Harmony

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by wil, May 3, 2011.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Well technically a tad inaccurate. The Roman See was always considered the primary See, albeit 'first among equals', alongside Alexandria and Antioch, which comprised the two theological powerhouses of doctrinal thinking.

    (Jerusalem was considered a 'See' in name only, as a mark of respect.)

    The establishment of Constantinople began to shift the balance, especially as Constantinople saw itself as 'the new Rome' and thereby superior to, although younger than, Alexandria and Antioch, and certainly with nowhere near as strong a theological position. In fact the primacy of Constantinople derived from Arian ideas regarding the status of the Emperor in relation to the Church.

    As East and West grew further and further apart, and as Constantinople saw itself as the inheritor of every virtue of Rome, once Alexandria and Antioch were seen as subsidiary to Constantinople, there remained only one other to deal with ... Rome.

    Thus, I would consider the cause of the Schism to be political, with the theological reasoning just a cover. Certainly, as many have lamented since, had St Ambrose (Latin) and St Basil (Greek) managed to stay in closer contact, things would have been different.

    The conduct of both side during the emerging disputes was deplorable, but that is all by-the-by now.

    One of the biggest stumbling blocks to the reunification of the Church is the degree to which patriarchy has become tied to national interest — thus the Romanovs were near-beatified after their execution by revolutionaries by the Russian Orthodox Church; when John-Paul II proposed a visit to Greece, effigies were burnt in the streets, and so far no such visit is likely; the Serbian Orthodox Church has declared itself 'special' among the patriarchies because of certain suffering it has endured.

    Even in Rome the curia is essentially Italian, and Italian in the language of the Vatican City and its PR office, whereas, I have been told, currently English is generally the language of a multi-national PR operation.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  2. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    stuntpickle, because you said I was mistaken about the Great Schism, I will have to show why I am not mistaken.

    That's where you're wrong. I am not lamenting liberalisation or people having different opinions. A crucial aspect you overlooked in saying that Christianity underwent a "liberalisation of theology" is that many of the Protestant churches emerging out of the Reformation continued to be as authoritarian toward their followers as the Catholic Church. It was liberalisation for some but not for others.

    Church leaders had the freedom to make up theology and doctrine as they pleased without having to submit to the authority of the Pope. The laypeople, however, did not have that freedom. Anyone who did not agree with the ideology or theology of the leader of their church was an "enemy" of that church. This authoritarianism continues in many churches today.

    But if it's not the leader enforcing things, it's his followers. If it's not authoritarianism from above, it's legalism from your fellow Christian laypeople. These legalistic laypeople become agents of their authoritarian leader and I cannot agree that that is "liberalisation of theology."

    There was never any "true liberalisation of theology," so I was not mistaken. You simply overlooked what happens inside churches.

    The church that was receiving this "criticism" was obviously the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church was quite authoritarian at the time, requiring that people like John Calvin, Martin Luther and Galileo die for heresy. That doesn't sound very secular does it?

    The Great Schism demonstrated what would naturally happen when people freed themselves from bishops, patriachs and popes. This is what happens when we have a "liberalisation of theology" as you put it.

    The authoritarian nature of a lot of church leaderships did not go away. The domination of clergy over the laypeople remained.

    Christianity was "dumbed down" for a number of reasons.

    1) leaders of churches were not highly educated people
    2) sola scriptura -- that Christian beliefs be based on "Scripture alone"
    3) an anti-intellectual culture
    4) possibly the whole "Five Solas" ideology, including sola scriptura

    The Five Solas seem to be a Calvinist idea, yet many Christians today, particularly Evangelicals adhere to them. Let me start with sola scriptura and why I think it is an unworkable concept and how it "dumbs down" Christianity.

    Firstly, I don't believe that the written tradition contains all the information to understand the purpose of Christianity. It may contain enough for your "salvation," but not enough to answer all questions or address all issues. This is why people keep having objections, doubts and problems with Christianity. To properly understand Christianity, you have to study its history. This is why the written tradition isn't enough.

    Secondly, when you find questions that the Text cannot answer, you have to interpret. Sola scripture is opposed to man-made theology, yet when you start interpreting the Text, what you develop is already man-made. If you then promote your interpretation as the "right belief," you are creating an external tradition. Obviously, you don't want your hard work in studying the Scriptures to be in vain. You want to save other people the hard work of interpreting and studying the Bible.

