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§200 Biblical thoughts – for a penny

July 28, 2008

My wife is apparently ready to offer a penny for my thoughts

So here, to honor my 200th post, are some thoughts I wrote in 2005 when I was studying academic Bible research (Old Testament only), and struggled in my head in how to be able take a scientific approach to something that is so important to my faith. I am not saying this is what I pondered on when that picture was taken… it looks more like I’m thinking “I wish my wife was naked right now” or something. Anyway, here are the ponderings I wrote down 2½ years ago:

My starting point is that the Bible is 100% divine and 100% human. God doesn’t take control of the author’s pen, he uses the personality of the author. It’s not by chance that Jeremiah, who grew up in Anatot in the desert, always use parables about God as the Living Water, and this is only one example.
Now the key questions are:
What can I accept of the academic theories on the Bible, and what can I not accept?
How far can I go without making compromises with my faith?
What IS considered part of my faith?
Is it significant for my personal religious life if Salomo gave or received 20 towns to/from the Lebanese king?
Is my faith untrue if Moses didn’t write the entire Torah (Pentateuch)?
Can I accept the scholars’ doubt regarding the historical authenticy of the Exodus?
Must I believe that homosexuality is a sin in order to call my self a Believer in the Bible?
Must I be against evolution in order to call my self a Believer in the Bible?
How much of the authority of the Bible can I deny without shaking the foundation of my faith? Because I MUST deny some parts, since it does include contradicitons and inconsequentialnesses
How large part of the Bible can I see as “untrue” and still be a Believer in the Bible?

How to reach a solution:
-Remember what is significant for my faith and what isn’t
-Avoid “ignoring the problems and hope they’ll go away”. (Also known as the “The-Bible-is-true-because-it’s-true-theory”)
-Don’t let anyhting lead to compromises with my faith
-Remember that the Bible is not a book of History, Astronomy, Geology or Anthropology
-Try to understand how the author understood the text he wrote, and study his cultural and political background.

With these guidelines one has to reach an answer for each of the above questions. The big Question here is where to draw the line. I personally don’t think it matters to my personal faith who received towns, or whether Moses wrote the entire Pentateuch or not. But I do think that it would be to go to far to accept the scholars’ doubt regarding the historical authenticy of the Exodus.
Regarding evolution, I have all the reasons not to accept it, since it goes against the nature of the God I believe in. My God is good, and I refuse to believe that he has created the world through the method of “whoever doesn’t fit in must die”. Since the evolution is not and can not be proved by science (mostly since the method of experiments is impossible) I see no reason to accept it. On the other hand, I understand and accept that people who do not believe in my God can and will accept this theory, and I see no reason to try to convince them otherwise, and I find no sense in trying to find scientific support for the stories related in the bible. I believe it because it’s in the bible, that is what we call faith. Why do I need scientific support for that?
Homosexuality is also a question I can’t compromise with. This is because now we’re no longer talking about history, anthropology, geology or astronomy – subjects that are insignificant from the Bible’s viewpoint, and that are only mentioned incidentally. No, this is about way of life, and what is considered sin and not. This is the essence in the message of the Bible, and if I start to doubt even the smallest part of it, my entire faith is undermined. This is regarding everything, whether it’s prohibition to eat pork, sanctify the Shabbat, celebrate the Lord’s Feasts, not celebrating pagan holidays, loving your neighbor as yourself, seek righteousness, avoid homosexuality and sex before marriage, always do everything in my might to live a holy life and keep all 613 commandents.

Clarification needed – I am not saying that “whoever disagreees is an idiot”, and I don’t hate people that practice selfishness, homosexuality, sex before marriage, pork eating or christmas celebration. I see it as my way to judge myself and my life. The insight of others into the truths of the Bible is between them and God. I am also aware that others may have insights in things I don’t have.

The Bible is a mirror through which I can see how sinful I am. Only the Bible can teach me about sin, and since no one is free from sin (including me), it’s rather a mirror than an “instruction book for life”. This mirror helps me to find out where I stand, and what I need to change in my life in order to become holier. It’s impossible to fully keep the Mitsva of “You shall be holy, for I am holy”. But it’s possible to keep trying.

