Thank you for taking the time to think over and respond to my post. To answer specifically why I would say it isn't quite God's intentions for us to view others as more important (or, in my relative definition, elevated above i.e. "special") comes from a somewhat redundant source.
In the ten commandments, God lays down that we should not covet what is our neighbors. Lev. 19:18 says pretty specifically "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD."
When the lawyer asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is in Matthew 22, he responds with (22:37) "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
To love my neighbor more seems to me to be in contradiction with this principle. I don't believe its secular at all. And the principle behind each and every little child being quite special is very much a humanist argument - which is pretty much the epitome of secularism. I'm not joking.
FIFTH: The preciousness and dignity of the individual person is a central humanist value. Individuals should be encouraged to realize their own creative talents and desires. We reject all religious, ideological, or moral codes that denigrate the individual, suppress freedom, dull intellect, dehumanize personality. We believe in maximum individual autonomy consonant with social responsibility. Although science can account for the causes of behavior, the possibilities of individual freedom of choice exist in human life and should be increased.
Although we believe in cultural diversity and encourage racial and ethnic pride, we reject separations which promote alienation and set people and groups against each other; we envision an integrated community where people have a maximum opportunity for free and voluntary association.
Nutshell, Humanist Manifesto II. It is not stated as well as in the Humanist Manifesto, but the ideology is still similar. I think a key phrase is "we believe in maximum human autonomy..." A common philosophy has been (and is being taught at the university level) that each individual is separate and controls their own reality (and is hence their own "god.") This completely ignores some major logical points, but aside from that is a very influential and quite widely spread philosophy. From that we get the point that I am a very important person in the universe. In fact, I am like the biggest influence in the universe. If you don't believe that, I'm special. Everyone can agree to that and little kids like it a whole lot. - The humanist influence on western educational systems is incredibly pronounced. It has been ingrained in us for generations. The Humanist Manifesto was produced in 1933, but the effects of it across the educational system can be linked back much farther... Darwin is a stellar example. Tylor's theory on the evolution of religion in humanity is another. I'm pretty sure that's not the technical term for it, but history buffs might know what I'm talking about.
The emphasis on this argument isn't quite what it seems to be. I am not special. Why do I believe it? Well, tradition. I like to ignore tradition, it got me thinking. Logic - if everyone is special, than no one is special. Unilateral elevation is more like inflation than progression. Particular elevation (whether positive or negative) would suggest a meaningful specialness. If I am not special, but everyone else is, then in fact, I am indeed the only special one. See, I went the other way, and being worth less makes me more unique, different, and in the end, special. This is not a secular argument, but a logical one.
I will not deny perception. The humanist viewpoint of perception has some validity. It recognizes that perception is a key part of the human psyche, but it fails to bridge the gap between perception and truth. Truth is unilateral - perceived truth may not be. I'm attempting to acknowledge the former.
There are definite passages in the bible that show God's immense love for us. Jer. 1:5 - "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Another example quoted all the time is Psalm 139. Yet at the same time, God didn't tell me He called my name before I was conceived to be a prophet to the nations. Nor am I the chief musician of David.
Don't get me wrong - my argument is not that I am worthless... far from it. But there is a limit to my perception of my viability.
And on to Ginnyrose,
I recently spent two months in Africa, for which I spent all of my money as well as other people's (in preparation for and supporting the local Indian (from India) missionaries,) gave away my bibles (which disgruntled me greatly,) and spent a lot of time being incredibly uncomfortable. I would hazard to say that maybe a handful of the individuals I came in contact with could be considered in similar or better shape than me - in terms of fiscal and educational standings (let alone oppourtunities.) This is when a very large part of this concept was lodged in my mind. I found out how much God cares for these people: the Muslims who profess to love me and yet thier doctrine demands my death, and the Christians who don't have a pastor trained at all in the historical background of the church or its various theologies. The pronoun "I" was more readily used to emphasize the fact that this is a practical, personally important, and very much self-borne (not born) concept. Believe me when I say that my walk is not limited to a keyboard.
| 2005/9/15 23:55||Profile|
I'm familiar with the manifesto, but what has that to do with where 'we' derive our Truth from ?
There is, as you say, a grain a truth in almost all things, but we don't negate a Biblical truth on the basis that it is found in 'secular' or humanist reasoning.
