Divine Communication

Discussion in 'Theology' started by Penelope, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    Divine Communication
    1. Prehension of Truth

    'Prehension' is a term you sometimes find in texts on neurophysiology and child-development. It is the mental extension of motor-development, which means 'to grasp.' I will extend the meaning even further, on these pages, to mean:
    The sudden and raw grasping of, or encounter with, some Truth (unembellished).

    Divine communication, at its most fundamental, is a prehension.

    & & &

    Darwin's theory, when it first hit him, was a prehension of (divine) Truth.
    Einstein's E=MC-squared, when it hit him, was a prehension of (divine) Truth.

    Moments of raw, unembellished clarity: i.e., the feeling of divinity in one's midst.

    But after the moment fades, the everyday reality returns - and need for evidence and proofs. The need to convince others.

    This latter is the world of 'human communication.'

    & & &

    Human communication, at its most fundamental, is a 'contract':
    Reasonable, cordial communication ... from one adult to another.

    Responsible communication, adult to adult.

    Communication between one human and another human is possible because all human beings share a common ground:
    They live on the same planet, with the same metallic spectrum, the same gravity, the same atmosphere. They have the same basic body-shape, same diet, same genetics. They share the same geologic and evolutionary history. They reproduce the same way, have the same essential ability to use tools (one of those being spoken language). They live in groups and interact with members of that group in essentially the same way as everyone else on the planet does. In short, each human shares the larger ('global') ecology with every other human on the planet.

    This is what makes 'human communication' possible. Shared ecology.

    And when each of us interacts with another human being, there is an implied contract between oneself and that other human. Because we share the same ecology, we each are ... fellow 'contractors' in each-other's well-being.

    & & &

    But 'divine communication' derives from another program, entirely.

    When you engage in divine communication, you are something more than an everyday 'adult.' But also something less than an 'adult.'
    Both more open and more narrow.
    More out-of-control, but also more deeply focused.

    The communication is passionate, but has a laser-like directness (rudeness) to it.
    It is intense.

    & & &

    Divine communication is not 'of this planet.'

    Its climate is not earthly.
    It has a different gravity, a different atmosphere.
    It has a different genetic chain.
    It has a different geologic and evolutionary history.

    Divine communication happens in a different ecology, entirely. (A nil-ecology.)
    One 'intelligent-creature' confronting another 'intelligent-creature.'

    & & &

    And divine communication can, yes, be recognized.

    Recognized ... in a flash of prehension.
     
  2. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    Divine Communication
    2. God Language: the Myth-making Imperative - Making the Truth Interesting

    Both monotheistic Judaism and Islam emerged out of a Pagan context. But rejected that Pagan past. The development of Christianity, as a monotheistic religion, is more complicated.

    Whatever Truth there is to Christianity has to be found in the figure of Jesus. It is the point where you must begin your search for Truth, and the point where you must end-up. All the encrustations of institutional dogma and theological speculation are nothing, without this. Nothing: a cracked vessel where all the fluid is leaking out.
    - What is Jesus to the first Christians?
    - What is Jesus to you, personally, today?
    One must not merely believe, but ... this search is an existential necessity:
    Within this figure of Jesus there is some permanent and ongoing Truth to be found.
    (If not, Christianity is but a fossil religion.)

    & & &

    30ce. Jesus is taken off to be executed. His Followers scatter.

    These Followers find each other, and gather again, after Jesus is dead. They grieve. Yes. They feel 'survivor's guilt,' too. But now that Jesus is gone, they all feel something missing within their group-dynamic. 'Something' missing - which had been present back when Jesus was with them. A 'spark' which is no longer there.

    They each, in their own way, feel this loss deeply. And, collectively, they feel the need to keep this 'spark' alive.

    & & &

    The Followers cling fiercely to this 'missing quantum' - lest they lose it.

    But how do they talk about this 'spark' amongst themselves?
    How do they communicate it to others?

    Ludwig Wittgenstein:
    Man has the urge to thrust against the limits of language ... but the tendency, the thrust, points to something.

    Practical everyday human language is inadequate. The Followers have to appeal to a 'God Language.' A language of metaphors.

    & & &

    Old versions of the British legend of King Arthur ... say Arthur did not die. No. He is sleeping, and will rise up again in the future - when his country needs him.

    Many Iron Age cultures sport similar hero-stories. For the Jews, it was King David. A New David will arise to save the people.

    'How do we explain this spark?' the Followers ask.
    The answer: 'Jesus is a New David.'

    To explain Jesus this way ... puts that 'spark' in the right ballpark. The metaphor is not perfect. (God Language is always fuzzy.) But it is the closest thing they can come up with. It is a pretty-good fit.

    & & &

    Then the elaboration begins.

    Alfred North Whitehead:
    In the real world, it is more important that a proposition be interesting than that it be true.

    Metaphoric language points to Truth. But it also corrupts Truth. Encrusts Truth with symbols that take-on a life of their own.

    'If Jesus is the New David, he must have been born in Bethlehem (where David's clan came from). No way could he have come from an unimportant backwater, up in Galilee, like Nazareth.'

    People like to tell (and hear) stories. And thus the myth-making begins.

    & & &

    Pope Gregory:
    Don't knock down these Pagan temples ... convert these Pagan idols.

    The Mithra cult was popular in Jesus time. Mithra was a hero-god. To astrologers of the era, December 25 was a particularly 'auspicious day' for a future hero-god to be born upon. Mithra was said to have been born upon this day. (Many other hero-gods were born then, as well.)
    'Jesus must have been born on this day' - the Jesus-cult storytellers surmise.
    Mithra (and a good-deal of other hero-gods) were said to have been born of a Virgin.
    'Jesus must have been born of a Virgin.'
    Mithra died, walked down into Hades, was freed and thus allowed to walk back out of the Underworld - so the story went. The round-trip journey took three days.
    'Jesus must have died and rose again in three days.'

    And ... on the myth-making goes.

    & & &

    The rhyming of old Hebrew stories and the co-opting of Pagan tales ... make the 'spark' - the Truth of Jesus - interesting to listeners. The Jesus-cult grows.

    But, over time, the 'spark' is so encrusted with mythic 'God Language' that the 'spark,' in the way that it originally manifested itself to the Followers, is nearly invisible. So many things have been layered over the top of it that there is hardly any oxygen left. How does the 'spark' continue to breath?

    How is Jesus not smothered - not extinguished - by the very tradition which celebrates his existence?