The Bible is no history, astronomy, geology or anthropology book. It’s a guide for life that helps us to live our lifes according to God’s will. Inaccuracies may occur in historical, astronomical, geological or anthropological details. But I can never ever compromise with the rules for life, nor the moral of the historic stories that are told. Because these, and not unimportant historic details, are the foundation of my faith.

So why are there inaccuracies? We can search for the answer to that question by studying the cultural and political background of the author, and try to understand how the author understood the writings he wrote. Then the historic details are important, and I must decide what can be seen as historic facts in the Bible and what can’t, and compare to archeological findings etc.

26 comments

  1. Yeah.. you’re right. No way that you were thinking this when the picture was taken. The bubble is too small for that!


  2. Ok that is just disgusting Dude. You bust my chops time and time again for this? Ok. Gimme my sword! Thats it! Im gonna eat some dinner and you are toast! you hear me! Toast!

    I can’t believe you!

    Oh you are so lucky you are asleep right now with your wife (I like her!) Otherwise I would kill you immediately! OK.. off to think on a proper reply to your absolute NERVE!


  3. Ok, you’d better be sitting your butt down cause this is going to be long and complex. Have plenty of bandages to hand too, as you will need them to sop up the blood and guts and ick. We don’t want the children slipping on any of it. Holeycheese, turn away now honey, because its gonna get ugly.

    First of all, you wrote these thoughts out two years ago I see. Thoughts of a very young man indeed. Thoughts of a young man becoming a father, and a husband and trying to make the world make sense to himself. For all of this I understand.

    However, taking your arguments to a logical level is impossible. I can scientifically show you evolution. We can now map the gene tree. We learn more about it each and every day yet you deny that it exists because the bible says in very vague language (which is highly interpretable) that it didn’t happen that way. A book that was written before true scientific understanding or break through.

    Let me ask you a simple thing. Will your daughter grow to be a woman? Can she now at this point in her life (4 years old I think – and super cute too even though I have to admit she looks like you) have a baby of her own physically? Will her body parts allow that? Scientifically, your daughter’s body will not be able to reproduce until the age of around 9. Or at first menses. Your daughters body will in fact change and evolve and grow. The parts that lay dormant in her body at this time will change and function differently to their need at different stages of her life cycle.

    If you take this as a model and place it on a larger scale then why is it such a jump for us to “evolve”? Science has proven that several things about humans have changed, including body hair amounts, what our tonsils and our appendix were once used for in the body and their lack of necessary to body function now.

    Lets talk about you as a father in this context. As God is your father, you are the father to your children. Can you single handedly protect them from being killed or killing themselves through poor choices? If you can, there are millions of parents that would like to speak to you about now.

    Too you assume that life and death is a cruel thing from God in your thinking and that anyone who doesn’t fit dies in evolution. Gosh, you really aren’t giving yourself or anyone else much credit here. How about the amazing things that are learned by those who don’t survive? Lessons taken from them to help the rest of our species? Without the victims of the plague, we would not understand that sickness could be carried in the water and the importance of hygiene etc. Necessity is the mother of invention and it makes us continue to grow and learn and create and strive for more. To simply survive.

    I agree God is a just and good God, but how can you not look at the animal kingdom and not see that the simple rule is that the strongest survive and thrive? Is it cruel then for you to kill meat to eat and live if you don’t think that is the case? The process of nature working in harmony, the food chain, and balance is all of a perfect and divine plan. Only a truly merciful God would provide us all with everything we need to survive and grow. We make the choices with what to do with the materials from there. Free will remember?

    The arguments that you put forth for believing in the bible because it says so and that it is a cornerstone to your faith that it happened exactly verbatim simply isn’t logical. Im not putting you down for your thinking, but don’t even try to place it in the logic realm. It is an emotional and spiritual choice that you are making rather than one of learning and logic.

    You draw empirical lines in the sand for yourself. I actually quite understand those lines and appreciate them. I appreciate who you actually are – and I think that is reciprocal which is why we have become such good friends.

    But here is the thing. I don’t need any of these things to give me faith in God, or to be the cornerstone of my faith. God has sent down his word in so many shapes and forms and languages and ways to understand it is pretty much impossible to miss. I don’t think he stopped at the bible. Nor do I feel it was his first attempt at communication. Nor will it be his last.

    There are just universal truths. The 10 commandments are Universal Truths. Keeping those basic ten rules in your life (like a guide book on how to make life just a little easier) gets you about half way. Having faith that there is a true God who loves us and heals us and has a plan for us, and provides miracles for us each day is the other half.

