Seven Principles

When I started my journey, I knew things were wrong, however, didn't know what was right, nor where to start looking.  What approach do you take to understanding the Holy Scriptures?

I decided to ask a Jew. The Seven Rules of Hillel existed long before Rabbi Hillel, but he was the first to write them down. The rules are so old we see them used in the Tenach (Old Testament). I quite frankly didn't understand what I was reading at first.We'll look at these rules later. To start with I needed something simplier.

I added my own 7 rules to help keep me on the straight and narrow. If you are blazing a trail, you need some plan so as not to get lost or go around in circles. My seven principles proved to be very helpful and I still use them today.

Never have a proxy relationship with the truth

Never have a proxy relationship with the truth. In other words, don’t just take someone else’s word for it. No one else can stand in my shoes and have the relationships I have. Yes, I may have trusted sources, and the information may even be correct, but until I actually process the information myself and have a direct relationship with it, I’m at a disadvantage. As the risk of being seriously misled is very high, this is a vital principle. You may not like to hear this, but much of what you currently believe about many things in life are a result of being misled! It’s not a comfortable feeling. I’m not going to tell you what they are or what they might be, but I am going to attempt to show you how to discover for yourself what they are, and then what to do about it.

This is particularly relevant to what you might have been taught/told verbally or received through a massaged news channel. The level of deception in our world is outrageous and people, governments and interest groups are able to get away with it because people don’t do their own research. There are a lot of reasonably sounding things that are simply false. I won’t list examples as I’m likely to hit a nerve with something you hold dear and thereby discount this advice. So to give it the best chance, I leave it with you to discover for yourself.

Apply this rule to the information found on this website. Don't believe it because someone else said it. Do your own research and have your own confrontation with the truth.
Consensus does necessarily constitute an authoritative position

Consensus has replaced the scientific method today in many influential spheres of our existence. So much so that if someone says the majority of people, or most scientists, or most politicians/doctors agree or disagree on something, I immediately discount it and go looking for the real story. The consensus argument is used when the evidence is lacking and something has to be manufactured to replace it. We live in an amazing world of knowledge today. You can actually obtain that scientific paper, historical writing, raw data, election results on-line these days. The consensus mentality is so effective and we can be so gullible. I like to remind myself of sheep. If one sheep jumps, and then another and then another, even if it’s off an embankment or into a barb wire fence, the rest will follow.

If you agree with something of someone, make sure it is based upon facts and evidence. Not on consensus alone. Consensus without facts and evidence is a fools way of getting along.

Test your source

Don’t take anything at face value. Unfortunately we live in a world where most people are looking after themselves first and others second. This is especially so for the corporation whose whole design is to look after itself and thereby puts shareholders first. This means that a service, a medicine, a product has an agenda besides benefiting you. It’s the way the world works. There is no reason not to use a good product, take an effective medicine or use a good service, as long as we understand these things in themselves are not interested in you, generally speaking. There are examples of Not for Profit products and services, where the agenda is likely to be a whole lot more selfless, however, even here there are always agendas.

This applies to religion in general and for the purposes of this website the Christian Church most specifically. Once you start examining the facts and the evidence, you will be astounded by what you find.

The litmus test for everything addressed on this website is the Holy Scripture, in context and in culture.

Understand Light and Heavy Matters

We are often faced with difficult choices where each decision seems to be the wrong one. I’m going to use a parable from the Bible to illustrate this. “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

This parable, often misunderstood was taught by Yeshua to demonstrate light and heavy matters. When his audience heard the story, they knew immediately that the priest and Levite had done the correct thing. To offer help would have made them defiled and unable to carry out their duties in the temple according to the Torah (God’s instruction) under which they lived. The point of Yeshua's message was that although the rules in the Torah were important, compared to the wellbeing of another person, they weighed less. According to the right interpretation of Torah that Yeshua brought, caring for a fellow human being with compassion and generosity (the heavy matter) is more important that service to Him (the light matter).

We will often be faced with choices, work or family, one job over another, one path or another. To resolve the impasse, consider which is the heavy matter in this circumstance and which is the lighter and go with the heavier matter.

Trust needs to be Earned

People can be either to too trusting, trusting everyone or cynical and so therefore they trust no-one. Either extreme is not advised. Rather, start trusting no-one until trust is earned. Once earned, build on that trust as it remains consistent and in context. This includes people, organisations, right down to objects that we use or consume. A person may be well meaning, but simply have the wrong information. There would be some who would say, trust everyone until you learn they can’t be trusted. I find the latter a very risky proposition.

There are many people and organizations making claims on various subjects in the world today. This website is one of them. Many are well meaning, many believe they are right. The problem is, even the best will be wrong on some point. Many will have agendas that are more about them or their ministry/organization than you. The Holy Scriptures gives advice and examples on this very issue. Do not despise prophecies,
prove them all. Hold fast what is good.
Tas`loniqim Aleph (1 Thessalonians) 5:21. Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonike, who received the word with great eagerness, and searched the Scriptures daily, if these words were so. Then many of them truly believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, decent women as well as men. Ma`asei (Acts) 17:11-12 

Understand the Total Context

When we obtain a piece of information we arrange it within our current framework of thinking. We build a picture of understanding around the new information based on what we currently have. As you will be well aware, if you don’t have the full context, you can misunderstand something. How often have you overheard something that you then used/repeated  only to be embarrassed as you have the bull by the tail using something that turned out to be incorrect and/or out of context. They say perception is reality. Well context shapes perception and therefore reality.

When we are dealing with the Holy Scripture, context is everything. Second only to context is culture. For the western mind, getting the right context is particularly difficult as our minds have been trained differently to the way God communicated. It take a little bit of effort, however, any mind can get the right context and perspective to actually hear what God is saying.

Beware of Tunnel Vision

We all think that our opinion is right! Due to our fear of being wrong, or other insecurities whatever they may be, by default we tend to often take a binary position on just about everything. If your position doesn't match mine, you must be wrong!  Consider two explorers who visited a large rock outcrop. One approached from the east, the other from the west. The east wall was sheer, high and exposed. The west was caved, staged and easily climbed. Both explorers wrote about their perception of the same outcrop in their journals, however, both descriptions were completely different. When the explorers exchanged notes, they refused to believe that their perceptions were wrong because both had personally visited the outcrop and both accurately recorded their findings. A classic binary position. In this case, both explorers are partially correct, they are simply looking from different perspectives. Adding in a third piece of information, that of an aerial view, and everything changes.

When studying the Holy Scriptures, without God's perspective we are nearly always going to find ourselves in a binary position (i.e. half right or just plain wrong!).  In some cases, we aren't even describing the same outcrop. Adding God's perspective is absolutely essential to gaining a proper perspective. We need to be humble enough to be always learning and looking for another perspective both from the Scriptures themselves and from others who also study the Holy Scriptures.