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  • Originally posted by thormas View Post

    Seems you have reached the end of your rope. Are Aquinas proofs all you have to try to dismiss philosophy and theology?
    No philosophical argument (including Aquinas'), can do more than speculate. Unlike scientific methodology, philosophy does not have the mechanism to test its conclusions – it can merely argue about them.

    You miss the point: I actually don't know of any serious Christian thinker who talks of supernatural beings or deities. Actually I think many of us, being secularists (also), would be in agreement with you in a good number of ways. However, you always fall back on an old time view of what many 'religious' people believe and it is this that you argue against. Some things - like deities and supernatural beings - are not even part of the vocabulary.
    Of course, the “supernatural" is part of your vocabulary. By definition, God is a supernatural being considered divine or sacred.

    So we agree on science, good. However, Dawkins still cannot fully commit.
    Scientific evidence serves to either support or counter a scientific theory or hypothesis, no more than that. It doesn’t guarantee proofs – for Dawkins or any other scientist.

    And, of course, science cannot answer the 'Why?"
    So, what then is the answer to the “Why”?

    So........God. To get into it would take some time (so not now) but I go back to earlier statements and I agree with Heidegger's concept of Being, Macquarrie/Whitehead's idea of Being as 'Letting Be.' So I begin with philosophers and a mathematician.

    Actually I have never heard of that description of God: passions and the need for applause?? Actually most religious thinkers would say the exact opposite.
    Pantheism and the panentheism of Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne that you see to favor, equates reality with divinity, i.e. all-things compose an all-encompassing deity. So how does this provide the “purpose” you talk about? And where does Jesus and his resurrection fit in?

    Sadly, my assertion reflects history and also speaks to the utter/ultimate meaninglessness of man, of all ......if one accepts the atheist position. Thankfully many of us don't .......thus man, life, creation are meaningful:+}
    In what way is “man, life, creation” meaningful as opposed to the atheist view?

    Simply, you attack a caricature of 'old time religion' from your 21st C scientific perch but it is a religion that most of us no longer buy into, either it's worldview or its philosophical system. You speak of a religion in which there are deities and supernatural beings and in which the God is full of passions and in need of applause. I know of no serious thinker who believes any of this. Only you:+}
    Last I heard Christianity still proclaims the resurrection of Jesus and his role as the second person a of supernatural triune god, who gets angry (hence requiring a sacrifice of the cross) and who demands to be worshipped.

    Yet when you speak of the meaningfulness of man you focus on the 21st C while ignoring the whole of human history (including those much less fortunate in our century) where it is evident that there is not a lot of care for one's fellows or society. Thus you try to have it both ways and it is not the reality in either case.
    “Meaningfulness” in human history, including the role of religions, has developed from murderous tribalism (think Moses) to violent nationalism (think Hitler) and most recently to the peaceful aspirations of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Don't take Sisyphus literally - that's seems to be your mistake with religious stories also. Simply reflect on the meaninglessness of his effort (symbolic of all human effort): in the end the rock is where it began, at the bottom. Man made no difference.
    You, like Camus, may choose to take the Sisyphus myth as symbolic of all human effort but it is intended as a story of punishment by the gods for personal greed and deceit.

    It is not me who is saying man as a cooperative intelligent social animal is not true or that man in himself is not meaningful or that life is without meaning - I am saying that in the atheist position, any such action if for naught and creation is meaningless.
    If you cannot find “meaning” in the love our families and the participation in the communities to which we belong, how could theism provide the meaning that this does not? Personal salvation??








    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Tassman View Post
      Never claimed scientific methodology for philosophy or theology, simply that much of it is reasonable and rational. It delves into many areas that science does and cannot, as previously discussed.
      You miss the point about vocabulary: the point is that you are the one who talks about deities, supernatural beings and a god who needs applause. Even your recent comment betrays it when you define God as a supernatural being. Simply, God is not a being, there are no deities or little supernatural beings. My point is that you, like many atheists, argue against an old time religion that most have put to the side ages ago.
      Again we agree: simply neither Dawkins nor anyone can offer no proof, no evidence against God........i.e. no certainty. Actually part of the reason for this is because God is not an object, a thing, an entity..........and that is what science deals with.
      Obviously religion has an answer to the Why. For example Genesis provides an answer - although I know your tendency is to take it literally (a mistake also for fundamentalists), In addition, Macquarie, Whitehead, Heidegger and others speak in terms of Being (previously discussed).

      Whitehead is more a panentheist than a pantheist and he is one of a number of philosophers that I study but there are some issues in his work that have to be balanced by reference to others.
      However, for argument sake, if we posit God as Being then all that is - is, of necessity, of Being. God/Being is the very possibility or reason anything and everything is (to be) at all. This goes to the theological concept of immanence wherein God is 'in' all. However, it is balanced by the idea of transcendence which simply points to the concept that Being is 'other or more' than beings (and not merely the sum of all beings - i.e. pantheism). Actually, Paul also speaks to this when he writes that we 'live, move and have our being in God (Being).' I believe it is Macquarie, who is a 'student' of Whitehead (and perhaps Whitehead himself) who speaks of the 'letting Be' of Being by which all that is comes to be (what in religious terms is called creation). And the point or purpose or the why of the letting Be is that creation/man might (as Whitehead, I believe puts it) to be, to be better, to be best (not in comparison to or competition with another but) - i.e. to be and become fully in Being. In more religious terms, it could be said that such 'letting be' is Love as Being 'gives' being to creation so it might, as Jesus said, have Abundant Life and which the Greek Fathers called the divinization of the human. Thus the universe might not 'know' or be impacted by the individual man or woman but God 'knows' man so that s/he might Be. Thus, life and human effort is meaningful and is not absurd for the religious man/woman, for it is not only the means by which they form society and care for their fellows, but in that it is the way they become Life/Being - what in religious terms is All in All.

      Jesus is believed by Christians to be the man who became Best, who was divinized (see above) and fully shared Being. The resurrection is the belief that such a man - as is the destiny or point for all men and women - is not overwhelmed by death but is 'meant' for the fullness of Being (which is Life, which is God). There is much more nuance in the understanding of Jesus and Trinity than you allow or that we can go into here. As for what you are describing as atonement theology, you must know that not even all the gospels go with that model and most modern, progressive Christians left such a barbaric understanding behind ages ago (this is one of those issues that I said many of us would agree with you on). Even the ideas of worship and obedience are much more nuance than you allow - again you are doing old time religion speak.

      I'm with Camus and Sisyphus is the perfect symbol for the atheist stance. Although I hasten to add that everything I have said about Being, creation, divinization, etc. includes all men and women.........including the atheist :+}

      Finally, I can indeed find meaning in all of life: family, friends, community, country, world, universe because I believe that all that is 'of Being' and created for Life.........thus everything we touch, everything we do can be the occasion of our greater participation in Being and the Fullness of Life not only for the individual but for the individual in community (the idea of covenant or relationship with man and God is ancient).
      Last edited by thormas; 11-28-2020, 10:59 AM.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by thormas View Post

        Never claimed scientific methodology for philosophy or theology, simply that much of it is reasonable and rational. It delves into many areas that science does and cannot, as previously discussed.
        Philosophy may well “delve into many areas” that science does not. But philosophical conclusions can NEVER be more than speculative and, as demonstrated with Aristotle, often shown to be wrong.

        You miss the point about vocabulary: the point is that you are the one who talks about deities, supernatural beings and a god who needs applause. Even your recent comment betrays it when you define God as a supernatural being. Simply, God is not a being, there are no deities or little supernatural beings.
        So, if God is neither ‘natural’ nor ‘supernatural’ nor a ‘being’ what is he exactly – a figment of your poetic imagination or is he a personalized version of the greater cosmos?

        My point is that you, like many atheists, argue against an old time religion that most have put to the side ages ago.
        “Old time religion” for Christians, to the best of my knowledge, believes in an historical Jesus who was crucified and rose from the dead. And yes, I do argue against that. Do you?

        Again we agree: simply neither Dawkins nor anyone can offer no proof, no evidence against God........i.e. no certainty. Actually part of the reason for this is because God is not an object, a thing, an entity..........and that is what science deals with.
        Scientific evidence serves to either support or counter a scientific theory or hypothesis. It doesn’t guarantee proofs. But unlike your theological and philosophical beliefs – it provides conclusions which can be tested and verified.

        Obviously religion has an answer to the Why. For example Genesis provides an answer - although I know your tendency is to take it literally (a mistake also for fundamentalists),
        So, you are saying that the only answer to “WHY” is metaphorical NOT literal. One can better get similar metaphorical answers to the meaning of life (without resorting to the minefield of religious fundamentalism), via opera, literature, art and the like.

        In addition, Macquarie, Whitehead, Heidegger and others speak in terms of Being (previously discussed).
        So, tell me what they (and you) mean by “Being”.

        Whitehead is more a panentheist than a pantheist and he is one of a number of philosophers that I study but there are some issues in his work that have to be balanced by reference to others.
        However, for argument sake, if we posit God as Being then all that is - is, of necessity, of Being. God/Being is the very possibility or reason anything and everything is (to be) at all. This goes to the theological concept of immanence wherein God is 'in' all. However, it is balanced by the idea of transcendence which simply points to the concept that Being is 'other or more' than beings (and not merely the sum of all beings - i.e. pantheism)..
        Yes, I said that Whitehead and Hartshorne were panentheists – Hartshorne built on Whitehead. My question was that given they equate reality with divinity (namely all-things comprising an all-encompassing deity) how this provides the “purpose” you talk about? And where does Jesus and his resurrection and the other traditional doctrines of Christianity fit in?

