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Was Moses tripping?

Professor Benny Shanon, professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, experienced a hallucinatory trip a few years ago when he participated in a tribal ceremony in the Amazon and drank a cocktail made from a plant called “ayahuasca.”

This experience led him to believe that the miracles and visions Moses experienced in the Sinai desert, and presumably when Pharoah in Egypt witnessed miracles, were nothing more than delusions induced by acid trips.

“I have no direct proof of this interpretation,” he says. “It seems logical that something was altered in people’s consciousness. There are other stories in the Bible that mention the use of plants: for example, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden.”

Of his own drug use, Shanon says, “I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations. Hypotheses have been around for 20 years connecting the beginning of religions with psychoactive materials.”

The acacia tree also has psychedelic properties, according to Shanon. Acacia is mentioned frequently in the Bible. It was the type of wood from which the Ark of the Covenant was made.

Metaphysical Naturalism

Metaphysical naturalism is a worldview in which nature is all there is, and all things supernatural, such as spirits and souls, supernatural beings, miracles, and transcendent truth as taught by the Bible, do not exist.

This view is distinguished from methodological naturalism, which is a worldview that claims that the scientific method is limited to the study of the natural world, but unlike metaphysical naturalism does not deny the possibility of supernatural or paranormal phenomena.

In other words, a methodological naturalist who believes the Bible is God’s inerrant Word may do so without violating the principles of science, because the scientific method cannot use natural means to study the supernatural. It is simply not the purpose of science to prove or disprove the supernatural. It’s not a proper measuring tool any more than a yard stick can be used to measure barometric pressure. For instance, science can be used to tell us something about the world’s geological history and it’s possible origin, but it cannot ever negate the possibility of a Creation in six days.

Much of the western world has absorbed the philosophy of Enlightenment thinkers such as Hume, Kant and Hegel, who moved from a belief that the proper role of philosophy and science was to study only natural phenomena, to a presupposition that the supernatural simply does not exist.

The metaphysical naturalist rejects the supernatural from the outset and automatically discounts any belief system that includes God or a supernatural world as primitive superstition.

The common method of metaphysical naturalists when interpreting the Bible is to reject the miracles and doubt both the history and authenticity of the literature that would give any credence to eyewitness records of supernatural events. However, much of the Bible is supported by corroborating history and archaeology. It gives historical context and purports eyewitness testimony.

The metaphyscial naturalist, if he is to be consistent with a scientific trust in empirical records, has to accept that at least some of these phenomena have a basis in fact. He is left with the only option of reinterpreting the data in terms of a “scientific explanation.” The Apostle John on Patmos saw visions because he ate wild mushrooms. The Ark of the Covenant shot bolts of lightning because it was a giant primitive battery. Visions and revelations are the result of psychological stress and trauma. And so on.

Hence Shanon’s hypothesis. He guesses that Ten Commandments, with the voice of God heard in the “thunder,” had its origin in a psychedelic experience.

Was Moses tripping when he heard the Law of God?

“But not everyone who uses a plant like this brings the Torah,” Shanon concedes. “For that, you have to be Moses.”

Shanon should know. He reports that since his Amazon trip, he has used the plant hundreds of times.

Your comments are welcome!

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

Special Two-Disc Set!

After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.

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The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?

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Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

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Running Time: 145 minutes

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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.

All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?

These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.

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Martin Luther: Digitally Remastered 1953 Classic (DVD)

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With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.

The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.

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God's Law and SocietyGod's Law and Society (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.

Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!

Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:

1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
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5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
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9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?

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Running Time: 240 minutes

Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.

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