Friday, November 19, 2010

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes!” [James 4:14]
by Charlie Leck

Wisdom has built her house,
she has set up her seven pillars.
[Proverbs 9:1]

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight!
[Proverbs 9: 10]

Sometimes I just ramble because I'm angry; and sometimes that isn't all bad; and sometimes I just babble because I've gotten old!

I've been vigorously and completely raked over the coals by some of my "Christian" friends out there who don't like some of the things I've been writing lately (such as my blog, Freddie and I). I dared there to say that scripture is heavily mythological. I believe that!

I don’t turn to scripture very often; yet, there are times when I must in order to understand.

The foreign policies of some of the nations of the world seem now to be inciting wars between religions and faiths. It troubles me; for no good shall come from jihād.

It is amazing to me that so much of Muslim scripture and Christian scripture are precisely the same. Both, for instance, read the ancient Book of Proverbs. Are the 7 pillars of wisdom iterated there a foundation for people of both faiths?

There, the writer seems to be saying that “the foundation of the House is the Fear of the Lord!” What that seems to say to one faith, seemingly ought to be saying to the other. Isn’t that correct? What does it mean to fear God? It means, I think, to respect his power and ability to bring you down.

In the Christian scriptures, in the Letter of James (often called the Book of Wisdom) the writer struggles with the concept of wisdom (from Proverbs) and its seven pillars. He seems to indicate that they are…

  1. Purity
  2. Peaceableness
  3. Gentleness
  4. Reasonableness
  5. Mercy and Helpfulness (full of good fruits)
  6. Fairness and Humility (without partiality)
  7. Honesty and Sincerity (without hypocrisy)

James put it like this (from the Revised Standard Version translation):

…the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (3:17-18)

What causes wars, and what causes fightings among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. (4:1-2)

Sometimes I think I understand and then the writer has to go an say something like this…

Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? (4)

And then I am stupefied again! Enmity? Hostility or ill will or antagonism toward or with God comes from friendship with the world?

What in the world is he talking about? Perhaps the friendliness he is talking about is more understandable today as coziness or intimacy. One gets too cozy with worldliness when one gives up those 7 virtues that James explained (listed above).

So many of my friends argue with me, claiming that America is a “Christian nation;” but then I recall those seven pillars of wisdom that James explains and I want to compare them with our nation’s character traits.

Am I missing something? Are we a Christian nation? Is someone out there crazy; or what?

Don't mind me, I'm just prattling.

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1 comment:

  1. Believe nothing merely because you have been told it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings -- that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide - Buddha

    Or to each his own. We should be a nation of tolerance!