Author Topic: The thinking man's Jesus  (Read 31895 times)

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MusingMuso

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The thinking man's Jesus
« on: March 11, 2012, 10:19:33 PM »
As this is a new category, I thought it best to quote the words of a very remarkable writer, poet and politician. Although actually talking about the business of politics in a fair, open and free democracy, the late President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Harvel, seems to have used words which could so equally apply to agnosticism. Below are a few comments lifted from a speech he gave in Budapest, on June 24th, 1999.



-------------------------------------------------------------------


....how can we recognize the moment when a set of living ideas degenerates into an ideology?


How can we recognize when principles, opinions and hopes begin to petrify into a rigid mass of dogma, precepts and conceptual stereotypes?
Where should we look for guidance? How can we discern the dividing lines?

There are no exact directions. There are probably no directions at all. The only things that I am able to recommend at this moment are: a sense of humour; an ability to see the ridiculous and the absurd dimensions of things; an ability to laugh about others as well as about ourselves; a sense of irony; and, of everything that invites parody in this world. In other words: rising above things, or looking at them from a distance; sensibility to the hidden presence of all the more dangerous types of conceit in others, as well as in ourselves; good cheer; an unostentatious certainty of the meaning of things; gratitude for the gift of life and courage to assume responsibility for it; and, a vigilant mind.

Those who have not lost the ability to recognize that which is laughable in themselves, or their own nothingness, are not arrogant, nor are they enemies of an Open Society.

Its enemy is a person with a fiercely serious countenance and burning eyes.


Vaclav Havel

======================


What marvellous and acute perception the late president posessed.

I wonder if agnosticism, rather than being neither one thing nor the other, isn't a creative process, which embraces belief, faith, science and progressive thinking?

It is a way of thinking which enables the Christian ethic to be inclusive rather than exclusive, but at the same time, very aware of the things the late President of the Czech Republic warned us of.

I think I like the idea of a thinking man's Jesus.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2012, 09:02:03 AM by MusingMuso »

David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2012, 02:48:17 PM »
I wonder if agnosticism, rather than being neither one thing nor the other, isn't a creative process, which embraces belief, faith, science and progressive thinking?

It is a way of thinking which enables the Christian ethic to be inclusive rather than exclusive, . . .

Upon only a quick perusal of your post one realises great depth to that to which you are drawing our attention . . . and perhaps rather deeper than be absorbed on a quick read.

However, although one might view agnosticism as a way of thinking and one which is beneficial in being inclusively Christian, perhaps it might be wide of the mark in missing the beauty of Christianity not merely as a way of thinking but as a way of life. If Christ's two commandments to love thy "all that is" and to "love thy neighbour as thyself" are taken as Christianity with nothing more and nothing less, then such a way of life is so much more than merely a way of thinking.

A way of thinking can lead perhaps merely to passivism whilst a way of life requires one to go out of one's way, and to cross that road to the aid of the ailing traveller, there being a beauty in being in the active rather than merely the passive as the bystander, the spectator, merely watching as real life passes you by.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

MusingMuso

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2012, 07:46:53 PM »
I wonder if agnosticism, rather than being neither one thing nor the other, isn't a creative process, which embraces belief, faith, science and progressive thinking?

It is a way of thinking which enables the Christian ethic to be inclusive rather than exclusive, . . .

Upon only a quick perusal of your post one realises great depth to that to which you are drawing our attention . . . and perhaps rather deeper than be absorbed on a quick read.

However, although one might view agnosticism as a way of thinking and one which is beneficial in being inclusively Christian, perhaps it might be wide of the mark in missing the beauty of Christianity not merely as a way of thinking but as a way of life. If Christ's two commandments to love thy "all that is" and to "love thy neighbour as thyself" are taken as Christianity with nothing more and nothing less, then such a way of life is so much more than merely a way of thinking.
A way of thinking can lead perhaps merely to passivism whilst a way of life requires one to go out of one's way, and to cross that road to the aid of the ailing traveller, there being a beauty in being in the active rather than merely the passive as the bystander, the spectator, merely watching as real life passes you by.
Best wishes

David P


============================


What a refreshing answer David!

