Sunday, June 5, 2011

A few days ago, we got the movie Hercules at the library. I thought it was going to be like the Disney cartoon, which is mostly about Hercules' life on earth and his antics with a silly side kick. It turned out to be VERY much about him trying to become a god and the gods controlling things happening on earth and arguing about what to do with him. I made a few comments as we watched it, but I was also busy with other things. So tonight, E wanted to watch it again. I said yes, but that first we needed to talk about the beliefs portrayed in the movie.

I showed her Greece on the globe and told her that some people believed that there were many gods who acted the way the gods act in the movie, but that there is really only one God. While talking about that, I mentioned that Greece used to be a lot bigger than what we see on the globe. She asked questions about that and I told her about the Greeks and the Romans having large empires. I showed her how the country that we now call America used to belong to various other countries. The globe has a little picture of Columbus on it and she asked about that, so I told her about Columbus trying to find India and finding America instead.

Besides this being a chance to talk about different religions and it leading to other ideas and facts, the movie was also a great representation of Greek thought and reminded me just how different it is from Hebraic thought. Many of the modern church's ideas about God, how he treats us, and how we should relate to each other, come from Greek thought, because the church tried to eliminate anything that looked Jewish. They forbade the Messianic Jews and Torah Observant non-Jews to celebrate the feasts and festivals, killed Jews who refused to eat pork and changed the observance of the sabbath to Sunday. Then they mixed Christianity with pagan practices like Christmas and Easter. To top it off, the American government system is based somewhat on the Roman Republic. So the typical American Christian is brought up, in church and in culture, with a Greek-type mindset, thought patterns, beliefs and priorities.

SO MANY thing are affected by this! For example, many of the beliefs that the church holds about women and children are derived from the teachings of Augustine, who had help interpreting the Bible from Plato (a misogynist and not even a Christian). This is where some churches get such beliefs as babies being born evil little sinners, women being made in the image of man (not God), etc. In ancient Judaism, children were not accountable for their own sins until the age of 20 and women were equals to men.

One thing that was brought up several times in the movie was "head over heart" and "never let your heart rule, always be ruled by your head." This is so VERY Greek! From this thought the church derived stereotypes about men being ruled by their heads and women being ruled by their hearts, thus the belief that men are more fit to lead because women are too "emotional." Ancient Judaism teaches that the heart rules the body, not the head, but they do not extrapolate this to mean that the woman should rule over the man, but rather that they should work together in Echad, because in Hebraic thought, all things are circular. This circular thought means that all things are connected, intertwined, come from one another and answers lead into questions. This is in direct contrast to Greek thought, which is linear and must have hierarchy and definite answers. This is where the church gets the linear hierarchy of God, Jesus, man, woman, child, dog. Ancient Judaism focuses Echad, which is plural unity. When combined with the teachings of Jesus and Paul, we get a beautiful picture of the unity of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the unity of husband and wife.

Greek thought also affects beliefs about hell. If you just read the words of the Bible, it doesn't say much about the afterlife. Most of the places that have the English word "hell" have the Hebrew or Greek word for grave and if you read the context, it is often obviously talking about physical death. The concept of hell and the devil comes from Greek beliefs about Hades and the gods of the underworld. Modern Christian thought about the afterlife much more closely resembles Greek mythology than Ancient Judaism.

The difference in Greek and Hebraic thought makes such a difference when reading the Bible! I strongly recommend learning about Hebraic thought and reading the Bible through that lens. After all, this is the thought pattern of the authors of the Bible, the thought pattern that God spoke to them through, the thought pattern that Jesus and Paul and the other NT authors had when they referred back to "the Scriptures" and the only scriptures they had to refer to was the Old Testament!


  1. Hello!

    I would like to comment. I hope you found my information helpful!

    You wrote: “that God spoke to them through, the thought pattern that Jesus and Paul and the other NT authors had when they referred back to "the Scriptures"”

    Christianity is indeed very influenced by the Greek mindset as you stat. I would like to compare what Torah teaches about forgiveness vs. Paul and the other NT authors - so you will learn about another important difference between the Hebrew mindset and the Greek mindset.

    [To differentiate,] Did you know that the historical Jewish Mashiakh called Y’hoshua, from Nazareth, was a Torah-observant Jew and so was his followers called the Netzarim?