        Actually, Paul also speaks to this when he writes that we 'live, move and have our being in God (Being).' I believe it is Macquarie, who is a 'student' of Whitehead (and perhaps Whitehead himself) who speaks of the 'letting Be' of Being by which all that is comes to be (what in religious terms is called creation). And the point or purpose or the why of the letting Be is that creation/man might (as Whitehead, I believe puts it) to be, to be better, to be best (not in comparison to or competition with another but) - i.e. to be and become fully in Being. In more religious terms, it could be said that such 'letting be' is Love as Being 'gives' being to creation so it might, as Jesus said, have Abundant Life and which the Greek Fathers called the divinization of the human.
        Or it could be more simply said that we have evolved as an assemblage of organic algorithms shaped by natural selection over millions of years of evolution to survive as a social species living in community. The rest is redundant verbiage.

        Thus the universe might not 'know' or be impacted by the individual man or woman but God 'knows' man so that s/he might Be. Thus, life and human effort is meaningful and is not absurd for the religious man/woman, for it is not only the means by which they form society and care for their fellows, but in that it is the way they become Life/Being - what in religious terms is All in All.
        So, your God is separate and independent from his panentheist universe and “knows” men and women” despite, according to panentheism, simultaneously pervading and interpenetrating every part of the universe. Really?

        Jesus is believed by Christians to be the man who became Best, who was divinized (see above) and fully shared Being. The resurrection is the belief that such a man - as is the destiny or point for all men and women - is not overwhelmed by death but is 'meant' for the fullness of Being (which is Life, which is God).
        Are you arguing that in “not being overwhelmed by death’” Christians survive the death of the brain and the disintegration of the body? Where is your evidence for this?

        There is much more nuance in the understanding of Jesus and Trinity than you allow or that we can go into here. As for what you are describing as atonement theology, you must know that not even all the gospels go with that model and most modern, progressive Christians left such a barbaric understanding behind ages ago (this is one of those issues that I said many of us would agree with you on). Even the ideas of worship and obedience are much more nuance than you allow - again you are doing old time religion speak.
        It is not a question of “nuance”. The issue is whether or not the Holy Trinity actually exists and whether the Atonement via a sacrificial offering on the cross actually necessary. Are you arguing that the traditional theology which you are dismissing as “old time religion” is merely allegory and analogy? OR have you invented an entire new theology of the death and resurrection of Jesus that enables us at death to merge with ALL that is- i.e. God in much the same way that when Buddhists attain Nirvana they merge with the universe like a drop of water merging with the ocean. After all your panentheism claims that "ALL is God".

        I'm with Camus and Sisyphus is the perfect symbol for the atheist stance. Although I hasten to add that everything I have said about Being, creation, divinization, etc. includes all men and women.........including the atheist :+}
        You and Camus are entitled to interpret the ancient Greek myths any way you choose. Nevertheless, the original intention of the Sisyphus story was punishment by the gods for personal greed and deceit.in violation of the social norms.

        Finally, I can indeed find meaning in all of life: family, friends, community, country, world, universe because I believe that all that is 'of Being' and created for Life.........thus everything we touch, everything we do can be the occasion of our greater participation in Being and the Fullness of Life not only for the individual but for the individual in community (the idea of covenant or relationship with man and God is ancient).
        Or, to put it another way, we are a product of the evolution of the necessary social behavior of humanity to survive as cooperative intelligent social animals, which we share in other intelligent animals to a limited extent in simpler forms. In short, we participate in Being and the Fullness of Life not only for the individual but for the individual in community, as I have been arguing all along.




        “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Tassman View Post
          Again, this is territory covered as I have no issue with saying that religion is belief and that theology and philosophy are speculative or that they cover areas of speculation that is beyond the purview of science.

          Now, you're getting into more progressive thinking: God is not natural, i.e. of the world, God is not supernatural in that he exists in a world above ours and is totally divorced from the natural world and God is not a thing or object. And poetry may play its part, not to create God but to try to say something about God.

          Actually, there is an old time understanding of religion and specifically Christianity that you constantly refer to and then dismiss - part or all of that might still be the belief of a fundamentalist or some other Christians but not nearly all Christians and certainly not the serious, modern thinkers in Christianity. I have been talking about a more modern, progressive take on Christianity and God. So when you knock resurrection or atonement I am left to wonder if you have ever even heard of a 21st C take on all of this.

          That Jesus existed is historical fact, that he was a teacher of his time and crucified by the Romans is also fact. To deny this is to simply not know history. I have already spoken about resurrection. I do not accept the ancient idea of atonement but I do believe that his death, as his life, empowers and enables the Christian to become whole, healed (i.e. saved), Human: this is divinization of which I have also spoken.

          My simple point is that science cannot provide certainty for or against God.

          So, Genesis is, of course, not a literal description of the beginning of the world or the universe, Neither is it a literal description God or the first humans. Genesis, in it mythological language speaks a truth about this God, man and creation. And I have no issue with opera, art or literature but then again I don't take Picasso, Dali, Georgia or Milton or poetry literally and science can offer no conclusions to the truths they reveal. Indeed, art, poetry, music, literature share more with religion than with science.
          Ah, apologies as now I see what you intended in your comment. I don't read Whitehead as you do but, none the less I don't agree that all things comprise deity/God for that smack of pantheism not panentheism. However I do believe that all beings are 'of' and get their being from Being. I did respond to your questions above.

          Perhaps it could be algorithms but your very words get to the heart of our discussion. It could be, it might be but there is no certainty, no proof, no evidence that your 'simply' is more valid than that of the religious person, the philosopher, the artist or the poet. But I do think you excel in redundant verbiage :+}

          Yes and no about God's being separate. As mentioned above, I do not accept pantheism and thus do not equate the universe in whole or part with God. However, I do accept that for all to be, there is an ontological and logical necessity that there is first Being which is the 'source' of all being and becoming. Plus, as any good religious or Christian pantheist knows there is a balance between the immanence (your interpenetrating) of God and the transcendence (your separateness) of God. Simply, the God/Being is both immanent and transcendent. When the artist creates, the art is obviously of her and she is its source but the art also takes on it own existence; the artist is 'in' the painting but is also 'other' than the painting.

          I am not arguing anything about death. I am simply stating the Christian belief that man is not overwhelmed by death but is for Life. I have no idea about the how nor do I have any details to share:+} I state a belief.

          Actually it is about a nuanced understanding. I can use the term atonement and discuss at-one-ment of God and man, without buying into a god who demands a blood sacrifice of his innocent son. I can also discuss how the life and death of Jesus can 'offer' a salvation. i.e. a healing for others. Hell, that part is easy: can the giving of a man or a woman during his/her life be an example and pave the way for another to image such giving in their life? Obviously. And if such giving culminates in the giving of self even unto death can this too provide a way for another to see the worth of such a life and image it in theirs? This is everyday stuff writ large in Jesus (and unlike some but not all Christians, I can see such examples in others).

          Neither I nor others have invented a new Christianity but like those who came before it is a new or further theological insight (so it could indeed be seen as a new theology but not a new Christianity). The effort is to present a modern insight on Christianity that reflects a 21st C worldview and a more current philosophical system. As you, it is legitimate for Christians to question what kind of God would we be dealing with if he demanded the sacrifice of an innocent man. Even Luke, circa 80CE, had a different take on the reason for the crucification than atonement. So certainly a great deal depends on nuance: for example it is obvious to any who actually study it that persons in time of the triune formulation did not mean what we today understand as persons. Actually Macquarie, building on Whitehead speaks of the threefold movement of Being: primordial, expressive and unitive. It makes great sense to me, a Christian, and provides a clearer insight into the human experience of God or Being. So, it is nuance and nuance is important.

          As for a merging of all, Christians long called this the beatific vision. However, that is terminology that doesn't really speak to 21st C people and numerous theologians have spoken of the valuable insights of not only other theistic religions but also eastern religions or philosophies. But you misunderstand panentheism: I do not believe or accept that all is God (this is pantheism) but to say the destiny is All in All is to say something different, more .......nuanced:+}

          Remember, as you indicated the value of real literature? Camus is indeed onto something with the absurdity of the efforts of Sisyphus.

          No, that is the way you might put it, that is your belief.........not mine. However if you have just posited Being and participation in the Fullness of Life.........you are getting closer to Christianity for Being and that Fullness is what I call................God.





          Last edited by thormas; 11-29-2020, 10:42 AM.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by thormas View Post

            Again, this is territory covered as I have no issue with saying that religion is belief and that theology and philosophy are speculative or that they cover areas of speculation that is beyond the purview of science.
            AND ultimately “beyond the purview” of philosophy also, in that philosophical conclusions can never be tested or verified – merely argued about.

            Now, you're getting into more progressive thinking: God is not natural, i.e. of the world, God is not supernatural in that he exists in a world above ours and is totally divorced from the natural world and God is not a thing or object. And poetry may play its part, not to create God but to try to say something about God.
            By which you mean the “IDEA” of God – given that there is no substantive evidence of his actual existence.

