The Modern challenge to Christianity

Nick_A

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Can Christianity emerge to become a meaningful source that provides the means for experiencing human meaning and purpose enough so as to prevent the destruction of our species through our own selfish ignorance? I don't know anymore

But when I read of the efforts of those like Simone Weil that need to experience meaning and purpose and the beneficial effect of her purity on so many, I can't say it is hopeless. If Simone were alive today I'd love to ask her opinion as to the preface of Jacob Needleman's book "Lost Christianity." In it he meaningfully describes this challenge to Christianity"

"Do You wish to know God? Learn first to know yourself" -ABBA EVAGRIUS, FOURTH CENTURY

"Never in recent memory has the world been at once so deeply drawn toward religion and so troubled about it. As it is now clear, all self assured predictions that the march of modern science would marginalize religion have proved false. As far as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are concerned, we are, on the contrary, in a period of religious expansion throughout the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. At the same time, it is clear that with the very survival of our civilization hanging in the balance, the question relentlessly insists itself: Is religion a force for good or ill in the life of humanity? Does the actual influence of religion, in fact sometimes intensify the very defilements of human nature - ignorance, fear, hatred, - from which doctrines and practices are intended to liberate us?

As once again we witness the horrific engines of war being fueled by religious zeal of one kind or another, and under one kind of name or another, the answer to this question is obviously to be: Yes, sometimes: Yes often! Have not the darkest crimes of world history - the insane barbarism of genocide, the bloody crusades, the murder of innocents, and the depredation of defenseless cultures - have not many, if not most, of these crimes been committed under the banner of religion or through a quasi-religious frenzy attaching itself to religious ideals? Put next to these endlessly recurrent horrors, the intimate comforts of personal religious faith and day-to-day individual efforts to live religiously may seem to count for little in the balance scales of human life on earth. Little wonder, then that so many of the best minds of the modern era entirely rejected religion as a foundation for both ethics and knowledge. Just as the scientific turn of the mind seemed to have entirely eclipsed religion's claim to knowledge, so - it has seemed to many - the same modern turn of mind must inevitably displace religion's claim to moral authority. Just as religion can no longer show us what is true but must yield that task to methods of thought that are independent of religious doctrine, so neither can religion, it was claimed, show us what is good, but must now surrender that task as well to the secular mind of modernity.

But in fact, no assumption of moral authority by secular humanism has taken hold or now seems in any way likely or justified. The modern era, the era of science, while witnessing the phenomenal acceleration of scientific discovery and its applications in technological innovation, has brought the world the inconceivable slaughter and chaos of modern war, along with the despair of ethical dilemmas arising from new technologies that all at once project humanity's essence-immortality onto the entire planet: global injustice, global heartlessness, and global disintegration of the normal patterns of life that have guided mankind for a millennia. Neither the secular philosophies of our epoch nor its theories of human nature - pragmatism, positivism, Marxism, Liberalism, humanism, behaviorism, biological determinism, psychoanalysis - nor the traditional doctrines of the religions, in the way we have understood them, seem able to confront or explain the crimes of humanity in our era, nor other wise and compassionate guidance through the labyrinth of paralyzing new ethical problems.

What is needed is either a new understanding of God or a new understanding of Man: an understanding of God that does not insult the scientific mind while offering bread, not a stone, to the deepest hunger of the heart; an understanding of Man that squarely faces the criminal weakness of our moral will while holding out to us the knowledge of how we can strive within ourselves to become the fully human being we were meant to be -- both for ourselves and as instruments of a higher purpose.

But this is not an either/or. The premise --or rather, the proposal -- of this book is that at the heart of the Christian religion there exists, and has always existed, just such a vision of God and Man. I call it "Lost Christianity," not because it is a matter of doctrines and concepts that may have been lost or forgotten; nor even a matter of methods of spiritual practice that may need to be recovered from ancient sources. It is all that, to be sure, but what is lost in the whole of our modern life, including our understanding of religion, is something even more fundamental, without which religious ideas and practices lose their meaning and all to easily become the instruments of ignorance, fear, and hatred. What is lost is the experience of oneself -- myself, the personal being who is here, now, living, breathing, yearning for meaning, for goodness; just this person here, now, squarely confronting ones existential weaknesses and pretensions while yet aware, however tentatively, of a higher current of a higher current of life and identity calling to us from within ourselves. This presence to oneself is the missing element in the whole of the life of Man, the intermediate state of consciousness between what we are meant to be and what we actually are. it is perhaps the one bridge that can lead us from our inhuman past toward the human future.

In the writings and utterances of the great teachers of Christianity over the centuries, one may begin to discern, like a photographic image gradually developing before ones eyes, the outlines of this vision of what is called in this book "intermediate Christianity." But modern man can no longer perceive that vision or hear that language that has been associated with it. Words like "humility," "purity of heart," "contrition" are no longer understood to require the individual, existential struggle, for what the early Fathers called "attention in oneself." On the contrary, it is assumed that such qualities of character can be ours in the distracted and dispersed state of being that is more and more characteristic of life in the contemporary world. The result is self deception which masks, and perhaps even intensifies, our weaknesses and which inevitably leads to the disillusionment with religious ideals that has been one of the hallmarks of the modern secular worldview. Of course, the modernist attempt to establish ethical life without religion itself ignores the same lost element in human life that has been forgotten in the conventional understanding of religion. The result is often a sad ineffectuality under the name of rousing moral formulae - or, ironically, the decay of what began in opposition to perceived religious tyranny into its own brand of quasi-religious dogmatism and violence - as witnessed for example, in the fate of communist ideology.

