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18 Responses

  1. Jordan says:

    “It’s not you … and it’s not me, either. It’s the fact we both got misused and it’s not fair to both of us that we can only relate in that context.”

  2. Brigitte says:

    Now Sarah has evolved to a higher spiritual plane and become a “real” Christian. Did I get that right?

  3. Denise says:

    I find the Biblical accounts of visions and the claim of the various Bible writers that God spoke to them to be questionable.

    God does not make it unequivocally, unambiguously, explicitly clear up front whether it is he who is speaking to a person/calling them/ inserting thoughts into their mind or whether it is the unconscious dynamics of the person’s mind at work so no one is able to make the distinction between when it is the unconscious dynamics of their mind at work or when it is God who is actually speaking to them/calling him/ inserting thoughts into their mind.

    For me, this makes all the Biblical accounts of visions and the claim of the various Bible writers’ that God spoke to them questionable.

    Back in the day, people did not understand how the conscious and unconscious/subconscious aspects of the brain work. Today, however, neuroscientists, neurobiologists, psychologists etc. know that when a person engages in deep, intense spiritual practices like deep/intense praying, fasting, meditation etc. their brains enter an altered state of consciousness wherein the unconscious dynamics of the person’s brain takes over; for some persons this happens to the point where they become psychotic and psychic. When persons begin to have psychic/clairvoyant experiences for example, this may produce feelings of awe and illusions of grandeur in some persons, they may become inflated and grandiose as a result of their intense spiritual experiences and believe that an outside source/external agency (God), is giving them a vision or speaking to them and they are chosen as a result.

    For me, the Bible documents the altered state of consciousness experiences of persons who attributed their induced psychotic (hallucinations, delusions, hearing voices, visionary experiences etc.) and or psychic experiences to an external agency/outside source which they called God because they did not understand that intense spiritual states can produce an altered state of consciousness in which the unconscious dynamics of the brain takes over resulting in induced psychiatric disorders (hallucinations, delusions, hearing voices, visionary experiences etc.) and or psychic phenomena.

  4. Brigette: Maybe just more real.

    Denise: I think it is good to question our theological conclusions and ask where their roots originate… in heaven or in our psyches.

  5. Brigitte says:

    If you put away your Bible you become more real? In what sense?

  6. I remember Eugene Peterson telling the story of counseling one of his members that she should put her bible away and stop reading it for a year. Why? Because she was spiritually toxic from her extensive bible reading. He felt she needed to separate herself from it to get herself back in touch with reality.

  7. Caryn LeMur says:

    It is good, imo, to redefine relationships. I think of relationships like a rubber band between two people.

    When we change our position, then the relationship between ‘me’ and the ‘bible’ must change….or at least stretch a bit.

    I once actually thought that God dictated the New Testament. You know… like Hillary spoke to reporters, and they quickly wrote down every word.

    I later thought that Jesus spoke every word that was recorded. As if the writers of the Gospels had tape recorders.

    Later, I realized that these were the best remembrances of some people, perhaps coupled with visionaries that wrote pseudo biographies to honor, for example, Paul the Apostle.

    Each time, the rubber band stretched.

    And less and less of the New Testament seemed ‘dictated’ or ‘recorded’… but more and more seemed like letters between human beings trying to understand just what, and who, they had witnessed.

    Though I lean towards little of the New Testament being accurate, the few parts that I believe to be spoken by Jesus, are incredible. Perhaps, as others have suggested, even dangerous:

    – There is a God. You can call God ‘Abba’ – a father, instead of a angry tribal god that you should fear.
    – God loves you and can be trusted even though you fall like a sparrow to the ground.
    – There is eternal life to all that request forgiveness, or simply ‘believe’ in Jesus.
    – There is a judgment based on what you do with the thirsty, hungry, sick, prisoner, unclothed, and homeless.

    For me, it is a relationship that needs to change over time.

    Just like any relationship with any other advice-giver.

  8. Yes… I’ve redefined my relationship with the bible. Much respect. But for what it is rather than what I imagined it to be.

  9. Brigitte says:

    The collection of books in the Bible have never been claimed to be dictated. It also is in not primarily an “advice-giver”.

    Eugene Peterson, I have some respect for. There may even be a kinds of personalities or relationships with the Bible that needs adjusting, altering, growing, especially if every verse is taken to somehow pertain to the reader, when it does not.

    But overall, the Bible is a very raw and real book, showing up human foibles, as well as valour and loyalty. However, more it is a book about what God does and says, which really shows off in contrast to human ideas and goals. When the Holy Spirit speaks, he hits us in the heart, and this makes us more real and not less. Most of all we need the offered forgiveness, which is the most difficult thing to wrap our minds around. And it also is the best thing to wrap our minds around. Once, it has taken hold, you can’t pry it out again.

  10. Brigitte says:

    Sabio would probably say that you have not but that you are making it say what you like, instead.

    I’ve started in on a new Canadian book that was written about in a Canadian newspaper called “Clio’s Bastards”. It is basically a critique of the in vogue way of doing history and sociology. It is also a critique of Deconstruction thinking and the associated Marxist ideology of revolution and destruction, including of traditional and previoysly thought eternal values.

    I am too tired right now to think of how this connects to the topic here, precisely, and I am only on page 42. The University of Toronto would not print it. So he went to Friesen Publisher in Victoria, BC. My copy came somehow from Great Britain.

    Anyways, David to read that you think you have pried it out of your hands yourself, makes me shudder. And I am sorry to read it. I know you will say that it is good riddance.

  11. No… not good riddance at all. You jump to conclusions. As I’ve said, I respect it as it is rather than what I wish it was. And, btw, deconstruction and Marxism are not associated by necessity.

  12. Denise says:

    Excellent point David,

    We certainly need to question our theological conclusions and ask where their roots originate..… in heaven or in our psyches.

    No one is able to make the distinction between when it is the unconscious dynamics of their mind at work or when it is God who is actually speaking to them/calling him/inserting thoughts into their mind.

    No one can make this distinction. This certainly makes the Biblical visions and claims that god spoke to the various Bible characters questionable.

  13. Denise says:

    ******Absolutely no one can make this distinction………

  14. Caryn LeMur says:

    Brigitte: it seems that you are again, trying hard to tell others what to think.

    What is your relationship to the Bible? How has your relationship changed over time?

    Why not share your story?

  15. Denise says:

    ******Absolutely no one can make this distinction so I do not see how it is possible to conclude that God is the source of the visions recorded in the Bible or that God spoke to/inserted thoughts into the minds of the various Bible characters.

    I note the accounts in the Bible where a Bible character claimed that God spoke to him but no one else but that person heard “God’s voice”. Of note is the account of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. According to the account, Paul along with the persons who accompanied him, they all saw a bright light but only Paul heard Jesus’ voice. Why didn’t Paul’s companions also hear what Jesus told Paul? ……….go figure.

  16. Jordan says:

    Maybe Sarah discovered the “real Sarah” and found she didn’t need to depend on the text – just like the text doesn’t need to depend on her.