    As far as you keeping to the traditions because homosexuality because the bible says its wrong… well I know you don’t condemn others who do. But I can point you to very interesting medical research mapping out the brains of homosexual people and animals and how different they are to heterosexuals. They are wired different. Period. So does this mean that “They” alone are not of God? It doesn’t make any sense what so ever.

    You will not beat me in psychology or science especially medicine, and neurology, neurophysiology and neuropsychology. I have many years head start on you on those subjects, as do you on me with bible law (which of course I keep thinking one of these days Im gonna swot up so I can mop the floor with you on that too!).

    I don’t condemn your belief system, but I do have to wonder with someone like yourself who I see as a thinking, logical, spiritual, and compassionate man that you can not step outside these boundaries as some of which are old customs and traditions and not really God’s law.

    Overall, I do agree with you. The biblical writers and stories were chosen for a purpose. They had the best chance at survival this 2,000 years to bring God’s message down in this form (I believe there have been other forms before then and since). However, the flaws in the book, are the flaws of man. For some reason we as man always need the concept to be bigger and more impressive than it really is to see what is real and to accept it… and to have the faith of a child. How utterly sad.


  4. P.S. Im leaving a Quarter on the table…. don’t spend it all in one place!


  5. Hey, Amber! Ready? Here we go.
    First of all, allow me to point and laugh. When I fiirst wrote this 2 years ago, I posted it in a few discussion groups, got some replies, some stupid, some silly, and some interesting. I learned from them, and rethought some stuff, and then changed things in the text. Something that struck me was how awfully many people there were who just had to focus on the evolution. What I wrote about evolution was just a minor detail in all of it, and yet most comments were entirely or mostly about that. Why is this such a touchy spot? I will quote Phoebe from Friends here:
    “Will you open your mind just this much? Weren’t there a time when the brightest minds thought that the earth was flat? And didn’t you all think until 50 years ago that the atom was the smallest particle, until you smashed it open and a bunch of crap came out? Are you telling me that you are so arrogant that you cannot admit that there is a teeny tiny possibility that you might be wrong about this?”

    The beauty of science is that it changes according to findings. The evolution is a theory that is not and cannot be proven, and it doesnt fit in with my belief system. Period. I am not trying to force you to take my opinion, nor am I building a Noah’s Ark museum or trying to find scientific support for my beliefs.

    I agree that microevolution (the evolvement process that you spent 6 passages to describe) is a fact. Macro-evolution is not.

    I can agree and correct myself that the survival of the fittest is an eminent fact in the animal kingdom, which is a vital part of the micro-evolutional process. I might need to reconsider that specific sentence.

    My point is that I am not trying to find scientific ways to deny evolution or to prove creationism. I have simply chosen not to believe in evolution. Can you accept me for that even if it makes me an uglier duckling?

    You say
    “The arguments that you put forth for believing in the bible because it says so and that it is a cornerstone to your faith that it happened exactly verbatim simply isn’t logical. Im not putting you down for your thinking, but don’t even try to place it in the logic realm. It is an emotional and spiritual choice that you are making rather than one of learning and logic.”
    You are abolutely correct. It is not a logical nor scientific choice to believe in the Bible. It’s a faith. It doesnt make it untrue, but it makes it impossible to prove. Therefore I feel no need to try to prove it.

    You say
    “But here is the thing. I don’t need any of these things to give me faith in God, or to be the cornerstone of my faith. God has sent down his word in so many shapes and forms and languages and ways to understand it is pretty much impossible to miss. I don’t think he stopped at the bible. Nor do I feel it was his first attempt at communication. Nor will it be his last. ”

    Wow. Just one passage after you criticize me for “It is an emotional and spiritual choice that you are making rather than one of learning and logic”, you do the exact thing yourself. By boldly stating that God has sent down his word in so many forms and languages, you are taking a huge non logical step in faith. I am not criticizing that, but think about it. No one can prove what did come from God and what didn’t. I do agree that God still does talk to us, and he didn’t stop at the Bible. He sent us his Holy Spirit to be our guide. Just one question Amber – if you believe that “blind people with the elephant” theory, and that “religion is lika cars” crap – how do you deal with the totalitarian contradictions? How do you deal with the passages in the Bible that say the precise opposite of what the Koran says for example?

