Vol. 4 The Science, the Second Coming, of Jesus
More, Rational Sins in “Faith”:
Logical Sins, Inadequacies, in
God’s Science Points #’s 173 – # 202 END
[Editorial Notes: Last edited by author to
p. 364 Oct. 17, 2011;
See other writings on Paul, faith]
1) Need more faith?
2) Can lose faith
3) Too much faith = gullible
4) God wants little faith; mustard seed
5) Faith can fail
6) Other things needed than faith; virtue
8) Work and Works
9) Must see works to know true holy men
10) “Test everything”
11) “Law does not rest on faith”
12) “Do no believe”
13) Believe “illusions,” Napoleon?
14) False Spirits: Vanity
15) “Our Faith” = Faith in Resurrection Only?
16) Weak in Faith
19) “Snares” in faith
20) The End Time; Second Coming
25) Our Own Work
26) Science Makes New Earth
27) Body, Church
29) Faith temporary
30) Weak Faith Welcome
More Sins, in Faith
Can it be true? Can there really something seriously wrong in “Faith” itself? Earlier, we cited about 170 types of quotes in the Bible, 170 or so arguments in the Bible itself, against faith.
Here we will have followed the Bible itself, very closely. But in addition to Biblical quotes, the Bible told us to follow “logic” and “reason.” So supposed we do that for this present chapter. And ask: what might there something even … logically evil, about a religion based on very strong faith? At first, this seems impossible. But finally, we will show, that is what logic tells us. And indeed, this logic is probably supported by the Bible itself as well, finally.
To find limitations, even evils, in “faith,” seems utterly impossible or heretical at first; this seems to utterly contradict our highest ideas of what is good and true. And indeed, it contradicts what we heard in a thousand churches. And yet however … the Bible often told us that there were problems, sins, failings, in our holiest men and churches, after all. And in Paul, the Bible itself even began to suggest there were problems, sins, shortcomings, even in Faith itself. And that shortcoming was not that we just needed still more faith, as our preachers thought; instead, the problem was that … actually even the Bible itself began to note, that there is something basically, fundamentally wrong, with “faith” itself. To the point that real Christianity, should cease to be referred to as a “faith,” but should instead become an empirical science. As God commanded, beyond Paul, in the Bible overall.
Subargument on Faith#173
(Continuing earlier list, from previous works v. 3, 4, etc.)
(#173) There only one alleged problem with, one insufficiency in “Faith,” that most preachers’ sermons will refer to. The only problem with faith, as far as most preachers believe, is that – we allegedly don’t have enough of it. If we pray and don’t get miracles, our preachers tell us that is because we just don’t have enough faith; we just need to have still more faith. Just have still more faith … and then the promised miracles will arrive. (Though to be sure, people like Job are righteous and presumably have faith … and yet still for a while, they do not get all the miracles our preachers promised).
Still, this means that there is one kind of “lack” in faith, that preachers acknowledge: we can have too little of it. And we typically do. Indeed, even the apostles asked Jesus to “increase our faith.”
To be sure though, against this massively popular sermon – the many sermons that constantly exhort us to have more and more faith – we will find that after all, in the same way that it is possible to be too materialistic, is also it is possible to have too much faith. One might have so much faith in preachers and their idea of God, that one follows any preacher; even, a false one. For example (as noted in our sections on the faith of Paul, then Jesus). But this common idea about faith, was countered over and over again, by the Bible: which noted problems with, sins in, strong faith in effect. Those who are trained to faithfully believe, without exercising some caution and so forth, will be gullible; and will follow “false” prophets; “fools believe anything,” the Bible said. While finally even Jesus therefore told us, “do not believe” even Jesus himself, unless we see real physical evidence that he was a powerful being.
But in any case? The Bible at times called for a very, very small amount of faith; as much as a “mustard seed” at least; and it may be that at times, people do not even have as much faith as that very, very, very tiny amount. Not enough faith to even believe, as Jesus said, science, and what our eyes see; not enough to believe material evidence. Which is ultimately we will see, what Jesus really called for: faith in Science. And not following false priests, all-too-faithfully.
Subargument on Faith#174
174) Priests, like the apostles, like Paul, are all too flawed; and they always ask for far more faith than is prudent. The only weakness in faith that preachers notice much, is that we don’t have enough of it. Or related to that: that faith is not invulnerable or permanent; we can lose it, or “depart” from it. A shortcoming in faith which might be – some say – found in some parts of the Bible. Like these:
“Certain persons … made shipwreck of … faith” (1 Tim. 1.19).
“Will he find faith on earth” (Luke 18.8).
“Some will depart from the faith” (1 Tim. 4.1).
The main problem with faith, as far as most churches are concerned, is that people “lapse” in their faith, or “lose their faith.” People often stop believing. So that the only problem with faith, as far as most preachers are concerned, is just that a) people don’t have enough of it; or b) whatever faith they do have, they lose.
But to be sure, in any case, here preachers note at least one kind of lack in faith; it is not invulnerable; we can lose it.
Though to be sure, we will have been noting here that … this is not necessarily always a bad thing; at times, we should lose our faith; as when we had faith in the wrong preacher, or the wrong idea of God.
Faith can often be a very, very, very bad thing. And losing your faith can be a good thing. What if you have faith and believe that you are Napoleon, for instance? In this case, having weak faith, and losing your faith, would be a good thing.
Subargument on Faith#175
(# 175) Lack of faith might be a problem with a few – but lack of faith is not the major problem with most preachers, believers, churchgoers. Believers by definition in fact have the opposite problem: they have all too much faith. The problem with most believers, is not that they don’t have enough faith; the problem is the opposite of that: they have too much faith. Too much of a good thing. They have faith to the point that they become credulous, gullible, and believe any kind of false, bad preacher.
Too much faith makes people gullible suckers; they all-too-faithfully follow false prophets.
Related to this, remember James telling us about people trying to live just on faith, spirit … and dying for lack of physical food.
Subargument on Faith#176
(# 176) Many passages are read to us in church, as tell us that God is warning us not to lose our faith; God telling us to have still more faith. But note that the language of the Bible is very tricky; and often one phrase or passage, has more than one possible meaning. With this in mind, consider for example, the famous passage where Jesus tells us we should have as much faith as a “grain of mustard seed.” (See our section on Jesus and Faith). This passage has always been presented to us by sermons, as insisting that a) we need at least a tiny amount of faith; we need more faith. That if we had as much as a grain of mustard seed, we would get miracles, wonders. But note that in light of the science of God, another possible reading or two appears, even of this single line. First, it might be that b) Jesus is asking us to have after all, only a tiny amount of faith.
Indeed, perhaps some tiny amount of faith is necessary. But we will have been finding here, that it was not very, very much faith at all. While indeed, it is easily possible – and by far, the most common situation among priests – to have far too much faith; to have too much of a good thing; to have faith to the point of … gullibility. The truth is, what faith we have … amounts only to the temporary, momentary suspension of disbelief, required to generate a hypothesis. We might suspend criticism for a year or two … to see if the method works; if we see real material results from it. So that not very much faith in fact, is required. And it should be allowed to grow, only as it shows some very significant verifiable, material results. Which is what priests forget and deny. And where they make their mistake.
Indeed remember, the Bible warned constantly about false things in our holiest men, angels, preachers. Therefore, implicitly, it did not want us to have too much faith in them; but wanted us instead to “test everything,” as even Paul finally said. In order to find out to whom we should give our faith.
So just not having enough of faith, is not the only problem with Faith noted in the Bible. It also in effect told us that we can have too much of it; too much of a good thing.
But then in any case, problems with just the amount of it; not enough or too much. There are any number of far, far more serious problems than not having this tiny amount of faith; as it turns out, there are problems deep in Faith in itself. As we are seeing here and now.
Subargument on Faith#177
(# 177) Just having lots of faith is not good enough. Because there are evils, inadequacies, even in all the faith one can have. First because you can become gullible; and have faith in the wrong people, “deceivers,” “false priests.” While now we add more on this problem in faith: that even if you have all the faith one can have … still, faith can go wrong. Can fail somehow. Many have faith in the wrong things; the wrong angels and prophets, or the wrong ideas about them. In which case, as Paul noted, our faith can be “In vain” or “futile.” In this case, Paul notes that if Christ was not “raised” (Physically resurrected? Esteemed? Raised on a cross to be executed?), then our faith in him is in vain, futile:
“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is in vain” (1 Corin. 15.14; or “futile”).
Even the admittedly faithful and spiritual Paul is open to a reading here, that would favor the science of God: if the thing we believe or believe in, is not backed by material facts, if the thing does not seem true in real life, does “not come to pass” in visible material life – if in this case, Jesus was not actualy resurrected physically from the dead, say – then this indeed, would be the great problem with faith; we have come to believe in, be all-too-faithful to, things that are not true. You believe in things that don’t come true in real life; that are not backed by physical evidence.
Paul therefore, began to allow into his writings, at least hints of problems with faith; and a need for a critical science of God. Even Paul began to tentatively explore one limitation in faith, as he looked at the story of the (at first, physical?) resurrection of Christ: that faith in things that had no physical foundation or proof, was “futile” faith; or faith in “vain.” Faith in false things.
Overall to be sure, Paul was eventually to head toward the idea that a physical resurrection could be deferred, in favor of a metaphorical, spiritual one; since in any case, the ideas of Christ are reborn in us, when we begin to believe. And yet however, Paul to the end was troubled by a physical “thorn” in his side. Perhaps a) he had a physical disease; or b) related to that perhaps he found physical life odious, and hard to manage. Or c) related to all that, perhaps he began to worry that after all, we need to take care of physical bodies. Or more generally, that real religion, as God promised, is supposed to get not just mental or spiritual results only, but also real material results. Any credo that pretends to guide us through all of life, that pretends to be “full” enough, completely enough, holy enough to be “all” that we need to follow in life … must also take care of our physical needs, the physical, side of life, as well as the spiritual. Or else, giving us only spiritual things, and not physical food, as James notes, it leaves our physical bodies to starve to death. Or as Jesus noted, we should get food, drink, shelter, clothes too. A credo, a Religion that does not do that, guides us to physical poverty, disease, and death.
Then too, any Religion that promises “miracles” should actually furnish them regularly and reliably; if it does not, it teaches us to rely on things that do “not come to pass”; and relying absolutely on things that are not true, is often disastrous for many.
(By the way, regarding this specific quote from Paul: if Christ was not physically in Jerusalem in Paul’s adulthood, after Jesus’ brief, 40-day resurrection, then this might have posed a problem of credibility for Jesus’ Christianity, even for Paul.)
Subargument on Faith#178
(# 178) Here therefore, we are beginning to get a picture of the Bible itself, beginning to note problems, inadequacies, if all we have in life is faith. Here the Bible is beginning to note that a) faith is not invulnerable; it can be lost. Worse b) we can have faith in the wrong things; things not well founded, proven, by real physical events.
And we might add, c) even if we have all the faith in the world, still, that is not enough to live a good, full life.
Faith” is inadequate, first in that even if faith is enough to be “saved” spiritually as some say, still it is not always enough to save us (say from physical accidents ) in the physical world. Other things, beyond faith, are needed to be good, the Bible often said. And not just empirical proofs, as we note here. But also even other spiritual things. Like “virtue” (and good deeds? Good works):
“Supplement your faith with virtue” (2 Peter 1.5).
Subargument on Faith#179
(# 179) Not only are more things than faith needed, like “virtue,” but also, among those many things, faith is not even the most important, or really in the first place, parts of even Paul suggest. Paul suggests that “love” is more important than faith:
“So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corin. 13.13).
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing …. Love never fails” (1 Corin. 13.1-3-8 NIV; cf. the “heart” can often be deceived).
Love, many parts of the Bible and Paul say, is more important than faith.
Thus again, “faith” is inadequate, in this sense: there are more important things. Perhaps faith is a necessary ingredient in the cake of life; but only one of many. And not even the most important, the “greatest” as even Paul says. More important is “love.”
(As for faith “alone,” see our notes on this in the end; faith alone briefly which is mentioned only once in the Bible, to condemn it. While “alone” can mean … alone, in addition to what you already have; like an automobile without gas needs gas “alone”; alone, in addition to the car itself of course).
Subargument on Faith#180
(# 180) Especially God says, faith fails us … in that there are many other, greater, necessary virtues, etc., that we also need. Like love. And it has also seemed to many, those who have mostly faith, but who neglect physical works, are especially lacking.
Though many have said that Paul valued faith over certain works (like physical circumcision) – as indeed, parts of the his texts suggest strongly – other parts of the Bible we will note here and now, seem to suggest that some kind things are necessary: like “love.” While indeed, some parts of the Bible suggest that even “works” are necessary:
“Faith by itself, if it has not works, is dead” (James 2.17).
In addition to faith, we specifically need “works” to prove our faith is good:
“Faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2.17; 2.24).
“Faith apart from works is barren?” (James 2.20).
“This man’s religion is vain” (James 1.26).
Here and now though, is not the place to get bogged down in the endless “faith vs. works” idea. See our notes on this later.
But in any case, we will have been making an extensive case here, for the importance of basing faith, only on proven “fruits,” “works,” “signs,” “deeds,” “proofs.”
Preachers fix on the parts of Paul that seemed to suggest that we are “saved” by faith, not by works. But eventually, even Paul will begin to call attention to his own works, and works. Paul even nothing that in the end, we are judged by our “works”:
“God will render to every man according to his works” (Rom. 2.6).
“I have reason to be proud of my work for God” (Rom. 15.17).
“Test what sort of work each one has done” (1 Cor. 3.13).
“We labor, working with our own hands” (1 Corin. 4.12).
“I worked harder than any of them” (1 Corin. 15.10).
“Faith working through love” (Gal. 5.6; 1 Thess. 1.3).
“Let each one test his own work” (Gal. 6.4).
“Bearing fruit in every good work” (Col. .10).
“Whatever your task, work heartily” (Col. 3.23).
“With toil and labor we worked night and day” (2 Thess. 3.10).
“If any one will not work, let him not eat” (2 Thess. 3.10).
“Be ready for any honest work” (Tit. 3.1).
“God is not so unjust as to overlook our work (Heb. 6.10).
“Stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb. 10.24).
We will not take sides in the infamous and infinitely divisive issue of “faith vs. works” here; we will just note in passing, for now, that even Paul often stressed “works”; and even acknowledged that in the end, God is to judge us not so much by our faith, as by our “works.”
(For more discussion on this, see our addendum).
Subargument on Faith#181
(# 181) Here we will just skip the whole ancient “faith vs. works” debate. By saying here that our important point here, will be that even if we are saved by just “faith” alone in God, still, we cannot know whether the entity we have faith in, really is God. Unless or until … it produces “works” in the sense of “fruits” and so forth.
It is in that sense that “works” are important here. Not that our works get us into heaven; perhaps indeed, only faith in God does that. But our point here would be that even if “faith alone” as some call it, could get us into heaven, still, how do we know that we are really following the right Christ, the right idea of God? As the people asked in Deuteronomy and Jeremiah, if there are many false prophets that speak falsely when they say the “Lord said” this or that, then how do we know which prophet is true? Which words are really from God? But in those texts, God began showing us how to find out which holy men and sayings are good, and which are not: we are to look to see if the prophet predicts or even produces, real material events. If so, then we might begin to suspect from physical, empirical evidence, that the prophet or his sayings, might really be from the Lord. But without that evidence, without “fruits,” “works”? Then we should soon eliminate that particular saying of the prophet or holy man or apostle, from our list of good prophesies.
Paul began to belatedly acknowledge that side of God, when, after appearing to violently attack specific “works” like (perhaps only?) circumcision, he then went on however to constantly cite the practical “work” of himself as others, often, as important. And if at times he seemed to defer to “faith”? Then however, he ultimately noted more important things, that negated even faith; like lack of “love.”
In any case? “Fools believe anything.” Therefore? Determine that your idea of God is right, before having confidence or faith in it.
Subargument on Faith#182
(# 182) So even the very, very, very “faith”ful and spiritual, priestly Paul, began alluding now and then, to the science of God. Indeed, remember, the main point in this book; that God warned we should not have too much faith in holy men, because there are many false things even in religion. And therefore we should not believe unless or until we examine or verify things with science. Until then, we “will” (and even should) not believe. And at times, even Paul introduced phrases that can be taken (among other readings) to allude to that:
“Test everything” (1 Thess. 5.21).
Subargument on Faith#183
(# 183) There are warnings of other shortcomings in faith too, regarding the “law”s of God. Though Paul does not like “law” in some readings, there are people who still feel that “law” is still important. If so, then the following is a limitation. Since law does not require faith:
“The law does not rest on faith” (Gal. 3.12; and “Gentiles do by Nature what the law requires”).
Some might still say that Christianity removes us from all “law.” Though Paul’s long discourses do not make that entirely clear. While indeed, if faith and law are in conflict, that would seem to be a problem, theologically.
Amazingly, given these and other sins in faith, ultimately parts of the Bible now and then urge us, not to “believe” or have faith, in many situations:
“Do not believe” (Mat. 24.23, 6).
Do not believe, do not have faith, Jesus himself will, incredibly, be found to tell us at times.
Prior to today, a million preachers worldwide, have insisted on “faith,” for two thousand years, in a billion sermons. But here we find that they were in part, wrong. Not only does a) the Bible, taken overall, actually stress science and proof instead of faith; but b) even if we look at the sections on “faith” in itself .… we found that the Bible began to note that there is something actually something wrong, deep in faith, belief, itself. And it was c) not usually what preachers constantly told us; it was not primarily that we just didn’t have enough faith, as so many preachers have insisted. Rather d) there were problems, sins, inadequacies, deep in faith itself. In part because aa) the Bible told us we need other things; like “love.” While the rest of our books show that faith can often go wrong bb) because there are false prophets and so forth. So that we should not just “faith”fully follow prophets and holy men. But instead, we should carefully examine them with science. While eventually, we will show that cc) there is something self contradictory about the very concept, of a “strong” faith. (See below).
Amazingly therefore, and contrary to what we heard in a million churches, in many, many ways, there is … practically always, something wrong or inadequate with faith. According to the Bible itself; God himself. And it is not what our preachers said; it is not that we don’t have enough of it. Rather instead, it is that many have too much of it; and also that faith in itself, is hopelessly inadequate to get through life. Or even to find God.
To be sure, what we are saying here, goes against a million sermons. Preachers have over and over claimed – in a billion sermons no doubt, over the last two millennia – that if faith seems to fail us, the reason is we just don’t have enough of it. The problem with faith, the reason “our faith fails” us, is not what our preachers told us constantly: that if faith fails us, we just need still more faith, or better faith. Perhaps to be sure, now and then one or two passages might lend themselves to that interpretation. But by far, today, the more serious problem is not enough faith; it is far too much of it.
And actually, now we find faith can fail us … because a) we can become gullible; and follow the wrong idea of God. And then too, b) even all the faith one can have, is not enough in itself. Because we need other virtues, other things, as well. Like “virtue,” “love,” as even Paul notes. And for that matter, as we have shown elsewhere, we need “science.” Which even the very spiritual and faithful Paul could be read as alluding to, when he tells us to “test everything” for example.
(See other quotes in Paul on the importance of material things; also quotes from Paul in other sections on the science of the Old Testament, and then of Jesus).
Subargument on Faith#184
Having Faith Leads You to Believe
Problems With Spiritual Things?
[See Also “Gullible” Above?]
Believing, Having Faith that You Are Napoleon
(# 184) Specifically, among other things that are lacking in Faith: material sense. Giving up on the materials side of life, seeking only mental or “spiritual” sensations, and ignoring the material world, is not good. In part, because spirits, thoughts of the “heart,” can “deceive” us; can be mere “delusions,” “false dreams,” “false hopes,” “empty consolation,” “empty promises,” “enchantments,” “illusions.” As science knows too, our ideas, thoughts, spirits, can often err; but if our mind is going wrong, then how do we check it? Fix it? We must have something outside the mind or spirit to compare our thoughts to (insofar as that is possible). We must try to see if our ideas work in the real material world. If they do not, then empirical science suggests our ideas might after all, just be ideas; delusions, illusions.
What science knows, must now be brought into religion. And applied to priests’ spirituality. In particular, priests might feel in their “hearts,” that they are following God or the Holy Spirit … and yet they can be deceived by a “false spirit” posing as the Good. Indeed, the Bible warned constantly that spirits can be “false.” So how do we find out which spirits are true? Just listen to other thoughts, spirits? Which might also be false?
Finally, we must find something somewhat outside our thoughts or spirits, to confirm or dis-confirm them. And that would be … consulting the material world. Though priests often put down the material world, actually, when the Bible attacked the “world,” we showed that could not mean the material world at all; since God made that world, and said it was “good” in Genesis. While if that world was corrupted, then God cleanses it once in the “flood”; and “redeem”s it again, with Jesus. (Who was himself after all, God made “flesh,” in the material earth, or world). As we noted here earlier on the Science of God, we are to know even “invisible” spirits, in large part, by “observ”ing (from the NT here), their visible effects, on the visible things that God made (as Paul noted). Just as the invisible wind is known by its sentient, visible effects on the material leaves it blows, so a spirit is known by the visible material effects it has.
But we now add to this idea, remarked on earlier: that if a given idea or spirit does not work in the visible world, then after all, we find that it was just a false idea, an idea that corresponded to no real reality; a mere “illusion,” “delusion,” etc.. Things the Bible constantly warned about.
The fact that ideas, spirits, cannot be solidly confirmed, justified, just by still more ideas, (as empirical science says, and as God said), means that finally, indeed, the only way to really find God, to find out which ideas are good, is not just to follow “spirituality” and the “heart,” or still more mental sensations and ideas. But by going to look at physical reality; to look at it to verify that what we are following, really is powerful … by checking to see if it gets real material, physical, empirical results, here, on this physical earth. “Fruits,” “works,” “signs,” “deeds,” “proofs.” Said God.
As noted partially, above.
Without empirical verification, real “justification,” our thoughts will inevitably in fact, drift into a solipsistic, self-contained, opium-dreams, Lotus-land bottle. We will be lost in our own delusory “world” or “spirit,” which is only “delusion,” “illusion.” As God warned, constantly. Though priests have ignored, denied, and constantly disobeyed, this part of God, it is time for them to “see” and “face” this at last. The dangers of spirituality, and faith. Fixing this, by at last seeing … the fuller science of God. Constantly checking all our ideas, theologies, spirits, against a (relatively), independent, material reality. To make sure our ideas are not just mental sensations, ideas, drifting illusions and “false dreams.” But actually work. In the real world.
Without the verification, there is always an extreme likelihood, that your allegedly holy “spirit” is merely, one of the foretold “false spirits”; “illusions,” ‘delusions,” “enchantments,” “false dreams.”
The Bible obviously thought this was important; it warned constantly about valuing mere spirit, mental or spiritual things; warning about this in many different terms, constantly, throughout the entire Bible. Though preachers ignored this. To fall into the “pit” of circularity; a spirituality that allegedly validates itself. That uses merely one thought, to correct another thought; one spirit against another. Without ever getting (relatively) outside of thoughts, spirits. To check the empirical reality, to make sure it is not just a mental illusion or delusion.
But to be sure, if preachers have failed to do this, and all have thus been lost in delusion? Then after all, this is confirmed by the Bible itself: where God warned that essentially the whole world, and even our holiest men and angels, “all,” would be found lost in a “delusion” one day, after all. As we find it, in fact, now. Lost in the notion that we can know which spirits are good and which are not, merely by comparing them to other ideas, spirits. While ignoring – and even despising; “hate”ing – the idea of checking them against the material “world.”
A fatal methodological error – that has left essentially all our preachers lost in a merely mental/ “spiritual” space. Unchecked. Lost in the foretold delusions, illusions, “magic”al enchantments, false dreams.
Is faith, belief, really all that good? Suppose you believe that you are Napoleon?
