Today when we talk about the heart as the seat of emotion we do so metaphorically. Human beings learned long ago that the brain is where emotions, memories and thoughts are contained. However we still have the figurative language so that people don't always talk about the brain or mind they sometimes talk about emotions from the heart - particularly love.
I hear the claim from Christians that the Bible contains advanced scientific knowledge that was given to the ancient Israelites and could only have come from a divine source. And yet if you search the Bible you will not find one single reference to the brain.
This simple fact of anatomy, that the brain is where our emotions and thoughts go on, is not contained anywhere in scripture. Instead the heart is identified as the seat of thoughts and emotions in the Bible. We know that many ancient cultures believed this, in fact it is from these mistaken ancient beliefs that our current trend of figurative language about the heart comes from.
On several occasions the Bible even includes the kidneys as part of it. In Psalm 26:2 the author asks God to test his "reins" and his heart, some translations say mind and heart. However if you look at the Hebrew word translated as "reins" here it is the word for kidney, a derivative of the same word used in the animal sacrifice passages.
I would like to hear what Christians have to say about this as I feel many of them may not be aware.
As a Christian, I usually roll my eyes at claims that some divine source gave the Israelites scientific knowledge beyond their time. I think they were little different from any other ancient who was looking up into the night sky and trying to understand how this world fit into the whole.
Our emotions and thoughts may originate in the brain. I don't know about you but I feel them in my heart. I feel them in my gut. I can feel them tingling at the farther points in my extremities. If someone talks about the effect an emotion has on their body, without going in depth as to how that effect came about I'm not going to fault them.
As to kidney and reins, you got me there. I think we are so far removed from the time that was written that a lot is going to get lost in translation. I'm impressed to think an ancient knew what a kidney was.
Thank you for your response Live to Learn.
When we feel a certain way or think about certain things it triggers a physiological response, such a fluttering or racing heart, a gut instinct, that sort of thing. This is probably why so many ancient cultures thought the heart and organs were involved in thinking and feeling. Plus the heart was long considered to be at the center of the body and I think there was a certain intuition that whatever was at the center must be important.
I think they probably thought they were involved in thinking because you think, then you feel. Maybe it could be better described as the ancients thinking the heart was putting its two cents worth in. Someone once gave me advice that if your head, heart and gut agreed on something, it was right. There is a reason for throwing body parts and organs into the comments. Your brain does the thinking, but the thoughts and decisions will affect the rest of our body. We know this. Stress, worry, hatred..any negative emotion will wear us down, wear us out or kill us. I haven't seen any studies with findings that positive emotions are detrimental to our physical health. Quite the opposite.
I wouldn't necessarily think the ancients didn't know the brain was there and important. If your metaphorical heart and soul are in harmony with your thoughts then your physical heart, gut and even your kidneys will probably benefit tremendously.
We would expect that if the people who wrote the Bible did know of the brain's importance they would mention it a few times but they mention it 0 times. In ancient Egypt and elsewhere we know that they thought of the heart as the seat of intelligence. I believe it was the Greeks who first theorized that it was the brain, rather than the heart or other organs, that controlled thinking and emotion.
This is one of those ancient beliefs that humankind got completely wrong but which I never hear fundamentalists talk about. Another is the belief in the firmament, the dome that separates the waters below from the waters above (in space). Genesis even says that during Noah's flood God opened the windows of Heaven. Many people today see these verses as figurative, it's the same way they look at verses where God is on a throne or is said to live in the heavens above. But these were the actual literal beliefs that many people had in the ancient world.
I don't really agree with you on the importance of this. These people weren't philosophers, physicians or highly learned people. Moses may have been well educated but he appeared to be focused on history and law.
I think most of the books of the Old Testament, after the Pentateuch are history, songs, and prophecy. These are not the types of subjects one usually looks to in order to delve into discussions on anatomy. Unless maybe Song of Solomon should have included some line about the guy loving the girl for her brains. Or, somewhere in Genesis they should have mentioned that God put a brain in Adam's head (not a bad idea, considering how ignorant some of the actions by the two were).
I would venture to guess that if the Bible had a long discourse on the functions of the brain we might instead be lamenting the fact that it didn't include a diagram of the atom.
I'm not attempting to make light of your quandary. I just think you might be attempting to overthink things a bit.
The significance is exactly that, these were not academics or scientists writing the Bible nor was God feeding them advanced scientific knowledge.
