"holy scriptures"

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by IowaGuy, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    But that doesn't necessarily make them divine revelations — they could be psychotic episodes.

    The next step is acceptance and approval by the community at large.

    The Lord moves in mysterious ways? You have to start somewhere? How else can one do it, without the phenomena itself existing as a proof? I mean, say if 10% of the global population all got the same 'revelatory insight' at the same moment, would that not constitute some order of proof?

    Short answer ... I don't know.

    Hasn't shown that to me either. It's what I believe, though, and it's the most rational, reasonable, holistic and optimistic doctrine I know of.

    I rather think the message is more important than the messenger.

    Paul comes across at times as a cantankerous old bugger, Peter was probably quite happy bouncing rocks off Roman skulls, I don't believe John was a poor, illiterate fisherman for a moment, and who the heck wrote Hebrews? I nor anyone else knows, but it's one of the most luminous tracts ever written ...

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Ok, I'll take that at face value...

    Of the things you deem divine revelation, you know, maybe Moses talking to the burning bush...

    When was the last one you 'know of'?

    Divine revelation of any individual in order to be discovered by another has to enter whatever version of dissemination at the time yes?

    Oral tradition - written word - ....why does it make no sense to you that it would eventually end up in the media of today?

    There are folks that watch Charlton Heston talk to the burning bush every year....is that not supposed divine revelation being portrayed in the media?
     
  3. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    This is something everyone leaves out. One must vaerify and validate the inner truth of a writing. If the community (be they a single religious community, a group of like-minded adventurers, or whatever) rejects the writing, leave it be. Its much like the scientific method this way. And it is also like how we learn... when we are children and call green "blue" or think our feces are gifts to be left on walls, it is our elders who teach us.

    Pax et amore omnia vincunt.
     
  4. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    OK, I like your scientific method analogy. But let's look at the flipside.

    Let's say a certain community accepts the writing. Let's consider the Mormons, they accept the Book of Mormon as divine revelation (for the most part). So, your 1st criteria is met (a community that accepts the writing).

    Then I read it myself. It makes sense to me, that "God" would also reveal his message to folks in the "New World" along with the middle east. (I've always thought it strange that God/Jesus, being omniscient, wouldn't have told the Middle Eastern folks about all the souls to "save" across the Atlantic; or that he wouldn't have also revealed himself to ancient folks on this side of the pond.)

    So does that make the Book of Mormon divine revelation? Most non-Mormon Christians do not consider the Book of Mormon to be anything more than Joseph Smith's fabrications and plagiarisms.

    This gray area of determining divine revelation seems a little wishy-washy to me. More defensible to just say all these books were written by humans with no divine revelation but contain some excellent spiritual teachings. Or at the other end of the spectrum, Wil's thoughts from an earlier thread that EVERYTHING is divine inspiration, therefore no discrimination or favoritism of one holy book over another.

    Seems very difficult to draw the line between a holy book that is divine revelation and one that is not. Especially if one of the criteria is acceptance by the larger community. That immediately introduces their cultural biases into the decision-making process...
     
  5. bob x

    bob x New Member

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    Of course, my experience is the direct reverse, as with many others. That certainly militates against any view that one batch of texts is qualitatively different from the other.
    The condition is neurological ("temporal lobe epilepsy"), not a "psychosis" which is something very different. Naturally, when I was in the grip of my visionary experiences, I could not doubt that absolute truth was being shown to me, although I eventually grew into an understanding that they may have been profound experiences, but were not infallible revelations; and, as happens with some but not all, I grew out of the condition, as Paul apparently never did. Paul himself did however acknowledge that it was, at some level, a mental condition: from Galatians, "I know that my condition was a trial for you, but you did not despise me for it, but welcomed me as if I were an angel or the Lord Jesus Himself, for you know that it was my illness which started me preaching the Gospel in the first place."
    Why not 100%? The theory that God picks and chooses particular people to "get it" while everybody else has to depend on them is, on the face of it, a peculiar one; saying "I don't know why" is not much of a defense, when a very easy explanation of "why" is readily available (it suits the egos of the people who claim revealed truth that is denied to others).
    A large part of his message is that people should share his peculiar attitudes, so I can't really separate the "message" from the "messenger" in this case.
    The author of Revelations was indeed a poor, illiterate fisherman. The author of the Fourth Gospel is a person from a very different time and place.
    If you don't buy in to the whole concept of sacrificial rites in the first place, it doesn't really have much to say.
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Bob x
    I would say the texts are entirely sufficient to achieve or attain their object. That's why I don't agree with religious syncretism.

