小小的宗教讨论

跟公司的同事谈论起信教这件事。

基督教需要人无条件信圣经所说,包括诺亚方舟,上帝7日造人间,童真玛丽受孕等等。参与讨论者有曾经信教但现在不信的人,有天主教徒,有每个礼拜上教堂的基督教徒,有像我这样半信半疑的人,有坚定的无神论者。对于这些违背常理的故事,例如童女受孕,是最多人表示难以相信。天主教徒说,会不会玛丽其实是whore,跟别人有了孩子而安排了一个故事,后来人们加油添醋发展成圣经版本。有人说这无非是生育女神崇拜的一种形式。有人说,除非亲眼看见,否则不相信,但也不否定。

为什么难以无条件信圣经?因为圣经是由人写的,而且由很多人写了又改,改了又写,谁知道里面哪些是本源的。而且,这些人说的就一定是真理?信教的人,认为自己的理解是对的,由此去传道,但这又是真理吗?一位同性恋同事说,既然同性爱是基督教不允许的,那所有同性恋者就不是基督徒吗?但如果同性恋信教,但此教却排斥这种事情,如何破?

很高兴能够open minded地讨论这么sensitive的问题,虽然依然没答案,但至少知道其实不少人都有疑问。

我自己来说,我对任何宗教都很好奇,特别是神秘的地方。我相信有比人类高的一种力量,但我又无法去信任何一种具体的宗教。宗教读本,例如圣经,如同文学作品一样,各人汲取的东西可能都有所不同,信又好,不信也好,各自安好。

我觉得佛教有个讲法很好,佛法应该是拐杖,是渡船,将你支撑起来,将你渡过河,就失去用处了。能够站起来,就要扔掉你的拐杖,过了河就不可能带着船继续走路。宗教能够在人无助迷茫时起到精神支柱的作用,但终究人也要鼓起勇气,自己支撑自己。

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

我有一個本子,記錄有關基督教的語錄,例如聖經裏面的字句。我對基督教是抱着好奇和欣賞的態度去學習,但始終不能去“信”其教。特別是看着一條條該做不該做的,聽到人說主啊天父啊上帝啊,就不由自主打瞌睡。對基督教信仰的東西,例如贖罪、天堂、上帝之類的東西,實在難以去相信。特別是死後上天堂和地獄一說,我是無論如何都難以去相信。有驟然暈倒體驗的人都知道,人的意識off後,就是一片黑暗和“不存在”,沒有什麼天堂地獄。人死了就如同花草樹木一樣,成爲肥料,再沒有其他。宗教最大的侷限是,認爲除了此教外,人不能得道。我的世界觀,更接近人道主義與自由主義,可以去包容和學習宗教,但難以被其洗腦。

除了聖經以外,天路歷程(《The Pilgrim’s Progress》)是基督教徒們重要的讀物之一。此書大量運用象徵和比喻去描述如何成爲一個真正的基督教徒。宗教讀物都比較嚴肅和枯燥,讓人看得不耐煩。此書的語言也不是詩意和優美,但是也不乏可愛之處。例如作者將人性善惡取名,Obstinate,Pliable,Evangelist,Faithful等等,既代表了抽象意義,又有擬人的具體形象,讓人讀起來容易親近。例如:

By the deeds of the law no man living can be rid of his burden;therefore, Mr. World Wiseman is an alien, and Mr. Legality is a cheat; and for his son Civility, not with standing his simpering looks, he is but a hypocrite and can not help thee.

作者將聖經的一些話語穿插在故事中,也通過人物行動和對話,解釋了教義裏容易混繞和難理解的部分。例如解釋人爲何半途放棄信仰–

as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there ariseth in his soul many fears and doubt; and discouraging apprehensions which all of them get together, and settle in this place (the Slough of Despond)。

裏面富有美感和幽默的語句不多,但也有一些。

He hath turned the shadow of death into the morning

His house is as empty of religion as the white of an egg is of savour

A saint abroad and a devil at home

I can better conceive of them with my mind, then speak of them with my tongue. God’s things unspeakable

薩克雷有一本小說叫做名利場(《Vanity Fair》),我很喜歡這個名字,現在看來,或許是取自這本書。書裏詳細描畫了一個Vanity Fair,裏面賣的都是各種Vanity。人們認爲基督教徒阻止了人們的trade和物質交易而殺心頓起。這解釋了爲何人們要加害耶穌。

以我的理解,如何衡量是否“真正”的基督教徒,要看ta是否在行動上遵循上帝的指引,而不是在表面做摸樣。上上教堂、做禱告、懺悔、捐錢、聽彌撒、閱讀聖經、傳播福音等等,都未必是真正的、從內心而發的基督教徒。基督教鼓勵人揚善抑惡,從日常行爲就可以看得出此人是否“真正”的基督教徒。一個人需要幫助,而你不去幫助他,就暴露了此人的內質(如Worldly Wiseman每週上教堂,但拒絕幫助陷入絕境的朝聖者)。裏面有一句話,我覺得很受用—

Were you doers, or talkers only?

