Saturday, January 21, 2017

My Bible Can Beat Up Your Bible

   

     I was writing an essay for this blog, and while doing a little research in an attempt to keep from looking like a total moron, I ran into a controversy that I feel has to be addressed before I even try to share what it was I was writing.
     Bibles. I wonder how many different translations the average Christian owns. Personally, I find I'm becoming somewhat of a collector. It's incredibly easy these days. What, with the internet and phone apps that have a half dozen versions each and more coming out seemingly every month. I'm constantly running into a new translation that has a way of wording one verse or another that just strikes me in a way that makes that particular verse mean something to me when before, the verse was just another line on the way to a different point I thought the writer was trying to make.
Little did I know I was reading BLASPHEMOUS SCRIPTS FROM THE PIT OF HELL!
     Seriously, while doing a little Google search yesterday, I ran across a fist full of web pages explaining in detail, how the King James Version is the only God ordained, infallible English translation of God's Word. Looking back, I actually know some very sincere Christians who feel this way. My mother got saved while I was a teenager. She was one that told me more than once, that the way to judge a Bible's authenticity was to turn to 1 John 5, verses 7 & 8. I'll bet a lot of readers know where I'm going already. The King James (KJV) Bible says:
        7. For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.
    8. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one.

But, the New English Translation (NET) reads:
  1. For there are three that testify,
  2. the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three are in agreement.
You see the problem, I'm sure. The KJV spells out the Trinity right there in black and white while the NET denies the Trinity.
         I disagree. For those that are interested in the reasons why most of your later translations don't have the KJV version (is that redundant?), Google it. Or just check the footnotes of any good study Bible. The extra verbiage simply doesn't show up on any manuscript before the 16th century. For those that believe in the Trinity, there is plenty of evidence for the Trinity in other places in the NET and in the other modern translations. For those that don't believe in the Trinity, the best evidence they have is that the Roman Catholic Church is so enthralled with the concept, and of course anything the Roman Catholic Church teaches as fundamental doctrine is going to be suspect.
      As for me, I can see a lot of evidence all through the Bible. But...there's still that Roman Catholic thing. But, this essay isn't about the Trinity. It's about Bibles
      Ironically, my mother, the one who was so concerned about whether that verse was in there, got saved while reading a New Living Bible. Possibly the most maligned of all the translations. I can't even tell you which version I was reading when I got saved.
     I don't think it's that important what Bible you read, as long as you are reading a Bible.
Jeremiah 29:13 “When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul.” (NET – sorry) With that, I think I've reached my scripture per essay quota.
     The point is, the Word of God isn't so much something that you read. I've read Bible commentaries written by atheists. The Word of God is something that enters your heart. You read the Bible for that to happen, but let's be honest, there are flaws in every translation in every language.
I have a lot of fun studying the Bible, and the deeper you dig, the more fun it is. But when I start digging into the history of the translations and where they came from, nobody seems to agree on anything.
     You've got the Textus Receptus (and several versions of it), the Codex Vaticanus, the Sinaiticus, the Vulgate, Heysychian type, the Septuagint, and on and on and on, and I'm just scratching the surface. These are based on even older texts that also get argued over beyond my capacity for following along. Most of these don't even have real names. They are mostly catalog references.
I swear, if you follow these arguments too long, you'll have to stop and remind yourself of why you believe in the Bible in the first place. Some of these folks involved in these discussions aren't even believers. They just found a fun subject to argue about and in some instances I think they actually want to throw doubt into your mind.
     God's Word is more powerful than all that. I had a Mormon Missionary ask me, “Do you really think that all of God's Word can be contained in just the one Bible?” I found that to be a thrilling question. My answer was yes. Not only that, but the Bible is actually quite repetitive. It says the same thing over and over, and if you get into types and models (One story being a representation of a more central point), the repetitions seem almost endless.
     The idea is, God is going to get His point across. Man is going to screw up the telling of it, but if you are sincere in your search for God and His Will in your life, He will get it through to you if you only have one page of the Message Bible to read.
     On the other hand, if you're just looking to make a point for your own selfish purposes (kinda like me, most of the time), you could hear God's Voice itself speaking to you from a pillar of fire and still end up wandering in the desert until you die when you could have been living in a land flowing with milk and honey.





