I posted this long before I had any followers on the Quest. I figured it was worth dusting off. Enjoy!

The Quest for Light

The opening phrase in the Torah or Genesis 1.1 in Hebrew is “B’raisheet bara”.  The most popular translation is the rendering of “In the beginning”.  This would of course give one the belief that the creation account is chronological and meant to be literal.  While many believe this to be the case one only needs to read the next few sentences to clearly see that it is not chronological at all.  “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. ” (Genesis 1:2)  In reading this sentence literally one can find that water had existed prior to the first creation command of “Let there be light”. 

So when did God create water?  Well, the Bible does not say anything about God creating water.  The Bible only says that God separated the water – “

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Maybe, I am a Unitarian..

I am often asked if I am religious or if I am a Christian. It is a question that I have grappled with due to having a contemplative and speculative mind. None of the current mainstream religions really work for me. That being said I have been searching for maybe a lesser known system that exists or may have existed in the past that I may be aligned with, because surely I can’t be the only person who thinks and believes the way I do. I believe in God, but not in the impersonal way that Deism offers. I admire the character of Jesus, but reject the idea that he was God. I had to find a Theistic path to follow so that at the very least I could answer the “What is your religion?” question. Well, I have found an older and re-emerging system that I have a growing affinity to – Unitarianism.

First off, let me be clear that when I say Unitarian, I in no way am referring to the Unitarian Universalist system.

So, what is a Unitarian? There are no official doctrines or dogmas in Unitarianism, which is one of the things I love the most about it. There are a few general precepts that most Unitarians accept and I have included them in the following “profession of faith”:

A Unitarian believes in ONE God and demonstrates their relationship to all of God’s creation with humility and love.

A Unitarian will accept no limiting doctrine or creeds imposed on them or seek to place labels on the way to worship God or seek to restrict how others may relate to Him. They observe all of humanity as one family under the loving care of ONE God.

A Unitarian looks upon Jesus as a moral standard-bearer and takes up their own “cross” rather than pass it off on Jesus or anyone else to bear it for them. They understand that Jesus taught and lived His life to serve as an example for all humankind. Jesus was the embodiment of love and showed us how to become one with God and with each other.

A Unitarian holds the Bible in high regard as an inspired text that contains historical narrative, mythology, archetypal characters, and the most sublime truths. Unitarians also accept the validity of other sacred texts as different interpretations of the same God. They view all of creation as the purest revelation of God.

A Unitarian holds the two-part law of love as forever binding and of the utmost importance: Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength and love everyone as you want to be loved.

It is an odd coincidence that one of my heroes, Thomas Jefferson, was widely believed to be a Unitarian as well as some of the other founders. Aside from that, I find it to be one of the only religious systems that allows the blending of Reason and Religion without casting doubt or placing one as a higher authority over the other. Clearly as a reader of this blog you are a thinker (or maybe a hater who uses me as a heretical example) and perhaps you may have been searching for answers that your religion hasn’t been able to satisfy.

Did Yoda go to heaven?

The final computer-generated Yoda as seen in t...

The final computer-generated Yoda as seen in the film. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I asked this question to a critic I was astounded to find out that Yoda never really existed! OK, all joking aside if you haven’t figured out what I am about to discuss then I will be more direct – Surely, we cannot be arrogant enough to believe that we are the only planet with life forms or that we alone are the only forms of life that our Creator has an interest in amongst the entire universe. That being said, if there is life on other planets are they too required to believe their Creator assumed the form of a being on another planet to atone for their falling short of the laws and ordinances handed down to a being on that same planet? Did these other planets have an Eden? Did they have and Adam and Eve? Do they suffer the burden of Original Sin and the threat of eternal torment because a serpent was able to derail the Divine Plan?

Science has advanced to the extent that we now know the molecular makeup of our bodies. We can fly on an airplane into the same clouds Jesus is said to have ascended into and see no heaven. We know the earth does not have four corners and the stars are not lights in a big canopy. We know that cancer doesn’t care if you are a person of faiths or a person of deeds and neither do deranged gunmen in movie theaters.

