1. Joined
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    10 Sep '11 06:14
    This thread is dedicated to our sermon competition. The topic at hand is "Knowledge verses Wisdom". The sermon competition starts now and will end on Friday 9/16 at midnight. The judges are:

    1. karoly aczel (Hindu persuasion)
    2. Yo its me (Christian persuasion)
    3. JS357 (non-theist persuasion)

    To give a little helpful guidence, here are a few clues as to how to write a good sermon.

    1. Communicative excellence
    2. Faithfulness to a spiritual standard or basis
    3. Transformational power

    The text limit is the number of characters allowed in one thread.

    Please do not post on this thread EXCEPT to enter a sermon. There will be NO critiques until after the sermons are completed and a new thread created for such debate.

    Thanks to all who decide to participate!!
  2. Standard memberRajk999
    Enjoying
    On the Beach
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    11 Sep '11 11:04
    FIRST ENTRY BY JESUS CHRIST :

    Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

    Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

    Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

    It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

    Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

    Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

    (Matthew 5:3-48)
  3. Joined
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    12 Sep '11 01:25
    ***Judges, please see the thread sermon contest posted by Jaywill as an entry***
  4. Joined
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    12 Sep '11 03:0126 edits
    Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    What are we to make of these two verses written by Solomon? It would appear, by simple deduction, that the scriptures indicate that the begininning of wisdom is to shun evil.

    Can we find any wisdom in these Biblical passages? I suppose to answer this question we must first define wisdom. Is it simply amassing a great amount of knowledge? Is knowledge the path to wisdom or are they not even related? From what I have been able to ascertain, wisdom is for the most part unrelated to knowledge. Unlike knowledge, wisdom asks questions to which there are no easily achievable answers, and in some cases, there can be no humanly known answers. Wisdom borders the philisophical realm because it is an extrapolative, non-deterministic and non-problabistic process. It is the process by which we judge and discern between right and wrong, good and bad. Wisdom is uniquely a human state that is a byproduct of our heart and mind or soul. To drive home the point, knowledge makes us proud that we have learned much, however, wisdom makes us humble becauee the more knowledge we truly comprehend, the more we realize the less we really know about an infinite universe. Get a glimpse at an infinite universe and your significance wanes in proportion. This may help explain why Solomon in the Bible, who was proported to be the most wise person who ever lived, came to the conclusion that wisdom was burdensome. In fact, his conclusion was that all is vanity.

    So is wisdom as burdensome as Solomon seems to indicate? Although I would say that there is truth to this, I would also say that the essence of wisdom is emancipation from the tyranny of the here and now. Unfortunately, we cannot help but capitulate to some degree to the egoism of our five senses and be in bodage to them. As infants, we began our journey of life in a state that was devoid of wisdom. All we knew was that we were either hot or cold, hungry or thirsty, dirty or clean etc. All other occurences in and around us were of no concern to us. All we knew was that our immediate physical needs needed to be attended to as well as our emotional needs at any cost to others. However, gradually over the years our horizens widened, and in proportion to our thoughts and feelings such carnal discomforts became less powerful over us. We were then capable of impersonalizing our own discomforts in favor of a greater good. None exemplified this more than the life of Christ. His life was proported to be filled with sorrow and it ended with him laying down his life for mankind. Therefore, the highest level of consciousness is to walk in such wisdom. Although it can be overwhelming to our senses as it was for Christ, the crucifixion of our selfish carnal desires emancipates us and frees us from the tyranny of the here and now.

    So has knowledge emancipated us like that of wisdom? Let's take a look at the ancient story of Adam and Eve in the Bible, They were forbidden to partake of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, yet they partook of the fruit anyway as there lust for knowledge helped destroy them. Likewise, today our lust for knowledge has revealed the atom, which has incidentally placed such knowledge in the hands of powerful lunatics who now have the means to destroy us all and who have destroyed many in the past. It seems to me that both examples are very closely related. Although in this day and age, we have had an undisputable explosion of knowledge, I would argue that there has been no correlative increase in wisdom. In fact, technology has a tendency to imprison us. We now have to buy expensive gadgets and are even allowed to be manipulated by those same gadgets with ease by those who hold power over us.

    In conclusion, I would like to close with a passage from one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. For me, it is wisdom perfected.

    1 Corinthians 13 "If I had the gift of being able to speak in other languages, without learning them, and could speak in every language there is in all heaven and earth, but did not love others, I would only be making noise. If I had the gift of prophecy and knew all about what is going to happen in the future, knew everything about everything, but did not love others, what good would it do me......We can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering into a dark glass to see him, but someday we will see him in his completeness, face to face. Now all that I see is hazy and blurred, but then one day I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now?"

    Paul was right, love is all that matters, just as his mentor Jesus instructed us. Love is the beginning and end of the law. Evil is but a violation of this law of love. If we walk in such love, we keep the law by default. This is the beginning of all wisdom. All other knowledge than this becomes rather trivial in nature, don't you think? If I could amend Proverbs 9:10 it would read, "The beginning of wisdom is to love God with all your heart and soul and to love others as yourself."
  5. Standard memberRJHinds
    The Near Genius
    Fort Gordon
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    12 Sep '11 04:26
    Originally posted by whodey
    Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ...[text shortened]... ing of wisdom is to love God with all your heart and soul and to love others as yourself."
    Knowledge is like the pieces of a jumbled up picture puzzle.

    Wisdom is the ability to put the pieces together so they make a picture
    that makes sense.
  6. Standard memberkaroly aczel
    the Devil himself
    Brisbane,QLD
    Joined
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    12 Sep '11 04:43
    Originally posted by RJHinds
    Knowledge is like the pieces of a jumbled up picture puzzle.

    Wisdom is the ability to put the pieces together so they make a picture
    that makes sense.
    Is that an entry? If not please dont fill up this thread with other stuff. PLEASE.
  7. Melbourne, Australia
    Joined
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    7680
    12 Sep '11 15:571 edit
    Originally posted by whodey
    This thread is dedicated to our sermon competition. The topic at hand is "Knowledge verses Wisdom". The sermon competition starts now and will end on Friday 9/16 at midnight. The judges are:

    1. karoly aczel (Hindu persuasion)
    2. Yo its me (Christian persuasion)
    3. JS357 (non-theist persuasion)

    To give a little helpful guidence, here are a few clues ...[text shortened]... mpleted and a new thread created for such debate.

    Thanks to all who decide to participate!!
    This is my sermon:

    To pit knowledge against wisdom is like trying to arm wrestle with one's own arms. For wisdom is a kind of knowledge, not opposed to it.
    How is wisdom therefore different to other forms of knowledge?
    In fact, to distinguish one from the other let us call factual or "normal knowledge, knowledge of form.
    So we have knowledge of form and wisdom knowledge that includes form (and fact) but which extends beyond this. In which way does it so extend?
    Here we may be helped by a central Buddhist understanding; wisdom is defined by compassion; compassion by wisdom.
    The way wisdom extends beyond knowledge of form is via the heart.
    Factual or form knowledge does not require the heart. It states bare form, cold, hard and clear as possible. Such can be used wisely or unwisely, but it remains true form knowledge nevertheless.

    The most essential factor that comprises wisdom knowledge is that it should have "a feeling one with" (com-passion), a unitary connection with the inner and the outer, the greater and the lesser, discarding none and open to the movements of the heart. Unless we do this, form knowledge will forever be stillborn in the cold. Therefore, in the words of another great path at its best, "we may possess the whole world and have all gifts and all knowledge, but if we have not love, we are nothing."
  8. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    Royal Oak, MI
    Joined
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    12 Sep '11 22:35
    Brothers and sisters, our sermon today is going to be about knowledge versus wisdom. For I tell you that our quest for knowledge has too often been like a ship – a great ship plunging ahead through the icy waves on a dark, moonless night without the rudder of wisdom to steer its path. Its great, churning engines drive us forever forward, but whether we are driving that ship, or it is driving us, is a matter of contention. There are some among us who seem to think that the ocean is endless and that we can keep sailing forward forever at full steam ahead. There are others, however, who fear that without a little rudder to steer us that inevitably we will head straight into a proverbial iceberg.