When the Word of God tells us to "esteem others as 'better' than ourselves", what is it saying ?
Thanks for your answer friend.
| 2005/9/16 0:18|
This has become quite the conversation. :)
Umm... lessee. I Can't get around Jesus's words. To me the gospel holds that much more weight.
This particular passage seems to have a lot to do with humility. The passage goes on to show Christ doing this very thing, but not considering Himself lower than God. I am lower than God, but Christ yet esteemed others more. I am not a biblical scholar, this is merely an opinion - and the Greek is quite a bit over my head.
I think it is possible to set others before me and yet maintain a righteous belief that I hold value in the sight of God. This isn't necessarily setting others above me (and hopefully not me above others). I don't think I'm entirely misinterpreting it, either.
| 2005/9/16 0:31||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: You're Not Special|
Just edgewise, but ....
Perhaps it could be put this way. You are special, now get over it. :-?
You are [i]not[/i] special and that will have to go as well...
In other words, and have been much in reading Oswald Chambers so pardon the runoff, we are a bundle of contradictions, the feelings come and go, we are both at the same time, a paradox.
Chosen, favored, yet mere worms, of unclean lips. Of our selves we can do no good thing. Used to think that was a contradiction, "apart from Me you can do [i]nothing[/i]"... Same there. Surely we can do plenty of good and accomplish many things... in this life, but what of eternity?
[i]One of the dangers of present-day teaching is that it makes us turn our eyes off Jesus Christ on to ourselves, off the Source of our salvation on to salvation itself. The effect of that is a morbid, hypersensitive life, totally unlike our Lords life, it has not the passion of abandon that characterised Him. The New Testament never allows for a moment the idea that continually crops up in modern spiritual teachingI have to remember that I am a specimen of what God can do. That is inspired by the devil, never by the Spirit of God. We are not here to be specimens of what God can do, but to have our life so hid with Christ in God that our Lords words will be true of us, that men beholding our good works will glorify our Father in heaven. There was no show business in the life of the Son of God, and there is to be no show business in the life of the saint. Concentrate on God, let Him engineer circumstances as He will, and wherever He places you He is binding up the broken-hearted through you, setting at liberty the captives through you, doing His mighty soul-saving work through you, as you keep rightly related to Him. Self-conscious service is killed, self-conscious devotion is gone, only one thing remainswitnesses unto Me, Jesus Christ first, second and third.
The Father abiding in Me doeth His works (John 14:10 rv). Our Lord habitually submitted His will to His Father, that is, He engineered nothing but left room for God. The modern trend is dead against this submission; we do engineer, and engineer with all the sanctified ingenuity we have, and when God suddenly bursts in in an expected way, we are taken unawares. It is easier to engineer things than determinedly to submit all our powers to God. We say we must do all we can: Jesus says we must let God do all He can.
As the Father taught Me, I speak these things (John 8:28 rv). The secret of our Lords holy speech was that He habitually submitted His intelligence to His Father. Whenever problems pressed on the human side, as they did in the temptation, our Lord had within Him self the Divine remembrance that every problem had been solved in counsel with His Father before He became Incarnate (cf. Revelation 13:8), and that therefore the one thing for Him was to do the will of His Father, and to do it in His Fathers way. Satan tried to hasten Him, tried to make Him face the problems as a Man and do Gods will in His own way: The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father doing (John 5:19 rv).
Are we intellectually insubordinate, spiritually stiff-necked, dictating to God in pious phraseology what we intend to let Him make us, hunting through the Bible to back up our pet theories? Or have we learned the secret of submitting our intelligence and our reasoning to Jesus Christs word and will as He submitted His mind to His Father?
The danger with us is that we will only submit our minds to New Testament teaching where the light of our experience shines. If we walk in the lightas our experience is in the light? No, if we walk in the light as He is in the light . . . We have to keep in the light that God is in, not in the rays of the light of our experience. There are phases of Gods truth that cannot be experienced, and as long as we stay in the narrow grooves of our experience we shall never become Godlike, but specialists of certain doctrinesChristian oddities. We have to be specialists in devotion to Jesus Christ and in nothing else. If we want to know Jesus Christs idea of a saint and to find out what holiness means, we must not only read pamphlets about sanctification, we must face ourselves with Jesus Christ, and as we do so He will make us face ourselves with God. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. When once the truth lays hold of us that we have to be God-like, it is the death-blow for ever to attempting things in our own strength. The reason we do attempt things in our own strength is that we have never had the vision of what Jesus Christ wants us to be. We have to be God-like, not good men and women. There are any number of good men and women who are not Christians.