But the Bible says…

So much emphasis is placed on Biblical inerrancy and infallibility by mainstream Christianity that few people question it and even less actually read it. The claim of inerrancy and infallibility has on many occasions been refuted and the stance is highly illogical. The men who wrote and redacted the various texts are mostly unknown and no original copies exist. These 2 facts are enough to cast significant doubt as to whether they are true to whatever the originals said (not to mention the KJV Onlyist bunch). Either way, they are cryptic writings that express the opinions of the writers. Writers who openly admit to their own failings, fears, and biases. I am not saying the Bible is useless. That would be grossly irresponsible. It is an ancient text and when you can sort through the myths and the dogmas you do find inalienable moral truths and examples of historical failings that we can all learn from. It has been said that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In the Bible people are killed multiple times “in the name of God” and we see when people break the laws of morality than society suffered for it and received (per the Bible) Divine retribution. We should learn from these mistakes.

The Bible is not the sole source of truth..

One can turn to the Kabbalistic texts, the teachings of the Buddha, the philosophy of Plato, and the moral code of Zoroaster to find inspiration and moral guidance equivalent to what they find in the Bible. When the printing press was invented the Bible became readily available to the common man. Is it merely a coincidence that the Age of Enlightenment almost immediately followed? As the Bible became less and less expensive is it coincidental that there was a spike in skepticism? This is not meant to be an attack on the Bible. While I am an advocate of studying it and do so myself regularly, I am not a fan of the dogma of inerrancy and the absolute authority some people feel that it has over every other text.

Back to Yoda..

The origin of the universe and its perpetuity point to a Designer. To me it is clear because something establishes the balance, authored the laws of nature, and weaves it all together. When you look into a child’s eyes you can see the Divine within the innocence. Love and compassion have an eternal thread and collective source. It is that source that according to the Zohar wishes to commune with each of us and makes us one.

Interview on “The Place”

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Dr. Michael Jones and his wife Rhonda.  I had a great time and look forward to going back on their show again in the future.

The Purpose of Life

Why am I here? What is the purpose of my life? These questions are asked by most people and the answers have been the livelihood of many clergy and self-help motivational speakers. A few years ago Rick Warren published a very well received book (in Christian circles) titled “The Purpose Driven Life“. At my mother’s insistence, I read it and while I can see how it may inspire some I found the book to be extremely repetitive and for me it didn’t really answer the question. The basic theme that is repeated is:

The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose. The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong starting point— ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like, “What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future?” But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose.” – Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

Serving God is literally drilled into the reader for the rest of the book with very little actually being answered aside from that. Ironically there is another answer to this question in the Bible that I find to be significantly more inspiring and far less cryptic:

What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; also that it is God’s gift to man that every one should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil. I know that whatever God does endures for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has made it so, in order that men should fear before him. Ecclesiastes 3:9-14 (RSV)

Is there a difference between what Mr. Warren is saying and what the Teacher (commonly believed to be King Solomon) is saying? We work day after day in a manner is which some could argue is no different from a hamster in a spinning wheel. Are our lives really nothing more than a very long run on a treadmill to nowhere? Do people spend entirely too much time hoping for an everlasting bliss-filled after-life instead of just enjoying the one life we actually have? Regardless of what your position on “eternal life” may be, it should not prevent you from enjoying this life. Now, I am not saying to go on a drinking binge and do whatever you want with no regard to consequence.  It has often been said its impossible to have fun without getting into a little trouble – which may be true – we all need to find the right balance though.  Clearly there needs to be some rules of engagement and to many people those rules are spelled out in the Bible and to some they are just good ‘ole common sense (another opportunity for balance here as well).

Life is a blessing, not a curse. Why treat it as though our very existence is saturated with evil or sin? It really doesn’t have to be that way. Living your life regretting things you have done all the time and begging for forgiveness because you fear an eternal punishment because “no one is born without sin” is far from the intent I believe we were put on this earth for. You may feel otherwise and consider yourself a wretch and worthy of death because of your sin. One way or another our lives are temporary and our souls are a mystery. Wouldn’t it be better to live our lives in a way that would encompass morality and happiness without fear?

Yes, the Bible says to fear God. This is not like the boogie man under the bed fear though. At least I don’t see it that way. I think this is a hyperbolic term. Fear God and keep his commandments = Honor God and follow His rules.

