I’m Back…

Well, that was quite an experience. :-)

I got a pain in the lower right side of my stomach on Thursday evening, so I went to see my doctor on Friday morning. It turned out to be appendicitis. Fortunately, it was quite mild, so I wasn’t in very much pain, but they decided it was best to remove my appendix rather than attempt antibiotic treatment, because if that doesn’t work, things can get quite nasty quite quickly. So, I now have another scar to add to my growing collection.

It’ll take me a couple of weeks to recover, so please be patient if my turnaround time for mail is even slower than it normally is.

Thanks to my friend Richard for posting to let you guys know what was going on. And thank you to all of you who commented wishing me the best. I must first stress that the sentiment is very much appreciated in all cases. One of the reasons I love working with free software is the friendliness and kindness of the community. However, I’m afraid I’d have to respectfully disagree with a couple of the theological statements. It may offend people to say it, but it’s true – anyone praying who wasn’t praying to the one true God of the Bible was wasting their time.

But, as He promises to do, He looked after me. I know that in everything, He works for my good, and I’m sure this situation will be no exception.

28 thoughts on “I’m Back…

  1. Glad to know it was “only” your appendix and that you’re alright now :) . Hope you have a smooth recovery.

  2. Hey Gerv,

    I don’t want anyone to take offence by this comment but i’m curious to find out why you attibute your recovery to ‘the one true God’. Surely your recovery is explained by the excellent work of the doctors and nurses who attended to you as well as the healing properties of your medication and body. WHat exactly are you attributing to God ?

    Please don’t take this as a troll or flame, i’m just surprised to hear you praising God so vehemenently for something which is realistically no big deal. I appreciate that it was a big deal for you as any surgery is, but people have their appendix removed any live to tell the tail on a regular basis.



  3. >anyone praying who wasn’t praying to the one true >God of the Bible was wasting their time.

    Oh, boy! This is pretty intense. Pray that you one day open up your mind and understand. Hem

  4. I don’t understand why you would want to risk offending some of the people supporting you. I, supporting you without posting previously, am suprised by you stating I’ve wasted my time.

    I will continue wasting my time hoping one day people who think like will one day open up a little bit more.

    (please note that I in no way think your belief is wrong, but lowering the ones who don’t share your belief is indeed intense)

  5. Don’t Christians believe that the one true God accepts any prayer offered out of sincere belief? I am not a Christian and never have been, but I understood something of the kind from reading C. S. Lewis.

  6. Jack: I’m not claiming that I was miraculously healed of my illness (although God does sometimes work that way.) The point I was making is that he looked after me while I was ill, and that the illness will turn out to be beneficial to me. One obvious way in which that’s already true is that it’s given me a much-needed break.

    Hem: if we are all figments of God’s imagination, how is you praying going to change anything? ;-)

    Bram: who were you praying to? And what makes you think they will answer? And if it wasn’t the God of the Bible, then surely you believe that I was wasting my time praying to a non-existent God?

    Simon: Christians don’t believe that, no. God the Father is perfect – the only way we can approach him is through the only possible mediator, Christ Jesus. He said “No-one comes to the Father except through me.”

    “God accepts any prayer offered out of sincere belief” is basically the same as saying “if you really wish for something, it’ll come true.” And we both know that that isn’t true :-)

  7. Christ does indeed say
    “No-one comes to the Father except through me”

    However, Christ in the Bible, when referring to His return sometimes says that He will return, and sometimes says someone else will return with such titles as the Comforter, etc.

    This alludes to a two-fold station of the Manifestations of God.

    Just as you have many teachers in elementary school, all of which, are individually different, but are similar that they are under the same school system helping you achieve your potential, there are many Manifestations of God, all of which come from the same God.

    Thus while Jeses and Muhammad and Moses are individuals, which of course are physically different, their spiritual station is one, and they come from the same God. Their spiritual teachings are very similar, it’s the social teachings that are different and the reason for this is that They come at different times and in different places during history, and mankind’s needs during those times and places were different (i.e. Would it make any sense if your elementary school teacher tought you calculus in grade 1.)

    We, as people, who inhabit this special world of ours, should rather than trying to find differences within us to divide us, should try to understand that while there is one Truth, there are many different paths to that one Truth. Some might be more appropriate than others in this age, but let us use this diversity as something to celebrate.

    As a Baha’i, I believe in Christ is the Son of God, but I also believe that Muhammad, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, also came from the One God to help mankind progress as a civilization and as individuals. Baha’is believe that this Progressive Revelation from God will never end, and Baha’u’llah is the Manifestation of God for this age.