            Actually, there is an old time understanding of religion and specifically Christianity that you constantly refer to and then dismiss - part or all of that might still be the belief of a fundamentalist or some other Christians but not nearly all Christians and certainly not the serious, modern thinkers in Christianity. I have been talking about a more modern, progressive take on Christianity and God. So when you knock resurrection or atonement I am left to wonder if you have ever even heard of a 21st C take on all of this.
            What I am “knocking” is the notion of Jesus crucified and resurrected for our salvation which, AFAIK remans the core belief of Christians.

            That Jesus existed is historical fact, that he was a teacher of his time and crucified by the Romans is also fact. To deny this is to simply not know history. I have already spoken about resurrection. I do not accept the ancient idea of atonement but I do believe that his death, as his life, empowers and enables the Christian to become whole, healed (i.e. saved), Human: this is divinization of which I have also spoken.
            HOW does Jesus’ deathempower and enable the Christian to become whole, healed (i.e. saved)”? Saved from WHAT, exactly?

            My simple point is that science cannot provide certainty for or against God.
            NOTHING can “provide certainty for or against God”. Religion arose as a way of trying to make sense of the universe in a prescientific age. It has been superseded by the actual science itself.

            So, Genesis is, of course, not a literal description of the beginning of the world or the universe, Neither is it a literal description God or the first humans. Genesis, in it mythological language speaks a truth about this God, man and creation.
            How do you conclude that the Genesis myth speaks a truth about this God, man and creation?” This is your opinion; you don’t know this.

            And I have no issue with opera, art or literature but then again I don't take Picasso, Dali, Georgia or Milton or poetry literally and science can offer no conclusions to the truths they reveal. Indeed, art, poetry, music, literature share more with religion than with science.
            This is my point.

            Ah, apologies as now I see what you intended in your comment. I don't read Whitehead as you do but, none the less I don't agree that all things comprise deity/God for that smack of pantheism not panentheism. However I do believe that all beings are 'of' and get their being from Being. I did respond to your questions above.
            Provided you recognize that this is merely your personal subjective belief, which cannot be verified in any way.

            Perhaps it could be algorithms but your very words get to the heart of our discussion. It could be, it might be but there is no certainty, no proof, no evidence that your 'simply' is more valid than that of the religious person, the philosopher, the artist or the poet. But I do think you excel in redundant verbiage :+}
            There IS in fact considerable empirical evidence, unlike religious/philosophical belief, that we are a product of the evolution of the necessary social behavior to survive as cooperative intelligent social animals – like our archaic human predecessors and social species today in the animal kingdom. It is hubris to imagine that we are more than this.

            Yes and no about God's being separate. As mentioned above, I do not accept pantheism and thus do not equate the universe in whole or part with God. However, I do accept that for all to be, there is an ontological and logical necessity that there is first Being which is the 'source' of all being and becoming. Plus, as any good religious or Christian pantheist knows there is a balance between the immanence (your interpenetrating) of God and the transcendence (your separateness) of God. Simply, the God/Being is both immanent and transcendent. When the artist creates, the art is obviously of her and she is its source but the art also takes on it own existence; the artist is 'in' the painting but is also 'other' than the painting.
            Your assertion that “that there is first Being which is the 'source' of all being and becoming” is an unevidenced assumption.

            I am not arguing anything about death. I am simply stating the Christian belief that man is not overwhelmed by death but is for Life. I have no idea about the how nor do I have any details to share:+} I state a belief.
            One doesn’t have to be a Christian to NOT be “overwhelmed by death” nor to be “for Life”.

            Actually it is about a nuanced understanding. I can use the term atonement and discuss at-one-ment of God and man, without buying into a god who demands a blood sacrifice of his innocent son.
            So, why the need for the crucifixion and resurrection, which feature so prominently in the New Testament?

            I can also discuss how the life and death of Jesus can 'offer' a salvation. i.e. a healing for others. Hell, that part is easy: can the giving of a man or a woman during his/her life be an example and pave the way for another to image such giving in their life? Obviously. And if such giving culminates in the giving of self even unto death can this too provide a way for another to see the worth of such a life and image it in theirs? This is everyday stuff writ large in Jesus (and unlike some but not all Christians, I can see such examples in others).
            So, your Jesus belief is as the “great exemplar”. One doesn’t require the Holy Trinity or Hypostatic Union doctrines solely for someone setting a good example. Any heroic war-story can do the same – or the great example of Gandhi.

            Neither I nor others have invented a new Christianity but like those who came before it is a new or further theological insight (so it could indeed be seen as a new theology but not a new Christianity). The effort is to present a modern insight on Christianity that reflects a 21st C worldview and a more current philosophical system. As you, it is legitimate for Christians to question what kind of God would we be dealing with if he demanded the sacrifice of an innocent man. Even Luke, circa 80CE, had a different take on the reason for the crucification than atonement. So certainly a great deal depends on nuance: for example it is obvious to any who actually study it that persons in time of the triune formulation did not mean what we today understand as persons. Actually Macquarie, building on Whitehead speaks of the threefold movement of Being: primordial, expressive and unitive. It makes great sense to me, a Christian, and provides a clearer insight into the human experience of God or Being. So, it is nuance and nuance is important.

            As for a merging of all, Christians long called this the beatific vision. However, that is terminology that doesn't really speak to 21st C people and numerous theologians have spoken of the valuable insights of not only other theistic religions but also eastern religions or philosophies. But you misunderstand panentheism: I do not believe or accept that all is God (this is pantheism) but to say the destiny is All in All is to say something different, more .......nuanced:+}
            Alternatively, one could dispense altogether with all this ever-evolving, inconclusive speculation about how important we are vis-à-vis God and settle for the scientific understanding of our place in the universe. It is, as you frequently point out, insignificant. A study of exoplanet data suggests there are at least 300 million potentially habitable planets orbiting stars like the sun in our galaxy alone. And there are billions of galaxies. Positing a deity with a special interest in us is forlorn escapism. Especially, when the reality of our universe(s) is so much more exciting

            Remember, as you indicated the value of real literature? Camus is indeed onto something with the absurdity of the efforts of Sisyphus.
            The “efforts of Sisypus” were not of his choosing – they were divine punishment. Just as the Olympian gods, sentenced Prometheus to eternal torment for his transgression. They are classical morality tales – obey to gods or else.

            No, that is the way you might put it, that is your belief.........not mine. However if you have just posited Being and participation in the Fullness of Life.........you are getting closer to Christianity for Being and that Fullness is what I call................God.
            That is the way you might put your belief.........not mine. God or gods are not necessary to understand our role in the universe as social animals - albeit “social animals” with delusions of grandeur about being special.





            “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Tassman View Post
              On one hand, I certainly agree, philosophy/theology assertions cannot be proved but the "Why" is indeed their purview.

              For the atheist it might be about the idea of God but since the believer 'believes in God' it is about God or at least the human experience of God. Actually, theology speaks of this as the existential (man's experience of God) and the ontological (God in himself). Christians for example believe that Jesus r'eveals' something about God in himself. Having said all of this I still assert and am comfortable with the reality that this is belief. Eventually we can get into a 'knowing of God' that the mystics and some other religious persons talk about but this might bring us too far afield.

              What I am saying is one can believe that Jesus is Risen and still have a million questions about the experience of the disciples. One can also recognize the historical fact that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified by the Romans and that his death can be salvific (see above) but reject the concept of atonement. You are grouping all Christians in the same little box while the reality is quite different. I have no earthly idea what the experience of the disciples or Paul was. With Paul, for example, whatever happened, it was a life-changing realization but did those with him hear or see anything? I think such questions and issue are completely valid (and fun) to explore, I suspect I have more questions than you have ever considered and it seems obvious that I have a much more modern, nuanced take on much of Christianity. Which is fine because I am a Christian and a curious one at that.

              I already discussed how the example of another's self-giving (even at the cost of their life) can be a light for others and an example of how one ought to live. Jesus was such a man and living/teaching when he did in the Jewish milieu full of expectation; he struck a cord, he drew others who also wanted to live in such light. What are we saved from? That is an easy one: sin or in less religious terms, self-centeredness. Any such men and women who lived as I described (above) are examples of selflessness which, from the religious perspective, is the epitome of what it means to be Human. There is no magic in this, there is or should be no magic in Christianity. Jesus is the man who Loved and is therefore fully Human. He showed this is the Way to be, the way to live. Christians believe he overcame sin (human self-centeredness) and they believe resurrection is God exalting the Man who lived the life that is the destiny, the 'reason to be' .....for all men and women. We believe that selflessness is the way to be Human, the way of Abundant Life and Jesus is the 'first-born' in such Life. Unlike some Christians, I both recognize Jesus as the Way and also see the same God, there same Way present in the lives of others, including the 'little' men and women who lives such lives that both challenge us to be and become best (i.e. Human) and whose example 'judges' us - presenting a moment of chaos: danger if we ignore it and live selfishly or opportunity if we take up that same way to Humanity.

