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An open letter…

I am at a metaphorical and metaphysical crossroad in my life.   I am willing to admit that I am having issues believing that you are real.  I do not know a better way to say this.  I am not in the habit of speaking ill of believers or supporting non-believers.  I, being a solitary person, need something to make me believe or at least nudge me toward the conclusion that there are powers greater than human love and human hate- yet, WHAT that could be, i admit i don’t know.  I see beauty in life, in my children, in other people, and in myriad aspects of the world and its people.  Is that you or just how it is?  However, I also see what else exists in this world that is still in the per view of your domain that is not good or beautiful.  Is that you too or just how it is?  Do you not intervene in the world?  Text suggests you did in the past.  Why not now? Do you now simply let people … do what people do? Is it because people are a constant source of disappointment to you and you have simply stopped?

On a similar topic, Are you moral and good or are you ambivalent and lassier faire when it comes to this corporeal domain?  There seem to be many of us that speak in your name.  Who is right?  Who is wrong?  Does it matter?  I am sure you have heard “all roads lead to Rome.” Is a similar phrase true for religion?   Do “all religions lead to god?”  Does religion in its most dogmatic definition really matter to you?  Does stained glass and recitation of specific text bring someone to a closer understanding of what is really going on here on earth better than praying 3 times a day?  Does any of that really matter to you?  What are we supposed to be doing?  Are we supposed to be doing anything at all?

Are we here to simply BE here.  Is that it?  For the record, I am OK if that is it.  I would just like to know- completely know.  I admit, I am asking for the keys to the kingdom while insisting on to the right to cast it aside if I don’t like it.   I am not special, nor do I warrant any special attention.  Nor do I not expect any special attention to my plea.   I know many people have asked for a sign to bolster or give validity to their faith.  I freely admit that am unsure that if I were to ask for a sign I wouldn’t know who to ask for that sign.  Is the religion of my area the right one?  Are you a white-bearded Caucasian, who came back to earth approximately 2000 years ago as a brown haired, blue eyed man or are you a elephant headed being that millions of kids in India love and pray to?  I ask because images of you portray you as both of these and many more.  Some say we were made in your image.  So, is the image of the man in robes a closer representation of you or is the image of a man in robes what we humans want to god to be? If the latter is true it seems pretty vain on our part.   On the surface that seems a trivial point, but to me, it matters.

I realize that you may or may not already know this was going to be written and may have answered me and I was too dense to see that answer.  I admit that is a distinct possibility.    Never the less, I just thought I would ask.

Thanks,

-M.H.

P.S. If you aren’t god (or God) please feel free to respond.

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Don’t like the Bible? Change it! (And one Random Comment)

Dictionary.com has reported that new “versions” of the bible will be coming out soon.  These versions will have altered language in them.  I don’t know exactly how to feel about this.  Two main issues jump into my mind.  The first is “How can men change the meaning of scripture by changing pronouns?”  The second issue is “How can you “modernize” an ancient text and preserve its integrity?”   Well, first some basics from Dictionary.com’s article:

New International Version (NIV) and The New American Bible, respectively, will include gender-neutral language and substitute words that the editors claim will reflect a modern understanding of the book’s theology.

That is a bold claim, considering they are “modernizing” an ancient text that was written through a divine hand acting through a mortal.  That begs the question of do the editors have the right reason stones to change a book reguarded by millions as the end all and be all of their religion?

Gender neutral pronouns, as the article states, would cause loss of meaning and confusion on many passages that scores of people have committed to memory and live their lives by.

The Apostle Paul writes, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female…”  – this passage from Galatians 3:28 makes a statement about gender roles by using the specific masculine and feminine pronouns. However, if replaced with a gender-neutral pronoun, as in the case of NIV, the intended meaning may simply get lost in the translation. The same could be said for the passage: “Man cannot live by bread alone” (Mathew 4:4), as it has become such a popular cultural phrase.

There is a quote that came to mind when I read this article:

Language forces us to perceive the world as man presents it to us.  ~Julia Penelope

When man changes the language from the divine- it truly is a case of language presenting the world as a man wants us to perceive it. Josh McDowell’s “Evidence That Demands A Verdict”  provides evidence of the Bible’s survivability throughout time.  The main point he makes is that the Bible’s survivability is largely credited to its unchanging form.  That takes into account verbiage and form.

Since God handed Moses the 10 commandments in roughly 1400 BC, the Bible has been translated into 100s of languages around the world.  Is there any way to truly know the meaning and intent of the original work?  I think that it was lost hunderds of years ago.  Contextual and vocabulary dissimilarities could only cause confusion and misleading statements.  Like the Dictionary.com article points out.  This goes past pronouns and may have resulted in a bastardized text we know as the scriptures.  Let me provide an example:

Original Text:

You must go to the store and buy bread.

Translated into a language with dissimilar vocabulary:

You must travel to a building and trade for a grain and water mixture that uses yeast to rise.

I know you can see how that can mean the same thing- literally.  When the original text is used as a metaphorical device and not a literal sentence, I can see how it’s meaning can become marginalized by the translation.  We assume that “bread” is universally known as a symbol for Christ’s last supper.  I think that same scenario has been repeated over the decades and decades until all that is left is:

You must go.

These “gender neutral” additions are just the latest stride in a marathon of clouded meanings since the original words were penned.  Not to mention that The King James Version of Revelation 22:19 says that:

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Maybe the believers and re-writers should read it?

What do you think?

Now the random comment on the Dictionary.com post:

Alex Madjarov on March 27, 2011 at 10:41 pm

The best way to modernize the bible is to get rid of the whole thing and start all over. If you remove the genocide, slavery, unicorns, zombies, talking snakes, misogyny, lies, infanticide, deceit and other less-than-nice elements, you’d barely have anything left.


Yep, I knew it!

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