God....He or She

Jayhawker Soule

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Those who believe and accept can point to The Jesus Seminar and other sources vouching for the (probable) veracity of this explanation of the Chr!st.
Please stop babbling. To the best of my knowledge the Jesus Seminar 'vouches' for precious little. Furthermore, whatever you might hold to be "the (probable) veracity of this explanation of the Chr!st [sic]" in no way addresses the point made in my previous post.
 

radarmark

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That was rather rude! And you did not even address the question.

Your post "We do not know what Jesus said. We know only what later apologists claim Jesus said."

So let me put this very succinctly:

1) there is pretty good interior evidence that some words in the Gospels are very close to what historically is called Jesus said,that is the odds are they are original (The Jesus Seminar is all about this question).

2) what is an apologist, in your opinion?

3) cannot the same level of "noting is provable" be said of all religious texts?
 

BlaznFattyz

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You are welcome to disagree. In Christianity Jesus is a manifestation of G!d, hear on earth...G!d's son? Or G!d on earth in the triune? Paul asked us to put the mind of Christ in our mind. Jesus said whatever he could do we could do...brothers and sisters...sons and daughters...we all have that spark of divinity within, our choice to let it grow to oneness or through our choices and thoughts be separate....
Yes, i would agree that Jesus is a manifestation of God as God's Son-that is unique to him alone. Putting on the mind of christ, is saying to be holy (seperate yourself from fleshy desires and instead walk with God), and strive to be like Christ (forgiving, loving, and always praying). those that have accepted christ in their hearts and have asked the holy spirit to dwell with them certainly do have a "spark of divinity" within them. but we are not born with this in us, we have to acknowledge him, be born again and claim that Christ is Lord. and what God wants to do with your life, no matter how small or insignificant you may think of yourself, if God has plans for you, you could go on to do great things through the strength of the spirit that christ has sent to the glory of God the Father.
 

A Cup Of Tea

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The way most of us use "apologists" really does not admit your reference JS. You are free to believe that (whatever it means). Those who believe and accept can point to The Jesus Seminar and other sources vouching for the (probable) veracity of this explanation of the Chr!st. Is your reply based on the fact that we cannot clearly know (empirically or rationally)?

Please do 'babble'.
 

Jayhawker Soule

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That was rather rude! And you did not even address the question.

Your post "We do not know what Jesus said. We know only what later apologists claim Jesus said."

So let me put this very succinctly:

1) there is pretty good interior evidence that some words in the Gospels are very close to what historically is called Jesus said,that is the odds are they are original (The Jesus Seminar is all about this question).

2) what is an apologist, in your opinion?

3) cannot the same level of "noting is provable" be said of all religious texts?
  1. No, there is not.
  2. apologist
  3. absolutely
 

Thomas

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We do not know what Jesus said. We know only what later apologists claim Jesus said.
True, but His words and His actions made and impression on them, and led them to certain conclusions. The question then becomes whether we can assent to their conclusions, and what sustenance we draw from their testimonies.

This is the same with all the world's sacra doctrina, as indeed it is with many other texts that have shaped the course of history.
 

Gordian Knot

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True, but His words and His actions made and impression on them, and led them to certain conclusions. The question then becomes whether we can assent to their conclusions, and what sustenance we draw from their testimonies.

The immediate question for me becomes do we assent to their conclusions because they align with what we prefer to believe?
 

Thomas

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You are welcome to disagree.
then I shall. ;)

In Christianity Jesus is a manifestation of G!d, hear on earth...G!d's son? Or G!d on earth in the triune?
Both. He is instrumental in revealing both.

Paul asked us to put the mind of Christ in our mind.
Indeed he did. The point being His mind is not my mind, your mind, or anyone else's mind.

By his own words, Paul does not see Christ as some abstract divine entity, He sees a divine person. The turning point of his whole realisation, however one sees it, whether revelation, inspiration, or a psychological breakthrough, is that Jesus Christ is a person, who says "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? ... I am Jesus (that is the founder of the cult the Christians practiced) whom thou persecutest." (Acts 9:4,5).
His conclusion, after many years of reflection, was that Jesus Christ, the heresiarch Jew who's followers he persecuted, was man, and God. Not an easy thing to come to terms with, if for nothing else than he must admit 'a strange god' (cf Deuteronomy 5:7) and, if he's wrong, he's broken the first two commandments of the decalogue in no uncertain manner.

