Progressive Revelation...

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by wil, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Give it to Wil...Wil will post it...Wil will post anything.

    Ok, I am a just a simple spectator in so much of this detail religious introspection and examination....but...

    Progressive Revelation to me is obvious... Not in the Baha'ullah way, that "hey we were the culmination and agreeing with all that came before" (although I do like that unlike most of our religions they say that they are in a long line of prophets and their are more to come) This to me is reminiscent of Charles Fillmore's ...this is what I am preaching today based on current knowledge but...."I reserve the right to change my mind as new information is presented"

    That to me seems self evident hopefully with all of us.

    Back to Progressive Revelation...

    Duh! Doh!

    In science and spirituality I see the latest and greatest standing on the shoulders of the people who did the work before us.... we take the good and run with it...and I just wish we'd take what is no longer sensible and toss it in the trash....

    Time for a blockchain religion revolution!!

    But beyond that... and for those that say...what has science got to do with it?

    There are tons of things we couldn't see, and couldn't understand therefor we made bad assumptions based on current information.

    Then came telescopes and microscopes and wallah! Whole new worlds and understandings were developed.. A progressive revelation...new revealed information. Which completely changed assumptions which were the best of their time period...

    I see the same of Greek, Roman and Norse G!ds, Astrology, Sun worship and such.... While that might not sound so interfaith...why can we so easily relegate some ancient thinking to mythology and hold onto others?

    In no way am I implying that some of the thought, some of the quotes, some of the beliefs, some of the passion of the ancients is not applicable today and maybe even forever....IT IS...just not ALL of it.

    I return you now to your regularly scheduled programming as those with education, knowledge, serious study and the brains, wisdom and succinct eloquent writing abilities take over...
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    LOL

    OK. How do you define revelation?

    For me, most traditions agree in principle that 'revelation' comprises that which is made known to man, but which is itself beyond man's capacity to know by the power of human reason alone.

    Something of the nature of the Tau that cannot be spoken, but nevertheless can be known.

    As science by definition works only within the realms of what can be proven by reason and observation, then clearly spiritual concerns lie beyond and outside the remit of the sciences, although the fruit of such investigations can tell us much about ourselves, they do not address the matter of the Divine directly.

    OK. I see these myths as readings of the book of nature. The Greek gods, for example, are a manual of psychology. But most traditions still hold to the distinction between the Book of Nature and the Book of Revelation.
     
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  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I recall George Bush saying G!d told him to goto war with Iraq... Did G!d tell him to lie to the general public, and congress to do so?

    “From a scientific point of view, we can make no distinction between the man who eats little and sees heaven and the man who drinks much and sees snakes.”
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/06/cultural-history-of-madness/394964/

    https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2...-way-of-science-revelation-with-errata-sheets

    I see many a scientist having a revelation....suddenly developing a new understanding...out of nowhere...not from their education, not from some formula, but from some source other than themselves this concept, this thought, this idea emerges...then they spend hours, days, years proving the postulate or concept till it becomes theory or fact.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    LOL and commiserations. We had the same problem with Tony Blair. He didn't go so far as to say 'God told me', but he believes he was right and being right justifies lying to Parliament and the British people.

    OK. That's revelation in the secular sense. Revelation as defined in a theological context is quite different.

    I saw a programme discussing Quantum Physics and the soul (when that was all the rage). Most of it was tosh, but there was one amusing moment when a commentator noted that science proceeds step by step, by logic and reason, by experiment and demonstration, and that anything that does not follow the same path is 'unscientific'.

    Set against that, he listed a number of 'scientific breakthroughs' that the scientist declared 'came out of the blue' as it were. No reasoned path, no methodology, just a sudden idea, a flash of inspiration. Not in the lab but while taking a walk, after a nap ... of course much has been said about 'getting out of the way' and letting the mind get on with it.

    This I would call insight, or inspiration.

    In science? I doubt that. Every idea is framed in its time, its place, its culture. People like to tell themselves they are unique, they are individual, etc., etc. We are so deluded. Having worked in advertising, I have seen just how accurate marketing data is in profiling people — no-one is outside the net. And that was pre-computer, with paper data and bar charts. Now, with computer algorithms, data from almost every transaction we engage in, we're so-o-o-o readable and predictable.

