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 Where Our Religious Beliefs Come From

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Posts : 461
Join date : 2010-03-25
Age : 61
Location : Lebanon, PA

PostSubject: Where Our Religious Beliefs Come From   Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:03 am


Where do religious beliefs come from? The word "religion" today basically means a "set of beliefs." At one time it meant to "rebind." (re + bind); http://www.thefreedictionary.com/religion

So then, any group that has a set of beliefs can be called religion. The question then is where do those beliefs come from within what is called "Christendom"? Do they come from the church, or the Bible? Mostly today, our religious beliefs come from the church, in which all claim their teachings come from the Bible. Think about that. One Bible, but many sets of beliefs. All groups within Christendom called denominations whether they claim to be independent or not, each have a separate set of beliefs, eventhough there is only one Bible. Why is that? Each group has a leader that interprets the Bible differently from the rest. The Catholic church has the Pope, the Lutheran church has Martin Luther. And there were various other leaders like that, all claiming their interpretation was better than all the other interpretations out their. And that all turned into various systems of theology which is taught at schools of theology. And that is where our religious beliefs come from. And today, it seems, there is a new theology born every couple of years or so.

In all that mess, where is the truth? Where it's always been, in the Bible. 1st Peter 1.20 states, "no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation." Of course, Scripture back then was the Old Testament. But, I believe this could be applied to all Scripture, because none of it "came by the will of man," but from Jehovah God. Both Old and New Testaments are God-breathed. Men of God so inspired spoke and wrote words in either Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. Eventually, through the process of time, we have the Bibles we have today.

Why do we have so many English Bibles? It's because we have various manuscripts (copies), and there are various people with private interpretations that have translated Scriptures in a way the best served them. At one time, churches put out their own translations. There are several Catholic translations. The church of England gave us the King James Version. Many of the modern translations have been put together by publishing companies, and are not necessarily church translations. Coming up with new translations or paraphrases has become a big business. In my opinion, it's about money and not an endeavor to have an accurate translation.

What a mess. So how does one know what to base their beliefs on? Well, I will share what I do. I have 30 plus translations and paraphrases, some of which are only New Testaments. There are some translations I use for accuracy. Others I use more for contemporary English. I also have several Bible dictionaries. So I compare the various translations to come up with a composite of what they are all are saying. If I want to know more or want a deeper understanding, I use those dictionaries. That I have done for most of my life. Now that I have a computer, I also now use the internet to see what various commentators, such as Matthew Henry, have said. I also have writings of the Apostolic Fathers. I also have several Apocryphas. Utilizing these sources I believe has given me a well rounded understanding of the message of God. Through this process I have sifted through the mess to find what makes sense, at least to me.

However, there is a danger, I believe, in going to deep. For example, if you go deep in the meaning of the word "created" in Genesis 1.1, you can come up with the meaning of "cut" as in cutting meat. From that, some have come to believe, and teach, that Genesis 1 has nothing to do with the creation of the universe, but of a Covenant with Adam. That doctrine is called "Covenant Creationism." The problem I have with changing the message of Genesis 1 is that it changes the meaning of the entire Bible, right down to what we know about Christ. I have already written about that here: http://wayoftruth.motion-forum.net/t304-covenant-creation-and-genesis-one

I also wrote about the importance of Genesis 1 in an article called, "Creational Law" which you can see here: http://wayoftruth.motion-forum.net/t320-creational-law

Mostly our religious beliefs in Christianity come from the interpretation of Scripture of others. Very few of us ever study the Scripture without the influence of others. Myself included. Eventhough I have rather much studied on my own, the translations, dictionaries and commentaries I've used are the work of someone else. All we can possibly have are composite beliefs based on what someone else has already said, even if we do make different conclusions than most people. I know my conclusions are far different than most. So, even among those of us that have studied on our own, we can come to varied conclusions. And so the mess continues.

study - Do your best to present yourself to God as an approved worker who has nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of truth with precision. - 2 Timothy 2.15; ISV, isv.com
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