Friday, December 02, 2005

New England Primer

I wanted to post this; segments from the New England Primer. First printed in Boston 1690, the Primer was used as a textbook to teach children how to read and write, and was reprinted in the 18th and 19th century as early public school literature. I wanted to post this to show the terrible contrast between education then and now, to show us how far our generation has fallen from godliness and righteousness:

This gives a taste of how young people were raised about 200 years ago. No wonder our generation is so ungodly. We are being taught nothing of heaven, nothing of God. This little book is precious. Find the whole Primer here.

39 comments:

Adam O said...

This is a far cry from the education children receive today. I find it disheartening that the education system has removed Christ from the schools. I recall that in grade 2, our teacher made us recite the Lord's Prayer and sing O Canada every morning. What happened?!
-Adam O

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Primer outlines the meanings of terms like "misogyny" or "witch-hunt."

Eli said...

Another person hiding behind the anonymous veil, or is this the same one as last time?

What was your motive in posting what you did? Why would you frown upon a childrens book that teaches the foundational teachings of Christ? Are you upset that they taught this to young people in school? I believe it would greatly benefit the Church today to bring back the Primer and teach indulgent university students some godly perspectives.

Witch-hunts in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries? This is a protestant book, not an 11th century Catholic inquisition manual.

Misogyny? Don't even get me started.

I'm assuming those who post on here know of me, and I of them. Please post your name when you post and don't hide behind the curtain to speak your antagonisms.

David Oscars said...

The Primer, albeit earlier editions than the early 19th century version you cite, provided the "academic" basis upon which unfortunate episodes in Protestant history, ie. the New England witch trials, were built. And you think misogyny isn't a topic meriting your discussion?

David said...

Just to clarify, I am speaking of the witch-hunts in the Protestant northeast, in the 17th century.

Anonymous said...

"I find it disheartening that the education system has removed Christ from the schools."

I dont find it disheartening at all. I find fair and just that everyone in a class isnt forced to learn about one religion when Canada now is so multicultural. We should respect the beliefs of everyone by not making one religion teaching standard in the classroom. And I also dont think that is why our generation is so 'ungodly.' In our generation we have access to the whole world compared to such a limited view back then, thus showing the good AND the bad. And Ii'm not tyring to be anonymous I'm just not signinSag up for an account. My name is Jeanie Betes.

Eli said...

Alright! Who would have thought the New England Primer could invoke such discussion! First of all, do I know you both, David and Jeanie?

Eli said...

The Salem witch hunt of the late 17th century is a black spot in history indeed, but I would like to hear how you figure the New England Primer attributed to that event, and if you would, use examples from the book. Though, I don't think you will find anything.

If you say that the concepts of the Primer attributed to the mindset of the people, I would argue that the concepts of the Primer do not teach anything different than what the Bible already says. Why not accuse the Bible? Then we could have something to talk about.

Before I can address your post, Jeannie, I'll first need to know who you are. Sorry about the anonymous thing, I didn't know that you had to sign up... actually, you don't. If you select "Other" you can type your name without signing up for anything.

Thanks for the comments. Let's flesh this out.

David said...

First of all, I don't know you; does this matter? It's not like this is an esoteric discussion. If you had done research into why the Primers were abolished, you would have realised that this is an old and vibrant debate.

"Who would have thought the New England Primer could invoke such discussion!" - the point is that the Primer, and other sacred (as in, non-secular) educational tools HAVE already provoked a lot of debate, and not just amongst non-Christians. The Primer and other Puritan texts have been focused on quite a bit. Many academics, theologians, church leaders feel that by enforcing a set thinking pattern on a group of youngsters you are either (a) denying people the ability to explore their own belief systems/culture or (b) (if they are christian) not allowing individuals to discover God's message on their own, as an individual and powerful moment. Religion in school does not become a means of promoting a daily religious life; it might in fact could turn religious messages into something routine, or taken for granted. As an example, my colleagues who attended religion-affiliated schools are no more devout than those that did not.

More importantly, and certainly the thesis that I support: when a school system openly merits one doctrine over others, it implies to those students who do not belong to that faith community that their beliefs and life are less important and less valid; they are living 'incorrect' lives. I am not sure, maybe you feel that non-Christians are inferior; if that is the case, then I guess it is not surprising that you would support religion in the schools. It is intolerant and ineffective to enforce a standard belief system upon a society that is nothing but standardised or universal.

You asked about the relationship re: Primer, witch trials, and the Bible. Well of course I don't mean that the Primer itself incited this intolerance. The Primer, and other biblical (and perverted biblical) documents contributed to an atmosphere of intolerance; this lead some (not all of course) christian societies to "hunt" seemingly non-christians. Just to be clear: I am not suggesting that movements such as witch-hunts would not have occurred without the Primer et al. I am just positing that when you allow religion, education, and society to become inextricable linked, you risk creating a society that is polarised and intolerant. And similarly, I don't feel that the Bible is to blame for religious intolerance. It is the actions and attitudes of those who feel that the Bible is the only valid means of existing that causes various social cleavages. I am against evangelism.

