Thursday, March 21, 2013

Black and White Thinking, Seeking Unity

I've been trying to Pray and Ask God what I should do with my Blog and for some reason thought for awhile that I was going to be writing more Exclusively about Christian Topics, instead of some of the Things that I used to write about.  I think that this train of thought, though, was more based on my own Fears because of some of the Conflict that Occurs when I write about some of the Broader Subjects that I have Chosen in the Past, not at the Exclusion, though, of my Christian thoughts, that always do seem to eventually find some form of Expression on my Blog.

At the Moment, I've been more led to just Review some of my Older Posts, especially those which my Hit Counter says are Visited Often.  Surprisingly, One such Post is the One in which I was Attempting to Define what is meant by the Subject of "Black and White Thinking".  I wonder if some of my Newer Followers would Find this Post Interesting.

I suppose I should add to my thoughts on the Matter, by highlighting a few things that were said in the Comment section of that Post.  Here is a Comment by BB-Idaho from Below that Post.  Bold Print Added by me...

"So, let us say it is 40 degrees at the airport.  An Eskimo deplanes and observes 'Gee, it's hot'.  A Sudanese just in from the Sahara complains 'Gosh, its cold'.  The temperature is a simple fact... perception of it may be black or white?  And from the perspectives of their two backgrounds-both may be true."  BB-Idaho February 2, 2011, at 3:20 PM

In this Comment, BB has Illustrated how the Number 40 is Definitely an Absolute (Black & White), but the Perception of it as Hot or Cold is Relative (Gray). 

My Favorite Illustration was Mentioned in the Comment section as well, by me...

"Another Example of this that I like is when Two People from Different Places on the Globe are on the Phone Arguing about whether or not the Sun is Rising or Setting, yet Both of them are Right, because the Sun is, In Fact, Both Setting and Rising at the Some Time, Depending on where you are on the Globe, so that Fact is Relative, yet the Absolute is that the Earth Rotates and Circles the Sun."

So you see, there are Definite Absolutes, yet there are also things that are Relative.

Perhaps some of my New Followers may be Wondering why I am Blogging in this way.  Well, as it Turns Out, One of the Main Themes that has always run through my Blog is the Balance between the Extremes and our Tendency to Judge each other if we are not willing to try and Find that Balance and while doing so Reach Out to those who have Slightly different Opinions then ourselves.

Since some of my Newer Followers are Christians, Perhaps I should address the subject of Black and White Thinking in Relation to Christianity.  There are some Things that we believe in that are Clearly Black and White, that is Absolute.  We Believe that the Bible was Written for everyone and not just for some and that there are definitely some Absolute Truths that are written there.  Where the Problem comes in is when People Add to the Bible and Make somethings Absolute that are not Really absolute at all, but instead Relative to a Certain Group.

For Example, there are Churches that Forbid Dancing, yet there are others who Dance unto the Lord.  Along this same line, some people enjoy Singing Hymns and others more Contemporary Music.  Some People Enjoy Worship Services that are more Spontaneous and others Prefer more Structure.  Some are Highly Emotional in their Worship and others are more Reserved.  What is Important is that we love and do not Judge each other for what ever it is that we choose, as long as it is Biblical and Glorifying to God.

I guess that it is not True that this Message is not a Christian One, for it has to do with the Unity that is needed within the Over All Church, even between Denominations.  What is Truly Absolute, we all need to Embrace, yet we also need to be careful not to expect everyone to be Exactly like ourselves, for I truly believe that there is room for Considerable Diversity within Christianity.


BB-Idaho said...

IMO, you have stated matters fairly. Of course both b/w and
gray thinking present problems:
that is why people argue endlessly over whether something is a fact.
If we strongly believe it is...well, it is. If we disagree,
then we present reasons why it is
not. Thus we may end up with 'moral relativism' and its
baggage. Can one's perception of
what is right be different than
a different person's; when is a right absolute. We note that in
history, 'might makes right'
the winner writes the book. For
example in the Old Testament, which is sort of the history of
God's chosen people, the Israelites slaughter & enslave.
But in other areas lament because THEY have been persecuted. There are of course, many examples besides biblical history..If Japan
had won WWII, they would likely
put US generals and politicians on
trial as war criminals: but we won, and tried them. Probably because in the horrors of war and combat, moralism becomes 'relative'. IMO, b/w thinking is simpler than gray,
an either/or paradigm which has
its place..say in medicine..the
z-rays shows the bone is broken-or not.
After my rambling around the issue a bit, I agree that your perception of disagreement among Christians as disharmonious, given the major beliefs are the same. A couple the problem is
old-recall the original Christians, the attempts to maintain orthodoxy in the face of
gnosticism, donatism and the dozens
of other 'heresies'. Much of that writing is lost, suppressed at the time by the 'winners, who wrote the history'...but once in awhile
some tattered papyrus shows up and sheds light. That was a long battle, lost at the time of the Reformation. So, we learn over time
that there are different ways of
worship and we learn to accept it.
But, still out on the fringes, there are the Jehovah Witnesses,
Mormons' Coptics, etc. whose practices and beliefs are so different, and which cause continuing disarry among the community of Christians.
In conclusion, that is all pretty gray, huh? For the black and white of the matter we need consider..."Judge not that ye be not judged".

Lista said...

Thanks for your Comment, BB, and a long one too. My Response is sort of Long as well and will be Delivered in Two Parts.

"If we strongly believe it is...well, it is."

Not True, for there is such a Thing as Truth apart from what we Believe. Believing does not Make it so. It is so because it is so and those who are True Seekers hope to Find what is Truly so, not just that which we choose to Believe in.

The Reason Why Christians do not Like "Moral Relativism" is because it is too much like "Situational Ethics", which is another whole Discussion.

For the Most Part, Situations may seem like Justification for the Breaking of the Rules, yet if we believe in God, then we should be able to Trust Him to Provide for out Needs without the Need for us to Break any of the Rules or Participate in any Sin.

"Can one's perception of what is right be different than a different person's?"

Christians say no and the Reason why is because we believe in the Authority of Scripture and this is where the Absolutes come in. Here are some Verses about People Doing what is "Right in their Own Eyes".

