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Complete Introductions Collection - Chapters 1-2 - Part 1

Ben Huot

June 28, 2011

in more formats

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

First Things

1.1 For More Information

For more books and information, visit me on the web at http://benjamin-newton.com/

Feel free to send me e-mail regarding the books and website at mailto:ben@benjamin-newton.com I even enjoy constructive criticism

1.3 Background of the Book

This book introduces my totally original perspective on Christianity and the world today. What makes it original is my: research, experiences, my personality, my family, and where I grew up. I grew up in a working class town, next to a college town, in one of the safest and most beautiful part of America, that no one has heard of. I planned on becoming an International Businessman. Things changed a lot, after I joined the military and I became very serious and also became mentally ill. I decided to study Asian religion, literature, philosophy, history, and art for the next 11.5 years and wrote a number of books, in the process.

I am: a disabled veteran, a person with Schizophrenia, a Christian, a scholar, a philosopher, a poet, a mystic, a student of history, a futurist, an artist, and a designer. I am: very intelligent, very serious, very creative, highly sensitive, a fiscal liberal (politically), a very good writer, very direct, very clear and concise, and very independent. I am most influenced by: Soren Kierkegaard, the Apostle Paul, the Prophets of the Bible, Chuang Tzu, and the global and historical church, especially in Asia and Africa. I am very close to my nuclear family and they have been essential in helping my become who I am today. I enjoy studying about different cultures and different ideas. I enjoy nature and animals.

I am very concerned with the direction the world is headed. I think the most major problems today are: the global climate change, running out of resources (not just oil), general lack of interest in education, laziness, and ignorance about everything. Worst of all, neither the people or the government seems to take any of these issues seriously. My entire writings are based on paradox - the most important of is what the average person needs to change about themselves and what I and people like me need to change about ourselves.

1.4 Introduction

This book, Complete Introductions Collection, contains all the introductory material, from all the other books. This includes all of the Fastest Route (which contains all the intros from: 10 Years Collection, Free Thinking Christian Collections, and A Different Worldview). The rest of the book includes intros from: Encouraging Words, Insights and Frustrations, Continuing Philosophy, some additional intros from my website introduction, and the entire contents of the Little Book of Philosophy. The next sections include some later work, that I thought important, to include, in this introduction. This last section, New Lessons Continue, goes very fast and covers a lot, in a small space, (including many more details, not expected, in an introduction). This final section also brings this introduction, up to date, with critical details, from my latest research and understanding of the: world, religion, history, and politics. All this was created, to help the reader, to understand the context, of the next 2 books, in this series.

1.5 Paradoxical Message: Saving Faith = Free Thought

I know that I appear to have two contradicting opinions, namely: that I believe that Christianity is the best religion and want people to have the peace and joy that comes from that and, at the same time, I want people, to follow their hearts and make their own choices, independently of what I believe. I have a lot of faith in Christ and believe that I do not need, to put any pressure on anyone, to accept Him as their Savior. God very much believes in our own freedom and would rather we spend eternity in Hell, than be forced to obey Him and enjoy everlasting life with Him, if we don't want to.

Throughout the centuries, people were forced to convert to various religions, in order to avoid death, but as John Locke said, in his Letter Concerning Toleration, as the reason for toleration, is that becoming a Christian must be done as an exercise of free will, so that people can only be granted everlasting life through God's grace, if they believe of their own free will and are not manipulated or fooled into believing by any means - even by argument or by trying to please others. God actually holds Himself back, because He wants us to be in control of our future and so praying and living a life of submission to Him is the most effective way to change the world. Even one or two people worldwide make a huge difference spiritually, which is the key way, to effectively solve our major world problems.

Not only does God want salvation to be given, to those who choose to accept the gift of grace, without any pressure, so God wants us to approach theology the same way. The Bible was deliberately written as, to be obvious on certain theological points, in some areas, like that Jesus was fully man and eternally is God and that there is only one God who created the world and is all powerful, and in other areas like in the end of times prophecy and in issues involving free will and predestination, God wants us to accept Biblical theology that we don't understand and cannot explain, in a way that humans can comprehend, by faith alone.

