Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Who is Jesus? Part II

Jesus and Buddha

1. Both Buddha and Jesus were baptized in the presence of the "spirit" of God
2. Both went to their temples at the age of twelve, where they are said to have astonished all with their wisdom.
3. Both fasted in solitude for a long time: Buddha for forty--seven days and Jesus for forty.
4. At the conclusion of their fasts, they both wandered to a fig tree.
5. Both were about the same age when they began their public ministry:
Buddha was twenty nine years of age
Jesus was about thirty years of age
6. Both were tempted by the "devil" at the beginning of their ministry
7. Buddha answered the "devil": "Get you away from me.
Jesus responded: "...be gone, Satan!"
8. Both experienced the "supernatural" after the "devil" left:
For Buddha: "The skies rained flowers, and delicious odors prevailed [in] the air."
For Jesus: "angels came and ministered to him"
9. The multitudes required a sign from both in order that they might believe.
10. Both strove to establish a kingdom of heaven on earth.
11. According to the Somadeva (a Buddhist holy book), a Buddhist ascetic's eye once offended him, so he plucked it out and cast it away.
Jesus said: "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out, and throw it away;"
12. "Buddha taught that the motive of all our actions should be pity or love of our neighbor. Jesus taught: "Love thy neighbor as thyself...love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"
13. Buddha said: "Hide your good deeds, and confess before the world the sins you have committed."
Jesus said: "Beware of practicing your piety before men to be seen by them” and "…Therefore confess your sins one to another…”
14. Both are said to have known the thoughts of others:
"By directing his mind to the thoughts of others, [Buddha] can know the thoughts of all beings."
"But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said: `Why do you think evil in your hearts?'"
15. Both were itinerant preachers with a close group of trustees within a larger group of disciples.
16. Both preached that their disciples should renounce all worldly possessions.
17. Both had a disciple who "walked" on water
18. Both met a woman at a well (remember, so did krishna)
"One day Ananda, the disciple of Buddha, after a long walk in the country, meets with Matangi, a woman of the low caste of the Kandalas, near a well, and asks her for some water. She tells him what she is, and that she must not come near him. But he replies: `My sister, I ask not for your caste or your family, I ask only for a drought of water.
"There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her: `Give me a drink.' For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him: `How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?' For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans"
19. Both received similar receptions:
For Buddha, "The people swept the pathway, the gods strewed flowers on the pathway and branches of the coral tree, the men bore branches of all manner of trees, and the Bodhisattva Sumedha spread his garments in the mire, [and] men and gods shouted: `All hail.'"
"And they brought the colt to Jesus, and threw their garments on it; and he sat on it. And many spread their garments on the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields"
20. Both had a close figure trying to betray them:
Buddha – Devadatta (a cousin)
Jesus – Judas (an apostle)
21. Both told their disciples to continue the ministry after they were gone and they would be with them always.
22. When Buddha died: "The coverings of [his] body unrolled themselves, and the lid of his coffin was opened by supernatural powers."
When Jesus died: the stone blocking the entrance of his tomb was rolled away.
23. "In the year 217 B.C. Buddhist missionaries were imprisoned for preaching; but an angel, genie or spirit came and opened the prison door, and liberated them."
"They arrested the apostles (of Jesus) and put them in the common prison. But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out"
25. Both men's disciples are said to have been miracle workers.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Who is Jesus? Part 1

Many of you may not know much about origins of gods and their many similarities. For this post, let's compare a few similarities between Jesus and Krishna. Additional comparisons are forth coming.

Jesus and Krishna

• Christ and Krishna were called both God and the Son of God.
• Both were sent from heaven to earth in the form of a man.
• Both were called Savior, and the second person of the Trinity
• Adoptive human father was a carpenter.
• A spirit or ghost was their actual father.
• Krishna and Jesus were of royal descent.
• Both were visited at birth by wise men and shepherds, guided by a star.
• Angels in both cases issued a warning that the local dictator planned to kill the baby and had issued a decree for his assassination.
* The parents fled. Mary and Joseph stayed in Muturea; Krishna's parents stayed in Mathura.
• Both Christ and Krishna withdrew to the wilderness as adults, and fasted.
• Both were identified as "the seed of the woman bruising the serpent's head."
• Jesus was called "the lion of the tribe of Judah." Krishna was called "the lion of the tribe of Saki."
• Both claimed: "I am the Resurrection."
• Both were "without sin."
• Both were god-men: being considered both human and divine.
• They were both considered omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.
• Both performed many miracles, including the healing of disease. One of the first miracles that both performed was to make a leper whole.
* Each cured "all manner of diseases."
• Both cast out indwelling demons, and raised the dead.
• Both selected disciples to spread his teachings.
• Both were meek, and merciful. Both were criticized for associating with sinners.
• Both encountered a Gentile woman at a well.
• Both celebrated a last supper. Both forgave his enemies.

