Archive for the ‘Personal Philosophy’ Category

2 Timothy 2 Published

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Clomid
Actos

2 Timothy 2 has finally been published!

I have spent the last two days updating the program that converts the export from my Bible software into web pages. I wrote the program in Visual Basic 6 years ago, and have made improvements almost every time I have published a new chapter. This time required a lot more work because I had redesigned the web site in the interim, and I needed to incorporate those changes into the software.

I had run the conversion program from my laptop in the past, but my new laptop has Vista on it, which is incompatible with VB6. I installed Visual Basic 2008 on Vista, but when I converted the program, there were a lot of errors resulting from many fundamental incompatibilities between VB6 and VB2008. Oh well. I doubt I will want to take the time to reprogram this for an upgrade. For now, I have Windows XP on my desktop, and will run the conversions from there.

I look forward to working on the next chapter: 2 Timothy 3!

Enjoy, and God bless,
John

Re: Polygamy Questions

Tuesday, June 13th, 2006

Question from Will:

David and Solomon (for example) had many wives and concubines (all legally I presume). And my question is are we limited to one wife only because the law of the US limits that number to one? If I lived in another country where there is no such law limiting how many I can marry, and I marry 10 wives, then would this be ok Biblically speaking?

My reply:

Hi Will,

In the Old Testament, God did not specifically say anything about polygamy being a sin, although He did provide some rules (for example, not marrying two sisters, mother and daughter, close relatives, etc.). In the New Testament, Paul specifically said that a man with more than one wife should not be allowed to serve in a church role. Paul tended to discourage marriage if the people could resist, because the extra responsibilities could easily distract people from their faith.

Polygamy was not illegal in the United States until 1822. If I recall correctly, it was in response to the spread of Mormonism, which strongly encouraged polygamy. The Mormon church later reversed its stance, but those who still wanted to practice it either moved to other countries or continue to practice in secret.

So legally, yes, it is based on the country you are in. Biblically, it is allowed with some restrictions. Practically, one should assess his emotional ability to handle the many complicated relationships that can result (Jacob’s story is quite enlightening), and his physical ability to support the large families that tend to result from such marriages (the Patriarchs tended to be wealthy men).

Hope that helps,

John

Re: Marijuana and Alcohol Questions

Sunday, September 5th, 2004

Question from an anonymous e-mail:

I was just wondering.. what does the Lord think of people who use Marijuana? Does he shun it? What about alcohol?

My reply:

Hi,

Thanks for writing me. I hope to help you with your questions.

The Bible does speak about alcohol use. People in the Bible, including Jesus, drank alcoholic beverages. Wine was a very common drink both at celebrations and in everyday life – especially when potable water was unavailable. Jesus turned water into a fine wine at a wedding celebration at the beginning of His ministry and shared wine with His disciples at the Last Supper. So God does not shun people for drinking alcohol. What He prohibits is becoming inebriated. God made us to be reasonable and intelligent beings, but when we are intoxicated, our judgment becomes impaired, our inhibitions to do bad things is lowered, and we are more likely to harm others and ourselves. In the United States, many churches take a strong stand against alcohol because in our culture drinking is practically equated with getting drunk. This is generally reinforced by the apostle Paul’s admonition not to do something that might hinder others from seeking God. In short, consuming alcohol is fine before God as long as one does not become impaired. Under some circumstances, however, it is wise to refrain from drinking altogether if it will help someone else.

Marijuana and other drugs are not explicitly dealt with in the Bible, but it is reasonable to apply the same reasoning process to it. If a substance is going to impair your thinking abilities, then do not do it. There is another aspect of this issue, though. Marijuana and several other drugs are generally illegal to own or use. Christians are expected to follow the laws of the land, and should not participate in illegal activities of any sort, including drug abuse.

However, the overarching principle of salvation has little to do with alcohol and drug use. There are many people who have not consumed either of these substances, but that does not mean that they will go to heaven. There are also people who have abused both, but will be with God forever. This is because we do not earn heaven by our behavior. Heaven is a gift we receive from God when we trust in Jesus Christ. He died on the cross for all our sins, whether they include substance abuse, sexual misconduct, robbery, or any number of other things. When a person admits he has sinned (that is, he has done things that God does not approve of) and asks Jesus to forgive him, the guilt and eternal consequences of our sins are taken away. God then begins to live inside the believer in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works with our conscious to improve our behavior and overcome our addictions. Our focus turns away from pleasing ourselves all the time and toward pleasing God and loving people. No one will ever be perfect in this life, but Jesus already paid the penalty for the believer’s sins. The believer establishes an ongoing and growing relationship with God through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with other believers.

