"Those who begin by loving Christianity more than truth, proceed to love their sect more than Christianity, and end by loving themselves most of all"
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"Man must be a lover of the light no matter from what day-spring it may appear...He must be a seeker of the truth no matter from what source it come. Attachment to the lantern is not loving the light...If we are lovers of the light we adore it in whatever lamp it may become manifest but if we love the lamp itself and the light is transferred to another lamp we will neither accept nor sanction it...We must not be fettered [...]"
The "contract theory" of politics, from which our modern conception of "government by consent of the governed" derives, would be difficult to conceive apart from the Old Testament covenants. Similarly, our idea of the intrinsic worth of all persons, which underlies human rights, stems directly from the Christian ideal of the equality of all men and women in the eyes of God. Were these invaluable religious sources of morality and justice to atrophy entirely, it is doubtful whether modern societies would be able to sustain this ideal on their own. In a recent interview Habermas aptly summarized those insights: "For the normative self-understanding of modernity, Christianity has functioned as more than just a precursor or a catalyst. Universalistic egalitarianism, from which sprang the ideals of freedom and a collective life in solidarity, the autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, the individual morality of conscience, human rights, and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love."
what if there was no light? nothing wrong, nothing right. what if there was no time? and no reason or rhyme. what if you should decide that you don't want me there by your side. that you don't want me there in your life. what if i got it wrong and no poem or song could put right what i got wrong? or make you feel i belong? and what if you should decide that you don't want me there by your side. that you don't want me there in your life. -coldplay
Observe: those who in appearance were physically alive, Christ considered dead; for life is the eternal life, and existence is the real existence. Wherever in the Holy Books they speak of raising the dead, the meaning is that the dead were blessed by eternal life; where it is said that the blind received sight, the signification is that he obtained the true perception; where it is said a deaf man received hearing, the meaning is that he acquired spiritual and heavenly hearing. This is ascertained from the text of the Gospel where Christ said: "These are like those of whom Isaiah said, They have eyes and see not, they have ears and hear not; and I healed them."
Therefore, we say that the meaning of Christ's resurrection is as follows: the disciples were troubled and agitated after the martyrdom of Christ. The Reality of Christ, which signifies His teachings, His bounties, His perfections and His spiritual power, was hidden and concealed for two or three days after His martyrdom, and was not resplendent and manifest. No, rather it was lost, for the believers were few in number and were troubled and agitated. The Cause of Christ was like a lifeless body; and when after three days the disciples became assured and steadfast, and began to serve the Cause of Christ, and resolved to spread the divine teachings, putting His counsels into practice, and arising to serve Him, the Reality of Christ became resplendent and His bounty appeared; His religion found life; His teachings and His admonitions became evident and visible. In other words, the Cause of Christ was like a lifeless body until the life and the bounty of the Holy Spirit surrounded it.
Such is the meaning of the resurrection of Christ, and this was a true resurrection. But as the clergy have neither understood the meaning of the Gospels nor comprehended the symbols, therefore, it has been said that religion is in contradiction to science, and science in opposition to religion, as, for example, this subject of the ascension of Christ with an elemental body to the visible heaven is contrary to the science of mathematics. But when the truth of this subject becomes clear, and the symbol is explained, science in no way contradicts it; but, on the contrary, science and the intelligence affirm it.
26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
...Therefore, miracles are not a proof. For if they are proofs for those who are present, they fail as proofs to those who are absent.
...But in the day of the Manifestation the people with insight see that all the conditions of the Manifestation are miracles, for They are superior to all others, and this alone is an absolute miracle. Recollect that Christ, solitary and alone, without a helper or protector, without armies and legions, and under the greatest oppression, uplifted the standard of God before all the people of the world, and withstood them, and finally conquered all, although outwardly He was crucified. Now this is a veritable miracle which can never be denied. There is no need of any other proof of the truth of Christ.
The outward miracles have no importance for the people of Reality. If a blind man receives sight, for example, he will finally again become sightless, for he will die and be deprived of all his senses and powers. Therefore, causing the blind man to see is comparatively of little importance, for this faculty of sight will at last disappear. If the body of a dead person be resuscitated, of what use is it since the body will die again? But it is important to give perception and eternal life - that is, the spiritual and divine life.
The meaning is not that the Manifestations are unable to perform miracles, for They have all power. But for Them inner sight, spiritual healing and eternal life are the valuable and important things.
Here is a quote that I like from my favorite of the several textbooks we use in my Jesus in History class:
Willi Marksen liked to remind us that not everyone who heard Jesus and experienced him first hand had the same reaction. Some said, "This guy is a nut!" Others said, "This is good teaching. Admirable. Interesting." But others said, "In this person's words and deeds I have experience God's very own presence in my life." Some people gathered around Jesus' open table and said, "Whoa! I'm never going to do that again. Eating with the unclean- that's just not what God-fearing people do." Others said, "Now that was interesting. Perhaps I'll try it again sometime." But others said, "Around that table I experienced something I would claim as nothing less than the very love and acceptance of God. It is God who calls us to such tables. The words I heard from Jesus were the Word of God." Is this good teaching, or does this activity unveil the fundamental principle of the universe? At such tables do we discover the very ground of all being?
Stephen J. Patterson, The God of Jesus: The Historical Jesus & the Search for Meaning
Hannibal lived in the third century B.C. and is considered one of the greatest military generals ever by many. His tactics were studied by the U.S. Military and used in the Gulf war against Iraq. He is known for marching an army that included some 50 elephants across the Alps before they had ever even been charted. Once in Italy he took on the Romans and almost defeated them. During a series of battles Rome lost over 100,000 men while Hannibal lost very few.
However, he grew up under an intense hatred of the Romans. His country, Carthage, had been defeated by the Romans in a previous war, and he never forgot the humiliation. He spent his entire life living out his hatred, which included long periods of time away from his home and family for his extended campaigns. Once he was defeated, he spent the rest of his life as a fugitive. He had to continually find shelter in various cities abroad until the Romans would catch up to him again. Finally he was cornered and committed suicide.
What do you think of Hannibal? Was he one of the greatest generals ever or a terrible victim of his own hatred and prejudice?