Whether it is conventional religion or secular humanism, or any other modern program of morality or inner betterment, the question remains: Can there be any hope or our becoming what we are meant to be without first becoming fully and deeply aware of what we in fact are, now, here, in just this moment of our lives? Whether religious or not, is there any hope for man who has lost this capacity, or forgotten the need, to know himself and to be alive and present in himself?

The great ideas and ideals of Christianity continue to offer hope and comfort to the world, as do the ideals of Judaism and Islam -- and all the world's great religions. And as do the ideals of humanistic morality, with its passionate commitment to justice and to human rights. Yet we see, we see, we cannot help but see that now, as ever, something is missing, something has been forgotten about ourselves and in ourselves. Our children see it as clearly as we sometimes do; more clearly! The words of St.Paul never sounded more distinctly than they do now in the lengthening shadows of our civilization.

For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do......Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

-Romans 7"
This is the challenge to Christianity. Can its lost depth be restored in society so that its teaching doesn't insult the scientific mind but yet offer bread for the heart? I believe it can but also fear that we've sunk to far down that it would be necessary to hit bottom first.

Can Christianity ever return to become able to restore what Prof. Needleman suggests:

but what is lost in the whole of our modern life, including our understanding of religion, is something even more fundamental, without which religious ideas and practices lose their meaning and all to easily become the instruments of ignorance, fear, and hatred. What is lost is the experience of oneself -- myself, the personal being who is here, now, living, breathing, yearning for meaning, for goodness; just this person here, now, squarely confronting ones existential weaknesses and pretensions while yet aware, however tentatively, of a higher current of a higher current of life and identity calling to us from within ourselves. This presence to oneself is the missing element in the whole of the life of Man, the intermediate state of consciousness between what we are meant to be and what we actually are. it is perhaps the one bridge that can lead us from our inhuman past toward the human future.

This is the challenge for Christianity in the world. It cannot be an expression of a secular sect but the Christianity that understands consciousness and higher perspective as man's potential.

Just the fact that there is this minority that includes the Simones and Prof. Needlemans that have the mind, heart, and body, to impartially dedicate in the pursuit of experiencing human meaning and purpose within themselves proves there is hope. Their influence helps others to see that the essence of Christianity does provide the means for the conscious experience of the logic necessary for the scientist and the bread for the soul.

But I fear this is Ahriman's time and the plunge into materialism will bring out the worst in our species. It isn't too much to hope that at least the depth of these ideas will not become so hidden that the young that can profit from them will be denied an opportunity to pursue them.

I don't know but it is safe to say that Christianity has a heck of a challenge in front of it and a great deal could depend upon the relative success of awakening people to the importance of what Prof: Needleman describes:

Whether it is conventional religion or secular humanism, or any other modern program of morality or inner betterment, the question remains: Can there be any hope or our becoming what we are meant to be without first becoming fully and deeply aware of what we in fact are, now, here, in just this moment of our lives? Whether religious or not, is there any hope for man who has lost this capacity, or forgotten the need, to know himself and to be alive and present in himself?
 
Why are you looking for meaning for your life through the experiences and thoughts of others, Nick?

If a person is hungry they ask where food can be found. If someone offers suggestions, it is up to us to go to it and see if it is there. The questions I've always had never could be answered in the normal way but through indications by some extraordinary people, I've come to at least understand why everything is as it is.

Now though, as explained by Prof Needleman and others, it will be necessary for society to develop its collective understanding of human meaning and purpose or else we invite self destruction through technological improvements in our abilty to create mutual destruction.

These people describe the problem in a realistic, non feel good illusory manner. My choice is to be part of the problem by keeping my head in the sand lost in imagination or being part of the solution by expressing the importance of becoming open to the human condition that is the source of a potential disaster.
 
If a person is hungry they ask where food can be found. If someone offers suggestions, it is up to us to go to it and see if it is there. The questions I've always had never could be answered in the normal way but through indications by some extraordinary people, I've come to at least understand why everything is as it is.

Now though, as explained by Prof Needleman and others, it will be necessary for society to develop its collective understanding of human meaning and purpose or else we invite self destruction through technological improvements in our abilty to create mutual destruction.

These people describe the problem in a realistic, non feel good illusory manner. My choice is to be part of the problem by keeping my head in the sand lost in imagination or being part of the solution by expressing the importance of becoming open to the human condition that is the source of a potential disaster.
Give him a fish, contingent upon his coming with you to learn to fish for himself (you are doing both him and self a favor).
 
I call it super-Eco super-high-tech or something like that if you can picture it. When most things are almost free, super-efficient and non-pollutant, even luxury.
e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K._Eric_Drexler

That would relieve us of many things you mentioned above. Then, possibly the real fight may begin. I see it in more simple terms though, its just a matter of putting the control freaks in their place (excuse me if I sound arrogant or like a simpleton..).

Tk
 
I call it super-Eco super-high-tech or something like that if you can picture it. When most things are almost free, super-efficient and non-pollutant, even luxury.
e.g. K. Eric Drexler - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That would relieve us of many things you mentioned above. Then, possibly the real fight may begin. I see it in more simple terms though, its just a matter of putting the control freaks in their place (excuse me if I sound arrogant or like a simpleton..).

Tk

Q is describing the problem of "prestige" in his own way. We help a man to be a man by showing the way to satisfy a hunger whether it be spiritual or physical. Prof Needleman suggests that we lack the self knowledge to become open to the experience human meaning and purpose: "how we can strive within ourselves to become the fully human being we were meant to be -- both for ourselves and as instruments of a higher purpose."


