Friday, October 23, 2009

Unlike Allah (and all other gods, in fact), YHWH's miracles were done in plain sight, in history; no secret Moon-splitting, midnight flights, nor "divine revelations" on the word of one, utterly-depraved criminal

A few thoughts on religious matters, offered to a friend . . .
It is wise to be skeptical.

Unlike Allah (and all other gods, in fact), YHWH's miracles were done in plain sight, in history; no secret Moon-splitting, midnight flights, nor "divine revelations" on the word of one, utterly-depraved criminal.

From a plain reading of the Joshua passage you note (an historical account not necessarily devoid of symbolic meaning; when you're the Author of the universe, you can have both), the day standing still was intended primarily to allow Israel to defeat its enemies.

On the other hand, YHWH's defeating Egypt when He delivered Israel from slavery there and their preservation during forty years of wandering were intended to show His power and mercy.

Christ's miracles too were intended as signs so that Israel (and we) would believe that He was (is) the Promised Messiah, but even those were considered by Him as secondary; His person and words should be enough:
Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us."

Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves" (John 14:8-11).
Unlike Muhammad's self-serving fusion of the "religious" and the political, Christ made a careful distinction between the two.

Faith in Him has nothing to do with societal majorities or being acceptable to friends, neighbors, or countrymen.

Jesus came to make us sinners acceptable to God. He came to bear our sins and be our Savior, to reconcile us to His Father in His body on the cross.

Christ does not demand that anyone believe, "Because I said so," or, "Believe, or else!"
He proved His power and love over and over again in public, in front of the whole world, in full view of multiple eyewitnesses (including hostile ones), in history.

As He did with Unbelieving (not "Doubting") Thomas -- who would not believe in the Resurrected Christ unless he saw and touched His wounds -- so Jesus does with us:
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord."

But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe."

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe."
Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:24-31).