Jesus said whatever he could do we could do...
Only because He makes it possible for us to do it: "I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing." (John 15:5).
This, notably, is an outright claim to divinity, by the way. He's talking of Himself, not of God, and if He is not God, then He is a blasphemer, for He is claiming to be the source of Life itself.

...brothers and sisters...
"For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother," (Matthew 12:50, Mark 3:35). Kin in the sense that they serve the same God, not kin by nature nor by birthright: "You are from beneath, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world" (John 8:23).

... sons and daughters ...
Ditto.

we all have that spark of divinity within...
Hmm, the 'divine spark' is a non-Biblical notion though, isn't it, a dualist way of seeing that's refuted by Abrahamic holism. The divine breathe animates, but does not part divinity, to Adam, he becomes a living soul, not a God (Genesis 2:7).

God is an Immanent Presence to the soul, but it is not the substance or nature of the soul as such. How can it be? How can anything be inherently divine and not know, when we declare that in the divine is One without condition, determination, limitation, imposition?
 

Thomas

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No, there is not.
Wearing my 'traditional Catholic hardliner' hat, this kind of comment really makes me smile.

Radarmark's "... pretty good interior evidence ... some words ... very close ... the odds are ... " which is a nicely qualified statement in my book, that takes into account the whole span of the argument. Not a definitive 'yes' or 'no', but the trend of the evidence points in a certain direction, if not unequivocally to a particular point.

I couldn't have said it better myself, indeed, I probably will say it (a la Oscar Wilde), somewhere down the line! :D

The response is a flat 'no', a statement unqualified, unverified, indemonstrable and unprovable ...

... blimey! I never realised just how liberal and permissive we dogmatists are! And I always thought it was the other way round!! :eek:
 

radarmark

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Sorry JS,

I will take a serious group of Biblical scholars over your "No, there is not" any day. That is merely your counter "definition of faith". No proof, no reasoning here at all , just your opinion.

The definition is irrelevent, since many who do NT studies are not "believers in the faith" (see Ehrman for one). Any one counter example is logically enough to demolish your "house of cards".

Fine, you do not have to believe in any religion. Why are you here? Interfaith Forum implies a faith, if you have none, why participate?
 

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine

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I "see" G!d as truly intersexual (both male and female.) Heck, I believe that, in some of the Jewish "myths", Adam and Eve started out as intersexual, too (but I could be mistaken [as usual]. :eek:)

Phyllis Sidhe_Uiane
 

donnann

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I "see" G!d as truly intersexual (both male and female.) Heck, I believe that, in some of the Jewish "myths", Adam and Eve started out as intersexual, too (but I could be mistaken [as usual]. :eek:)

Phyllis Sidhe_Uiane
I believe god has a female counterpart and that they are a threefold consciousness, a very complex being. I believe the human race was originally in this condition and that a split of the male and female through adultery caused mortality and that is what the story of the serpent and the temptation was all about. There are other anatomies besides basic human anatomy. Look at shakiti and shiva , they have bisexual anatomy. There are people born today with complex anatomies such as hermaphrodites. However one is always either a male or a female not a male and a female just like shkiti and shiva whose anatomy is reversed for union purposes.
 

Jane-Q

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God . . . He? or She?

1.

Both linguistically and biologically, if you posit a "he" you also have to posit a "she."
It stretches logic beyond its limit to claim that only "one gender of something" exists.
The existence of one gender inherently implies the existence of the other gender: they are a linked pair.

God cannot be both monotheistic and gendered.

 

Jane-Q

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God . . . He? or She?

2.

But when has religion ever been logical?

I am watching the British TV program The Fall, curled up with a male colleague.
I have to laugh.
Gillian Anderson plays Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson who is sent to Belfast to assess the handling of a high profile unsolved murder. Passing by an unrelated crime scene on her first day there, Stella has her driver stop. "Who's he?" Introduced by her driver to the handsome cop in charge, Stella blatantly tells this cop the name of her hotel and her room number.
Late that night the cop knocks on her door. "I'm not sure this is what you meant," he says.
"This is what I meant," she reassures him, bringing him inside. He's married. She never asks.