    & & &

    20 centuries pass. How is it possible to believe that that 'spark' - which the Followers desperately and fiercely felt - is still alive?

    With all the increasing encrustation after encrustation of God Language piled upon it?
    How can that 'spark' - that Truth of Jesus - live inside a person today? Live inside you?

    & & &

    God Language is not Truth.
    God Language is not Divine Communication. It is, instead, just another flawed form of 'Human Communication.' The Bible. The Church liturgy. The Church institutions and dogma. They are just a 'contract' between human beings ... Flawed 'human communication.'

    (Outmoded metaphoric gibberish. And a waste of life.)

    & & &

    Divine Communication, regarding Jesus and his Truth, can happen today - 20 centuries later.
    Can.
    But with great difficulty.

    Only - when encrustations are peeled away (encrustation after encrustation after encrustation after ... ).
    And ... you have a prehension of that original 'spark' ...

    When ... the 'spark' of Jesus' Truth ... is encountered afresh.
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    You have nothing left ... ?

    Thomas
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I would wonder how truth can be comprehended if not 'embellished', truth as such being an abstract concept. It seems to me it can only be seen in its instances, its 'embellishments' ...

    I don't think so, I think it's a natural truth ... like Einstein's, like Newton's. It tells us about the nature of the material world, not the divine.

    I am always gobsmacked by the idea of the Greek philosopher who put two sticks in the sand a mile apart, measured the shadows cast, and worked out the world was round, and 24,000 miles in diameter ... or the mathematics of Srinivasa Ramanujan who 'saw' things without having to work them out ...

    But I do not consider them divine revelations, and nor, I think, do they. Consider, Einstein said:
    Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the 'old one'. I, at any rate, am convinced that He (God) does not throw dice."
    That, to me, is a prehension, but it's not a revelation.

    I think that's my point. Revelation is not prehension ... revelation is the disclosure of something that is subsequently apprehended.

    I would suggest that is because you are not in control of the communication.

    That is why it will always lie outside of our psychologisms.

    Here I would disagree ... as a Christian I would say it is the ecology we were made for.

    But the divine is not a creature, nor thereby can be defined by any creaturely category.

    Ah, there's the rub, for that being the case, divine communication is antecedent to prehension.

    Thomas
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    So you rule revelation out, absolutely?
    Bultmann's hypothesis of the "demythologizing the New Testament" fell foul of his own presumption:
    A is a myth
    B reads like A
    Therefore B is a myth.

    +++

    This is the problem facing the 'Quest for the Historical Jesus' ... in the end, all one is left with is an empty vessel, with all that the analogy implies.

    Metaphor is from the Greek, metapherein, 'to transfer'. A metaphor is the transference of meaning from one domain to the next, a linguistic means of making the invisible visible. A myth does the same thing in a different way.

    Physics is largely dependent upon the language of metaphors: quarks, strangeness, charm ... doesn't mean the metaphor is untrue, just that one has to be conscious of the limitations of the transference of meaning.

    A mystic has an experience of the Divine. She writes it down. Another reads it, recognises the words and unconsciously assumes the experience, she understands it ... superficially, yes, but in actuality, she couln't be further from the truth, because the truth is in the experience, not in the words.

    Metaphors don't do that, we do. We also corrupt it by our inability to see the truth of if the metaphor, as well as embroidering our own truth upon it.

    There speaks true wisdom! The ability to appreciate the apprehension of truth in man's religious instinct. Don't destroy the metaphor, illuminate the transcendent truth it veils.

    A 'popular myth', but probably not true.

    Thomas J. Talley SJ notes the tendency in rabbinic thought to have the births and deaths of the Old Testament patriarchs on the same day of the year, either during Passover in Nisan or Tabernacles in Tishri. It would therefore have been natural for the Jewish Christians, for theological reasons, to develop a similar tradition about Jesus Christ.

    He cites an early Christian tractate, 'De solstitiia et aequinoctia conceptionis et nativitatis domini nostri iesu Christi et iohannis baptista', which refers to the tradition that the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah in the Holy of Holies when he was serving as high priest on the Day of Atonement, this places the conception of John the Baptist during the feast of Tabernacles and his birth nine months later at the time of the summer solstice.

    Since Luke’s gospel states that the Angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary in the sixth month after John’s conception, this would place the conception of Christ at about the time of the spring equinox, at the time of the Jewish Passover and his birth at the time of the winter solstice. This would mean that the early Christian community had modified the earlier Jewish tradition to associate the beginning of the lives of both John the Baptist and of Christ with their conception, rather than with their births.

    Er, no ... Mithra sprang fully formed from a rock.

    This is not uncommon, one is far less likely to check the authenticity of something that supports one's thesis, whereas one will put a lot more effort into undoing something that stands against it.

    Well this is a generalisation ... acceptable, but not universally applicable. You will have to make a case if you're thinking of a concrete instance.

    Because their are 'other worldly' factors at play. There is, as you observed, a different ecology to divine communication.

    In the witness of its saints, in the testimony of its mystics, in the luminosity of its teaching ... and not the least, in the communion shared between Founder and follower that only they can know...

    This is your assumption. I admit there is a huge amount of 'encrustation', but really if you think about it, it's mostly from outside, with so many jostling to offer their interpretation of what they think it is, or must be.

    Three things protect it:
    One is that every assertion can be traced back to Scripture, which tells us something not only of its Founder, but also of its Followers. This acts against the incorporation of alien or erroneous materials;
    Another is more contingent, and that is the emergence of Ressourcement theologie of the last half century — a return to the source — which has revitalised the thinking and teaching after a period of somewhat aridity.
    The third is the abiding presence of its source.

    Love.

    That may well be your opinion.

    So you set yourself up as the arbiter of truth — you are the mean by which reality is measured?

    I'm not being facetious, I'm always somewhat taken aback by the absolute certainty in people who are convinced they are infallible.

    Actually 'distance' does not factor in the communication. It comes 'out of the blue' as it were, it did then, and it does today, and it will tomorrow ... it comes as what one least expects, when one least expects it ... look at the confession of St Thomas, my namesake, the Apostle of Doubt.

    His 'problem' was not that he did not believe, but that he believed according to the intellect. He'd worked out beforehand what was going to happen, and not only was he sure Christ was going to die in Jerusalem, he was sure they all were. He was not present 'in hiding' when Christ made his appearance ... he was not hiding at all ... he might well have been out preaching ... his only 'problem' was that he didn't factor physical resurrection into his computations. Can't blame a man for that, no-one else did, either.