    That's tough.

    Because it wouldn't change anything.

    It doesn't really matter whether you buy it or not ... it's part of the human condition. There's been screeds written about the the idea of 'sacrifice' — it's ubiquitous.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    OK

    OK. I'd rather another, cos as a Catlick, of course, I have certain views about the proliferation of denominations in America ... as I do about the Reformation in Europe ...

    (If you put me on the spot between Roman catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy, I'd ask an angel come along and bang some heads together. There are huge problems, which could be surmounted in a moment if there was the will to do so.)

    OK.

    To the believer, subjectively it does.

    Quite.

    You can't determine it — that's the point — there's no empirical test or proof, any more than you can prove God. You won't answer that question objectively, or rather, you're gonna have to listen to yourself.

    As I said, I view the Buddhist Sutras, or the Upanishads, as texts of immense value, power, luminosity ... but they don't 'speak' to me.

    I was listening to the Dalai Lama giving a talk at a Dominican college in England. The question of reincarnation came up, and when it was explained to him (by Dom Bede Griffiths, who ran a 'Christian sangha' in India), why we Catlicks don't do reincarnation, and what we do instead, he was in full agreement "That's a very powerful idea ... "

    Trouble is they say more than that ... What you're doing is rationalising a text to fit in your 'box': "It can't be revelation, because I don't believe in revelation", that kind of thing.

    Most non-conformist/free-thinkers here like to think of themselves as thinking 'out of the box' whilst they view people like me, embedded in a tradition as being 'in the box' ... the reality, in my experience, is the reverse.

    Everybody has a box, you either know it, or you don't. People who think they think outside the box don't know they're actually fitting everything into a pre-determined box all of their very own.

    It's a common New Age dictum, but it's a banality. All it does it strip the meaning from things, everything is everything, the world is reduced to blancmange.

    It only discriminates in favour of the viewer, who can then decide all about everything with no reference to external reality.

    Worse than that, for us catlicks, for example, transcendent truths are revealed in our text, but the text itself is no inerrant — so sola scriptura is not the way to go ... in fact even the text itself says that, and yet people declare the opposite! Go figure.

    Then you have the Reformation, and people like Martin Luther dumping certain texts 'cos' they don't fit with his theology of despair...

    Yes it does.

    welcome to the real world ... no simple answers, except one.

    Find a way ... and do it.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  8. bob x

    bob x New Member

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    For you, personally, the Christian texts have some effectiveness. For others, they don't speak, and other texts do better.
    For some, an eclectic mixture of insights from differing texts works better. You, personally, may not get much from syncretism-- *shrug* what makes your personal needs more important than anyone else's?
    It was a problem for me sometimes, as it was for Paul sometimes; but I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.
    I'm very puzzled by what you mean. On the face of it you seem to be saying that revelation itself is worthless, and that it wouldn't matter either if nobody got the message; but I'm sure you mean something else.
    The tendency to model nature in anthropomorphic terms is part of the human condition, along with many other human tendencies that lead us into stupid errors. The model of the world in terms of capriciously emotional spirits (if a flood or plague or quake has devastated some area, somebody in that area must have done something to make the gods angry), who need to inflict suffering when they are offended, but are not particular about whether the suffering lands on the precise offender just so long as somebody suffers, is at the basis of the common primitive practice of inflicting suffering on some animal (or human) in the belief that the capricious anger will thereby be appeased. Certainly I can understand why there are such widespread belief systems, without believing that there is any accuracy to this picture of how the world works.
     
