20200831 The Mayors second speech to the islanders in youtube

the Lipari islands Mayor Marco Giorgianni continues to send streaming from home to tell about the health situation (Covid virus situation, from min 9:40 and the hospital situation) on Lipari and its islands. This transparency is a good example of democracy. Thanks to the islander and journalist Giuseppe Paino we have now also the transcript of the Mayor’s speech, so you can get it translated if needed.

Think like God

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INTRODUCTION

Mt 16,21-27 is read today. Jesus gets angry with Peter and says that he “sets his mind on the things of men”. The priest and pope Francis did not talk about this sentence maybe because it is difficult to interpret. I decided to make a try.  This led me to choose the title of this post. 

I will emphasize in mya article, on Peter’s reaction. His reaction is quite easy to understand today with the help of some knowledge in neurology.

I have found that the message Jesus gives in Matthew 16:23 helps us to follow Jesus’ commandment “Lover you enemy”. Iexplain this in my conclusion.

INDEX

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The text

( N:B. The texts below are copied from www.christianwritingtoday.com/free_downloads/WebNT_CWTedition.pdf )

Mt 16,21-27 says 

16:21 From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.
16:22 Peter took him aside, and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This will never be done to you.”
16:23 But he turned, and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men.”
16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
gle translate16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
16:26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?

16:27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds

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The message

We must remember that the  apostles, in this case Matthew themselves interpreted Jesus’ word, translating these from Jesus language  Galilean Aramaica form of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic. So we can never know what Jesus really said. We have to rely on the translation in greek made by Matthew.

Set your mind on the things of God.

Normally the focus on today’s reading is on how to follow Jesus (“take the cross”. etc.). I prefer to emphasize on 16:23

Jesus said to Peter according to 16:23 : “… you are not setting your mind on the things of God but on the things of men.”

The Italian version in  Mt 16,21-27 writes:
perché non pensi secondo Dio, ma secondo gli uomini!”
This translates to English as:
“because you do not think according to God, but according to men!”.

I have to look at the Greek version as often happens with New testament Bible text that were written in Greek.

I used Biblehub to read the Greek text. The Greek version is:

ὅτι οὐ φρονεῖς τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀλλὰ τὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων.”

ὅτι οὐ φρονεῖς τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀλλὰ τὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων
hoti ou phroneis ta you Theou alla ta tōn anthrōpōn
For not your thoughts are of the things of God but the  things of men

 

phroneis is a variation of phroneo, to think

The Greek version word φρονεῖν, sphronein is similar to the Greek wordσωφρονεῖν, sōphronein that is used in other Bible texts (Roman 12:3 and Titus 2:6

About σωφρονεῖν, sōphronein  the book “the art and thought of Heraclitos” reads:

σωφρονεῖν, sōphronein can have these interpretations:

  •  have sound judgment
  • to be sober-minded to each
  • to be sensible

Paul uses sophronein in Colossians 2:3: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Peter uses a diffferent word in 5:8 “Νήψατε, Nēpsate (Be sober, be vigilant); be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Paul says about thinking in Romans 12:3 “… think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” 

For you who want to listen to Pope Francis that talks every Sunday at noon (GMT 11) here is the youtube recorded from https://www.raiplay.it/dirette/rai1:

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conclusion

 

Peter could not know what we know today about our brain.  Peter reacted like a normal human. Jesus was right in saying “you should think like God” and not react like humans do. he could today have said “you must reprogram your amygdala.”.

What is to think “sober-minded” and “think like God”? I believe that must be aware about our brain’s alarm and anger functions.

 I will try to explain here. 

“We are feeling creatures who (shouldnthink” as Jill Bolte Taylor says in her Ted. I would specify “should think”. Peter could not know what we know today about our brain.  Peter reacted like a normal human where “Half of his brain shut down”. This happened before when he had the vision of Jesus and Eliah.

The brain  is a predicting beast machine as Helmholtz once said and Anil Seth reminds us about and we must avoid judgement biases or prediction errors especially about our next, in peter’s case about Jesus.

We easily misinterpret others. Our amygdala in the limbic system is very fast in “pushing the fire alarm button

The amygdala in our limbic system is programmed to warn you if you are excluded from your community”. To be part of the community is a survival issue for humans. For Peter not having Jesus with him became a survival issue.

A signal that you are at risk in the community is when someone yells at you or behaves badly with you. Amygdala starts a stress reaction with cortisol flowing in your blood making your blood leave the brain and flow to the muscles.

Your brain makes therefore easily, bad predictions. This is something that often happens when you met adolescents that for some reason are angry with you.  When this happens, your anger system activates and you behave as if you have an enemy in front of you.

Here we have to automatize Jesus commandment “Love your enemies ” and with today’s reading “Think like God”.

We must “reprogram our Amygdala” so it does not push the alarm button when someone is angry with you or “threats to leave you”. The neurologist, Jill Bolte Taylor explains this very well in her Ted (listen from minute 4). Be prepared for some anxiety/stress reaction in her Seminar. You will maybe feel like Peter did.


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Who Am I?