    I think it's not a case of 'peeling away' ... the risk here is, as mentioned above ... nothing remains. This is the problem facing the Jesus Seminar, and this is the brick wall Biblical Criticism came up against, it's like forensic dissection ... eventually you're left with bits all over the floor, which have lost all meaning and purpose, and you've completely lost sight of what you started off with ...

    ... I rather think it's not peeling away, it's seeing though. These encrustations as you see them, are veils to the seeking mind, and the more one contemplates them, God willing, the more translucent they become.

    William Blake said it nicely:
    To see a world in a grain of sand,
    And a heaven in a wild flower,
    Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
    And eternity in an hour.
    Auguries of Innocence.

    Shall I tell you how to find what you're looking for?

    "And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" Matthew 18:3

    "Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such." Matthew 19:4

    What is it about children? They have not lost the sense of wonder, perhaps?

    Thomas
     
  6. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    All spoken like a true theologian, a knight defending his castle.
    KING ARTHUR
    Go and tell your master that we have been charged by God with a sacred quest. If he will give us food and shelter for the night he can join us in our quest for the Holy Grail.

    FRENCH KNIGHT
    Well, I'll ask him, but I don't think he'll be very keen. He's already got one, you see.

    KING ARTHUR
    What?

    GALAHAD
    He says they've already got one!

    KING ARTHUR
    Are you sure he's got one?!

    FRENCH KNIGHT
    Oh, yes, it's very nice!
    (to other French knights) I told him we've already got one.

    (The French Knights giggle)

    KING ARTHUR
    Well, uh, can we come up and have a look?

    FRENCH KNIGHT
    Of course not, you are English Types!

    KING ARTHUR
    Well, what are you then?

    FRENCH KNIGHT
    I'm French! Why do you think I have this outrageous accent, you silly king!
    And so, the French Templars knew something about Divine Communication, but the Church was not too keen on this, nor `fair' Philip. Like so many before and after them, they suffered the fate of receiving enlightenment and salvation ... Catholic style. Jacques de Molay made those blokes a promise however, and - one way or another - it managed to play itself out!

    "Vekam, Adonai!"
     
  7. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    Were I living in 14th century France ...
    Jesus was not born of a Virgin?

    I so claim.

    You must be bewitched.

    No. I stand my ground.

    You are a witch. Confess you are a witch.

    I am no witch. I seek only the Truth.
    ... I'm sure I would find 'enlightenment & salvation Catholic-style' in Philip's dungeons, too. But after a week there, I would have to turn into a masochist to keep my resolve.
    Could you stab me in the back again, please? But a little lower, this time? ... Ah ... Thank you.
    Learn to enjoy the pain, as the only means to endure it.

    One week, and I'm a masochist. And Jacques de Molay endures 7 years of 'salvation & enlightenment Catholic-style.' And never becomes a masochist. Never shirks his resolve. The blood-loving battle-warrior. Once a sadist, always a sadist ... demanding of the Great Architect the punishment of his abusers. To the very end. And, in the end, getting his way.

    & & &

    There is a very rare medical condition where an unfertilized egg can plant in the womb, start dividing and grow. No sperm necessary. So yes, Virgin Birth is physiologically possible. A one-in-ten-million chance. (Though the child will likely be a girl, the spitting-image of her mother.)

    The odds are better that Jesus was born on December 25. About a one-in-365 chance.

    But if you don't know the actual date, what is the harm in pulling any old number out of the hat? And if the paternity is in doubt, what is the harm in claiming a near-miraculous conception?

    Why seek out 'enlightenment & salvation' when you can just get along to go along?

    & & &

    Mithra was born in 600bce in the Persian Zoroastrian period. Born from a stone, so it is said. The Mithra-cult in the Roman Empire began in the First century bce, flourished in the Third century ce, and was stamped out by the Christians in the Fifth century ce. While it lasted, it was a very popular cult in Rome. (The Vatican was built over the top of a Mithra shrine.) It was particularly popular with Roman soldiers, from Britain to Palestine. It was a men-only cult. No women allowed. Their shrines were handmade caves, underground, meant to symbolize the Universe. Mithra would crack open this Universe, and let the light in.

    Mithra brought with him, to the Roman world, much of his Persian iconography and attributes. But also some iconography and attributes from other Persian (and non-Persian) gods. Mithra in the Roman world was a polyglot figure of worship, according to recent Mithra scholarship - retaining little of his Persian origins. Mithra was the face of a new hodgepodge religion, the front-man.

    The catacombs of Rome preserve a relic depicting Mithra's birth. Now not from a stone, but birth by a Virgin. Persian Magi kneel before the babe, seated on his mother's lap, adoring him and bringing him gifts. The date is December 25. Mithra will die in the early spring, and rise from the dead in three days.

    Mithra's sacred day was Sunday. Mithra had 12 companions, and performed miracles. In ceremonies, there were ritual baptisms to rid worshipers of sin, and the serving of bread and water and consecrated wine. Mithra would intercede with the Universe on behalf of humans, atoned for the sins of his devotees, and was a savior of their good-soul. Mithra was associated with both the lion and the lamb, was a good shepherd, and sought "the way, the truth, and the light." The cult preached immortality of the soul, last judgment, resurrection of the dead, and final conflagration of the Universe. Abstinence and asceticism were cherished as qualities Mithra approved of.

    'Enlightenment & salvation.'

    & & &

    No, Thomas.

    I have no wish to become a Mithra-worshiper, with Jesus as the new front-man.

    Mithra did not exist. Never did exist.

    Jesus did.

    Jesus' Followers encountered Jesus, over many weeks (possibly years), face to face.

    Face to face.

    That is real.

    & & &

    When Jesus was dead and gone, that face to face memory ... stayed real.
    It outlasted their personal grief.

    The Followers had found Truth there.
    And they were compelled to keep that Truth alive.

    & & &

    That's the Truth I want, Thomas.

    Not all the Mithra mumbo-jumbo.
    (I want a Christianity stripped of all paganism. ALL PAGANISM.
    Christianity stripped of all myth.)

    No 'enlightenment.' No 'salvation.'

    & & &

    Face to face.
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Well that is uncertain, and challenged by modern scholarship. Mithraism has been related to the Zoroastrianism, Mazdaism and the religion of the Far East ...