So freakin' brazen!
This, of course, flies in the face of law enforcement protocol, almost everywhere. But such does happen.
I've done it. (More than once, frankly. However I do ask, first, if the person is married or is heavily involved with someone. That's my concession to Puritan ethics.) When you fly fresh into some new city with a group of people you have never met before, discretion usually isn't an option. If I single out one of them for a short-term fling, I have to live with the whispered fact that the rest of my new colleagues "know." Though I do wrestle with some guilt issues.
Stella has none. No compunctions.

In the third or fourth episode of The Fall, we find out why. The Mosuo people.
Matriarchy.

There aren't many genuinely matriarchal cultures left in the world.
In the Indonesian archipelago, the Minangkabau in the hill country of West Sumatra and Nagovisi of South Bougainville. In the Tibetan highlands, the Khasi and the Garo people of Northeastern India as well as the Mosuo of southwestern China.
It is the Mosuo which Stella refers to . . . to justify her behavior.

The Mosuo were featured recently on PBS's FRONTLINE/World Rough Cut in a segment (shot by Xiaoli Zhou) called "The Women's Kingdom." Isolated from the rest of the world till the 1970s, most of the 56,000 Mosuo live within shouting distance of the 1.6 mile high Lake Lugo. They call the lake "Mother."
Mosuo women make most of a community's significant decisions and control its finances. There is no marriage per se. Just a zouhun (a "walking marriage"). A woman will invite a man into her bed, but he must be gone by dawn. If a child results, it is raised by her and her brothers. The biological father has no claim on the child.
(The child is "owned" by the mother.)

The Neolithic world may well have been largely matriarchal.
One god: female, a Mother goddess. (Connected to water: river, lake, or sea.)
The Mosuo could well be a fairly accurate snapshot of what this lost Neolithic world looks like, twelve to seven millenniums ago, before patriarchal herder clans start conquering early agrarian communities and subjecting these communities to patriarchal commandments.
To the rule of "Law."

No words are found in Mosuo language for "war" or "murder" or "rape." No jails.
Misbehaviors are minor and are transactionally handled by clan mothers and grandmothers. (The transgressor is subtly shunned until they catch on, or are given a good talking to.)
No need for a concept of "law." Or "sin."
Such are reserved for patriarchal cultures.

A man, in a patriarchal culture, can never be sure that his wife's or his concubine's child is actually his own, biologically. So laws must be invented, to insure chastity of brides and to prohibit adultery.
(The child is "owned" by the father.)
A whole litany of Puritan rules of conduct are put in place, to govern every moment of a person's conduct. All to maintain male privilege. (Particularly that of the bull-male at the top of the peeking order.)
"Covenant" (an oath sworn before witnesses, a contract) becomes a sacred concept, in the patriarchal ethic, and is metaphorically expanded, to apply to business and political relations as well.

If - among early patriarchal clans - there is a primordial "one god," it is not a Lake goddess (or any "water" god or goddess).
It is a mountain or a Storm god: a Father god. A stern god.
It is a god of law, of Justice.

God . . . He? or She?
Yes! And Yes!
Depending on whether you live in a Patriarchal culture, or live in a Matriarchal culture.

 

Jane-Q

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God . . . He? or She?

3. Was the God of monotheism ever non-gendered?

It is fairly self-evident from the language of the Bible that Yahweh was conceived of . . . always as "the Lord," never as "the Lady."

Even when Jesus talks about his "Father in Heaven," Jesus is using an informal Aramaic expression for "Father" like a child might use: better translated as "Daddy" or "Papa."
A softened patriarchy.
You find similar softening of God's masculine patriarchy in Isaiah and in other of the early prophets. Persons ever conscious of God's gentle or "merciful" side.
But still, to them . . . "God" is a paternal "he."

Frank Moore Cross explains it this way:
Anthropological records of marginal semi-nomadic peoples (particularly Semitic clans) tend to single out one god in the local pantheon (like football teams will choose a mascot: "the Bears," "the Tigers") as the one god they will follow and perform ceremonies to. This is the god their legendary genetic-forbearer (the clan patriarch) cleaved to: the "god of the father."

