Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Bible

The Bible is not THE Truth. How’s that for an opening statement? Let me explain, before some get upset and others get excited that I’ve finally seen the light.

The Bible is not, by itself, the essence of Truth. It is only bound paper with words on the pages that speaks of something greater than itself. When people believe that its words are the highest revelation of Truth they hold them so high that God and their neighbors come second to the words and the readers’ interpretation of them. Even in the day of Jesus, this was happening with the Torah. Jesus told them, “You search the Scriptures because you think in them you will find life, but it is I who these Scriptures are speaking about.”

Jesus is the One who is the full presence of Truth. It is He, not the Scriptures about Him that is life. Some may argue that the way we know what is true about Him is via the Scriptures that speak about who He is. However, this is not fully correct. It is true that the Scriptures are valuable and have an important role in revealing truth. The Bible does tell us true things, but it points beyond itself to the Truth itself which is not itself.

The Bible does tell us many things about Jesus, but a book illustrating a few years of His life, teachings, miracles, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension does little for us if we do not connect tangibly with the One it speaks about. The Bible is there to draw us away from natural earthly existence to open our awareness of Someone who can open our heart and spirit to a new world; a world we where we were always meant to have access.

The Bible does tell us true things about history, living, the future, and God Himself. But it was never meant to be idolized and revered over God Himself. This is why the words of Scripture without the Spirit of the Lord can be death rather than life. This is why someone can quote a Scripture that is supposed to be full of life and love and it feel like venom.

The Bible says that man without the Spirit cannot understand things that are spiritually discerned. There is a veil of sorts upon the wisdom of Scripture that only becomes unlocked when seen through ones relationship with Jesus. The Kingdom of God is then revealed and able to be experienced and released in a way that does bring life and love to others.

However, if people could access these things without the Spirit of God they would not be in a place where the things they find would help anyone because without the Spirit it would all be corrupt and damaging to the person and the world around them. Just the same, there is an understanding that comes from reading things at face value that can lead one to the path that unlocks the deeper understanding.

Sometimes, even believers, live from a place of naturally reading Scripture and by their own power and strength trying to live it out and that usually ends up hurting themselves and other people.

The Kingdom of God cannot be lived out by natural strength. It is impossible. Only by being in relationship with God, experiencing His Spirit, and in turn His power and love can the Kingdom of God be demonstrated. When this is happening the deaf hear, the blind see, the dead come to life, the crippled walk, and the love of God is experienced. When this happens people can speak and release peace to calm storms or freedom from bondages. Emotional wounds are healed. Dreams are realized and achieved. Heaven becomes a place on earth when a community of believers walks out the supernatural Kingdom of God in their lives.

16 comments:

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boomSLANG said...

Good morning,

"The Bible does tell us true things, but it points beyond itself to the Truth itself which is not itself."

i.e..equivocal, Christianese doublespeak. It's nothing more than an attempt to say that the bible is the infallible, 'Living Word of God' when a given excerpt of scripture supports one's views, but not the entire "Truth" when a given excerpt of scripture portrays "God" as something that is unpalatable---for instance, an a immoral, homicidal, egomanical jerk.

Karla said...

Boom, um no that wasn't the essence of what I was saying. I never said it wasn't entirely true in any circumstances, only that it wasn't the Truth itself, but a signifier of that Truth rather than that which is signified.

boomSLANG said...

Good morning,

Previously...

"The Bible does tell us true things, but it points beyond itself to the Truth itself which is not itself." ~ Karla

recently...

"I never said ['the Bible'] wasn't entirely true in any circumstances, only that it wasn't the Truth itself, but a signifier of that Truth rather than that which is signified." ~ Karla

Do you actually hear yourself when you say this stuff? You've simply come along and tried to clarify one equivocal statement by making another equivocal (and irrelevant) statement.

For one thing, no one, to my knowledge, disputes that a book about a given character is not the actual character, itself. I know that a book about Abe Lincoln isn't Abe Lincoln. I know that a book about Poseidon isn't Poseidon. I also know a book about "Jesus" isn't Jesus.

However, according to you and your Christian constituents, "the Bible" isn't just any ol' book. No, the story goes, said book was inspired by the "Creator" of all things, and certain parts of this book were even scratched into slate by said character, himself.

Karla, the contents of "the Bible" are either true, absolutely, or they aren't. The bible is either "Truth", or it isn't. It's binary. This new topic was no doubt inspired because of a point raised in a previous post, which is usually how it procedes around here.

In any event, if the bible is not only about this character who is "Truth, itself", but was inspired by that character; and if said character is the default arbiter and final authority on all things, then when there is verse after verse, chapter after chapter depicting this character as one who makes ridicluously atrocious and inhumane laws, then said character is in the "hot seat", so-to-speak.

Karla, your various apologetics - in this recent case, equivocation and double-speak - don't get your biblegod(in any of its various forms) off the hook.

Karla said...

Boom “Do you actually hear yourself when you say this stuff? You've simply come along and tried to clarify one equivocal statement by making another equivocal (and irrelevant) statement.”

I stand by what I said.

