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 Copyright ©August 2007

Understanding the Basics...Part 11

Things no longer taught in our Churches and Synagogues....

~written from the common sense perspective of The Winds of the Soul~

by Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D./D.Phil.(Oxon.)

to the book

Oddly enough, even modern Christianity holds to definitions of Faith which can now only be regarded as foggy and displaced notions of the real thing, a pretense to the majesty of what Jesus Himself meant by "Faith."

As "Faith" in the Lord Jesus Christ is probably the most central tenet in the Gospel, it is equally true that "Faith" is possibly the least misunderstood of all the Lord's teachings, as well as that which has become the most maligned. 

Oddly enough, even modern Christianity holds to definitions of Faith which can now only be regarded as foggy and displaced notions of the real thing, a pretense to the majesty of what Jesus Himself meant by "Faith."

We are all familiar by now with most quoted reference to faith, that which Paul defines as the "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  And with that, modern-day interpretations range all over the spectrum, most everyone generally missing the very point that Paul was trying to make.  Namely, that "faith" must be based on or start from something, an "evidence" that is of some "substance."  As Paul points out, without that foundation, "faith" becomes purely vain in nature.

But this reality generally falls on deaf ears.  Most wish to believe that anything containing "substance" offered into the equation simply negates their superstitious notion of ones "leap of faith."  Simply put, according to superstition, "faith" is supposed to be void of anything fundamental or of substance.  A misnomer if ever there was one, as I have previously explained in my books.

Copyright © 2006 Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.).  All Rights Reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, including but not limited to all forms of media print, audio, electronic and video reproduction, without the prior express and specific written content of the author, except in cases of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

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If I continue to query as to the certainty of their faith in Scriptures, I find many just stare back at you like a deer caught in your headlights.  The stare is unmistakable.  They've been caught off guard and they really don't know what to do about it.  They hear the question, but obviously don't understand it, nor how to answer it.  It's much too basic of a question for them.  Too existential, too fundamental, too real.

As a point of trying to clarify what people think of faith, I have regularly asked those professing faith why they believe in the Holy Scriptures, hoping there I would find some concrete examples of Faith in action.  But invariably, the pat response is almost always meant to deflect the question entirely, while generally spoken in prideful indignity and scoffing demeaning certainty, as in: "Well, because its the Word of the Lord!  Who could ask such a thing?!" Thereinafter, I'm generally treated with scornful suspicion, as if I were a pugnacious, troublesome and contentious atheist for having asked such a question or wishing to analyze things so deeply..., somebody just up to no good. 

If I continue to query as to the certainty of their faith in Scriptures, I find many just stare back at you like a deer caught in your headlights.  The stare is unmistakable.  They've been caught off guard and they really don't know what to do about it.  They hear the question, but obviously don't understand it, nor how to answer it.  It's much too basic of a question for them.  Too existential, too fundamental, too real.    

They've never understood the deeper question as to "why" they believe, or more importantly, what there is to believe in.  In other words, they don't seem to understand why they should have an answer or why it should concern them, as if examining their faith were an act of sedition and was meant to push them off their chair. 

Yet, they can't discount the uncomfortable feelings of shame that arises from within their breast.  They know they should have known the answer to this most penetrating of questions:  "Why do you believe?"  But they don't....  Unfortunately, this then reveals that they are uncertain as to "what" they believe in as well. 

Even though they may dutifully respond that they believe in God, and mention the Name of Jesus Christ (which is of course a good start), they don't seem to know anything more about the Lord than what verbatim religious history and standard commentary has taught them.  Again, a good start, but surely not the intended result of faith.  Their answers reveal a circularity that just seems to go round and round, never really putting their finger on the object of their faith, and therefore never truly understanding it nor how to increase it.

They appear to have cleverly memorized the questions and answers of dogma considered to be that which would outwardly define a "good" Christian----or that which they imagine will be on the "test," as would a grade-school child learning by rote for the upcoming exam----but most are not prepared to actually think about and experience that which they had been asked to learn.  Their learning only brought them to the point of being able to regurgitate the material before them, again, as if asked to respond to a multiple-choice exam.  Any question that didn't parrot their study-habit would prove them unprepared. 