"In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 17:6, NASB) Also, Judges 21:25 says exactly the Same Thing.

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel." (Proverbs 12:15, NASB)

"Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts." (Proverbs 21:2, NASB)

Two of these References are in the Book of Judges, which if you read it, you will see that it Contains a lot of Violence and Anarchy. The Validity of the Two Proverbs can be seen easily just by Observing the Non-Remorse of some Criminals, some of which can Participate in Rape and yet Appear to have Absolutely no Clue at all that they have done anything Wrong.

Lista said...

The "Might Makes Right" Idea is an Evolutionary one, or more Specifically "Survival of the Fittest" and I Like to Think that Humans can do much better than that, Especially with God's Help.

Have you ever stopped to think about the Fact that God has some Influence over who has the "Might" and who does not. For Example, this Country was Great when it was First Founded and not only was their Prayer in the Schools, but also in Government Meetings and the Bible was actually used as a Text Book.

As America has turned away from these Ideas, though, we have been becoming less and less of a World Leader and Sadly, now we are not Even Listed as One of the Top Ten. As we have become more and more Liberal, Look where this has gotten us.

Yes, you are Right that Black and White Thinking has it's Place and that is why I keep saying that not all is Black and White and not all is Grey, as well as not all is Absolute, but Neither is all Relative. People have Trouble Getting their Mind around this and that is why Christians can at times be quite Rigid and Legalistic, yet Avoiding that Extreme does not Mean that we should become total Relativists.

I don't know. Perhaps there are those who just do not have the Ability to Understand what I am saying, yet there are Definite Absolutes, BB, and the Fact that a Bone is either Broken or it is not is a very good Example.

"I agree that your perception of disagreement among Christians as disharmonious, given the major beliefs are the same."

There you go. Now you have shown Evidence that you do Understand, cause that is exactly what I'm getting at. Most of what Christians Argue about is so Frivolous. It is so very sad and I so wish that we could show the World exactly how much we really do Agree on.

Here is another Confusing Dilemma, though… We are not to Judge each other, but we do have to Judge what is True and Unfortunately our Salvation could depend on it.

BB-Idaho said...

Julius Caesar observed that "Men
willingly believe what they wish".
Any discussion about truth, unfortunately, immediatley becomes
'gray'; fraught with definitions and philosophical/psychological
constructs. Consider the numerous
understandings of 'truth':
Substantive Theories-
Correspondence theory of Truth
Coherence Theory of Truth
Constructivist Theory of Truth
Concensus Theory of Truth
Pragmatic Theory of Truth
Minimalist Theories-
Performative Theory of Truth
Redundancy Theory of Truth
Pluralists Theory & variations
Formalist Theories-
Truth in Logic
Truth in Mathematics
Truth in Semantics
Kripke's Theorum
...we can take our pick, or end up totally confused. Which brings us to Epistemology; specifically the
term 'belief', which is defined
as 'the psychological state in which an individual holds a premise or proposition to be true"
We began with Julius Caesar and end
three Roman generations later with
Pontius Pilate. "What is Truth?"
...and there was silence.

Brenda said...

Hi Lista,
just read your post on 'black and white'. What I did notice that I can comment on is that the conversation about the sun spoke about the fact that people have different experiences according to where they are positioned regarding the subject they are speaking about (and this principle applies to all subjects). The earth revolves around the sun so the differences in perspective are on account of where the person happens to be positioned in relation to the sun. It is not that the sun has moved away, it is that the person has been moved away or been drawn near by the earth itself. Every body will be right in their own eyes according to how they view something from the position they are in, so there can be no argument - only differences. However, these differences will never change the sun itself, it remains the sun regardless.

Lista said...

Very good, Brenda, and for anyone who may have missed this, what she is actually talking about is not the "sun", but the "Son". That is the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Read her comment again with that in mind and you will receive a slightly different Message. Thanks Brenda.

I'll get back to you. Your Comment is a little longer and it just so happens that I Need to Get going for Church.

BB-Idaho said...

I think Brenda explained perception nicely. IMO, nature is
a 'truth': if we watch an eclipse in the northern hemisphere, but it
isn't seen in the southern, it still occurred. The 'truth by
inference' concept exemplified by
"if a tree falls in the forest and
no one hears..."
Not sure if Brenda is talking about 'son', since she carefully
and correctly, IMO, predicated her
remarks with 'and this principle
applies to all subjects'. It does
and as I comment previously,
'perception' seems to be the philosophical key. If somehow
every single person on earth agreed about something, we might
term that a 'truth'.
Getting back to gray thinking,
consider that the rising and the setting of the sun was such a wonder to primitives that they
had myths and tales about the
chariots in the sky, the daily
'death' of the sun, etc. Gray to
us with a bit more information, but probably very B/W in the context of those times. So...we
add time to location of perception?

Lista said...

I tend to Like the way Truth is sought for in the Court Room. There are Witnesses and the Evaluation of Motives. The Gospels are Witnesses of the Life and Teachings of Christ, as well as His Resurrection and there were also other Writings. All 12 of the Disciples were so Convinced that the events that they Witnessed were True, That Christ Did, In Fact, Rise from the Dead and that He was, in fact, the Messiah, that they were all Willing to Die for what they Knew to be True.

As to Motive, you tell me what Motive Christ had for Claiming to be God even though He knew that such a Claim would result in Crucifixion.

Whether Brenda's Original Intent was to compare the sun with the SON is something that only she can tell us, but it doesn't matter. Intentional or not, there is still an extra hidden Truth Hidden in her Words.

Where a Person is "Positioned in relation to the SON" will Effect their View of the World, for the SON is the Light of the World and the Light is the Truth. Jesus, as part of the Godhead, Never Moves away from us. We are the Ones that Move away from Him. Regardless of what we Believe, though, or of what our Differences are, "these Differences will Never Change the SON. He remains the SON of God regardless."

Thank You again, Brenda. Your Comment is truly Awesome and not Doubt God Inspired.