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INTRODUCTION

Tomorrow Sunday 23 August Mt 16,13-20 is read. It’s about who Jesus really was and Peter, chosen to be the rock of the assembly.

We know about the story of the Vatican, its search for power, its inquisition, and its persecutions, an “assembly” that never followed Jesus’ commandments. Jesus should have known about the dark future of the church. 

I wrote about this story in two previous posts:

I will, therefore meditate on the first part of the Gospel.

INDEX

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The text

( N:B. The texts below are copied from www.christianwritingtoday.com/free_downloads/WebNT_CWTedition.pdf )

Matthew 16:13-20 says:

16:13 Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
16:14 They said, “Some say John the Baptizer, some, Elijah, and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
16:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

16:20 Then he commanded the disciples that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ.

About Peter
16:17Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
16:18 I also tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
16:19 I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven.”

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The message

“Throughout the history of mankind, the subject of identity has sent poets to the blank page, philosophers to the agora and seekers to the oracles.” ( ed.ted.com )

The question “Who Am I?” has been dealt with by many philosophers and the last century, psychologists and anthropologists. In this Ted Amy Adkins gives a good historical picture of this philosophical issue:

16:13 Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

Maybe he wanted to check that whatever the others thought, some thoughts should not be shared as he said according to 16:20

Jesus asked others about their thoughts about him.
Do we know who we are? We have a body but is that all?

What is our soul? What is going on inside us? 
I would say that we do not know who we really are.

Maybe Jesus is asking us to ask ourselves and not others, his question.

16:20 Then he commanded the disciples that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ.

I think he did not want to spread Peters’s opinion as it would spoil his plans. He did not want to anticipate his death with heresy accusations and a death sentence. He wanted to be satisfied with his mission before a death sentence, he for sure knew would come.

It is a similar request like the one he did after one of his miracles as in Luke 8:56:

8:53 They were ridiculing him, knowing that she was dead. 8:54 But he put them all outside, and taking her by the hand, he called, saying, “Child, arise!” 8:55 Her spirit returned, and she rose up immediately. He commanded that something is given to her to eat. 8:56Her parents were amazed, but he commanded them to tell no one what had been done.”

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conclusion

 


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Do miracles and then will I believe!

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INTRODUCTION

Today Mt 14,22-33 is read. Jesus and Peter walk on the sea.

I am a little bit ironic about the title of this post. But this has and still is true. To know that God exists, we still look for miracles.

Read more about this phenomena in demythologizing-the-gospels/#necessity

But this time we have a cute story. Maybe the intention was not to make a wonder. Jesus just wanted to join his disciples: he could. But the disciples saw a sign that made them say “Jesus is truly the Son of God!”

we easily ignore john 4:48:

“Unless you see signs and wonders,
you will in no way believe.” 

But the story about Peter having problems walking on the water gives us important advice for life.

INDEX

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The text

( N:B. The texts below are copied from www.christianwritingtoday.com/free_downloads/WebNT_CWTedition.pdf )

Matthew 14,22-33 says in English:

The miracle on the lake of Galilee

14:22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat, and to go ahead of him to the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
14:23 After he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into the mountain by himself to pray. When evening had come, he was there alone.

The boat in the middle of the sea
14:24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, distressed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
14:25 In the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. 
14:26 When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It’s a ghost!” and they cried out for fear.
14:27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying “Cheer up! It is I!s Don’t be afraid.”
14:28 Peter answered him and said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the waters.”

Peter walks on the water
14:29 He said, “Come!” Peter stepped down from the boat, and walked on the waters to come to Jesus.
14:30 But when he saw that the wind was strong, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
14:31 Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand, took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

You are truly the Son of God.
14:32 When they got up into the boat, the wind ceased.
14:33 Those who were in the boat came and worshiped him, saying, “You are truly the Son of God!”

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The message

 

14:29 He said, “Come!” Peter stepped down from the boat, and walked on the waters to come to Jesus.
14:30 But when he saw that the wind was strong, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
14:31 Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand, took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?

Source: Wiki

This is a cute story. I like Taylor Brown’s interpretation of this story. When we are struck by problems we often focus on the situation we are in instead of looking to solutions.

The wind ceased and they believed

14:32 When they got up into the boat, the wind ceased.
14:33 Those who were in the boat came and worshiped him, saying, “You are truly the Son of God!”

The fact that they were so dependent on miracles must have frustrated Jesus a lot angrily say Mt 16:4 :

An evil and adulterous generation
seeks after sign,
and there will be no sign given to it, 
except for the sign of the prophet Jonah.”

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conclusion

As you, I do not rely on miracles to believe that Jesus is inspired by God. His words and commandments proves that.
I see this story more like a message than a miracle.


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Men should keep silent – my will! – updated

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Introduction

This post was published on: Mar 15, 2018. Now I updated it.

I am tired to hear men’s voices in the church at JW meetings. I loved to listen to a woman at the Lutheran church in Sweden. I love female voices but not only because of their voice but also because of their way to talk and think.

