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View Full Version : Middle Eastern Monotheism, or, what's the diff?



Osborne Russel
09-10-2004, 12:07 AM
1. Mormons say they recognize all the MEM prophets right up to their own (those of the "Latter Day), which were the last.

2. Moslems say they recognize all the MEM prophets right up to their own, which were the last.

3. Christians say they recognize all the MEM prophets right up to their own, which were the last.

4. Jews say they recognize all the MEM prophets, which were the only ones in the first place.

So the pattern is established. "I'll see your prophets, raise you a prophet. Call - see who can take over the world." Each succeeding denomination claims to subsume its predecessor.

So what's the diff? Partisans have partisan answers, which is to be expected. The disappointing thing is how none of them can seem to grasp that if partisanship is all they have to go on, then, given their claims to authoritative revelation, there is ultimately no alternative to the use of force, against those who refuse to "profess their faith", i.e. declare their allegiance, forsaking all others. Partisans are kept in line by party discipline. Outsiders are, well -- you're either with us or against us, as someone once said. If you're against us, Lord have mercy.

"I am the Lord thy God, and I will protect you and kick the beJesus out of all others." All MEM'ers can dig that. It's their main thing. What -- if anything -- is essentially *different* other than the choice of prophet?

LeeG
09-10-2004, 06:50 AM
bump,,

Chris Stewart
09-10-2004, 07:20 AM
Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
What -- if anything -- is essentially *different* other than the choice of prophet?Suggest you actually read both the Bible and the Koran. Believe you will find the difference is obvious.

WWheeler
09-10-2004, 09:40 AM
The same goes for physical locations - Moslems, Jews and Christian all claim Jerusalem as THEIR holy city. The Moslem built the Dome of the Rock on the site of the Great Temple, destroyed by the Romans in c.70 AD. (date not exact). By the same token, the Christians had a habit of appropriating the holy places of the religions they replaced - St. Peter's in Rome, for example.

The same goes for holidays - Christmas being the best example. Not the birthday of Jesus at all, but an important pagan festival for the winter solstice, the chief theme being re-birth of the sun.

Meerkat
09-11-2004, 05:25 AM
Well, MEM's are the oldest profession. They invented the 2<sup>nd</sup> oldest (matter of fact).

Bruce Hooke
09-12-2004, 04:33 PM
Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
What -- if anything -- is essentially *different* other than the choice of prophet?I suppose the somewhat flippant answer to this question would be "what each prophet said!" From what little I know of these various religions, each prophet (not to mention the people who interpret what the prophets said) had a somewhat different take on what was important.

Since they all trace their origins back to the same sources it is not surprising that there are many links between Judiasm, Christianity and Islam. What is maybe more striking is that even stepping outside these religions I think you would find a fair number of fundumental connections between most religions from Budhism to the Mormons. At their core most religions address the basic issues around birth, death, marriage, why we are here on earth, and so on. On the other side of the coin, the different histories of the religions of the world have lead each religion and its followers in different directions to a greater or lesser degree.

Meerkat
09-12-2004, 09:02 PM
Same heatstroke, different prophet ;)

George.
09-14-2004, 04:51 AM
At their core most religions address the basic issues around birth, death, marriage, why we are here on earth, and so on. The 3 "MEMs" we are discussing all address something else as well, that is at the core of their systems: unquestioning submission to an all-powerful, and often intrusive and arbitrary, God. And all three lay the groundwork for this God's "vicars" to claim to speak for him, and pass on his commandments - or their politically-expedient interpretation of his commandments.

That is at the core of the grief these religions cause.

Osborne Russel
09-14-2004, 09:10 AM
Originally posted by Chris Stewart:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
What -- if anything -- is essentially *different* other than the choice of prophet?Suggest you actually read both the Bible and the Koran. Believe you will find the difference is obvious.</font>[/QUOTE]Since you've already done so, you're obviously in a position to tell us.

Osborne Russel
09-14-2004, 09:18 AM
Originally posted by George.:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> At their core most religions address the basic issues around birth, death, marriage, why we are here on earth, and so on. The 3 "MEMs" we are discussing all address something else as well, that is at the core of their systems: unquestioning submission to an all-powerful, and often intrusive and arbitrary, God. And all three lay the groundwork for this God's "vicars" to claim to speak for him, and pass on his commandments - or their politically-expedient interpretation of his commandments.

That is at the core of the grief these religions cause.</font>[/QUOTE]Seems to me that with all but the Jews -- and maybe with them too -- the "vicars" i.e. the prophets came first. Then a system was built around them. A new prophet has a hard time getting established, but at least He doesn't have to sell the idea of a "prophet", which, when you think about it, could be a hard sell.

Indeed in my opinion this accounts for the particular viciousness of middle eastern monotheism. The partisan believes that his neighbor's belief in a prophet is ridiculous if not evil; while *his* belief in *his* prophet is nothing of the kind. They agree on the concept; they disagree on the candidate. What's the diff?

Osborne Russel
09-14-2004, 09:21 AM
Originally posted by Bruce Hooke:
What is maybe more striking is that even stepping outside these religions I think you would find a fair number of fundumental connections between most religions from Budhism to the Mormons.That's true -- in the abstract. Is there a reason why some religions are prone to violence?

TimothyB
09-14-2004, 09:32 AM
Well, the Jews were prone to violence when things threatened their established order. That's certainly well documented.

Christians are still prone to violence, though not as rabidly now as the hundreds of years during the dark ages given crusades and inquisitions, and all manner of purges. However try to get into an argument (about anything) with a southern fundamentalist and tell him you're an atheist while you're doing it. See how violent s/he gets. I usually stay quiet in Missouri.

Muslims are just the latest entry into the violence salad. Their society has been manipulated and played with ever since they were destabilized after the byzantine era. During WWI the West drew the map in the area specifically so that various elements would not be able to unite under one government. They put in leaders that would guarantee the flow of oil (Iran, for example) and, in theory, allow for Western control. They then encouraged these nations to be at odds with each other, "keeping the region off balance" so that western control would be guaranteed.

Case in point, prior to Roosevelt's meddling in Iran, they were a Democratic government, secular and not overly religious. After Roosevelt assasinated the president of Iran and installed a religious dictator that he believed he could control, Iran descended into a dark hole of repression.

So, in a very real way, the West has created the state of fundamentalist Islam in the middle east. There are countless other references, but you get the idea.

Jack Heinlen
09-14-2004, 09:54 AM
Is there a reason why some religions are prone to violence? That's easy, they are human, and humans are, in part, violent, unpredictable creatures.

I'm no scholar, but of the big three monotheisms, Christianity is the only one that really teaches peace and reconciliation as THE over riding message of its scripture.

Islam's and Judaism's scriptures both contain violence against the infidel, as well as beautiful passages of human efforts and successes in love and reconciliation. Christianity's violence is reserved for the judgement of a wrathful God, not his human agents -- except in that most strange and ultimately unknowable symbolism of the Revelation. And those are words of an accolyte who never knew the man. They, in my estimation, are vision, prophesy, that isn't directly related to Jesus' ministry.

This isn't to say that humans who were nominally Christian haven't been incredibly violent, but that isn't what Jesus preached. He knew it, he lived amidst it, but he turned away from it.

It's one of the reasons I love Jesus. His teachings are full of psychological complexity, the complexity of the Torah he knew so well brought to life. He, ultimately, turns from willful violence. It was not a sweet, easy struggle. He wrestled with power, he spoke of bringing a sword, but in the end he healed the centurion's ear.

Would that his followers actually followed him! But he saw that too.

Strange and complex question Osbourne. That's my shot from the hip.

[ 09-14-2004, 12:46 PM: Message edited by: Jack Heinlen ]

Sam F
09-14-2004, 11:13 AM
Originally posted by WWheeler:

The same goes for holidays - Christmas being the best example. Not the birthday of Jesus at all, but an important pagan festival for the winter solstice, the chief theme being re-birth of the sun.Well Christians got the date wrong then. Dec. 25 is not the solstice. Gee how sloppy. So if 12/25 isn't the correct birthday - and you know it for sure - then what is the correct day? Inquiring minds want to know! :D

Chris Stewart
09-14-2004, 11:38 AM
Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Chris Stewart:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
What -- if anything -- is essentially *different* other than the choice of prophet?Suggest you actually read both the Bible and the Koran. Believe you will find the difference is obvious.</font>[/QUOTE]Since you've already done so, you're obviously in a position to tell us.</font>[/QUOTE]If you really want to understand the differences between the various Middle Eastern Monotheisms, you'll read the Books on which they are based. If you don't, you'll keep asking questions in a boating forum. You choose.

Sam F
09-14-2004, 12:13 PM
Originally posted by Chris Stewart:

If you really want to understand the differences between the various Middle Eastern Monotheisms, you'll read the Books on which they are based. If you don't, you'll keep asking questions in a boating forum. You choose.Good advice Chris but that would involve... like, uh... you know... work. Wouldn't it? :(

Trolls just HATE work don't they?

Meerkat
09-14-2004, 12:16 PM
You can tell that Sam really doesn't want to have this conversation. He's being sooo polite.

NormMessinger
09-14-2004, 03:35 PM
I guess it's gonna take an athiest to tell you the truth about religon: There are three great religious truths: a) Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah; b) Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian faith; and c) Baptists do not recognize each other in the liquor store or at Hooters.

George.
09-15-2004, 07:53 AM
After leaving Egypt, Jews were "commanded by God" to go into present-day Palestine and kill or expel without mercy all the "worshipers of false gods" that were there, plundering their cities and enslaving their women and children. The Old Testament says that this was good, and God's will.

After Constantine, Christianity was imposed on the pagan majority of the Roman Empire through terror, destruction of temples, and torture and murder of pagans and "heretics" alike. When America was discovered, it was imposed upon the natives, who could choose between conversion or enslavement - many ended up converted AND enslaved.

Islam, of course, was "spread by the sword"

All three practiced officially condoned murder and enslavement of "non-believers" when they could get away with it.

Osborne Russel
09-15-2004, 09:07 AM
Originally posted by Chris Stewart:
read the Books on which they are based. If you don't, you'll keep asking questions in a boating forum. You choose.For eighty per cent of their history, eighty per cent of them couldn't read if they wanted to. For the remaining twenty per cent, eighty per cent of them don't. Were/are they ignorant bigots or just lazy like me?

What a curious God that makes a world that is incomplete without:

1. a prophet to give His commands
2. writing to to record them
3. universal compulsory education to spread literacy
4. mass production techniques to print them
5. an economy strong enough to create a supply of the books
6. etc.

Answer the question if you can, lazy bones -- what's the diff?

Osborne Russel
09-15-2004, 09:08 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:
Trolls just HATE work don't they?Could Jesus read? Could the Apostles? Could their followers?

Osborne Russel
09-15-2004, 09:09 AM
Originally posted by George.:
All three practiced officially condoned murder and enslavement of "non-believers" when they could get away with it.You mean there is no diff?

Osborne Russel
09-15-2004, 09:17 AM
Originally posted by Jack Heinlen:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> Is there a reason why some religions are prone to violence? That's easy, they are human, and humans are, in part, violent, unpredictable creatures.</font>[/QUOTE]Sounds like an excellent reason for the separation of church and state. The two hundred years since the Bill of Rights -- would you say the wisdom of it has been sufficiently demonstrated?


I'm no scholar, but of the big three monotheisms, Christianity is the only one that really teaches peace and reconciliation as THE over riding message of its scripture. Now we're getting somewhere. In the circumstances of his life, the teachings of Jesus weren't exactly calculated to win friends and influence people. Also, I've always wondered why more isn't made of the incident with the money changers in the temple. Was this Jesus being human, or being divine, or both?

Chris Stewart
09-15-2004, 03:49 PM
Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
Answer the question if you can, lazy bones -- what's the diff?I can answer your question, but I won't. I've read most if not all of the Bible (been a while, though) and most of the Koran (haven't yet read the hadith, which are said to be required reading for understanding Islam). I perceive significant differences among the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran. I firmly believe, though, that different people will percieve different things, and I do not wish to share mine here. I believe just as firmly that reading them yourself is much, much more valuable than asking others for their ideas. Religion is a very personal thing, comparative religion (just the MEMs) is a personal thing cubed.

George.
09-15-2004, 03:57 PM
Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
... I've always wondered why more isn't made of the incident with the money changers in the temple. Ah, yes, the money changer incident. That unfortunate lapse by good ol' Jesus. SO inconvenient for the later churches... and such a careless mistake of ol' Constantine letting it stand in the officially approved written versions of JC's life...

The bits about hell and gnashing of teeth are so much more convenient during preaching-time...