    The external, non-canonical tradition you have created seeks to answer a question that cannot be found at first glance. There was a process by which you came to this conclusion and you are unsure as to how others will reach the same conclusion. This is how man-made theology develops.

    Thirdly, sola scriptura itself is a man-made concept. The Bible does not say we have to follow Scripture alone. As long as we don't contradict Scripture, we're fine. The problem is people making up ideas that actually contradict Scripture.

    Sola Scriptura means that people aren't allowed to think outside of Scriptura, but they inevitably do. This is how it "dumbs down" Christianity. This is why I accept that Catholicism has a right to have a "Sacred Tradition" and Judaism having an Oral Torah.

    Here are the other four "Solas."

    2. sola fide (faith alone)
    3. sola gratia (grace alone)
    4. sola christo (through Christ alone)
    5. soli deo gloria (glory to God alone)

    At first glance, they may sound reasonable and perhaps even wonderful ways of thinking of Christianity. However, I think there are instances where they actually become silly and absurd.

    "Salvation by faith" implies that you can't earn your way to heaven. That's great, but what happens if a person has faith but isn't a particularly nice person and isn't sorry for it? Jesus said to love your neighbour, not to be judgmental, be humble, don't exalt yourself. Christians are often in the business of exalting themselves. Often the argument is that because we can't get to heaven by "works," it means that it's wrong to try to be good. Sola fide/faith alone starts to sound like a "do nothing" or "do no good" ideology. I can't agree that Jesus doesn't want us to be good people.

    It contradicts what James said about "faith without deeds." If you have faith, surely, you would do something to demonstrate your faith? Ultimately then it isn't "faith alone."

    The next one is "Christ alone." The major problem with this one is that a lot of the people didn't need Christ, like Moses, Abraham, David and Elijah. Pretty much everyone that came before Jesus didn't need him.

    The last one is "glory to God alone." Surely, how can we not give glory to things apart from God? Glory to ourselves, glory to your father and mother, glory to your country, your government, your career. We give glory to our prophets and our religion do we not? Glory to Christianity? Doesn't sound like glory to God alone.

    The major problem with the Five Solas is oversimplification. If you get into a discussion with a Christian who actually believes in the Five Solas and he says you must think in terms of "faith alone," Scripture alone, Christ alone, that imposes an unnecessarily restriction on your thinking when you are trying to explain something about Christianity. It can actually become quite legalistic. Most importantly, however, these restrictions on what you are allowed to think are what "dumbs down" Christianity.

    The Catholic Church and Greek Orthodox churches may not be "dumbed down" like the churches who actually believe in the Five Solas, but they also may not be better alternatives either. I don't necessarily have to agree with their "sacred tradition" even if I can accept the idea of one.

    This is why I say that the "dumbing down" is a natural result of the Great Schism. It's because the other options aren't any better.
     
  3. stuntpickle

    stuntpickle New Member

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    I understand that Rome was always thought to have a position of deference and that the Great Schism resulted from an attempt to institutionalize that deference. My only point was that the disagreement was primarily political rather than theological, and, unless I have misunderstood you, you seem to agree with this. I would, however, take issue with your assertion that the theological portion of the disagreement was merely a "cover," as you put it. I would argue that rather than being an extraneous matter, it was the primary manifestation of what was being proposed: namely, the complete reorganization of ideological formulation, in which ideas were not evolved on a decentralized basis and only then subjected to an executive scrutiny, but rather formulated, considered, and adopted on a wholly centralized basis.

    I'm not sure, but this seems to be in reference to my assertion that a great portion of people consider the definitive Christian text to be an English Bible. If this section was NOT in reference to my statement, I apologize.

    First, I would just like to clarify that the statement was primarily meant to illustrate the liberalization of religion from a top-heavy system, in which Latin was used as a means to keep religious authority firmly ensconced in an educated priestly caste that generally thought languages such as English were the common tongues of the barbari, into a system in which one of the major stylistic achievements in what might be called "Christendom" was, in fact, a Bible written in the barbari tongue of English. Although I never meant to suggest that English was the primary language of religious study, I did mean to say that there's a pretty good reason to consider the King James Bible a definitive expression.

