Author Topic: Should we have foresight?  (Read 416 times)

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Offline lpetrich

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Should we have foresight?
« on: July 29, 2017, 04:42:34 PM »
Should we have foresight? Should we try to anticipate future bad times so that we can prepare for them?

Yes

In Genesis 41, Joseph interprets some of the Pharaoh's dreams. The Pharaoh dreamed that seven fat and well-fed cows came out of the Nile River and that seven thin and starved ones then did so and ate them. He then had a similar dream about seven thin and withered heads of grain eating seven fat and healthy ones. Joseph interpreted these dreams as meaning that Egypt will have seven agriculturally productive years followed by seven years of famine.

Joseph recommended collecting some of the good harvests over the next seven years and saving it for the coming famine. The Pharaoh then ordered that, and when the famine came, Egypt survived very well.

One can point out problems with this story, like no independent confirmation from the Egyptian side and dreams not likely to be prophetic, but it has a clear message. Save up during good times so that one may better survive bad times.

No

Matthew 6:25-34. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ tells us that one should not worry about what one will eat and what one will wear. He tells us that God feeds the birds, even though they don't practice agriculture, and also that God clothes the flowers, even though they do not work or spin fibers for clothing.

There are plenty of problems there also, like those birds having to forage for their food because they have no bird feeders to go to. Furthermore, their food often tries to avoid being eaten, like seeds having hard shells and insects and worms hiding or camouflaging themselves. Also, plants must work in their own way, building their substance from air, water, and trace elements in soil, using energy from the Sun.

But the message is evident. Don't worry about one's food and clothing, because God will rain it down on you like manna from heaven if necessary.

Offline shnozzola

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2017, 05:04:03 PM »
   Yes, that's the irony of religion, isn't it?  Even most religious people get jobs, financial advisors, mortgages, etc.  Few wait for expected manna from heaven.  They've even come up with the term - "The Lord helps those that help themselves" .  Everyone across the landscape living like atheists, while the religious pray, knowing that god's will is to be done, while going to the doctor when ill.

   Here's an interpretation from "The Marginal Mennonite Society"

Quote
The authentic message of Jesus ... homeless penniless Jesus:
“My poor friends: Congratulations! The Commonwealth of God is for you! Truly I tell you: It's easier for a rope to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy person to experience and comprehend the Commonwealth of God.

“If you have money, don't lend it at interest. Rather, give it to someone from whom you won't get it back! Seriously. Does Torah not condemn usury? (Yes, it does.) So be generous, just as our Heavenly Parent is generous. Avoid usury and usurers. (That includes so-called ‘wealth management organizations.’)
“As you know, our Heavenly Parent causes the sun to rise on the bad and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. So give to everyone who begs from you, no questions asked, whether they seem worthy to you or not. For they are all worthy.

“And when you give to the beggar, do it directly, from your hand to theirs, rather than through some 'non-profit charity' for the tax benefits. Giving to the poor in a way that materially benefits yourself does not count with our Heavenly Parent. If you give with the expectation of self-gain, how are you different from the Wall Street hustlers whose principles and practices come straight from the firepits of Gehenna? They may give to charity, but only for the self-gain.

“If someone takes your things, don't ask for them back. They're just things. They will soon be dust. Don't store up for yourselves more possessions than necessary to meet your needs. Learn to live with as little as possible. Whatever excess you have belongs to those nearby who have less. You cannot serve our Heavenly Parent and your bank account at the same time. So, strive to detach from your bank account.
“There is more to living than money and material things. Model your lives after the lilies of the field. They grow without laboring or spinning thread. Wear old clothes and carry the jewels in your heart. That is where true riches are to be found.”

Matthew 5:3, 42, 45-46; Matthew 6:19-21, 24-30; Matthew 19:23-24; Luke 6:20, 30, 32, 34-35; Luke 12:22-28, 33-34; Luke 16:13; Luke 18:24-25; Gospel of Thomas 36, 47, 54, 76, 95.
Paraphrase by Charlie Kraybill (Admin of the Marginal Mennonite Society Facebook page).

http://young.anabaptistradicals.org/2011/11/07/manifesto-of-the-marginal-mennonite-society/
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Offline lpetrich

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2017, 05:54:50 PM »
   Yes, that's the irony of religion, isn't it?  Even most religious people get jobs, financial advisors, mortgages, etc.  Few wait for expected manna from heaven.  They've even come up with the term - "The Lord helps those that help themselves" .  Everyone across the landscape living like atheists, while the religious pray, knowing that god's will is to be done, while going to the doctor when ill.
God helps those who help themselves - Wikipedia -- it's nowhere to be found in the Bible, but it was present in Greco-Roman antiquity, like in Aesop's fable of Hercules and the Wagoner. A wagoner's wagon gets stuck, and the wagoner prays to Hercules for help. Hercules responds "Push it yourself".

