Who's authority?

Discussion in 'Theology' started by wil, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    But Nick, do you not see that, from my viewpoint, you seem to be quite enslaved to Simone Weil? There is no possibility in you that she might be wrong, in fact you seem to insist she knows better than anyone else.

    That's a moot point. I could easily say your attachment to Simone Weil blinds you to the possibility of her being wrong.

    Thomas
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    On 'authority'

    I saw this on wiki when looking up one of my favourite authors:

    Italics my emphasis.

    So I suggest 'an authority' is a recognised representative of a particular philosophical school, religious denomination, theological/philosophical position, etc. and that is what we're pursuing here.

    Of course, everyone is the authority when it comes to their own opinion, but again, opinions are well catered for elsewhere, here we're looking for a bit more substance.

    Thomas
     
  3. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Thomas

    But Nick, do you not see that, from my viewpoint, you seem to be quite enslaved to Simone Weil? There is no possibility in you that she might be wrong, in fact you seem to insist she knows better than anyone else.

    Simone refers to a concept most commonly known as Plato's Cave. It refers to the human condition. A person either verifies it within themselves or they don't. I'm not attached to her or the concept but rather have verified its reality in me. The purpose of Christianity leads to freedom from cave restrictions.

    She's not the only one that had experiential knowledge of it. Using her I avoid the "what they do" argument. People cannot say it is what Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, or whatever do. Simone is Simone and pre-conditioning towards her begins and ends with her..

    The one person I wish she would have known I never mention because of possible negative pre-conditioning.

    That's a moot point. I could easily say your attachment to Simone Weil blinds you to the possibility of her being wrong.

    This is your trouble. You believe that to inwardly verify denies faith but it doesn't. IMO it just means that Christendom including modern day Catholicism misinterprets faith.

    Naturally then for you inner verification is a moot point since the idea is to have faith and blind faith is the ultimate attachment. Simone refers to the value of the ancient idea of conscious attention that leads to freedom from attachment but it is irrelevant to you.

    So I suggest 'an authority' is a recognized representative of a particular philosophical school, religious denomination, theological/philosophical position, etc. and that is what we're pursuing here.

    Of course, everyone is the authority when it comes to their own opinion, but again, opinions are well catered for elsewhere, here we're looking for a bit more substance.

    Do you consider Simone Weil an authority even though not connected with any "particular philosophical school, religious denomination, theological/philosophical position, etc"

    Do you consider Jesus Christ an authority even though he wasn't associated with any particular philosophical school, religious denomination, theological/philosophical position, etc when he walked the earth or was he just a person with opinions?

    Like most, you appear to associate substance with formulations of the "Great Beast." Yet defining objective substance includes confronting that moot point of inner verification.

    In the East, a student would gradually receive knowledge as he became able to understand it. In Christianity the idea is referred to as the necessity to put new wine into new bottles. But this is too insulting to be taken seriously in modern times so it is a moot point. OK, I get it. Bring on the experts. But it is very misleading to assume that those that the "Great Beast" calls experts are in any way objectively substantive
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Nick —

    Frankly I'm amazed this has dragged on so long.

    What you seem to be saying is that Simone Weil is an authority, but no-one else is. She alone is right, indeed she is infallibly and unconditionally right, in all things, to the point of omniscience.

    Furthermore you seem to imply that unless you agree with her absolutely and unconditionally, not only are you wrong, but your position is contemptible.

    Is that a fair summation?

    Thomas
     
  5. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    No. I am stressing that just because authorities have been accepted by secularism is no proof of substance. You call authorities substantive, This may or may not be true. The only way for a person to be able to know is to strive to become substantive but it is far easier just imagine that these "experts" understand something substantive and become followers.

    Followers never lasted long around Simone and many left Jesus since he had no use for blind followers to make slaves of but needed those he could awaken so they could become free from the psychological restrictions of cave life so as to become themselves.
     
  6. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Thomas Moore is a former monk. I've actually talked to him more than once - though not about religion. Has to do with my "other life."

