Research on Belief in God

Page 58 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Jul 16, 2011
1,551
0
0
Well, the thread seems to have gone viral. As for Kant's philosophy of "would this make a good maxim?", in my view this falls down due the problem that we face specific problems in the real world. If (OK, it's hypothetical) someone was shooting others "at random" I would feel no guilt in shooting him (although in the real world I wouldn't have a gun). Hence, I don't believe in an objective morality.

There are maxims that work fairly well in practice and are "pretty moral" in that they are similar to the golden rule (do unto others as you would be done by), but avoid becoming made into a sucker. For example, using the maxim of Tit-for-Tat you aim to treat others with the respect you expect for yourself as long as they behave in a similar fashion. If they behave badly towards you, you react, but without escalating. However, what this means is not always clear. I tend to keep those I see as acting badly at a distance, rather than punishing in any way and only interfere if they are hurting somebody else (at least in my idealised approach).

Echoes said:
So since I'm not sure there are Muslim posters on these boards, I'll have to clarify this.

What is the sharî'ah? Sharî'ah means the "way", the "road". For Muslims, the objective of it is protecting our body, soul and our reason/mind. Protecting our health, in a way.

I don't see any problem with it.
Well, if there's one thing the Pew polls show, it's that Muslims who "support Shariah law" interpret Shariah in various ways. I don't see any problem in your interpretation. I don't see any problems in the interpretations of five pillars of Islam that I've heard (belief in Allah, prayer, pilgrimage, charity - I know that is only 4, but I won't pretend by looking the other one up Ramadam, maybe the equivalent of the Sabbath??).
I don't have any problem with people believing in god, just what they do with that belief. In the same way I (obviously) don't have problems with people not believing in god, just what they do with that.

Echoes said:
I love it how atheists always resort to the OT in order to bash Christians. They really can't realise that Christians believe in the Gospel, not in the OT.
The reference to Numbers may have been an attack, but in this case definitely not on your views. I am fully aware what you have written on the OT (and the breadth of views of Christians on this). Similarly, we're quite a heterogeneous bunch. Part of the argument (although somewhat frivolous) was that you shouldn't equate Christianity with a literal interpretation of the bible.
 
I don't think that most people are in touch with the classical world, its mentalies and worldviews, from which these superstitions came.

Plutarch's De superstitione already warned against the perils of prophecy, magic (intended miracle workers) and the like, upon the incredulous peasantry and practicing intellectuals alike seeking salvation, for which Philostratus' Life of Apollonius of Tyana, that pagan miracle worker, is an adequate response.

What we call divine occurrence, was then forged in the crucible of an accepted magic. In a certain sense philosophy, at least by the Antonine period, became contaminated with an esoteric spirituality that evolved into the theology that it became during the Middle Ages. Thus Moses magus was delivered from Egypt, the epicenter of magic, that accounts for the then widespread opinion that he was a magician among Hellenized Jewish circles as is inferred from Acts 7.22.

Even Jesus the magician is portrayed as such in the apocryphal Infancy Gospel of Thomas, which describes a rather capricious and un-Christian Christ who murders, then raises from the dead and behaves like any uncontrolled child with divine powers.
 
Netserk said:
It's not about wishing or wanting, it's about self-contradictory acts/maxims being objectively immoral.

As an example: It's objectively wrong to cheat in front of a line when you're waiting for something, as there would be no line for you to cheat in front of if everybody did so.
That still doesn't answer my other post about those who believe it is wrong to kill period (no exceptions.) The thing with this theory is no matter how you come at it, there are still no universal morals....because people disagree.

I guess that's what I'm trying to get across. Simply that, in your mind killing to defend is okay, but willing that to be universal doesn't make it so.
 
Jspear said:
That still doesn't answer my other post about those who believe it is wrong to kill period (no exceptions.) The thing with this theory is no matter how you come at it, there are still no universal morals....because people disagree.

