Saturday, December 15, 2007

How Can You Know Right From Wrong Without a Bible?

EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: We must have an objective Word from God, like the Bible, or people will do what they want. The idea of the Holy Spirit as the only guide is not enough. How would we know right from wrong without a Bible?

MICHAEL: Your point seems logical. That is why people write rule books, post speed limits along the highways and create doctrinal statements. This is how humans make a social community, and this is one way to get people to obey and do the right thing. But Jesus and Paul both went beyond written legal codes, believing that there was actually an invisible, powerful, interacting agent in the Universe they called the Spirit. This was called a mystery because it couldn't be detected by the five senses. It was called foolishness because it was no etched in stone, scribed on parchment or decreed on a mountain top. The role of Spirit was not to make laws for a social order, to make souls.

The Perfected Soul is like magnetic North, Divine Polarity – and the Holy Spirit is an internal compass and invisible Power that keeps moving us back to the Pole. It doesn't need written laws, but utilizes our physical and emotional sensations to remind us when we are moving off course. In fact, it will kick our ass if we go off course. Nicodemus and Saul of Tarsus (Paul) are good examples. They were obeying God's Laws, but deviating from universal compassion and humane behavior. They believed that they were following the Spirit, but doubt, confusion, depression and misery caused them to seek out more Truth. Nicodemus' unhappiness caused him to sneak off to meet Jesus in a dark alley, and Saul was knocked to the ground in despair by the invisible Power of Spirit. The stories of people like CS Lewis and Malcolm X demonstrate what poet Francis Thompson called the invisible 'Hound of Heaven.' J.R.R. Tolkien read this poem and wrote:

'As the hound follows the hare, never ceasing in its running, ever drawing nearer in the chase, with unhurrying and imperturbed pace, so does God follow the fleeing soul by His Divine grace. And though in sin or in human love, away from God it seeks to hide itself, Divine grace follows after, unwearyingly follows ever after, till the soul feels its pressure forcing it to turn to Him alone in that never ending pursuit.
—The Neuman Press Book of Verse, 1988

Of course one can make the claim that the Spirit 'led me,' or that 'the Bible says,' but if they are mistaken they will eventually experience internal and external hell in their lives because of the force and power of Spirit. Remember what Jesus said, 'the Spirit will convict or convince the world of sin and righteousness,' (John 16) not the Bible. God's Spirit is quite capable of letting the claimant know whether he is operating out of selfish ego or godly connection. The problem of those who follow a Book, ranging from the Moral Majority to the Taliban, is that they think they have control by referring to an external, objective, rational text. They don't. The One who corrects is Spirit, so please stop using your Bible to do what only God can do. Leave external control up to the political and social systems. They are often way more effective and just than biblical religionists.

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