Can we strive to be fully human and at the same time strive to be fully catered to by technology? To make matters worse, no one is ever satisfied. The more we have the more we want and that includes prestige which allows us to believe that human meaning and purpose is an exprssion of societal goals.

When Marx said that religion was the opiate of the masses, Simone Weil retorted that revolution was the opiate of the masses. This was the deep observation that revolution only changes things temporarily but since we are as we are, the same dynamics as before will emerge because it is the natural result of our collective being: of fallen human nature.

The first step in changing our being is impartial self awareness leading to the experience of oneself. This quality of "intermediate consciousness" gradually allows us the experience of a higher more complete human perspective that includes being an instrument for higher purpose.

The Christian could theoretically open others to this experience but there are only a few Christians and only a minority will feel the worth of becoming themselves through the realization of what they are losing by contentment in Plato's cave.

I call this situation a challenge to Christianity but it is also a challenge to all that have experienced the reality of Plato's cave in their own psych and have come to see that there is a way out through grace if we can be open to it. That is the big if? As much as i respect Simone, I know what she says now is true but have sincere doubts if collectively we can be open to grace since the "rewards" of technology create the imagination that denies grace. Since we are as we are, the good of technology will lead to the bad and that is a horror I dislike thinking about.

"Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace." Simone weil

Very true dear lady but I have my doubts as to whether society can come to appreciate the necessity of grace sufficiently to minimize the cyclical horrors when we are only governed by prestige and force.

But if you can give so much and be disliked so much for it since who likes alarm clocks, who am I to be content with being part of the problem. Your heart was bigger and you were more intelligent then me but must you also have had more balls than I do? You are right, Jacob Needleman and others are also right. Who am I then to avoid the efforts to "know thyself" and strive to become involved with human meaning and purpose it reveals?
 
Nick —

I'm coming to the conclusion that you will be perennially asking questions, whilst around there there will be those who are actually getting on with it.

The short answer is, you'll never know by asking questions, and the world in general does not possess the intellectual capacity and ascetic vigour to be as perfect as you require before they even begin ...

The modern challenge faces the world — can it overcome philosophical relativism? Can it, as the saying goes, 'get over itself'? When it does, it will find Christianity waiting for it.

You make no allowance for the work of the Holy Spirit, the only means by which it will be accomplished. I can tell you now that if you think man will come to the answer or the solution under his own steam, as it were, then you'll be waiting a long time ...

When faced with someone actually making an effort, your response is, "Ah, but wait, stop, have you considered ... "

When I was learning Soto Zen, I was reading the biography of one Zen Master who never spoke for more than 10 minutes without throwing up his hands and saying "Enough talk, let's sit!"

You can talk, as we say, 'until the cows come home' ... or you can get on with it.

Thomas
 
I may write in absolutes but these are just my opinions. Our purpose is to mainly feed the next generation and protect them. There`s really nothing else that really satisfies us. This is the minimum and any other activity is just a luxury which one is free to pursue, and many do.

Can we strive to be fully human and at the same time strive to be fully catered to by technology?

Absolutely, if not, we can try! First technology is made to make peoples lifes easier, happier, to save time, and by no means mostly the engineers do not make things to make people miserable. Some of the richest engineers I have met were some of the nicest people I`ve met. Completely opposite to the wall street guy, and much nicer than some mediocrely rich people. You see, IMO, to be a good engineer you have to have a soul, and have a clear consiousness, then ideas start flowing. When you don`t have something like a relation with grace of God, then the ideas do not flow, simple as that. The priorities are different, and not that its always malicious as it is not mostly, that is the reason why many people cannot create objects, but choose to build things others tell them to build, or be around people more often. Some people are relay units, some are the antenna, some are narrators according to buddhism.

My point being, that when an engineer creates something, most of the time he creates it with good intensions, and it also in essence becomes an extention of his body especially while it is being built. So good people build good things, some have ideas and are creative. If you look at Einstein, at least to me it is obvious that he believes in God. Without that dimension, I don`t know what a person has to fall back on to start to imagine how the world is. Maybe this is what you are expressing through words of Simone Weil. And can we not be fully human while strive to be fully catered by technology that are built by good people with good intentions?

To make matters worse, no one is ever satisfied. The more we have the more we want and that includes prestige which allows us to believe that human meaning and purpose is an exprssion of societal goals.

Prestige is just an aftermath of one`s actions. And I am always hungry of everything, and hope to remain that way until I can`t move, its my preference. The reason why, is because there are many things I want to do. Others may have the same thoughts, but with different priorities. It is my goal to become super-rich, so that I can also do good things, as well as enjoy life to its fullest. A Ferrari to me is a sophisticated work of engineering, a medium that I can enjoy to start to understand and feel what the engineers had in mind. Its a form of communication like a book that actually physically stimulates my senses to communicate. You just can`t do that with book. You can`t explain what the developers of golf clubs had in mind fully with a book. Others may look at a Ferrari differently, I`ll do both seek to understand and showoff as well. When you look at technology as kind of like a book, why discriminate?

When Marx said that religion was the opiate of the masses, Simone Weil retorted that revolution was the opiate of the masses.

This most likely is relative to circumstances, Marx was probably surrounded by blindly religious people who he viewed as a problem, whereas Simone Weil was surrounded by blood thirsty revolutionaries. Both were probably really upset and that is evident in their absolute tone. And neither quotes would hold true as absolute statements, if the circumstances were different, and that should be considered.

The Christian could theoretically open others to this experience but there are only a few Christians and only a minority will feel the worth of becoming themselves through the realization of what they are losing by contentment in Plato's cave.

