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The story behind The Bible

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mini review: An Introduction to the Bible by J. W. Rogerson

This introduction to the historical aspects of the Bible should be required reading for every religious person who talks about “The Word” without ever really thinking about what they mean.

Shows how the Bible was put together by (mostly) men over the centuries. God may have overseen the entire process, but the Bible didn’t drop down directly from heaven.

Here’s a freely online revised edition, with minor updates to the original >> https://archive.org/details/J.w.Rogerson-AnIntroductionToTheBibleRevisedEdition

—MC


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Bible verses about motivation for Tough Times

English: PACIFIC OCEAN (March 26, 2010) Chapla...

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 26, 2010) Chaplain Lt. Jason Gregory reads bible verses on the weather deck aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52). Bunker Hill is supporting Southern Seas 2010, a U.S. Southern Command-directed operation that provides U.S. and international forces the opportunity to operate in a multi-national environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Barker/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By jeramie

A lot of people would surely agree if we say that life is tough. It is always reassuring to read bible verse about motivation for it somehow gives us the strength to continue with whatever it is that we are doing. Anything could happen in our life regardless of how well we lived, like bankruptcy, job loss, divorce, sickness and a lot more. In times that you think the world is going against you, finding hope and inspiration on bible verses is the best thing to do.

We all have difficult times. Do not think that life is unfair for you experience a lot of difficulties. We all have a fair share on the goodness and difficult side of living. If ever faced with a lot of challenges, do not blame God. You could ask God why, but never blame. When you ask why it’s happening to you, try also to ponder on the possible message that God wants you to realize on the problems you encounter.

Despite of all the problems and difficulties you experience, you should never lose faith in God. If you are down, you simply need to read some bible verses to lift you up.  Always remember that God will never abandon you. He will definitely put you to the test, but on the right time, He will be there to save you and bring you comfort. You need to experience difficulties first before enjoying some good times. Experiencing hardships is part of life. It makes life challenging and exciting. Instead of hating the problems that come your way, be more constructive and try to see what this problem could make you realize.

There are times that the hardships we face are simply eye openers. It makes us a better person and realize how wonderful life it. These problems could also make us more creative and responsive. This way, we become a better person. Try to see other people who are deeply troubled and are into a deeper situation than you are. How come they are still able to live their life? It is simply because they have faith.

Every one of us has to realize that we are nothing without God. This is why when dealing with problems; we need to rely on bible verses about motivation. Reading these verses will not only inspire us but would remind us that we have a God who constantly watching us.

The greatest mistake of a lot of people today is they often turn to worldly comfort when faced with problems. This is the reason why these issues are never solved. When problems strike, be strong and hold on to your faith.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/bible-verses-about-motivation-for-tough-times-7026651.html

About the Author

Need an Article Writer?

Send me an email message: lindsayordaneza@yahoo.com


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Spirituality Advice – Are You Making Any of These 3 Deadly Mistakes in Your Search for Truth?

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Author: John

#1 – A closed mind

A closed mind has been defined as one that is stubbornly unreceptive to new ideas and intolerant of the beliefs and opinions of others. A person may incur the handicap of a closed mind because of egoism, due to not having had a liberal education or because of low native intelligence.

In this condition, all incoming knowledge is filtered through a set of rigid beliefs and whatever does not fit is jettisoned. On the other hand, whatever fits in with the habitual belief is swallowed hook, line and sinker – no matter how irrational it may be. This makes the person prone to all kinds of superstition and fears.

It takes a lot of work for a person to become aware of, let alone take off, the blinders of a closed mind. However, reading extensively on many diverse subjects and traveling to experience different cultures and viewpoints would help remedy this mistake so that the person would be better able to apprehend spiritual truth.

#2 – Gullibility

This is very similar to the first mistake. It often occurs because of the human tendency to accept as true whatever we would prefer to be true or what we wish were true. Thus, without question, imaginative speculations are accepted as facts and claims that have no historical or other precedence are taken as valid.

A gullible person is a ready victim of personality cults, miracle claims and purported instant cures. Persons that have a confident, insistent manner of speaking or that are prestigious or who boldly repeat their claims over and over again pose a particular threat to gullible folks.