I guess that's what I'm trying to get across. Simply that, in your mind killing to defend is okay, but willing that to be universal doesn't make it so.
Read my post again. My yes is to the question "do you think it's wrong to kill another human being when...".
 
rhubroma said:
I don't think that most people are in touch with the classical world, its mentalies and worldviews, from which these superstitions came.

Plutarch's De superstitione already warned against the perils of prophecy, magic and the like, upon the incredulous peasantry and practicing intellectuals alike seeking salvation, for which Philostratus' Life of Apollonius of Tyana, that pagan miracle worker, is an adequate response.

What we call divine occurrence, was then forged in the crucible of an accepted magic. In a certain sense philosophy, at least by the Antonine period, became contaminated with an esoteric spirituality that evolved into the theology that it became during the Middle Ages. Thus Moses magus was delivered from Egypt, the epicenter of magic, that accounts for the then widespread opinion that he was a magician among Hellenized Jewish circles as is inferred from Acts 7.22.

Even Jesus the magician is portrayed as such in the apocryphal Infancy Gospel of Thomas, which describes a rather capricious and un-Christian Christ who murders, then raises from the dead and behaves like any uncontrolled child with divine powers.
Jesus was not a magician. Magic at its core is trickery and slight of hand. Jesus performed miracles. Someone was blind - He gave them their sight, ect. There is a difference between magic and miracles.
 
Jan 27, 2013
1,383
0
0
rhubroma said:
I don't think that most people are in touch with the classical world, its mentalies and worldviews, from which these superstitions came.

Plutarch's De superstitione already warned against the perils of prophecy, magic (intended miracle workers) and the like, upon the incredulous peasantry and practicing intellectuals alike seeking salvation, for which Philostratus' Life of Apollonius of Tyana, that pagan miracle worker, is an adequate response.

What we call divine occurrence, was then forged in the crucible of an accepted magic. In a certain sense philosophy, at least by the Antonine period, became contaminated with an esoteric spirituality that evolved into the theology that it became during the Middle Ages. Thus Moses magus was delivered from Egypt, the epicenter of magic, that accounts for the then widespread opinion that he was a magician among Hellenized Jewish circles as is inferred from Acts 7.22.

Even Jesus the magician is portrayed as such in the apocryphal Infancy Gospel of Thomas, which describes a rather capricious and un-Christian Christ who murders, then raises from the dead and behaves like any uncontrolled child with divine powers.
The Clenched Fist of Reason
http://galabes.blogspot.ca/2014/07/the-clenched-fist-of-reason.html
 
Jspear said:
Jesus was not a magician. Magic at its core is trickery and slight of hand. Jesus performed miracles. Someone was blind - He gave them their sight, ect. There is a difference between magic and miracles.
If we must debate the supposed recovery of someone two thousand years ago, taking ad verbatim what had been set down after the fact for obvious reasons without context, or due critical observation, then we are knaves.

My point was that in the ancient world magic and miracles went hand in hand.
 
rhubroma said:
If we must debate the supposed recovery of someone two thousand years ago, taking ad verbatim what had been set down after the fact for obvious reasons without context, or due critical observation, then we are knaves.

My point was that in the ancient world magic and miracles went hand in hand.
I understand. My point was Jesus was no magician. The influence he had in the ancient world (and even now) was much greater and different than those of magicians.
 
Jan 27, 2013
1,383
0
0
rhubroma said:
If we must debate the supposed recovery of someone two thousand years ago, taking ad verbatim what had been set down after the fact for obvious reasons without context, or due critical observation, then we are knaves.

My point was that in the ancient world magic and miracles went hand in hand.
It's probably healthier to recognize Jesus as an allegorical personification of many of the better attributes of the world around us and ideals within us.

The sun turns water into wine, it's a process, not unlike turning sorrow into joy.

Where poetry soars, rationalism crashes and burns. The old archetype of the eagle and the snake I suppose. Ideally one inspires the other.

