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The Pursuit of Knowledge
"YouÂ attract what you think about most, and you become what you attract most." Focus. Mental discipline. The Secret,Â written byÂ Rhonda Byrne,Â is located in the New Age section of your local bookstore. Before you decide to tune out, read on for at least another paragraph. CultureFeast has never been dedicated to New Age materials and has no intention of beginning to do so. CultureFeast was founded upon the Christian faith, though we are willing to seriously scrutinize that faith and all others in pursuit of truths which those who have gone before either missed or refused to accept. The purpose is to know the truth. It is the truth that shall set you free.
Picking up a book from the New Age section of Barnes & Noble was an unnerving experience for me. What mental traps might I be stepping into, I wondered. Reason prevailed, however. It is because of one idea that I will open my mind's doors to something labeled as an enemy by people sharing a similar faith to mine. The idea is best explained in several parts. They are:
All people are human, regardless of whether they live today or centuries ago
All humans are limited, fallible and incapable of knowing everything
Because of this, even the authors of our faith did not possessÂ all knowledge or understanding
Because of the Canonization of Scripture and subsequent traditional beliefs of Scripture, many people fear to believe that we could learn anything new and true outside of Scripture because of how that might affect the strength of Scripture's primacy
Because of this, the Christian community has failed to lead the way in pursuing knowledge and understanding of God's universe. That task has been left largely to the secular community, which has done the best it knows how.
The secular community can provide scientifically tested data which indicates the probability of certain truths
Just because the scientific community can postulate certain truths (the what and where) does not mean that it can answer the ever valid and crucial questions of how or why (or even when)
If Christian leaders are not going to answer my questions, I must seek the answers on my own.
Since Christian leaders often fear to consider the possibility that nuggets of truth can be discovered by non-Christians, and since these leaders do not themselves search diligentlyÂ for certain answers, they're assumptions cannot be automatically trusted
Since non-Christians can discover or understand (on some level) universal principles such as gravity, inertia, and harvest, they have the capacity to discover or understand other such universal principles which the Christian community has yet to understand or acknowledge
Since non-Christians will not often explain why a universal principle is true in a manner that instantly corroborates Scripture,Â I amÂ responsible to sift the gold from the dross and accept only what either agrees with Scripture or might agree with Scripture upon further reflection and consideration.
Overt disagreements with Scripture must be discarded because we must have a solid starting point from which to work
We must challenge ourselves to find truths which support Scripture, explain/clarify certain mysteries in Scripture, and strengthen the body of Christ by filling in the holes which have riddled our faith over the years
Having said that, it might seem that we have left the Bible behind and have chosen more "exciting" texts to focus upon. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are finding ourselves led to sources of truth that support Scripture and make Scripture make sense to us in ways that we never before imagined.
For example, it's not enough to read the verse: "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be anyÂ virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Uh...what? For years, when I realized that my mind was constantly consumed with unhealthy thoughts, i'd rethink that verse and find myself at an absolute loss. I couldn't come up with a single reallyÂ "good" thought.Â Which thoughts are pure? What thoughts are just? What kind of thoughts are lovely? WhatÂ is a thoughtÂ of good report? Seriously!
I realized that I had not conditioned myself to know these things. I had spent my adult life fascinated with morbidity, death, dying, crime, suspense, intrigue, suspicion, slander, and on and on. I had become one of the "bent ones." My thoughts were naturally bent towards selfish or less than holy issues.
Historians tell us thatÂ everyone once believed that the sun, stars, and planets revolved around the earth. It is referred to as the geocentric view. The heliocentric view (sun-centered)Â was suggested by some and considered heresy by the leaders of the time. As in many instances throughout history, scientific discovery has not been welcomed by religious or even political leaders. Men do express their own opinions throughout Scripture, as is obvious by David's crying out for the death and obliteration of his enemies and Solomon's declaration that everything is utterly futile and meaningless. Not necessarily views we should adopt. Then there was Peter's snubbing of Gentiles until set straight by Paul. You get the picture. We're all human.
It is the mature acceptance of these truths that enables us to allow something outside the realm of our comfort zone to challenge us and engage us. It is by setting and adhering to the tenets of our faith while simultaneously insisting on the pursuit of wisdom and understanding that we arrive at a rich and rewarding mode of existence.
The pursuit continues. For me, it continues with the reading and examination of The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne. This book contains possibilities which absolutely excite me. On the surface, it appears to elaborate on biblical statements such as, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he," and "He who seeks, finds; to him who knocks, the door is opened," and "think on these things," and perhaps most importantly,
"The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (physical/earthly) but mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ."
What we see here that the weapons of a ChristianÂ are mighty to pull down strongholds, to cast down arguments and things that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, to bring every thought captive. So the weapons of a Christian involve strongholds, arguments, knowledge, thoughts, and obedience.
We are being told that the weapons involve our minds. The language is dated, because of the period in which it was written, so we miss the point all too often.