Traditional belief is that Krishna was born on July 19, 3228 BCE
Traditional belief is that Jesus was born in the spring around 6 BCE

Monday, June 04, 2007

What is a Testimony

Just what is a testimony anyway? It is much different when comparing testimony from the viewpoint of Law vs Religion.

Under Law, testimony is a form of evidence obtained from a witness making a statement or declaration of fact. (more or less, I'm not a Lawyer).

Under Religion, testimony is an outward profession of faith or inward belief.

One is based on fact, the other opinion...hmm, something to think about.

We are taught thru religion to nurture our testimonies and to let them grow. One way to grow your testimony is to bear it. Let me think about that for a minute. If I say something enough times, the more I will believe it. Interesting concept. Can something be considered brainwashing if it is self induced?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Was Jesus a Christian?

This seems like a silly question but as I grew up in the Bible Belt of Southern Virginia I always assumed that Jesus was a Christian. I never even thought that he was actually Jewish. He was, in fact, a Jewish rabbi who attended Temple and observed Jewish traditions and celebrations.

There are many that feel Jesus never intended to create the Jewish offshoot called Christianity, but merely intended to reform Judaism, and there is evidence to support this line of thinking.

Christians (with whom I number myself) point to the Great Commission as evidence that Jesus asked his disciples to go forth throughout the world and baptize in the name of the father, son, and holy ghost. (Matthew 28: 16-20). This is great evidence supporting that Jesus did in fact intend to create a Jewish offshoot.

The story, however, starts to get fuzzy when you consider that Matthew was written in the late 1st century, some 20 years after Mark, and borrowed much of its content from Mark. There is extensive evidence that Mark was written after 70 CE as it references events that happened prior to 70 CE. Ok, so you say "So What". Well, in the earliest known Greek transcripts of Mark, (Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus), the great Commission is not included. This means it was added after the fact, and the Matthew and Luke accounts now come under a bit of scrutiny as well, since they borrowed from Mark.

So what exactly was Jesus's mission on earth, and was it/will it be fulfilled? Another question, is when is the Second Coming supposed to take place? According to many scholars, it should have taken place nearly 2000 years ago, but that is another post.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Who are God's Chosen People?

One thing that has bothered me for some time is the fact that the Bible (which is supposed to be a history of man and his dealings with God up to about 2000 years ago) only concerns people that lived in and around Jerusalem. God's chosen people are the Hebrews or Jews. What made them so special that they were considered "chosen"? Why did God neglect the rest of the world? No one outside of this area ever heard of God until global trade started to take place. None of the asian countries were Jewish or Christian. Europe wasn't Jewish or Christian until after this time, when Constantine spread Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. None of the ancient americans were Jewish or Christian (unless you believe the Book of Mormon). Why is this? I don't bye the fact that God enabled people like Moses or Paul or Nephi to spread the word of the Jewish or Christian God. Their reach was simply way too small.

Mormons will tell you that Lehi's journey to the America's could have been to preach the Gospel to the people of America. The problem here is that the limited geography theory of the Book of Mormon has no proof or backing, and there is no record in the Book of Mormon about preaching the Gospel to Native Americans. Of course there is always the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon that apologists will tell you probably contains this information, but that the world is just not ready for that information yet.

Even if that is true, why not the Asians, and why not the Africans? It just doesn't make sense. The old testament only speaks of the Jewish God. The new testament only speaks of the Christian God. And neither of these Gods existed prior to 6,000 years ago, so all the humans that lived before Adam and Eve didn't have a God. Again, this just doesn't make sense.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

What was the purpose of multiple species in the grand plan?

In a previous post there was some discussion on whether Neanderthals had a soul. Just one of many :) posters came to the conclusion (as did I) that they did indeed have a soul as a species that sought after spiritual enlightenment. Then the question was posed if this was christian-based or not. Now that is a good question. Just what was the purpose of having multiple species on this earth? Homo Erectus, Homo Sapien, Neanderthal. They all lived on the earth at the same time, and many other species preceded them. Were they all just part of a greater human experiment where God sat back to see which would become the ultimate survivor? Well, the Homo Sapien's won that battle around 25,000 years ago. Why did it then take another 19,000 years for God to reveal his eternal plan to Adam and Eve? Just having trouble reconciling all this with what is taught in the scriptures.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Did Neanderthals have a soul?