But to me, that saying is like saying "God helps everybody who acts like an atheist."

Offline Nick

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2017, 09:58:31 PM »
Should we have foreskins?
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Online jaimehlers

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2017, 07:00:52 AM »
It looks like the saying originated in ancient Greece, which makes sense.  After all, the Greek gods were not exactly the nicest bunch; even the ones who supposedly represented higher concepts like justice were still likely to put mortals in their place if they felt like it (Athena & Arachne comes to mind).  So it would absolutely make sense for them to have such a sentiment in their culture.  And it likely spread through cultural contamination from there.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2017, 09:18:27 AM »
Whilst interesting, I am not sure quite where the OP is going with this thread. If we are simply saying that the bible doesn't agree with itself, then that is hardly new!


I do have a problem with the Joseph in that the idea of hoarding food was for a special purpose for a particular time - a famine 'predicted' by god to save the Egyptians. Strictly it does not apply outwith the specific time that god instructed. So I think that we can cross off the yes and conclude that the bible instructs not to 'save up for oneself treasure on earth' ... and one can see so many prominent Christians following Jesus command - like Ken Ham, the Hovinds etc.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline kaziglu bey

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2017, 09:56:49 PM »
      Yes, that's the irony of religion, isn't it?  Even most religious people get jobs, financial advisors, mortgages, etc.  Few wait for expected manna from heaven.  They've even come up with the term - "The Lord helps those that help themselves" .  Everyone across the landscape living like atheists, while the religious pray, knowing that god's will is to be done, while going to the doctor when ill.
I really, really wish that religious people could understand this. That they behave in a way that is indistinguishable from non-belief. And that this is because they live in a universe that behaves exactly the way it would if there was no God. Just like they live in a universe that behaves in exactly the same way that it would in the absence of elves, fairies, Santa, pots of gold at the ends of rainbows, wizards, and other superstitious/supernatural entities/phenomena.
"A resurrected person who is also the son of a virgin could still be talking nonsense. There's no logic that says he must be right. " Christopher Hitchens

Offline lpetrich

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2017, 12:33:12 AM »
I do have a problem with the Joseph in that the idea of hoarding food was for a special purpose for a particular time - a famine 'predicted' by god to save the Egyptians. Strictly it does not apply outwith the specific time that god instructed. So I think that we can cross off the yes
That seems like hairsplitting to me. What Joseph proposed is very easy to generalize.

Quote
and conclude that the bible instructs not to 'save up for oneself treasure on earth' ... and one can see so many prominent Christians following Jesus command - like Ken Ham, the Hovinds etc.
That's correct about the Sermon on the Mount, yes.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2017, 03:38:10 AM »
I do have a problem with the Joseph in that the idea of hoarding food was for a special purpose for a particular time - a famine 'predicted' by god to save the Egyptians. Strictly it does not apply outwith the specific time that god instructed. So I think that we can cross off the yes
That seems like hairsplitting to me. What Joseph proposed is very easy to generalize.


Well, yes, and that's the point. This is clearly part of story - more likely than not a very old one - and one which neither its author of any other biblical author thought worth extending to the general bible teaching. That's why I think it is specific - well, that and the very specific years mentioned.


The thing is that one can dump large parts of bible teaching by generalizing or straight ignoring the bits that don't suit. However, in all the 613 commandments in the Torah dealing with everything in life, more or less, there is nothing of this nature.
 
Quote
and conclude that the bible instructs not to 'save up for oneself treasure on earth' ... and one can see so many prominent Christians following Jesus command - like Ken Ham, the Hovinds etc.
That's correct about the Sermon on the Mount, yes.



