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The Thinkers Guild
|Is YHWH The Worst Engineer Ever?
|It is cold outside, right? Like dangerously cold to the point where if you stood out there long enough without proper equipment you might die. First you would suffer incredible pain and your body would do everything it could do to, first, alert your consciousness of the issue and then take the appropriate measures to buy you time. You see, in Minnesota, at the time of this writing, it is negative 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Yesterday we saw a low of negative 10 degrees and today we will not even eclipse 0 degrees as our high will be a whole negative 1 degrees Fahrenheit. Which is kind of insane considering negative numbers only exist in theory. I'm no meteorologist so I am not here to blog about atmospheric chemistry and physics. I am here to ask a few questions. |
It was pounded into my head for 21 years that Yahweh created this pale blue dot we live on with us in mind. To me, that means he should be considered one of the worst engineers of all time, he is just plain stupid, or he actually created the planet without having us in mind (And he can be all three, a mixture, but he must be one). Why would he allow portions of this planet to become so immensely cold (and others so immensely hot) that warm blooded creatures could not survive in those areas? And why would he cover the surface of the planet with a substance that we cannot live on or in and is more suited for marine life? He also created us so that we would need to consume incredible amounts of sustenance which includes large amounts of water. Yet, although the planet is mostly covered in water, we cannot consume it because a lot of the water we are presented with would harm us. We could not survive living on a majority of this planet without great advances in science and technology, yet many of us claim that this rock in space that we so fortunately inhabit was created in a few days with us in mind. That would mean we are either unreasonable, immensely stupid, and/or gigantically arrogant (or again, a combination of).
We can't all fit in San Francisco where I hear it is beautiful all year round. For some reason, Yahweh has designated that area of this planet to the homosexuals; a group he despises yet has given the best real estate to. A part of me resents being fed mis-information for 21 years, but I do appreciate seeing that side of it. My hope is that we can stop claiming that the Christian god created this pale blue, spinning, orbiting rock with his children in mind. It is so clear that isn't the case.
|Tags: God, Religion, Christianity
|Do you have to commit intellectual suicide to be religious? Although I would very much like to say you do have to hand over any license to be intelligent when you choose the path of blind faith, I just don’t think it’s fair to say that. My objective side tells me that truth is power, and because truth is power, I’ve chosen not to be a theist. To claim that religious people are committing intellectual suicide just on “gut-feeling” would put me into the same pool as those who practice blind faith. Can you be a theist and also have a great progressive mind? I think it certainly is possible, but I do feel that having the burden of being a theist does create unnecessary barriers. This is a shame because what if these barriers hinder a great mind from changing the course of history. Imagine how many great ideas and inventions we might have missed out on.|
We do need to be very careful when mixing blind faith and intellect. When we throw blind faith and evidence into the same pot, we are creating a mess. Mixing the two together gives faith credibility it doesn’t deserve. I’ve heard some argue that being intolerant of religion is just as dogmatic as religious folk. I used to agree with this sentiment, but now I think there is a rebuttal to be made. I watched Sam Harris give a speech at TED that really opened up a new perspective for me. I thought being completely tolerant and open minded was a great thing, but Sam Harris suggested that being too open minded and too liberal is actually harmful. Instead of trying to sum up Harris’ great speech, I’ll just provide the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj9oB4zpHww. For me to even attempt summarizing his insights would be shameful. The part that stood out to me was when he talked about Saudi Arabia and continued to explain that when we know something is just plain wrong, it isn’t intolerance to be firmly suggest a correction.
|Tags: Religion, Christianity, Reality, Society, Science
|(I have learned that HugPages does not allow us to share parts of the Bible in large portions. I wanted to be as honest as possible to the passage and wanted to share without editing it down, but due to the limitations put on by HubPages I was forced to edit it down. Please do read the section in its entirety for the most honest understanding. For now, I've shared the most important portions as honestly as possible. I have added notes in parentheses to add context).|
I pick up the Bible at random and will read a random portion from time to time. I don’t dig into the Bible because I’m especially religious, but because religion has such impact on our world and is important to reference when looking at history. However, every time I dive into the Bible, I seem to leave with questions and with a level of disgust. The book of Deuteronomy did nothing to change this perception.