    ... what is generally agreed today is that Mithraism as we know it is a syncretic mystery cult created in Rome, by someone who had probably travelled in the East (a soldier, a merchant?) and knew the cults of the Greeks and the Persians ... an educated person because the cult incorporates elements of Platonic philosophy.

    he cult was popular from the 1st-4th centuries. The earliest archaeology we have dates from around 100AD, although an altar has been dated around 80AD. The first military inscription we have is 114AD.

    Yes. A common practice of the Christians was to build on suitable sites. Most of the Mithraea were demolished, and the Mithraeum filled with rubble, on which the church was erected.

    Curious, isn't it? Christianity was particularly popular with women (and slaves) as well as men.

    There you go, a clear example of the incorporation of Christian symbolism into the Mithraic. There is absolutely no evidence of virgin birth in the cult otherwise, or in its antecedent cultic practices. That should be enough to signify who is copying whom.

    Again ...

    ... And again. Most of this lacks any scholarly support, it's all populist invention. We actually know very, very little, and based on little or nothing, there are always those ready to let their own imaginations spin what they will.

    And the Jesus cult was outgrowing the Mithra cult ... so it was inevitable that followers of Mithra would incorporate these Christian motifs. It might even be that disaffected Christians took these symbols with them to their new religion.

    The theory that C derives from M has no proper foundation. It's popular in the circles of Christianity-bashing, and will always bring in some book sales ... but that's about it.

    Sorry, Penelope, but informed scholarship into Mithraic studies would suggest that much of what you say is the real 'mumbo-jumbo'.

    Thomas
     
  9. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    Guilty as charged, Thomas.

    (But you are being awfully sassy about it.)
    There is not a lot of solid info out there, about Mithraism. They were very secretive, so the cult remains obscure to this very day. So yeah ... I did grab whatever sources I could find - some perhaps not reputable. (Not a practice I often employ.)

    David Ulansey was one of those sources (and I believe he is reputable):
    Our earliest evidence for the Mithraic mysteries places their appearance in the middle of the first century B.C.: the historian Plutarch says that in 67 B.C. a large band of pirates based in Cilicia (a province on the southeastern coast of Asia Minor) were practicing "secret rites" of Mithras.
    (The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries, Oxford University Press, 1991.)

    By my math that gives Mithraism a full century head-start on Christianity. If either cult influenced the other at all, it is pretty obvious which direction the influence went in the First century ce, when Christianity was trying to figure out what it was. After that, it is anybody's guess which way the influence flowed.

    & & &

    But the point, here, is not scholarship ... is it, Thomas?

    You or I could come up with a pretty long list of ancient hero-gods who did supposedly arise by a Virgin Birth. And early Christians certainly would have known about ... at least some of them.

    This Mithra-scholarship tirade appears, to me, to be just a diversion on your part. To avoid addressing my core argument. My agony.

    & & &

    'Virgin Birth' and the rest are all just superstition - a Pagan superimposition over the top of deep-core Christian belief. An embellishment. Comfort food.

    Why are you so uneasy digging thru the muck and down into that primal, bedrock Christian experience? Why, Thomas? What is so scary in talking about that one Christian experience which is antecedent to all others?

    Face to face with Jesus.
    (And how that changed the life of each of his Followers.)

    ? ?

     
  10. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    Divine Communication
    3. The Immediacy of Raw Visual Experience


    There is another important distinction between the monotheism of Judaism and Islam, on the one hand, and the monotheism of Christianity on the other. Judaism and Islam have a deep suspicion of visual iconography. Pagan temples were florid with shapes and colors which took recognizable - often very fleshy - human form. Visual artistic expression smacked of 'idol worship' to the policy-makers of the Judaic and Islamic faiths. Christians went back and forth on this. But to Renaissance popes, Big Art was the best propaganda Church-money could buy.

    Visual 'beauty' - even at its most corporeal - has a ready place in the Christian imagination.

    & & &

    Frankly, some of the most beautiful art (and architecture) ever created, from Persia and India and elsewhere, is Islamic. But Islam's 2-dimensional art reads like an extension - or illustration - of a text. It does not attempt to give the viewer a direct experience, but is mediated by language (a text in the viewer's mind).
    (By contrast, there is something uncanny in the mathematics which built the best Islamic architecture, which transports viewers into another mind-space entirely. But I will deal with Islamic architecture on another occasion.)

    Likewise, in Europe and America of the 19th and 20th centuries, Jewish bankers and merchants were major patrons of modern art. And their creative children went on to become major novelists, performers, musicians ... but not visual artists (by and large). Jewish businessmen in America half-invented modern popular culture - from the burlesque halls of New York to the movie studios of Hollywood. But they hired Christians to design pop-culture's visual style. Direct visual intuition is not a natural component of the Judaic package. As with Islamic culture, the visual - typically - needs to be mediated by language. The visual needs to be 'interpreted' - needs to be viewed as if it were a text. To the Jewish mind (for the most part) the visual needs to be 'read.'

    Christian culture is a tad more open to the visual. Christians are more readily able to experience the visual directly (unmediated by words in their head).

    & & &

    But this has been an ongoing battle within Christianity itself, as well as within western culture.

    The year is 1600ce. The place: Rome.
    Two young artists from Northern Italy are beginning to make a reputation for themselves, here in Rome. The glorious art of the Renaissance is all around them, but they have already put the classical Renaissance style behind them. They are men who are looking to the future.

    The names of these artists are Annnibale Carracci and Michelangelo Caravaggio.

    The master-artists of the Renaissance had magically taken the flat, iconic art of the Middle Ages, full of religious emotion, and merged it with the sculpted lifelike roundness of ancient Greek and Roman art. This amplified the power of the religious emotion depicted in its imagery by giving these religious figures a strong in-your-face physicality. This physicality really punched viewers in the gut. As religious art, it was indeed powerful propaganda. (And in a world where illiteracy was the norm, this art was probably even more powerful than we can imagine, today.)

    By contrast, Carracci and Caravaggio each bring with them, from the North, a stark realism. Carracci's almost scientific literalism: red meat, bloody and hanging from the eves of a butcher-shop. Caravaggio's tavern-lit realism: seated around a table are amiable-seeming card-sharps ripping-off a mark. This new style grates against the modulated and measured classicism of Raphael and Michelangelo and the High Renaissance. It also strips away overt (language-like) symbolism ("look right there, the guy's got keys in his belt, so he must be St. Peter"). The art is very clean and direct. And even the brushwork is such that most (mental/language-like) distancing between painter and viewer is broken down. The viewer feels like they can walk right into these pictures. (Buy the piece of red meat. Tip-off the rube to the con-job.)