God also wants us to realize that it is ok to have different opinions about theology in the Church. If God wanted us to all have the same opinions on all of theology, then He would have made Biblical doctrine absolutely clear on every point. The same spirit which allows differences in opinions is also a humble spirit that is in emulation, of Christ's submission, to death on the cross. God hates arrogance more than anything else. Instead of arguing about issues we will never comprehend let alone resolve, we should focus on following all parts of the Bible, which we do understand and in which we fail to follow.

Chapter 2

The Fastest Route

2.1 Preface

1

To Philosophy Core

2.1.1 Recommended Texts to Understand Writing Style

1. "Doctrine of the Mean" by Confucius

2. "The Great Learning" by Confucius

3. Chuang Tzu

4. Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard

5. Repetition by Soren Kierkegaard

6. "The Seducer's Diary" from Either/Or by Soren Kierkegaard

2.1.2 Philosophical Positions Necessary for Understanding Plush Heart

Hermeneutic (Method of Interpretation)

1. I use primary sources to derive theology or philosophy for a particular belief system

2. I focus on what I see as the pure or original interpretation of the philosophy or theology

3. I do not research current or past deviations of each major belief system

Practice and Bible Derived Reasoning

2

My Method of Logic

1. My method of ethical reasoning is derived from practical considerations.

2. My method of theological reasoning comes from Biblical considerations.

3. My method brings these perspectives to their logical conclusions.

4. My theory is based on what the Bible says about theology and what helps influence a person do the right thing.

5. I back track the way people should act according to the Bible and what the Bible says about God into a theory that is most consistent with these outcomes.

1. My theology, Towards a Philosophy of the Bible, mirrors what the Bible says about God and a solution to suffering that best answers this problem.

2. My ethics, Still Theory, are based on a combination of the philosophies most consistent with the Bible and having the least major ethical dilemmas and answers postmodern questions about suffering and uncertainty.

3. My psychology, Liberation Psychology/Theology, enables the person to be their own advocate and focuses on religion as a secondary approach to solving lingering problems with Schizophrenia, as the most effective practice is to take the medication.

4. My aesthetics, Bible Model Aesthetics, works to solve practical issues like accessibility, morality, and quality from a Biblical perspective.

5. My sociology/biology, Community through the Humanities, focuses on finding harmony with the groups of people we come into contact with in real world situations and applying ethics from Still Theory.

6. My theory of education, Learning of the Heart, is based on the realities of life and how people can know what is right and wrong.

Contrasting Theories of Education

1. The establishment assumes that public education through high school prepares a person for the world

2. The establishment assumes that everyone should be educated in the same manner

3. The establishment assumes that they know best what the public needs to learn

4. The establishment assumes that what they believe is right and wrong should be imposed on everyone else

5. The establishment assumes that public education improves people's social status and morality

6. The establishment assumes that with slight modifications, they will get radically different societies

I believe that being prepared for the world is a combination of different things, which the public school system fails at all of them, including:

1. understand how the establishment works, how to use it to improve one's life, and avoid it changing the individual or placing more limits than normal on the individual

2. develop critical thinking skills and determine what is right and wrong by conscience

3. develop a useful skill for financial support and independence

4. I believe that different people should be taught different things

5. I believe that people know what is right and wrong at birth

6. I believe that the world's idea of right and wrong is contrary to God's

7. I believe that people's social status is determined by who they know and what status their parents have and their morality is determined by personal choice

8. I believe that in order to radically change society, we must make major changes

Unified Social Theory of Natural Science

1. All creatures that feel pain should be kept from any unnecessary suffering

2. The difference between humans and animals is a matter of degree

3. Human beings are not defined by any distinct characteristics in the Bible

4. The distinguishing factor between people and animals is a social construct

5. People have social and physical power over animals and are responsible for their well being

6. Flora should be treated with respect to their well being as well as fauna

7. Water and cells should be carefully looked after as they are the building blocks of life

8. The earth should be treated with the same respect as other life forms

9. Preservation of life does not mean no harm is done

10. Although animals and people may be perceived as the same, the human has a responsibility to look after the animal

11. Not subjecting sentient beings to physical pain is just the beginning of a social ethic

12. Humans should use their resources to actively advocate for the well being of all sentient beings

2.1.3 Definitions

What Philosophy is and How is it Useful

Philosophy is about questioning. Philosophy is the most general and abstract way to study things and life. Philosophical arguments are theories. It is very similar to debate. That is why philosophy is considered a good undergraduate major for prospective law students. The definition of philosophy can vary widely and is often the basis of that particular philosophy. Science is probably the most well known theory as to how the world works.