I personally can not regard everything in the Bible as being words and commands of God. Some parts in the Bible look to be written by men not “inspired by God“.  Maybe were these men even inspired by the devil.  We are all humans, Jesus like Adam were tempted by the devil so maybe also Paul. I say this thinking about the damage some parts have created as I write about in “Consequences of Genesis

I probably met a fundangelical literalist last week at the JW “Sala del regno” in Lipari I had a discussion with a Jehovah Witness in Lipari.

( Image source: noreligionblog.wordpress.com  )

I am not a JW but I am attending JW (Jehovah witnesses) meetings as they are very helpful and talented in finding different parts of the Bible, even better than the catholic priests I talk with. And their jw app is a great tool for those who want to know more about what is written in the Bible.

As it looks like JW regards the whole Bible as the word of God, “inspired by God” using the words of 2Timothy 3:16.  I asked, therefore, a  Italian JW brother:

“Is the sentence of Paul

let the women keep silent in the congregations”

a sentence/order made by God?

He couldn’t answer, tried to deviate, starting to talk about other parts of The Gospel. I asked again the same question asking him for a yes or no or I don’t know, but invane.

A Witness sister had another approach telling me about other parts of Pauls’s letter where Pauls talked about women active in Rome (see the women leaders in my article below).  But that wasn’t an answer neither to my question. I made, however, thanks to her, my own research both in NT and OT. I came to the conclusion that Paul with his sentence, contradicted himself, the NT and OT. He had a blasphemous moment distracted by stress or the sentence was added later by others in the CAtholic church. I found a blog where Swedish Richard  Cruz discusses this issue. His articles are the main sources of information I used in this article.

Index

 

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Word inspired by God 

I think it has no sense to discuss which are the Words inspired by God without having any definition or criteria about what are “Words inspired by God”.

Paul wrote this about the Bible Timothy  in Ephesos in 2-Timothy 3:16

“All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight,* for disciplining in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”

As I have not found any criteria bout this,  I use my own criteria when I read the Muslim Quran, the Buddhist PaleCanon, the Zoroastrian Gatha, The Christian Bible.

These are:

Words may be inspired by God if …

  1. I find the same moral rules and principles in several holy books.
    good thoughts, good words, good deeds. the world's most beautiful country: IranThis is e.g. the case of Jesus rules and the Buddhist 8- fold path to enlightenment and the Zoroastrian Gathas Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds
  2. the sentences I read follow:
    1.  Jesus rules (my ethical ground rules)
    2. the Golden rule
    3. Love your next, your enemie (e.g. rivals), your neighbor
    4. Do not count the times you forgive ( Mat 18:22
    5. never betray a confidence 
      A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. ” (  Proverbs 11:13 NKJV  )
  3. A rule is not contradictory to other parts of the same book
  4. If modern science support
  5. a moral rule  leads to improvements, good constructive results 

The word of God is discussed in noreligionblog.wordpress.com/

As a pluralist, I am of course not a fundangelical, as is explained by  www.extremelysmart.com

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Paulus words

“let the women keep silent in the congregations, for it is not permitted for them to speak. Rather, let them be in subjection, as the Law also says.   If they want to learn something, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the congregation”   (  Cor 14:34 )

This is confirmed in  Thimothy 2:12 that says “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but she is to remain silent”

he comes to these conclusions with the Genesis as he says in 1-Timothy 2:13-15 :

“For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Also, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was thoroughly deceived and became a transgressor.  However, she will be kept safe through childbearing.”

Maybe JW doesn’t regard these as words of and orders by God as JW women are allowed to speak in the congregation but because of 1-Timothy 2:13-15 they never lead the assemblies.

In any case, the sentence “women keep silent” goes against Paul himself and the Bible

Read the thoughts about this verse by

www.rickardcruz.se 

this is another part that I hardly see as God’s word. How can the appearance of hair be that important for God?

In the Vatican and the Dome of Milan, women are not allowed to enter without covering the hair. But men can enter even with long hair.

These verses are according to me written by men who think they are superior to women.

The woman is man’s glory, not Gods?

( 1 )  ” But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered shames her head, for it is one and the same as if she were a woman with a shaved head. For if a woman does not cover herself, she should have her hair cut off but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved, she should be covered.  For a man should not have his head covered, as he is God’s image and glory, but the woman is man’s glory.” (  Cor 11:5-7  )

This reminds of the Muslim people that require women to cover their hair. And a woman as man’s glory? typically written by a man with no self-confidence at all that has not learned that the last on Earth is first in Heaven. Paul, sometimes should men keep their mouth shut.

JW women seem not to follow this so these sentences may not be seen as words of God?

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Biblical arguments against “the women keep silent”

If it were heretical for women to speak in congregations, Jesus would not have asked Mary to tell what she saw and Jesus told her, to the brothers as is written in  John 20:16-18  :

( 1 )  “She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.”

In this text there is no distinction between women and men:

 ( 1 ” a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.”