Lastly, as I have rambled on enough, (good topic!) I am not against christianity, or you and your religious beliefs. However, I am certainly against the idea that those beliefs should be enforced on everyone. You might say that my reaction is against the actions of those groups that have perverted the message of the Bible. No, I am against anyone who feels that their way of thinking is superior to others, and therefore, should be enforced universally. Obviously, all of this tolerance has to exist within the boundary of the law; a neutral law that is not built upon the values of a culture that is no longer representational. Thanks, and good luck with your mission to become a minister. Remember, keep an open mind.

David said...

wow...sorry about the terrible grammar. Ta, David

Jeanie Betes said...

"I believe it would greatly benefit the Church today to bring back the Primer"

Here I am, it's JEANIE BETES again. I was skimming through again and realised this. It benefits the church, not the ppl who are teaching. I think respecting others and yourself as a school lesson would have the desired result without a religious bias.

I'm not sure why you needed me to not be anonymous to reply to my post but i see hte button now...

Anonymous said...

I think you are looking for the verb "contribute" as opposed to "attribute." Cheers.

Eli said...

Okay, now we are making some progress.

First of all, thanks for all the posts. I'm curious as to how you came about upon this weblog, David, as I've only really given the address to friends, etc. Did someone pass it on to you or did you find it in a search? No, it doesn't matter, except for my curiousity!

Now allow me to respond to your posts: David, you are right. I haven't done all the research I could on the Primer, and I can see how it probably is a topic of much debate. The only exposure I have seen is not the 1690 book but only the 1770 and 1805 edition, but, I suspect it is not all that different except in the language to clarify certain concepts. So I will stand to defend the 1690 edition as well, though only under assumption.

Alright, now about teaching Christianity in schools: Every person is governed by their own free will, however, this is not to say that people cannot be influenced by other people, especially young children. To an unbeliever, this idea of Christianity in school is undesirable, disrespectful, untasteful, biased and unfair. But for the Christian, grounding a child in truth, God and eternal values is invaluable. A person is no more saved by doctrine than a man is Spiderman in a costume, but the exposure and practise of the Bible at a young age establishes the person in the truth.

Let me give you an example. A seed can lie dormant in the ground for quite some time. The seed is not the actual plant, but with the proper elements it begins to sprout and eventually roots itself into a fully developed plant. So it is with young people. By placing the values of Christ in them at a young age is the same as sowing seed in their lives. Later on, some shorter and some longer, the seed will be quickened in their hearts because it is ALREADY THERE, and does not need to be twice sown, and so the person will surrender to the prompting of God. This is why there has been such wonderful and plentious revivals in the last two centuries, because people have the Word of God planted in them before the Spirit moves them to yield. Today, sadly, young people are taught what is opposite to the Scriptures (but we say this is neutral), and so when the Spirit of God moves to convince or convict the person, they have no established seed, no idea what those promptings of the soul are, no premonition on how to respond, ultimately, no starting place. Today, we must begin all over again with sowing the Word of God, but the unfortunate thing is our receivers are older and calloused to the truth due to a childhood of sandy foundations.

This might not be making any sense to you, but the Christian will understand because the "truth will set you free". What is the result of not leading children in Christian values? The world we live in today: sex, violence, abortion, teen suicide, etc... I could spend hours talking about the degredation of society since 1963. I think people fail to see that the Bible teaches people to live well so that they may die well, always being aware of death and mortality so as not to live racously, honoring their parents and elders, loving their neighbor, avoiding strong drink and abstaining from sexual immorality, incest, and all the other gross sins the world has a great propensity towards, and all these values point to the center of the faith, which is love for God. And we know the world does not love God. The Bible prophesied all these things many years ago, and we now see the state we are in.

I believe that 'political correctness' and flimsy relativism will lead to the ultimate collapse of our society. We no longer stand up for values and beliefs, but everybody can do whatever they want and believe whatever they want. There is no more common ground. I tell you that there will be those who ARE united who will come in and sweep away our lives right from under us, because we are foolish and disobiedent and have turned our backs to God (His Word) and have put all our hope and trust in our own devices.

I'm seeing a much larger picture. On the surface people will complain and yell and tell you not to push you 'religion' on others, but in the depths of reality and truth, the only thing that matters is God, if we will obey Him, and this truth is the only hope of salvation, both on this side of eternity and the next.

God bless you both,
-Eli

Jeanie Betes said...

I have read your recent posts and have broken down my replies into different sectios that I dont completely agree with.


