Some say that there is 'no riddle', as far as the Universe and everything that is contained within it is concerned. The ones who hold to this belief, are referring to those individuals and organizations, typically religious individuals or religious organizations, who hold that there is no ultimate plan, destiny, question to be answered or response that needs to be made to some unseen force or question that has been in force since and before the origin of the Universe.
In other words what matters to them is that we are here, however we got here (whether by chance through evolution) and that we should simply behave in the manner that King Solomon wrote about in the book of Ecclesiastes:
Solomon wrote that we should simply "... eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we will die...".The implication drawn from that is that there is nothing else that will take place afterwards that we should be concerned about or that should be permitted to influence our thinking during our individual sojourns on earth.
In other words, those who believe this way hold that there won't be any consequences in the Universal scheme of things, for whatever we do here on earth, according to their existential thought-patterns there won't be a reconstituted life ... or any consequences for how any one of us has conducted himself while on earth. Or to put it another way, this is all that there is, and, ‘tomorrow we die’!
Still there are others who sense or want to believe (even outside of religion and any other religious or literal influences), that there is evidently something more going on here than some chance happening, or that there is some unqualified universe or universal experiences that go along with our being here in the Universe, even if we happened to of evolved (as a result of theistic evolution or otherwise) or as a result of Big Bang ...
Even if I had not been raised in the church to believe ..., I believe that there is something else in existence besides my own intellect or rational sense of what is.
And as television character "Mr. T", wouldn't often say, "I PITY THE FOOL WHO WOULD TRY TO TELL ME DIFFERENTLY"When I take into consideration the eschatological leap, though clearly not an exact science itself, I lean towards those groups and individuals who believe that there is something else that ultimately drives the universe, even though I suspect that the conclusions that have been drawn by all religious organizations, even the Christian organization that I happen to be a part of leave a whole lot to be desired.
Would I believe the same way, if I happened to have been born in another nation and happened to be a Muslim, a Sikh, a Hindu, a Jew ..., I suspect so! Do any of the religious groups have a monopoly on truth, well of course they do, just ask them!
If there is one thing that religion has taught me, it is to be a skeptic of dogmatism, whether it is religious or secular dogmatism, and to be skeptical of dogmatic individuals and teachers who have an incendiary tendency or incentive to speak in absolute terms. I love that saying that, there are no absolutes, "not even the absolute that was just stated", for too much of what we believe to be true is based upon historical human social constructs.
In a previous writing I went into more detail about a topic that bible eschatologists often write about, the Mark of the Beast, in particular, what John saw in his vision on the isle of Patmos that he referred to as ‘the Mark, and its is the meaning? Could it be true, as some eschatologist believe, that if ancient prophecies of the time were accurate, that all of what has been written before has already taken place, which is in symbolic terms, the world as they knew it came to a catastrophic. Eschatological historicists believe that such is in fact the case.
Clearly, a lot of what has been written, appears to have come true already. On the other hand, if you believe in 3 tenses of prophecy, local, ultimate and universal prophecy, then certain the elements of certain prophecies could occur over and over and again in different timeframe. How much of what was saw through a vision or otherwise, have been the result of an overactive imagination? Sacrilege, no I don’t think so. What is important from my viewpoint, is to seek what is real, and oftentimes, we as human beings make mistakes!
Having said that, in my view, one would be foolish, I suspect, not to ask, is there really some unseen force, religion aside, that is omniscient or even 'non-omniscient' that had the ability to foretell or leak discretionary various clues about the Universe as we stumble along in it. Some folks deny reality because they simply have an issue with religion. I believe that you can have an issue with religion and with religious teachers, but just because you do, as the saying goes, ‘don‘t throw the baby out with the bath water’. All religions that I know and have read about certainly contain some elements of truth.
