Mar 29

So last week I posted something up which managed to generate a bit of controversy. I certainly didn’t intend to, but hey – if it’s one of those side-effects, then I’m okay with that.

Joe and I has some back and forth about children and Christianity, and what it all really meant. It grew into something more, when we started discussing Christianity in and of itself – Jesus’ teachings, how can people believe the Bible when it was written by humans after Jesus’ death, and so on. Joe certainly put up some interesting questions – questions that I, (ashamedly), haven’t had a go at answering – yet.

Oh – before I go on, read the entire thread here. If you’re just after Joe’s response (which I’ll be addressing in this post), then you can read that here.

Sorta what I’m getting at is that most of Jesus’ teachings are common sense are they not? and they aren’t original to Jesus’ either look up the Egyptian sun God “Horus”.

Jesus’ teachings are common sense? In a way. Sure, most of them are, but they go beyond that – far, far beyond that. There’s literally hundreds of interpretations of any text depending on the context, and rings true for the Bible (and, by extension, Jesus’ teachings) as well.

As for Jesus and Horus – you’re absolutely right – the Egyptian god Horus does indeed have an astounding amount of parallels with Jesus. Third link in Google revealed this page, which gives a succinct summary of these parallelisms between Jesus and Horus. (As a quick side note, the website itself is published by a multi-religion group of people who, by their own words, “lack agreement on almost all theological matters, such as belief in a supreme being, the nature of God, interpretation of the Bible and other holy texts, whether life after death exists, what form the afterlife may take, etc”.)

In regards to the parallelisms between Jesus and Horus, well, that’s just difference of opinion as well as a different religion completely. As with all of these comparisons  between religions (it happens in Matthew Reilly books as well, haha), you have to as the question: well, which one came first? Did the Egyptians rip off the Christians? Or was it the other way around?

The answer to that question isn’t as obvious as it may seem – it comes back to that old question of evolution vs creation, and depending on which version you believe your answer will undoubtedly vary.

Also in my outdated argument I want to mention validity. If Jesus took the time to right his auto-biography before his suicide mission that would of been convenient, but instead it was left (as were all the Bible Chapters) hundreds of years after they had happened (if they happened).

I just can’t seem to believe the validity and correctness of a book that has been written by men who were guided by god. Also, the men were guided by god too, who decided what shall be removed from the bible. Bible is edited even today, so the editors are, too, inspired directly by God.

The question of “how can I believe something that’s been written by humans” has often been asked by myself as well. While I haven’t yet come up with a satisfactory answer, there’s something that I’d like to introduce you to – faith.

Ah yes, old faith. Faith, the thing that makes us believe things that seem impossible, faith, the intangible explanation for 101 different things, and yet, faith – the one thing that ties all of Christianity together.

At youth today we were discussing belief and doubt – not dissimilar to what we’re talking about now. One of the questions that we discussed was “List three things that can help you to continue to believe in Jesus through times of doubt”. You can be sure that I put down faith. Another member of the same youth group responded by saying that “you don’t have to know everything, sometimes you’ve got to live with a little trust, and faith in God” which I though was a bloody excellent way of putting it.

Bear in mind that I’m not saying that you should live with blind faith – there’s a difference between being educated and following stupidly along with the crowd (or, knowing the difference between the hot plate is hot, and believing that it isn’t).

At the time of Jesus, everyone agreed that the old testament was the right way, written by people inspired by god, thus their writings were true to them. Why should their righteousness disappear during time?

Most Christians are saying that some parts of the old testament are wrong in modern culture, like the one which encourages you to bash your enemies children’s skull to a rock or stone women who are not virgin when married.

SOOO yes confusing indeed.

If by “righteousness disappear over time” as your way of saying that I implied that the old testament was outdated when I said that Jesus’ two commandments superseded the 10 commandments, then you’d be a little off. To clarify: I’m not saying that Jesus’ teachings (or anything in the new testament, for that matter) supersede, or are more important, than anything in the old testament. However, they definitely supplement what’s already there.

Take this for example: the old testament says “an eye for an eye”, “sacrifice animals as a form of repentance” – two of which are obviously not in use today. The whole point of not preforming those actions now is that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, so we don’t have to sacrifice animals every time we want to repent for our sins.

