Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Matthew 17-19 So, anyway...

Matthew 17-19

This is my busy season at work.  Postings will be irregular  for the next month or so.

Turns out John the Baptist is an alias for the prophet Elais.
Scattered amongst more miracles, Jesus tells his friends that he's got enemies and that he's going to get caught and killed.  But fear not, he'll rise from the dead in three days.  Why three days?  If Jesus died on Friday afternoon and rose early sunday morning (at least he was found then, he could have risen Saturday night and hung around until early Sunday), that's barely 36 hours.  But I'm getting ahead of the story, hope I didn't ruin the ending for you.
The answer of course is that the numbers 3, 7 and 40, among others, were important in the 'bible days' so that's what they used.

Jesus infamously advocates for self mutilation;

18:8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
18:9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

18:15-18 would seem to be the reasoning the Catholic Church uses for not reporting the sex abuse cases.  
I'm only half kidding.

19:6 is the classic line used in every religious wedding I've ever been to;
19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Jesus also condemns divorce and has strong words for those who participate.  Seems Moses was wrong.
Also seems Newt Gingrich and many other christian right don't feel this teaching of Jesus is very important as divorce in the christian community is only slightly less then the general population.  38-42% vs 50%.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Matthew 13- Farmer Jesus

Matthew 13

I'm sorry I passed this chapter up.  I read several chapters and then broke them up into consumable bites and ended up leaving this one out.

The basic premise of this chapter is that Jesus preferred to speak in parables to illustrate his lessons.
He also seems to like seeds.  Perhaps if he lived inland he would have been a farmer instead of a carpenter/savior.

I/We WILL be cast into flames!!!

13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I didn't think a fiery hell was actually mentioned in the Bible until Revelations.

So, did Jesus have brothers and sisters or is that how they referred to his friends and followers?

We finish with people in the synagogue (the priests I assume) not being to happy with Jesus teaching these new fangled ideas to the masses.  They still think a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Matthew 14-16 O thou of little faith

Matthew 14-16

John the Baptist meets his maker?  Did he accept Jesus as his personal savior before he died or wasn't that an option yet?

Jesus then performs a variation on Elisha's bottemless vessel trick, feeding the multitudes with a couple fish tacos.

I like the symbolism in the Jesus walking on water piece;

14:29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
14:30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

I knew Jesus walked on water but the rest of the story is so much more compelling with a great message about having faith in his actions.  Why isn't this more well known?

I have to give Jesus and pals a big thumbs down in Chapter 15 for not washing their hands before eating.  Even worse, he goes to great lengths to justify his poor behavior.
If Jesus had died of food poisoning, would he still have risen a day and a half later?

A great line;
15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Jesus again does the loaves and fishes bit.  This looks suspiciously like a retelling of the first version in a different location.  Poor editing?

Another great line;
16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Two important lines finish off chapter 16.
16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
This seems to say that God will judge man on what he does, not what he professes.  Do good deeds matter?

Atheists like to use this line, indicating that the timeframe given by Jesus for the end days was WAY off.
16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.


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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Science, Reason and the Bible

There is a fairly fruitless debate going on in the comments section of an earlier post regarding science and logic.  Those educated in science are on one side and those educated in religion are on the other.  The classic, timeless debate.

But I don't think it has a place on this blog. We've gone round and round on this a couple times before and it just breaks down into personal arguments after a while.  I'll be the first to say that I'm guilty of having a low threshold when dealing with those that aren't well schooled in the sciences.

Therefore, I decree by virtue of me being the LORD of this blog, that all science/religion discussions should be confined to this post.  If the topic comes up in future posts, I will kindly remind the poster to move the debate here. if they don't, the comments will be erased.
I hope you will hold me to the same standard.

I'll start us off and then step back;
Why is science so great and religion so horrible?  Discuss! ;-)
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Matthew 9-12

Matthew 9-12

Jesus continues his healing tour and rounds out his apostile line up.

Is there a timeframe that is given anywhere that tells us how long Jesus was wandering around healing people and collecting his entourage?  From the reading so far I get the impression that is was over a very short period of time.