    The difficulty I have in explaining this position owes neither to my inability to explain it nor to your ignorance of the fact itself, but rather to what might be best described as an unfamiliarity with the underlying mechanisms for evaluation. What I'm referring to with the King James Bible isn't its demonstration of spiritual or historical truth, but rather its demonstration of stylistic schemata. This is difficult for modern persons to evaluate simply because modern academia has largely ignored what is best described as "rhetoric" in the Aristotelian sense of the word. What I'm referring to are all the various schemata with Greek or Latin names--asyndeton, polysyndeton, accumulatio--that were once thought to be particularly important to literary expression. The classic example of asyndeton, for example, is "Veni, Vidi, Vici" or "I came, I saw, I conquered." The absence of the conjunction, which would, were it present, render the final clause "AND I conquered," isn't an arbitrary stylistic oddity but a very particular device embedded in a very particular tradition--one so large that it cannot be fully explained in an internet post.

    What the King James Bible represents isn't an explanation of rhetoric, but the preeminent demonstration of it. Up until the 20th century the King James was used as something of a textbook--NOT a religious textbook, but a literary textbook. In the 19th century, for example, a program of literary instruction largely consisted of manipulating various statements into various expressive modes, and the King James Bible was used in this process as a guide. This has resulted in the strange fact that to attempt to understand a 20th century novelist such as James Joyce, one needs to be relatively familiar with the King James Bible, NOT because it is a primary theological influence, but because it is a primary stylistic influence.

    Now, I'm not sure that one can say the English literary tradition is the preeminent literary tradition, but it is certainly a rather conspicuous one. Consider that when the great Russian novelist Tolstoy began to evaluate HIS literary tradition that it necessarily entailed a discussion of Shakespeare. That English is my primary language is only an historical accident. What I am saying here is neither chauvinism nor ethnic pride. The King James Bible is apart from any theological consideration an aesthetic accomplishment unlike any other sacred text throughout history. Consider that no one even suggests that to understand Racine one needs to first read a French translation of the scriptures. The prominent position the King James translation enjoys among English letters is, to my knowledge, unique.
     
  4. stuntpickle

    stuntpickle New Member

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    As is often the case these days, this conversation has devolved into the propagation of minutia. I tend to think this happens generally because, by and large, the participants operate without the benefits of the traditions they criticize. The problem isn't that you're wrong or that I disagree with you, but that most of what you're saying is either nonsensical or unrelated. The problem isn't that you don't know facts, but that you lack the rational apparatus to make sense of them.

    Consider the above statement you made.

    I take it for granted that you are unfamiliar with either the syllogism or the enthymeme, as any familiarity would presumably have prevented the above blunder. A syllogism is the traditional three part argument particular to logic in which given premise A and premise B, conclusion C naturally and necessarily follows. An enhtymeme is a rhetorical device in which a premise is not explicitly stated for the purposes of oratory or writing. The classic example of the syllogism is as follows: A, all men are mortal; B, Socrates is a man; C, therefore, Socrates is mortal. One might very likely in a conversation encounter the following enthymeme: Because Socrates is a man, Socrates is mortal. One might even encounter a variation that is further simplified: As we all know, Socrates is mortal. Nevertheless, the premises are implicit and still a crucial part of the argument.

    Most honest speakers leave out the premises because they are largely agreed upon and require needless explication. The propagandist and the sophist, on the other hand, leave out the premises specifically because they are problematic or, more egregiously, constitute the entire point of contention. This last type of elision is a type of fallacy called begging the question and precisely what you accomplish in the quoted passage.

    You are suggesting that because the papacy has used proclamations of faith this necessarily precludes a secular character. Implicit in this argument is the premise that outward declarations necessarily conform to inner or characteristic dispensations, or you are suggesting the premise that by definition secularism precludes any of the accouterments of faith. And both of these premises would be, I think, considered juvenile by anyone with any conception of a hypocrite or a Machiavel. Using these ridiculous premises, we could easily show how because President Bush often invoked God in his speeches, the US executive branch of government isn't secular, but theocratic.

    More problematic, however, isn't that your contention is absurd, but that you purposely conceal your contention precisely because it is absurd. Of course, there ARE a number of assumptions I make in suggesting the papacy had grown into a largely secular organization just before the Reformation, but I only make those assumptions because that constitutes the historical orthodoxy. When any text discusses what it explicitly calls "corruption" in the Catholic church of the time--including Pope Alexander having any number of children and mistresses and enforcing the sale of indulgences--it always discusses it the context of being counter to its stated mission of religious stringency and austerity. That the church was throughout large parts of history concerned with growing its already sizable demesne called The Papal States, constantly bickering over the estates attached to various bishoprics, retained a large and frequently used mercenary army, quite frequently used excommunication as a means for political gain against various Holy Roman Emperors leads historians, almost to the man, to agree that it functioned primarily as a secular institution of power. I'm just characterizing the difference between our assumptions here--not intentionally engaging in an immaterial demonstration of trivia.