We also don’t take out our neighbour’s eyes – you’ll take note that Jesus said “love your neighbour as you love yourself”. Obviously, this means that you can’t just go and do unto them what they did to you – instead, “calm words will soothe even the most ferocious beast, like water on hot coals” (or something along those lines, I can’t exactly remember the quote).

Ooh – see that there? A contradiction between the old testament, and the new testament. Which one do we follow? The latest version, the new testament. Why? Because we’re following Jesus’ example, as he was the ultimate example – perfect in every way, without sin. And I guess that’s what being a Christian is all about, hey?

Now, to leave you with final thoughts:

Confusing indeed. The Bible certainly brings up some intriguing schools of thought, and there is stuff in there that even pastors and clergymen can’t understand. Instead, they pray to God for clarity of thought and wisdom, because that will eventually lead to understanding.

What about stuff like predestination and free will? There’s no way I’m talking about that here (‘cos that’s a whole other bag of worms), but sometimes, the Bible can bring more questions than answers – but as a Christian, I’m not saying that we should have all the answers anyway. Where’s the fun in that?! :D

Comments below.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mar 22

Short and sweet tonight, fellas. The way it should be, in my opinion! :D

So the story goes something like this:

I was at church today, helping out with sunday school as I’ve been doing (rather inconsistently, I must admit) for the past couple of years.

We were talking about King Solomon, who asked for wisdom when God asked him what he wanted. Great man, King Solomon.

Anyways, out of the blue, a little girl suddenly comes out of nowhere, and says:

“I was at a thing the other night… a-a-nd there were lots of drunk people fooling about… a-a-nd shirts were being ripped and…”

Of course, us leaders are stunned for a fraction of a second. The guy that’s taking the sunday school class recovers promptly, however, and manages to state: “Well, that’s not very nice, is it?” A rather generic response, but kudos to him for deflating the situation.

It got me thinking, though. Obviously the girl (who would only be in grade 4, mind you) had witnessed some sort of drunken party where the adults were acting in a far-from-responsible manner. I mean, seriously – a child shouldn’t have to see things like that.

Hence, Impressionable Young Children. Today’s title was inspired by how little children, who, like the girl at the drinking party, can be influenced by those around them. Their parents influence them. People older than them influence them. Which is why we need to be careful about what we say (and do) around young kids.

A guy named Dean (former leader of Radi8 youth) once told me that he had to tell bogans on the bus to tone down their language as he had his kids with him – which was perfectly acceptable. Had I been in his shoes, I probably would have done the same thing.

It’s those kinds of things that make impressions on the children of our generation. The swearing, the drunken behaviour, the bad behaviour exhibited by adults and those older than the childern. I’m not trying to be sarcastic when I say “Won’t someone think of the children?”

There’s no reason we should swear, or be drunk around our children. Absolutely no reason at all – and to be frank, it’s downright unacceptable. I for one don’t want my kids to be exposed to that sort of behaviour, at the very least not until they’re old enough to understand it properly. There’s no way that girl would have known that what was going on at that party was just something that adults do from time to time, and no way to know that alcohol can make smart people do stupid things.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that we should show a good example to our kids. Don’t swear around them and don’t expose them to bad influences. Understand this – I’m certainly not saying that you should mamby-pamby your children – far from it. Let them learn from their own mistakes (see how hot fire is?), but don’t expose them to things that they ordinarily wouldn’t be exposed to, like random drunken behaviour.

Comments below.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , , ,

Mar 15

Another week, another blog post…

I guess we’ll do some news first, eh?

First up for the news this week is the addition of FeedBurner feeds. FeedBurner is basically a service that provides RSS feeds (Really Simple Syndication, like news delivered to your door) for your blog or podcast.

The difference with FeedBurner is that is provides statistics tracking for your RSS feed – something that isn’t included as a part of Google Analytics (at least as far as I can see).
Stats tracking is super important to any blog, and with the addition of FeedBurner, I’ll know how many people subscribe to my blog (not that many, I can assure you).

So, what do you have to do? Well, you’ve got two choices – either subscribe to freshbytes via RSS, or just keep reading the blog like you have been doing – whenever you get time. Either way, I don’t really mind.

Right, so the second piece of news has something to do with youth, Radi8. Continuing the naming scheme of Dean (we’ll miss you!!), it’s going to stay Radi8, but under the leadership of Dave and Rach. That’s all well and good, but what about the website? You see, dear reader, that’s where I come in.