Different philosophies can be useful in different ways. The major eastern philosophies as well as Existentialism, in general, can be most directly applied to education, ethics, psychology, medicine (just eastern philosophy), ecology, literature, art, and humor. I also apply them to religion since my religion, Christianity, especially the book it was derived from, the Bible, forms the basis of my assumptions and philosophical positions. Mainstream western philosophy can mostly be applied to mathematics, the natural (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) and social sciences (economics, anthropology, sociology, political science), and the legal system (debate).

What is Faith?

It follows therefore that the difference between fiction and belief lies in some sentiment or feeling...and which depends not on the will, nor can be commanded at pleasure...belief is nothing but a more vivid, lively, forcible, firm, steady conception of an object, than what the imagination alone is ever able to obtain.

3

David Hume in "Skeptical Solution of Doubts" in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

It is true that someone can believe in something whether it is real or not and for a variety of reasons. I believe that fire hurts because of personal experience. This may not be true in all circumstances even if I believe it. But faith in God is different for the following reasons :

Faith in God is an act of the will: faith in God is a choice a person makes.

I will be blessing the Lord at all times; his praise will be ever in my mouth. My soul will say great things of the Lord: the poor in spirit will have knowledge of it and be glad. O give praise to the Lord with me; let us be witnesses together of his great name. I was searching for the Lord, and he gave ear to my voice, and made me free from all my fears. Let your eyes be turned to him and you will have light, and your faces will not be shamed. This poor man's cry came before the Lord, and he gave him salvation from all his troubles. The angel of the Lord is ever watching over those who have fear of him, to keep them safe. By experience you will see that the Lord is good; happy is the man who has faith in him.

4

Psalm 34:1-8

Faith in God is real because we can trust God's word as He never lies.

As for God, his way is completely good; the word of the Lord is tested; he is a breastplate for all those who put their faith in him.

5

Psalm 18:30

The truth does not change because you believe something. Just believing in something is of no use, if it is not real. I believe that Jesus Christ is really God, but you must decide for yourself. I do not believe that any person can convert someone else to faith in Christ, but rather God calls people to himself. Let my book series and websites, which are my story, inspire you to start your own journey and discover the truth for yourself.

2.1.4 Description

6

of Philosophy Core and Understand, Clear

These books are a series on philosophy. I am teaching paradox via Philosophical Taoism as the key to understanding Christian theology. I am using a creative, soft sell, and academic approach to evangelism.

I would have to say my meaning is a balance between 2 directions 1) teach people to think for themselves and 2) give people an understanding of what the Bible says and what it doesn't say. My intent is not that they get just any idea out of my work but they get an idea which will require them to evaluate themselves and their beliefs. I naturally believe that this will lead people to salvation, whatever they call themselves or what group or groups they identify with.

The 2 main things I am against are Earth Religions (the Occult) and the mainstream. I consider Astrology/horoscope, tarot cards, sayonces, weegee boards, magick, Wicca, Satanism, Paganism, Voodoo, Shamanism/Animism, Native American and most other Indigenous/Folk religions worldwide, Tantric/Tibetan Buddhism, Religious/Esoteric Taoism, Shintoism, I Ching, ancestor worship, modern definitions of metaphysics (not the branch of philosophy) and mysticism (as defined as mystical experiences), Theosophy and the like to be Occult. I consider the Scientific World-view as mainstream where people look to science to solve all of their problems and believe that it is the one way to find truth. Examples include Evolution and the Social Sciences (Psychology, Economics, Political Science, Sociology, and Anthropology). I see the mainstream as being primarily motivated by money and is anti-Environmental and anti-Labor. I am pro-Environment (especially as it concerns animal rights) and pro-Labor (especially when it comes to blue collar work). The difference between the two is that I will read mainstream texts, but I will not under any circumstances read Earth Religion texts.