You are absolutely right, and if you and I were to meet, you would soon realise that one of my great heroes is Dietrich Beonhoffer.  He didn't write his theological work, "The cost of discpleship" for nothing, and his faith  ultimately led to his execution by the Nazis.

I think I used the words of Vaclac Havel to describe the difference between that which is sterile and dogmatic, and that which is vibrant and inspirational; at the same time accepting scientific progress as part of the wider kingdom, the growth of understanding and, most importantly, the faith to recognise  the perpetual ascendency of God from one generation to another.....truly a living, loving and dynamic church rather than merely a dogmatic, traditional, historic or ritualistic one.


MM

David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2012, 02:45:28 AM »
Dear MM

Elsewhere you commented that a secret of christianity was also humility. This too is such an important factor in being the person encharged by Christ's laws to cross that road to help the ailing traveller and in following those laws as an active decision and motivation rather than mere passive observation in the nature of a Levite (from recollection), such humility is a hard emotion to grasp in that determination to the laws.

Elsewhere on many threads in the Atheists' and Believers' Corners I have hinted at Christ's laws being a consequence of, indeed as transfusion into the animate or human realm, the natural laws of nature.

One of my sons is currently going through a painful process of pre-U(niversity) physics revision. I have been trying to explain to him the importance of fault-tolerant or indeed fail-safe thinking processes so on a car journey recently started to explore ways of understanding the left hand and right hand rules in electromagnetism and their relationship, one expressing movement of charge and the other movement resulting from moving charge. It's a long time since having grappled with the details of all this area so I asked him which hand rule applied to gyroscopic behaviour . . .  and suggested that as we don't really know what magnetism is, the two were likely to be linked by some fundamental aspect of process.

Investigating this this evening, obviously I was not the first to think of it and stumbled upon http://www.spacetimehelix.com/ which I recommend people to copy and save on their computer. From first sight and analysis it makes a lot of sense. It appeals to me on account of a simplicity and a process of logic as insightful as Plato's table of opposites, fundamental to thought as the difference between left and right. It is the stuff of this simplicity that insights into how our universe happens/is made provide revelation.

It means also that some of the devices hinted at in http://free-energy-info.co.uk/PJKBook.html should very well work.

Elsewhere I think you have commented upon the line of starting with belief and ending up with wonder in the construction of nature, and the reverse process are both equivalent.

The National Ignition Facility referred to by Clopton has been completed late and the experiments leading to the final energy they hope to reach are scheduled for October 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Ignition_Facility

It appears that we may only have seven months to stop being agnostics in our physics and understand Christianity, let alone the second law, but most importantly in the first, loving the "all that is" and stop trying to rip it apart in our thirst for greed of energy by force.

Why put a bomb next to the wall of the bank to raid the money when all you have to do is to walk in and ask the kindly bank manager for a loan?

Best wishes,

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2012, 11:36:51 AM »
Why put a bomb next to the wall of the bank to raid the money when all you have to do is to walk in and ask the kindly bank manager for a loan?

Because (a) you're highly unlikely to get one and (b) if you do you'll be charged a colossal amount in interest...

David Pinnegar

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Apologies
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2012, 07:14:35 PM »
Hi!

Since writing above, there have been very few posts. I apologise if the above offends sensibilities and therefore, if that be the reason, will not post on such matters again.

However, whether I express it openly or not, in a world where education is increasingly subjectised, compartmentalised and reduced to tick-box processes, I hold a fundamental conviction that joined up thinking is necessary, should be encouraged, and can lead to greater happiness now and in the future.