              We agree: nothing can provide certainty for or against God and religion (should) recognize this since it is belief. But the atheist should also. I have no problem saying mine is belief, without proof - yet you, the atheist, seem to ignore this reality and demand proof or evidence when, as you say, there is none, there is no certainty. Science does give answers to many of our questions but it has not superseded religion in the matter of Why, the matter of God, the matter of what it means to be Human, and on and on - it has no answer and as you have said it can provide no certainty in this matter. I say that science and religion (at least a proper understanding of religion) live side by side and are not in competition. I am fascinated by the wonders that science reveals to us and its theories, I am in awe of what the sciences -the children of man - tell us and will tell us about the universe. But I also recognize the limit of science and for those answers I look to literature, poetry, art, philosophy ..........and religion (theology).

              Of course my comments on Genesis is a belief statement and it was written by those whose 'insight' into God, creation, man, even human selfishness, I accept and agree.

              Again, I have no issue with evolution and I accept this scientific theory and take it as scientific truth. I think the entire idea of evolution is ......cool! However, it is not hubris to believe we are more, it is BELIEF. Actually, I think it might have been the philosopher, John Hick, who spoke about evolution as man/woman becoming the 'image of God' in that we become intelligent, self-conscious, social creatures but then there is the additional challenge of becoming the 'likeness of God.' This latter is the whole notion of divinization or becoming truly Human. Again, as should be obvious, this is a religious perspective but indicates that the philosopher/religious thinker has no issue with evolution.

              Again, I assert that Being is a logical and ontological necessity for anything at all to be. And if an un-evidenced assumption.......so is its opposite of utter and endless contingency.

              I completely agree that all are not overwhelmed by death and are for Life. The difference is that I assert this as a belief statement about God and in the context of the resurrection.

              Obviously the crucification was a historical fact and the resurrection experience (however one understands it) was the impetus for what became Christianity (that too is historical fact however the resurrection is, as previously discussed, a-historical).

              I have never had a problem with Jesus as example (properly understood). In theology some have spoken of imitation but I think the better idea is image. Jesus presents the Way (of full Humanity, of Life) and we are meant to image Jesus which is is not a mere, external imitation but a 'taking on or internalizing' the Way that is Jesus. Actually, this is an embodiment of that Way or an incarnation of the Way (allowing it to become flesh in my flesh). And speaking of poetry or the poetic image, I have always liked the idea of the Cross, the Example, raised high on a hill -as a light for all to see. Trinity and union can indeed be part of this but that is for another day. Again, I have no problem whatsoever, as I mentioned, acknowledging that the Way is and has been embodied in and by other human beings and I think Gandhi is a great example. Actually Gandhi judges and challenges Christians when he said, (paraphrasing), "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians they are not like your Christ." Thus the judgment for the Christian to look at his own life and the challenge to better 'be Christ in the world.'

              Actually, the Christian, the truly religious person (and most philosophers, artists and poets) cannot settle for only the scientific view of man (no matter how much he admires science) as s/he sees it as inadequate or incomplete. Just as the poet or the artist, he religious person could never be held to such a mundane explanation of man.

              I think life and man is insignificant only if one buys into the atheistic stance...........but never from the religious man's perspective. And this is not diminished by the possibility of such life on other planets, in other galaxies, in other universes. It is enhanced. Mine is not a tribal or a one planet God: the belief is that God is Being - and whatever is, wherever it is, when ever it is - it is the same and only Being/God that ........ 'lets be' - that creates, sustains, heals and unifies. The reality of the universe is incredibly exciting but the greatest adventure is man/woman in community Loving and becoming Human.........such life is (believed to be) eternal:+}

              There are no delusions of grandeur - actually such Christian belief is born in and lived in humility: that is the only Way of humanity and of life. As examples I take both Jesus and Gandhi: theirs is humility and humanity is service of man...........and Love (i.e. God).





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              Comment


              • Originally posted by thormas View Post

                On one hand, I certainly agree, philosophy/theology assertions cannot be proved but the "Why" is indeed their purview.
                The “WHY” can only be answered by “philosophy/theology assertions” by being speculated upon and debated. Never can their conclusions be tested or verified because, unlike science, they do not have the means to do so.

                For the atheist it might be about the idea of God but since the believer 'believes in God' it is about God or at least the human experience of God. Actually, theology speaks of this as the existential (man's experience of God) and the ontological (God in himself). Christians for example believe that Jesus r'eveals' something about God in himself. Having said all of this I still assert and am comfortable with the reality that this is belief. Eventually we can get into a 'knowing of God' that the mystics and some other religious persons talk about but this might bring us too far afield.
                There's no evidence of God, having existed outside of the minds of our species.

                What I am saying is one can believe that Jesus is Risen and still have a million questions about the experience of the disciples. One can also recognize the historical fact that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified by the Romans and that his death can be salvific (see above) but reject the concept of atonement. You are grouping all Christians in the same little box while the reality is quite different. I have no earthly idea what the experience of the disciples or Paul was. With Paul, for example, whatever happened, it was a life-changing realization but did those with him hear or see anything? I think such questions and issue are completely valid (and fun) to explore, I suspect I have more questions than you have ever considered and it seems obvious that I have a much more modern, nuanced take on much of Christianity. Which is fine because I am a Christian and a curious one at that.
                So, are you arguing that Jesus bodily rose from the dead, which is the core belief of most Christians, or are you suggesting that the “salvific” experience of his followers is based upon a fable?

                I already discussed how the example of another's self-giving (even at the cost of their life) can be a light for others and an example of how one ought to live. Jesus was such a man and living/teaching when he did in the Jewish milieu full of expectation; he struck a cord, he drew others who also wanted to live in such light. What are we saved from? That is an easy one: sin or in less religious terms, self-centeredness. Any such men and women who lived as I described (above) are examples of selflessness which, from the religious perspective, is the epitome of what it means to be Human. There is no magic in this, there is or should be no magic in Christianity. Jesus is the man who Loved and is therefore fully Human. He showed this is the Way to be, the way to live. Christians believe he overcame sin (human self-centeredness) and they believe resurrection is God exalting the Man who lived the life that is the destiny, the 'reason to be' .....for all men and women. We believe that selflessness is the way to be Human, the way of Abundant Life and Jesus is the 'first-born' in such Life. Unlike some Christians, I both recognize Jesus as the Way and also see the same God, there same Way present in the lives of others, including the 'little' men and women who lives such lives that both challenge us to be and become best (i.e. Human) and whose example 'judges' us - presenting a moment of chaos: danger if we ignore it and live selfishly or opportunity if we take up that same way to Humanity.
                Altruistic self-sacrifice for the sake of one’s loved ones or the community (or nation) in which we live, is a relatively common phenomenon for a social species such as us. It is a product of the evolution of the necessary social behavior to survive as cooperative intelligent social animals. This is something we share to a lesser degree, with other social species as has been previously pointed out – the work of primatologist Dr. Frans de Waal being a case in point.

                We agree: nothing can provide certainty for or against God and religion (should) recognize this since it is belief. But the atheist should also. I have no problem saying mine is belief, without proof - yet you, the atheist, seem to ignore this reality and demand proof or evidence when, as you say, there is none, there is no certainty. Science does give answers to many of our questions but it has not superseded religion in the matter of Why, the matter of God, the matter of what it means to be Human, and on and on - it has no answer and as you have said it can provide no certainty in this matter. I say that science and religion (at least a proper understanding of religion) live side by side and are not in competition. I am fascinated by the wonders that science reveals to us and its theories, I am in awe of what the sciences -the children of man - tell us and will tell us about the universe. But I also recognize the limit of science and for those answers I look to literature, poetry, art, philosophy ..........and religion (theology).
                When positing an immaterial entity such as a God, who somehow mysteriously interacts with the material universe, the only evidence that is relevant is NOT whether one can provide a argument against such a notion. But whether one can provide any sort of argument FOR such a notion. And, apart from allegorical arguments, one cannot.

                Of course my comments on Genesis is a belief statement and it was written by those whose 'insight' into God, creation, man, even human selfishness, I accept and agree.
                Better to employ fables that give personal “'insight' into God, creation, man, even human selfishness” that cannot be taken literally as per the Genesis myths. Otherwise, they give rise to the ignorant nonsense of the Creationists and pseudo-scientific establishments such as the Discovery Institute.

                Again, I have no issue with evolution and I accept this scientific theory and take it as scientific truth. I think the entire idea of evolution is ......cool! However, it is not hubris to believe we are more, it is BELIEF. Actually, I think it might have been the philosopher, John Hick, who spoke about evolution as man/woman becoming the 'image of God' in that we become intelligent, self-conscious, social creatures but then there is the additional challenge of becoming the 'likeness of God.' This latter is the whole notion of divinization or becoming truly Human. Again, as should be obvious, this is a religious perspective but indicates that the philosopher/religious thinker has no issue with evolution.

                Again, I assert that Being is a logical and ontological necessity for anything at all to be. And if an un-evidenced assumption.......so is its opposite of utter and endless contingency.
                Yes, it is “hubris” based upon magical thinking, to think that we are MORE than an evolved social species.

                I completely agree that all are not overwhelmed by death and are for Life. The difference is that I assert this as a belief statement about God and in the context of the resurrection.
                The literal “resurrection” is by definition a supernatural occurrence. There is no reason to believe in the supernatural, since nothing we know of is explained by the supernatural.