Our modern world is hardly devoid of magic and miracles. Advertising could be considered black magic, sex sells beer. Splitting the atom could be considered the blackest magic of all, in the very literal way that most people think of "magic" these days. How do you define magic? In philosophical terms or flying broomsticks?

One really has to believe in miracles to believe the trans/post humanists. Literal Salvation is at hand! Literal "eternal life" will be ours (as opposed to the metaphorical eternal life of philosophy - identifying with the creative force or potential inherent in all life).

If you choose to define "magic" as: 'the art and science of causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will' - then we all do this, some more consciously than others is all.
 
May 27, 2012
6,458
0
0
Netserk said:
No it doesn't. That answer has already been given.

"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law"
Oh, so "will[ing] that it should become a universal law" solves the puzzle? So this is a theoretical proposition, and doesn't translate to reality then. Okay, sounds like you have faith in something I certainly don't. and never will.

Your universality has massive holes, you can ignore them if you want, but they exist nonetheless.
 
May 27, 2012
6,458
0
0
Netserk said:
It's not about wishing or wanting, it's about self-contradictory acts/maxims being objectively immoral.

As an example: It's objectively wrong to cheat in front of a line when you're waiting for something, as there would be no line for you to cheat in front of if everybody did so.
I bolded the problem. "Self" and "Objective" are incompatible in relation to what we are discussing.
 
RetroActive said:
It's probably healthier to recognize Jesus as an allegorical personification of many of the better attributes of the world around us and ideals within us.

The sun turns water into wine, it's a process, not unlike turning sorrow into joy.

Where poetry soars, rationalism crashes and burns. The old archetype of the eagle and the snake I suppose. Ideally one inspires the other.

Our modern world is hardly devoid of magic and miracles. Advertising could be considered black magic, sex sells beer. Splitting the atom could be considered the blackest magic of all, in the very literal way that most people think of "magic" these days. How do you define magic? In philosophical terms or flying broomsticks?

One really has to believe in miracles to believe the trans/post humanists. Literal Salvation is at hand! Literal "eternal life" will be ours (as opposed to the metaphorical eternal life of philosophy - identifying with the creative force or potential inherent in all life).

If you choose to define "magic" as: 'the art and science of causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will' - then we all do this, some more consciously than others is all.
Do you believe that Jesus was an actual historical person who existed?
 
Jan 27, 2013
1,383
0
0
Jspear said:
Do you believe that Jesus was an actual historical person who existed?
I believe that there have been many historical people that have found peace within themselves, there are likely many alive today. Jesus is/was the revelation of the heart, which is where one dwells when the war in the head is over. Resolved. Acceptance.

Whether there was an actual person that lived in that time who can be identified as 'the one' in union with God (pure potential) is irrelevant really.

The bible is a rather harsh (re)telling of ancient wisdom, the Jews lived in a tough neighborhood on a major trade route that was subject to constant conquest. It's not really the easiest access point to the story at all. It's also no accident that (in the story) Jesus inserts himself at that time and place. The Roman conquest, the Jewish rebellions (an eye for an eye) and the turning of the age in the precession of the equinox. A fish (the age of Pisces) turns into a whale pretty quickly in the telling of stories.

As the old aphorism states "know thyself". Isn't that difficult enough?

p.s. all my beliefs are subject to change. I don't know, but I do suspect.
 
Jspear said:
Hello my atheists friends. :)
Any Bill Maher fans out there? Have any of you been following his recent talks on Islam?...hasn't had much good to say....

http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/07/opinion/obeidallah-maher-muslim-comments/

You can google and find a lot of what he has said recently.
Anyone agree with him on his views on Islam?
Represents what I like and don't like about maher.

Like - he stands up for himself, and talks sense on religion.

Dislike - he gives a platform to celebrities to mix with real politicians act like authorities on politics.