    All mediators (all voices in the head, explaining the experience to oneself) are stripped away. What remains is the immediacy of raw visual experience.

    & & &

    Carracci and Caravaggio painted mundane and everyday imagery. But they gave the mundane an emotional power. These were not elevated subjects - not Greek heroes and gods, not Medieval saints. These were not figures in which "higher, more spiritual" emotions are represented. But because the paintwork is so direct and so honest in how it addresses everyday subjects, these paintings are intrinsically powerful. Not powerful due to their high-minded subject-matter. (Not by what Carracci and Caravaggio added to their imagery, ornamenting it, but by what they took away. They stripped away 'language'-like semiotic referencing. Stripped away all embellishment, all overt symbolism.) They were touching Truth.

    Caravaggio was a bad-boy who came to Rome without credentials, but did the cocktail-party circuit. Carracci was not a party-animal, but came to Rome with references (in Bologna, he and his talented family started an Art Academy - second one to exist in Europe - which taught the full spectrum of subjects, including anatomy). Both painters found patrons and landed commissions.

    Would they bring that raw power of their paintwork to the heroic and religious subject-matter of their commissions?

    & & &

    Cardinal Farnese wanted a huge room in his palace decorated with frescoes, on the theme of "human love governed by celestial love." A several-year project. The cardinal paid poorly and was so demanding that he literally worked Carracci into an early grave. But it was a masterwork of fresco design, when finished (and would influence fresco design for two centuries). In Rome, Carracci was blow away by the paintings by Raphael and Michelangelo which he was seeing. And, more and more, Carracci incorporated their modeled forms and crystal-clear lighting into his street-realism - to give his figures an heroic otherworldly feeling, a detachment from the mundane world. Inevitably, Carracci's realism disappeared, and so too the everyday emotion which accompanied it. But the Farnese Palace was a masterful success.

    The Italian Baroque style and the whole Baroque period can be dated from the public unveiling of Carracci's Farnese Palace frescoes. The paint style was so clean and magisterial that it was copied in all National Art Academies for three centuries. And it became the official art-style of the Catholic Counterreformation.

    But it was a cop-out style. The emotion was fake, a cliche.
    (The emotion in the art was as trite as its stated theme. But this 'emotion' was exactly the emotion his patron wanted, and patron paid for. A majestic platitude. Cardinal Farnese's idea of "love." A quality which the wealthy man-of-cloth had scant amount of, it seems, inside himself.)
    Carracci had let his great talent be hijacked. And, seduced by the splendor and authority of the artistic past, Carracci tossed that raw emotional Truth - located in his direct paintwork - into the ashcan.

    & & &

    Caravaggio was both loved and hated by his patrons. He was thrown in jail, exiled, but he never compromised. In his large religious subjects, Caravaggio went after the Truth as he felt and saw it. Not how his patrons did. And, even today, standing before a large Caravaggio artwork, there is a raw immediacy to the paintwork. You feel like you are stepping right into the mind-space of Jesus, or of Peter, or of Paul. Their emotional struggle, the light and dark of their world. Their Truth. (A Truth, yes, which Caravaggio - in part - yanked up out of his own deep experience ... out of his own Truth). When in front of you, Caravaggio's artwork nearly - physically - knocks you over, it is so corporeally hyper-present. So ... in your face.

    Direct (unmediated) Truth. There is no language, there, to get in the way. (All symbolism is inconsequential.) Just rough, heavy (high-contrast) paintwork ... and how that makes you feel.

    Caravaggio was in touch with the Divine. And social pressures would never change that.

    & & &

    Caravaggio's art had influence in Catholic Europe, though not nearly the equal of Carracci's. But Caravaggio's influence spread beyond Catholic Europe to Protestant Holland, profoundly affecting the deep spiritual art of Rembrandt, and others. It would affect Romanticism in the 19th century, but Caravaggio's genuine legacy came later that century. Manet and rise of Modern Art.

    Modern Art destroyed the Royal Art Academies, which had been Carracci's three-century-long legacy to the future. Modernists went after the same raw immediacy of experience, which Caravaggio had. They did not surrender to the mannered, social world they lived in - the world of ordinary 'Human Communication.' They went after Truth, unembellished. And, doing so, they sometimes (like Caravaggio) ... encountered the Divine.
     
  11. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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  12. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Then I am sorry ... but then you are awfully glib in your dismissal of Christianity, aren't you? (That's an honest question, not a smart-arse retort)

    I try to be precise in my responses, and it seems that many read that as being a smartarse. I also notice that many are rudely dismissive of my faith, but get ever so tetchy if anyone comes anywhere near theirs.

    And I have to say it, Penelope, but there seems to be a large aspect of your argument that says "I'm right because I'm right." ?

    +++

    But I don't think that is so.

    Most of what is assumed was an adoption of Mithraic cult into Christianity is now shown to be ... an urban myth?

    And, as you say, there seems to be one carving in Rome that shows a Christian nativity scene, for nowhere else does Mithra come from a woman.

    So I reckon the two cults actually had little or no impact on each other.

    Then again, the first Christians were Jewish converts, still based on the Temple life of Israel, so they would hardly look to Rome, of all places, for the answer to their questions. They'd look to their own Sacred Scriptures. That makes much more sense to me.

    No, I really don't think that's the case at all.

    I tend to think it is, when claims such as this are being made. If not scholarship, then what? Guesswork? Presumption? Incredulity? Fantasy?

    There's plenty of that around, that's for sure!

    Again, this presupposes the issue.

    I'm sorry, I missed that.

    I tend to think quite the reverse. I think all this rejection of the mystical and the transcendent is just rationalisation, to make the whole thing more comfortable and amenable and manageable. Eventually Christ is reduced to a really nice guy, and spirituality to a warm glow inside.

    I don't think I am. I wonder what is scary about a miracle that you can't even allow that it might have happened.

    Ahhh ...

    ... where do we meet Jesus, but in the Testimony of Scripture? There, is your face to face, it seems to me, and there we say 'this can't be true, this is just a mythology', and we start to edit Scripture, to reshape the face, to dump this bit, ignore that but, scoff at this bit, and that certainly can't be true ... He couldn't have said that, He never did this ... until we find a face that conforms to our presuppositions, our own comfortabilities ... and without even knowing it, what we're projecting is the face of our own self image ... surely you're more clued up on psychology than me, can you not see that?

    As I have said before elsewhere, if the Virgin Birth is false ... then why not all the rest? I mean, surely Resurrection is as wild an idea, and that's not original. And transfiguration? The Eucharist? Walking on water?

