Author Topic: The thinking man's Jesus  (Read 44871 times)

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MusingMuso

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2012, 03:07:30 PM »
I haven't time to respond immediately, but just a sub-note about the early church "not reading books."

I think it would be a mistake to think that people were not aware of religious tradition, even if the written word was much less important than the spoken word and the middle-eastern tradition of passing-on things verbally. (Why else would so many biblical stories be so imagninative and colourful?)

The disciples and early faithful would have been VERY well versed in all aspects of religion and tradition as a consequence.

So I cannot go along with the idea of an ignorant early church. I was merely drawing attention to the fact that the complete Bible was not at the heart of the early church, but much of the old testament would have been for those of Jewish origin.

More later,

Best,

MM

revtonynewnham

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2012, 07:02:51 PM »
Hi

Where on earth does the idea that the early disciples didn't read books come from?  In the main, Hebrew boys were taught to read - Jesus certainly was, as He read the scripture in synagogue.  Paul was very highly educated - and a fair bit of the New Testament is his writings.  Luke's Greek is said to be first class (and again, he was educated as a doctor - and according to the opening verses of his 2-volume work, he researched the subject thoroughly). As to the 12, we don't know a great deal about their backgrounds, but obviously Matthew must have been literate - he was a tax collector!  I would maintain that Peter & James probably were as well - they were, in effect, businessmen, even if the business was fishing!

Obviously, the New Testament wasn't available to the very early church - even the most conservative dates don't have it completed before around 90AD - but writings of the early church fathers in the first century would seem to indicate that much of the canon of the New Testament was acknowledged by perhaps 150AD (I'd have to hunt through my books to find the exact date & citation - and I just don't have time at present).  Agreed, the NT was formalised by Constantine and his cronies, but like so many church decisions down the centuries, they were probably only formalising what was already widely accepted.

Enough for now - must get on.  It's been a tiring day!

Every Blessing

Tony

David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2012, 09:22:16 PM »
Dear Tony

I was merely making observation upon MM's logical assertion that Jesus' disciples did not read the books about Jesus that we are given today . . .

Quote
After all, none of the disciples ever read it, and neither did the early church.

:-)

This is, after all, an exploration into how an agnostic thinks . . .

Best wishes

David P

revtonynewnham

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2012, 09:47:30 AM »
Sorry David - I must learn to read more carefully!

Every Blessing

Tony

MusingMuso

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2012, 12:01:45 PM »
Oh dear! We're in danger of getting bogged down in detail here.

However, I don't think Tony and myself will get to blows or exchange letter bombs. We are perhaps approaching the same things from a different perspective As for being cynical in my view of the Bible, I hope not. I was trying to be realistic, because quite a lot of the bible is incomprehensible to all but biblical scholars to-day, (of which I am not), simply because western culture has shifted dramatically away from the middle-eastern culture which spawned the Jewish and Christian faiths. (Indeed, the Greeks were a special problem even to St Paul, so it is not a uniquely modern problem).

I'm not an expert, but my simple understanding is that knowledge was disseminated more by word of mouth than by written documents. It isn't a question of literacy so much as practicality, because books and scripts were hand-written, and the most important books and scriptures would have been both valuable and rare. Has anyone seen the size of hand-written Jewish scriptures in the synagogues or considered the sheer bulk of hand-written, illuminated Bibles?

It is possibly for this reason that dissent and regional variations started to occcur very quickly in the early days of the early church, because the process of "passing things on verbally" is fraught with difficulty. Ask the same question of a dozen eye-witnesses at a criminal trial, and you get twelve different versions of the truth. Hearsay, for good reason, is not allowed, unless you are conducting "witch trials" or work for Mr Murdoch.

As David points out, the bible was probably an attempt at religious/political unification; not unliike Charlamagne requiring people to be baptised or else!  (The catholics in Spain did something similar with the Moors, and the Islamic Turks did the same thing to Christianity in Hungary). It's what great institutions and movements do, and in political terms, called "marching in step."