Thursday, January 5, 2017

Politics



I can't resist. I need to start with my favorite definition of Politics:
     Poli, meaning many 
....and
     tics: small, blood sucking insect.

     Now that that's out of the way, I can get to work on my point(s).

     Politics to me, has become a spectator sport. I said early last year that 2016 was going to be the most entertaining election in history, mainly because there didn't seem to be any candidates. All four finalists were cult figures. One of my definitions of a religious cult is that they all claim to have a monopoly on the truth and anything you say in opposition – ANYTHING – is heresy, if not out and out blasphemy. Their mind is closed to any argument, and they won't even listen to anyone who isn't completely on board with their dogma. In a secular sense, that is what we have in the followers of Trump, Clinton, Sanders, and to a somewhat lesser extent, Cruz. Since the Cruz supporters were not as mindlessly rabid, he had no chance, of course.
     Personally, I liked Cruz. I liked him for one reason: I saw a video of him calling Mitch McConnell a liar on the Senate floor. That turned me into a fan right there. Say anything else you want about Ted Cruz, but that was awesome.
     I liked Bernie Sanders, too. Granted, he was a full blown socialist, but at least he was honest about what he was. You've got to admire that. Rather than claim he's not a socialist, like all the other Democrats have been doing for a generation or better, he worked to sell socialism. This earned him the love and steadfast support of millennials who have been force-fed socialism in schools now for longer than I want to even think about. All his talk about free education really resonated with college students that were looking at years long debt after being forced to take – and pay for – classes like “Race, Class and Gender” as prerequisites. All these Liberal Arts degrees that were not going to help anybody get a productive job are easier to justify if they don't actually cost you anything. A friend of mine likened a Liberal Arts degree to peeing your pants in a black suit. You get a warm feeling, but nobody really notices. There were lots of other things that Sanders promised for free too, but that is the nature of socialism. Everyone is promised all their worldly desires for free, but they fail to do the math when discussing who's going to pay for it. They claim the evil rich will be forced to finally pay their share; but by who? The government? Apparently the idea is that the government will take all the money and distribute it the way they see fit.
     Folks, that's slavery. The government is run by men. (I should point out: Men is a generic term that includes men, women and all the other dozens of genders that the politically correct have invented. I am not politically correct, and I am not going to play that game. This is your only warning.) Who do you think they will decide the bulk of the money should go to? Hint: it's not the poor and needy. I could write several paragraphs about my dislike for Socialism, but let's move on.

     Next we have Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a woman, and for a large percentage of her followers, that's all you need to know. “It's time this country had a woman for president!”
Maybe, maybe not. But for crying out loud, this woman has a ton of baggage. Her main claim to the throne was that it was “her turn”. She had paid all her liberal dues and since America had finally shed its systemic racism and elected its first black president, it was now time to have a woman “break the glass ceiling” and become America's first woman president. All of the media was on board, and America could finally be proud: the last wall of bigotry had finally been breached.
     Fear of being labeled a bigot is what had elevated an unknown, single term junior senator whom no one was allowed to do a background check on to the highest office in the land; why wouldn't fear of being labeled a sexist work to elect a woman who's government resume consisted of being married to one of only two presidents to have been impeached, serving one and a half terms in the senate, and then becoming the secretary of state for four years - Her performance of the latter being such that it could yet land her in prison?
     Opposing her in the general election was the man celebrated for years as the biggest ego in America. Donald Trump was also pretty honest about his position. He claimed that all of Washington had been bought, and it was about time America elected the man who was doing the buying. It is hard to believe this line of reasoning could actually work. But then he started speaking to the frustrations the majority of Americans have been dealing with.
     The government can make all the claims they want about the recovery of the economy, but those claims fall on deaf ears to the people living in that economy who can't find a job that will enable them to feed their family. All of the social issues that the White house espoused that catered to the smallest percentage of Americans at the expense of everybody else was not endearing the current president to anybody outside the biggest cities where those tiny percentages had congregated to form, if not a majority within those cities, at least a big enough percentage to influence the majority within.
     While Clinton promised to continue and even expand those policies, Trump promised to reverse them.
     The average American wasn't a bit interested in making history. They wanted to change course.
The press, which is centered in these cities, was so determined to get Clinton elected that they became shameless shills, convincing themselves while trying to convince everyone else that there was nothing that could stop the Hillary Train from rolling right on into the White House.