                Obviously the crucification was a historical fact and the resurrection experience (however one understands it) was the impetus for what became Christianity (that too is historical fact however the resurrection is, as previously discussed, a-historical).
                Certainly, the Jesus story underlies what became Christianly as we know it, arising as it did in a gullible era of miracles and wonders. But this does not in any sense speak to the truth of the core beliefs – as you yourself acknowledge by categorizing the resurrection as “a-historical”.

                I have never had a problem with Jesus as example (properly understood). In theology some have spoken of imitation but I think the better idea is image. Jesus presents the Way (of full Humanity, of Life) and we are meant to image Jesus which is is not a mere, external imitation but a 'taking on or internalizing' the Way that is Jesus. Actually, this is an embodiment of that Way or an incarnation of the Way (allowing it to become flesh in my flesh). And speaking of poetry or the poetic image, I have always liked the idea of the Cross, the Example, raised high on a hill -as a light for all to see. Trinity and union can indeed be part of this but that is for another day. Again, I have no problem whatsoever, as I mentioned, acknowledging that the Way is and has been embodied in and by other human beings and I think Gandhi is a great example. Actually Gandhi judges and challenges Christians when he said, (paraphrasing), "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians they are not like your Christ." Thus the judgment for the Christian to look at his own life and the challenge to better 'be Christ in the world.'
                Indeed, the “way has been embodied in and by other human beings” and with much less mythical baggage than that of the Jesus story.

                Actually, the Christian, the truly religious person (and most philosophers, artists and poets) cannot settle for only the scientific view of man (no matter how much he admires science) as s/he sees it as inadequate or incomplete. Just as the poet or the artist, he religious person could never be held to such a mundane explanation of man.

                I think life and man is insignificant only if one buys into the atheistic stance...........but never from the religious man's perspective. And this is not diminished by the possibility of such life on other planets, in other galaxies, in other universes. It is enhanced. Mine is not a tribal or a one planet God: the belief is that God is Being - and whatever is, wherever it is, when ever it is - it is the same and only Being/God that ........ 'lets be' - that creates, sustains, heals and unifies. The reality of the universe is incredibly exciting
                The poet, the musician or the artist do not claim they are doing more than seeking insights into human nature.

                but the greatest adventure is man/woman in community Loving and becoming Human.........such life is (believed to be) eternal:+}
                Such beliefs do not make it so.


                Last edited by Tassman; 12-01-2020, 04:49 AM.
                “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Tassman View Post
                  Again, this is all well-tread ground and I have no issue with your comment. An answer to "Why" and similar questions is belief and philosophy and theology are speculative: there is no proof for or against such belief. It is also the case that both theology and philosophy can be highly rational and reasonable in their assertions. However, it remains the case that such questions are their purview and really beyond the scope (or the interest?) of the sciences; in this science does not have the means to answer such questions. All this is fine.

                  Again, you bark up the wrong tree: no one is saying there is evidence of (or against) God. And, seemingly, our species is the only one we can truly know and talk about and even that effort is fraught with disagreement:+}

                  I am saying that I believe Christ is Risen - that is a faith statement. I have no problem with acknowledging the high probability that the body of Jesus, like the body of all/many such crucified 'criminals' might have been thrown in a dump and left for scavenging animals. The belief is that the disciples believe/expereince that Jesus is alive beyond death, that he is exalted by God, that death does not have the last word. The resurrection stories are later developments found in 3 of the 4 gospels and, if I remember correctly, a later few verses are added to Mark. Paul believes that Jesus is Risen but there is no discussion of bodily resurrection. I can both say that Christ is Risen and have discussions about gospel development and speculate about what Romans did to crucified bodies. A resuscitated body is not the Christian belief; the belief is Jesus, the truly Human one, acknowledge, and exalted (risen) by God as such is the destiny of all.

                  Again, ground already tread: as discussed, I acknowledge the self-giving by others, great and small, in the history of humanity. All, in my reckoning, are 'in' the same Way of God to being/becoming fully Human. I believe that Jesus is a high point or, to put it differently, the epitome of such Love. I also acknowledge similar activity in the animal kingdom but believe this is not just a difference in degree but in kind (instinct versus the decision to be). Again, I have no issue with the evolution of man as an individual in community but our history offers evidence that man goes against his 'evolution' to destroy his own on the family, group, community, state, country and global level..........whereas other men and women make the choice to not simply protect their own but to expand that 'self-sacrifice' to those who are not their loved ones or group (be it family, community, nation) but to the stranger, even to one's enemy. This is the choice for Love, evident in the man, Jesus. Such self-giving is not merely "a relatively common phenomenon for a species like ours" - it is the way to become and be fully Human (religious statement).

                  More ground we have walked. There is no evidence for or against God but there are indeed 'arguments for the notion' of God: I give you, as just two examples, John Macquarie and David Bentley Hart. Also, I do not believe in a god who "mysteriously interacts with the material world." That is more an old time theistic take on God which I have moved beyond.

                  I haven't been discussing fables, rather the focus with Genesis was myth - religious myth. And the myth does provide a religious insight about God, man, creation .......and of course it is not literal.......it is a belief statement. And I am not a creationist so that is not even part of the discussion:+}

                  And my response is "No it is not hubris." So that makes it a matter of opinion or.........belief.

                  I have already discussed the resurrection and it appears we have rather different takes on it. You seem to be fixated on the miraculous, supernatural resuscitation of a body whereas I believe that Jesus is Risen, as previously discussed. Just a note, if there were anything supernatural, it would be beyond (no pun intended) the scope of science which is the natural. Again, the very concept of God is beyond the mission of the sciences.

                  Good, you acknowledge the historicity of the man, Jesus. And Christians belief is based on and about that historical man. But, again, a resurrection of the dead does not take place 'in' history, rather it takes place 'after death' which is not part of history, i.e. a- historical. That is not belief, that is simply logic.

                  Again, ground already tread: no problem with acknowledging (which I previously did) that others embody the way that Jesus did and was: it is the same and only way to be truly Human, so we could expect no difference from other such example of Humanity in human history. But myth is as much a part of the human experience as art, poetry, literature, science and exploration.......so your comment is not a putdown, it is an acknowledgement of one way how we, human beings, tell our story and present our truth. I do note though that you have now acknowledged there is a way that is or can be embodied in us. Perhaps you understand the reality and are just uncomfortable (which is your right) with the 'myths.'

                  You really have to read more poetry, literature and more closely study art (and even some scientists) if you really buy that they are only talking about the human:+}

                  Such beliefs acknowledge it indeed might be so.







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                  Last edited by thormas; 12-01-2020, 09:06 AM.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by thormas View Post

                    Again, this is all well-tread ground and I have no issue with your comment. An answer to "Why" and similar questions is belief and philosophy and theology are speculative: there is no proof for or against such belief. It is also the case that both theology and philosophy can be highly rational and reasonable in their assertions. However, it remains the case that such questions are their purview and really beyond the scope (or the interest?) of the sciences; in this science does not have the means to answer such questions. All this is fine.
                    There is no good reason to think there is a spiritual reality outside of the physical activity of the brain. And this is something that can (and is) investigated by the cognitive sciences. Philosophy can do no more than speculate.

                    Again, you bark up the wrong tree: no one is saying there is evidence of (or against) God.


                    An argument “for” God” is not warranted unless there is reason to believe that such an entity may exist. This is no longer a viable proposition in the age of science, it belongs to a more gullible era of myths and magic.

                    And, seemingly, our species is the only one we can truly know and talk about and even that effort is fraught with disagreement:+}
                    We are also the only species that can create the likes of ‘Star-Wars’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ but this does not warrant investigation as to their reality.

                    And we are NOT the only species when it comes to gods and made-up spiritual fictions. There is evidence of burial rites associated with Neanderthal man which indicates spiritual overtones. In short, highly intelligent creatures like us trying to make sense of the universe in a prescientific age.

                    I am saying that I believe Christ is Risen - that is a faith statement. I have no problem with acknowledging the high probability that the body of Jesus, like the body of all/many such crucified 'criminals' might have been thrown in a dump and left for scavenging animals. The belief is that the disciples believe/expereince that Jesus is alive beyond death, that he is exalted by God, that death does not have the last word. The resurrection stories are later developments found in 3 of the 4 gospels and, if I remember correctly, a later few verses are added to Mark. Paul believes that Jesus is Risen but there is no discussion of bodily resurrection. I can both say that Christ is Risen and have discussions about gospel development and speculate about what Romans did to crucified bodies. A resuscitated body is not the Christian belief; the belief is Jesus, the truly Human one, acknowledge, and exalted (risen) by God as such is the destiny of all.
                    So, in short, you are saying you experience the reality of Christ in your life in much the same way one experiences the reality of our deceased loved parents and siblings. One doesn’t need the bible or the trappings of religion for this.

                    [FONT=-webkit-standard]Again, ground already tread: as discussed, I acknowledge the self-giving by others, great and small, in the history of humanity. All, in my reckoning, are 'in' the same Way of God to being/becoming fully Human. I believe that Jesus is a high point or, to put it differently, the epitome of such Love.


                    Where does GOD come into all this?

                    I also acknowledge similar activity in the animal kingdom but believe this is not just a difference in degree but in kind (instinct versus the decision to be).
                    Humans are just apes. Much of our behavior can be understood in terms of animal behavior and its evolution. And our decisions are at bottom grounded in our instincts.

