Spiritual Units of Measure

I don’t usually knock aspects of other faiths strictly because I have respect for them. Not to say other faiths are foolish, but I believe that a fool has the right to believe whatever they feel is truth in their own heart. After all, who am I to say what I believe doesn’t sound completely foolish to someone who does not believe what I believe? I’ll be the first to say that what I believe probably sounds completely nonsensical to someone outside of my faith.
With this said, the only time I will call people out on a spiritual belief is when they go against their own beliefs. I believe that every faith (or even lack of faith) is held to a certain standard; even if that standard itself is a non-standard. If you’re a Buddhist, you probably abide by the Mahāsāṃghika and the Mulasarvastivada; which I don’t, but I completely respect your right to. If you’re a Mormon, you probably go by the Book of Mormon and a Muslim, the Quran. Though I disagree with these works, these are the standard by which these people have chosen to live their lives and these are the units of measure for which they have chosen to be tried. 
One of the only faiths I have come across that says they abide by one thing, but then are offended when they are measured by this standard are Christians. I don’t like to bad-mouth Christians because I used to be one and I’ve learned so much from many wonderful Christians over the years, but something needs to be said about those Christians who teach a message that is contrary to the teachings of the New Testament; which is undoubtedly the key Christian text. There are those who teach that “faith” covers all things, all sins, all transgressions; both now and in the future. The fact that they would say this offends my understanding of the word “faith.” While I could harp on about my disgust of a majority of Christian’s concept of “faith”, it wouldn’t do any good because I am not a Christian. In order to hold Christian’s to their own standards, the author of the book of James has already said everything I wish to say; so I will let him say it for me: 
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is One; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” -James 2:14-26
I am not calling out those Christians who genuinely love their neighbor as themselves. I am not even calling out those who only say that faith is required; that you can be an absolutely heart of ice towards your neighbor, but as long as you “have faith in Jesus” you can be saved (having “faith” meaning to BE faithful in action). No, I am not calling you out; your own text is calling you out. I could have not phrased it better myself. 
To my Christian friends: any person who tells you that the New Testament gives you a get-out-of-jail-free card to be able to submit to your own lusts without any consequence is lying; either by their own ignorance of the New Testament or by their own manipulation of the text. 
Any faith you decide to be a part of, thoroughly study its text. If you feel you cannot be held to the standard to which others dutifully aspire, do not tarnish their efforts with your lies. 
I’ll end with the continued wisdom of the author of the Book of James: 
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” -James 1:27

Shalom.

2 thoughts on “Spiritual Units of Measure

  1. Given that you were once (if you ever really were) a Christian, you should understand that only faith by grace (and vice versa) saves. Works are just a reflection of one’s faith or lack thereof. You wrote, ” I am not even calling out those who only say that faith is required; that you can be an absolutely heart of ice towards your neighbor, but as long as you “have faith in Jesus” you can be saved (having “faith” meaning to BE faithful in action). No, I am not calling you out; your own text is calling you out. I could have not phrased it better myself.”You misread the text. Faith and grace, not works, save; and James (Jacob, Ya’akov) wrote concerning works within the context of faith and grace.

  2. If you provide the text in which James claims that it is not works, but faith and grace that save, that would help out this discussion immensely.One of the problems also is not with the text, but with the Hebraic understanding of concepts like faith, grace, and the stigma that has been added to the term “works” by Protestants. The term “faith” in Hebrew, “emunah”, is a VERB. The Book of James is just as much a Jewish text as it is a Christian text (the Christian Church not being established for several hundred years after this work is composed) and the author of James was writing this letter to Hebrews most likely who would have understood “faith” to be a verb but the original text was more than likely written in Hebrew. In Hebraic thought, to “have faith” is the same as “being faithful.” The concepts of faith and belief are not synonyms in Hebraic understanding. A large reason why so much of the New Testament is misunderstood by scholars is because rarely is it studied for what it is: a Jewish text. It was written by Jews typically for Jews. If I was to try and interpret the Bhagavad Gita to apply to my life, my lack of understanding of Hindi would greatly inhibit my studies. The same goes for these works, but not even that; many instances, the very plain understanding of these words is clearly evident, yet theology has taken the place of text believed to be sacred by Christians in their places of study or preached from the pulpit.The fact is that the Christian New Testament is a fascinating text that demands an entire lifestyle change from its readers. If only the words of its authors could be applied to its readers instead of the garbage theological spider webs of Christian theologians who have strangled meaning from the text and replaced it with their own error.I challenge any Christian to take the theological scales from their eyes and live according to the teachers of the New Testament. If it really is a sacred text, the Bible even says that it is not too difficult for you to observe. “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.” – Deuteronomy 30:13NEVER, and I repeat NEVER let someone do your studying for you. Glean from the wisdom of the wise, but many freely hand over their potential to interpret their holy texts for themselves and wind up as slaves to bogus theology. I hope you have a very pleasant Sabbath day filled with rest and reflection. Shalom.

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