    Again, it's not that I necessarily disagree with you, but that you haven't sufficiently made any reasonable point with which to disagree. You see how long it takes to explain a single mistake? Now consider that your entire post is a succession of such mistakes and that to adequately address them all, I would have to write a book. It's not that you don't know a significant amount of facts, but that you are manifestly incapable of organizing them into anything resembling a conversation. You aren't talking WITH me, but AT me.

    Now, of course, if this continues as per my experience, you will find it necessary to explain precisely how it was I, who got it all wrong, and subject me to further fallacies, nonsequiturs, and generally nonsensical inanities and then in a fit of sublime absurdity declare victory. Such is what passes for "dialogue" these days.
     
  5. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    The Jews interpreted the Christian message through their lens, as did the Greeks. Later Christians interpreted the Jewish traditions and the Greek and Pagan traditions through their own lenses. Heck, I do the same thing by needing to add my own subtitles from the Tao Te Ching to Plato in order to get it to "click." I approach the trinity in the manner I would approach a koan. The Way in the Christian sense is colored through my filter of The Way found in Taoism, (The tao of man, or our means to affect change, is through love and rightousness.) {yeah, I'm a heretic. I might even be intellectually lazy in the sense that I need these things in order to understand the Greek roots of Christianity. I need all the help I can get!}

    All of the bickering that ensued over this lead to hatreds and schisms, which really doesn't fit into Jesus's words about how his disciples would be recognized:

    John 13:34-35
    34 "I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
    Handy means for a reality check, no? :)

    Paul further explained that if people could not get to know God through the wisdom of the world, God would get people to know God through the foolish things of the world:
    1 Corinthins 1
    18 For to those who are perishing the message of the cross is foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is God's power. (AE) 19 For it is written:

    I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and I will set aside the understanding of the experts. (AF) (AG)
    20 Where is the philosopher? [c] Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? (AH) Hasn't God made the world's wisdom foolish? 21 For since, in God's wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. 22 For the Jews ask for signs (AI) and the Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, (AJ) a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. [d] 24 Yet to those who are called, (AK) both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God's power and God's wisdom, 25 because God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.
    26 Brothers, consider your calling: not many are wise from a human perspective, [e] not many powerful, (AL) not many of noble birth. 27 Instead, God has chosen (AM) the world's foolish things to shame the wise, and God has chosen the world's weak things to shame the strong. 28 God has chosen the world's insignificant and despised things (AN) —the things viewed as nothing—so He might bring to nothing the things that are viewed as something, 29 so that no one [f] can boast in His presence. (AO) 30 But from Him you are in Christ Jesus, who for us became wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, (AP) sanctification, (AQ) and redemption, (AR) 31 in order that, as it is written: (AS) The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.
    I wouldn't say Christianity is dumbed down. It says we need to approach God in humility. Easier said than done!
     
  6. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    I am truly sorry for losing track of what your position was. I did read it but lost track. The two faiths do hold contradictory viewpoints, and I am resigned to that. To me Judaism and Christianity are only reconciled by following their internal teachings about humility. You said earlier something about historical disemboweling, and that is not of interest to me. Even if it were possible to re-do the faiths, reconciliation still would all hinge on humility.

    Ok, then I do not think those narrative perspectives will ever sync, except for one possibility which is some shared dramatic imagery. They use similar phrases, images, parables and stories. Those could provide a basis of reconciliation, perhaps through dramas. A lot Christians find interest in some of the old traditional stories and extra Biblical things, like stories about Abraham or Moses when they were younger.
     
  7. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    Judaism didn't have a parent religion.

    When I spoke of Christians not "examining" the historical roots of the faith, I meant that they didn't get to the "root" of Christianity.

    Christian intellectuals studying Greek philosophy is not what I regard as getting to the "root" of Christianity. There are at least two reasons why Christians would study Greek philosophy: 1) find something to support already established ideas or 2) understand how Christianity developed.

    Christians seem to have focused more on the former, rather than the latter during the last 2,000 years. Christians have focused more on the question of "what to believe" rather than how Christianity works socially, politically and economically and how it developed and evolved. If Christians spend time considering the latter (how the religion works, develops, evolves), maybe they will be better equipped at approaching the former (what to believe). The latter is what I mean by "getting to the root" of Christianity.