    You cannot escape your education, your culture, your sensory surroundings. Aquinas said 'there's nothing in the mind that is not first in the senses' and I think that's accepted as an axiom. Nothing comes from nowhere.

    Yes, what's that old saw, 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration ... ?
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    I think we need to clarify.

    Revelation, in a religious sense, is a 'disclosure of information to man by a divine or supernatural agency' — from the Latin revelare "unveil, uncover, lay bare".

    In Abrahamic circles, it's a disclosure by the Divine about the Divine Nature, about man and about providence. It can be reasoned, but cannot be arrived at definitively by the unaided intellect — that is, we can speculate about the nature of this and that, but revelation transcends speculation.

    Inspiration is seen as something that arises under the influence of the divine or supernatural agency. The word again from the Latin inspirare "blow into, breathe upon," and goes back to the Hebrew idea of man infused with life by the breath of God.

    In both these cases, the mind/intellect is aided by the divine, either directly (revelation) or indirectly (inspiration).

    Then we have insight, reason, logic, etc., as the natural processes of the mind.

    I'm not sure where contemporary theology stands on these questions. I know my course director once suggested I look in that direction, as there was, to his mind, a lot of work to be done.
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    The point about 'progressive' is primarily the idea that a given revelation is in itself incomplete. This is refuted by the Traditions, and really it's impossible to make the case otherwise. Nowhere in any sacra doctrina does it say 'you need to do this, but you can't' or 'you need something that remains yet a secret, so for the moment just tread water' or 'do this and this will happen' when actually, it won't happen because God has kept something back.

    Tell me what a Christian needs to be told, other than what is already contained in the Tradition? Same for the Buddhist. The Taoist. The Brahmin. Etc.

    If there is a progressive revelation, what is is that 'progresses' Christian Doctrine, or specifically the Dogmas?

    Is there a Fifth Noble Truth waiting in the wings for when the Buddhists are ready?

    Etc...
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    You'd have to ask all the Christians that converted to other religions that question. It isn't like they don't exist.
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Quite, but they would say the religion they converted to was the one for them. It's not a question of progressive revelation. Maybe the Baha'i would say that, but the Buddhists? That wouldn't make sense ...
     
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Exactly...Jesus was not enough for them...
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    OK, but then conversion is something that occurs for a number of reasons, and I'm not sure the embrace of PR is a primary factor.

    For example, a Muslim convert from Christianity might argue for a kind of PR on the basis that Islam got right what Christianity got wrong. That's not really PR, as a proper PR would say Christianity got it right, but Islam says it better ... and the Baha'i will say their faith says it better than Islam ... ?

    Most Traditionalists are Moslem/Sufi. I have certain reasons to question that, but there is a consensus that Islam was the last and most recent revelation, and therefore suffers the least from the effects of time, 'thickening', etc. But they don't accept Baha'i-ism.
     
  11. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    Hmmm, it's almost like there is two definition of the same word, how odd! One secular and one religious, hmmm...HMMMM!
     
  12. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    One which used to happen with amazing frequency, but has slowed to a trickle of late....the other which seemingly hardly occurred at all, yet has increased dramatically in the past 100 years....

    G!d appears to be smiling on one and neglecting the other......HMMMMM!
     
  13. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Neither is the prohibition of slavery a given in other traditions, but Baha’u’llah prohibits slavery.

    Unlike the prohibition of slavery, progressive revelation is veiled in ancient symbols, so it is not a given in other traditions because their symbols were not clearly explained. Sometimes prophets wrapped their language in veils - which require further explanation (Matthew 13.34-35; John 16.12-14; Quran 29.43, 10.39, 7.53). To quote Abu'l-Fadl, resurrection and return remain "the axis about which the grinding-stone of prophethood and divine revelation turns, the trunk from which the religions branch out endlessly." Those ancient, multi-layered ideas of resurrection and return are pretty much the entry point into the Baha'i view of progressive revelation.