  8. one said do not talk about religion in front of people you do not know, you cannot now who will get offended. it is true that this is your personal site, and your faith is very respectable, but..
    Gerv, many people wished (not necessarily prayed) for your recovery because they value you, or your work. i think it was unnecessary to say “you are wasting your time because your God is false” (although, it makes sense to think like that for you). Nobody would blame you as a hypocrit becuase you sad thanks to a “non believer” or one does not have the same religion…
    do you say to the those people you talk in real life “oh well, you will go to hell.. pitty”.

    with respect and wishes for fast recovery,

  9. Bram- If you don’t think that his belief is wrong, than, unless you are just beating about the bush, you must think his belief to be right. Why waste time defending other beliefs than the correct belief?

  10. Hi, Gerv.
    Discussing religion is like walking through a minefield, but if we can be careful, I think we all come out as winners.

    My thoughts about religion is in line with Navid’s. Ditto. I had my whole schooling in Christian Schools – Catholic schools. I am very attracted to Christ from my very young age, I get very emotional about Christ, his crucifixion and what he had gone through – even now. I love his attitude towards everything, it feels to me, it makes complete sense to me. That is one of the reason when I saw you mentioning Christ as the title of your blog, I liked it, and prompted me to writing something.

    I am from India, born into Hinduism. The imagination I am talking about is called Maya in Sanskrit. Why I said that is because, what is our dreams when we sleep? While we are in it, it seems so real, doesn’t it? But once we come out of it, we know that it was a dream. Like that, according to the religious beliefs I have, what we experience now, is not the real experience, it is part of a bigger dream of existence, once you come out of it, one realizes that. Honestly I have no proof of it, I am trying to understand that myself. But I can relate to that concept, and I can see it does make sense, but to experience it, is probably takes time.

    Just like the comparison of School District and Teachers, I believe that there is an Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient Power, which almost all religions share, and all the entities who are born to show as that are part of it and have come to our level, the human form to remind us of that.

    See, Gerv, have you thought about our own existence? We physically as we know us, wasn’t there before we are born, we are not there, or our physical body is not there after we are dead and gone. I feel like we are on a stage doing our drama, and the floor of the stage is moving – there is an entry point, and then there is an exit point, where you are out of the picture after that, and the world will go on without any problem. That is the dream I am talking about.

    Have we ever stopped and realized that every hundred years, all the population of the globe are gone – wiped out and replace with a new set, barring a few species? (obviously, not in batches, but continually) Isn’t it NOW our time, we happen to be syncronously living togther in this time?

    Gerv, have you thought about millions of the people of the world, who were living before Christ was born? Do you think that they didn’t have a concept of God? How about Buddha, who was born before Christ 3000 years ago? How about Krishna and other divine souls who’s stories are in fact very similar like Jesus’s which is at least 5000 years old? If you stop and think about that, I hope you understand that there have been very intelligent people lived before us, and they also grappled with similar thoughts on what we are facing.

    Road to God is various. The roads and means to ge from Austin to New York is various( I am in Austin, TX :-)) . I can take different routes and get to New York. By plane, train, bus… That doesn’t mean that I have to say the road I take or the way I go ONLY will lead to New York.

    The same water we call it that in liquid form, when appears as solid, we call it ice, and when it takes the gaseous form, we call it steam, but the constitution is the same. Similarly different religions call and perceive God differently.

    On a more personal note, I am a follower of a Guru named Paramahamsa Yogananda. One of the reason I feel strongly towards his teaching is that he combines both Hinduism and Christianity, both I adore( doesn’t obviate any respect I have for other religions)

    Here is the link: http://www.srf-yogananda.org.
    I am waiting for his new book to be out, The Second Coming of Christ.

    We are all hypnotized by our experiences and we cannot go beyond what we have experienced. Like a frog in a pond cannot imagine the vastness and dynamics of an ocean, we cannot imagine anything outside our realm of experience and what we have been taught. The key is to look beyond our experience and seek out other perspectives. It will open up one’s mind.

    Keeping an open mind and willing to see others viewpoints, one will realize that there is more ideas out there beyond our beliefs. Doesn’t mean that you have to go and follow everything out there. When you take the road to Realization, you need to stick with one. Through your birth, Jesus is the path, you should follow him ardently and realize him.

    To conclude my rambling, here is one of the quotes I love:

    ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ Matthew 6:33

  11. “God accepts any prayer offered out of sincere belief” is not at all the same as saying “if you really wish for something, it’ll come true.”