Boom “For one thing, no one, to my knowledge, disputes that a book about a given character is not the actual character, itself. I know that a book about Abe Lincoln isn't Abe Lincoln. I know that a book about Poseidon isn't Poseidon. I also know a book about "Jesus" isn't Jesus.”

Honestly, Christians don’t always get that. They often hold the Bible up as high as God.

Boom “However, according to you and your Christian constituents, "the Bible" isn't just any ol' book. No, the story goes, said book was inspired by the "Creator" of all things, and certain parts of this book were even scratched into slate by said character, himself.”

Yes, I agree with that.

Boom “Karla, the contents of "the Bible" are either true, absolutely, or they aren't. The bible is either "Truth", or it isn't. It's binary.

It is true. I was not saying differently. I was making an important distinguishment though.

Boom “This new topic was no doubt inspired because of a point raised in a previous post, which is usually how it procedes around here.”

Actually, no. It was inspired by reading a post over on Mike’s blog that got me to thinking about this combined with recent non-related conversations with some Christians.


Boom “In any event, if the bible is not only about this character who is "Truth, itself", but was inspired by that character; and if said character is the default arbiter and final authority on all things, then when there is verse after verse, chapter after chapter depicting this character as one who makes ridicluously atrocious and inhumane laws, then said character is in the "hot seat", so-to-speak. “

Well, I know you would have Him on trial if you thought He was real.

Boom “Karla, your various apologetics - in this recent case, equivocation and double-speak - don't get your biblegod(in any of its various forms) off the hook. “

He can take care of Himself. My job isn’t to defend Him, but to help where I can in clearing up some misconceptions for those who are looking for truth. And I take every question as if it is a real quest for truth.

boomSLANG said...

"I stand by what I said." ~ Karla

Yes, of course, but you haven't said anything, except that "the bible" isn't "Jesus", which is a defense of a non-existent argument. IOW, it's irrelevant.

"Honestly, Christians don’t always get that. They often hold the Bible up as high as God." ~ Karla

Irrelevant conclusion X 2. The bible is either "Truth"(absolutely..i.e..completely), or it isn't.

Previously, me: “However, according to you and your Christian constituents, 'the Bible' isn't just any ol' book. No, the story goes, said book was inspired by the 'Creator' of all things, and certain parts of this book were even scratched into slate by said character, himself.”

Karla responds: "Yes, I agree with that"

Yes, I know--you're a bible literalist. So, among other things, you believe bats are birds; the earth is a flat circle and geocentric; a firmament holds up the water in the sky. And more importantly and more to the original point, if biblegod decides to reinstate his old policies, such as...

- stoning rebellious teens

- stoning people who work on the wrong day of the week

- stoning prostitutes

- keeping, buying, selling slaves

- demanding that a rape victim marry her rapist

- killing those who attempt to lead you away from your "Lord"

...these would then become "good", "moral", and "just" policies. Right?

"Well, I know you would have [Yahweh] on trial if you thought He was real"

Yes, and rightfully so. With a "don't do as I do; do as I say!" mentality, there is no morality involved, and therefore, there's nothing to admire, respect, much less follow.

Previously, me: "Karla, your various apologetics - in this recent case, equivocation and double-speak - don't get your biblegod(in any of its various forms) off the hook."

Karla responds: "He can take care of Himself."

No, "He" evidentally cannot. This "God", if it exists, either allows his "followers" to go around believing erroneous information about him, in which case, he doesn't care, or else he is unable to do anything about it. Additionally, when challenged or "tested", this "God" retreats to the clouds for hiding. It doesn't sound to me like he's taking care of much of anything.

"My job isn’t to defend Him.." ~ Karla

This is good, because, frankly, you are not good at it. This is not to say that you aren't a nice person or someone who doesn't try.

"..but [my job is] to help where I can in clearing up some misconceptions for those who are looking for truth." ~ Karla

You've had ample opportunities to tell me and others how we're "misconceiving" the Christian philosophies that you espouse, yet, I see you failing to do so, fairly consistantly.

"And I take every question as if it is a real quest for truth."

As do you take every questioner who isn't a Christian as "mistaken", from the onset.

Karla said...

Boom, my response to those last comments aren't going to help either of us, so I'll refrain from explaining things further at this point.

boomSLANG said...

"[...] I'll refrain from explaining things further at this point." ~ Karla

That's fine, but you haven't been "explaining things" up to this point. What you do, and what you've been doing - and this thread is a prime example - is you've been employing massive amounts equivocation. You've also introduced yet another goose chase.

Karla, I couldn't care less if "the Bible", itself, isn't "life". I couldn't care less when you say, "It is He, not the Scriptures about Him that is life." ' Totally, 100% irrelevant to my point, which is/was, the bible and Xians(like you) who claim it is the literal, "Absolute Truth".

The document in question is composed of the human language, which, presumably delineates facts about the world we humans live in.

A "fact", by definition, should align with what we currently know about reality. Much of the information found in the pages of the bible *contradicts* what we know about reality. I've given you countless examples. Yet, instead of addressing those specific examples, your "explanation" is to minister on the subject of where "life" can be found.

Again, you fool no one.

