How can we come to personally know our loving God?
If any of these questions interest you, you may like to:
Read summaries and two complete chapters from this book
Find the essence of Jesus
Consider evidence for reincarnation
See the Book of Revelation as an allegory of the spiritual life
Learn how to meditate
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Quote of the week from In Search of the Loving God:
hile this general reading of Genesis and Exodus lines up well with what is known of history and archaeology, certain specific statements do not. For instance, the book of Exodus claims the “sons of Israel” spent 430 years in Egypt, and that they were “about six hundred thousand on the march — all men — not counting their families” and that “people of various sorts joined them in great numbers.” (Ex 12:37–40 JB) This adds up to at least two million people, almost equal to the whole population of ancient Egypt at the time! If there had been such a preponderance of Jewish slaves in Egypt, there would certainly have been extensive mention of them in the numerous and detailed written records the Egyptians left. Yet there is no mention at all of the children of Israel in Egypt. Also, if that many people, and their “flocks…and herds in immense droves” (Ex 12:38 JB), had spent forty years wandering in the deserts of the Sinai, there would be archaeological evidence of their journey in abundance. This is an area where the extremely dry climate has preserved tiny traces of 6,000-year-old Bedouin winter camps, including flint tools and arrow heads, and ash and bones. Two million people would have meant a caravan 600 miles long, yet there is no trace of the Exodus left in the desert.
The Bible’s statement of the size of the Exodus is not only challenged by lack of historical records and archaeological evidence, it is also brought into question by the Exodus story itself. On the basis of the story that the fall into slavery occurred not that long after Joseph died, “under a new king who did not know about Joseph” (Exodus 1:8), we can reasonably (though not certainly) estimate the length of the Israelites’ stay in Egypt to be just a few generations. Even assuming, as there is some scholarly basis for doing, that they were there eight generations, and that their numbers doubled each generation, the seventy or so descendants of Jacob who entered Egypt could only have grown to twenty thousand, at most, by the time of the Exodus. Another suggestion is that there were really just six hundred men and their families, not six hundred thousand. This would have meant about five or six thousand people, about what the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived in Egypt, would have held.
However, even if the numbers the Bible states are wrong, this is not to say the rest of the story is fictional, and the Israelites never were in Egypt — the intimate knowledge of Egypt revealed in the book of Exodus makes it virtually certain that some of the Israelites, at least, spent time there. This is a Jewish history of the origin of their nation and their relationship with God, written many centuries later, and it seems likely that the number of people involved in the Exodus was exaggerated to mythical proportions to emphasize the vital importance to them of the event, and of the original tribes involved in it. This sort of emphasis on the spirit of the truth about an event, at the expense of its letter, is a trend right through the Bible, and has to be taken into account if the Bible is to be properly understood.
— From In Search of the Loving God, Chapter 2, "Ancient Israel, the seeds of Christianity" pp. 21-22.
Past quotes of the week
Endorsements and Reviews:
In Search of the Loving God is a book written with a purpose - and that purpose is to bring an age old message of truth and love to our tired, confused and desperate world. Mark is out to conquer hearts and win love for God. His book mingles impressive scholarship with both poetic appeal and down to earth empirical experiences. The world is in great need of the healing that this book could bring it.
(Ian D. Baynes, B.V.Sc., M.A.P.S.)
In Search of the Loving God reads like a combination mystery, history, and Bible commentary all rolled into one. Read it for its enlightening view on Scripture and revealing stories of the church's history. May the Spirit use this book to reach many people with its hopeful
message for the future of Christianity.
(Joy Wells, Educator)
Mr Mason's skills as both researcher and writer are such that I was unable to put the book down once I started it. He makes what could be a very dry topic not only readable, but also highly relevant to someone who is attempting to move beyond surface spirituality to a level of deep understanding and growth.
