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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2016 at 00:52
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

Early christianity was not the religion we have now. In any case, once the various sects came into the Roman sphere it fell to Roman practises. One fourth century writer said that "make me a bishop of Rome today, and I'll become a christian tommorrow". By that he meant that bishops were getting somewhat wealthy on the backs of their congregations. Nothing new there then. But philosophy? organised religions do not generally encourage free thinking - it's bad for business. You simply will not get any mention of Plato or his work in any Sunday sermon anywhere in the world - I can virtually guarantee it.


So I've been following this discussion in eager anticipation, though with neither the energy nor the intent to participate. That said, I really must step in at this point.

I have been puzzled by some of your responses to franciscoan, caldrail, and have been trying to figure out where the disconnect is. I suspect that you might be equating the Christianity of the Early-Modern Age to the present -- especially as that particular form of Christianity has been practiced in the increasingly secular West -- with Christianity, "the thing itself", to stick with the Platonic theme.

I would suggest, though I am loathe to direct anyone to wikipedia, that everyone involved in the discussion read the following three articles, and perhaps branch off into the bibliographies. It provided a valuable, basic refresher to me as I reviewed it for gross errors while determining whether or not I could recommend it (though there were a few things I should like to edit; again, neither the time nor the inclination). Wink Here are the links (I would also suggest that they be read in the following order, though I leave that to those interested):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Martyr
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos_%28Christianity%29


Hopefully then this conversation could truly be productive, as it is one that has been going on for 2000-2500 years, depending on what you decide to call the beginning. And it is a discussion that greatly interests me; it does not interest me a bit, however, if it must start over at the beginning.

As for the two other points you raised in the post you quoted, you would be right on the first and wrong on the second. I would guarantee you that Plato and his work are not only mentioned but discussed and interpreted from pulpits around the world, though definitely less in the West. As to the corruption that has existed in a Church, and churches throughout the ages, especially in the period right after the Constantinian dispensation, you are quite correct; the quote is both hilarious and disturbing in its accuracy. Indeed, much of the canon law of the early-fourth century dealt with how to deal with an influx of converts who were seeking power and influence by joining the newly favoured faith. That, of course, was tied up in the traumatic events of the reign of Diocletian, and is a discussion for another thread.

That said, what do you say? Do we have a bargain? Though I do not currently have the time to participate, I would love to read an informed theological and historical discussion on this subject among those participating in this thread.

-Akolouthos


Edited by Akolouthos - 21 Jan 2016 at 00:57
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2016 at 04:27
homework, ouch.  Okay, philosophy is one thing, intellectual history is another (which I am a little sketchy on).  Philosophers usually study seminal individuals.  Pretty good background, although you are right Wikipedia is not the best.  parts are too much information (Isocrates, Stoicism...), and parts are not enough (Plato).  Logos is not so much a term in Plato, as part of the background of Plato.  Amongst other philosophers, Plato studied Heracliteanism.  His dialogue, The Cratylus is about Socrates' conversation on words with Hermogenes, and a Heraclitean named Cratylus.

Logos is one of those words, like Tao, which defies easy translation.

So Socrates and Heraclitus were Christians but didn't know it, because they knew the logos.  and Jesus in the Gospel of John was the logos incarnate.  I don't think that this is any stranger than the eternal Koran.  Both are something that bothers people who aren't going to like religion anyways.  To me, its kind of cool, like science fiction stories of time travel, or FTL (faster than light) travel.  If you cloak such stories in science, that's good..., if you speculate about them in religion, that's bad....

A unified notion of science is not really possible without a monotheism.  If every tree and brook and gust of wind is the result of a different nymph or spirit, it becomes hard to look upon natura (phusis) as some (one) thing that is investigatible.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2016 at 15:39
No, free thinking is not advantageous to organised religion because it raises too many questions about faith, which is after all belief regardless of evidence. In extreme cases, such as middle eastern zealots and radicals, free thinking represents a threat to the established order and they take action which can only be regarded as inquisitorial and quite lethal. In facvt, members of the Taliban have been executed by the Islamic State for non-compliance.

If we go back a while, when christianity was stronger in peoples hearts than today, we find wars based on interpretations of religious teaching and translations of the Bible - even converting that to english was for some a heinous crime because it meant that the common worshipper need no longer consult his priest about information of the religious texts and were free to make up their own mind. These days we're luckier - free thinking is not so harshly treated and inquisitions don't take place - but the christian churches don't discuss philosophy. They discuss religious teaching and interpretation of world affairs within their own context - because that retains their authority in the marketplace. Otherwise religion serves no useful purpose except to exploit worshippers financially and quite enough of that goes on thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2016 at 20:49
I actually have a free moment today, so I suppose I can contribute to a discussion for once. LOL

First, caldrail:

Based on your response, I believe you might have missed the posts on this page. It tends to happen to all of us when threads flip over into a new page. How about my offer? It appears franciscoan has agreed to take me up on it.

Secondly, franciscoan:

Originally posted by franciscoan franciscoan wrote:

Okay, philosophy is one thing, intellectual history is another (which I am a little sketchy on).  Philosophers usually study seminal individuals.  Pretty good background, although you are right Wikipedia is not the best.  parts are too much information (Isocrates, Stoicism...), and parts are not enough (Plato).  Logos is not so much a term in Plato, as part of the background of Plato.  Amongst other philosophers, Plato studied Heracliteanism.  His dialogue, The Cratylus is about Socrates' conversation on words with Hermogenes, and a Heraclitean named Cratylus.


In the case of Logos Theory, philosophy and intellectual history are inseparably intertwined. The essence of Justin Martyr's assertion is that the spermatic logos (ὁ σπερματικός λόγος), a concept borrowed from the Stoics which Justin develops within a Christian cosmological context, is Christ. As the pre-existent Logos, Christ is, himself, the rational principle of the universe, which Justin views in terms of the action of the Son at the dawn of Creation. Thus, the Son, by whom all things are created, seeds himself into Creation, specifically through the activity of the rational mind within Man who is created in his image and likeness. It is this which allows Man to participate in the creative and redemptive activity of God.

Quote Logos is one of those words, like Tao, which defies easy translation.


Indeed.

Quote So Socrates and Heraclitus were Christians but didn't know it, because they knew the logos.  and Jesus in the Gospel of John was the logos incarnate.  I don't think that this is any stranger than the eternal Koran.


Aye, but it goes a bit deeper than that. Socrates, Heraclitus, Plato, the Stoics, etc. realized in themselves the seed or spark of the Logos at the center of their rationality. This allowed them to dimly perceive fragments of that which had been revealed under the Old Covenant, and also to even more dimly anticipate that which was to constitute the New. Ironically, this places them, at the same time, both further from the authentic revelation of God than the Jews of their era, yet closer to him than the Jews who continued under the illusion of the Old Covenant after the Incarnation. Patristic Christian Anthropology is a topic for another thread, but you might find the Platonic analogy of the charioteer helpful in considering the topic.