    God knows what we need better than we do, and the answer to our prayers can sometimes be “No”.

    Best wishes for an easy convalescence.

  12. I used to be a follower of a religion that claimed that all religions are a facet of God. But once I really started to look at all of the religions that claimed to worship God, I realized that they couldn’t all be worshiping the same God. Wicca teaches that there is a male god and a female goddess. Mormonism teaches that god was once not god. Hinduism teaches that there are 1,000s of gods. Christianity teaches that there is one God in three persons. And so it goes.

    If someone told me that 1 plus 1 was 2, except that one person thought it was 3, while someone else thought it was infinity, and another person thought it was -1, what answer would I come to when asked to evaluate it? Just because someone thinks or wants the answer to be 3 doesn’t make it 3. There has to be an answer, relativism won’t apply.

    With all of this confusion, I gave up on trying to figure out who God was, and then God came to me. It just started to make sense. Everything else out there says to get to God/Heaven/{insert place of happiness} that it depends on our merit, good works, or trying hard enough. If we were to be with a completely perfect God, then we would need to be completely perfect as well. If we are really honest with ourselves we will see that to be completely good and perfect would require a miracle in our lives, something that we couldn’t do on our own. That’s why Christ is so important, because He is perfection in place of our imperfection. Christianity is the only belief that is honest enough to say; look, you aren’t ever going to be perfect enough to get to God on your own, so God gave of Himself just to be with you.

    I encourage everyone out there to really look at the claims of the religions of the world and see what they think. There is a really great comparative table online at http://wri.leaderu.com/wri-table1/table1.html .

    P.S. When Jesus was leaving to go back to the Father, He said that He would return, but until that time He was going to send the Counselor to be with us. That Counselor is the Holy Spirit. God is always with us if we open up our lives to Him.

  13. Christ said “One LIKE ME will come” as well as “I will return with a different name.” He also gave specific guidelines for judging future prophets “by their fruits.” Turn away from one manifestation of God and you turn away from them all, and that includes Christ.

  14. Gerv,

    Re: your comment on the power of prayer bringing about healing – does this mean you believe that faiths such as Christian Science can heal?

    Just curious.

  15. “The purpose of religion as revealed from the heaven of God’s holy Will is to establish unity and concord amongst the peoples of the world; make it not the cause of dissension and strife.”

    �Bah�’u’ll�h (Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 129)

  16. Theology

    I rarely pontificate on theology. I do not frequently discuss or debate theology. I even less frequently espouse my own theological beliefs. I find religion to be a very personal issue, and also a …

  17. Kovu: Christ said “one like me will come” – he was talking about the Holy Spirit, as he makes clear in the following verses in John’s gospel. He never said “I will return with a different name”. He never gave guidelines for judging future prophets – because he was the last one. If you have Biblical references for these claims, I’d be happy to look at them :-)

    Rufus: no, I don’t. I believe that God hears and answers the prayers of his people. Christian Scientists do not believe Jesus Christ is God – so they are not Christians, and not God’s people.

    Kovu: the purpose of Christianity is to have a relationship with God, and to trust Jesus to take the punishment we deserve for the sins we have committed. We are told in the New Testament that this message will be the cause of a great deal of dissension and strife – and it is. Witness this blog entry, and the other related ones :-)

  18. Interesting bit of debate on religion here and the blogs that posted about it. My take on the God, religion, faith thing is that God does exist. There are too many religions that refer to some form or another of God. Second, religion is just a sugar-coating to encourage people to have faith in God. Religion backfires though since it is a human creation, not a divine creation. The crusades are one example of religion backfiring. Third, faith is what matters. Faith in whatever you believe, whether that belief is in line with an established religion or not. True religion is about faith, not about going to (appropriate place of worship) every (insert appropriate day of week) to worship (appropriate god(s)) under the direction of (appropriate religious leader) and blindly doing what he or she says. True religion is a personal experience between you and whatever/whoever your gods are.

    That being said, from the factual side of things, I believe in a god as I said before. I believe in the basic principles of morality that span the religions (usually boiling to to the golden rule). I believe that the different religions of the world are quite legitimately the explanations of the same events. The evidence of that is that it is known that the current Christian Bible has been translated numerous times from source to your language and each attempt is different. If you look at the footnotes of your Bible, there are many places that scholars don’t know what it is talking about and fill in the blanks. That’s how a statue of Moses ended up with horns on it. That is how cones of light had been translated.

