Why do people believe what they do?
Have you ever wondered why people believe what they do? There are so many differing ideas as to what the truth is that logic would tell us there must be an immense amount of error in the world. Yet it seems that the best most religious leaders can do is specialize in exposing the errors of others. We've all seen it. Let's take for example three differing theologies and label them doctrines A, B, & C. All three have some truth and some error. Doctrine A specializes in exposing errors in the doctrines of B and C, and the vast majority of those who were born into A and raised as A remain A for the rest of their lives. Doctrine B specializes in the errors A and C, and C points out the errors of A and B. Occasionally, two will unite against the other. A and B will team up against the errors of C on which they agree, but virtually no A's convert to B's, or B's to A's. B and C will occasionally join forces against A's errors and so on. It would seem that everyone can see the errors with everyone else but themselves. The fact remains that very very few convert to something different from what they were born and raised into. This is true of every religion. Christians remain Christians, Jews remain Jews, and Muslims remain Muslims. Catholic Christians remain Catholic, Baptist-Baptist, and Lutheran-Lutheran. Ultra orthodox Jews remain Ultra orthodox, Orthodox- Orthodox, and Reformed- Reformed. The identical is true of the many factions of Islam, and every other ideology on earth.
So why do people really believe what they do? It should be apparent that the reason the majority of people believe what they do is for sociological reasons. Most people can be taught to believe just about anything if the acceptance of friends or especially family is at stake. Once people are secure in their surroundings, many of them don't really care what the truth is. But among those who have the courage to care, for many of them, if changing their mind means it will cost them the respect of family, and friends, then it is too much to consider. Of the small percentage of those who do choose to cross a line and pay the price of rejection, the vast majority do so for the purpose of being accepted into a new group or family. Most of us have seen numerous cases where a man or a woman will change their faith so they can marry someone of a different faith. But even in this, people remain within their general faith system. Christians generally move to another branch of Christianity, Jews to another branch of Judaism and so on. Very very few move to a completely different faith system, and those that do, again, do it mainly for acceptance reasons. It seems that true objectivity in searching for the truth is of little serious consideration. In a marriage, the decision on which way the couple will go seems to always land in favor of the one who has the most to lose if they were to change.
Many people have made significant sacrifices over time to support a certain belief system where they are accepted and held in high esteem. These people are the most unlikely to consider possible errors in their particular belief system no matter what the facts are. The greater the sacrifices a person has made in time and money for the institution they are attached to, the greater the unlikelihood that they will ever be able to consider error. For them, there is simply too much to turn their back on and walk away from. No one wants to admit that their blood-sweat and tears have been for naught.
So for the majority of people in this world it really doesn't matter what the truth is or what makes the best sense. They will embrace their respective group's teachings and gladly perpetuate its teachings for the underlying purpose of being accepted by their peers. So strong is this drive that many become perfectly willing to die for what they believe. If this describes you, and you are comfortable with where you are, this book is not for you.
If on the other hand you are like the few who are desperate for sense-making truth, and you would change and become absolutely anything to be able to have the joy and security of embracing it, then you will want to read this book.
On teachers and institutions
Many of today's teachers make use of analogy and allegory in their endeavor to convince a student of the supposed truth of what they say. Many use Scripture stories and allegorize them to paint their analogies. Though there is a place for analogy, one must recognize the fact that there is very little a clever teacher cannot prove by analogy! Yet every day, millions are convinced a lie is the truth by use of analogy. Analogy is not logic. In a court of law, analogy goes nowhere. If a teacher has no solid logic to back up their claims, then their claims should be taken with a measure of skepticism. In this book, I begin chapter one with an analogy, but from there on I use very few. The great bulk of my positions are supported with solid logic that would stand up in court. It should also be noted that the vast majority of my logic is based on what is found in the Bible itself.
Other teachers make use of their authority as a certified representative of their institution as final word on a given issue. Their assumption is that God officially recognizes their institution. I believe the only individuals who have a right to pontificate truth in this manner are those whom God has clearly endorsed as His representatives with His power. I speak of men like Moses, Elijah, and Yeshua. These people have demonstrated a God-endorsed right to be heard. They may also freely use analogies in their teaching as much as they desire.
When it comes to religious institutions, I have come to the firm conclusion that God does not officially recognize any on earth today, be it any branch or sect of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. This statement alone is more than enough to brand me a heretic by all of them. Every group naturally believes that God officially recognizes their organization, and many believe theirs is God's one-and-only.