If you have time, go back and read The Apology, keeping the above in mind, and I suspect you will find a surprise. Wink

Quote I don't think that this is any stranger than the eternal Koran.  Both are something that bothers people who aren't going to like religion anyways.  To me, its kind of cool, like science fiction stories of time travel, or FTL (faster than light) travel.  If you cloak such stories in science, that's good..., if you speculate about them in religion, that's bad....


Could you elaborate on that last point? I am not sure I take your meaning, and consequently not sure whether I agree or disagree.

Quote A unified notion of science is not really possible without a monotheism.  If every tree and brook and gust of wind is the result of a different nymph or spirit, it becomes hard to look upon natura (phusis) as some (one) thing that is investigatible. 


While I am not certain I would entirely agree, I am fairly certain Plato would be on board, and absolutely certain that Plotinus and those influenced by him, including Augustine, would be as well. My reservation would be my sense that the assertion does violence to the boundary between two complementary but non-overlapping magisteria. The scientific method, when properly applied, remains neutral to -- indeed indifferent to -- the existence of God. Rather it seeks to analyse and interpret empirical data. If God should happen to show up in that data to the satisfaction of the interpreter, He would simply be posited into the system as another data point.

From a philosophical and theological perspective, I agree completely. Indeed, it is obviously the view that I hold myself. I would also argue that historical and empirical data are indicative of God. That said, while we can prove the overwhelming likelihood of God through reason alone, the last step must always be through faith responding to revelation. This is not merely a scientific objection that I have; it is a theological one. Because God is, in His Essence, uncreated, He must always reveal himself to us before we can perceive Him.

Looking forward to following the dialogue, and perhaps participating if I get another free moment. Smile

-Akolouthos 

Edited by Akolouthos - 22 Jan 2016 at 21:02
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jan 2016 at 01:42
With Aristotle, you have potentiality and actuality, change consists of something that is potential become actual (generation), and something actual devolving into something potential (corruption), potential usually for something else.  Mind you, I am not looking at Aristotle right now, but working off of my understanding, which is limited (and much of this is _probably_ what Aristotle said/would have said).

You might think about Socrates and Heraclitus, etc. as potential (or nascent?) Christians, or not depending on what you want, who knew the Logos, etc, etc, etc.  Well, if you talk about potential Christians, what about "actual" Christians?  Well, I like what Lessing says, "there was one true Christian and he died upon the Cross," so except for Jesus, _everybody_ is a potential Christian with no actuality.  this btw, is how Martin Heidegger describes Man, potentiality with no actuality, no point of conclusion where one can say, "now I have made it."  I would say that this is in Aristotle as well, but buried deep in the unwritten doctrines of Plato, expressed by Aristotle, said (by Burkert) to be from Pythagoreanism.  But the point is, all Christians (in my book) are "potential" Christians, some "better," some "worse"
than others.  But we are not in the epistemic position to know ultimately what is good and what is not. That doesn't mean we can't judge, in some ways we have to for the continuation of society, it is just that our judgment is flawed, not absolute.
So there is plenty of room to be a free thinker, unless you presuppose what that means.  "We" are all flawed and so we must allow for others flaws, "do not judge, lest ye be judged."  But, Caldrail, you probably don't buy that, which is fine, but someday you may realize that nobody is trying to sell you anything.
I have a friend who is Orthodox Christian, he says, "I'm Orthodox, I don't belong to an organized religion."  I don't know about fire and brimstone, but most churches are like herding cats.  Protestants are not even aware of heresy, let alone wanting to punish it.  Nobody has to be there, in modern society one can always leave, and therefore, Atheism says that religion will dry up and blow away.  And yet it doesn't.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jan 2016 at 02:24
Caldrail, I imagine that you don't have a sense of awe filled reverence, but do you have a sense of wonder?  Do you have a sense of humor?  I mean, I imagine you do, but don't you find religion funny?
Don't you find the human condition funny?  I consider something that is funny to be a positive thing.  I consider something wondrous to be a positive thing (which probably were the Logos comes in).  Do consider humor to be worth anything at all?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jan 2016 at 03:31
Originally posted by franciscoan franciscoan wrote:

With Aristotle, you have potentiality and actuality, change consists of something that is potential become actual (generation), and something actual devolving into something potential (corruption), potential usually for something else.  Mind you, I am not looking at Aristotle right now, but working off of my understanding, which is limited (and much of this is _probably_ what Aristotle said/would have said).


When it comes to Aristotle, I would suspect that my knowledge is much more limited than yours. I have a basic understanding, and have read a fair bit, but he just doesn't capture much of my interest -- at least not enough to drag me away from my other interests. Wink

Quote You might think about Socrates and Heraclitus, etc. as potential (or nascent?) Christians, or not depending on what you want, who knew the Logos, etc, etc, etc.  Well, if you talk about potential Christians, what about "actual" Christians?  Well, I like what Lessing says, "there was one true Christian and he died upon the Cross," so except for Jesus, _everybody_ is a potential Christian with no actuality.  this btw, is how Martin Heidegger describes Man, potentiality with no actuality, no point of conclusion where one can say, "now I have made it."  I would say that this is in Aristotle as well, but buried deep in the unwritten doctrines of Plato, expressed by Aristotle, said (by Burkert) to be from Pythagoreanism.  But the point is, all Christians (in my book) are "potential" Christians, some "better," some "worse" than others.


I think I would be more inclined to borrow a bit of terminology from the fourth century. Eusebius said that, in essence, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the other righteous men under the Old Covenant were "Christians before Christ," in that they knew and followed the Divine Will. I feel fairly comfortable asserting that this is the sort of relationship Justin is positing when it comes to the pagan philosophers and the Christian Church, due to the fact that both knew and followed the Logos, albeit in very different ways, and to very different degrees. Both the terms "nascent" and "potential", while being potentially useful,  *ahem* Tongue present problems. One of those problems is that they tempt us to turn a discussion about cosmology into a discussion about anthropology. "How does the Logos act on and within Creation, and to what end?", can all-too-easily become "What does it mean to, and can anyone really be, an 'actual' Christian?" Now that is certainly a worthy question, but it is also a digression.

I would say that one of the most intriguing questions any Christian might ask himself is not "Can I ever be truly Christian?" It is "Can I ever be truly human?" We find that the answer is the same, for the same reasons, and by the same method. In the words of several modern theologians, we are never, truly, human beings; we are always, rather, human becomings, who have found but not yet fully realized our telos.

Quote But we are not in the epistemic position to know ultimately what is good and what is not. That doesn't mean we can't judge, in some ways we have to for the continuation of society, it is just that our judgment is flawed, not absolute.


I agree wholeheartedly. Very well put. Smile

-Akolouthos

Edited by Akolouthos - 23 Jan 2016 at 03:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2016 at 00:33
It's not a question for Christians, it is a question for anyone.  How to be human, that is.  But I kind of suspect that one is human for better or worse.  Inhumanity is something that is very human.  Being religious gives one a path for being human, for better or worse.  Religion can (be used to) justify great kindness, or great cruelty.  Then again, so can atheism, but in the case of atheism, I am not sure if limitations have evolved in it quite yet.  I am not sure which is more chilling, the genocide of the final solution, or the Soviet photos where people just disappeared over time as they got purged.  The Soviet Union and the French Revolution adopted alternative calendars with 5 day weeks, so thoroughly they wanted to dominate the thinking of the people, didn't last, just as Fascist Italy's calendar starting off year one with Mussolini did not last.  I understand that the Germans, believing they were right, documented most anything, the Soviets and others, however, worked hard on rewriting history.