For you and I, who acknowledge the faults and limitations of the Biblical authors, it may not seem like a big deal. But all too often I hear the Bible held up as if it contains some kind of secret scientific knowledge mainly by fundamentalists and those who hold the Bible to be the unerring Word of God with no mistakes.
If those who hold the Bible up as the absolute authority on all things were right we might expect to see diagrams of atoms. In fact that would be good evidence that the ancients were on to something with this whole Judaism thing if they had knowledge that far advanced of others of their era.
I understand, and am refreshed, by the fact that few hold such an absolutist or literalist view of the Bible. But I feel that many Christians don't acknowledge or don't know that the authors of the Bible had a different view of the human body and the natural world in general. I think if more people paid attention to these sorts of details they would hold more moderate/liberal views about scripture.
Remember that Jesus was the son of a common laborer and he chose for his disciples unlearned men and a woman. We don't need science and academia to point us in the right direction of how to treat others and how to respect the universe.
Fair enough, although I do think science has helped us treat each other better. If nothing else it has given us a better way to treat the sick through the advent of modern medicine.
Of course simple human empathy and kindness does not require science, it is a part of human nature.
I don't believe the Bible is mistaken when it talks about the heart being the center of man's emotions and thoughts. We must remember that Scripture talks about spiritual things, not necessary physical; and we should take those references as things of the spirit.
Okay, so you believe that there is a spiritual element to the physical organ that is your heart? If the heart is responsible for some amount of thinking why do we not see people who have heart attacks have mental problems? People who have strokes or brain damage can lose functionality of thinking or even change personality, the same thing cannot be said of the heart.
What about the verses that also mention the kidneys? Do our kidneys also have a spiritual element?
http://www.today.com/health/does-your-h … 2D80555354
Above is a link to what actual modern science has to say on the matter. This contrasts drammatically with the alleged ulterior motives and "fawlty towers" reasoning of certain alleged unmentionable atheists whose real "theme" is to ridicule religion, create controversy and inject venom into HPs often on a daily basis.
Proof of this is the abject and total failure of this alleged " discussion" to limit itself to science without having yet another dig at religion.
It is my belief that HP rules do not allow constant anti religious alleged trolling by those allegedly masquerading as "hubbers". In other words such commentators have no other topic other than anti religious themes: no poetry, no art and not even science unless it's coated with anti religious sentiment.
I believe we are spirit, soul and body.
I like to say, "I am a spirit, I have soul and I live in a body." (unknown)
כְּלָיוֹת (means kidney) it was considered a choice part for animal scarifies.
The word was used to express affections, character, and God's affection...
לֵבָב means heart and was used many times throughout Scripture.
It means mind, thought, consider, purpose, anger, courage, desire, timid, yourself...
Science has proven that the stomach and the mind are connected by the Vagus Nerve. They even go so far as to say we have two brains. The brain and the second brain being the stomach are made up of the same material and retain some of the same qualities and nerves.
Some guys think with two different heads, or is that a figure of speech?
I can see how the kidneys were 'thought' to be a choice animal sacrifice to ancients, but its just a bodily organ, like the brain and heart...
Fear is a good example...when the gut alerts us to danger...its like a 'check' or a feeling, its called a "sense" or "gut reaction" or warning that alerts us some times before we are aware. Our spirit and soul alerts the central nervous system to intellectually diagnoses and evaluates the danger in the natural (and supernatural).
The spirit, soul and body working together in harmony.
Apart from our body, does the human spirit and soul have thought? Do we have an inner man within our body who has thought, feeling and reason? A spirit man, if you will? Is our body merely an earth-suit for us to appear in human-form temporarily?
Pure fundamentalists believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. That would be hard to do in this day and age. I like talking to people who take things literally, because its so easy to pull their leg a little.
The short definition for "firmament" is expanse, a visible arch of the sky. When you say "heavens" you are correct because the Scriptures uses the word "heavens".
* 2 Corinthians 12:2 tells us that there are "three heavens".
That's a fun debt starter...tell someone there are three heavens.
Heavens in Scripture uses many different descriptive words too -- like morning and evening, etc. So a Bible student needs to study to find the meaning that is being used by heavens in each instance, because it is not always the same word and meaning in Old English and Middle East translations. The difference can be day and night.
See, ... it can get fun!
Maybe the heart is so connected to the brain, they are one. We all know how thoughts affect the action of the heart.
Broken hearts are felt not in the brain …
I once had a cat who went off to die by himself. Before he took off, he laid fully on my chest and I am sure he wanted to feel my heart beating. I felt his warmth ... and his love. And the next day he disappeared. He had said good-bye.