13 If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her...saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity."
(And if later the parents prove that the women is in fact a virgin)...18the elders shall take the man and punish him. 19 They shall fine him a hundred shekels[b] ...She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.
(If the woman and her family cannot provide any proof she is a virgin...) 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.
Why not let the wife choose the outcome? After being so viciously slandered, should she not be given the option to extend the dysfunctional marriage or choose to end it? Why punish her? And why does the man get off with a simple fine, whereas the woman gets stoned to death in front of her family? Seems a little lopsided, no?
|Tags: Religion, Christianity, Reality, The Bible, Soceity
|One of my favorite ways of spending time is to spend it with youth. Perhaps it’s because I’m still young at heart, perhaps it’s because I enjoy interaction and conversation, but it’s most likely a bunch of factors. A church youth group is a great platform for young people to come together and interact. My entire life I have been involved with my youth group and still to this day I am heavily involved. However, more and more lately the negative side effects of a religious based youth gathering are being made apparent to me.|
I attend a Korean Seventh Day Adventist church in Minneapolis. I’ve been a member of that church my entire life. Our church is small, humble, and relatively moderate. Achieving a moderate status in the religious sphere is really nothing to be proud of considering how extreme religions are. This doctrinaire approach religions take today seem to be robbing the minds of our youth. There is a fear within the churches that if they don’t hook the kids at a young age, some other group will. Many of the children I interact with at churches resemble homeschooled children. Children who are completely sealed off from the outside world and unaware of anything outside of their sphere. With the Internet at our fingertips, there is no excuse for children not to have a proper understanding of all things worldly.
Unfortunately, the harm doesn’t end with churches narrowing the critical thought and perspective of children. There is immense danger on how children of very religious families and more conservative churches are educated about sex. These children often are afraid of sex and view it as dirty and sinful act. Not only is their perspective of sex slanted, but they are void of any actual education of sex and do not know how to approach it safely or express their sexuality properly. They are often uncomfortable at the mention of sex or any mild reference of anything remotely sexual. Even a kiss on the television can make a mature 17 year old Christian child squirm. I don’t know if churches expect their youth to never come across sex or if they believe that their youth will magically download the sex encyclopedia into their brains, but it is becoming more and more apparent that their approach is dangerous.
Lastly, the more I talk to youth group members the more I find that they are taught to reject logic and science. A high school member of my youth group once expressed that he considers himself a logical person, but when it comes to religion he suspends his logic. Shouldn’t something that acts as your foundation easily pass the tests of logic and rational thought? More and more I find youth members rejecting the facts of science as well. There is this strange dichotomy where members of a youth group will claim they enjoy science class and express passion for science, but then reject scientific facts when you talk about them in detail.
If it is our job as adults to ensure that the future of the world and of our species is in good hands through the education we give our children, I’m not so sure we are doing a good job. When we hinder critical thinking and open inquiry and we indoctrinate our future we are doing more harm than good.
|Tags: Religion, Christianity, Reality, Education, Society
|1 Peter Chapter 2&3
|I’ve been trying to read the Bible more lately and I’ve been failing miserably. I have however been able to check out the words of Peter a bit. I was not surprised to find that I didn’t like what I was reading. I will share a couple of verses I take issue with below. |
1 Peter Chapter 2 Verses 13-14 (NIV):
“13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority,14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”
I want to preface the rest of this blog by saying that I am trying my best not to take anything out of context. I have read the chapters in their entirety so if you believe that something doesn’t sound right, please read the other verses and correct me. Also, if I am missing some sort of historical context, please enlighten me.