    The 10 commandments are universal truths? Really? So you keep Shabbat then? Do I understand correctly, that the commandments are the first half and faith is the second? You do know that the first commandment is to have faith, right?

    Wired different? I’ll have to get a second opinion on that. To me, a homosexual has by himself chosen to live a way that opposes the faith. Just as much as the moslem or the atheist. It doesnt mean that I hate him, it just means that I believe he is wrong. I am not opposed to churches where these people who still believe in God (and skip those passages in the bible) can exercise their faith. I am against forcing regular churches to accept them as members. Are we supposed to allow Democrats to be members of the Republican party too?

    You say
    “that you can not step outside these boundaries as some of which are old customs and traditions and not really God’s law.”
    and who are you to decide what are God’s law and what is old customs and traditions? Aren’t we supposed to decide that for ourselves, with guidance from above?

    I struggled with the questions if we are to keep the Torah or not under the new covenant. I asked parents and pastors and got no satisfying answer. When I turned to the scriptures it all looked so clear. Still, how could 2000 years of Christianity be wrong about this? Also it was a major change for me to give up shrimps and pork. I asked God for a sign. Then God made my girlfriend in Sweden (today my wife) allergic to pork one year before she moved to Israel to show her to start to keep kosher. That was my sign.


  6. Also, regarding Christmas. As you can see I regarded it as a sin back then. Now I only consider it a sin for us jews. I took another appproach later, after processing the fact that I don’t celebrate it anymore. More on my Christmas post §147 Turkish Bishops and Jeremiah.
    https://thatdudeyouknow.wordpress.com/2007/12/24/%c2%a7147-turkish-bishops-and-jeremiah/


  7. Let me wake up and grab some coffee and Ill get back to you….


  8. Dude,

    Firstly, regarding your non acceptance of evolution due to your faith, that is fair enough. Like I said in my post, I can accept it if you don’t try to say that you are looking at it in a logical way. What I was responding to was your comment in the beginning of your post which clearly said “So here, to honor my 200th post, are some thoughts I wrote in 2005 when I was studying academic Bible research (Old Testament only), and struggled in my head in how to be able take a scientific approach to something that is so important to my faith.”

    Bible research, scientific approach to my mind is looking at the Bible in a LOGICAL way. Not a way of emotions. There is no room for emotions or faith in research or scientific thinking. None. So I really don’t get what your complaint to me is?

    I never claimed to have thought of religion on this realm. My faith has never been based on scientific study of the bible. It is not based on words at all of anyone but what my heart and soul tells me.

    So really I don’t understand what your point is here? I am not being critical of you that you have decided on emotion and faith alone to exclude evolution from your belief system as you say – it is a corner stone of your faith. My critic was simply the fact that you claimed that it came from some kind of logic. When it could not possibly have done. Get your thoughts clear here. I am neither knocking your choice or your belief. Only your hypocrisy in believing you could have come to this conclusion by any type of scientific method.

    As for me keeping Shabat, I do keep a holy day for God. Maybe not to your tradition. But I do yes.

    Next point Homosexuality – I believe you should before speaking read the following:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/253/5023/1034

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biology_and_sexual_orientation

    and this article:

    The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published an interesting article in today’s journal that examines the physical structure of brains in heterosexual and homosexual study participants.
    The best summary of the article, PET and MRI show differences in cerebral asymmetry and functional connectivity between homo- and heterosexual subjects, authored by lead researchers Ivanka Savic and Per Linstrom of the Stockholm Brain Institute in Sweden, is provided by Richard Monastersky on the Chronicle of Higher Education’sNews Blog:
    Is There a Gay Brain? Imagine Study Finds Anatomical Clues
    [Neuroscience researchers] found that the brains of homosexual men and heterosexual women were more symmetrical than the brains of heterosexual men and homosexual women. A similar difference emerged when the researchers looked in particular at the amygdala, a brain region associated with emotional reactions. Heterosexual women and homosexual men had more connections between their right and left amygdala and more connections with other brain regions than did homosexual women and heterosexual men.
    Scientists have spent decades looking for brain differences between homosexual and heterosexual people and since the early 1990s have been finding anatomical distinctions in regions associated with sexual behavior. The new study suggests broader brain differences between homosexual and heterosexual men and women, even in regions not linked to sexual attraction.
    The BBC article where I first read of this study can be found here.
    In 2005, Dr. Savic was the lead researcher on another neuroscientific investigation about the “gay brain.” The title of that article, also published by PNAS, is Brain response to putative phermones in homosexual men.
    In this 2005 study, it was discovered — as the title of the article says — that “the brains of homosexual men respond more like those of women when reacting to a chemical derived from the male sex hormone.” [Source]
    These two studies lend evidence to the debate over whether sexual orientation is a biologically-determined trait.