The real point of the bulk of quotes here, is to note the real problem with, a lack in, “faith”: it is not that we need ever more and more of it, as our preachers constantly claimed. But rather the problem with our faith, is that in itself, it is not enough; we need something more than that. We need something other than, faith, to be whole and good. Many other things in fact. Particularly, we need science. To tell us whether the things we believe in, are really true or not; illusions, or not.
Unfortunately, when most preachers are confronted with the idea that there is something wrong in faith, they usually respond with a sermon that concludes that what God wanted from us, was just … still more, and yet more, faith. But that isn’t what the Bible is really saying here. Actually, the Bible is telling us that … “faith” is actually not all we need to get through life; that there is a) something lacking deep inside of it; something that needs to be completed by … something. First for example: the Bible above told us that “love” is greater than faith.
Then too remember, b) the Bible again warned there were false things in religion – so that in effect, we were warned not to have so much faith, that we are credulous or gullible; that we are suckers, and just blindly follow all kinds of bad and false religious leaders. And false ideas about God and Jesus.
Indeed, to avoid that, c) God finally commanded us not to have too much faith; and d) God urged “test”ing everything in religion, in alleged “Christ”ianity. To make sure it was really good, or not. So that God said that what is needed, even over and above faith, is a trained “intelligent” “wisdom,” true “knowledge,” and “science.” And that wisdom and knowledge moreover, we are showing here, was not primarily the preachers’ spiritual wisdom; it was instead, the Science of God. Which observes and values not primarily spiritual, but especially material, physical “works” (see above) and “fruits” and so forth. (Or which values spiritual things, only as science values thoughts, Reason; but then also demands empirical observation and verification of things thought. Without which, our ideas may be just the foretold “illusions,” “delusions,” and so forth).
The Bible said that there were greater virtues than faith; like Love. And we are also to supplement our faith with “virtue.” As above. And we now add, what is one of the greatest virtues? “Mature” “knowledge,” “wisdom” … and specifically, the Bible says, “science” (Dan. 1.4-15 KJE).
Then soon enough, e) there is the famous argument between Paul and Jews and James; on “faith vs. Works.” The Jews and James arguing in some way that “Works” were important. To be sure though, we are not interested in reviving the ancient and perennial argument between Paul and the apostle James, or Martin Luther’s argument against the Church. But we might just say this. As it turns out, even if we might even agree that we could be “saved” by faith in God “alone” in some sense; still, the problem is, how do you know that what you have faith in, is God … and not the devil himself? A false idea of God? Remembering especially, how much the devil liked faith, in Job 1.
The great sin of spirituality, is really, solipsism; a form of extreme selfishness. Disbelief in a “world” outside the self, our consciousness or “spirit.” Though one might try to connect with other spirits, a greater spirit, still, a spiritual man never gets beyond spirits; to the thing itself; to material reality. Never sees God in “flesh” or “world”; thus the modern spiritual preacher commits same sin as his religious conservative predecessors, the Pharisees.
If almost our thoughts and spirits can be illusions, how do you know that what you have faith in, really is God? Just by comparing one subjective, flawed thought to another? No doubt, as many philosophies have claimed (Idealism; Phenomenology, etc.?), we can never really know, in our minds, things … outside our minds. Yet finally, there are thoughts which seem to come more from a world external to us. And those thoughts, sensations, are particularly valuable, says science.
How do we know that our thoughts, spirits are good … when the Bible correctly warned, that there would be many false ideas of God, Christ, out there? That many who thought they were following “Christ,” would be following a “false Christ”; that many who thought they were following Jesus, crying “Lord, Lord,” would be found to have been deceived, in their best idea of what Jesus was really asking for. Therefore, because of many sins even in holy men, we are to limit our faith; because we need to maintain a somewhat critical attitude toward even holy men. And especially, their “Faith.” And in effect, though our own “works” don’t get us into heaven exactly – as Luther claimed – still, we don’t know that we are following men really from God … unless or until they produce material works as (partial) proof they are from God. So here we can agree with Luther and the Protestant Reformation; and yet show that indirectly finally, God did value a different kind of works; works in a different sense, in a different way.
There are therefore many, many flaws in faith; many lacks or insufficiencies. But what is the great lack, the great fatal flaw in faith? Probably the great flaw in faith, is that … there are many false religious leaders, deceived Christians out there; and if you are not critical, and just pick one and follow one “faith”fully, you will usually be following a false prophet. Into disaster. You will be gullible; credulous; a “sucker.” People will take advantage of you. And you will often be mislead. And often, exploited.
“Faith” some have rightly noted, is therefore much loved by the devil himself. In the Bible, perhaps no one loves “faith” in the Bible more than Satan. In the book of Job remember? It is the character of Satan, that introduced the concept of a Test of Faith. And why? It is because the more people are trained to blindly, faithfully follow preachers and others, the more blindly they will follow … bad, false leaders. Bad priests. False Christs.
We should have known, not to follow even prophets and saints, too faithfully. The Bible constantly warned about that. Even Paul warned, that one of Satan’s favorite disguises is to come to us as the “angel of light.” Or in “ministers” (q.v., 2 Corin. 11.13-15; see the “angels of the church” in Rev. 2-3).
We therefore need a series of tests, to find out who to follow. Tests from the science of God.
And so indeed, “faith” is just a mental sensation, and/or a spirit. But the Bible itself warned about false things in spirits, specifically and continuously. Any spirit that you think is holy, is the Holy Spirit itself, can be a mere “illusion” or “delusion” (see above). Or we now add, a “false spirit.” And in particular for that matter, “Vanity” and “Pride” are spirits, sensations in our spirit or consciousness; and they often mislead us. We think, deep in our spirit, we are better than we are. So here again is an obviously bad kind of spirituality.
Subargument on Faith#185
(# 185) To be sure, Paul so closely identified Christianity with “faith” that he at times seems to use faith as a synonym for belief in the resurrection, or even as a synonym for Christianity; as many do today. As we refer to Christianity, as our “faith.” And indeed, most people worldwide today, refer to religion as “faith”s. But that usage, we will have shown here, is bad and incorrect; God himself stressed science, co-equally and often even over, faith. So that Paul must be understood here, to have been simply wrong. Or perhaps he referred primarily or only, to faith in a resurrection specifically?
Subargument on Faith#186
(# 186) Finally, many, many preachers have tried to use Paul’s Faith, to allege that God commanded us to have a religion, a Christianity, based on blind obedience to preachers and their vision of God. To try to accomplish this devious task, many preachers make much of the following short fragment of the Bible, on “faith”:
“Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom. 14.23).
But there are many readings of this passage. That show it is not really saying what most preachers claim.
a) First of all, note the first line of this chapter:
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgement on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not.… Who are you do judge someone else’s servant…? One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers very day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. For we will all stand before God’s judgement seat…. Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another…. So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves, but the man who has doubts is concerned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin“ (Rom. 14.1-5, 13, 20-23).
The fuller quote, here, pretty much says the opposite to what we were often told in church.
a) In church, we were told to have faith in God as described to us in church; and if we didn’t do that, we would be “condemned.” But the fuller quote says the opposite of that.
b) First, it tells us to “accept” those who are “weak in faith”; not condemn them.
c) Then note next, that in the larger context, Paul was discussing whether we should have faith in part, in (Jewish or other) food restrictions.
“One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables”
Here note, Paul finally tells us that it doesn’t matter whether we follow – or have faith in – this or that specific religious tradition about food; in this case, the Jewish religious restrictions on certain kinds of food. Rather, all that matters, this means to say, is only that we follow whatever it is, that we have faith – or confidence – in. Keeping our faith “between yourself and God” only. (See Peter allowing us to eat anything).
d) Amazingly, the real message here is often better said to be not to follow or have faith in, this or that particular religious tradition, or sense of God (as for example, Jewish, with their food restrictions, vs. Gentile Christians, without). Different tradition this passage notes, believe different things about what food is good, what days are holy. So that if we are supposed to have faith, then Paul amazingly says here, that does not mean faith in any particular church or doctrine; just that whatever we believe, we should follow that; and only follow that. Whatever that belief is, seemingly almost irrelevant here; just follow things you find convincing. Follow whatever we have confidence in; whatever we feel is reasonably certain. Which seems to suggest that our “faith” is our own concern; don’t let others judge us, or tell us what we must have faith in. (See however people doing whatever seems right in their own eyes). While indeed, we might well have faith in science.
e) Believers, the faithful too, are specifically told not judging others too severely:
“Let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling-block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for any one who thinks it unclean…. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves. But he who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom. 14.13-14, 22-23).
Many conservative preachers, therefore, have tried to say that Rom. 14.23, means aa) we should try to have strong faith in what preachers say. But other liberal preachers claim bb) it says the opposite of that: to follow whatever we ourselves believe or have faith in. The details of that, being between us, and God; not any church, they say. Many telling us here that we should have great confidence, faith, in ourselves. (The word “faith” is sometimes better translated “confidence”).
But cc) finally we add, this passage, like many on faith, probably not mean giving in to having total faith or confidence in whatever you casually feel; to rampant subjectivism. Since doing “whatever seems right in your own eyes” seems condemned in the Bible; and in real life, people who have too much confidence in their own opinions, are called “headstrong”; and headstrong people often do bad things. Nor dd) does having faith mean following any churches and holy men at all, too “faith”fully, too religiously; since God warned that churches and holy men too, often “make many mistakes,” and are not “perfect,” and are often “under a strong delusion.”
Therefore, ee) this passage probably is best said to say, not that whatever “faith” or casual idea we have should be followed with great conviction; or that ff) whatever seems good to us is good enough. This gg) seems all too “lawless”; all too much, people following whatever seems right in their own eyes.
Perhaps this passage indeed has not been well translated; or perhaps Paul is simply wrong; being too “lawless” and subjective here. But hh) we should rather, suggest here that this freedom extends mainly to just food, and what day the Sabbath is on say. (For Jews, Friday sunset to Saturday nite; for Christians, Sunday). Or ii) suggest that most people will – or should – not judge others on religious belief too much; but should jj) also reserve their best idea of what is right and true, reserve their confidence, in only things reasonably well proven by the Science of God.
f) Indeed, by the way, the specific discussion of “faith” above, is in the context of Paul speculating on religious instructions regarding food; what food does God want us to eat. This of course, was a major cause of controversy between Jews – who did not eat pork and shellfish and so forth – and Gentile Christians – who did eat these things. This conflict between what foods were thought allowable, was a major problem in early Christianity. Early Christianity was often attempting to mostly follow the Old Testament God, of Judaism; but the Old Testament told us not to eat pork and shellfish, etc.. Which Gentiles liked. Therefore, Christianity could not spread easily to Gentiles; they did not want to follow all the Old Testament “law”s, like the kosher laws that forbade eating pork and so forth. (Or the law requiring literal circumcision; a major subject in Paul). So how was this handled? Eventually, Christianity gave up a few Jewish Old Testament laws; like forbidding the eating of pork and shellfish; even though these food laws had been written down as eternal commands from God in the Old Testament. And the reasoning that was advanced by Christian apostles, to change, circumvent, update the laws of God, included the above discussion on “faith” by Paul; which seemed to allow us, Christians, to follow whatever food laws that seemed convincing to us. Thus this discussion, this urging of “faith,” was not designed to demand total loyalty to any particular religion; it was the opposite of that.
g) Then too, it was a discussion on especially, what “food” we are allowed to eat. Thus, we might refer back from it, to the original and definitive discussion on food – which was probably the long discussion of what food we can eat, in Daniel 1.4-15, in the King James Edition of the Bible. There, we should remember, was a major part of the foundation of God’s Science. There, Daniel showed that whenever possible, with regard to religious laws on food – and ultimately whatever we call religion – we should use real “science” (Dan. 1.4 -15), to determine which laws are materially good, and which are not.
Therefore, the very Bible quotation that is often used by preachers, to try to bluff and bully us into follow them with total “faith” – “everything that does not come from faith is sin” – actually, in original context, said the exact opposite of that; was used to make exactly the opposite point. If anything, it seems to allow us rather too much “freedom.” So that perhaps this needs to be restrained, by reference to the need to follow objective knowledge, and science; not whatever “seems right” to us. Our faith is to be in science, as much as personal opinions and established religion. Whichever seems to match the facts; whatever seems to give us real results.
h) Or in any case, whatever others may choose to believe, whatever they might choose as their religion … in our case here, we choose to follow the commands of God – in Daniel for example, but also throughout the entire Bible – that tell us to believe, have faith in, especially things reasonable proven or suggested by empirical experience.
In the past, many people had strong faith they said, in preachers of ordinary churches; that promised us that if we just trust and believe in them, we would get huge, amazing, miraculous powers and wonders: the power to move real actual “mountains”; the power to make bread appear out of thin air; the power to walk on water. To get “whatever” we “ask”; all the works that Jesus did, “and greater things than these.” And yet however, many of us have never gotten these powers, no matter how good we were, not matter how much faith we had in our preachers and their many huge promises. Indeed, though now and then we see a few sick people heal somewhat unexpectedly, this is not necessarily a miracles; many people get well unexpectedly; and many were on medication that might have done it. While some of us, in any case, have ever seen any of the larger, more spectacular miracles promises. Many of us have never seen anyone at all today – not even the very best preacher – repeating the same miracles that we were often promised: walking on water especially, and so forth. Even though our preachers told us that the Bible was true, and that it promised such things.
Many millions of us were trained from infancy, to have all-but- total faith in such promises by preachers. And yet however, many of us did not really get such things. While today, more and more of us rightly have the most faith and confidence, in things reasonably well proven by experience and science, to bring real material results. But here, rather than completely abandon religion, we might after all, simply go back to the Bible itself … and find that amazingly, after all, a far more scientific, empirical Christianity, is really, what the Bible itself really wanted us to have. If we are to have “faith,” we are somewhat free to choose which faith; and among the many options and churches, finally the most compelling and convincing, to more and more of us today – given the tremendous “fruit”fulness of science, technology, practical knowledge – would be a church that combined religion, with real science and sense.
And amazingly, it is the point of our present book to prove that actually, this is what the Bible itself, God himself, really, actually, called for. A critical science of God is really, finally, the kind of religion, faith, and confidence, that God really wanted us to have. Not total, “blind” “faith” in ancient authority, or in priests and churches and holy men and angels. But instead, the Bible itself told us over and over again – even finally, the very faithful Paul – that we should have much faith or confidence, only in things reasonably well proven by empirical experience and science. By what we see “come to pass” (Deut. 18.21 ff). By what bears real “fruits.”
No doubt, to be sure, in the past, science was not very advanced; and it denied many things that it could not prove at the time … but that were perhaps, nevertheless true. So that there was a time when too much confidence in science, was not warrented; science would often deny, or could not confirm, all too many things that seemed real enough, or possible. And indeed, a life limited only to things that can be very, very firmly, absolutely proven, would be impossible; since there is a measure of doubt, uncertainty, in all our “knowledge” of God and everything else. Neither we nor our knowledge are every perfect it seems. As Paul knew of himself, at least.
Still, today science, we will show, is more livable; the new Social and Behavioral sciences begin to see truths, realities, in things once thought to be just “superstitions”; and/or begin to actually confirm many old beliefs … though finding them to be true in a way somewhat different than priests once saw them.
To be sure, real science itself though, is always open to admitting its own inadequacies; and is always ready to be corrected by new data, new theories. So that science is systematically “humble”; even more humble than priests, who thought they were already absolutely holy, and therefore could never be corrected.
In any case, if our preachers tell us to have faith, and tell us we will be “condemned” (/judged?) if we do not have it? Then note that here, in this quote, what is the nature of that faith? It is not judgmental, or fixed, suggests Paul, here. At the very least, it allows some freedom of individual discretion, in choosing which church to go to; the “many branches” and so forth as Paul said. There are many theories, ideas, theologies, doctrines, branches of the church, and of religion, and of God and Truth. No doubt, we should listen to them all somewhat; but then after all, we are to have “freedom of religion” as they call it in America. The right to choose. And for more and more of us, the best religion or “faith” would seem to be … a flexible combination of the best in all forms of thought, including traditional religion … but also, increasingly, science and practical knowledge. Which, amazingly we have found here, is finally … what the Bible itself wanted.
This Science of God though, does not require much; not even a new church, necessarily. Because after all, a) the average working person, who has some religion but also commonsense knowledge, is often, already most of the way there. And b) there are already many rational people in every church; even rational theologians, in every denomination. Already. What we are doing here, is only consolidating and systematizing, with only slight corrections, a major trend long found in lay persons, and increasingly rational theologians and religious scholars. In Biblical scholarship, and Religious Studies, and so forth. And in the de facto religion that most working people already have, though they do not know it, and have not yet worked out the contradictions in their semiconscious understanding of this.
Then Use Invisible, Logic, Reason:
Strong Faith –
As Logically Self-Contradictory;
Aside from Paul:
The Idea of a Strong Faith – As a Trap
Or “Snare”; an Entangling Oxymoron
Subargument on Faith#187
(# 187) One of the great problems for anyone who wants to say that the Bible advocates Science, and Jesus’ “observ”ation, with his literal eyes, of material things, might seem to be various statement in the Bible, seemingly against “eyes” observing visible things. Including say, this statements of Paul’s. That …
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11.1).
But a) after all – perhaps even against Paul? – God and Jesus told us over and over to “observe” physical nature.
And indeed, if faith was good for a while, b) still we are one day supposed to open our eyes, and “see.”
And c) to be sure, Paul himself later told us that the wonder of God, even his “invisible” nature, is manifest in the things he had made.
While d) we will later show that the idea that faith is conviction in things never seen at all, or never foreshadowed at all in real events, is not true. Is hopefully, not what Paul meant to say here.
Related to this, we showed that e) those who “walk by faith and not by sight,” are “far from God.” They walk by things invisible, because … they are not close enough to God to see him properly; in and among the things of this material universe.
Which again, if you do not see it now, you are supposed to see some “day.”
Or f) if we are to honor “invisible” things … then science has those too. Honoring invisible ideas … in reason, logic, math. Indeed we will show next, Paul himself often honors reason.
Subargument on Faith#188
(# 188) Many say we should follow religion with total, blind faith. But a) Paul himself and many others, often used “reason” and looked at and b) mentioned “reasons” for things. And he and others told us too, to use science; which includes logic, reason. Indeed, consider the following mentions of the word “reason,” in just Paul alone:
“For this reason” (Rom. 1.26).
“Happy is he who has no reason to judge himself” (Rom. 14.22).
“For this reason therefore I have asked” (Acts. 28.20).
“I received mercy for this reason” (1 Tim. 1.16).
Paul often cited “reason”s for his religious writings. And by the way, c) Paul was particularly concerned, with “mature” thought; in effect that our “reason”ing would not be “child”like forever. No doubt, as Bible said, we enter the kingdom of Heaven only as children (note the double meaning here though). But in any case, Paul’s statements hint, once we are there, we are supposed to grow up. In our ability to reason. Indeed, though Paul’s command to “mature,” and grow up, is inevitably said by preachers, to apply to maturing in our “faith,” in fact, Paul spoke more exactly, of maturing in our “reason”ing ability:
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Cor. 13.11-12; cf. reasons to boast, which are not good).
Preachers d) like to emphasize faith and not reason; and if Paul told us to “mature” in our thought, preachers have constantly told us that this means Paul wanted us only to “mature in our faith” and spirituality. But note that in our quote above, Paul tells us to mature in our ability to “reason.” And in fact finally, we will suggest here, Paul and God really want us to mature beyond faith. To learn mature reason; and to use science. Because of inherent flaws, immaturities, in faith itself.
Paul often of course, encouraged faith. But other times, as in our quotes above, he clearly mentions and employs, “reason”s and reasoning. And if Paul suggests that some of “our” “knowledge” was always imperfect, only “part” of the truth, in his “our” he includes essentially all the knowledge of his own religious community, it seems. While in any case, Paul above is acknowledging that many in the Christianity community are often needing better knowledge, or are even “child”ish; and in our quote here specifically, Paul is encouraging to be more adult, mature, not so much in our faith, as in our “reasoning.” The exact word he uses, above.
Our e) Priests to be sure, often do not like reason, science. Because they know that reason and science often challenge traditional religion; and even suggest it is false; particularly, its promises of reliable miracles. Therefore, to try to stall the criticisms of their religion, by science and reason, our preachers like to quote those parts of the Bible that tell us that God attracks certain forms of “knowledge,” and so forth; preachers typically implying that God meant here, to attack specifically, scientific knowledge, or reason. Yet to be sure, that very common sermon seems very, very wrong, from what we are seeing here, in this quote at least. Whatever false knowledge it is that the Bible attacks, it is almost certainly not reason and science; which are constantly advocated, firmly and often even by name, throughout the whole Bible. Even in the writings attributed to Paul.
No doubt at times, to be sure, as it says elsewhere in the Bible, f) much human “wisdom” is mere foolishness to God. And from the other perspective, God’s wisdom appears foolish to the world. So that we might tolerate a little of religion that seems foolish, says Paul:
“Bear with me in a little foolishness” 2 Corin. 11.1;
“Let him become a fool that he may become wise” 1 C. 3.18;
“God chose what is foolish in the world.” (1 Co. 1.27).
Still, Paul goes on to criticize many religious persons, like the Galatians, as somehow truly “foolish” (Gal. 3.1). And James’ attack on a “foolish man” advocating “faith,” seems directed at Paul (q.v.). So that some times, Paul’s “fool”ishness is not truly wise; but really is foolishness, many would suggest.
So, g) if parts of various kinds of “wisdom” and “knowledge” are attacked in the Bible, it is not entirely clear what kinds they are. Certainly they would not be science and reason, given the frequent advocacy of these forms, throughout the entire Bible. Indeed implicitly, much of what even humans would call reason and wisdom, we find, God seems to have allowed, and to approve. Even the faithful Paul employing “reasons” above.
So that h) it is only some obscure forms of knowledge, wisdom, that are attacked in the Bible, not all forms; at times it is said that only “some” of those who are wise will fall (Dan. 11.35). While many forms, kinds of “wisdom” are supported in the Bible, over and over (as we note in our section on the Old Testament). So that indeed, i) “Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1.7). And j) whatever wisdom it is that is supported by God, when we examine it, is not just Godlike mysteries; but obviously in many examples, the kind of reasoning that not only God, but also men, use. Paul uses reason in the Bible; and the Bible is of course, respected. While again of course, the Bible explicitly supported “reason”: “Come let us reason together” as it says in Isaiah; “always be prepared to give reasons for your faith” Peter said.
To be sure, k) we should not become “wise in our own eyes.” But this has been largely taken care of, in contemporary reason and wisdom and academic thought today, are always, self-critical. Every academic today knows that his ideas can be – and will be – questioned. And will evolve, no doubt. So that today’s average reasoning person or academic is humble, and not too proud. And not too wise in his own eyes at all.
So, in spite of occasional attacks on various – notoriously unspecified – forms of false “knowledge so called,” ultimately we are allowed and even commanded, to use logic, reason. Even according to Paul. (As well as the rest of the Bible; see our comments on Reason, Knowledge, in our first section, on elements of science in the OT).
Subargument on Faith#189
(# 189) Let us therefore begin to use reason and logic, for a moment, as commanded by God. And let us use it to look specifically at faith for a moment, logically, rationally. If we do that, as it turns out, we will find some huge logical problems, traps, “snares,” in faith; especially in any “strong” or total faith.
Preachers for centuries (and especially from about 1950, when it seemed that logic and science were disproving religion) have insisted that a) God did not like reason or wisdom or logic; and/or they sermonized to us constantly, that what God demanded from us, was just very, very, very strong, total, all- but-blind faith. We were constantly told in church, just to follow whatever the preacher said about God; without asking the rhyme and reason of God. Without “question”ing or “doubting.” But did God really demand such total faith? Above, he did not. God allows us to use reason. While Job questioned God … and God himself said that Job was “blameless” and “right.” So in fact, we should begin to apply reason; and let us apply it especially today, to the subject of “faith” for a moment. Especially to the idea, that we should have a “strong” faith.