    What I call the "dumbing down" is where Christians keep ignoring or overlooking issues that are important in our efforts at discovering "right belief." The "dumbing down" is where Christians are doomed to repeat the same theological/ideological mistakes over and over again because they are unwilling to consider the possibility that they might be "wrong" about something. It's the refusal to "think outside the box."

    The Five Solas of Calvinism is one example. Christians who believe in the "Five Solas" think it's wrong to have a so-called "man-made" theology or tradition. Surely, as a Catholic you'd have a problem with that? Adherents of the Five Solas ideology are unable to think "outside the box" of this ideology. According to them, the whole Sacred Tradition of Catholicism, Greek Orthodoxy and Oral Torah of Judaism are "rubbish" -- simply because they're not "canonical texts." They don't realise that it's impossible to not have "man-made" theology when there's a need to interpret.

    The "dumbing down" is a result of the attitude that "if it ain't broken, don't fix it." Very often, Christians don't realise something is actually broken!!! It's like the story of the Good Samaritan where the priest just walks by, ignoring the man beaten-half-dead. It's like a bunch of security guards patrolling Section 6. When the intruder leaves Section 6, they leave him alone, even though he might be a threat!!! Christianity doesn't seem to have a zero-defect quality control process built into it, looking for problems and fixing them when the customers aren't happy. For those who understand quality control, it's more than just fixing problems you know about, but also whatever problems customers say your product has.

    Two other examples are Christians believing Judaism is inherently and fundamentally legalistic, and the belief that the "triune Godhead" is actually fundamental to Christianity. Once again, the problem is Christians not "thinking outside the box" and questioning if they really need to see things the way "tradition" says.

    A fourth example is an over-emphasis on theology -- particularly on the nature of God. This is where Christianity gets the most criticism, from Jews, Muslims and others. I happen to agree. There is too much emphasis on theology.

    I think we need another reform movement. This time it won't be a rebellion against the Catholic Church (hope you're relieved to hear that), but a radical overhaul of all of Christendom.

    I read a book on church history a few years back. I vaguely remember the details because the book was not mine and I didn't borrow it from a library. But it's not just that book that led me (indirectly) to the views I have now, but years of reading stuff on the Internet -- looking up various topics and answers to questions I had.

    Here are some of the points I made:

    * dozens and dozens of creeds, hundreds of arguments over what is actually "fundamental" to Christianity
    * people have attempted, over and over again, to simplify Christianity. Christianity has been "oversimplified" a hundred times in our search for "the true Christianity"
    * the Orthodox Christians did not properly understand the relationship between "the way" and the Law.

    The "dumbing down" is Christians not resolving one or more of these issues -- thereby missing the mark over and over again.

    Philo is important because he was a Jew. He took Greek philosophy and adapted it to explain how a monotheistic God projected His divine will at human beings.

    The reason why I believe Philo to be the primary inspiration for many ideas in Christianity is because if we were to follow an interpretation that uses his ideas, we can avoid the problematic idea of Jesus being God. Christians over the centuries believed that Christianity shouldn't be "problematic." Christianity should be "rational." This is why they chose the triune Godhead over Arianism, because Arianism was more problematic. It wasn't because the triune Godhead was necessarily "right," but because out of the ideas people had at the time, of which the triune Godhead and Arianism were the two major ones, the triune Godhead was seen as the better one.

    The first Christians were the Nazarenes and the Nazarenes were the ethnically Jewish followers of Jesus. Judaism is fundamentally opposed to the worship of "created things" as gods or God because it sets up barriers between people and God. This was how idolatry started. I consider it very unlikely that the Nazarenes believed in a triune Godhead because that was against their religion. Jesus, Paul, Peter, James and John never mentioned a triune Godhead.

    In the absense of a better explanation, I would not be able to argue against a triune Godhead. That's because I know that you will argue, as I have seen you do many times before (speaking to you, Thomas) that just because it doesn't say God is triune, doesn't mean He isn't. But then there was Philo. Here's a link to an article on Philo and the relationship between his ideas and Chrstianity.

    Greek Philosophy and the Trinity

    Here are some key fragments of the article:

    If we were to think in terms of Philo's concept of the Logos, the Logos is not a person, but rather "the thoughts of God." It isn't actually necessarily to think of Jesus as God if God is able to pass on His thoughts to Jesus in some way.