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Sadly, they just don't get it.  Indeed, most so-called Christians don't.  So, I've learned not to press any further and cast not His Pearls.  It may be a hard thing to say, but there are many "bottom feeders" amongst us.  Passively content to practice their cultural religions, happy for what they have and don't have to work hard for, even though the Lord has make it particularly clear that such is not to His liking nor of His Faith.  These skim the surface of Faith,  accepting blindly the warmth and doldrums of "group-think...," being lulled to sleep..., while unwittingly but simultaneously rejecting the true Fellowship of the Lord.

But learning by rote never demonstrates that one really understands the nature of the material, or why they were called to learn it.  Subsequently, any further questions put to them are generally met with ire and disdain, as if they should not be held responsible for that kind of depth.  Many then attempt to demean the question as stupid and one that shouldn't be taken seriously..., or they brood that it was a trick question and unworthy of consideration, reflecting on nothing else but somebody deviously trying to trip them up. 

Previously, they comforted themselves in believing that they possessed the needed understanding in these arenas to warrant their salvation, having obtained a certain religious acumen.  So, to suddenly experience that just one question topples their house of cards can be challenging and discomforting, if not alarming, and therefore, is one that is generally met with cognitive dissonance.   

Sadly, they just don't get it.  Indeed, most so-called Christians don't.  So, I've learned not to press any further and cast not His Pearls.  It may be a hard thing to say, but there are many "bottom feeders" amongst us.  Passively content to practice their cultural religions, happy for what they have and don't have to work hard for, even though the Lord has make it particularly clear that such is not to His liking nor of His Faith.  These skim the surface of Faith, accepting blindly the warmth and doldrums of "group-think...," being lulled to sleep..., while unwittingly but simultaneously rejecting the true Fellowship of the Lord.

James Lewis, a self-defined "religious skeptic" writing in the American Thinker on 7/15/07, nonetheless indirectly echoes these thoughts in his article, "On Religion, Hitchens is Not so Great" (which is highly recommended and can be found here) recalls that:

 

"... [The philosopher] Nietzsche always spoke about the breakdown of faith as a great cultural disaster, and a devastating challenge for the future. For him, "God is dead" was not a Hitchenesque self-preening slogan about the moral superiority of the secular Left.  On the contrary.  Nietzsche saw the loss of Western faith as the most profound historical shock, an invitation to cultural disaster. Well, the secular religions of the 20th century, like Nazism and Marxism, have certainly made a strong case for him. Nietzsche expressed those feelings beautifully in his Parable of the Madman...:"

 

"Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: "I seek God! I seek God!"  -- As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated? --- Thus they yelled and laughed."

"The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him---you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him."

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"It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"

 

Source: Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (1882, 1887) para. 125; Walter Kaufmann ed. (New York: Vintage, 1974), pp.181-82.]

"How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us --- for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto."

"Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars---and yet they have done it themselves."

"It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"

 

Source: Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (1882, 1887) para. 125; Walter Kaufmann ed. (New York: Vintage, 1974), pp.181-82.]

 

I would point out again that Friedrich Nietzsche was not a "believer" as such.  He was to my reading agnostic, though some label him atheist.  Nevertheless, he was acutely sensitive to the fact that a belief in God was apparently the only thing that kept man from becoming savage and uncivil for the most part.  Though he professed to know little of the Spirit of God and perhaps denied its influence (who's to know but God?), he in fact recognized that believing in same appeared to civilize man more than any other man-made influence, and warned accordingly, that a diminished regard in the belief of God portended dire consequences for society. 

And perhaps unknowingly then, Nietzsche was not speaking about the the entity of God Almighty, but rather the belief and Faith in His Name that had become abandoned.  To my mind and reading, it was the Name of God that sought to govern and thereby exalt man, His definition and recognition within man, that was being murdered or set adrift from the lives of men.  Not God Himself. 