Maybe I am being overly simplistic. Maybe I am wrong. Either way, I don’t believe for a minute that the very Creator who gave us all life, really wanted us to think we are unworthy of His love or deserving of eternal suffering.   There is so much emphasis placed on “our sinful nature” in church doctrine.  That really annoys me.  I don’t view us as being just sinful in nature.  I believe we are duplicates of the divine (created in His image).  Just like nature has light in the day and darkness at night, we have light with our acts of loving kindness and darkness in our acts of sin. God gave us the gift of reason and free will to make our own choices.  What we choose to follow ultimately is up to us.

Chasing the wind

Sometimes I wonder why I’m searching so hard. What if there really isn’t anything to be found? What if after all this reading and thinking and debating it turns out that I’ve just been chasing the wind? A really good friend of mind made a very interesting point to me this week. I can’t remember the exact words, but they were in the vein of to much studying takes away the beauty of the message and that it’s better to just believe. How does one “just believe” though? While I would love to have the gift of a child-like faith, unfortunately I appear to have been cursed with a contemplative and speculative mind. To those that say “turn to the Bible”, well I can’t even count the number of times I’ve read it. The Bible is a book I rarely miss a day reading. As much as I love it though, I find myself digging into texts with less obtuse messaging and even a touch more on the mystical side (since mysticism tends to soften the tone).

We live in a pretty scary world. People are greedy and self absorbed with very little interest or desire to think about things that matter to anyone other than themselves. How else can you explain a society that is so lost that it celebrates the death of an enemy and fights ways to care for their less fortunate neighbors? Children are physically and sexually abused, people eat each other, and the religious institutions just keep racking in the tithes. Praise the Lord!

God, if you are out there, do you even care anymore??

Do you care that little children are born with collapsed lungs and a young couple has to endure the stresses of the condition only to cope with the loss?

Do you care when your representatives here on earth rape children?

Do you care when an elderly lady can’t even walk from a store to her home without a thug knocking her over to steal her purse?

Do you care that millions of children will go to bed hungry tonight and tomorrow night too?

God, if you are out there, did you ever care?

If your chosen people are the stock of Abraham, why are your chosen people always fighting each other?

If we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, why do I have to lock my doors at night and arm an alarm system?

If we are to do unto others what we would want done to us, why do I need insurance to protect my own identity?

God, where are you? Have you given up on us?

With all the violence and hate, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that sometime I question whether nature is just random. To my friends who say all of these natural disasters and the obvious moral collapse of our society are prophecies that are being fulfilled: I not subscribe to an ending times apocalyptic view requiring me to resign myself to believing that the very Creator that fashioned the cosmos in their unknowable and infinite majesty, did so just to destroy it. Nor do I believe that a blood sacrifice was needed as a condition for anything.

To understand a holy unity, examine the flame rising from a candle. We see at first two kinds of light, one glistening white and one blue or black. The white light is above and rises in a straight line, the blue or black light is beneath and appears to be the source of the white; yet the two lights are so closely united they form one single flame. But the source formed by the blue or black light is, in turn, attached to the wick under it. The white light never changes, it always remains white; but several shades are distinguishable in the lower light. Moreover, the lower light moves in two opposite directions; above, it is connected to the white light, and below, it is attached to the burning matter; this matter continually consumes itself and rises toward the upper light. It is thus that all that is, reunites with the one unity. — Zohar

Perhaps the Divine Essence is within all of us as a thread to weave us together with a sense of oneness. The more the focus is on me instead of we, the weaker that thread becomes. Perhaps what I’ve been looking for in this Quest has been within me and those around me all along, bottled up and waiting to be let out.

The entire lower world was created in the likeness of the higher world. All that exists in the higher world appears like an image in this lower world; yet all this is but One. — Zohar

The Prayer of Manasseh

I have done some studying lately of the “Apocryphal” Scriptures and I must admit, a lot of them are better than some of the writings that are in the “official” canon.  Once such work is the Prayer of Manasseh.  This is an unbelieveably beautiful prayer that (like almost every other book of the Bible) has unknown authorship.  It predates the birth of Jesus by over 100 years.   According to the Books of Kings and Chronicles (2 Kings 21:1-18; 2 Chronicles 33:1-9), Manasseh was one of the most idolatrous kings of Judah .  According to Chronicles, Manasseh was taken captive by the Assyrians. (2 Chronicles 33:11-13) While he was a prisoner, Manasseh prayed for mercy, forgiveness and deliverance.   A reference to the prayer is made in 2 Chronicles 33:19, which says that the prayer is written in the “chronicles of the seers.”  While the prayer itself is lost to antiquity, this prayer is a result of what a Jewish sage likely felt was prayed.