The remedy for gullibility is the cultivation of a healthy skepticism, so that every outrageous claim or postulation is taken with a pinch of salt. Surely, it is better to be called a doubting Thomas than be an easy victim.

#3 – Mistaking religion for spirituality

Due to the fact that most of us first get introduced to the idea of spirituality through the medium of one religion or another, we associate the two concepts, sometimes to the point of mistaking one for the other.

Briefly, the difference between the two is that while spirituality refers to the quality or condition of showing great refinement and concern with the higher things in life ( in contrast to material things) religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

Some of the dangers of mistaking religion for spirituality are that you never see anyone who is not an adherent of your religion as spiritual; you never agree to eclectically take advantage of beneficial practices that may originate from other religions than yours; you begin to see the doctrines of your religion as facts of spirituality rather than opinions, albeit enlightened, of the leaders of your faith.

To those who mistake religion for spirituality please consider the wisdom contained in this quote from the late eminent Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung:

‘A belief proves to me only the phenomenon of belief, not the content of the belief. This I must see revealed empirically in order to accept it…’

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/spirituality-articles/spirituality-advice-are-you-making-any-of-these-3-deadly-mistakes-in-your-search-for-truth-6879227.html

About the Author

What is the ultimate approach to excellence? Of what relevance is spirituality in your quest for fulfillment and bliss? John D’Silva’s effective-spirituality.com offers insights that would surprise and refresh you. John is happily devoted to helping You unleash Your Spirit of Excellence. Intelligence directs the universe, not chance…


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Into the Future

This is a wonderful segment about time travel from Stephen Hawking’s Into the Universe DVD, which I watched last night. Hawking seems to believe that time travel is possible, but only into the future.

However, I’m wondering if a subtler type of time travel could be possible. Not time travel involving the body but rather, the soul and, by implication, consciousness.

Many religious believers report the experience of feeling heavenly graces. And this feeling differs from say, a runner’s endorphin rush or the physiological responses related to falling in love or eating chocolate (apparently they’re similar).

If the soul/consciousness can feel graces from heaven, then might not it sense other souls in other places and times? I think it quite possible that the soul could sense blissful souls in heaven, tormented souls in hell, along with souls living in the past and in the future. After all, the soul resides in the body but it also differs from the body. And when we die, the soul goes on and on and on. At least, this is what most religions teach.

I loved Hawking’s video and inspiring example but he always seems to fall a bit short when discussing – or should I say ignoring – the spiritual side of life. I imagine it’s because he’s a brainy physicist, hardwired and habituated into thinking long and hard about problems in a primarily conceptual way. He’s no mystic. At least, I don’t think so. If he is, he sure doesn’t seem like one!

You can read more about Hawking’s views here: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/551152-when-people-ask-me-if-a-god-created-the-universe

—MC


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Near-death experiences shed light on views of afterlife

Come-with-us by Gareth via Flickr

By Steve Hammons - originally posted at Joint Recon Study Group

What happens when we die? That question has been around for a long, long time. According to many religions and philosophies, we go to a beautiful place that is closer to God. That is, if we have lived a good life on Earth.

Some people who, through illness or injury, have been clinically dead or near-dead claim to have had what are now commonly called “near-death experiences” or “NDEs.” This phenomenon has been studied by people who sometimes come to different conclusions about what the experiences are.

Is it a spiritual journey to the afterlife? Or, is it biological experience involving the brain that is a sort of hallucination?

THE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE

Usually, this experience follows a pattern: The person goes out of their body, often floating above and witnessing the situation. Often, their life flashes before them like a fast movie. Then, they enter what is often described as a “tunnel” that quickly takes them to a place of increasing light – a special and beautiful kind of light.

Upon arrival, they may be greeted by loved ones who have previously passed on. Or, they may meet someone that they did not necessarily know beforehand. The NDE experiencers may have interactions and discussions with these people. Also, typically, but not always, the person reports feelings of great happiness and profound peace.

Finally, the individual learns that this is not their time to pass on and that they are to return to life on Earth. Meanwhile, back where their physical body is located, medical personnel may be working to save them. Or, some other circumstances may be present that allows physical life to continue for this person.