Logos means the utterance, but also the thought behind the utterance.  Aristotle (somewhere) talks about man as a zo'on logon.  This is usually translated as "man is a rational animal."  But it means more than that.  One, perhaps, can think without language, but it is pretty hard to figure out what that is, exactly.
"In the beginning was the Word (Logos) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," says a lot.   It probably isn't "Christian" in origin, but something picked up from Stoicism.  I seem to remember that the word "beginning" here is "arche," meaning something that some begins with, but also something that rules over what comes after, determines things.  The United States "began" with a constitutional convention.  Rome began with Romulus killing Remus, question is, did Romulus killing Remus create something that persisted in the Roman character? it was a question that bothered them, and looking at Gladiators, one can see why. 
The Roman god of language is Hermes, the messenger god, but also the god of thiefs.  There is something about those who were eloquent that the Greeks did not completely trust.  There was a famous wrestler who was once asked who the best wrestler was.  He said with no hesitation, "Pericles."  The audience was surprised, for Pericles was a politician, not a wrestler, and they said to him, "surely you could beat him."
He said, "no, you don't understand, I could throw him and he would get back up and he would convince the audience that it wasn't him that was thrown, but it was me, and he would be so convincing that even I would believe him."  That is how the Greeks looked at language, including the logos.
Another example of a language god is given in Lucan's writings, where there is a celtic (type) god whose tongue is pierced several times with chains from the piercing going to the ears of his followers, who is dragging along with the power of his tongue.  Language was something wonderful for the ancients, not just the Jews or the Greeks.  If you think about there is not one, but three creation myths in the Bible, two in Genesis (conflated in people's minds into one), a one in John !.!.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2016 at 16:54
Quote Caldrail, I imagine that you don't have a sense of awe filled reverence, but do you have a sense of wonder?

Sure do. I just don't need some cobbled-together explanation of the infinite. The world is a miracle for all sorts of mundane and scientific reasons without adding mysticism or just plain nonsense.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jan 2016 at 20:50
"cobbled-together explanation of the infinite"??  Okay, what about a sense of humor?  I mean can't you imagine a guy up on a cross, saying to a Roman guard, "just you wait!  We might be crucified now, but then we will be fed to lions, and killed by gladiators, and then we'll take over!  Some day, I tell you, even the Emperor will be a Christian!"

Rome was brutal.  Christianity (turn the other cheek) was like Judo in such a brutal situation, the Christian might fall, but in the process he would throw the Roman for a loop.  One could not resist the Empire (and its brutality) directly, the Jewish Uprising and Masada showed that.  That was the lesson that MLK practiced, and yes, he did fall, but he did not fail.

I don't think that there really was a sense of the infinite until the scientific revolution.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2016 at 13:46
Let's cut the crap Jesus, or Joshua as he should be called, was executed because he upset his local civic leaders with his preaching and political agenda (he had every intention of exploiting the legend of a Messiah who would free his people - that sort of initiative was common in the ancient world and almost always led to a sticky end). Those leaders went to Pontius Pilate who as Roman governor of the province was duty bound to oversee local law, so he had Josh arrested, questioned, and didn't like his answers either. To keep the peace and preserve local security, Josh was condemned If the story of Barabas has any truth, Josh was not exactly popular with the masses either.

So Joshua gets crucified as a criminal. Bit of a problem if you're buying into his personality cult because the Son of God can hardly have any credibility if he's on death row for being an activist. So when the priests are questioned, they simply rule that "He died for our sins" which is complete nonsense. His death made no difference to the rest of us apart from being spared a lot more 'messages'. It's all religious whitewash, an attempt to explain a mundane event in miraculous terms and preserve some element of divinity - which the man clearly didn't deserve.

But the origin of christianity in the wake of his death is not a simple progression. Earl;y christianity was a swathe of small religious cults that were not connected with each other or organised. In Roman times, many self professed bishops were simply con-men on the make, just like today. The Bible is an assemblage of stories written long after the event and quite literally 'cobbled together' to form a religious text, with some versions rejected because they were not conformal to later ideas or the movement toward christian unity in the fourth century, and even then, the final mix was never completely agreeable to everyone. It still isn't.

The Bible as a text is often portrayed as a volume of wisdom - quite why I don't know. It's self contradictory, mis-interpreted, re-written and editted, censored, and is basically designed as a sourcebook for priests to bamboozle innocent and confused worshippers. As for being mis-interpreted, the classic example is the Book of Revelations. A prophecy for our time? That's a bit convenient, especially since it was a thinly disguised call to arms for dissident movements against the Roman Empire.

There has always been a sense of the infinite. It's part of human character to wonder about the world around them. Prehistoric religions certainly did show evidence of it too. As religion developed in Britain, we see changes from basic spirituality to ancestor worship, to trying to comprehend the links between landscape and heavens, the flowering of communal effort and worship, and a quite astonishing religious landscape evolving to support these concepts. When we look at later heroic tales of the Iron Age to Dark Age era, we see stories of men struggling to investigate the infinite, to struggle against the natural world, to struggle against the winds of fate and machination of the divine.

Infinity is strictly speaking impossible. But if someone does not have the information or ability to make judgements based on values beyond our normal everyday understanding, then something needs to stand as a placeholder, thus we use the phrase 'infinite', and always have.

No sense of humour huh? I still fall off my seat watching "Life Of Brian" on DVD. Says it all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Penderyn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2016 at 13:59
What interests me about history is the constant need to look into the way it is used to justify current positions.    As a 'Welsh' person I was brought up on a history consisting either of non-existence or constant defeat - defeat after defeat for well over a thousand years, and surviving, biGod!   Learning a little of actuality has much increased my height!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 2016 at 02:59
*sigh*

I really don't have the time for this, but it needs to be said...

Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

Let's cut the crap Jesus, or Joshua as he should be called, was executed because he upset his local civic leaders with his preaching and political agenda (he had every intention of exploiting the legend of a Messiah who would free his people - that sort of initiative was common in the ancient world and almost always led to a sticky end). Those leaders went to Pontius Pilate who as Roman governor of the province was duty bound to oversee local law, so he had Josh arrested, questioned, and didn't like his answers either. To keep the peace and preserve local security, Josh was condemned If the story of Barabas has any truth, Josh was not exactly popular with the masses either.


Other than your assessment of the motives and character of Jesus, I actually don't have much of a problem with your historical take up to this point. Indeed, I grumbled something along these lines when I saw a movie trailer on the television today, where they seemed to insinuate that the Crucifixion and Resurrection led to "the biggest manhunt in history." By all accounts, once the deed was done, the Romans didn't care, and the Jews, depending upon which account you read, either sought to cover up the Resurrection, or legitimately condemned a fabrication. Either way, had it not been for the spread of the Christian Church, the incident would have been forgotten along with the advents and exits of so many other "Messiahs" during the period of the Roman occupation of the Levant. The point, however, is that it was not.