( 1 )   So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”  (  Col 3:11 -13 )

( 1 )   The women should not be silent in the congregation as is written in  ( Psalms 68:11  )

The Lord gives the command; The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host

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Women Leaders in the early church
I found very useful information in my translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

Three women followed Jesus and are mentioned several times in the Gospels. At one point it says that Jesus was with the twelve disciples – and these three women. Why there were only men among the twelve were probably because they traveled, lived, stayed overnight, and went extremely close together for three years and that it had been very difficult to do that with a mixed group in that society. Translated from  www.rickardcruz.se

Mary, Joanna, and Susanna and many others( 1

 ” After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;  Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means” ( Luke 8: 1-3 )

Mary from Magdala 
Mary from Magdala had a life-changing encounter with Jesus when he liberated her from seven evil spirits. She became one of Jesus’ followers and sometimes traveled with him. She was just like the other disciples, following Jesus and received his teaching.
She was present at the two most important events in Jesus’ life: the crucifixion and the resurrection. She is mentioned at least twelve times in the four Gospels, which is more than most of the male disciples. Jesus chose to allow Mary to be the first to prove himself in his resurrection as I wrote about above. He also sent her to be the first witness of the resurrection of the other disciples. This is contrary to the prevailing system in the Jewish society where women were not considered credible as witnesses. My translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

Philippus four unmarried daughters
 We do not know their names or if they were considered prophets but they prophesied according to   ( Acts 21:8-9 ): ( 1 )   “Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.”

Phoebe – Co-worker of Paul who served the church in Cenchreae, We do not know which service/gift she had but that she was now traveling to Rome with Paul’s recommendations may very well suggest she was a traveling serviceman.

( 1 )   “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae.”

(Romans 16: 1)

My translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

Maria
– Workers in the Assembly of Rome. She was a congregation worker and leader who had made a big difference to the church in Rome. (

Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. “  ( Romans 16: 6 )

My translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

Junia
– according to Paul, she was a highly regarded apostle. For centuries, the female apostle Junia has been the headache of the male church hierarchy. Many have tried to claim that Junia was actually a man but there is no proof of anything other than that she was actually a woman.

( 1 )   “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.” ( Romans 16: 7 )

Hypatia

I wrote about her in a separate post.

My translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

Tryphena and Tryphosa

Their names make it likely that they were either slaves or former slaves. My translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

( 1 )   ” Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord” ( Romans 16:12 )

Priska / Priscilla

“Greet Priscilla and (ed. Priscillas husband) Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus.  They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.”

Priska and her husband traveled and moved several times. In Ephesus, Corinth and Rome. Probably she and her husband served as the noblest / community leader. She and her husband met Apollos early in his service and taught him thoroughly. He is later referred to as an apostle. (Acts 18: 2-3, 18, 26, Romans 16: 3-4, 1 Corinthians 16:19, 2 Tim 4:19)

My translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

Euodia and Syntyche

( 1 )   ” I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.”  ( Phil 4: 2-3 )

Friends, Leaders and Employees of Paul in the Gospel Service in the Philippi Assembly. 

My translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

 

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Consequences of verses in Genesis

I would like to analyze the consequences of some verses in Genesis regarding the Roles of Adam and Eve. 

It is important to know that both Muslims and Christians believe in the same story and roles of Adam (deceived by Eve) and Eve (the deceiver) 

As you will see the story of Genesis led to a chain reaction (Domino effect)

Effect 1.

Paul who thought that all scripture in the  Bible (Genesis included) were inspired by God ( 2 Timothy 3:15 ) red and interpreted  Genesis in  1-Timothy 2:13-15 as I wrote above, like this :

“For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Also, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was thoroughly deceived and became a transgressor.  However, she will be kept safe through childbearing.”

(ed. “kept safe” from being stupidly deceived by the Devil or commit more crimes? Only the Bible contains such a statement, the Quran doesn’t, even though many Muslims think that women should not study nor work but instead take care of the children and the home. )

Pauls conclusion after reading Genesis was, therefore:

  Effect 1a.” However, she will be kept safe through childbearing.”

  Effect 1b.“I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but she is to remain silent” ( Thimothy 2:12 )

Effect 2. With the support of Pauls  verses  above ( (Effect 1b in 1 Tim. 2:12-15).),  Brian Allison like many priests, states in http://www.bibleword.com/wwsnbp.htm: “The second reason why women are not to be pastors or elders is that the Scriptures (ed. Pauls letter to Timotheus is regarded as Gods law) specifically prohibit such action.”

As is described in http://www.womenpriests.org/jesus-empowered-women/

In the Middle Ages, everyone took for granted that only men were present at the Last Supper.” This led to the conclusion by the Church that only men should be allowed to perform the Eucharist in his name.

This is maybe changing as  “faithful Catholics  show why the exclusion of women from the priesthood is wrong”. Read more inn http://www.womenpriests.org/

Among those who welcomed Francis during his visit in Sweden was Lutheran Archbishop Antje Jackelen of Uppsala. Jackelen is the primate of the Church of Sweden and a woman.  See photo above from www.ncronline.org.

On the question ‘Who is more important in the theology or in the spirituality of the church: the apostles or Mary, on the day of Pentecost?’ ” Pope Francis answered: “It is Mary!”

However, the Pope said that the ban is going on that direction ( ed. an everlasting ban ) in the Catholic church.  Read more in  www.ncronline.org

This everlasting ban is one of the consequences of the story of Adam and Eve. Maybe this ban was only of one of many.