“But for the Christian, grounding a child in truth, God and eternal values is invaluable. “

I am Christian thank you. I was raised and confirmed in the United Church of Canada.


“This might not be making any sense to you, but the Christian will understand because the "truth will set you free". “

It doesn’t make sense to me DESPITE being Christian because I have my beliefs and respect others for having different beliefs. I don't feel that I am 'right' or they are 'wrong'. I feel we should all be able to have our own lifestyles and be free to live them within public sectors. That's a basic human right. Also I have already spoken about how the lack of Christianity in someone's life isn’t the basis for "sex, violence, abortion, teen suicide, etc... “

"And we know the world does not love God. The Bible prophesied all these things many years ago, and we now see the state we are in."

Vague and general statements about the future tend to become true because they are open to interpretation. Just look at fortune tellers.

On the surface people will complain and yell and tell you not to push you 'religion' on others, but in the depths of reality and truth, the only thing that matters is God, if we will obey Him, and this truth is the only hope of salvation, both on this side of eternity and the next.
If this is your ultimate point, it's a faulty one. Christianity, Judaism and the Muslim faith all branch from the same tree, with different views of God. THE SAME GOD. With that said, if you think the ultimate way to salvation is Christianity and not just a belief in God, I think you are being a bit biased. God didn’t proclaim a division of religions; man did by writing different texts and different opinions. You are speaking like you feel everyone who isn’t Christian is going to hell. I personally feel it isn’t about politics and formal religions but that you love and respect god and others by letting them chose their own path. I think it would be more offensive to god to force someone Muslim to pray the Christian way than to let them worship Him in their own personal way.

Ultimately I feel that being a Christian is not about prayer in school, it’s not about conversion, and it’s about having God in your heart and being loyal to that.

David said...

I really was not planning on reposting, but your response has incited me to. I take offense at your assumption that I am not a Christian. Although, your base assumptions pretty much sum up my point; because I don't share YOUR specific views, I must not be christian. One-minded Christians, by judging the world based on an unchanging, and uncompromising version of some 'truth,' completely sully a central message of christianity: to be compassionate, embracing, and non-judgmental.

It is very offensive and racist for you to assert that if Christianity is presented in schools, some intrinsic christian core will grow from within everyone, even those who are not culturally christian. Perhaps this is not what you meant (God hopes so), but even still, your wording (and that of much of your text) is sloppily racist and sexist. I won't bother giving examples, because I would just be quoting hateful paragraphs that are already prominently displayed.

"This might not be making any sense to you, but the Christian will understand because the "truth will set you free." - Again, you should be more open minded if you want to be a positive contributor to the Christian community. You assume I am some sort of idiot because are beliefs aren't parallel. My critiques of your ideas stem only from my analysis of your writing, whereas you seem to be making hypothetical leaps into investigations of me personally. This has nothing to do with me and you. This is about Christianity (in my opinion) being undermined by groups of people who feel that the only way to be Christian is to paint the rest of the world as unfulfilled, or living in a lie.

"I believe that 'political correctness' and flimsy relativism will lead to the ultimate collapse of our society." - I believe that intolerance and bigotry has already lead to the collapse of certain aspects of society. I think it is arrogant to assume that you are better than others because you feel your way is the "truth." I applaud your passion and faith, but I find that your world-view is necessarily intolerant, and I might go so far as to say, uncompassionate.

"I'm seeing a much larger picture." And I am seeing a much larger picture than you. My argument isn't time specific, and I have specifically avoided going into my personal philosophy - but I feel that Christianity is simply one aspect of a reality that individuals are now expected to exist. I can't avoid being condescending, I apologise in advance...But maybe "this might not be making any sense to you." I think we should agree to live in our own realities.

Good luck with your 'war.' And can only men participate?

This will be my last post, as I have sermons to write for the upcoming Christmas season. If I have offended you personally in anyway, I am sorry. I was only trying to illustrate the dangers of narrowmindedness, and specifically, how evangelism and religion in schools can exacerbate the discords of society.

Brian said...

This might not be making any sense to you, but the Christian will understand because the "truth will set you free".

First, Hi. I'm Brian - last name not necessary. I am an atheist, however I find it extremely interesting to learn and appreciate viewpoints from all directions of the compass. Christianity is a way of life that I feel has fantastic lessons and great ideals - So please do not take this as religious bashing in any way.

That having been said, the problem I have with the statement pasted above is that YOUR truth is not necessarily an absolute truth, or even the truth of your neighbour. Religion in general is something that empowers and aids those seeking peace and salvation, and the power of it is unfortunately quickly soiled in my opinion by pious, fundamentalist or extreme viewpoints.