As for your rather glib assertion that Jesus "should" be called Joshua [the emphasis is mine], I think you need to go back and study linguistics.

Quote
So Joshua gets crucified as a criminal. Bit of a problem if you're buying into his personality cult because the Son of God can hardly have any credibility if he's on death row for being an activist. So when the priests are questioned, they simply rule that "He died for our sins" which is complete nonsense. His death made no difference to the rest of us apart from being spared a lot more 'messages'. It's all religious whitewash, an attempt to explain a mundane event in miraculous terms and preserve some element of divinity - which the man clearly didn't deserve.


When the priests are questioned? Which priests? Those from the Levitical priesthood of the Jews? Or the priesthood of the Christians? I gather that you are speaking of the latter, though in the context of your what preceded your comment, as well as your failure to acknowledge that some of the civic leaders were also -- even primarily -- religious leaders, you can understand how it might confuse the reader. And questioned by whom? The Romans? Their own congregants? This is why I have little patience with simplistic assertions of bias. They are almost never precise, and often uninformed. I really think you need a better understanding of first-century Palestine if you wish to understand the intricasies of the situation.

And as for your assertion that the Son of God can hardly have any credibility if he is on death row for being an activist, I would love to know the historical basis for that. (Hint, there is one within Judaism, but it does not apply to the period of which we are speaking. Once again: this is why attempting to analyze this period -- and, indeed, any historical period -- requires some background.)

As for whether or not Christ "deserved some element of divinity", I would say that your comment quite misses the point. The point is, rather, whether or not he had it. But that takes us from the realm of history into the realm of theology, and from the realm of empirical study into the realm of faith. I am willing to let the point drop.

Quote But the origin of christianity in the wake of his death is not a simple progression. Earl;y christianity was a swathe of small religious cults that were not connected with each other or organised. In Roman times, many self professed bishops were simply con-men on the make, just like today. The Bible is an assemblage of stories written long after the event and quite literally 'cobbled together' to form a religious text, with some versions rejected because they were not conformal to later ideas or the movement toward christian unity in the fourth century, and even then, the final mix was never completely agreeable to everyone. It still isn't.

The Bible as a text is often portrayed as a volume of wisdom - quite why I don't know. It's self contradictory, mis-interpreted, re-written and editted, censored, and is basically designed as a sourcebook for priests to bamboozle innocent and confused worshippers. As for being mis-interpreted, the classic example is the Book of Revelations. A prophecy for our time? That's a bit convenient, especially since it was a thinly disguised call to arms for dissident movements against the Roman Empire.


Wow. I really don't have the time. The short version is this:

Early Christianity in the broadest sense, depending upon how one defines the period, was an amalgam of small religious cults which had little connection to each other. The Early Church was not. And it is the confusion between the two which makes for bad history (a cardinal sin). We see the narrative of the Early Church written in the accounts of Scripture (look specifically to the Book of Acts) and the Apostolic Fathers, and then the later Church fathers.

At each stage we see conflict, and, indeed, con-men. The Church has never asserted otherwise; and, for that matter, no one in the Church who has any historical credibility has ever asserted otherwise. There are even examples in the New Testament (look to the etymology of the word "simony"). There are certainly examples in the Post-Constantinian Period. The Early Church also had trouble with spiritual and moral discipline. Just read Paul's letters to the Corinthians. I suspect you are attacking a "golden age" concept of the New Testament and Early Church in which few believed, and that only sporadically, before the dawn of the Reformation.

As for your comments on the origin of the Canon of Scripture, I would suggest that you crack an introductory text on the subject and lay off the Dan Brown. You might also check into the rather interesting and divergent cases of the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Apocalypse of St. John. Here, and I do sincerely apologize, I really do not have the time unless you come up with a more informed critique.

As for the end of your post -- which I have not quoted here, but which I would encourage others to read -- I largely agree with your interpretation of the development of man's religious impulses and experiences through the ages. I would encourage others to read it because it is a very clear and cogent analysis of the phenomenon. You and I would likely differ, not so much on the whats, but on the whys.

caldrail, I recognize that I am inserting myself into a discussion which was already going on here, but I simply will not allow simplistic assertions stemming from a popular bias against the parties in a historical period to which I have devoted a life of study to stand. History requires that we inform ourselves, that we adhere to a stringent methodology, and that we refrain from involving ourselves in the uninformed notions of others, even when they confirm a worldview which we already held. Spouting bias requires none of these. And it is to my great sorrow, as it should be to the sorrow of anyone who values productive dialogue, that, in our world, the former is so much more apparent than the latter.

My issue is not that you are not adhering to a Christian position while analyzing Christianity. My issue is that you are not adhering to a historical standard while claiming to be analyzing history. And, having read some of your other posts on the forum, you are capable of so much more.

-Akolouthos

Edited by Akolouthos - 28 Jan 2016 at 03:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 2016 at 05:29
We tend to look at things through deductive logic, major premise, minor premise, conclusion.
All men are mortal, Socrates is a man, Socrates is mortal.  But in rhetoric, not only is logic involved but pathos or feeling is involved as well.  And of course, for Aristotle, a speech had to have the ethos or character as well in order for it to be a good speech. Logos, Pathos, Ethos, for a good speech have to have ethos and either logos or pathos or both.
Now Aristotle did not say, you had to have logos or pathos, but it would be best to have both.  He didn't even say, well it is best to have logos, but pathos will do the job as well.  We might think that, thinking about ourselves as "rational" animals.  We worship on the altar of reason, often forgetting what reason is for.  I think that for a rhetorician, they may even accept either a false major or a false minor, or even false both, in order to get the result across.  By false, I mean a noble lie or maybe just the use of a logical fallacy, something that one accepts so that a particular conclusion can follow.  Of course, the thing about noble lies, is that they are so big, that one can never entirely grasp them, and thus one cannot be sure of their status as lies.  A "mother's love,"  for example, is something that one should perhaps not give a hint of doubt towards.  Or maybe we should for the sake of the "truth," but not for the sake of family, society, the nation.  Social "sciences" teach us that anything goes, and if society is the poorer for that, well the truth "hurts," is some people's attitude towards that.  They think that they won't be the ones to suffer if society is broken, in fact they believe it can take any and every kind of abuse.

Of course, part of the belief these days is that everything should be out in the open, everything should be taken at face value.  There are certain truths that Plato and Thucydides put in the mouths of despicable characters.  So those truths regarding power and might are there in Plato and Thucydides, but they are not presented favorably like Machiavelli would, or neutrally as a modern sociologist would, calling a tyrant, a dictator for example, because heaven forbid we call a tyrant a non-neutral term such as tyrant.
One thing that modernity denies (and we would be a lot healthier if we would accept) is that in antiquity people often wrote in a more circumspect manner, to get past the censors or the mob.  The Dialogue form is natural for this, "no, no, no, you don't understand, these are literary characters discussing various opinions.  Oh, you thought that character _X's_ view was my view?  I assure you that it is not."
Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Galileo, Berkeley, Hume all wrote (at times) in Dialogue form. 