Didn`t Jesus say something like we are the sheep, and he is the shepard. Yes there are few shepards around but they are not exclusively the only Christians, so there are maybe more Christians than you actually wrote down when you include the sheep.

..since the "rewards" of technology create the imagination that denies grace.. Since we are as we are, the good of technology will lead to the bad and that is a horror I dislike thinking about.

As I wrote above, through grace good things are created. Bad things can be created as well, that is the choice we have and only in those circumstances when technology is created with bad thoughts are we denied grace, and things become limited in imagination. So its in our interest to be good. Ungifted people do not think about good things, most of the time they think about themselves, mostly they are good people but their imagination is very limited and disadvantaged like as if they were handicapped, IMO. So I`ll simply put is as without grace, one becomes weak and predictable as their creativity becomes limited. Even the most horrific weapons may have been developed with the utmost good intentions, although it is questionable in how those intentions were directed. But it would not have been possible without the good intentions.


I find it hard to imagine how you could possibly compile your thoughts in the ocean of words and logic, but maybe you are gifted in that. And I can see that you may very well be able to speak to a certain kind of audience with your style.

Yes, the ultimate good technology can be transformed into seriously destructive tech. But, I guess in a way I see a place through technology, and it took me some time to be able to imagine this in a practical manner, but when I think about it, its kind of like Eden (except I`d doubt we`d be naked) which includes almost free ferrari`s and mansions. And yes, there are technologies that are irrelevant to our advancement IMO, although some would disagree the "how`s" due to control feaking reasons.

One question being do we need to advance in technology while endangering ourselves. Well there are still some hurdles to clear as we always have idiots who want to do crazy things, but I think we probably have just cleared one major hurdle by avoiding the nuclear world war. And its probably a reality we have to face that we are always in a balancing act when it comes to things like this. It will probably be no different in terms of the risks if we did nothing, going back is not an option, it will only get better if we advance.

I recall a French philosopher by the name Russo. His quotes are something like "man! return to nature". IMO, we need to do that with what we currently have, not stray towards devolution, meaning we need to move forward in the grace of God with better technology.

TK

p.s. Nick, you probably think and write way faster than I do. I`d appreciate it if you could make it easier for me to respond.
 
It's kind of ironic - while some forms of Christianity in the USA have become an aggressive marketing machine, here in the UK the Anglican Church has become depressingly introspective - popping up from self-indulgent discussions to make almost routine calls for liberal principles, before getting back to self-involvement.

The Church of England has a significant presence in the House of Lords, and yet the bishops who are supposed to sit there tend to disappear on bills with moral elements, such as bringing in super casinos, and other issues that affect the wider UK - in order to sit down and talk about issues that seem otherwise more important, such as the role of homosexuality in Church.

IMO, any faith or denomination is only as strong as its leadership - and how it can bring its members to act.

2c.
 
"What is needed is either a new understanding of God or a new understanding of Man: an understanding of God that does not insult the scientific mind." (originally posed by Nick).

I agree very much with that statement.

 
If a person is hungry they ask where food can be found. If someone offers suggestions, it is up to us to go to it and see if it is there.

And supposing there is nobody around to ask, what would you do? Would you wait for someone to show up so that you could ask them, and they could direct you? And what if the person you ask is a jerk and decides to point you in the wrong direction? Wouldn't it just be faster, easier, and in effect safer to use the sense God gave you to find your own food? Because that's the thing, Nick: When it comes to figuring out the meaning of one's own life, there are only two people who can possibly have an opinion, and Professor Needleman isn't one of them;)
 
Nick —

I'm coming to the conclusion that you will be perennially asking questions, whilst around there there will be those who are actually getting on with it.

The short answer is, you'll never know by asking questions, and the world in general does not possess the intellectual capacity and ascetic vigour to be as perfect as you require before they even begin ...

The modern challenge faces the world — can it overcome philosophical relativism? Can it, as the saying goes, 'get over itself'? When it does, it will find Christianity waiting for it.

You make no allowance for the work of the Holy Spirit, the only means by which it will be accomplished. I can tell you now that if you think man will come to the answer or the solution under his own steam, as it were, then you'll be waiting a long time ...

When faced with someone actually making an effort, your response is, "Ah, but wait, stop, have you considered ... "

When I was learning Soto Zen, I was reading the biography of one Zen Master who never spoke for more than 10 minutes without throwing up his hands and saying "Enough talk, let's sit!"

You can talk, as we say, 'until the cows come home' ... or you can get on with it.

Thomas

Thomas

For some reason you seem to prefer keeping the people stupid.

Paul refers to renewing the mind and you would say why bother, just do it. do what? Christianity is concerned with what we ARE. What will you DO to effect what you ARE?

We simply cannot DO what is necessary to be Christian. We are the wretched man. We do one thing one day and the opposite on the next. Like it or not it is the human condition.

Jacob Needleman through his research learns that Christianity at one time seemed aware of intermediate Christianity. It was levels in-between the wretched man and a Christian. So he asserts that it is through the psychology of "being," that a person can become able to do:

In the writings and utterances of the great teachers of Christianity over the centuries, one may begin to discern, like a photographic image gradually developing before ones eyes, the outlines of this vision of what is called in this book "intermediate Christianity." But modern man can no longer perceive that vision or hear that language that has been associated with it. Words like "humility," "purity of heart," "contrition" are no longer understood to require the individual, existential struggle, for what the early Fathers called "attention in oneself." On the contrary, it is assumed that such qualities of character can be ours in the distracted and dispersed state of being that is more and more characteristic of life in the contemporary world. The result is self deception which masks, and perhaps even intensifies, our weaknesses and which inevitably leads to the disillusionment with religious ideals that has been one of the hallmarks of the modern secular worldview. Of course, the modernist attempt to establish ethical life without religion itself ignores the same lost element in human life that has been forgotten in the conventional understanding of religion. The result is often a sad ineffectuality under the name of rousing moral formulae - or, ironically, the decay of what began in opposition to perceived religious tyranny into its own brand of quasi-religious dogmatism and violence - as witnessed for example, in the fate of communist ideology.