Paul at least once seems to have b) argued or implied, some say, that “faith” means strong faith. That faith by definition, means following our preachers, or their vision of God, even without any good reasons or evidence, material evidence “seen.” But here surely Paul has been misinterpreted, or Paul was simply wrong. As we will see here.
Here is the famous quote from Paul that defines faith. Which at first seems to indeed suggest – as countless sermons have said – that we should have total, “blind” faith; we should follow faith only, with no material evidence at all; never paying attention to things seen visually or whatever. Since the true things are “invisible” and so forth. But while parts of the Bible seemed to hint at that position, that is not quite what the quote we will examine here, really say. Consider in particular, the quote that is often taken by countless sermons, to assert that God wants us to follow him just on the basis of “faith”; and that faith means, following something or someone, without demanding any visual evidence, “signs,” at all. Or involves believing things that are strictly invisible, or not seen yet in our own time:
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for” (Heb. 11.1 NIV).
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old received divine approval. By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear. By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain.… And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb. 11.1-4, 6 RSV; note that faith is based on rewards though).
But there are many objections to taking this quote, seemingly calling for faith without seeing evidence, as definitive by itself. First and most important, aa) we earlier noted that the Bible, Jesus, more typically asked for “faith” from his disciples it appears … after showing them many material “signs” and so forth. So that in actual practice we will find, the Bible, Jesus, normally did not ask for faith … without people having “seen” something, evidence, first.
Indeed bb) we will find, amazingly, if faith means following things without any evidence at all, without “see”ing anything, then … logically, none of the apostles had or could ever have such faith; since they themselves … had personally seen Jesus work many material miracles. Thus, obviously, when Jesus called for “faith” from his disciples and most others, we will see, normally he meant … perhaps having confidence in some things not specifically seen yet, but a confidence based on similar things done, “seen,” in the past. (Those who object to examples from Doubting Thomas, “blessed are those who have not seen,” read our discussion on that in our section on Jesus. In any case, it is the exception by far)
b) So it would seem that normally, in asking for “faith,” God was not normally asking for really, total faith, without us seeing any visible evidence. An hypothesis confirmed by examination of all the Bible said on this subject. In part, among countless other quotes, by Jesus telling us not to be “blind”; to use our “eyes.” Which in context often meant, we will show in our section on Jesus, using real eyes. Jesus indeed constantly healed people of simple, real, literal, physical blindness; for all the world as if he thought it was good to physically see, and bad to be literally, physically blind; to not be able to use our actual, literal eyes.
In spite of Paul’s speculation above, on the nature of faith, the usual pattern or implicit definition regarding “faith” in the Bible, is not really a pure or very strong faith: not say, believing in things with no visual evidence at all. Rather, normally we are asked to believe, only after having seen some visible evidence, signs, for what we are asked to have faith in.
c) While furthermore of course, we noted above that there were many statements in the Bible suggesting that there were often flaws, shortcomings, in faith. So that it was incomplete in itself. And even that there could be an admixture of “unbelief” in it:
I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9.24).
d) To be sure, our apostles like to over-stress faith constantly. And, after Paul, the Apostle James on first sight, seems once to even ask for a pure, strong faith; one with no “doubt” in it
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, flown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1.6 NIV).
Remember however, James later cautioning us about extremely severe problems, with faith and no works or evidence. So that James wanted us to base ourselves only on things well proven. And if our faith is strong … it is strong only because, only after, having seen much material evidence, and having proven itself, by producing much fruit.
Or finally, even if Paul or others at times seemed to ask for a very pure or total faith, that would not be typical of the message of the Bible as a whole. The Bible often spoke in ways that implied that many often had faith … in a way that was not total. That faith belief, could be mixed with unbelief, and yet still be called faith:
e) Remember too that the Bible itself often noted a “lack” in faith; Paul was to “supply in his flesh” something missing in it.
So indeed note here and now specifically, that in in the above-quotation from Mark, people are saying that they have “belief” or faith – and yet, the Bible and they acknowledge that there is some element of “unbelief” in them, at the same time:
“I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9.24).
f) Further confirming this, remember that Jesus asked for not more faith than a “grain of mustard seed.” While we will add especially in the section on Jesus, that the normal pattern in the Bible is to ask for that faith, only after many visual proofs, wonders seen.
Surprisingly then, the Bible almost never asked for total faith; but just a small amount. Or it accepted as faith, some belief mixed with unbelief.
e) See its embrace of the man of “weak faith,” in fact, above and below.
f) And surprisingly, we can expand on this, by a logical examination of a standard dictionary definition of “faith” itself. Which will reveal that in point of fact, there is normally, an element of disbelief locked up in all faith. According to a standard dictionary definition, and the normal sense of it.
Consider the dictionary definition of the word faith:
“Belief in something for which there is no proof” (Webster’s Ninth Collegiate).
Here note, faith is a belief for something for which there is no “proof.” But this means, we are typically asked to believe something … for which there is no convincing evidence. But if we feel that there is no convincing evidence or “proof” … then after all, we are not really convinced. Deep down, we doubt. Or know there is no “proof.”
This leads to a shocking revelation. Consider for a second, not just the dictionary definition, but also the normal usage of the term; the way we normally use the word “faith”: normally, we only use the word “faith” when we are trying to believe something that we really doubt. We do not use the word “faith” in cases where we are totally certain, and something is very, very well-established. We do not use it when we are really, really certain about something.
To get at what we mean here, consider how we act, when we are really, really certain about something. For example, when you are sitting in front of your breakfast plate, you are typically, really, firmly convinced, that the plate is there. In such a situation, you might not even notice the plate much; and if you want it, you would just say “hand me the plate.” Note that here, you firmly believe the plate is there; so firmly, that a) you don’t comment on it; you just assume that it is there. And especially, note b) you don’t suddenly say, “I have faith this plate is here.” You just say, “here is the plate.” So the lesson here is that, when we are really firm about something, when we really, really know something, it never really occurs to us, to say we have “faith” in it. Indeed in fact, we assert here, most people only use the word “faith,” only claim to have faith in something … when they actually, deep down, doubt. When they feel there is no firm proof of something.
Therefore, we conclude here, there is something odd and ironic about “faith”; it is only used in cases of doubt.
i) Or indeed, when people say they have very strong faith in something, they are always … hypocritical. Dishonest. Since deep down, we insist we have faith, only in cases where we actually, doubt.
i) Typically, we only use the word “faith,” to describe our rather provisional assent, to the things in religion that are after all, deep down and on the surface too, questionable; and doubted by many. Your ability to walk on water for example; an ability that all our senses and experience doubt; and which, in order to say you believe, you must squelch, push back … all the signs and thoughts that lead you to doubt. So that ironically, we typically use the word “faith,” when there are many, many “signs” that something is false. Times we do, deep down, have doubts in us.
(Assurances that we will get miracles therefore, only when we have faith, and do not doubt, are trickier than many thought: they are in effect, telling us that we will get miracles … if and when a logical impossibility occurs. It is logically impossible to have faith without doubt in it. Therefore we are being told in effect, that miracles will arrive never; when pigs fly).
This seems strange. So let’s review it. Consider the contrast again, when you actually, really believe something. Ordinarily, it never occurs to us to say we have “faith” in something that we really, firmly believe; or to verbally tell everyone we have faith that it is there. If something really seems certain to us, typically we never indicate that anyone would question it; there is no need for affirmations that the things exists, or that we “believe” it … because its existence is so certain, that it requires no comment. Ordinarily, if your cat walked into the living room, just like he does every day, you would not jump up and say, “I believe the cat is here!” Or “I have faith the cat is here!” Rather instead, his existence is so certain, that you make no comment on it at all. Ironically therefore, we conclude here that most people typically only claim to have faith … when they actually, doubt.
Therefore, there is a great incriminating irony for, an hypocrisy in, all those many millions of people who claim to have strong faith, and “really” believe in God. Because the fact is, it would never occur to anyone who really believed in God, to ever say they had “faith” in him. Those who really believed in him, would never (if they were intelligent) use the word “faith” to describe their belief at all. Because – as we now note here – people typically, only use the word “faith,” or “belief,” in cases … where actually, there is some doubt.
And finally of course, this discovery leads to some very, very high ironies. And in fact, it contributes to the reversal of many things thought firmly true, in any Christianity based too strongly on faith. First, when preachers call for a really strong faith, in that is not really what is usually called for in much of the Bible; the Bible itself normally sees a bit of unbelief in belief. As implied indeed in the Bible quote that opened this section: “I believe; help me in my unbelief.” And Paul supplying in his “flesh,” whatever was lacking in the faith of Jesus.
But even more devastating to the idea that we must have strong faith based on no visible material evidence: by the very definition of “faith,” it is impossible, oxymoronic, to have a “strong” belief or faith; that is a self-contradiction. In normal usage, we only use the word “faith,” when we want to try to believe something that we know deep down however, is not proven; a thing for which there is no evidence. A thing that therefore deep down, we ourselves doubt. Therefore, is logically impossible to have a very, very strong faith; belief with no doubt in it. So James’ call for a faith, one with no doubt, is at best, perhaps intentionally, moot or hypothetical or self-canceling. In effect, James is telling us we will get wisdom, miracles, only if we can … do the logically impossible. Which was to say probably, never. (Though to be sure, James here was promising specifically the miracle of wisdom; and we do indeed begin to get wiser, if we try to have faith without doubt).
People only use the word faith, when they deep down, feel that something is not proven, or certain; which is to say, we only claim to have faith … when deep down, we doubt. In which case, those who claim to have a “strong” faith, are either aa) fools; if they didn’t know what they were doing. Or, bb) if they did more or less know, then they are hypocrites. Or … they mean cc) a faith that after all, is backed by something as certain as science. Though few until today have thought that.
All this of course, is revolutionary, apocalyptic. All k) this leads to a heaven-shattering conclusion. Because, if there is really no such thing as a strong faith, in the sense of believing firmly without evidence, then … the whole world, religion, Christianity, which have often claimed to have such a faith … is proven hypocritical and deceived.
For centuries, has been largely based on countless calls from preachers for us to have a strong faith. But a look at the popular definition and common usage of “faith,” shows that that the word in actual usage, is most commonly used … only when, actually, there are strong reasons for doubting the thing we claim to believe. When in fact, knowing these reasons are important, we decide to ignore them though; which means though that deep down under all strong faith, is really … Doubt.
And l) what then, comes next from this? If the whole earth believes in a strong faith … then the whole world, even our religion, has been involved in, taken by, a duplicity, a deception. But if so, that is exactly as foretold.
The Bible itself foretold that one “day,” we would find that our holiest men and angels have sinned; that people who appear to be “noble,” are often “fools” or “scoundrels.” That most religious persons are “hypocrites,” following a “false Christ,” or a false idea of Christ. And in effect, when we examine the historical Christianity – which has been based on “faith” in large part – we will have been find out here, over and over again, in seventy or a hundred different ways, by way of examination of hundreds of Biblical quotes from the entire Bible … that in fact, traditional, strong faith-based Christianity … is not really what the Bible, God, really called for. In fact, if we use reason and logic to examine the very concept of a “strong” faith, we find it to be logically self-contradictory; oxymoronic; a contradiction. The very idea of “Faith” implies that we have some doubt. So that, it seems, “all” those who believe in strong faith … were “deceived,” “fools,” or “hypocrites.”
And so, an ancient series of apocalyptic prophesies is hereby fulfilled; as foretold, God exposes huge sins and errors in our holiest men and angels; and our faith-based Heaven itself begins to dissolve in front of our eyes. But if so, then after all, this is to confirm, “fulfill,” the Bible itself, which predicted this “day” all along. And furthermore, just as the Bible itself also said, all this is to the good. As we come to see the “second” and better vision of Christ advocating logic, science, (logic the meaning of the Word “Logos”), and as we thus acquire “mature” thought, “reason,” and “judgement,” then … as foretold to be sure, many of those we thought were noble, faithful, are found to be “fools” or scoundrels, “hypocrites,” “deceivers,” or people under a “strong delusion.” As foretold. The very saints, angels, that seemed to be the heart of all that is good … were actually – just as the Bible foretold – found to have been “deceived.” “Hypocrites.” But to be sure, aa) if here our childhood heaven beings to collapse, we should note that after all, this does not destroy or oppose the Bible. Indeed, in fact, it radically affirms it. All this after all, was exactly as foretold, in the Bible itself. God himself, the Bible itself, constantly warned that there were false things, “false Christs” and so forth, in essentially every aspect of religion; and that they would persist from the time of the apostles, who say them in their own time, to the end of time. Or until one apocalyptic “day,” when God is supposed to expose sins in the holiest men and angels; and then our traditional heaven is supposed to dissolve. And bb) to be sure as well, if our old heaven is destroyed, the Bible is affirmed in a strange new way. Giving us in fact too, a “new heaven”; one that comes down to earth (Rev. 21). As indeed, our vision of a Christianity based on the Science of God in effect, redefines, “refines,” gives us a “new” heaven. A better one; one that, as a science, can link easily to this material earth. That indeed, “comes down to earth” as foretold in especially, Revelation 21.
Difficult and even heaven-shattering as our critiques of “faith” may be therefore, in the end, it is all to the good. Amazingly, if we seemed to question the Bible for a moment, as Job questioned God, our thoughts and acts that seemed for a moment to go radically against God, were all along following the Bible itself, quote by quote; and return to him like the Prodigal son. To be more welcome than the loyal son that never left his father it seemed, at all.
In spite of its apparently heretical moments, actually, our analysis of the Bible here, remained deeply true to the Bible itself. Here indeed we followed the Bible, one quotation after another. And even our heaven-shattering conclusion, follows, confirms – and is confirmed by – the Bible itself. What we find here matches the Bible even more closely, that our spiritual preachers’ sermons; especially, its end time predictions and prophesies. So that now, in the end, we find the Bible to be totally true. But true in a way deeply different, from what our priests and ministers told us. Indeed, in our vision of the end, many things thought “first” by holy men, are found last. But that too of course, is exactly as God wanted, and foretold.
Preachers often like to quote the parts of Paul that, taken by themselves, seem to stress faith; especially the following part, that seems to tell us that our faith gives us certain knowledge, “assurance”:
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10.22-23 NIV).
However, though this phrase by Paul, is often invoked in sermons that try to assert that our faith is firm “assurance” of things, this phrase actually, does not say that our faith gives us very firm assurances at all.
First, note that this a) refers ultimately not to our faith in God … but God’s faith to us (which as noted, as one of the few usages of the term in the Old Testament; in our section on the OT). And next note some further unexpected aspects of this phrase.
Preachers sometimes admit the Bible is rather “literary” in character. Allegedly explaining this, many preachers try to say that the Bible used beautiful language and so forth. But more exactly, it is “literary” in that it is like poetry: most lines have two or more meanings in them. Meanings that attempt to deal with some powerful conflicts. The fact is, the Old Testament promised us that good people will get proven material results, wonders; but when Jesus was physically killed, and then after a brief resurrection went to heaven, and many Christians were also physically tortured, this posed a problem for those who wanted to say that Jesus was the promised God come to earth, to reward us materially. To try to deal with this, the New Testament especially began to try to hint that God might not give us real material rewards; or might temporarily withhold them to test our faith. And yet however, we will ultimately note here, this new theology turned its back on the real theology of the Bible; the science of God. Which demands material, timely results. And sensing this, sensing the conflict between the science of God, and the theology of continuing faith without evidence, those who inserted a theology of “faith” in the New Testament, did so, only tentatively. Only in language that was ambivalent, ambiguous; that could be taken not as advocating faith at all, but continuing to hold to the science of God.
This phrase by Paul for example, never really tells us that faith gives us very firm assurances at all; it is quite ambiguous. First we noted that first of all, it is found to refer not to our faith in God, but God’s faith in us. Then too, note another series of ambiguities in this part of the Bible. Which suggest particularly that faith cannot give us full assurance of anything; because faith always implies doubt. For example b) we might have a full assurance of faith … meaning we are sure that faith is there; but this does not mean that we must believe or be fully assured by whatever specific thing it is that our faith tells us. That is, we merely have assurance that some kind of faith is there. Not that what we are to have faith in, is assuredly good.
Or then too, c) we might have all the faith one could have; yet to be sure, faith itself is always incomplete, unsure. So that we have the full measure, of an however, essentially incomplete part. It’s like having “all” of an engine for your car; that doesn’t mean though that you have enough to have a vehicle; you also need a car body, tires, and so forth. Having all, a “full” engine, does not mean you have a car. Likewise, having all the faith in the world, does not mean you have an adequate religion, or all you need to be saved. Indeed note, d) we merely “hope” for things; which is not the same as being “sure” or “assured” we will have them. Hope normally implies a lesser level of expectation.
Looking this closely into the semantics of the Bible, might seem illegitimate to many. But God told us to read the scriptures closely; and to learn about the nuances of language, “figures” of speech and so forth. And we must look this closely into the language of the Bible, to lift the “confusion of tongues” imposed at Babel, Babylon.
The fact is, e) the Bible is very literary as some have said; it is systematically poetic, equivocal, throughout; it is written in such a way that one can draw two rather different messages out of it. The New Testament especially, is poetic, equivocal; in that over and over, it becomes poetic, ambiguous, on the matter of science versus faith. And it becomes poetic, obscure, because of a great problem, in the heart of Christianity; one that could not until today be resolved by straight logic and unequivocal statements.
And what is the great problem in Judeo-Christianity, that the New Testament cannot solve directly? That it can only resort to poetic equivocality to approach? It is this: early religion, God, asserted a kind a science; we are to believe things rather well proven by physical results, wonders produced. But then when Jesus was physically killed, and many followers killed, martyred, that would seem to say that Jesus must have been a false Christ. Rather than come to this shattering conclusion, many early Christians attempted to come up with a series of explanations, excuses; as to why Jesus might still be from God, and yet not get full material, physical wonders. And among them, was the idea of a “test of faith”; God – as parts of the Bible were to suggest, from Job to Revelation – was temporarily withholding his promised material benefits, in order to test our faith; to see if we were loyal to him, and would follow him even when he did not give us what was promised.
Many parts of the Bible were written in such a way, as to give generations of preachers many, many texts to use, to base their “faith” on. Yet to be sure, there was a problem with the whole new theology of “faith”; it rather contradicted the science that God laid out rather firmly, in the Old Testament; or in other words, it seemed to go against God.
So what to do? There was an apparent problem or contradiction in the heart of our religion: between God’s demand for material proofs, versus the idea that we should follow priests even without proofs. It seems in fact that the whole stress on “faith” by Paul and others, simply contradicts God. So how did the people who wrote our Bibles deal with that problem? Evidently, they wrote the New Testament in very equivocal, poetic language. That did not actually firmly advocate “faith” at all. That on the one hand, gives us a surface that can be taken, read, as backing faith. But that does not demand that. That continually, systematically offers another reading; one that tells us that after all, strong “faith” is not so good, and does not really offer very firm “assurances” of things at all; that we should instead apply the science of God, and believe in things reasonably well proven by physical science and experiments.
Or finally, if we are to have faith … have only a very small amount of it; as much as “a grain of mustard seed.” And even then, only faith in … things for which material, physical evidence has been produced.
And as for basing ourselves on faith? In the belief that it gives us firm “assurance” of things? In fact, we have shown that logically, it the idea of a very, very firm, certain faith is logically self-contradictory. While furthermore, the Bible itself did not normally, at every level of analysis, use the term in such a way as to firmly, unequivocally state that faith was very firm “assurance” of anything. Evidently aware of the problems with reconciling God and Faith, whenever the Bible talked about faith, its remarks were systematically written in such a way, as to give preachers who demanded “faith” some texts from which to work and quote … while however, deeper down, indicating that there were fatal problems with, sins in, inadequacies in, faith itself. Indeed, to have faith for example, means deep down, that one doubts. While the Bible itself at times hints that faith give us “full assurance” of things; but then deeper down, backs away from that message.
It is part of the great, massive sin of preachers, that they have typically radically over-stressed “faith,” and missed or denied this massively consistent voice in the text. They were not smart enough, sophisticated enough; they did not read or discover or admit, the radical ambiguity or equivocality of the Bible, regarding especially, the central question of “faith” vs. science. And so they did not adequately uncover the literally fatal limitations of most faiths: they remained all too loyal, all too faithful, to false theologies, false ideas about Christ.
Another Recap? And More Hopeless Logical Problems
In Strong Faith
All this might be hard for many. So let’s run through the main points here again, in the logical analysis of strong faith. And then add another point or two.
The whole idea of a strong faith, seems clearly wrong. First remember, the Bible itself most often suggested that there were things “lack”ing in faith; that there was even a measure of “unbelief” in believers.
And now we confirm this with logic: if you really believed something, you would state it as fact; it would never occur to you to say you have “faith” in it; you would just say, there it is. Or you would speak casually about it, in a way that assumes its existence. For example, you might really, really believe that the front door of your house is real; but indeed it is so real, that you never even comment on it, as if its existence was problematic. Or took any real unusual effort to believe; you simply … walk up to it, turn the knob, and walk through it. All without even thinking much about it, much less commenting on it; because you really, really do believe in it.
Nor would you start shouting your faith to everyone; if you really believed. Consider again our example: if you sit down to your morning breakfast, and see your plate in front of you, it never occurs to you to say you have “faith” that it is there, normally. Rather, you just look at it and know that it is there. Indeed, you are so sure it is there … it would be very, very silly for you to look firmly at the plate, and tell your wife repeatedly with great fervor – or even shouting – “I have faith that the plate is there! I have faith!”
The fact is, that as defined by normal usage – an important part of every good definition – people typically, only use the word “faith,” if and only if … they really have some doubt about something. When there is good reason to doubt, what we want to claim is real. Thus – with supreme irony for all those who claim to have great faith – all those who millions who claim to have great “faith” in God, are hypocrites: they do not really, actually, believe in him.
All those who claim to have “faith” in God, are really still hypocrites. And since the whole world is covered with religions that call themselves “faith”s, thus one more prophesy is fulfilled: just as Jesus warned, religious conservatives (who today typically assert their “faith”) are (just like the Pharisees, the religious conservatives of Jesus; day) mostly “hypocrites.”
That’s what we’ve found so far; now let’s try to take the logical analysis of “faith” just a few steps further. Before returning to a simpler analysis.
Finally, not only James but also Jesus did this. Consider his statement or promise: we might have been promised many things, like miracles … if only we had strong faith; if we “have faith and never doubt” (Mat. 21.21; note chapter and verse number correspond, which in the Bible typically is a warning of something bad in our holy men there).
Note the language of this apparent promise of miracles, very, very closely:
“Early I the morning, as he was on this way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, ‘May you never bear fruit again!’ Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. ‘How did the fig tree wither so quickly?’ they asked. “Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer’” (Mat. 18-22 NIV).
This passage has always been interpreted by simple readers, as being a firm promise, that if only we have enough “faith” – and many note, have a total, strong faith; faith without any “doubt” in it – we will get huge, amazing miracles; the power to make fig trees wither, and “mountains” move and so forth. But now note some problems, tricks, inside this language.
First of all, we already noted above that in light of the definition of faith, these qualifications twist the old promises of miracles, with a logical trick; the Bible here sets a condition that cannot, logically, ever be met. It says miracles will arrive … when the impossible happens. We cannot ever get miracles … because that requires us to “have faith, and never doubt.” Yet we have found that, by definition, “having faith” means having some doubt.