    One of the ways we can interpret "the Father and I are one" is to think of Jesus' thoughts as being the same as God's thoughts. Where it says "the Son doesn't do anything except what he sees his own Father doing," it's the same idea. Jesus doesn't need to be God. He just has to be thinking what God is thinking in that situation. What Jesus is talking about is "unity of purpose" because he later says in John 17:21-23:

    Whatever rule people use to derive a triune Godhead from Jesus' other words about his relationship with God does not work with what he says in this passage. He says he and the Father are mutually in each other, but then prays that they both be in his followers.

    Philo's idea of the "divine sparks" or thoughts of God makes better sense in these examples. Jesus merely has the thoughts of God; he doesn't need to be God and he wanted to pass the "thoughts of God" to his followers. This was what Paul meant by the "in-dwelling of Christ" and the "Christ in us."

    When Paul says, "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" he is talking about the thoughts of the Deity and how they emanated through Jesus. Jesus, having come from heaven, would know God better than anyone else and would therefore have His "thoughts." A person can receive the thoughts of God from two sources: 1) from Scripture, because Scripture contains the words of God or 2) being in the presense of God in heaven.

    Jesus was a human being who had constant contact with God in heaven and through that contact, became thoroughly intimate with God, to the point where their thoughts were the same. Through constant contact with Jesus, we would also receive the thoughts of God. Here are two passages that refer to Jesus as "the heavenly man."

    Philippians 2:5 may appear to suggest that Jesus is of the "nature of God" (fully God, fully human), but there are many examples of the Greek word morphe meaning something other than the "nature" of a person. Actually, it often means something more like "character," "attitude" or "demeanour." The way this can happen is if Jesus has the thoughts of God, meaning that God "emanates" through Jesus.

    Philippians 2:6-11 Jesus in the form morphe of God
    The Form of God: Philippians 2
    The Trinity - Philippians 2:6-7

    The question is, why might Jesus think he could be "equal" with God? The Trinitarian view is that it's because he is God. An alternative view, inspired by Philo, is that because he has the thoughts of God, he might think he is good enough to be equal with God. No, it's not a case of Jesus being God, but of Jesus usurping God's place.

    I disagree. If Christianity is just about "doing," and not knowing its history, then what's the point of olive tree theology -- which suggests that we are part of a family? That family right now is split up into numerous fragments. I believe it's history and roots that will help us put this family back together again. This process of putting the family back together is one of the "doings" that we must do and it is something with which history can offer assistance.

    Some of the things I mentioned are of a "qualitative nature," not based on critical events in history.

    What I said about the Orthodox Church persecuting the Nazarenes is something for which I have sources and I already provided links for them in another thread.

    Tracts
    NAZARENE ISRAEL: THE ORIGINAL APOSTOLIC FAITH

    Your claim that the Doctrine of the Trinity is "revealed doctrine" is also of a "qualitative nature" and I have never seen you give any concrete evidence that it is "revealed doctrine" because you can't due to the qualitative nature of the claim. Jesus, Paul, Peter, James and John never said there was a triune Godhead, so the best you can do is claim that's what they meant -- and that isn't concrete evidence. We're probably going to be arguing about this for a long time.:)
     
  8. luecy7

    luecy7 New Member

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    Cause and effect here looks suspect to me.
     
  9. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Yeah, you're right. All the bickering became fertile ground where either potentially nourishing wheat of brotherly love and/or invasive weedy hatreds/aggressions could flourish. They chose to plant the weeds instead of the wheat.
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Is it just me or are both discussions occurring right now?
     
  11. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    I didn't study philosophy in university, so I'm a layperson in this regard. If this deficiency leads to a "dumbing down" of the discussion, then I hope that my strength in other aspects of religious belief will compensate.

    It wasn't just proclamations of faith. It included threats of violence and death on those who didn't comply. It wasn't just a church boldly making claims. These claims could be backed by force of arms.

    This is where it gets a little complicated. Bush wasn't in the business of talking about God all the time and he didn't threaten people with death for not agreeing with him. Instead, he was trying to gain support. The Medieval Catholic Church that threatened death to heretics didn't need to "please the people" to gain support. They were dictators within the church.

    That matches my reading of church history as well. The bishops of Rome at the turn of the millenium were unscrupulous individuals with little regard for whether they were "model Christians." They were largely obsessed with their power. They were dishonest and vindictive -- probably to the point where they would use religion to manipulate people.

    In that sense, they probably didn't care much for the religion they were preaching, but in how it could be used. They may have functioned as "secular-minded" people, but they took advantage of a religiously-oriented world.