Only through this attention in oneself can a person have the non-illusory experience of themselves. But to you all this is meaningless and you just say "do it" without appreciating how far we are from doing other than what we do.

Look at what is going on now with Israel and the Palestinians. It is similar to what happens in one form or another periodically in the world. Could conscious humanity be capable of it? Of course not. As creatures reacting to external stimuli it is a periodic norm.

We deny the Spirit and remain in chaos. Jacob Needleman is showing how through intermediate Christianity, we come closer to the worth of Christianity through the help of the Spirit and a quality of being that knows itself and its meaning and purpose which is more then just participating in these periodic rituals of mutual destruction that because of technological advances will become increasingly more efficient.

I know it is insulting but because it becomes more important in relation to technology and killing efficiency that Christianity must be a force in awakening humanity to inner morality normal for conscious humanity. It can do so by initially appreciating the benefits of intermediate Christianity which requires something more than the normal expressions of Christendom as to external morality and its natural hypocrisy.
 
And supposing there is nobody around to ask, what would you do? Would you wait for someone to show up so that you could ask them, and they could direct you? And what if the person you ask is a jerk and decides to point you in the wrong direction? Wouldn't it just be faster, easier, and in effect safer to use the sense God gave you to find your own food? Because that's the thing, Nick: When it comes to figuring out the meaning of one's own life, there are only two people who can possibly have an opinion, and Professor Needleman isn't one of them;)

The point is that we don't have access to use the higher supernatural sense given us. We are lost in imagination. This is the plight of a minority of students. They are spiritually hungry and neither secular religion or secular education offers anything. So not being strong enough to fight it, they gradually spiritually die on the inside and become part of those described by jesus in Matthew 8:

22But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."
 
I may write in absolutes but these are just my opinions. Our purpose is to mainly feed the next generation and protect them. There`s really nothing else that really satisfies us. This is the minimum and any other activity is just a luxury which one is free to pursue, and many do.



Absolutely, if not, we can try! First technology is made to make peoples lifes easier, happier, to save time, and by no means mostly the engineers do not make things to make people miserable. Some of the richest engineers I have met were some of the nicest people I`ve met. Completely opposite to the wall street guy, and much nicer than some mediocrely rich people. You see, IMO, to be a good engineer you have to have a soul, and have a clear consiousness, then ideas start flowing. When you don`t have something like a relation with grace of God, then the ideas do not flow, simple as that. The priorities are different, and not that its always malicious as it is not mostly, that is the reason why many people cannot create objects, but choose to build things others tell them to build, or be around people more often. Some people are relay units, some are the antenna, some are narrators according to buddhism.

My point being, that when an engineer creates something, most of the time he creates it with good intensions, and it also in essence becomes an extention of his body especially while it is being built. So good people build good things, some have ideas and are creative. If you look at Einstein, at least to me it is obvious that he believes in God. Without that dimension, I don`t know what a person has to fall back on to start to imagine how the world is. Maybe this is what you are expressing through words of Simone Weil. And can we not be fully human while strive to be fully catered by technology that are built by good people with good intentions?



Prestige is just an aftermath of one`s actions. And I am always hungry of everything, and hope to remain that way until I can`t move, its my preference. The reason why, is because there are many things I want to do. Others may have the same thoughts, but with different priorities. It is my goal to become super-rich, so that I can also do good things, as well as enjoy life to its fullest. A Ferrari to me is a sophisticated work of engineering, a medium that I can enjoy to start to understand and feel what the engineers had in mind. Its a form of communication like a book that actually physically stimulates my senses to communicate. You just can`t do that with book. You can`t explain what the developers of golf clubs had in mind fully with a book. Others may look at a Ferrari differently, I`ll do both seek to understand and showoff as well. When you look at technology as kind of like a book, why discriminate?



This most likely is relative to circumstances, Marx was probably surrounded by blindly religious people who he viewed as a problem, whereas Simone Weil was surrounded by blood thirsty revolutionaries. Both were probably really upset and that is evident in their absolute tone. And neither quotes would hold true as absolute statements, if the circumstances were different, and that should be considered.



Didn`t Jesus say something like we are the sheep, and he is the shepard. Yes there are few shepards around but they are not exclusively the only Christians, so there are maybe more Christians than you actually wrote down when you include the sheep.



As I wrote above, through grace good things are created. Bad things can be created as well, that is the choice we have and only in those circumstances when technology is created with bad thoughts are we denied grace, and things become limited in imagination. So its in our interest to be good. Ungifted people do not think about good things, most of the time they think about themselves, mostly they are good people but their imagination is very limited and disadvantaged like as if they were handicapped, IMO. So I`ll simply put is as without grace, one becomes weak and predictable as their creativity becomes limited. Even the most horrific weapons may have been developed with the utmost good intentions, although it is questionable in how those intentions were directed. But it would not have been possible without the good intentions.


I find it hard to imagine how you could possibly compile your thoughts in the ocean of words and logic, but maybe you are gifted in that. And I can see that you may very well be able to speak to a certain kind of audience with your style.