Jack Heinlen
09-15-2004, 04:47 PM
The life of Jesus was early on co-opted by people who never knew him. Paul, the educated evangelist whose writings dominate the extra-gospel scriptures and forged the early church, never knew Jesus except on his trips to heaven(which sound remarkably like out of body experiences BTW). The early Roman Church suppressed everything deemed not politically productive, which is why we dig up strange scriptures almost two millenia on. People bury stuff when they are afraid, and the Roman Church gave 'heretics' reason to fear, for at least a thousand years.

The Christian Testament, as it's been handed down, is largely a product of an early form of political correctness, and of men wanting to consolidate power. Yet...yet I believe that the spirit of a very unusual and enlightened man shines through, even with the censorship of the Nicene Creed, and the consolidation of power by the Church.

Something that wasn't allowed to remain in official doctrine.

"Look at what is within you, bring it forth and what is within you will save you. Fail to bring it forth and what is within you will destroy you."

Gospel of Thomas

This very basic tenent of human consciousness, that was rediscovered by the depth psychologists Jung and Freud and Adler among others, but was never lost to esotericists and occultists, was dug up in the Egyptian desert in 1945. It's provenance, subject to ongoing debate, is according to some as good as most if not all of the Christian Testament Gospel's. It dovetails nicely with what I imagine Jesus to have been, an enlightened and fully human being. Not God, except insofar as we are all a fragment of the consciousness that is the source and ongoing unfolding of this mysterious universe.

I believe he realized this not merely intellectually, but in his being. In that sense he is the true son of god, and god itself. So are you, but don't realize it.

Sermon over. No wonder I have a difficult time with organized religion. ;)

[ 09-16-2004, 01:39 PM: Message edited by: Jack Heinlen ]

George.
09-15-2004, 04:54 PM
Well said, Jack. You are one of the lights in the bilge.

Harry Miller
09-15-2004, 04:54 PM
Christianity is the only one that really teaches peace and reconciliation as THE over riding message of its scripture.
I think the process of being "born again" includes an abrogation of this principle.

Meerkat
09-16-2004, 01:55 AM
Jack, you do indeed have your shinging moments! smile.gif

"Look at what is within you, bring it forth, and what is within you will save you. Fail to bring it forth and what is within you will destroy you." could just as easily have been something that Buddha said, and I think he did. He goes on to theach a great deal more than that, but that's one of the central themes IMO.

This is not a "my religion is better than yours" rant, but rather to reinforce the same point made by someone above that religions deal with the same basics. Sadly, I think the officially sanctioned "clensed" versions of the new testament fall short of conveying the essential core truths.

One point: it does seem to me that men have found justification in the new testament for preying on their fellow men who are non-believers or who have fallen into heresy.

Sam F
09-16-2004, 08:12 AM
Originally posted by Jack Heinlen:
The life of Jesus was early on co-opted by people who never knew him....
Gospel of Thomas
The author of the "gospel" of Thomas never knew Jesus.

Sam F
09-16-2004, 08:14 AM
To place the emperors in perspective hereís a list of them and the dates of their reigns starting with Constantine:

Constantine I ("the Great") 306-37
Constantine II 337-40
Constans 337-50
Constantius II 337-61
Nepotian 350
Vetranio 350
Magnentius 350-3
Silvanus 355 (in Gaul)
Julian II ("the Apostate") 360-3 (caesar 355-60)
Jovian 363-4

Julian II is the last of the pagan emperors. As the chart makes clear, his reign is some time after Constantine.
Luckily some of his correspondence has survived. The following is from a letter to
Arsasius a pagan priest. It concerns Julianís attempt to rejuvenate Paganism. Note his stress on the behavior of Christians as a key to their success - which I have placed in italics. His straight-laced pagan morality even includes avoiding games at which women are present. It is revealing of pagan views of both his and preceding eras. As usual, primary documents like this have a way of undercutting half-ignorant modern stereotypes.



The religion of the Greeks does not yet prosper as I would wish, on account of those who profess it. But the gifts of the gods are great and splendid, better than any prayer or any hope . . . Indeed, a little while ago no one would have dared even to pray for a such change, and so complete a one in so short a space of time . [i]Why then do we think that this is sufficient and do not observe how the kindness of Christians to strangers, their care for the burial of their dead, and the sobriety of their lifestyle has done the most to advance their cause?

Each of these things, I think, ought really to be practiced by us. It is not sufficient for you alone to practice them, but so must all the priests in Galatia without exception. Either make these men good by shaming them, persuade them to become so or fire them . . . Secondly, exhort the priests neither to approach a theater nor to drink in a tavern, nor to profess any base or infamous trade. Honor those who obey and expel those who disobey.

Erect many hostels, one in each city, in order that strangers may enjoy my kindness, not only those of our own faith but also of others whosoever is in want of money. I have just been devising a plan by which you will be able to get supplies. For I have ordered that every year throughout all Galatia 30,000 modii of grain and 60,000 pints of wine shall be provided. The fifth part of these I order to be expended on the poor who serve the priests, and the rest must be distributed from me to strangers and beggars. [i]For it is disgraceful when no Jew is a beggar and the impious Galileans [the name given by Julian to Christians] support our poor in addition to their own; everyone is able to see that our coreligionists are in want of aid from us. Teach also those who profess the Greek religion to contribute to such services, and the villages of the Greek religion to offer the first-fruits to the gods. Accustom those of the Greek religion to such benevolence, teaching them that this has been our work from ancient times. Homer, at any rate, made Eumaeus say: "O Stranger, it is not lawful for me, even if one poorer than you should come, to dishonor a stranger. For all strangers and beggars are from Zeus. The gift is small, but it is precious." [Julian is quoting from the Odyssey, 14-531.] Do not therefore let others outdo us in good deeds while we ourselves are disgraced by laziness; rather, let us not quite abandon our piety toward the gods . . .

While proper behavior in accordance with the laws of the city will obviously be the concern of the governors of the cities, you for your part [as a priest] must take care to encourage people not to violate the laws of the gods since they are holy . . . Above all you must exercise philanthropy. From it result many other goods, and indeed that which is the greatest blessing of all, the goodwill of the gods . . .

We ought to share our goods with all men, but most of all with the respectable, the helpless, and the poor, so that they have at least the essentials of life. I claim, even though it may seem paradoxical, that it is a holy deed to share our clothes and food with the wicked: we give, not to their moral character but to their human character. Therefore I believe that even prisoners deserve the same kind of care. This type of kindness will not interfere with the process of justice, for among the many imprisoned and awaiting trial some will be found guilty, some innocent. It would be cruel indeed if out of consideration for the innocent we should not allow some pity for the guilty, or on account of the guilty we should behave without mercy and humanity to those who have done no wrong . . . How can the man who, while worshipping Zeus the God of Companions, sees his neighbors in need and does not give them a dime--how can he think he is worshipping Zeus properly? . . .

Priests ought to make a point of not doing impure or shameful deeds or saying words or hearing talk of this type. We must therefore get rid of all offensive jokes and licentious associations. What I mean is this: no priest is to read Archilochus or Hipponax or anyone else who writes poetry as they do. They should stay away from the same kind of stuff in Old Comedy. Philosophy alone is appropriate for us priests. Of the philosophers, however, only those who put the gods before them as guides of their intellectual life are acceptable, like Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics . . . only those who make people reverent . . . not the works of Pyrrho and Epicurus . . . We ought to pray often to the gods in private and in public, about three times a day, but if not that often, at least in the morning and at night.

No priest is anywhere to attend shameful theatrical shows or to have one performed at his own house; it is in no way appropriate. Indeed, if it were possible to get rid of such shows altogether from the theater and restore the theaters, purified, to Dionysus as in the olden days, I would certainly have tried to bring this about. But since I thought that this was out of the question, and even if possible would for other reasons be inexpedient, I did not even try. But I do insist that priests stay away from the licentiousness of the theaters and leave them to the people. No priest is to enter a theater, have an actor or a chariot driver as a friend, or allow a dancer or mime into his house. I allow to attend the sacred games those who want to, that is, they may attend only those games from which women are forbidden to attend not only as participants but even as spectators.


[ 09-16-2004, 10:15 AM: Message edited by: Sam F ]

Jack Heinlen
09-16-2004, 09:03 AM
The author of the "gospel" of Thomas never knew Jesus. As near as I can figure few who are oft quoted or cited in the Christian Testament, with the exception of James, his brother, and Peter, actually knew Jesus. It's mostly the work of later followers whose writings were conflated by the early church into actual writings of the apostles, in order to establish power.

James stayed within the Jerusalem Temple, was a respected and fervent leader of Judaism...the leader of a Jesus faction within the Temple known as "The Way". Not, as I read it, 'the way' as in the only way, but 'the way' in the same manner Taoism speaks of the tao as 'the way'. Strange behavior for a man who probably knew Jesus as well as anyone, if Jesus had intended to found a new religion.

We'll never agree theologically Sam, except, perhaps, about the need to stop using the religious impulse for power and control, and violence. Maybe the 'out there' physicists will invent a time machine before we die, and we can travel back and see what really happened. I'll wager it is very different than either of us imagine.

Keep your faith my fellow. You're a good, reasonable sort. Don't ever lose that.

Sam F
09-16-2004, 09:25 AM
Originally posted by Jack Heinlen:

Keep your faith my fellow.No offence Jack but you have me figured wrong.
I have, at best, the absolute minimum of faith.
Even Atheism required too much. That's why I'm an orthodox Catholic Christian. For that only a minimum is required.

Osborne Russel
09-16-2004, 09:31 AM
Originally posted by Chris Stewart:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> Religion is a very personal thing, comparative religion (just the MEMs) is a personal thing cubed.</font>[/QUOTE]You lost me. Are you saying that religious belief has no influence on behavior? Or that the behavior of others is of no interest to me? Does a guy write a Bible and build a temple so he can have a place to sit alone and read his own book to himself?

[ 09-16-2004, 10:36 AM: Message edited by: Osborne Russel ]

George.
09-16-2004, 11:09 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:

The author of the "gospel" of Thomas never knew Jesus.
Neither did Mathew, Mark, or Luke. Shall we discard them too? Are your ready to base your religion only on John? ;)

Jack Heinlen
09-16-2004, 12:19 PM
No offence Jack but you have me figured wrong.
I have, at best, the absolute minimum of faith.
So your adherence to orthodox Catholicism isn't based on faith? What is it based on?

You worry me here mate, because it sounds like most other wackos who say they KNOW. Some apparent wackos who say they know ought be listened to, but not those who claim apostolic succession and grace through dubious sources.

Peter didn't found a 'Catholic' church in Rome, based on the 'true' teachings of Jesus. I don't know exactly what happened, but I'm pretty sure that ain't it. There is too much conflicting information within the testimony of the received Christian scriptures themselves.

James, Jesus' brother, according to Acts, remained a Jew, and the leader of the Jerusalem 'Church', a sect witin the Temple. Peter was there too. They were continually arguing with Paul via letters.

It's Paul who is the wild-eyed visionary in the mix, confabulating a Jesus who is trancendent God, and ultimately creating the church.

Get over it. Be with your faith, I respect that, mostly, but don't pretend to know as truth what isn't known.

Perhaps I've infered too much?

Something that hasn't been broached, that I think is central, is the role of human consciousness in creating images that are not merely personal. It's largely unexplored, but I believe the human mind, in concert particularly, can create images that are transpersonal, burned into the collective mind, which can influence how people believe and behave when they taste that realm.

Another thread perhaps.

[ 09-16-2004, 01:31 PM: Message edited by: Jack Heinlen ]

Wiley Baggins
09-16-2004, 12:25 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:

I have, at best, the absolute minimum of faith.
Even Atheism required too much [faith]. That's why I'm an orthodox Catholic Christian. For that only a minimum is required.This, if you are willing to expound upon it, I would love to hear.

Meerkat
09-16-2004, 12:49 PM
Originally posted by Wiley Baggins:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:

I have, at best, the absolute minimum of faith.
Even Atheism required too much [faith]. That's why I'm an orthodox Catholic Christian. For that only a minimum is required.This, if you are willing to expound upon it, I would love to hear.</font>[/QUOTE]Um... hard to use atheism as a crutch without a big organization to help prop one up?

Sam F
09-16-2004, 04:53 PM
Originally posted by Jack Heinlen:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />No offence Jack but you have me figured wrong.
I have, at best, the absolute minimum of faith.
So your adherence to orthodox Catholicism isn't based on faith? What is it based on? </font>[/QUOTE]I didnít say no faith Ė only an absolute minimum. All world views require faith in greater or less measure. It is inescapable. But belief in orthodox Christianity requires far less faith than that required for belief in the perfectibility of man or the inevitability of dialectic materialism or the theory of Evolution or my own godhood.


Originally posted by Jack Heinlen:

Peter didn't found a 'Catholic' church in Rome, based on the 'true' teachings of Jesus. I don't know exactly what happened, but I'm pretty sure that ain't it. If you donít know thatís fine. But if you donít know ďexactly what happenedĒ how can you be ďpretty sureĒ etc.? That just doesnít work. Isnít it just as likely that your own dearest wishes are altering your judgment? And sorry, but Elaine Pagels is not the last word in Biblical scholarship. At best her ideas are controversial. They are obviously not authoritative.