Such herding clans tend to be patriarchal in the extreme. They are very independent and relatively egalitarian (if you are a male). But they do form loose alliances for defense against mutual enemies, for sharing pasture-lands, and for marriage. They form these alliances with other clans who either claim the same genetic-forbearer as their patriarch and/or worship the same deity. A "covenant" is cemented between clans during ceremonies at mutually sacred "sanctuaries." (They might cut a sacrificial animal in half, then walk between the severed halves, for instance. Then state a witnessed oath of fidelity to each other.) The deity - the "god of the father" - is felt to be present among them (and is the chief witness to their oath, giving it His stamp of approval).

(This suggests that the Israelite patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob - probably did exist, even though the tales told about them in Genesis are largely folklore. Except that the three patriarchs were not actually blood-related. They sired three different clans which, at a later time, made a covenant of alliance. Jacob in the north. Isaac in the south. Abraham in the vicinity of "Salem," later Jerusalem.)

The Edomites, the Moabites, the Amonites, the Israelites . . . they all began this way, according to Frank Moore Cross. Marginal herder clans.
Only later did each alliance of clans form nations of settled agrarian people, villagers and city-dwellers. Nations with a secular king, a capital city, and a fixed stone temple to their "god of the father." And here, the "god of the father" transforms into something closer to the "patron deity" of agrarian polytheists, the god who protects a city and gives it prosperity.
He is now just one of the gods that a person can ask a favor of, among the many gods (male or female) thereabouts which could also be approached for favors.
But this "patron deity" here is male, and is re-mythologized into becoming top-dog in the regional pantheon. (This new top deity is subsequently credited as having done each of the heroic exploits which the original top dog had performed in the ancient creation myths of the local culture.)

Throughout the ancient world, temple priests would wake up every morning and clean ("bathe") the sculpted deity within the inner sanctum of their temple, then dress and ritually feed (via "sacrifices") their deity. To be worthy servants, these priests have to be pure beyond reproach (in some instances, shaving off all their bodily hair), because the deity living in their temple cannot be defiled by any fleshly impurity. And servants as well as visitors need to continually ingratiate the divine lord via very loud songs of praise.

The Jerusalem Temple is no different than any other ancient polytheistic temple, in most regards.
But, as Israel Knohl explains, there is one profound exception:
Yahweh is now conceived to live within the Jerusalem temple, yes. Is fed sacrifices (the "fragrance" of burnt offerings), yes. Is cared for by Aaronite priests who perform a long litany of purification rituals in order to keep the temple pure - "sanctified," a sacred space - yes.
But . . .
There is no sculpted image of the deity at the inner sanctum of the Tabernacle.
The God of these Jewish priests is invisible.
And the raucous songs of praise to the divine Lord become increasingly silent prayers.

Yahweh has taken on a special status in the ancient world, at least for this elite group of Jerusalem Temple priests.

Yahweh . . . Once the divine is conceived of as invisible, a radically new strain of devotional contemplation becomes invoked. A remote but subtle focusing upon the divine is developed within this closed circle of hereditary priests, generation after generation after generation.
This "Priestly" divine-being is immanent within the Temple, yes. But abstract, entirely stripped of any human qualities or attributes.
Any "image" of God must be scrubbed from a true priest's mind. This becomes the genuine "high" form of devotion for these priests, the true form of service. To form no picture of God, yet to obediently serve this divine-being whom they have no sensory access to.

This urge toward total de-anthropomorphizing of the divine is radically unique for the Eastern Mediterranean world in the mid-1st millennium BCE (short of Greek philosophical atheism). It produces a disengaged sense of "holiness," a pure radiance. Entirely abstract. There is no object which this "shine of glory" physically attaches to.
This is what Jewish Monotheism (or the Priestly version of it) introduces into the world: a radically new form of spirituality.

And yes . . .
God has no gender.

God . . . He? or She?
Gender is a human ("anthropomorphic") attribute. Thus gender has no part in this new spiritual equation.

 

Thomas

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It stretches logic beyond its limit to claim that only "one gender of something" exists.
This is generally the problem when one is discussing theology or metaphysics at a more than supeficial level.

But then, the human mind is not constrained entirely by 'logic', so is quite able to logically affirm something, whilst knowing, simultaneously, that logic is well out of its depth.

In fact, we do that in language far more than we realise.

The existence of one gender inherently implies the existence of the other gender: they are a linked pair.

God cannot be both monotheistic and gendered.
As a category, God exists in a class of its own, there is no comparative, no other, so when we make definitive statements about what God can or cannot be, we are stretching logic beyond its bounds ...
 