    Spin a multi-colored beach ball - or any multi-colored ball for that matter - in front of a three year old, show him your side, show him his side, and ask: “Hey, what color do you see, George? Red? Good! What color do I see?” George will say red even though you are looking at blue and showed him that you were facing that color earlier. Toddlers can’t yet understand your perspective until they reach a later stage of development. Baha'u'llah extends the stages of a human's development to the entire human race. The interaction between revelation and humanity’s historical development of consciousness can be labeled progressive revelation. It is as simple as that. Revelation does not exist in a vacuum. What was spoken must be conveyed to a specific audience (Quran 14.4).

    Why would we expect the ancients to be ready for progressive revelation when many of them had a static concept of the universe - that things remain pretty much the same and continue on as usual? In general people did not look to the future for things to improve; instead they looked to the past. This was the mythic age people such as Confucius and other thinkers breathed in. "Convinced that a golden age had been fully realized in China’s known history, Confucius thought it necessary to turn to that history, to the political institutions, the social relations, the ideals of personal cultivation that he believed prevailed in the early Zhou period, in order to piece together a vision to serve for all times." Of course, he added a little innovation too, but overall he looked to the past. During the Roman occupation of Jerusalem many militant messianic figures looked to the past as their model for the future. Theudas (Acts 5.36), in 44 C.E., and the Egyptian prophet (Matt. 24.26) used Joshua and other prophets from Jewish scriptures as their model. After the scientific revolution more and more people accepted the idea of progress. Reality, in the eyes of many, was now developing and evolving. We see it in the ideas of Darwin, Freud, Hegel, and Marx as they applied evolution to their respective fields across the board: biology, psychology, philosophy, and sociology. Modernity rethinks everything in evolutionary language. This contrasts with most mythic age thinkers that literally saw the end of the world or fossilized their symbols in amber.

    From another perspective, all are one prophet, delivering one revelation (Quran 2.285; Matthew 11.4).

    So why wasn't Moses enough for some Jews?
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
  14. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Same reason the Baha'ullah isn't good enough for some Baha'i... Anyone can grow and move on.
     
  15. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I think this is the condescending part. It implies that the people who has rejected the Baha'ullah has some how grown more then those who not reject him.
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    an atheist can grow and move on....a christian can grow and move on....ANYONE can grow old, grow out...whatever and move on.

    Would it be better to say anyone can stupidly convert to XX. Why be condescending to anyone when you can be to everyone?

    I really can't be responsible for what someone, anyone or everyone takes personally...

    Four Agreements, Juan Miguel Ruiz.
     
  17. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    True. But humanity as a whole cannot.
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry, Ahanu, but I must disagree. I think the traditions have profound commentaries on their symbology.

    Certainly there is an ongoing process with regard to exegesis of the symbols, as there is with Scripture, but that is in the nature of the Revealer. A symbol (like Scripture) is an opening to the eternal, it's at once a veil and an opening of the veil, and in the contemplation of the symbol or the Scripture one has a window on the Absolute ... like a fathomless ocean, an horizonless vista, there's always more to say, more to understand, further to go ... and because the symbol/Scripture is Immanent as well as Transcendent, then the opening is to the Absolute ...

    Every revelation is complete and entire to itself.

    OK. But then consider the prior verses:
    "And his disciples came and said to him: Why speakest thou to them in parables? Who answered and said to them: Because to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven: but to them it is not given." (v10-11).
    It's easy to go through Scriptures and cherry-pick bits and pieces that seem to validate an argument, but really one has to take context into account. The Muslims use the same texts as the Baha'i to infer that Christ was speaking of Mohammed, for example.

    Because the concept of God is a different thing?
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Of fall away?

    I'd like to know where people get the idea that:
    One can outgrow religion. One can't.

    Religion exists within some kind of bubble. It doesn't.

    In fact, it's the only thing, other than pure philosophy perhaps, that doesn't exist inside a confinement, and precious few have the courage or the capacity to engage meaningfully in pure philosophy. It's way, way harder than religion.
     
  20. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I keep forgetting there is only one religion...and everybody agrees to all of it.
     

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