|The Queen James Version of the Holy Bible|
There are nearly 100 and maybe more versions of the Holy Bible. There are nearly 50 versions of portions of the bible. Many of the translations came into existence in order to correct what the revisers viewed as misinterpretations or incorrect spins put upon the scriptures by previous translators. Jehovah's Witness, for example, strongly advocate the exclusive use of The New World Translation of the Bible, that they believe corrects false translations and editing by previous translators. I have observed within my relatives a special preference for The Clear Word translations. I believe they prefer it because it is kind to their unique views of the law and their dislike of glossolalia as practiced by evangelical charismatic sects of Christianity. I have found that the New International Version is more friendly to the charismatic community. But it is obvious that Christian folks use scriptures that promote their spin on the Christian story.
So I say "Bravo," to gays and lesbians for introducing their version/translation of the Holy Bible. Why not? Everyone else has done it to suit their needs.
If you've read my previous post from the last few years, you'll know I do not consider the Bible to be the "Word of God." For me it is a book that first began to be written down by an unknown writer during the reign of Solomon during the first years of the kingdom of Israel. It was commissioned by King Solomon so that Israel could have a national history and narrative. It was pulled out of thin air and oral tradition nearly 1000 years before the Christian era. It was edited, changed and embellished several times before the Christians got a hold of it. Then the followers of Christianity compiled, edited, added to, subtracted from, changed, fought over, killed each other and imprisoned each other, and finally came up with two versions that have evolved down to our present day with nearly a hundred and fifty different translations. And still they fight over which version is the best. So I applaud LGBT folks for this new translation.
Want a copy, here is a link: The Queen James Bible
|Ellen G. White|
The Beginning of My Disappointment
I was raised a Seventh-day Adventist. We attended the church in Carson City, Nevada. Our little church of a hundred or more people was subject to the struggles of many small churches: politics, favoritism, desire for power and control over others. It was a source of irritation in my youth that my father, a hard working and honest man, was at times treated so poorly by those who wished to be in control of the little church. But I was young, and soon went away to California to complete my higher education. After completing college and dental school in Seventh-day Adventist schools, I returned to Carson City to live and begin a dental practice. I attended the same small church that my parents did. The petty politics and practices were still the order of the day, but I did believe the religion I was raised in, so I tried to endure the negative aspects of small church life.
Dentistry is a detail-oriented occupation. Accuracy, attention to small detail, and perseverance are necessary qualities to achieve good dental work. These qualities spilled over into my religious life, and I began to notice that the foundational beliefs of my faith were not always prevalent in our local church or even at the statewide or national level. With the help of a defrocked Seventh-day Adventist minister, I began to agitate for reform. I dug into the history and foundational beliefs of our church. It seemed to me that we had strayed quite a ways from the ideas and beliefs that ignited our church in the 1840's.
Ellen G. White, along with her husband and a few friends, were the pioneers that began the Advent Movement. Ellen claimed to have visions from God. Eventually, in those visions she claimed to receive instruction from God about Saturday (7th-day) sabbath observance, and many, many more ideas. She claimed to receive visions describing in detail the history of God's people from her day all the way down to the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world as we know it.
I was detail oriented, and I studied her writings and the Bible with close attention.
The first year in Carson City took off with a boom. My dental practice succeeded quickly and within five years my wife and I were able to leave the rental in which we were living and build a new home of our design in Jack's Valley, just south of Carson City where the mountains that surround Lake Tahoe drop down to the Carson Valley. In this beautiful setting we started our family and by 1980 had two sons, Jacob and Zachary. It was a beautiful place to live, and now, thirty-seven years later, was the only home we have ever built. Our dreams were within our grasp.
Keep in mind that although were were succeeding in our dental practice, building a home and starting a family in Jack's Valley, we were also studying our church's foundational beliefs and agitating for reform.
Many people outside of Seventh-day Adventism do not realize that SDAs teach that the keeping of the seventh day (Saturday) as a Sabbath of rest will be the final test upon which men and women will be judged just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus to this earth. They believe that laws will be enacted that will eventually prohibit the keeping of Saturday as a Sabbath. Those laws, though mild at first will merely honor Sunday as a day of worship. But they believe that laws will eventually be enacted forcing all to worship on Sunday, and failure to do so they believe will be punishable by death.