It is my purpose to spell out for the honest seeker of truth that the greatest bulk of truth is found at the core of the three great monotheistic religions of the world. Each religion claims to believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. All of them claim to endorse what Christianity calls the Old Testament as the word of God. This much is indeed true. But each of the three main religions has a cancerous growth on their version of truth that has been steadily sucking the life from it. Christians know that the problem with Islam is the writings of Mohamed in the Koran. Jews know this truth as well. Christians know that the problem with Judaism is with the writings of the sages as found in the Talmud. Muslims know this truth as well. What Jews and Muslims know about Christianity is that the New Testament (most particularly the writings of Paul) is to blame for Christianity's errors.
Since beginning this book and posting its progress on the web, I have had numerous responses from Jewish individuals who congratulate me for accomplishing the seeming impossible feat of turning my back on what I was raised to believe. But at the same time, they were quite perplexed as to why I hadn't completely converted over to Judaism! I have also had numerous similar experiences with well-meaning Muslim individuals who can't understand why I haven't converted over to Islam! It would appear that each can clearly see the problem in the others, but none can see it in themselves.
For the most part, I will be writing to Christians because I come from a Christian background and was immersed in Christian teaching since I was a child. I am in a position to refute much of Christian doctrine that Jews and Muslims will never find themselves. I will leave the great bulk of the work needed to convince a searching Jew of the errors of Talmudism to someone who was raised as a Jew, and I will leave all the work needed to convince a searching Muslim of the errors of Islamic doctrine to someone who was raised as a Muslim.
For many logical reasons that will
be borne out in this work, I continue to embrace the truth that Yeshua (known as
Jesus to the English speaking world) is the son of God and the promised
Messiah of Israel. It will also be
an obvious working premise of mine. But for most of Christianity this won't be
good enough. For nearly all of Judaism it will remain totally unacceptable. To the few
searching Jews who might read this book, I ask you to please bear with me and my
dealings with the problems of Christianity. You may find that some of them are applicable
to Jewish doctrine as well. But, near the end of this work, I will discuss at
length the issues concerning Yeshua and his Messiahship.
Translations and terminology
When quoting from the Bible, unless otherwise stated, the translation I quote from is The New King James Version. The NKJV has become a favorite translation of mine because of its greater overall accuracy than any of the others. The NKJV does make a number of errors though, the relevant ones I point out in my work. I then make use of Hebrew and Greek texts, as well as other translations, to demonstrate the error.
When it comes to Hebrew names and titles, one could make so many changes that the average English-speaking person would quickly become lost. One could substitute Elohim for God, Miriam for Mary, Kepha for Peter, Ya-cobe for Jacob or James, and the list goes on. In the case of the title "God", it is just that... a title and not a name. In its capitalized version, it is the English word that is most commonly understood to mean the supreme deity referred to in the Bible. So I continue to use the title 'God' to refer to YHWH, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This title, along with other commonly recognized names like Peter, James and Mary, I continue to use in my work for the sake of avoiding confusion. The few changes I have made that the reader should be aware of are the following:
Because of the significance and importance of the name, from this point on, unless I am quoting someone verbatim, I use the name Yeshua in reference to whom the English speaking world calls Jesus. Also, when quoting from any translation of the Bible where the name Jesus and/or Christ occurs, I commonly substitute Jesus with the name Yeshua, and the phonetically harsh title of Christ with the title Messiah. In the evolution of the name Yeshua to Jesus, it can begin to be demonstrated how far the truth concerning this person has decayed over the millennia. There is nothing in "Jesus" that comes from "Yeshua" either in sound or meaning. For more information on this issue please see articles in appendix The Name. A Modern Parable. or How the name Yeshua became Jesus.
There is only one other change I make that the reader should be aware of. Because the Christian term "Old Testament" automatically carries with it the picture of something that is Old and Obsolete, I personally dislike it and avoid using it as much as possible. The Jews refer to this same piece of literature from Genesis to Malachi as the Tanach. (Pronounced Tah-nakh with the last sound being a guttural sound not found in the English language. The Scottish word loch comes close to making the same ch sound as in Tanach.) So from here on, I will refer to what Christianity calls the "Old Testament" as the Tanach.
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