    I think the ability to work miracles and prophetic powers have traditionally been seen as signs of spiritual authority.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I take your point, but nor is it a proof of the lack of substance.

    Well there's a logical jump there, isn't there?

    In the absence of Plato's insight, for example, how do we know what substantive is? Then we discover Plato, and it seems reasonable, but I still suggest we take Plato on faith until we substantiate his claims for ourselves, and even then, we could be wrong.

    That doesn't prove anything. They could well be thoroughly unpleasant individuals. Or cranks. Or wrong.

    Well their own testimony refutes that, as even John, the most insightful, realised they understood nothing until the Pentecost in Jerusalem.

    I can accept your psychology, but only in a very limited sense, on the basis that it's the Holy Spirit that does the real work, not by any 'self-work' we might do, that can only realise a human potential or possibility ...

    You can't attain theosis via psychology.

    Thomas
     
  8. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    (I neglected to include in with the other posts)

    I had thought perhaps to interject a little from some Native American traditions I stumbled on recently. But if I am to understand this remit, these Aboriginal traditions would not be welcome because they are not Christian, let alone Catholic?

    If this is so dearest Thomas, then I am afraid this entire board seems to me no more than a cheering section for the Catholic faith...quite a different remit than I originally understood Brian to have meant. Please clarify this for me, if you would be so kind? Surely you do not intend to mean that Native Americans have no *valid* claim as to what constitutes Spiritual Authority, do you?
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    If I may interject either I have misunderstood or you have. I think what has been determined is that native thought would be authorative on native discussion, buddhist on buddhist, catholic on catholic, protestant on protestant, etc.

    So if the topic being discussed is the Catholic understanding of X your aborginal resource maybe interesting but would be trumped by a Catholic source. And vice versa, if discussing some intricacy of the use of the tree in the Ghost Dance, the Catholic Priest that claims it is herecy would have no standing in anothers religion.
     
  10. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm trying to clarify. Goodness knows I am not perfect, I do misunderstand at times. That is why I am requesting a clarification.

    It is evident to me that Native thought should not be construed as a trump to Catholic or Christian thought, but it seems to me that when considering the "authoritative sources" that each of us subscribe to in order to support and build our positions, it hardly seems fitting to me to disclude any from discussion on the basis of the OP in question. For instance, where a Christian discussion might gravitate towards the trinity, there may be Native American insights that build on that premise, just as there may be Buddhist (for example) insights that refute that premise.
     
  11. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist Staff Member

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    It would seem that the direction this Theology board looks for authority is towards the theoretical, not towards the practical.
    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

    ~Chuck Reid
     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Juantoo —

    No, not at all. Simply that the voice of the Native American Tradition would not be 'authoritative' for the Christian (and vice versa), whereas the voice of the NA Tradition is the authentic and authoritative voice of the 'testimony of experience', the voice of the community, for Native Americans.

    Dialogue between voices is to be encouraged.

    Individual opinion does not equal the garnered wisdom of collective experience, nor does it overthrow the collective voice of the community ... that's what I mean by 'authority' — it is 'authoritative' because it is recognised as such by the community.

    Not at all, but I do suggest that someone's opinion of 'Spiritual Authority' carries no weight if it is only backed by their own opinion. what we're trying to get to here is ideas beyond opinions: the ideas that shape communities and by which comunities shape themselves.

    Thomas
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks Wil, you said what I wanted to say quite succinctly. I missed your post first time round.

    Thomas
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I tend to see it differently. Individual opinion is theoretical, even if lived by the individual, because it has no real standing outside the individual.

    Community experience is intensely practical, being 'worked out' in and by the community, and this is where doctrine and dogma derives, and this is what the community accepts as authoritative.

    Thomas
     
  15. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist Staff Member

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    ...and we can see the results of 'collective authority' vs 'individual authority' in the case of the collective crowd calling for the crucification of Jesus, whereas the individual who held authority, Pilate, wanted to spare Jesus, but yielded to the crowd out of fear. Which would have been the 'correct and acceptable authority' in this case?