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But to all practical purposes for men, once they set themselves adrift and begin to belief that God is less than God, fantasized and made unreal in attempting to refashion God after their own liking and druthers, they have indeed, in Nietzsche's words, "murdered Him" in their hearts.  It's odd, that in this sense, Nietzsche paraphrased the Lord's admonitions given earlier in Isaiah as we will now discuss in more detail:

But to all practical purposes for men, once they set themselves adrift and begin to belief that God is less than God, fantasized and made unreal in attempting to refashion God after their own liking and druthers, they have indeed, in Nietzsche's words, "murdered Him" in their hearts. 

It's odd, that in this sense, Nietzsche's "Parable of the Madman" actually paraphrased the Lord's admonitions given in the Bible's Book of Isaiah, as we will now discuss in more detail:

Isaiah 28:1-13 KJV  Isaiah 28:1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! 2 Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.

3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet: 4 And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.

5 In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people, 6 And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.

7 But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. 8 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.

9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are [yet] weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10 For [for these] precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13 But [or So] the word of the LORD was [or remained] unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; [so] that they [persisting] might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

Here, Isaiah warns us very clearly.  Our leaders have erred, they are out of the way, they err in vision and stumble in judgement.  And the tables on which (or the balances by which) they measure and judge are "full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean...," no counsel that is not tainted and falsely founded.

He then raises the question as to "whom shall he make to understand doctrine?"  And then answers with another question sarcastically, 'those that are unprepared and undeveloped, as they still cling to the breast?'  Meaning: He cannot and will not speak to those so unprepared to hear His Word. 

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It was, and remains, a great impiety, and a high affront to God, to make light of sacred things in such a manner, to speak of that vainly which should be taken seriously and make us serious.  The instrument of His Message was abused, as that of treating a Stradivarius like a Ukulele.  And with that insult, the understanding of His Instrument was removed from them. 

Their minds have no dawning interest to hear it.  Apart from the appearances of propriety, there was no true religious zeal, no means by which their faith would be increased.  Though the Word of God commanded their serious attention, it could not gain it. They found comfort alone in a road of pedantic external performances.  They kept up the old and good custom of reading the scriptures, but turned it into an endless marathon and march of memorizing them by chapter and verse, and repeating chapter and verse so that it continually sounded in their ears.  The Holy Writ was turned into a mantra of sorts, continually beating upon them..., but note this, it beat nothing "into them." 

So the Word of the Lord remained undeveloped within them, no more important nor revealing than a nursery rhyme.  Thus taunted Isaiah that the Word was unto them:  Tsau latsau, kau lakau (Hebrew; verse 10 and 13, i.e., Precept upon precept, Line upon line, ...).  Please note, that in the original Hebrew given above, these lines are in the format of a repetitive rhyme so as to pointedly reflect how they literally made a song of the prophet's words, and sang it when they were merry over their wine. 

The meaning is therefore clear:  The Word, though continuously before them, made no impression upon them.  And though continuously before them, its nature of performance had changed, turning the needed understanding into a form of rote repetition wherein the words of the Scriptures were sounded but never challenged so as to be understood.  In direct consequence, an actual understanding of the Scriptures became diminished in importance.  Performance trumped understanding.  And that legacy remains with us today. 

This was an act of cultural and religious misfeasance.  Thereafter, Israel could only keep the letter of the precept, refusing the invitation to experience the power and spirit of His Word, while declining to witness its revelations in their lives.  Because of such needlessly enforced and ingrained stupidity, they remained unteachable and would not hear. 

It was, and remains, a great impiety, and a high affront to God, to make light of sacred things in such a manner, to speak of that vainly which should be taken seriously and make us serious.  The instrument of His Message was abused, as that of treating a Stradivarius like a Ukulele.  And with that insult, the understanding of His Instrument was removed from them. 

