The 'What is truth' phrase I had thought came from Pilate's speech in John. It never appears in the synoptic gospels, by-the-way. By 'sacred' I am talking about Greater Truths, such as Godel's theorem. It could be something secular, too. A greater truth is timeless and sometimes even independent of context, like 2+2=4. Christianity has likely always held these truths on a truth scale, and a lesser truth is 'Less important' than a greater truth. An evidential verse to support this point of view: I Cor 13:8-9 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they willjuantoo3 said:I agree Thomas has left some important things to consider. Every scholar and every person who looks at any matter to consider must distinguish how they will go about that consideration. Sincerity has a value, belief in what is being said has a value, and sacredness has a value. But are these values alone sufficient in delineating what is truth?
We end up back at the age old philosophical argument: "what is truth?" If truth to a person is limited to what is sacred alone; then nothing profane, nothing secular and nothing external to that sacredness will serve to validate nor refute.
cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. (I'll bet verses like this one figure prominently in the Koran.)
I have been and sometimes still am one of those people. They cannot accept that sometimes art (or a lie) is required to teach truths, mainly tragic ones. This is an important life lesson, a greater truth. A child learns morals in an egg of false security -- then they hatch when they are fully formed and not one second before. A child, however sweet, must learn to compete. When people refuse to accept this, they are like chickens that dip their own eggs in wax thinking to preserve them. The result is oxygen-starved chicks. I do not say parent's shouldn't value truth but that they must love it all the more.juantoo3 said:I have known people to whom the absolute indisputable truth is that Adam was created 6 thousand years ago, and nothing will serve to sway them from that truth. Such people are nothing if they are not sincere, they obviously believe what they have to say, and such reasoning to them is sacred. I will go so far as to say that to them such reasoning is a kind of truth. But it is not *the truth* in the sense I am attempting to pursue here. I suppose it could be argued it is not "my" truth. But then, I have always seen truth and reality as synonymous. It was actually quite a shock to me to learn that philosophically "truth" can hold a wide variety of meanings, little of which actually has anything to do with reality.
Exactly. I think he is stubbornly saying that unless you are a believer, they cannot teach you their truth in a way that would make it accessible to you. It is in their liturgy, mysticism etc. and told in that language. "Livergoods esoterism" or one of those.juantoo3 said:Which is my long winded way of saying, because Thomas views something as sacred, is that enough to validate that view as truth? I think the answer lies in how much weight one chooses to grant the sacred, and how much reality one is willing to forgo to maintain that sacredness...
I don't think I disagree. I think unauthentic may not be an appropriate thing to call a culture. I guess one comparison could be Ethiopia vs Liberia, where one is ancient and one is young and started on purpose. Both value their origins.juantoo3 said:To Thomas' credit, he has gone where I have not seen any other Catholic dare to go before. The typical Catholic of my experience is either blissfully ignorant of church history, or they feel a compulsion to tactfully dance around and dismiss the subject. So I have taken Thomas' comment here with a grain of salt, and considered it in the light of his comments alone, and which to his credit he has attempted to be as forthright as he knows to be, "warts and all." I am simply not prepared to make that a blanket presumption across the typical Catholic teaching because it just isn't there in my experience. As for an "authentic rising of a culture," that to me seems an historic given. Many cultures can be shown to have arisen, and many cultures can be shown to have fallen. That is the nature of historic anthropology.
I refer to that precedence of nature called 'Childhood'. Some things are best learned as a child. Mark 10:15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." Do you disagree with this? In other words, do you regret having been born a child instead of being born fully-grown & handsome? It doesn't matter whether you regret it, and you know your kids are going to get the same raw deal. That's just the way it is!juantoo3 said:Yes, but is sacred and truth the same thing? There is a crucial distinction to be made here, and I really don't think most people get it at first glance.
For instance, is the Bible literal? Wholly and totally literal? Or is there metaphor and allegory, parable and association? Was the world created in seven literal days, or is this a poetic metaphor to describe certain aspects of the creation as it relates to metaphysics and morality? Is it live, or is it Memorex? For our purposes, is it truth, or is it real? As Thomas said, it can't be both ways.