So that we are told we can get miracles … but the fine print then stipulates, only upon a condition; a condition that turns out to be a logical impossibility. Therefore, the above sentence is rather like, related to, the old Greek promises of the oracles and modern jokes about asking for wishes from a genie or a devil: the promises are always taken away, by tricks of language. (Examples?). In this case, we wish for a miracle, and we are promised one … but only if we fulfill a condition. One which we might agree too … only to find it is a trick; the condition that is set is logically impossible.
No doubt, priests, the scribes that controlled our Bibles, had trouble delivering on the many huge promises of miracles they promised – the power to make mountains move for example. And to try to fix this, they began … playing language games with the old promises; “twist”ing them around. Clearly, there is a lot of magical, semantic illusionism going on here: Jesus appears to promises us miracles; but only if we have faith and do not doubt. Yet we now find, this promises is a little like all the old jokes about promises or three wishes, from a genie; there always a logical trick of semantics there, that allows the genie to re-interpret our words, or find another meaning in them than we intended; and that therefore prevents us from getting exactly what we wished for, after all.
After they have worked on the wording here, finally, they have in effect taken the promise out of it. As it stands now, the promise is a masterpiece of semantic word games: just like the genie jokes, the quote above appears to promise everything – but actually promises nothing at all. Since it says God will furnish miracles – but only when we meet a certain condition … that, as it turns out, logically, cannot be met. That is logically impossible. (For more on this bit of semantic sleight-of-hand, see Sermons as Excuses; “fine print”).
The Fatal Evil in Faith, Belief:
Believing You Are Napoleon
m) This is bad enough. But as if that was not enough, note there is one more, really major trick at work here. In effect, all this means that the passage above – as we asserted most lines in the Bible did – had two meanings; a “first” simple one, that seems to emphasize faithfully following the rules; in this case, to get miracles. In this reading, the above passage – “if you have faith and never doubt … it will be done” – seems to be a simple promise of miracles, if only you have faith. That is, it seems to be saying aa) this:
If you are not getting miracles, then just have more faith; if you have just a little more faith, you will get miracles. It will be “done.”
But now note, carefully, that there is bb) a second way of reading this passage. Read more carefully, it is also compatible with the statement that … if you think you have something, you have it, at least in your mind or spirit. If you believe that you are rich in some way, then you feel rich, even when you are poor. Thus, the poor are given consolation, by feeling rich in Christ and so forth. A kind of thinking you hear tried out in sermons now and then.
But finally, let’s look at cc) another, final way of seeing, reading this promise. some problems and tricks here though. One which has to do with some of the dangers and pitfalls, in “belief” and “faith.” When the Bible warned that many fall into “illusions,” “delusions,” “false dreams,” and so forth. Which are things you think you have or are, but which are not true.
Note that “believing” or having faith in something, means just ignoring anything doubtful about something; and simply believing in it anyway. But when you do that, when you ignore the many “signs” and indications that something is false, and believe anyway … then you could be falling into the many “illusions” and “delusions” noted in the Bible.
Suppose for example, you are told that you are Napoleon; and encouraged to have faith in that notion. To be sure, you look around you, and see many indications that this belief is false: i.e., you seem to be living in the 21st century, not the 18th; you don’t speak French; other people are not reacting to you as if you were Napoleon; your childhood memories are of attending public school as “Bill Smith,” not “Napoleon,” etc.. Normally in fact, the way we keep from falling into an illusion or delusion, insanity, is … looking around and observing the signs, that a given idea or notion we have, is true … or not true. In this way, when we have false ideas, we check them against other impressions around us in the world… and, if they contradict the idea we have … we take the signs seriously, and stop believing. However, here, with “faith,” we are told to in effect, entirely remove this normal check against illusions and delusions. We are told to ignore what we see around us in the “world”; that indeed, the world is probably a delusion or illusion itself, whereas our belief only is real. Which is nice if true. But … which removes effectively, the normal checks and balances we have, against falling into severe illusions and delusions. We are told in effect, to entirely abandon our critical thinking, for a strong gullibility. But in this position of course, the devil slips in easily; your defenses against illusion, delusion, deception, have just been incapacitated.
And so, being told to have “faith,” easily sends you into gross illusions. You start firmly believing in something … but you many believe something that is not true. And indeed, you often believe it to the point that you could be say to be in an illusion or delusion. If you firmly believe that you have a beautiful face for example, when all the evidence is that you do not? Then you walk about town proudly, vainly … lost in a delusion or illusion. Because of strong faith.
To all this now, moreover, now note, specifically the nature of the illusion here – thinking that you are Napoleon, the greatest general in the world – is that you … think you have something you do not have. Or that you are something you are not; have magnificent qualities you don’t have.
So in effect, what has happened? To you, now, you are Napoleon; you have his status, his qualifies. So in effect – to you at least – you have say, one of your dreams, come true. To you, you “have” the thing in your mind; because you believe it. Believing, having faith, gives it to you. At least, in your mind or spirit.
So indeed, the prophesy is fulfilled again; but again, in an extremely ironic way: all things are possible, to those who believe. You have a miracle, because you believe it. Though to be sure, it is only true … to you. It is true … in your mind only.
So the countless promises that all things will be ours, if only we believe and have faith? They might have been written, with this philosophy in mind: the things we think we think or believe we have, are at least partially ours; whether they are real or not. So that believing something in our mind, is as good as it being real (the temptation of phenomenology? Solipsism? The brain in the jar). But of course, this ends up saying that illusions, delusions, are as good as truths.
. . .
What should we say here about this kind of owning things? Apologists and priests though, might defend this. They might say that perhaps you should be trapped in this illusion again too, some will have thought … to protect others. Because after all, why are you in this illusion after all? It is in part (some might claim) because you didn’t listen to all those around you, the world, that tells you that your ideas are false, are delusory; you didn’t have enough respect for your “neighbors,” to listen to their cautionary testimony. And so, since you don’t really have enough respect for – or love for – your neighbors, perhaps, many (but this present author) will have said throughout history, you would exploit them, and hurt them, and steal from them to get what you want. Better therefore, to give you a mental illusion or delusion of grandeur, of special status. Which will be in effect, a “white lie.” One that keeps you happy in your mind or spirit – if not in physical reality. And which keeps you from bothering other people too much.
Then too, many might argue that the Bible even here, is still true: aa) if you believe you will get something, you will have it … in your mind or spirit. Then too, related to this, bb) “all things are possible to those who believe.”
. . .
But now let’s look at a key, related phrase “all things are possible, to those who believe”:
“All things are possible, to him who believes” (Mark 9.23).
This phrase, to simple readers who are totally guided by preachers, this will have seemed to say something like this:
aa) “If you have faith, you can do anything.” (The reading of gross magical materialists).
As most people have read it, it is taken to mean, if we have faith, then we will be able to say a few ritual words or prayers, believe, and … real amazing miraculous powers will be ours. We can make bread appear out of thin air, and walk on water.
However, now it is time to notice a second reading here. Just as in most of the Bible, just like the promises above, there is another reading here; one that corresponds to what many priests might think of it. It might also be read to say:
bb) Those who think or believe or are told they have something, will have it in their mind, or spirit. (The reading of spiritual priests).
This might appear to be the acceptable, second and final reading of the old promises of miracles. However, we have noted some problems with this kind of situation. And so we might in fact, more carefully, note another, alternative second reading, of “all things are possible to those who believe.” Note it carefully, here:
“To credulous people, anything can seem, will be real … to them.” If they try hard enough, they can believe that their empty hand really has money in it. But such persons of course, are lost in the foretold illusions and delusions.
“All things are possible to those who believe.” This statement might indeed mean nothing much more or less, than that gullible people, will believe anything. To gullible people, anything is possible.
The Bible in fact, warned elsewhere about this very thing; about simple people believing too much:
“The simple believes everything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps” (Proverbs 14.15).
This promise that all things are possible to those who believe then fits the pattern that we saw in the above promises; and indeed note, that beyond that, it begins to explicitly note the elements of subjectivity here; things are true at least, to you; or in your own mind. Or here, “to those who believe.”
. . .
It rather looks as if parts of our Bibles, were phrased in ways to have two or more meanings (and triple meanings?).
To be sure, such a double meanings, could be – and have been – actually, defended. Perhaps, just imagining, thinking we have something, is good enough, many would say. For several reasons.
aa) Some might say for example, that after all, according to idealistic or phenomenological philosophy, all we ever really have in life, are our mental ideas or perceptions of things; things as our minds perceive them. Therefore, some might (wrongly) conclude, thinking that you have something in your mind, is the same as having it. Though note the case where we thought in our minds that we had a car … but then when it was time to go to the hospital, found a new sensation in our mind; that we did not have one.
bb) Or there is even a philosophical/theological justification for this, that perhaps was in the minds of the translators of our Bibles. No doubt, our minds or many instincts “crave” for more than any reality can give us; the more we have, the more we want. Therefore there is a certain wisdom, in – like Buddha, like Christ – just learning to quiet, tone down – or by giving ourselves things in our imagination – quieting our “desires” for “possessions.” And then too, no doubt, the infinity of the universe, is perhaps partially unattainable by force; though can be grasped at least partially, by intuition, spirit. So that if we are greedy, this however is another, perhaps better way, to try to get everything. To get in fact, the infinite Truth and Reality. (Cf. pornography; imaginary companions).
cc) On the other hand though, we have shown that just thinking we have something in our mind, can be dangerous illusion. And we will be showing in our books here later, that even becoming lost in the sensation of owning – or being at “one” with – the universe, ultimate reality, or God … can be as dangerous and silly and even evil, as imagining we are “Napoleon.” If it is an illusion, it can even make our lives much worse, rather than better. If we think we are Napoleon, we may become utterly dysfunctional in the world; with no job; producing no useful work; depending on others and charity, being a burden on them, just to say alive. While we might even too, cut off a life that might have been more useful, if we had been humble enough to just become a scientist, inventing new medicines saving millions. Instead of living lost in illusions, delusions. Or indeed, being lost in this kind of dysfunctionality, opium dream, lotus land, drug fantasy, can cause people to stop bother taking care of their own physical body (a reality they increasingly do not see); to the point that opium addicts spend their lives buying the fantasy, the drug, neglecting physical realities like food … to the point that they starve themselves to death. As religious ascetics and drug addicts do, both. Suggesting indeed, a rather exact parallel; and the evil in extreme asceticism.
The lives of religious addicts and drug addicts, are in some ways, amazingly similar. So that again, rather than having – or trying to have – strong “faith” in our religion, instead, we should make every effort to see whether it is just an opium dream, a drug … or has some truth in it. Whether we are becoming stronger because of it … or are becoming more and more physically dysfunctional. Are we being lead to enlightenment, nirvana, Heaven … or just, through belief in false things, “things that are not,” increasingly delusions, illusions, ignorance, false dreams, and premature physical death.
So what should we say finally, about these promises, and their very tricky wording? Here we note that technically, the Bible itself here is true; what it promises is correct. Technically, the Bible (in these one or two phrases at least) seems to rather, take away all promises of miracles; to say that “whatever” things we believe in, are true, at least, for us; in our minds or spirits. Technically, here, the Bible begins to suggest that having things in our mind or spirit, is as good as in reality. Indeed, Preachers will often say that religion reforms, changes, not physical reality, but our “spirit.” Which they say, is far more important than “mere” physical reality, as they say.
But is the spiritual “interpretation” of God’s promises, of these phrases, really good enough, here? Are priests that deliver only wonderful promises, mental sensations, spirits, really good enough? What do many ordinary people feel, who have had faith, and prayed for miracles that did not arrive? And how does a person feel, what are his “fruits,” when, after being told God has cured him of a disease, he does not go to a conventional medical doctor … and then lapses into a painful disease that the doctor might have cured, but the priest and faith did not? No doubt, in such a situation, the priest will tell us to be faithful and happy. Even as however, the priest lead us to physical death.
Technically, the Bible is true here. Though in fact, finally, the “spiritual,” “faith”ful reading of the Bible, is not a good one. Indeed, it is evil. As we will see. In part, aaa) faith requires us to never question things; so we are commanded not to notice any lack of miracles in effect. But this violates the many parts of the Bible that told us that many elements of religion are false; the parts of the Bible that told us that we should not have too much faith, but should look at our priests and their promises carefully. And demand real material results.
Without real material results, in fact, with only mental or spiritual results, we are lead by bad priests, merely into precisely, just as foretold, literally fatal, “illusions,” “delusions,” “enchantments,” “false dreams.” As we will be seeing later more fully (in our books on Over-Spirituality).
And if nearly all our priests, and the whole world, at present believe in “faith-based” and “spiritual” religion? Then after all, the whole world as foretold, was taken by a false image of Christ; a false Christ. As foretold. But if so, then now at last, we can begin to expose this. And move on; to the second and better, “full”er, truer, vision, coming, of Christ. A Christ that after all, comes to earth. A Christ advocating not spiritual illusions, delusions; but real material things.
[Those who hold to the “white lie” theory of Religion, to be sure, might try to continue to defend a spiritual religion. By saying this, too: is this deception wholly evil? Note that the only people who would attempt to have great “faith,” who would buy the concept or “precept”s, are silly people. People who perhaps in fact, are so silly, that they are not only the foretold “fools.” And since they are foolish, they should indeed be told to follow others, slavishly, faithfully; and should not be allowed their own personal digression and judgement, some would say. Because their own judgement is so obviously bad. Thus they need to be trapped and domesticated, by shepherds; given a few simple, fairly reliable rules – or leaders – to follow. And told to follow rules faithfully. So they won’t hurt themselves or others, and others. Since obviously they have not get attained good “judgement.” On the other hand though we will show later, that this does not merely protect children; but patronizes people; to the point that it actively prevents them from growing up and becoming the responsible, mature adults they might have been otherwise. Ironically, the “description” of people as fools, becomes prescription. If you feed people lies all their lives, many millions of people who would otherwise have found the truth, from becoming responsible adults with well-formed consciences, are actively prevented from discovering it.]
Subargument on Faith#190
The Solution, at the End: The Second Coming
(# 190) There are many snakelike, “twisting” turns in language, in the pronouncements of prophets and priests. Who in that way, are related to their Ancient Middle East relatives, the wizards, magicians, the oracles and genies. In particular, they are semantic magicians; like the genies of genie jokes. And illusionists; even ones who believe illusions are good enough, or are real, themselves.
But here, we see things that are only “spiritual,” as being only mental or in our mind or spirit; while such things, that are only in our spirit and not in the world, we note, are often just the foretold evil illusions, false spirits, delusions, enchantments, false dreams.
If any of our old ideas, spirits, at all, are good … then it is time to separate them out from the bad ones; to separate the “wheat from the chaff,” the productive “branch” from the “unfruitful” dead “wood.” Separate them out by “test”ing them. And then, throwing the false spirits, into the “fire.” While sitting down with our priests, to even put parts of their most sacred ideas to the fire; to “refine” them, after all.
But how then, can we find the truth? God? In the past, we were told we could find the truth, thru simple “faith.” Or total “faith.” In “spirit” and so forth. Or faith in “God,” as described to us by priests and ministers and other holy men. And churches, and their “doctrines” and “dogmas” and so forth. But actually we will have been showing here, that is not even really, what the Bible itself really said. Actually, the Bible itself warned constantly, that those who say and teach – and even genuinely think – that they themselves are absolutely sacred and holy, that they themselves have found absolute holy truth and God, can be “false.” That indeed, one “day” we are to discover that they have essentially, “all” be false. (Even the “elect” might be deceived, if possible; while in any case, those who think they are in the elect, may be deceived about that).
So in this universe – in which there can be endless illusions, delusions, false dreams, even in and from those we think are most holy and good – how can we best find truth? Those of us who retain respect for our Bibles, might stop to at last, read them far more carefully, “fully,” at last. Because those who have followed us as we have done that here, will be gradually introduced, to another, “second,” different, but “full”er vision, understanding, of God. A second understanding, vision, “appearance” of Jesus. A Jesus who finds the true and the false in “spirit” and “faith”; by way of … the Science of God. A science which to be sure, exposes sins and errors in our holiest men – but after all, thereby, does exactly what was foretold, by the Bible itself.
Many millions, billions of priests and people, followed a first simple idea of Christ, of Jesus: Jesus promising miracles, and advocating faith. But in our books here, we are finding that God himself, stressed not faith, as much as a science of God. And we are about to find too, a Jesus who examines things more closely, with “Logos” or logic. Behind the “first” Christ, our childhood idea of Jesus that we got in church; a Jesus promising “miracles” and “spirit,” is a “second,” better vision, coming, of Christ. One that exposes, unveils, the illusions and delusions, of the first childhood idea of Christ, that we got in church.
And as foretold: even here and now, you might be beginning to see a “second” “appearance” of Christ. One that reveals that the whole earth was deceived, by a False Christ. One that tricked, “entranced” the whole world. But that is now after all being exposed. In the name of the foretold, second coming, the second appearance, of Christ.
Looking Ahead to Jesus
And The “Second Coming”
In any case, the Bible itself authorizes a “second” and different vision of God. And there is every indication that, given all the problems with “faith,” and the many indications of suppressed – and currently therefore, semi-hidden – codes in the Bible, pointing to a “science,” that the foretold “second” and better, “full”er, more “mature” vision of coming of Jesus … is partially previewed – and perhaps in part substantially delivered – when we begin to see the sins in “faith,” and begin to see the Jesus that actually, proposed … that there are dangers in “faith.” That we should have no more “faith” than a grain of mustard seed”:
“Have faith as a grain of mustard seed” (Mat. 17.20, Mark 4.21; Luke 13.19, 17.8).
We are to have very little faith; no more than a grain of mustard seed. Indeed, to assert we have more, would be to embrace a lie; to embrace something that is logically impossible. While in any case, to the extent that we do succeed in getting great faith, we fall into more and more delusions.
Or it faith is to grow into something else, faith, the seed, must find the good soil of the earth – and die, before it grows:
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12.24; cf. 12.15 which however can be read to tell the priest to hate “his life,” not the “world”).
“I did not come to judge the world but to save the world” (John 12.47).
The seed of faith grows … but only if it gets into the material earth.
And this is possible; in part because finally, the “world” was “saved”; and the “earth” is (in principle) good again. And now we need to follow the advice of the second and better vision, second “read”ing, of Christ: which said that Christianity be based not on blind faith, but on science. Which allows confidence to grow, only in thoughts, dreams, finally well rooted and proven, in the soil of material experience.
Without such material verification? (Like, in the following case, a verifiably, materially resurrected Christ?). Then:
“Your faith is in vain” (1 Corin. 15.14).
“Your faith is futile” (1 Cor. 15.17).
“Men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith” (2 Ti. 3.8).
In fact we will find, what the Bible really asks for, when it asks for “faith,” is faith … in the science of God; in things proven by real empirical fruits. a) To be sure of course, even science requires some faith; we take science classes in the hope and faith that they will lead us to a productive work life; we flick the switch that has worked one hundred times before, but it takes some faith to believe it will work the next time too.
Wile b) in fact, indeed, Moses only asked for faith, only after he was said to have already worked lots of huge physical wonders. So that he only asked for faith … only after lots of material evidence of his powers was produced.
c) Likewise, Jesus only asked for “faith” … after he was said to have had already performed lots of material wonders. He asked for faith, only when he worked physical proofs … and yet people still did not believe.
So that in effect, amazingly, the real pattern for faith in the Bible … is to ask for it, and ask for only enough … as is required to believe … things well proven by empirical evidence.
Which is to say, we are not asked to have total blind faith; but only faith in things proven by … science and experience. Faith in science and things well-proven by experience.
That in fact, is all the faith we are required to have. Anything more than that, tends to veer inevitably into mere gullibility and credulity.
Overcoming the Vanity of Priestly Spirituality:
With A Physical Christianity
Indeed, almost our entire minds, and spirits, can be deceived, the Bible warns; by “illusions” and “delusions” and “false spirits” and so forth. So again, how do we get out of this? Strictly speaking, many philosophies suggest that we cannot get out of this pit, this circle. But science believes that we do have access even in our minds or spirits, to some “external” sensations; sensations which to be sure are thoughts or spirits … but thoughts or spirits conforming to, in part, an external reality. And this sense of science has been immensely fruitful. And is endorsed by God himself; who suggests that we have not only thoughts, but also at least the impression of “deeds,” “work”s, that can be consulted as a check on our ideas. While indeed the Bible says, in the End, we are judged not so much just by our thoughts, or what is in our spirit – like faith; but also by our “deeds”; by what “we have done.”
Subargument on Faith#191
(# 191) So when you, the preachers, proudly tell yourself and everyone else, that you are the holy spokesman of, priest of, God? That your ideas of God are true and good? How can you be sure that your spirit is good and true? And not just your own vanity?
Is faith so good? You might trust and believe and have faith that you are Napoleon. Is that Good? You might be following a false idea of Christ, and be absolutely trusting and believing and following it, too. And in fact, most of you preachers have been doing, precisely that.
So that now it is time to “refine” even the preachers; the household of God. For them to check the secret vanity they have. As the Bible warned (NIV?), there is a superficial, “false humility” out there, particularly in priests. Priests are superficially, very humble. And they believe they themselves have conquered Vanity. But deep down, they have a massive, overwhelming Pride and Vanity: they believe they are (or they allow themselves to be perceived as) the sacred spokesmen for absolute truth: the reliable voicepieces of God. Beyond which, there is scarcely any other, greater vanity.
A truly humble priest, would be humble … even in his characterizations of God and truth. All his characterizations would be … preceded by … humble disclaimers. If a priest was to us the name of “God” at all; God being so complex, that all our characterizations of him will inevitably be oversimplifications. So that indeed, perhaps the name of God should be holy again; and even preachers in particular, should not mention that name in public. Just as they were once forbidden, traditionally, after all. All usages of that word being inevitably, partial misuses. (As when modern preachers insist that God tells us to vote Republican, etc.).
Especially, all preachers, by definition, always give in to the vanity of being spiritual, “righteous.” Though the Bible warned, be not righteous overmuch. Thought he bible warned that even “spirits,” and therefore spirituality, is to be trusted. Since indeed, there are many false spirits; and even under a superficial religious “humility,” can be – and is – a very deep spirit of Pride and Vanity.
Subargument on Faith#192
(# 192) How can we fix it? How can we repair the massive, bloated, vain over-spirituality of preachers?
Given the many problems with especially, “pure” spirit, God himself told us that one “day” or another, spirit, even our spiritual heaven, should re-join this material earth. Finally, the kingdom of God is supposed to come down, to be a place here on this material earth (Rev. 21; even in Paul? See Paul on our spiritual body becoming material? Or not? Flying up into the “clouds.” But see then God judging on the “day,” according to “deeds” and so forth). Paul himself was perhaps ambiguous about the nature of the “kingdom” and the “end.” Though Paul apparently believed in the physicality of the first, physical coming of Jesus; which is to this day regarded, as God coming to material things; “flesh.”
Subargument on Faith#193
(# 193) Then too, much of the Bible also seems to hold to the physicality of the first resurrection of Jesus, right after his crucifixion. Indeed we note elsewhere, Paul hinged his entire faith … on the truth of a physical resurrection; John added, in the “flesh.” So that material evidence is everywhere asserted, in the Bible.
Subargument on Faith#194
(# 194) And there is perhaps even for Paul, some physicality, even the “day” of the end, and the second coming of God to this material earth; some “redemption” even of our perhaps physical “bodies.”
Paul is sometimes vague about the materiality of the “day” (q.v. Paul); he refers to us going up to the “clouds,” (1 Thess. 4.16-17 etc.) and acquiring a “spiritual body.” But at times Paul seems to know that tradition requires a very physical material event, within the physical “creation”; and involves physical “bodies”:
“We know that the whole of creation has been groaning in travail, together until now; and not only the creation but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as we await for adoption as sons the redemption of our bodies (Rom. 8.22-23).
So there is something about our perhaps physical bodies being “redeemed” in the End Time especially. As perhaps, we are intellectually redeeming them even here and now; by arguments noting the importance of physical things to God himself, after all.
