Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Questions and Answers - Part 1

A blog reader, Rebecca, emailed me with some questions, and after answering them, I though I'd share my answers here. I decided to post the Q&A in two parts, because it was simply too long to read at once, in my opinion. Thank you, Rebecca, for taking the time to write – you made me reflect on some things that have been lurking at the back of my mind for some time. Here goes…

1. "Was your discovery of God a gradual thing or did you just one day wake up and realise He was there looking after you?"

I don't think I ever thought there is no God, even in my most secular periods of life. It's just that there were times when I didn't know how to get close to Him; gradually, step by step, I opened up my heart to Him and allowed Him to speak to me and direct me. I stopped rebelling and devoted my energy instead to developing a close relationship with Him and learning from what He taught me. This journey has been more wonderful than I could have ever imagined.

2. "How do you read the words of the Bible? Which sections do you read literally, which figuratively? What is your favourite book of Scripture?"

I try to dedicate time every day to read and meditate on the Word of God. I take what is written literally unless it's clear that there's a deeper meaning behind the words, like often in Proverbs, which is my favorite book of Scripture, packed with pearls of wisdom!

3. "Do you think it is right to base Western law upon the Bible's teachings when not all individuals believe in the Bible?"

This is a tough one. I don't believe we can make people righteous by forcing it on them, and indeed, there have been outlaws and outcasts at all times. However, I think there's no better basis for laws than the Ten Commandments for Jews, and the Laws of Noah for non-Jews, the most basic moral and ethical code that will never expire.

4. "How would you like to see progressive leftist individuals change to become more tolerant towards members of the religious right?"

I wish there was less legislation to make abortions easier and to pull women out of their homes and into workforce. I wish leftists were more respectful and less arrogant towards the religious community; I wish we weren't treated like oppressed, narrow-minded idiots who don't know what's good for them.

5. "How do you think of people shunned by some of the Christian conservative groups (alternative religions, feminists and homosexuals for example)? Do you think of them as people with their own lives, loved ones and dreams?"

A very good question. I believe each and every person, no matter how deeply immersed in sin, is precious to our Father in Heaven, and should therefore be also precious to us, if we aspire to reflect His love. I used to be a feminist. I used to be sexually impure. I used to practice very sinister dark rituals. God loved me all the way, and continues to love me and guide me every day of my life. He loves everyone! And therefore, even if I disagree with certain people's actions and find them sinful, I still regard these people as precious children of God.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

I enjoy your blog and have a quick question. What are the Laws of Noah? I have never heard that term before. Okay...I have two questions. Why are the 10 Commandments for Jews and the Laws of Noah for non-Jews?

Respectfully,
Nicole

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed...God pulls us toward Him, & waits so patiently for us to call upon Him. When I think of the most troubled, self-centered times of my life...how I must have grieved Him. Yet, He was there! And when I trust Him, really & truly, it's like a freefall experience. I'm afraid, but I know He will provide what I need, when I need it.

Brenda

Anna S said...

Nicole,

An excellent question. The Seven Laws of Noah were part of the pact that was established between God and Noah after the Flood (read Gen. 9), and include:

1. Prohibition of Idolatry: There is only one God. You shall not make for yourself an idol.
2. Prohibition of Murder: You shall not murder.
3. Prohibition of Theft: You shall not steal.
4. Prohibition of Sexual Promiscuity: You shall not commit adultery.
5. Prohibition of Blasphemy: Revere God and do not blaspheme.
6. Prohibition of Cruelty to Animals: Do not eat flesh taken from an animal while it is still alive.
7. Requirement to have just Laws: You shall set up an effective judiciary to fairly judge observance of the preceding six laws.

According to Judaism, a righteous non-Jew who lives according to the Seven Laws of Noah has a place in the World to Come.

The Ten Commandments are meant for Jews since they include things non-Jews don't have to follow, like keeping the day of Shabbat holy.

USAincognito said...

Excelent Q & A post, Anna! :)

Mrs. Mordecai said...

Proverbs is one of my favorite books, too! I always get the guidance I need when I read it, whether it's a wake-up call or gentle encouragement to get me through the day.

Terry said...

Great post, and thanks for clarifying the Laws of Noah. I'd never heard of them before. Praying that all is well with you.

Kristy said...

Great post and very thoughtful answers, Anna.

Alexandra said...

I like your answer to number 5. We don't all have to agree, but we are called to love.

Rebekah S. said...

Thank you so much for this post. Will you begin a Q & A series now?

I couldn't agree more with what you said about taking what the Bible says literally. It means what it says and says what it means. Of course, there are some passages which are used to symbolize something else, but the huge majority of Scripture is to be taken literally, exactly as it's written.

Rebekah S. said...

Psalms and Proverbs are two of my very favorite books of the Bible!

Rebekah S. said...

That's so true about #5. We may not agree with someone else's beliefs (i.e. their feministic beliefs, etc.), and may think that those beliefs are unBiblical, but we're still called on by God to love everybody, to be kind and respectful to them, etc.

Ahuva said...

" I wish leftists were more respectful and less arrogant towards the religious community; I wish we weren't treated like oppressed, narrow-minded idiots who don't know what's good for them."

Anna, honey, there are religious leftists in the world. Don't paint us all with one brush. You and I agree on far more things than we disagree, I think, and I'm very proudly liberal. I just see the Left (U.S.) as protecting my right to be a zionist Orthodox Jew in America.

Karen said...