As for scripture itself, there is no doubt but that Genesis is impressive; I quite agree with David on this. It is either stupendously lucky guesswork, or an inspired piece of writing. Quite how they got the order of things so right, when they knew nothing of the principal sciences associated with the formation of the planet and life on earth, I cannot even imagine.

One of the great turning points in human history, the rennaissance, was probably as much to do with the printing-press as it was to do with enlightenment.,,,,the accurate and relatively quick replication of perceived knowledge and wisdom.....the start of intellectual "schools of thought" and accesible libraries  The computer is, of course, the next great revolution.

(There is a wonderful bit of medieval satire in the carol "Adam lay y bounden," where reference is made to the rows and rows of monks hand-writing illuminated scripts, with the words, "As clerkes fynden, written in their books.")

However, an awful lot of the old testament is concerned with lineage, tribal history. morality tales, custom, law and things specifically Jewish. This was put in to establish the true Jewish lineage of Jesus as being of the house of David, and thus a direct descendent of the royal house of David. Part of that Jewish heritage would have to adhere to the old prophecies, if Jesus was to be considered a deity. Hence the virgin birth myth, (for which there is little evidence), which plays a prominent part in Luke's gospel; Luke being specifically and very respectably Jewish.

If I recall correctly, the first and most reliable gospel is that written by Mark, which says very little about an awful lot, and which is possibly the most reliable as a consequence.

But does any of this mean anything to-day?

Believe it or not, I do actually believe something. I believe that the truths rather than the colourful story-telling are important enough to be treasured, but what I cannot and do not necessarily believe are the allegorical, mythological and theological accounts, which by their very nature, are inseperable from a particular set of tribal cultures in a particular region of the world at a particular time.

Could it be that the bible actually clouds the issues and obscures the truth behind the myths,legends and prophecies?

I could ramble on forever, but rather than do that, perhaps I could break off at this point, and instead make what may appear to be an outrageous set of propositions.

Is it possible that the "Christian way" is relevant to all religions and none?

Is it possible to be a Christian humanist, a Christian agnostic and, dare I suggest, a Christian Atheist, Buddhist or Hindu?

Discuss!

MM

David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #25 on: March 24, 2012, 02:00:19 PM »
Genesis is impressive; . . .  Quite how they got the order of things so right, when they knew nothing of the principal sciences associated with
the formation of the planet and life on earth, I cannot even imagine.

. . . adhere to the old prophecies, if Jesus was to be considered a deity. Hence the virgin birth myth, (for which there is little evidence), which plays a prominent part in Luke's gospel; Luke being specifically and very respectably Jewish.

Is it possible that the "Christian way" is relevant to all religions and none?
Is it possible to be a Christian humanist, a Christian agnostic and, dare I suggest, a Christian Atheist, Buddhist or Hindu?

Dear MM

Thanks for such a considered perspective and I hope that others will pick up on your various aspects beyond merely what I quote above to which perhaps additional observations might assist:

Genesis: the order right . . . This implies a common perception that the Bible is intended as a materially accurate document, with the weight of concrete. It focusses on the matter and what happened to it. This is the perspective of the materialist world, but an alternate perspective is possible by looking instead, or as well as, the circumstances of the matter, at the action, the energy of the process described.  It's a picture that is painted rather than an object factually photographed in which the action is that of the creation of order out of disorder . . . and the force that makes the action, the energy, is described as God.

The Virgin birth: again we focus on the material virgin, the animal virgin about which we are awfully concerned. But in the nature of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, what is the Spirit? Is it some phantom that wanders around . . . as for all the lack of definition that people ascribe to it, perhaps people might be forgiven for believing such . . . When we talk about the spirit of the law in the context of the letter of the law, we're referring to "the idea" encapsulated at the source of the law. So rather than being stuck in the material world with the weight of concrete, the physical matter of which the woman is made and what happened to it being her, the manner of the matter interacting with her animal ability to reproduce and bring forth progeny, we might look at it in the spiritual world.

We can presume that she was a virgin to the spirit, to The Idea, to the idea God, the idea of bringing forth order out of disorder resulting in the Son of God, the son of the idea of creating order out of disorder. Jesus, "son of the idea of creating order out of disorder" hinted as such "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother."

