our existence?
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