Asclepius & the appeal of Jesus to Gentiles

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by salishan, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    OK, the Unity position ...

    If so, why bother arguing such an anachronism? In those days, people wanted their gods to be gods, not their best pal.

    Remember Arius accepted Christian Doctrine, he believed Jesus Christ was the Son of God, he believed in the Holy Trinity, he believed in the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist, he was a priest of the Church, and by all accounts, he was a good one, and popular in what I imagine to be a tough parish (the docks in Alexandria). I would also suggest that the fact that someone with noble connections, who was educated, handsome and personable (even his detractors allow him that!) did not use those connections to get him a cushy position, says a lot for his character. He was something of an ascetic, too, and part of his success, apparently, was his composition of catechetical ditties that the men could sing while working on the boats!

    All in all, a good churchman, a good presbyter, and a thoroughly nice bloke! Athanasius, on the other hand, was the better theologian, a monk, and a bit of a handful ...

    Arius was not the first theologian to take a stand against orthodoxy, nor will he be the last. Like many who do, he was a great loss to the Church.

    Unlike you however, he does not disagree with everything, and when people do, it's a clear sign, to me at least, they're just looking round for something to handbag the church with. When that doesn't work, the look for something else.

    As with Andrew, I don't argue with you to convince you, just to correct your errors, for the benefit of others here who are interested in dialogue.

    The 'Big Problem' is that Scripture can be argued in support of both positions — 'the Father is greater than I' (John 14:28) says Christ, then 'I and the Father are one' (John 10:30) — He speaks of Himself as the Son, then says 'before Abraham was, I am' (John 8:58).

    Most of the bishops, throughout the dispute, were in the middle, undecided, because there was no clear Scriptural assertion either way. Most of the bishops were not theologians, either (same today), and were loathe to affirm anything that did not have an indisputable Scriptural argument.

    Athanasius tried to win the middle ground by theological argument. Arius tried to win it by political means ... a bad move, and it cost him. Not only was the imperial authority rejected by a church which was not prepared to hand over its independence and authority to outsiders, but Arius himself was soon lost and forgotten when the real underlying cause of the dispute was power.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi Servetus —

    I've never actually tested my position on that one. Technically, there are issues (which I can argue theologically) ... one of my biggest 'frowns' is that I find the need to resort to nuanced interpretations of Canon Law which ends up making Church lawyers look as slippery as any you'll see on a US TV drama, deeply suspect ...

    I doubt many here would believe the list of issues I have ... but then I know more about my Church than most, I suspect, although I miss BobX, someone who actually knew what he was talking about, and he made me sit up more than once ...

    That's basically where I'm at.

    Absolutely! That's why I think the Arian thing is a sideshow, had he won the day (and at one point 70% of Christendom as it then was, was Arian), then doctrine would have become very thin, very average ... and nothing much to talk about, really ...

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  3. BrotherMichaelSky

    BrotherMichaelSky New Member

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    i think there is an either/or situation here....
    Either you are in the Presence of Our Father, or you are hiding from Him - I expect those who would stand and speak things about our Father should be standing in His Presence...
    They may give whatever pretty words they like - But one who DOES stand in the Presence of Our Father cannot be blind to centuries of Karma - now is the time for the Church to drop it's pretenses and repair the damage it has done....
    But they will not....

    The words themselves mean very little if the true meaning of them is obfuscated by centuries of Doctrine...

    Attention is wisely directed at them - that much is clear..... But MY respect is reserved for those with no deception....
     
  4. BrotherMichaelSky

    BrotherMichaelSky New Member

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    No, I've been watching your straws blowing this way and that....
    All the way through this, you simply throws things you have read at me....
    I have returned with points that should have given you somewhere to do some research.... your responses are telling....
    How on Earth could a person have a solid understanding of Jewish Concepts if they do not even speak Hebrew?
    They were not looking for Truth - they were manipulating something useful to them...

    and why on earth do you throw one from the Hellenistic schools at this argument? He came straight out of the schools of Aristotle and Plato - and it is no secret that Plato held to the beliefs of Reincarnation...

    Your arguments make less than no sense, and you are not even in a position to realize this.... and you may wonder why I am getting tired of this??
     