10:32 to 10:38 is the classic 'I don't come in peace, I come with a sword" line that many Atheists like to use against the peaceful Jesus.  Sadly (to some, but not me), within the context of the rest of the chapter, it fits and is not the horrible statement it's made out to be.  It's not nice, more Old Testament like actually.

Jesus gives his men marching orders and lets them know that it's going to be a rough job and some of them aren't going to be coming back.
To paraphrase Jesus, 'Don't fear the men that will destroy your body.  Fear me, the man who will destroy your body AND soul!
I'm guessing some of them are now wishing they had stayed on the boat.  ;-)

John the Baptist, still sitting in prison, sends out his own disciples to check in on Jesus.  I got the impression that maybe John was having second thoughts on Jesus being the messiah.  Did he think that Jesus couldn't possibly be doing all these great things,  or was there some professional jealousy going on?

I find chapter 12 very interesting in that Jesus had earlier stated that men should keep the laws of Moses;

5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven...
And yet not working on the sabbath isn't important anymore.  I believe that killing the man for collecting wood on the sabbath was the first judgement that man did in defense of the 10 commandments.  Can someone explain the seeming contradiction?

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Matthew 6-8 O ye of little faith

Matthew 6-8
Been under the weather for the last few days and once again this entry wasn't auto-posted.

Jesus continues his lessons.

6:9 gives us the Lords Prayer.  How many thousands of times have I had to recite this in church and at home?  I'm finding it quite fun to see where the Catholic Church gets the content for it's mass!   I also love reading all the phrases and saying that have become so common it todays world.

Jesus rightly tells us to do good deeds without the need for reward.
But, he also gives us this load of poop.

7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

We don't get everything we want. Even the most holy don't always get what they pray for.  Do they?*

Chapter 8 is the 'Healing Chapter".  Jesus shows off his variety of powers to cure lepers, the sick, those possessed by demons and even calm rough seas!

We get another example of Jesus saying that we should keep the laws of Moses after he cures a leper;

8:4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

Once again I have to say that I really like the writing from Jesus over the Old Testament.  Other then the more positive attitude, it's also much better written and more engaging.

*Please don't answer this with "God answers every prayer and gives us just what we need."  That's just a cop out.

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Matthew 3-5 Jesus Becomes a Preacher

Matthew 3-5

NOTE:  I set this post to automatically post on December 30th.  It obviously didn't.  I apologize for the delay.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays and looking forward to a happy, healthy 2012.  Celebrate safe!

So, when we last met Jesus, he was being born, becoming a wanted fugitive and hiding from the law.

He now meets up with John the Baptist, a charismatic locust eater working in Jordan.
John seems to think Jesus is the Messiah and reluctantly baptises him.

3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
3:14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

Jesus comes out of the water and is the first person to suffer from Jerusalem Syndrome.

3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

He too thinks he's the Son of God and starts to collect his entourage.  He then goes on a speaking tour with some leper healing on the side.

I'm taken aback by how sparse the information is on Jesus and his actions.  He suddenly appears fully grown, becomes the "Son of God" and leaps into the role of teacher/healer immediately.

Chapter 5 is pretty much everything that Christianity is based on.  The Dos and Don'ts that we all know so well.  The good stuff.   As I read this all I can think is "Why didn't God/the Bible start out this way?"  After 4000-6000 years of god being frustrated and angry and instilling fear into humanity, why not just send Jesus down to lead the Chosen People out of Egypt instead of Moses?

Even better, after Adam and Eve "sinned" for eating from the tree of knowledge, why didn't God come by and say "Whoops, you guys messed up by listening to the serpent.  I know I forgot to teach you right from wrong so here's my son Jesus to fill you in on how to behave while you're here."

But, I digress.  I'm so happy to be reading this now.  The Old Testament was such a bummer and the New Testament is a breath of fresh air.  I can see why people were ready to follow him and (eventually) convert to Christianity.

My only question(s) to you is, Jesus explicitly says:
5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

So why do people feel that Jesus broke from the Jewish faith?  Christians still follow (in theory) the ten commandments given to Moses but others seem to have gone away (the treatment of slaves/women, stoning transgressors of the law, resting on the sabbath, etc).
Bonus question, why is a service in a Jewish Temple so much different then one in a Baptist Church?

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