I completely understand that the joy you have in your heart is something that you want to spread with others. This is not uncommon and although it may seem innocent at first, it could quickly change into a menace to a society that thrives on freedom and racial and religious equality. Our charter of human rights empowers us with freedom of Religion, and this charter is something I hold very close to my heart.

Scripture clearly states "Love thy neighbour", which allows for some interpretation. From my viewpoint love involves respect and acceptance of differences, with the understanding that they can another human can be as happy as you are without adopting your belief or social system. They can have true joy standing on their own faith without it being yours.

Would you question a Shiite Muslim or Hebrew's right to spread his faith's teachings to your children at school? I believe almost certainly. When then is it correct for YOUR viewpoint to be taught to everyone else, no matter their 'polarity'?

By doing so, I feel it is marching down a path that is without a doubt the first step in a 'slippery slope' towards a country being defined by a single religion, and not strengthened by it's differences. Although that may be fantstic to those that follow that religion, it is unfortunately unfair to others.

The one argument that holds little water with me is the claim that our country was founded by christians and we should remain true to that heritage. At the time of our founding, the natives were considered sub-human - should we also cling to that antiquated ideal? Of course not. Being progressive as a society involves consideration and change, not intense xenophobia.

There are things in life that are absolute and can be generalized, however personal beliefs are not one of them. Listening to Jesus's teachings should encourage more acceptance in your heart than assuming every child must 'have a chance' at your belief system.

zolo-nagarro said...

"The world we live in today: sex, violence, abortion, teen suicide, etc... I could spend hours talking about the degredation of society since 1963. I think people fail to see that the Bible teaches people to live well so that they may die well, always being aware of death and mortality so as not to live racously, honoring their parents and elders, loving their neighbor, avoiding strong drink and abstaining from sexual immorality, incest, and all the other gross sins the world has a great propensity towards" - You can't possibly believe that these are new currents? Have you read any history? Or the Bible? Of course any person who wants to change society will identify the present as the worst possible time. You will never truly blossom as a Christian if you hold yourself back by believing that your time presents a different struggle. The struggle is continuous. "Degradation of society since 1963" - This is really uninformed. I assume you mean Vatican II? Faith is more than arbitrary dates: Go beyond! If you are stuck in the miseries of the present, you are, well, stuck. You are thinking materially, thereby falling into the same trap as every other sinner. God Bless, serve well. Let go...

Eli said...

I will say it again: I'm glad this blog is bringing out such passion, may we remove all the blinders and show forth the truth!

Well, this has been quite the response. I'm not sure if I'll be able to cover everything, but let do my best with the Lord's grace.

First of all, I am compelled to address the issue of Christianity vs other religions. I'm going to say this with 100% Scriptural authority: Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father, and there is no other name by which men can be saved. This means that there is no salvation outside the blood of Christ. I'm not interested in hearing the opinions of other people... the Bible says so and that's that. Please, do not argue with me, but argue with the Bible, for everything I say is from the Bible. I am just a courier.


Jeanie, you said, "The lack of Christianity in a person's life is not the basis of sex, violence, suicide, etc..." You are absolutely right. It is the result of the lack of Jesus Christ.

Dearest Jeanie, please hear this in a loving way, I believe you need to come to saving in faith in Jesus Christ and I believe you need to experience the grace of God in your life. I'm not sure what you have been taught in the United Church, but the Bible says that "my sheep hear my voice and will not listen to a stranger." The Bible is very clear about all these issues, yet you are questioning them. "For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life." If you read on just a bit further, it says: "He who believes in the Son of God has eternal life, but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him." (John 3:36) You cannot reconcile this.


Okay, now about truth, I have been challenged because I am claiming to hold absolute truth. David, you said: "One-minded Christians, by judging the world based on an unchanging, and uncompromising version of some 'truth,'..." This is what the Bible says about truth: Jesus said "I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but through me", "And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.", "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth", "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."... this could go on forever. The Bible says we shall know the truth. The truth is, that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Shouldn't schools be teaching children the truth? Come on, Christians, if you say you believe in Christ and the Bible, how can you oppose this? That is why I am questioning your authenticity.

David said: "I think we should agree to live in our own realities." Dear friend, you need to know Jesus Christ. Please hear this in love.


Brian, thank you for posting, please bear with my response and do not take it in a hurtful way.

Now you have said that you are an athiest, so I don't think it is fair for you to step in and talk about faith, because you have not had an experience with Jesus Christ that would change your life. You are right that the Bible says "Love your neighbor", but dear friend, the Bible says many other things, and it is not the type of book where you can take a principle here and there and leave out the rest. See what the Bible says about athiests: "But the fearful, and UNBELIEVING, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8) Love your neighbor is a wonderful principle and worthy of our lives, but can you simply ignorre this passage? Friend, I love you enough to share this with you. Seek the salvation of your soul before it is too late for you. Jesus Christ loved you enough to die for you and all you need to do is repent of you unbelief and sin, beseech God for forgiveness and cleansing in the death of Christ, and you WILL be a new creation as the Bible says. If you want to talk more about this please do!