The Bible is different, some OT/HB books are lists of rules for a tribal society and its descendant.  Some are stories, but these are not like the Iliad, these stories are bare bones, something which the priest or rabbi would take and elucidate on the oral tradition.  You have Apocalyptic literature, which is sort of saying the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but your enemies will fall, and everything will be alright in the end.  You have Psalms and Proverbs which are songs and sayings, probably a lot of these sayings don't look like anything special, but the fact is that their "wisdom" has probably soaked into our culture a long time ago.  There is nothing circumspect about Apocalyptic literature, and there is not much circumspect about the letters in the NT.  These people were doing a different strategy than the more circumspect Greco-Roman tradition, Paul was on overdrive and he didn't try to hide, but sought to get done as much as possible as he could before Rome caught up to him.  If you want to paint him as a flim-flam man, fine, but it seems clear to me that he believed his own schtick (as did Jesus and the early Apostles).
I am not saying you have time for it, Caldrail, but from what little I have seen, I consider Higher Criticism to be fascinating.  Harold Bloom has a fun book, the Book of J, (which I am sure must frustrate more serious "students" of religion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 2016 at 11:19
Quote As for your comments on the origin of the Canon of Scripture, I would suggest that you crack an introductory text on the subject and lay off the Dan Brown.

Who?

I have no idea where you're coming from. The Bible is composed of various texts/stories selected for the purpose of compiling a religious text, particularly after the move toward unity sponsored by Constantine. That's history - not sensationalist fiction. Marcellinus confirms that christian leaders had woken up to the opportunities that Constantine was offering.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jan 2016 at 05:51
Part of the reason for the establishment of the NT, is that Marcion wanted to get rid of almost all of it, throw the baby out with the bathwater.  The NT in many ways is inclusive rather than exclusive which is why there are 4 gospels that are not completely consistent with each other, representing 4 different perspectives.  Also, the "Old Testament" was kept, even though it doesn't entirely mesh with the NT, and of course the Apocrypha, and the Pseudopocrypha.  And then you have the Church Fathers and the Saints, and in modern times the Gnostic Gospels and the Dead Sea Scrolls have some influence.  Some Church Fathers are not saints, because their views are heretical, but they were heretical before that view was proclaimed a heresy.  They still are important, because they are part of the process of Christianity forming.  Religions are like a hoarder, its hard for them to get rid of anything, even though various things may go in and out of favor.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jan 2016 at 09:55
To some extent. Bear in mind however that christianity is a child of the Roman Empire and its teachings preserve a degree of Roman mindset. Just read the Book of Genesis  The idea that God gave mankind mastery over nature is pure Roman. And then again, christian rituals are often pagan Roman, such as exchanging wedding rings, throwing confetti, carrying a bride across a threshol, and cutting the cake. We take them from granted these days but those customs date back to Rome's earliest times. Christianity simply continued them under its own aegis - but you would expect social customs to persist whatever religion had dominated. Then again, late empire sermons are quite despairing of the morality of the Dominate.

For that reason, and knowing that it was the Roman world that had collated and censored what the Bible contained, we have to accept that the Bible is conformal to a purpose, and deliberately vague for the same reason.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jan 2016 at 20:22
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

Quote As for your comments on the origin of the Canon of Scripture, I would suggest that you crack an introductory text on the subject and lay off the Dan Brown.

Who?

I have no idea where you're coming from. The Bible is composed of various texts/stories selected for the purpose of compiling a religious text, particularly after the move toward unity sponsored by Constantine. That's history - not sensationalist fiction. Marcellinus confirms that christian leaders had woken up to the opportunities that Constantine was offering.


You know what? It would appear that I do owe you a bit of an apology. I went back and read your comments, and it appears that I read a few things into them which you had not said, based on the rest of your post, essentially putting words in your mouth. Mea culpa.

I do have a few problems with your analysis, but they are nowhere near as general as I thought, and thus I owe you a precise critique.

Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

The Bible is an assemblage of stories written long after the event...


I suppose, though it would depend on your definition of "long after". They were written in the second half of the first century, and that for a very logical reason: The eyewitnesses were dying. The communities which they had founded and influenced, consequently, compiled their teachings that they might be preserved.

Quote ...and quite literally 'cobbled together' to form a religious text,...


My critique here would be with the phrase "cobbled together", which implies a deliberation that does not apply to the organic way in which the early Canon developed. Later on, of course, their was more intentionality, which brings us to...

Quote ...with some versions rejected because they were not conformal to later ideas or the movement toward christian unity in the fourth century,...


There were, of course, arguments about what should be included in the Canon, and these did persist into the fourth century (and, in a few cases, beyond). Interpretations have always varied -- a fact very well developed by Vincent of Lerins. That said, none of this presents a problem for the majority of Christians before the Early-Modern Period. Scripture is, in its essence, simply a special category of Tradition. And its application, if not its composition, continues to develop organically even now.

I should also note that many of the texts that did not make it into the Canon -- here, the prime example would be many of the Gnostic texts -- were not so much rejected as they were products of communities separate from the Early Church. And if you read them, this quickly becomes apparent. Here you have, essentially, put the chicken before the egg. This is, once again, a matter of distinguishing between early Christianity, in the broadest sense, and the Early Church.

Quote ...and even then, the final mix was never completely agreeable to everyone. It still isn't.


Here I might surprise you: If I am reading you correctly, I agree completely. Indeed, this is one which Christian writers often either miss or ignore. In answer to the question, "When was the canon closed?", many are quick to respond with their own dates, most of which revolve around the fourth century to one degree or another.

A better answer to the question would be "Who the hell knows?" Wink I would generally posit a much later date -- at least if we are discussing the official closing of the canon, rather than the broad acceptance of what came to be accepted, which happened in the period generally cited -- but I would be in the minority.

As for the final mix not being "agreeable to everyone", I agree. That said, the simple fact of the existence of two or more opinions on a subject does not mean that one or more of them is not correct.

Quote The Bible as a text is often portrayed as a volume of wisdom - quite why I don't know. It's self contradictory, mis-interpreted, re-written and editted, censored, and is basically designed as a sourcebook for priests to bamboozle innocent and confused worshippers.


That is a rather broad brush you are painting with. Then again, it is just as valid as many of the rose-coloured defenses of Scripture I have heard before, so I'll let you off the hook. Wink

Quote As for being mis-interpreted, the classic example is the Book of Revelations. A prophecy for our time? That's a bit convenient, especially since it was a thinly disguised call to arms for dissident movements against the Roman Empire.


