May 24th, 2001

Some excerpts from letters:

> Who's to know to whether or not God is really all powerful? Maybe He's not
> and He simply cannot create any world He wishes.

"I think this is the Manichaean Heresy. People were killed for thinking
this. (Which is not to say that you're therefore necessarily wrong--
it's just that the Church used to take some things very seriously.)
What you're saying is that evil is not merely outside the control of
God, but outside the parameters of God."


> Perhaps we believe in God because of personal experiences where we have felt
> something spiritual. But how can we trust our senses? How can we truly know
> that our spiritual experiences are actually real?

"This is a really good question. Bottom line, the way you figure out how
real something is is how closely connected to God it is. The farther
away from God an experience is, the more likely it is to be a illusion.
That's why people who are firmly planted in the material (illusional)
world are more likely to ignore or deny God. 'Cause that's where they
hang out. Whereas if you attempt to align yourself with God, your
consciousness will slowly seep into His arena. Christians tend to be
really poor at this. As a culture, Christians tend to keep more than
one foot firmly planted in materialism. Whereas some (most) of the
Eastern religions keep their consciousness on a spiritual plane. Yoga
means "Union with God."

"This is nowhere near an answer to your question."


"...The only thing I really want to comment on is one passage in
the Bible that I am amazed made it in there. Matthew 6, v.22-- The
light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy
whole body shall be full of light. Now what's amazing about this is
that virtually no Christian understands what it means-- when you start
meditating, one of the first "gateways" is that you start seeing a
single eye. So Christ at some point communicated this to his followers
(or his followers were actually meditating) and they wrote this down the
best they could. It is to the credit of the King James translators that
they left in something they didn't understand. Almost all other, later,
translations change that passage. Something to the order of if thy eye
be clear, or pure, or something or anything that they can understand.
Given a choice of writing what was written or writing what they
themselves can understand, most current translators opt for the latter.
And by the way, the verse that follows it is probably garbled; some
early monk just altered the next verse to match what he knew. That's
one of the real problems with the Bible-- early monks weren't going for
exactitude. It was OK with their superiors if they added or changed the
copy if it fit theologically-- corruption of the text was accepted.
One more thing about God creating the universe-- I heard second hand
that in the Neil Walsh book _Communion With God_ that God can't
experience himself without the universe. More probably, the author
probably says (I've never read the book) that God can't experience
_certain aspects_ of himself without the universe."



So there ends the letters. However, I want to comment on the statement above. During the Middle Ages the Bible only existed in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. At the time of the Renaissance, however, people began to translate the Bible into different languages. Just as it reveals in the above statement, the translators shaped the Bible's words into how they wanted to see them, how they viewed Christianity. Martin Luther, for instance, believed that it was not necessary to gain forgiveness and redemption through priests, a stern and widespread belief at that time. He taught that Christians could receive redemption through personal prayer. I'm sure that his German translation of the Bible emphasized passages that might support his beliefs. Many churches now follow these tenets. Presbyterians, Protestants, Baptists, and of course, Lutherans to name only a few.

I'm not critizing the beliefs of Martin Luther or saying that they're wrong. I'm hopefully just giving a somewhat clear example of how the Bible has been changed to suit the translators.



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