    So it seems that I am indeed correct again. Hard wired. Meaning God made them that way. No choice. This is the way that they are built. God’s design. Think it over…. No one would EVER choose to be homosexual. Its too painful of a life to choose. Far far far too painful. It simply doesn’t make sense.

    As for the comments about customs and God’s law for interpretation – you are right, we all do need to interpret them for ourselves. However, many of the practices that are labeled in the bible as “God’s Law” have been found to be written long before the bible itself in folklore stories and morality tales. Superstition etc., I guess its up to each and every single one of us to decide those truths for ourselves, yes with the help of God.

    As for keeping the torah – we all struggle with what we choose to believe in. We all have to make it make sense for ourselves.

    For me, I struggled with my teachings of Judiasm and Christianity from my entire life plus the other religions running around my head for so many years. I believed in God. I just didn’t really understand how to put it all together. How to make it make sense for me. So, I started reading about history. Christian history, Jewish history, and Muslim history. Then I read through the bible again. I really read it with an open heart reading the words and the thoughts in it, taking it in, and trying to “match up” the two. I was in Egypt actually at the time, staring out to the Red Sea. I became angry. Angry at the Catholic church for its lies and its corruption. I became angry at how its manipulated Christianity for its own gains. And became completely disillusioned with the concepts that had come into focus.

    I have a close close friend who happens to be an Orthodox Priest. I believe you would call him a Coptic. I went to him, and said that I couldn’t wrap my mind around all I had read. Reality vs. Bible. My faith vs. what Im being taught. It just didn’t feel right or good. And he made me understand in such an easy way. He said: “I realize you are frustrated right now with the exaggeration and lies that you see. You think that every single person who studies the bible doesn’t really see them? The inconsistencies, the things that don’t quite add up? We all do. But here is the point. If it took making the story of Jesus to be bigger than it really was, and more exciting that it really was to help people to have faith and to bring them closer to God, then didn’t it do its job? Isn’t the basic lessons of goodness and kindness still there for all to see? These exaggerations can be forgiven, because no one wants to hear of a simple carpenter who was good and kind and lead the way by example. People want excitement. They want extra ordinary. They want supernatural. They want beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the one and only truth. And if this made this story last over 2000 years, and bring billions of people to God… then didn’t it do its job?”

    With that, I was able to be satisfied and said yep. And that was it. Happy to marry the two. Happy with Science and God walking hand and hand.


  9. Re: Christmas – I don’t celebrate it as the day of Jesus’s birth. Nope. I celebrate it as a day for God and to celebrate life. As for Jews celebrating it, I agree with your point. If you are going to be a Jew, even ones that are Messianic, you should not celebrate a holiday that the Catholic church created to symbolize the birth of Jesus – when they actually took over the date of Winter Solstice to appease the Pagans who they conquered and forced to convert. It would be hypocritical of you to do so.


  10. I guess I should leave a dollar this time huh?


  11. *grabs a big bowl of popcorn*


  12. Alright. Phew. This I can easily answer in a few sentences. The five-kilometer thing was probably mostly because of the article you were quoting.

    I’m sorry if this was unclear – the article is emotional. It is my emotional and religious struggle, trying to find the possibility to regard the Bible as holy, after I’ve learned the scientific approach to the Bible. How to accept what I must accept as scientific facts, and still maintain my faith. In fact, it is exactly what you wrote about folklore, morality tales, etc. I didn’t go into detail on that, but yes, I do to some extent accept the scientific approach that the Bible was put together based on many different oral traditions. I just have decided to believe that God has been in control as this process happened.

    So now when all misunderstandings are cleared up, we pretty much agree I think. Two comments left for me.