The exegetical history surrounding the Apocalypse of St. John, as with all Apocalyptic literature in the centuries surrounding the Incarnation, is complex and intriguing. In the context of the way the book is currently viewed in the modern West, I am inclined to agree with you to a large extent here. Indeed, we see, in the history of the interpretation of the work, that many of the fathers were reluctant to engage with it. It is the only book of the New Testament that is not read in the liturgical services of the Orthodox Church. I would say that it does have value beyond its thinly veiled commentary on the period in which it was written, but I am far from an expert in the study of Apocalyptic literature, so my opinion is of little value.

So there you have it. It would appear that we are closer on a few points than I had first thought, and you have my apologies (and here I am not being sarcastic) for misinterpreting and misreading you earlier. I do think there are serious issues with some of your interpretation of the history of the development of the Canon of Scripture, as outlined above. That said, a discussion with you on the matter is certainly of more value than a discussion with any of the innumerable Christian "scholars" who speak of the Canon as if, one fine day, it fell from Heaven.

-Akolouthos


Edited by Akolouthos - 29 Jan 2016 at 20:32
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jan 2016 at 21:03
Originally posted by franciscoan franciscoan wrote:

It's not a question for Christians, it is a question for anyone.  How to be human, that is.  But I kind of suspect that one is human for better or worse.  Inhumanity is something that is very human.  Being religious gives one a path for being human, for better or worse.  Religion can (be used to) justify great kindness, or great cruelty.  Then again, so can atheism, but in the case of atheism, I am not sure if limitations have evolved in it quite yet.  I am not sure which is more chilling, the genocide of the final solution, or the Soviet photos where people just disappeared over time as they got purged.  The Soviet Union and the French Revolution adopted alternative calendars with 5 day weeks, so thoroughly they wanted to dominate the thinking of the people, didn't last, just as Fascist Italy's calendar starting off year one with Mussolini did not last.  I understand that the Germans, believing they were right, documented most anything, the Soviets and others, however, worked hard on rewriting history.


No arguments here. I would say that the question is particularly important for Christians, due to their model for what it is to be properly human.

Quote Logos means the utterance, but also the thought behind the utterance.  Aristotle (somewhere) talks about man as a zo'on logon.  This is usually translated as "man is a rational animal."  But it means more than that.  One, perhaps, can think without language, but it is pretty hard to figure out what that is, exactly.


Logos is actually impossible to translate out of context. To a certain extent that is true of any word, but it is particularly so in this case.

Quote "In the beginning was the Word (Logos) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," says a lot.   It probably isn't "Christian" in origin, but something picked up from Stoicism.  I seem to remember that the word "beginning" here is "arche," meaning something that some begins with, but also something that rules over what comes after, determines things.  The United States "began" with a constitutional convention.  Rome began with Romulus killing Remus, question is, did Romulus killing Remus create something that persisted in the Roman character? it was a question that bothered them, and looking at Gladiators, one can see why.


You are correct about ἀρχή, which is, itself, another word which is difficult to translate.

As for the history of the concept of the Logos, in this context, it stretches back to Heraclitus. It did make its way into Christian cosmology via the Stoics, but it is important to look at the history of the concept in its entirety, precisely because of the broad and evolutionary cosmological significance of the theory. I am not asserting that you are not doing so, but I do think the point needs to be clarified. Great precision, as well as broad vision, is required if we are to make use of the application of the Logos as a methodological principle in the investigation of historical phenomena.

Quote The Roman god of language is Hermes, the messenger god, but also the god of thiefs.  There is something about those who were eloquent that the Greeks did not completely trust.  There was a famous wrestler who was once asked who the best wrestler was.  He said with no hesitation, "Pericles."  The audience was surprised, for Pericles was a politician, not a wrestler, and they said to him, "surely you could beat him."
He said, "no, you don't understand, I could throw him and he would get back up and he would convince the audience that it wasn't him that was thrown, but it was me, and he would be so convincing that even I would believe him."  That is how the Greeks looked at language, including the logos.


I love that anecdote.

I think one might more properly invert the order in which you have placed "language" and "Logos" and expand a bit on the relationship between the two, at least in the context of this discussion. The sentence would become: "That is how the Greeks looked at Logos, including its abiding presence within language."

Quote Another example of a language god is given in Lucan's writings, where there is a celtic (type) god whose tongue is pierced several times with chains from the piercing going to the ears of his followers, who is dragging along with the power of his tongue.  Language was something wonderful for the ancients, not just the Jews or the Greeks.  If you think about there is not one, but three creation myths in the Bible, two in Genesis (conflated in people's minds into one), a one in John !.!.


Now there is a conversation to swallow our time for several weeks. Wink In Genesis are there (a) two separate accounts of the Creation (in essence, two Creation narratives which are arguing with each other), (b) two complementary accounts from two different perspectives (i.e. from the perspectives of God and Man), (c) two accounts in which the latter expands upon an aspect of the former, or (d) something else entirely?

And is the first bit of the Gospel of John (1) yet another Creation narrative, or (2) an example of exegesis upon the Genesis narrative/narratives?

Personally, I would select (b) -- with just a dash of (c) -- and (2). I would also say that the conflation of the two Genesis accounts is both natural and essential to a proper understanding of the text. On all of this, however, there there is legitimate room for a broad range of opinions.

-Akolouthos

Edited by Akolouthos - 29 Jan 2016 at 21:06
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jan 2016 at 21:01
'Listen not to me, but to the Logos, and recognize all things are one.'  (Heraclitus, something like that).
It "should not" be an 'application of the Logos as a methodological principle.'  The logos is not a technique that we apply, more likely we are a vehicle through which it works.  Or as William S Burroughs and Laurie Anderson says, 'language is a virus,' and we are just carriers.  I guess one could at this point get into Dawkins' notion of memes (although I am not that familiar with that), but without the connotations (or denotations??) that one is baaaad, another one good. 

In one sense, I think that religions are conformal to a higher goal, (not necessarily all the same "exact" one), in another sense, as they say, "two Jews, three opinions."  The same is true for Jews for Jesus, BuJews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs....."  As far as vagueness is concerned, yah, they are all trying to get at something bigger than themselves ("Oh Lord, thou art so very, very big"), so of course they're a little vague about it.  I don't think that that is a problem for them, I think that perhaps they trade off certainty in one part of their life, for certainty in another.  Caldrail, I am correct in deducing that you see it as a problem?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2016 at 10:49
Religions are not conformal to any higher purpose at all. They exist to manipulate people. What you believe as an individual is one thing, what you're told to believe by someone else is another. Some religions are relatively benign, some are basically criminal or enslaving, but none are without self-serving objectives.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Feb 2016 at 06:42
Well, you obviously don't recognize becoming closer to the big G, or becoming holy as a higher purpose, but then again you are on the outside I assume.  I assume that you recognize that becoming a good person is a worthy goal, of course what that means is open to interpretation.  If you mean that religions often use an emotional appeal, yes I agree.  It is not like governments who have a monopoly on legitimate force, taking money under the threat of force (taxation, fines), imprisonment, execution.  Some are criminal, those "damned" Christians in Vietnam and China, converts in Pakistan, how dare thy defy the central government.  But, you are right, some are 'criminal' and immoral and should be treated according to criminal law, but that is true of a lot of businesses.  It is interesting that radicals want to be saved from religion and business, and are willing to sell their soul to the only entity that has the power to use "legitimate" force, the government.
I think that radical atheism is able to destroy moderate religion if they really work at it, I don't think that they want to, because radical atheism cannot destroy extreme religion.  Radical atheism can leave the world in polarized camps, and with the moderates gone, little communication between them.  Radical atheism, in the form of scientism would in effect become just another extreme doctrine trying to shout everybody else down.  But, since nobody would be listening, they would be just as ineffective as the others.
If religions have "self-serving" objectives, then they must have a self....  Do they?  How much are religions aware of having a self-identity?  Personally, I think that the right hand does not know what the left hand does.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Feb 2016 at 10:20
Becoming a good person is a relative term, not absolute. Christianity attempted to create absolute rules of society and failed to enforce them - and still does.