This argument for the redemption of perhaps material bodies, thus joins many other parts of even Paul, that suggested that material things, even our material bodies, might be important; the “temple” of the spirit for example. Analogous to a church on earth. While Paul remember, said that to remain in our physical “flesh” might not be his personal preference; but even for him was good and “necessary.” (Though to be sure, Paul was supposed to have been physically executed or died in prison in Rome; and thus he left us, physically). This redemption of the body, happens in particularly, or once again, in the end it seems.
Paul to be sure, at times seems to toy with the possibility that the final “day” just refers to the day of rest, Sabbath (Heb. 4). Other times though, Paul seems to know that more is required, and that the “day” had not yet come in his lifetime (2 Thess. 2.1-4). So that the “day” is open … for today.
Then too we might recall, when even the very spiritual Paul thinks of that day, he takes the time to … cite his works; that …
“We worked night and day, laboring and toiling” (21 Thess. 3.8 NIV).
“If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thess. 3.10 NIV).
“Earn the bread they eat” (2 Thess. 3.12).
Again too remember: though many parts of the Bible try to hint that the “kingdom” might be a metaphor; that we are in the kingdom when we join with Christ just in our mind or spirit. But in much of the rest of the Bible, the kingdom of God was supposed to be a physical, material kingdom. And to try to put these two contrasting theologies together, finally the Book of Revelation pictured the heavenly kingdom, as actively one day, coming down, to be a place here on this material earth (Rev. 21; from Isaiah, etc.).
There are many, many motifs in the Bible therefore, that suggest that if (say, our) spirit and body were for a time at odds, in separate spheres, one “day” this dualism is supposed to end. When God comes to earth, spirit returns to material earth again, after all. Paul himself, is perhaps ambiguous about the nature of the “kingdom” and the “end,” and the nature of our new “bodies.” At times though, Paul apparently believed in the physicality of the first, physical resurrection of Jesus, right after his crucifixion. And his account of our new “spiritual bodies” might begin to fit all this.
Subargument on Faith#195
(# 195) While our own work here – intellectually/spiritually attempted to re-link the concepts of religion and science, word and material world, spirit and material things … could be, after all, part of this foretold … return of God to the earth.
Subargument on Faith#196
(# 196) Our spiritual priests have often longed for the return of the spirit, to this material earth. But they thought (with Plato, if not God), that this material earth or “world” was always so “corrupt,” that nothing ideal or good could really live here long, or fully. Indeed, following Plato, they often thought that the physical existence was intrinsically evil; and that therefore, the whole of material existence had to be destroyed, and remade; by the apocalyptic destruction of the “world.” Before life on earth could be good. But we will suggest that after all, the “world” or “earth” was long ago already apocalyptically destroyed and cleansed; a) once by God in the Flood; and b) again “redeemed” by Jesus. While c) it is all “redeemed” again when we acquire the spirit of temperance. Indeed we will show elsewhere, the material “world” has been destroyed and remade, many times; though d) geological and e) cultural “ages,” centuries (cf. Fr. “seicle”; “secular” SP?). Indeed, science and technology properly used, have already remade the earth into a much better place, in particular. While f) our own efforts here, to reasonably justify material things in spiritual, biblical terms, attempt this redemption of the world once again too.
So that the old corrupt “world” has been apocalyptically destroyed, and rebuild, many times; that part of the “Apocalypse” might be said to be over, so far as its necessity. And today, already we have a substantially, remade, re-justified, material world.
Subargument on Faith#197
197) To be sure, many churches have prematurely announced themselves, as the foretold heaven on earth. But no church was ever quite “fully” as good as the ideal kingdom was supposed to be (in Rev. 21 ff for example).
To be sure, though, bits of physical reality are better than others. And while remember that Paul thought of our own bodies, as perhaps important in themselves, they are important as the temple of God. And they are important when our many bodies meeting together, to form the corporate body of the Church. So that here is yet another good body, here on this material earth (according at least to Paul; Col. 1.18-24). We give up our bodies and flesh to Christ to be sure (Rom. 12.1). But after all, our bodies are important, in that they may be inhabited by a good spirit that is ultimately of Christ; as his “temple” (1 Corin. 6.19), 12.12-27).
Perhaps Paul thought we were dominated by “lust”s at first due to our “body”; but perhaps after all, when we learn to be Christian and moderate our feelings, lusts, we still have a body; but it is “reborn” as some say; “spiritualized.” And perhaps that is our spiritual body (1 Corin. 1535-58). (And resurrection some would say; or at least a preview of it? In which case … these is a kind of immortality as Paul suggests, even in the perishable physical body; when the “perishable” body is “clothed in the imperishable” 1 Corin. 15.54).
Subargument on Faith#198
(# 198) These ideas, about immortality somehow joining, redeeming, our mortal bodies, or vice versa – we ourselves, in spite of our physical bodies, becoming immortal somehow – we ourselves in fact confirm and clarify, in our later writings about immortality (q.v. By joining long-living/”immortal” traditions, cultures, DNA survival, etc.).
There are therefore, many ways that we might say that a) physical reality is already much better than our preachers have said; and that b) physical reality can be further improved. Likely in fact, you could say that all these efforts – but especially, the efforts of good science and technology, even over and above the churches – have been to realize, fulfill prophesy; the prophesy which gives us a good life (and eventually heaven) on this material earth, after all.
Faith as Fidelity
To Religion, Preachers?
Faith therefore, was always vague; and nowhere near as good as our preachers told us; actually we found here, faith merely delivered you right away, to false prophets; to a vision of God that is so simple, that it was substantially false. To the False Christ, of liars and children; to one who seems to say just this: follow the rules with total obedience, pray, and get miracles.
But now we have begun to expose many false prophets and false believers; showing how those who said they had great faith, were necessarily deluded, shortsheeted; were those indeed who, it was foretold, would be “deceived.” But now that they and their readings, their beliefs, have been weeded out, suppose the rest of us now go on. To see if we can find out where God and good, really are. Let us “supplement your faith” with real “virtue.” Let us add to “blind” faith, a critical “mind.” When we were children, we “reason”ed as children. But now that some of us are adults, let us grow up; not “growing up in our faith,” as they mistakenly say; but growing up beyond faith. To the science of God.
In order to have a central text that would guide both children and adults, many centuries ago, our rulers, our “lord”s, gave us a complex text – a Bible – that pictured an idealized “Lord” as a “God” and savior; a LORD whose words would say “all things” to all kinds of different people. Especially, they gave us a Bible that seemed to 1) superficial readers, children in need of guidance and loyalty to authority – to encourage simple blind loyalty to, faith in, adults, to “father”s, and the LORD our God. But 2) then, when you are capable of reading a little more closely – and when therefore, are presumed to usually have a more “fully formed conscience” as they say; to be basically morally responsible – then, the text reveals … an exit sign. As way out of endless clerical vassalage, fealty, and conformism, blind obedience, to not only Old Testament “law,” but indeed to all authority. A way that lead, actually, to freedom, liberty; the “Freedom we have in Christ.” To a life where we assume personal responsibility, and begin to push past the limits of a few simple rules; exploring reality – and God – in original ways; advancing knowledge. Advancing beyond ancient formulas, “laws,” rules, said by “rote.”
Subargument on Faith#199
(# 199) To be sure, “faith” had a limited utility, even over science, for a time. Because there was a time, when our thinkers were dimly intuiting things that seemed real to them, but that early crude science could not prove: like the human “mind” or “spirit” for example; which (until various brain scans) really was “invisible.” And therefore in some ways, doubtful. Likewise, there were other strange things – like resurrection and immortality – that seemed real to many … but that science was not yet able to prove. For this reason, a) no doubt, some sense of following intuition, “revelation,” without very, very strong evidence, might have been temporarily useful.
On b) the other hand, though, clearly there were many dangers, illusions, and abuses, in Faith. The main sin in faith is this: when we have too much faith, we easily believe things that are lies. When we have too much faith in religious leaders particularly, we follow them even when they lie, or are mistaken.
Indeed, c) should Religion ask people to absolutely follow … things that it itself poorly understands?
Then too, d) by now, science is well enough advanced, that we can begin now, to see the truth or lie in many things we were asked to just blindly, totally believe in the past. For example, we will even, later, show a physical reality to the human spirit; our mind. Which is real. And in fact, we will even be able to show next, that there is a real kind of immortality to it. Using however not vague spiritual longings and intuitions; but showing at last a rather concrete reality to it. (As we will see in our writings on Immortality).
So that whatever virtue “faith” may have had in children, and backward cultures, in an ear when science could not see many real things, today, we have better science. And are in a position to begin to demand more proofs for things. And this does not mean that we disprove everything faith believed in. In fact, will prove that many of the things once only vaguely intuited, are far more materially real, or are becoming materially real, at last. As we will show later on, in our writings on a scientifically-verifiable immortality, and resurrection.
In fact, the science of God as we apply it here, amazingly, does not refute the Bible itself here. We quote the Bible here constantly. And in the end, we find that the Bible is absolutely true. Though true in a way that our preachers have not until now, fully understood. A way that only the science of God can now clarify and “see.”
Even the “second” “appearance” or Second Coming of Jesus is true too. And even, we will see, resurrection and immortality. Though true in a way that the many people deceived by a false idea of Christ, a false Christ, will find it hard to accept. Or have faith in?
No doubt, it is sometimes hard to have faith, even in science. Though surely, once we have seen that the Bible itself, God himself, advocated science? Surely that should at last, make it possible, for some. To move past faithful obedience to often false leaders; to move up to the … second and better vision of God and Christ; to the Science of God. The second and better appearance of Christ.
Really, it is not faith lost … when it is verified. When we see God, truth, in physical reality … we no longer need faith; because we see it all around us (as the “temple” in Rev.; no need).
Subargument on Faith#200
(# 200) And as for faith? We will not completely repudiate it here; since we believe and follow the Bible. But really see and follow, at last, your Bible. Every part. Including especially, surprisingly, this one:
“As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him” (Rom. 14.1).
Preachers for centuries tried to tell us that this last quote meant that a) we should let persons who are only beginning Christians enter church, so we can teach them more; so their faith would grow in church. But here we found that there are many huge problems, evils, in a faith that is “strong” to the point of making us gullible, credulous; suckers; people who will believe anything, and fall easily into the snares of false precepts, then the foretold illusions lies, delusions. To fix this finally, we need a redefinition of “faith,” based on a much closer look at its meaning in the Bible.
Which finally tells us this in effect: faith is to grow like a seed, only in the soil of the “earth.” In material things. We are to have faith only in things that are reasonably well backed by some material evidence. By our Fuller Science of God.
As commanded by the Bible itself; by God, himself.
So that we come to a surprising new understanding of the above; rather than telling us to admit persons of weak faith, to teach them stronger faith, really it means b) welcome those of weak faith … because they are often better than you. Their weak faith, is far closer to the smaller faith that Jesus wanted for you: only as much as a “mustard seed.”
Subargument on Faith#201
(# 201) For those who do not yet understand? Perhaps some people will still insist that some (if not all) “child”ren, at least, should simply obey their parents, on faith, without “full”y understanding the reasons yet for their parents’, authorities, rules and “laws” (see Paul, on “law”).
Indeed, some will say, often we need to trust to some things that we do not presently see evidence for – but whose sense, proof, must soon be manifest. In part for eample, it was often suggested that God himself would be appearing “soon” in a second coming, to at last deliver on old promises. While the “righteous” live on by faith, to that day:
“Do the will of God and receive what is promised. ‘For yet a little while, and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry’ but my righteous one shall live by faith'” (Heb. 10.38).
Yet this has at least two meanings: a) a literal child, that does not understand the reasons for things, at times should follow his parents, authorities, just on their say-so; just trust and follow their parents rules, to some extent.
But to be sure, there are problems with this first stance. First, even a very young child should also be learning to think for himself; to try to understand the reason for the rules. And find out if after all, now and then even his mother (the “infallible mother,” as Psychologists called her; in the New York Times review section?), sometimes makes mistakes. So that even a child needs to learn to exercise some independent judgement. If your mother says that crossing the street is safe, but she cannot see what you see – a truck speeding up from another lane – then after all, at times, even a child needs to exercise independent judgement; should not be held to slavish obedience. While then too, those children who never try to discover the “reasons” behind the rules (“always be prepared to give a reason for your faith”; Peter), will follow them without fully understanding them; and often, get the rules wrong; not having the sense of logic of them. (See our more extended writings on the fatal effects of too much faith; in Over-Spirituality, etc.).
So – as the language of Paul suggests – while for a child, “blind”ly, “faith”fully following orders, following your parents, might have a certain utility, while it might partially, im “perfect”ly serve a few for a while, keep in mind, one day or another – hopefully “soon” – you are supposed to begin to see material proofs and disproofs; and “mature”; you are to one day open your eyes and see what is really there, and what is really not there. See God in and among the things of this material earth; God even in “flesh.” And so …now it is time for the all-too-faithful, to see among other things, some of the other parts of the Bible. The many parts that we have quoted here. The parts that our preachers did not want to tell us about in church.
b) The text might seem at first to suggest that the “righteous” person lives by faith. If you want to be “righteous”? Then look say at this other part of the Bible at last:
“There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evil-doing. Be not righteous over much, and do not make yourself otherwise; why should you destroy yourself? Be not wicked overmuch, neither be a fool; why should you die before your time?” (Ecc. 7.16).
“The prophet is a fool, the man of the spirit is mad” (Hos. 9.7).
“God does not live in shrines made by men” (Acts 17.24).
“Faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2.17).
Even Paul – who stressed faith far, far more than anyone else in the Bible; who mentioned it hundreds of times, and discussed it at length for whole pages at a time, dozens of pages in the Bible (a Bible where a single “word” has great weight) – even Paul, who in effect was really, the chief spokesman for faith, finally … began to qualify this enthusiasm. As James and others referred to excessive spirituality and faith, as “fool”ish, Paul began defending “foolish”ness at times; but also to at other times, admit it. To admit he was not yet “perfect.” Even Paul eventually begin to … moderate his statements in favor of faith; noting problems in faith. While suggesting even, finally, that we are to have faith … only for a short while; until evidence is produced, before our own eyes, in our own lifetime.
Or, if we are to see the truth, only when we see the Second Coming of Christ? Then after all, a second appearance of Christ can be seen in our books here. In which we verify the entire Bible … but must simply disprove after all, much of what preachers have mistakenly taught. So that? The Second Appearance is far from the full vindication of preachers, that preachers and churches thought. Indeed, we find here that the major ideas of preachers, are in the End … not confirmed at all. Their emphasis on “spirituality” and specifically “faith” in particular, was always exaggerated and substantially false.
As we have re-read our Bibles here, we begin to see a second, different appearance to the Bible … and to Christ. But Christ and God as we now see them, are very different from what we were always told in church.
Still? There are many positive things about this. Indeed, as we go beyond spirituality and “faith,” and come to see the physical, material side of God? We are seeing prophesy fulfilled: we are seeing God, Good, leaving “Heaven” in a sense, and coming down to earth. Or indeed, merging heavenly ideas with earthly ones at last. So that the foretold good result will come:
“To be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” (Eph. 1.10 NIV. Note equivocal language).
But when does the second coming happen? Many of us might suggest it happens in part, when we become “mature.” But then too, we add here, being “mature” in Christianity means not becoming more spiritual, but finally learning to see the Jesus who advocates Science.
To be sure though, while we have here sustained the Bible, and have quoted the Bible over and over as authority – we should not trust churches too much. Many, many churches and others, have claimed to be God, the Kingdom on earth, and failed. So in the meantime, pending any final definitive proofs, what is the best and final instruction? On say, faith? On any Pauline or other exhortations to a “strong” faith? It would be to remind everyone, that we should have strong faith, if such a thing is even possible, only in things well proven. Or perhaps better than that, given the logical problems with strong faith, we should simply close with again, finding, with this quote. From the Bible itself. From God, himself:
“As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him” (Rom. 14.1).
With that, let’s move on to see Christ himself. As many are seeing him even now, “resurrected” at last, in their mind’s eye.
Indeed, let us look soon say, at how Science reveals Jesus being resurrected, in our own time. In our writings on a scientifically-verifiable, Resurrection and Immortality
END OF SECTION
On Problems With Faith
Subargument on Faith#202
“Faith Vs. Works?”;
A Major Issue Between Protestants, Martin Luther,
Our Approach Neutral in That Divisive Debate
(# 202) Our books have not been the place to repeat the famous contentious and everlastingly divisive argument, between Protestants and Catholics, on Faith versus Works. We have no wish to embroiled in this endless and fruitless controversy; the controversy which more than any other, was a) so problematic, that Christianity divided into half over it.
We b) don’t need to get involved in this argument moreover; as noted earlier, our arguments here do not depend on them. Indeed, what we support here – the science of God – can be supported totally aside from the famous Luther and Protestantism, vs. the Roman Catholic Church debate; on “faith alone,” vs. “Works.” Here, our position is that “faith” “alone” in God, might or might not be enough to save you; but our position – and the position of the Science that God outlines in the Bible – is that however, though our personal “work”s – like especially the work of literal circumcision – may or may not be important, or enough, for our salvation. But in either case; it must be faith in God. While the science of God warns over and over, that there are many false sayings about God out there. So that, even if faith in God is all we need to be saved … still, we cannot know whether what we believe in, really is God; unless or until we see it proven, by material results.
So in this way, we simply avoid the highly incendiary, infinitely divisive “faith alone” vs. “works” debate; that in fact, split Christianity in half; when Luther and Protestants rebelled against the Church giving indulgences to bad persons, if they contributed money or works to the Church. Here, Luther’s objection to the selling of indulgences in effect, borrowed from Paul’s language; specifically his emphasis on “faith” as saving us. Possibly even without our having any works. However, Paul’s position was unclear and confusing; and so a) James and others in the Bible itself, had to make it clear that however, though faith in God might save us, still, those who have faith will after all, follow God … and his command to do “good works.” While b) Paul himself finally acknowledged that he himself worked; and that those who do not work should not “eat.” While c) of course, the science of God insists that the “sign” one is from God, is empirical; physical. Therefore, we deduce here, even if one might be saved just by faith in God, finally, the only way we can tell if what we have faith in is really God … is by looking for “works” in the sense of material results; either from ourselves, or others.
So that therefore, to be sure, perhaps Faith in God even “alone” might save us. Without any “works” like literal circumcision. Yet to be sure, we cannot be sure that what we have faith in, is really God. And not a false Christ, a false idea of God. Unless or until, we see real, material results.
So faith in God alone might (or might not, according to James) save us; but still finally, we will need to see works, in the sense of real material results, before we know that the impression we have of God in our heads, is accurate. And not a delusion or illusion, or a false idea of Christ.
The Faith Vs. Works
Where the specific subject was especially, the Church’s selling “indulgences”; or in other words, granting forgiveness for some sins, to those sinners who paid the Church enough money. Luther attempted to frame a biblical argument against this, not so much by directly recalling that it was what was in our “heart” that made us good, not money paid to churches; but rather, by arguing that our material money and wealth and accomplishments – or “works” – had no value to God; that only our mental, spiritiual faithfulness to God; our “faith alone,” as Luther apparently said. Luther here focusing especially, on a tradition in Judaism, and the Old Testament, where it had been said that male children should be physically circumcised; but Luther focusing on part of the Bible, in Paul, that attempted to argue that those old laws from God could be dropped, in Christianity. Where Paul argued that Abraham for example, had many works; and yet Abraham had not undertaken the specific “work” of circumcision, when nevertheless, God had commended him for his faith in God; and God had pronounced Abraham good, righteous, for his faith; even before Abraham was circumcised. Thus, Paul and other Gentile Christians argued – and then, around 1517 AD, Luther argued – God did not care so much about our “work” – or better said, specific “works” like circumcision; rather, what God valued, and what caused him to call us good, was our inner “faith”fulness to God. So that, Luther concluded they say, it was not “works,” but “faith alone,” that saved us. Not obedience to the church, or giving it money.
Indeed, we might for purposes of argument agree with Luther, that a) some small faith might be necessary for our salvation. Or b) agree that we cannot buy our way into heaven, with works alone. But we could not agree that “work” and “works” are totally irrelevant to our salvation; since God ordered us to “work” 6/7 of the week; and God said that it was not just by our “thoughts” in our heart, our faith say, but also by our “fruits,” “works,” “deeds,” in part, that we would be “judged” by God, as good or bad, in the end. No doubt, Jesus had often stressed “faith” in our “hearts”; and had said that the poor woman who gave only a penny to the church, but who thereby gave all she could, was giving enough. Yet to be sure, even the poor woman, had to produce as many works as she could. Before she could be considered good.
So c) if the Bible ever said a “work” was not important, probably that referred specifically and almost solely, to the specific religious act, the work of … circumcision.
But d) really, it seems best to sidestep this endless and confusing controversy. And stipulate that our argument here, is really totally aside from this famous – and seemingly never-ending – argument, between Catholicism and Protestantism. It may or may not be that we might be saved, just by believing in God in our minds; without paying God anything, any “works,” or money. (Cf. however, tithing, etc); in any case, our main point is rather different from all that. Among our many points here would be that aa) even if inner confidence in God might save us, still, we cannot be sure our inner confidence or faith, is really faith in the one true God; and not a false idea of God … unless we get material evidence of it; “works,” in that sense.
Furthermore, to be sure, bb) these are not wholly our own work; but work done though the Grace of God. God rewards righteousness, by giving us works, fruits. In a way then, we don’t have any works of our “own” at all; all is given to us to be sure, in part due to our own labor. But also to the grace of god, the nature of a universe, a Being, that made us. And gave us the gift of life in the first place.
So again: our own “works” do not get us into heaven by themselves; and specifically, our “faith” in God, in our hearts, is also important. But we cannot be sure our faith is in the right thing, is really in God and not in a false idea of God or Christ. Unless or until our faith shows material results, fruits. Therefore, we might agree here, tentatively, that “faith” in God might be enough to save us; and that our own money or “works” should not, alone, be able to buy our way into heaven. But to be sure, works have an important role, in proving our faith was in the right idea of God; if our faith does not bear fruits, works, it was a false faith; faith in a false idea of God.
Then too, we would say, cc) probably for these or related reasons, finally the Apostle James noted in the Bible itself, that “faith without works is dead.” This might means that aaa) even if faith in God could “save” us in some way, we cannot be sure what we believe in really is God, unless or until … we get real material results – fruits, “works” in that sense – from it. Then too it might mean that after all bbb) God often told us to “work”; thus is we have faith in God, we will work, and produce useful works.
While then too ccc) James especially noted that the preachers who give physically starving people, only spirit, kind words, “faith,” but who leave us physically starving to death for example … obviously, are not entirely good (James 2.14 ff). So that mere faith is not enough. While ddd) following this, even many Protestant preachers agree that those who have faith, will produce “good works,” “charity,” and so forth.
That roughly, might be an outline, our tentative position, on this complex, perplexing, and incendiary debate on “works.”
But in any case, for those who demand such things, let’s take a longer look at this famous debate, in passing.