Perhaps I don’t like verses 13 and 14 because I am a skeptic. I don’t think everything should be taken at face value. Perhaps my rebellious nature also has something to do with. I find it much more rewarding when I challenge a proposed idea, learn about it, and test it myself. In the end, if the proposed idea is still standing after my tests, I will gladly adopt it. Simply by looking at history, we know that authority figures have not always been right. Yet Peter tells us that we should submit to these leaders and that Yahweh has sent them to punish wrong. Did Yahweh send Hitler to murder all those people? If so, Yahweh is no leader I want to follow. Imagine minorities submitting to every establishment. Imagine how far behind our societies would be if we had no one challenging the norms. The Earth would still be flat and the sun would still revolve around us.
1Peter Chapter 2 Verse 18 (NIV):
“Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.”
What would America and the world be like if we told this to African-American slaves and they all accepted it? We certainly wouldn’t have had a Rosa Parks, a Martin Luther King Jr., or a Barack Obama.
1 Peter Chapter 3 Verse 1 (NIV):
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.”
The level of misogyny in the Bible is something I immensely detest. The world back when Peter was around was primarily a man’s world. Women having a voice in our world is sadly a very recent occurrence. Although we have come a long way, I would still argue we live in a world that is created by men. I feel like the world would be very different, and in my opinion better, if the world and history were shaped by women. Therefore, I very much disagree with Peter when he tells women to submit to their husbands.
Oh, but wait!
1 Peter Chapter 3 Verse 7 (NIV):
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives…”
Verse 7 might completely negate my criticism and justify verse 1. However, if we continue reading:
“…and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
We learn that Peter does in fact look at the female counterpart as “weaker”. He almost had something nice to say.
Again, at face value, the words of Peter sound nice. Be nice to your king, your president, your god, your leader. Respect your husband and respect your wife. However, when you dig deeper and really think about the words of Peter, you begin to see how dangerous blindly accepting his ideals are. We begin to understand that these ideas would derail the progression of living creatures.
|Tags: Religion, Christianity, Reality, The Bible, Soceity
|Not 6,000 Years Old
|I was at church this weekend reading a book about the culture of gardening and the book suggested that the earth has been around for 3 billion years and that we need to look to the earth for gardening tips. However, after reading that tip, it occurred to me that some people believe the earth doesn’t have 3 billion years of gardening experience to draw upon. Christians believe that the earth is 6,000 years old and this to me shows a certain level of arrogance. Christians believe that this giant blue ball was created in their honor. There is no humility in believing that this beautiful planet was put together just so we could walk around on it and do harm to each other and other living creatures. No, I believe the earth was around before we were, and the conditions happened to be just right for us to make a home on it. The earth was around before we were and will most likely continue spinning when we are gone. There is no humility in believing that the earth was created for us, and that the earth ends when we do.|
|Tags: Religion, Science, Christianity, Reality
|Good Law, God. This Should Work.
|Here is a good rule in the Bible:|
“If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.” -Deuteronomy 22:28-29 of the NIV.
If we can take a moment to ignore all the psychological and moral implications of this law the Bible attempts to teach us, I think we should take a second to convert shekels and see how much rape costs. According to this website (http://coinmill.com/ILS_USD.html#ILS=50) 50 Israeli New Shekels converts to 13 dollars and 50 cents. A mighty steep fine for any man to pay. With his newly acquired $13.50 and his daughter’s psychological state in shambles, the father could take his daughter to the nearest Subway and enjoy a couple of those $5 foot-longs. Or better, he should pocket and save the $13.50 because he has a wedding he will need to help support.
Rape victims often suffer from psychological trauma afterwards (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_trauma_syndrome). To force the victim and victimizer to marry is not a penalty to the rapist, it’s penalizing the raped. To force the two people to a lifelong bond is salt in the wounds for the victim.