One can speculate about other consequences  of Genesis like 

Who loosed most from the story of Genesis? The women.

Who won power with the story of Genesis? The men.

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Bible scripts, Jesus did not accept

I discuss here a few parts that Jesus did not accept and whose rules he changed triggering the wrath of the priests of his time. 

  1. Did God say “Defeat your enemy and put aside the clothes of a pleasant woman prisoners in your home and make her your wife?”

These verses tell you how God will help you defeat your enemie and how a man can have sex with an attractive prisoner woman. 

( 1 )  “When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13, and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave since you have dishonored her”  (  Deuteronomy 21:10-14  )

What Jesus said years later

(You heard that it was said: ‘You heard that it was said: ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you,” ( Matt 5:43-44 )

Jesus said “it is said”  He didn’t say, “God said”. So Jesus may be indirectly said that Deuteronomy 21:10-14 :  is not the word of God. It is superfluous to talk about aberrant instruction to use a pleasant prisoner woman. 

  1. No, the word of God is this intelligent and constructive statement:

“love your enemie and persecutor”

2a. Did God order you to Stone your stubborn son?

These verses of  Deuteronomy 2:8-25 are also very questionable:

( 1 )   “If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him,  his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.”

Sons should show respect to the parents but stubbornness we know of today may have other causes than being evil. Maybe the son has some trauma from bad experiences or simply, the parents are not behaving as good parents. A God should know this and that elders may not be able to judge in a correct way. I can not see these verses as inspired by God.

2b. Did God order you in case of adultery to  Stone your daughter in front of your house?

This is what God commands according to the Bible: 

( 1 )  “If, however, the charge is true  (ed. the woman is found not to be virgin and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found,  she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.” ( Deuteronomy 22:20-21 )

More can be read about this in https://carm.org/bible-difficulties

How can you p4roove that a woman is virgin? Not all women loose blood after the first intercourse.  God would have known that.

What Jesus said years later

 “Read these verses of John 3:1-11

( 1 )  “As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.  “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” 
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.  They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”  Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?  “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Jesus the one who has never sinned, did not ask for witnesses and proves  nor did he stone her. Even if he  clearly said “you shall not commit adultery”  (  Matthew 5:27-28 ) he let her go telling her “sin no more”

This behaviour of Jesus is in total agreement with the no judge  law Jesus himself proclaimed:

2. God said this intelligent and life-changing advice

( 1 )  “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. luke 6:37 )

We have to judge in today’s society but have developed a system for that to minimize risks for mistakes. many countries are against death sentences for the same reason. We must protect the victims. while respecting humans right, giving criminals possibilities to start a new life without crimes.

3. Did God at request from Elisha, order young children to be torn   to pieces by “shebears”?

Read 2 Kings 2:23-24 that tells about what young boys made to Elisha and what God made at his request:

“He went up from there to Bethel. As he was going along the way, some young boys came out from the city and began to jeer at him, and they kept saying to him: “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!”   
Finally he turned around and looked at them and cursed them in the name of Jehovah. Then two she-bears came out of the forest and tore 42 of the children to pieces

Do you  believe that God had this happen? Is this the truth? I am in doubt of that.

3. No. God said this intelligent and life-changing advice about how many times you should forgive:

up to 77 times” ( Mat 18:21-22 )

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Conclusion

 about that Paul with his sentence contradicted himself, the NT (Jesus himself), and OT (Psalms 68:11). He had a blasphemous moment distracted by stress or the sentence was added later by others in the Catholic church.

That God gives instructions on how humans should dress (  see verses in  Cor 11:5-7  ) is like the Muslim God that in the Quran instructs about heritage amounts ( 4-Al-Nisa ). This seems to me, not to be an issue for a God to spend precious time with.  Especially not when the main message is to love your next and enemie ( enemies that maybe women challengeing you.

I can not find any other conclusion that the story of Genesis was written by men led by their own instincts and absolutely not “inspired by God”.

If there is a God (I am agnostic as you may understand) and a  God per definition should be all-knowing, a God would have understood the weakness of Adam, that Adam in the presence of a beautiful woman like probably Eve was, were to become simply stupid. Not forgetting that Eve was of the same body of Adam and therefore like a twin brother.

God should have sent the message instead, that men should sometimes keep silent and not get to much powers being to much driven by instincts and heir hormones.

For me it seems obvious that some parts of the Bible are the word of men and not inspired by God, words of men who in part  either

  •  erroneously translated their messenger
  • or misinterpreted their messenger
  • or overinterpreted what they heard adding their own fantasies to make their story more interesting or readable (like parts in the  Genesis, as using the word day instead of millennia and with “God rested the seventh day”  or blaming the woman for the man’s failures

There is also a hypothesis that Pauls  “Women shall keep silent ” has been added after his death, maybe by the same people who argued that Pauls Junia was a man.