    1 – Homosexuality. It doesn’t matter if it’s wired into their brain. I have sexual behavior urges wired into my brain, which, if I let it go loose, would cause me to be unfaithful to my wife. It is our choices that makes us who we are, not our urges and instincts. I might as well think “why didn’t God program me to feel sexually attracted to my wife only and no one else?” – I believe the answer is quite simple. A great man is a man that can conquer his urges. And God wants us to be great men. When we ask God for intelligence, he gives us problems to solve. When we ask him for courage he gives us obstacles to conquer. The homosexuals that may or may not have this wired into their brain just have much more the possibility of being great men. Again, I am not condemning those who choose to live a homosexual lifestyle. I am just saying that having it as a “natural urge” is not an excuse to break God’s law.

    2 – That coptic priest… I am wondering if he woould be disowned by his church if they knew what he told you😉 It’s just a bit funny how many people who claim to believe in Jesus no longer believe he did miracles. On the other hand, the new age healing and everything is going forward. If this continues, the christians will be the only ones that don’t believe in miracles.


  13. ok… we are square on the first several points and agree to agree.

    Homosexuality – Look, Im sorry just because writers of the time of the bible believed it was wrong to be homosexual and didn’t understand it does not mean it came down as God’s word. I don’t believe that God put us here to live alone without love, companionship and compassion. That would be cruel.

    Shall I show you the studies of what happens to people when they deprive themselves of sexual stimulation? You want to know what it does to them mentally, emotionally, physically? Its really not a good thing. Do you have any understanding of how many homosexuals kill themselves because the bible tells them that they are evil for being born? Come on now. There has to be a flaw there somewhere. God is merciful. He would never ever create such hate for his innocent children.

    2. My Coptic Priest – Believes in miracles. Just as I do. I believe that Jesus made the blind see… He made people who didn’t know God “see” him. He made the lame .. walk in the light of God’s love, He healed lepers by bringing social outcasts back into society. He turned water into wine by accepting those who were not normally accepted by society and instead of serving them water at a feast, they were served wine like everyone else – showing his mercy , and his love. Those things at the time were miracles. HUGE. The social change, the change in thinking of people. That is miracle enough for me.

    It all comes down to interpretation. Was Mary a virgin or a young woman? Alma only means young woman. Virgin is not what it means at all. Just means young. Doesn’t even mean unmarried. We all have to decide our truths. What makes sense. How psychology and what we know of human actions and reactions really happens in life. Not what people say happens. What we KNOW that happens in regular people that we witness. How they react to situations. When you think of the people in the bible as actual people, and the psychology of people, your thinking changes.

    Besides…. what Jewish Rabbi gets to be 33 years old and is unmarried? Especially from a decent family? Come on… doesn’t even happen very often now.


  14. Yes, I know that “miracles but not miracles” yadda yadda. Trying to fit in the changes of the world (the modern rational humanism) to the unchanging word of God. Sorry, it doesn’t work.

    Alma means unmarried, which at the time meaned virgin. The Setuagint translation, which was made 100 years before Jesus was born translated it as virgin. And it says it will be “a sign”. There’s no sign about a regular young woman getting pregnant.


  15. Septuagint, sorry.


  16. All of the translations I have read – simply mean young woman. Not young unmarried woman. But ok. Ill believe ya.

    As for Miracles not being miracles… what doesn’t work about it. Ghandi created a miracle by establishing non violent social change too! That was HUGE. May not be a miracle to you, but the people who were living in it … it was a miracle.


  17. Anyway… this has been fun… 🙂


  18. I don’t really agree with your equalizing homosexuality with a “sexual urge” (hardwired or not). Its really not like homos are dragged around by their completely uncontrolled genitals, and that homosexuals thus would be collectively lacking self control.😉 A sexual urge, in my view, is kind of simple, and you are able to live happily anyway (however hard it can be to resist). But many homosexuals feel that their lives can’t be satisfying without a partner – which probably is the case for many heterosexuals. So, as I see it its on a different level.I’m not saying that it is wrong for a homosexual person to live in celibacy if s/he believes that it’s what the lord wants from them (like with catholic priests aso.),but it’s probably not an option for many (I mean, sexuality is important to many people regardless of orientation).

    I guess my (very moralistic) standpoint is that casual sex (premarital or the like) is morally wrong regardless of the gender of the person you’re having it with (however – like you, I don’t set the rules for anyone else, I just try to guide myself).