So in my view I believe that one can follow the teachings of Jesus about "the bringing of order out of disorder", so be Christian, and also at the same time in that spirit (communication of idea) to follow other teachings by whatever name they appear in relation to "the bringing of order out of disorder".

Apologies for the tedium of writing out such lines of thought expanding our usual contractions into longhand.

How many other areas of the bible can make more sense lifted into the spiritual world than merely left set in concrete of the material?

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: March 24, 2012, 02:16:38 PM by David Pinnegar »

MusingMuso

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2012, 05:11:19 PM »

Dear MM


......How many other areas of the bible can make more sense lifted into the spiritual world than merely left set in concrete of the material?

Best wishes

David P
[/quote]

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


I respond very quickly, because we finally come to the heart of the subject.

What if God is but a term for spiritual creation and re-creation?

What if the virgin birth is seen as a baby born into the perfect family; unsullied by sin and selfishness?

What if the crucifixion is repeated a thousand times; the slaughter of innocent children in Syria, for example?

What if the ressurection happens time and time again, whenever the spiritual overcomes death and there is the realisation that you can't destroy an idea, a spiritual and human truth or keep a good man down?

What if the ascension is both the constant re-affirmation of Christ's godly status, as well as the elevation of Christ's spiritual body, (his church), to the role of the ascended and divine authority?

What if the spiritual world is altogther more meaningful and infintely  less problematical; to the point that it is entirely compatible with science.

What if, indeed!


MM

revtonynewnham

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2012, 06:53:16 PM »
Hi

Just a quick response to some of MM's comments earlier.  These days we are, rightly, suspicious of the verbal transmission of evidence (in the widest sense) - I suppose Wikipedia is a prime example in the computer world.  However, I'm pretty sure that in Old Testament times, and probably in the early New Testament times, the oral tradition was still the main way of passing things on, and was probably more accurate than our experience today would suggest - although still prone to variations - hence the invention of writing.  I've heard it said that the Early Church were prime movers in the transition from scrolls to "books" (sorry, forgotten the technical term for early groups of pages) - simply to provide a more compact and easy to transport medium - and also one that was faster if you needed to look something up!

The earliest chapters of Genesis were presumably passed on through oral traditions until writing was invented!
What does need to be borne in mind is that the creation accounts - and indeed the rest of Genesis - was never intended as a scientific text, but rather a spiritual explanation for why things are as they are - and if, as I believe, God inspire the original author(s) (I won't get into that issue now!), then it's not surprising that what is there is basically in line with science.

My Biblical scholarship in the main dates back to the mid 1970's - although I do try and read around the subject to the extent that I have time and money (theological books are pretty expensive).  Although I see and understand, and to some extent like the arguments about the Virgin Birth, etc, I would want to emphasise that the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus are hard facts - historical events.  Without them, the whole basis of the Christian faith disappears.  Paul talks about that in one of the epistles "if Christ has not been raised from the dead, we are of all men the most miserable ... our faith is in vain".

Yes, in one sense, every believer experiences a resurrection to new life when they come to faith (however that may be - and sometimes it happens over a long period of time).

All very interesting - but it comes at the wrong time - I must go and try and track down some music that I need for next Saturday - it's gone missing somewhere - I just hope I've not left it elsewhere when I've played the organ.

Very busy for the next fortnight, with 4 extra services/events to finalise/arrange/prepare sermons for - plus another 6 events that I need to be at - all early morning (which is not good).  Looking forward though to preaching at Cowling Hill Baptist Church on Palm Sunday - and playing their historic Laycock organ - still hand blown.

Every Blessing

Tony

David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2012, 08:23:38 AM »
I respond very quickly, because we finally come to the heart of the subject.

What if God is but a term for spiritual creation and re-creation?

What if the virgin birth is seen as a baby born into the perfect family; unsullied by sin and selfishness?

What if the crucifixion is repeated a thousand times; the slaughter of innocent children in Syria, for example?

What if the ressurection happens time and time again, whenever the spiritual overcomes death and there is the realisation that you can't destroy an idea, a spiritual and human truth or keep a good man down?