Zolo-nagarro, you are right when you say that the world has seen many dark days, in the past, in the Bible, people have given themselves over to sin of gross proportions. However, friend, you cannot claim that the 19th and early 20th century were no different than today. Men and women had a respect for God, and reverance for the Bible, and enough truth in their loins to guard their children against such abominations as we allow today. This is not saying that everyone was a saint back then, but undeniably, people were aware of the Biblical way that God had marked out for them. Drunkeness was there, but it was called "sin", so was whoremongering, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, etc... today, these are not sin, no, but preferences. "Whatever feels good do it!" and, "Whatever you believe is good for you!"

Your point is true but only so far.


God bless you all. May He capture our hearts for Him.
-Eli

Jeanie Betes said...

Jeanie, you said, "The lack of Christianity in a person's life is not the basis of sex, violence, suicide, etc..." You are absolutely right. It is the result of the lack of Jesus Christ.


Eli, you said that not me. I spoke about how this isnt causal at all but correlated with alot of things that happen in the world not strictly christianity.

And I just said I was christian, dont you think that is christian enough?!

Jeanie Betes said...

I'm going to say this with 100% Scriptural authority: Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father

The problem, as I see it, is that scripture has been 'soiled' many times over by the hand of man. It is not the direct word of god, rather several interpretations and languages old. Why then would it be possible to literally quote and analyze each statement in detail and maintain true to your faith.

Eli said...

Well Jeanie, now we have a grave problem, because you are questioning the Scriptures as to whether they are true or not. We find ourselves at odds here. I'm sorry, when you say this you cut off my arms and my legs, because everything I have to say to you is Scripture and not of my own.

You said that what I quoted was what I said(confusing), but actually you said it... you said that the result of all these bad things was NOT because of the lack of Christianity. I then said, "You are right, not the lack of Christianity, but the lack of Jesus."

And finally, you also said: "And I just said I was christian, dont you think that is christian enough?!"
No Jeanie, this is not enough. Jesus said, "Many who say 'Lord Lord' will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father in Heaven." (Matthew 7:21)

Are you doing the will of the Father in Heaven? How will you know what that is unless you believe the Bible?

John said...

"This means that there is no salvation outside the blood of Christ. I'm not interested in hearing the opinions of other people... the Bible says so and that's that. Please, do not argue with me, but argue with the Bible, for everything I say is from the Bible. I am just a courier."

It is interesting that a person of "Christ" could be so intolerant of other people and faiths. I don't think that Christ himself showed disrepect for anyone, including those who caused his death.

Can you explain to me why a society of intolerant people could represent a truley utopian society for all?

Jeanie Betes said...

You have totally avoided my point. Please clarify - you are unwilling to address this issue becuase you are not open to any other opinions?

John said...

"Jesus said, "Many who say 'Lord Lord' will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father in Heaven." (Matthew 7:21)"

Tell me Eli... are you doing the will of the Father? Is it possible that perhaps you have misinterpreted scripture and, perhaps, not gain entry to heaven. I think that the bible leaves much interpretation up to the individual to decide for themselves... and not for people to tell others how to interpret. True faith, love, hapiness, and belief reside from within the soul and can not and should not be squashed by those claiming to have all the answers.

David said...

"Please, do not argue with me, but argue with the Bible, for everything I say is from the Bible. I am just a courier." - no, you are NOT a courier. As soon as your thoughts mix with the text of the Bible, something of yourself is put in. It is IMPOSSIBLE to be solely a conduit; you, and everyone, is constantly interpreting. It may be possible to guage the message of certain parts of the scriptures, but it is naive to feel that you KNOW how these messages should be pursued and manifested. Your life should be spent trying to make this connection, instead of acting on inchoate notions, and enforcing these notions on others. My problem is the way in which you feel the message of the Bible should be presented: as an attack on those different from yourself. I understand that you feel 100% that the Bible and its messages are true. That is not the point at issue. The point of debate is the fact that you IN ADDITION to thinking that the scriptures are true and literal, you believe that YOUR interpretation of said scriptures is true. But, since you insist on pigeon-holing us as being "non-believers" or "whoremongers," you avoid having to deal with the debate in a constructive way. I think you misunderstand the perspectives of the 'dissenters.' But, I also feel you want to misunderstand us. Again, this is not an attack in the Bible, or Christianity; it is a critique of the extent to which you feel you have found the sole key to the mysteries of the scriptures. If you respond to this post (and I really could care less), don't bother if your answer is: "it's all in the Bible." You will have paradoxically, proved both sides of the debate.