Yes, the ultimate good technology can be transformed into seriously destructive tech. But, I guess in a way I see a place through technology, and it took me some time to be able to imagine this in a practical manner, but when I think about it, its kind of like Eden (except I`d doubt we`d be naked) which includes almost free ferrari`s and mansions. And yes, there are technologies that are irrelevant to our advancement IMO, although some would disagree the "how`s" due to control feaking reasons.

One question being do we need to advance in technology while endangering ourselves. Well there are still some hurdles to clear as we always have idiots who want to do crazy things, but I think we probably have just cleared one major hurdle by avoiding the nuclear world war. And its probably a reality we have to face that we are always in a balancing act when it comes to things like this. It will probably be no different in terms of the risks if we did nothing, going back is not an option, it will only get better if we advance.

I recall a French philosopher by the name Russo. His quotes are something like "man! return to nature". IMO, we need to do that with what we currently have, not stray towards devolution, meaning we need to move forward in the grace of God with better technology.

TK

p.s. Nick, you probably think and write way faster than I do. I`d appreciate it if you could make it easier for me to respond.

OK, just respond to this basic question: Can poor people be happy? Can they find meaning and purpose that provides something that the striving for riches denies?

What is the pearl of great price for you? What would you sell all your riches for? With Simone, it is obvious. Everything is sold to become part of the greater good. And yes she came from a well to do home. Yet in the Bible the Rich Man asks what is necessary to atain the kingdom and Jesus says he must sacrifice his riches which of course he cannot do. His riches were still God for him. So what is the pearl of great price for you?
 
"What is needed is either a new understanding of God or a new understanding of Man: an understanding of God that does not insult the scientific mind." (originally posed by Nick).

I agree very much with that statement.

Well then, welcome to the new frontier. There have been and currently are an intelligent spiritual minority that have come to see that science is true and the essence of religion (before the experts got a hold of it) is true. Yet society as a whole doesn't realize it but it is increasingly necessary that it come to do so. They are not in conflict but rather are complimentary.

How long would it take for society as a whole to appreciate rather then scoff at such profound insight as the following.

I believe that one identical thought is to be found--expressed very precisely and with only slight differences of modality-- in. . .Pythagoras, Plato, and the Greek Stoics. . .in the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita; in the Chinese Taoist writings and. . .Buddhism. . .in the dogmas of the Christian faith and in the writings of the greatest Christian mystics. . .I believe that this thought is the truth, and that it today requires a modern and Western form of expression. That is to say, it should be expressed through the only approximately good thing we can call our own, namely science. This is all the less difficult because it is itself the origin of science. Simone Weil....Simone Pétrement, Simone Weil: A Life, Random House, 1976, p. 488

We are at the beginning of such recognition where the God/Man relationship can be viewed more realistically. Whether or not we can survive the next hundred years that it will take for it to become common knowledge, if indeed it ever can for the sake of the survival of our species, is the question.
 
.. Can poor people be happy? Can they find meaning and purpose that provides something that the striving for riches denies?

If Christianity did anything better than any other religion, it is to appeal to the poor, maybe that is by making them happy. That is why Christianity is a major religion this present day. I can almost say absolutely that this is a fact in this case. The answer being "yes", you know the answer.

But to make an argument to deny any statement that it is a sin to be wealthy. I`ll just state "SOLOMON" in large case bold letters with regards to this.

What is the pearl of great price for you? What would you sell all your riches for?

It`ll be the same for anybody in the end. I`ll refrain from making further statements with regards to this.

With Simone, it is obvious. Everything is sold to become part of the greater good. And yes she came from a well to do home.

I am from a well-to-do family, and I know that rich people don`t know or forget what its like to severely starve or how starving people feel. I do. And I`ll probably never forget. Its hard to not think like a sinner in those circumstances. People who have never starved don`t know, but if they gave that all up, to me it seems like a sin to give up what God had provided, but it is a path that well to do people can choose. I don`t know Weil well enough to know what kind of person she is with regards to this. But if she recomends all well-to-do people to give up their wealth, she`s probably never starved in her life.

To state that one should give up their wealth is sheer ignorance on part of rich people, when they can hold on to their wealth and continue to build wealth to help other people. Depending on how it is, it is a very self-centered give up and forget choice, or malicious suggestion directed towards wealthy people. And those ideals only hold when one is single. Babies of wealthy people don`t need to starve in the name of religion and ideals right?

One thing I can state for sure, is that a certain continuous flow of wealth (maybe an ideal Christian-like franchise system for logistics), needs to be established, to save the most unfortunate people. Nothing in the world is free yet, and even the richest cannot support everyone by just giving up their wealth. So the answer needs to be a business operation (grace & brains) to especially balance the books, while educating and involving unfortunate people. I can`t stress enough how important it is to possibly establish a working business operation for unfortunate people, voluntary actions just aren`t enough presently.

Yet in the Bible the Rich Man asks what is necessary to atain the kingdom and Jesus says he must sacrifice his riches which of course he cannot do..

I think when Jesus said that to the Rich Man, we should treat it as a somewhat isolated incident. Although it may hold for many other people. That was probably a good advice for Jesus to give to that man since he was lost, but we must remember that that was said under that particular circumstance and times directed towards that specific Rich Man. We shouldn`t take it literally as universal absolute truth. When the time comes when material is no big deal to obtain, wealth will not matter to us, but it does now.