Briefly, Luther, the nominal founder of Protestantism, c. 1517 AD, founded Protestantism, by breaking with the Catholic Church, on a number of different issues (or “theses”). But among many issues Luther and others had with the Church, was specifically, the habit of Catholic priests, to in effect, sell what were called “indulgences.” That is, certain people who gave enough money to the church, got an “indulgence”; or roughly, some kind of guarantee from the Church, that they themselves or their specified dead friends, would have some of their sins forgiven, or “indulged” you might say. And would therefore, spend less time in Purgatory after death. Thus, it became possible for someone seemingly, to even buy someone’s way into heaven; into the Grace of God. By way of their “works,” or good works. Or here, cold cash, given to the Church.
b) This of course offended Luther and many others; who were already at odds with the Church of Rome, for many other reasons. In particular, the whole idea that simple money could get you or someone else a higher status with God, seemed offensive to many.
c) And to try to prove this Biblically, Protestants could point to say, the parts of the Bible that seemed to tell us that “riches” are bad or useless; or that seemed to say the really important thing was not money, or even our mighty “works” – or some might say, our material works. But instead, it was the “faith” or “love” other sentiment for God, that we had in our “heart,” that made one good. And indeed, at times Jesus and Paul etc., seemed to criticise rich people and money; and to suggest that it was not external “works” that made one good, but sincere inner belief in God. While Paul had indeed often championed “faith”; and had pointed beyond Jesus, to the sacrifice of Abraham, as an example of how mere “faith” was accounted as righteousnes to us, by God. So that, out of all this, Luther or other Protestants were to say, that the Bible itself told us that we are to value, we are saved by, “faith alone,” and not “works.”
In order to attack specifically only “indulgences,” the notion that one might buy someone’s way into heaven, the disgruntled Catholics that were soon to be known as “Protestants,” however, launched a soon-to-be-famous rather general theological argument against the Church: the faith-vs.-works argument. That all but suggested to many, that not only money, but even none of our material “works” were all that important to God; that we were saved by “faith alone.”
To be sure, we have shown earlier that the Bible overall, did not stress faith, and attack “works,” all that strongly; that indeed the Bible often favored science, and valuing material signs. Here, Protestants developed Paul’s complaint about “works” a step further. Suggesting at least, that perhaps giving money to a church, was not such an important “work” as all that.
d) Eventually this argument became a rallying cry … as many Catholics left the Church, and became their own separate Christian churches; mainly known over all, as “Protestants,” since they were “protesting” against the Roman Catholic Church, and the Pope … and specifically, against the selling of indulgences; and again, the implied doctrine that our material “works” – in the form of money to the church – might almost buy salvation. Whereas of course, the Protestants protested, that the Bible actually had told us, that it was only an inner conversion of the “heart” to believe in God – or, as Paul had argued, “faith” – that “alone,” could make us good.
e) Protestant preachers here, usually focused on Paul’s remarks on Abraham; a story which seems to suggest to Paul at least, that we can be saved by “faith,” and not works. Though here we will note, Paul primarily wanted to say that you, Gentiles, could be good, could join to God, without the traditional Jewish ritual – or “work” – of circumcision. Paul noting that God said Abraham was “righteous,” even before Abraham was circumcised (Rom 4.9). Even before he had performed the “work” of circumcision (which was done only later in Abe’s life):
“Is this blessing pronounced only upon the circumcised, or also upon the uncircumcised? We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised…. The promise to Abraham and his descendants, that they should inherit the world, did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith” (Rom. 4. 9-10. 13; from Gen. 17.10-27).
“And he believed the LORD; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15.6).
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country… And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee…. And Abraham was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran” (Gen. 12.1, 4 KJV).
“And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin” (Gen. 17.24 KJV).
f) But how much of “work” did this attack? We suggest the attack on works, is best limited to merely, attacking the necessity of the specific work of circumcision. That indeed, was the original use by Paul.
Consider the story of Abraham more closely. More specifically by the way – significantly – Jewish, Old Testament law required that Jewish males had to undergo a minor physical operation, eight days after birth (a “Briss”?); an operation that involves cutting off the – many feel, unnecessary – foreskin of the male penis. (Which some feel is unnecessary; others feel is necessary to prevent infections under the skin; and to be “clean”). And here then is how Paul might have appeared to have found at least one “work” unnecessary: at the time that God declared Abraham good, Abraham himself, coincidentally, had not been circumcised (at the time).
Here Paul believed he had found and argument therefore, that would allow Gentiles and non-circumcised people, to enter into covenant with God: since God had declared Abram “good,” even a) without having undertaken the “work” of being circumcised himself, at the time; (or without the work of sacrificing his son either); b) and just because of Abraham’s demonstrated “faith” in and obedience to the Lord. Faith, without a “work.”
In attacking “works” and “mutilation” of the “flesh” then, Paul was specifically, attacking really, (exclusively?) the specific work of … circumcision.
And why was he doing this in turn? The reason was that Paul hoping to convert many Gentiles to Judeo-Christianity; but Jewish law, the Old Testament, firmly commanded that all converts be physically circumcised. And most Gentiles did not have that operation … or want to get it either. So that this prevented many Gentiles, from becoming Christians.
Paul therefore wanted some arguments that would allow that Gentiles – most of whom were without this traditional Jewish operation – could be clean and good, and could be acceptable to God, without this specific “work.” And among other arguments, were Paul’s arguments against “law”; his attempt to convert various material things to metaphors for spiritual things (converting the command for real circumcision, to a metaphor for the spiritual circumcision of the “heart” for example).
Paul made this argument; and it was successful in some ways; it was accepted by some, who became Christians; but it was not accepted by Jews. Thus this argument had a divisive effect: Christianity and Judaism were split apart.
And later, framed as an argument between “faith” and “works,” it eventually was also used in splitting Protestantism from Catholicism,
And so finally it was argument that was centered around the male penis, that had split Christianity; that split it away first aa) from Judaism; and that bb) eventually became the basis of another huge split in the Church; as millions of “Protestants” split away from Catholicism. So that today, Christendom is split away from Judaism; and Christianity itself is in turn split into one billion (at least nominal) Catholics, and one half billion Protestants (with some Orthodox Christians thrown in somewhere in between).
All out of an argument over, specifically, the male penis. (cf. Jonathan Swift’s argument among the Lilliputians). One used as an excuse for breaking laws, by the way. Though to be sure, if this is what law is based on, then perhaps after all, we should not worry about breaking it so much. As perhaps Martin Luther secretly knew.
cc) But after having worked so many divisions, maybe we can now repair the damage; and unite all nations again.
dd) Let’s review first, Paul’s original purpose.
The basic historical background, was that Paul wanted to teach, bring Jewish/Christian culture and their “God,” to the Gentiles; to non-Jews. But there were practical and logical and legal problems with that. Laws that were apparently set by God, that would have seemed to prohibit that.
There were many laws in the Bible, that were designed to protect Jewish culture, religion; and keep it separate from other cultures.
a) First, the old Jewish laws, had often – if not always – suggested that no one but a born Jew, could ever join the Old Testament, Jewish tradition; you pretty much have to be born Jewish to be saved (with minor exceptions?); no one could be “converted” to Judaism, you had to be Jewish by birth. Though some exceptions were found (or inserted into?) the texts.
b) Or, at the very least, if you were to become Jewish, then the males had to undergo a small operation on the penis; a real, literal circumcision. An operation on male babies, usually, to remove the foreskin of their penis:
“Every male among you shall be circumcised” (Gen. 17.10).
“You shall be circumcised in the flesh” (Gen. 17.11).
“Abraham … was circumcised in the flesh” (Gen. 17.24).
The Old Testament therefore, firmly stated that to be considered to be a real follower of God, a male had to be circumcised. Yet this was a major barrier to the growth of Christianity, to admitting non-Jews into Judaism, or Christianity. Because many of non-Jews, who might have thought about entering Christianity, were not circumcised. Nor did they want to be.
c) Then too, the old Jewish tradition, had food restrictions that non-Jews did not want to follow; you had to obey Jewish food restrictions; aa) forbidding the eating of pork and bb) shellfish, or cc) eating meat without the blood drained from it.
Thus there were many traditional rules for being considered righteous before God. But the problem was that, back in the days when Paul was trying to convert Gentiles to Christian Judaism, there were many non-Jews, Gentiles, did not (or even could not), or did not even want to … meet all these traditional requirements. Requirements though which it seemed to conservatism, had to be met, before you were considered to be a Jew, or were considered to be actually following God; and therefore to be under his protection, safety, covenant.
d) There were many legal, religious barriers then, to allowing non-Jews into Christianity, into covenant with God. Among others, as yet another barrier to non-Jews joining Christianity, were simple native feelings of revulsion among Jews, for “unclean” Gentiles.
e) Even Jesus himself at times almost seemed to feel he was simply, perfectly following the old Jewish God, the Old Testament; and for that matter, that he had therefore aa) been “sent” not to protect or help Gentiles, only to the Jews, the “lost sheep of Israel.”
And at times, bb) Jesus told his Apostles not to enter towns of half-Jewish, half-religious “Samaritans.” And though cc) eventually it was said that Jesus himself, helped and advocated “Samaritans” or half-Jews – advocating the “Good Samaritan” as we call him – and helped Romans too – still, it no doubt, seemed hard to justify this, in terms of the Old Testament; or even the gospels of Jesus.
To recap: Paul wanted to bring the wisdom of Judaism, and Greco-Roman civilization, etc., together; or to allow Gentiles, non-Jews, to be considered followers of Jesus. But there were many traditional legal barriers, in the Bible, to admitting non-Jews into the covenants with God. Most obviously, there were three obvious barriers to Gentiles, non-Jews, being able to get under the protection of God. To wit: a) Most non-Jews, Greeks and Romans and other “Gentiles,” were not Jewish by birth. While then too in any case, b) Most would-be converts to Christianity, had not been circumcised as babies – and probably did not want to get circumcised, as adults, either. While c) Many Gentiles liked pork and shellfish, and meat with “blood” in it, and to “eat” other “food” that was forbidden to Jews by God. So that it seemed that these requirements, these “laws” of God, would prevent many Gentiles from being considered real followers of the Jewish “God.”
Therefore, there were many, apparently insuperable, barriers between the Old Testament God, and getting non-Jews, Gentiles, Greeks and Romans and others, approved by God. And yet however, our early Christian thinkers like Paul, tried to fix this: people like Paul, responded to this challenge, with dozens of ideas, hints at how to argue their way around all these problems.
a) Ultimately, there were dozens of hints as to how these apparently irreconcilable differences – between Jews and Gentiles, Old Testament Judaism and Christianity – might be resolved, by various arguments, apologetics. Among them, Paul argued against Jewish “Law” for one.
Finally, to admit Gentiles, Paul there needed to argue against Jewish or Old Testament laws, but in an non-obvious way; and that he did. By arguing against unnamed “laws”; or the “laws of Moses.” Yet without prominently calling anyone’s attention to the fact that the laws were not just the laws of Moses; they were the laws of the Old Testament; delivered by God himself.
More subtly, Paul simply argued that the old laws could be changed; that in effect, Gentiles had a “new covenant” or new contract with God; one that would allow them to … change some of the laws. Thanks to “grace” or flexibility and forgiveness by the Lord, and so forth.
b) And related to that, Paul was to argue that …Gentiles didn’t need in fact to obey all the old old Jewish “laws”; but would be admitted into covenant with God… simply by mentally believing and trusting in God; by simply, having faith in him.
This therefore, was one major reason that “faith” began to be emphasized in Christianity; it was needed as a way of arguing that non-Jews could be admitted into the covenants with the Jewish God. The stress on faith was in fact, prominent indeed, among many dozens of attempts to explain, excuse, many apparent conflicts, contradictions between traditional, Old Testament, Jewish thought, and Gentiles (and Christianity). Here, Paul in part, began to come up with a formula, a few words from Jesus, that seemed, when interpreted one way, to allow Gentiles to join Jews, or the covenant with their “God,” and form Christianity.
To be sure, just having faith in God might seem like enough. But to be sure though, what about all those Jewish laws that most Gentiles did not want to follow? What about the rule that male children had to be physically circumcised? And the law that you couldn’t eat pork or shellfish? And so forth? How much faith do you really have in God … if you are deciding not to follow lots of his laws?
c) In any case, related to the faith argument, Paul argued among other things, argued some of these laws – specifically ritual “works” – by which he meant primarily, the ritual deed or act – or “work” – of circumcision – were unimportant. Paul arguing that all that was necessary to be considered right with God, was not by undergoing any particular ritual act – or “work” – like the work of literal circumcision. Indeed, many Jews he said were circumcised but were still bad. So rather, what made you good, was not some simple external ritual “work” like circumcision; but deciding to follow God, and believing and having faith in him, in your “heart.”
And for historical support, Paul argued that God had considered Abraham righteous, and saved, and good … even before Abraham was circumcised.
Abraham was the Biblical figure, that was commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac, by God, to God. And because Abraham was willing to do that, God said Abraham was good. But at that time, Paul knew – when he was about to sacrifice his son Isaac to God – Abraham had not been circumcised; Abraham was circumcised only much later in life. So that in effect, Paul argued, Abraham himself had been pronounced good by God, even before circumcision. Thus the implication was, that Gentiles likewise, could be good, without that operation.
Abraham, said Paul, had been proclaimed good by God himself, even without circumcision; just because Abraham believed God and followed his commands – on “faith” Paul said:
“God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of their faith, and the uncircumcised because of their faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means…! What then shall we say about Abraham?” (Rom. 3.30-4.2).
“Is this blessing pronounced only upon the circumcised? We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness” (Rom. 4.9).
“It was not after, but before he was circumcised” (Rom. 4.10).
“Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness” (Rom. 4.9).
“Man is justified by faith apart from works of law” (Rom. 3.28).
“Faith comes from what is heard’ (Rom. 10.17).
“God would justify the Gentiles by faith” (Gal. 3.8).
“Blessed with Abraham who had faith” (Gal. 3.9).
“If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham” (Rom. 4.14-15; ref. to Abraham, it was said, having faith in God and making ready to sacrifice his son Isaac, and thus being declared good by God, even before being circumcised, much later in life).
“It is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham”…. Blessed with Abraham who had faith” (Gal. 3.7, 9).
“Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?” (Rom. 2.1).
“For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law” (Rom. 3.20).
The whole immediate aim of Paul’s stress on “Faith” then, the immediate target of Paul’s attack on “works” then was rather limited; Paul was attacking primarily the “work” of circumcision. In order to allow Gentiles to enter into covenant with the Jewish “God,” in spite of not being circumcised literally.
And with that, he made many statements like the following:
“God would justify the Gentiles by faith” (Gal. 3.8).
Paul’s attack on “works” then, might even almost be understood, to be just an attack just on circumcision. Indeed, probably 4/5 of his references to the subject or “works” and “faith,” might be limited to just that minor subject.
18) Yet there were many who wanted to expand on Paul’s attack on works, and use it for several other things.
No doubt, for example, many people, Gentiles, wanted to break- or change – many of the “old” “laws” of God and still be considered Good. And so eventually, Paul’s limited attack on circumcision and “works” and “law” … was illegitimately extended. In part by libertines, noted by Paul. Who took advantage of an attack on law, to say that they didn’t have to obey any rules at all; and could be “lawless.” Engaging in sexual immortalities, perhaps, and so forth (?).
But now we note there was another illegitimate extension though, that priests do not note: by the over-spiritualistic priests.
Paul to be sure – no doubt because of his own attack on the “law” – was apparently often accused of being “lawless.” But he claimed that the mystery of who was lawless would one day be revealed. So that perhaps it was not so much Paul himself, but others. And not just the libertines. But in fact, the spiritual brothers. The ascetic priests. Who at times enlarged on the attack on “works,” to claim that no material accomplishments on earth – “works” – were necessary, to be good. That no “signs” or material proofs were necessary. Etc..
g) Let’s review Paul’s original purpose. The real, specific subject and context of Paul’s attack on “works” then was really just an attack on the ritual “work” of circumcision. Yet to be sure, eventually Paul expanded on this slightly; having attacked the necessity of one of God’s Jewish “law”s, seemed to be an argument against perhaps, many other traditional laws that Gentiles might not want to follow. And so the attack on the specific “work” of circumcision, joined a host of other arguments by Paul designed to argue that Gentiles did not have to follow all the “laws” of “Moses,” or the Jews, or actually, the God of the Old Testament. Paul not only arguing against a) “works,” but also b) “law”; Paul arguing that Gentiles were not fully under the old “law” of Moses and the Old Testament, but had c) a “new covenant” with God. A new kind of law; d) of faith; and e) “grace.” In which old laws of God – like the law requiring circumcision – were relaxed, or “fulfilled” and replaced. While by the say, among other things, f) the law that required real, literal circumcision, was turned into a spiritual metaphor by Paul; the operation on the penis was not necessary, but rather instead, all we needed to do to be acceptable to God, was to cleanse, “circumcise,” our heart.
In any case however, if Paul’s attack on “works” had primarily just attacked the necessity of the specific “work” of circumcision, Paul had enlarged it somewhat to a more general attack on the “law” of Moses … or the Torah. Thus, all kinds of traditional Jewish or Old Testament laws – and perhaps, some would say, all kinds of “works” – might now appear unimportant.
And so an argument centered around the male penis, became potentially, huge. And perhaps because of embarrassment about the specific subject, people did not look too closely at the argument, to see if it was really true or not. And to see if its larger implications were good.
In any case, this rather disgusting argument, about Abraham and Paul’s penises, or Paul’s discussion of circumcision, and the attack on “works,” was sometimes made to have larger implications. Some of which were a) legitimate, and b) others not.
h) Paul had spoken in a roundabout way against circumcision, by attacking “works” of “law” and of the “flesh”; and thus finally an argument that was originally, specifically about the law relating to Abraham’s penis, or the penises of all Jews and Christians, eventually enlarged; to became part of a possible broader attack on all Jewish “law”; its example encouraging, seeming to authorize Christianity, Gentiles, to ignore not just one, many Jewish laws, and yet still consider themselves good to God.
i) And indeed, finally, since it had been phrased as an attack on “works,” finally, Paul’s language could be used, expanded – illegitimately – to attack, some have thought, all kinds of “work.” Even kinds of work actually, commanded by God.
aa) Including, say, the necessity to “work” for a living;
bb) Or the necessity of doing “good works.” Especially, giving the impression that one might do nothing at all with one’s life, do no “work” at all, but just be faithful in one’s heart … and still be considered good. Without giving much to the poor. (Cf. Jesus and the Widow’s penny; vs. those who cheat widows).
The attack on good works was bad enough; but in any case, our major concern here is that many women especially, took this to be an attack on all practical “work” or jobs. So that the attack on “work” could be – and actually was – carried a little too far.
i) Very strictly speaking to be sure, the Pauline attack on “works” was literally, in its smallest scope, aa) just an argument by males, about the relative worth of their penises. But bb) to be sure, Paul had used it as an argument against the Jewish laws of God; and then cc) Luther used it as an argument against the Church. And dd) as it grew, finally, all kinds of “works” were attacked.
Finally, like Paul’s attacks, the Protestant attack on “works” also at times, in the hands of some, begins indeed, to conflict with some other, key commands in the Bible. Like the command by God, to “work” six days a week, at a practical job in effect. And the command to have “Good works.”
The basic problem with over-exaggerating “faith,” and denigrating “work” too much, is that anyone who tries to build on the attack on “work”s, can soon get into trouble, even with God. Particularly say, anyone who wants to argue that the Bible now allows us to live a life of leisure, without doing any practical “work,” or without having any material fruits. Since among other things, this implication of the attack on works, runs straight up against, for example, the command, we find here, to “work” six days of the week; one of the Ten Commandments. And with the notion from God – and science – that after all, ideas, notions, beliefs, that do not get real material results, may be just pleasant delusions, illusions, false dreams. And ultimately, those are bad things; because we lose our ability to deal with the real, material universe. Which indeed, the Bible warned about.
So in fact, at “first,” the attack on “work,” the championing of “faith,” can mislead billions of people. It might give the impression that you never need to do get a job – or do practical work – for example; but only need to have “faith” in your “heart” to be good. That you could be a stay-at-home housewife or lady for example, doing essentially nothing at all (with servants doing the work), and still be good. (Or you could be a priest, in secure private rooms, doing nothing much at all … and be considered good.) Or that you can be a priest, making up things that make people feel good in their hearts … even if they are not true; even if they are at best “white” lies; though finally we find here that most white lies are very black (see harm done).
ee) For this reason perhaps, Paul and Martin Luther, they say, both had troubled consciences, (relating to uro-genial-anal bodily malfunctions by the way; Paul had an unspecified “thorn” in his “side”; Martin was constipation etc.?). Perhaps these were psychosomatic symptoms of their guilty consciences for what they had done to reason, to the Bible, in attempting to escape earlier laws of God.
j) In any case, a general attack on “works” can easily, quickly, get into trouble. Since as James noted, we depend on our material work to feed us. And those who case to “work” in that sense, can starve to death for lack of food, etc..
k) So, given all the very severe problems with a general attack on “works” – or related to that, any advocacy of strong “faith” – we suggest here therefore that Paul and Protestantism’s attacks on “works,” are probably best, very, very carefully limited. To, most narrowly, an attack on the a) specific work of circumcision (which itself to be sure, went against a serious law given by God). Or, at most, to b) attack a few of the obsolescent “works” commanded by God in the Bible. Or say, on the idea that we can use money to buy our way into heaven.
But c) if the attack on “works” goes much broader than that – even to deny all of the works commanded by God; including especially the importance of material fruits – then of course, will have carried the attack on works, carried Paul and Luther, much too far.
(Or you might say, this increasingly monkish, private and unfruitful phallic exercise, has obviously become unfruitful, heretical, and dysfunctional. Neglecting to produce real material children; the real fruit of our loins. And having neglected to produce real material “bread”; leaving the people starving to death. In exchange for monks’ masturbatory semi-intellectual exercises.)
Indeed, if anyone carries the war against “works” any further than this – especially, if they assert that no one needs to produce real material works, to prove they are from God – then anyone who has done this, has gone against God. And his science.
l) Fortunately, we might say, neither Paul’s original formulation, nor even the Protestant reformation, in its original arguments, went beyond the permissible extension of the attack on “works,” and the advocacy of “faith. Yet to be sure, in the years since, all of Christianity eventually, carried all this too far; our preachers indeed, have radically – and culpably, heretically – over-stressed “faith.” While ignoring, denigrating, the science of God; which constantly demands real “fruits,” “works,” “signs,” “deeds,” “proofs”; before we are required to believe that something is from God.
Therefore, it is in large part to correct this longstanding apostasy or heresy against God – over-faithfulness to ideas without proofs – we have written, our present book(s). Attempting to recover at last the lost sense of it all; and to recover the absolutely necessary corrective to so many problems; by rediscovering at last, the science of God. And the central importance to God, of practical work.
m) No doubt, some sense of some loyalty to, faith in, some authority, is useful; even in lean times, when authority is not, for a moment, materially productive. (See also “martyrdom” etc.). If authority has proven itself productive in the past. (As in the case of Moses they say).
But finally, too much faith is too much. In fact, the great shortcoming of faith, in religion, is that, having all but totally been deprives of your critical faculties, having given up all to “faith,” often you will attach yourself to, faithfully follow, bad, false authority. And follow it all too well; even to your own death. Often in fact, it is clear, you will end up following the … Devil himself; who often disguises himself as a minister, or an angel. And who is in fact, one of the great spokesmen for “faith.”
No doubt to be sure, there is some need for a little faith. No doubt, there are people in the world who are too cynical; and who need more faith. But on the other hand, there are also many, who have all too much faith. And what they need to develop, is actually, not still more faith; but a more critical attitude.
And to do that fortunately, God now gives us … the science of God.
The fact is therefore, we do need to very, very carefully make sure that every Christian knows, that when God attacked “works,” he only meant a) circumcision, or b) at the utmost, perhaps , the idea that you can buy your way into heaven. While c) as for a practical job, “work,” real material productivity? That is extremely important.
Indeed, it is doubly important. Because, remember, in the End of Time, Judgement Day, we are judged in fact, not by our faith as much as by our works, deeds, fruits; what we have “done.”
In the end, on Judgement Day, God judges us not even so much by our faith or other “thoughts” and spirit … but by our “fruits,” “works,” “deeds.”
“For I know their works and their thoughts…” (Isa. 66.18; etc.).
“Test what sort of work each one has done” (1 Corin. 3.13).