The same can be seen in the Quran were “fight” has been translated to kill in contradiction of Moses law “you shall not kill” a translation that led many youth to go to ISIS.

like the Catholic church does not accept women to be priests because of Pauls’s “Women should keep silent.” and many women in Sicily have suffered as hey couldn’t prove their virginity after the first marriage night, one has to read the Bible with listening and thinking mind. Not to forget that several texts were created 6000 years ago, transmitted orally and written down hundreds of years later, like the books of Moses.

That the Genesis said the Paradise was created down here on Earth (as the translations sound like) is one of my doubts. Even if geniously written, I think the Creation message in Genesis has been greatly simplified and misinterpreted downgrading God to a magician and artists. If Genesis really originated from God, then God shows great humility with this account of the Creation.

I prefer however the more mystical Muslim version where Paradise with Adam is created in Heaven (like Jesus was before everything) and Adam was sent down to Earth as a punishment for disobedience, incarnated in a human beings body, like I wrote about in my Unified creation theory.

Words inspired by God or by the devil? 

About the suggestions of the evil ones will be the issue for the next post.

 

Footnotes

(1) About texts from the Bible in this article. If you are reading Bible text in the English version and using the Google translate option, you must know that the Google translation may not be an approved translation. We recommend you to open the approved text  in your chosen language here in Biblia or here in jw.org.

 

He will wipe every tear from their eyes

I saw again the film Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves”, a story about love, in this case about the love of Benjamin and Rasmus, two boys who loved each other. 

One of them, Rasmus, died in Aids in the early 1980s when AIDS came to Stockholm. 

Benjamin was a brave Witness of Jehovah who knew the Bible very well.  But Benjamin loved Rasmus and decided to leave the Jehovah witness. Despite that, he remained a good Christian. He never committed adultery and betrayed Rasmus, something that Rasmus did going to bed with other men.
Benjamin was therefore lucky and never got infected.
He survived the painful death of his boyfriend. Benjamin helped taking care of Rasmus at the hospital, despite the risks of infection.

Benjamin, declaring himself as homosexual, was however excluded from his family who was J. Witnesses. Benjamin suffered heavily being abandoned by his family.

Benjamin was not even allowed to attend Rasmus’s funeral as Rasmus’s parents were afraid of bad talks in their home village north of Stockholm.

Benjamin told about his story, 20 years later, and about his story is this film based. The film that is really a film about true love, is available at IMBd.

Benjamin’s favorite Bible verse was Revelation 21:4:

4‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. 
There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, 
for the old order of things has passed away.”

Benjamin comforted his friend Rasmus with this verse before he died at the hospital.

God/Allah/יהוה is a forgiving God that understands humans’ need for true love. And Jesus said “Love you enemies and forgive 7×77 times.

(from the Quran Al-Fatihah 1:1
in English: In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful

Some scientific facts to consider

  • We are all developed in the womb as physically female embryos with e.g. clitoris instead of a developed penis. Only later female embryos become male embryos. Some males can develop differently getting in love with the same-sex humans.
  • You can not decide whom you get in love with, as it depends on your brain’s functions.
  • Homosexuality does not depend on previous traumatic experiences and can be cured as some religious (JW) say.


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Jesus didnt wan’t to do miracles

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INTRODUCTION

Sunday mass August 2 we read Mt 14,13-21 about the miracle of the bread and fish. As you know from my page about Miracles I do not believe in all those miracle stories. They are not important. The important his Jesus kerygma.

Jesus said according to Mt 16:4 :

An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign,
and there will be no sign given to it, 
except for the sign of the prophet Jonah.”

INDEX

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The text

( N:B. The texts below are copied from www.christianwritingtoday.com/free_downloads/WebNT_CWTedition.pdf )

Feeding the Five Thousand

14,13-21 says:

14:18 He said, “Bring them here to me.”
14:19 He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass, and he took the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he blessed, broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes.
14:20 They all ate and were filled. They took up twelve baskets full of that which remained left over from the broken pieces.
14:21 Those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

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The message

Comparing the Gospels

the “Feeding of the 5,000”, is reported by all four gospels
(Matthew 14:13-21Mark 6:31-44Luke 9:12-17John 6:1-14).(Read more in Wiki )

To compare the stories I added these
with the oldest (Mark) first in this table: 

Mark 6:40-44;

40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And all ate and were filled; 43 and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.

Mt 14:13-21

Those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

 

Luke 9:12-17

And he said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 They did so and made them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And all ate and were filled.

John 6:1-14

10 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so theyc] sat down, about five thousand in all. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.

 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”

This was the first miracle with thousands of “guests”.

He did this first miracle near the lake of Galilee. Having the people sit in groups of 0 or 100 is a time-consuming task. We have to consider that families maybe did not want to be separated by their children especially newborns.

Counting up to 5000 is not an easy task 2000 years ago. Who could have done that?  Matthew was before tax-collector so he was maybe the one who could count such large numbers maybe with the help of a abacus. the fishermen disciples selling fish, maybe could do that too.

The early Christians taught these miracles to be important not considering Jesus’ own opinion about these ( Mt 16:4). At their time you had to do supernatural things at least like Moes, to be considered worthy to listen to.