  5. BrotherMichaelSky

    BrotherMichaelSky New Member

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    once again, read my words only so that you may throw more dated info at me.... as I have explained to you in enough words for you to understand by now - It is MY position, which I seek to share... but go right ahead - place someone else's name on it - a church past time, i understand...
    because some folks have their head so far up other people's opinions that they need someone to point out other possibilities...
    Just like any other human - all the characters we read about from ancient times - he was right about some things - wrong about others... which is kinda where i was trying to go here....
    They've done quite enough of that without me.... I'm simply not buying the whole blind faith thing... it's a lie....
    you have mistaken persistence for wisdom... rote memorization does you no good if the comprehension skills are lacking.... If you were looking to correct errors, you would have responded tobmy points rather than throwing more "facts" into the air... you simply want to make sure your words are the last...
    as many positions as one would like may be entertained, as long as one feels the whole thing is merely an intellectual exercise... But when these things become a matter of Personal Experience - one MUST begin to seek the True understanding... or they can simply refuse to see their inflexibility...
    And unfortunately, the fact of these matters has been maligned... and causes the EXACT opposite of what was intended...
    You are missing the ENTIRE point, my friend....

    the point was : that theological argument is the same as sitting in the corner playing with one's self.....

    There IS a way of knowing these things in a personal way....
    There IS a way of being sure what the concepts mean...
    and there IS a way of experiencing God first hand....

    and the way is the one shown by our Big Brother Jesus....
    but you will NOT find it in the Church.... or in the writings of the ancients
    unless you have a Personal Experience which shows the way...

    That much has become clear to me....

    You are welcome to your victory, Thomas - if that is what you would like to call it... :)

    But as I said, I'm tired of this - you have nothing to offer me at this point - I will wait for wisdom to fall from your lips at another time...
     
  6. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    Pax Tecum, Thomas,

    I hope to return to this thread soon, but presently you have me stalled upon this fascinating, intricately subtle statement of yours:

    That is a fine assessment. It is the rub. I will consider this further before responding.


    Serv
     
  7. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    In the meantime ...
    _____________________________

    Hi BrotherMichaelSky,

    It occurs to me that perhaps you and Thomas are even unintentionally speaking past each other. While I have understood some of your individual points, I cannot say I have comprehended your overall and general position thus far in this discussion because, on one hand, you make statements such as this:

    How do you propose we do that if not by delving into history which in this case necessarily involves theology (as radarmark made clear in his initial response to your suggestion)? And yet, when we do, the complaint becomes:

    Would you have us follow your suggestion to "go back to the understandings which were prevalent" and yet exclude the writings of the Church Fathers (and others) who where there, directly participating in the making of that history?

    You have been asked to produce or cite sources. I am interested to hear your position, even if it is something subjective, or experiential, you want to share, but if it is subjective, then let it be either accepted or rejected as such.


    Best regards,


    Serv
     
  8. BrotherMichaelSky

    BrotherMichaelSky New Member

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    consider a third component:
    The root of both...

    I have been meditating on my frustration with this hijack - and why, after all these years, my motivation has simply dropped from under me...

    I never had a strong desire to "correct people's wrong thinking" or "argue until i'm proven right" - or argue at all, actually......
    but I have desired conversation with someone who has put the same time into the subject as I..... and followed things to what I consider their natural conclusion...
    I perceive that has been the root of my motivation...
    and I believe I have proven to myself why there has always been an "Elect" within the Church......
    the Vast Majority simply DO NOT CARE.... they are comfortable knowing just enough to avoid the sting of Conscious Knowing.... and they WILL NOT step beyond that for fear of the responsibility....
    it is why most are here in the physical... chosen blindness....
    I have been Don Quixote for far too long....
    I will probably, from here on, be much more bearable for others....
     
  9. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    Thank you. That, we might yet do.


    To make myself clear, thus far I have not found you at all unbearable. I mean, after all, in the words of the old '70's song (bad grammar and all), "you ain't heavy, you're my brother."

    Serv
     
  10. BrotherMichaelSky

    BrotherMichaelSky New Member

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    sweet, a greeting... :)
    why, hello there....
    I am not - but I would recommend a thorough investigation.... from differing views.... and merging that understanding... you notice how far the conversation traveled in just a few posts? How on earth to post enough material ( as if anyone would read it ) to GIVE someone such a base for understanding? I ain'ta gonna do it no more.... it's WORK, and I HAVE DONE it already, too many times.....
    the thing is this:

    I have very recently moved.
    I have a room full of books, each with it's waving mass of bookmarks, which I have compiled over years - simply to respond to the comments of fundamentalists as I try to share my understanding of things...

    Those books are in a storage shed in my back yard.... and as of yet, I have had little desire to go get them....
    To complicate things - I'm beginning to see a REASON why folks have such ideas as they do, as it is right and proper....
    Furthermore - I seriously doubt that all the effort I have gone through has meant a single thing to the individuals that I have provided it to....

    A HUGE amount of wasted time and effort...
    It's ridiculous that I should feel the need to VERIFY my personal experience with the words of men from thousands of years ago....

    unless one is to think that I should, simply because I can - but it is starting to feel immensely pointless and distracting...