Originally posted by Jack Heinlen:

There is too much conflicting information within the testimony of the received Christian scriptures themselves. I donít see any particular conflict. The Gospels are a bit sloppy as one would expect from various eyewitness accounts Ė examine studies of trial witnesses and youíll find the same.
But the events and characters described in the Gospels are quite consistent. It is only by including heretical texts that one introduces inconsistency.
Itís an either / or proposition. Either Thomas is true or the Gospels are. They canít both be true unless God is irrational. Now it is quite possible for a god to be irrational but it takes more faith than I possess to believe in that nonsense.


Originally posted by Jack Heinlen:

Get over it. Be with your faith, I respect that, mostly, but don't pretend to know as truth what isn't known.

Perhaps I've infered too much?
You have. ;)

Keith Wilson
09-16-2004, 05:04 PM
But belief in orthodox Christianity requires far less faith than that required for belief in . . . the theory of Evolution. Gwrrwwwrrmmmmph! (Something in between a snort and a guffaw.) Sez you. ;)

[ 09-16-2004, 06:05 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Sam F
09-16-2004, 05:22 PM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> But belief in orthodox Christianity requires far less faith than that required for belief in . . . the theory of Evolution. Gwrrwwwrrmmmmph! (Something in between a snort and a guffaw.) Sez you. ;) </font>[/QUOTE]It's not just me... How about Francis Crick? He believed that there wasn't time enough between the earth's cooling and the appearance of life for Evolution to have operated. (geologically speaking it was almost immediate) That's why he fell for Directed Panspermia.
And I don't have faith enough for that either. :D

Jack Heinlen
09-16-2004, 08:08 PM
I gave up trying to contain the nature of this creation years ago. Living with the question, open to the influences that rise from within and without each day is the only answer I could rest easy with, so that's what I try to do. I make no apology for having no systematic theology or organized religion, belief. It's the only reasonable way to be in my book. It's not as simple or comforting as being sure, but it's better than blind orthodoxy.

Sam,

You skirt, always, the fact that James stays within the Jerusalem Temple. I think this the biggest chink in Catholic orthodoxy's armor. Why, after your brother was crucified and made God, founding a new church, would you return, blithely apparently, to an organization that had helped murder him? Not only return, but become a leader in the Temple and of a sect devoted to your brother's teachings?

James and his teaching of Jesus' 'way' were obviously accepted within the Temple heirarchy. This says to me that Jesus' teachings and life weren't as radically different as the Church later made them and, probably too, that he was crucified not by Jewish condemnation and Roman law, but simply BY ROMAN LAW.

He was a subversive, a man with unique charisma, a political risk, so the Romans did what they did with such risks, they strung him up.

seafox
09-16-2004, 11:26 PM
as a latter daysaint of the jack-morman persusan and a history lover beside I belive that religions have a life cycle like people. first a bolsterous energetic child hood followed by adalesence that is often vilent and usually quite ilogical and then into adult hood a productive time and finaly an ineffective old age. jews are bordering on the adult old ago their is very little or no agressive expansionest vilence to them fact is if the had had more viger maybe those 6 milion jews that the nazis killed might have not died. christans entered their puberty durring the middle ages and their inqusition was the worst tantrem of catholicism but the massicure of the hugonaughts in france and several other instances like christanity spreading through the norse around 1000 ad by fire and sward are not to be over looked. the church of jesus christ of lattlerday saints had their own period of puberty but it lasted only about a decade( the 1850s) and this came after they had been driven from 8 different states.

islam is different it has never completely left its adalesence phase. ( except for the bahi sect) why I don't know but think it proable has to do with to many people for their land to suport. see also the people of the indian sub contenant
jeffery

Osborne Russel
09-17-2004, 12:11 AM
Even in these "modern times", are Christian and Jewish fundamentalists likely to be as wacky as Muslim fundamentalists?

Are Moslems completely nuts when they say that the Christians and the Jews are out to get them?

How will the warfare between the Big Three end?

How much more of their monkeyshines can the world absorb?

Osborne Russel
09-17-2004, 12:17 AM
Originally posted by Jack Heinlen:
James and his teaching of Jesus' 'way' were obviously accepted within the Temple heirarchy. This says to me that Jesus' teachings and life weren't as radically different as the Church later made them and, probably too, that he was crucified not by Jewish condemnation and Roman law, but simply BY ROMAN LAW.

He was a subversive, a man with unique charisma, a political risk, so the Romans did what they did with such risks, they strung him up.It appears that, depending who you ask, Jesus falls on a continuum between Buddha and Muhammad? Was Muhammad a reaction to the Buddha-Jesus?

How did Christianity become militant, dogmatic, and imperialistic? Because they stepped into the shoes of the Romans? What happened to the Buddha-Christians?

Osborne Russel
09-17-2004, 12:31 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:
Now it is quite possible for a god to be irrational but it takes more faith than I possess to believe in that nonsense.Why does it take a lot of faith? Why is it nonsense?

What if not just reason, but the human minds that conceive it, and everything else the human mind conceives, and all humans, and everything on earth, and the earth, the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe, was just a speck in infinity? Is that impossible? Clearly not. If it were so -- so what?

If on the other hand there is a God capable of directing such vastness, capable of directing infinity, do you at long last sir have no shame in proclaiming that you know what He has in mind? Like, your mind could contain such a thing? Don't you thereby imply that your mind and God's are not that different? Why isn't that blasphemous? More things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.

George.
09-17-2004, 06:53 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:

The Gospels are a bit sloppy as one would expect from various eyewitness accounts Ė examine studies of trial witnesses and youíll find the same.
But the events and characters described in the Gospels are quite consistent. It is only by including heretical texts that one introduces inconsistency.
Itís an either / or proposition. Either Thomas is true or the Gospels are. They canít both be true unless God is irrational.
The 4 official Gospels have no inconsistencies? Give me a break! Have you actually read them?

And don't even get me started on the Old Testament, which orthodox Christianity takes to be true as well.

As for


... belief in orthodox Christianity requires far less faith than that required for belief in ... the theory of Evolution ... Try breeding dogs, or canaries, or roses. See if you can't use selective breeding to create new types - all in your own short lifetime, not over millions of years. Then try it again, over millions of years, and see how many cases of immaculate conception you observe.

Sam F
09-17-2004, 07:45 AM
Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:
Now it is quite possible for a god to be irrational but it takes more faith than I possess to believe in that nonsense.Why does it take a lot of faith? Why is it nonsense?
Ö Don't you thereby imply that your mind and God's are not that different? Why isn't that blasphemous? More things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.</font>[/QUOTE]Ozzie, you silly thing! :D If God is irrational and therefore capricious and arbitrary youíve destroyed the foundation of science and ignored the evidence of your senses. Thatís why such a belief is non-sense. Anyone fool enough to believe in an irrational god Ė they were and are quite numerous Ė is stuck in a mire of superstition and are completely incapable of progress. The roots of science require a predictable and rational universe. If that isnít the basic premise, science is impossible.

George.
09-17-2004, 08:42 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:
If God is irrational and therefore capricious and arbitrary youíve destroyed the foundation of science .... God could perfectly well be irrational and have us living in a predictable and rational "bubble" where science and reason function. There is no logical flaw in that premise.


Originally posted by Sam F:
The roots of science require a predictable and rational universe. If that isnít the basic premise, science is impossible.Funny how you seem to believe in science, until it contradicts your dogma. At least you don't believe in a geocentric universe anymore. Maybe in another five hundred years ot so some enlightened Pope will free you to believe in evolution as well.

[ 09-17-2004, 09:43 AM: Message edited by: George. ]

Sam F
09-17-2004, 03:43 PM
--------------------------------------------------
The truth or falsity of a statement depends on facts, and not on any power on the part of statement itself of admiting contrary qualities. In short, there is nothing that can alter the nature of statements and opinions.
--------------------------------------------------

Meerkat
09-17-2004, 04:09 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:
--------------------------------------------------
The truth or falsity of a statement depends on facts, and not on any power on the part of statement itself of admiting contrary qualities. In short, there is nothing that can alter the nature of statements and opinions.
--------------------------------------------------In short, it's easy to alter the nature of statements and/or opinions.

The statement "There are WOMD in Iraq" was altered by the objective fact that none were found. Opnions on the part of some people about Bush would have therefore altered.

God rational? Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no rational basis for believing in the (non)existance of god(s). Therefore, how can this phantom of imagination be rational?

That you think you see order in the cosmos and, since you've convinced yourself on no evidence that there is a god, attributing that order to "god" is (heh - rightly) attributing it to your imagination. Even if that order is objective, that in no way supports the notion that any particular agency, other than the laws of physics, is the cause.

Facts are facts. They need no interpretation, not that that stops anyone from interpreting them, usually to fit one's own world view. That one has an opinion is factual, but it does not make the opinion itself a fact, something else that many people seem confused by.

There is a universal life force out there (yup, that's my opinion/belief), but calling it "good" or "bad" or "consious" is, at the very least, hubris. Calling a hurricane "bad" isn't going to slow it down one iota or mitigate it's effects in the slightest.

Sam F
09-18-2004, 08:28 AM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:
--------------------------------------------------
The truth or falsity of a statement depends on facts, and not on any power on the part of statement itself of admiting contrary qualities. In short, there is nothing that can alter the nature of statements and opinions.
--------------------------------------------------In short, it's easy to alter the nature of statements and/or opinions. </font>[/QUOTE]And impossible to alter facts. Statements and opinions by their very nature are changeable and thus subsidiary to obdurate facts. Btw, I had connection problem yesterday due to our little tropical rain system and didnít get to add where that statement came from. Do you know who said it?


Originally posted by Meerkat:
God rational? Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no rational basis for believing in the (non)existance of god(s). Therefore, how can this phantom of imagination be rational?

That you think you see order in the cosmos and, since you've convinced yourself on no evidence that there is a god, attributing that order to "god" is (heh - rightly) attributing it to your imagination. Even if that order is objective, that in no way supports the notion that any particular agency, other than the laws of physics, is the cause. Meer youíve hit upon the reason no Buddhist society ever invented science, though they had no shortage of smart and creative people. And I am certainly not the only person to see order in the Universe! There are just a few others: Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Davey, Faraday, Henry, Hutton, Lyell, Wallace, DarwinÖ and thatís just the scientists. So it amounts to more than just a couple. ;)

Osborne Russel
09-18-2004, 09:49 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:
If God is irrational and therefore capricious and arbitrary youíve destroyed the foundation of science and ignored the evidence of your senses. Thatís why such a belief is non-sense . . . The roots of science require a predictable and rational universe. If that isnít the basic premise, science is impossible.Dude, if God exists (as conceived by the prophets of MEM), He does what He wants. If He wants to be rational, irrational, or both by turns, He will. He can make time go backwards and turn the universe inside out, and then change His mind. He can reduce the universe to a feather and a coffee table. And that doesn't make science impossible, so long as there is a human mind to observe it. Science is guessing, watching, then guessing some more -- not knowing, in the sense that faith is knowing. Reason does not aspire to an end to questions -- reason *is* questions. It goes on without regard to the nature of God. I guess you could say, it *is* the unfolding of the nature of God, but then why have prophets? To thwart reasoning with their unquestionable pronouncements?

The problem of knowledge from faith is that it increasingly appears, via the guesstimation of science, that if God does these wacky things, He leaves no evidence of them. Which would fit the God theory, but the problem is, since there is no evidence of them -- how do you know they happened, will happen again, and why?

Then along come the prophets of middle eastern monotheism who say God told them all kinds of things, and guaranteed that they will remain true eternally, because God decided to make those things stand still while everything else changes, by itself, or because it's just God being rational, irrational, whatever. It seems presumptuous, at best, to say that God cast part of the universe in epoxy, as it were, so that the tiny minds of humans could look at it, and let the rest run free. That would mean that the only part of "the truth" you could ever know would be the part God revealed through His prophets. That is what some of his "prophets" claim. They say they know which parts were cast in epoxy, and why. That was much easier to sell when people thought that the flat earth beneath them and the sky above was all there is to the universe. No wonder they hated Galileo. A fearful and ignorant people will invent a capricious and irrational God. A prophet will invent himself and people will believe because it's easier, and they have nothing to lose . . . they think. I don't think Jesus intended anything of the kind, but I don't know about the others. That's why I started this thread.

Anyway, let's get back to the subject. Christianity is different from the other two by historical development. Never really caught on big in the middle east. Ironically, it has since become far more widely and deeply spread over the world.