     So here we have Donald Trump, who has been in the public eye for decades. He had owned football teams and beauty pageants; written best sellers and hosted game shows. Everybody knows who – and what – Donald Trump is. He's egotistical, flamboyant, self promoting, bombastic, and filthy rich. He has no background whatsoever in government, and actually used that as a selling point. His slogan was “Make America Great Again”, and people ate it up. Go to any thread where politics are discussed and you will hear from his star-struck fans. He is going to fix everything – and right now. He was creating jobs just by running for president. Just imagine what he will do when he actually gets to the White House! You can't even talk to these people. Their answer to everything is “GO TRUMP!” Oh, if only my faith in Jesus Christ could be that strong. Not that blind, mind you. I don't believe in blind faith (though the band had some great musicians). But such iron-clad faith is impressive, if misplaced.
     The amazing thing was the way he was treated during the election. During the primaries, the other Republicans just dismissed him as a joke. They started to become a little unhinged when it became clear that he could actually win the Republican nomination. That's when the “Never Trump” movement started. He wasn't a real conservative, they said. He was unqualified, they said. He was the only candidate that couldn't beat Clinton, they said. He wouldn't play the game the way they thought it should be played. That was really the problem.
     Then he won the nomination. Suddenly he's Racist, Sexist, Ablest, Misogynistic, Homophobic, Xenophobic, Claustrophobic and hates little children.
     The press pounded away at how his campaign was in a shambles, his rallies were violent, he was down in the polls by double digits, he was growing a mustache and he was groping women with reckless abandon. Then when that wasn't enough, they went after his supporters. Clinton called them “deplorables”; Will Smith said America needed to be “cleansed of Trump supporters”. Hats started showing up saying “America was never great”. I already used “unhinged” to describe Republican's reaction to Trump. I can't come up with a term to fully describe the reaction of Democrats.
     Then he won the election, and that's when the fun really started. The public meltdowns all over the media. The hate crimes and faked hate crimes. The finger pointing. The efforts to derail the Electoral College vote. The sudden interest in “Fake News”.
     It's all so entertaining, amusing, frightening, sad, and frustrating all at the same time. You wonder how America could turn into such a demolition derby, and then you see what's happening to Europe and to the Middle East. Syria's become such a bloodbath, we actually had about two months where Israel wasn't the main story in the area. It seems the whole world is on fire.
     This creates a dilemma. Prayer and Bible study should be a major priority in the life of a Christian. Arguably, the highest priority. Particularly now, with everything going on. To any student of the Bible, it is hard to escape the belief that we are on the brink of the end of the world. If we are not right at the end, we are at least at a time where major changes are afoot, and a Christian needs to prepare for the upheaval that is upon us.
     But the more important it becomes, the harder it is to elevate those activities to the top of my priority list. Various things are going on in my life that are growing more intense and requiring my attention. I get up as early as I can to try to read and pray before all the things going on around me break into need of attention mode. But it is so hard to read the Bible first. As I was growing up, I believed that the end of the world would occur during my life time, and I always said I wanted a good seat to watch. Now that I feel like it may actually be happening, I can't resist getting on the Internet to catch the whole thing. I know I should be reading the Bible, but now I'm afraid I'm going to miss something, and like I said , it is so interesting to watch.