Isaiah witnesses that the Lord indeed tried to speak to His people, reminding them from that which they have strayed, pointing out to them what it is that is "His Rest," and what it is specifically that is "His Refreshing," but still, they would not hear it. 

These proved, as we do today, that they did not wish to heed the commandment to have Faith on His Name, nor did they wish to understand what it meant.  And thus, they never began to regard His critical imperative to restore the children that they used to be within themselves, becoming again as a little child believing in Him.  These, as we do today, rebel against such humility, fearing the pain of true self-discovery and the need of continuing and ongoing true repentance as exposed and revealed by His Light.

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But just like those before us, we have made ill use of our plenty as well. What God gave us to serve Him, we pervert and abuse, by making it the food and fuel of our lusts.  We are puffed up by reason of our riches.   The goodness with which God crowned our years, which should have been to Him a Crown of Praise, has shamefully become to us a crown of pride.   And then adding insult to injury, we glory in our shame, believing that God has had nothing to do with our increase.

Thus, they made no improvement on the means of Grace which they possessed.  They still continued on as they were, repeatedly denying His Counsel..., their mistakes not rectified, their hearts not renewed, nor their lives reformed.  Their faith remained ever stagnant, serving neither themselves nor the Lord.  Just as we, perhaps, do today. 

These, as He explained earlier in verse Isaiah 28:1, are the drunkards of Ephraim that wear the crown of pride, whose glorious beauty is fading... as is our Nation's honor and strength today.  Like that of Samaria where Ephraim of old dwelt and which was the glory of Canaan, our country today is the richest and most pleasant of all the earth.  The garlands of our harvest and vintage, of our freedoms and subsequent economy, remain the envy of all the world. 

Interestingly, Ephraim's very name is derived from the idea of fruitfulness.  In fact, the tribe of Ephraim was thought to have been given the best of all the Promised Land.  Of all the tribes, they inherited the most fertile soil yielding the most abundant products, each the best of its kind.  Indeed, the ancient tribe of Ephraim had a great many fat valleys (verses 1, 4), including the area of Samaria, which was situated on a hill, and was, as it were, on the head of all the fat valleys.  These people were immensely blessed.

But just like those before us, we have made ill use of our plenty as well. What God gave us to serve Him, we pervert and abuse, by making it the food and fuel of our lusts.  We are puffed up by reason of our riches.   The goodness with which God crowned our years, which should have been to Him a Crown of Praise, has shamefully become to us a crown of pride.   And then adding insult to injury, we glory in our shame, believing that God has had nothing to do with our increase.

Woe unto us.  In behaving so stupidly and willfully, our conduct becomes us far worse than any other---- because we should know better, and therefore should give a better example.  As Isaiah points out, like Ephraim of old, we today are also of God's professing people.  We specifically mirror our earlier counterparts, becoming latter-day drunkards of Ephraim.

We, like those before us, remain slothful and spoiled children who ungratefully demand another voice to speak to us, as we have rejected the true Voice of the Lord, finding it too discomforting.., just as did the Children of Israel before the Lord on Mt. Sinai so many years before, and again under the ministry of Isaiah. 

So otherwise engaged are we, so ungraciously preoccupied with our appearances and outward show alone, that He will then give us lessons by another means..., a dishonoring means, an unexpected voice that will speak to the childishness of our ways. 

So, the Lord lets us persist in the fruitlessness of misbegotten foibles and self-esteemed-based learning paradigms, the fantasized habits of the self-absorbed and inane who demand to be schooled in religiously correct terms, namely, learning only line upon line, measure by measure, receiving only a trifle here and there..., whereas the abundance of revelations from the Lord God truly offered us, are summarily rejected. 

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About the Author:  Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.) is a Neuroscientist, Physicist, and Clinical Psychologist and having been educated abroad where he completed his postgraduate studies at King’s College, the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and then graduated and received his Doctorate from the University of Oxford, Oxford, England. He has been in practice and research for over 25 years, being active as an author, popular radio and TV personality, public speaker, and biomedical researcher. He is the author of The Winds of the Soul~Heaven’s First Voice To Us books  &  The Winds of Forgiveness~Heaven's Healing Promises, as well as numerous other scholarly papers and works.

