Though the trunk, branches and even most of the leaves of the Bible tree make no sense, there are some leaves here and there which are like gems of high value, such as:
1) “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” often mistaken as the Law of Retaliation is actually a beautiful foundation of a perfect judicial system because behind the details the essence is that any loss caused should perfectly and proportionately be compensated. Original writing of this law and its context are not relevant because Jesus described them as those being orally transmitted (which makes random additions possible), not written (Mathew 5:38-42)
2) “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Mathew 19:24) often mistaken as the anti-rich verse is actually a great verse that is in harmony with what we find in our experience. One who becomes rich in any one particular aspect (money-making, knowledge, art, talent, skill …etc) is often weak in many other aspects of life which invites problems making life (of his and others) a hell. Also, many who are exceptionally good in one aspect is often seen arrogant and treat others as good for nothing which also creates hell for him and others. Because they think their happiness depends on the validation of others, they often experience unhappiness. But if one views life as something to be enjoyed, relaxed—with nothing to “prove” and live in “the now” he is already in the Kingdom of God (Colossians 3:23; Luke 17:21)
The needle referred to a human sized entrance/s called a needle to allow people through but not animals. Hence at the temples you could get off your camel or donkey and it could not follow you through to a people only area. simple but clever idea.
Whether you see it as a sewing needle or a constructed one the analogy is the same.
You are right--analogy is superb. My point was to highlight looking behind the details and benefiting. When we read the Bible with the conditioned mind we may not benefit much. This is what happened to me till I read: ‘You have control over your thoughts. When you change your thoughts, your life changes!’ (Mathew 5:29; James 1:26; Phil 4:8) This great truth hides behind the those verses. Soon I understood that no one is a sinner by birth; hence Genesis account of original sin was not a historical and all the teachings built on that fiction is also useless.
@venus "no one is a sinner by birth" - is that true? What about Psalm 51:5? Appreciate any insights on this, thank you!
@WMUBYJH, in Hebrew, Ps. 51:5 reads partly: Heb “Look, in wrongdoing I was brought forth, and in sin my mother conceived me.
This could mean that he was conceived in sin, i.e. his mother was sinning when he was conceived (adultery??)
Wake Me Up Before You Jo-Ho asked "no one is a sinner by birth" - is that true? What about Psalm 51:5?
Many have read in various scriptures that we are sinners from birth and heard scriptural characters saying: “The good I wish to do I do not do, but the bad I do not wish to do is what I do. What a wretched person I am!” or “This is the way God has made me” …etc. Reading such things people feel that sin is an inherited tendency—something normal!
But I would not agree because I find an avalanche of proofs against this. We find variety of people acting/reacting differently in same situation: Some do more righteous acts, some do more sinful acts, and others mix them in varying degrees, one-time sinners changing into saints, one-time saints changing into sinners, some very poor people who refuse to steal, and some very wealthy people who steal in various ways… etc. This shows people choose to act the way they like which means they are not sinners from birth—resulting in all sorts of people from sinless to the sinful ones. Interestingly, even Bible makes many references to some sinless persons who lived in the ancient times (Genesis 5:24; Job 1:8; Psalm 18:23; Ezekiel 14:14; Luke 1:6 …etc.) and human capacity to perform righteousness. (Habakkuk 2:4; Hebrews 10:38).
If we are not sinners from birth, when does sin arise?
Our experience shows that beliefs and attitudes are linked. For example, if one truly believes in the principle “one reaps what he sows”, he would not display a casual attitude towards life, but he would think before acting and be alert to do good to others and to avoid doing harm to others as far as possible. That means from beliefs, attitudes are formed; and from attitudes, thoughts are formed; from thoughts, action is produced; from repeated action, tendency and habit are produced which in turn determine one’s destiny. For example, a person steals for first time and he was not caught; then he goes on repeating it and a tendency to steal comes into existence. Similarly, a person chooses to give joy to others and stop giving sorrow to others, and he reaps accordingly which in turn makes him repeat the same and a tendency to do good comes into existence.
Thus tendency to commit sin/virtue begins from repeated action, not from birth. That means performance of an action and its repetition is result of choice people make. Bible describes king David who unwisely used this faculty of choice. From his palace when he looked down he saw his neighbor, a very beautiful woman, taking bath. Now he had two choices—either to immediately withdraw his eyes and mind and carry on with his duties as king or “to keep on looking at” that scene. Unfortunately, he chose the latter which kindled lust in him, and finally committed adultery with her and took her as his wife after deceitfully killing her husband even though he had many wives at that time. (2 Samuel, chapter 11) If he had simply withdrawn his eyes and mind as many have done, no sin would have been committed. (James 1:15)
If doing vice/virtue is out of choice, then it would mean no one is a sinner from birth, hence we cannot call anyone sinner. A person may sometimes get swelling on his leg and may have limped a few times—but he is never called lame. Similarly, a person may at times slip into selfishness and use his free-will to his own harm or to the harm of others—but this does not make him a sinner because the ability to perform virtuous acts also exists in him. If one’s occasional sinning does not make him a sinner, sin of another person such as his parents (immediate or distant) can also never make him a sinner.
@venus Thanks so much for taking the time out to put that together for me. I can see the point you're putting across. It's just hard to take off the exegesis glasses WT has firmly welded to my vision and unlearn many of the interpretations of the scriptures I'd been indoctrinated with. I always understood that imperfection on its own, in a biblical sense, is tantamount to being sinful, and that "perfection" is to be sinless - something all Christians strive for in the afterlife (be it paradise earth or a heavenly calling).
Actually, the "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" from Torah is interpreted the opposite by Jews as it is by Christians, which as a Jew is very odd to me.
Christians tend to see it as a "compensation" law, a "retaliation" permission system, or worse--a law permitting capital punishment such as the death penalty.
Jewish law is designed with a complexity often poo-pooed by Christians, as if the Jews don't know what they were writing about when we wrote it and that Gentile Christians, foreign to our culture and language know far better.
This law, in combination with others, has led Israel to outlaw capital punishment, retaliation, revenge, etc. Through the study of Torah, Jews have learned as it is written in the Mishnah: "Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world." --Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5.
As for that Psalm in Hebrew, it reads:
"So inherently sinful I am, that with sin my mother brought me fourth."
The psalmist was not saying he was born "in sin" as Judaism does not hold to the view of Christianity and it's Original Sin doctrine. Instead he was poetically speaking of how deeply he felt guilty of sin. So great it was that he felt it was inherent, as if his mother conceived him not in a womb but in sin itself.
The term "with" can mean "in" but in English that makes people think of Original Sin instead of sin being a stand-in for the womb as it does in the Hebrew.
You are all reading it wrong, as if the Jewish composer was a Christian who accepted the Catholic teaching of Original Sin. It is "in sin my mother conceived me" as opposed to "in the womb my mother conceived me."
its all bullshit