  9. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    IG,

    You said,

    "It makes sense to me, that "God" would also reveal his message to folks in the "New World" along with the middle east."

    --> "He" did.

    "I've always thought it strange that God/Jesus, being omniscient, wouldn't have told the Middle Eastern folks about all the souls to "save" across the Atlantic; or that he wouldn't have also revealed himself to ancient folks on this side of the pond."

    --> "He" did. There is no reason to think the Christians have more of an access than anyone else. Buddhist sutras and Hindu Vedas are just as valid as the Bible.

    There were also entire civilizations that appeared and disappeared in the ancient times that have been lost in antiquity. Those civilizations, too, had access, and we do not have to worry that "Christianity wasn't there for them."
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed.

    I disagree. Each 'message' if you will, comprises a totality, it's complete within itself, so it needs nothing form outside to augment it, nor anything from outside to complete it.

    Not mine alone. Masters of all traditions say the same, the Perennial Tradition says the same, and demonstrates it quite effectively. Syncretism is cherry-picking, it's self-serving.

    I also follow the philosophers in their dismissal of the 'unfair' argument, but I won't bother to rehearse that here ...

    Agreed, but on the other hand the tendency of God to 'talk' to man in anthropomorphic terms is also hugely significant, and is itself part of the message of Divine Union.

    Then again, there is the apophatic as well as the cataphatic.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  11. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I tend to agree with Thomas that one should perhaps not pick and choose the good parts. I do understand what you are all saying and I'm not saying what you do is necessarily wrong, everyone walks their own path in a way. But I think their are lessons to learn by understanding the faith as a whole compared to a shallow understanding of many faiths and then draw unreasonable parallels between faiths. Something I believe Lunitik is doing most of the time.

    I would perhaps, humbly, suggest that one study and understand a faith a great deal before one casts judgement on it. There might come a time where a person can discard parts that goes against the persons understanding of the world, I'm not as strict as Thomas on this, or even discover other paths to learn their lessons.

    I haven't yet set foot on a path myself so even I take what I say with a grain of salt, but this is true for me now.
     
  12. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Tea,

    I'm glad there is something here we agree on. I agree that a person should study a belief system deeply before rejecting it, or 'picking out the good parts.' But I also agree with what you are saying, that ultimately we must get to the part where we pick out the good parts, throw out the bad parts, and throw out the whole belief system if it has too many holes. Each person is responsible for his/her own personal belief system, and should not blindly follow anything. There is a big difference between digging deeper and deeper into a belief system and following it blindly.
     
  13. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    Yes, responsibility, very good.
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    God reveals His message to all, everywhere, according to their capacity to comprehend the message.

    This highlights a 'problem' from the human point of view. The message comprises, if you like, a 'key' or 'way' to the Absolute, the Infinite ... therefore the content of the message itself opens up to absolute and infinite meaning, there is literally no end to the depths of the sacra doctrina of the world.

    Divine Revelation is like an irruption of the eternal into the temporal, the absolute into the contingent, the infinite into the ephemeral ... it opens up ever new vistas, the further you go, the horizon is always ahead.

    He does, the Great Spirit ...

    Ignore Nick, he's just loyal to Theosophy's anti-Christian agenda.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi A Cup of Tea —

    The more I understand the deeper principles of my own faith, and I use 'deeper' provisionally, meaning the less accessed aspects of the doctrine, the more I see the correspondences with the sacra doctrina of other traditions.

    Frithjof Schuon said that every tradition is limited by a certain 'sentimentalism', which gives the tradition substance, body and shape, whereas pure metaphysics goes beyond forms into the formless and the transparent.

    The inherent error commonly assumed of Perennialism is that there is some kind of uber-religion, some 'timeless tradition' or 'ancient wisdom' that is accessible if one can get beyond the exoteric dimension of the world's great spiritual traditions.

    Not a few actually claim to contain it.

    The reality is, to talk of such is to confuse the levels of metaphysical necessity.