At the marriage of Cana, they made Jesus into a God of wine Bacchus. (John 2:1–11). The gospel writer of John had a big need to make Jesus a miracle man, a wizard.

They took inspiration from Isaia 55:1-3 about the miracle of the fish and bread, from Moses. Jesus mus realize  Isaia 55:1-3 to be regarded as a God.

At the marriage of Cana, they made Jesus into the Roman God of wine Bacchus. (John 2:1–11).

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conclusion

As said in my introduction, Jesus said according to Mt 16:4 :

An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign,
and there will be no sign given to it, 
except for the sign of the prophet Jonah.”

Jesus wanted us to listen and not to believe in him thanks to miracles. So I strongly doubt this fish bread story.

But I had an interesting association with this miracle.

The real miracle came after Jesus’ death. There are an estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world most of them taking the bread at eucharistic / communion on Sundays,

I wonder if they believe in Jesus because of his miracles or because of his kerygma. Many do not follow his commandments.

 

 

 

 


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the treasure and pearl parables

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INTRODUCTION

Today Sunday Mt 13,44-52 is read. It is about three parables of the Kingdom of Heaven (Kingdom of God): 

  1. Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field,
  2. the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a merchant seeking fine pearls
  3. the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet

The first two parables look to be more cryptic than those of the what and the grain of mustard I wrote about last Sunday.

But in the light of the mustard grain parable, I found what the Kindom of Heaven’s treasures and pearls could be.

INDEX

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The text

( N:B. The texts below are copied from www.christianwritingtoday.com/free_downloads/WebNT_CWTedition.pdf )

Matthew 13:44-52 says:

13:44 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.
13:45 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a merchant seeking fine pearls,
13:46who having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
13:47 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet, that was cast into the sea, and gathered some fish of every kind,
13:48 which, when it was filled, they drew up on the beach. They sat down, and gathered the good into containers, but the bad they threw away.
13:49 So will it be in the end of the world. The angels will come forth, and separate the wicked from among the righteous,
13:50 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.”
13:51 Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?” They answered him, “Yes, Lord.”
13:52 He said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been made a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a householder, who brings out of his treasure new and old things.”

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The message

I interpret Jesus’ parables according to my Confirmation and judgment bias. I base my prejudices on Jesus’ teaching of love and my studying of the Creation.

13:44 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.

the Universe is the Kingdom of God.

“sells all that he has, and buys that field.” is like” loving he field”

Our planet has a lot of hidden treasures like oil, gas, precious metals, salt. Wee must take well care of these.

As I understood the parable of the mustard seed, the Universe is the Kingdom of God. if we “buy the field” or “love the field/Universe) / the Creation 

13:45 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a merchant seeking fine pearls, 
13:46 who having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

This one is another version of the treasure parable. Again I believe it is a parable about loving the creation and its treasures/pearls.

13:47 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet, that was cast into the sea, and gathered some fish of every kind,
13:48 which, when it was filled, they drew up on the beach.
They sat down and gathered the good into containers, but the bad they threw away.
13:49 So will it be in the end of the world.

This last parable is obvious as Jesus said. The question is what the good and bad are. Obviously Christians interpret it as being good are those believing in God. God is a loving and all-knowing God. So indigenous in eg the Brasilian forest can not be regarded the same way even though some priests may have told them about Jesus. The most important is that they behave as good people loving their next and the creation with its plants and animals.

Jesus taught love. 

Christian hypocrites.

Many Christian behave like hypocrites. They go to church only to show themselves up as good Christians.

Animists, shamanists, Atheists, Buddhists, Taoists, Zoroastrians, Muslims may be better loving their next and the Creation than some Christians.

A Muslim in Sweden said to me once that some Swedes are better Muslims than many Muslims. 

I belive that Animists, shamanists, Atheists, Buddhists, Taoists, Zoroastrians, Muslims will be regarded the same way by a loving God. at the “end of the world”. God is not a deity discriminating nor having a chosen people.

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conclusion

I have found support in the first two parables o the treasure and pearl, for us to love the Creation with its hidden resources (oil, salt and other) as well animal, plants, seas and woods and take good care of these.

I wrote some time ago an article in Italian about loving the Creation in www.kireus.com/wordpress/lipari.


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the mustard grain and the Universe

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INTRODUCTION

Sunday 19 Mt 13,24-43 is read. It is about the Kingdom of God.

Kingdom of God is restricted to the Christian world of faith.

For most Christians the Kingdom of God is restricted to the Christian world of faith.  There is no logic in this. Jesus was a Jew and had contact with the Smaritans  regarded as dogs by the Jews. He for sure had contact with the Essenes to.he wanted to convert to lost Hebrews. He did not want to spread phobia but love.  I see a different Kingdom of God  were all humans are welcome, with faith or not.

I decided to make a second post about this reading with focus on the mustard grain seed.

No priest talked about this parable probably because they are looked into the Genesis story of Moses and don’t want to see what Science says about the Universe’s first moments of existence.

Nils Bohr said once

Bildresultat för if you are not astonished by quantum mechanics then you have not understood it.

I say:

“if you are not astonished by the words of Jesus,
then you have not understood Jesus.”.