Thomas

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Mosuo women make most of a community's significant decisions and control its finances.
They also do most of the work?
Curiously, the priesthood is all male.

The Neolithic world may well have been largely matriarchal.
Or might not have been.

No words are found in Mosuo language for "war" or "murder" or "rape." No jails.
I've heard this said of many cultures, including some in which the terms can be found, but the culture keeps it quiet, so as not to be seen in a poor light by outsiders.

Sorry, but I find your assumptions and assertions somewhat sexist.
 

donnann

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God . . . He? or She?

1.

Both linguistically and biologically, if you posit a "he" you also have to posit a "she."
It stretches logic beyond its limit to claim that only "one gender of something" exists.
The existence of one gender inherently implies the existence of the other gender: they are a linked pair.

God cannot be both monotheistic and gendered.


I agree. The Creator(s) are a male and a female that even though two are also one as well and also being three. This threefold consciousness is the creator and how human beings were before the fall.
 

Jane-Q

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Matriarchy . . .

I find your assumptions and assertions somewhat sexist.
--Thomas.​

Not my assumptions. I'm just synopsizing the literature.

But I do believe (from my personal experience) that, in social situations, women generally make better group-leaders and problem-solvers.
Yet I also believe (from my personal experience) that men, in material engineering situations, get jobs done quicker (cut corners) via sheer muscle power. And when unable to do this, are generally quicker to uncover technological shortcuts.

If this makes me sexist, so be it.

My actual assertion, Thomas, is this:
Patriarchal society will conceptualize the divine as masculine (and a "father" figure).
Matriarchal society will conceptualize the divine as feminine (and a "mother" figure).

Not exactly profound, to be sure. But, if true, this has interesting implications . . . since most of your and my intuitions about life and society and religion stem from fairly vigorous Patriarchal cultures, and that their genuine alternative (Matriarchy) is nearly invisible.

If the planet were principally Matriarchal now, how would things be different - good and bad?
Think this is an interesting question to contemplate.

(That is the entirety of the point I was making in my "second answer" to the question:
God . . . He? or She?)

Jane.

 

Thomas

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Not my assumptions. I'm just synopsizing the literature.
Fair enough. Then I think your sources seem to work with social stereotypes, a 'straw man' or 'aunt sally' (not to be exclusive) archetype which will occlude any real insight into the religious tradition.

I am quite sure many take the Taliban or right-wing Muslim clerics as the baseline on which to understand Islam. Or the popular misconceptions regarding events like the Inquisition, the Crusades or the Galileo fiasco as descriptive of Christianity. In the Uk we have many Hasidic Jews, noticeable because the dress the same as the East European patriarchs. Their outward appearance stands in marked contrast to the actuality of its origins, which was a mystical insight intent on countering the perceived legalism that seemed to shape the Tradition.

Fashion is a triviality. Its the outward form in pursuit of novelty. Now there's a stereotype for you!

I simply argue that to assume patriarchy' implies the absence of love and kindness, care and compassion, and that matriarchy necessarily implies its marked presence, is a generalisation that doesn't stand up to too rigorous an investigation.

And I'm honestly not sure of any ancient and authentic monotheism today that promotes the idea of gender as a primary determination of the Godhead.

I would say the informed wisdom of those traditions would speak of God as feminine in Her essence, masculine in His act, but transcending gender in Its nature. It's the symbolism that underpins the logic, reason and rationality of the image.

This, I agree, is not the 'common stuff' of everyday faith.

Non-Catholics often declare that Catholics venerate the Virgin Mary as one might a God (and angels and aunts like demigods), and to the unwitting, so it might seem. But no Catholic will profess any other than the Triune God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. No Catholic regards the recitation of the Holy Rosary, with its decades of repeated salutations to the Blessed Virgin — possibly the 2nd most well-known prayer after the 'Our Father' — as a prayer addressed to a deity. (The Trinitarian 'Glory Be' completing the Big Three.)

If we elevate the Immaculata to a deity, we rob her of her single most important virtue. Her very raison d'être. It would be an offence against God (because she's not one) and an offence against her humanity (because that is what she is).

Piety promotes pastoral concern;
Politics promotes 'archies' of all sorts, patri and matri, good and bad.

(There's been a fair few blood-soaked matriarchies down through the ages, you've got to admit.)
 
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