If I am anything, I am a lover of my family. My wife and I, filled with the recent study of our church's foundational beliefs, made the difficult decision to sell our new home and successful dental practice and move to the remote and more difficult life on 18 acres of sagebrush sixty miles further east near the small town of Fallon, Nevada.
In my book, Surrender of Sovereignty, which explains why I do not believe the Bible to be God's word, I chronicle our spiritual journey. Eventually we moved from Fallon to Idaho. We've lived here 28 years. We have studied and re-evaluated our beliefs in depth many times. We gave up Seventh-day Adventism, then moved to a Bible-based Word of Faith church, and finally, after much soul searching, gave up Christianity altogether and became Agnostic.
My greatest disappointment is that I was so fervently and honestly blinded by the ridiculous teachings of a lady that I now believe to be delusional; and by the Bible, which I believe to be more of the same: fervent and delusional men writing on paper what eventually comes to be held as canon and holy writ.
Here is what we gave up: home, business, a beautiful valley and our dreams. The airplane flying over Jack's Valley was ours, and I was the pilot. Things aren't what make you happy. I know that. And I have a wonderful family and life still. But honestly giving up our dreams for a lie that we believed, held on to, and acted upon is our greatest disappointment.
|Our house in Jack's Valley looking up toward Lake Tahoe|
|My Dental Building in Carson City (Red roof part added after I sold it)|
|Flying over Jack's Valley with our new home (center right)|
looking across a beautiful valley to the foothills of the Sierras
In my book, Surrender of Sovereignty , I have explained to those who care, why I do not consider the Bible to be the Word of God. Naturally, now that I believe that way, it should be obvious that I no longer believe in Christian beliefs.
In my book, I clearly explain how I believe Christianity, as well as some other monotheistic religions, require that an individual's will be subject to the will of god. In so doing, I believe a surrender of one's sovereignty takes place. Sovereignty is defined as one's right to decide and make his own decisions.
Now that I am convinced that the Bible is not god's word, I further believe that if there is a higher power in this universe, he, she, or it is not asking us to subject our individual decision-making processes to their will. It is my conviction that life is amazing, and that we have the opportunity and freedom to use it productively, or if we choose, make poor decisions and squander it. I don't believe in Hell, so I believe how we live our lives is in itself the only reward we can count on. If there is something else after this life, we shall see. But I don't believe the Bible's version of what lies ahead for saints and sinners.
Recently, more than one friend has stated that they do not understand why, after leaving the Christian faith, I feel the need to evangelize others with my new found "truth." My first reaction to such inquiries is that they must not have read my book. I've had people say to me, after claiming to read my book, that I don't believe in God. Well they obviously didn't read the book, or they didn't read it with understanding. Because I am one of those weird birds that has rejected Christianity but still sees design in nature to the point I still believe in something or someone greater than ourselves. That makes me unpopular with creationists and atheists alike. I believe that in my life, Christianity has been a factor which has held me back, overshadowed my decision-making process, and drained a large amount of my income. I relish any opportunity to spread that message, because I believe it is a message than can rescue those who are having the same experience that I had in Christianity. If I love my fellowman, why wouldn't I want to spread a message that I believe can be liberating. And why should they feel that I shouldn't share such a message. Christians are the most evangelizing religion I know. They feel they have good news for sinners, so they evangelize. That is fine with me, but why can't they see that I feel my message is a liberating message. Why can't they understand that someone might actually think differently that they do. Most Christians believe that they are right, and anyone who disagrees with them is evil and wrong. It's not just being close-minded, it is more than that. It is an unwillingness to look at a situation through someone else's eyes.
Let's say two people, person A and person B, enter the room at the same time, and person A begins to walk toward person B. Person A should be able to understand that although he feels he is going towards person B, person B's perspective is that person A is actually coming toward him. And person B, should they have the ability to look at and comprehend another person's perspective, would be able to comprehend that, although person A is coming toward him, person A's perspective is that he is going not coming.
It seems to me that some of my Christian friends, in their Christian blindness, cannot comprehend that another person could hold a different perspective about Christianity, reject Christianity for themselves, and actually feel good about telling others about that perspective. When Christians talk about "One Way," I think they can include their perspective skills in that phrase as well.