I am not sure what your particular situation is, but if you would like to know more about becoming a Christian (I am assuming from your note that you are not – please pardon me if I am mistaken) there are probably many local resources for you to look into. If you want to talk with a minister, you could call a local church and make an appointment (I am partial to the Baptist denomination). If you are in high school or college, there are probably some Christian groups on campus in which you could find someone to talk with. Of course, you can ask me more questions, but I feel that personal contact is more effective. Also, remember that people you might talk to are going to be imperfect. Some may try to pressure you or "scare" you into accepting Jesus. If that is the case, see if you can find someone else who will be able to reason with you and love you where you are. I hope that you will know that God loves you very much and wants you to be with Him forever.

Take care, and God bless,

John

P.S. I do have Bible verses that relate to these things, but I did not want to confuse you with references to it if you are not familiar with it. I can provide them for you if you like.

References:

Prov 20:1; Prov 21:17; Prov 23:20-21; Prov 23:29-35; Prov 31:4-7; Isa 5:11-12; Isa 5:22; Isa 28:7-8; Hos 4:11; Luke 21:34; Rom 13:13; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:18; 1 Thess 5:6-7; John 2:1-11; Luke 22:17-20; Rom 13:1; 1 Cor 8

Important Things

Thursday, June 6th, 2002

The most important time:

Now

The most important person:

The one you’re with

The most important thing to do:

Good

Quotable Quotes

Thursday, June 6th, 2002
  • We must be confident in God’s ability.
  • It is not the amount of faith we have, it is Who we have faith in.
  • It is not that one has great faith in God, but that he has faith in a great God.
  • Anything less than faith in God is idolatry.
  • The message of Scripture is quite clear. We should not look to add unnecessary complexity.

What is Fair?

Thursday, June 6th, 2002

Introduction

People complain about things not being fair, but what people are not clear on is what “fair” is. Another problem with fairness is that its application tends to be subjective and situational, and thus inherently inconsistent. There are at least six ways fairness can be implemented in organizations. All center around who sets the vision and mobilizes resources.

Organizational Schemes

Anarchy

There are no rules, and everyone does whatever they want.

Lowest Common Denominator

Only those activities, ideas, and people unanimously agreed upon by all are acceptable. If even the smallest minority opposes a proposition, it is rejected.

Minority Rule (Dictatorship)

One person or a small group makes the rules, and everyone is expected to abide by them.

Proportionality

Activities, ideas, or people “win” in proportion to the distribution of desires. For instance, if 10% of the people want one thing done, and 90% want something else done, the resources are divided up proportionally between the two groups.

Majority Rules

In the purest sense, this is what democracy is. People vote, and whatever activity, law, or person being decided on that ends up with the most votes wins. The minority is expected to abide by the results.

Theocracy

God makes the rules, and all people are expected to live by them.

Strengths

Anarchy

Offers the most freedom. There is no accountability and no opposition. There are no rules, everything is considered right, and thus there is no wrong, guilt, or shame.

Lowest Common Denominator

Commonalities are found where no one is offended. What is unacceptable is easily identified and tossed aside. Only that which is acceptable remains.

Minority Rule (Dictatorship)

Rules can be quickly established and revised.

Proportionality

Tries to satisfy all participants by giving them a portion of what they want.

Majority Rules

The majority of people are satisfied completely. It is more difficult to corrupt the majority, but not impossible.

Theocracy

God is the only being who makes rules that are impartial and beneficial to all. People live satisfying lives where all their needs are met.

Weaknesses

Anarchy

In its pure form, anarchy eliminates all personal interaction. People’s propensity for selfishness tends to harm others. Our natural desire for relationships prevents anarchy from existing on any measurable scale for any length of time. Because of its isolationist characteristic, it is impossible to mobilize resources in anarchy.

Lowest Common Denominator

Allows for only limited interaction. In its pure form, neither the majority nor minority would be able to share in the unique offerings of the other. Only the minimum amount of progress can be accomplished because only rarely is a new idea acceptable to all. Difficulty in reaching consensus increases with the number of individuals involved.

Minority Rule (Dictatorship)

Only the minority is completely satisfied. Oppression results if the minority uses its position to serve itself rather than the interest of the society. It can quickly degenerate into Tyranny where an elite minority is satisfied at the expense of the rest of the population. Bribery and corruption can quickly become a problem.

Proportionality

This rarely pleases everyone. Some projects require resources that exceed the proportion of what is allotted. In some scenarios, resources would be spread too thinly to accomplish any of the goals set forth by any of the groups.

Majority Rules

Can lead to ignoring the needs of the minority. In its extreme, the minority is oppressed or even eliminated.

Theocracy

God has not yet taken control of governing systems. Theocracy is currently limited to individuals or small groups that often have difficulty discerning exactly what God wants them to do. Theocratic subjects currently live within other political systems where conflicts can occur where the two systems do not mesh.