無論是不是基督教徒,人都不可沒有良心和憐憫心。時時警惕自己的弊病和人性惡,不斷去修正和改善。但要認識到,人性遠比我們想象的要複雜,不可以一概而論。例如在災難時期和和平時期,人的行爲可以完全不一致。我不信教,我認爲人要靠人自己的力量,而不是仰望上天去祈求獲得某種力量。力量是來自人的內心,由人的意志和果敢去堅定自己的行爲。

 

人的罪是如何清除

這個比喻好!律法與神諭的區別。

人心中太多灰塵,太多原罪,長年累月積了下來,需要清理。律法就是衝進去,用掃把拂塵掃灰,結果揚起來灰塵,讓人咳嗽難受。不但清理不了灰,還讓人心更渾濁。而神諭,上帝的指引,則是明智而溫柔的。是先撒點水,再打掃,不會揚起灰塵。但就需要多一個灑水的步驟,需要耐心和信仰。

這讓我想到,世界各國那麽多各種各樣的法律,卻並不能消滅罪惡。而宗教呢,那麽多律法,該做不該做的,不也是人類自己創立的麽?看看伊斯蘭教,其律法不也有反人性的一面麽?天主教不就長期被利用來獲取權利和金錢麽?那麽多教派,各自代表的,只是某部分團體的信念。這些都不能讓人走向光明。

我覺得,真正的神諭,是超越宗教,甚至超越聖經的。而接近神,或者說接近一種無憂無樂的自然力量,是考個人的思考,向善的實踐,對人對事的真誠和愛。

好脾氣,是能更快接近神,因為好脾氣,心境善良的人首先不會害人,連人壞話都不說,懷著大悲憐的心。但這樣還不夠。按照聖經所說,窄門的人是如何如何,似乎人要達到非常完美才能得到救贖,才能進窄門。但完美的人有多少?也許如此,才說是窄門吧。

我自己就不是完美的人,我見好多人都不完美。但聖經有種吸引人的美,讓人想去瞭解,想去努力完善自己。

最好就是自發地完善自己。老想上天堂的,十有八九不是好人。

IMG_20150301_172905IMG_20150301_172914IMG_20150301_172927

Bible Read::Exodus 15-18

bible

The right hand …glorious in power..hath dashed in pieces the enemy (15:6)

What is the meaning of right and why right hand not the left hand?

 

They wandered through desert and have short supply of water and food. God gave them water and food manna. I think Manna might be a sort of plant or seed or fungi that can gather in the dawn. I imagine it as a food that come to earth as dew and these little dew were harden and turn into white color and with special aroma. (16:15)

 

People complain a lot during the journey. When they suffered from hunger and thirst, they would regret they had followed Moses and leave their slave owner. Most of people would rather survive with little dignity and freedom than dying as freeman. People are blind, they can’t see God,thus they don’t trust God; People are stupid, they content with what they have but don’t even try to get close to truth, to the mighty God. (16)

…they tempted the Lord, saying, is the Lord among us, or not? (17:7)

Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods; for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly the was above them.(18:11)

 

But they were not always unhappy. Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, tool a timbrel and bring with all women to dances(15:20). They also have the seventh day as the sabbath(16:26). They have encountered Amalek and Joshua was sent to fight. The event was written and a alter was built called Jehovah-nissi(17:15).

 

Moses met his father-in-law Jethro. The good old man has gave some good advice to Moses. All people came to Moses for fair judge. Jethro said to Moses, this is not good, it will tire yourself out and they won’t be benefit much from it as well. You should tech them ordinances and law and rulers needed to be selected to govern themselves.

When a tribe became larger and with more members, it is hard to keep the group of people in shape. Something was needed to establish the governing.

1) Religion. To spread the word and fear of God, to let people believe in God, the power of governing was extensive and powerful. God followers would discipline themselves and obey rules set by “God” (or priests/religious organisation in the name of god). Thus it is more easy to control the mind of people and make them as one.

2) law and rules.  Law and rules obviously were made by rulers. These can standardize the society behaviors of people and become a base of judge. Law and rules were mean to be followed and with the help of religion, the mind and the behaviors were more stable.

Bible has indicated the origin of Religion, law and rules.

Bible Read::Exodus 6-14

bible

I have so much pain in reading the first few chapters of Exodus.

One miracle after another and they still in Egypt! Why God presents so much miracle? Why God harden the heart of Pharaoh? I guess the miracles would make people believe the mighty power of God and thus trust God. All the difficulties imposed by Pharaoh might make people known they were saved by God and they should always trust God no matter how terrible the situation is.

And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians; and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses(14:31)

 

God revealed his name to Moses–“my name is JEHOVAE“. Why God reveal name to Moses? Why God don’t reveal his name to Jacob etc? I google it and found different source of explanation. Some of the answers went too far, claiming the name of JEHOVAE indicates mysterious meaning…(6:3)

 

Some local grains and plants: Flax, Barley.(9:31) wheat, rie (9:32) hyssop(12:21)

 

Lord’s passover(12)

there are so many rules to celebrate Lord’s passover. Only the unleavened bread they were  allowed to eat. Why? I think:

1,the unleavened bread can be kept longer

2,they don’t have time to prepare leavened bread before escape to the desert

3, it becomes a symbol of purity and new life

4, eating unleavened bread in Lord’s passover can remind people of the salvation by God and show people’s gratitude towards God

5, or other reasons and meanings?