Friday, September 11, 2015

Casting Pearls Before Swine

Frequently we hear the name of God used flippantly and in such a profane and disgusting manner that often times it feels almost as if we just received a slap in the face. I have to admit to having been on both sides of that fence and those old days I still regret so much!
There have been instances when talking with another about some remarkable bible story or some new personal spiritual revelation that suddenly a third party will interject their own unwanted two bits worth of ignorance, disbelief and hatred for God, the bible and for all believers Jews and Christians alike and I find it infuriating! Jesus offered this admonition in (Matthew 7: 6) “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.” I suppose there is a fine line that calls for some discernment when discussing the Lord in front of unbelievers. One might first consider if someone in the conversation circle has a history of this kind of behavior and consider excluding them from the conversation altogether. I’ve often been at a loss as to how to deal with situations like that and find that the burning anger it generates in me by their comments does nothing to promote the love of God in me for them. The following excellent and refreshing commentary about this same subject is based on ancient Jewish wisdom and was written by Rabbi Daniel Lapin founder of AAJC American Alliance of Jews and Christians, I felt constrained to reprint it here with his permission.

Swine and Skeptics
By Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Generally speaking, notwithstanding my many flaws and failures, I am a good-natured rabbi. I try never to allow any fears or frustrations I may be feeling to spill over into my interpersonal relations. I try to communicate with everyone respectfully and politely. I do my best never to miss an opportunity to do favors for friends or strangers. I still have much work to do on myself; it's not always easy.
You see, there are certain provocations that come close to goading me to the very edge of rude response. For instance, when otherwise intelligent people proudly and loudly proclaim themselves to be quite free of irrational views and superstitious belief, yet nonetheless suspend all critical analysis and prostrate themselves before "experts say,""science has proven,"and "studies reveal." As if one can't find experts-for-hire who'll say whatever you pay them to say. As if there have never been bogus science and lying scientists. As if one can't locate studies to come up with absurd and false conclusions.  

Those same people who thoughtlessly genuflect with reverence at the feet of scientists, studies and experts often also unthinkingly swallow everything that politicians say with nary a glance at what they actually do. These very same people filled with mindless faith for those who so frequently betray them also seem to possess another characteristic.  They are dogmatically certain that the Bible is a primitive concoction of rules and rituals interspersed with anachronistic legends whose entire purpose is nothing other than obstructing human progress.
These are the folks that God sends to test me. Though I still do my best to respond kindly, I sometimes fail and fall back on rude retorts, even snarling cynicism or withering sarcasm. They exasperate me because they withhold their opinions on say, neurosurgery, happily confessing their ignorance of the field. Knowing nothing of nuclear physics, they seldom proffer their views on atomic decay. But despite their utter cluelessness of the Bible, they have much to say; none of it complimentary.
Though I seldom do, what I should calmly say to them is this: What sort of fool would author a book with predictions that he can't possibly know about? What sort of book would make claims that haven't been disproven in thousands of years?
Speak to the children of Israel, saying, these are the animals which you shall eat...whichever has a parted hoof, and is cloven-hoofed, and chews the shall eat, but these you shall not eat, those that chew the cud, or that divide the hoof like the camel because he chews the cud, but has no cloven hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the coney, because he chews the cud but has no cloven hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the hare, because he chews the cud, but has no cloven hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the swine, though he be cloven-hoofed , but he does not chew the cud; he is unclean to you. 
(Leviticus 11:2-7)
I think that most readers would agree that once the Torah states the rule-eat only animals that chew their cud and have cloven hooves-there is no reason to list the animals that have only one of the signs or the other. Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that the Hebrew word structure makes clear that these four exceptions are the only exceptions in the world. They are noted because the camel, coney, and hare are the only animals that chew the cud but are not cloven hoofed. And the pig is the only animal in the world that has cloven hooves but does not chew the cud.

Who but God could have known that in the years since Mt. Sinai and with thousands of new species discovered since then, nobody would ever encounter any exception other than these four? No human author would have taken the unnecessary risk to his credibility by listing the only exceptions.
This is but one of hundreds of instances where God, the Author of the Bible, inserted a security code as it were, to establish His identity. Years of Biblical study in the original Hebrew, learning from great rabbinical scholars who were part of the ancient transmission, acquainted me with many of these instances. One security code might have been a weird and improbably coincidence. Maybe two could have been an accident. But hundreds? No, I am as sure of God's authorship of the Bible as I am about the role of the brain in human anatomy and that uranium can radioactively decay into lead.

But why would people who know so little about the Bible have so much to say about it? See, it still bothers me!   

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