Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Signs of the Times

I went to Priesthood on Sunday, looking for an inspiring message. The last few weeks I have just been sitting in the lobby reading, and since I couldn't find my copy of Rough Stone Rolling, I brought Faust, trying to read it in English is difficult enough but in trying it in German caused my brain to give up after an hour, so it was off to Elders' Quorum for me. This year I have actually had some good lessons in Elders' Quorum and I was hoping for another, but I wouldn't find it. We discussed the signs of the second coming. I honestly don't understand the purpose of signs of the second coming. Isn't a sign there to tell you when to change behavior? If we are living a good life all along what purpose does a sign serve. It seems like the purpose of a sign is to say "we know you are going to be sinning, but when you see these following things, stop sinning and be good." Maybe I'm off here, but that doesn't seem like a message God would want to give. The instructor went on further to ask what signs we have or are seeing. The answers were typical, wars and rumors of wars and catastrophic weather. Nobody bothered to mention that there really hasn't been a time on earth that was free of wars or rumors of war, or catastrophic weather, and that perhaps the reason we notice them more now is that we have the technology to notice them. We have communication systems that bring us news of foreign affairs throughout the whole world as well as hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. Also, how effective are these signs if numerous people have falsely predicted the second coming? What good were the signs to these people?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Great Video

The Atheist Delusion

Monday, December 04, 2006

Deciding what is symbolic in scripture

Was Eve really made from Adam's rib? Did man really come from the dust of the earth? Did Satan really take the form of a serpent when tempting Eve? So often we see stories in scripture that seem difficult to believe. Sometimes people claim these are symbolic, sometimes not. That seems problematic to me, who is to say that the Adam's rib story is symbolic but the consumption of the fruit was real. How can we know what is symbolic and what is literal, and if we are trying to give a historical account of what happened, what is the need for symbolism. I have difficulty in believing most of the stories in the Bible. Ask the faithful whether God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh and most will say that the "6 days" represented 6 time periods or something to that degree. Ask them if the story of Noah and the Ark is real and most will say yes, even though the story is so preposterous that it seems hardly capable of being actual. Leaving aside the questions of scientific evidence of the existence of a flood, how would it be possible for a man and a few sons to build a boat so big that it held either two or seven of every kind of animal? How long would it take to search the earth for all of these animals? How do you return these animals to their natural habitat afterwards (the penguins to the south pole, the polar bear to the north pole, the koala to Australia)? Why isn't the Noah story considered symbolic? Biblical scholars date the flood at around 2400 BC, but Chinese and Egyptian cultures seem to date back longer than that, how did they survive? I have heard some people theorize that it was a localized flood, but isn't that changing the story to fit within the knowledge we now have? If we are suppose to take scripture as literal, why throw symbolism in, doesn't that just muddy up the waters? I don't have definitive answers to any of these questions, but I do have my beliefs, namely that they are simply stories created to tell us a lesson that over the course of time people began to take literal. That is just an opinion but it seems to make the most sense to me.

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