Thursday, March 18, 2010

194: Lean not on Your Own Understanding

Proverbs 1-3
For attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. - Proverbs 1:2-6

Proverbs starts out by stating it's purpose. This is basically to lay out rules that will help you out with your life. These proverbs are written by Solomon and David.

The first lesson is a warning against enticement. It's basically the same lesson as "If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you do it too?". The example given in the bible is that if people ask you to help them mug someone, don't do it.

The second lesson is about not rejecting wisdom. The bible says that only fools hate knowledge. Why do I think that the "wisdom" mentioned is only the wisdom that lines up with the teachings of the bible? I only mention this because a lot of the Christians I talk to tell me they follow the bible, but then reject evolution (wisdom) and in turn most of biology. Yet another case of only following the bible when it's convenient.

Chapter 2 starts out by saying that if you cry out for understanding and insight, you will find fear of God. That hasn't quite worked out for me. I find myself "crying out" for insight and understanding, and I'm certainly not led to God.

The chapter goes on to say that all wisdom comes from God. Really? The theory of relativity was based on God? Is this also how Newtons laws were derived? Actually, God could have just come down and told early man all of these theories (and probably better theories than we can think of). In fact, God could have told us how to farm the land, and how to make advanced medicine. But then he wouldn't have gotten to enjoy watching us starve, and die of relatively easy to cure diseases.

The bible even says that wisdom will save you from adulterers. That's an interesting theory. I'd like to see the graph of higher educated adults vs. amount of adulterers. Maybe that's just me being nerdy.

In Proverbs 3, we come across a rather (in)famous line, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding". I generally find this line terrifying when I see it posted on a twitter page, or Facebook wall. It just comes off to me as something a crazy person would say. Don't trust in your own rational understanding of the world, trust in something that you can't sense and can barely experience. Not to mention that the people who murder because "God told them to" were definitely not trusting in their own understanding.

The chapter also says that you should not despise when God disciplines you, because he only disciplines those he loves. Really? When he rained down fire on Sodom and Gomorrah he was really just raining down super hot love? I think not.

I'm always told to put what I read in the "context of the time". NPR has written an interesting article, putting the bible and the quran in the contexts of their time.

The assertion of NPR is that most of the violence in the quran was meant to be used as defense against the infidel, rather than holy warfare (contrary to popular belief). While the violence in the bible was just unadulterated genocide. I can attest that at least the bible side of this assessment is accurate. God tells the Israelites they can have the promised land. If the inhabitants of the promised land don't want to give up their land, then they are to be completely destroyed. Men, women, and children, all are to be killed.

I don't claim to have the expertise on the quran to be a part of this argument (the argument being whether the quran is more violent than the bible), but the article is definitely worth a read.

(via NPR)


  1. Bryan, you're supposed to remember that knowledge is not the same as wisdom. Knowledge is the evil tool of the Devil! Wisdom is what's in the Bible, regardless of whether or not it matches up with reality.

  2. Wisdom is the application of knowledge. Example:

    I know that the Bible isn't the word of any god, so I won't assume its words to be true.



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