The prayer was placed at the end of 2 Chronicles in the late 4th-century Vulgate (Pope Clement VIII wanted the prayer in an appendix to the Vulgate “lest it perish entirely.”)  It also appeared in the Apocrypha of the King James Bible in 1611.  My guess as to why the Jewish Canon excluded it was that it was a prayer of perpetual repentance which kind of nixes the Yom Kippur celebration (and the tithes and sacrifices that came with it).   

While the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches include it somewhere in their Bibles (whether within the context or as an appendix) and it does appear in the liturgy of some of the Eastern churches, the Protestant Churches reject it entirely.  My guess is that because it expresses repentance and forgiveness without a mediator  (this is true of Psalm 51 as well) that it somehow threatens the necessity of atonement by the Messiah.

The above being said – I love this prayer and I pray it every day now. 

Perhaps you may do the same.

The Prayer of Manasseh (RSV)

O Lord Almighty,
God of our fathers,
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of their righteous posterity;
thou hast made heaven and earth with all their order;
who hast shackled the sea by thy word of command,
who hast confined the deep
and sealed it with thy terrible and glorious name;
at whom all things shudder,
and tremble before thy power,
for thy glorious splendor cannot be borne,
and the wrath of thy threat to sinners is irresistible;
yet immeasurable and unsearchable is thy promised mercy,
for thou art the Lord Most High,
of great compassion, long-suffering, and very merciful,
and repentest over the evils of men.
Thou, O Lord, according to thy great goodness
hast promised repentance and forgiveness
to those who have sinned against thee;
and in the multitude of thy mercies
thou hast appointed repentance for sinners,
that they may be saved.
Therefore thou, O Lord, God of the righteous,
hast not appointed repentance for the righteous,
for Abraham and Isaac and Jacob,
who did not sin against thee,
but thou hast appointed repentance for me, who am a sinner.
For the sins I have committed are more in number than the sand of the sea;
my transgressions are multiplied,
O Lord, they are multiplied!
I am unworthy to look up and see the height of heaven
because of the multitude of my iniquities.
I am weighted down with many an iron fetter,
so that I am rejected because of my sins,
and I have no relief;
for I have provoked thy wrath
and have done what is evil in thy sight,
setting up abominations and multiplying offenses.
And now I bend the knee of my heart,
beseeching thee for thy kindness.
I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned,
and I know my transgressions.
I earnestly beseech thee,
forgive me,
O Lord, forgive me!
Do not destroy me with my transgressions!
Do not be angry with me for ever
or lay up evil for me;
do not condemn me to the depths of the earth.
For thou, O Lord, art the God of those who repent,
and in me thou wilt manifest thy goodness;
for, unworthy as I am,
thou wilt save me in thy great mercy,
and I will praise thee continually all the days of my life.
For all the host of heaven sings thy praise,
and thine is the glory forever.
Amen.

What if?

Recently I had a very deep philosophical discussion with an atheist friend of mine. It’s always a very engaging discourse and always sparks thoughts in my mind about what my beliefs are, what they aren’t, and how they’ve evolved over the past several years. The overwhelming question is always the same though: What if?

What if there is no life after death?
What if love is just a chemical reaction in the brain?
What if the Bible is just Bronze Age mythological nonsense?
What if God does not exist?

Could billions of people have been duped into what those with “enlightened minds” consider simple-minded dogmatic nonsense? Have countless hours of Bible Study, Torah teachings, and Sunday Sermons over the course of the last 2000 years been an abominable waste of time and effort? I would be lying if I said that I haven’t questioned with boldness the existence of God or the reliability and credibility of the Bible. To truly believe requires the suspense of reason and a leap of faith. However, one could argue that to not believe also requires a similar leap. Does belief in God and the study of Scriptures parallel what the modern organized churches execute? Maybe the question could be posed as – What if the churches have got it all wrong? It’s pretty clear that many of them get it very wrong. I recall a gentle and kind Jewish man saying “Love one another” and another one saying “faith without works is dead“. Yet we see angry people cursing, judging, and condemning other people because of “sinful lifestyles”. That’s a bit hypocritical don’t you think? Especially when “judge no one” is a tenet. We could go into the not so distant past to see a number of church led atrocities, but that’s not a path to take for this post. The fact is that to many churches place dogmas over morals and tithing over charity.

