I just want to make a personal statement up front, this blog is based on my personal thoughts and opinions.
This has become a statement that I wake up to here recently, one I have given much thought on.
The southeastern Tennessee USA culture I was born into is made up from other cultures.
Our banking system has it roots in the way Babylonians used to bank. Our government and higher education system has come from a Greek/Roman back ground. The main religion of the country i.e. Christianity is also Greek/Roman and Judaism.
The USA has truly become a melting pot of this world. For me it is the great experiment of trying to take the so called best of the world and putting it all in one place.
Out of this somewhere around the 1960s began what I call the ‘individual’ movement called the ‘human rights’ movement. Even though we are a nation made up with different people and many cultures; there has been a fight so that an individual is not lost in the system.
Today we face another aspect of the human rights movement. It to in infancy is misunderstood by many because the do not have the eyes or ears to see or hear what is truly going on.
It is the ‘gender’ movement. Since the creation of Mankind there has been two genders – male or female. For some reason there are among us that have issues with the gender they are born with and have an inward problem with identifying with either one.
As a southern male not born with this issue sometimes I fail at understanding it. But it was here lately, after becoming involved with another and separate group that has helped me understand things in a broader sense.
Seeing the world through religious and none religious eyes.
Dictionary.com has “religion as:
1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects:
the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices:
As a person I consider my self as not having any type of religious system but because I do have a belief in a Creator that governs human affairs; the definition of religion under number 1 says I do.
As anyone else, I am a person whose thoughts and beliefs are constantly evolving. I am a studier and thinker. For many years of my life I have been told what to belief by the religious systems. It wasn’t till around the mid-90s, after a major religious event happened in my life that pushed me into the person I am today. The problem I have seen to often and I was not immune to it, is that many folk that have a similar journey is that they have a tendency to carry baggage from one place to another. This can and does affect their new experience.
In my journey in finding out who I am; I have experienced three types of Christianity and partially experienced Orthodox Judaism.
It was during this journey that I personally became in union with the what is called the ‘Seven Universal Commandment’ or ‘Noahide Laws’.
In my personal studies as one who believes in one God Who also is the Creator, has given His creation a set of rules to live by. There are seven basic rules but each rule contains within itself many other sub-rulings and these group of rulings encompass all activity of human life.
Within the rulings there is a place to believe in a Creator but for the non-Jewish populous of the world we are to serve/worship Him as He commanded us and for us there is no specific religious rites or ceremonies given for us in our service to Him.
This means any and all religions of this world is off limits to us. Today we call Judaism a religion, but in all actually, what we the nations call religion is only how they keep or do what they have been told to do by the Creator. The same Creator gave them i.e. the nation of Israel a certain task to do and He gave us nations that fill the earth a task to do. It is simple, if you want to be part of Torah Israel, then you join them and do what the do in keeping what the Creator gave them to do. If you want to remain in the nation and place of your birth, then do what the Creator wants you to do there.
It is through my experience and through the Seven Universal Commandments that I feel I have a religious and nonreligious world view. In this age I self identify with the Seven Universal Commands from the Creator to the nations outside of the nation of Israel.
It is also because of this I see many who have taken on the Seven Commands have so called gender/individual issues. They are trying to be junior Jews living out in this world without becoming part off Israel. One of the sub-rulings deals with what we care allowed to study pertaining to the holy books of the Jews. Unless you want to live in the land of Israel or join them in many of their world wide communities, there is no need to learning from certain books.
As a pious God Fearer we are given permission to keep any law that was not given specifically to Israel. Some are drawn to particular commands thinking that through them they become closer to the Creator.
For those who seek more than what is commanded them I want to pull out a principle from the Christian book. Do not forget what you already been told, while keeping things you have not been commanded.
What I am trying to say is, “Are you well enough versed in the Seven Commands with its sub-rulings before you add to yourself things that weren’t commanded?”
The transgender issue goes deeper than just gender.
Today’s modern individual movement has shown us that individualism is in every arena. Even many of those who profess they are keepers of the Seven Commands, Noahides, gers, gentiles, God feares or just plain Non-Jewish have the same gender/individual issues. There are some who identify themselves as Jews so much that they become junior Jews by the way they dress and act. Many of us of the nations descend from Japheth, the son of Noah in whom the some of the Sages of Israel say he (Japheth) would encompass a large part of the world. Japheth was told that he would set in the tent of Shem. Meaning that we would learn our spirituality from Shem. Today that means we learn from the Jews (who are from Shem) not become them.
There is nothing wrong with identifying with one’s own culture as long as you do not violate a command of the Creator.
For example, here in the south we are known for hospitality wave at folks we do not know; out of this has come the saying “In the south strangers are only those we have not met yet.”, many of yes still say yes Mam and Sir out of respect, and the list goes on.
Even though I live in the south, our country is made up of many different philosophies. In a time like this many are fighting for the right to be who they are as an individual. Whether our personal morals agree with what is going on it is a modern cry we hear.
Religion of all shapes and sizes points its finger at the society around it. It wants to always point out what is wrong and condemn instead of pitching in and helping out the humans in the system which many are born into.
As a God Fearer I can sit in my apartment high on this hill and point a finger at what is wrong or I can climb off this hill and get involved with the humanity around me. So many are looking for that community of like believers and forget they were born into a much larger community of humans.
Every nation has a government that is run by some kind of philosophy. Maybe it is right or wrong but every nation is made up of human beings and is the individuals of that nation we are to involve ourselves with, not run away from.
Again, I personally identify with the Seven Universal Commands from our Creator. It is interesting that two of the seven deal with Him and the rest of the them focus on we treat each other.
Many of the forces around me has a Greek history, my personal history may have a Scottish heritage but I am not Greek or Scottish. I was born into the southern USA culture, it is right here the Creator wants me to get involved. It is the humans here He wants me to interact with on a daily basis.
Yes, it would be great to be in a community of like believers but what I believe in (religious) is not all who I am nor is it where I am at.
The fun and the hurt is getting to know the individual. The beauty of the Seven Commands is how we treat one another, when we look at them, we can see there individual aspect of them. Yes, we walk with the Creator in them but the Journey is more on how I treat you as an individual.
Terry W. Hayes
P.S. The Seven Commandments mentioned in this blog are and their location.
The Seven Universal Commandments:
1. Set up courts of justice – Genesis 9:6
2. Prohibition of idolatry – Genesis 2:16
3. Prohibition of blasphemy – Leviticus 24:15
4. Prohibition of murder – Genesis 9:5-6
5. Prohibition of theft – Genesis 2:16-17 Genesis 21:25
6. Prohibition of forbidden sexual relations – Genesis 2:24 Genesis 20:13
7. Prohibition of eating meat taken from a live animal – Genesis 9:4