1 Corinthians 13:12 King James Version (KJV)
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Different translations. Different versions. Different interpretations of the Bible. Misinterpretations. Misunderstandings. Who is right? All of them and none of them.
I think it was Ayn Rand who said
“We see the world not as it is, but as we are.”
I agree with that, and I think everyone one views the Bible the same way; not as it is, but through a lense coated with preconcieved notions, our upbringing; we often see only what we want to see when we read the Bible. I am stopping there and leaving that open ended because I want to hear your thoughts on this topic.
This is my story: at 8 years old I first heard God’s voice. At the age of 12, I was saved by Jesus, at Oasis of Hope church.
At the age of 14, I turned my back and walked away from everything thing I knew, everything I had been taught, and anything to do with God.
At the age of twenty, when everyone else had given up on me, Jesus hadn’t. I will never again turn away from Him.
Song to set the tone:
I was inspired by a post I read recently; I linked to it at the end. Sheila’s post started me thinking about what it means to be open minded. The dictionary defines it as “willing to consider new ideas; unprejudiced”
To me, that sounds like true open mindedness means that a person will open the door to new ideas and not be offended when someone presents ideas that are directly opposite from what they believe.
Has that ever happened? Have people ever been able to put aside their differences and accomplish something worthwhile?
The United Nations
I thought about the United Nations and decided to study the history of the United Nations to see what that organization has been able to accomplish.
The United Nations was established on October 24, 1945. The purpose of the UN, as stated in its charter:
“to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,…to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights,…to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”
It’s now the year 2018. The UN has been in existence for 73 years. We still have war in the world. People are still oppressed by evil totalitarian governments. People are still starving, dying, being gang raped and living in fear. Children are still be murdered for any reason or no reason. Terrorist activity continues. The world is more dangerous now than it was in 1945. The UN has failed in its stated purpose.
The United States of America
The stated purpose of the US Constitution:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Are our streets safe? Are we protecting our “posterity” meaning our offspring or are we killing more babies than we are allowing to be born? Are we protecting children or allowing children to be sexualized at increasingly younger ages? The children aren’t safe. Are women safe, when there are so many cases of women being raped and murdered in broad daylight, and people around just go about their business because they feel it does not effect them. Those women are someone’s child, they may be someone’s wife, mother, sister. Do you think it couldn’t happen to someone in your family? Women aren’t safe in public and with the rate of domestic violence, many of them are not safe in their own homes.
Are men safe? Not if they are a police officer, they’re not. So who exactly IS safe in this country that seeks to “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,”
Islam seems pretty successful in their stated purpose to force everyone to convert or die. They seem very unified and successful in their purpose, but they are not trying to promote peace, liberty, or freedom. I think that being successfully evil is still a fail.
Most people believe that Buddhism started in India around the 6th century BC. In a nutshell, Buddhists worship Buddha and are trying to achieve Nirvana by doing good deeds and not doing bad deeds. Salvation by works, and they have no way of knowing if they are succeeding or not. As an aside, I asked an acquaintance who is a Buddhist, what he knows about Siddhartha. He told me that there so many Buddhist bloodlines that it is impossible to keep track of them all. Siddhartha was the birth name of Buddha himself, so it is a little confusing how a Buddhist could not know that. Anyway, I’m not aware of Buddhists doing anything to make the world safer for anyone outside of Buddhism, if you know of any examples, I would like to hear about them.
I don’t know of any contributions that Wiccans have made to society, other than a very popular and long running TV show that I used to watch with my mother, Wiccans seem to mostly keep to themselves and aren’t doing anything to promote safety or liberty for non Wiccans.
As a whole, it has been my experience that most religious people, of every religion, are narrow minded and bigoted.
The (so called) Christian (Hodge Podge)
I’m not religious. I do my best to follow the teachings of Christ. He promoted equality for women; several of his followers were women. He valued children, so much so that he told his followers that whoever was not pure and innocent as a child, would not get into Heaven.
I have no delusions about the failures of Christians. In some ways, so called Christians are worse than Muslims because at least the Muslims aren’t trying to hide who they are, or making a secret of their agenda.
Gandhi once said he seriously considered becoming a Christian, but changed his mind when he saw that Christians were nothing like their Christ.
I call it the Hodge Podge because there are so many divisions, factions, denominations: there are Pentecostals, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians, etc, all claiming their personal beliefs and interpretation of the Bible is the only one. Oh, and many make their living from selling salvation, healing, blessing, etc. No wonder the world mocks the church.
The Catholic Church
The Catholic Church has been guilty of great evil, both in the past, and currently. However, there are good Catholics, just like there are good people in every religion. There are also evil people in every religion. That doesn’t mean the religion is evil. Christ is not a reflection of the people who claim to follow him. The people who follow him are supposed to be a reflection of him, but that is rarely the case.
Religion fails because the followers become corrupted and evil. People fail, religion fails, opinions fail. Truth doesn’t fail, and Christ doesn’t fail. I expect though, to hear from all the open minded and tolerant people who disagree with me.
What is open mindedness in practice?
It is being able to peacefully coexist with people who believe differently from you without being hateful, vengeful, spiteful or sarcastic towards them about it. This doesn’t include being tolerant of crime or harming of other people. A follower of Christ who shares his faith with other people, and expresses faith in what the Bible teaches, is not harming anyone by those actions alone. If what they are saying is untrue, about Christ and Hell, why do the same people who say they don’t believe that, get angry about it? What’s there to make you angry? That’s not “cramming religion down your throat” if someone threatens you to force you to convert, that is forcing religion down your throat. Hell is not a threat, it’s a reality. Every religion has the concept of hell.
Open mindedness and tolerance wouldn’t belittle another religion with out finding out why they believe what they believe. It’s only self righteous and bigoted people who get angry at people who believe differently than them.
Cooperation means people of different viewpoints come together to create something, it doesn’t mean that the so called weakest one should be bullied into changing their view point. That is NOT unity, that’s forced conformity. The ONLY time that has ever happened was when Jesus walked the earth. He never rejected anyone, except religious hypocrite
An honest look at history will show that there has never been perfect unity, except in Jesus’ example. People throughout history have forced conformity on people, disguising it as unity.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try for true unity; we should try, even it is not perfect.
Is it wrong to ask the Lord that?
Every trial is designed to teach us something. There is something in each trial that the Lord wants us to see, both about ourselves, and about Him. There is often something He wants to fix in us–or something He wants to equip us with for the next area of service He is moving us into. He also uses trials to teach us some aspect of Him that we would not have known experientially if not for that particular trial.
So from that mindset, it is not wrong to ask the Lord what the purpose of the trial is, as long as we are asking with a teachable spirit. Look at the difference in the responses of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, and Mary, when the angel Gabriel appeared with an important message.
Remember, you are going THROUGH–not staying in that trial forever.