Ask-A-Prof Questions

Can the Bible Give Us Guidance on Immigration Issues?

Question: 

Immigration is a continuously controversial topic, especially in light of recent news coming out of Arizona. With the recent legal decisions by the Arizona state government regarding illegal aliens and the use of ethnic profiling, many contemplative articles & blogs are surfacing that deal with these issues.

What are the messages that scripture conveys regarding behavior toward strangers and are these messages conflicting like so much else in the Bible? Should we be paying attention to what the Bible says about these matters? Is the scriptural insight of the pre-Christian and early Christian era relevant to today's problems and how?

What's the issue with Noah's son seeing him naked?

Question: 

(This question references the story in Genesis 9:20-27)

Does anyone know why Noah is so annoyed when Ham, his son, sees him sleeping naked (Noah got drunk and passed out). Ham tells his brothers and his brothers put a robe over their shoulders and walk backwards into the tent, so that they won't actually see their father naked, and they cover him with the robe. But when Noah wakes up and finds out what Ham did, he is furious, and he curses Canaan--Ham's son. Why?

Also, why does Noah then go further and say that he hopes his sone Jephath will end up taking all the land and all the bounty (over Shem even) and that Canaan as part of this will then be his slave?

Why the favoritism here? And why such wrath as Ham (it wasn't his fault that his dad drank too much and passed out! And all he did was tell his brothers, probably so they could help and cover him up, which is what they did--very respectfully I might add, walking backwards and covering him up in such a way that they didn't even see his naked body).

And what's the big deal about seeing someone naked anyway? We are like this today in our culture as well, and it all started when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge. That's when they started to feel shame.

In what way, exactly, are we a "home" to God's spirit?

Question: 

I am interested in getting more insight ino the Greek word "monen" used in John 14:23 and in its plural form in John 14:1. I read that that word is only used twice in the NT; is there any specific intent/purpose with the use of that specific word? I am exploring home/temple metaphors and I find the John 14:23 passage interesting from that point of view. God is in the temple shifts here to God is in you.

Did Jesus emphasize doctrine?

Question: 

Are dogma, doctrine, and orthodoxy really central to the message Jesus wanted to get across?  If not, what major historical events or figures or other reasons have caused the church to emphasize and become so distracted by such issues?

Are Moral Absolutes Biblical?

Question: 

Today, we hear a lot from televised Christianity and politically-conservative ministries about "moral absolutes." Are there moral absolutes in Christianity, especially those which must guide all personal (e.g., sexuality) and/or public morality?  If any exist, what are they, how do we recognize them, are they as and when should they be applied, and does ancient Biblical morality still apply to us today?  If you believe in moral absolutes, what is their Biblical basis?  If not, why is the assumption of moral absolutes questionable?

From my perspective, personally, I would think that the only real commandment within Christianity which would be the Great Commandment found in Matthew 22:36-40: to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  As Jesus notes, "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

I also note in Ecclesiastes that there is a time to everything under heaven--and that many things that would ordinarily be deemed moral absolutes may be quite questionable as such.

I appreciate your help in advance with understanding this issue better, particularly as I seek to understand points of view that may differ from my own.

Is Tolerance Christian?

Question: 

I want to believe that Christians should promote religious tolerance, but I am unable to justify why we as Christians should, and that this would be truly Christian to promote religious tolerance.

If you know of any good resources, please let me know.

Are We in the End Times?

Question: 

Should the book of Revelation be read as a literal book? Are there any books in the Old Testament that correlate with the book of Revelation? Are we living in the times of tribulation?
 

The Historical Jesus

Question: 
I am interested in the distinction between the historical Jesus and the mythologized Jesus created by the Bible and numerous other texts and presentations. First, how do we know that the historical person, Jesus, really existed? Are there any historical records written by non-Christians? Second, what do we know about the real person? Is there anything written about him by contemporaries?

Woman Taken in Adultery

Question: 

Most Bible translations indicate that there are textual issues with John 7:53-8:11, which is the story of the woman caught in adultery who was brought to Jesus for judgment.  Some are suggesting that this passage should not just be noted to have difficulty but removed from the text entirely.

What are the difficulties with this text and when should textual questions lead to the actual removal of a phrase or passage from the Bible?

Father, Forgive Them

Question: 

The Conservative Bible Project claims that Jesus' famous line from the cross "Father forgive them, they don't know what they're doing" (in Luke 23:34) is a later addition and should not be included in a true translation of the Bible.  Is that true?