What if the ascension is both the constant re-affirmation of Christ's godly status, as well as the elevation of Christ's spiritual body, (his church), to the role of the ascended and divine authority?

What if the spiritual world is altogther more meaningful and infintely  less problematical; to the point that it is entirely compatible with science.

What if, indeed!


MM

Dear MM

You've taken this well further. We are told that it is a spiritual book . . . and the spirit is a parallel universe to the material . . . in the same way as the meaning of a parable in parallel with the material story told . . .

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 08:28:23 AM by David Pinnegar »

David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2012, 04:49:48 PM »
I would want to emphasise that the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus are hard facts - historical events.

Dear Tony

Perhaps a spiritual reading of the texts is all the more interesting and relevant because the story told is not a fiction, that it is a hard reality of history. Perhaps that is also why the Old Testament is so important as part of the equation as clearly it is a book of history. It's a book with subplots about people behaving in very human ways and yet a parallel supertext in the realm of "The Idea" and "The Communication of the idea of The Idea" and the "Son of The Idea" of bringing forth order from out of the general chaos.

I met up with an old friend last night who has been working on the gematria of Hebrew names now for over two and a half decades.

Not only perhaps is there a spiritual supertext to the book, but certain names are important, he says, as words exist in Hebrew and Greek which have relationships and correspondences in their numbers. His findings are startling and too controversial even to mention here, but suffice to say he is of firm belief that he is finding interesting correspondences.

As a matter of interest, what is the conventionally held view of the reason for a book of the Old Testament by the name of "Numbers"?

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: March 27, 2012, 12:47:28 AM by David Pinnegar »

MusingMuso

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2012, 07:59:17 PM »

Although I see and understand, and to some extent like the arguments about the Virgin Birth, etc, I would want to emphasise that the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus are hard facts - historical events.  Without them, the whole basis of the Christian faith disappears.  Paul talks about that in one of the epistles "if Christ has not been raised from the dead, we are of all men the most miserable ... our faith is in vain".




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

If someone dies, everything that they were still exists, and if someone is born, then everything that they are already existed prior to their birth. In a way, birth and death are mutually interchangable, but fo course, the deciding factor is the presence of the genetic code and the nature of life itself.

Therefore, it would be fair to say that even IF a deity decides to take on humnan form, then that human form must eventually die. The actual machanism is largely irrelevant.

So we MUST accept that Jesus was born by whatever means, and we know how he died. That doesn't take much belief,and it can rightly be considered a statement of fact.

The burning question is the nature of ressurection, because even if it happened absolutely according to the Biblical accounts, it would have been a very brief phenomenon. (Obviously a rather unusual one, unless Jesus somehow survived the crucifixion and was merely unconcious).

Considering that Jesus didn't indulge much in magic tricks, even when people asked for a "sign," I have my doubts about the nature of the ressurection, for I have to ask myself what the purpose might have been. The far more significant truth is that a man was executed on the basis of his beliefs and perfect example, which sent all but his mum and Mary Magdalene running off like frightened chickens at a barbecue.

Surely, the REAL miracle of physical "resurrection" is the fact that the disciples and followers found a new confidence and direction, AS THE BODY OF CHRIST. ("On this rock I found my church"......"You will perform greater miracles than I") So my undertsanding of the ressurection is infinitely more powerful and meaningful than a man jumping up from the grave, which certain people apparently claim happens all the time in Jamacaian voodoo.

Of course, I'm just a fence-dwelling Christian agnostic, and until the church gets its act together and starts to believe in the very believable rather than a lot of slightly pointless miracles, I shall probably have to remain there.


MM

revtonynewnham

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #31 on: March 25, 2012, 08:26:57 PM »
@David

I'd have to dig out my Old Testament books and look up the articles about Numbers - I can't remember - I've had no reason to visit Numbers, other than when it comes up in Lectionary readings, for many years.

Remind me after Easter and I'll see what I can find.