Apparently people really liked how the website would update to reflect the week’s Radi8 events, and I totally agree – if nothing else, websites are there to provide information to people, free of charge. They’ve got a couple of people handy with computers at the church, but it’d be awesome if I could manage the Radi8 website… I’m already thinking “WordPress-as-CMS”, ‘cos the Pages and blog-syle updates would be perfect for updating events, as well as archiving events, and posting up pics, etc… Sorta like how this site is managed now. You like? :p Now all I need to do is find a good theme…

As part of the revamped Radi8, I’ve also volunteered myself to do some of the media-related stuff. You know, like the movies, pics, and so on. Should be easy enough, cos I’ve got a Mac! :p

On that note, I volunteered to put together a clip from Relay For Life 2009, and how the Radi8 team helped out. Unfortunately, the camera seems to have had it (will not play back videos, only get the dreaded blue-screen of death, quick google reveals heads have ), and I’ve still got one tape to go to get into the computer! ARGH! Currently working on a solution to this problem, I’ll be sure to put up the full vid on the new-look Radi8 website when it’s done.

I’ll also announce the new-look Radi8 website (if) I get to do it. Stay tuned!

Thanks about it. Comments below.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Mar 09

In recent times, I’ve noticed that things are changing.

Now I notice that this might be the most obvious statement in the history of man, but it’s true.

You’d do well to note that these changes aren’t necessarily good – increasingly, I’ve found that these changes are usually for the worse.

I think it’s indicative of our current society that we’re always focussed on the bad – rarely do we come together and focus on the good in our lives.

To provide a real-world example, at youth group this sunday afternoon we went around and said some positive things about the sunday school ministry that I’m (just/somewhat) involved in. I think what prompted this was the fact that we were finding ourselves (for want of a better word) bitching about what goes wrong, and what the negatives are of this thing they call sunday school on an increasing basis.

I’ve thought long and hard about saying something personal here, but I know that I’ll probably regret it in the future. If I feel that something personal needs to be said, I’ll say it on my personal blog.

So the question is, why don’t people have a grip on reality? Why don’t they realise that what they’re thinking/doing isn’t necessarily indicative of their environment? Why do people become increasingly bitter about mundane things, and turn into pedantic, obnoxious fools?
Don’t look at me for the answer – I don’t have one for you.
Maybe it’s because they’ve lost that loving feeling. Maybe it’s because they are having problems at home, or at school/Uni.
Maybe they realise that their friends are just there to have arguments with, or to antagonise them in their efforts for world supremacy. (Just kidding).
Seriously, though – if you’ve lost your grip on reality, how do you get it back? I’ve got a couple of suggestions:
Get back to basics. Do the things you enjoy. Turn off the computer, and go outside and read a book. Take those earphones out, and speak to real people, face to face.
Discuss things, get heated, but have a beer together afterwards. (Please note that freshbytes does not condone underage drinking, and believes that adults should drink in moderation).
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to get your grip on reality. Take a break, and take it easy.
Comments below.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Mar 01

A Question of Ethics

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Short message today, folks. Devoid of inspiration, and this was written while I was away on holidays. Enjoy, and I hope that there’ll be more interesting stuff next time.

I know people that don’t exactly do the right thing. We all do.

They’re the kind of people who seem to be really good – on the outside, they’re caring, supportive, and all of those qualities that we take for granted.

But it’s all a facade to the deception that lies below.

Beneath the surface, they’re not nice people. Deception and dishonesty are the names of the game, and here, with lots of fakes (I personally own no less than three Rolex’s ;) ), I’m not surprised.

However, when you’re flogging off fakes as the genuine article – because you can charge a premium for genuine – that’s when I start to get a little worried.

Sure, market the products as “aftermarket”, or “third party”. There’s nothing wrong with that. Heck, if people ask you, don’t tell them that they’re the genuine thing – tell them that they’re fakes, and adjust the price accordingly.

What you shouldn’t be doing is packaging up fakes as the real deal, sticking “fake” genuine stickers on it, and selling it at a premium over fakes, because that’s just bad.

In this day and age, ethics are of the utmost importance. Even if you’re not a Christian, there are some things that you just won’t do – more serious things like murder come to mind. Everyone seems to have their own “moral code”, things that they feel like are off limits to do.

In any case, if you’ve decided what kind of a person you want to be in life, then you should already know what your moral code is.

If you don’t – I suggest you get one quick smart. Everything will be so much easier when you do.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , ,