Snyder, George L Snyder, Lenore Snyder, God, ethics, morals, religion

The Elephant Speaks
One Man’s Elephant book II


             This is an exploration of my own faith. You may agree with me on some of these ideas. If you agree with me on all of what I say here, you should question your own sanity. I know I do.

            This book is designed to challenge your complacency and to help you expand and grow your faith, your relationship with God.

            Perhaps to bring you into a fulfilling relationship with God.

             Starting with the story of the six blind men who went to ‘see’ the elephant, The Elephant Speaks is a serious but humorous exploration of faith. This is a ‘no holds barred’ attack on those whose behavior does not reflect their professed faith. The following five concepts are interwoven throughout the book.
1.          Many people who have lost their faith have lost it because they find discrepancies in the Bible or the teachings of their religious leaders. Some just find the stories impossible to believe. These problems are recognized and explored. Then the point is made that if you find a discrepancy, it in no way affects the truth - - the messages in the Bible.

2.          Like the blind men and the elephant, we have no concept of what God is. I affirm the existence of God. But, I know that whatever is in your mind, whatever is in my mind when we say ‘God’ does not exist. God does not exist, but God does exist. An attempt is made to show the scale of God, the universe, us.

3.          You have no rights, only responsibilities. You do not honor God if you do not honor God’s creation. Your actions reflect your real faith. Your actions are the symptoms of a condition I call faith. If you don’t itch, you don’t have poison ivy.

4.          God, heaven, hell. These are all within you. They are not external. Your relationship with God is within your soul. Your relationship with the rest of the universe is physical, external to your soul but influenced by your free will. Your salvation is your own responsibility. Your soul is yours. God does not send you to heaven or hell. You send yourself to the heaven or hell you are creating for yourself.

5.          God speaks to all people throughout all time. People in other faith paths also receive messages from God. God loves all His creation.

             I present the point that the Bible cannot be taken totally literally. After all, Jesus spoke in parables. However, when I use the Bible, I treat the stories as though they are literal. I hope you do not find me too confusing. First I say it cannot be literal, then I treat it as though it is literal. Look for God’s message.

I treat each story in the Bible as though it is literal.
And I say the Bible cannot be taken literally.

The reader must decide how to deal with that.

             Some tasks, such as defining God, are impossible. This does not prevent me from making such an attempt. Remember, my view of the elephant is different from yours.
             The prophets spoke in their original languages upon hearing God’s messages. In transcribing them, the scribes were subject to human error. Then, when translating (usually many years later) the custom of having a certain concept may have seemed more important than accurately presenting the prophet’s words. Add to this the fact that there are many words in the original language that do not have a comparable word in the next language.
             Be aware that humans (fallible humans) were involved in transcribing, translating, and presenting the Bible to you. There are many translation errors that have occurred in the process of bringing God’s word from the original language to the language you speak.
             God did not deliberately or inadvertently misspell in the original language, but, some of the earliest documents have misspellings.
             Also, remember: Poetry is always language specific.

           The Bible is God’s word to humanity.
           The Bible is truth.
           It is not necessary for the facts to be totally accurate for the truth to be totally accurate.
           Every person involved in bringing the Bible to you, did everything in their power to serve God the best they could.
           No combination of humanity can properly, accurately, and totally present God’s word.
           It is not necessary for the translation to be exactly correct for the truth of God’s message to be available to you.

             Read the Bible for the lessons. Do not worry about the exact words. There is more on this throughout the book.
             Do not lose your faith just because you discover there are discrepancies somewhere. Blame the discrepancies on the humans who were reporters, scribes, transcribers, translators. There are no discrepancies in God’s messages.
             The rest of ‘The Elephant Speaks’ is just an expansion of the previous few pages. The most important point of this book in one sentence is:

“You have no rights, only responsibilities.”

The Elephant Speaks              First Chapter