Every Blessing

Tony

David Pinnegar

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Re: Decoding The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #32 on: March 25, 2012, 10:33:47 PM »
Therefore, it would be fair to say that even IF a deity decides to take on humnan form, then that human form must eventually die. The actual mechanism is largely irrelevant.

:-) But one can argue that the Genesis 1 Deity is "The Force that creates order out of Disorder", and "The Idea" with it and cannot die and "The Son of The Idea", as an idea, cannot die and in the Garden of Gethsemane when the stone is rolled away, Jesus, "The Son of The Idea", asks us to arise with him, for the spirit (communication of The Idea) cannot die and for us to arise with him that cannot die.

If one sticks to the material, to the world of the concrete, one gets weighed down by the massiveness of the intractible problems. When one arises to the spiritual interpretation, all the problems evaporate away.

To do this, as the "idea" "spiritual" is encoded within the language, although tedious, perhaps one has to apply the logic of decoding and expand the words of the language just as one would substitute in an algebraic expression and expand an equation in full so as to eliminate the earthly-interpretation words with which we are familiar and misled until we are used to the words restored to their spiritual idea meanings.

I have half a feeling that the Book is for all to read, the followers of the material to argue about, and the spiritual to understand and with which to arise. The book sorts out the people who are spiritual from the people who are destined to be earthbound by reason of their attachment to earthly things.

The other day I witnessed a bankrupt man with such a material attachment to some photocopies of some worthless papers owned by his father in law in the thought that they might be worth a fortune and save him, and he was so obsessed by them, that sadly the man will always be earthbound.

Our attraction to the material world and the so-called reality of material objects and their stories blinds us from the spiritual, "the communication of The Idea", the idea behind all things eternal which protects us from and fights the decay of all things in the entropic state.

So, no, Jesus - The Son of The Idea - did not die, the devil (bodily decay, disorder, entropic decay of matter) could not retain The Son Of The Idea (him) in death in the disorder of hell, and The Idea arose again from the dead.
 
Sorry, this is a very apparently insane perspective. But as way to overcome all the difficulties we (all?) have, perhaps it's a fun exploration.

Best wishes

David P

Postscript
Because this the Genesis 1 Deity, "The Force that creates order out of Disorder", is unique, all pervasive, everywhere, invisible, all powerful responsible for all, there is only one such Deity. This is no imaginary person nor statue: this is the Fundamental Driving Force of All That Exists. It is unique, responsible for all, and cannot die.

Indeed, from the moment of birth of all matter it is the force that ordered the disordered energy arising from the Big Bang into the order of matter.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 08:18:39 AM by David Pinnegar »

MusingMuso

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Re: Decoding The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #33 on: March 26, 2012, 02:32:24 PM »
:-) But one can argue that the Genesis 1 Deity is "The Force that creates order out of Disorder", and "The Idea" with it and cannot die and "The Son of The Idea", as an idea, cannot die and in the Garden of Gethsemane when the stone is rolled away, Jesus, "The Son of The Idea", asks us to arise with him, for the spirit (communication of The Idea) cannot die and for us to arise with him that cannot die.If one sticks to the material, to the world of the concrete, one gets weighed down by the massiveness of the intractible problems. When one arises to the spiritual interpretation, all the problems evaporate away.[/color

]I have half a feeling that the Book is for all to read, the followers of the material to argue about, and the spiritual to understand

Postscript

Indeed, from the moment of birth of all matter it is the force that ordered the disordered energy arising from the Big Bang into the order of matter.

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

This is theology at work, as it relates to the 21st century, and I think demonstrates that the spiritual is far more powerful than the material. Indeed, if we invert the perspective of the crucifixion and the ressurection, the fact that the spirit could not die, means that the spirit had no reason to return as a physical manifestation. That would be far too material and a bit too exhibitionist for my liking, and of course, slightly pointless.

The spirit lives materially in the body of the church, and is passed on.

I think we are as one in so many ways, but with one exception....

Just the one big bang?

Let's not go there!  :)


David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #34 on: March 26, 2012, 07:46:36 PM »
Dear MM

I have been pondering the consequences of the line of logic as you, but concluded that because it did happen in the material it acts out the idea so that the narrative of the history can work at different levels for whomsoever comes to read it: the physical manifestation was thereby important.