    This is what the Mashiakh – Messiah – must have taught about ‘salvation’ - if he was a legitimate prophet according to D’varim [Deuteronomy] 13:1-6:

    As stipulated in Devarim ["Deuteronomy"] 6:4-9,11:13-21 one is required to keep all of the directives of Torâh′ to one’s utmost—viz., “with all one’s heart, psyche and might [lit. "very"]“—”for the purpose of extending your days and the days of your children… like the days of the heavens above the earth” (i.e., eternal life). According to the Tan’’kh -Yekhezeqeil ["Ezekiel"] chapter 18 – the Creator confer His atonement in His loving kindness to those and only those turning away from their Torah-transgressions and (re)turning to non-selectively Torah-observance including mishpat. Everyone has transgressed the Torah and its possible to obtain forgiveness from the Creator in His loving kindness when living in the above way. The Creator has promised this in His Bible – which is in Hebrew – and He doesn’t lie.

    Thus, the way of ‘salvation’ in NT contradicts Torah and what the Mashiakh taught. Thus, it will not lead to eternal life. It is only an emotional filled experience that doesn’t describe a real encounter with the Creator. I am a former Christian and understand that after having studied Torah in Hebrew according to etymology.

    You also wrote that a person is responsible for his owns sins first when he is 20 years. That is a thought very foreign from the Tana’’kh. Each person is responsible to do his/her utmost to keep the mitzwot of Torah from his/her birth. The Creator doesn’t require more than a persons utmost and doesn’t require less.

    Doing your utmost to follow the directives of Torah will lead you into an immensely meaningful relationsship with the Creator. I have been doing this for more than four years and it has led me into a great relationsship with the Creator.

    Anders Branderud

  2. Hi Anders, can I ask how you found my blog?

    When I said that children were not accountable for their sins until the age of 20, I was referring to the fact, laid out in Torah, that they did not bring their own sin offering until that age. Prior to that it was their parent's responsibility. Of course they were learning and doing as much as possible according to their age.

    I am aware that Yeshua was a Torah Observant Jew which is why I believe that as followers of the Messiah, we are to be Torah Observant as well. However, obeying Torah is not and was not ever what saves us. Abraham, Moses and many others expressed faith and love and willingness to obey BEFORE they ever had a chance to obey Torah. Because Yeshua and YVWH are Echad, they were obeying and believing in Yeshua as well. The only difference is that now we have a record of his earthly life and the teachings of those who walked with him and they all uphold Torah.

    The confusing thing for many people is that when they read in their English translations with a Greek mindset, it's a lot harder to see the Hebraic thought expressed in the NT. "Christianity" is a modern religion comprised of a mix of Judaism and pagan beliefs. It is NOT what Yeshua and the authors of the NT believed and lived out.

    I have been living Torah Observant (as much as I know and am capable) for over 2 years now. It has greatly increased my knowledge and understanding and appreciation for YHVH, but I had a relationship with him prior to living this way. It was BECAUSE of my relationship with him that I wanted to obey him, which led me to Torah Observance.

    In the Hebrew, the "10 commandments" are statements: "If you love me you will....." Just like if you stand in the rain you will get wet, if you love YHVH you will seek to obey him.

  3. I am trying to figure out this section of your entry: "For example, many of the beliefs that the church holds about women and children are derived from the teachings of Augustine, who had help interpreting the Bible from Plato (a misogynist and not even a Christian.)"

    I am going on the assumption that you mean THE Plato? What is confusing to me is that Plato died around 350 years before Christ, so of course he could not have been a Christian. Nor could he have helped Augustine interpret the Bible, unless you mean indirectly. Augustine did re-interpret Platonic thought and was influenced by the Bible as he did so.

  4. Thank you Eleni, I worded that poorly. Augustine was heavily influenced by both Plato and Plotinus who not a Christian (though he lived AD).

    You wrote "Augustine did re-interpret Platonic thought and was influenced by the Bible as he did so."

    From what I have read it seems to be pretty commonly accepted that he reinterpreted the Bible and was heavily influenced by Plato and Plotinus. As far as I know, there is no major philosophical belief that is mostly Platonic with influences of Christianity. But there is a major religion (Christianity) that is heavily influenced by Plato. Maybe it's semantics, but either way, that is where the church gets quite a few major false doctrines.