Spirituality

The Power of Sacred Canon: Examining its Boundaries

By: Alexander Ciurana

Co-Cath_-_Central_detail_of_the_ceiling

(originally delivered at the Mokarow Bible Conference, The Woodlands, Texas)

Since the dawn of the scribal arts, humankind has expressed an innate desire to record encounters with the divine. Writings manifesting themselves in sacred lore, fanciful tales, mythical-nationalistic histories, wisdom proverbs, apocalyptic imagery, poetry and various other genres have found a special place in the hearts of millions. In time, most religious traditions compiled certain texts, preferring some to others, and ascribed authority to these texts for official and/or devotional use. Today, most major religions have writings considered more or less authoritative. Some religions, however, maintain or have maintained a perpetual stream of holy writ, whereby writings of more recent times are considered worthy of special status. This dynamic is typically known as open canon. In contrast, other world religions have adopted the concept of closed canon, whereby writings of modern times are never viewed as “scripture” because it is believed the divine action of inspired literature has come to completion. Simply put, an open canon provides borders that expand; a closed canon has fixed borders.

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To Be a Spiritual Counsellor

By: Alexander Ciurana

If you are to truly be a “spiritual counselor”, there may be a few loose ribbons to your training requiring some attention.  Until these are tended to, there is little justification for any real synthesis between spiritual guidance and psychology.  You may not yet possess the requisite lens to make this synthesis, and if this is so, you do not understand over 90 per cent of the world’s population from a spiritual or religious vantage.

Allow me to explicate…
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Dangerous Doctrines: The Serpent Seed

By: Monique Zorzella

Cain exiled. Phillip Medhurst

You may be aware of an unpopular and peculiar Biblical doctrine called the dual seed, serpent’s seed, or Satan’s seed doctrine. Simply put for those who are not acquainted with this concept, it is the teaching that Eve had a sexual encounter with Nachash (the serpent) in Gan Eden. There are variations of beliefs within this teaching, but there are a few fundamental concepts that many proponents of this doctrine would agree on:

  • Eating the fruit is what one can call a euphemism for fornication. Advocates of this doctrine believe that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil written about in the second and third chapter of Genesis symbolizes knowledge or realization of sexuality. Eve eating the fruit of the forbidden tree was the writers way of describing fornication with the serpent, who is commonly assumed to represent Satan (Revelation 12:9, 20:2).
  • Cain was conceived as a result of the intimate encounter between Eve and Nachash. This was how Satan established a physical bloodline on Earth. Some believe that the bloodline of Satan was eliminated completely in the flood, while others say that Satan’s bloodline still lives on today.

This article seeks to determine the validity of this doctrine by reviewing the evidence given in support of its underlying beliefs.

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Relevant Faith: A Transpersonal Orientation to Christian Doctrine

By: Alexander Ciurana

A few months ago I was engaged in a conversation about Christian doctrine and whether or not certain teachings were true; that is to say real. It soon became evident that religious ethos is always accompanied by pathos. In other words, Christian doctrine evokes, and is inseparable from feeling among the devout. Therefore, a clean and tidy break between religious teaching and religious feeling is unrealistic. And, if this is granted, then religion and psychology meet without any firm boundaries. (more…)

Debunking Miracles

By: Monique Zorzella

In the face of contemporary knowledge, it is said by many skeptics that no reasonable person can believe in the supernatural. As the world finds ways to naturally explain the things that were once an elusive mystery attributed to the divine, the believer finds it increasingly difficult to have faith in the things which are scientifically incomprehensible. Among the most contentious beliefs are divine miracles. Many are mocked for what nonbelievers deem as fanciful speculation of the things not yet known. Unbelievers argue that there is no scientific evidence for miracles so it is safe to assume that they probably do not occur. Additionally, skeptics argue that the lack of evidence for miracles invalidates the existence of God. Closer examination of the reasons they offer in favor of their position reveals that their view fails to be convincing.

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