The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

7

Mark 12:29b-30

Striving to be both kind in my methods and serious in my beliefs at the same time.

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth...

8

2 Timothy 2:24-25

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

9

James 3:13-18

2.1.5 My Creative Process

10

For Understand, Clear

My pen is not my sword

The Bible is

My pen is my body

I move in slow smooth motions

Every motion is an arc

Each joining and turning

At every meeting point

I place my feet carefully

As in learning a new dance

I feel the warmth flow

From my kidneys

But I am still cool

And goose bumps raise

Off my skin

I stop to think in the middle

I sit down in a lotus position

I open the book

That I am currently absorbing

And leave it in mid sentence

As understanding comes

I make another connection

Another piece of the puzzle

Falls into place

My methods is deliberate

My routine is spontaneous

Where will I go today?

I have some ideas

Where will I go tomorrow?

I have no idea

No other plans than the immediate

I rush to finish it

The project is everything

If there is no record

Then I only benefit

I must provide stepping stones

For others following

I think there is only one person behind me

But he is panting like a hot dog

Who smells a hot dog

And does not want to wait

It must just be my shadow

2.1.6 Intended Audience

11

for Understand, Clear

And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

12

Mark 2:15-17

Believe it or not, although my book series and websites are a ministry, they are not intended for people who are saved or born again. If you already go to a Bible believing church, than this book series and my websites are not intended for you either. This book series and my websites do not attempt to evangelize, at least not in any direct or obvious way. If you believe that you are being called by God and your only obstacle to faith is your pride, then my book series and websites are not intended for you either. Also, if you expect me to give a really in your face salvation message and try to get you to say a prayer with me afterwards, then you should look elsewhere. If you expect me to support other people who claim to be Christian and are famous, you will be disappointed too.

My main target geo-politically is in countries where they have freedom of religion guaranteed by law (at least theoretically) and relatively low overt persecution of Christians. If you are being persecuted for your faith overtly, then I don't see the need for apologetics. Please do not put yourself, your family, your friends, fellow believers, or your community at risk by distributing any material I produce illegally.

My audience is for people in post-Christian societies who don't identify with the mainstream and don't fit into any established Christian ministries. I am not trying to reach millions of people but rather a handful of people. If I help even one person with this book series and my websites, then I would be very pleased and count this work a great success. I believe that God cares about each person individually and wants believers to present Christianity to seekers in different ways depending on their background and personality. I believe that there is only a couple steps that all must do to be saved but most of the journey towards God and in pursuit of His will is different for different people.

The target market for my ministries are people who would never consider going to a physical church. If you have pets, farm animals, or wild animals you would like to be a part of this ministry, I welcome them. My stuffed toy cows are believers too.

To be honest, I do believe in a literal Heaven and Hell and believe in all the miraculous in the Bible. I don't want anyone to go to Hell as I do not believe God intended for any to suffer in it. What I do disagree with the mainstream Evangelicals is that their are many things keeping people from a correct understanding of what the Bible says. I believe that even most people who are born again don't even have the most basic concepts in Christian ethics and theology right. Almost everyone who claims to follow what the Bible says does not even have the faintest idea about what it says.

My proposed solution for these misunderstandings is not to read the Bible more or to follow a plan I have laid out or to endorse a particular sect of Christianity. My method is to teach Biblical theology by way of paradox - a method most often used in teaching Zen Buddhism, although the concepts are all from the Bible and I can show you the verses to back it up. After you can start to think without relying on the Scientific World-view and are willing to believe with faith when you can't reason something out, then you are almost there.

2.2 Motives

13

behind Understand, Clear

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

14

Jeremiah 29:13

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

15

Matthew 7:7-8

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

16

Revelations 3:20

2.2.1 Objective

I want people to think for themselves. Many people believe they are thinking for themselves because they make choices. But if you don't examine what the roots of your beliefs are, then you may be subconsciously influenced by what others have told you.