Quote
The spirit lives materially in the body of the church, and is passed on.

Yes - and after this how can anyone be atheist . . . or merely agnostic? Does it not makes sense and capable of doing so to everybody?

If so, isn't that good for churches . . . and organs?

It would be nice to hear from others on this. I have been worried recently at the lack of organ related posts: are people frightened of opinions? Are people not enthusiastic about getting to the root of where the majority of organs keep their abode?

Best wishes

David P


MusingMuso

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #35 on: March 27, 2012, 02:32:13 PM »


I have been pondering the consequences of the line of logic.......


Quote
The spirit lives materially in the body of the church, and is passed on.

Yes - and after this how can anyone be atheist . . . or merely agnostic? Does it not makes sense and capable of doing so to everybody?

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



The fence on which I sit is sturdy enough, in spite of comprising no more than atomic particles and molecules.

I still cannot make a meaningful link between creation and the acceptance of Jesus as a holy entity. A creator God must be omnipotent, omniscient and omni-present: Jesus rather more approachable. Hence my preference for the Christological 'quest' for lack of a better word, which means that I don't have to get bogged down by soothsaying, pseudo-science and outrageous speculation.

The problem we all face is one of analogy and simile. As a musician, I would be searching for a God of harmony perhaps, or "the music of the spheres." Were I a farmer, I might be searching for the holy wheatgerm. As a driver, perhaps the holy sat-nav.

Let's not delude ourselves,because whatever the "creative force" of the universe is, it is utterly beyond our comprehension. Worse still, such is the vastness of the universe, it is not inconceivable that life on Earth is a question of mathemtaical probability and a game of chance; the order out of chaos merely the way things panned out, without need of past, present or future.

We can argue about it until we are blue in the face, or express faith in this or that, but no-one knows and possibly never will.

So it comes back to my original question.

Is it possible to be a Christian agnostic, Buddhist or Hindu?

If not, why not?

MM

David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #36 on: March 28, 2012, 11:34:43 AM »
So it comes back to my original question.

Is it possible to be a Christian agnostic, Buddhist or Hindu?
If not, why not?

MM

Dear MM

In all but the above you have stumped me utterly, driving me into total humility. I had had the arrogance to think that the interpretation of God as the Force that creates Order from the scale of the universe to the femtoverse and all the derivative ideas explored above was the final answer. And all, apparently, to naught. Oh dear.  :'(

On your original question, however, the writings of Alice Bailey, who was a descendant of Benjamin Henry Latrobe who went as a Christian missionary to India suggest that one can . . .

Perhaps one might look in terms of all religions having rules for those who can only understand rules and seek a good life by trying to obey them, modes of thought for people who can think, ideas for people who can process and act upon "the idea", the spirit, and universality for people who lean towards it.

Best wishes,

David P


MusingMuso

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2012, 02:02:28 PM »

Dear MM

In all but the above you have stumped me utterly, driving me into total humility. I had had the arrogance to think that the interpretation of God as the Force that creates Order from the scale of the universe to the femtoverse and all the derivative ideas explored above was the final answer. And all, apparently, to naught. Oh dear.  :'(

On your original question, however, the writings of Alice Bailey, who was a descendant of Benjamin Henry Latrobe who went as a Christian missionary to India suggest that one can . . .

Perhaps one might look in terms of all religions having rules for those who can only understand rules and seek a good life by trying to obey them, modes of thought for people who can think, ideas for people who can process and act upon "the idea", the spirit, and universality for people who lean towards it.

Best wishes,

David P
[/quote]

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

Dear David,

You've also stumped me. What on earth is a femtoverse?  (I shall google this).