    I can’t really see what Sodom has got to do with a comitted gay relationship, and there’s a lot of heterosexual promiscuity going on, so why only focus on the most slutty gay (men)?

    I very much agree with you, though, in that it is ridiculous trying to force congregations into “accepting” gay members or forcing them to change their internal rules. Why not force KKK to wed whites to blacks? Why would these couples want to be wed in such an environment? I really don’t get it!

    BTW I am very interested in how you found your belief in Jesus, if you don’t feel like blurting it out here you can email me on facebook or the like. If you want to and it’s not too personal!


  19. Dr Kotte – interesting add to the conversation. Thanks🙂


  20. DK, thanks. Agreed. I do believe homosexuality is a sin, but there are thousands of other sins out there, and if I cannot say that I am free from sin myself (because I’m not), then who am I to condemn other sinners?

    I grew up with belief in Jesus, and started, as many others, to question it when I was a teenager. I realised, that every other religion is about people searching God, while Jesus brought God to us. In other religions you do good deeds for “better karma” or to “do a mitsva” or whatever you call it. Paul told us that it’s not worth anything if it’s not done with love. I was also convinced by all the prophecies in the old testament (you can find them in any missionary website – but mainly Esaiah 53 about “being healed through his wounds” and Daniel’s prophecy about the death of the messiah and the destruction of the temple shortly thereafter).
    I also encountered God very strongly on a few occassions. I specifically remember when he told me to stay in Israel when my family moved back to Sweden. I felt his presence so strongly it was just that. 100% this is God, it can’t possibly be anything else. I just knew somehow. And he was talking directly to me. It was very powerful and also very scary – that He who is eternal and made heaven and earth, actually cares about me. I had believed so before as “part of my faith” but only now did I realise how huge that actually is, and what a grace it is.
    It was only later that God led me to the understanding of the Torah laws, and that they are not replaced, contrary to what the church says. You can say a lot of stuff about upbringing, but this was something I learned myself by reading the scripures. I couldnt find one passage in the New Testament that encouraged jews to stop keeping the Torah. Sure, it is emphasized that they mean nothing and are just empty deeds if we don’t do it when we mean it, but nowhere was there any contradiction to the Torah whatsoever. I asked God if the church really could have been wrong 2000 years and asked for a sign. Shortly after that my girlfriend in Sweden (today my wife) all of a sudden became allergic to pork. That was my sign.
    I have encountered God too personal to be able to have any doubts. And I do believe that he will answer whoever seeks him. Maybe in other ways, maybe through different means, but I do believe God will answer.


  21. I agree, leave the judging to the lord. That’s one thing I like about the teachings of Jesus, though I’m not a believer in him.

    Very interesting story too. It’s kind of cool that your family (and now I mean your parents and so on) aren’t practicing judaism (or am I mistaken?), but anyway decided to make Aliyah. If your parents consider themselves Christian you must have a nice blend of faiths in you family, with your messianism, your sister’s more traditional judaism and their christiaity.

    I haven’t read the new Testament a whole lot, but from what I’ve read Jesus says in the sermon on the mount somting the like of “I’m not removing any laws,I’m making them stricter”. I wonder how the Christian church has seemed to forget that, when at least until the reformation(s), they took him on his word when he (in their view) took away the possibility of getting a divorce?

    I mean, just that desert epiphany of Paul, with those animals coming out of the sky? Paul was, if I’m not mistaken, not divine nor had he actually met Jesus, so even if he was a great evangelist and organizer (which it seems, from the act of apostles), how did his words become divine law? I am not trying to be a smartass here, I just don’t really get it. There was apparanty a big church meeting in around 300 AD, that decided that it should be so, but why?

    Pork allergy is the shit, I have it too… too bad that I’m allergic to milk as well, and like all swedish foods contain either or both… LOL


  22. My parents did see themselves as Christians. I’m not sure exactly where they are anymore. I think they see themselves more as messianic jews now, but they have a much more secularized world view than I do.

    The church’s way of denying what Jesus said is usually to point to the fact that he said “not one little yud of the Torah shall be removed … until all is fulfilled” and they claim all was fulfilled on the cross. (That’s weird… I though he meant “all” when he said “all” – including Daniel’s prophecies about the end of times).

