I've stirred some hearts and minds from the posts and I know most of it were from my own family. I know it must have been pretty difficult to see things from where I am standing now. It was pretty difficult for me back then, too, when I was still looking at things from a different perspective. But as I rid myself of all the belief system and tradition and practices that I've been used to and became a blank paper as I read the bible, God's written Word became more clear for me to see without all the other scribbles and sketches from the past getting in my point of view.
The philosophy of John Locke that has been well known to most of us today is his philosophy on "tabula rasa". In his first book, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, he mentioned that we all do not have innate ideas as we would have been conscious of having them if we did. He presented that it is an undeniable fact that children are not conscious of having innate ideas, and that they acquire knowledge during the course of a lifetime. Furthermore, he stated that it is impossible that anyone should have knowledge of something of which he is not conscious.
Locke explains that our intellect, at the first moment of its being, is a tabula rasa, a clean sheet of paper on which nothing has yet been written. All impressions we later find thereon come from experience. He also explains that experience is twofold: external (called "sensation") which gives us ideas of supposed external objects, and internal (called "reflection") which makes us understand the operation of the spirit on the objects of sensation, such as knowing, doubting, believing and so forth. (The Philosophy of John Locke)
I wouldn't have agreed with John Locke had I not become a parent myself. A child's mind is indeed a blank, clean sheet of paper that one must be very careful on what to impress on it because it can be left as a lasting impression or experience for the child. We could either build or tear our children down by the many different kinds of "scribbles", "sketches", "strokes" and "imprints" we leave on their clean sheet. The beauty of it, though, looking at it from a different light is that a child's mind is open to teaching. Whether it be teaching from what was written or the teaching of experience, their young unpolluted sheet of a mind doesn't give room for "but's" and "if's".
Jesus said in Matthew 18:3 "...Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." KJV
Why would He use this to answer his disciples when they asked Him who is the greatest in the kingdom? Because Jesus knew the characteristics of a child. Children are characteristically teachable (and humble), no pride there to argue with what Jesus would teach. Take note that Jesus used the word "converted" (literally to "change" in the Greek word ). Unless we change and become as little children who are teachable (much like "tabula rasa"), Jesus himself said that we shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Unless we RID ourselves of our PRIDE and humble ourselves to be teachable enough, we will never be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven where we experience Jesus Christ firsthand. A lot of Jesus' words and teachings were difficult for most of his followers to receive, and unless they had the humility in their heart and the teachable character of a child, Jesus' very words would be just parables, or worse, absurdity which become difficult for them to accept and follow.
In lieu to this, I have, since my childhood days, considered the bible sacred. I've been taught to give respect to it and to honor it as the Word of God. I've even sometimes thought it has tangible powers that could drive demons away if I open it at a certain page in the psalms and display it open in my room. But it wasn't until God gave me the grace to be interested in READING His Word that I truly marveled on it's sacredness and power. The biggest challenge there was for me came with the idea that I will be READING the Holy Bible and taking it as the living Word of God without error and thus, respect its authority. It was, for me, a matter of BELIEVING and having FAITH in a book that "christians" (whether catholics or protestants alike) consider as a living Word of God. The questions I had to initially answer were these: "What is the Bible's authority in my life?" "Do I just take PARTS of it to be true or do I resolve to honor it's entire AUTHORITY?" "Where do I stand if I come across something in the bible that contradicts my belief and practices?" "Is the Bible the only source of Truth? Or will the traditions and beliefs that I've held on to be tipping the scale as well?"
"Clean sheet of paper"... If God didn't bring me to a point in my life where I decided to become a "tabula rasa", I wouldn't have considered the Bible as the ONLY authority in Truth. But when God gave me grace to humble myself so as for Him to teach me, the answer to all my questions became clear... The bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16 that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" (KJV). It wasn't SOME of it or PORTIONS of it, but ALL OF SCRIPTURE is by inspiration of God! And it is the part of it that makes it "profitable for CORRECTION, for INSTRUCTION in righteousness" that made me realize that this holy book is all that I need.
