From proscription to spiritual liberation

Seven of the Ten Commandments begin with the words "Thou shalt not." If that's mainly what we remember from Sunday School, it may seem like a negative way to think about God.

Religion is often thought of as prescriptive, as something holding us and progress back. However, if we read large portions of the Bible, we see there's much more than proscription taking place in the Scriptures.

It's true that early in the Old Testament, God is described in very limited terms. The Israelites had their concept of God. The Moabites had another concept of Deity. The Philistines had yet another, and so on. Many then believed that if travelers passed from one region to another, the spiritual force that ruled their lives would change. Religion was generally tribalistic, showing favor to those with whom the deity was associated—a religious doctrine not unknown today!

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On being "more precious than fine gold"
June 29, 1987

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