True religion is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27

So let’s take the position of atheism. Let’s say God doesn’t exist and that the Bible is irrelevant. Then we are merely carbon based globs of cells with no purpose, no significance, and no accountability. We are just specks of dust amidst a vast immeasurable universe. Love, compassion, morality, and evil are mere chemical reactions equivalent to burps and farts. Well, that’s a pretty bleak view isn’t it? Of course the secular defense would be that morality and justice in a godless world are possible because they “feel right” and are qualified by using “reason” and “common sense”. Well, where do those things come from? There has to be a common thread that weaves all mankind together when it comes to matters of morality, love, and the thirst for knowledge and truth.

What if God is incomprehensible?
What if the Bible needs to be studied (personal studies not just in a group) in order to be understood?
What if love is the breath of the divine within our souls?
What if our sense of morality is a divine influence?

The idea that our existence is just pure happenstance could be a fact, however there is no reason we have to live it that way. If our lives are the only lives we will ever have, shouldn’t we be as productive as we can and leave a legacy, maybe leave the world just a little better than when we got here? Science can explain a lot of things, but why let it reduce us to a state of hopeless meaninglessness

It has often been said that there are no atheists in foxholes. The idea being that when a person finds themselves in a life threatening situation or is in the deepest state of despair they always look up. They cry out to someone. Sure, they may not recite a prayer or cry out “My God, why have you abandoned me?“. But, they do cry out, they say “why me?” or “what did I do to deserve this?”. Well, just who the heck do you think you are talking to? What if it’s God and you just don’t realize it?

The Apocalypse Revisited

It is always darkest before the dawn. So if there is to be an ending in which evil falls and good finally prevails, then an apocalyptic showdown is inevitable. Much has been written on the matter and none of it comes without some level of allegory or esoteric context. Whether they be Biblical, natural, or philosophical, any prophecy or prediction of how it will all end is merely hypothetical. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the concept that the same essence that created life, the cosmos, and the intricate laws which govern it, did so with the intent of destroying it all at some point. However if that be the case, I would like to offer my view as to how this final showdown will play out. I will use as my reference the themes found in the following Biblical texts: Genesis, Job, Daniel, Ezekiel, Matthew, John, Revelation, and personal inspiration (quite possibly divine in nature).

The world is in darkness and immorality reigns supreme. The rejection of the Creator is commonplace and people worship money and put faith in themselves. Then suddenly there was a windstorm coming out of the north —an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light and the earth is unraveled and laid flat. Then from within the light a royal court appears. There are 3 thrones, a large throne and 2 smaller thrones, one to the left of the large throne and one to the right. In the larger throne is a being that is made of pure Light. The body is like gold and silver and the face is unable to be seen due to the brightness emanating from it. Seated to the right is a man in a white robe with gold piping. He looks as human as everyone else, with a gentle and familiar face. The throne to the left is vacant and made of pure gold with red velvet padding. Then the being in the center speaks and the voice booms like thunder “Where is the Accuser, the Prince of the Earth?” Then the man in the throne to the right rises and says, “Father, Sovereign of the Universe, he is roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it”. Then he said, “Prince of the Earth, come forth.” Suddenly another man appeared seated in the throne to the left. He looked very similar to the man in the throne on the right except his robe was worn and ashy. He spoke, “Eternal One, what is your command?” Suddenly, the people realized that the being in the center throne was God and to his right was Jesus, the Prince of Heaven and to his left Lucifer, the Prince of the Earth. Then God said, “All will be judged”. Then Jesus and Lucifer rose up from their thrones and faced God, both bowed and Jesus spoke first. “Eternal One, I have the righteous and plead their case. They fed the hungry, provided drink to the thirsty, and comforted those who fell by the wayside.” The God said, “What of the faithful?” and Jesus said “Faith without works is dead”. Then God spoke to Lucifer, “What say you of the condemned?” Then Lucifer said, “You commanded me to test the faithful and to lure the weak. This I have done and many have strayed from your ways.” Suddenly there was thunder and lighting and a smoldering abyss of fire and smoke appeared. “This will be the eternal place of torment for all who have fallen short of my ways.” God said. Lucifer fell to his knees and cried, “Eternal King, I did your bidding. You sent me to tempt and I tempted, you sent me to accuse and I accused. Their souls were weak because of me. Show mercy on them.” Then God said, “They showed no mercy to the poor and destitute. Why should I show mercy upon them?” Then Jesus said, “They rejected my teachings and served themselves. Why should they enter the kingdom?” Then God said to Lucifer, “Do you take the blame for those you have deceived?” Then Lucifer bowed again, “I do”. Then Lucifer said, “I have put every evil thought in their mind and prodded them to do evil. It is because of me that all have failed”. Then God said, “I gave all of them the Prince of Heaven too. Yet, they chose you over him. Why should I not condemn them?” Then Lucifer said, “If it be your will condemn them, but you must condemn me as well”. Then Jesus said, “Father, I shall take this cup.” Then God said, “My son, you already have”. Jesus said, “There is no greater love than of the one who will lay down his life for his friends and the Prince of the Earth has offered to pay their price just as I did. Should the price be paid again?” “Now, in the final hour are all are to be forgiven?” said God. “You created every living thing and when man chose to take the yoke of knowledge of both good and evil, many times they choose evil.” Jesus said. “Yet, the Prince of the Earth was tempting them the whole time, making the path of evil easier than the path of righteousness. How are they to compete with the power of the Prince of the Earth? He was the craftiest of all your creations.” Then Lucifer said, “I am powerless before you Great King. For aeons I have suffered separation from you and tempted your creation. I did your bidding and now I take this yoke and accept their punishment.” Then God said, “My children, all will be forgiven. Those of who have done evil must first be cleansed and then they will enter my kingdom.” Lucifer bowed to God and then bowed to Jesus. Jesus picked Lucifer up and embraced him. The final battle is ended.