“Ways and your doings have brought this upon you” (Jer. 4.18).
“And all were judged by what they had done” (Rev. 20.13).
“He will render to every man according to his works” (Rom. 2.6).
In the end, the only real way of knowing whether our thoughts and spirits are truly good, or from God – said the science of God; said the Bible itself – is by looking to see if our thoughts and behavior, get real, material, physical, empirical results. As science says. Or, as Jesus said – the real Jesus – fruits, works, signs, deeds, prosperity, proofs.
No doubt, when a full generation had passed even after the death of Jesus, and yet Jerusalem was still in slavery, bondage, to foreign nations, Rome, Paul himself despaired of the truth of not only Christianity, but also Judaism. And to try to get through this, Paul for a while, for that culture and for that historical moment, attempted to formulate or hint at, a more fatalistic, stoic, other-worldly theology; one that be able to face material failure and death. By speaking of faith or loyalty, martyrdom; and a better world in heaven or somewhere. But while Paul appearing to strongly champion “faith,” and to attack the importance of “works” – seemingly to the point of denying the importance of material fruits – still, even Paul himself, like Jesus, probably did not expand too far into too totally denying that real religion, real Christianity, must still prove itself true, by producing real material, physical results. Indeed, Paul could not cross that line, too far, without … too obviously betraying God himself.
Knowing that, those scribes or others who (along with God) finally wrote, edited, and compiled our holy books, made sure that even the rabidly faithful and spiritual Paul (cf. “pall”) – or John too; or even Jesus – did not fully complete the priestly ascetic (proto-Gnostic; Platonic idealist dualist) attack, on the material 6/7 of God. That his partial attack on the necessity and desirability of “works,” did not extend to fully attacking God’s command or “law,” that real religion, real Christianity, is required to get real material results. The (undoubtedly numerous) authors and editors (cf. “redactors”) of our Bibles, did not allow Paul to extend his attack on “works,” very far; but did not really allow a spiritual man much, beyond attacking the a) specific “work” of circumcision; with b) just a mild feint at other minor religious rituals or works. And c) only the vaguest “hope”s of some kind of afterlife (as the Pharisee in Paul, hoped no doubt. Linguistically, consider possible link of “Pharisee,” to “Farsi” or Persian, and “Pharoah”s … and phariest/priests).
Anyone who carries the attack on material “works,” much further than that, ultimately conflicts with practicality, science, the material universe. And with … God.
And if we are told that “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin”? Then let’s look at the larger quote; which allows that we should have faith in our own convictions:
“Welcome those who are weak in faith…. Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister…. Let us therefore no longer pass judgement on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another…. The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God. Blessed are those who have no reason to condemn themselves because of what they approve. But those who have doubts are condemned if they eat, because they do not act from faith, for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom. 14.1…10 … 13 …14.22-23 NRSV; with regard to which foods are good especially).
To some extent, we are allowed to form our own “conviction”s. So that all those who insist that their own specific “faith” in this or that, is better than others, and those who want to impose their faith on others, need to reconsider.
And indeed, move on, past the exaggerated faith in religious authority they have had; to move on to more authorities, as Paul suggested (q.v.); including those that advocate science. Which to be sure, inspires “confidence” and faith .. .but by constant, repeated, material results, and empirical proofs.
Or indeed, among other authorities, let us move on next, past Paul; to Jesus himself. To his first appearance. Then, to his second coming. Next.
Is a Christian Priesthood
Today, we are used to religion being dominated by priests and ministers. By a group of rather ascetic, spiritual priests and ministers; who either promise big material miracles, or, if those miracles do not appear regularly and reliably, they stress mental or “spiritual” things instead. Yet as natural and inevitable as we might think that our priesthoods and ministers are … in fact, there has often been a debate about the legitimacy of priests, and priesthoods. In that the Bible itself often warned about false things in priests especially; while Paul for example, at times seemed to have many arguments with strangely unnamed classes of people, who in composite, resemble priests: who loved to stand in front of others and pray publicly; who did not marry; who forbade us to eat certain things. And who like Pharisees, loved enforcing the letter of the law.
Many have argued in fact, that Jesus himself never explicitly set up a priesthood at all; he had “disciples,” but not priests. Indeed, it was the priests that had Jesus arrested and executed for a religious crime; heresy. Then too, Paul had problems with various individuals with priestlike qualities. While Paul warned that “Satan” came to us disguised as the “angel of light,” and his “ministers” were there too; perhaps in our own ministers.
And so where and how do we get our Christian priesthoods and ministers? Parts of even Paul finally, began to try to present phrases, that could be taken – and were taken – as a rationale for a priesthood, and a Church. Like Paul supporting Jesus as a priest, after the order of Melchizedek. And then Mat. 16; Jesus appearing to make Peter the head of his church. Portions of the Bible which were used by (and generated by?) the early Roman Catholic Church it seems. Yet Protestants objected to many parts like this. While other parts of the Bible remain that seem to question all churches – and all priests and ministers – altogether. Aside from noting the dozens, hundreds of time the Bible itself warned about priests, and the prophets and churches they follow, we will also have noted here that the core of priestly religion – of spirituality, faith – was often in effect, mentioned in the Bible; but even more often, spoken against.
In particular, in effect, a spiritual priesthood, obeys parts of the Bible. But it also has to ignore – and disobey – huge tracts of the Bible. Those parts that doubt faith; and that call for … real material, physical results, from those who claim to be from God.
Over the centuries, we have accepted a spiritual priesthood, on their own say-so; but at the same time, even some priests at times have acknowledged that God allowed that one might be good not only as a priest, but as a working person. While indeed we find here that … a good but practical person, is actually closer to the “full” outline of what the Bible called for, than our priests have been. While indeed, our priests are supposed to defer often to practical “authorities” and “governors”; and even to expect to see a God that is a practical “king” getting real material results on this material earth again, one day.
To be sure, Job among others, asked “why are not times of judgement kept by the Almighty …?” (Job 24.1). Why is it that even among the good, “God pays no attention to their prayer” (24.12). Indeed, God himself often called Job “righteous” and so forth; so that such questions are allowed by God, and are to be taken seriously. Though to be sure, Job asks these things as a question; and does not present them as factual statements.
Perhaps indeed, the culture as a while is already far too materialistic normally; and so our priests needed to over-stress spirituality, and/or long-term idealism, to counter that. But after all, on carefully reviewing the Bible here, we find that our priesthoods ignored and disobeyed far too much of the Bible, and God. Our priesthoods and ministries and churches, even fatally over-stressed only parts of Good and God; while ignoring and disobeying too many other parts. To the point that they are typically, inevitably, bad and false, even today.
So that all need to be “refined” indeed, as foretold. While even priests should finally … defer to the good but also practical leader; who knows both spirituality and practical things; after all, follows the Bible more fully than they have.
[Duplicates Material on OT? Some New Material?}
Priestly Excuses for the Lack of Miracles:
The Book of Job; But
The “Test of Faith” was Proposed by Satan
Could nearly all our preachers all over the world, have been partially deceived, or false? Nearly all our preachers, all over the earth, either directly promised us physical miracles … or stood behind a Bible, or a Tradition, that promised them to us. And yet many of us will have found, just from everyday experience, that those promises now appear false. But to find that therefore, nearly all our holy men failed us, and were partially false, is to be sure, a heaven-shattering experience. One that until now, many of us have not had the courage and conviction to “face” or “bear.”
In fact, rather than simple face this moment, over the centuries, our preachers have attempted to generate many dozens of sermons, homilies, apologetics: arguments, speeches, that would try to explain or excuse, particularly, these and other signs of sin or error, in our holiest men and angels, and their promises. That would try to either assure us, in particular, that a) miracles are arriving all the time; or b) if they are not, that would try to explain why miracles are not arriving as often as they promised. And/or we c) hear many sermons that try to tell us that if our preachers do not meet or “fulfill” their ancient promises, if they are not furnishing all the miracles they promised, that is OK. For various reasons.
Why don’t our preachers deliver all the wonderful miracles we were promised, today? Why aren’t preachers today, walking on water, and making bread appear out of thin air; doing “all” the “works” that Jesus did, and “greater works than these”? As millions of sermons promised? As it turns out, a) there are one or two good answers for this apparent shortfall; b) but these will be found to be answers that our preachers to date, have not chosen to face or accept. Actually, we will find, the reason people pray for miracles today but don’t get them, or that preachers are not getting many big miracles today … is because aa) our preachers are bad, and inadequate. Especially, bb) our preachers misread their Bibles; the Bible itself never really promised supernatural miracles, but only things which today we more clearly see as natural and technological wonders. (As we will have been seeing in our writings on Natural Christianity). But these are very difficult conclusions for preachers to face or bear; because it involves them discovering, facing, sins and errors, in themselves, and in their own tradition.
And so, rather than face their own culpability, their own responsibility, for this key, catastrophic failure in the heart of traditional Christianity, rather than face the “beam” in their own eye, over the centuries, our preachers have tried to blame any lack of miracles, on everybody else. To come up with dozens of arguments, sermons, that would try to say that if we the people did not get all the wonderful miracles that preachers promised, it was not because our preachers or holy men themselves were partially false; it was because we, the people, were not good. Not good enough yet. If miracles do not arrive, it was because we did not observe this or that moral scruple. It was because we did not say, give the preacher enough money, or contributions; or “partner” with him with “seed money.” Or indeed, there are dozens of common sermons designed to tell us that God will give us miracles, if only we do one more thing for the preacher. Especially, give him on more dollar … or finally, just have more “faith.”
Why then, did religion ever turn to “Faith”? In part we suggest, the idea of faith (along with “spirituality” too), came about originally, in part, as an excuse or apologetic for the lack of real material results, miracles; an attempt to explain or apologize for, an apparent massive shortfall or sin, deep in Judaism and Christianity, and its holiest promises. And the great sin was this: that our holy men had often promised believers many huge material miracles; and we were assured in the Bible such things happened in the past; yet many of us notice that so far as what “came to pass” in real life, today, often those miracles do not arrive as often as promised, prophesied, advertised. So that it appeared that the old Biblical warnings about a false religion, a false vision of Christ that was to dominate the whole earth, was not about some safely, long-past religion, or some future one … but was in fact, our own, traditional Christianity.
The fact is, there has been a great series of signs of a massive sin or error in religion, in mainstream Christianity. But the great masses of preachers do not have the courage or honesty to face it. And specifically the thing that no one wants to talk about out loud – though it is as obvious as an elephant in a living room – has been this: our holiest men and angels promised us physical prosperity and many wonderful miracles; and yet however, they do not deliver them today, as promised. So that it appears that major elements of traditional religion are simply, false.
But to be sure, this is extremely hard for many people to face or believe; particularly those priests who have been raised to proudly believe that they and their beliefs, are the very voice of God. So therefore, partially out of pride, our preachers for years, have not wanted to face the heaven-shattering implications of all this; the Apocalyptic conclusion. Instead of facing it, in fact, our preachers have tries to borrow many phrases out of the Bible, that might be used to try to explain any occasional lack of big huge miracles, in their own time. And over the centuries, preachers generated a whole range of other, excuse sermons.
6) To try to excuse the lack of material results in their Religion. But we will be examining a few dozen of their most common sermons on this subject … and finding that all of the many sermons that try to explain or excuse the lack of miracles, are actually, simply, false. (See Sermons as Excuses). Including finally, the most popular idea of all: the idea that if we were not getting all the material wonders that God promised, it was because …
a) God was – as they say the Book of Job shows – “testing our faith.” This argument claims that if God did not give good people all the physical wonders, prosperity he promised, it was because God wanted us to just continue to have faith in him and follow him, to be loyal to him, even when he did not give us the physical things he promised; “prosperity,” “wonders.”
The fact was, the material promises of God – his promise to materially reward those who followed him – presented a gigantic problem for Jewish and Christian defenders; because there were many cases – like Job – where God himself said that a man was good, and yet, he was not getting the material things that God promised. Which suggested that either there aa) was no God. Or that bb) God was not making good on his material promises. So that some of his promises were perhaps “unfulfilled”; or even simply false. Especially the promise on which the science of God was based – the promise to deliver material prosperity to those who were good – seemed false.
This to be sure, was a very hard thing for believers to face. And rather than face the possiblity that their God did not exist, or was often false, often did not deliver on his promises, believers, priests instead tried to generate explanations for, apologies for, this apparent failure in their religion. Foremost among the dozens, millions apologetic sermons that our holy men invented, to try to explain away the occasional lack of material wonders, miracles, was this massively popular idea. An idea that in fact, came to utterly dominate all of Christianity; and through Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, came to dominate the whole world: the idea that if the material things that God promised don’t arrive in a timely way, then that was because God was “testing our “faith.”
That is: if God at times did not deliver the material wonders that he had promised to those who followed him, the explanation was this: God was temporarily holding back his promised rewards, to see if we would love and follow him – to see if we would continue to have “faith” in him – even when he was not giving us many material things. (While, it was also often implied, if we just had faith in him, God would at last deliver material rewards; as he delivered them for Job for example, at the end of his life.) But we will note here that though this argument came in part from some hints in the Bible itself, ultimately this is not really what the Bible itself said; there are some problems with all the attempts to derive “faith” from the Old Testament; from the Book of Job for example.
There are to be sure, clear indications in the story of Job, that God might indeed at times abandon his promises to give believers material rewards; prosperity. But we will note here that the Book of Job cannot be taken as proof that God abandoned his material promises to man; and told us to simply ignore it when God does not give us things, and have “faith.”
Here we will find many reasons to say that God never totally abandoned his material promises; and never told us to ignore lack of material results; to have “faith.” Since we find here that aa) in fact, the whole idea of a test of faith, was literally, an idea not from God himself, but from Satan; it was Satan who proposed that God test Job’s faith. While we might add that bb) in the end, in any case, the science of God is confirmed even in Job … because Job, a good man, is at last rewarded materially; with twice as much as he had before. While we could add now too, that cc) though Job, a good man as God himself said, is troubled by lack of material rewards for a while, finally in any case though he remains loyal to God; but not just out of blind faith, but out of a particular version of the science of God (and the Argument from Design): though he personally is not materially rewarded for a time, for being good, nevertheless, he is (eventually?) convinced that God exists … by observing the incredible works of Nature, like “Leviathan” (or crocodile?). In other words, Job is convinced of God, not by simple raw faith; but by looking at material evidence; looking at the wonders of Nature, and being convinced from that, that there was a great being in and/or behind nature. So that in sum, Job never really abandons the main idea behind the Science of God; the idea that God promised to materially prosper those who followed him.
A quick summary of Job? This book in fact, gets at the main problem that believers had with the material science of God: that God promised material goods, “prosperity,” to those that followed him; and they believed themselves to be good, so that they should be getting material rewards; and yet somehow, bad material things, including poverty, were happening to them.
First, of course, God constantly promised material things to those who are good, those that follow him, “prosperity” and so forth:
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, … but his delight is in the law of the LORD … In all that he does, he prospers” (Ps. 1.1, 3).
And it is firmly said by God many times, that Job was good:
“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil’?” (Job 1.8; 2.3).
But then Satan steps in with an argument: asserting that Job is only following God because Job is doing well materially; Satan asserting that if God tests Job’s faith as some say, by taking away his material things, Job would curse God. But God is confident, and tells Satan to go ahead and make Job materially suffer; he says that Job will still follow him:
“And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, he is in your power; only spare his life.’ So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD, and afflicted Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” (Job. 2.6-7).
As Job suffers, here are many around him who (Midrash style?), begin to offer explanations as to why he suffers. Most suggest that Job has done something wrong. Yet God had said that Job was good; and Job rejects all the apologetic arguments of his friends around him; insisting they do not have a good reason for Job’s suffering:
“No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you. But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know such things as these? I am a laughingstock to my friends; I, who called upon God and he answered me, a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock…. The tents of robbers are at peace, and those who provoke God are secure, who bring their god in their hand. But ask the … birds of the air, and the will tell you; or the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this…? He leads counselors away stripped, and judged he makes fools. He looses the bonds of kings, and binds a waistcloth on the loins. He leads priests away stripped” (Job. 12.2-9, 17-18 RSV, The Holy Bible).
“Job answered … ‘Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power?’” (Job 21.1, 7).
“Job answered: …(9.2), ‘I am blameless; I regard not myself; I loathe my life. It is all one; therefore I say, he destroys both the blameless and the wicked’” (9.22).
“My wrath is kindled against you and your … friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has” (Job 42.7).
“As for you, you whitewash with lies…. Will you speak falsely for God?” (Job 13.4, 7).
“Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?” (Job 38.33)
“Behold, I have prepared my case; I know that I shall be vindicated’ (Job 13.18).
Many sermons, homilies, apologetics, have claimed that the moral of the story of Job, is that God backs away from his promises of material things, and tells us to have “faith” instead. But here we note many objections to that claim. And among those noted above, we might now add that dd) Job is only mostly faithful; he begins to in fact question God … if not curse him.
b) While we might add this too: Job finally in fact begins to advocate science. What is it that at last really, firmly convinces Job that God is real? It is by seeing the wonders and powers (and terrors; in Leviathan) of material nature (Job 26; 38-41); and supposing that some great force or God is behind them, he therefore declares that in effect, in material nature, he has “seen” God. And therefore, he believes:
“Now my eye sees thee; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42.5).
So it is simply not really true, that God tells us to abandon the importance of material results from God. And if God himself ever told us to have any faith at all in Job, then here however we will begin to see the fuller pattern of “faith”: it is not really total faith without material evidence; but rather, indeed, Job is not totally faithful, until he sees material evidence.
And as it turns out, that is the real, actual pattern in the Bible; whatever “faith” we are required to have, as it turns out finally – as we will see throughout our book here; especially in the section on Jesus – we are to acquire, only after having personally seen, ourselves, many material wonders; much material evidence.
The story of Job has particularly been used in countless sermons, to illustrate the alleged need for faith; and to try to explain why sometimes good people, do not get the material prosperity that God promised. Job is said, even by God himself, to be a good man …; but he for a time does not get material wonders, wealth, as his reward from God.
And indeed, this is the reason, we suggest, that eventually, many preachers began to abandon the science of God long ago; since they really, secretly believed that the old material promises of God, were not really coming true. And so they began to suspect that either the promises of God were false; or somehow, there was some other explanation. And preachers often liked to use the Book of Job to try to explain any apparent lack of real material results in Christianity. Suggesting many apologetics for the lack of material results, miracles. (See dozens of different types of explanations for the lack of material results, enumerated – and refuted – in our Sermons as Excuses). Though there were dozens of basic explanations for the lack of some material results, two or three of the most popular came from hints in the story of Job. That for example, a) rewards were just being withheld temporarily; since Job for example eventually has his wealth restored to him. But in any case though another apologetic for the lack of material rewards was far more popular: b) it was suggested that the reason that God might withhold the material rewards he promised to the good, was that God was “testing our faith,” as they liked to say. God was just looking to see if we would follow him no matter what; even if he did not deliver material rewards.
To be sure, we will have begun to show that this lesson, was in fact, not quite true to the Bible itself; that in fact, the whole idea of God testing our faith, was presented literally, in the Bible itself, as an idea of Satan himself. And therefore, the idea of “testing our faith” was never given full approval by God. (See our remarks on such things, in our section on such false “tests” in the OT section). But preachers missed this subtlety in the text; and for centuries they have advocated the idea that if at times we did not get material wonders, it was because God was testing our faith. Never mind, never notice, that the whole idea of a test of faith, though it came from the Bible, was literally … and idea from Satan himself.
Still, preachers – like Job in fact – seem to have felt there was something wrong with the old formula of God’s science: that God would reward his true followers materially. Because our holy preachers felt like Job; that they often had been good, true followers … and yet, like Job, they had not gotten the material rewards that God promised. A feeling that was to be especially strong, after Jesus himself was physically executed; and a promised material “kingdom” did not show up in Jerusalem. (Especially when Jerusalem was burned to the ground in 70 AD).
In the years after the physical execution of Jesus, his disappearance into Heaven after 40 days, the non-appearance of a physical kingdom after him, the lack of an immediate second coming of God to earth, the burning of Jerusalem, the physical death/martyrdom of many believers, many believers no doubt were troubled by the apparent lack of real material results from their religion. Which would lead to the awful suggestion that after all, perhaps their religion was simply, false. But rather than say their religion was simply false – or that they themselves were simply bad – hundreds of Christian apostles and priests eventually instead, attempted to generate explanations, as to why the material promises of God might … somehow not arrive in a timely way. And though there were – and are – dozens of different types of explanation attempted for this (see Sermons as Excuses), especially in the generations right after Jesus was physically executed, finally, one of the most popular explanations was the idea of “faith”; that God was just temporarily withholding his promised material benefits, in order to test our faith. And this explanation or apologetic, was massively successful: to the point that today, faith utterly dominates Christianity and religion; to the point that “faith” is now a popular synonym for religion, for Christianity; to be religious, and to have a “faith,” are regarded as one and the same thing.
Today in fact, “faith” utterly dominates Christianity. But this therefore, we suggest, is really the origin of the strong emphasis on “faith” that has dominated Christianity since the time of the Apostle Paul: the great stress on “faith,” came about when our preachers could not deliver all the material wonders that they had promised. And then, rather than look at their own sins and shortcomings, preachers chose to blame everyone else; to tell the people that if miracles did not arrive, it was the people’s – not the priests’ – fault. Especially, it was their fault, because the people did not have enough “faith.” If only we had enough faith, we would either a) get real material things later in life; or b) after death; or c) in any case, we would at least get faith itself; which makes us, our “spirit,” at least, feel good (giving us “hope” and so forth).
But while “faith” came to utterly dominate most of Religion worldwide, did the Bible itself, really support “faith” this strongly? We will find here, that generations of preachers, have quoted dozens, hundreds of quotes from the Bible itself, that seemed to firmly shift the word of God, from believing in things well proven by science, to support this new emphasis on “faith.” On following even religious leaders that did not get material results. While to be sure, we will find, there were parts of the Bible – especially in Paul’s writings – that hinted that “faith” might be the answer; the reason that somehow, we don’t get so many miracles today. Yet as we will have found earlier, actually, finally, the Bible did not firmly support “faith”; it remained loyal to science. Furthermore, more specifically – as we will be noting here and now – whenever the Bible explicitly mentioned the word “faith,” the Bible eventually found many shortcomings, evils, in it. Evils, in faith itself.
The fact is, first of all, we will have found earlier, that God did not stress “faith” as much as preachers do. God in fact, wanted us to found religion, Christianity, on science. As a) Job founded even his faith, on having “seen” God with his “eyes,” in Nature. Then too b) Over and over, God promised us material things if we were good; c) indeed, God’s promise of timely material rewards, was so firm, that it was often presented to us as a very, very firm “covenant,” or contract. Which firmly said that if we were good, then we would get material rewards; and in a timely way, with no excuses. And indeed, d) God’s promise of timely, material rewards, was so firm, that the Bible told us you could work it backwards and forwards too, as a sort of “science”: you could deduce that those persons or cultures, who did not experience timely material rewards, who did not get “fruits,” were not really good; that the words that they followed, were not really from God. Today, this theology is thought to be “naive” by many theologians; and yet actually, it is the core theology of the Bible. And what is more, it is defended – or resurrected – here, in a new and more viable form. Because in fact, it is the truer theology of God.
The fact is, we will have been finding here, the real, original core of the Bible, the core promise of God, was really quite firm and simple, and did not involve “faith” at all. The fact is, God most often (if not always), was presented at firmly promising real material rewards to those who follow him; and normally, in a timely way. No special faith was necessary to believe God, because God was God; and God did what he said, in a prompt way. God was not so hard to “believe” – because his works were obvious. It is indeed, not as hard to believe in a god who a) by some accounts could be visually seen, standing in front of you (as Adam saw his lord); and b) who delivers the things he promised, promptly. It is not hard, it requires very little “faith,” to believe in a God who is prompt, and regularly delivers the material goods he promised. It is only hard to believe, it only requires a great deal of “faith,” to believe in a God who is not evident, and does not promptly do what he says.