  19. Though I’m very pleased to see Gerv has recovered, and I harbor no ill will against Christians and other religious people, it does amuse me a little to see people quote the bible as proof of the way things are in the world. They always selectively choose passages that support their worldview, and omit passages that are just morally repugnant and absurd. Allow me to provide a few examples of the hundreds one could come across in chapters like Exodus and Leviticus:

    Exodus 21:7 gives a nice account of how a man can sell his daughter into slavery and Leviticus 25:44 states slaves should be taken from the countries surrounding yours. Leviticus 1:9 gives a nice account of the procedures for handling the blood and entrails during an animal sacrifice. But be careful, those that are blind, dwarfs, and or with a broken foot are not allowed to conduct sacrifice, because they are blemished according to God in 21:18. Exodus 35:2 suggests the death penalty for those that do work on Sundays. Does this apply to those helping repair the downed power lines to the hospital as well? What is with all this God-sanctioned killing and slavery?

    Leviticus 15:19 clearly states I can not come into contact with a woman during her menstrual cycle. Does this apply to shaking hands? Should I ask all women about their cycle before I can shake hands or hug them? Leviticus 15:1 also outlaws contact with men who have masturbated that day. Should I ask men about this before we touch as well? And to combine the death/sexuality theme, Leviticus 20:16 suggests the death penalty for women sexually involved with animals.

    There is a lot one can read and learn from the bible, but literal quoting of passages to prove points is obviously not the approach to take to form a coherent, morally acceptable worldview.

    All of this is on top of Paul�s insistence women not speak while in church and that the coming of Christ is so close at hand, you don�t have time to divorce your non-Christian spouses, etc. Christians have been waiting for Christ now for hundreds of years, and I wonder just how long they are willing to delude themselves in the name of personal comfort. I have no problems if they wish to do so, but I also have no interest in taking part in the process with them.

  20. I think what we all are struggling with is Religion vs. Spirituality. Religion is a manifestation and interpretation of the common thread of spirituality which every human strives for, trying to find meaning in this world, since we know that we will expire one day and seek meaning for thoughts like ‘What is beyond what we experience with our five senses? What is beyond death?’. These lead to some good thinking in all religions, and also with folklore, customs which existed during the time when everything was written had an implication on what got into the so called ‘religious’ books. Some talks about thousands of Gods, some despises idol worship, and other sorts. But if you fail to see the underlying spirituality which is common to all these religions, and then think that one’s book is superior to the other, then I have to say that you are a fool. What need to develop in one is to rise above the limitations of the written material and seek what is beyond that.

    If you look at the history of any religion, any religion exist and continue only the ones which have written texts. Some part of it could be totally absurd, but still, it is needed for the survival of a religion. As our intellectual capacities increases from generation to generation, we need to rise above what is told thousands of years ago, and develop the thread of what is trying to be established in the religious books.

  21. Brant said:

    “True religion is a personal experience between you and whatever/whoever your gods are.”

    But what if those gods don’t exist? Are you arguing that all gods anyone can possibly conceive of exist?

    “If you look at the footnotes of your Bible, there are many places that scholars don’t know what it is talking about and fill in the blanks.”

    Can you back that assertion up? :-) Show me one instance where a key point the Bible makes is uncertain because of such a difficulty.

    Erik said:

    [lots of quotations from the Old Testament law].

    Fortunately, as people of the New Covenant, we are not under the Old Testament law. This means, trivially, that we don’t need to ask women about their cycles before shaking hands :-) But what Leviticus did for the Jews was show them, in various ways, how completely holy and perfect God was. For example, the fact that sacrifices, offered by the ceremonially clean, were needed to atone for their sin helped them to understand how serious it was.

    Hem said:

    “[We] seek meaning for thoughts like… ‘What is beyond death?’. These lead to some good thinking in all religions…”

    How can we possibly work out what is beyond death by thinking about it? Or by looking to folklore and customs? One person’s guess is as good as another’s.

    The only way to know what’s beyond death is for someone to come from there and tell us about it. Can we think of anyone who’s been dead and no longer is? ;-)

  22. Gerv. Thank you for keeping the discussion alive.
    And thank you for the opportunity for the discussion
    Well, thinking is how things are revealed to you.
    That is how all the world’s knowledge has happened.
    Heard about the story of Archimedes (link here)
    So the answer came through thinking.
    Long long time ago, Budha was ‘illuminated’ by meditation and helped create a religion which has spread all over the world before Christ came along. Haven’t you ever had things dawned on you by thinking about it, going to bed with a thought of solving a puzzling questions – solving a software issue? While I was in school, gosh, 25 years ago, I have solved a few problems in my sleep. I woke up in the middle of night and have written down the steps to solve differntial equations. Then you are telling me to know more about death someone has to die. I am afraid, what you say is not right.