His book is divided into two parts. The first gives a very comprehensive, and eye-opening, history of the Bible and Christianity as a religion. He shows incredibly clearly how and why the church strayed from the teachings of Jesus and what that means to the church today. The second section shows how the Bible and its teachings are relevant to seekers in today's world. He describes Bible passages that teach us about reincarnation, a simple lifestyle and free will, and he includes wonderful and affirming interpretations about what hell and the book of Revelation really means.
(Patricia Vallerand, from her review of In Search of the Loving God in the Observer Quarterly)
To read more reviews, and more of what readers are saying about his book, see the reviews and endorsements page at this site.
Author's description of In Search of the Loving God:
In Search of the Loving God proposes that the key to knowing and loving God is meditation, but that before we can love God, and effectively meditate, we need to overcome our fear of Him. The book challenges traditional Christian beliefs by taking a fresh look at the life of Jesus, and at how the church soon became corrupt and power-seeking and largely ignored Jesus' teachings, invented the concept of everlasting punishment in hell in order to control people through fear, and eventually terrorized European society with the Inquisition and the witch craze, in which millions of women were burned at the stake, often for no crime greater than being a midwife. It looks at the disturbing similarities between medieval Christianity and modern religious fundamentalism, which in America manifests as the Christian Coalition, and other organizations of the religious right. It shows how the "us and them" nature of our society is based on, and underpinned by, the medieval Christian belief that some people are valuable to God and are saved, while others are not and are eternally damned. The importance of the separation of church and state in protecting us against fundamentalism, and preserving our freedom to make our own moral choices is highlighted, as is the reality of our free will -- God's greatest gift to us.
The book has chapters on why there is no honest Biblical basis for believing in everlasting punishment in hell, Biblical evidence for believing in Reincarnation, a metaphysical interpretation of the Book of Revelation, how to meditate, the reality of miracles in our lives, and on how Christianity could be more accepting of other religions such as Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. It advocates a radical reform of Christianity, which would result in it becoming a religion of love and acceptance, rather than what it traditionally has been: a religion of guilt and fear. Abandoning the belief in eternal hell, and embracing reincarnation and meditation may sound particularly New Age, but the Bible shows Jesus taught these concepts, and that they open the way to knowing and loving God. If you are looking for a loving and inclusive spirituality, a Christianity that embraces God and all people, then this book might be a stepping stone on your path.
In divine love,
Challenge yourself to this zany and informative Religous History Quiz
If you need help editing your writing,
you may like to read about the author's editing service: Mark's Editing Shop
The Hot Springs of America, a novel, showing how another "terrorist" attack could mean the end of our current democracy, and plunge America into a second civil war. Read two complete chapters online, and if want to read the rest, the e-book can be purchased for just $5.95 (PayPal or Credit Card). To start reading, click here: The Hot Springs of America.
Original Songs:Songs of love, peace and the spirit. A number of songs I have written, including "Avatar" and "Live by the Words We Say": Songs.
Clipper Ship is a suite of productivity tools that makes working on a computer easier and more enjoyable. It includes an "instant spreadsheet," allowing you to do calculations with numbers in editors or word processors, even if they are mixed with text. It also allows you to paste often-used blocks of text from a pick list, and copy symbols not on your keyboard from a symbol list. It has a macro recorder, enabling you to record and replay keystrokes and mouse actions. It has an Area from Map feature that easily gets diminsions and areas from on-screen maps including Google Earth. It has an image capture feature that copies the current window or the whole screen into the Paint program so you can edit and save the images. It has a multi-clipboard, enabling you to paste any of the last 12 clips you have copied, monitors your typing speed in the current session (if you care to look at it!), and it is also an abbreviation expander with over 26,000 built-in short forms for words and phrases. It is fully Windows 7 compatible, and also works on previous versions of windows. To find out more, and to download the free 'Lite' version of the program, click here: Clipper Ship.
Aquarius Database is a freeware business database with perpetual inventory stock control and many other nice features, which will meet the needs of many startup and/or small businesses, and which can be extended later to give added functionality as a business grows. To find out more about it, click here: Aquarius Database.
My farm and forest at Fox Hollow: near Eugene, Oregon: Farm.
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