What the **** qualifies ben affleck to speak out on these things? These people think being famous makes them intelligent, and some of them are arrogant enough to think they therefore will make good senators as well.

Echoes said:
Besides, I love it how atheists always resort to the OT in order to bash Christians. They really can't realise that Christians believe in the Gospel, not in the OT.
I love how biggots, and how echoes especially, always generalize every single category they group people in.

The liberals, the jews, the atheists, people who watch the TDF, always according to echoes hold some uniform opinions he randomly decided to attribute to them in his disturbing rants.

They, or rather we (since i feel most of us fall into at least 2 if not 3 of the above catergories) all also apparently share the single trait of being, totally ignorant of history. In fact absolutely everyone but echoes himself, apparently is. One wonders if in echoes head history is a part of his brain he has fantastically made up because 90% of his posts, be it on cycling or religion or politics or ww2 are almost always centered around his frustration at everyone elses refusal to accept his narratives of history.
 
Jan 27, 2013
1,383
0
0
Let's have some fun and contemplate the Jewish temple in rather superficial terms. Upon approach there are Boaz and Jachin, binary thinking; the gates. Each pillar is capped with a brass capital, brass is an alloy of copper and zinc - thus we have a duality within a duality rather like the tao, or yin-yang. Masculine and Feminine combine in a polarity within a polarity. Most ancient symbols are fractal, between the macro and micro.

Upon entering the temple (the ordered mind) there are rituals and sacrifices that must be performed to maintain order, or balance. Let's take one of the ritual symbols as a for instance: the menorah. A seven candelabra. Why seven? There are 5 wanderers (and always have been) + 2 luminaries (to the naked human eye). Let's do the days of the week to understand the macro, it's easier in French but the same understanding is cross pollinated in English as the Norse Gods and Goddesses are interchangeable with the Latin. Moon Day, Mars Day, Mercury day, Jupiter day, Venus day, Saturn day and Sun day. Now in ancient days these Gods and Godesses had attributes, both positive and negative. They also sketched geometries in the heavens with their movements that related to thought forms from God. These seven were related to the 7 chakras, energetic centers, or psychological principles within the human body. In alchemical terms they relate to the 7 alchemical metals, but that really amounts to the same thing. The idolaters of every age are the literalists and roundly derided as fools. The material form is not to be worshiped but the principles, functions and processes are to be identified, within, and without...despite the form. Expansion of the self, not contraction - although if you go far enough into contraction it leads to the same thing. See: Quantum physics.

btw, these 7 are Jacob's ladder and the 7 seals of revelation, in all their various iterations. Balls (or ovaries) to brain with the heart in the center.

So now in the temple of our mind there's an area, or understanding, that's restricted to only those that have undergone a total purification (of mind). The holiest of holies in the middle of the temple. A room that is, in fact, a cube. Thinking outside the box now? This room is filled with empty space (potential, imagination). This cube also defines 3 dimensional space, with 6 sides. So who is the beast of revelation - 666? You. The only object in this room is another box, that's guarded by 2 cherubs (more duality). Contained within this box is the Law, the sacred law - only accessible to the pure.

...and so it goes. Of course I could be wrong, but all this understanding and symbolism existed long before anyone had heard of Judaism.
 
I've always contemplated the Jewish temple in this way: :)

Hebrews 9:1 Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary.
2 For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place.
3 Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies,
4 having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron's rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant;
5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
6 Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship,
7 but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.
8 The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing,
9 which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience,
10 since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;
12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.
17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.
18 Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood.
19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
20 saying, "THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU."
21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood.
22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
23 Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own.
26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,
28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
NAU Heb 9:1-28
 
Jspear said:
Do you believe that Jesus was an actual historical person who existed?

The general consensus is that, yes, historically he existed, although some are inclined to believe that even Jesus was entirely fabricated.