Good rule dude.
|Tags: Religion, Atheist, Agnostic, Bible
|An Awesome God We Serve
|Foreword: I started this blog about a month and a half prior to its posting. I had a bunch of chores come in between and general laziness. If the blog seems a bit disconnected, I do apologize. I thought about scraping the entire thing, but in the end my what-the-hell attitude got the best of me. It’s not like I have a journalistic reputation I must upkeep or anything. These are just private scribbles.|
I didn’t write at all during the month of July. It would be a shame if I let another month go by without opening up Microsoft Word to punch the keyboard with my pointless rants.
I thought I moved on from being irritated by religion, but over the last few weeks, religion has managed to aggravate my already unstable mood*. This last weekend we had a guest pastor give a sermon. This sermon was of interest to me because sermons are usually in Korean at my church, but being that the guest pastor is a Caucasian pastor, he gave his sermon in English. I would fully understand what he was saying and I would be able to dissect it myself. At first I was excited for the sermon, but my excitement quickly changed to anger. His sermon was titled “An Awesome God We Serve” which I had nothing against. He would soon go on to describe how god (The Christian god in this situation) has made everything very simple for us, and that he is so awesome for creating such a simple life, world, and rules to live by. He went on the praise creationist and attempted to pick apart the theory of evolution. He claimed that the universe is simple and that it could only have come to be by a designer. How arrogant to believe that the cosmos is simple. It is light-years from simple. Life is not simple. If it were, we wouldn’t have so many problems. The pastor also claimed that the government should change all its complicated laws to 10 simple commandments, because life is that simple thanks to Yahweh. How difficult it would be to govern the most powerful nation on Earth with 10 simple rules that came to be thousands of years ago. People often make the mistake of applying old traditions that don’t apply to today. Then later, the pastor hacked down the 10 commandments to 2 to make it even simpler. It reminded me of a part of one of George Carlin’s acts where Mr. Carlin deconstructed the 10 commandments. The clip can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwNow966px4
Mr. Carlin also broke down the commandments down to 2 simple commandments
Maybe I’m still young and I have some revolt in me, but it troubles me that people are so comfortable living in these traditional ways, slipping into their neat cubicles without any thought. I am being pressured to actively date and potentially find a marriage partner. Although I have no issue with finding someone you love and trading promises of eternal loyalty, marriage seems like such an outdated practice that many of us don’t need in the 21st century. Marriage seems to be an old practice that had many benefits long ago, but might not make sense today. For example, people are often shocked when they see a couple who has been married for 30 years have a divorce. If the split is mutual, it shouldn’t come as such a shock. Humans did not have as long of a life expectancy back when marriage played a prominent role in society. People were not expected to be with someone for 50 years. Marriage, like religion, is a false security blanket we no longer need in the 21st century.
I will end this blog by saying that “The God Delusion” is not a good book to carry around in public. Unless you are looking for a discussion and having to defend a position.
*At this point in the blog, I go off on a wild tangent that I felt distracted from the main point of the blog. I didn’t want to waste the babbling I already jotted down, so I thought I would insert it as a footnote. After reading this footnote, you can thank me for taking this portion out.
My mood is unstable these days because I’m looking for a place I can call home. Some place where I feel like myself and I look forward to going to. This humble stack of lumber and nails that sits on the edge of Plymouth served me well when I was in junior high. I think I wasn’t always comfortable here in high school, but that’s because I was a high school student. Most normal high school students could have everything going for them, and they would still rebel and still would be discontent. College was a turning point in my life, and so I wouldn’t say I felt most comfortable at home then either. I think to an extent, I had a home in Korea my second time around. I hated how small my place was and that most of my rooms were community based, but I was able to situate myself the way I thought was best. Work was great because I felt appreciated and I did something that I felt was important. However, Korea is not a country I can feel fully comfortable in because of the language barrier. I am extremely strict on myself when it comes to communication, so to have a handicap is unbearable at times. I am doing some soul searching (it seems I’m always doing some sort of soul searching) trying to find my place in America. Right now, I’m jobless and I don’t have enough money to pursue anything. My parents consistently give me a difficult time and treat me like I’m 14. I understand I sound like I’m 14 by writing such a statement about the state of my relationship with my parents, but there is no other way to describe what’s going on. I’d like to get my own place, but I am too financially insecure to do anything like that. I don’t know what I want to do with my life to chase anything whole heartedly. I’m hoping something clicks into place soon.