Meanwhile, the Jews and the Muslims have a straightforward, scriptural claim to certain territory, a claim based on the direct revelation of you know who, bro. The Christians from time to time -- Ireland, South Africa, and the western hemisphere come to mind -- will cobble together a claim of divine title to land, but lately, they've been giving up on it. It's dumb, and who needs it? It interferes with business -- costs money. Meanwhile, in Israel,or Palestine,if you prefer --

George.
09-18-2004, 09:50 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:
Meer youíve hit upon the reason no Buddhist society ever invented science, Neither did any Christian society. Modern science is a product of the rise of secularism in the West...


Originally posted by Sam F:
... I am certainly not the only person to see order in the Universe! There are just a few others: Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Davey, Faraday, Henry, Hutton, Lyell, Wallace, DarwinÖ Galileo? DARWIN!? Could this really be Sam typing?

If you read up on Aristotle, Ptolemy, Galileo, and Darwin you will find that the order they saw in the universe is very much at odds with your version of it. I am surprised you would cite them to bolster your argument.

Sam F
09-18-2004, 02:10 PM
Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:
If God is irrational and therefore capricious and arbitrary youíve destroyed the foundation of science and ignored the evidence of your senses. Thatís why such a belief is non-sense . . . The roots of science require a predictable and rational universe. If that isnít the basic premise, science is impossible.Dude, if God exists (as conceived by the prophets of MEM), He does what He wants. If He wants to be rational, irrational, or both by turns, He will. He can make time go backwards and turn the universe inside out, and then change His mind. He can reduce the universe to a feather and a coffee table. </font>[/QUOTE]Ozzie, take my advice and leave theology to those who know what theyíre doing. The evidence is that God does none of those things. As said previously anyone who believed that God acted in that way would never be able to invent and sustain modern science.

Letís revisit what you previously said:

If on the other hand there is a God capable of directing such vastness, capable of directing infinity, do you at long last sir have no shame in proclaiming that you know what He has in mind? Like, your mind could contain such a thing? Don't you thereby imply that your mind and God's are not that different?For starters there are all sorts of things that no oneís mind can contain. How about the age of the earth? Sorry but your mind canít contain 4.6 - 5 billion of anything, but we can understand some aspects of it. No orthodox Christian would ever claim to understand the mind of God but some aspects are available and within our limitations.


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
The problem of knowledge from faith is that it increasingly appears, via the guesstimation of science, that if God does these wacky things, He leaves no evidence of them. Which would fit the God theory, but the problem is, since there is no evidence of them -- how do you know they happened, will happen again, and why? Your misapprehension of Godís nature is your own. You can not judge anotherís position if you donít understand it. Orthodoxy presupposes a rational God.


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
Then along come the prophets of middle eastern monotheism who say God told them all kinds of things, and guaranteed that they will remain true eternally, Ö That was much easier to sell when people thought that the flat earth beneath them and the sky above was all there is to the universe.
No wonder they hated Galileo. A fearful and ignorant people will invent a capricious and irrational God. Jim, no Catholic churchman in Galileoís time or for more than 1000 previous years believed in a flat earth. Itís likely that no educated Christian ever believed that. Sadly you speak from almost complete ignorance. Be aware that is not a condemnation, just a statement of fact. It is always best to have at least a broad overview of any subject before public exposition. That, in this case, you do not have.

The orthodox Christian modus operandi, of ancient standing in this matter, is exemplified by:

One does not read in the Gospel that the Lord said: I will send to you the Paraclete who will teach you about the course of the sun and moon. For He willed to make them Christians, not mathematicians.St. Augustine

A prominent Catholic scientist said in the same vein:

Ö As to rendering the Bible false, that is not and never will be the intention of Catholic astronomers such as I am; rather our opinion is that Scriptures accorded perfectly with demonstrated physical truth. But let those theologians who are not astronomers guard against rendering the Scriptures false by trying to interpret it against propositions which may be true and might be proved so.
Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
Ö I don't think Jesus intended anything of the kind, but I don't know about the others. That's why I started this thread. You donít have any idea what Jesus intended because you are ignorant of the subject. Read the New Testament a few times and come back when you at least have a basic familiarity with the subject. And be honest Jim, thatís not why you started this thread. You did so because you are trolling. :D


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
Anyway, let's get back to the subject. Christianity is different from the other two by historical development. Never really caught on big in the middle east. Ironically, it has since become far more widely and deeply spread over the world. See what I mean? Thatís historically wrong. Christianity was the majority religion in the Middle East (excluding Parthia) and all across North Africa before the Islamic conquest.

Sam F
09-18-2004, 02:54 PM
Originally posted by Wiley Baggins:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:

I have, at best, the absolute minimum of faith.
Even Atheism required too much [faith]. That's why I'm an orthodox Catholic Christian. For that only a minimum is required.This, if you are willing to expound upon it, I would love to hear.</font>[/QUOTE]Not much time for exposition but the short answer is Atheism fails to account for observed phenomena. So what accepts scientific truth and the reality of human experience? You guessed it! Christian orthodoxy.

George.
09-18-2004, 03:40 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:

... short answer ...:eek: :D

Osborne Russel
09-20-2004, 09:06 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:
Ozzie, take my advice and leave theology to those who know what theyíre doing. Well, I guess MEM can get by without new prophets -- I guess they have to until a new establishes himself by force -- but they can't get by without authoritarianism. "I have it on the highest authority . . . "


No orthodox Christian would ever claim to understand the mind of God but some aspects are available and within our limitations.

1. Orthodox or no, authoritarians all.
2. Which aspects, available how, and how do you decide the true from the false? If some, why not all?


Your misapprehension of Godís nature is your own. You can not judge anotherís position if you donít understand it. Orthodoxy presupposes a rational God.1. Did I say may misapprehensions were someone else's?
2. I can judge anything I feel like judging. If some guy on my plane jumps up with a box-cutter he's gonna get judged, by me.
3. What is this "orthodoxy"?


You donít have any idea what Jesus intended because you are ignorant of the subject. Read the New Testament a few times and come back when you at least have a basic familiarity with the subject.

OK, if you admit that the majority of Christians who ever lived had no idea what Jesus intended, because they were illiterate. Then let's go to the church on the corner and see how many have read the New Testament once, let alone a few times. They should have taken a poll at the Republican convention.

George.
09-20-2004, 09:14 AM
Don't worry, Ozzy. I have read the New Testament several times, and I am still considered "ignorant" by Sam. ;)

George Roberts
09-20-2004, 09:27 AM
Osborne Russel ---

Independant of if there is a God or not ....

Religion is used to control people. You make up a difference to gain control. Then you ship people out to fight over the differences.

Osborne Russel
09-20-2004, 03:05 PM
Originally posted by George Roberts:
Osborne Russel ---

Independant of if there is a God or not ....

Religion is used to control people. You make up a difference to gain control. Then you ship people out to fight over the differences.Are you sure you mean "all religions"? From Eskimos to Hindus?

MEM is the king of religious war. But why? For example, the Jews would seem like the most imperialistic, if you just read the Old Testament. God is always telling them to chase somebody off. But then they got chased off by the Romans, and didn't get back for 2,000 years. They aren't in a big hurry to do any more conquering, is my impression. Meanwhile the followers of Jesus "turn the other cheek" Christ conquered much of the world by force. Now this has made the Moslems mad. What's with these people? It almost looks like they're taking turns.

Osborne Russel
09-20-2004, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by George.:
Don't worry, Ozzy. I have read the New Testament several times, and I am still considered "ignorant" by Sam. ;) Good thing they not only wrote it down, but translated it. They wouldn't have got to first base if you had to read and write those crazy old languages in order to be a Christian.

George.
09-20-2004, 03:17 PM
Well, it was originally written in Greek, a language I happen to read... ;)

George.
09-20-2004, 03:25 PM
Seriously, Ozzy, the officially-approved New Testament was not meant to be read by individuals. It was meant to be read FOR them, in church, in a regular year-long cycle, by officially-approved priests who gave each section the proper "spin."

Ordinary illiterate Christians were supposed to just stand in awe of The Book (Bible means book in Greek), and be convinced that it contained truths that only the Church knew and could interpret for them, and occasionally kiss it reverently as if it were a piece of God himself...

Meerkat
09-20-2004, 03:28 PM
Orthodoxy depends on a rational god? No, not really: orthodoxy is the formalization (and, arguably, the stagnation) of belief. It does not depend on what's believed.

The notion that science arose in the west because of Christianity, is hilarious, not to mention contradicted by history. As one example, investigation of human physiology (ie, disection) was condemned by the church for well over a thousand years.

Oh yes - and if Buddhists never developed science, why is it that they had a cosmology that's consistant wtih modern physics? Have you read "The Tao of Physics"?

I'm curious to know what kinds of phenomena Atheism does not account for? What about the phenomena that Christianity does not account for?

Meerkat
09-20-2004, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by George.:
Well, it was originally written in Greek, a language I happen to read... ;) You read Attic greek? :D

Alan D. Hyde
09-20-2004, 03:46 PM
Osborne, you're far from the first person to think along these lines.

Ever heard of Baha'i?

See: http://www.bahai.org/

http://inspiredpath.com/img/bahai.jpg

There is, in the law, a rule of statutory constructory which requires judges, if possible, to construe statutes to complement rather than contradict each other. The magnanimous philosopher can do no less with religions.

Alan

George.
09-20-2004, 04:06 PM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by George.:
Well, it was originally written in Greek, a language I happen to read... ;) You read Attic greek? :D </font>[/QUOTE]As a matter of fact, I do. Not very easily, some of the vocabulary is tough, but I do.

It's not like Latin and Italina, you know. Classical and modern Greek are a lot closer.

[ 09-20-2004, 05:07 PM: Message edited by: George. ]

Meerkat
09-20-2004, 04:06 PM
"There is, in the law, a rule of statutory constructory which requires judges, if possible, to construe statutes to complement rather than contradict each other. The magnanimous philosopher can do no less with religions."

Hard to find much complimentary about the MEM's, what with all the bodies lying about and the ages long history of war and violence in the name of their religions ...

They say nice things and do very bad things. Actions speak louder than words.

[ 09-20-2004, 05:08 PM: Message edited by: Meerkat ]

Meerkat
09-20-2004, 04:07 PM
Originally posted by George.:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Meerkat:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by George.:
Well, it was originally written in Greek, a language I happen to read... ;) You read Attic greek? :D </font>[/QUOTE]As a matter of fact, I do. Not very easily, some of the vocabulary is tough, but I do.</font>[/QUOTE]Cool! :cool: :cool:

Sam F
09-20-2004, 04:48 PM
Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:
Ozzie, take my advice and leave theology to those who know what theyíre doing. Well, I guess MEM can get by without new prophets -- I guess they have to until a new establishes himself by force -- but they can't get by without authoritarianism. "I have it on the highest authority . . . "

No orthodox Christian would ever claim to understand the mind of God but some aspects are available and within our limitations.
</font>[/QUOTE]A dodge. Your first argue that God may be irrational and when countered with the obvious conclusion that it destroys science you bring up a silly contention that Christians assume that they understand the mind of God. That was a bust for you so then you veer off into:

Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
1. Orthodox or no, authoritarians all.
2. Which aspects, available how, and how do you decide the true from the false? If some, why not all? 1. Everyone takes some things on authority. Youíre included.
2. Why do you think George Washington lived? Assuming you do, itís the same sort of historical evidence.


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Your misapprehension of Godís nature is your own. You can not judge anotherís position if you donít understand it. Orthodoxy presupposes a rational God.1.
Did I say may misapprehensions were someone else's?
2. I can judge anything I feel like judging. If some guy on my plane jumps up with a box-cutter he's gonna get judged, by me.
3. What is this "orthodoxy"? </font>[/QUOTE]Thatís sad Jim/Ozzie. You reserve the right to pass judgment yet literally donít know the first thing about the subject. And you accuse Christians of being authoritarian while you yourself reserve the right to universal and unlimited authority based on your ďfeelingsĒ.
Yeah thatís rational.


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />You donít have any idea what Jesus intended because you are ignorant of the subject. Read the New Testament a few times and come back when you at least have a basic familiarity with the subject.

OK, if you admit that the majority of Christians who ever lived had no idea what Jesus intended, because they were illiterate. </font>[/QUOTE]I not only donít admit it, I deny it. Why do you think medieval cathedrals are covered from floor to ceiling with illustrations of biblical scenes and life histories of the saints?
These community-built structures, in addition to being places of worship, are enormous 3D teaching devices.
Your imaginings do not have the authority to re-make reality.


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
Then let's go to the church on the corner and see how many have read the New Testament once, let alone a few times. Where ever did you get that? What is your evidence that the NT is essentially un-read? Catholics at least donít have any choice. If they go to church, a portion of the NT (and OT) is read at every service. You really have to work at it to miss it.