Christ, by contrast, to all those who are not of faith and who have immersed themselves in a careful study of the historical reality, was a Greek facsimile to cater to the needs of a salvation cultus, with the initiation rites and secret gnosis that this presupposes. The many apochryphal writings, which were purged by the orthodox Church--and probably for this reason--demonstrate just how much the early Christian literature was bound to the pagan mystery religions and their theologized philosophies.

In the Classical World, as I previously stated, during the Antonine period Hellenized Jews and cosmopolitan Greeks saw the East flowing into their domain, with its mysteria μυστήρια. Out of this esoteric and mythicized spiritual crucible the supernatural Christos was forged and hence the Christian religion, which as a result occurred through the oriental gentile membership first, before it was eventually grafted upon the state. Of course the development of Christianity needs to be further contextualized within the period when philosophy was becoming theological. Hence it is not incorrect to speak of certain pagan platonists at the time such as Apuleius as a philosophus religiosus, while placing them within the greater coeval phenomenon that mysticizes philosophy of which Christianity came to play a decisive role. Indeed Christianity eventually brought this transformation to its fruition. Thus the philosophical theology that had its origins in the age of Apuleius, as a result of the East pouring into the empire as I have said, became continusouly elaborated into its various declinations through the Patristic tradition of Augustine and later by his medieval successors. How else are we to explain why Saint Augustine calls Apuleius “Apuleius Afer Platonicus nobilis” (Civ. 8.12), and “philosophus Platonicus” (Civ. 8.19)? At a certain point, of course, one no longer speaks of philosophy, but only of theology. It's not by chance consequently that in the Middle Ages theology and the natural sciences became completely separate disciplines, whereas in the times of Plato and Aristotle a love of reason ('philo-sophia') and knowledge of the divine (causa causarum) went hand-in-hand. In fact most scholars are inclined to not speak in terms of real philosophy again at least until Descartes, if not during the Age of Reason.

The example of Apuleius is instructive, since his insatiable curiosity about religion, mythology, mysticism, and magic, which clearly projects through Apuleius’s oeuvre, occasionally got him into trouble. For in 158/9 at Tripolitanian Sabratha in Africa Proconsularis, Apuleius of Madauros, author of the Golden A$$, was tried before the proconsul Claudius Maximus, having been accused of practicing magic in order to gain the hand of the very wealthy, fortyish Pudentilla in marriage, whose relatives said he had bewitched. His principle accuser was Sicinius Aemilianus, a brother of Pudentilla’s first husband, who was determined to keep control of the woman’s substantial fortune, in large part amassed by the dead brother and his father, within the gens Sicinii.The outcome of the trial is unknown. Apuleius, however, defended himself with a speech, called Apology or the De Magia (On Magic), the rhetorical and stylistic brilliance of which so trivialized and demolished the allegations that the issue, it seems, can hardly be placed in doubt, and this has convinced most of its readers that he must have been acquitted. At all events it appears that Apuleius was nonetheless actually versed in magic and the occult, as the Apology and his masterpiece Metamorphosis, or the Golden A$$(Asinus Aureus) both attest.

Apulieus should have been informed, as well, about the wounderous magic of Christian protagonists like St. Paul, who at Philippi in Macedonia had once expelled a possessing spirit from a slave girl who had powers of divination (Acts 16:16), given that Apology 2.2 records that the distinguished senator Q. Lollius Urbicus (cos. ca. 136) was present at his trial in Sabratha. As urban prefect Lollius had sometime earlier, perhaps in 150, presided over the trial of three Christians, as Justin Martyr records. Furthermore, it is difficult to imagine that Apuleius was totally ignorant of the miracles of Jesus who, like Moses, had spent time in Egypt: the headquarters of magic and secret gnosis in the ancient Mediterranean. He certainly though knew of the magical Moses (Apol. 90.5).