|Tags: Religion, Atheist, Agnostic, Life
|I Wouldn't Change A Thing
|I've been in love with the library lately. It's such a great place, full of resources to enhance your mind and life. I'm afraid that with all the budget issues, libraries might soon be on the edge of the cliff. I surely hope this is not the case, as education is the great equalizer. Institutionalized education isn't the appropriate system for everyone. Some people would rather pursue an independent education, and the library is a great place for people with that preference to go.|
Anyways, I'm not using this entry as a plea to keep the libraries a vibrant place. I checked out a book titled, "The Atheist's Bible" before my road trip to Denver. I originally wanted to borrow Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion," but the two copies at the Plymouth library were checked out. Located near where "The God Delusion" would be was "The Atheist's Bible," so I grabbed it and thought I'd check it out on my way to Denver. The book is simply a collection of quotes about religion. Some quotes are serious and others very humorous. I took notes on some that I liked and I thought I'd share them. At points I got lazy and didn't mark good quotes, so this is not a list of the best from the book.
"They say God is everywhere, and yet we always think of him as somewhat of a recluse."
"A tyrant...should always show a particular zeal in the cult of the gods. People are less afraid of being treated unjustly by those of this sort, that is if they think that the ruler is god-fearing and pays some regard to the gods; and they are less ready to conspire against him, if they feel that gods themselves are his friends."
"You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe."
"I get letters constantly from people saying, "Oh, God will look after it." But he never has in the past, I don't know why they think he will in the future."
"If God listened to the prayers of men, all men would have quickly perished; for they are for ever praying for evil against one another."
"The Way to see by faith is to shut the Eye of Reason."
"In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that has happened in politics or religion."
"If absolute power corrupts absolutely, where does that leave God?"
"Travler: God has been mighty good to your fields, Mr. Farmer.
Farmer: You should have seen how he treated them when I wasn't around."
"When I was a young boy, my father taught me that to be a good Catholic, I had to confess at church if I ever had impure thoughts about a girl. That very evening I had to rush to confess my sins. And the next night, and the next. After a week, I decided religion wasn't for me."
"Morality is of the highest importance-but for us, not for God."
"It was of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a person God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."
"I believe in God, only I call it nature."
-Frank Lloyd Wright.
"So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospel in praise of intelligence."
"What is it the Bible teaches us?-rapine, cruelty, and murder. What is it the Testament teaches us?-to believe that the almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married, and the belief that this debauchery is called faith."
"If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities."
"If someone were to prove to me-right this minute-that God, in all his luminousness, exists, it wouldn't change a single aspect of my behavior."
|Tags: Religion, Atheist, Agnostic, Einstein, Sagan, Humor
|A Deconstruction of Matthew Chapter 5-6
|I decided to review chapters 5 and 6 of the book of Matthew in the New Testament. We have been reading through Matthew at one of the churches I attend, so I wanted to go through it one more time and hash out my thoughts into text.|
I will start by copying and pasting the New International Version (NIV) translation of the chapters, so if you are familiar with the chapters, or if you only care to read up on my thoughts, please move on to the bottom half of this blog. I will list the specific verses before I share my insight, so you can conveniently and quickly reference the verses.
Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
The Fulfillment of the Law
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Eye for Eye
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Giving to the Needy
1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Treasures in Heaven
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[c] your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,[d] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Before I being my deconstruction of the two chapters, I will apologize for any formating issues that might have occurred when I copied and pasted. I went back and corrected any of the issues that I could see will skimming through.