Our view of subatomic particles and their energy is little more shifted beyond that of the Rutherford model of the atom and our approach to the world's energy needs has not advanced accordingly. It is a very strange reason why matter is energy but is prevented by its own forces from escaping as energy at the speed of light. This is unexplained in conventional physics.

As we stand on the sidelines, observing merely as the agnostic, chaos reigns, with infinite demand and greed for oil fuelling wars and technology that poisons the atmosphere.

In contrast, Christ's two laws, that we love one another and that we love the "all that is" which is responsible for that matter not flying off into uncontrolled chaotic energy, demand that we seek a better world, in our relationships with each other and with the technology that we inflict upon ourselves and everything else.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

MusingMuso

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2012, 07:41:05 PM »
Dear David,


Please don't think that I, or for that matter anyone else, has been offended by your earlier post.

I've been in Croydon for a few days, which explains my lack of rapid response. Actually, I was quite interested by your post, and when your subsequent post appeared, I had just sat down to consider my reply.

Theology and philosophy are always interesting; especially when they refer to scientific matters.

I shall respond a.s.a.p.

Best,

MM
« Last Edit: March 18, 2012, 01:22:35 PM by MusingMuso »

KB7DQH

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2012, 01:04:41 PM »
Quote
Please don't think that I, or for that matter anyone else, has been offended by your earlier post.

Ditto...  But what has occurred is somewhat of a "thought chain reaction" and thus has taken time to sort what has shaken out and, perhaps, organize what has left into something resembling "intelligence" ???    It has taken me years, decades perhaps... to fully understand the wisdom in
"being silent and thought a fool than opening one's mouth and removing all doubt" :o

Quote
I hold a fundamental conviction that joined up thinking is necessary, should be encouraged, and can lead to greater happiness now and in the future.

Again, no argument from me here ;)   This does relate directly to some earlier private correspondence with David regarding this forum, certain parts of which have been found by some to "distract" :o ::)   however a key issue missed by every other forum similar is in the "joining up"
of what is discussed "here" with "everything else"...  An examination, if you will, of how the "micro" unites with the "macro" ;D   bringing us... to...

Quote
Theology and philosophy are always interesting; especially when they refer to scientific matters.

 Science cannot exist without "creative minds" nor can it advance.  Therefore theology and philosophy are extremely important to the advancement of science...

With that added to the previous thoughts, one could make the argument that Economics should be considered as part of this "mix" as with our physical world, the "micro" and "macro" economic worlds do not in practice behave similarly, no matter how much our "statesmen" (and some economists)  would like to think otherwise :o 

Eric
KB7DQH
The objective is to reach human immortality—that is, to create things which are necessary to mankind, necessary to the purpose of the existence of mankind, and which have become the fruit that drives the creation of a higher state of mankind than ever existed before."

MusingMuso

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Re: Apologies
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2012, 03:51:39 PM »
Hi!

Since writing above, there have been very few posts. I apologise if the above offends sensibilities and therefore, if that be the reason, will not post on such matters again.

However, whether I express it openly or not, in a world where education is increasingly subjectised, compartmentalised and reduced to tick-box processes, I hold a fundamental conviction that joined up thinking is necessary, should be encouraged, and can lead to greater happiness now and in the future.

Our view of subatomic particles and their energy is little more shifted beyond that of the Rutherford model of the atom and our approach to the world's energy needs has not advanced accordingly. It is a very strange reason why matter is energy but is prevented by its own forces from escaping as energy at the speed of light. This is unexplained in conventional physics.

As we stand on the sidelines, observing merely as the agnostic, chaos reigns, with infinite demand and greed for oil fuelling wars and technology that poisons the atmosphere.

In contrast, Christ's two laws, that we love one another and that we love the "all that is" which is responsible for that matter not flying off into uncontrolled chaotic energy, demand that we seek a better world, in our relationships with each other and with the technology that we inflict upon ourselves and everything else.

Best wishes

David P

=======================

I’m not sure how I can begin to respond to this post, and I’ll tell you why.