    In the end, it seems to me, were left with nothing at all but that which we hang on to for sentimental reasons, so we're left with nothing but our own mythologies. The Christ of our own invention.

    Thomas
     
  13. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Let's see ... Origen and Celsus both make mention of the Mithraic teachings, and the rites of Deo Soli Invicto Mithrae occurred annually on Dec. 25 in celebration of the birth of the Sun God bearing this name - born from the CAVE OF THE HEART.

    Nooo, nothing going on with Christianity there. Please move along. These aren't the droids you're looking for ... :rolleyes:

    No my friend ... gnosis. But then, one doesn't like that, does one, because it does not appeal so much to one's intellect.

    Yes my friend. Beeee Gooooooood

    No ... you're terrified.

    A living, RISEN Christos ... and I've heard you can find Him within, the Hope of Glory. Not good enough, eh?

    Never seems to be.
     
  14. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    Sorry, Thomas, if I've seemed testy in a couple of my previous posts.

    I genuinely appreciate the long and detailed posts you made in response to my first two theses. I sat down a couple days ago to reread them, and design a response. But then I saw Taijasi's witty post about the Knights Templar.
    (I took it to be a tongue-in-cheek slam on you, Thomas, and your religious denomination. But it may have been aimed at me too, as a theologian wannabe.)
    Something got to me in Taijasi's tone, which I dovetailed once I started writing. And my original purpose was gone.

    My original purpose was to stay on-point. Stay on the ideas.

    & & &

    If a 15-year-old reincarnation of Elijah stands up in my classroom, and starts recounting what God is telling him ... I call the school nurse.

    I don't care how profound the words, how prescient the message ... when the nurse arrives, I tell her:
    You need to get this kid back on his meds.

    This is the modern world, and prophesy - hearing the voice of God - is not acceptable behavior.

    & & &

    I visit my parents' place. Piles of newspapers and magazines and old mail.
    Mom, you got to stop being a packrat. Time you clean house ... All these pants no longer fit you. Just get rid of them. And that dress, it's 30 years old ... No, Mom. It's never going to come back in style.

    Thomas, I know it is presumptuous to tell good Christians that this is the modern world. Get with it. To stop being a packrat, holding onto bundles of beliefs which stopped being useful centuries ago. Presumptuous of me. But somebody ought to say it.

    Christianity is a strong religion. There is a lot of nonsense it could do without and be stronger for it. Two-millennium-old baggage. I don't say this, Thomas, out of disrespect. Please believe me. I say this out of daughterly concern.
    (A good house-cleaning can be a good thing.)

    I do think ... Christianity needs to rethink itself, a little. (Maybe a lot.) And I think it is also a strong enough religion to do that.

    & & &

    I like what you say about the 'Religious Instinct' in people, and Pope Gregory's remark. I get it. Rather than stamp out the Pagan faith, you harness the 'religious instinct' in these people and convert it (their need for religion) into something better than they have now.

    I get what you say about the 'encrustations' actually being 'veils.' In the right angle of the light, these veils turn translucent. And you can see the 'source,' revealed, underneath. The veil might be a phrase in the liturgy, a passage in one of Paul's letters, or something silly that transpires at the annual spaghetti dinner. You never know where.
    (But if you throw everything out, how's this moment of revelation going to happen?)

    I do get it, Thomas.

    & & &

    I do not have 'revelations' (veil lifted, see clearly). So I don't trust them much, in others. As much as you admire the openness of the child, I don't want to be a child. And I don't want to encourage others to act like children.
    Marsha's daddy is an extraterrestrial from another planet.

    Grow up, Nicky.
    I tell my nephew.

    What I do have, Thomas, are 'prehensions.' And these I do trust. The older I get, the more often I experience 'prehensions.' They are nonverbal. They are not based in language. For a flash-moment, I am totally emotionally engaged. I may not know what the Truth of them is, but I know that they are True.

    I have only recently come to think of them as 'Divine Communication.'

    Veils would get in the way. Embellishments would tarnish them. They need to stay clean, fast, and hard. It's what I feel when I look at Caravaggio or the best modern art. A gritty presence. Clean, hard and fast. Like it wants to knock me over. Recent stories I have written (a couple are here at IO) - same immediacy, same total engagement. Their emotional hardness is not embedded in their language, but in some quality which is far less mentally tangible.

    And yes ... Darwin, Einstein, Newton. I'm betting each of their key moments of theory-discovery were essentially nonverbal moments. Where in an instant, they 'grasped' (prehended) everything, each in its proper place. Not a secular mechanical step-by-step process but a powerful and sudden coalescence. Uncanny, but hard-uncanny. Like a Caravaggio canvas. This is not everyday 'human communication.' It takes place in a different 'Universe.'

    If this has no connection to Religion, Thomas, I think you need to rethink what Religion is. Particularly in the modern world.
    (If Religion can't be modern, I don't want it.)

    & & &

    I've learned a lot from the 'Historical Jesus' crowd. Particularly about how to read old texts. But they are not me.
    (Many seem to end up with a 'Jesus = Existential Self-Realization,' or some such. Which is a pretty gloom prospect for a Religion.)

    What is it I am after?
    There is something about Jesus that gets to me. And something about St. Paul.
    I wish I could tell you what.

    That's what I'm doing here. I'm trying to figure it all out.
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    OK. There's a start ... what do they say?

    Actually that's the feast of Saturnalia — a Roman cult that was incorporated into Mithraism and Christianity.

    There is no evidence scripturally or secularly that early Christians in the first century commemorated the birth of Jesus Christ. In fact, in keeping with early Jewish law and tradition, it is likely that birthdays were not commemorated at all. According to The World Book Encyclopedia: "early Christians considered the celebration of anyone's birth to be a pagan custom." (Vol. 3, page 416) Rather than commemorating his birth, the only command Jesus gave concerning any sort of commemoration of his life actually had only to do with his death (Luke 22:19). It was not until several hundred years after the death of Jesus Christ that the first instances of the celebration of Christmas begin to appear in the historical record.[6] According to the new Encyclopedia Britannica, later Christians likely "wished the date to coincide with the pagan Roman festival marking the 'birthday of the unconquered sun'." The festival was celebrated with similar customs (gift giving, feasting) that are done to celebrate Christmas today.

    As the Sun was a universal symbol of light and life, it is hardly surprising that the Christians saw, in the exoteric practice, a gesture towards esoteric truth.