Should we follow the beliefs of those reductionists who often say that we should simply ignore, evidences or clues to the contrary, that were previously foretold - particularly when they seemed to have come true: the ones who conclude that these are mere coincidences. How does one ignore a dream, precognitive or prodronal that comes true? Should we do as some have done already, simply refer to what they cannot explain as nonsense. If we were to do that, then we will be upholding these so-called rationalists who make comments that have no basis in fact, just as they vilify individuals and groups who do not see things in the manner that they do.
Is there some unseen spirit or force that creates and drives the universe, (who or that has created and predetermined or predestined our destinies as humans, in addition to the earth and the Universe: My answer to that question is, I emphatically believe that there is something, a God, a Singularity, A Unifying Principle or a God equivalent that exists along with chance, in other words non-determined outcomes.
As an example, King Solomon wrote about the impact that time and chance has on all of our lives. So forgive my highly esoteric and ethereal ramblings, however, reductionism is not the answer either. We must speculate, we must examine, we must consider, even when our cogitations, speculations, ramblings ..., take us beyond the parameters that have been prescribed to us by certain doctrinaire teachers, religious and non. Why? Each one of us is an individual, and we should never relegate the responsibility for our lives and the choices that we make to some other fallible even when well-intentioned human being(s) or group(s).
Now back to the American-Styled Market System and John's vision on the Isle of Patmos. Engaging in a play on words, could our American consumer driver Mark(et) system be a form of the beast that John wrote about in the book of Revelations, although he apparently only saw the symbols of what the beast actually happens to be? Certainly, our Market System, wall street, stocks, trading, ticker symbols, the two beats (bear and bull) , please see my previous writing on this where I go into more detail. Our system, being emulated now by much of the world), seems to have all of the components of a numerical system that one has to be a part of in order progress.
Again, is it possible that the symbols that he saw looked like or were representative beastly symbols, our Bear and the Bull, that are used to describe the upswing and the downswing of the American Stock Market, when the beast's head is bowed closed to the ground, or the bull, whose head is riding high up to symbol the upward volatility in the Market. We refer to the market in these terms on alternating days as a Bull Market, when the head is high, and a Bear Market, when the head is sloping near to the ground.
Here is something else curious that no one else that I've heard talk about, the number 666 and the total number of the books of the Canon 66! What do these digits have to do with each other, the Mark has 3 sixes, and yet the Christian canon contains 66 books. What is this number and what does it mean? Has anyone else ever considered the interestingly parallel between the number of the beast and the total number of books that represent the bible. Consider this, the number of the books of the bible (66), and if you add 1 more numeral 6, you end up with (666). Now religious folks, especially Christians, before you break out our commentaries and seek to blast me back into oblivion, all you can really tell me is what you believe and why, something that is typically based upon your understanding of something that you have concluded or have been taught.
But open up a little bit and consider what does this kind of symmetry or dualism between the two opposites, heaven and hell, and the number of the book and closeness between the number of Constantine’s canon have in common
Does it have any meaning? Is it worth examining. Some will say no, and that's okay. But I think it’s worth examining, what one more 6 added to the sum total of the books of the Christian Bible could mean or explain or explain about this historical eschatological mystery. Or, what could the numbers if anything have to do with what, to me, appear to have to do with the American-styled Mark(et) of the Beast system that is being emulated by most emerging national economies around the world today.
What of the American-style macroeconomic, finance, credit, credit default swaps, trade, stock exchanges, tickers, (to include the New York and other stock exchanges of the world)? What could a prophecy like this mean if we considered the prophecy itself in a non-linear or multi-dimensional universe – one that is not limited to 3-dimensional aspects and therefore 3-dimensional understanding. Move over Nostradamus.
Uh oh you’re thinking, and with respect to all of this, you say, the Reverend has truly gone off of the deep end this time. No, I don't think so, in fact I always remember the words of the late Assistant Prelate of the AOH Churches of God, Bishop Harris, formerly of Chicago Illinois, when he said, "I suppose that my opinion is just as good as anybody Elise's". I suspect that my "informed opinions and speculations" are just as good as the demagoguery of our biblical literalists, modern preachers and translators. Or don't I reserve the right to speculate? If you ask some of them, the answer would be no!