INDEX

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The text

( N:B. The texts below are copied from www.christianwritingtoday.com/free_downloads/WebNT_CWTedition.pdf )

Mathew 13,24-43 says among others :

the grain of mustard grain parable
13:31 He set another parable before them, saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field;
13:32 which indeed is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches.”

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The message

I have all the parables indexed in this page.

The parable of the yeast and the grain of mustard.

 Luke 13:18 shares the same parable  with these words. To be able to compare these I put both parable versions beside each other in this table.

Matthew 13:31  Luke 13:18 Thomas
13:31 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field;
13:32 which indeed is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches.”
 “13:18 He said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and put in his own garden. It grew, and became a large tree, and the birds of the sky lodged in its branches.” 3 [20]. The disciples say to Jesus: “Tell us what the Kingdom of heaven is like!” He says to them: “It is like a grain of mustard: it is smaller than all the <other> seeds, but when it falls on ploughed land it produces a big stalk and becomes a shelter for the birds of heaven.”

 

what msutard seed was it really?

“At times, Bible scholars concluded erroneously that is was seed of the black mustard (Brassica nigra)  Jesus talked about. The Brassica nigra seed grow up to a brush to seek shelter in as Thomas wrote but not a tree were birds lodge like Matthew and Luke said.

 

Closeup of yellow blossoming black mustard or Brassica nigra plants growing in the wild on a pile of earth at the edge of a farmer’s field in the Netherlands. It is in the middle of the summer period.

But this seed 
a  mustard tree that become so big that it can lodge birds  in its branches is the three of  Salvadora perisica. In scientific communities, the mustard tree is the Salvadora perisica, commonly called the toothbrush tree. they are in favor for the Salvadora because it is a larger plant than the black mustard and better able to accommodate birds resting in its branches. TheSalvadora perisica mustard tree grows throughout arid Africa and the Middle East.” ( godasagardener.com )

Thomas was more accurate.
Jesus may have talked about the brassica nigra seed but described the parable as Thomas reported it. Indeed can birds find shelter in a big brassica nigra plant.

Metaphore for faith?

The metaphor of the seed is mainly interpreted as the faith in God that can grow. As I wrote in my introduction:

For most Christians, the Kingdom of God is restricted to the Christian world of faith. The Christians want to be the chosen people. But there is no logic in this.

Jesus was a Jew and had contact with the Samaritans that were  regarded as dogs by the Jews. he had no Samarophobia like the Jews.
He for sure had contact with the Essenes too like John the Baptist. He wanted to convert to lost Hebrews. He did not want to spread phobia but love.  I see a different Kingdom of God were all humans are welcome, whatever faith they belong to. As fart as they behave as good caring humans.

the kingdom of God

But is the Kingdom of God only restricted to the world of faith? I doubt that. I think that everything that exists (visible and not) is part of the Kingdom of God.

The disciples did not have knowledge enough to understand the parable of the grain of mustard in other contexts than their own faith and life experience.

Nor does probably many priests understand it, listening to their obscure bla bla bla explanations. 

I see that  the mustard grain and tree metaphor rather as a beautiful metaphor for the birth of the Universe. Something very small becomes something huge. I do it after having followed Pauls advice in Romans 1:19-20

Study the creation to be remove your blindness.

paul wrote a  about woman, natural sex and other issue out of studio stereotypes of his time and biases.  But I admire a free thinking part in Romans where he motivates us to study the creation:

. Paul’s motivation to do this in Romans 1:19,20 is very important to consider:

“What may be known of God is manifest in them for God has shown it to them. 
For since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,

even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse”
(Romans
1:19,20).”. 

I find that Pauls words were followed by a few famous people Scietnist with open minds like Einstein who said: 

“I believe in Spinoza’s God, Who reveals Himself
in the orderly  harmony of what exists,

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. - Albert Einstein(Image source : www.brainyquote.com/quotes)

read more about  Einstein in my page dedicated to him.

To study the creation became my way to try to understand God. 

The mustard seeds

I write the page “Evolution of Physics” and “Earth and life primordial atoms” some time ago. As you can read on my first page, the building blocks of the Universe are very very small. They may not even be regarded as particles anymore.

David Tong, Professor of Theoretical Physics, call these The real building blocks of the Universe”

”Source:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNVQfWC_evg minute 33)

These may in fact be just strings according to the string theory)

At Jesus time what smaller could be seen than mustard grains?

The Kingdom of God could be a metaphor for the Universe and its origin. A metaphor that is today illustrated with this image:

St. Augustine wrote: ‘If it happens that the authority of Sacred Scripture is set in opposition to clear and certain reasoning, this must mean that the person who interprets Scripture does not understand it correctly.” [St. Augustine, Epist. 143, 7, PL 33, 588]

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conclusion

I have found an alternative explanation for the grain of mustard and yeast that is in agreement with” clear and certain reasoning”.

But I have still not looked at the other parables about the Kingdom.  These may contradict the conclusion I came to today. 

Whatever, I find the parable of the yeast and mustard grain, to be just genius. Miracle stories are not needed to justify that this man is to be listened to.


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A pluralist agnostic seeker

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