    As for the fruit of our knowledge, we need only look around us to see the many technologies that it has spawned. Industry, medicine, agriculture, pyramids, space flight, computers…the list goes on an on. But just as surely as our knowledge has produced these technologies, it has also produced calamitous ecological devastation. It has produced an endless procession of weapons of murder and mass destruction. For many of us it has resulted in an overwhelming sense of personal alienation, disconnectedness and despair. Our thirst for knowledge has led the very Earth itself to the precipice of destruction. Yes, we are daily faced with environmental devastation and nuclear holocaust in a world where we are sailing blind…like a ship without a rudder.

    How has this lamentable state of affairs come to be? How can we come to make some sense of our predicament? Well, I think the bible may be able to shed some light on the situation. Let us open our bibles to Genesis 3 and see what we find. There we see that the serpent tempts Eve into eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, contrary to God's command, and that she in turn convinces Adam to eat from it as well. For this act they are irrevocably banished from the Garden of Eden. They were separated from God and Adam was sent out to "till the ground from which he was taken."

    Well, what are we to make of that? Before I go any further I'd like to make two digressions. The first concerns "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" itself. There are some who are convinced that the correct translation of the Hebrew is not "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil", but rather that it is "the tree of knowledge, both good and evil." In other words, it is the tree of all knowledge. Let me tell you, I think they are absolutely correct in that interpretation. Mankind ate from the tree of all knowledge, but he had not the proper wisdom to guide him in its usage. And like the ship from our earlier example, mankind, without the rudder of wisdom to guide his path, has been sailing blindly forward ever since.

    The second digression I'd like to make concerns the very nature of the Genesis account itself. Let us understand that it was written between the 6th and 5th centuries BCE by ancient Israelites who were expressing their own particular understanding of an even more ancient past. A distant and primordial past with which they had no direct experience and only the most tenuous and subconscious connections. And they expressed this understanding in the only way they knew how - through poetry. And that's what the Genesis account is. It's a poetic re-interpretation of events for which they had no other means of describing.

    It would be an act of folly to interpret these poetic retellings as factual history. For they are not. The ancient Israelites had no understanding of that primordial history, of mankind's evolutionary past, or of the laws of nature by which the very will of God is transcribed upon the canvas of the universe. To insist upon a literal interpretation of the Genesis account would be to "miss the forest for the trees", as the saying goes. The importance of the story is not as factual history, but as a conveyance of profoundly moral truths which can help us make sense of our current predicament if we pay attention to the message of the story, and not the means by which it is conveyed. Now, you may be asking yourselves, "Well, what are these moral truths?" With my two previous digressions firmly in mind, I will flesh out in detail what the ancient Israelites only had the vaguest, haziest and subconscious recollection of.

    At mankind's beginning, he lived in harmony, both with nature and with God. Homo Erectus lived from 1.8 million years ago to 70,000 years ago, in small, egalitarian bands of foraging scavengers that were thoroughly interconnected with the intricate web of life around them. They engaged in some hunting, but mostly they foraged and scavenged carcasses that other animals had killed. This lifestyle did not place undue strain on their environment, nor did they perceive of themselves as being fundamentally different from the rest of creation. Consequently they lived in harmony with the laws of nature that God had laid out and set in motion. Laws that applied equally to all the creatures of his creation, without exception. If a predator species becomes too numerous and overhunts, for example, then its prey will become more scarce, leading in turn to a crash in the predator population. This was a self-regulating relationship between predators and prey in the wild which kept things in a delicate balance. Each species thus lived in overall harmony, not necessarily with each other, but with nature as a whole. Early man, Homo Erectus, operated in accordance with this principle, and at first so did our direct ancestors, Homo Sapiens. Mankind's population was small and the laws of nature regulated its expansion to keep it in harmony with the rest of nature. Adam, in the Genesis account, represents mankind at this stage of his development. And if there ever was a Garden of Eden, then this was it.