What do these reports from reasonable and apparently sane people mean? Hallucination, neurological and biochemical event? Or, a real trip to the afterlife? Obviously, it is difficult if not impossible to prove either way. At least with the knowledge we have at this time.

Many psychics claim to be able to communicate with people who have “crossed over” to “the other side.” For some, this may be corroborating evidence that the NDE is real. It may be comforting to hear about these accounts because many of us have loved ones who have passed on. And, of course, one day we all will.

Do we just cease to exist? Here today gone tomorrow. Dust to dust.

ANGEL AGENTS

Or, if we do go somewhere, we might wonder about what those good people who have passed on are up to. Are they sitting around playing harps? Have they disappeared as individuals into a larger body of spiritual energy? Are they hanging out in a paradise? Are they working toward graduating to the status of angels or angels-in-training? All of the above?

What about all of our military personnel who pass on in large numbers from the wars past, and now in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do they maintain their military orientation when they pass on? Do they stick with some of their buddies as they get oriented in a new training and operational environment? Can they become part of a special operations force and covert intelligence network that functions from this unconventional operational platform in the afterlife?

Considering all the good people that have passed on over all of the generations and thousands of years, those who lived a full life and those who died young, that could be quite a large and significant force.

How do they feel about what is going on here on Earth? Are they far away, or closer than we might think, separated from us by a thin membrane or veil? Are some of them assigned as “guardian angels,” a sort of case officer for us? Do they whisper in our ear or come to us in our dreams at night? What other activities might they be involved in that affect Earth?

It is interesting for many of us to ask these kinds of questions and think about these things once in a while. It is the bigger picture. Maybe some of it is wishful thinking. Yet, we on Earth obviously could use some extra help. It is comforting to think that there might be angels and covert Heavenly special ops intelligence agents behind the scenes helping out. Angel agents.

A STORY TO CONSIDER

In my novel MISSION INTO LIGHT, one part of the story involves such an experience by the main character, Mike Green. On an operation in the Red Rock-Secret Mountain national wilderness area north of Sedona, Arizona, with the 10-person joint-service research team is working with, Mike is shot in the leg and another bullet grazes his skull. He instantly looses consciousness, falls to the ground, and starts loosing significant amounts of blood.

His friends immediately start to tend to him and another wounded member of the team. Meanwhile, Mike has a near-death experience:

Slowly, Mike’s awareness returns. He is disoriented. He looks below and sees his own body, unconscious and bleeding profusely from the leg and head. Another member of the group is bloody from his shoulder down to his hand, the arm of his shirt soaked with blood.

He sees his friends pinned-down by two snipers below him. Below him? Where is he? Has he somehow gotten to a high point along the cliffs?

Mike sees his Uncle Jack directly below him, firing bursts from his automatic weapon, and pulling more clips from his pockets. Near Jack lies Mike’s own body. Jack picks up Mike’s body, throws it over his shoulders, and tries to make his way down a hill, which Mike watches from above.

Slowly, the green forest below him fades from view. Darkness comes over him.

Then, a point of light becomes visible on the horizon. Mike is being drawn toward the point of light, first slowly, then more quickly, as if he were shooting river rapids in a canoe. The point of light draws closer, and Mike finds himself in a tunnel of beautiful golden light.

He seems to slow down now, like the inevitable calm water at the end of a river rapids. Mike drifts slowly through the tunnel and the golden light becomes brighter. Other colors seemed to sparkle through the golden light, like hundreds of tiny rainbows.

Ahead, he can see figures that seemed to be people. As he flows closer to them he can make out four beings. They seem to be waiting for him as he comes closer and closer.

Then, he finds himself surrounded by the four figures. He knows them. They are his four grandparents, and they embrace him. They passed on many years ago, though were a big part of his life when he was a kid. The five seem to float in the light. His grandparents communicate with him in unison.

They tell him, “Yes, Mike, this is the land of the Great Spirit. It is the beautiful place that many religions and philosophies have always taught.”