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
They should have taken a poll at the Republican convention. Is this your real motive here? Is that supposed to be inflammatory? Sorry I canít help you on that one. Take it to someone who cares. :D

Keith Wilson
09-20-2004, 04:51 PM
Ordinary illiterate Christians were supposed to just stand in awe of The Book, and be convinced that it contained truths that only the Church knew and could interpret for them . . . One of the first Protestant heresies was the radical idea of translating the Bible into the "vulgar" languages. William Tyndale was burned at the stake in 1536 mainly for translating it into English.

Meerkat
09-20-2004, 05:01 PM
You sure are way off in the weeds Sam! :D

"Your imaginings do not have the authority to re-make reality. " - you should tape this to your mirror! :D :D :D

There is no proof that god(s) exist, yet you claim (your opinion) that god must be rational or science can not work. This the same science that does not admit the existance of god (it's that lack of proof thing again), or is it some of that creation "science"? ;)

Try making your arguments after you deal with the foundation made of the sand of your belief that god(s) do exist! Prove that and the rest follows naturally; otherwise, it's basically just superstition piled upon superstition.

Dennis Marshall
09-20-2004, 05:15 PM
Kieth Wilson said:
One of the first Protestant heresies was the radical idea of translating the Bible into the "vulgar" languages. William Tyndale was burned at the stake in 1536 mainly for translating it into English. That is right, Kieth, but the precedent was set almost 1500 years earlier when the scriptures were translated into the vulgar Latin from the Koine Greek by St. Jerome. Hence, the Latin Vulgate Bible.

Dennis

[ 09-20-2004, 06:32 PM: Message edited by: Dennis Marshall ]

Dennis Marshall
09-20-2004, 05:20 PM
Meerkat said:
There is no proof that god(s) exist, yet you claim (your opinion) that god must be rational or science can not work. This the same science that does not admit the existance of god (it's that lack of proof thing again), or is it some of that creation "science"?

Try making your arguments after you deal with the foundation made of the sand of your belief that god(s) do exist! Prove that and the rest follows naturally; otherwise, it's basically just superstition piled upon superstition. I'll bite, Meer, but you have to define what you mean by proof.

Dennis

Sam F
09-20-2004, 05:23 PM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
Orthodoxy depends on a rational god? No, not really: orthodoxy is the formalization (and, arguably, the stagnation) of belief. It does not depend on what's believed.

The notion that science arose in the west because of Christianity, is hilarious, not to mention contradicted by history. As one example, investigation of human physiology (ie, disection) was condemned by the church for well over a thousand years. Nice try but the Romans banned human dissection in pre-Christian times. It just grossed people out and still does.
You still have the insurmountable obstacle of modern scienceís development being done exclusively by Christians. Sorry the only thing hilarious about this is your persistent denial of basic historical fact. smile.gif


Originally posted by Meerkat:
Oh yes - and if Buddhists never developed science, why is it that they had a cosmology that's consistant wtih modern physics? Have you read "The Tao of Physics"??The Bushmen of South Africa have a language that is (so I have read) supremely well adapted to the concepts of physics. Yet they never developed physics and neither did Buddhists, no matter what their cosmology. Coulda shoulda woulda buddha?


Originally posted by Meerkat:
I'm curious to know what kinds of phenomena Atheism does not account for? Iíll give you a break and only choose one:
Please account for the concept of Justice in Atheism. How can you support the following policy toward injustice by Atheism alone?


Here this, you who trample upon the needy
and destroy the poor of the land!
ďWhen will the new moon be over,Ē you ask
ďthat we may sell our grain, and the Sabbath
that we may display the wheat?
We will diminish the ephah,
add to the shekel,
and fix our scales for cheating!
We will buy the lowly for silver
and the poor for a pair of sandals;
Even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!í
The Lord as sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Never will I forget a thing they have done!
Amos 8:4-7

Sam F
09-20-2004, 05:43 PM
Originally posted by Dennis Marshall:
Meerkat said: </font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />There is no proof that god(s) exist, yet you claim (your opinion) that god must be rational or science can not work. This the same science that does not admit the existance of god (it's that lack of proof thing again), or is it some of that creation "science"?

Try making your arguments after you deal with the foundation made of the sand of your belief that god(s) do exist! Prove that and the rest follows naturally; otherwise, it's basically just superstition piled upon superstition. I'll bite, Meer, but you have to define what you mean by proof.

Dennis</font>[/QUOTE]Uh Oh! Meerkat now you've fooled around and brought an real expert in instead of a amateur like me. You're so hosed! :D :D

Meerkat
09-20-2004, 06:10 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:

You still have the insurmountable obstacle of modern scienceís development being done exclusively by Christians. Sorry the only thing hilarious about this is your persistent denial of basic historical fact. smile.gif
YOU have the insurmountable obstacle of your position being 100% bovine efluvia! Have you conveniently overlooked the fact that modern physics is replete with jewish names? Freud was jewish... etc. etc. etc. Most innovation in electronics is now Asian: primarily Japanese. Math - let's see... I believe that one of the most recent big breakthoughs was by an Indian. Perhaps you'd like to lay claim to gunpowder and paper? Oh yes, and when it comes to physicists and chemists of the 19th century, how many of them were either not christian or agnostic/atheist?

Any rational human being, unhampered by religious superstition, can see that science flourished in the west in spite of, not because of Christianity.

Meerkat
09-20-2004, 06:21 PM
Originally posted by Dennis Marshall:
Meerkat said: </font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />There is no proof that god(s) exist, yet you claim (your opinion) that god must be rational or science can not work. This the same science that does not admit the existance of god (it's that lack of proof thing again), or is it some of that creation "science"?

Try making your arguments after you deal with the foundation made of the sand of your belief that god(s) do exist! Prove that and the rest follows naturally; otherwise, it's basically just superstition piled upon superstition. I'll bite, Meer, but you have to define what you mean by proof.

Dennis</font>[/QUOTE]Is this going to be yet another of your drive-by posts?

Proof is easy enough: fingerprints, photographs, DNA samples, even fossilized angel feathers. Anything concrete and not subject to interpretation. 2000 year old alleged eyewitness accounts not acceptable. Claims that "there must be a god because just look at the world so there must be one", or similar words, are unfounded assertions, not proof and are not acceptable.

I can almost predict that you'll come back and say that I can't prove the existance of Buddha by the same criteria, and you may be right. On the other hand, Buddhists don't claim that Buddha is or was a god or the son of a god.

Meerkat
09-20-2004, 06:24 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:
Uh Oh! Meerkat now you've fooled around and brought an real expert in instead of a amateur like me. You're so hosed! :D :D Next, you're going to claim that being well read in sex is the same as having had sex! :D :D :D

Dennis Marshall
09-20-2004, 06:25 PM
Meerkat said:
YOU have the insurmountable obstacle of your position being 100% bovine efluvia! Have you conveniently overlooked the fact that modern physics is replete with jewish names? Freud was jewish... etc. etc. etc. Most innovation in electronics is now Asian: primarily Japanese. Math - let's see... I believe that one of the most recent big breakthoughs was by an Indian. Perhaps you'd like to lay claim to gunpowder and paper? Oh yes, and when it comes to physicists and chemists of the 19th century, how many of them were either not christian or agnostic/atheist?

Any rational human being, unhampered by religious superstition, can see that science flourished in the west in spite of, not because of Christianity. Well, Meerkat, Sam's "insurmountable obstacle" is also mine. But Sam's idea is not new, it is rooted in scholarly research that demonstrates quite clearly that Christianity contributed certain attitudes not found in other (perhaps more advanced civilizations) that made science as we know it possible. You can vent all you want about this, but the facts stand against your ignorance on this matter. Further, your shifting from science's origins to modern/contemporary contributions is beside the point, because Sam would not disagree with you on this matter.

If you tell me what constitutes proof, I will demonstrate that belief in God is completely rational and sane. Wanna play?

Dennis

Meerkat
09-20-2004, 06:38 PM
Dennis; That wouldn't be christian scholarly research would it? And which, specifically christian, attitudes helped science? If there are <ul>facts[/list] that support your asssertion, please supply them or links to them.
As for moving it into a modern context, I thought the topic was science and not specifically the origins of science. The origins were not, at least not uniquely, Christian either - or is the HRCC now claiming St. Baal of Babylon now? ;)

I provided a list of what I thought was proof in a post above. If you can't find it, let me know and I'll provide a lantern to light your way. ;)

Dennis Marshall
09-20-2004, 06:58 PM
Meerkat said:
Any rational human being, unhampered by religious superstition, can see that science flourished in the west in spite of, not because of Christianity. Meerkat, if this is the type of proof you offer, then this is more of a statement of prejudice than proof. The fact of the matter is that science would not have emerged at all if not for Christianity. What did it contribute specifically?
Attitude #1: An interest in the material world spawned by the belief that everything that exists is good. This, of course, was also a Jewish belief, but the Incarnation intensified the appreciation of it.
Attitude #2: Nature was understood to be orderly and its orderliness reflected the intelligence of the creator.
Attitude #3: Nature is intelligible. It could be understood on its own terms and furthermore, understanding nature in a systematic fashion would yield some understanding of God.
Attitude #4: The knowledge derived from the study of nature was something that should be shared. That is to say that technical/scientific knowledge should be utilized for the benefit of all. It was a way of participating in the great commandment to love God and neighbor.

Now, these are not unique to Christianity necessarily, but the combination of all together is unique to the Christian West and were indispensable in giving birth to empirical science as we know it.

In response to "Christian scholarship" -- No, the claims are not specifically claims by Christian historians. Even if that was the case, the "science of history" and its methods would dictate the method of inquiry and offer the criteria for evaluating the results rather than faith. At least this would hold true in Catholic thought where we understand that there is a legitimate autonomy between the "scientia" of faith and the "scientia" of nature. "Scientia" here meaning "knowledge."

Dennis

Dennis Marshall
09-20-2004, 09:04 PM
Meerkat,

Well, I can't prove to you Jesus is the Son of God based on those criteria, but I can demnstrate that it is reasonable to assent to the fact that God exists. Of course, your criteria allow no possibility for knowledge based on faith, but then again, your criteria are as faith based as my assertion that Christ is the Son of God. So, let's get rolling and see what we can come up with then, OK?

First, will you agree with me that things exist and that our minds are ordered to understanding these things in their existence?

Dennis

Keith Wilson
09-20-2004, 10:49 PM
Christianity contributed certain attitudes not found in other (perhaps more advanced civilizations) that made science as we know it possible. Well, yes, of course, because science "as we know it" actually started in Europe, which was mostly Christian. Had it arisen anywhere else, it would no doubt be somewhat different, and it of course wouldn't be science as we know it. It didn't start anywhere else, although it maybe could have, but because the Western variety has spread, we'll never know.

Sam and I have been around and around about this, and my part of the argument is that while Christianity may have provided some basic attitudes (rational God, comprehensiblity of the universe - actually, I just read your list above, and it's better), Classical civilization made at least as important a contribution (Greek logic, tradition of experimentation), and that it was absolutely essential for the Church's control over society be broken for modern science to be possible. As it is, one could reasonably argue that the development of the cornerstone of modern biology, the theory of evolution, was delayed by hundreds of years becuse of Christian biblicial literalism. They're still arging about it, for God's sake!

[ 09-20-2004, 11:51 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Peter Malcolm Jardine
09-20-2004, 10:57 PM
Given that this is the same old rattle that this WBF car has every couple of months, I'm not going to play. The only comment I will make is that it's interesting how christians will take credit for science as an exclusive to their faith. Christianity was perhaps the domninant religion, but that was only one of the factors that contributed to the immense gains in science. There were large sociological factors that contributed probably more.

Anyway... here's my joke, as a Anglican..

Three boys are travelling together, and as they approach a small village they notice the weather is starting to look like rain. Having no tent, and observing in the village that there is no Inn, they wonder among themselves where they can stay. The one boy pipes up .."There's a mance on the edge of the village, I'm certain the priest would put us up for the night." So they walk down and knock on the door, and the priest answers and they politely tell him their plight, and ask if he might put them up for the night.

"Are you catholic?" The priest inquires, to which the one boy replies "Well the two of us are, but our friend here is Church of England" The priest beckons them inside, and says to the two catholic boys "You two can bed down next to the fire" but to the protestant boy he says "I'm sorry, but the best I can do for you is to let you sleep just inside the door. They all retire for the night

The next morning the priest comes down the stairs and finds the boys awake and asks of the first catholic boy .."How did you sleep?" to which he replies "Wonderful, just wonderful Father, you see, I had a dream in which I went to heaven" The priest says "My Goodness! Well, what was it like?" The boy replies "Oh father it was beautiful, the birds sang and there were beautiful gardens of flowers, it was a wonderful place" The priest nods and says to the second catholic boy "How did you sleep?" To which the boy replies "I also had a dream I went to heaven Father!!" The priest says "Land sakes!! What was it like for you?" The boy says "Oh Father, I saw all my dear departed loved ones, and the streets were paved with gold!" The Priest smiles and finally says to the Protestant boy "How did you sleep my son?" The Protestant boy rubs his chin and says "Not too well Father... I also had a dream, but I dreamed I went to HELL." The priest is taken aback and exclaims "Oh my, well... what was THAT like?"