                    Again, I have no issue with the evolution of man as an individual in community but our history offers evidence that man goes against his 'evolution' to destroy his own on the family, group, community, state, country and global level..........whereas other men and women make the choice to not simply protect their own but to expand that 'self-sacrifice' to those who are not their loved ones or group (be it family, community, nation) but to the stranger, even to one's enemy. This is the choice for Love, evident in the man, Jesus. Such self-giving is not merely "a relatively common phenomenon for a species like ours" - it is the way to become and be fully Human (religious statement).
                    Jesus has little to do with it as witnessed by the behavior of Christians at various times in Christin history. They merely reflected the values of their era and included slavery, the subjugation of woman and the destruction of indigenous cultures. Whereas, the values of our era encompass the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is an international document that enshrines the rights and freedoms of ALL human beings and reflects our evolved tendency as a community-orientated social species.

                    More ground we have walked. There is no evidence for or against God but there are indeed 'arguments for the notion' of God: I give you, as just two examples, John Macquarie and David Bentley Hart. Also, I do not believe in a god who "mysteriously interacts with the material world." That is more an old time theistic take on God which I have moved beyond.
                    The ONLY “old time theistic take on God” is the superseded notion that such an entity exists in the first place. We have moved beyond theistic explanations that once made sense of the universe in a prescientific age.

                    I haven't been discussing fables, rather the focus with Genesis was myth - religious myth. And the myth does provide a religious insight about God, man, creation .......and of course it is not literal.......it is a belief statement. And I am not a creationist so that is not even part of the discussion:+}
                    You are begging the question that God even exists, let alone warrants insights about him.

                    And my response is "No it is not hubris." So that makes it a matter of opinion or.........belief.
                    Yes. It IS hubris to claim that the human animal is somehow special and “MORE” than the most intelligent of the Great Apes - to which species we belong.

                    https://australian.museum/learn/science/human-evolution/humans-are-apes-great-apes/#:~:text=Humans%20are%20classified%20in%20the,the% 20hominoids%20(Superfamily%20Hominoidea).

                    I have already discussed the resurrection and it appears we have rather different takes on it. You seem to be fixated on the miraculous, supernatural resuscitation of a body whereas I believe that Jesus is Risen, as previously discussed.


                    Seeing you are “not fixated on the miraculous and supernatural” ,such an assertion that “Jesus is risen” can be no more than a metaphor, i.e. a figure of speech.

                    Just a note, if there were anything supernatural, it would be beyond (no pun intended) the scope of science which is the natural. Again, the very concept of God is beyond the mission of the sciences.
                    The actuality of God may be beyond the sciences, but the “very concept of God has a solid place in fiction.

                    Good, you acknowledge the historicity of the man, Jesus. And Christians belief is based on and about that historical man. But, again, a resurrection of the dead does not take place 'in' history, rather it takes place 'after death' which is not part of history, i.e. a- historical. That is not belief, that is simply logic.
                    Why would you believe that “resurrection” happens in ANY sense?

                    [SIZE=14px]Again, ground already tread: no problem with acknowledging (which I previously did) that others embody the way that Jesus did and was: it is the same and only way to be truly Human, so we could expect no difference from other such example of Humanity in human history. But myth is as much a part of the human experience as art, poetry, literature, science and exploration.......so your comment is not a putdown, it is an acknowledgement of one way how we, human beings, tell our story and present our truth. I do note though that you have now acknowledged there is a way that is or can be embodied in us. Perhaps you understand the reality and are just uncomfortable (which is your right) with the 'myths.'
                    Your oft mentioned “ground already tread” does not provide explanations, merely assertions., which is why I return to them.

                    Jesus is important only because he is the focal point of a great religion NOT because he is intrinsically better than many other good people throughout history. Even what we know of him (which is not much) is not grounded in eyewitness history but highly embellished accounts of his life based upon anecdotes and hearsay.

                    You really have to read more poetry, literature and more closely study art (and even some scientists) if you really buy that they are only talking about the human:+}
                    You assume with no good reason that there is more than “the human” encompassed by the arts.



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                    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Tassman View Post
                      Again, we are still talking about belief and many people, some scientist included, believe there is a 'spiritual' reality' (some also call it Consciousness or Mind) that both transcends and is immanent (and the very possibility of) the physical. And some of these people do indeed have reasons. Some of mine in no particular order are that I understand man as transcendent, I also go to the logical and ontological necessity of Being for anything to be (some also argue a necessary cause other than endless contingency), and I have also read about the mind/physical debate wherein some (including scientists) give priority to Mind over the physical (extremely interesting and I continue to explore this). And, for me, the simple reason is that the idea of Being, presented by philosophers, in combination with the biblical 'insight' of I AM . resonates, is reasonable and answers "Why.'" That you or some others disagree is, as has been previously stated, fine and respected. There is cognitive science but there is no decisive conclusion - nor can there be.

                      An argument for God is indeed warranted and people have reasons (some given above) for belief that God IS. Such believe is obviously a viable proposition in the age of science since many modern, reasonable people hold it........including some scientists. All scientists are not atheists:+} That you disagree with those reasons and some scientists is fine but it is simply your opinion or belief.

                      Star Wars (I'm more a Star Trek guy): but as you have stated, given the vastness of the universe, the probability is that there is life beyond our small planet ........so we don't investigate those Star Wars beings or worlds but we do allow that such life exists and we investigate that possibility/probability.........at least in the case of 'alien life (I leave Alice to you).

                      I didn't say we were the only such species, I said we can only truly know our particular species because we are of that species. Neanderthal was also a transcendent being.

                      Actually, I don't have, have never had and never wish to have any experience of dead people. What you call the 'reality of Christ' is rather my understanding of who the man Jesus became (truly Human) and the belief that this man was exalted into the Fullness of Life/God (the destiny of all men and women). So, for this, I find the scriptures, the insights of others concerning the man Jesus and what they say/believe about God, to be extremely valuable.

                      The simple answer is the belief that Jesus and any and all others involved in such self-giving, are 'in' or participate in THE Way - that is (leads to) truly Human and Abundant Life. And, the belief is that this Way is not simply the way of God.......it is God for it is the way of Love (John's gospel). Jesus, of course, is explicit, as are many others) that this way is God's.

                      Much - but not all- of our actions can be understood in terms of animal behavior and evolution.

                      Jesus has much (everything) to do with it but again I go to Gandhi, ".......your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Many who have called themselves Christian over the ages (including many of the little people unnoticed by history) have lived such lives, while others are Christian in name only and are not 'of the Way.' As to our current values, we too have not done the finest job of living that declaration - I give you trump and his sycophants and there are many, many others. The way of the Christian is symbolized by the cross - and goes to the death of self (i.e. selfishness) - it is found difficult by many and therefore not tried (Chesterton).

                      Actually the idea that God IS - is not simply old time theism but also part and parcel of a modern, progressive take on Christianity. And it seems apparent that we have not moved beyond the belief that God Is even in the 21st C. Again, you seem to think in theistic terms and old time theistic terms at that, whereas many 21st C Christians do not, You are behind the times in your understanding of Christianity - it is not a monolith and it is certainly not simply your old time theism.

                      I'm not begging any question since I have none concerning God: I believe that God Is............you don't.

                      Again, no it is not hubris:+} It is not only a belief statement but it is evidenced by everything that man, in spite of his failings, has created and accomplished - including the sciences.

                      Good, indeed I am not fixated on the miraculous or the supernatural. Actually, I don't accept miracles as the way that God must 'interact' in the so-called natural world of man. And, I have no problem with metaphors: they compare two unlike things: in this case, dead and alive - a dead man and that dead man Alive (i.e. Risen). The metaphor speaks a truth which I believe about God, man, creation, destiny, etc. Again, you stumble over the literal rather than recognize the paucity of human language when trying to speak of that which is beyond human language: God. Yet we try, therefore the metaphor:+} This poverty of language is also seen in science: the big bang is often times called an explosion and....... an explosion is a metaphor.

                      So we agree that the actuality of God is beyond the scope of science. I also agree that God also has a place in fiction. As does science........ala science fiction.

                      I believe Jesus is risen by God: the man fully Human 'overcomes' death in Life, in God. I have no earthly idea what this actually looks like or means since it is beyond history, imagination and experience.

                      Actually, there are number of explanations offered throughout my comments - always within the context of a religious belief.

                      Actually, before Christianity, Jesus was important in Judaism to a group of disciples and followers during his life and also after his death and he became important to pagans as his story (the belief about him and God) was shared outside of Jerusalem to the Diaspora and beyond. And of course he is the focal point of a religion focused on him:+} Also, historically, it is the case that unlike other Jewish messianic figures of his time, he alone is remembered........because of the 'resurrection' and what it is believed to say about this particular man.

                      I have no issue with the historical fact that he is not as important outside of Christianity - yet it remains the case that he is an Exemplar for some others even outside Christianity. As previous said (thus ground already walked) is that Jesus lived and is (believed to be) the Way and others have also lived that Way - many because of him. I have always thought that Jesus is not different in kind than other men or women but different in degree (of his utter selflessness) ...which, then, does make him different in kind - yet a difference that is possible for all men and women.

                      As for the gospels, the best biblical biblical scholars point to and agree on the 'gist material' found in the gospels that is considered historical information about Jesus and Dale Allison, among he best of these scholars, provides evidence of repeating patterns in the gospels that are placed in the literary style of the authors to present something 'real', repeated and consistently stated about the man Jesus.