    In effect every tradition is an upaya — a providential means or methodology — but the great mistake of modernism is to assume that because one knows this, one can short-cut, by-pass or do without it. That's a quantative and consumerist position.

    The Perennialists, of course, refute that soundly and demonstrate how it is another 'sign of the times' of the spiritual and metaphysical opacity that blights our age.

    It is certainly true one can walk one's own path or way — everyone does, to some degree — but it is not true that any path is as good as any other, nor that all paths must necessarily lead to the same place, that is just sentimental and egalitarian nonsense, a kind of spiritual 'political correctness' that assumes that God is obliged to invent a completely new, original and unique set of rules for each and every individual, that only God and the person knows ... as if each person was the sole instance of a given species.

    And it is certainly the case that the Way of the Traditions are only accessible to those who follow the Tradition — which is why all forms of syncretic religion are just mix 'n' match or cherry-picking, walking about as it were in a spiritual buffet, but never going anywhere.

    Its milk, not meat, to coin a Pauline phrase.

    This does not mean I know or understand other traditions (beyond the superficial), but I do have a respect for them, and delight in the correspondences.

    They rise, shimmering and implacable, like the peaks above the mists of mediocrity that clouds the general intellectual horizon of contemporary western culture, founded as it is upon the philosophy of relativity.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  16. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    That is precisely what I, too, try to do. KUDOS, Thomas:)

    If left there, Schuon makes sense... this is a metaphysical issue. What IMO we need to do is discuss at this level, and not get tied down in the mire of basic issues of interfaith differences (Guénon did a good job of keeping at this level).

    That is precisely the draw of "New Age Religions" (I use the term to include similar groups from Swedenborg in). To reach "Ancient Masters" or "Spiriual Aliens" (I was part of discussion group that began experiencing walking and talking tomato plants... I wonder whatever happened to them).

    The problem with the "Modernist" position is that it required one to drink the kool-aid of instant gratification and sound bites and materialism. This is why the Perennialists by and large miss their mark, they do not put in the self work (including philosophy and science). One must return to the more objective (and coherent) ideas of a metaphysics.

    If nothing else an individual gets lost (I do all the time) and needs a community, a tradition for grounding. The basic issue is mistaking our knowledge and belief in a way with the way itself. The way is something transcendental and ineffable while our knowledge is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
    limited and our beliefs so fickle.

    Good post, Thomas, my friend.

    Pax et amore omnia vincunt.
     
  17. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Great food for thought on this thread.

    If all paths don't lead to the same place, and one path is not as good as any other, and there is value in following the wisdom of a Tradition; do you believe (as your Tradition did a few hundred years ago) that Native Americans should be discouraged from believing in the Great Spirit and instead converted to Catholicism? If not, aren't you cherry-picking from the beliefs within your own Tradition? I haven't met many Christians that think the Great Spirit is really God talking to the Natives; most Christians that I know see the Great Spirit and other native beliefs as paganism.

    You personally seem to be fairly open minded and accepting of other Traditions (except for Theosophy :)). But your Tradition historically hasn't been accepting of "native" or "pagan" belief systems of native peoples. There were Catholic missions established all along the West Coast of this country which attempted to convert the natives to Christianity (and sometimes used fairly violent methods to do so). And they historically used your same logic, that all paths don't lead to the same place, that the Catholic path is a better path than a "pagan" belief system.

    This logic was ultimately based on their belief that the Bible is the only true Revealed scripture...
     
  18. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    Thomas, I don't know if you directed your post to anything specific I said, but I do agree with you in what you say (to the extent my knowledge permits).
    As Radar said, good post.

    EDIT IG do we need to pas judgement on all of Catholicism because of what some of them did?
     
  19. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    Do they call them 'holy' scriptures because they have holes in their history and logic?
     
  20. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    I'm not trying to pass judgement or attack anyone's personal belief system.

    But if someone says that the best path is to follow a Tradition, then they should stand behind that Tradition, no? And if they don't stand behind that Tradition, aren't they, too, cherry-picking like those that don't follow Tradition?
     

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