And what kind of God is that? And should we follow that? In fact, most of the Bible – we have found in our writing on the science of God – tells us that if holy men do not deliver real material results, then, we are not supposed to listen to their explanations and excuses; but instead, we are supposed to simply deduce that such holy men after all, are false; deceived or deceitful persons, following a false idea of God, a False Christ. We are not supposed to continue to follow preachers who do not produce timely material results, “faith”fully. Instead, we are supposed to simply deduce that they are false preachers. And we should denounce them as that, and move on.
c) More on Job? There are many, many parts of the Bible, we have shown, that picture God promising those who really follow him, real physical, material results, fruits. To the point that the Bible finally outlines a science from this: we are to observe the prosperity of people, and from that we can even work backwards, and deduce (with reservations) that those who are prosperous, are good. But of course, there were promises with this simple biblical scenario; the problem was that many said and thought they were being good … and yet like Job, they were not getting the material things God had promised. Which suggested to some holy men, that God’s promises of material rewards were simply, false. But rather than face the possibility that their God was substantially false, our holy men began writing, generating possible explanations for a material failure in their religion. And among their dozens of such apologetics, was the idea that if God for a time did not give good people material rewards, it was because God was “testing our faith” as they say.
So what about all these other parts of the Bible? The parts that seemed to stress “faith”? As it turns out, if we look at them carefully … none of them quite says, what we were told they say. Eventually, the Bible begins to note severe problems in “faith” itself.
This will be hard for preachers to believe and face. And they will no doubt raise one quote after another from the Bible, as objections to our position. So let’s just deal with a few dozen of the most popular quotes on “faith,” here and now. Showing that finally, the Bible itself indicated many, many sins in faith.
d) Preachers like to tell us that the story of Job, particularly, told us to have faith. Until abut 1963-9 or so, we were constantly told that the book of Job, set up the whole idea of a “test of faith” in fact: that at times, God might not deliver all the material things he promised. But there was a reason for this: if God ever did not deliver his solemnly promised material benefits, there was an excuse for this: he was temporarily withholding them, to make sure we really loved him and had faith in him, even when he was not delivering all the material goods he promised.
Objecting to these sermons here, we should note first that aa) even in the Book of Job, God first of all, did not stress endless, total “faith.” Or following God forever, endlessly, without ever getting any material results from him. Because, first of all, even Job himself, was said to have originally been made rich, thanks to his loyalty to God:
“There was once a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright…. He had seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and very many servants; so that this man was the greatest of all the people in the east” (Job 1.1-3).
Then too bb) after some temporary suffering, c) Job was said to have eventually gotten real material rewards again later in life (Job 42.10 – 17):
“And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends; and the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before…. And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters…. And Job died, an old man, and full of days” (Job. 42.10, 12, 17).
Even in the story of Job therefore, note, Job himself did not need much “faith” for long; since Job was initially rewarded by God with material goods, right away; while after some suffering, he eventually got lots of material rewards. Which would have “proven” that he was following God some would say; and all but eliminated the need for much “faith.”
Indeed we will see, the amount of faith we are required to have – if any – is normally very, very small, as confirmed by other parts of the Bible; where for example, Jesus asked for no more faith than a “grain of mustard seed.” While finally we will find, if our faith is to be allowed to grow, it is to grow … only as we see our belief verified in very real, concrete, material results. As we will see.
Here, indeed, only a certain amount of faith was required, even in Job. Because after all, Job eventually sees real material results. Yet over history, the story of Job has been misused by preachers; used to excuse too many problems, too many very, very serious shortfalls, in Religion. Especially, the story of Job is often used to try to justify the complete lack of material results; to justify the fact that many people followed preachers, for many many years … and yet still did not get the rewards promised. In fact, many people got worse than the sufferings of Job; many millions who followed their priests and their idea of God, often got suffering, and not the promised prosperity … even to the very end of our lives. Indeed, many millions of people, we will have seen (in our writing on miracles, the harm done, etc.) followed their priests, suffering in poverty and disease, until they died. All without getting the wonders that priests promised to us, in the name of God. So that in effect, the story of Job, is not really about the greatest amounts of faith; faith until death, exactly. Or about suffering without ever getting a sign of reward. The fact is, aa) earlier in his life, Job had gotten lots of rewards for following God; God had made him rich. And bb) though those rewards were removed for a time, cc) in the end, those material rewards were restored. Giving Job in fact, “twice as much as he had before.”
So the “test of faith” sermon, does not quite explain everything; indeed, the story of Job did not call for as much faith as preachers ask for.
Indeed, cc) the whole idea that God would withhold promised material rewards for any significant period, goes against the main theology of the Bible; which promised real material rewards, and often “soon.” (While if St. Peter opined that “soon” might mean thousands of years, then remember that after all, Peter was so unreliable, that Jesus himself once called Peter “Satan,” in Matthew 16.23).
e) But especially not finally too, that as a matter of fact, finally, there is a really fatal objection to the common sermon, that holds that the book of Job proposed an emphasis on “faith”; against the sermon specifically, that that God proposed the “Test of Faith.” Which says that God withheld miracles temporarily, to see if we would follow him loyally, with love and faith, even when he did not deliver what he promised. The fact is, we should all note now, that idea is in the book of Job to be sure. But there is one nuance in the way that it was presented, that all our “test of faith” preachers missed: the whole idea for a test of faith, was an idea advanced not by God himself … but literally, by Satan.
The fact is, the whole idea of a “test of faith,” is to be sure, proposed in the Book of Job. And yet to be sure, the many generations of priests that constantly quoted the test of faith, in sermons, and that eventually made it into the very foundation stone of Christianity itself – the “faith,” the new religion of Christianity – have all failed to note a small but significant aspect of the story of Job and the test of faith: to be sure, the whole idea of a “test of faith” is, to be sure, found in the book of Job. Indeed, the whole idea of stressing “faith,” is in the Book of Job; but there, it is presented not by God himself … but as an idea literally, from Satan.
Read the Bible at last, a little more closely. And take careful note of who exactly, is proposing the test of faith:
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, ‘Whence have your come?’ Satan answered the LORD, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and walking up and down on it.’ And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?’ Then Satan answered the LORD, ‘Does Job fear God for naught? Hast thou not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions [have increased in the land. But put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse thee to thy face.’ And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself do not put forth your hand.’ So Satan went forth” (Job 1.6-12).
The millions of priests and ministers who put their stress on “faith,” the millions of priests and churches who constantly delivered to us sermons that assured us over and over that God often “tests our faith,” the millions of preachers that constantly assured us over and over that the core value of Christianity has always been, from the days of the Old Testament itself, “faith” … all of these failed to notice a small but important detail in the text. The fact is, the current stress on “faith” to be sure, is found in the text of Job; it is in the Old Testament. But what our preachers failed to notice, was this small but extremely important detail: that while the idea of a “test of faith” is from the Bible, it is not an idea from God; but is literally, an idea from … the devil himself. Note above, that it is not God who proposed the test of faith; it was the devil, himself:
“Then Satan answered the LORD, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing…? You have blessed the work of his hand, and his possessions have increased…. But stretch our hour hand now, and touch all that he had, and he will curse you to your face’” Job 1.9-11 NRSV).
As it turns out, this was a small but infinitely significant detail: the fact is that therefore, technically, the whole stress on “faith,” comes, in its Old Testament source, not from God; but quite literally, from the devil himself. Which of course, does not really recommend the idea of “faith,” or a “test of faith,” right up front.
(Thus by the way, adding the “test of faith” to John’s “Test” as a false or inadequate sort of “test”ing; a mere distraction, a red herring, that throws us off the right track: real scientific testing).
And indeed, what this passage of the Bible attempted to do, was in fact, satanic: it was an attempt to simply cover up for false religion; to come up with an excuse for a miracle-promising religion that promised material wonders, miracles, but did not deliver them. But ultimately, our Bible is reasonably honest; the authors knew that finally, God’s promises of material rewards were so firm, that there really is no good excuse for lack of material performance, if you are really following God. (Short of saying that the original promises were partially false; or the priestly interpretation of them is).
The problem was that God had so firmly promised material rewards for following him, and so often, that finally, there was no excuse for failure; God was God, and God should always do what he says, in a prompt way. Would God be less prompt, than a furniture dealer who delivers the couch you bought in a few days? Would God play word games, to excuse his own lack of performance?
Indeed finally, there has been a problem, a sign of sin, in much of our religion: that it seems to have promised many wonderful material things, but often did not deliver them regularly, or reliably. Often, not even through the day we died. And yet that promise had been made so firmly by God, that there was really no room for excuses or explanations or apologetics. And that we suggest here, is why any attempt at an excuse, could not be presented as firm authority. Indeed, any excuse was so contrary to the basic idea of the Bible, that it could only be presented in the form of an opposition to God; as presented in the Bible … but not as an idea from God. But as an idea of Satan.
Preachers typically miss many nuances of the language of the Bible; in particular, they miss things like this: the fact that often it is not God himself speaking, in many lines in the Bible. There are many sentences that are “in the Bible,” to be sure; but everyone needs to note they are not from God, but often, from his opposition. Which was one of the Bible’s ways of presenting new and controversial theologies into the Bible; but under a cloud of doubt, to be sure, in the fine print.
Indeed, putting the advocacy of faith, in the mouth of Satan and not God, was the Bible’s way of dealing with a powerful difficulty. The difficulty was, the whole new theology of “faith” – and especially, the whole idea that God might withhold or not deliver material rewards, even for a moment – was so radically different from the primary, prosperity-promising theology of the Bible … that this idea could hardly be presented simply as the word of God himself. It was so utterly contrary to the many, many promises of the Lord, of prosperity, that the residual honesty in the holy men that in part wrote our Bibles, could not allow such a contrary idea or theology, to find its way into the holy books, without … at least some clue, some hint, of problems, possible sins, in that theology.
And yet our holy men were in a desperate situation: their theology had originally promised huge, reliable wonders … and yet they were not delivering them. They had therefore to deduce, learn to “bear” or “face” the likelihood that they themselves and their religion were partially false or inadequate … or they had to come up with some kind of excuses. Or change religion somehow. But who has the authority to change words, once said to have come from God? Finally therefore, the shift in theology, was advanced. In a form that to superficial eyes, might see just another logical extension of what God always said; but in a form that on closer, “second” look … reveals that the whole idea of “faith” was advanced … with a vast network of subtle hesitations and doubts. Warnings that this might be after all, an idea not of God; but even in direct opposition to God. An idea therefore from, say therefore … Satan.
More on Job
Foremost among the dozens, millions apologetic sermons that our holy men invented, to try to explain away the occasional lack of material wonders, miracles, was this massively popular idea. An idea that in fact, came to utterly dominate all of Christianity; and through Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, came to dominate the whole world: the idea that if the material things that God promised don’t arrive in a timely way, then that was because God was “testing our “faith.” That is: God was temporarily holding back his promised rewards, to see if we would love and follow him – to see if we would continue to have “faith” in him – even when he was not giving us many material things. While, it was often implied, if we just had faith in him, God would at last deliver material rewards; as he delivered them for Job for example, at the end of his life. But we will note here some problems with all the attempts to derive “faith” from the Old Testament; from the Book of Job for example. There we noted that a) in fact, the whole idea of a test of faith, was literally, an idea not from God himself, but from Satan; it was Satan who proposed that God test Job’s faith. While we might add that b) in the end, in any case, the science of God is confirmed even in Job … because Job, a good man, is at last rewarded materially; with twice as much as he had before. While we could add now too, that c) though Job, a good man as God himself said, is troubled by lack of material rewards for a while, finally in any case though he remains loyal to God; but not just out of blind faith, but out of a particular version of the science of God (and the Argument from Design): though he personally is not materially rewarded for a time, for being good, nevertheless, he is (eventually?) convinced that God exists … by observing the incredible works of Nature, like “Leviathan” (or crocodile?). In other words, Job is convinced of God, not by simple raw faith; but by looking at material evidence; looking at the wonders of Nature, and being convinced from that, that there was a great being in and/or behind nature.
A quick summary of Job? This book in fact, gets at the main problem that believers had with the material science of God: that God promised material goods, “prosperity,” to those that followed him; and they believed themselves to be good, so that they should be getting material rewards; and yet somehow, bad material things, including poverty, were happening to them.
Remember especially of course, that God constantly promised material things to those who are good, those that follow him, “prosperity” and so forth:
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, … but his delight is in the law of the LORD … In all that he does, he prospers” (Ps. 1.1, 3).
And it is firmly said by God many times, that Job was good:
“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil’?: (Job 1.8; 2.3).
But then Satan steps in with an argument: asserting that Job is only following God because Job is doing well materially; Satan asserting that if God tests Job’s faith as some say, by taking away his material things, Job would curse God:
“ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he had? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face’” (Job 1.9-11 NIV).
Here note, it is Satan who proposes the test of faith: Satan suggests, hints that after all, God has promised his followers many material things; so that Job is following God out of greed say, rather than Love; and therefore God should “test” his fidelity, by taking away “everything” Job has; to see if Job is still loyal; or in effect, faithful.
But God himself often says Job is good, “righteous”; and he has delivered material good to Job before. So God seems confident that Job will stick with him, even in times of adversity. And so he tells Satan to go ahead and make Job materially suffer; God implying that Job will still follow him:
“And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, he is in your power; only spare his life.’ So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD, and afflicted Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” (Job. 2.6-7).
As Job suffers, there are many “friends” around him who (Midrash style?), begin to offer many different explanations – in effect, apologetics – as to why a good man suffers, even though God had often promised good things to such people. Among many other arguments, one suggests that a) God is simply unfair; while b) most arguments suggest that Job was simply not as good as he thought; Job has done something wrong. Yet c) God himself had two or three times explicitly said that Job was good. So that d) Job rejects most of the apologetic/blaming arguments of his friends around him; insisting that these early apologists around him, do not have a good reason or excuse, for Job’s suffering. Though Job does agree that God does seem to allow the good to suffer for a while:
“No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you. But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know such things as these? I am a laughingstock to my friends; I, who called upon God and he answered me, a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock…. The tents of robbers are at peace, and those who provoke God are secure, who bring their god in their hand [Bring their idols? Bring their goods?]. But ask the … birds of the air, and the will tell you; or the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this…? He leads counselors away stripped, and judged he makes fools. He looses the bonds of kings, and binds a waistcloth on the loins. He leads priests away stripped” (Job. 12.2-9, 17-18 RSV, The Holy Bible).
“Job answered … ‘Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power?’” (Job 21.1, 7).
“Job answered: …(9.2), ‘I am blameless; I regard not myself; I loathe my life. It is all one; therefore I say, he destroys both the blameless and the wicked’” (9.22).
Both God and Job seem to reject most apologetics, apologists for the lack of material wonders, here:
“My wrath is kindled against you [Elihu?] and your … friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has” (Job 42.7).
“As for you, you whitewash with lies…. Will you speak falsely for God?” (Job 13.4, 7).
“Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?” (Job 38.33)
“Behold, I have prepared my case; I know that I shall be vindicated’ (Job 13.18).
Countless bad preachers have tried to turn this into an apologetic for their own lack of material results; by saying that the story urges us to just ignore the lack of material results from God, and have “faith.” But we will have noted that such preachers follow an idea literally from Satan. While we note here that actually, God presents lots of material evidence.
Remember too that … Job is only mostly faithful; he begins to in fact question God … if not curse him.
While finally too, again, what is it that at last really firmly convinces Job that God is real? It is by seeing the wonders and powers (and terrors; in Leviathan) of material nature (Job 26; 38-41); and supposing that some great force or God is behind them, he therefore declares that in effect, in material nature, he has “seen” God. And therefore, he believes:
“Now my eye sees thee; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42.5).
g)? So here we begin to see the fuller story of Job. Specifically we see that God did not stress “faith” so much even here, in the story of Job; instead, he constantly presents material evidence. And indeed, the man said to be good by God himself, in his life, originally is materially prosperous; and except for the brief intervention of the Devil, is physically prosperous in the end as well. So that aa) the notion that real religion delivers real physical prosperity, is upheld. And indeed, bb) finally therefore, the larger pattern here – and ultimately, in the entire Bible – of whatever small amount of “faith” it is that we are required to have, is this: we are to have faith … only after seeing real material evidence. As Job does. Whatever faith we are required to have, is not really the preachers’ near-total, blind faith; faith without material, scientific evidence. Significantly, Job is approved of by God overall, Job is called righteous and upright by God himself – even though Job is not blindly faithful. Job is approved by God, even though he questions God about the lack of material fruitfulness. God cc) approves of Job, even though Job will continue to question him until he sees real physical evidence of the power of God.
Finally as it turns out, that is the real, actual, ultimate pattern and statement in the Bible regarding our central subject here; whatever “faith” we are required to have, as it turns out finally – as we will see throughout our book here; especially in the section on Jesus – we are to acquire faith, only after having personally seen, ourselves, many material wonders; much material evidence.
The common priestly idea, is that the Book of Job absolutely, firmly gave up on the material side of God, and/or that it absolutely, firmly embedded “faith” as being more important than material results. But the opinions of priests cannot be sustained by a closer look at the book. The fact is, Job cannot accurately be said to have simply gone on believing in total faith, without any material evidence, at all; Job was in fact said to be prosperous, because he followed God; so that here material prosperity was partial proof of his goodness. Then too, Job does not fully believe, until Job and God review tons of material wonders; they do not believe until they see much physical evidence of a power in nature.
h) So those many millions of preachers that have cited the Book of Job as being an Old Testament source for their “faith,” should take another, “second” look at the text. If they do that in fact, they will discover that the very idea that Job was all about faith, the very idea of a test of faith, is an idea in the Bible itself, to be sure. But our many faithful preachers have all neglected to note one important, significant nuance to all that: the idea of a “test of faith” is in the Bible – but there it is presented not by God himself, but as an idea of Satan.
No doubt, many bad preachers, who cannot lead their people to material prosperity, want to try to make those old promises go away; and many tried to insert hints that God was abandoning those promises, into the Bible itself. But that was hard to do; indeed, the whole idea of faithfully ignoring lack of material rewards, is so totally against the bulk of the Bible, that any such hints could only be inserted into the Bible, the holy books, as after all, an idea that at first seems attractive; but that on closer, second reading, the stress on faith, the “test” of “faith,” is found to have been literally, an idea from, literally, Satan himself.
Satan and our preachers, have stressed faith in a billion sermons worldwide, over the centuries; and they both have long since successfully hypnotized, enchanted the whole world with that false message. But in contrast to our preachers and Satan, with their stress on faith, today we see the Bible, Christ, finally delivering a very different message. Finally the Bible tells us that we, like Job – the man that God himself said was good – might well wait, before having confidence in God. Wait until our literal, physical eye physically sees real material evidence, of a power in nature. We should wait until we see that, before we should believe in a god at least, in physical Nature. Then the rest of the Bible makes it clear that we should seek to verify and establish his exact outline of that god, and then establish the truth or falsity, one by one, of each of his alleged principles and maxims, not by faith; but by very careful observation of physical things, in nature. By very careful – and today, scientific – observation, of what seems to bring real material, visible results.
Today and for centuries, countless priests followed the God of “faith”; citing countless passages in the Bible that they felt supported them. But when we read them more carefully here, we found that the language that seemed to stress “faith” was far more complex and equivocal and even negative, than our priests were able to see, or publicly confess. In fact, we saw elsewhere in the book of Job, that the whole stress on “faith” was originally, literally an idea from Satan himself. While in contrast, God himself constantly told us that we will not be considered bad, and we will be considered good enough, only if and when we do not entirely trust or believe blindly. Indeed we are not good, unless we do not believe or have faith … until we see real physical, material evidence. As verified by real, empirical science.
Anyone who believes anything different, has been all too blindly faithful, to a false idea of God; to a False Christ.
And if the whole world was following a false Christ? Then after all, that is exactly what was prophesied.
But then too, here at last, we are coming to see the second and better appearance to – the Second Coming of – Jesus Christ. Seeing him clearly, advocating not blind faith; but the Science of God.
END OF REGULAR TEXT
[Did we, in our discussion on Job, embrace the standard theory, of the Argument from Design? As it turns out in our later works, that is not just the material evidence suggested say, by a) the theory that the existence of God is proven by Design; from the common theological supposition that seeing the material wonders, the design of the universe, suggest a great Maker behind them. As it turns out, “Design” is a step in the right direction, but is not quite the full or adequate method that God wants us to have. As we may note in later works, from seeing great powers in nature, we might well indeed decide there is some kind of Power behind nature somewhere; and seek to learn its laws. But finally, we also need to see if that power, exactly corresponds to this or that religious assertions – or not. Job began to see that there were powerful things, big animals, in nature; and so Job rightly wants to learn to observe that world … as indeed, God walks us through a visual tour of some great things in nature in fact. Yet to be sure, in the years since Job, there will be a few advancements to be made, on the simple idea that Design proves every single detail of this or that religion or church. To be sure, the existence of massive forces, powers, structures, designs in the universe, seem to prove that there are some kind of vaguely definable forces, powers, structures out there, many might note that such evidence is not specific enough, to suggest exactly how those forces are best personified (if at all). That is there is not enough detail to suggest that specifically the Catholic’s “God” for example, is the one that is indicated in Nature; rather than some other god, like Zeus say. That is, we look up into the universe, and see the stars, and they are impressive; and we might well assume that is some powerful maker or energy behind all that. But what is there in nature that indicates that it is one god, and not another? That it was Jehovah that created this universe … and not Zeus? Or Thor? Or some other Nature? We look into the sky, and we do not see “Jehovah is God,” written out in stars. What we see is both larger and smaller than that. What we see is an awesome physical universe, and mysterious powers … whose exact nature however, is not really very exactly specified. So that the Argument from Design, is not quite enough to affirm specifically, the Judeo-Christian God; it is merely enough to confirm the existence of some, as-yet-unidentified powers in nature. So that we will now need to go on, and look at all the more specific, commonly asserted attributes of God, one by one individually; to see if each and every one is confirmed. (While thus far, we do find them confirmed however: the traditional idea of God, the “Lord” to which we as farmers or tenants give our payments or sacrifices, corresponds to a pattern of life that proved immensely fruitful in real life; it is essentially the deification of early civilization, obedience to a central leader and government; a government which protects us with its army, its health services, its granaries, its infrastructure … in exchange for our “sacrifices,” taxes/ “tithes,” tribute, to the clerks of the Lord. While in later works, we will also note the close correspondence between many miracles of the Bible – even resurrection – with certain natural and technological wonders. So that so far, we can improve on the generalities of the Argument by Design, and begin to triangulate and cross-references and correlate specifics of Christianity, with specific things in nature and natural history, proven to be materially powerful.
But to be sure, which specific Christian church if any, does such evidence support? For now, we will speak of a generalized Christian core; which so far, seems provisionally verified; and found to be true. While indeed, we move on next, to showing how Christ comes fully to earth … as all the particulars of the Bible are scientifically verified. Even resurrection.
As we will see in our later scientific/natural explanations, of “miracles” – especially such miracles as “fire from heaven,” “resurrection” and “immortality,” the Bible is absolutely true, and now even scientifically verifiable. But to be sure, it is true in a way that our preachers have yet to learn to “face” or “bear.” Most preachers till see miracles incorrectly and falsely; seeing them in essentially Magical terms.]
So that by blind faith, the world has been led for 2,000 years to follow a mostly false, mostly magical, conjuring Christ of “miracles”; or a believer in invisible “spirit”s. But while this is so, some of us are at last, coming to see a new and better appearance to Christ. Christ advocating not blind faith, but a science of God.
END OF CHAPTER;
END OF MAIN TEXT BOOK 4