 

 

 

 

Warning and Disclaimer: Although the author and publisher have made every effort in the preparation to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the information given in this eNewsletter and the books, The Winds of the Soul & The Winds of Forgiveness, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions of any kind. The information provided is offered entirely on an “as is“ basis and is simply the point of view of its author. Moreover, the information in this eNewsletter as well as the book is offered without warranty, claim of fitness, or therapeutic effectiveness and appropriateness, either express or implied, nor does it claim or seek to offer any form of diagnosis or treatment for any form of disease or dysfunction. Any individual requiring psychological intervention, diagnosis and/or treatment should always seek the professional services of a responsible and licensed Psychologist or Psychiatrist. Neither the author or Davidic Publishing will be liable or responsible for any damages whatsoever or however defined, caused or alleged to be caused directly, indirectly, incidentally, or consequentially by the information contained in the eNewsletter and the books, The Winds of the Soul & The Winds of Forgiveness.

Thus, He respectfully lets His Church and this Nation of latter-day Ephraim continue on both undisturbed and undeterred in this form of slothfulness..., floundering so as to become caught up in our own hypocrisies..., allowing those who raise up the doctrines of man and falsely claim that they are of God to run the gauntlet of life and stumble..., and in so doing, He will ensnare this people and take them captive. 

A point of fact: Isaiah warned the kingdom of Israel of the judgments that were coming upon them for their sins..., which were soon after executed by the king of Assyria who laid their country waste and carried the people into captivity.  History does repeat itself.  We are again at war with the latter-day "King of Assyria."  He is again our enemy, and has threatened to lay our civilization to waste.... Yet, we while away our time believing that all is well Zion.  

Isaiah's words are for our ears today, speaking to those in the Latter Days.  We are those that generally make up the numbers of all Judeo-Christian denominations.  And like ancient Israel, we too perhaps only believe because we were taught to believe by our elders, being spoon fed by our parents and teachers, who, to our childish satisfaction and for our ease, perverted the Word to rote nursery rhymes, but thereafter unwittingly set us on a course which denied the impact of His Spirit.   

And to this day we smugly demonstrate to all those that have a care to see, that we find continuing comfort by remaining in agreement with those chanting around us.  Learning by rote, falling into the prescribed line, parroting those before us in order to earn their acceptance, while never questioning the traditions of our fathers.  Now, I believe it's grand to be taught by those around us.... Indeed, we should be thankful for having teachers that are willing to spend time with us and instruct us in what they know to be true.  But today in many of our institutions, appearance proves more compelling than substance, rhetoric more popular than truth. 

For many of us, the basis of ones faith is something that is taken for granted, and is never to be revered through challenge or question.  Sadly, we too have taken the beauty of the Stradivarius and are using it like a Ukulele.  Knowing this, should we think ourselves comfortably aligned with His Spirit?  Should we think ourselves suitably protected by His Hand?  In the face of the undeveloped nature of our faith, perhaps we should heed the words of Isaiah once again.  

Just to let you know that I'm not going to leave you hanging.... Next month, I will speak more about what "faith" actually is, and how we are to increase same under the purview of His Spirit, just as Isaiah later instructs.  

But as a primer, let us imagine, if we will, that we have never read the Scriptures nor had any idea as to whom the Lord Jesus Christ was.  For all intensive purposes, let us assume that we have never heard of the Judeo-Christian Faith. 

How would we come to determine if the Scriptures were true, if by chance they were to suddenly come into our hands?  How do we know that those that originally wrote down the words in the Holy Writ were prophets, inspired of God?  Just how would we know? 

The same question can be asked of us in another way.  How would we have recognized the Christ if we were alive during His Ministry?  Would we believe simply because somebody else tells us that it's right to believe, or because He performed miracles, and healed many...., but  didn't always heal everyone that touched Him?  So, just how would we have known Him otherwise?   


 

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