If someone presents me with most things electrical or magnetic, my eyes glaze over. I have absolutely no idea what magnetism is, but I’ve used it often enough. Whilst I have every faith in revolving magnets and wound coils as a means of either producing electricity or using it to vacuum the carpet, I do not need to believe in magnetism: even less understand it.

As for mention of the right and left handedness of things, it reminded me of the struggle I had trying to understand epicyclic  gearboxes. 
( Remember the song: “Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel; never ending nor beginning; like an ever spinning wheel.....the circles of the mind).

When it comes to nuclear physics, I know absolutely nothing beyond the fact that nuclear fusion is the holy grail of energy production, and one which remains highly experimental. Therefore, your response was a non-starter for me, for it seems to have implied that there must be a path to knowledge which could possibly lead us to an understanding of all things as they relate to some common “natural law.”
 
There is an old saying that belief divides and doubt unites, and I think this, for me, is the appeal of agnosticism.

The agnostic stance is no different to the believer who hints at “greater things,” or “the mysteries of God’s creation,” except that an awful lot of time is saved by not being obliged to contemplate them in the first instance. From my point of view, I can marvel at the vastness of the universe for evermore, and find absolutely no answers to almost anything. I could invert the process and look at ever smaller things in a microscope, and be every bit as stunned by what I discover, but again, to what end?

This is no excuse for laziness or ignorance of course, but it does help to understand the fact that no matter how long we live, we will never really know very much at all individually. The most important fact of agnosticism is the realisation of this, which is really nothing more than intellectual humility, coupled to a certain understanding that there will always be others who know more about almost anything. Hence the importance of passing on all that we know to the next generation, or to quote the words of the playwright Alan Bennett, “Pass it on boys! Pass it on!  That’s what I want you to learn: not for me, not for you, but for someone.” (“The history boys”).

Now compare this to the “certainties” of believers, many of whom may not even be Christian, and we find a bewildering array of claims and counter-claims; some of which are contained in “holy books” (whatever a holy book might be), and others which have merely evolved as part of religious process, pseudo-science and the vanity of human imaginings. Even the activist atheist ferverently believes that God doesn’t exist, which is a very odd way of believing. Is it possible to believe in nothing at all and then preach about it?
 
At this point, permit me to indulge myself, because I was once browsing through a curious book of spells written by a Jamaican follower of witchcraft. My eyes lit up when I read the spell concerned with, “How to cast a spell on difficult adolescents.”

I found myself laughing, because the spell was really a bit of reverse psychology, where the believer in the occult was required to be understanding and tolerant; safe in the knowledge that even the most difficult adolescents eventually grow up. It was one of the most brilliant pieces of social psychology I’ve ever read, and as a spell, absolutely infallible; the wit and good humour almost a benevolent and long-suffering sigh from the heart.

My problem with most religions and belief systems is the way in which belief is often an obstacle to faith. I can’t ever recall actually reciting any of the Christian creeds; simply because I regard them as faintly ridiculous and have done since the age of eleven. On the other hand, I have always had considerable faith in almost everything which Jesus of Nazareth said and did. My now deceased aunt, who suffered terribly in many ways, was a widow at 30, struggled to bring up a child as a single mother, re-married and lost a lovely man to cancer, then re-married a second-time only to have to look after someone left physically and mentally handicapped in a serious motor accident a year after the wedding. In spite of that, she could still smile, giggle and love everyone around her, simply because, (to quote her words), “Jesus is my hero.”

There were many things she didn’t understand, had difficulty contemplating or even believing, but I have never known a woman of greater faith or one who gave such unconditional love to everyone, while suffering great hardship personally.

I would suggest that the biggest obstacle to faith are those of a religious disposition, who expect that truth can never be re-written or re-interpreted, when in fact, theology constantly changes in step with evolving human perceptions and understanding. The moment it didn’t would probably mark the death of that which we perceive as God; at least as something worthy of investigation.