The Protestant boy says "It was a lot like down here Father. I COULDN'T GET CLOSE TO THE FIRE FOR THE CATHOLICS."

:D

George.
09-21-2004, 05:13 AM
Originally posted by Dennis Marshall:

First, will you agree with me that things exist and that our minds are ordered to understanding these things in their existence?

I agree. But the reason our minds are ordered to understand things can just as easily be explained by the theory of evolution.

I believe if we are going to have this dialogue about whether God exists, we must start with a definition. What exactly do you mean by "God?" If you define God as the substance and order we observe in the universe, since these things are observable one must conclude that God exists (unless reason itself does not exist).

But if you define God as an entity APART from the Universe, with all sort of anthropomorphic characteristics, that is a different matter altogether.

So lets start with a working definition of God. Your turn.

George.
09-21-2004, 05:28 AM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> Christianity contributed certain attitudes not found in other (perhaps more advanced civilizations) that made science as we know it possible. Well, yes, of course, because science "as we know it" actually started in Europe, which was mostly Christian. Had it arisen anywhere else, it would no doubt be somewhat different, and it of course wouldn't be science as we know it. It didn't start anywhere else, although it maybe could have, but because the Western variety has spread, we'll never know.
</font>[/QUOTE]And that is precisely the point. Of course one can demonstrate that the roots of science are in pagan ancient Greece, and that Indians and Arabs brought us such MAJOR contributions as zero, algebra, and chemistry, and developed modern astronomy, and that Jews have a preeminent role in the development of Western science, and that many of not most scientists of the past two centuries are agnostics (although many were forced to be closet agnostics).

But the most powerful argument goes like this: aerial bombardment of cities was developed and carried out by Christians. Nuclear weapons were developed and used by Christians. Modern industrial genocide was developed and carried out by Christians. The slavery-based plantation system was developed and applied to huge tracts of the world by Christians.

Does that mean that Christianity is responsible for all these things, or somehow uniquely suited to them?

No, of course. All this proves is that all things that happened in a particular place and culture are not necessarely connected other than by coincidence. And that those that insist on such a connection in the face of the evidence may be displaying bigotry.

Dennis Marshall
09-21-2004, 05:49 AM
George said:
I agree. But the reason our minds are ordered to understand things can just as easily be explained by the theory of evolution. Well, George, this violates Meer's conditions in which there is a prohibition against interpretation. Impossible, I know, but such can be reduced to a minimum. This doesn't really help because evolution cannot adquately account our ability to know.

George said:
I believe if we are going to have this dialogue about whether God exists, we must start with a definition. Well, what is your definition of God? Does it correspond with what others have said?

Dennis

[ 09-21-2004, 07:05 AM: Message edited by: Dennis Marshall ]

Dennis Marshall
09-21-2004, 06:03 AM
Keith Wilson said:
Had it arisen anywhere else, it would no doubt be somewhat different, and it of course wouldn't be science as we know it. It didn't start anywhere else, although it maybe could have, but because the Western variety has spread, we'll never know. You will note Keith that I mentioned that these factors were found in other places but not in the combination found in Christian civilization. It is one of those sociological factors that PMJ mentions. The historical fact is that science did not emerge anywhere else. The question for the historian is naturally, what are the things that contributed to the emergence of science? Further, what other civilizations possessed these factors? And so on. Eric Voegelin is one who has written on this -- he is no Christian (that was for Meer) and was doing so 50 years ago. Jacques Barzun, no Christian either, wrote "From Dawn to Decadence" a cultural histoy of the West in the 90s. The consensus of scholars on this matter of science is so common that in a nearly 1000page book he devotes one line to it.

Finally, while I agree that the development of science is more complex than we can treat here, only the ignorant can contest the fact that the Christian worldview provided the framework that made it possible to synthesize the insights of antiquity in such a way that its civilization becomes the midwife of science. I am not tooting Christianity's horn, as PMJ, might accuse, simply pointing to the facts of the matter.

Dennis

[ 09-21-2004, 07:04 AM: Message edited by: Dennis Marshall ]

George.
09-21-2004, 07:52 AM
Originally posted by Dennis Marshall:
George said: </font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />I agree. But the reason our minds are ordered to understand things can just as easily be explained by the theory of evolution. Well, George, this violates Meer's conditions in which there is a prohibition against interpretation. Impossible, I know, but such can be reduced to a minimum. This doesn't really help because evolution cannot adquately account our ability to know.

</font>[/QUOTE]I am not sure I understand about the prohibition against interpretation. Evolution DOES explain why our minds are ordered to understand the universe. They evolved to be that way. Minds that were less adequate for understanding the universe were less successful at survival and reproduction. It is like wondering why our skeletons and muscles are designed to deal with precisely the gravitational force we feel on Earth. It is because they evolved here.


Originally posted by Dennis Marshall:

George said: </font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />I believe if we are going to have this dialogue about whether God exists, we must start with a definition. Well, what is your definition of God? Does it correspond with what others have said?

Dennis</font>[/QUOTE]You are evading the question. YOU are arguing that God exists, and that it can be proven. Therefore you must define exactly what it is that you claim exists. Otherwise there can be no proof. If I say X exists, unless I define X no one can prove or disprove it - it is a moot point.

Keith Wilson
09-21-2004, 10:25 AM
Given that this is the same old rattle that this WBF car has every couple of months . . . Just rattling along, with the screws a little looser every day. :D :D This time Dennis is here, which makes it more interesting. Iíll play another round.


First, will you agree with me that things exist . . Sure does look that way. I could be wrong.


. . . and that our minds are ordered to understanding these things in their existence?Well, that's a little harder, even considering just the physical world. We understand some things. There's a lot more we don't know about, or understand only partially. Of course, we don't know about what we don't know, so we probably have a higher opinion of how much we understand than we should.

Consider that we are blind to most of the electromagnetic spectrum, and deaf to most frequencies of sound. We lack direct senses for many things, which some other animals have (magnetism, low-frequency vibrations in water, electric fields) and there are many things that no animal on earth can sense directly. These are just inputs.

Consider also that the universe is at least ten billion years old, and we live for seventy or eighty years. All of human civilization fits in the last twenty thousand or so, and written records are much more recent. We are of a particular middling size, and things not on our scale, whether larger or smaller, are very difficult for us to perceive, much less comprehend. We can only infer the existence and working of the world on a molecular scale, or worse yet, on a quantum scale. We can only infer the changes over long periods of time or vast distances. We live on one small planet in a universe consisting of billions of galaxies with LOTS of space between; our experience is limited at best. Only in the past several hundred years have we been able to look much past the ends of our noses. And again, we donít know about what we donít know.

Our minds appear very well ordered to understanding things necessary for hunting, gathering, living in groups, and dealing with predators on the African Savanna of 100,000 years ago. If they hadn't been, we wouldn't be discussing this right now. Are they ordered to understand the entire physical universe? Not really IMHO; weíre pretty adaptable, but also have pretty severe limitations.

[ 09-21-2004, 11:41 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Jack Heinlen
09-21-2004, 10:40 AM
I was going to stay out of this, but it seems to me that God in human argument becomes either a theological/intellectual abstraction, for which no proof exists, or a general experience that, while also not given to empirical proof, can be correlated to one's own experience. While still not testable in the lab, the cross-cultural consistency of this experience tends to be more persuasive of the existence of an extra-personal intelligence or consciousness with definable parameters than is any theological debate. For the individual, once this experience is firmly rooted no other proof is needed. It's like an out of body experience. One can read the literature, listen to the linear scientists who speak of brain chemistry, or to the esotericist's stories, but once you've had the experience all argument as to the phenomenon's existence becomes absurd.

One possible etymological root of the word religion is religare, Latin, a linking back to God. Insofar as religious thought is only an 'argument' without any specific instructions whereby seekers can have their own experience, then it fails. Some people seem to find this linking or binding back in argument; very few. Some find it in the liturgy of orthodox Christianity, most don't. Are those who find God in different ways wrong? Some, undoubtedly, are. But if they are ethical and moral people(another huge can of worms :rolleyes: ) I'm in no position to judge anyone's experience of God, or lack thereof.

The problem with many orthodox and almost all fundamentalist practitioners of all religions is their claim to exclusivity.

http://www.rense.com/1.imagesG/cowndolphsplash.jpg

[ 09-21-2004, 11:49 AM: Message edited by: Jack Heinlen ]

Sam F
09-21-2004, 12:03 PM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> Christianity contributed certain attitudes not found in other (perhaps more advanced civilizations) that made science as we know it possible. Well, yes, of course, because science "as we know it" actually started in Europe, which was mostly Christian. !</font>[/QUOTE]Say: ďWell yes of courseĒ and leave it at that.


Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
Had it arisen anywhere else, it would no doubt be somewhat different, and it of course wouldn't be science as we know it. !If itís not science as we know it, it isnít science. It is something else.


Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
It didn't start anywhere else, although it maybe could have, but because the Western variety has spread, we'll never know. !Maybe. Might have. Could perhaps. And I might have invented the light bulb too but I didnít and no other culture invented science. Anything else is groundless speculation.


Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
Sam and I have been around and around about this, and my part of the argument is that while Christianity may have provided some basic attitudes (rational God, comprehensiblity of the universe - actually, I just read your list above, and it's better), Classical civilization made at least as important a contribution (Greek logic, tradition of experimentation), !The Classical world had ample time to develop modern science Ė more time than weíve had and they didnít. Since that society lacked the basic ingredients for its development there is no reason to suppose that they ever could have.


Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
Öand that it was absolutely essential for the Church's control over society be broken for modern science to be possible. !Sorry not historically true. Accept that and you cut off too many pioneering scientists as being what? Magicians?

Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
As it is, one could reasonably argue that the development of the cornerstone of modern biology, the theory of evolution, was delayed by hundreds of years becuse of Christian biblicial literalism. They're still arging about it, for God's sake!Evolution has problems. Scientists donít make any big secret out of it either, itís just not taught that way in school Ė and thatís why itís still a theory and not a fact. Since scientists themselves are still arguing about it thereís no need to suppose that any blame resides on Christians for ďdelayingĒ its acceptance. In fact the genetic mechanism that makes the theory even possible was discovered by a Catholic monk (for Godís sake!). Explain how Gregor Mendel delayed the theory of Evolution for ďhundreds of yearsĒ In fact his discoveries had quite the opposite effect!


Originally posted by Keith Wilson:


</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />. . . and that our minds are ordered to understanding these things in their existence?Well, that's a little harder, even considering just the physical worldÖ

Consider that we are blind to most of the electromagnetic spectrum, and deaf to most frequencies of sound. We lack direct senses for many things, Ö
Our minds appear very well ordered to understanding things necessary for hunting, gathering, living in groups, and dealing with predators on the African Savanna of 100,000 years ago. If they hadn't been, we wouldn't be discussing this right now. Are they ordered to understand the entire physical universe? Not really IMHO; weíre pretty adaptable, but also have pretty severe limitations.</font>[/QUOTE]The human mind isnít capable of understanding the whole of existence Ė no one doubts that and itís beside the point. It is that we are oriented to perceive that order. If the universe werenít actually ordered we would never have discovered those things not directly perceived by our senses and if they had been discovered by some accident, the phenomena not being predicable, would have remained unusable and un-used.

Dennis Marshall
09-21-2004, 12:18 PM
George said:
You are evading the question. YOU are arguing that God exists, and that it can be proven. Therefore you must define exactly what it is that you claim exists. Otherwise there can be no proof. If I say X exists, unless I define X no one can prove or disprove it - it is a moot point. George, I didn't say I could prove God's existence. I said that it was reasonable to come to the conclusion that God exists. Meer wants me to prove God according to empirical data. I can't do that because God is not a member of the universe in the same way a computer chip or wood chip is. Thus to prove God's existence on those terms is the height of unreason, but fits perfectly into Meer's ideological schema.

Nevertheless, I think a good argument can be made to show that the question of God is worthy of rational beings, that such a question emerges naturally, not artificially out of human existence, and that the God discovered by human reason is going to share characteristics that all rational beings can agree corresponds to what all mean when they say God (The ultimate, imperishable, source of all being, etc). And finally, that belief in God is not unreasonable at all.

The real fly in the ointment is particular revelation, the claims by religions that state that the God we can come to know through reason has in fact revealed himself in history and is more than our ideas or Jack Heinlen's philsophy can contain (leaping sea cows notwithstanding.)

Dennis

Dennis Marshall
09-21-2004, 12:23 PM
Keith, there you go interpreting things and violating Meerkat's rules.