It thus becomes irrelevant whether or not a historical Jew called Jesus of Nazereth ever actually walked the earth, because as far as the history of Christianity is concerned only his divine Greek effigy matters and the cultic rites that developed around his worship, one among the many superstitions of which Plutarch so disapproved. Plutarch’s work essentially urged men to combat such states of opinion, which were viewed as something far worse than atheism, in so far as they only catered to man’s basest emotions and greatest fears. While Plutarch does not discuss the particular forms of superstitions that were rife in his times, a range of phantoms can nevertheless be instantly invoked as the backdrop to his reflections and that were also familiar to the age of the Antonines: Astrology with men’s horoscopes in her hands, Divination with her clairvoyant powers, Dreams with their subtle interpretations, Oracles old and new, Epiphanies of the Gods, Miracles, Sorcery. Such were the multiplex lures to credulity which the simple-minded accepted and with which the intellectuals experimented. Read the Sacred Orations of the fanatic Aristides, the treatise of Artemidorus on the interpretation of dreams, and the life of the imposter Alexander of Abonoteichus, who established a new oracle. It is thus little surprising to find on the Column of Marcus Aurelius in Rome in the chiseled spiral record of his wars a picture of the Miracle of the Rain by which in one battle his foes were confounded: the work of an Egyptian sorcerer says the historian Cassius Dio—nay, of the soldiers of the Christian legion, the “Thundering,” corrects the monk Xiphilinus, for they brought down rain by the prayer to their God.
 
Oct 23, 2011
3,846
0
0
I'm aware of theories proposing a strong link between early Christianity and mystery cults, but you present it as some sort of fact that every serious historian accepts. For sure this line of thinking has had some popularity with historians, but to my (limited) knowledge, it's hardly a generally accepted fact; certainly not in the rather strong way you put it.

Also, you might want to use another term than Christ for this, because the title 'Christ' is about as Jewish as could be and has nothing to do with ancient mystery cults, but comes straight from the Old Testament.

Another thing; you seem to somehow put more weight on obscure apocryphal books compared to the canonical ones. For sure, if you look in Gnostic work you will find yourself something more similar to those mystery cults. The question is; why do you want to describe early Christianity through the books that the early Christian Church actually rejected? I mean, for sure, those books testify that there was a tendency in some groups to mix Christianity with ancient esoteric ideas of mystery cults, but you seem to project this on early Christianity as a whole, going so far as to claim that there never really was a Christianity apart from this mixed form. This seems quite unjustifiable to me.
 
Maaaaaaaarten said:
I'm aware of theories proposing a strong link between early Christianity and mystery cults, but you present it as some sort of fact that every serious historian accepts. For sure this line of thinking has had some popularity with historians, but to my (limited) knowledge, it's hardly a generally accepted fact; certainly not in the rather strong way you put it.



Also, you might want to use another term than Christ for this, because the title 'Christ' is about as Jewish as could be and has nothing to do with ancient mystery cults, but comes straight from the Old Testament.

Another thing; you seem to somehow put more weight on obscure apocryphal books compared to the canonical ones. For sure, if you look in Gnostic work you will find yourself something more similar to those mystery cults. The question is; why do you want to describe early Christianity through the books that the early Christian Church actually rejected? I mean, for sure, those books testify that there was a tendency in some groups to mix Christianity with ancient esoteric ideas of mystery cults, but you seem to project this on early Christianity as a whole, going so far as to claim that there never really was a Christianity apart from this mixed form. This seems quite unjustifiable to me.
Christ is not a Hebrew term, but a Greek one. Whereas what you call obscure Apocrypha, were actually widely read, before deliberate acts of censorship by an increasingly powerful Christian priesthood "silenced" them for reasons of social control. Yet as a basis for our gaining broader historical insight into the formation of a religion, they are extremely valuable sources. Thus for example The Infancy Gospel of Thomas has historical value in providing us with an understanding of the normative social viewpoints about childhood in the classical period, as in Plato, which saw in undeformed boys a medium through which the spiritual world and its wonderous miracles could be activated in society.