I know what Jesus means, but currently I feel an urge to make or coordinate a lot of money to accomplish the things I want to do. Frankly I know other people aren`t mostly interested in what I want to do, so I feel an urge to make money for myself so that I can spend that money accordingly to my decisions. I don`t live in ideals when it comes to that. I don`t really care if I am condemned by Jesus when it comes to certain things, it is just the way this world is and certain things need to be done, and it will be done on my own personal will. That is a choice I`ve already made, dangling a carrot in front my nose isn`t gonna change that.

Talking as a businessman, I already know this one guy who can solve problems with people around the world drinking unclean water, but he needs money and brains to establish a network so that the natives can help themselves. He just can`t do it on his own with his own money, although he`s going as far as he can. See the reality, in this situation?

So I recomend all rich people to hold on to their wealth so that they will have money when they really might want to spend it.

TK
 
It is certainly true that the early Christian communities held all goods and possessions in common, but we must assume they still owned their own homes, and their own businesses, etc. They did not live in communes (like the Essenes, for example), but rather as a close and mutually supportive community.

Joseph of Arimathea we might assume to be somewhat 'well off'. Likewise the father of James and John. Modern criticism suggests that whilst both men were fishermen, the assumption that they were poor and ill-educated is apocryphal and most probably erroneous. John, it seems, was well educated and moved in the highest social circles in Jerusalem.

Thomas
 
If Christianity did anything better than any other religion, it is to appeal to the poor, maybe that is by making them happy. That is why Christianity is a major religion this present day. I can almost say absolutely that this is a fact in this case. The answer being "yes", you know the answer.

But to make an argument to deny any statement that it is a sin to be wealthy. I`ll just state "SOLOMON" in large case bold letters with regards to this.



It`ll be the same for anybody in the end. I`ll refrain from making further statements with regards to this.



I am from a well-to-do family, and I know that rich people don`t know or forget what its like to severely starve or how starving people feel. I do. And I`ll probably never forget. Its hard to not think like a sinner in those circumstances. People who have never starved don`t know, but if they gave that all up, to me it seems like a sin to give up what God had provided, but it is a path that well to do people can choose. I don`t know Weil well enough to know what kind of person she is with regards to this. But if she recomends all well-to-do people to give up their wealth, she`s probably never starved in her life.

To state that one should give up their wealth is sheer ignorance on part of rich people, when they can hold on to their wealth and continue to build wealth to help other people. Depending on how it is, it is a very self-centered give up and forget choice, or malicious suggestion directed towards wealthy people. And those ideals only hold when one is single. Babies of wealthy people don`t need to starve in the name of religion and ideals right?

One thing I can state for sure, is that a certain continuous flow of wealth (maybe an ideal Christian-like franchise system for logistics), needs to be established, to save the most unfortunate people. Nothing in the world is free yet, and even the richest cannot support everyone by just giving up their wealth. So the answer needs to be a business operation (grace & brains) to especially balance the books, while educating and involving unfortunate people. I can`t stress enough how important it is to possibly establish a working business operation for unfortunate people, voluntary actions just aren`t enough presently.



I think when Jesus said that to the Rich Man, we should treat it as a somewhat isolated incident. Although it may hold for many other people. That was probably a good advice for Jesus to give to that man since he was lost, but we must remember that that was said under that particular circumstance and times directed towards that specific Rich Man. We shouldn`t take it literally as universal absolute truth. When the time comes when material is no big deal to obtain, wealth will not matter to us, but it does now.

I know what Jesus means, but currently I feel an urge to make or coordinate a lot of money to accomplish the things I want to do. Frankly I know other people aren`t mostly interested in what I want to do, so I feel an urge to make money for myself so that I can spend that money accordingly to my decisions. I don`t live in ideals when it comes to that. I don`t really care if I am condemned by Jesus when it comes to certain things, it is just the way this world is and certain things need to be done, and it will be done on my own personal will. That is a choice I`ve already made, dangling a carrot in front my nose isn`t gonna change that.

Talking as a businessman, I already know this one guy who can solve problems with people around the world drinking unclean water, but he needs money and brains to establish a network so that the natives can help themselves. He just can`t do it on his own with his own money, although he`s going as far as he can. See the reality, in this situation?

So I recomend all rich people to hold on to their wealth so that they will have money when they really might want to spend it.

TK

TK

But to make an argument to deny any statement that it is a sin to be wealthy. I`ll just state "SOLOMON" in large case bold letters with regards to this.

How can sin exist without a relationship to a goal? If ones goal is to be wealthy and their God is wealth then there is no sin involved.

Matthew 6

24"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
A person has to decide who or what their God is and become a slave to it.

Romans 6

15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

This thread suggests that their is a minority of people capable of being a slave to a higher good. They "feel" its worth. They feel it as the calling towards conscious human evolution. Their influence will inspire people to be involved with intermediate Christianity which will serve as an awakening influence not just for ourselves but needed by the world because of the obvious necessity to put technological advances into a conscious perspective.

It`ll be the same for anybody in the end. I`ll refrain from making further statements with regards to this.

The pearl of Great Worth for Simone Weil was the objective "good" she would sacrifice herself for. Are you saying it was the same for Hitler?

To state that one should give up their wealth is sheer ignorance on part of rich people, when they can hold on to their wealth and continue to build wealth to help other people. Depending on how it is, it is a very self-centered give up and forget choice, or malicious suggestion directed towards wealthy people. And those ideals only hold when one is single. Babies of wealthy people don`t need to starve in the name of religion and ideals right?

You say we can serve two masters. I think Jesus is right in that we cannot serve two masters. It isn't wealth per se that is the problem, it is our attachment to it and this attachment makes us a slave of it. We will be a slave to one God or another . We have to decide which God offers what fills our greatest need.