“There is constant rejoicing and peace in this land. But we feel sadness at the hardships faced by our people in your world. And we feel a longing to help the people there.”

“There are groups of beings who want to bring the two worlds together, to make Heaven and Earth one place. There are efforts underway to accomplish that very mission.”

“That work is proceeding. One day soon, that miracle will come to pass, and there will be a great celebration, a great happiness among all the people.”

“You, Mike, must return to the other world, and tell your family and friends about what you have seen.”

“We have one more thing to show you, something you have a need to know.”

Then, they help Mike take a fantastic journey into deep memories in his DNA, or maybe it is time travel into the ancient past of the Cherokee people in their Smokey Mountain homeland, or maybe both simultaneously. He learns some amazing things.

After this experience concludes, he finds himself with his grandparents again.

“Mike, you must now return to the other world. You still have many more seasons before you join us here in the Spirit land.”

They embrace him again, with happiness. Slowly, the golden light begins to fade and Mike is moving back through the tunnel of light. He sees his grandparents waving good-bye to him until they fade from his sight.

The light grows dimmer and dimmer until it is only a point on a distant horizon. And then darkness.

Mike’s next sensation is the sound of other people talking. He opens his eyes and sees a hospital room in Sedona, his friends gathered around his hospital bed.

He tries to tell about his experience.

“I was floating above the fight at the canyon, watching you scrambling for safety. I saw my own bloody body being carried by Uncle Jack down the rocky path away from the sniper.”

“A tunnel of golden light led to the land of Spirit . . . It wasn’t a dream.”

“I was in the golden light, and saw my grandparents.”

The others listen carefully as Mike tries to recall details of his journey and his meeting with his grandparents.

After he finishes his story, Mike looks closely into the faces of the friends around his bed. Some of their eyes are wider than usual. Some are expressionless, though a smile can be seen in their eyes.

The group’s commanding officer, combat veteran Air Force Colonel Tom O’Brien, standing near the door, gives Mike a knowing wink.

About the Author

Steve Hammons is the author of two novels about a U.S. Government and military joint-service research team investigating unusual phenomena. MISSION INTO LIGHT and the sequel LIGHT’S HAND introduce readers to the ten women and men of the “Joint Reconnaissance Study Group” and their exciting adventures exploring the unknown.


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Psychology and Theology… where do they meet?


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Review – The Trickster and the Paranormal (Hardcover Book)

tpnTitle: The Trickster and the Paranormal
Author: George P. Hansen
Media: Hardcover Book
Publisher: Xlibris (564 pp. with endnotes and index)
Date: 2001

George P. Hansen’s The Trickster and the Paranormal offers a variety of paranormal considerations around the psychological, anthropological and literary image of the trickster. Hansen’s exposition of Max Weber and Claude Lévi-Strauss is competent while reflections on Emile Durkheim are thought-provoking.1

The Trickster provides a clear account of some of the main trends in semiotics and critiques classical notions of so-called primitive and advanced religion. It also looks at contemporary cross-currents in psi and psi research. Considerable focus is given to the American psi scene but not exclusively so. References made to leading international figures, particularly European, are usually accompanied with brief but telling biographical sketches.

My main reservation with The Trickster is its reliance on the structuralist notion of binary opposition. In fairness, Hansen provides reasons for using binary opposition as the methodological backbone of The Trickster. He says a structuralist approach stimulates thought in areas that otherwise might be ignored. And he rightly notes the need for structure and limitation in any inquiry. The issue, I suppose, is the type and degree of structure that’s best for the task at hand.

It seems reasonable to accept a binary opposition of good and evil.2 But a master opposition of this sort in ethics doesn’t justify generalizing the notion of binary opposites to every modality of “our current Western worldview.”3 Hansen does say that the trickster mediates and collapses binaries, and that this process involves numinosity. But, again, he seems to firmly believe that Western culture is predicated on binaries (pp. 31, 62).

Another analytical consideration emerges when Hansen acknowledges uncertainties arising from the so-called emic/etic debate yet applies anthropological data in support of the trickster theory as if the debate were fully resolved. This is one aspect of the The Trickster that just doesn’t wash. Hansen periodically upholds the trickster as if it weren’t a device designed – or constructed as Foucault says – to stimulate thought. Instead of insisting on universal binaries and a mediating/collapsing trickster, wouldn’t it be simpler to just say that the numinous compels us to reevaluate our current assumptions and opinions?

