Thursday, May 27, 2010

Genesis Retold: Part One

Based on the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible

Chapter One

Before there was earth and sky, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the chaotic waters. A strong wind and lightning swept over these waters and light appeared: sometimes it was light and sometimes it was dark.

A dome began to form around the earth, separating the chaotic waters, forming a sky. The waters on earth began to gather into one place (the seas) and dry land appeared (the ground).

The ground began to bring forth vegetation: plants and fruit trees and trees of every kind containing seeds.

Stars and other lights were in the sky, which were used for seasons, days, and years. The greater light was the sun, which shined during the day. The lesser light was the moon, which shined during the night.

The water brought forth swarms of living creatures, and birds flew above the earth in the sky. There were great sea monsters and every living creature the water swarms with. These sea creatures were fruitful and multiplied and they filled the waters of the sea, while the birds multiplied on the land.

The earth brought forth living creatures: cattle and creeping things and wild animals.

Humans appeared, male and female, and they became thinking creatures, and they had dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, the wild animals, and every creeping thing. They were fruitful and multiplied; they filled the earth and tamed nature.

Every plant and every fruit tree were the food for the humans. Every green plant was food for the beasts, birds, and everything that creeps on the earth.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Belief in God: An Analysis of My Early Years


I'd like to analyze my earliest beliefs about God, to explain why I believed what I believed as a young boy and young man. I'd also like to stop shy of my current beliefs, since those don't really matter for this post. I also do not want to argue any belief or disbelief in God. I'm not trying to convince you of that (even if I write in the second person). This is a self-analysis of what started it all, but not a statement where I ended up or of what you should think.

Friday, May 7, 2010

500 Page Tome vs. 12 Line Scrap of Paper

I ordered, online, a used copy of Christopher Hitchens' The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever in which Hitchens collects atheist writings by 47 authors from the past more than 2000 years. Hidden inside was this tiny square of paper:

I feel that the universe is in balance.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Parable #4

The Parable of the Wooden Talents: A Lost Parable of Jesus Christ

When Jesus and his disciples had departed from the house of Simon the leper in Bethany, the Lord gathered his disciples together and spoke unto them a parable. Thus he spoke: "There lived a man who collected for himself wooden talents. Other men collected talents of gold and lived richly, enjoying the pleasures of the world. But the man who collected wooden talents could not live as they lived, for the wooden talents were worthless and of no value. Other men mocked this man, saying, 'See this man who collects only wooden talents! They are useless, for they are made of wood and not fine gold. He will die a poor man who has not tasted the pleasures of life.'

"But the man who collected wooden talents did not heed the other men, for he had found a greater happiness for himself than that which can be found in gold. Though the wooden talents only brought him a life of poverty and depravation in life, he felt that they were holy. And the day that the man died, he gathered his wooden talents around him and said aloud, 'I have spent my life, indeed my youth and my old age, collecting these holy wooden talents. The wicked that collect gold around me die, the same as I am surely dying now, but they have lived lives of pleasure. I have lived the life of a man who only collects wooden talents.' And the man died."

Then the disciples, who had heard Jesus speak many parables in the past, hastened to interpret the meaning of the parable. Peter spoke to the Lord: "Rabbi, I have an interpretation of your parable." Then Jesus spoke, saying, "Let us hear." Peter spoke, interpreting: "The man with the wooden talents is likened to the disciples of the Lord, who are few in number. He is not great in wealth, but he has in his possession the secrets to the Kingdom of Heaven. The other men with the golden talents are likened unto the world, who are great in number. They have great fortune, but their happiness only lies in worldly things. Therefore we should be as the man who collects wooden talents, separating ourselves from the sin and flesh of the world." And Jesus heard Peter's words, but he spake not.

When the other disciples lay themselves to rest, Judas Iscariot approached the Lord, saying, "Rabbi, tell me the true meaning of the parable of the wooden talents." And the Lord spoke to him, saying, "The man with the wooden talents are indeed as the disciples of the Lord, as Peter has spoken. And the men with the golden talents are the world. But verily I say unto you that the wooden talents are made only of wood and are worthless. If they make a man happy, it is a fool's happiness. If it make a man happy to spit upon those who spend gold, it is a prideful man who spits, and a fool. If a man say that wood is holy, he is a fool. The gold, however, is likened unto happiness and of life, for it contains something of value. Man should enjoy what riches can be found in life and not hoard things that have no value, calling it 'holy.' Therefore, live in the world, Judas, and do not waste your life as a man who collects wooden talents."

When Judas heard these words, his eyes were opened. He said unto the Lord: "If then, Lord, I should happen to find true wealth, and not a fool's wooden talent, shall I then accept it? What if not gold, Lord? What if I am given thirty pieces of silver to do a task? Shall I accept even silver, trading in my wooden talents, seeing as silver has true worth?" And the Lord spake: "It would be wise for you to do so, Judas Iscariot." Judas then departed from the presence of the Lord, and Jesus began that day to make preparations for the Passover.