While you may want to model your beliefs after someone you respect, and if you are aware of this and the consequences, then that is great. But many people have never thought what drove them to believe as they do. If you are of this latter group, then I would like to introduce you to the study of philosophy.

In my book series and on my websites, I have simplified the concepts and presented them in more interesting ways then as they are written in many books. It does not require you to be intelligent to understand this, but rather to think in a different way. In fact, education can actually stand in the way of your understanding. My websites are not designed in a linear step by step how to book or in a systematic philosophy, but rather through poetry and art as it applies to religion, psychology, and sociology.

To sum it up, I believe that the unexamined life is not worth living and that philosophy can be very practical. Most importantly, please do not try to follow what I say, but rather learn from it, and develop your own ideas based on what the Bible says, hopefully. But whatever you choose to pattern your ideas after, please don't just swallow my ideas whole - let them serve as inspiration, not as a model.

2.2.2 Historical Context

Although you could argue that this was all done by the government, and not the Church, the two were intertwined until the last hundred years. This is why it is so important to have freedom of religion by the government and why a Christian nation is not a good idea even if you consider yourself Christian. This provides the historical context for my book series and websites and the soft sell approach. Another reason for the soft sell is that a person only is saved by grace when they repent and believe of their own free will. Pressuring someone into believing does no good because their faith is in-genuine and is of no eternal value.

Some powerful people who have called themselves Christians throughout the centuries have done some terrible things in the name of Christianity. Many people were killed for not believing. Sometimes the persecutors went further into the wrong like torturing people into becoming the kind of Christians the people in power wanted them to be like with the Papal Inquisition. Sometimes they did lesser but still wrong things like destroying private property.

I could also recount similar injustices done in the name of Islam, Buddhism, or many other belief systems. But the issue I am trying to get at is that the popular opinion is that Christians have done just as wrong a things as people of other belief systems. So people often ask what is so much better about being a Christian if you do not act any differently than non-believers?

This is why I describe in my book series and websites what defines being a Christian, what the Bible really says, and what role sin plays in a believers life. Ultimately, you must decide for yourself. I believe that the Bible will stand up to the critique. Will your beliefs hold up too?

1. 341 AD the Roman Emperor Constans gave the order that whoever still worshiped pagan gods be put to death after Emperor Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire in 323 AD

2. 375 AD Roman Emperor Gratian confiscated the property of Pagans under the direction of St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan

3. 415 AD Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria convinced his monks to kill the Philosopher Hypathia of Alexandria for not being Christian and being popular

4. 416 AD Roman Emperor (East) passed a law requiring government officials to be Christian

5. 1230 AD Papal Inquisition conducted secret trials of those suspected of being heretical to Christianity without being told of the charges or being able to confront the accuser. Sentences could not be appealed and families were forced to inform on each other. Penalties were wide ranging from wearing a yellow cross for life, seizing property, banishment, public recantation, or many years in prison to being burned at the stake.

6. 1252 AD Pope Innocent IV issued the order (papal bull Ad exstirpanda) allowing torture to get confessions in the inquisitions

7. 1572 AD St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre was when the French king ordered all Protestants in France to be killed.

8. by the 18th Century AD non-Christians in Europe at the most were barred from higher education, or from participation in the national legislature

There has also been a considerable amount of persecution of Jewish people throughout the centuries by some powerful people calling themselves Christians, although there were many other causes as well, like racism. This is so complex and involves many other issues that I wouldn't be able to use it appropriately on this site.

