"Religion tells us what Man is to the Universe, Science tells us what the Universe is to Man,"
Everyone has a religion. From the strongest Atheist, most logical Scientist, submissive Muslim or devout Christian, all have a set of parables, symbols, beliefs and practices that gives meaning to our lives, and it usually gives reference to a higher truth or power. We see examples of this that we practice everyday.
Some of us carry a religious icon of some sort, be it a crucifix, Buddhist rosary, or lucky rabbits foot.
Some of us use age old rituals to ward off evil, like blessing someone after they sneeze, praying a certain number of times a day, or seeking the answer to the unknown amongst the stars. Many of these types of practices are not really dangerous to the individual, and give us a feeling of control or order in the universe.
Some of us meditate on the doctrine of the religion that we claim, whether it focuses on unifying and respecting all of G-D's creation or exclusionary for only a small group of people.
Some of us meditate on the prophecies that our religion cherishes. Prophecies offer comfort and hope that further strengthen our faith. In joyous times, prophecy reminds us of the responsibility we have to our G-D. In tragic times, prophecy reminds us that time passes and good will be an ultimate end.
There is a danger in the religions of the world. There is a trap that we may not even realize that we have fallen victim to. That trap is the worship of prophecy. Prophecy has been used to manipulate people, societies, and cultures, on a whole.
The reasons for this are plain to see within the human psyche. Humans wish to have things well ordered, regardless if that order is more virtual then effectual. Humans want a perceived reality to be better, stronger, and faster than the reality we live in. No one but the creator can provide a better reality than the one we live in. Ultimately, humanity seeks immortality, one can not find this amongst the finite world we live in. Unfortunately, many of us devote ourselves to a faith because of selfishness. Often religion is sold to us in one of two ways:
None of us is good enough, work hard enough, or repent enough to achieve heaven. Salvation can only be achieved through the worship of a man, animal or object, sometimes called the son of G-D, sometimes called G-D himself.
All of us could achieve heaven if we focus our body, mind, and soul to worshiping G-D, peace, or some existential philosophy.
I find it very interesting that throughout history, the pendulum that swings between the gates of heaven changes based upon what I call "Interpretations Of Convenience." It seems that the narrow viewpoints of religion shifts to what ever makes it easiest to control the masses.
There was a time when you could purchase "indulgences" from "Pardoners" in the Catholic Church, for sins yet to be specified, to be insured remittance from earthly punishments. Unfortunately, this practice evolved into a belief that heavenly forgiveness could be attained as well. It was not unheard of for a man to purchase forgiveness before he lied to a supervisor, slept with a prostitute, or even committed murder.
In his Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, Martin Luther speaks out against how the Catholic Church views repentance, salvation, and indulgences. Christians who were being falsely told that they could find absolution, the forgiveness of their sins, through the purchase of indulgences, rather than through the free gift of God's mercy offered in and through Jesus Christ.
Just as this is a corruption of what salvation and forgiveness is supposed to be, so to has this lead to a corruption in the interpretation of scripture and prophecy.
Ask any believer who reads the Torah, Holy Bible or Quran. It seems to me that we mistake a narrow viewpoint for a much grander vision. Let us take the story of Noah and his Ark, for example (in the bible Genesis Chapters 6- 9, in the Quran Suras 11 and 71).
Noach ben Lamech (known as Noah) was a G-Dly man who lived roughly 6,000 years ago, by some accounts. In his 600th year, G-D had looked upon the land and saw wickedness in his creation. This saddened the heart of G-D immensely, because G-D had given man the ability to have good and evil in his heart, and a majority of men had chosen an unrighteous path.
Of all the people who would be effected by the flood, G-D had found one man that could be considered "righteous for his generation."
To some, he was only a righteous man, to others he was a prophet. The extent of Noah's righteousness has been a matter of debate for scholars. The statement that he was "righteous for his generation" may mean that he was considered righteous compared to other people in the land he inhabited. One could compare the statement to a thief being righteous when in the presence of a group of murderers.
Some even think that Noah's righteousness would not compare to that of Abraham, Joseph, or Moses, because never prayed to G-D on behalf of the people the flood would have effected (according to the Torah). If you took Abraham's life in comparison, Abraham prayed for the wicked of Sodom and Gomorrah. In fact, some scholars believe that Noah was only concerned with the safety of his own family while ignoring the safety of those around him.
Noah was warned about an impending flood that will cover the earth. In many translations of the Bible it says "Earth." If we look at the literal Hebrew translation, it uses the word "Erets" which can be defined as "land" like the English "land," but can have the sense of “ground," "country," or even of "soil."
The following definition is taken from scripturetext.com/genesis/6-13 Genesis 6:13 "And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth."
'erets (eh-rets): Hebrew The earth (at large, or partitively a land) -- common, country, earth, field, ground, land, natins, way, + wilderness, world.
We, also, have to take into account that Noah lived in a time where there was rather limited modes of transportation; sandal, beast, or boat, and that the average man did not travel further then 30 Kilometers away from home. Considering at sea level the line-of-sight to the horizon line is about 5 Kilometers. Even if a man stood on a hill 100 meters high, the edge of his world would only be 36 kilometers away. Realizing this it would be easy for a man, in those times, to believe that the whole earth was flooded.
Then, there is a question of how exactly did the flood occur. Was it rapid like a sheet of water falling upon the earths surface? Was it engulfing like a flood from a river during a storm? Did the people drown because they felt they were safe in their roofed houses? Did they even have roofs? Was their people pleading to Noah to let them into the Ark after the flooding started?
In reality, when it comes to the discussion of the Great Flood, we do not have a lot of data to go by, and the importance of this event is actually the formation of the Noahide laws and the availability of G-D's mercy to a gentile man, as opposed to the punishment that G-D deemed necessary.
With so many questions in regard to a past biblical event, why do we presume to even understand the nature of prophecy in the bible? Is prophecy truly for the believer or is it for the unbeliever so that they may gain faith? More importantly, should prophecy really play such an important role in our worship of G-D?
In the United States, ask 1000 believers to interpret for you the book of Revelations and you may end up with 340 different interpretations of prophecies, and 50 honestly saying they have no idea. If you multiply that by the number of countries, or even further divide it by ethnic groupings, you start to realize the extent that prophecy interpretations can diverge.
"No man treats a motor car as foolishly as he treats another human being. When the car will not go, he does not attribute its annoying behavior to sin, he does not say, "You are a wicked motorcar, and I shall not give you any more petrol until you go." He attempts to find out what is wrong and set it right."~Bertrand Russell
The Cult of Prophecy: Can a hope for the future interfere with you living for today?
Part Two, How the “New World Leader's” are ALWAYS the AntiChrist to someone