From what I was taught, the words in Matthew are the direct words of Jesus, but written by Matthew. I don't know why Jesus couldn't have just written these words himself, but there seems to be a lot of middle men in The Bible. Maybe Jesus was a poor writer, perhaps he couldn’t afford any papyrus, maybe he was too lazy, or maybe he was too proud to write his own thoughts. Regardless, the words are Jesus', but only as Matty remembers them. Defining the source becomes a bit more difficult when you look up the Gospel of Matthew on Wikipedia (my go to source). Wikipedia states that, “The Gospel of Matthew does not name its author.” And no, I will not provide a footnote and link, because I’m lazy and I don’t want any more formatting issues. I think I post to 5 different blogs, so it might become a hassle. It’s on Wikipedia, it’s not that hard to look up. Continuing. If anyone has any more knowledge on the source of this book, please educate me.
(Chapter 5:13) “You are the salt of the earth.” That Jesus sure does have some great metaphors. I personally think that calling your troops “salt” isn’t the greatest term to motivate or unify them, but hey, I can’t even get my own mother or brother to follow my philosophies. Now, I’m not assaulting salt in anyway. Salt is great, and has historically been great. One day, while waiting in a hotel room for my friends to wake up from their drunken night in Busan, I quietly watched a Discovery Channel segment on the importance of salt. People back in the time of Jesus might have appreciated salt a lot more as it was a much more precious commodity during those days. We have an abundance of salt now, whereas it was harder to come by in those days, so I don’t think people will take the words, “You are the salt of the earth,” the same way the desert dwellers did in Jesus’ time. Sure, it’s important to keep a more direct translation of Jesus’ words, but this is the New International Version. Perhaps I should have gone with the Contemporary English Version (CEV) translation to see if there are any changes in language. If I ever master The Bible and I feel confident enough, I think I might pump out a few of my own translations. I want to make a criticism immune version and name it The Hip International Version (HIV), or an overly flamboyant version named The Famously Awesome Gloze (***). I think there is some money to be made in making The Bible into a hip book and appealing to a wider audience. It would get the children back into reading The Bible; a demographic many religious groups are highly concerned about. Anyways, the point is, if you’re going to be the New International Version, get with the times.
(Chapter 5:17) “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Nice, a little friendly competition. I have to be louder than you, to take your spot in heaven. I criticized Jesus for being a poor motivational speaker above, but he quickly made up for that. Plus, Revelations chapter 1:1-7 makes it sound like only 144,000 people get into heaven anyways. “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
from the tribe of Gad 12,000,
from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,
from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,
from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.”
It sounds like heaven is a pretty exclusive club. After reading that, I thought about abandoning this blog and immediately getting to work so I could claim my spot in heaven. Then I realized all 140,000 vacancies are reserved for Jews. That’s very confusing because you can ethnically be a Jew, and you can religiously be a Jew. I can convert to Judaism to better my odds of getting into heaven, but I can’t choose to be born a Jew. I’ve been taught this Jesus is a pretty fair guy, so I’m going to have to assume that the seats of heaven must be reserved for people who practice Judaism. I was raised a Seventh Day Adventist, so I’m pretty damn close to being a Jew without actually being a Jew.
(Chapter 5:23) “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Please, please, please, make sure you leave your gift at the altar before you go to your enemy to smoothen things over. We wouldn’t want you to come back empty handed and make an extra unnecessary trip across the desert a fourth time just to go back and get your offering. We’re just looking out for your best interest.
(Chapter 5:27) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” Looks like after I complete this blog, I will be one right eye and one right hand less of a human being. I don’t about the rest of the world, but I have a bunch of hormones pumping through my body and sometimes it’s awfully difficult for me to battle these hormones. If there are any drug companies out there that would like to tackle these hormones, I’m sure there is some good money to be made here. Lastly, can women not commit adultery? Well, unless you’re a lesbian looking at a woman lustfully. The odds of me getting into heaven are looking slimmer with each verse. Not born a woman, and not born a Jew.
(Chapter 5:31) “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Women have no say.
(Chapter 5:38) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[h] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Man, getting into heaven is seriously going to cost me. It’s also going to cost the members of Seal Team 6. Good job on getting Bin Laden, but good luck getting into heaven. Let’s say I’m walking down a dark, isolated Minneapolis alley one night, and someone jumps me for my new high end cell phone. During the assault, this thief breaks my arm and shoots me in the leg (this is America; the thief most likely posses a gun). This passage tells me to pull myself up with one arm, onto one leg and tell the criminal, “Hey, my iPod Touch is in my other pocket and my wallet is in my back pocket. Oh, while you’re at it, can you break my other arm and shoot me in my other leg, please? But can you please wait until I sit down, because if I fall over when you shoot me in my other leg, and I land on my cheekbone and break it, you’re going to have to put in more work. Thanks dude.”
(Chapter 6:2) “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” I don’t even know how to play the trumpet, so I think I’m safe in that regard. Didn’t Matthew and Jesus tell us in the last chapter not to criticize our enemies? Yet they call the people in the synagogues “hypocrites.” Now I’m really confused because they are now breaking the laws set by them only a few verses ago, and they are making fun of the Jews, who have exclusive rights to every vacancy in heaven. And what is with that max capacity of heaven? May Day Stadium in North Korea, which has a max capacity of 150,000, can seat more people than heaven. Apparently this global economic depression has hit Yahweh’s wallet and has hit it hard. Kim Jong Il has more in his bank than the Yahweh.
(Chapter 6:16) “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” I’m not here to question the wisdom of Matthew and Jesus, but I’ve done research on well being and nutrition over this last year, and fasting is not a healthy lifestyle. Let’s pass on fasting.
(Chapter 6:22) “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Finally, some good news! I have perfect vision, so I can say with confidence that my body is full of light. And why such hate for having more than one friend? I’m all for quality over quantity, but if you make two quality friends, isn’t that better than only having one?
(Chapter 6:25) “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Man, chapter 6 is so much better than chapter 5. Lately, I’ve been very concerned about life, and what I eat and drink, and about my body, and what I wear and look like. I suppose if we don’t need to worry about our bodies, we should try fasting. These are tough economic times, so if we can slash what we spend at the grocery store, that will equate to more money in our pockets. Wise, wise words from Matthew and Jesus yet again. They had the foresight to predict these tough economic times and were willing to share great money management tips. I’ve been revolutionizing the way I eat over the last year. A lot of people go on “diets” for a month and revert back to their normal diet, but I’m trying to make a permanent lifestyle change by changing the way I eat. It’s been tough because I’m not that great of a cook, although I’ve been learning. It’s a relief that I can stop my pursuit of searching for great tasting and healthy recipes, and just eat whatever I want. I cut out a majority of sugary drinks, but you better believe I’m buying a 24 pack of Mountain Dew this weekend. I’ve also been enhancing my wardrobe, because I’m hoping to land an interview soon. People have always told me you want to make a good first impression and go into the meeting looking sharp. Well, Matthew and Jesus make a great point about the flowers burning. Looks like I can stop spending money on fancy clothes. Yet again, another great money management tip. However, the line about flowers does generate a question. Does heaven not have any flowers? Yahweh plans on burning all plants? That’s kind of a bummer, but I’m sure there are better things in heaven. And lastly, I’ve realized PETA and PETA 2 hasn’t read The Bible. “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Jesus and Matthew suggest that we are more valuable than animals. So, I suggest to PETA and animal rights activists to conserve their energy and not get so riled up about the rights of animals. They aren’t even that valuable! All those people concerned about polar bears losing their habitats, and all those people concerned about Colony Collapse Disorder (CDC) need to chill out. It’ll take care of itself.
|Tags: Religion, Bible, Matthew