We are either ordered to knowing things that exist, or we are not. That we don't know something doesn't mean we can't know it. If that were true, then science would have stopped its investigations long ago. Seems to me that in order to proceed with the argument, I need to be granted at least this:

That things exist and that our minds are ordered to know what exists. As Sam points out, if things don't exist and our minds are not ordered toward knowing them, then we cannot go any further.

I don't know why this is so hard. I've simply established the minimum epistemological criteria for doing science or being an engineer.

Dennis

Sam F
09-21-2004, 12:25 PM
Originally posted by George Roberts:
Osborne Russel ---

Independant of if there is a God or not ....

Religion is used to control people. You make up a difference to gain control. Then you ship people out to fight over the differences.Of course religion can be used to control people Ė and government uses laws to control people Ė the military uses regulations - clubs use rules - men use force or economic pressures to control women and women use other means to control menÖ the list is a long one indeed.
But, as is often stated, is control the reason for religion?
For that first examine motive. Thereís no motive to control others unless someone gets something out of it. So what did Jesus get out of it when he founded a new religion?
Most people wouldnít find the prospect of being tortured and killed much of a motivation.
How about the Apostles? Well you know they didnít end up so good either. So what was their motivation for ďcontrolling peopleĒ? If it was money, women and power the deal was a total bust. Given the example of their founder they couldnít have expected much better nor did they get it. So nah, I donít think control was a motivating factor.

Keith Wilson
09-21-2004, 12:25 PM
Nevertheless, I think a good argument can be made to show that the question of God is worthy of rational beings, that such a question emerges naturally, not artificially out of human existence, and that the God discovered by human reason is going to share characteristics that all rational beings can agree corresponds to what all mean when they say God (The ultimate, imperishable, source of all being, etc). And finally, that belief in God is not unreasonable at all.I agree completely. I am, despite moving toward that side of the boat when arguing with Sam to correct the trim, no sort of an atheist. That requires WAY more faith and supension of skepticism than I can muster.


The real fly in the ointment is particular revelation . . . "Fly in the ointment" is being really polite. This way lies Jihad.

And OK, I'll grant that people, within our limitations, appear to be able to understand the world pretty well. I can do engineering, after all, although sometimes when I don't get it right the world seems pretty chaotic. ;)

[ 09-21-2004, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

George.
09-21-2004, 03:02 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:
Evolution has problems. Scientists donít make any big secret out of it either, itís just not taught that way in school Ė and thatís why itís still a theory and not a fact. Clearly the statement of a man who does not understand science.

No serious scientist questions evolution. The only scientific "problems" regarding evolution are that some of the specific details of its mechanism are still being discovered. The same applies to the theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics. Are those false, too?

"thatís why itís still a theory and not a fact." . I am sorry, but that is a pathetic statement. In science, there are "hypothesis," which, once proven, become "theories." There is no such thing as "facts" as opposed to "theories." Gravity is a theory, as is the circulation of blood. Are those therefore not "facts?" Read a book on basic scientific method.

Meerkat
09-21-2004, 03:35 PM
Originally posted by George.:

"thatís why itís still a theory and not a fact." . I am sorry, but that is a pathetic statement. In science, there are "hypothesis," which, once proven, become "theories." There is no such thing as "facts" as opposed to "theories." Gravity is a theory, as is the circulation of blood. Are those therefore not "facts?" Read a book on basic scientific method.Actually, a theory is an hypothosis for which no disproof exists to date. Theories and facts are not the same thing. Theories are subject to revision as new data becomes available. The bowling ball dropped on your foot doesn't worry about the details... ;)

More on the god/religion stuff later after I get coffee onboard and run some errands.

George.
09-21-2004, 03:42 PM
Originally posted by Dennis Marshall:
I think a good argument can be made to show that the question of God is worthy of rational beings, that such a question emerges naturally, not artificially out of human existence, and that the God discovered by human reason is going to share characteristics that all rational beings can agree corresponds to what all mean when they say God (The ultimate, imperishable, source of all being, etc). And finally, that belief in God is not unreasonable at all.

Agreed so far. But as I said, the problem is the definition of God. I see no failure of reason in believing in a God as "the source of all being." Such a God could even be called Nature, or Universe.

I DO see a logical fallacy in believing that this God has any human characteristics at all, or that he particularly concerns himself with the day-to-day life of human beings. And yet these are "shared characteristics" of most "gods" that people believe in, and have believed in since the dawn of history. I think that is just people projecting their father, tribal leader, ruler, etc. into the logical gap that appears when you reflect upon the apparent order of the universe.

George.
09-21-2004, 03:54 PM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
Theories and facts are not the same thing. Theories are subject to revision as new data becomes available.Right. And "theory" and "fact" don't apply to the same things. "Fact" applies to observed phenomena - e.g., apples fall to the ground when dropped. "Theory" applies to explanations of observed phenomena - e.g., apples fall at x acceleration because of a force we shall call "gravity", which works in such and such a way. That is why it is pathetic to say that evolution is not fact but "only" theory.

Meerkat
09-21-2004, 04:02 PM
Originally posted by George.:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Meerkat:
Theories and facts are not the same thing. Theories are subject to revision as new data becomes available.Right. And "theory" and "fact" don't apply to the same things. "Fact" applies to observed phenomena - e.g., apples fall to the ground when dropped. "Theory" applies to explanations of observed phenomena - e.g., apples fall at x acceleration because of a force we shall call "gravity", which works in such and such a way. That is why it is pathetic to say that evolution is not fact but "only" theory.</font>[/QUOTE]Dead on...

What I said earlier about "not subject to interpretation" is exactly this. A brick is a brick, it's not an elephant resting. A proof of god would be some observable phenomenon ("apple falling from tree") for which no other explantion fits then that "it" is god (no inference allowed!).

Dennis Marshall
09-21-2004, 04:13 PM
George said:
Clearly the statement of a man who does not understand science.

No serious scientist questions evolution. The only scientific "problems" regarding evolution are that some of the specific details of its mechanism are still being discovered. The same applies to the theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics. George, no serious person refuses to question some scientists who claim that evolution answers the question of existence. It is inadequate to do so, though it might be adequate to describe the mechanisms of the development of life here. It may account for much, but it does not (and I would argue cannot) account for all.

Dennis

Keith Wilson
09-21-2004, 04:33 PM
Anyone who claims that the theory of evolution "answers the question of existence" should be regarded with extreme skepticism if not outright derision. Science overreaching is about as bad as religion doing the same.

George.
09-21-2004, 04:44 PM
Exactly. Evolution does not "answer the question of existence," not does it claim to. It simply answers the biological question of where current life forms came from, and why they are as they are. Opposing it on religious grounds is as foolish as opposing the heliocentric theory. In the 16th century the Church thought it went against the "questions of existence." Of course it did no such thing - it merely explained the movement of heavenly bodies, and the structure of the solar system, and was correct - unlike its religious opponents.

Meerkat
09-21-2004, 05:53 PM
Why ask the question of existance in the first place? We exist - ergo, we exist!

It's good to know why things are the way they are, but that does not change what is.

We have a pretty good idea as to how life came to be on earth: amino acids and lightning. Claiming that the amino acids where created by some transcendental being and the lightning his/her gift of life assumes facts not in evidence. Going further back, to the big bang (assuming that is the correct theory), not knowing how that came to happen is not justification for claiming some divine agency.

Faith is not reason. Reason is not faith. There is no real order to the universe beyond the order our (biased) minds assign to it. This has been proven mathematically (Chaos Theory). The only permanent thing is impermanence.

Osborne Russel
09-21-2004, 07:30 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:
A dodge. Your first argue that God may be irrational and when countered with the obvious conclusion that it destroys science you bring up a silly contention that Christians assume that they understand the mind of God.Yes, God can be irrational. God, in the MEM conception, can do anything. He can be irrational and rational at the same time. Who's gonna tell him different? You? Your syllogism goes like this but I wonder if you have the decency to admit it:

1. God could be rational or irrational
2. But science must assume he's rational
3. Therefore the only way we can have science is to have a rational God.
4. Therefore God exists and He's rational because we have to have science.

But God doesn't have to play along. What colossal egotism and blasphemy to say that you have found rules that God must obey.


Everyone takes some things on authority. Youíre included.Uh huh. I stop at a stop sign and that makes me an authoritarian. What dishonest arguments you make, Padre.


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
3. What is this "orthodoxy"? Thatís sad Jim/Ozzie. You reserve the right to pass judgment yet literally donít know the first thing about the subject. The first thing to know about orthodoxy, and I know it well, is that orthodoxy is for cowards. To paraphrase Thoreau, "Why should a man surrender his conscience to the theologian, even for a moment? Why has every man a conscience, then?" The second thing is that bullies were cowards first. That's as much as anyone needs to know about orthodoxy. But I like to keep an open mind so I thought I'd ask you if you had something different in mind when you talk about orthodoxy. Do you?

And you're darn tootin I reserve the right to pass judgment on it. Orthodoxy, by definition, even when its timid followers can't choke out this simple truth, judges *me*. And it follows, as the second amendment follows the first, that they better be cool.


I not only donít admit it, I deny it. Why do you think medieval cathedrals are covered from floor to ceiling with illustrations of biblical scenes and life histories of the saints?
These community-built structures, in addition to being places of worship, are enormous 3D teaching devices. Your imaginings do not have the authority to re-make reality. Weak, dude.

1. Cathedrals are not covered floor to ceiling with illustrations.

2. Cathedrals are only in the biggest cities, where for most of history, people lived, not

3. Cathedrals take hundreds of years to build.

4. Hundreds of years went by before they began building them.

5. A typical stained glass window shows people in aristocratic European dress standing around not looking at each other. This illustrates Jesus?

You are drifting into psychosis if you deny that the vast majority of Christians who have ever lived knew more than me about Christianity because they looked at stained glass windows a couple times in their life, if ever.

Meanwhile, back on the subject: since neither Jews nor Moslems have cathedrals, and Islam forbids depiction of humans, let alone God, are you saying that all illiterate Muslims and Jews who ever lived are deluded? What about all the blind MEM'ers, before Braille was invented? Were they fakers? Just giving in to . . . authoritarian orthodoxy?

Dennis Marshall
09-21-2004, 07:39 PM
Meerkat said:
There is no real order to the universe beyond the order our (biased) minds assign to it. This has been proven mathematically (Chaos Theory). So, I guess Meer, that this is your answer to my question about things existing and our minds being ordered to understand those things? You are telling me that we construct reality? And that mathematics proves it through its own construct?

Uh, Sam? Pass me the ceremonial Kool-Aid, would ya?

Dennis

Meerkat
09-21-2004, 10:46 PM
Dennis; If you're going to mock me, the dialog is over.

I keep forgetting that it's not worth the effort to debate with those trapped in orthodoxy.

Make that grape Kool-Aid, with a dash of potassium cyanide. :mad:

George.
09-22-2004, 06:45 AM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
Dennis; If you're going to mock me, the dialog is over.

Come on, 'Kat. Coming from you that is a double standard. ;)

George.
09-22-2004, 06:56 AM
Originally posted by Osborne Russel:

1. Cathedrals are not covered floor to ceiling with illustrations.

2. Cathedrals are only in the biggest cities, where for most of history, people lived, not

3. Cathedrals take hundreds of years to build.

4. Hundreds of years went by before they began building them.

5. A typical stained glass window shows people in aristocratic European dress standing around not looking at each other. This illustrates Jesus?

[/QB]Cathedrals were actually built in most large and medium-sized European towns, and many, maybe most, people did go to them from the countryside - on pilgrimages, like along the route to Santiago, or simply on market days and annual fairs.

But you are right to say that they only began to be built circa 1000 or so.

They are covered in scenes from the bible, not only on their stained-glass windows, but also in sculpture and paintings. A typical scene shows a white, fair-haired "saint" in full battle gear slaying a black "devil" with moorish features. Other typical scenes show Jesus, Mary, or the Apostles, always fair-haired and dressed just like the feudal lords that the peasants must submit to, gazing upon the faithful with a severe look.

It is interesting to note that the saints are almost always blond and light-skinned, even in Southern Europe, where most people are of a darker complexion. Of course, their Germanic, Frankish, and Norman overlords were blond and light-skinned... ;)

And we must not forget the recurring theme of the king, or emperor, or pope, consorting with saints or even with Jesus himself, just to remind the unwashed that these great men really are immensely superior and ordained by God...

Sam F
09-22-2004, 12:51 PM
Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:
A dodge. Your first argue that God may be irrational and when countered with the obvious conclusion that it destroys science you bring up a silly contention that Christians assume that they understand the mind of God.Yes, God can be irrational. God, in the MEM conception, can do anything. He can be irrational and rational at the same time. Who's gonna tell him different? You? Your syllogism goes like this but I wonder if you have the decency to admit it:

1. God could be rational or irrational
2. But science must assume he's rational
3. Therefore the only way we can have science is to have a rational God.
4. Therefore God exists and He's rational because we have to have science.