                      As for art, my friend......have you even studied some of the great artist whose focus is not only man but Jesus and God, and sometimes very specifically the divine? But moving beyond artistic intent, there is the acknowledgement that 'art is in the eye of the beholder' and there are many who 'see' or 'feel' the divine in works of art - even it this was not the intention of the artist. Art, poetry, literature, sculpture, artictecture, science - all are occasions for some to see, feel and say more than the human.
                      Last edited by thormas; 12-02-2020, 09:36 AM.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by thormas View Post

                        Again, we are still talking about belief and many people, some scientist included, believe there is a 'spiritual' reality' (some also call it Consciousness or Mind) that both transcends and is immanent (and the very possibility of) the physical. And some of these people do indeed have reasons. Some of mine in no particular order are that I understand man as transcendent, I also go to the logical and ontological necessity of Being for anything to be (some also argue a necessary cause other than endless contingency), and I have also read about the mind/physical debate wherein some (including scientists) give priority to Mind over the physical (extremely interesting and I continue to explore this). And, for me, the simple reason is that the idea of Being, presented by philosophers, in combination with the biblical 'insight' of I AM . resonates, is reasonable and answers "Why.'" That you or some others disagree is, as has been previously stated, fine and respected. There is cognitive science but there is no decisive conclusion - nor can there be.
                        Some people undoubtedly “believe there is a 'spiritual' reality'” – much less so in the more secular countries and more so in the more religious countries which indicates that it is more a cultural phenomenon than anything else. Regardless, because some people believe this does not make it true.

                        An argument for God is indeed warranted and people have reasons (some given above) for belief that God IS. Such believe is obviously a viable proposition in the age of science since many modern, reasonable people hold it........including some scientists. All scientists are not atheists:+} That you disagree with those reasons and some scientists is fine but it is simply your opinion or belief.
                        God “IS” what, exactly?

                        Star Wars (I'm more a Star Trek guy): but as you have stated, given the vastness of the universe, the probability is that there is life beyond our small planet ........so we don't investigate those Star Wars beings or worlds but we do allow that such life exists and we investigate that possibility/probability.........at least in the case of 'alien life (I leave Alice to you).
                        Science DOES investigate life beyond our “small planet” inasmuch as it is able, because it is a part of the natural universe, which is the role of science. There is no non-natural universe that science knows of.

                        I didn't say we were the only such species, I said we can only truly know our particular species because we are of that species. Neanderthal was also a transcendent being.
                        Neanderthal man was, like Homo sapiens, highly intelligent. This does NOT equate to ‘transcendent” in the sense of being beyond the range of normal physical human experience for Neanderthals - nor any other species.

                        Actually, I don't have, have never had and never wish to have any experience of dead people. What you call the 'reality of Christ' is rather my understanding of who the man Jesus became (truly Human) and the belief that this man was exalted into the Fullness of Life/God (the destiny of all men and women). So, for this, I find the scriptures, the insights of others concerning the man Jesus and what they say/believe about God, to be extremely valuable.
                        Are you and I not also “truly human”? Or are you saying, to paraphrase Orwell in ‘Animal Farm’, that ALL humans are equal but some humans are more equal than others?

                        The simple answer is the belief that Jesus and any and all others involved in such self-giving, are 'in' or participate in THE Way - that is (leads to) truly Human and Abundant Life. And, the belief is that this Way is not simply the way of God.......it is God for it is the way of Love (John's gospel). Jesus, of course, is explicit, as are many others) that this way is God's.
                        It is not particularly "God’s Way". “THE WAY” altruistic people are “participating in” is “the way” social species such as us have evolved to behave. Namely, as product of evolution as it lends itself to our survival as a species. We developed the capacity for empathy because recognizing the pain and hurt in others stops us, for the most part, from harming them. Unless our empathy is broken in some way, it helps us avoid killing each other and allows us to value life.

                        Much - but not all- of our actions can be understood in terms of animal behavior and evolution.
                        Oh? Which of our actions cannot be understood in terms of animal behavior and evolution? Be specific.

                        Jesus has much (everything) to do with it but again I go to Gandhi, ".......your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Many who have called themselves Christian over the ages (including many of the little people unnoticed by history) have lived such lives, while others are Christian in name only and are not 'of the Way.' As to our current values, we too have not done the finest job of living that declaration - I give you trump and his sycophants and there are many, many others. The way of the Christian is symbolized by the cross - and goes to the death of self (i.e. selfishness) - it is found difficult by many and therefore not tried (Chesterton).
                        The demonstrable fact is that being Christian has historically made no difference to the way people behave. It is an empty philosophy. People of faith can read the bible so that virtually any perspective on current issues will find some support in the bible. Because much of the bible can be made to reinforce what the society of the day believes at any given period of history.

                        Actually the idea that God IS - is not simply old time theism but also part and parcel of a modern, progressive take on Christianity. And it seems apparent that we have not moved beyond the belief that God Is even in the 21st C. Again, you seem to think in theistic terms and old time theistic terms at that, whereas many 21st C Christians do not, You are behind the times in your understanding of Christianity - it is not a monolith and it is certainly not simply your old time theism.
                        the “idea that God IS” is a meaningless cliché. The “universe IS” – at least the latter assertion is supported by the evidence of the natural universe.

                        I'm not begging any question since I have none concerning God: I believe that God Is............you don't.
                        Of course, you are “begging the question”. Your assertion previously that the Genesis myth provides a religious insight about God, assumes that God exists in the first place.

                        Again, no it is not hubris:+} It is not only a belief statement but it is evidenced by everything that man, in spite of his failings, has created and accomplished - including the sciences.
                        Exactly. You believe that man is special. Hubris!

                        Good, indeed I am not fixated on the miraculous or the supernatural. Actually, I don't accept miracles as the way that God must 'interact' in the so-called natural world of man. And, I have no problem with metaphors: they compare two unlike things: in this case, dead and alive - a dead man and that dead man Alive (i.e. Risen). The metaphor speaks a truth which I believe about God, man, creation, destiny, etc. Again, you stumble over the literal rather than recognize the paucity of human language when trying to speak of that which is beyond human language: God. Yet we try, therefore the metaphor:+} This poverty of language is also seen in science: the big bang is often times called an explosion and....... an explosion is a metaphor.
                        God is beyond the “the paucity of human language” because there is no good reason the believe God exists, therefore no language to explain him.. Science does not have such a problem, it only resorts to metaphor when it attempts to popularize its theories for the layman – such as the Big Bang.

                        So we agree that the actuality of God is beyond the scope of science. I also agree that God also has a place in fiction. As does science........ala science fiction.
                        The scope of science encompasses the entire natural universe. The is no good reason to assume, as you seem to do, that there exists MORE than the natural universe. That is “Only Make Believe"

                        I believe Jesus is risen by God: the man fully Human 'overcomes' death in Life, in God. I have no earthly idea what this actually looks like or means since it is beyond history, imagination and experience.
                        And it’s beyond any good reason to believe it, especially given that you can’t explain it.

                        Actually, before Christianity, Jesus was important in Judaism to a group of disciples and followers during his life and also after his death and he became important to pagans as his story (the belief about him and God) was shared outside of Jerusalem to the Diaspora and beyond. And of course he is the focal point of a religion focused on him:+} Also, historically, it is the case that unlike other Jewish messianic figures of his time, he alone is remembered........because of the 'resurrection' and what it is believed to say about this particular man.

                        I have no issue with the historical fact that he is not as important outside of Christianity - yet it remains the case that he is an Exemplar for some others even outside Christianity. As previous said (thus ground already walked) is that Jesus lived and is (believed to be) the Way and others have also lived that Way - many because of him. I have always thought that Jesus is not different in kind than other men or women but different in degree (of his utter selflessness) ...which, then, does make him different in kind - yet a difference that is possible for all men and women.

                        As for the gospels, the best biblical biblical scholars point to and agree on the 'gist material' found in the gospels that is considered historical information about Jesus and Dale Allison, among he best of these scholars, provides evidence of repeating patterns in the gospels that are placed in the literary style of the authors to present something 'real', repeated and consistently stated about the man Jesus.
                        The Jesus story arose during the gullible pre-scientific era of signs, wonders and miracles – an age that could take seriously the likes of Jesus’ exact contemporary, the magic man Apollonius of Tyana. We no longer live in such an era – we live in the Age of Science. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things”. Scripture has its value.

                        As for art, my friend......have you even studied some of the great artist whose focus is not only man but Jesus and God, and sometimes very specifically the divine? But moving beyond artistic intent, there is the acknowledgement that 'art is in the eye of the beholder' and there are many who 'see' or 'feel' the divine in works of art - even it this was not the intention of the artist. Art, poetry, literature, sculpture, artictecture, science - all are occasions for some to see, feel and say more than the human.
                        Art dramatizes the deeper human emotions and experience. For example, Wagner’s Ring Cycle operas examine in depth the passions, jealousies and greed of humanity via the gods, dwarves and giants of Nordic mythology, with profoundly moving passion. But, not for one minute are we looking beyond the human.
                        “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

                        Comment


                        • [QUOTE=Tassman;n1210794]
                          /QUOTE]

                          And because some believe in Spirit, Mind or Consciousness (i.e. God) it does not mean that it is not true. Cut both ways; it is a belief statement.