Do religions have identity? Oh good grief.... All human social constructs have to a greater or lesser degree, be it a nation state, a gangsters mob, a military unit, a rock and roll band, or a bunch of mates. Whatever. Religion is no different. The spiritual side is merely a means to an end. Relgions have, persistently, followed more worldly motives geared toward power, profit, and politics - the extent of their ambition tends to vary in proportion to the size of their following and its influence in high circles.

becoming closer to God? No su thing. 'God' is an invented figurehead for the purposes of focusing religious loyalty and obedience. If you accept God is real, then all gods and divine or infernal beings must therefore have the same credibility, because there is no proof of any such divine being. None. It's all smoke and mirros.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Feb 2016 at 17:36
Oh good grief, I asked whether religions have a self-identity, not whether they have an identity.  How much do religions have a "self"?  If they (the religions) are "self-serving" then they must have a "self," no?  Individuals can be "self-serving," but is it really appropriate to talk about a 1200, 2000, 4000 year tradition as having a "self"-identity, a "self"-awareness.  There are myriad layers of identity, to which of these layers does your "self-" serving refer?  Religions might have a "self," but it is definitely something that we cannot wrap our heads around.

Are you certain there is no such thing as God?  Have you ever been certain and found out later that you were wrong?  Your confidence in the lack of a God says more about you, than it does about whether God is in the world.  btw, first commandment is that "thou shalt have no other Gods before me," which implies that there are other entities.  I don't have a problem with my pagan friends, and yes, paganism is contained in the heart of Christianity, at least according to GK Chesterton.  I don't see that as a problem.

All I see is hostility towards something, that if you are so quick to dismiss 2000 years of Christian tradition, 4000 years of Judaic or Hindu tradition, or 1200 years of Muslim tradition, you probably don't understand.  Now don't misunderstand me, the difference between you and me is that I know that I do _not_ understand thousands of years of tradition, whereas you think you do, and therefore can dismiss it out of hand.  I mean, forget about the question of whether or not God exists or not, what about investigating the human condition through what little written records there are that go way back?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Feb 2016 at 03:29
Originally posted by franciscoan franciscoan wrote:

'Listen not to me, but to the Logos, and recognize all things are one.'  (Heraclitus, something like that).


You are correct on the attribution of the fragment, although I would prefer to translate the verb ὁμολογέω as "confess". Once again, I am in the minority here, but it is only because there are so many different renderings.  Wink

Quote It "should not" be an 'application of the Logos as a methodological principle.'  The logos is not a technique that we apply, more likely we are a vehicle through which it works.


I do understand the objection. I do not happen to agree with it. Then again, I was speaking, if not metaphorically, very much abstractly. I will attempt to explain a bit.

It is precisely because the Logos is He by Whom all things were created, as well as through Whom and in Whom they "live and move and have [their] being", that the Logos can be applied as a methodological principle. In a very real sense, He already has been, by virtue of the fact that it is the Logos Who provided order to -- and, by indwelling it, continues to provide order to -- His own Creation. In this sense, we do not so much apply the methodological principle as we recognize that He is already there, underpinning everything, and revealing, not only Himself, but all things to the degree to which we find ourselves in relationship with Him. And it is by seeking out the limitless One in His limited Creation that we discover ever more about the Created Order. It is through our relationship with Him that we come into relationship with His Creation and with one another within that Creation. In a very real sense, Christ Logos becomes the lens through which we view the cosmos.

Quote Or as William S Burroughs and Laurie Anderson says, 'language is a virus,' and we are just carriers.


A very apt analogy. But it is only by encountering the Logos that we may properly become carriers, at least of anything substantive. In encountering Him we become, not only carriers of a constructed system of words, but vehicles and agents of that power which indwells them and all other things. In essence, we recognize and actualize the power of the Logos within ourselves, and we become like unto Him by His grace. I should note that this must be done according to the prescribed order: in relationship with one another, with and within the communion of His Body.

Quote I guess one could at this point get into Dawkins' notion of memes (although I am not that familiar with that), but without the connotations (or denotations??) that one is baaaad, another one good.


I think I shall not. LOL

In concluding, I should note that I have tried to be exceedingly careful in the body of this post with my use of pronouns. I have done so for the purposes of clarity and clarification (i.e the Logos, for the Christian, is personal). I have not done so before in this dialogue, and may now go back to being lazy. Wink That said, the text here should better convey the essence of Christian Logos Theology.

Hope all is well, mate. Looking forward to your response!

-Akolouthos

Edited by Akolouthos - 03 Feb 2016 at 04:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Feb 2016 at 12:12
Quote Oh good grief, I asked whether religions have a self-identity, not whether they have an identity.

And I answered it.  All social structures identify within themselves, many depend on that self identity. This is after all basic sociology.

Quote All I see is hostility towards something, that if you are so quick to dismiss 2000 years of Christian tradition,