On the mysteria of which we speak, there is extensive literature out there and among any serious scholar, interested in the historical implications of such phenomena,Christianity cannot be understood in isolation from them--as you seem to want to do because of your faith. Though this is to not hold religion accountable to history, or to the human criterion from which its practices, beliefs and institutions emerge. Further while on the one hand you acknowledge that early Christianity was eclectic, on the other you dismiss this fact as having any relevance to its formation, or contextualize the ancient society in which that formation occurred. You thus work forward to the period in which orthodox Christianity was able to establish its hegemony, to discredit other theologies, beliefs and customs, instead of working back from that to the polyvalence of its original heterogeneous nature. This becomes the basis for your conclusion that the former corresponds to the genesis of Christianity's "true" identity. This, however, is contrary to the body of evidence we actually have and not only in the apocrypha, but also in the wealth of early Christian imagery that has come down to us. These texts, both written and visual, are the means by which any modern approach to the historical dilemma must be approached: not the doctrine of a victorious order. From here it proceeds that this ideal world, as you see it, was conceptualized as a self-referential and self-legitimizing body, a magical circle in which the court recognizes its own features and innovations. The disappearance of the other Christian sects is to be accounted for here.

As with all things of faith, there is no point in arguing against them a priori, however, this is no cause to capitulate to them either when approaching any serious historical discussion concerned with religion.
 
Dawkins in his book points out the similarities between Jesus and other young make religious figures that preceded him like Hercules. If Jesus did exist in the way Christians believe, it's funny that he shares so many characteristics with characters that came before him who were merely inventions of the human mind.
 
The Hitch said:
Dawkins in his book points out the similarities between Jesus and other young make religious figures that preceded him like Hercules. If Jesus did exist in the way Christians believe, it's funny that he shares so many characteristics with characters that came before him who were merely inventions of the human mind.
In fact in the hermetic enterprises of some Italian Renaissance humanists, Hercules' Labors were reinterprited within prevailing christology as imperfect gentile presage of Christian truth. Thus the Florentine chancellor Coluccio Salutati's De laboribus Hercules of 1406, a response to early translations of Seneca’s tragedies, particularly Hercules furens. This explains the myth's artistic thematic relevance at Pope Paul II's Palazzo Venezia in Rome, as well as other cardinals' palaces during the period. Hence history gets conformed to a prevailing order and not vice versa, as we moderns must elaborate.
 
Tank Engine said:
Well, if there's one thing the Pew polls show, it's that Muslims who "support Shariah law" interpret Shariah in various ways. I don't see any problem in your interpretation. I don't see any problems in the interpretations of five pillars of Islam that I've heard (belief in Allah, prayer, pilgrimage, charity - I know that is only 4, but I won't pretend by looking the other one up Ramadam, maybe the equivalent of the Sabbath??).
I don't have any problem with people believing in god, just what they do with that belief. In the same way I (obviously) don't have problems with people not believing in god, just what they do with that.



The reference to Numbers may have been an attack, but in this case definitely not on your views. I am fully aware what you have written on the OT (and the breadth of views of Christians on this). Similarly, we're quite a heterogeneous bunch. Part of the argument (although somewhat frivolous) was that you shouldn't equate Christianity with a literal interpretation of the bible.
I understood perfectlly.

But there are no different correct way to interpret texts. There's one correct and dozens of wrong interpretations. If you interpret Qu'ran in your own way, then you aren't a Muslim, you are considered a heretic. Same for the Bible, the Gospel, the Torah or the Talmud,...

There's only one correct interpretation of the Sharî'ah. That is some sort of a guide for the Muslims (it's not a Law, the lawS are comprised in it but itself is more than that) aiming at protecting the body, the soul and the mind/reason.

And I insist the aim is morally irreproachable.

