Saturday, June 23, 2012

What a silly thing to say…

Me: “Achoo!”
Person: “Bless you.”
Me: “…”
Person: “Arn’t you going to say “Thank you.”“
Me: “No. Why should I?”
Person: “Because it is polite.”
Me: “Can you tell me why it is polite?”
Person: “Um…because it is.”

Do you say anything when people sneeze? I was taught to say “bless you” when people sneeze, but at some point I started to wonder why. If you can guess, I no longer say it, but I do say “excuse me” when I sneeze. It seems like more of an interruption to other people to me, so that is why I say “excuse me.” The only reason people say it anymore is because it has been ingrained in us that it is the polite thing to do. When and how do outdated common courtesies fade away?

There are multiple possible origins for people saying “bless you”, dating back almost 2,000 years. At some point it was believed that when you sneezed, your soul was trying to escape and the saying would stop this from happening. Others believed that when you sneezed it opened your soul up for a demon to take over and the saying would ward off the evil spirit. Some people still believe that your heart stops when you sneeze; saying “Bless you” in this case was meant to welcome you back to life.

Bless you as we know it most likely originated from Pope Gregory I during the time of the bubonic plague. It was believed that sneezing was a sign of infection and blessing somebody was a common effort to halt the disease and protect ones self as well. Various other cultures also have sayings when people sneeze, almost always dealing with health. Gesundheit is German for “health”, Romans would say “Salve” which meant “good health to you.” These make more sense, but I still see no real reason to say them.

We know now that a sneeze is usually indicative of a cold or allergies. They can also be brought on by strong odors, particles in the nasal passages, and even exposure to bright lights. To me, this makes it even more silly to say “bless you”. If we say it for a bodily function like a sneeze, why not for a burp, cough, or even a fart?

What do you think? Do you say anything when somebody sneezes near you? Is there any reason to say it other than the fact that it is an old tradition? Do you think it will ever fade away? What are your thoughts?

Sunday, June 5, 2011 Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fools Despise Wisdom and Instruction

If you read this blog, you know that I recently received a package in the mail. The package contained a sermon on DVD, a small booklet on the gospel of the bible and a copy of START! The bible for new believers. What I am going to do is review the materials on this blog. This will be the first installment about the materials. I figure I will go from easiest to hardest, so lets start with the booklet. I will bold anything taken out of the booklet.

The title is "The Gospel of The Bible" by Roger Bagley. I don’t think the book was ever actually published outside of a small community. It was given to one of the people who sent me the material while they were in college. The booklet is 18 pages long and has a date of March 15, 1987 in the very back. The book is broken up into four parts which are as follows: Part 1, The Fear of the Lord, Part 2, The Message - The Gospel of Grace, Part 3 The Resurrection and Lordship of Christ and Part 4 The Judgeship of Christ. There is also an introduction, which I am not going to cover, as well as some closing remarks.

Part 1: The Fear of the Lord - The section starts with a few versus Prov. 8:13, Prov. 9:10 and Prov. 1:7. I especially enjoy the last one, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." I have always seen fear as a great means of control and in my view that is what Christianity thrives on. Fear does not promote knowledge, it instills obedience. Bagley goes on to say that a persons fear of the lord Jesus “produces repentance or a change of attitude concerning their present lifestyle as being unacceptable to the righteousness of god.” If anything, I would say fear is a reason to get away, but I would compare it to an abusive relationship. Many times the abused wants to escape, but fears what would happen if they were caught. Other times the abused is blind to what is actually happening to them or will not admit it; I fear this is the case with most.

He carries on saying that the Gospel of Christ is the only thing that can produce the proper attitude towards sin and righteousness. The man never seems to question if somebody not of faith could have the same morals or values. The audacity of Christians to think that they know what is best for the world just makes me want to scream. Bagley also says that “Contained within the Gospel lies every spiritual ingredient that is necessary to bring a man to true repentance and the saving knowledge of the lord Jesus Christ. The problem is not with the Gospel, but with the churches inability to present it correctly.” The cajones on this man! even going as far to say that it is the churches fault for, basically, not putting enough fear in to it’s members.

"Until the Holy Spirit instills within the unbeliever the fear of the lord, there will be no attempt by the sinner to change his behavior, as he has not yet sensed his need." Wow! Think of an alcoholic. When they wake up and find that they have destroyed part of their life, many of them change. Not because they fear the wrath of god, but because they wanted their life to be better. I can speak from personal experience, like I am sure many others can, of changing a part of myself because I had to. To think that people can not change without the help of god, is to think people are nothing but weak. "The Gospel alone can convict the sinner of his need to submit his life to Christ." I have read it more than once and have never been convinced of anything other than it is pure fiction. "The fear of the lord plays an integral part in preparing the individual to respond to the voice of Christ." This goes back to fear being the greatest form of control. If a gun is put to somebodies head they will most likely do whatever they are told; in this case damnation is the gun.

Fear of death, fear of a life without meaning, fear of having no real purpose. These are all fears that religion takes full advantage of. Religion claims to know what is after death, give meaning to a persons life and give some their “true calling”. If you succumb to these fears then you open yourself up to being controlled by them. If the Christian god is so loving, why would it need to instill so much fear in it’s believers?

End Part 1.

I would love to continue this, but it is getting late and I would like to relax a little before going to sleep. I did not think it was going to take me this long to get through one little booklet, but I am trying to condense it instead of copying the whole thing (believe me, I was tempted to do it). I am going to try to write at least one post a day covering the materials I was given.

Your feedback is more than welcome.