Great answers! Very insightful. I agree with you on almost all of it. :)

Adlyn said...

two questions Anna, one. Can a non-jew follow the 10 commandments or not (because I look in the bible and it list the ten commandments and tell people of GOD to "follow them"). seeing how I follow GOD shouldn't I follow the 10 commandments? Question two. I was abused as a child and ever scince then I have had a hard time opening up to people including GOD (which saddens me) do you know how I could open up more to GOD? I would love some Ideas!

xoxoxoxo,
Adlyn

Anna S said...

Ahuva, I do hope you realize I'm generalizing here.

Sue said...

Anna:

Like several others have already said, I also agree with your answer to question #5. Everyone following after God, whether Jewish or Christian, should understand that everyone sins and we needs God's forgiveness just as much as a prostitute, drug dealer, etc.

God bless,

Sue

Anna S said...

Adlyn,

The 10 Commandments, as you know, were given to the Jewish people, whereas the Laws of Noah were given much earlier to the entire humankind. You'll also notice the resemblance between the two.

We believe non-Jews don't *have* to keep the 10 commandments, though of course honoring your parents and so on is still a very good idea for non-Jews as well, IMHO!

Anna S said...

As to your second question, it's very important. I want to write a blog post about it, I just hope I don't forget! Could you drop me an email and remind me to address this issue?

College Gal said...

Great Q & A series Anna! May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Jennifer said...

Thanks Anna...I'm so glad that you decided to share your answers on your blog. I especially appreciated #4 - very well thought out and worded.

Elizabeth said...

This is a great post! :-> Your answer to Question 5 is especially great, in my not-so-humble opinion! :->

Hil The Thrill said...

Anna, I think there was a typo in today's entry..

"I wish there was less legislation to make abortions easier and to pull women out of their homes and into workforce. I wish leftists were more respectful and less arrogant towards the religious community; I wish we weren't treated like oppressed, narrow-minded idiots who don't know what's good for them. "

You forgot to add,"...except for my Leftist friend, Hil, who is open-minded and wicked cool."

: ) Keep on being you, Anna! I love reading it!

Gothelittle Rose said...

#5 kind of made me roll my eyes, I have to admit. The media has so expanded and emphasized the few far-extremist groups that people perceive 'conservative Christians' as people-haters, plague on society, etc.

As well there has been a lot spread about by anti-Christians claiming that you can't see someone as a real person with hopes and dreams if you believe that something they're involved in is evil. What they don't seem to realize is this: The ability to see homosexuals etc. as real people with human dignity despite disapproving of their lifestyle allows Christians to likewise have a genuine love for drug addicts, murderers, and other people who are shunned by those who strongly believe you must approve of someone's lifestyle to love them.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I sent you an e-mail asking about the Laws of Noah and you have already answered! Thanks!

Melinda

Rebekah S. said...

Adlyn,

I would love to respond to these questions of yours, if you don't mind. They're such great questions. If you want, send me an e-mail with these questions, and I can respond to them through there. By the way, thanks so much for your comments on my blog! :)

Rebekah

living_for_my_Lords_glory@hotmai.com

Rebekah S. said...

Briefly, I want to speak on the subject of the 10 commandments(this will be from a Christian perspective, to fellow Christians; I hope that's allright, Anna). While they were indeed given to the Jews, in the NT we see that Christians are commanded to keep them as well. They are reissued and restated in the NT(except for the one on keeping the sabbath day holy), to Christians, commanding them to keep them. Even if they hadn't been reissued there, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 makes it quite clear that all Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, etc. Therefore, even if they weren't mentioned again in the NT, they Christians would still need to keep them, simply because they're God's commands

Blessings to you all,
Rebekah

Maggie said...

I find the Book of Psalms to be quite comforting in times of need. I also read quite often some of the Epistles in the New Testament, such as Corinthians, Philippians and Ephesians.
Cheers,
Maggie

Anonymous said...

For those of us who believe the New Testament, though, the command to obey our parents (as well as all seven of the laws of Noah) are repeated.

I am a big fan of your posts, Anna!!

Adlyn said...

I just sent you that email Anna it should me there soon!

xoxoxoxo,
Adlyn

neuropoet3 said...

Anna,
This Q&A post is a great idea. I'm so glad you answered the questions this way so we could all see them.
Peace,
Jenny
PS I love the book of Proverbs too! :)

Coffee Catholic said...

"Do you think it is right to base Western law upon the Bible's teachings when not all individuals believe in the Bible?"

I've been asked this question as well!! The Bible is merely an written expression of the natural law of God that is written on everyone's heart regardless of their personal beliefs. If anyone looks at the Ten Commandments they make perfect sense if one wishes to live within a civilized and crime-free society. I don't know very many people who wish to live in uncivilized and lawless societies!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your answers on the Laws of Noah. I love learning new terminology so that I can communicate more effectively.

I am also glad that I am "allowed" to keep the 10 Commandments. :o)

Nicole

Liedeke said...

"The Bible is merely an written expression of the natural law of God that is written on everyone's heart regardless of their personal beliefs. If anyone looks at the Ten Commandments they make perfect sense if one wishes to live within a civilized and crime-free society. I don't know very many people who wish to live in uncivilized and lawless societies!!"

Bravo, Michelle. Would you mind if I quote you on this? You've expressed what I have been unable to put into words for the last twenty years (well, except for the God-part, since I'm not a believer).

Thanks!

~Liedeke