Perhaps, the brain (in Biblical times,) was a given and not really thought about much. So little was known about the brain. We know much more today, but I imagine the people of the future will wonder how we survived knowing so little about the human brain.
And of course, the nervous system is what we are dealing with and it's brain-body connection.
The brain wasn't thought of much, that's the point I am trying to make. If the Bible were the inspired word of God and contained advanced scientific knowledge, as some subsection of believers claim, we would expect them to know of the importance of the brain.
The truth is they didn't know that the brain was where thinking takes place back when the Bible was written and, despite what certain fundamentalists say, there wasn't an angel whispering scientific secrets into their ears.
Who says the Bible contains "advanced scientific knowledge"?
The Bible clearly has scientific foreknowledge! (and mathematics)
Biblical scientific foreknowledge is how the Bible shows a comprehension of science far ahead of its time. The Bible is a superb roadmap to future scientific discoveries. Unfortunately Bible deniers, including many atheists and evolutionists, refuse to read the Bible, and their irrational closed-mindedness against the Bible obstructs the advancement of science.
* http://www.conservapedia.com/Biblical_s … eknowledge
Did you just link me CONSERVApedia as a source? Well, should be good for a laugh at least...
The Biblical authors believed that there was a dome over the Earth, that the Earth was a disc and that heaven had floodgates or windows through which rain would come. Looking down the list you've linked, most, if not all, are taken completely out of their historical and textual context and reinterpreted.
Acts 20:29-30 predicted that people would reject the doctrines of God and follow doctrines of men (no need for examples here).
As long as you aren't including silly statements like closed-mindedness against the Bible obstructs the advancement of science. I can tentatively agree with that.
Yes, the Bible predicts lots of things that could easily come true. I hardly find it surprising that it predicts it's divisive ancient Middle Eastern teachings will one day be opposed or rejected by some. Keep in mind that Jews and the Christians that followed them started out a fairly small religion in the grand scheme of things. Today some form of Christianity is practiced by more than 2 billion people.
If any percentage of the population disbelieves in the God of the Bible the prophecy is true, not impressive by any stretch.
Of course the Bible is ALSO the doctrine of men, despite what some may claim, and among doctrines that men have invented I find it to be lacking.
All of the religions were started by brown eyed people (in context to topic). We all owe the ancients.
There are Bible prophesies that people who practice the Quran are forbidden to look upon. Because, when they do, they are many times converted to Christianity. I won't bore you with those powerful prophesies from the Bible...(maybe I will start a new thread, God willing).
That Scripture I posted was a teaser, just a bread crumb for the thread. Test, test, test. I'm not going to spend much more energy here if at all.
Doctors and surgeons (the people that physically handle both) tend to disagree with you.
I think that future of the world is going to be spiritual. There are a lot of signs that say that the human spirit will come closer, and be revealed as it truly is. And that would be totally amazing.
The problem with these kind of online conversations is that you don't really get to feel what you say. You may say something here under a certain vibe but that's not what you might tell me a day or two later if we sit down and have a talk at a bus station. So the element of real and virtual worlds come into play.
I think Christ is outdated, and to a profound level. We need new and revolutionary metaphors for the 21st century. We need a new spiritual architecture that will accommodate and be relevant to our life and experiences. The concept of satan needs to be repaired and made relevant too, as well. There are no factual satans. What you perceive as 'evil' might just be a collective behavior that a society displays out of compulsion of any sort. And it can be remedied easily by addressing the causes that form such desperations that we may witness in an unemployed, or in a person with no one look after them after a surgery etc. So satan is quite curable these days. At least now we're thinking and approaching about it more realistically.
These are good times. The world is trying to be spiritually connected.
What does spiritually connected even mean?
What is a spirit? What duties does it perform? Can it be measured or detected?
Well, those are good questions. And they obviously have answers and I too, perhaps might answer them. But basically it's really about a change of heart and attitude modifications that arise out of it, and naturally.
You can't reason spirituality. Not very successfully. Just as a great piece of music can not be reasoned. What is it? It's simply sound waves. Or wave patterns on a software?
Of course a piece of music can be reasoned, it has a specific meter, pitch, key, etc. Music, as you say, is sound waves, it is detectable, measurable and demonstrably real.
Can the same be said of a spirit? Can it be detected? Can its effects be measured or quantified? If not it is indistinguishable from something imaginary.
Yes, it can be. The spirit is so real that this is sometimes more valuable and become more valuable to us than gold or stocks.