I know what Jesus means, but currently I feel an urge to make or coordinate a lot of money to accomplish the things I want to do. Frankly I know other people aren`t mostly interested in what I want to do, so I feel an urge to make money for myself so that I can spend that money accordingly to my decisions. I don`t live in ideals when it comes to that. I don`t really care if I am condemned by Jesus when it comes to certain things, it is just the way this world is and certain things need to be done, and it will be done on my own personal will. That is a choice I`ve already made, dangling a carrot in front my nose isn`t gonna change that.

Money is your God. this is fine. I would suggest that religion should always be at the exoteric level so as not to cause an inner conflict that could do more harm than good.

This thread is about the necessity of allowing the experience of a conscious more human perspective fro self knowledge. Prof. Needleman says that we need a conception of God that doesn't insult logic and a new understanding of "Man." A new understanding can only come through self knowledge that allows us to put "New wine into new bottles." New bottles is our ability to receive the external world.

We live by old bottles. We interpret the impressions of the external world from the imbalance of our acquired personality. This is what we've become. What would it mean to create new bottles where the wine, the direct experience of reality, could be of a higher quality and not so easily perverted? To begin to understand what man is now in relation to our collective potential is to begin to create new bottles.

I support all these efforts that seek to help us through self knowledge to acquired an objective understanding of "new bottles." Of course since society doeewn't want it as a whole and there are so many "experts" tha come up with so many ingenious methods of denying it that realistically it is only for a minority. Yet I believe that such a minority can serve as a necessary influence to minimize the effects of the coming cyclical horrors.
 
A person has to decide who or what their God is and become a slave to it.

A person doesn`t need to decide what their God is, that seems to be a decision that has already been made. Although many do choose a god. I think that`s the last thing that Christianity preaches. You have obviously chosen Needleman and Weil as your god.


This thread suggests that their is a minority of people capable of being a slave to a higher good. They "feel" its worth. They feel it as the calling towards conscious human evolution. Their influence will inspire people to be involved with intermediate Christianity which will serve as an awakening influence not just for ourselves but needed by the world because of the obvious necessity to put technological advances into a conscious perspective.The pearl of Great Worth for Simone Weil was the objective "good" she would sacrifice herself for. Are you saying it was the same for Hitler?

good for them. you should practice what you say, if you haven`t yet. Most likely you`ll just see your wealth just transferred to someone elses bank account for someone elses personal agenda, like in communism. btw, I`ve already started on my mission. Again, technology is like a book, if opposed to it, you should state that we should all be illiterate. Hitler.. when you look at it without the holocaust, its just a twisted purist form of Christianity. I have more things to say about him, but since its irrelavant to this thread I won`t. I don`t know Weil, to comment on whether she was the same as Hitler, did she die for her cause?


You say we can serve two masters. I think Jesus is right in that we cannot serve two masters. It isn't wealth per se that is the problem, it is our attachment to it and this attachment makes us a slave of it. We will be a slave to one God or another . We have to decide which God offers what fills our greatest need.Money is your God. this is fine. I would suggest that religion should always be at the exoteric level so as not to cause an inner conflict that could do more harm than good.

Since when did money become a god and a master? No, you assume money is my master, take it back. Money is like water and blood, and people act exactly like it is. If you are a Christian, you already serve two masters, the boss, and the big-boss.

This thread is about the necessity of allowing the experience of a conscious more human perspective fro self knowledge. Prof. Needleman says that we need a conception of God that doesn't insult logic and a new understanding of "Man." A new understanding can only come through self knowledge that allows us to put "New wine into new bottles." New bottles is our ability to receive the external world.

I`ve never felt my logic insulted by any religious organization. Specifically who says technology gets in the way of attaining faith because they are false, potentially evil. I`m starting to get irritated about Needleman and Weil, hearing about them from you, btw.

I support all these efforts that seek to help us through self knowledge to acquired an objective understanding of "new bottles." Of course since society doeewn't want it as a whole and there are so many "experts" tha come up with so many ingenious methods of denying it that realistically it is only for a minority. Yet I believe that such a minority can serve as a necessary influence to minimize the effects of the coming cyclical horrors.

After you`re done finding out about yourself, come on out of your box and we can discuss the new bottle.
YouTube - Bacteria powered micromotor

Peace.

TK
 
TK

The essence of this thread has no appeal to you which is OK. It only will appeal realistically to a minority but that doesn't make it worthless.

Your god is what provides the greatest "meaning" for you. It has nothing to do with Prof. Needleman or Simone but rather what provides the greatest meaning for you which is wealth.

There is no need to be illiterate. The question is if technology should serve Man or Man should serve technology. You want to serve technology so that it will provide meaning" for you. Most are this way during these times.

Since when did money become a god and a master? No, you assume money is my master, take it back. Money is like water and blood, and people act exactly like it is. If you are a Christian, you already serve two masters, the boss, and the big-boss.

You've given me the impression that wealth provides the greatest meaning for you by giving you what you need. If it is your God, it will do this. If not, what provides the most meaning for you now that you would give up your wealth for?

I`ve never felt my logic insulted by any religious organization. Specifically who says technology gets in the way of attaining faith because they are false, potentially evil. I`m starting to get irritated about Needleman and Weil, hearing about them from you, btw.

Technology is no more evil then a gun is. Technology is a tool that can be used for different purposes. Both Simone and Prof Needleman are people of science. They have no need to abandon it but rather have come to understand the importance of putting technology within a conscious perspective rather then take the place of a conscious human perspective..

Yes the bacteria powered micrometer is a good picture of humanity. we keep turning in circles and believe this movement to be "progress."
 
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