    It's hard to talk with someone when you don't know them and I have only just met you. To have a discussion we would need some common ground.

    With regard to "mistakes," because I don't know what they are, I can only guess as to what they might be. On these forums I am more of a lateral thinking than a logical thinker. There are a number of ways I could have responded and while I was doing other things, I was daydreaming and brainstorming possible responses to what you said. When I finally started writing, many of those ideas just went out the window and I simply forgot them. I wrote something completely different to what I planned.

    The other thing is that I aim more often to just put my views out there rather than actually communicating.

    I suppose if this was a tennis game, you'd win because you focus on minimising mistakes and avoiding "unforced errors." I'm more aggressive and risk-taking.
     
  12. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    Theology/ideology won't go away, because without it, there would be nothing to make us different. Theology/ideology gives a religion a sense of identity and that is why we must deal with it if we want to eliminate barriers between people of different religions.

    I view theology/ideology as something fluid and dynamic, not as something static and set-in-stone. What I seek to do is reinterpret Christianity and modify theology/ideology so that the barriers fall down.

    "Love your neighbour" won't satisfy people who feel they need a theology/ideology. In order to satisfy them, you have to tell them a story they like or modify the existing story to one that they can not only accept, but also one that will help them accept other groups. This must be done without contradicting Scripture. It must be shown that Scripture can agree with the new perspective.

    I'm talking about changing theology/ideology so that "love your neighbour" is possible. What prevents this from happening is people clinging to established theology/ideology rather than allowing it to change with the times.

    My argument here is that the reason why people don't realise they can allow their theology/ideology to change without contradicting Scripture is because they haven't thought deeply enough about it and this is what I mean by the "dumbing down." The "dumbing down" is a kind of myopia or blindness that makes them fearful of and resistant to change.
     
  13. Sam Albion

    Sam Albion akaFrancisKing:ViveLeRoi!

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    to quote Saltmeister.... "Rabbinic Judaism from the very start was an intellectual tradition because it was based on the tradition of the Pharisees and the Pharisees were the intellectuals of Judaism".

    --I have to say, that's rubbish. Early Judaism smells like a tribal, animal-sacrificing sect. Jehovah is a war-monger, and no way as sophisticated a being as he is now.

    Yes, Pharisees engaged themselves in rigorous debate and that is how they got their Talmud, but what passes itself of as Rabbinical Judiasm didn't occur until much later in history, and it's major intellectual shifts occur in the same periods in time as do the major shifts in Catholicism, and neither of them have anything to do with superior intellectuals, but a general intellectualisation of civilisation full stop.

    Your perception of Christianity as being "simplistic" ignores the simplicity of the torah. In your basic books, we have crazy Moses, we have Jehovah burning and punishing and creating madmen. You have demons, you have sacrifices, and odd dietary laws, none of which could be considered "intellectual".

    Both Judaism, and Christianity, as they stand today, bear little relation to their earlier incarnations. Moses, Joseph, both picked by Jehovah, were hardly intellectuals. A farmer, and a slave. Not Literary Men. But "uneducated underclass". As for Jesus only consorting with the "uneducated underclass"; Paul (Saul), was a Roman Tax Collector. He could read, and write, and add up! wow! Most people in the world did not read, or write, or think. Jew or Christian.

    "Christianity" ISN'T based on something "dumbed down."

    Over the past 2,000 years, both Jews and Christian intellectuals, scribes, priests, rabbi's, bishops, popes, have all revised their holy books, had debates on the relevance of this and that.

    I don't see why a religion (judaism), that ... encourages it's followers to grow beards, or sprout odd curl sideburns, or tie small books to their heads, seems more... intellectual than one that doesn't. I don't see what's so intellectual about cutting off part of your penis to make Jehovah happy.

    But maybe that's just me.
     
  14. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Wouldn't it be interesting if they actually did?

    I don't believe anything has changed to any extent in the past 1500 years. Little phrases, words here and there, updated to the latest vernacular, but serious change, serious discussion and pointing out what is thought to be historical and what is metaphor would be extremely worthwhile.

    Of course this could go on for a hundred years and many folks will scream foul but an overhaul is required...
     
  15. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    What exactly do you mean by "Early Judaism?" If you're talking about the Old Testament, you're barking up the wrong tree.