    Honestly, if I simply felt the need - I wouldn't need my books ( they actually organize my thoughts more than anything at this point ), but the heart has fallen out of that exercise.....
    when I decide whether I am simply discouraged, or if I have decided on a fundamental change in my approach is yet to be determined....

    To answer your questions, I was annoyed by the switching from topic to topic because there was no way to supply enough background to answer in any meaningful way...
    it had degenerated into throwing facts into the air..... pointless and obfuscating...
    and never fear - I will answer pretty much anything... ask me whatever you want, I will share my personal experience ( prolly should be another thread, and when it is appropriate - i'm working on my hijack habit... )
     
  11. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    Hi Thomas,

    Thank you. Before I first tripped over and then stalled out on your subsequent statement, I was simply (and I use the adverb in this case advisedly) thinking in terms of a syllogism. I will state it thus:

    1. Arius's position was Platonic;
    2. Athanasius's position was also Platonic;
    3. God (is said to have) sided with Athanasius;
    therefore,
    God (in the Nicene Council) took sides in a Platonic debate.

    Even if that is essentially a steamroll, I must say that I was (and am) amused in this case by own syllogism. Please allow me, then, a big, green toothy grin: :D


    Best regards,

    Serv
     
  12. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    I have considered this statement, Thomas, and, to me, the "Hellenization of an essentially Hebraic mode of realization" seems a concise and accurate description not only of Arianism but also of Christianity in general. St. Paul told Titus to pay no heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men. With that advice in mind, it seems to me that he or she is a wise Christian indeed who knows exactly where some of those unspecified Jewish fables end and where Christianity proper begins.

    I apply this also to Platonism. Although I would not presume to say I understand how he considers it so, at any rate one of Christianity's chief critics, Nietzsche, said that Christianity is Platonism for the people, and a question to my mind arises: where, especially in the developmental morphology of early Christian doctrines and dogma, does Platonism end and Christianity begin and how might one disentangle the two? Those are two intertwined serpents upon the caduceus, so to speak. Given that, as you said, plenty of the orthodox fathers were Platonists (granted, recently converted to the Christianity which they were in the process of defining) and that the whole of the Nicene Council, Arius included, were arguing Hebraic scripture, on what objective basis can it be said, or determined, that Arius wrongly used Plato to interpret Christ but that Athanasius rightly used Christ to interpret Plato?

    That might be too many questions. Let me step back a moment. Would you say, as a case in point involving a non-Christian, that Philo of Alexandria, for instance, used Plato to interpret Moses or that he used Moses to interpret Plato? I am inclined toward the former, that he used Plato to interpret Moses. I wonder if he was wrong or ill-advised to do so. Furthermore, is what Philo did with Moses at all analogous to what Arius did with Christ? Clearly, to my mind, your statement raises more questions than answers, but it is thought-provoking nevertheless.

    Best regards,

    Serv
     
  13. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    We have a few issues going here, Thomas, and I want to address these as well.

    I have tested your position and am pleased to report that you are for the most part in. But as for me, I mean, I am way out of communion. I must have fallen out long ago, back when the Eucharist, on its initial journey from Jerusalem to Rome (with a stop-over in Alexandria), morphed from a shared, commemorative, common meal in which the believers broke bread and drank wine into a rite presided over by a priest with the presumptive prerogative to transubstantiate and all that. I could probably still sit in a collective meal and share bread and wine, as Abraham did with Melchizedek, for instance, but I would have to exclude myself from what the rite has not only become but also signifies.

    I would believe it. You are a thinking man with what I consider a healthy respect for tradition. I, being also a fan of Rene Guenon, or, at any rate, a fan of those parts of Guenon which I can actually comprehend (given his obtuse writing style, as it is translated into English), consider myself something of a traditionalist, lower case 't.' The problem is, with respect to tradition, I cannot seem to locate mine. I think I must be one of the original displaced personalities and probably belong in theater (depending upon my mood, vaudeville, to be exact).

    It is true that, had Jesus been simply viewed as yet another in a series of teachers of righteousness, or prophets, Christianity, without its Christological aspects, would not have been so doctrinally, well, colorful, to say nothing of complicated. Prophets, after all, appear often enough, but a "shield of the faith" such as this is forged and comes forth from the fires but rarely. While I don't accept it in its entirety, neither do I say, as did the person whose name I have borrowed, Michael Servetus to John Calvin, that his (Trinitarian) God was a three-headed Cerberus. That is altogether too impolitic and, this time around, I don't want to be spitting charcoal.


    Best regards,


    Serv
     

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