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Friday, November 16, 2007

YAHWEH (by any other name)

You know how sometimes something will swirl around in your head for a while but you just don't know how to tackle it until someone says just what you're thinking? That's what happened to me today.

After 9/11, I grew dissatisfied with the call to rally all religions behind the heading of 'god' and let it mean to each person what they want it to. I had thought it was kinda obvious that we are very different because we require the advocate of Jesus Christ to cover our sins in order to allow us to come to 'God'. Our God is very different from the other gods of the world because of his very nature.

I had also been watching the Little House DVDs and it drove me up the wall when they built the blind school and the kids were praying for it and it was all 'We are so happy God that we are here and the light inside us shines brighter than any light we could even see anyway' kinda sugary=sweet, nauseating sentimentality. Aside from just wishing the show had followed the books instead of making up a script that is far and away from the real words of Laura Ingalls, it irked me that one of the biggest changes they made was in the faith basis of the story. If you read the books often (or too often in my case) you see how their faith was certainly a major part of everyday life. And it was a specific faith, not the 'universal God-ism' that the writers chose to promote in order to gain a wider audience. Than I read in the liner notes that they intentionally made God an abstract character in order to cover the vast array of beliefs of the actors and audience. So, how is that a fair and accurate portrayal of the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder? You certainly wouldn't make a movie or TV series about Gandhi and have him praying 'Help me Jesus!'.

So I was just in general tired of the 'I believe in God, too' when the definition of that word couldn't be more different than that of the Bible.

And in my studying I read about families who's names were changed when they emigrated to America because It was easier to pronounce for the American people, and I thought about how the Hebrew names are pronounced so differently when we translate them. That was when me wheels started turning, but I couldn't quite grasp what I was thinking.

Today Anna posted about the vehement distaste she has for the use of the word God when speaking of the God of the Bible- the REAL deal, and how he has given us his name many times (Yahweh) and actually more than one name (I AM, Elohim, Adonai, etc.) So why do we use the term 'God' 99% of the time? Because it is something that the rest of the world can identify with. But wait- aren't we then assimilating our knowledge of the one True, Holy, and Eternal God with all the ideas of god that are false? It's almost like we've put our God in the witness protection program!

So from now on, I will be more careful to specify of whom I am speaking rather than lumping THE Lord in with all of man's junk. Just capitalizing it is not enough to clearly demonstrate which god I serve.


Randy said...

"Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His Name, and what is His Son's Name, if you know?" Proverbs 30:4

about 7,000 times the name YAHWEH was replaced in scriptures.

A great book to read on this is "Names" by Todd D. Bennett

motherofmany said...


I wasn't sure if you were FOR or AGAINST the name change, but when I looked up the book I see that the author worte that changing the name is against the scriptures, so I get it now! ;)

I have found, too, that it is a two-fold reason for me. It is both a desire to distance myself from all the ambiguous definitions of the word god, and a desire to fully know the one true god, whose name is Yahweh.

The whole series by Bennett looks fascinating and I am putting it on my wish list!