    But then things began to go awry. Homo Sapiens began crafting tools of ever greater refinement. Around 70,000 years ago we begin to see evidence of big game hunting, the killing of a larger numbers of animals, and the driving of herds over cliff tops in well coordinated, mass slaughter. From between 20,000 and 10,000 years ago we see mass extinctions of megafauna in regions inhabited by mankind. The wooly mammoth. The mastodon. Both hunted to extinction by 10,000 years ago. The European elephant, the wooly rhinoceros, the giant deer, all hunted to extinction. Some twenty genera of large mammals were hunted to extinction during that time frame. It was an ecological catastrophe caused by a species that used its knowledge to exempt itself from the laws of nature, but had not the wisdom to see that he was causing irreparable harm to the delicately interconnected web of life around him.

    Indeed, this was a species that had now become radically disconnected from that finely tuned web of life. A species that used his knowledge to control his own food supply at the expense of the natural world and thereby exempt himself from the very laws which regulated the populations of every other species. And without a little wisdom, any species which can control its own food supply will expand to the limits of that food supply. By viewing the rest of God's creation as being nothing more than a mere collection of resources to be exploited, extracted and used up, mankind freed himself from any external population controls. But in doing so, he at last found himself completely alienated from both nature and from God. And thus mankind found himself evicted from the Garden of Eden.

    But that was just the beginning. The bible tells us that, "the Lord God sent him (Adam) forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken." Mankind had to find another way to control nature for his exclusive benefit and to ensure a food supply for his now booming population. It was then that mankind invented agriculture. Yes, mankind began to exert his will, not only upon the other species around him, but upon the very earth itself. The bounty of the earth which hitherto had been a common treasury for all, individual men now began dividing up and claiming as their own private property, for their own exclusive use. Mankind was now alienated, not just from the rest of nature and from God, but from the fellow members of his own species. And all the social evils that afflict us today followed directly in the wake of that technological leap forward. Overpopulation, poverty, hierarchy, oppression, alienation, they are all products of a species who had acquired the knowledge to do extraordinary things, but not the wisdom to see that in the end it was all a Faustian bargain and that the price he had paid was far too high.

    And he wanders, lost, to this day. Mankind's technologies, his vaunted civilization, his medicine and arts, they will all have come to naught when overpopulation and his pathological thirst for domination drives the world toward an environmental catastrophe of "biblical" proportions. With each passing day we find ourselves sailing directly toward that proverbial iceberg. We can clearly see its immense presence looming before us. Yes, the warning bells have been sounded. But it appears that we lack the wisdom to apply enough rudder to sufficiently change our course. Unless we learn to live sustainably, to quit destroying whole ecosystems, to bring ourselves back into harmony with the natural world as integrated part a greater whole…until we learn to do all of these things, we will surely bring ourselves, and the world around us, to ruin. It may be that that once we have eaten from the tree of knowledge that we can never be allowed back into Eden. But we may yet be able to bring about a sustainable relationship with nature…and perhaps a rapprochement with God. It is not too late for our wisdom to rise to the level of our knowledge and bring the two into a sustainable harmony.
  9. Joined
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    13 Sep '11 04:05
    Whodey, May I suggest you post a "just keeping this toward the top" reply like this, daily?
  10. Joined
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    13 Sep '11 04:12
    Originally posted by JS357
    Whodey, May I suggest you post a "just keeping this toward the top" reply like this, daily?
    Good idea.
  11. Joined
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    13 Sep '11 13:27
    bump
  12. Joined
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    13 Sep '11 18:25
    bump
  13. Joined
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    14 Sep '11 10:46
    Keep the sermons coming!! Anyone else?
  14. Standard memberkaroly aczel
    the Devil himself
    Brisbane,QLD
    Joined
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    14 Sep '11 10:481 edit
    rvsakhadeo?black beetle? Bbar?
  15. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    Royal Oak, MI
    Joined
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    14 Sep '11 10:56
    Originally posted by whodey
    Keep the sermons coming!! Anyone else?
    If there's no one else, could we do the judging on Friday? I'll be out of town for several days after that.
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