If man was created in the image of God, does that include all hominids? Does that include Neanderthals? Did all hominids therefore have a soul? If the answer to these questions is yes, then where is the record of these people? Would they not have the gospel as children of God?

Neanderthals were intelligent humans that had a social structure and practiced such things as burying their dead, and adorning themselves with jewelry, etc. Were they just an experiment of God, and never actually given a soul? How do we explain the fact that they lived at the same time as homo sapiens? When did homo sapiens start having souls? Did they always have a soul? That would mean that for 100s of thousands of years, there have been humans on the earth with souls, but they did not have religion until around 6000 years ago, and the Neanderthals never had religion, at least not the true religion of God based on Jesus Christ. How can this be? Does God only love some of his children and not others?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Does God really answer prayers?

Living in Utah, I am always hearing of experiences where God has answered someone's prayers. Of course the answer might not be what they wanted to hear, but the prayer was answered nonetheless.

My personal view is that God does not answer prayers. I feel that we are placed here on earth to make our way through on our own. In other words, God does not interfere.

Take the example of the little girl that is kidnapped, abused, and then killed. She prays to God to save her, or for her parents to find her, but nothing happens. This is a sincere prayer from a trusting innocent child. This story is all over the news until finally a lifeless body is found with signs of what happened in the last moments of life. The family members are devistated. Months later, a young boy goes missing during a camping trip. For days the family and volunteers search for him to no avail. After a couple of days, he is found safe and uninjured though dehydrated and hungry. He says he prayed that he would be found and God answered his prayers.

I don't think God interfered in either case (these are both fictional cases). How could a loving God interfere in some cases and ignore others. How could so many innocent children die of starvation or disease in 3rd world countries if there was a God that could/would interfere on occasion? In my oppinion, he doesn't interfere at all. We are on our own in this world.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Did mankind start with Adam and Eve?

Well, how to begin. It is common belief that the first 5 books of the Old Testament (or Torah) were written by Moses. Nowadays we know that is not true. These books were written down many hundreds of years after the time of Moses. It is possible that these stories or teachings were first told by Moses and then handed down thru the generations told as various stories by the Hebrew faithful, until they were one day written down to finally be shared with common content. Who knows how the stories changed from the originals after being passed down only verbally, with each retelling containing a bit of the current author's own embellishment.

At any rate, the timeline set up in the book of Genesis regarding the creation, and Adam and Eve, just don't stand up to modern day anthropology, which poses a very interesting question...Did mankind start with Adam and Eve?

In my opinion, it most certainly did not, at least not as depicted in the book of Genesis. Mitochondrial Eve is now thought to have lived over 150,000 years ago, and even she was not the first female human, or even the only female of the day to have living decendants. What makes her Mitochondrial Eve is the fact that she is the most recent female to have an unbroken line of mitochondrial DNA that exists today.

By contrast, Y-chromosome Adam lived about 60,000 years ago. Please note that Mitochondrial Eve and Y-Chromosome Adam will likely not be in 1000 years, who they are today, because as male and female lines die out, chains are broken and the most recent becomes, well, more recent.

Okay, none of this procludes the possibility of a Single Adam and Eve that at some point in the history of world, started the first line of homo sapiens. But there is more than theory on this. There is the multi-regional theory which suggests that homo sapiens arose in different regions of the world simultaneously from lower homonid forms. Then there is the out of africa theory that supposes they rose up from a single line homonid and migrated throughout Europe and Asia. Then of course there is the theory of creationism which tells the history of mankind through tales handed down from generation to generation, whose origin we really don't know for sure.

I tend to lean in the direction of the multi-regional theory.

Friday, June 09, 2006

What is the origin of religion?

Did religion develop during prehistoric times simply to explain things that could not otherwise be answered? Like worshipping the Sun God, or God of the Harvest, or God of the sea. Is this really how Paganism developed? If so, and there really is one true God out there, then why did he wait so long to reveal himself, and why did he only originally reveal himself to the Hebrews ignoring all other populations of the earth, while allowing Paganism and other religious beliefs to rise? None of this makes sense when stepping back and looking at the eternal plan of salvation.