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Bernie Ziebart

The Engineering Perspective

The blog is a view of life, science, politics and education from an engineering perspective. As engineers, we are taught to view the world objectively. We can hope, believe and calculate a particular outcome, but natural laws are inflexible and pay no heed to who we are or what we believe. We must approach the objective dispassionately, while compensating for our own distorted perceptions. Balance is also a key element; balancing between the ideal and the pragmatic, balancing cost and functionality, balancing analysis with action, etc.

Scheduling routine critical self-analysis is the foundation to objectivity. If we do not fully understand and compensate for our own failures, tendencies, habits and skewed thought processes, we will not see the world as it is. Without a regular critical self-analysis we will see the world as we are and then fall prey to self-delusion.

Failure is a great teacher. When failure is coupled with perseverance, it produces the fruit of patience and humility. An engineer, fresh out of engineering school is typically set up for failure early and often. The failure breaks the new engineer of any ideas of self-importance, arrogance and book smarts. Only then can the new engineer be formed and molded into a productive element in the industry.


Who was Jesus?

In comments to a previous posting, GeorgeDubyaBush made several remarks about the teachings of Jesus and the behavior of His followers.  There seems to be much debate over who Jesus was and what he represented.

I will attempt to present Jesus based on descriptions from the book of Isaiah and the gospels.

The purpose and mission statements of Jesus from His own words;

  • Reveal truth
  • Seek and to save the lost
  • Be the sacrificial lamb to pay the penalty of sin 
  • Preach repentance for sins
  • Reveal the inner evil and sin in human nature (separation from God) 
  • Through miraculous signs, opened man to a universe beyond the material
  • Fulfill the law of the prophets and Ten Commandments
  • Become the mediator between God and man
  • Be an intercessor for man
  • Demonstrate the love of God; willing die for His creation
  • To be His follower means death to self and complete surrender
  • Warn us of hell fire and destruction
  • Promise of heaven to those believe, obey and live by faith
  • Be a shepherd to His flock
  • Warn us of future events (people will come-claiming to be Jesus or God’s representative – don’t believe it)

He was primarily a man acquainted with grief and sorrow.  The repeated theme is that Jesus was scorned, ridiculed, mocked, spit on and misunderstood. The low point was when his family (Mary and brothers) came to get him because he had become an embarrassment; a subject of much ridicule.  He was denied, betrayed, rejected and died alone.

Jesus was not eloquent of speech or good looking. He did not draw people by his good looks or charm. Isaiah stated that there was nothing about him physically or verbally that anyone would find appealing.  But He spoke with authority; an undeniable power to His words.

The priests, religious leaders and political leaders were offended by the Truth that Jesus spoke to them. Instead of debating the message, they ridiculed the messenger.

Compassion defined Jesus. The things he did and the places that he went were based on compassion or a passion for people.  He hurt with those who hurt.

His friends were ‘sinners’; tax collectors, thieves, down trodden, the sick, prostitutes. The chief priest thought that Jesus wasn’t smart or intuitive otherwise he would know the type of people that he had befriended.

Despised by the religious leaders; Jesus created a comparison between himself and the leaders, which the leaders hated. They knew that they fell short of the example provided by Jesus and wanted to eliminate the comparison.  

Never plain spoken; Spoke in parables with hidden meanings. He hid his identity, purpose and plan from the leaders. He was clear, however, in his condemnation of the leaders.

Loved by children; Jesus drew crowds of children when walking down the street.

Unafraid: able to look crucifixion and death in the face without flinching.

Gracious: quick to forgive, love and show mercy to the humble and down trodden of any transgression. 

Light of the world: But humanity will reject the light because they prefer darkness.

Man of action: picked up a whip a drove the vendors and money changers out of the temple and place of worship.

Supernatural: He lived in the natural, but had supernatural command and authority.

Preached that a spiritual life is counter-intuitive to a secular life 

Jesus said, “The greatest among you must be a servant.  Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

The world tells you that success is found in fame, fortune and power, while Jesus says that success is found in humble surrender to the will of God.

The world tells you that happiness is found in fun, food, frivolity and parties, while Jesus says “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven.”

The world tells you that comfort is found in surrounding yourself with material things and having people speak kind works to you. Jesus says that comfort is found through mourning and repentance. 

The world tells you that contentment is found in a fulfilling career, wealth, health and relationships. Jesus says that contentment is found in a desperate search for justice and righteousness.

Made outrageous statements:

  • “I am the only way, the only truth and the only life; there is none apart from me.”
  • “My kingdom is of another realm, if it were of this realm, I would have asked my followers to fight for me.”
  • “I have not come to bring peace, but to bring the sword…to bring division.”
  • “My purpose is to bare witness of the Truth.”
  • “If you want to be my disciple you must deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow me.”
  • “If a person sees me, he sees my Father (God).”
  • “I and my Father (God) are One.”
  • “I AM” (the same reference to Himself that God made to Moses)
  • “Only if I set you free, can you be truly free.”
  • “Unless you drink my blood and eat my fresh, you can not be my disciple.”
  • “Those who want to worship Me must worship in Spirit and Truth.”
  • “I am the bread of life that has come down from heaven…the person that comes to Me to eat will never go hungry. Who ever eats of this bread will live forever.”

Other quotes with context:

The crowd of priests, solders and guard came at night to arrest Jesus. 

Matthew 26 55 Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. 56 But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Jesus told his disciples that he was going to Jerusalem to suffer at the hands of the priests, teachers and elders.

Matthew 16 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.

Jesus saw that the people struggled to fulfill the requirement of Judaic law.

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Matthew chapter 25 is one a great beat-downs of all time in which Jesus puts on the brass knuckles to pound the religious and political leaders of his day.

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. 28 Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?

The Truth is that Jesus was complex, but He could only be one of possible things; 1)God (as he claimed), 2) a lunatic who spouted strange doctrines, or 3) a liar.    

The Truth also is that although I work at it daily, I am a poor reflection of the original.

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