2.2.3 Artificial Barriers

1. cultural barriers

2. political barriers

3. intellectual barriers

4. barriers based on misconceptions about Christianity

5. barriers based on bad examples or bad experiences

6. barriers based on misunderstanding theology and the Bible

7. confusion over Church divisions

8. confusion over what is orthodox

9. confusion over the exclusiveness of Christianity

2.2.4 Ministry Beliefs

1. will lead a person to faith in Christ

2. means being a free thinker

1. challenges us to not conform to mainstream culture

2. challenges us to work for good despite the system

3. challenges us to follow the laws

4. will stand up to any argument

5. will pass any kind of test of value

6. will challenge the most cultivated intellects

1. not just doing the opposite of unbelievers

2. rather about finding the truth

2.2.5 Why Study other Beliefs?

Why I Study other Philosophies

The passage from 1 Corinthians is a summation of the ideas of the first 1/3 of the letter and calls us to believe not by reason or miracle, but to place our belief in God on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, so that we put our faith in what the Bible says, instead of putting our faith in what Science tells us or what the supernatural tell us. This Greek wisdom which the Bible talks about is mainstream Western Philosophy, which most people now study as Science. The philosophy which is most inline with the foolishness of God is Philosophical Taoism.

For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

17

1 Corinthians 1:22-24

Why I Study other Revealed Religions

The passage from Acts tells about Paul's visit to Athens. Paul was an intellectual and was willing to talk to people on their own terms and speak to their individual situation. He explained the Gospel in their own vocabulary and found an entrance into their own beliefs to tell them about Jesus Christ. Paul was an intellectual who knew about the belief systems of his time and that is one of the main reasons why God called him to be a missionary. How can you preach the gospel to someone if you have no idea where they are coming from?

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing. Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

18

Acts 17:16-31

Why I don't Study Earth Religions

There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

19

Deuteronomy 18:10-12

2.2.6 The Significance of Paradox

20

Recommended reading for Evangelical Christians

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

21

Mark 10:15

The point of this article is specifically for Evangelical Christians, so if you are not, then this is not really intended for you, but your mileage may vary. The point is that I believe what the Bible says, although it is different than what most other Christians believe, whether they believe in the miracles of the Bible or not. This article is not meant to change someone's mind about their beliefs, but to examine them and understand why I have a different view.

I find Philosophical Taoism important to understanding the Bible. First of all, a person might say if they are Evangelical that they are just Christian and don't follow a philosophy, so I would have to ask them what their beliefs are and compare them to the Bible. For instance, if a person is Evangelical then they probably believe that Jesus is both God and man and that is biblical, and that is a paradox. But it is not understood very well that many of the other major doctrines of the Bible are paradoxes too.

The Bible teaches both faith alone and faith plus good works for salvation and that both free will and predestination are both true. And I can easily find verses for both sides of these major divisions in the church. When I say both are true many will respond that they can't comprehend that so they just believe in one, but here comes the proof they don't believe in the Bible by faith alone - if they did, then they would believe in the paradox as the Bible states and not try to reason it out.

The question then comes, why do they reason it out? This is because they have beliefs that have nothing to do with the Bible that shape their beliefs about the Bible. The key to getting these out of their mind is to unlearn the ways they that have been commonly taught to think in school. Does the reader remember being told they couldn't divide by zero or that they had to have only one answer to a math problem? Does the reader remember if the teacher made you choose true or false based on whether a statement was a fact or an opinion? These are paradoxes.

What is a paradox? the reader must be asking by now. A paradox is a set of two statements that seem to be contradictory, but on further examination one realizes that these are not contradictory, but rather give a fuller understanding of the issue. How then can Jesus be both man and God, or how can a person both have free will and still be predestined to believe?

So where did I come up with all of this? The reader can read just from the Bible to understand my point of view. I would recommend 1 Corinthians for the first third as it talks about the foolishness of God. This passage is easiest to discern in the first chapter, verses 22-24. I interpret the Greek wisdom as the ideas that came out of the Enlightenment, or the Scientific World-view that is assumed in much of the curriculum that was taught to me in the public school system. I believe that there is a certain viewpoint that is taught in the schools that is very narrow in scope and controlled by a small group of people mainly through funding through lobbyists and direct contributions to the schools (the latter predominantly to colleges, both public and private).

If the reader wants to hear a more thorough explanation of these concepts, I invite them to read my book series and websites or Chuang Tzu. There won't be any set answers as I don't present things in a systematic way, and they must think and put together the ideas themselves to get the meaning of the texts. The reader may choose to either forget it or to act on it. Hopefully the reader will be compelled to act on it and this will require courage and require them to take risks, regardless of what ideas they get out of it. But they will then be able to find the truth and be able to decide whether or not they believe what you have been told by their school system. Then the reader can decide if they want to be a Christian and follow what the Bible says or accept what the rest of society has accepted as true.