The life of sanctification, of service and of sacrifice, is the threefold working out in our bodies of the life of Jesus until the supernatural life is the only life. These are truths that cannot be learned; they can only be habitually lived.[/i]
Our Lord on How to Think
Chambers, O. The moral foundation of life : A series of talks on the ethical principles of the Christian life.
It is edgewise, not sure if it address's the question adequately, if at all. Not special, no not special, beyond that and far below it. Look at the Lord, how He [i]became[/i] nothing as to His own will and abandonment to the Father, and yet there is no one more worthy of...hmmm, seems it would be difficult to apply that word it's not even near the same category.
Better quit at this point.
| 2005/9/16 0:50||Profile|
Just one question.
Did ya get a chance to read all the posts from the first one on ?
I know you shur is busy bro.
| 2005/9/16 1:36|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: "Especially" speaking|
A fair assessment there, at the time no, only had read a handful but backtracked through it all. Had the same similar thought, better to get a definition and after seeking one out ...
[b]special[/b] \"spe-shel\ adj 1 : uncommon, noteworthy 2 : particularly favored 3 : individual, unique 4 : extra, additional 5 : confined to or designed for a definite field of action, purpose, or occasion special n
spe.cial[/b] \'spesh-*l\ \-(*-)le-\ aj [ME, fr. OF or L; OF especial, fr. L
specialis individual, particul]ar, fr. species species 1: distinguished by
some unusual quality 2a: PECULIAR, UNIQUE 2b: of, relating to, or
constituting a species : SPECIFIC 3: ADDITIONAL, EXTRA 4: designed for a
particular purpose or occasion INDIVIDUAL, RESPECTIVE, CONCRETE mean of or
belonging to one only. SPECIAL stresses having a quality, character,
identity, or use of its own; ESPECIAL may add implications of preeminence
or preference; SPECIFIC implies a quality or character distinguishing a
kind or a species; PARTICULAR implies a distinguishing mark of an
individual; INDIVIDUAL implies unequivocal reference to one of a class or
group; RESPECTIVE implies reference to each one of several in the order
named; CONCRETE suggests individuality and actuality of existence or
experience - special n SYN syn SPECIAL, ESPECIAL, SPECIFIC, PARTICULAR,
Ye [b]old[/b] Websters of 1828:
SPECIAL,[/b] n. A particular. [Not Used.]
The phrase [not used] I believe is in the context of "rarely used". Tried to find a better clarification and couldn't come up with one, but it does seem from the usage of [little used] elsewhere that Noah Webster had in mind that it is "used" infrequently (in his day), for some background on him: http://www.bible-researcher.com/webster.html
To really make this whole word play even more ... interesting :-? There is a sense of taking "not used" to a full literal sense.
Guess where I was going even last night with a tired brain is still similar;
1Co 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
A particular favorite, [i]especially[/i] 8-) since the blunt reality is in scrapped knees from so much [i]him that thinketh[/i]...
The context being all that came before;
1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Without going back over it all, the gist of it seems to be along the same lines of;
Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you,[b] not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think;[/b] but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
So in one sense it is to do away with the word altogether. Does God love you? Are you the apple of His eye? A man\woman after His own heart?
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Pretty all encompassing, but 'special'? ...
In this context of questions raised it seems to be a very poor choice of 'word(s)'. The element of pride as was well mentioned (a whole other element) sneaks in.
Surely we are not just mere curmudgeons in His sight, we have nothing of worth "of ourselves" in the sense that...
Act 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: Act 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
Finding this more difficult to unravel than I thought...
There was a post awhile back about whether we ought or not to take pleasure in doing something good for the Lord and that can be similar to this I think.
What better sense of ... pure pleasure, than to have the sense of the Lords Presence, peace... [i]it is well with my soul[/i]? What would any of us want to hear at this fleshly end than, "Well [u]done[/u] [b]good and faithful[/b] servant"?
