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In the end of my new novel, my hero is creating a new charity, not Christian, not Buddhist, but only they are doing something for the soul of him, of the assembled young men. One day the leader reads a Bible in front of the people, the letter of Ephesians. In Ephesians there are two words: "New Man." Jesus Christ has become a New Man on the cross. We must take off the old coat of the old man. We must become the New Man. Only the New Man can do something, so you must become a New Man. My hero has no program about the future, but he believes that we must create New Man. Young men must become New Man. Old man must mediate to create New Man. That is my creed.
I am a skeptic about everything, including God and atheism. I am not certain about issues of cosmology.… I am more certain that the miraculous stories that form the basis of most religious beliefs are myths. Yet I respect the Bible and enjoy reading and teaching it. Indeed, I find it even more fascinating as a human creation than as a divine revelation. I consider myself a committed Jew, but I do not believe that being a Jew requires belief in the supernatural.… Indeed, it is while praying that I experience my greatest doubts about God, and it is while looking at the stars that I make the leap of faith.… If there is a governing force, He (or She or It) is certainly not in touch with those who purport to be speaking on His behalf.
To me this world is all one continued vision of fancy or imagination, and I feel flattered when I am told so. What is it sets Homer, Virgil and Milton in so high a rank of art? Why is the Bible more entertaining and instructive than any other book? Is it not because they are addressed to the imagination, which is spiritual sensation, and but immediately to the understanding or reason?
At this late date in the post-Christian Era, it might be questioned whether the Bible should even be brought into an ethical discussion. I argue that it should. Many people who do not explicitly call on the Bible for backing are nevertheless influenced by what they believe the Bible says. (Everyone knows about the Good Samaritan, even though they may not be able to remember what Samaritans in general were.) It is considered good form to speak politely of Scripture: revere it, but don't bother reading it seems to be the rule. Above all, don't read it thoughtfully.
The supposedly sacred fables in the Bible describe God as creating evil intentionally, of consorting with evil, being compelled by evil, and of gambling with the devil -with human suffering as the desired outcome. In fact, God is depicted as being almost entirely evil himself, throughout the entire cluster of repugnant horror stories.
Those who would assail the Book of Mormon should bear in mind that its veracity is no more dubious than the veracity of the Bible, say, or the Qur'an, or the sacred texts of most other religions. The latter texts simply enjoy the considerable advantage of having made their public debut in the shadowy recesses of the ancient past, and are thus much harder to refute.
Becoming one flesh is a broad concept involving the totality of life. The context of Genesis 2 and the teaching of the rest of the Bible about marriage demand this. At the same time, it is generally recognized that there is no place where this total sharing is more beautifully pictured or fully experienced than in the sexual relationship of the man and his wife.
There are HUNDREDS of SPECIES of Carnivora listed in zoology books today. Noah did NOT have to take HUNDREDS of pairs of Carnivora on the ark. Just 7 pairs MAY have done the trick. Changing from a wolf to a dog is a MINOR change compared to a dog coming from a ROCK (over billions of years of course!). I don't care how many billions or trillions of years they want to imagine it took- animals ALWAYS bring forth after their kind just as the Bible says.
There are many persons of combative tendencies, who read for ammunition, and dig out of the Bible iron for balls. They read, and they find nitre and charcoal and sulphur for powder. They read, and they find cannon. They read, and they make portholes and embrasures. And if a man does not believe as they do, they look upon him as an enemy, and let fly the Bible at him to demolish him. So men turn the word of God into a vast arsenal, filled with all manner of weapons, offensive and defensive.
So the question is: "How to win?" That's when I began to develop what you now see full-fledged in the "wedge" strategy: "Stick with the most important thing" — the mechanism and the building up of information. Get the Bible and the Book of Genesis out of the debate because you do not want to raise the so-called Bible-science dichotomy. Phrase the argument in such a way that you can get it heard in the secular academy and in a way that tends to unify the religious dissenters. That means concentrating on, "Do you need a Creator to do the creating, or can nature do it on its own?" and refusing to get sidetracked onto other issues, which people are always trying to do.
I firmly believe people have hitherto been a great deal too much taken up about doctrine and far too little about practice. The word doctrine, as used in the Bible, means teaching of duty, not theory. I preached a sermon about this. We are far too anxious to be definite and to have finished, well-polished, sharp-edged systems — forgetting that the more perfect a theory about the infinite, the surer it is to be wrong, the more impossible it is to be right.