My personal story: Spiritual pathways 101 Part 6: Scriptures
To paraphrase Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible),
the Bible is revered by many; however, what most people do not realize is that the Bible is different for a number of groups of people. There is the Hebrew Bible and there are Christian variations. The major division for the Christian book is between the East and the West. The Septuagint was a Greek translation from Alexandria in Egypt. The Western languages dispelled with it for a Masoretic text during the 10th century. The Eastern languages retained most of it. But the Septuagint was used to clarify passages of the Masoretic text starting in the 14th century.
The Hebrew Rabbinic texts did not recognize the Septuagint whatsoever. They were called deuterocanonical.
The Council of Trent from the Roman Catholic Church created a Bible with 46 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament. This occurred in the 16th century. Most Protestants call these deuterocanonical books the Apocrypha. They consider them without cannon. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches consider them a canonized part of their Old Testament.
There is a Greek Orthodox and a Russian Orthodox Church. Furthermore, there is a Georgian Orthodox Church as well. Two more Orthodox Churches are the Syriac and the Ethiopian. Each branch has separate books that are reviewed as legitimate.
The Anglican Church includes the deuterocanonical books and three other books from the former Latin Vulgate.
I was taught that Scripture was God-breathed...God inspired. I believe God breathed His Word as we breathe our words day in and day out. But looking at the history listed above, I know that the Bible is far from that original breath. Too many cannons exist and are practiced from. This is my major point for this blog. The second point is that Eastern Scriptures exist that are even more prolific but are completely sacred/holy nevertheless.
In my Christian phase, I was on fire for Jesus. I determined to be a missionary for God. I was hailed by my maker to do so. I moved to Hong Kong and I was given a homeroom class in which I taught 10th grade Bible: Bible Doctrine. I took the responsibility very seriously. I had my students learn Scripture line by line, diagramming each sentence. I brought various pastors in to speak about their denominations so that I could help expand my pupils' hearts and minds.
But then I fell ill and I had to return to the United States. I contemplated my 7 Catholic students and their Bible. I contemplated Bible Doctrine and the word heresy. I was in a crisis of faith. I was not able to view religious differences in terms of black and white. It would be years, but eventually I would let go of the Bible as a reference for every part of my life. I found too many ideas that did not feel like the LOVE I knew as God. And I became more learned about Christianity in general. I stopped trusting outside sources. I began to try things outside the box.
Then I found a prophet called Edgar Cayce who read the Protestant Scripture one time for every year of his life. He said the best book is the Self. And I had reached a similar consensus. LOVE became my true north. All my thoughts, feelings, words and actions would develop from this premise.
Many political movements shaped our religions and spiritual ideologies. I cannot have faith in those contexts. I find man at the end of each of them. But let me say that I do use Scriptures of all types quite regularly. I just test them with logic and deductive reasoning. Any group of people claiming total Truth is not Truth. Total Truth lies within and that is why Cayce said what he did.
In each human heart lies eternity. We find this when we commit to seeking the wisdom of infinity. As Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you."