    The animals in the sky was Peter, not Paul, and it’s taken out of context. People are reading it, understanding all can be eaten, and then try to interpret the Torah from that. That is backwards thinking. When you start thinking like a jew, it’s a whole other story. If the Torah is your base, and if you know the Torah is divine and unchangeable (according to Jesus), we must interpret that story accordingly. Pork was never declared unclean. Read Leviticus 11 again – the Lord says “TO YOU it’s unclean” – to us jews. But not to the gentiles. What God showed Peter was that these animals ARE clean, even if they are not clean to jews. And that gentiles, to whom these animals are clean, are also the children of God and can also be saved. If you read the story in the book of Acts, you can clearly see that this was something Peter saw as a sign that also gentiles can be accepted, and that the salvation is not only for jews. The first messianic jews were very restrictive with that at first.

    When it comes to the apostle’s authority, Jesus said that they will be taught more things by the Holy Spirit, so anyone of the apostles that were part of what happened at Shavuot (Pentecost) as described in Acts, is to me an authority since I know that they are people that have encountered God closely and wouldn’t lie about that. Now, if you read 2nd Peter, in the end of it, Peter mentions Paul and mentions how difficult it is to understand Paul’s letters and how many people have perverted it (as they are today, claiming Paul has ever told people not to keep the Torah). and he adds “as they have done with all other Holy Writings” (if I remember correctly). Peter is thus putting Pauls letters on the same level as the books of the Tanakh. If Peter trusted Paul and knew that Paul was spirit filled, then I have no reason to doubt it.


  23. Aha, very interesting. It seems as the people who interpreted the desert-animal-vision were suffering from the same misconception as many non-jews nowadays – namely that “oh them jews see themselves as so much better than the rest of us, with all their rules and not eating pigs and stuff”, which if you read some VERY basic stuff about judaism can very clearly see is not what judaism is about.

    I must check that stuff about Peter mentioning Paul, because, heh, the incredible perversions of Paul’s words continues to this day. How can people say “oh, Paul says Jews are evil so now lets go kill them all”, when he ALSO says that he himself is very jewish and follows all commandments closely?


  24. Exactly! =)


  25. Thatdudeyouknow, Long time no chat, how you doing my friend…. Been reading this and Wow deep stuff ehh! As you probabley know I am an Athiest, non beliver Agnostic, call me what you will even call me a pagan, Its my choice after years of trying to understand the world.
    I was Christened into the church some 43 or so years ago and have never been really into going to church or anything but supposed I lived a vuagley Christian life.
    All this really changed when I joined the Army and visited different places and saw some different eye opening things, I was married whilst serving in the Army, and my first daughter was born whilst I was serving in the Army. I began to think what was going on and why things happened around me…
    If i was still practicing a faith why would mine be different to yours? would we not be praying to the same Big Man in the sky….God?
    When I was fighting and serving in the Gulf and Kuwait and fighting for what I belived in,Religion had nothing to do with it BUT, as the people who I was fighting against me where dying did they go to their God or my ex-God, or yours, Or did they just go to a place down below to fire and torture, Or infact did they repent their sins for praying to a false God and then go through the pearly gates into heaven??

    What really happens to non belivers as they die?

    AND I MUST SAY ALTHOUGH I AM OPEN TO LISTENING TO ALL THINGS AND POINTS OF VIEW…YOU ARE SO WRONG ABOUT HOMOSEXUALS, AND GAYS!!!!
    What if your Daughter or Son who I know you would love turned out to be Gay…. T.D.Y.K. Its not a lifestyle choice NOT!


  26. Hey, Kered! Great to see you, man!
    Regarding the eternal question where do non believers go – no one has a clue. But there are thousands of theories. The best way to find out the truth is to shoot a bullet through your head.😉
    I see it this way. According to the Bible – be a good person and believe in Jesus you go to heaven. Be a bad person and don’t believe in Jesus you go to hell. Regading people that are good but don’t believe in Jesus or bad people that believe in Jesus, the Bible is unclear. But just in case, I’m gonna be a good person and believe in jesus. Add to that the difficulty of defining what makes a person “good” and if there is such a thing, and theology gets going.

    If my daughter or son would become gay, I would respect their choice, continue to love them, and respectfully let them know my point of view. I want to believe that I would be able to love their partners as I would love a straight partner of theirs. I would also be careful not to make remarks or ask questions that I wouldn’t ask a straight couple.



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