    "In the beginning (arche) was the Lord (logos) John 1:1

    As Christianity is foremost a religion of gnosis — it's founder is, after all, the incarnation of the self-knowledge of (logos) of God, and the Principle (arche) of all being that proceeds from Him (whereas the Father in Himself is arche anarchos — 'the principle without principle' and is unknowable in things (thus 'he who has seen me has seen the Father') ...

    ... Christianity sees the inherent truth in the veiled images of Divine Providence.

    +++

    On the matter of birthdays, it should be noted that no record of the precise date of Christ's birth exists.

    In fact, Origen, glancing perhaps at the discreditable imperial Natalitia, asserts (in Lev. Hom. viii in Migne, P.G., XII, 495) that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday (Martindale C. Christmas, 1908).

    Here is some of what Origen wrote:

    "... of all the holy people in the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day on which they were born into this world below (Origen, in Levit., Hom. VIII, in Migne P.G., XII, 495) (Thurston H. Natal Day. Transcribed by Thomas M. Barrett. Dedicated to Margaret Johanna Albertina Behling Barrett. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

    The late third century Catholic theologian Arnobius show that, even that late, Catholics objected to the celebration of birthdays as he wrote:
    "... you worship with couches, altars, temples, and other service, and by celebrating their games and birthdays, those whom it was fitting that you should assail with keenest hatred. (Arnobius. Against the Heathen (Book I), Chapter 64. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 6. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

    Rather OTT, but it makes the point.

    Birthday celebrations, even of gods and leaders, were condemned as far as the late third century by even Roman Catholic leaders.

    It does not seem that the celebration of birthdays became common among those that professed Christ until the fourth century. During that century, infant baptism started to become customary and the celebration of Christmas became standard practices for the majority that professed Christ.

    Also, the fact that Roman emperors tended to celebrate their birthdays was undoubtedly another factor as it was in the fourth century that Roman emperors began to accept some form of Christianity.

    December 25 was the celebration of the Roman feast of Saturnalia, something incorporated into Mithraism. were adapted for birthdays. Because many Roman soldiers took to Mithraism, it had a wide distribution and influence throughout the empire until it was supplanted by Christianity (Wikipedia. Birthdays. July 12, 2007 version).

    Likewise, Sunday observance derives not from Mithraism, as many suppose, but because the Jewish Sabbath was celebrated on the Friday/Saturday, and the Christians (who attended the Temple) held their own Eucharistic Rite, the 'breaking of bread', the following day, which is both dedicated to the Sun in paganism, and to the Resurrection in Christianity.

    The Roman Emperor Constantine was the first Emperor to make Sunday Laws — indeed I believe he remained true to the cult of the Sun — but he had already seen that Christianity and not Mithraism was where the future lay. Mithraism was reckoned to be celebrated by never more than about 1% of the population, whereas Christianity was prolific.

    A few years later, at the Council of Nicea, Sunday was declared to be the "Christian day" of worship to establish a pattern which the people could follow, rather than drift into pagan practice. It was, therefore, a pastoral consideration.

    In 354, Bishop Liberius of Rome 'baptised' the Saturnalia, as the appearance of the Son of God who was also the visible countenance and thus the 'Sun of God'. Again, a pastoral consideration

    (The other option was to ban all festivities, in accordance with Jewish law, which no doubt I would be obliged to defend today had he done so. The point being that it seems that whatever we do, we're wrong.)

    Thus it appears that the "birthday of the sun" festivities were a major factor in the date chosen for followers of Greco-Roman Christianity to celebrate. And once those that professed Christ began to widely celebrate that "birthday", other birthday celebrations became more common.

    Similarly, the feast of All Souls and the remembrance of the dead was set at the same date as the pre-existing pagan ritual, precisely because there is a truth behind the form.

    Actually no, sprung from a rock. There's a significant difference in esoteric symbolism between a rock and a cave.

    Actually old chum, as gnosis is an operation of the intellect, I prefer mine accompanied with some rigour, insight and a clear-minded investigation of the available data, and established on sound metaphysical principle ... as I have made clear above, and Penelope agrees, most of what is claimed about Mithraism, and its supposed influence on Christianity, owes its source to polemic and presumption and an over-active imagination.

    Actually if you could refrain from ridiculing me of my religion, that would be helpful.
    It's neither useful, helpful, nor informative.

    Thomas
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Two points here ... one is that eternal truth is ... eternal. You cannot deny that the Bible is rammed with good advice for today, yesterday and tomorrow. Nor can you deny it's one of the great insights into human spirituality in existence.

    I would argue the same for any sacred text, by the way. The genetic imprint of man is the same now as it ever was. We are the same creature. To assume that a whole different set of principles of being, and being in relation to other being, I genuinely think is mistaken.

    If that is the case, then we're obliged to throw Jesus, Buddha, Moses ... everybody, out the window, and start again from scratch.

    I also think the idea of Christianity is outmoded is, frankly, somewhat ill-informed. The arguments for a proper social doctrine, put forward just last year, are at the cutting edge of political thinking.

    And as for theology ...

    But I can't speak for everybody.

    Have you studied the documents of Vatican II in relation to the Council of Trent? The changes then were radical, and the dust still hasn't settled.

    Everybody sees so far along the way ... the art of religion is to illuminate the next step.

    Mine come out of the blue, too.

    The deeper I delve into my faith, the deeper those prehensions become.

    That's a good way to think of them, though.

    In the Lucan account of St Paul, he has his 'prehension', and goes up to Damascus, joins the Christian community there, and they fill in the gaps.

    In his own words, he doesn't. He has his moment, and then goes off, alone, 'to Arabia' for years ... we're not sure where in 'Arabia' he means, but we have a pretty good idea, as he was a zealot, that he'd go to Mt Sinai.

    Then he comes back, and he's a'preachin' like a man on fire.

    I reckon that 'prehension' hit him so hard it loosened everything up inside, he lost grip of everything he had held to be true (his blindness) ... and he retreated the heartland of his faith, to ground zero, and from there, he started to put it all together.

    The theologian N.T. Wright was my source, you can download it here.

    Thomas
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Penelope —

    It just struck me ... you seem a bit hard on your mum and others, which either means you're not very nice, or you're hard on yourself. I reckon the latter.

    We're not all trailblazers. As the poet said, "They also serve who only stand and wait."

    A 'face of Jesus' I see in Scripture is the man that takes the time to sit and talk to sinners. He doesn't lecture nor harangue ... He just talks.

    Probably about God, love ... the rising price of figs ... just passin' the time of day.