You're obviously in a mood to inquire. That's a good thing. But I feel I must say that there are levels to understanding. A locksmith knows much about locks and I may have never seen what mechanism really lies inside a lock and how to outwit it. A film actor knows much more about the film industry, and its ugliness, than we might ever know.
But that doesn't mean that we have no real perception of a lock or what the movie industry might be like. Everyone in this world is looking for money and that's the raw reality. We all want fulfillment and happiness, and love. That's it. Our religions are outdated because they have lost creativity and innovation. They don't know how to say facts and simply speak them.
One more thing to say. Life is about fun. It's not about analyzing the brain.
Travel, eat, drink, experience, relax, refresh etc. There are so many countries and they all have so many different food! Germans will drown you in cakes, Indians will drown you in masala, Chinese will drown you in noodles. There are, who knows, 180 or so countries in the world. So there are so many fruits that we have never seen and never ate. So many flowers. So many hues of sunlight, and so many colors of the ocean, etc.
Here is a good stuff I'd like to share with everyone: https://www.facebook.com/zuck/videos/10102676871709431/
The real spiritual question would be how we are going to provide everyone in the world enough money to have all the joy that the world has to offer them. Doesn't it sound like a lovely little paradox?
The answer to that is that we get such a world by remaking the way we teach young people, remaking school education. I do believe we all have it inside us to live a life of joy.
The answer is to eventually get rid of money altogether. Of course that's easier said than done.
And I agree that education is the key to a better future where people can more easily achieve their potential.
Titen: And this is just icing on the cake when you go toe to toe with believers. It's impossible to have a valuable/viable argument with the entrenched when they are confronted with pure logic. It goes nowhere. Once a person adopts the supernatural, he/she will have a prescribed formula of rebuttal. What can you do? It's a necessary conflict between those who believe and those who do not. The task of taking down believers in the hope that man's better instincts will prevail over the long haul is laudable but unlikely. They outnumber us by a wide margin. Does that mean we should just roll over and play dead? No. People with scientific minds may be a minority, but that doesn't mean we should ignore the majority who think with their hearts. The struggle is daunting, to say the least. Maybe if we can survive for a few thousand more years...
You may be right rjbatty, but as a former believer myself I know that being exposed to new information and arguments can have results. Most believers, of course, will retain their beliefs, but at least it might give them food for thought or broaden their understanding.
The Bible isn't making a supernatural claim when it says thinking is with the heart, that is actually what they believed back then biologically speaking. Accepting that doesn't require anyone to give up their supernatural beliefs, it just forces them to look at the Bible is a different light.
Right. What you said is the best of all possible worlds. Trying to enlighten millions of Christians in the error of their thinking has no dividends. Forcing people to "give up their supernatural beliefs" is idealistic at best. Forcing them to "look at the Bible" in a different light is equally idealistic.
I've encountered so many individuals who take the Bible quite literally. Christianity, like any other religion, I suppose, claims to have the upper-cornerstone on faith. You are on the right track. I'm not criticising. You say, "Most believers, of course, will retain their beliefs, but at least it might give them food for thought or broaden their understanding."
We totally agree. I just submit that your efforts will meet with an incomprehensible level of resistance, scorn and ridicule. You want to shed light on a shadowy subject, and this is admirable. Just this: Once you take your line in opposition to what the masses regard as sacred text, you are leaving your front line open to a very wide barrage.
I suppose within the gateways of HubPages heaven, we can deflect would-be critics or antagonists. You seem to be handling this problem very deftly.
The so-called ancient Israelite's gained much of their information from the Sumerians, as well as settlements of Ur. Even further would be the information gained during their occupation by Persia (Babylon) and Egypt. It is no surprise that the aforementioned were primarily science based societies who developed various technology, agriculture, architecture, astronomy, weather guides and such. It only makes sense that some of the information would end up being added to relative historical accounts, as in the case of the Israelite's.
The "Bible" has, since its compilation, been misused, misread and misunderstood.
In my opinion, it is a collection of texts designed for those of the mind and not of the heart. And please do not misinterpret that as meaning those of a "natural" or "supernatural" perspective. Because "super" is not some invisible cosmic juju, nor is it a form of superiority. It is still of nature, bound to the rules of nature and cannot be divided from it.
Many ancient texts refer to the heart as a experience or understanding of things void of typical logic. In other words an evidentiary knowledge, within the individual or collective, that is often difficult to explain in verbal or written account, by the traditional approach to cognitive reasoning.