Your Comments are Thoughtful as well, BB, and I may even have more to say about it later, but that's enough for now.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Only for those that choose to believe so, Lista.

Beliefs are just that: beliefs. True for you; perhaps not so for someone else.

What you believe as truth someone else may call fairy tales.

There is more than one Scripture in this world.

Lista said...

Yes, it is True that my Interpretation of Brenda's Words in relation to the SON, rather then just the Sun, is very Christian in Nature, yet what she said about the "Sun" is based on Science, not Religion, and it illustrates very well how there is such a Thing as Absolutes, apart from relative Perceptions.

Brenda said...

Hi Lista,
What I said about the sun speaks to me both ways, as in nature itself ( or as I would call it 'creation' ) and spiritually, and will get seen to each individual according to his or her perspective on it. It speaks to me as a Christian, and probably to other Christians, very obviously as Jesus because He is portrayed as the 'bridegroom'to which the sun is also likened in the scriptures. However, in order to see that in the context that a Christian would see it a person would have to be taught spiritually with the knowledge and wisdom that is only found in the Scriptures. If we try to mix the two they make no sense at all, just like speaking in two different languages to one another when each only understands their own language would just be a babbling noise.. or I could use this sentence from BB-Idaho's comment to express the same situation from a Christian's point of view 'Gray to us with a bit more information, but probably very B/W in the context of those times. So...we add time to location of perception?', .... not only adding time but God's Spiritual wisdom, taught through the Holy Spirit enlightening the Scriptures, to a Christian's location of perception.

BB-Idaho said...

"I tend to Like the way Truth is sought for in the Court Room. There are Witnesses and the Evaluation of Motives." While it is
true that a verdict can be reached most times, sometimes we see a hung jury: sometimes the guilty go
free, and once in awhile an innocent person is jailed. IMO,
this is because witnesses can be
mistaken, forgetful or even biases.
Throw in lawyers and what at first seems black and white gets very gray.
We need be aware of relating truth and fact, which possess different attributes:
1. Facts are more objective when compared to the more subjective truths.
2. Facts are more permanent when compared to the more temporary truths.
3. Facts exist in reality, whereas truths are usually the things that one believes to be true, or the things that are true in the current situation.
4. Facts can also answer the ‘where,’ ‘when’ and ‘how’ questions, whereas truths answer the ‘why’ question.
5. Facts are verifiable.
With that in mind, we may posit that Brenda's example exemplified
a fact; muslim, hindu, beggerman,
thief, priest, pastor, physicist
cannot but agree about the sun...
whereas some categories of humans
accept the truth of the Son as fact, many do not. (IMO)

Lista said...

Thanks again, Brenda,
You have no Idea how Helpful you are and I think of another Verse as well.

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him. Neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14, KJV)

Even that, though, Probably sounds like a Jumble to some. As to Satyavati, she is referring to an entirely different set of "Scriptures". There are Hindu and Buddist's Texts, as well as possibly even Texts that relate Specifically to Hari-Chrishna. She may even Believe that these Texts are also "Spiritually Discerned". I'll allow her to Enlighten us to the accuracy or inaccuracy of what I have just said in this Paragraph.

"Witnesses can be mistaken, forgetful or even biased."

True and that is why it is good to have more than one of them. In the Case of Christ, there were 12 and that would make for a rather Strong Case in the Court of Law.

To some, the Internal Experience is very Real and Holds an Evidence all of it's own that can not be Studied Scientifically. Even the Word "Reality" can be placed in the Internal Experience, for Internal Experience is also a Reality that Exists within us.

For Example, Thoughts Exist and one could say that we can Observe the Brain Waves, yet the Actual Content of those thoughts can not be Scientifically Observed, yet we all agree that there is such a thing as a Thought.

BB-Idaho said...

Indeed we have thoughts which we
perceive and can enunciate: which look like so many synapes firing in various brain areas. Fascinating. Good example, IMO.
Regarding the case of Christ,
whatever witnesses and evidence-
it fared poorly in Roman court:
thus the problem of the rules of
evidence, the nature of 'justice'
and why legal affairs adjudge
guilty/not rather than rignt/wrong sometimes.
Of religion and its many manifestations, we need to understand that in ancient times,
groups would accept the gods of
other groups (perhaps assigning them lesser roles). For example,
in OT times, the Hebrews were much tempted by the Canaanite gods (and vice versa). In current times there are three religions which
accept no other god: Christian,
Jewish and Muslim. This arbitary
approach has led to them both
persecuting and being persecuted.
Eastern religions are quite complicated, although as Brenda
has implied, they also derive from
the relation between man and nature. The eastern religions,
Hindu, Buddhist, Taosim etc. tend
not to be missionary types and are more of a personal relationship with the their dieties. Surely there is much misunderstanding among them, each being familiar
with their own belief system: sometimes religious conversion
demonstrates the carryover: voodoo
for example is a melange of mismatched concepts:
"Vodou originated in the French slave colony of Saint-Domingue in the 18th century, when African religious practice was actively suppressed, and enslaved Africans were forced to convert to Christianity. Religious practices of contemporary Vodou are descended from, and closely related to, West African Vodun as practiced by the Fon and Ewe. Vodou also incorporates elements and symbolism from other African peoples including the Yorùbá and Bakongo; as well as Taíno religious beliefs, and European spirituality including Roman Catholic Christianity, European mysticism, Freemasonry, and other influences. Early Catholic missionaries among the Indians had problems when the native peoples
felt that a God that would sacrifice his own son was a weak
god-incompatible with their nativist theologies-and they killed or chased the missionaries away. (it did not help that missionaries tried to change their
ranging and hunting lifestyle to
farmer..they resisted because 'one cannot stab mother earth', which is how they saw plowing.
So, yes the internal experience, our reality, can exist...but it can
present misunderstandings.

Lista said...

You know, I was just getting ready to Review the Trials of Jesus, as it is Easter Week and the Pastor has given exactly that as our Assignment for the Week. I think I'll wait to give you the Details until I have reviewed it again myself, yet what I can tell you now, off the Top of my Head, is that Pontius Pilate Publicly "Washed his Hands" before sending Jesus off to be Crucified and the reason is because he Knew Him to be Innocent, so you are quite Correct that the Witnesses and Evidence fared poorly in the Roman Court. That is the Evidence Against Him, not the Evidence in His Favor.