MM


PS: I’ve never known a kindly bank-manager, and borrowing money is not the same as raising money. The bomb approach has its advocates, needless to say.

PPS: If you were in danger of being attacked by a shark, would your first choice of good Samaritan be someone offering a hand or a school of dolphin?


David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2012, 01:10:26 AM »
Dear MM

Thanks once again for plenty to contemplate.

There are many who say that ritual is an obstacle to true belief in that it can substitute for it, in the same way as merely a book of rules, merely blindly followed. I'm sure that many interested enough to be following discussion in an Agnostic thread will be very sympathetic to that path: we've seen the hazards that those rules and rituals put in the path of using intelligence (a process of thought upon the idea, the spirit) to achieve something more that can be achieved than merely the following of rules and rituals. . . . "By their actions shall ye know them" - and it is by the beauty and worth of such actions that I encourage all to seek more than is available through merely saying "I don't know".

However, one of the tragedies of modern education through tick-box exam papers, and flowing over into our philosphy of science (which is really the study of where we come from, even at a sub-atomic level) is that we don't have the humility to know when to say "I don't know".

Considering asymmetry rules of nature, and magnetics and gyroscopes might be mind-bending and whilst you might comment that you're not familiar with what magnetism is, although you use it every day, in fact no-one really knows what magnetism really is. Whilst its interaction with electric fields is described by Maxwell's equations, really no-one can say what magnetism is, nor really what electric charge is.

It's for that reason that on a philosophical level I like the approach taken by the Clopton model referred to above and why time and attention should be given to it. If it is right, then the physicists at the heart of putting a bomb at the wall of energy might just halt to ask themselves if they really know what they are doing, as if they don't the wrong result could be terminal, and consider whether the Clopton model provides the means by which low energy experiments are better with which to test the theory. My reference to the bank-keeper, of course, was a reference to the equivalent of saying to God (the all that is, the strange force that brings Order out of increasing Disorder) the magic word _please_ in asking for a loan of energy from the system rather than putting a nuclear bomb outside the wall and saying "Give it to us or else".

Phycists are currently playing God, seeking the All Powerful, and are like the Sorceror's Apprentice in potentially being unable to stop the multiplication of the brooms sweeping the floor. Our modern arrogant society that thinks it knows it all, and those who refuse to stop them by mistakenly saying "We're Agnostic, we don't know, we know nothing", will find that the Forces of All Power come around and slaps it in the face. Indeed we might so anger the All Powerful, that it decides to have its own back and destroy us all. The National Ignition Facility is trying to discover the ultimate power in the whole universe. The point is that when they discover, they and we might not be here to have regretted doing so. It's for this reason that Cloptons observations on Helical Space-Time deserve further attention and deeper investigation.

Time, perhaps, not to be agnostic.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

MusingMuso

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2012, 12:34:41 PM »
Dear David,

I couldn't possibly take on board your scientific approach, which means that in this particular area, I am nothing if not stupid.

What I do know is that there are equally enormous threats posed by excessive procreation and consumption, as well as the destruction of the natural environment.

As a teenager back in the 1960's, I recall a conversation with Prof.Sir Fred Hoyle, when a few of us gathered at his feet (metophirically), to listen to his words of wisdom.

In many ways, Fred was the imaginative cosmologist, who constantly sought new ways of joined-up thinking; becoming something of a Maverik in his own lifetime and rather despised by those at Cambridge University. (They nevertheless erected a statue after his death).

Fred said something rather interesting at the time, which had never occured to any of us, or to anyone we had ever heard of. I'll try and recall his words:-

"Our planet is self-regulating, and if there are growing imbalances in nature, it (presumably meaning the eco-system) will respond accordingly, because it is only the correct balance of things which can sustain life."