The problem with this particular word and the questions brought forth is in either wallowing in our unworthiness which is or ought to be evident enough (Woe is me I am [i]undone[/i], I am a man of unclean lips, depart from me) if we have come to a realization of the possibilities we are capable of, the short step back to the gutter that many of us came out of, where our whole thought life once lived... Or it is to give ourselves credit for something we never accomplished in the first place. Can we say "I am glad that I found the way out?" Or is it "Thank God He did it, all of it..." Not trying to open up that whole realm here, personally find that "predestination" is after the fact from our standpoint.
Really it seems to be totally codified here:
Luk 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Luk 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Luk 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Luk 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
We are not 'better than' anyone. It's as if this whole line of thought could be erased from our inner man as well as the opposite, that we are somehow completely worthless. Far be from it! If the 'mainspring' as Chambers is want to put it, has been changed the whole manner has been altered, gloriously altered. I would prefer "peculiar" any day of the week. We ought to be the strangest, 'weirdest' people on the face of the earth. Human containers of the Living God? How utterly preposterous! We don't 'flaunt' it, we would perhaps not even recognize it unless we continue in that constant navel gazing (not always a bad thing, it can bring oneself to a real sense of being tired with thinking about ones 'self'... ughhh)
Maybe the short way of stating all this is;
We are loved, beloved.
We give back out what has been worked in,
hopefully... and might I add 'unconsciously'?
Remember "the joy of the Lord"?
Do we have [i]that[/i]?
Despite it all, despite the conditions and certain circumstances, troubles and misunderstandings and a thousand other things that come our way each and everyday?
Peculiar in being "quick" to forgive.
Peculiar in "the love they have for each other"
Peculiar in suffering all manners of insults and injuries perceived or otherwise.
Peculiar in [i]manner[/i], at the very core of our being.
That would be as close as I would want to come to 'special'. And it is very much why when we begin to fight amongst ourselves over much trivial things, snipping and bitting and so forth that the grievousness just takes hold, we ought not to be this way.
Are we 'proud' of our salvation, in the sense of... it goes right back to the Pharisee no? Or are we heartbroken that those outside "don't get it", don't ponder the great realities of eternity, of their very soul, of the fast approaching death?
Mat 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
| 2005/9/16 10:26||Profile|
LOL! Hey, one thing that does happen when we age is our sense of humor comes in handy because we have to use it a lot!! (BTW, did you notice the younger generation does not laugh as much as older folks?). On the other hand I am only 58 but to the youngsters on this board we ARE old enough to be their moms and therefore old...at least according to our children..:-)
| 2005/9/16 12:05||Profile|
ginnyrose :-) Yes, I've noticed that ("BTW") part.
I thought it was only me ... but we were raised on "better cartoons" or something .... ho-ho-ha !
The cartoons in this last so many decades have so much violence and all, and I still love the old cartoons. Ha !
I don't watch TV anymore, though it's handy right here if something comes up, but we have some oldie cartoons on VHS.
I don't think you and I live "that" far from eachother. Wanna come over and pop some in ? Ha !
Yup, we're OLD alrighty, but age makes ya appreciate 'the JOY of the Lord IS our Strength'.
God Bless you richly ginnyrose.
| 2005/9/16 17:10|
Aw shucks Mike.
I thought you'd at least comment on "Seeing others as Special" and [b]not[/b] ourselves as being "special", as the verse I brought up twice, was what I was trying to say from page one. Yeeeeesh !
Phi 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other [b]better 5242[/b] than themselves.
From G5228 and G2192; to hold oneself above, that is, (figuratively) to excel; participle (as adjective, or neuter as noun)[u] superior, superiority: - better, excellency, higher, pass, supreme.[/u]
Excedes the english definition of "special" by quite a bit, doesn't it ?
I give up PTywama3.
I think I'm just too "OLD" for this sorta stuff.
I'm gonna go plug in one of my cartoons.
| 2005/9/16 17:20|
I think its good to have a low and humble opinion about one's self...
But as a believer in Christ to think you are not special is a folly...
In Christ you are:
A Son of God
A Friend and Disciple of Jesus Christ
One with Christ in spirit
Bought with a price
A member of Christ's Body
Chosen and adopted by God
Redeemed and Forgiven
a Citizen of Heaven
Salt and Light
And thats just the tip of the iceberg. In Christ my friend, you are special.
Knowing your identity is one thing, living it is another.
| 2005/9/16 17:51||Profile|