Well I certainly have no love for christianity - that's no secret, although I have at times defended it against false accusation or incorrect interpretation.  But why shouldn't I be so quick to dismiss it? Have we learned nothing in two thousand years? Apparently not. The ideas that christianity preserve arfe largely Roman and belong to an era that is dead and gone. To them, the idea that a man could be in some way divine was part of their world view. They saw personal power as evidence of elevated spirit. tO THEM, TO BE A god wasn't a matter of yes or no - it was a scale, shades of grey, something a man accumulates with positive fate. Christianity however was anomalous because it said something different to traditional pagan belief. Did that contribute toward the end of empire as some suggest? I think not, since the Roman world merely adjusted, as we see today the church mantains what is essentially pagan Roman traditions much older than itself. However, it most certainly affected their world view, hence the decline of munera, although in fairness the costs were unsustainable. Constantine saw a positive side of those early christian sects. He observed the sopcial function and authoritarian preaching, interpreting it almost as if Rome could be manipulated by a civil religious version of military formation toiward a unified empire under one God - he liked that, and patronised christianity, urging it to unite. He did not however absolve himself of pagan belief and commit himself to christianity until he was on his deathbed, and even then, only as a means of hedging his bets morally.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Feb 2016 at 04:17
Dead and gone?  The Greeks and the Turks are still fighting the Trojan War, Iran harkens back to the good old days when Persia ruled the East,  Saddam was fascinated with Babylonia, American Indians are trying to kill of Columbus, who is protected by Italian Americans.  Israel's religious conservatives want a greater Israel including the West Bank like ancient times.  Islam claims Jerusalem as a holy place because Mohammed on a dream journey stopped there before riding a winged horse up to heaven.  And Bin Laden was so pissed off because Saudi Arabia let infidels (Americans+) guard the holyland, instead of relying on volunteer fanatic guerilla fighters, because after all it is better to have true believers than M-1 Abrams Tanks.
Of course Americans have short memories, so we tend to not understand how ancient politics can play a dominant role.  Of course, America has some ancient politics too, many Protestant groups were originally refugees come in from Europe during the Reformation.
Like the story at the beginning of this thread, what we should do is carefully pick out and extract beliefs that become pernicious.  Whole scale rejection throws the baby out with the bathwater.  Once upon a time, amputation of shattered limbs was the best we could do.  Now, with high speed rifled bullets which drill through, instead of bashing through, we can do proper surgery, save the limb and often its usefulness as well.
If you want to dismiss it, that is up to you.  The question in my mind is how effective do you expect to be, when you start off by assuming that people believe what they believe, because they are stupid or hoodwinked?  Maybe religion or custom _ought_not_ have any influence on what people perceive of as reality, but the fact is they do.  In arguing for a new path, I think that it is best to use custom and tradition to reinforce that argument, instead of picking fights just to be belligerent.
GK Chesterton talked about how he was a democrat, which to him meant following tradition from the past.  In his opinion, even if someone was dead, they should still get a vote, so to speak, on how one ought to behave and believe.  That is why he followed tradition, it honored people in the past who had thought out these things to a great deal.  People in the present know more about sea slugs, or cumulonimbus clouds than they did in ancient times.  People in ancient times, however, knew more about religion or philosophy or rhetoric.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Feb 2016 at 12:12
Sorry, but the Greekls and Turks are hostile for more recent recent reasons - the Trojan War is mlong since over by a very wide margin. Iran isn't concerned with Persia - to the new funbdamentalist state, despite being less strident than it was, it found new vigour under islam than nthe rather lazy realm of the Shah. As for Columbus - since wehen did the Italians try to protect him? The man was a serious con merchant anyway and does not deserve credit for discovering America (He never even saw the mainland let alone landed there. His objective was the Orient)

Jesruslame has always been a mixed faith city and even today there is cooperation between moslem and christian organisations based on tradition.

Quote The question in my mind is how effective do you expect to be, when you start off by assuming that people believe what they believe, because they are stupid or hoodwinked? 

Isn't that view a little ignorant? No matter. people do believe all sorts of things. Conspiracy theory exists because people want something to believe in no matter how ridiculous it might be in rational terms. Strangely enough a recent article about astrology on the internet reveals that my own star sign has a tendency to be seen in the light you describe. We're not cold, just rational when others want to speak from the heart. Or so they tell me, but then asttology isn't exactl;y a proven science
is it?

{quote]People in ancient times, however, knew more about religion or philosophy or rhetoric.[/quote]
No. They knew more about theirs. But since education was far less universal than today, in an age when the body of knowledge was hard to access for the majority, and religion less organised, knowing more really doesn't seem too accurate an assessment. Truth is, people were just as intelligent then as now, if less knowledgeable. As it happens, there is evidence than brain size in human beings is starting to decline - because we don't need to think as much as our ancestors did what with all those tools and labour saving devices, and nature has a habit of taking away what an animal doesn't need.

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I think of "methodological" as referring to a techne, a technique.  And when I think of technique, I think of a way or manner of doing something, which can be applied with or without concern for the thing or being (which is) effected.  A 'form' which may or may not be concerned with 'content.'   But it is easier to do it without concern and so that tends to be our default attitude.  I see a techne as being opposite of having a personal relationship with the Logos.  Techne is something that is not personal, but purely manipulative.  I can't imagine that that is what you mean, but that is what I think of when the term "methodological" comes up.
"principle" may put a different spin on it, haven't thought that through....

the personal relationship with the logos that you outline, is interesting, not something I have looked that closely at.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Feb 2016 at 05:01
Originally posted by franciscoan franciscoan wrote:

I think of "methodological" as referring to a techne, a technique.  And when I think of technique, I think of a way or manner of doing something, which can be applied with or without concern for the thing or being (which is) effected.  A 'form' which may or may not be concerned with 'content.'   But it is easier to do it without concern and so that tends to be our default attitude.  I see a techne as being opposite of having a personal relationship with the Logos. 


Perhaps I should have been more careful with my phrasing or offered further clarification. I think, and I thank you for this, that you have helped me to clarify it in my own mind as well.

I use the phrase "methodological principle" in order to emphasize that, without an understanding of and relationship with the Logos, we can understand nothing of the cosmos. I do not mean that the logos is our method of understanding the universe, but rather the means by which we can apply the method. In this sense, it is the recognition of the principle which allows us to apply the method that we already use in history, philosophy, theology, etc. In essence, the Logos is the reality at the center of the system -- at the same time the anchor which gives the cosmos existence and the lodestone that directs it. We might even say that the Logos is the vine and all other things are the branches. The Logos is not, in the strict sense, τέχνη. It is that which underlies and indwells all of the τέχνες by which we understand or influence that which has been created. It is only by recognizing and coming into relationship with the Logos that we are able to harness the potential power of this particular category of knowledge -- indeed any particular category of knowledge -- in our quest to understand the cosmos.

Quote Techne is something that is not personal, but purely manipulative.  I can't imagine that that is what you mean, but that is what I think of when the term "methodological" comes up.
"principle" may put a different spin on it, haven't thought that through....


You know, the way I phrased it -- "the application of the Logos as a methodological principle" -- did not help matters. Indeed, it required further clarification, which I did not give in the original post, and so we may have been speaking past each other. I think I would still stand by the words, but I definitely would concede that I presented them poorly and incompletely. I certainly did not mean to say that the Logos is like unto a hammer, which a blacksmith might wield to shape a horseshoe; rather it is that ever blazing spark which created the iron and wood for the hammer, the horse, and the blacksmith alike. It is the fire that flares in the forge, as well as that spark of the intellect that allowed the blacksmith to wish to create the hammer, and to use the hammer to create the horseshoe, in the first place. I do thank you for calling me to clarify further, as this concept had gradually become muddled in my own head until I had to think it through again. Tally up another for dialectic, eh? Tongue

Quote the personal relationship with the logos that you outline, is interesting, not something I have looked that closely at.


Indeed. Access can only be defined in terms of relationship because, for the Christian, the Logos is a person. Without that relationship we could not hope, to use my rather crude phrase, to "apply" the Logos to anything, methodologically or otherwise. It is this, I think, that was the greatest omission in the theory of the Logos before Christ. Indeed, it was the last piece of the puzzle that needed to be placed to paint the picture. And, again from a Christian perspective, that piece was placed on the Cross.

-Akolouthos

Edited by Akolouthos - 05 Feb 2016 at 05:11
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