    Again, I am not talking about "earlier incarnations." I am not talking about the Old Testament. I am talking about the two "branches" of the Yahweh/Hashem-oriented religion. By talking about the Old Testament and "Early Judaism" you are missing the point. I am not talking about the whole history of both religions, but how they "branched out" and "split up." When Judaism and Christianity split up, Judaism was a much more mature tradition. Rabbinic Judaism started with the Pharisees. Christianity started with the Nazarenes. Of course, Christianity caught up later, but you'd be missing the point if you think "intellectualism" is the whole point here.

    Judaism and Christianity sought to preserve different things. Judaism kept the Law System while Christianity discarded it and replaced it with the stories of Jesus. The Christians thought their tradition was a reformed version of the Yahweh/Hashem-oriented religion and for 2,000 years they sought to "correct" Judaism. What they didn't realise was that Rabbinic Judaism itself was actually a reformed version of the Yahweh/Hashem-oriented religion. They also didn't realise that this Judaism also contained the same social ethics taught by Jesus -- love your neighbour, don't judge your neighbour, don't exalt yourself, be humble. The Christians didn't realise that Judaism had reformed without dumping the Law System.

    This is where the so-called "roots" become important. Judaism kept its roots. Christianity dumped the "roots," although it did keep the Old Testament. According to the Pharisees, however, the "roots" are more than just the Old Testament. That's what the Oral Torah was all about. If Christianity could replace Rabbinic Judaism, a tradition that had both reformed and kept its roots, then all the hard work the Pharisees and rabbis did was pointless. Their intellectualism was pointless. Christianity was the younger tradition. Judaism was the older, more mature one.

    Now we are comparing the "intellectualism" of one religion with that of another. The point that I would like to make here is that if the intellectualism of one religion has more value than another, then the other religion's intellectualism is redundant, futile and pointless especially if the latter wants to replace the former.

    If reforming and keeping the roots of the Yahweh/Hashem-oriented religion was important, then Judaism had more value than Christianity in this regard. The idea of Christianity replacing an already reformed religion that kept the roots devalues those roots. If you devalue the roots of the Yahweh/Hashem-oriented religion, then basically you're saying that the Jewish God mucked around and wasted His time!!!

    Because the intellectualism of Rabbinic Judaism had more value than Christianity, the intellectualism of Christianity was redundant and futile -- meaning that it was effectively "dumbed down." It was "dumbed down" not because Christians didn't try to make sense of things, but dumbed down in the sense that Christians were mucking around and wasting their time. I think a lot of the theology we have and had in Christendom was a waste of time.

    The intellectualism in Christianity was pointless because most of it was about theology. Because theology was about the divine and afterlife, it had little social value. Theology can't make you a better person because it isn't about what you do in this life. It has little to do with "loving your neighbour." Because Jewish Law was about what people did in this life, it had something to say about "loving your neighbour." Obsession with theology was what "dumbed down" Christianity. It was intellectualism that went nowhere. Intellectualism that goes nowhere is as good as no intellectualism at all.

    Because of the mucking around and time-wasting of Christian theologians, I have no choice but to say that Christianity was supposed to be a simple-minded tradition. It was better for these theologians to just shut up!!!!

    Consider also the educational aspect of the two "intellectualisms." The intellectualism of Judaism can help Christians better understand the real significance of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, but the intellectualism of Christianity has little to offer Jews. At least for me, Judaism has helped me to see Christianity differently.

    I never said the word "only." I was talking about how Jesus' recruitment policy was different to those of the Pharisees and rabbis. He recruited anyone who would listen. The Pharisees and rabbis were more selective. Jesus had many more followers than the Pharisees and rabbis because he recruited even those who were illiterate and most people were illiterate.

    The differences between Judaism and Christianity are "archetypal" and by that I mean the intellectual nature of early Rabbinic Judaism and the simple-minded nature of early Christianity carries over to their modern counterparts. The difference between Judaism and Christianity is quality vs. quantity. There are less Jews and more Christians just like there were less Pharisees and more Nazarenes.
     
  16. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Moses was an intellectual. He was educated in all the wisdom of Egypt as a prince. (Acts 7:22)
     
  17. luecy7

    luecy7 New Member

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    So, then, Babel? Fertilizing the ground?
     
  18. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Babel started out with aggression, so the seeds were already there. Gen 10:8-12.
     
  19. luecy7

    luecy7 New Member

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    So, by your reasoning, was confusing the language equivalent to fertilizing the ground, at Babel?
     
  20. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    No, it says the people were of one mind at Babel--not disagreeing.
     

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