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Alternative Sacred Writings

Articles in the LOOKOUT section of this website span a number of decades and are re-published on behalf of Adrian van Leen for research purposes. Original dates are being added to articles so as to place them in their correct historical setting(s). Adrian has endeavoured to be as fair and accurate as possible at the time of the original writing, but please note that the original article information may no longer reflect the subsequent or current actions, values, beliefs, positions, opinions, teachings or policies held by individuals, groups and/or organisations referred to in the original published article at the time of writing. As people change and move on, the same often applies to related Internet links; some links referred to in articles may have been changed or may no longer be available online.

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Alternative Sacred Writings vs The Bible

Faith is generally something very positive, and a faith commitment can make a tremendous difference to a person – giving hope, direction, purpose and meaning for life. However, what if that faith is misplaced or if the foundational authority, often the sacred writings, turn out to be flawed, false, or simply imaginative fabrications?

Faith in such situations can lead to disillusionment and deep spiritual and emotional confusion or damage.

For Christians the 66 books and letters that make up the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are the sacred Scriptures that give authority, understanding and direction to their faith.

The Bible is quite unique.

It is a collection of documents, produced over hundreds of years, involving many writers from very different backgrounds, experiences and cultures. This collection of writings contains a wide variety of forms and styles of literature. In spite of all this diversity the Bible contains a common and unifying theme.

The Bible reveals its characters as real people. They are not the super heroes of most mythologies. They are portrayed with warts and all. Unsavoury characters and actions are revealed for what they are – deserving judgement and condemnation – yet the deep and challenging reality of forgiveness, especially God’s forgiveness, is shown as a genuine tough love bringing hope and change.

Issues involving humanity’s deepest and inner complexities and needs are revealed – as are the solutions to those deep seated needs – long before modern psychology and psycho-therapies.

Though these sacred writings have their origins in the Middle East, their appeal and impact have been universal.

The Bible has changed lives across all continents. It has provided inspiration and guidance for numerous social and societal reforms now taken for granted. It has been the basis for human rights and the dignity of the individual – regardless of age or gender. It has fostered countless expressions of compassion and care in the face of arrogance, opposition and man’s inhumanity to man. It has countered greed and self-aggrandisement. It has greatly influenced forms of government and law and impacted the social sciences – from history through to literature and language, and more.

It has deepened personal and collective spirituality, and brought inner peace to millions around the world. Many of the Psalms remain a source of personal help and universal appeal.

Though the evidence of its universal and positive impact is there for all to see – especially when examined historically and unbiasedly – yet there are those who seek its destruction, as there have always been. No individual volume has historically encountered the efforts to destroy it as has the Bible. From kings and politicians to greedy landlords and business people - who saw it as a threat to their powers and accumulation of more possessions – to so-called scholars and academics, many have attempted to suppress, destroy or devalue this unique volume of scared writings.

Throughout history there have been many critics who have started with the intention of disproving the Bible’s authenticity and validity – only to find that such efforts, conducted with honesty and integrity, led to confirmation of the Book and its message, and leading to their conversion to become followers of Jesus Christ.

The Sacred Writings, known as the Bible, have stood the tests of time, criticism, evaluation, cultural and timeless relevance.

Its message of man’s inadequacy and corruption continues to be resisted; the message of evil’s consequences and appropriateness of judgement is generally denied; but its message of redemption, forgiveness, love and hope bring transformation and renewal to those willing and able to be honest with themselves and God.

How well do other alternative sacred writings stand up to the close scrutiny applied to the Bible? What sort of alternative “bibles” do some people accept and trust for their hope and salvation? True students of the Bible don’t fear honest and evaluative comparisons.

We have some articles that briefly examine some of those alternative sacred writings that may be of interest to readers – in the meantime Take a Closer Look at the Bible for yourself – you may discover some life-changing truths, as others have done before you.

WA van Leen May 2004