Seriously, the quest for an understanding of the nature of God,creation and the universe, is as natural as turning over a stone to see what lies beneath. Even the absolute atheist must utlimately arrive at the same conclusion as the believer, that the creation of all things is beyond comprehension. The agnsotic arrives at the same conclusion, but admits early on that the question is possibly more significant than the answer. I wouldn't presume to believe or disbelieve that creation has an intelligent life-force behind it, and neither would I presume to believe or disbelieve in the chaos theory. The only thing I know, is that we simply do not have the capacity to even count the distances, the number of galaxies, stars and planets or comprehend the time scale involved. So vast is the universe, it is perhaps entirely possible that the numbers game created the support for life and life itself in a quite random way; everything that we are being constructed of the cosmic dust created at the moment of the big-bang, and situated at the corner of a tiny galaxy in a life supporting planetary-orbit around a tiny speck of a star.

It's funny, but when we look at creation, in all its vastness, one of our shortest words sums it all up.....wow!

So while the agnostic may suspend belief, they also suspend disbelief, and it is therefore an ongoing creative process rather than one which is neither one thing nor the other.

Alice Bailey sounds interesting. I deliberately asked the question about Christian agnostics, Hindus and the rest for a simple reason, because it is very easy to overlook the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was a practising Jew, as were many of his followers, and therefore the concept of a Christian Jew carries with it a certain authority.

You last point I entirely agree with, and for me personally, any act of worship is, (or should be), a celebration of "an idea," a spirit and a universal truth; supported by what we might agree as "good" and worthwhile things.

Faith, for me, is a very down to earth thing, and has the beauty of absolute simplicity. I am nothing if not a simple soul at heart.

MM

David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus - on Genesis 2 beyond Genesis 1
« Reply #38 on: April 21, 2012, 01:38:03 PM »
Quote
Let's not delude ourselves,because whatever the "creative force" of the universe is, it is utterly beyond our comprehension.

Dear MM and friends,

Having in recent days had renewed contact with friends who run around in chaotic circles ignoring paths of order to the preference of the excitement of buzz of disorder and then running to the bottle of alcohol to paper over the cracks, it has struck me sharply that the fuzziness of the agnostic fence is the embodiment of that disorder; the weeds and thistles through which metaphorically one has to fight in order to grow one's mental crops.

With regard to the assertion above that Genesis 1 is about something fundamental to all matter and energy in the universe which gives rise to the creation of anything at all, the femtometre is the scale of the inner atom - 10-15 of a metre and the forces that create all the order of everything from this scale to the widest universe are common to all. All powerful, invisible, everywhere.

It's very easy to see two billiard balls or two people and think that God is at work between matter and matter, billiard ball and billiard ball. That is to what either atheism or the inadequate image of the Big Daddy vision of God leads, As atheists we believe that we are in control, having self determining motors within our billiard balls,  whilst Big Daddiists expect Him to take the cue and knock our billiard balls in the right direction.

But the reality is different. The universe works not on a matrix of interaction of matter with matter but of matter with circumstance. The matter-matter interaction is too two dimensional. As people we are not what we appear to be at face value: we are how we are animated, given motion, and this is powered circumstance. The circumstance is where we have come from, where we are at present, which way we are facing and in what direction our intention of future leads. This provides a hidden dimension of directions in which all are heading, circumstances, and we interact in the ways that we can see as matter, with the directions in which matter is heading, unseen, and unpredictable in any way beyond faith. Faith in God - faith in that force that creates order within chaos. By definition, that is the only force the direction of which can be predicted, and this means that people with faith link up in a common direction with common purpose whilst others in the same circumstances flounder without direction.

By observation of people who have got their lives in order, and observation of those who have not, and wallow in their chaoses, perhaps one can find value in the benefit of the God of Chapter 1 of Genesis in being that definition of God as the "creative force" of the universe - and within that context we are led to a better understanding of how it can be within our comprehension. Good / bad becomes the separation of creative force opposed to chaotic force.

Can one be a Christian and a Buddhist and a Hindu? Within the context of the above, all the religions are descriptions of these two opposing states. And creation, good, always triumphs over chaos, bad. Life, order, spirit, energy that creates always triumphs over death, decay, chaos of what was once ordered into life, bad. The force of order wins because the force of chaos being infinitely chaotic cannot make anything more chaotic than chaos.

The triumph of God becomes a mathematical certainty. The score in each interaction is always Order 1, Choas Nill. Added up 100 times, the score is always Order 100, Chaos Nil.