A lot of times the Ancient Court Systems were much more Crude than what we have now and not everyone always got a Fair Trial.

I have never Denied that there were groups of Christians throughout History that have Mistreated People and done many Negative things, yet History has a Tendency, as I have told you many times now, to Emphasize the Negatives and the Extremes.

Missionaries have also made many Mistakes over the Years, before they eventually realized that their Role was just to Present the Gospel and not to change the Culture. I remember reading about one Tribe Similar to the ones you are talking about in which the Missionaries had to Present the Gospel a little Differently, by calling Jesus a "Peace Child".

A "Peace Child" is a Child that is given to another Tribe in good Faith, in order to Bind a Treaty of Peace. To Kill a "Peace Child" is considered an absolutely Horrible Act and thus, since Jesus was Offered as a "Peace Child", in order to be Reconciled to and to Make Peace with the World, when this "Peace Child" was Killed, this was viewed by them to be a Horrible Atrocity.

All that you have Pointed Out is that there are Cultural and Language Barriers that Missionaries much Over Come before their Message can be Heard and Understood by those in other Cultures. This is no Secret. I was Interested in Missions Once and have studied some of this.

I'm not sure, though, how Vodou fits into all this. You started out talking about African Vodou and than switched to the Native Indians and somehow I missed the Connection.

I hope you don't Mind, but I'm going to bring this all back to the Scriptures again...

"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24, NASB)

Internal Experience is made up of both the Spirit and also the Mind (Truth) and in Order to Understand with the Mind, we must be Willing to Exercise Wisdom and Reason. Also...

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2, NASB)

We are not to be Conformed to any Tradition or Culture, but instead Renewed by God's Spirit.

On a more Intellectual Level, Truth goes beyond any single Culture and if we truly wish to seek it, then we can not allow Culture and Language to Block our Understanding of that which is Broader than Our Own Limited Understanding.

BB-Idaho said...

I pointed out voodoo as a partial conversion: they add some Christian beliefs to their existing pagan beliefs. Many missionaries are successful: Africa is full of Christians of
several denominations. Some were not: St. Boniface with the help of the Carolingians converted with the sword; chopped down the sacred Oaks of the Druids. He was martyred for his efforts.
I mentioned these in support of my original thoughts about "my truth
supercedes your truth" and the three current religions that feel that way. Right or wrong, the concept does lead to misadventure
to say the least.

Lista said...

The Missionaries that I mentioned that Described Jesus as a "Peace Child" were also Successful, even though their earlier attempts had not been.

Perhaps a good Part of this Journey to find Truth is Internal, yet it has to be done with a Pure Heart. Intellectuals have Trouble letting go of that which can not be Proved Scientifically and a lot of others have trouble letting go of other Truth Blockers, such as Emotion, Past Bad Experiences and various different Insecurities.

All I know is that Christianity has Radically Changed Many Lives and I know Christ is Real because He Dwells in my Heart.

Lista said...

Voodoo is not a Christian Idea, BB. In fact, Christians see it as something more Connected with Evil, rather than Good. The "Misadventure" that you speak of is mostly the Result of Pride and Disrespect, not just Believing that Christianity is the Truth. God Never Asked us to Use the Literal Sword in order to Convert People. The Only Sword that we are really supposed to use is the Bible, for the Sword is sometimes used as a Symbol of the Bible and it's Truth.

The Muslims have everyone else Beat when it comes to using Violence in order to Push their Religion. They even have a Word to Describe this Practice, which is Jehad. An Idea that can even be found within their Scriptures. Christianity does not Teach Jehad. Christianity is about Love and those who have been Violent in the Past are not Following what is taught in Christianity.

Darth Bacon said...

Michelle Obama practices Voodoo

Lista said...

Welcome Darth. Thanks for Sharing.

More will be coming for BB Later.

Brenda said...

BB-Idaho, Where you state 'Eastern religions are quite complicated, although as Brenda has implied, they also derive from the relation between man and nature' I don't believe that by my stating in my comment 'He is portrayed as the 'bridegroom'to which the sun is also likened in the scriptures.' that this implies that any religion, particularly Christianity, is derived from the relation between man and nature.

BB-Idaho said...

Sorry Brenda, I misunderstood your statement. I was coming from the
historical/anthropological view that the first religions were an
attempt to explain man, where he
fit in nature and with his fellows.
In that paradigm, 'religion' is a generic term as in
" Religion is an organized collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. From their ideas about the cosmos and human nature, they tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle."
Those that study such things tend to group by similarity, of necessity, since there are currently 4,200 religions and
thousands more in the dustbins
of history. As I noted previously, the Abrahamic religions present the novel of exclusivity (mine-
true/yours not) and other than the
clergy academics, the followers
disregard and are not familiar with
the genre at large. So, we are left to discuss Truth, Belief &
Fact, whether from philosophical,
logical or religious standpoint.
As Lista can inform, I come at these things from oblique angles, with no intent of disrespecting the faith on anyone.

Lista said...

Hi Brenda,
Thanks again for you Comment. As you can see, BB is a rather interesting guy; Well studied, yet actually more Scientific than Religious.

My response to you, BB, is long again, so once again, I will divide it into two Parts.

I'm going to go back up to your Comment from Yesterday that you Posted at 12:31 PM.

Whenever the Hebrews Worshiped the Canaanite gods, Yahweh/Jehovah became angry because He had told them that they are to place no other god's before Him. That is, in fact, the Very First of the Ten Commandments.

"So, yes the internal experience, our reality, can exist...but it can present misunderstandings."

Though I do Agree with this Statement, it also seems that a lot of what you talked about in your Comment was the Ideas that came out of one's Culture, not necessarily just out of someone's Internal Experience. Who knows how such Ideas actually Originated? Perhaps there was at one time some Negative Event that Happened to someone when they were "Stabbing Mother Earth" and so this turned into a Belief.