Karla said...

I've only claimed that God is the Absolute-- not that I have absolute knowledge, or that the Bible is Absolute, because while true it is not Absolute, it points to Him who is.

I don't think I have anything more I wish to say on the topic.

boomSLANG said...

"I've only claimed that God is the Absolute-- not that I have absolute knowledge, or that the Bible is Absolute, because while true it is not Absolute, it points to Him who is." ~ Karla

Good evening,

As I've said too many times to even try to count, I couldn't care less who or what you claim the bible "points to". The title of this article isn't "Who the Bible points to". The title of this article is "the Bible". Said book contains the written, human language. The contents of this book are either "true", or they aren't. That you concede that said book is a limited type of "truth" is irrelevant, and again, is an attempt to equivocate.

Once more, the contents of "the Bible", while they may be limited, are either true, or they aren't. They aren't.

Karla said...

Boom "As I've said too many times to even try to count, I couldn't care less who or what you claim the bible "points to". The title of this article isn't "Who the Bible points to". The title of this article is "the Bible". Said book contains the written, human language. The contents of this book are either "true", or they aren't. That you concede that said book is a limited type of "truth" is irrelevant, and again, is an attempt to equivocate."

Okay. I understand you don't care.

Boom "Once more, the contents of "the Bible", while they may be limited, are either true, or they aren't. They aren't."

Well that brings the discussion to a close I guess.

cl said...

Funny. Stop by again for the first time in months, and, the same old pattern: boomSLANG still trying to "save you" from the error of your ways.

Karla, for what it's worth, you haven't equivocated on anything. To say that the Bible embodies the truth as opposed to actually being "the truth" is not at all the same as saying what boomSLANG translated your words into.

boomSLANG, as usual, has completely misunderstood your argument, then proceeded to blame you for his own misunderstanding. It's weird to me how he just sees what he wants to see, as opposed to responding to your argument as you intended it.

Every time I drop by, it's the same old thing. It's as if he's just here to argue and bicker instead of reaching out for any sort of common ground or genuine understanding.

Good luck, and patience.

cl said...

Because I can already anticipate the type of reply he's going to cook up for me, here's what I'll say pre-emptively to boomSLANG: you got it wrong right here,

"That you concede that said book is a limited type of "truth" is irrelevant, and again, is an attempt to equivocate."

Karla didn't "concede" any such thing. May she correct me if I'm wrong, but she is saying that truth is to the Bible as signal to a transistor. The signal comes from another source and simply flows through the transistor. Likewise, the truth of scripture comes from another Source and simply flows through the written pages.

Such is no concession of "limited truth" whatsoever.

Karla said...

Hi cl, nice to see you drop by. I agree with your summary. It is the difference between the signifier and the thing signified. The Bible is a true signifier, it is true in what is says about God, but it is not God.

boomSLANG said...

"Because I can already anticipate the type of reply [boomSLANG's] going to cook up for me, here's what I'll say[insert stab at knowing how I'll reply]" ~ cl

Actually, the reply I have doesn't need any cookin'; it's ready to go, and it's based on this...

"Funny. Stop by again for the first time in months, and, the same old pattern" ~ cl

'Funny, evidentally, part of that same old pattern is that you keep stoppin' by. You want others to break their patterns(well, just me, actually), while you continue in yours. Not that that is entirely shocking.

Previously, me, to Karla: "That you concede that said book is a limited type of "truth" is irrelevant, and again, is an attempt to equivocate."

cl responds....

"Karla didn't 'concede' any such thing. May she correct me if I'm wrong, but she is saying that truth is to the Bible as signal to a transistor."

That may very well be your interpretation/translation of what she's saying. Good for you. However, that is not what she actually said, whether she adopts *your* analogy as her own, or not.

"The signal comes from another source and simply flows through the transistor. Likewise, the truth of scripture comes from another Source and simply flows through the written pages."

Thank you, cl.(I guess)

"Such is no concession of 'limited truth' whatsoever"

Absolute: adjective

1. Perfect in quality or nature; complete.
2. Not mixed; pure.

(ref: American Heritage)[bold, mine]

Karla has gone on record several times to tell me/us that "God" is the "Absolute Truth", and that, while the bible "points to" this "Truth", it isn't that "Truth", itself.

IOW, "the bible"(the book) isn't "Jesus"(the deity/man). Yup, 'got it.

So, the bible isn't a "God"; it just "points to" a "God". Therefore, the bible isn't completely "God", and therefore, not the *complete* "Truth"(similar to how a "signal" isn't a *complete* "transistor").

Therefore, "the bible" provides limited "Truth".

See ya next month!

Karla said...

Boom there is a difference between limit and falsity. Saying it's limited in that it is not all encompassing and the absolute object itself does not make it any less true, just contingent upon it's object.

I could right a biograph of myself that is 100% true facts about me, but it would never be me and it could never replace actually having experiential knowledge of me.

In contrast, many Christians base their Christianity on how well they know the Bible accurately more so than knowing Him whom the Bible points to relationally. This often causes more religion and rules than God and love in that person's life. This is the distinction I am trying to highlight and it is a very important one.