To sum up: I feel that evangelism and Christianity often work at cross purposes. On one hand, Jesus teaches compassion and forgiveness and redemption, while on the other hand, many evangelical groups try to "win" members by, instead of showing the virtues of jesus's teachings, trying to paint the world (and specific groups) as evil.

I am wondering what your position is on faith. Faith doesn't seem to play a role in your belief system. You don't seem to have faith in the truth; you believe you KNOW the truth. I have been taught that a most central tenet in christianity is the notion that individuals are related to God through faith. In that faith, people are born into God. If you KNOW the truth, what is there to have faith in?

Oooops I did it again. I played with this blog, got lost in a dream. Oh baby baby...

Eli said...

Please show me which Scriptures I have misinterpreted.

Revelation 21:8? John 3:36? Acts 4:12?

Eli said...

Just to clarify, I don't have internet access at home, so I can only post when I am at school, which should explain the why I am not as prompt to reply. Also, I probably won't be updating the site over the holiday.

Nontheless, let's tackle the next wave of comments:

My above post was aimed at pretty much everybody, but more specifically David, who challenged me on misinterpreting Scripture. I do not believe I have consrewed Scripture at all. The Bible is painfully clear for those who do not wish to obey it.

I also posted it for everyone, because it seems the big ordeal here is one of intolerance of others and an inability to listen to others opinions. Shall we run around the circle once again? The Bible is my one and only standard (I know you say it is for you but it cannot be based on your comments). Because this is so, I cannot be open to opinions when they are opposed to what Scripture says. Why is this so startling? You ought to be ashamed of challenging the Word of God if you claim to be Christians.

The Bible teaches clearly there is only one way to heaven: Jesus. So no, I don't agree with you when you say all religions are fine, because the Bible does not. I believe the truth, and the truth has the power to set free.

Is it not more loving to speak the truth? That is why the Bible says "Speak the truth in love." Love and truth go hand in hand. If I didn't love you I wouldn't tell you the truth, that godlessness leads to judgment and sin leads to death. You are challenging me and saying "You are unloving because of what you say." The Bible says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." (Proverbs 27:6)

Am I doing the will of the Father? The will of God involves much, including believing in Jesus Christ as the true Savior the world (John 6:29), and "For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men" (1 Peter 2:15), which is what I'm doing here on this blog.

Jeanie, you said "are you unwilling to address this issue?" I am willing to address any issue you may have, and I will answer you according to the inerrant Word of God.

Jeanie Betes said...

I'll repost my question then.

"scripture has been 'soiled' many times over by the hand of man. It is not the direct word of god, rather several interpretations and languages old. Why then would it be possible to literally quote and analyze each statement in detail and maintain true to your faith."

Eli said...

Hi Jeanie.

It's one thing to say Scripture is soiled. It's another thing to prove it... which you can't.

If you did a little investigation you would soon find out that the Bible is the most accurate ancient text the world has in it's possession, and the runner up is Homer's Iliad, which pales in comparison to the number of extent copies available in this present day.

The Bible is the infallible Word of God, and I would be careful to throw it away with a simple argument such as that, as these are grave matters concerning eternity and your soul.

Please do not hesitate to post more if you have more questions.

David said...

Eli, you are missing the point(s) of these critiques; this debate will go nowhere. Again, we are not debating with God, we are debating with you. And you are a fallible human. Also, you don't seem to understand the term "interpretation" in the sense that it has been used above. There are many many people who find a different truth in the scriptures, and would say that you are grossly misinformed. You know you're right, and they know they are right - and yet there is a divergence. Somewhere along the line, both parties have chosen to believe a particular interpretation of the Bible. Not that you have to answer this, but what do you study in school? I only ask because it seems strange that someone so focused would enroll in a system that promotes diversity and conflict in thought. Sciences and arts certainly don't fit in with your ideals, and engineering and social sciences are extensions of these areas. Does that leave business? Why aren't you in bible school?

Eli said...

Hello again, David.

Hey, I perfectly agree with you... I am not an infabille human being! I never said I was, I said the Bible was infallible, and I stand by that.

You are again arguing without any substance. It's not enough to say my interpretations are wrong, show me. Please show me which passages I have wrongly interpreted. You won't because you cannot, because I have not. Every Scripture I have given is very clear about what it is saying.

You asked a very good question when you asked why I was going to school. This is an excellent question I myself am trying to answer. As of right now, I am taking a Bachelor of Arts, and I do diverge on many things that I learn. Why am I not in Bible school? Well, I'm seeking to only do what the Lord wants me to do, and so far there has been no clear indication of this. For the time being, I have taken to studying in a secular environment, and so far it has been profitable, but yes, this isn't ideal for me and I look forward to moving on.

By the way, thank you for engaging in this blog. I hope it inspires you and others to look to Jesus and Him alone.