There is no way of Knowing rather a certain Belief began with an Internal Experience or Thought Process, or just a Misunderstanding of some External Event.

Pentecostals and Charismatics, who are very Strongly into the Internal Experience of God's Presence, still encourage interaction with other People, not only for Encouragement, but also for the sake of Making sure that they remain on Track.

From such groups, I have heard it said that "Prophets should be subject to Prophets". That is, we are to be Accountable to One another and Make sure that our "Revelations" from God are all in Unity with each other.

Once in awhile, I will come across someone who says they are a "Prophet" and have a Word from the Lord, yet they do not take the time to Interact with other Christians and I will discover that their "Prophetic Words" are Way Off. The Reason Why this Happens is because there is more than one Spiritual Entity Out there and if we are not Careful, we will end up Listening to the Wrong Spirit, for there are Spirits that will Deceive, rather than Enlighten. We are also Encouraged to Keep Reading the Bible, for this same exact Reason, to Keep us on Track.

I suppose that this Disunity is what causes some to not Believe in the Validity of the Spirit World, yet Once you've Experienced it, you know that it's real.

Lista said...

If Reading the Bible Keeps us on Track with God's Spirit, than I suppose that Reading another set of "Scriptures" may help someone to remain on Track with a Different spirit, yet the spirits are not in Unity with each other, for they are Divided between Good and Evil.

Satan was once an Arch Angel named Lucifer that stood with God in the Throne Room, but he became Proud and thought that he was Equal with God, so he got Kicked out of Heaven and took a whole Host of "Fallen Angels" with him. Since God has Angels too, this is what began the Division in the Spirit World. Satan likes to Foster Disunity and this is why so much of it exists, even within the Christian Church, cause Satan Loves to Infiltrate the Church with his Lies and Create all kinds of Chaos.

Moving down to your Comment at 3:20 PM, Yesterday;

Coercion does not Lead to True Conversion. Just as when the Christians of the 18th Century were trying to Force enslaved Africans to Convert to Christianity, what resulted was a sort of "Partial Conversion", as you put it, that was Mixed with Voodoo and other Pagan Beliefs.

Converting with the Sword, that is the Literal Sword, not the Bible, is not real Successful. Chopping Down the Sacred Oaks of the Druids, was an act of Disrespect and was no Doubt done out of Human Effort, rather than God's divine Guidance. When Christian try to do things on their Own, without God's Help, they get it wrong.

There is an Attitude of "My Truth Supersedes your Truth" that can be Arrogant and Boastful, yet Truth is what it is. It is the Attitude that creates the Problem, not the nature of the Truth.

There was another Group of Missionaries that Prayed and asked for God's Guidance and Help and was lead to Present the Gospel in a way in which Christ was Explained to be a "Peace Child". This Approach was Successful, because it was God Inspired, rather than man Inspired.

Lista said...

Perhaps I should also Respond to your most Recent Comment.

You say, BB, that the First Religions were "an attempt to explain man, where he fit in nature and with his fellows" and yet do not seem to realize that it is considered Taboo for any Scientist to mention anything about the Possibility that there might of actually been a very real Deity involved. This Possibility is always absent in Scientific Writings because to mention it is "not considered Scientific".

There is a Book, though, that I really think you should Read. I have probably mentioned it before, yet every time that I hear you spout all your Religious History, I think of this book and how you really do need to Read it. I was hoping that it is still in Print and guess what? It's not only Available, but also on Sale for only $4.63. It's Called Eternity in Their Hearts, by Don Richardson.

This Book shows how the earliest Forms of Religion are actually Surprisingly similar, regardless of the fact that they were spread all over the Globe and there was no Communication at the Time between the various Cultures. There are Traces of Christian Ideas and Symbolism in very early Religions, spread across Many Ancient Cultures. You've got to Read this one, BB. Please! If nothing else, it will add another Perspective to your Studies of Religious History.

In your Comment, you said that "Other than the clergy academics, the followers disregard and are not familiar with the genre at large."

This has always been more True of Catholics than Protestants, who have always been Encouraged to Spend Personal Time Each Day Reading and Studying the Bible, though in some Groups, the Catholics may be doing better in this regard than they used to.

Brenda said...

Hi Lista,
I think this may be my third comment, so I will probably make it my last on this post. (Unless you want further discussion.)
Although I don't really know anything about other 'religions' I think the main thing that I see in Christianity is the fact that the God of Christianity (Who to me is the God of creation and is Spirit) is a God who seeks mankind, not the other way around. For the Bible says that 'no man can come to Jesus except he is called by God.' and 'No man can come to God except through Jesus', and I can see as I look back over my life before becoming born again how things that happened, including a healing as a result of prayer and a (what people call) near death experience were all a part of God calling me to Jesus. There is a verse in the Bible that says 'It is a fool who says there is no God', and I have to agree with it as I look at things like how many lenses there are on each eye of the dragon fly (some 30,000 ), and the seven types of silk that an Orb-weaving spider produces, the sturdiest being lighter that cotton yet gram for gram stronger than steel. I have read several of Greg Braden's books on quantam physics and some of the facts there remind me once again that man is just discovering something which was already there.
Anyway, nice to have met you.

Lista said...

Hi Brenda,
I wonder if you are responding to one of my Rules, which is "No more than 3 Comments IN A ROW, per. Person." Please Note that the Emphasis is on In a Row, meaning One after the Other, with no other Comments in between. I was having Problems Once with an Excessive Commenter that was not Only Excessive, but also Dogmatic, Pushy, Rude and Insulting. You have in no way been any of these things and are welcome to Comment as many times as you want to.

Your Comments are always Insightful and your support is helpful to me. You appear to have a very Soft and Loving Spirit. I think that it is Probably time for me to go back and Read your Testimony, which I believe is now Posted on your Blog. Thanks so much for Sharing and Please do not be at all reluctant to do so at any time.

Also, some people are Intimidated by Intelligent, well studied People. Don't ever fall into that Trap, for in reality, such are just People, just like the rest of us.

Brenda said...