I have quoted several lines of scripture in this story. I have also written it in 3 layers. To many of you the surface layer may contradict what you believe to be church doctrine. You are going to have to look past that and dig deeper. As always comments and emails are welcome.

Never gonna give you up..

 Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you…  Yes, I just lured you in with a Rick Astley song.  For whatever reason I thought that set of lyrics was pretty relevant to what I am going to cover in this relatively brief post.  My recent post “Who’s in control?” garnered the biggest single day number of hits for this blog.  It also had a good number of comments and email responses.  It seems my Christian friends have taken issue with my position that as human beings we are not wretched, worthless, disgustingly sinful beings.  That we are not building up a debt of sin that will justify eternal torment and punishment forever, which can only be paid and forgiven by belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus.  That all of our actions and imperfections somehow get erased by faith alone.  Well, aside from the fact that the words of Jesus himself contradict the concept of faith alone in favor of “what you do to the least of these my brethren you do unto me“,  it really doesn’t portray God as has often been the Christian position that God is love

So, is God love?  I believe so.  Mostly because no science has been able to prove what causes love and that particular feeling or emotion is the thread that weaves humanity with a concept of morality.  So what exactly is love?  The Apostle Paul, who as most of you know I have been pretty critical of, wrote one of the most inspirational chapters of the Bible and it happens to be perhaps the greatest description of love.  The chapter, for those of you who may not have guessed it, is 1 Corinthians 13.   As the Bible has multiple translations this chapter reads differently from version to version.  The most obvious difference is when comparing the KJV and the NIV.  (to those not familiar – the KJV is the King James Version which was translated in 1611 and the NIV is the New International Version which was translated in 1984. These are the 2 best-selling translations)  The KJV doesn’t use the word Love, it uses the word Charity.  To the skeptic this would seem to be a problem, but not to me.  Charity is, after all, a tremendous example of unconditional love.  When one exercises charity, they give for the sake of giving, with no expectation of reciprocation.  There is no doubt that is love.  So, if God is love, why not use 1 Corinthians 13 as a description of God.  For the sake of brevity, let’s just take the core of  the chapter which are verses 4-7 and replace the words “love” and “it” with “the Lord” (note- I am removing a few “it’s” for the sake of flow):

The Lord is patient, the Lord is kind. The Lord does not envy, does not boast, is not proud.  The Lord does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs.  The Lord does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  The Lord always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Now I ask you again: Is God Love?  If so, than we have never been rejected, nor will we ever be.  Why else would a word like “Father” be invoked so often?  The way I see it, our Eternal Father never gave up on you, me or anyone else.  It seems that for many people it really is the other way around. 

For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you.. – Deuteronomy 4:31