    If you look at the whole knowledgebase of India spirituality is formed, it is all formed out of thinking – in Sanskrit it is called mananam.
    With mananam comes revelation. Remember the story of Newton ‘discovering’ gravity? It is all result of a thought process. Actually in India we say that all the knowledge of the world is within you, you just have to reveal it. The process of spiritual discovery is meditation.

    You doubt any of these – read the book called
    Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahamsa Yogananda. (website)
    You will understand more about what we can achieve beyond what you think we can.

    There is a very effective ancient medical system in India called Ayurveda. All the books in Ayurveda was written by saints, not doctors. They have gathered all their information not through experimentation, but by thinking.
    Ayurveda is still a flourishing medical system which is very effective.

    I have written in my last post that the intelligence of humans are getting better – but now I think folks who lived over 5000 years ago had more mental capacity and the power to know, than we people possess – which our knowledge is only depend on direct physical experience.

    When Moses parted the river, I believe it, because folks of that generation, folks like him could do it, because the power is there.
    As a christian, if you don’t like a foriegn religion’s thinking – to me that is very strange – I look at every religion as my own, since everywhere people are searching for answers, and I respect that – read about stories of saints like St. Thomas, St. Francis of Assissi, St. Thomas Aquinas and others – there are plenty in Christian history of people who have achieved unbelievable things through the power of spirituality.

    So to answer to your question, yes, you get answers by thinking, yes, you realize God through meditation – and that is the ultimate truth – and so that world will know, that is my pursuit as well.

  23. Hem: Archimedes discovered what he discovered by thinking about what he had seen (himself in the bath). Newton discovered gravity by thinking about what he had seen (the apple falling from the tree). You and I solve mathematical problems by thinking about the words on the page. But neither you nor I can make scientific observations of what happens after death – because we would have to die to do so, and once that’s happened, neither you nor I can come back to tell anyone what we’ve seen!

    But one person, and only one, has come back from the dead. Buddha is dead. Mohammed is dead. Paramahansa Yogananda is dead. But Jesus is alive. That puts him in a different class.

    I would agree that it’s possible to work out some things by thinking. It is possible to look at the beauty and complexity of the world and say “Yes, there must be a God.” One could even say “All this is so perfect, yet my heart is full of evil. I must have distressed this God. How can forgiveness be obtained?” But we can’t know how to relate to him unless he tells us.

    You are right when you suggest that many religions are people searching for answers. Christianity is the shining exception. God has stepped down from Heaven, into the world, and revealed himself to us. There is no need to search. He has told us all we need to know to have a restored relationship with him.

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” [John 3:16-18]

    Hem, this is where the answers are. You need to put your trust in Jesus.

  24. Hi, Gerv,
    I have no problem trusting Jesus.
    I do have trust in Him. Jesus attracted me from my very young days. Also my schooling till my college in Catholic schools helped me cement the love towards him.

    Trust alone is not enough. You need to understand Him and his ways beyond what you read, and try to be like Him. If you don’t try to be like Jesus, there is no point worshipping him.

    The rest of the saints, they are not dead, as you say.

    They have left their physical bodies. There are many instances where the saints have left the bodies and people have seen them after their passing. It is not just happened for Jesus. Jesus came back to show that there is life beyond death, and destruction of a physical body is not the end of all. Materializing a physical body is possible.

    Where we differ is that, I am willing to look at other religions and have great respect for other religions, I refuse to blind myself to my own belief and do respect and remember that others have a point too, and their Gods are equally good. They have the right to keep their Gods and find salvation through them. So, I hope some day your mind will broaden and start to see and respect others beliefs.

    As I said, to reach salvation, there are various paths, Jesus is definitely one, I am not in any way denying it, and if that is your path, go follow it, don’t suggest it to others, let them follow theirs.

    I would like to rest my case here. Thank you.

  25. I’m Back!

    After my great summer 2004 vacation in Alaska, I’m back in business. Let’s see exactly what I’ve missed…

  26. Surely if christians (myself included) are aware that there is only one way to heaven. We have a duty to tell everyone about it?

    You are welcome to follow your own path, just so long as you have been told what we believe to be the truth. After that it’s your call.