D said...

Re: interpretations

Under another section you mentioned that you used masculine pronouns and identifiers to fall in line with biblical usage. Then you said that, of course, in today's context you mean men and women; you are simply trying to use biblical language. Well, it seems that you have interpreted the Bible, then, to mean men and women, even though, in the Bible, there are many cases where women are no where to be found.

Are you celebrating Christmas this week? Because if you have, in fact, understood the Bible literally, you would have already celebrated Jesus's birthday months ago.

I could go on, but I don't have a Bible with me to find specific passages. But, moreover, this is not really a question of specific passages in the Bible. My problem of interpretation is not an issue of reading into specific passages; I mean, if that was the issue, it would be easy enough to pick out contradicting passages in the Books and show that if you believed everything literally you would contradict yourself. The Bible itself, is made up of the writings of various individuals, who describe, in many cases, the same occurrences, with differing observations. Some line of consistency, in order for the Bible to make sense as a guiding tool, has to be constructed. I am just saying that your reading of the Bible differs from others; and in that diversity, there is a problem with anyone suggesting s/he knows the correct reading.

You challenged me to find specific misinterpretations - well, I think the challenge could easily be reversed - show me a passage of the Bible that can only be read in one way, even following the tenets of Christianity. We are interpreting constantly: my point is that EVERYTHING is an interpretation. I interpret what you mean in your blog posts, you interpret my posts. And likewise, we both get completely different messages from the Bible.

I am glad you are guided by an obvious passion to understand the 'truth.' My fear is that in being so singularly focused, your actions and others might undermine the tolerance (even of other christians) and compassion promoted by the Bible.

On a personal note, when a high school friend of mine learned of my religious beliefs she said to me: "I still love you, but I can't respect you." She is a Christian in your vein. How, exactly, does one love someone and not respect them? This is the intolerance I mean, and it is certainly not taught in the Bible. It is not up to you to decide the merits of others. Obviously, I have no idea if you feel the same way as that woman, but from the tone of your posts, I have a feeling, if you knew by beliefs, you would feel the same way.

My posts are too long I am afraid, but I am a writer, so I guess I have a tendency for the prolix. Sorry. Happy Holidays.

Eli said...

Dear David,

It's not even about interpretation, it's about truth. For instance, if I were to tell you that I own 5 oranges, you might interpret that in a different way than someone else... however, the fact remains that I own 5 oranges whether you interpret this right or wrong.

My point is, we are dealing with truth, the truth of the Word of God, the truth of Jesus Christ and all things that follow. I believe the Bible (as it says) is truth, and Jesus did as well: "...Thy word is truth." (John 17:17)

I find it impossible how people can conscrew Scripture so. I readily admit there are passages of the Bible that are difficult to understand, however, the truth of the Word of God was not meant to be complicated, but is rather quite simple. The message is plain: We are sinful people, God is holy, Christ died for the ungodly.

The problem is not one of complication or interpretation, but simply obedience. I believe that people do not want to obey God, so they make the argument of interpretation to justify their behavior. For example, God commands us not to exchange in sexual activity with the same sex (Leviticus 18:22), but for some reason many people are questioning whether God actually commands this. Have you read Leviticus 18:22? It is plain as plain can be... but do you know what their argument is against it? Yup, interpretation. I believe to argue by virtue of interpretation is a sell out and cowardly excuse from what you know is wrong. These people must repent.

Knowing the will of God is one thing, doing it is another. If we don't want to do it, let's be brave enough to look God's Word in the face and say "No thank you", rather than cuddle up to it and pretend it doesn't mean what it says. God's Word stands as a testimony against sin.

I find that anytime someone stands up for the truth there is one word which never fails to be raised: "INTOLERANCE". I think I've hear this word so much it makes me sick. Why call me intolerant? All I have done is agree with the plain truth of the Bible. As a matter of fact, every person who chooses to side with God will be labelled intolerant. I will gladly be called intolerant... of sin! This pattern has never changed, we find it in the Bible and on this blog. The truth is, this world is intolerant to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That's the truth.

What do you mean by "too singularly focused"? Shall I read the Bible AND the Quran and be in agreement? It is the Bible that tells us to turn neither to the left nor the right.

Another thing, David, is compassion. Your compassion is different than my compassion. Your compassion is blind, foolish and tearless. Can one be compassionate and yet cause another harm? This is what your compassion does. It merely sympathizes with falsehood yet people are living in danger of hell! Your compassion does not groan and cry and weep over lost men and women. Your compassion is not jealous for the salvation of your neighbors. Yours is not compassion. Compassion warns, compassion pleads, compassion is laying your life down for another. This is truly called LOVE.