If I couldn't acknowledge the authority of the Word of God from that verse, then I would be blind as a bat to still follow and consider OTHER sources of what we all call "Truth"! It couldn't be more clearer than that. It couldn't be more easier than that, too, because unless we are humble enough to acknowledge that the BIBLE IS the Word of God, there will never be a point in our lives that we would acknowledge the Holy Book as a source of Truth. The question that remains is this: "Do you BELIEVE that the bible IS the Word of God?".
THE LIVING WORD OF GOD
The Holy Bible has always been a part of my christian walk (even before I became a believer in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ). It has been a book that was in the least, respected, in the home. It wasn't like any other book we owned as there was always some degree of regard given to it. I grew up understanding that I am not to trample on it or even to hastily place it on the ground. We've given the bible some due respect because of the fact that it is considered the "Word of God." But most of the time, bibles gather dust on it because it is more displayed than read in catholic homes. Ironic as it is, although we've taken into consideration that it is the very "Word of God", it never occurred in us to READ the written Word!
How important is it then to READ the bible? VERY IMPORTANT! For we read in John 1:1 that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." I'm hoping that if we read this verse again and again it will eventually dawn on us that it is saying that the Word was GOD Himself. Have you memorized John 1:14? Read it very carefully this time: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
If it never occurred in us to consider the written Word of God as a testimony to our Lord Jesus Christ, then there is really no point in us calling upon the name of Jesus and acknowledging His authority while ignoring the authority of the written Word. I don't know about you, but there might be a need for us to take one step backward here and decide whether we are professing and considering one and not the other.
The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation is all about Jesus Christ! Genesis 1:1 says "In the BEGINNING God created the heaven and the earth." You see, the Word of God has been there since the beginning of time. There isn't a WHEN to the Word of God. Here are a few facts you might want to know about your bible:
"Unlike other books, the Bible was written by about forty human authors who lived during a 1,500-year period beginning with Moses in the fifteenth century B.C. The Bible was written in two major languages—Hebrew and Greek, with a few portions of the Old Testament written in Aramaic. No other book has ever been composed in quite the same way as the Bible. The human authors came from various walks of life. Moses, who wrote the first five books of the Old Testament, was probably the best educated man of his day, having studied under tutors in the royal palace of Egypt. The human authors also included those who were great leaders, such as Joshua, and those who were chosen of God to be prophets, such as Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Some of the authors were like David, who began as a shepherd but became king of Israel. From the position of one occupying the throne, he wrote many of the Psalms, forming a rich poetic background for much biblical truth. Some of the writers were farmers; some were warriors; some were fishermen. There was little that tied them together except that they all wrote a portion of the biblical truth as contained in the Bible.
The Bible is an unusual book. In spite of its diversity, it has continuity, beginning in Genesis and ending in the book of Revelation. In its contents are included moral and political law, history, poetry, prophecy, and letters.In Christian faith the unity of the Bible, in spite of its diversity of subject matter and authorship, is traced to the work of the Holy Spirit rather than to a human penman. (How The Bible Was Written)
This Holy Book is the foundation of the Christian faith. This written word of prophecy, the Scriptures, points us to the Word of God who became flesh, our LORD Jesus Christ! If you believe in Him then you should get to know Him through your bible. The traditions that we grew up with was rebuked by Jesus Christ himself as he spoke these words in the gospel of Mark:
And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
9And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)d— 12then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
My dear friends, I pray that you will run to your bible and start reading it. Start with the New Testament as it is where you will hear the words of Jesus Christ himself! Do not let your worship be in vain by calling Him "Lord, Lord!" but not really knowing who He is. I pray that God will give you the grace to become a blank, clean sheet of paper for Him to write His Word and impress His righteousness in you!
May the Peace that He alone can give dwell in your hearts now and always. My prayers are with you always.
With much love...