This may seem like a simple statement, but it is actually a terrifying propsect, because if it is true, then life could be wiped out by the very planet which gave birth to it. Thus far, the evidence suggest that the statement is true.

So in a way, I can go along with the concept of upsetting natural balances and natural laws, but I hesitate to use the all embracing terminology of God or Creator, as a supra-being responsible for it all. Indeed, so remote, cold and empty is the universe, it is difficult to imagine why anyone should want to create it in the first place. I mean, it's not the sort of place where you would want to take an extended touring hoiliday is it?

The City of York is far more interesting!

If scientists in their arrogance, think that they can discover the ultimate power of the universe, let them get on with it. However, if they don't understand magnetism and electrical fields, I am not optimistic. Even if it all goes well, and we survive, it is really only a matter of time before the sun exapnds to become a red giant, by which time life on earth will have long vanished. That's the sheer indifference and brutality of the universe. It's just the way it is; perhaps devoid of design and devoid of conscience.

Fred Hoyle didn't believe in God, but he wasn't an aggressive atheist or anything, and when I asked him God existed when I was all of five or six  years of age, he merely said that he couldn't believe in God because he couldn't observe him through a telescope.

Clearly sensing my profound disappointment, he then added, "There is something I believe in. I believe in Dan Dare and the Mekon."

What a meeting of minds THAT was.

MM












David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2012, 12:39:10 AM »
Dear MM

Quote
embracing terminology of God or Creator, as a supra-being responsible for it all

Perhaps that's the point I'm getting around and behind: the problem with much theology that we are fed in churches is this concept of a "supra-being". There may be much more common ground between people if that idea can be recognised as the metaphor that it is, being an illusion resulting from the very construction of the universe.

The universe appears to be intelligent, so giving the illusion of a being - and the illusion is why we can't see the being through the telescope. But it's somewhat deeper than that as that is not reason to deny the very peculiar and perverse laws that entrap energy within its own field to make matter, and to bring that matter together in ways of structure from which everything we read in Genesis 1 results, that strange force that brings Order into existence out of the natural circumstances of increasing disorder, entropy.

Not even an Agnostic can deny that ( :-) I'm expecting you to . . . ) and as a result there being a more fundamental God in those phenonomae of the universe than the personified God that people like to worship, or reject, possibly agnostics and atheists might have to attach a proviso to the extent of their disbelief and with which I totally agree . .

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2012, 09:23:46 AM »
Dear David,

I think we have actually reached a point of concorde. It is the "supra-being" which is my problem, rather than the omnipotent power of creation which brings, however briefly in the life of a universe, order out of chaos. I just prefer not to call that God, because that would be a pretention too far. I do not know the answer, and I do not expect to ever know the answer, but whatever the creative process, it is mighty impressive.

This demonstrates that even those of a doubting, agnostic disposition are quite capable of dropping to their knees in awe.

Like you, I have a problem with churches presenting this as the work of a kindly, bearded gentleman sitting on a throne, hovering somewhere above America's 'Bible belt.' I have an even bigger problem with those who cannot live without the comfortable certainties of self-deception.

Best,

MM

David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2012, 12:09:11 PM »
than the omnipotent power of creation which brings, however briefly in the life of a universe, order out of chaos. I just prefer not to call that God,

Dear MM

Perhaps I might suggest to you that you might . . . for the reason that that is what is described in Genesis 1 and perhaps that is the fundamental to which christianity and other religions might re-perspectivise. The problem is that the "father analogy" is taken literally* rather than the good metaphor or analogy that it can be, provided it is remembered as being merely that.

It's really akin to whether one has a seize pieds or a huit pieds organ and the ability to pick out registration in the harmonics of the fundamental pitch. Much of the argument between religions is caused akin to pulling out the grand tierce without having the fundamentals lower than the Principal 8. People who argue about the alleged superiority of any brand of religion have probably forgotten where their fundamental is and have probably misunderstood the stop name of the 8ft they have chosen, forgetting the existence of the more profound pitches and the stops to the harmonic series to which they belong.