With regard to ethics, Hansen says the Godhead contains both good and evil, and seems to advocate a type of pantheism where the dyads of creator/creation and good/evil are, respectively, taken as one and the same—perhaps something like the “warp and the woof” of the Upanisads. Not much mention is given to monotheistic theologies where an entirely benevolent creator God endows human beings with free will, thus permitting evil for a greater good. A discussion of St. Anselm’s faith-based view, “I believe in order to understand,” along with the propositional statement, “reason follows revelation,” might have been useful in rounding out The Trickster.

This leads to another unsatisfying aspect of The Trickster. Different mystics from various world traditions are presented as if they’ve experienced the same type of numinosity, when in fact we can’t be sure.4 Freud’s so-called ‘backward-looking’ theories and Rudolf Otto‘s rather basic distinctions regarding the numinous are treated in some detail, but The Trickster doesn’t probe too far beyond these standard reference points for numinosity.

To its credit, however, The Trickster questions current thinking on mysticism. Mysticism may overlap, Hansen says, with other paranormal abilities.5 Other positive aspects of the The Trickster can be found in the discussion of UFOs, frauds and hoaxes. Hansen’s treatment of lab research on psi and its practical implications is useful except, perhaps, where he notes confounding variables with retroactive PK yet proceeds to suggest research directions as if these indeterminable factors are “not too severe.”6

The Trickster’s section on literature and literary criticism offers some pointed observations on French rationalists. Thoughtful and mature reflection can be found on the oft diffuse relations among imagination, reality, paranoia, mythology, ontological boundaries, space, time, life, afterlife and the self. Still, and at the risk of sounding like an old-school theologian, I didn’t see too much on the idea of a created self, humbly existing in an “I – Thou” relationship with an omnipotent yet perfectly loving Creator.7

On the whole, The Trickster is an engaging and intelligent book. And it would be unreasonable to expect a bona fide innovator like Hansen to create a slick, seamless work in largely uncharted areas. The Trickster should help readers to better understand psi in relation to the socio-political world of the 21st-century. As cutting-edge material, there might be room for improvement. But for its considerable scope and heuristic value The Trickster and the Paranormal is certainly worthwhile.

Notes

1. For instance, Hansen argues that Durkheim has been largely misunderstood by sociologists. For Hansen, Durkheim does not reduce the idea of the numinous to non-mystical origins. This is an interesting if debatable claim. Consider, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, trans. Joseph Ward Swain (London: Allen & Unwin, 1964), pp. 218-22, 427, 439-440, 442-443, 444.

2. I would suggest that heaven and hell exist independently of whatever relativistic language games we might play with the terms ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ When viewed from the perspective of everlasting life, this is supremely practical.

3. (a) See p. 62. Among other things, Hansen notes the binary code used in computing; but are human beings computers?

4. See p. 78. Along these lines, William James, Evelyn Underhill, Joseph Campbell, C. G. Jung, Mircea Eliade, John Milton, Sri Aurobino and St. Teresa of Ávila – to name a few – each suggest that numinous experience may contain radically different qualities and textures.

5. We must ask whether paranormal abilities are in every case equivalent to divine gifts. As St. Paul puts it, those without love are meaningless (1 Corinthians 13).

6. See p. 330, 342-43. It is assumed that visible subjects (or “social groups” consisting of human beings) and not some invisible external agent largely influenced pre-recorded trials. The latter possibility would still involve a reevaluation of space and time. However, it is conceivable that if a demonic supernatural power did exist, it could dupe people into believing they’re producing a retroactive PK effect when they’re not. See my discussion on the idea of discernment in ETs, UFOs and the Psychology of Belief.

7. Granted, brief mention is given to the idea of ‘heaven’ and the ‘mystical marriage,’ and Otto runs throughout the book. But with regard to the latter, I felt that I was mostly reading Hansen’s Otto instead of Otto’s Otto.

—MC

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