Home > Uncategorized > For the Bible Tells Me So?

For the Bible Tells Me So?

Christians believe more than a few things that really aren’t specifically spelled out in their Bible.  Here are just a few that come to mind:

  • God has  specific plan for your life.    To back this one up Christians will often point to Jeremiah 29:11  “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm…”   In this text, however, Yahweh is speaking specifically to the exiles in Babylon circa 594 B.C.E.  and nobody else.   To interpret this as applying to all believers makes no sense.
  • Angels have wings.   Nothing in the Bible about that at all.
  • Jesus loves me this I know… I’ve been looking for this one too.  Nowhere in the New Testament does it actually say that Jesus specifically loves me.  John 3:16 does say that God loves the world, and since I am a part of the world I guess I might be included in that circle of love in some general way, but that’s something of a stretch.
  • You have to be “born again.”   The phrase “born again Christian”  comes from a conversation between Jesus and the Jewish leader Nicodemus in John 3:7.     It’s not clear at all what Jesus is saying here because the Greek word “anothen” has two meanings.  It could be born “again” or born “from above.”   But, since Jesus and Nicodemus were both Jews, it’s highly unlikely that they were speaking in Greek anyway.  If the conversation happened at all it happened in Aramaic, which does not have an equivalent for “anothen.”  This only serves as a reminder that when we read the Bible in English, every word attributed to Jesus is a translation of a translation.   Perhaps the Monty Python crew wasn’t far off–maybe it really was “Blessed are the cheese makers.”
  • Jesus was a great moral teacher.    Name one moral teaching attributed to Jesus that can’t be found elsewhere in religion or philosophy.    The Golden Rule certainly didn’t originate with him.  It’s merely an expression of our innate tendencies towards reciprocal altruism which evolved in our Neolithic ancestral environment.  Furthermore, read Luke 12:47-48 and you will see that Jesus not only assumed slavery was a normal part of human society;  he apparently actually approved of the beating of slaves!  No, Jesus was not ahead of his time.  He was very much a man of his time and never once challenged the “right” of humans to own other humans as chattel.
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Jessica
    January 7, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Isaiah 6:2 – the seraphim have six wings, not two as is often depicted in religious art. But they do have wings (sometimes). They appear differently and in different forms throughout the Bible and are described as flying sometimes.

    As far as being born again, while those words may not be used, the image of the death of self and new life in Christ can be seen everywhere. Romans talks a lot about the death of sin and being reborn in Christ. Also, often when baptism is discussed there is imagery of a death and a rebirth.

    And God does have a plan for our lives – it’s for us to know Him and to serve Him.

    I think you’re missing the greater message of the stories and of Christianity in general. Even if you can’t find the exact words “I love you” said by Jesus anywhere in the Bible, you could assume that He loved us enough to die for us. He loved the sick and poor enough to break cultural customs in order to heal them. He loved sinners enough to help them instead of condemning them. You don’t need to see the words, because they are written in His actions.

    And there are no original thoughts. It’s all been said before. But at a time and in a culture when no one was saying the things Jesus said, because they went against the moral teaching of the time, he was a great teacher. He taught love for everyone in a time and place where certain people were considered unlovable. Perhaps some of his lessons can be found in other cultures and religions, but that doesn’t negate the fact that He was a great moral teacher. I mean, math is math and 1+1 had equalled 2 since the beginning of time, but I still had great math teachers growing up.

  2. Chris Breman
    January 8, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Angels have wings… Oliver Sacks wrote a book on migraine, in it he makes the connection between the ´aura´ you see during an attack and angel´s wings. At least one of the xtian mystics – Hadewych – suffered from migraine and her religious visions all happened during attacks of migraine.
    Strange story? Not at all. From my experience with migraine I know the pain can be so intense that your vision is distorted and blurred.

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