It is perhaps also for reasons such as this that personally I find the organ an important enough analogy to many things for it to be worthy of being championed more than it has been in recent decades.

Best wishes

David P


* Probably searching the forum for McDonalds might pull up a post of mine discussing the undue focus of literal interpretation in the modern age.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 12:22:41 PM by David Pinnegar »
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

revtonynewnham

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2012, 06:58:56 PM »
Hi

The concept of "the Fatherhood of God" is fine as far as it goes, but it's not the complete story.  After all, both male & female were, according to Genesis, created in God's image, and elsewhere in the Bible there are references to what has been called "the mother love of God".

The real problem is trying to understand God in human terms - we just can't do it!  However we approach the issue, we can only come up with an incomplete picture (perhaps to stretch a quote out of context, we "see through a glass darkly").

Also, too many churches and Christians (and no doubt adherants to other faiths) fail to take on board what the whole of the scripture says about the Deity.

Every Blessing

Tony

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2012, 07:55:12 AM »
Hi Tony,

I think that I now come up against and even greater problem than that concerned with the nature of God, which is belief in the Bible and a Bible-bound church which appears frozen in time and incapable of moving on.

There are so many holes in the Bible, it is now looking more like a sponge than a Swiss cheese, and as time goes on, more and more of it will be revealed as bad science, poor sociology, dubious history and vain-glorious supposition.

Now please don't misunderstand me, because there is so much to love and cherish in the Bible, but are we not expecting too much of this increasingly discredited "holy" book?  After all, none of the disciples ever read it, and neither did the early church. In reality, it was cobbled together and  derives from many disparate sources.

 MM

revtonynewnham

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2012, 10:26:33 AM »
Hi

I really disagree with your rather cynical assessment of the Bible!  It contains far more than you seem to think - and, like it or not, it's regarded by the church as "The Word of God" (at least in its original forms and language).

The real problem with the church is the traditions that have been added to the Bible over the centuries - and all too often, an unwillingness to see what the Bible really says about a subject, rather than the church's interpretation from past centuries.

The church cannot afford to stand still in an ever-changing society - which doesn't mean always throwing out the old (as some seem to think).

No time to write more at present - Holy Week and Easter are loooming - and I need to get two service orders finalised before I go out at 12:00!

Every Blessing

Tony

David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2012, 04:12:23 PM »
Oh dear, I detect a flame rather than a smouldering of disagreement here and am guilty of having a hand in causing it. The organ is so much more than merely an instrument of noise, so much an instrument of concorde and harmonic understanding that it is right to explore ways in a forum where such principles can extend quite properly to more than music.

Sorry for having been the cause of disharmony, as that is not the intention nor purpose. Perhaps we can find harmonics to our meanings which might show how they can coexist.

In principle its nice to try to find understanding for another's point of view even if it's only to understand why they differ even if they cannot agree. The world would be a very boring and dangerously stulsifying place were everyone always to agree.

I suspect that many people are atheist, agnostic, doubting believers or otherwise on the fringes of belief for the reason that it might be a common perception that the Good Book, which is after all a collection of texts approved by the pagan King Constantine in the 4th century AD for the vision that it could keep the vestiges of the Roman Empire flourishing contains both a lot that Christ said as well as a lot about what other people said about what Christ said.

The differences may be capable of explanation. Perhaps they may be capable of review in terms of looking at what is fundamentally the All That Is, and the way in which personification of that in some circumstances can lead to metaphors, descriptions, allegories that help us to understand the All That Is and understand it better. Where the differences occur one has to look at them through the lens of both the First Commandment as well as "Does this help me to love my neighbour as myself" . . . and if the answer is "no" then one has to find another way in order for the answer to be "yes".