I surely don't think you're a dumb-ass king! Also, it would not really be possible for you (or me) to denigrate or truly dismantle Christianity. Your voice is very, very tiny in a big, big world. It doesn't really matter what you or I do except on a very, very small scale.juantoo3 said:Fair enough, I suppose in some sense there are those who may see me in a manner like the dumb-ass kings. Let me clarify, it is not my interest to denegrate or dismantle or otherwise deface Christianity.
I hope you find both the sacred and the unsacred truths, and me too. I have a feeling that they are much better even than those things that we would like. I don't know. Maybe we just need to get out more.juantoo3 said:That is the reason this thread has been built on the history board and not the Christianity board. Christianity is my chosen path. I have the mental freedom to walk away at any time, but have no desire to do so. I find a sacred value in Christianity, but that sacred value to my way of reasoning is outside the remit of pursuit of historical reality, what I view as truth. The sacred to me is a faithful hope that what I am holding on to has a value that transcends writing on some pages in a book. But there is a distinction to be made between a faithful hope and an educated guess based on historical evidences. The one is a very personal and intimate pursuit, the other is a very public and broad scoped verifiable (or at least substantiated) look at a point in the historic past...in this case the formative years and particularly the transitional years of the Christian institution.
Very interesting. Does this not work for a historically 'Catholic' church? I am asking you based upon your research. According to you the Nicenes were willing to co-exist with the Arians. That sounds Catholic. Is it that the Arians couldn't stand the Nicenes perhaps, or is it that the Nicenes couldn't stand the Arians?juantoo3 said:Well, see, here's the thing: Constantine was nothing if he was not a consummate politician. He lived his life as a nominal Pagan while simultaneously living his life as a nominal Christian. He gave just enough lip service to both to be appreciated by both constituencies. When he finally got around to getting baptised as a Christian, on his deathbed, it was as an Arian Christian. The part Thomas managed to leave out is that Arius was pardoned by the ecclesiastical authority just prior, only he died before he made it to receive the official pardon. Arianism was OK'd to "co-exist" within the Empire for some time after Constantine died, and it was under one of the later "Christian" Roman Emperors that Arianism was dealt the death blow.
Well, you know my theory about Jesus. Anyway, Constantine may have set some rules but assuming that people were already 'Catholic' -- as in counting love as being more important than knowledge -- then Constantine really could not have changed much in the short term as the church culture would have been very springy. Like a big waterbed. Constantine's dark influence would not have been the 'Doctrine' itself but the fact that he tried to end the ability to disagree with it. Seems consistent with the 100 yr coexistence between the Arians & Nicenes, too.juantoo3 said:Maybe as a Protestant I am comfortable with the idea of schism, I don't know, but I think Constantine was only too happy to play the ends against the middle. I know Thomas belittles the political implications, and it is a fair and reasonable argument that perhaps I give the political implications too much weight. But I also think the political implications are more of a player in the historic reality than the institution is comfortable acknowledging. There is an historic correlation between the Emperorship and the Papacy that is the reality, as opposed to the "sacred" truth of the Papacy being descended from Peter, and that conflict between the sacred and the secular is a great source of strife...and I suspect a huge part of the reason that typically Catholic teaching avoids this period of history like the plague.
Let not your heart be troubled! One of the pitfalls of working with such amazing materials has always been the temptation to think you are Napoleon or some kind of wizard. The sheer magnitude of everything literally is mentally jarring, however nothing we are discussing right now is new or previously unknown. It is not a conspiracy but an open story. It isn't anything that hasn't been published before or that wont be published again. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."(Proverbs 13:12)juantoo3 said:In my own way I am doing the same. I am attempting to honor the eternal by showing its reality. That which preserves it, to my way of thinking, has done much to conceal it, and that troubles me. But that is my burden, it is not my intent to place that burden on any others.