I insist on the fact that those who are considered "Djihadists", "Islamists", "Terrorists", etc. today are actually "Wahhabits" and "wahhabism" is indeed a heresy, considered so by traditional Islam. That is what history teaches us. They would have faded away like all heresies if it wasn't for the support of the Brits and then the USA... But they are definitely not Muslims. The daily Muslims that I can frequent all know that and they are right.

That is why we need to read history books, essays on sociology and theology, classic literature, why not, because we cannot just think by ourselves, our minds have to be armed and these weapons can only come from tradition and culture. We don't have rocket science. I read many things about all that but I haven't yet read half of what I should. So I guess those who are spending all their lives on video games, I guess they'll remain in a state of ignorance.

This Western neocon/atheistic elite who tries to put oil on fire, like the one quoted by Jspear, are just insane. The aim is to create mainly in Europe - where most Arabic migrant have gone - a civil war between religious communities, in order to transform a financial crisis that they are responsible for into a religious crisis. It's the Clash of Civilization theory. It's frightening. :eek:
 
Oct 23, 2011
3,846
0
0
rhubroma said:
Christ is not a Hebrew term, but a Greek one.
Sure, χριστος is a Greek word, meaning 'anointed one'. Obviously however the use of this word in Christianity derives from the translation of the Hebrew word מָשִׁיחַ (=masiach/messiah) which occurs in the Old Testament a lot and has been connected in Judaism with the messiah. So clearly calling Jesus 'the Christ' is but saying that he is the messiah that was expected in Judaism. This is beyond dispute. The Christ is but a translation of a Hebrew word denoting the messiah as expected in Judaism.

rhubroma said:
Whereas what you call obscure Apochrypha, were actually widely read, before deliberate acts of censurship by an increasingly powerful Christian priesthood "silenced" them for reasons of social control. Yet as a basis for our gaining broader historical insight into the formation of a religion, they are extremely valuable sources. Thus for example The Infancy Gospel of Thomas has historical value in providing us with an understanding of the normative social viewpoints about childhood in the classical period, as in Plato, which saw in undeformed boys a medium through which the spiritual world and its wonderous miracles could be activated in society.
Sure, you have a point here. I'm not denying some of these works were widespread, nor am I denying that these works have tremendous historical value for understanding early Christianity. I'm just saying you're giving a one sided explanation of the history, relying only on those books that suit your idea. Show me how the mystery religions influenced the canonical books, show me how they influenced the mainstream early Church. Show me how they influenced non-canonical early Christian writing like the Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache or other books that were influential in mainstream Christianity. Show me how it influenced the patristic theology. And show me how these were influenced to the extent that you claim. All you've shown me is that among early Christians there was a group that might have been quite significant in some periods that was prone to mix their faith with elements from the ancient mystery religions. Nobody denies that. But you act as if you've shown that the whole of Christianity was fundamentally mixed with mystery religions. This I would say is a bit too strong a claim.

rhubroma said:
On the mysteria of which we speak, there is extensive literature out there and among any serious scholar, interested in the historical implications of such phenomena, Christianity cannot be understood in isolation from them--as you seem to want to do because of your faith. Though this is to not hold religion accountable to history, or to the human criterion from which its practices, beliefs and institutions emerged.
I have absolutely no problem with understanding Christianity in relation to the context in which is originated. Off course historians don't understand early Christianity apart from the context of the ancient world, which included the mystery religions. It also included neo-platonic thought which heavily influenced certain patristic thought. It also included Judaism which is the primary context in which Christianity arose. And of course it included still more. Christians were quite fond of stoic ethics. Early Christian apologists, like Justin Martyr, were heavily influenced by the dominant philosophy of the time. In fact, in patristic theology when explaining Jesus Chris as the 'Word' (see the first chapter of the Gospel of John), they relied heavily on the concept of the λόγος σπερματικός, which comes straight out of stoic philosophy. I don't want to see Christianity isolated from the context in which it originated at all, I'm just saying you make rather strong claims about the relation between Christianity and the mystery religions, which as far as my knowledge extents, is unwarranted.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY