The Catholic Bible is a breath of fresh air from the past months of reading from the three or four Protestant Bibles I have in my cell. While I'm delving into and attempting to understand the mindset of the Protestant from the literature I'm reading, all the constant reference to sin, justification by faith, the blood of Jesus, … Mary must've had other children? … after giving this one Protestant topic some diligent time in research and thought, I am of the opinion Mary herself would not want other children. I put myself in Mary's predicament: Mary knows that this child growing in her womb was not conceived by porking, and she is humble, polite but obstinate with her responses towards Joseph during his times when sexual relief was wanting. Visions aside, Joseph does not know to fully appreciate the reality of the situation like Mary realizes the circumstances of the child she carries, and to delve into particulars of this subject further is for another time. But Mary is adamant and does not create other children to distract her attention away from Jesus. What attitudes would Mary or any woman develop over time "comparing" children spawned from a mere creation of God side by side with a child from the Creator Itself? Case closed, … to me :)
Several days after familiarizing myself with the NAB I stop referencing from Protestant Bibles, and more than less skim through any Protestant literature and articles from magazines. Protestant authors are bugging out on the same handful of concepts from the Bible and can't seem to find and then move on to other fresh topics to write about and bring to my attention. So it goes.
I'm reading the Bible most all my free time. There's alot to digest each Sunday afternoon, after returning from services from the Protestant and Catholic crowd. Magazines, pamphlets, … I'm familiarizing myself with the denominations and the dogmas of each.
The cause for any particular event in the minds of people two thousand years ago was based on a different set of criteria people employ today. The sages of the past commanded the respect and the loyalty of the people for various reasons, and there are problems.
Paul, an educated rabbi one day placed a parchment sheet out in front of himself, picked up his reed instrument, dipped the reed in the ink bottle, and began to place his "inspired" thoughts into words. To Titus Paul writes,
"It is imperative to silence them, as they are upsetting whole families by teaching for sordid gain what they should not. One of them, a prophet of their own, once said, “Cretans have always been liars, vicious beasts, and lazy gluttons." That testimony is true. Therefore, admonish them sharply, so that they may be sound in the faith, …" – Titus 1:12,13 NAB
The bold text is a quote from the sixth century Greek (Cretan) poet Epimenides, whom Paul has learned about. And Paul is misconstruing the logical implications of thought which Epimenides had intended to create in the minds of an audience who heard and read that sentence. Paul utilizes the Epimenides quote instead to denigrate Greeks, but Epimenides wrote that sentence intending an audience to consider the paradox of the claims in the statement. How could the statement be true or false if a Greek states all Greeks are liars? Six hundred years after Epimenides made that statement, the educated Paul knows all about why Epimenides wrote that paradoxical statement as a learning exercise for future students of rational thought. Is or was Paul literally "inspired" to twist and convolute that quote of Epimenides to then serve as the basis to denigrate the Greek community? Odd this quote from a saint they call Paul is … .
Family is seated at the dinner table. I am eight or nine years old. Moms asks and wants to know if either I or one of my two older or my one younger brothers done did do the scribbling of pen marks that disfigured the face of our Down syndrome sisters' doll. After asking each of us no one admits to doing so, and so Dad "knows" that my two older brothers are old enough to know better than to do such a thing so the perpetrators were either my younger brother or I. Again when asked we both claim innocence, so my younger brother and I were lying to my father, thus we were grounded (no television) for a week, sent to our rooms after dinner, and then the both of us were summarily whipped ten, fifteen times with a belt. A couple days into our punishment of 1.) no television and 2.) to remain in our rooms after school, later at the dinner table Moms informs us Paul, a friend of ours next door had admitted to his Moms that he saw the doll in our yard and that he had disfigured our sister's doll. Moms concludes this bit of info with the happy news that my brother and I can go out to play after dinner. Dad never says another word to any of us about the incident, and I'm too young to actually think thoughts one way or another about what happened. Years would pass before my oldest brother had me realize what I myself hadn't ever been able to put into words.
I'd just finish showering within the bathroom adjoined to my parents' bedroom. Toweling myself dry, I open the sliding wooden door a few inches to let the steam out and then peek outside and listen to my oldest brother conversing with Dad directly outside from the door of the bathroom. Odd that the both of them are seated in chairs, and not more than a few feet from the door. Our Boy Scout troop is spending an approaching summer week camping out at Roger's Rock on Lake George, and Eric wants the station wagon for the entire week the troop will be up there. I'm catching the last of their talking:
"I'm not letting you have the car unless you promise you'll stop smoking," Dad is saying to my brother. My brother's response is unintelligible.
"Just give it a month. Try," my father continues. I've wrapped the towel around my waist and walk to my bedroom.
I'm sitting shotgun in the station wagon as my oldest brother drives up the driveway and stops at Val de Mar Drive. I watch him take a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and placing one in his mouth. He pushes to ignite the cigarette lighter on the dashboard.
"I thought you promised Dad you weren't going to smoke?" I say with a chuckle. My brother turns the station wagon onto Carpenter Road, and when the cigarette lighter pops out he takes it out and lights up. He looks at me while placing the lighter back in the dashboard, and without a word shrugs his shoulders with a curl of lips towards me before putting his attention back on the road.
My father is deficient in the social skills department. He thinks and acts like he does know and understand people, but many times he doesn't. He should not command any sized military unit in a battle situation. I imagine him someone bullied and beaten up a lot as a kid, and now as an adult, something is missing.
So it goes.
The Protestant bible literalists simply need a talking to. They have a contention with the radio-carbon dating methods of geologists and physicists and stand on a stage in a room of people claiming the Grand Canyon was scratched into the earth by the fingers of God …, one day.
"In the beginning, when God …" Very poignant very first words of the Old Testament, because it's an acknowledgment of the existence of some type of Creative Entity. To myself, at this time it is the genetic code for life that is the handiwork and a fingerprint of Its existence, and that It is deliberately hiding Itself from our human presence. The question that should become forefront in the minds of the literalists of today is how did It do something, and through scientific investigation the answers.
The lineage of Mary and Joseph is traced back to Adam and Eve. I look at my naked body in the mirror and within the confines of my mind I ask myself (and to whatever may also be listening now) why would God one day choose to create the perfect man Adam with non-functioning appendages of the female nipple on his chest? The Creator could have left them off, and It could have made them functional, but It chose to create Adam and all males thereafter with nipples that do not function.
Exhausting all avenues of thought to bring resolve results in a single conclusion: there was no first male and female who called themselves Adam and Eve. What worked in the past does not today.