Hi Lisa,
yes I was responding to your rule but I wasn't sure, so I thought that I would mention it. Thank you for your kind words, although any soft and loving Spirit in me is the Lord's and all credit goes to Him, but I do love interacting with people and discussing the scriptures and hearing people's testimonies. I have put the first part of a small part of my testimony on my blog and am in the process of putting together the second part. You are very welcome to come over and read it. God bless

BB-Idaho said...

I am familiar with Don Richardson's work among the Sawi
of New Guinea. They were so primitive that their take on the New Testament was that Judas was
the hero...they honored treachery in their beliefs. He and his family emersed themselves with this
people/culture for many years.
With great patience over time, he
was able to convert them and they
to this day are (fairly) modern
Christians. The concept of sending
young sons to live with enemies is
akin to "hostage for peace", that we see here and there throughout
history up to medieval times: Kings sent their sons to be raised by foreign kings, and of course they had to remain at peace. Richardson's recognition and use of the concept was very clever,
a lever to relate their understanding to Christianity,
and I think he is to be admired for
moving that tribe out of the mythic
mists of the past. [I guess what started out as black/white thinking
turned into lessons in missionary work and I commend Brenda for her
thoughtful contributions]

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Two comments:
I suppose that Reading another set of "Scriptures" may help someone to remain on Track with a Different spirit, yet the spirits are not in Unity with each other, for they are Divided between Good and Evil.

This implies to me the following: 1. that you believe that other religions believe in a different God than you do. 2. that the God that other religions believe in is necessarily evil. 3. that you attach no validity to any scripture other than your own. How can you invalidate a scripture you haven't read and don't know anything about?

In your Comment, you said that "Other than the clergy academics, the followers disregard and are not familiar with the genre at large."

This has always been more True of Catholics than Protestants, who have always been Encouraged to Spend Personal Time Each Day Reading and Studying the Bible, though in some Groups, the Catholics may be doing better in this regard than they used to.

"The genre at large" that BB refers to is religions in general. Information about religions in general, other religions, what they believe and why, what their scriptures and practices are, are not found in the Bible. I mentioned above that not 1 out of 100 Christians of any flavor know anything about what I believe. Most of them choose simply to believe that whatever my beliefs are, are necessarily 'wrong'... rather than attempt to obtain any information about them. Your commenter, Brenda, also admits that she doesn't know anything about other religions (ie, the genre at large).

Therefore, BB's comment was spot on. I think perhaps you misunderstood his meaning.

Lista said...

That's what I love about Christians. There is a Humility there in the Giving of the Credit to the Lord, that a lot of Non-Christians Lack.

Giving Credit to God is just a different way of thinking. It's just like in BB's Comment, he was trying so hard to give the Credit for the Success in New Guinea to Don Richardson, yet I know for a Fact that Don would not have given himself, nor Accepted the Credit, but instead would have adamantly insisted that He Prayed Extensively and that the Inspiration came from the Lord.

I did not Like the First Draft of what I Wrote to you, so I'm going to Put Off my Response, while also Committing it to Prayer.

BB-Idaho said...

Slightly off topic, but I'll throw it in for the sake of information
(and possible discussion) is the
growing phenomenon of mainline
Christian religions losing membership. Oddly, these numbers
either join evangelical or simply
become nonreligious. Since the
two groups seem antithetical, what
do we learn from the process (if anything)?

Lista said...

First a Really Quick Response to BB-Idaho:

Thanks, BB, for without even meaning to, you have Helped me to some degree in my Response to Satyavati. Also Forgive me for Observing another Interesting Phenomena, which is how Prayer seems to being about interesting "Coincidences", such as the fact that something that will help me in the response that I was Praying about just now came from you at just the right Moment.

Don't you see? Evangelicals are the Ones that Believe in the Infallible Validity of the Scriptures. Isn't it Interesting that the Ones who Hold Fast to the Infallibility of the Scriptures are the Ones who are not "Falling Away"

Believe it or not the "Falling Away" from the Faith has been Prophesied about, for in 2 Thessalonians, Paul says...

"Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."

Fulfilled Prophecy, such as this Verse Represents is also an Argument in Favor of the Infallible Validity of the Scriptures.

There is a Verse in Revelation that says...

"15) I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would thou wert cold or hot. 16) So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16, KJV)

In Matthew, Jesus says...

"32) And before Him shall be gathered all nations, and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats, 33) And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left." (Matthew 25:32-33, KJV)

Interestingly, the Sheep and Goats appear to be, at least to some degree, Separating themselves.

Another Interesting Fact is that the Only Group that is Growing, rather than "Falling Away" are the Evangelicals, yet don't you see, that is a Testimony all in itself. Those who have the Truth, know it and are Hanging on to it. Many that are a Part of the segment of the Church that does not have the Truth, also Know it and because they do not have the Truth, they are Falling Away.

As long as we are talking about the Infallible Validity of the Scriptures, let me Add to this the Fact that on a Historical basis, the Bible Holds up better than any other Holy Book to Historical and Archeological Scrutiny.

Thanks so much BB for your Comment. I will Continue this Argument as I Respond to Satyavati.

Lista said...

"How can you invalidate a scripture you haven't read and don't know anything about?"

My Belief in the Infallibility of Christian Scriptures is based on some of the things that I was just Talking about in my Comment to BB-Idaho. First of all, there are lots of Prophecies in it that either are being, or have already been Fulfilled.

Secondly, the Part of the Christian Church that is the most Remaining intact, rather than Losing Membership are the Ones that still Believe in the Infallibility of the Scriptures and Thirdly, on a Historical basis, the Bible Holds up better than any other Holy Book to Historical and Archeological Scrutiny.

Once a Person has Found Adequate Reason to Believe in something's Validity, it's sort of like Real and Counterfeit Money. Once a Certain Standard has been Accepted as Valid and Pure, what ever does not Match it is a Counterfeit. When the Cops Arrest a Person for Counterfeiting Money, it is not Necessary for them to Understand every Detail about how the Counterfeit was made, but only that it does not Match the True Article.