The Apostle Paul, in his writings, particularly to the Church at Thessalonica wrote, 'prove all things and hold fast to those which are good'. I am simply testing the veracity of statements in order to determine whether or not the conclusions of some of our former interpreters stand up under scrutiny. Now keep in mind that with respect to what is actual scripture, which decides for some what is and what is not true, Chief Apostle Peter, the Chief Apostle made a distinction in 1 Peter 2:15 between 'the writings of Paul', and 'the scriptures.
I agree with the Chief Apostle that Paul's writings, were not scripture! Now I understand that that many of my friends in the ministry still teach that the bible is the literal word of God, despite all of the evidences to the contrary. And many of the same believe that however they interpret the Bible, that what they conclude is in fact literal truth. And of course it would have to be the unadulterated truth, because if their interpretations was not infallible, than that would mean that they were in fact teachers of falsehoods.
On the other hand and as I see it, what is wrong with admitting that you have made a mistake from time to time? Why should we? The answer is because if there is a second pillar to the Christian faith, if not the first, isn't it simply put that humans, even Christian ones, make mistakes - and that is acceptable with God?
I have always been more interested in getting at what is real, or truthful, if you will, as opposed to following some talking-head who believes that the way that he sees things is the truth and that there can be no other truth.
Wouldn't it be more preferable for one to say, "this is the way that I understand or interpret what I have read"? The late Presiding Prelate of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, encouraged his ministers to do just that. Do what? he said, that they should say, "that this is what I believe", when referring to certain texts.
For after all preachers, we were not present when these texts were written nor translated, and therefore we have no idea what the authors truly meant.
The next thing you know you will hear some well-meaning person saying that Ronald Reagan (not hard to believe) was, or that incumbent President Obama Hussein, one or the other, is the Mark of the Beast. Keynes, Galbraith, do you suppose that either of these infamous economists are posthumously turning over in their graves, having heard that someone is intimating that the system that they wrote so much about could have been the evil that was described in John's astro-laden vision?
What is good, and what is bad about the American-styled macroeconomic system? And if the American styled market economic system is The Mark, what does that make the holders of its stock? Finally, Bear Market or Bull Market, which beast is it?
to be continued ..., When I write, as I am doing now, I permit my thoughts to pour out onto the page and later, perhaps you have noticed that before. Afterwards, I go back in and make grammatical and other punctuation errors - I gotta go, but I will be back - THIS IS A LIVING DOCUMENT!
But before I go, I must emphasize again that not everything that Paul wrote was considered scripture by the other Apostles, as many Christians are being taught to believe today. He would even be surprised, I suspect, if he were to return only to learn that 'his writings' had been elevated to the status of scripture.
In other words, when it comes to the Christian Bible (and any other religious text), although we appreciate the writings of the writers, t here is room for interpretation folks - many times wrote from his own heart, and I suspect that he made mistakes, just as he did on the Road to Damascus when punishing the wrong people, in spite of his purpose for writing. !
What Peter wrote about:2 Peter 3:15. Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
The Apostles did not always understand what the other was writing, saying or doing, neither were they always in agreement about what the other did, consider Paul and his instructions to the Gentile Christians, which differed from what James, head of the Jerusalem church, had taught the Jews.
We need to consider more than what some individuals in the past had to say was the was the absolute truth. The author may have believed that what he wrote, was the absolute truth, however, that does not mean that what he wrote was 'the absolute truth!
On the other hand, the other side needs to consider that some of what has been written down in religious texts or taught by religious teachers has some validity and a basis in truth. Today, I have challenged you to think. Most of us who were raised in intolerant religious organization should beware of dogmatism, for we were raised in institutions that taught that us that we were neither to question, test nor to!
Rev. C. Solomon