It appears to me that the biggest source of disagreements are the personification and anthropomorphisation of the word God. The problem is that "God" is to us a name, not merely as it should be a concept or a descriptor: the ancient taboos against giving the All That Is a name are entirely justified and are certainly not limited to the Judaistic tradition. This is one of the reasons why in the above and elsewhere, I try to use the description The All That Is rather than the Name which is God.

It is the focus on any sort of icon which, for the reason for the prohibition upon the worship of statues, can be mistaken for The Thing rather than merely being a representation of the thing it is intended to represent.

Perhaps many feel that the focus of some quarters of Christianity and even other religions upon the person, the person that represents god, actually can be to the extent to which god being represented is forgotton and the person being mistaken for the god. This is of course a very old argument in Christian history.

In a church of St Benoit in France on the wall . . .

Il est deja venu en prenant la
condition des hommes pour
accomplir l'eternal dessein
de ton amour et nous ouvrir
le chemin du salut: il viendra
de nouveau revetu de gloire
afin  que nous possedions
dans la pleine lumiere
les biens que tu nous a promis
et que nous attendons en
veillant dans la foi.
Saint Saint Saint le Seigneur
Dieu de l'universe le ciel et la
terre son remplis de ta gloire
Hosanna au plus haut de cieux
beni soit celui qui vient au nom
de Seigneur Hosanna au plus
haut des cieux!

This is, of course, a prayer which we all recognise but translated from this language with the simplicity of translation, perhaps of ciel into sky rather than that familiar word of which the meaning is unclear, certain beauties and nuances appear which tell us that language is an incomplete medium through which to convey, let alone understand, the spirit of God. What do we mean by spirit? Is it not simply the conveyance of The Idea of god? What do we mean by god? That which brings order out of chaos?

My wife often tells me that most arguments lie upon merely a miscommunication or misunderstanding of definition. When people start talking about things without defining what they are in the first place, differences of understanding will lead to lines of discussion going haywire. That is why I like Genesis 1 because it defines god, not particularly as a person but as that invisible strange means by which order appear(s)/ed out of chaos.

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 09:27:22 PM by David Pinnegar »
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

revtonynewnham

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2012, 05:59:26 PM »
Hi

I doubt that MM & I will come to blows over this - we just see things differently - and polite discussion never did anyone any harm!  (Except those who aren't prepared to listen). 

Every Blessing

Tony

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2012, 10:29:00 AM »
Dear Tony

Even if only as Devil's Advocate, I believe that MM's view, especially that Christ's disciples did not read the books with which we are presented, nor wrote them either, is an expression of popular and widespread view of Christianity as it is presentedly seen, especially to the point of anthropomorphisation of Christ as God expressed in Graham Kendrickism and with which many people take issue and turn their backs on the Church. . . and in my view, without the deeper thought that may lead to the understanding of any benefits, quite rationally.

One of the purposes of exploring issues of faith on this, an organ forum, is that as noted at the Zurich Resolution conference last year, organs and churches are symbiotically linked.

For that reason, if we are to demonstrate to the wider population the wonders of the organ and its music we have also to demonstrate the wonders of their context. For this reason the Church would do well to find focii in the common denominators of Christianity, and indeed other religions, perhaps starting from ideas akin to the text above which MM highlighted in red, and from there, differences can be celebrated and shared as providing mental tools to find other perspectives to hone understanding of God and the faith in life that all with faith understand.

Just as the Devil's Advocate hones our view of the truth and has function and purpose in debate, in the same way that priests were taught that the Devil entered the church down the bell ropes and up the organ pipes, the Devil has a purpose in upsetting established norms, entrenched views and people with philosophy that is often just all too self satisfied and comforted in their own righteousness. It is in this way that an Organ Forum has something to say to the Church and the priesthood who often sit back merely bemoaning and not even wondering why people are turning their backs on churches, let alone merely the organs within them.

This response is a generality and not at all in any way pointing at any one person or view.

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 03:22:04 PM by David Pinnegar »
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

 


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