But God doesn't have to play along. What colossal egotism and blasphemy to say that you have found rules that God must obey. </font>[/QUOTE]Besides the fact that youíre doing the very thing you accuse me of Ė putting down rules that God must obeyÖ Youíve jumped the track. For starters your list is cockeyed.
Science must not assume God is rational because there was no science in existence to assume anything. One either pre-supposes a rational God or one doesnít develop science.

And thereís no egoism involved here either but rather a scientific outlook built into the Christianity. After all, lots of religions presuppose irrational gods Ė look at Julianís Greek religion for instance Ė but even they had limits. We donít live in an MC Escher picture where one can go up hill and down at the same time. While to God all things are possible the fact that we donít live in an Escheresque world indicates that He is in fact rational.


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Everyone takes some things on authority. Youíre included.Uh huh. I stop at a stop sign and that makes me an authoritarian. What dishonest arguments you make, Padre. </font>[/QUOTE]Calling someone dishonest is not the same a proof. Can you prove that youíve personally checked every single thing you believe? From the inaccuracies youíve presented in this very thread I know you have not. Or is it OK when Atheists do it?


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> 3. What is this "orthodoxy"? Thatís sad Jim/Ozzie. You reserve the right to pass judgment yet literally donít know the first thing about the subject. The first thing to know about orthodoxy, and I know it well, is that orthodoxy is for cowards. To paraphrase Thoreau, "Why should a man surrender his conscience to the theologian, even for a moment? Why has every man a conscience, then?" </font>[/QUOTE]Then you still donít know the first thing about Orthodoxy.
Itís interesting and amusing that you should take Thoreauís authority on that matter Ė but wait! Arenít you supposed to not take things on authority?


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
The second thing is that bullies were cowards first. That's as much as anyone needs to know about orthodoxy. But I like to keep an open mind so I thought I'd ask you if you had something different in mind when you talk about orthodoxy. Do you? Was Jesus a coward? Was Peter a coward? Was Paul a coward? All were martyred. The history of Orthodoxy is leavened with the blood of martyrs and you imagine they were all cowards. What poppycock!


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
And you're darn tootin I reserve the right to pass judgment on it. Orthodoxy, by definition, even when its timid followers can't choke out this simple truth, judges *me*. And it follows, as the second amendment follows the first, that they better be cool. I donít mind you passing judgment. Judgment proceeding from ignorance is invalid and would be for most people embarrassing.


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:


OK, if you admit that the majority of Christians who ever lived had no idea what Jesus intended, because they were illiterate. </font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />[qb]Originally posted by Sam F:
I not only donít admit it, I deny it. Why do you think medieval cathedrals are covered from floor to ceiling with illustrations of biblical scenes and life histories of the saints?
These community-built structures, in addition to being places of worship, are enormous 3D teaching devices. Your imaginings do not have the authority to re-make reality. Weak, dude. </font>[/QUOTE]Note that I have re-inserted your original statement based on a belief that most Christians had no idea what Jesus intended. My rebuttal pointed to the fact that Medieval Cathedrals were designed to illustrate the faith. This is so patently obvious that no informed person would deny it but you on the other hand used these points to buttress your arguments:



Cathedrals are not covered floor to ceiling with illustrations.They are near enough so that the statement stands. Gothic architecture isnít exactly known for its sparse decoration you know!
Every Cathedral is different of course. How about Chartres where even the columns are shaped into human figures
http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/chartreswest/3portals.jpg
and
http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/chartreswest/ctympsm.jpg

Ok now itís clear youíve never even looked at a Medieval Cathedral.


2. Cathedrals are only in the biggest cities, where for most of history, people lived, notAnd parish churches werenít illustrated? Is that what you think?
Why not - like you know - just look it up first?
Hereís a scene of Christís torture from Great Tew Church in Oxfordshire done in around 1290:

http://www.paintedchurch.org/grtew5.jpg


3. Cathedrals take hundreds of years to build.
4. Hundreds of years went by before they began building them. Point inflation? Do the same one twice and hope I wonít notice? And so what?
If you cover a building with illustrations of biblical themes you expect us to believe that itís somehow kept secret for hundreds of years or something? No, those sculptures and paintings and stained glass illustrate sermons and scripture readings and the buildings themselves are enormous multi-media presentations where all segments work together for the glory of God. The read and spoken word, the architecture, the music, the windows, the painting and sculptures all serve to educate the worshipers. And incidentally in this case serve to completely demolish your argument.


5. A typical stained glass window shows people in aristocratic European dress standing around not looking at each other. This illustrates Jesus? As a matter of fact it does illustrate Jesus:
From Wissenbourg around 1060 AD:
http://www.faithcentral.net.nz/inclass/art/jc-art/glass1.jpg

and from Bourges 1210-1215 AD

http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/arch/gothic/bourges/bourges_glass11.jpg

I concede you are correct about European dress. Like that matters - how? From Canterbury, this example looks like European dress - only it happens to be 1st Century European but whoís counting?
http://www2.art.utah.edu/cathedral/images/can_cc/can_pres_anselm_chap.jpg
Or how about this from Avignon?
http://www2.art.utah.edu/cathedral/images/avi_pal/avi_john_je.jpg


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
You are drifting into psychosis if you deny that the vast majority of Christians who have ever lived knew more than me about Christianity because they looked at stained glass windows a couple times in their life, if ever. Letís see here. Youíve made statements about medieval churches that are demonstrably false and easily disproved with a 5 minute on-line search. Youíve got chronology all backwards and logic twisted by supposing that a thing (science) that hadnít been invented yet is a cause for an earlier belief in a rational God. Now youíve sarcastically asserted that Christians wouldnít know more from looking at a stained glass window than you do. Oh, I assure you, based on your performance in this thread, that an average Medieval peasant certainly knew more about his faith than you. Of course thatís not saying much! :D

[ 09-22-2004, 01:54 PM: Message edited by: Sam F ]

George.
09-22-2004, 04:06 PM
Ah, yes, European cathedrals. Been to a few...


Originally posted by George.:

A typical scene shows a white, fair-haired "saint" in full battle gear slaying a black "devil" with moorish features. Other typical scenes show Jesus, Mary, or the Apostles, always fair-haired and dressed just like the feudal lords that the peasants must submit to, gazing upon the faithful with a severe look.

It is interesting to note that the saints are almost always blond and light-skinned, even in Southern Europe, where most people are of a darker complexion. Of course, their Germanic, Frankish, and Norman overlords were blond and light-skinned... ;)

And we must not forget the recurring theme of the king, or emperor, or pope, consorting with saints or even with Jesus himself, just to remind the unwashed that these great men really are immensely superior and ordained by God...[/QB]

George.
09-22-2004, 05:37 PM
Upon reflection, here is how Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are similar:

1. In all three, the faithful are required to once a week go to a temple shaped like a big house, with huge doors and high ceilings. It is richly decorated, and looks like the home of a huge and very rich and powerful being.

2. Inside, everyone lines up in rows and faces one man, an officially-approved leader of the group, who reads from a book.

3. The book was written centuries ago and is supposed to contain profound truths, and to be infallible, and to need no updating. Some of what is in the book is socially useful. But most of its contents are platitudes, or obscure parables, or anachronisms. And it is full of contradictions.

4. Since the book is so contradictory and metaphorical, the "leader" interprets it for the flock. By extension, this interpretation is also held to be infallible.

5. The group is not allowed to question, or even think about questioning, the message as it is interpreted for them. However, they may join in ritual chanting, or singing, which tends to make them all the more suceptible to suggestion.

6. The service ends with a "sermon," which is often political in content. This is not discussed, but must also be considered infallible.

Sam F
09-23-2004, 07:30 AM
http://www.art-roman.net/montoire8.jpg From an early French church (Loire) and a pretty good illustration of the mental gymnastics used by the secularists to deny facts inconvenient to their self-constructed ďrealitiesĒ. :D :D

Osborne Russel
09-23-2004, 05:38 PM
"Better leave theology to the experts" -- like illiterate peasants looking at european stained glass conspicuous consumption, maybe. This makes them experts in theology?

How do Jews and Moslems become your kind of "expert"? How does any religion, excepting of course Christianity with their wonder windows, produce "experts"?

Jack Heinlen
09-23-2004, 06:24 PM
Europe's cathedrals contain not only books in stone and glass explaining Jesus to the illiterate, they contain many strange and occult matters. Most are built on the sites of pagan alters, and little more than cursory look turns up intrigueing symbology. Anyone interested I'd direct to works by Fulcanelli.

It's always struck me, hard, that when you bring theologians and clergy from different traditions together you often get argument -- sometimes bloodshed. But bring together monastics and open-hearted seekers: dervishes, monks, scholars of Kaballah, ayuasca drinking shamans and you get a party. Let's break bread, lets laugh, let's dance. Let's meditate together. Surely, let's reason and argue, but we know the same ground of being so there is no reason to fight.

Merton is probably the exemplar of this among Catholic monks during the last century.

Maybe these men and women who've turned their attention inward know something the intellectuals don't?

Different connotation, same denotation?

Sam F
09-23-2004, 09:04 PM
Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
"Better leave theology to the experts" -- like illiterate peasants looking at european
stained glass conspicuous consumption, maybe. This makes them experts in theology?
No it does not make them experts and neither am I.
But it is perfectly clear that most any peasant did in fact know more about this subject
than you. They at least looked at the pictures and sculptures and listened to the scripture
readings.(I suspect that those peasants also knew a wide range of other subjects of which
you have not the slightest inkling.)
That's the problem.
You are entitled to disagree with anything whatsoever but it is much less embarrassing if
you happen to know what it is you disagree with.
And this is embarrassing. Heck Iím even embarrassed for you. This is not supposed
to be happening. You are the progressive, informed, man of the future. Your natural
evolutionary superiority should have left me in the dustbin of history, yet youíve been
refuted at every turn. Why?
Because you donít have a clue of what youíre talking about. Now for a superior highly
evolved being thatís pretty sad.


Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
How do Jews and Moslems become your kind of "expert"? How does any religion,
excepting of course Christianity with their wonder windows, produce
"experts"?People become informed on this subject (or any other) by simply knowing what they're
talking about. Then you might hit what you aim at. Don't wallow in ignorance and
prejudice! You too can become an informed atheist! Come on give it a try! I know you
can do it!!!!
Just ask Iíll try to find some easy to read books that should give you all the ammunition
you could desire.

George.
09-24-2004, 03:03 AM
Oh, well. Dennis is gone, and Sam has resorted to ad hominem attacks, distortions of history, and non sequitors.

Too bad, it was an interesting discussion.

Keith Wilson
09-24-2004, 08:28 AM
It was fun while it lasted. 'Bye, guys.

Sam F
09-24-2004, 08:31 AM
Imagine you were once a Boy Scout (perhaps you were) and got all the Merit Badges for woodcraft and such. Now all grown up, you might view the uniform as hokey or disapprove of the paramilitary nature of scouting or consider Baden-Powell a bit peculiar for his Fascist sympathies.

Nevertheless you remember much good about scouting and you earned those badges. But now you meet a scout who is a disgrace. He starts fires with gasoline and burned down his campground through sheer incompetence and is proud of it. You may no longer be a Scout and may not even believe in Scouting, but you recognize the good things that Scouting accomplished for you and others and thus view, with extreme disapproval, the shame this rogue brings on your former associates.

It is the same with Jim/Ozzie. Having spent twenty some years as a confirmed Atheist, I recognize and still value its good qualities. (I earned those badges!) Though in many ways Atheism is an infantile belief, is not without valuable qualities. Among those is a stress on evidence, accuracy and above all - knowledge. A troll like Ozzie is an embarrassment to Atheists everywhere. He makes the Atheist I was heartily ashamed of him and embarrassed for Atheists everywhere.

LeeG
09-24-2004, 08:41 AM
boundaries. Your embarassment is a pale substitute for manly ridicule.

Sam F
09-24-2004, 09:05 AM
Originally posted by LeeG:
boundaries. Your embarassment is a pale substitute for manly ridicule.Oh the ridicule is genuine enough - even if a pale and toned down reflection of what I really think. Whether it's adequately "manly" for your sensibilities is not my responsibility. I didn't know you liked the hairy-chested stuff so much Lee! :D

Osborne Russel
09-26-2004, 07:36 PM
youíre doing the very thing you accuse me of Ė putting down rules that God must obeyWhen did I do that?

Osborne Russel
09-26-2004, 07:39 PM
And thereís no egoism involved here either but rather a scientific outlook built into the Christianity.

Especially Revelations and the Rapture.

Osborne Russel
09-26-2004, 07:45 PM
Calling someone dishonest is not the same a proof. Can you prove that youíve personally checked every single thing you believe?

You're right, a statement is different from the evidence that supports it. As to what I have "personally checked", I don't know what you mean.