Of course, this is where all forms of religion begin, and not necessarily a sensation approach. It takes sound bites from science and from these experiences, adds a sprinkling or two and serves it to the masses, who in turn either drink, spit it out or add further ingredients to make it rationally palatable. But at some point the mix turns into a supersaturation that does not quench the thirst, in fact quite the opposite.
You say "Because "super" is not some invisible cosmic juju, nor is it a form of superiority. It is still of nature, bound to the rules of nature and cannot be divided from it." I would merely ask, from whence did this knowledge become known to you? You either have empirical knowledge of a subject or you are relying on gut instinct. I'm not trying to discredit your statement. I think that we add up to more than the atoms that fill otherwise empty space. I just want to register how you derived at this conclusion because for me anything supernatural (and let's just be brave enough to call it that) is something that cannot be quantified nor (unfortunately) qualified.
For example, would you deem muon neutrino, tau, charm, top, bottom, etc as supernatural?
Because, these few mentioned are in fact, by the rules of traditional definitions of "supernatural", superior to all physical forms of nature. Specks of the many primers to solidification, that make up this thing called nature -the universe. Thousands of times smaller than a speck of stardust, yet more powerful than a nuclear weapon. Far from being cosmic juju/mysticism, yes?
So, my information is neither a gut feeling nor empiric.
Apart from that, every human brain is generically programmed with knowledge. The portion(s) we have tapped into seem grossly minimal compared to our surroundings -and our potential. To add a dash of empiric, I believe we have, within each of us, complete knowledge of the universe. It was coded into us. Said information has been watered down by many, over the ages, as being heart knowledge or god knowledge. I, myself, prefer the term understanding. From said watering down has come both sides of this thing called religion. An inescapable loop of a fragment of information blended with imagination to explain in the simplest terms what the data represents.
Do we emphatically believe that the Sumerians through Einstein pulled information out of thin air (cosmic juju)? Of course not. They, like us, united several threads of information already within to form a string -or multiple strings.
Do you know what is ironic, if it can be called that, "The Bible" actually states this exact thing. That the "kingdom of knowledge" is within, not under that rock or hiding around the next star cluster. And that knowledge was given to us on purpose, so we would understand completely. It is far from "super" natural, as it is woven directly -and quite permanently- into the fabric of our being. We cannot divide it from ourselves anymore than we could divide nature from itself. Seems that part has been missed by the pro and con approach...
If you have opportunity, I recommend a very interesting book to read by well renowned physicist Fritjof Capra titled: The Tao of Physics. One chapter in particular, The Cosmic Dance, truly underscores what I mentioned earlier.
I did read "The Tao of Physics" and found it fascinating. Thanks for expanding upon your perspective.
< "That the "kingdom of knowledge" is within, not under that rock or hiding around the next star cluster. And that knowledge was given to us on purpose, so we would understand completely. It is far from "super" natural, as it is woven directly -and quite permanently- into the fabric of our being. We cannot divide it from ourselves anymore than we could divide nature from itself.">
"Environment is undoubtedly a secondary factor in the phenomena of life; it can modify in that it can help or hinder, but it cannot create. The modern theories of evolution, from Negeli to DeVries, consider throughout the development of the two biological branches, animal and vegetable, this interior factor as the essential force in the transformation of the species and the transformation of the individual. The origins of the development, both in the species and in the individual *lie within*."
From: The Montessori Method, by Dr. Maria Montessori.
The way I see it much of the Bible, in Genesis anyway, is an attempt by those who wrote it to understand the world around them through the lens of this supreme being.
To the ancients science and religion were inexorably tied together. I think this is because of animism, of the belief that unseen forces guided everything and thus understanding things like seasons, agriculture, raising animals meant understanding and appeasing these forces.
The Bible talks of a flat earth, held up by pillars and covered with a domed firmament which is the old Sumerian cosmology model. I'm not going to get into the talking snakes, donkeys and unicorns. The scribes who wrote the Torah thought the earth was flat, never heard of an atom and had no idea where the sun went every evening. The god they were worshiping then and now was a Canaanite god named EL that the Israelites adapted before and during their migration out of Egypt (that's what Exodus was all about although ridiculously exaggerated - the Egyptians never kept Hebrews as slaves, never heard of Moses or mentioned any account of their first born sons being slaughtered. El was just one of 33 deities that the Canaanites worship while the whole middle east worshiped well over 2500. Modern science didn't come around until the invention of the telescope in 1600 AD. The Torah was written around 550 BC in Babylon and the Bible and Jesus was edited and compiled by the various Roman Councils starting around 300 AD. There's a 1300 year gap. So how is it possible that science find it's way into the Bible?
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