So the whole message in the bible, on this topic, appears to centre on this sermon and maybe on Paul's example too. Yet no one much ever notices or acts on this. Odd!
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline lpetrich

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2017, 07:52:11 PM »
(having foresight) What Joseph proposed is very easy to generalize.
Well, yes, and that's the point. This is clearly part of story - more likely than not a very old one - and one which neither its author of any other biblical author thought worth extending to the general bible teaching. That's why I think it is specific - well, that and the very specific years mentioned.
That's why I called it hairsplitting.

wheels5894, you seem to jump from (lack of mention of foresight) to (rejection of foresight). An argument from silence is only valid if one would not expect the silence to occur.

So I stand by my contention that the story of Joseph and the Pharaoh is an endorsement of foresight.

In fact, I consider the Sermon on the Mount's rejection of foresight to be odd, because one cannot get very far without having at least some foresight.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 07:54:06 PM by lpetrich »

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2017, 03:32:33 AM »
Well, consider Jesus odd is you like but that appears to have been the teaching towards the end for the 1st century. It might have been said by Jesus, it might not, but is certainly what was the thinking when it was written.


Given Acts 15, it is quite possible that the Gentile Christians didn't even hear much about the OT - given it no longer applied to them - so that the only message they might have got was the one from Matthew. Of course, the OT got added to the canon, once there was a canon, but it has never really been given the importance it seems to have these days due to creationism sweeping the fundamentalist world. I would argue that that the stories in the OT function more as stories than anything else and that the idea of a taking the message of the stories to heart is nor one than most Christians would consider.


Now, of course, knowing the important or foresight and financial planning in our lives today, it is far to easy to look through the bible looking for support for our practices in an attempt to justify them. Whatever we want to justify we are sure to find something that seem s to match what we need but this is not exegesis - the process of extracting meaning from the texts - it is the opposite. A more usual exegesis of Joseph would be to show the overarching plan of god to save the Hebrews - something the story carried on to describe - rather than ideas for individuals.


Have you ever heard a sermon in which this idea of preparing for the future by careful storing up of goods etc was proposed by a preacher, Ipetrich?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline lpetrich

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2017, 02:00:38 PM »
Now, of course, knowing the important or foresight and financial planning in our lives today, it is far to easy to look through the bible looking for support for our practices in an attempt to justify them.
Foresight was necessary before modern times also. Like when farming, one has to plant crop-plant seeds some months in advance of the plants being ready to harvest from. Also, one has to have food ready for winters and dry seasons, or one may starve during then.

Quote
Have you ever heard a sermon in which this idea of preparing for the future by careful storing up of goods etc was proposed by a preacher, Ipetrich?
The Mormon Church recommends storing food.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2017, 02:07:40 PM »
Now, of course, knowing the important or foresight and financial planning in our lives today, it is far to easy to look through the bible looking for support for our practices in an attempt to justify them.
Foresight was necessary before modern times also. Like when farming, one has to plant crop-plant seeds some months in advance of the plants being ready to harvest from. Also, one has to have food ready for winters and dry seasons, or one may starve during then.


 and.... people do lots of things because it makes sense and not because they are told to do so by holy books or priests.

Quote
Have you ever heard a sermon in which this idea of preparing for the future by careful storing up of goods etc was proposed by a preacher, Ipetrich?
The Mormon Church recommends storing food.
[/quote]


Maybe, but given the other sorts of stuff they do, I don't think I would take them seriously at all - about anything.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline albeto

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2017, 07:13:46 PM »
....a clear message. Save up during good times so that one may better survive bad times.
.
.
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But the message is evident. Don't worry about one's food and clothing, because God will rain it down on you like manna from heaven if necessary.

It appears to me like you're oversimplifying the faith in hopes of making it look ridiculous. I think that's not necessary, as it is ridiculous enough on its own, and oversimplification will only work against your goals in the long run, if I infer your goal correctly. For example, the "clear message" about the Joseph story isn't to work hard like the grasshopper, it's to trust yahweh no matter what situation you find yourself in. Like Joseph, one may find great success. Like Job, one may find themselves screwed, but ultimately redeemed (in heaven of course).

While yahweh does promote a particular equation (ie, faithfulness + humility = blessings), he also reminds his followers that he's not to be expected to uphold that equation. Higher thoughts and mysterious ways and all that jazz.