2.2.7 My Biblical Beliefs

When he is seen within us and without, he sets right all doubts and dispels the pain of wrong actions committed in the past.

22 (the concept of forgiveness explained in the Hindu scriptures, referred to as the truth of the true Self)

Mundaka Upanishad

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

23

1 John 1:8-9

How to become a Christian

So we are said to be what our desire is. As our desire is, so is our will. As our will is, so are our acts. As we act, so we become

24 (the concept of sin explained in the Hindu scriptures, known there as karma, but it sounds a lot like sin, doesn't it? )

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death

25

James 1:15

To become Christian, you must understand the concept of sin and who Jesus is. I recommend reading The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis. Also read one of the four orthodox gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John). Stay away from Gnostic bible books like the Gospel of Thomas. Also read Hebrews and Romans. Finally, read Genesis and Isaiah. When you understand the problem of sin and who Jesus is, then all you need to do is confess your sins to Jesus out loud and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

26

1 John 1:8-9

Synopsis

I believe in a God that is perfectly good in every aspect and every thought and action, and unlimited in power beyond any life form's imagination. I believe we as humans are infinitely below God and the sum of all of our good actions throughout all history doesn't even reach zero. I believe that anything good or anything that has parts good in it, all that is good is from God's direct supernatural intervention. I believe that God breaks physical laws all the time and that anyone coming to God is a result of God's choice and through God's strength. I believe that although we must make a choice to the right thing and submit to God's will, our effort will amount to nothing and we totally rely on God's power and divine intervention to do anything positive. This is what I mean by humility on the part of man - a proper realization of our significance and role in life.

Overview

1. I believe in Evangelical theology but in Liberal ethics

2. I believe that we should be holy yet be kind to all life

3. I believe that there is only one Church but no denomination is completely right

4. I believe that parts of the Bible are meant to be taken literally as well as others are to be taken symbolically and that the Biblical context is the determining factor

Basics

1. I believe in one God

2. I believe the Jesus was fully man and eternally is God

3. I believe that we are saved by faith alone, yet only through works and sacraments will we know we are saved

4. I believe that we are both predestined for salvation and yet still have a free will

5. I believe that the tribulation has happened 1900 years ago and will also happen in the future at the same 5 dimensional coordinates

6. I believe that we sin after being saved yet we tend towards the good

Specifics

1. I believe that we are responsible for the animals and yet we should treat them equally

2. I believe that we should follow the laws but subvert the lifestyle of the world

3. I believe that only a remnant will be faithful to God and yet the majority of people will be saved.

4. I believe that the Bible explains in great detail what Heaven is like and yet we will never understand until we get there

5. I believe a child can understand the Bible and be saved yet the brightest theologians in the world will never get beyond even the basics of the Bible

So am I Protestant or Catholic, Liberal or Evangelical?

I believe that Evangelicals and Catholics are very similar as far as I can see on the main theology. From what I can see Catholics and Liberal Protestants seem to have different aspects of the ethics of Christianity right. Membership wise I am an Evangelical Quaker and I they are closest to what I believe the Bible says both technically and in spirit, both theologically and ethically. I call what I believe Wholeness or Non-dual Christianity as I believe in both sides of most divisions of the church. I believe that most divisions of the Church were primarily politically motivated and came out of a view of the world that was shaped by the philosophy of Aristotle and Plato. The Church has continued to move in the direction of "I can believe whatever I want and call myself Christian" attitude. I believe that any kind of leadership over other people is against the concept of equality exemplified by Christ and I have a hard time seeing how the Church leadership is that different amongst rival factions of churches. It hurts me terribly to see people call themselves Christian who start wars with other countries for oil money, who torture and imprison those who don't agree with them, torture animals for cosmetic products and destroy the very little left of God's creation to build fancy homes. I think most people will be very surprised to find out who is in Heaven and who is not when we finally get there. People who are in power are not there because God thought that was ok and just because you hear famous people saying that God says something or they are Christian doesn't make it true.