Rather such is Offensive or not to the Counterfeiter or his Followers is not the Point. The Point is that Christians have every Right to Believe in and Accept the Evidence that Christians have the Genuine Article.

If the Requirement of "Tolerance" involves Accepting the Notion that All Paths Lead to God and all Religions are Valid, this is not a Reasonable Request, because that would Mean Compromising what we Believe.

"'The genre at large' that BB refers to is religions in general."

Ok, Maybe you are right that I did not Understand this entirely Correctly, yet this does not make anything that I have said incorrect. I never Claimed that the Bible was a Text Book about the Beliefs of other Religions, yet Not everyone is Interested in the Study of all of the Religions and there are enough other Evidences of it's Validity in Fulfilled Prophecies, Historical and Archeological Validity and the Loyalty of those who Believe not just in Christianity, but in the Infallibility of the Scriptures, that Studying everything isn't actually Necessary.

Not everyone is Interested in the Massive Study of all of the World's Religions. People can sit in Judgment over others who have Different Interests than themselves, yet I do not believe that God Judges People in the same way. Instead it is just the Opposite, just as it says in the Scriptures...

"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." (1 Corintians 1:27, KJV)

And this fits right into the Humility that I was talking about to Brenda, for God Honors, Humility and Purity of Heart more than he does any form of Knowledge or Wisdom.

BB-Idaho said...

"Interestingly, the Sheep and Goats appear to be, at least to some degree, Separating themselves." ..some of those sheep are wolves in sheep's clothing...
of course the goats will stay away!

Lista said...

You can Disagree with me if you like to, Satyvati, yet I will Never Apologize for using Christian Scriptures in order to express my Beliefs, as well as giving Encouragement to whatever Fellow Christians might be Present.

Yes, we do have every Right to Believe that we have the Real Money and that the other Bills are Counterfeit. Anything less than that would be to Compromise what we Believe. I am in no way Obligated to treat your Scriptures as Equal to my Own, nor even to Read them and Become an Expert on what it is that you Believe. When all is said and done, Let God be our Judge.

Christians do not Believe that All Paths Lead to God, Satyavati, and we are in no Way Obligated to Believe that for the Sake of Tolerance, Nor to study and become an Expert on all of the Religions. Sorry if that Offends you, but we have the Right to Believe the way that we do, even if that Means Rejecting the Notion that All Paths Lead to God and not All Scriptures are Valid.

Jesus said...

"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6, KJV)

I did not say that. Jesus did and I will not Apologize for Believing in something that Jesus Said. He also said...

"13) Enter ye in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat, 14) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14, KJV)

Again, I did not say that. Jesus did and I will not Apologize for Believing that Jesus does not Lie.

Lista said...

"..some of those sheep are wolves in sheep's clothing... of course the goats will stay away!"

It is the Real Sheep and the Real Goats that will be Separated by God at the Time of Judgement and this is when even "the Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" will be Separated Out. Meanwhile, some of the Sheep and Goats are already Separating themselves, for many of the Goats are Leaving the Churches and yes, it is because of the Wolves, not because of the Truth.

You see, BB, a lot of this you already Understand. If you would just put the Pieces from what you already know together in the Appropriate Manner, Perhaps something will eventually Click. What's important is that you do not Close your Mind to that Possibility.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

No, you have no obligation to know anything about my religion but it seems to be a bit arrogant to dismiss it without knowing the first thing about it. Same as this:

on a Historical basis, the Bible Holds up better than any other Holy Book to Historical and Archeological Scrutiny.

How can you say this when you don't even know what scriptures I study, or anything about them, or their history?

You are free to believe whatever you like, of course, but to make definitive statements like that without even knowing WHAT else is out there (never mind know anything about them) does seem to be a bit, uh, well, you go ahead and fit in whatever word that most perfectly embodies 'drawing conclusions without having the facts'.

Lista said...

Hi Satyavati,
Who ever said that I don't know the First thing about it. You have told me yourself some of what you believe.

"On a Historical basis, the Bible Holds up better than any other Holy Book to Historical and Archeological Scrutiny." (Me)

"Can you say this when you don't even know what Scriptures I study?" (You)

Yes, because it was someone who had done the Necessary Study that said this. You Appear to be suggesting that I should Trust absolutely no one and Read Everything that Exists for myself, but No One can really do this. There is always going to be something that we have not yet Read. It is up to each and every one of us to Decide who we Trust and who we do not.

Meanwhile, while you are so Busy Pointing out what you think I do not Know, you are Disregarding what I do Know.

And anyway, if you think that your Scriptures hold up Better than the Bible against Historical and Archeological Scrutiny, than by all means provide the Evidence. After you have done so, I will Search the Web for my Evidence as well because I know for a Fact that it's there.

"to make definitive statements like that without even knowing WHAT else is out there (never mind know anything about them)"

Who ever said that I don't know anything about what else is out there? That's a rather Bold Accusation just based on the Fact that I have not Read the Scriptures that relate Specifically to you.

To be Honest, the Comparative Religions Class that I took in College covered Hinduism and Buddhism, but not Specifically Hari-Chrishna. I don't know why that's so. Only that it is.

I Trust Jesus' Words and I have every Right to do so. Come to think of it, I'm not even Obligated to Defend myself Endlessly against someone like you.

As far as Arrogance goes, just which one of the two of us is Claiming to Know so very much about "What else is Out there"? I know as much as I need to in order to Make the Arguments that I have made on this thread and if you are not Convinced, than that is your Prerogative, but you need to bring more to this discussion than Accusations about all that you think I do not Know.

BB-Idaho said...

Oh dear, I just ran the numbers:
there are 275 million pentacostal
charismatics in the world (mostly in sub-Saharan Africa). Given the
current world population, and that
only the pentacostals know the truth, that leaves ....
275,000,000 sheep
7,050,000,000 goats
(biblically speaking) As I sort through the pieces of the puzzle,
"waiting for something to click",
I run into pieces like the Gnostics shortly after Christ,
the Montanists shortly thereafter
who had similar beliefs...a gap of
1700 years when apparently there
was no truth (or it was unkown)
until the movement broke forth
with Charles Parham in 1900,
popularizing the speaking in tongues, spiritual gifts, baptism with the holy spirit, prophecy etc.
Just 80 years prior to Parham,
Joseph Smith discovered gold tablets in a bizarre language that only he could interpet. He did,
the gold tablets disappeared and
....we got Mormonism. Too many
pieces in the puzzle, too many gaps in perceived truth. I'm working on it. (I probably mentioned before, I have the
spirituality of a codfish..)