I disagree the evident message in your second example is to enjoy life without worry like the ant. I think instead it's generally interpreted as a claim that biblegod will take care of your needs. The catch is, this can be earthly or heavenly. The catch is a necessary bit of the faith because like shnozzola says, people actually do live in a world governed by natural laws.

Offline jetson

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2017, 07:24:01 PM »
Honestly, I think people living during the time of Jesus had nothing but the OT to work with. I mean, there was no NT at the time after all. It is possible that by that time, people were yearning for something else (especially non-Jews), and thus was born a new religion of sorts. I've said before that Christianity appears to be a gentling-down of Judaism, and nothing more than a hijacking overall. The prophets and preachers of the time though had nothing to go on except pieces and parts of the OT - assuming they wanted to continue with the god of Abraham.

Offline albeto

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2017, 07:43:33 PM »
   Yes, that's the irony of religion, isn't it?  Even most religious people get jobs, financial advisors, mortgages, etc.  Few wait for expected manna from heaven.  They've even come up with the term - "The Lord helps those that help themselves" .  Everyone across the landscape living like atheists, while the religious pray, knowing that god's will is to be done, while going to the doctor when ill

This concept, if I understand correctly, is called theological correctness. The idea is that a believer will accept certain dogmatic claims as true, but when reality doesn't conform to these claims, they apply some rationalization to explain why not, thus leaving their beliefs in tact. The bible claims Jesus could have healed little Charlie Gard, but... A) his parents/community/England lack faith, B) teh gays, C) he had a Better Plan of sparing poor little Charlie a life time of sin and suffering, D) God doesn't work that way, he would give the parents peace if they ask, E) etc. Anything to explain why this poor little baby suffered without Jesus stepping in like a personally involved, loving god would.

I think people who pray for physical intervention, pray for things that are perfectly natural and can be expected, like good weather, good fortune in upcoming events, parking spaces, etc. So when they happen, bam, answered prayer! When they don't, oops, there's a reason. But you're right, they never pray for things like growing limbs back or an extra day be added to the calendar. I did have a friend, mother of six, who was convinced her house was a gift from God. Turns out, she and her husband got a really good deal when the housing market started to crash. She doesn't believe in coincidences, and had they not found a good deal, she would have written it off as God's Mysterious Ways, or whatever worked out would have been his Perfect Plan. But it did work out in her favor, and that became a huge selling point for her faith. She convinced a lot of people this coincidence was in reality God's interference with the housing market because she and her husband are humble, faithful catholics.

Offline albeto

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2017, 08:02:01 PM »
Should we have foreskins?

Well now, that depends. Jesus didn't say anything about it (if I recall correctly), so presumably it's not a salvation issue. However, if you find Yahweh stands in your way and is ready to kill you, you might want to grab a sharp something nearby and skin your kid's dick real quick like Moses' wife did. Everyone walks (limps) away happy, or at least alive.

Quote from: Holy Babble
Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the LORD met him and sought to put him to death. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and threw it at Moses' feet, and she said, "You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me." Exodus 4:24-25

Offline shnozzola

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Re: Should we have foresight?
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2017, 08:31:58 PM »
I did have a friend, mother of six, who was convinced her house was a gift from God. Turns out, she and her husband got a really good deal when the housing market started to crash. She doesn't believe in coincidences, and had they not found a good deal, she would have written it off as God's Mysterious Ways, or whatever worked out would have been his Perfect Plan. But it did work out in her favor, and that became a huge selling point for her faith. She convinced a lot of people this coincidence was in reality God's interference with the housing market because she and her husband are humble, faithful catholics.

   This is a little off subject, but your post reminded me of what we were thinking at work today - a great Twilight Zone episode.  Driving along, following the "google gps lady's instructions" , it seemed she was taking us far out of the way, and we got to thinking, how wild it would be if "she" said, after a couple strange turning directions, pull into the convenience store and buy a lottery ticket after the man in the trench coat pours his coffee - we do, and we win a million dollars, and the GPS lady instructs us where to go and what to do the rest of the day, giving us perfect future choices  - but, of course - Twilight Zone style, (can just hear Rod Serling's voice explaining ) at the end of the day, she takes us to some type of horrible peril.

Sorry, carry on.    :)
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