Yes, neighbor, I love you and have such compassion for you that I will not simply give you the reply you seek and leave you in a worse situation that before. I love you enough to tell you the truth, that Jesus Christ is the one and only Son of God who loved you and died for you. I appreciate our conversation, I respect you as a person, I care for your salvation, and I hope you stay and talk and come to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

David said...

Dear Eli,

I am glad that you are living a life that you feel/"know" is fulfilling, truthful, correct. It's good to see young people who are dedicated.

My dedication is to a different type of philosophy. And I feel we've reached the waning point of the discussion.

Although I don't know anything about your personal life, from your posts I gather you are an individual who avoids the typical vices of youth culture: drinking, drugs etc. You and I are similar in this. I think it is promising that two people with very different belief-systems can both be contributive, positive members of communities, all the while resisting the passing urges of angst. The difference is, while I feel towards you neutrality, you condemn me to Hell unless I come to believe your dogma.

Thanks for letting me and my similars contribute to this post without outright decrying us. Hopefully we have given you something to think about.

All the best, D

Eli said...

Dear commenters,

I appreciate and thank you for your input on this site and for our discussion. Thank you to everyone who felt to post on this blog, regardless of what side you stood. I'd like you to know I have been and will continue to pray for you. I agree, it would probably be for the best to end here, but please never hesitate to speak up if you have any questions or challenges you would like to voice. I hope this blog can be a place for that as well. I pray that we would all come to a knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord.

Just remember, I condemn no one to hell, but offer life and salvation in Jesus' name.

God bless all,
-Eli

Logic said...

This is in response to David's 12:25pm post:

"I applaud your passion and faith, but I find that your world-view is necessarily intolerant, and I might go so far as to say, uncompassionate."

This statement is ambiguous. First I will respond to one interpretation, the less charitable, then the other, the more charitable.

First interpretation:

All worldviews, including theism, deism, atheism, polytheism, pantheism, panentheism, and agnosticism are by necessity and by definition intolerant of all other worldviews. Each worldview is mutually exclusive of the other. This means that two cannot both be fully true.

The only possible worldview that does not exclude all other worldviews is pluralism, which suggests there is no absolute truth and that theism and atheism can both be true. Both claims, which are fundamental to the only intolerant worldview, violate the most basic law of logic, the law of non-contradiction.

Based on this, a purely logical conclusion can be drawn: David is either a pluralist (which violates the most basic law of logic) or a hypocrite (since he accuses Eli's worldview of being intolerant, as though his is not).

Second interpretation:

In light of this, David's defense will undoubtably be that theism, or the Christianity Eli represents, is a world-view unto its own, since David has an exestential approach. He would then assert, on false groudns, that theism and Christianity promote religious intolerance. This is actually not the case. While Eli may advocate such views, Christianity as a whole does not; neither does theism. One metaphysical commitment of theism is free-will; with this comes the liberty of free belief.

It is true that if Christianity is true, all other religions are false. However, it is not the place of Christianity to remove the rights of individuals to believe whatever they prefer.

Either interpretation requires David's statement to be false.

To escape this, David could postulate that when he refers to Eli's world-view he is making reference to Eli's individual worldview. However, if this is his claim he begs the question (a fallacy) since he assumes to fully understand this uniquie world-view that Eli represents without proof.

Logic said...

This is in response to Brian's 12:26 pm comment:

"I have with the statement pasted above is that YOUR truth is not necessarily an absolute truth, or even the truth of your neighbour."

I think with even the most charitable reading of this statement, your implicit implication is that there is no absolute truth.

If your claim is that there is no absolute truth, you are wrong.

Observe:

Claim: There is no absolute truth

If this claim is true, then it is false. The claim is self-referentially absurd. Absolute truth can therefore not not exist; in other words, it must exist.

"I am an atheist"

I am interested in how you deal with the cosmological, teleologcial, and moral arguments for God's existence. Furthermore, I am interested in where you find the grounds for logic, mathmatics, ethics, and aesthetics.

Atheism is illogical on grounds that the universe is not eternal and many other reasons.

Logic said...

In response to John, 2:58 pm

"I don't think that Christ himself showed disrepect for anyone, including those who caused his death."

This is an excellent point, I commend you.

Logic said...

David should read material on:

The Philosophy of language
Exegesis
Biblical exegesis and hermenutics
Syntax and Semantics

While David makes good points about Eli's exegetical skills, he seems to imply that because perfect interpretation cannot be obtained in some cases, there is no basis for any discussion. This is, at best, a falacious slippery slope argument. If David really committed to what his beliefs about exegesis seem to imply, he would have no basis for rational discussion of any kind.

Lack of perfection in interpretation and meaning does not imply absolute absence of meaning; rational discussion can still be had even if there are potentially multiple interpretations. Rational discussion can also be had if only part of an interpretation is correct.