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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

The Conundrum

 I wrestle currently with the New Testament. I wonder which part is true or close to truth, as it contradicts itself quite remarkably.

The first 3 are called "synoptic" because they have similar stories or versions of similar stories. Mark was written first and Matthew and Luke used most of Mark, but added to and put their own twist on the stories. But the main point I want to make today is that they tell the story of the life and teachings of Yeshua/Jesus. They primarily tell how he wants us to live to find God and to be ethical people. Let your light shine, love one another, forgive, pray to God in private not making a show of it, etc. It's empowering.

But then we come to John and letters by Paul. Now it's a different story. It's not how you live. There is nothing you can do to get right with God. You have to believe certain things that Yeshua/Jesus didn't require in the synoptic gospels or in James's writing, the brother of Yeshua/Jesus. The most important thing is to believe in the death and resurrection of Yeshua/Jesus.

What??? Both can't be true.

Instead of a son of God, a great prophet, an avatar, someone so close to God that we knew with every fiber of our being that what he spoke and did was a result of his profound connection to God, someone who called us to do greater things, who pointed the way to God - now he became an idol to worship, unattainable, totally other.  In this scenario, we are powerless. Only someone else can save us and only by believing what these guys say we have to believe.


I wrestle with the conundrum, greatly because of what it does to people's lives. You can guess that I am closer to the synoptics in understanding, even though there are discrepancies there. I do understand they were written 40-80 years after the earthly life of Yeshua/Jesus in various areas of the Mediterranean by men who did not know him. Still, they heard stories, a variety of stories, and pieced together what they had. Their conclusions were strikingly different from whoever wrote John and from Paul.

Check for yourself. Read Mark, Matthew and Luke and ponder what they say. After a time, then read John and the 7 authenticated letters of Paul. Ponder what they say.

Since these writings have had the single most impact on civilization for 2,000 years, both for good and evil, it might be important to consider them anew. They have been used for slavery and to cease slavery. They have been used by maniacs like Hitler and Stalin, and by those who stopped them. They have been used by witch hunters and Inquisition torturers, and on and on.

 Sadly, they have been, and are being used, in order to manipulate for good and for evil.

Let us seek out the good and gird ourselves against the evil.

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