The Death of Our Faith

This morning I had what was for me a very interesting, perhaps for me even profound, experience. I’ve been pondering of late the reported decline of the Christian faith as an active part of the lives of so many, even my own loved ones.  

By way of background, sometimes when studying one subject I’ll often come across a passage or idea that relates to another, seemingly unrelated subject. I have always been interested in history and in the past have read numerous books about Alexander the Great of Macedon, the interrelation of the Greek Orthodox Byzantium Empire, the Turkish Muslim Ottoman Empire, and the Catholic Republic of Venice. Recently I’ve been reading about ancient Egypt in general and the Great Pyramid attributed to Khufu in particular. The book I’m reading now is The Orion Mystery: Unlocking the Secrets of the Pyramids, A Revolutionary New Interpretation of the Ancient Enigma.

When I picked up this book this Sabbath morning I began reading where I left off with a subchapter entitled Who Speaks for the Pyramid Texts? The Pyramid Texts are writings translated from hieroglyphs carved inside a few of the pyramids and are basically the best source we have to explain the religion of the ancient Egyptians, especially during the time the pyramids were built, presumably in the Fourth and Fifth Dynasties, about 4,500 years ago. When I read the following passage, in italics, regarding the Pyramid Texts I was struck by how virtually the exact same passage could be used to describe the Christian scriptures.

One of the common problems concerning the study of ancient texts is that the appointed ‘expert’ will often not let the writing speak for themselves. They spend endless hours studying the contents and go through the material with a fine comb, but in the end many seem interested in using them only for philological studies and debates. In the course of the process, lucanae [missing words] are filled in; simple words are replaced by complex ones; explanations, where they are given, are between brackets or sidelined into footnotes which draw the reader further into the morass of academic scaramouching [I think this means clowning]. Nit-picking, and looking for flaws and technical errors in each other’s arguments, causes more confusion than elucidation, and acts as a huge distraction.

The Pyramid Texts [and the Christian scriptures] have not escaped this fate: a mass of scholarly verbiage has been thrown at them in the form of philosophical and philological arguments. Theological and etymological discussions have made their contents seem more esoteric than they need be. Decade upon decade of such treatment has reduced them to the status of boring material best left to the scholars and ‘experts’. Thus the original texts, expressed in powerful terms which testify to a deep faith in an afterlife destiny, have been obscured.

Initially, I too fell into the trap of sieving through the articles and these academics, but it was apparent that some experts lacked any feeling for the texts, and spent their time contradicting and attacking one another. They presented the religion of the Ancient Egyptians [or Christianity] as a bogus liturgy of rituals which made the rites of Roman Catholicism look straightforward.

There was only one way out of this impasse: I had to find the best translation available and make up my own mid about their meaning. I was able to get a hold of Faulkner’s acclaimed translation [of the Pyramid Texts] and begin with a clean slate. Our first rule is that wherever possible we should take passages at face value. Where possible the texts should be left to speak for themselves, and there are passages which speak plainly, even to a layman.

In the end, the Christian faith is about each of us as individuals building a personal relationship with Our Heavenly Father, without earthly intermediaries required for every communication. Certainly, others can help us along on our journey in building our relationship with Our Heavenly Father. Helping each other along the way is an essential part of the Christian faith. But if in building our relationship with Our Heavenly Father we go directly to the scriptures, and better yet directly to Our Heavenly Father in prayer, then our faith will have a much better chance to grow within us. When our view of and communication with Our Heavenly Father gets obscured, or we allow it to be obscured, by all the interlopers and intermediaries then our faith will not have a chance to take seed, and if we have faith it will whither, and eventually die. Perhaps we must spend more time listening to Our Heavenly Father and putting away the notion that we can only find Him through intermediaries. Is it even possible to establish a personal relationship with Our Heavenly Father through an intermediary? Go directly to the source.

One thought on “The Death of Our Faith

  1. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

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