BIBLE 3: RELIGIOUS AUTHORITIES & THE BIBLE
Neither the believers nor the non-believers object the idea that everything in the universe follows the principle of cause and effect and is somehow related to everything else. Since for me that idea refers to God, I consider that it is because of how the religious authorities interpret God and the Holy Scriptures that there are non-believers.
Although the religious authorities see themselves as the defenders of religion, their erroneous policies and misinterpretations of the Holy Scriptures have caused religion a lot of harm. Since they have distorted the ideals of the founders of the religions, we can assume that in case they could return, they would not at all be happy.
Jesus, for example, would have plenty of reasons for being upset with the Christian authorities. One is that he criticized hypocrisy and that Christian authorities have often behaved as hypocrites.
Jesus told people: not to judge; not to use violence (“For all who draw the sword, will die by the sword.” / “For anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well.”); to give alms, pray and fast in secret; not to long for wealth («No one can serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and Money.» / «It is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter paradise.») However, often religious authorities have judged people; have justified violence (the inquisition, the holy wars, etc.); have given a lot of importance to appearances; and have pursued wealth.
In case Jesus returns – Christians expect his Second Coming – we can assume that what will bother him most will be the fact that, because of how the religious authorities interpreted the Bible, believers have an erroneous idea of him, of God and of the Bible, and that because of this, non-believers don’t want to hear about Jesus, God or the Bible.
Religious authorities misinterpret the Bible because they lack humility and an inquisitive mind, the two qualities which enables someone to gather wisdom.
Proof of their lack of humility is that for centuries they have claimed that only they know how to interpret the Bible correctly. This isn’t true. Someone who studies the Bible thoroughly realizes that they misinterpret it and that their arrogance is due to their ignorance.
Proof of their not having an inquisitive mind is, for example, the fact that they have not asked why God changed his mind about mankind’s diet. God first prescribed a vegetarian diet (in the days of paradise) and later an omnivorous diet (in the days of Noah, after the universal flood). Since they have not investigated God’s change of opinion, the religious authorities have not discovered the sacred character of the Bible and are unaware that the God in the Bible has a lot to do with the principle of cause and effect. Therefore, they continue to regard God as a capricious being who, like any earthly governor, can change his mind whenever he wants, but must always be obeyed.
Due to their lack of humility and inquisitive mind, Christian authorities converted the Bible, which is a book of wisdom, into a work of indoctrination. Because of their misinterpretations, Christians have a pagan idea of Jesus: they pay a lot of attention to his miracles and little attention to his values.
Christian authorities idolize Jesus: they consider that he never committed a sin, and even claim that he was born without sin. To understand the idea that someone can be born with sin, one must of course put oneself in the skin of a celibate who associates having sexual relations with sin.
Although Christian authorities have managed to turn their fallacies into dogmas, the Bible offers a very different vision of Jesus. One example is that the Gospel of Saint Matthew refers to a prophecy of Isaiah about a virgin who is going to give birth, and when we read that Old Testament book, we find that, on the one hand, it refers to a maiden, and on the other, that the son of this maiden will eat curd and honey until he knows how to refuse the bad and choose the good. Another example is that Saint Matthew says that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and he baptized people after they confessed their sins. And yet another is that when he was asked what to do with an adulterous woman, Jesus said: «Let him who is without sin throw the first stone.» but later didn’t throw that stone himself. Therefore, the idea that Jesus never sinned, and even was born without sin, is a great fallacy.
In the Gospel of St. John, shortly after the story of the adulterous woman, the Pharisees tell Jesus, «You were steeped in sin at birth, how dare you lecture us!» This suggests that they believed that Jesus was born of an adulterous relationship, an assumption that would explain why, in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, on a certain occasion Jesus says: «Blessed is he who does not find a scandal in me!»
Non-believers don’t want to know about the Bible, about God and about Jesus. That is a pity because this book has some very interesting ideas. While Genesis, by telling us that our ancestors once lived in harmony, offers us an ideal for the future, in the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus tells us how we can achieve harmony. Almost all religions recommend not do to others what is hateful to oneself, since not following this golden rule always brings dire consequences: whether in this life or afterwards. Jesus recommended doing to others what one wants them to do to oneself, because to achieve harmony, apart from not harming others, we must also help them.
The ideal of a harmonious society should interest everybody for a simple reason: when today we reflect on our evolution we can come to the conclusion that a society that does not live in harmony – like ours – is bound to destroy itself.
While our politicians, scientists, philosophers, theologians, etc. ignore this reality, the Bible recognizes this: ten generations after putting an end to harmony (paradise), for eating a forbidden fruit, a terrible catastrophe (the great flood), puts an end to civilization, leaving few survivors. Although religious authorities presume to understand the Bible, they ignore that it warns us that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself.
After pointing out the negative side of the Christian authorities, we must also look at their positive side. We must recognize, for instance, that if it wasn’t for them, the Bible could easily have gotten lost. That would have been disastrous, since it was written to avoid mankind’s future self-destruction. That the Bible associates harmony with a vegetarian diet, and the end of it with eating a forbidden fruit, encourages us to question our diet.
Para vivir en armonía debemos de evitar cometer los mismos errores una y otra vez. Ya que aprenderlo todo de nuestras experiencias requiere una buena percepción de la realidad, para averiguar por qué tenemos conflictos – a qué se refiere la fruta prohibida –debemos investigar qué la altera.
To live in harmony we must avoid making the same mistakes again and again. Since learning everything there is to learn from our experiences requires a good perception of reality, to discover why we have conflicts – what the forbidden fruit refers to – we must investigate what alters it.
What makes us focus so much on certain aspects that we ignore others, and makes us concentrate so much on short-term benefits that we ignore long-term drawbacks? Drugs do so. Since the fruits of the strawberry tree (Arbutus Unedo) contain alcohol, we can consider that the forbidden fruit is a metaphor for drugs. Therefore, we must investigate whether they started a chain reaction that continually took mankind further away from harmony.
Bible quotes: Gn1:29, Gn9:2-3, Gn1:30, Is7:14-16, Mt1:21-22, Mt3:6, Mt3:16-17, Mt6:24, Mt7:12, Mt11:6, Mt19:24, Mt26:52, Jn8:1-11 y Jn9:34.
#BrunoLernout – secretsinthebible.com