BB-Idaho said...

An interesting thing about Hindu
belief is God manifesting himself in human form-
Lord Krishna is termed as Svayam Bhagavan since he was the purna-avatara or full incarnation of Supreme Lord Vishnu. As stated in Bhagavata Purana, Lord Vishnu or Narayana appeared before Vasudeva and Devaki in his divine real form before taking birth. Both Vasudev and Devaki after praising Lord Vishnu requested him to hide his divine form agreeing to which Lord Vishnu transformed himself into a small human baby. According to this account, Lord Krishna never took birth from the womb of his mother like a common human baby and was himself Lord Narayana or Vishnu who came down to Earth from his Supreme Abode Vaikuntha to eradicate the evil forces, to restore the Dharma and to liberate the worthy ones or devotees and had the appearance of a normal human being. ..four centuries
before Christ.

Lista said...

Oh for Pete's Sake, BB, no One on this Blog has ever said that Only the Pentecostals Know the Truth. In Actuality, there are some who simply can not handle the emotional Intensity in some of those groups and I really don't think that they are going to Hell because of it. Instead, God Meets people where they are at.

Yes, Hinduism claims that God has taken on Many Manifestations. The Goal of Hinduism is to Escape form the Suffering of Thinking and Feeling and from the Physical, Material World to which Karma has them Bound and "Transcend" to the Impersonal Spiritual Cosmos, also known as "Brahman-Atman", in which you Lose your Personal Identity and become Absorbed into the "ONE".

In Christianity, we are not Asked to Stop Thinking and Feeling, nor to stop having a Unique Personal Identity. Thinking and Feeling does not Cause Pain unless it takes on the Form of Sin. God Transforms us, by the Renewing of Our Minds, not by Erasing all of our Thoughts and Emotions and making us One with the Cosmos.

I Remember Satyavati saying once that she is Tired of this "Reincarnation Cycle" because all that there is here on Earth is Pain and I Remember thinking that this is such a sad thing to say because there are Times in which I Actually Feel Joyful. I don't view Life as nothing other than Pain. Sometimes the Lord Blesses me and I can Actually Feel quite Happy.

Lista said...

There is Actually Joy in Christianity. Why wouldn't anyone Prefer that to Trying to Escape what they View as a Painful Existence, made up of an Endless Cycle of Meaningless Reincarnation Rebirths? To Christians, Life is not Meaningless because we have all been given Unique Gifts and have been Created for a Purpose. Life isn't Empty. It is Fun and Full of Adventure.

There is Hope for Finding Meaning right Now, here in this Life, you don't have to Strive to Escape it to avoid some Endless and Meaningless Reincarnation Cycle, in Order to Connect with an Empty Impersonal "Oneness" with some "Cosmic Consciousness", Uniting as One with the Universe.

Don't you see? There is Hope for Finding Happiness Now, here on Earth. You don't have to walk around in Pain. Jesus can Deliver you and give your Life Meaning right now in this Life.

BB-Idaho said...

We were considering black/white and
gray thinking. That can apply to
almost any area of human activity,
but somehow got into perception as
relates to truth, belief, absolutes, opinions, relativism etc. (probably my fault)...or yours, " Perhaps I should address the subject of Black and White Thinking in Relation to Christianity." Those are
extremely difficult terms to come to grips with, and philosophy has
never really done so. Religion is
a type of philosophy (what is man's purpose, where does he fit
in the universe?) and we slipped into religion, specifically Christianity. We ran into problems
over 'comparative religion' because of our perceptions. My
perception is that your religion
gives you great joy and comfort,
my perception it that it does not
for others; that their joy and comfort arises from other views
of how we fit in the universe.
Rather than accept each other's views, we end up arguing about the
exclusivity of our Truths. To
quote you, "I was inspired to write about how so many People are quite set in their own Way of Thinking and are not Persuadable."
Because people are as you describe,
they react from their experience, learning, viewpoints...and hence
argument and perhaps even the emotions associated with elevated
argument. Ain't that the truth...
er, my opinion?

Lista said...

What would you say if I told you that I am actually becoming a little Tired of this Comment Thread? I don't even remember any more at what Number I used to try and Move the Conversation on to the Next Post. We may have Reached it. I don't know.

When I try and Move the Conversation to another Post, Generally, the Next Post will be a Summary of the Previous Dialogue and an Invitation to Continue the Conversation there. Why? Well because I find that if the Comment Threads are too long, than they will probably not be read as often by those who will Visit the Page Later.

In Response to you, though, I do believe that Perception was part of the Above Post, for Black and White is a Type of Perception and it generally reflects that the person with this Perception is not seeing the Whole Picture.

I was trying to Expand my Thinking as well as those of the Readers to Accept Broader things beyond what is Stressed by a Particular Christian Denomination, yet as you can see, the Broadness of Perspective does have Limits, for there is a Point at which Truth Ends and we enter an Area in which we doubt that such will lead to Salvation.

What is truly sad is not that we argue, but that if there is Truth to a certain Belief about Salvation, than those who do not Believe it will not be Saved. This does not Make me Feel Frustrated and Angry at anyone who I might be Debating or "Arguing" with, only Saddened about the Reality that Not all will be Saved. If this is Truth, than it is a rather Sad Truth and it makes me Feel far more Sad than Angry.

If the Goal of some Religions, though, is to Escape, as in Hinduism and Buddism; That is Escaping the Reincarnation Cycle; this is not Evidence to me that the Religion brings anyone Joy, here in this Life.

Yes, go ahead and Respond. I only ask at this Point that the Remaining Responses will be Brief. Meanwhile, I am going to try and do another Post soon, even if it is nothing more than a Summary of this Comment Thread.