    "And the scribes and the Pharisees bring unto him a woman taken in adultery: and they set her in the midst, And said to him: Master, this woman was even now taken in adultery. Now Moses in the law commanded us to stone such a one. But what sayest thou? And this they said tempting him, that they might accuse him. But Jesus bowing himself down, wrote with his finger on the ground. When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again stooping down, he wrote on the ground. But they hearing this, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst. Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee? Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more."

    Before I read this and understood it, I once changed a woman's life. She was a prostitute, too. Didn't know it at the time. All I did was open a car door for her. Didn't even think about it. I hadn't hired her services, either. Just did what came naturally to me. I like doing things like that. I think people are really fab. (OK, I'm waxing lyricial here ... most people)

    I didn't do anything, but respect her as a human being. All I ask is the same. Something I gather (from what she told me) people had not done for so long, she lost it for herself. I didn't even tell her to clean up her act. Just didn't hold it against her.

    A priest once said in a homily that we treat each other like we're in a game of pass the parcel. We wrap up all our **** and pass it on to someone else. They, angry and offended, wrap some more around it and pass it on. The game is not to get caught holding the parcel.

    Jesus did things differently. When He saw someone holding a parcel of ****, He said "I'll take that. I'll put it down right here, and we can both forget about it. You chill out for a bit." He does that for everyone. Still does.

    Another face:
    You try and hand him a parcel of ****, knowingly, and He asks, "Why are you giving me this ****?"

    Weak Christianity is blaming everyone else for your own ****.

    Sad Christianity is trying to hide it.

    Strong Christianity is seeing it for what it is, and putting it down ... and thanking Christ that He'll forget about it, and I can, too.

    Saintliness is carrying the burden of the **** for others.

    There's too much out there, to be looking for **** all the time.

    The theology? That's my bag. I revel in it. It's my dance of the veils ... That tells me about Him, but that's not who He really is. Not what my prehensions tell me. Who He really is, is the guy that says, "Hey, you're OK? You know that? Really. It'll be OK. I love you."

    Theology? That's me shaking my head and saying "Is this guy for real?"

    And yep ... the deeper I go, he's still there. But I have to say, when I go off the script, I lose sight of him, and start seeing all sorts of other things, shiny things, but they tarnished in time ... I tried that for a bit. Didn't get me anywhere.

    What am I saying? Go light on yourself. Open the doors ...

    Have you seen that picture by Holman Hunt, The Light of the World?

    The thing is ... there's no doorknob ... there's no knocker ... you have to open the door to let Him in.

    Thomas
    (The stars are a not very nice word for poo, btw)
     
  18. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    If only more would look in this direction today. But the Egyptian and Mayans weren't all enlightened regarding the Mysteries, either!

    For me, the Gayatri says it all ...

    Talk about this truth. What do the images veil? The meaning for you will differ at least slightly from the meaning for others.

    +++
    On dates ... I think there is a value in specifics, inasmuch as history serves to help remind us and renew our Faith. Both by positive and by negative example, we can learn what Path we should tread.

    There is more than kinship that we share, merely because we find ourselves upon the same planet, walking side by side at a certain stage of the Journey. We are not here by accident. Joyfully we can affirm together a recognition of the Universal!

    The energies of the Invincible Sun/Son continue to flow forth to us, just under a different impetus, a different Banner - no longer the Fishes; now, the very Waters of Life more Abundant!
    And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. (Mark 14:13)

    And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. (Luke 22:10)

    And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (Rev. 21:6)

    Water of Life am I, poured forth for thirsty humanity. (Aquarian keynote)
    Perhaps the heart of stone must become emptied of selfish concerns (in all of the worlds of the personality) in order to hear the echo of the needs of others ... before the Christ within may become born. This is where a similarity should become obvious, would you not agree?

    Faulty premise leads only to faulty conclusion. Gotta watch those a prioris, remember?

    Unless of course, you are using intellect in the more broadly-reaching sense of Consciousness Itself ... since the Intuition (a factor in all true Mystical Experience) has sometimes been called Reason Itself.

    In that case, you'll just have to let each of us do our own investigating, come to our own hypotheses and conclusions based on our own insight and reasoning. I know it's not your style, but this letting others think and reason for themselves is absolutely prerequisite ... isn't it.

    What makes you think can decide for me what is sound principle and what constitutes rigour and insight? I think there's some confusion here, but clearly it is more about who makes the rules ... and that's one you'll just need to keep between you and your Higher Power.

    Then get over your martyr complex, get over the notion that you are some kind of authority, and get beyond this delusion that somehow your standards and angle on things are better than everyone else's. You're no different, Tom ... except that your remarks are often unfriendly, and you take pride in insulting those who have so valiantly carried the Torch of Truth throughout the ages. Why is it, that in order to celebrate your own path (and religion), it is necessary to one-up everybody?

    What you say in the preceding quote isn't just an attack on what I may happen to believe, it is a direct assault on my reasoning ability, and it is a deliberate attempt to put the other person down in order to feel superior about oneself - and one's pursuits. If you cannot find any other way to feel good about your faith, your beliefs and your own scholarly pursuits, perhaps you should turn the accusative finger upon yourself, and ask - why the need to look down one's nose at others in this fashion? What drives that?

    You know something? It is true that you do not subscribe to the tenets of Theosophy (that's close enough to MY religion, and we'll leave it at that), but once upon a time I learned The Golden Stairs so that I could use them in Invocation and Prayer.
    Behold the truth before you;
    A clean life,
    An open mind,
    A pure heart,
    An eager intellect,
    An unveiled spiritual perception,
    A brotherliness for one's co-disciple,
    A readiness to give and receive advice and instruction,
    A loyal sense of duty to the teacher,
    A willing obedience to the behests of truth,
    Once we have placed our confidence in, and believe that teacher to be in possession of it;
    A courageous endurance of personal injustice,
    A brave declaration of principles,
    A valiant defense of those who are unjustly attacked,
    And a constant eye to the ideal of Human progression and perfection which the secret science depicts
    - these are the Golden Stairs up the steps of which the learner may climb to the temple of divine wisdom.
    It seems we both have a ways to go before it is fair to identify the other as anything but a cripple, still struggling, trying to hobble up these Golden Stairs. Perhaps it's time to get on with the Divine Communication ...
     
  19. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    Divine communication comes in two ways: Philosophically through the studing of Philosophy, and Prophetically through dreams and visions, according to Numbers 12:6.
    Ben
     

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