    We can also see examples of individuals being persecuted for their opinions that were heretical to the 'collective wisdom' backed by authority in the instances of the geocentric model vs the heliocentric model of the solar system, and in the persecution/assasination of individual political voices such as Martin Luther King Jr.

    I wouldn't call any of these collectivist actions practical. Only by reflecting back on them can we see the error, and repent from these mistakes, transforming them into practical wisdom.

    Might does not always make right. I think that this is an excellent argument demonstrating that all collectivist authority and actions must be questioned, imo.
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The Sanhedrin is recognised as the authoritative voice of Judaism when it called for Jesus' execution: John 18:14 "Now Caiphas was he who had given the counsel to the Jews: That it was expedient that one man should die for the people."

    And Pilate was the authoritative voice of the Roman Empire in response when he saw no reason, under Roman Law, why the man should die: John 18:38 "I find no cause in him."

    I am not arguing right or wrong. I am arguing that if you want to know what a community thinks and why, ask a representative of the community. You're not obliged to accept it, but at the very least you can rely on what you're rejecting is what they actually think, and not what someone who is not of the community thinks they think.

    Put it another way: A man called Jesus Christ was crucified. Why?
    The accepted Jewish opinion is that He was "Bad", an apostate Jew, a false prophet who declared Himself to be God, a troublemaker who was going to bring a whole heap of trouble down on everybody, so the expedient measure, for the good of all, is ...

    The accepted Roman opinion is that He was "Mad", a nobody, but He was stirring up a lot of Jewish dissent, which was leading to big trouble, so the expedient measure, for the good of all, is ...

    The accepted Christian opinion is that He was "the Son of God", destined to die, for the good of all, so the expedient measure is ...

    All three opinions are correct and authentic and authoritative with regard to their principle: Judaism, Rome, and Christianity. They can't all be right, though. Which one is it? Take your pick.

    The aim of this board in the first instance is to inquire why people held the geocentric or the heliocentric model of the solar system at all, and then, if interested, inquire further into what that model tells them about the solar system in which they live.

    Whether you believe in the geocentric, the heliocentric, or any other model, is up to you.

    Discussion here is not primarily about broadcasting what 'I' think, but finding out what 'others' think. Only subsequently, hopefully, are there grounds for a reasoned and well-mannered discussion about what is thought.

    Thomas
     
  17. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    I don't think you can get the accepted Jewish opinion from Christian sources. As Jew I can most certainly say that's not the "accepted Jewish opinion" as in regard to Jesus, there is no authoritative opinion except that, based on Jewish requirements for the messiah, he's not the messiah. I don't think you could argue, from the GT, any more than, "According to Christian sources, the opinion of the Sanhedrin was..." if you're being intellectually honest. Certainly the Sanhedrin portrayed in the GT is not acting according to rules of jurisprudence set forth in Jewish sources which calls the GT as a source for understanding the sanhedrin and its actions into question. At the very least, it challenges the idea that the court portrayed in the GT is an authoritative Jewish court.

    You could argue that the Christian view of the Jewish view is "..." but that doesn't make it equivalent with the Jewish view.
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Ah but if we follow our current line of thinking, AND your statements are correct if we are talking from a Roman perspective they are right, and from a Jewish perspective they are right and from a Christian perspective they are right.
    Excellent point but is the reverse true? I mean, let's see the Jews wrote the books (old testament), if we are discussing the intricacies found in their books wouldn't they be the authority?
     
  19. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Wil,

    do you mean that we can't get the accepted Christian opinion from Jewish sources? I would argue that we can't and that the OT is an accepted Christian source, regardless its association to Judaism. I'd further argue that, in terms of authority on OT or Tanach, it depends on the tradition which is doing the interpreting. Jewish scholars are an authority on Jewish views of the Tanach. Christian scholars are an authority on Christian views of the OT. In both cases we're still talking about diverse perspectives.
     
  20. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist Staff Member

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    These would be considered to be authorities of men. Back to the question raised in the opening post:

    Could any of the above mentioned authorities be considered to be "spiritual authority?" If so, which ones, and why?
     

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