Earlier I referred to thorns and thistles through which we have to fight to grow our mental crops. Genesis 2 is as powerful as a description of the human condition as Genesis 1 is the context from which it arose. The analogy of the Garden of Eden can hold good in opposing but distinguishable ways.

The atheists set themselves the challenge of growing their crops without the instruction book, and finding for themselves the order with which they have to harmonise in order to grow their harvest.

Meanwhile the Big Daddyists are terribly frightened by the serpent who tempts them outside the garden on account of eating of the Tree of Knowledge, and this is a problem that causes all religions to be defensive, purge independant thought, exclude heretics and start wars.

But Genesis 2 is bigger than that. Whilst taken as telling us that it is good to find Paradise within the Garden and to avoid the temptations of the serpent, it's actually the opposite. Big Daddy in the Garden is keeping the occupants of his realm in ignorance and as pets, mere animals. But to be human, we are more than that. That is what makes us human, distinguished from and "above" the realm of animals. Intrinsically we do eat of the tree of knowledge, and thereby acquire life, our own lives and partake of the tree of life. In doing this we exclude ourselves incompatible with the closed ignorance of the Paradise of unknowing, and we discover the thorns and thistles that obstruct our way to growing our own crops with the heritage of the guidance of Big Daddy in the garden. Not Daddy in the human form, but in the form of the God of Genesis 1: the force that creates order out of disorder. This too is the result of Genesis 2: we have to find and encourage the order in the context of the disorder, to grow our crops in the context of the thistles and weeds which ever grow to choke them.

The expressions of religion which do not lead to the growing of our own crops, requiring us to be kept in the ignorance of the knowledge of outside are merely oppressions of the human spirit, keeping those held by the walls around the rules as animals, contrary to the universal creative force that wants us to learn within the garden and then go out and create our own gardens, in which our Paradise is to be found for us and all who we can pass it on to there.

Of course, it is the religious expressions that keep their followers enclosed in their gardens as animals that cause followers of such to go out and behave as animals towards others both in the human world and in the jungle of nature.

Out of the bilblical realm, one sees many trapped within human organisations who will suppress the whistleblower of the serpent of their own conscienses with the consciousness of what is right in the outside world, who will comply with the god of their garden of their organisations, achieving a paradise of security knowing that within their organisations they will be looked after provided they obey the rules of the organisation. They achieve the paradise of that safety.

To be Christian, Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan, of the two - the priest and the levite - who pass by, happy within the paradise of the garden of their rules and the third who broke out of the garden eating of the tree of life and gave of the benefits of that tree. The Samaritan broke through the mental thorns and thistles of the fear of those who might criticise him, to grow his crops on the other side of the road.

There are many entrapped by unknowingness, animal-like within the garden, or atheist, who are jealous of the order that knowing people see and will do their best to put thorns and thistles in their paths, and sow seeds of weeds so that the crop does not grow on the other side of the road.

So, yes I believe one is only a Christian if one has escaped from the imprisonment of safety and crossed that road; impossible to be a Christian as a priest enclosed within the garden, as a Levite in the same paradise, and that it is possible to be both a Christian and a follower of another path. Indeed in terms of loving one's neighbour, perhaps one cannot be a Christian within the garden, as Christ expects his followers to cross the road, step over and evade the thorns and thistles to go their own crops of creation despite the weeds of chaos around them.

I hope that in vocalising this, the fog of the agnostic fence might disappear and perhaps some may have the courage to tread the path in the confidence of faith that reduces the thorns and thistles to naught.

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: April 21, 2012, 01:47:47 PM by David Pinnegar »

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #39 on: April 21, 2012, 02:55:53 PM »
I read this earlier surfing around on the internet,  thought it profound enough to do a bit of cut and paste for future recollection:

Quote
The essential distinction of man from higher apes, is the ability to discover answerable questions bearing on the subject of the continuing search for fresh illustrations of
universal principles. For example: Fire! Ever higher forms of fire! The human willful
advantage of hotter expressions of fire!
;)
Eric
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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."

 


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