                          God IS................it is different than saying one believes there is a God. Such statements for me imagine 'a God' as if God is a being like others beings but bigger or supreme. To say God IS is a statement about Being. God IS and Being is the very possibility that any and everything is.

                          So we agree: science investigates the universe, as it is able. I have no idea about non-natural universes but, as previously stated, science cannot and is really not interested or able to delve into 'God.'

                          Actually, it seems that Neanderthal buried their dead which is considered perhaps the earliest form of religious practice and suggests people were concerned about what happens after death. This speaks to transcendence: looking beyond the human, looking beyond the natural for meaning or significance. Simply man is the transcendant being.

                          To paraphrase Orwell, I'm saying that all men and women are human but some are more human that others. Of course, on one hand, we are all human (what else could we be) but on the other hand, even our everyday language recognizes that some among us are 'more human' than others and still others are 'less human' than the rest of us. Going back to the hero cop, fireman or the ordinary citizen who risks everything to save a stranger, we say of them: he/she is "the best among us, the best we have to offer, an incredible human being, an example for all" and of the murderer, rapist, or terrorist we say: "he is an animal, she is a monster, he is not even human, how could a human being act in such a way." For the former we heap humanity on them, for the latter we strip then of humanity because of how they acts (and action reveals who one is). So this is the sense in which I use the term 'fully or truly human.' Orwell is correct:+} However, my Christian belief is that all are capable of becoming fully and truly Human.

                          We differ on the Way. That man is more than the result of his evolutionary conditioning is obvious, given both the 'actual love for the stranger' and the incredible destruction wrought throughout human history against both the individual and the group. It seems obvious that any altruistic behavior that has evolved in our species is not sacrosanct: we choose, sometimes daily, to either go beyond (transcend) it or totally go against it. Our behavior is (also) chosen and many make the choice to be a certain way, to consciously make the decision to act and be a certain way. And the man Jesus was one who by doing so became 'more' (as have others). These are the actions that cannot be limited or understood by animal behavior and evolution alone.

                          That is a longer discussion. In spite of the failures of some, even many Christian, and others, throughout history, it is apparent that western civilization has been greatly influenced by the 3 major theistic religions (both for good and for ill). Actually we cannot even imagine western civilization and culture without this religious influence - because it never took place, This is our only history. Moving on, the influence of Christianity on behavior is obvious both for many individuals (whose stories we are not always privy to) and for societies as a whole. Merely because you say something is an empty philosophy does not make it so, And it is a fact that your Declaration is also in many ways a failure- but not all ways and we should also note that such a declaration is part and parcel of religious faith.

                          I understand and accept that the belief that God is meaningless to you. That is your belief. It is obviously not meaningless to others, myself included. Again........as endlessly discussed, these are belief statements :+}

                          This is weirdly fun: no. I'm not begging the question and, anticipating what is coming, not it is not hubris:+} Actually rather than begging, I raise questions and seek answers. I do believe that God IS (just as you believe God Is not) and of course Genesis, which is, btw, a religious book, also assumes this is the case, beginning as it does not with whether or not God exists but with God acting: creation. You confuse religious faith with science. Also, man is special.

                          You say there is no good reason to believe that God Is.........and I disagree: thus this discussion:+} Yet even or especially the believer understands that language is inadequate to the task. Actually most things that are important in human life are beyond the scope and can never be fully captured by human language, like Love that is like a red, red rose. Science too resorts to metaphor when it seeks to be understood.............exactly.

                          Again, you simply state another reason for this discussion: you accept only the natural, I assume therefore that you are a physicalist, whereas I am not: I accept/believe the spiritual (or Mind or Consciousness) IS.

                          Apollonius who? Thus my point is made as this contemporary is not remembered (unless one looks him up), not an influence on the world and not considered a revered exemplar of God. Thanks you for that. Again you like to harp on the gullible age of the 1st C CE while ignoring that many in this present scientific age, including some scientists, believe in the spiritual, believe that God IS. As said, I suspect I have more questions and doubts about some of the seeming magic, signs and miracles associated with Christianity than you have ever contemplated.........yet they are not what or why I believe.

                          “Truly I tell you.......whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." The Bible does indeed have its value: so much for hubris and it doesn't speak of gullibility but of trust - openness to what IS:+}

                          I don't deny what you said about art........but like much you say, it is only part of the story. In the case of art, it is oftentimes that art definitely enables and encourages us to look beyond the human: transcendence!
                          Last edited by thormas; 12-03-2020, 09:20 AM.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by thormas View Post
                            And because some believe in Spirit, Mind or Consciousness (i.e. God) it does not mean that it is not true. Cut both ways; it is a belief statement.
                            Not at all. The cognitive sciences are increasingly able to investigate the” Mind and Consciousness” whereas subjective religious beliefs about the ‘Mind” are merely bald assertions.

                            ttps://www.britannica.com/science/cognitive-science

                            God IS................it is different than saying one believes there is a God. Such statements for me imagine 'a God' as if God is a being like others beings but bigger or supreme. To say God IS is a statement about Being. God IS and Being is the very possibility that any and everything is.
                            So, to say that “God Is” is NOT saying that one believes in God? Well, yes, it is. It is certainly NOT saying that one doesn’t believe in God. This is just doublespeak.

                            So we agree: science investigates the universe, as it is able. I have no idea about non-natural universes but, as previously stated, science cannot and is really not interested or able to delve into 'God.'
                            Science is always a work in progress. What it is unable to investigate today has historically progressed to methodologies that enable it to do so. You have “no idea about non-natural universes” because there is no good reason to think they exist. And, if God was a part of the ‘natural universe’, then he could be investigated by science. But he is not – God is defined as a supernatural being considered divine or sacred. (The Oxford Dictionary)

                            Actually, it seems that Neanderthal buried their dead which is considered perhaps the earliest form of religious practice and suggests people were concerned about what happens after death. This speaks to transcendence: looking beyond the human, looking beyond the natural for meaning or significance. Simply man is the transcendant being.
                            No. It means that prescientific humans (including Neanderthals) BELIEVED that they were transcendent. NOT that such a belief was true.

                            To paraphrase Orwell, I'm saying that all men and women are human but some are more human that others. Of course, on one hand, we are all human (what else could we be) but on the other hand, even our everyday language recognizes that some among us are 'more human' than others and still others are 'less human' than the rest of us. Going back to the hero cop, fireman or the ordinary citizen who risks everything to save a stranger, we say of them: he/she is "the best among us, the best we have to offer, an incredible human being, an example for all" and of the murderer, rapist, or terrorist we say: "he is an animal, she is a monster, he is not even human, how could a human being act in such a way." For the former we heap humanity on them, for the latter we strip then of humanity because of how they acts (and action reveals who one is). So this is the sense in which I use the term 'fully or truly human.' Orwell is correct:+} However, my Christian belief is that all are capable of becoming fully and truly Human.
                            Orwell was NOT correct - he was mocking the hypocrisy of Communism with his “some people are more equal than others” in a society where ALL men were supposedly equal. .

                            We are ALL “fully human” – what ese could we be? Jesus was by all accounts compassionate. Many people are compassionate. We admire compassion and distain indifference and apathy as being contrary to our evolved need for social cohesion.

                            We differ on the Way. That man is more than the result of his evolutionary conditioning is obvious, given both the 'actual love for the stranger' and the incredible destruction wrought throughout human history against both the individual and the group. It seems obvious that any altruistic behavior that has evolved in our species is not sacrosanct: we choose, sometimes daily, to either go beyond (transcend) it or totally go against it. Our behavior is (also) chosen and many make the choice to be a certain way, to consciously make the decision to act and be a certain way. And the man Jesus was one who by doing so became 'more' (as have others). These are the actions that cannot be limited or understood by animal behavior and evolution alone.
                            Our behavior is programmed by genes and environmental pressures, and we take decisions either deterministically or randomly – but not totally freely. And we (as well as many other among the higher social species) have evolved with the capacity for empathy and altruism to best maintain the communal life essential for our survival.

                            That is a longer discussion. In spite of the failures of some, even many Christian, and others, throughout history, it is apparent that western civilization has been greatly influenced by the 3 major theistic religions (both for good and for ill). Actually we cannot even imagine western civilization and culture without this religious influence - because it never took place, This is our only history. Moving on, the influence of Christianity on behavior is obvious both for many individuals (whose stories we are not always privy to) and for societies as a whole. Merely because you say something is an empty philosophy does not make it so, And it is a fact that your Declaration is also in many ways a failure- but not all ways and we should also note that such a declaration is part and parcel of religious faith.
                            People of faith can practice their particular belief system so that any perspective on current issues will find some support. This was true during the 400 years of Christian slave ownership in the US just as it was during the slaughter of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar Buddhists.

                            I understand and accept that the belief that God is meaningless to you. That is your belief. It is obviously not meaningless to others, myself included. Again........as endlessly discussed, these are belief statements :+}
                            Belief in the existence of fairies is a “belief statement” but belief in and of itself is not an argument. Such 'belief statements' require defending.

                            This is weirdly fun: no. I'm not begging the question and, anticipating what is coming, not it is not hubris:+} Actually rather than begging, I raise questions and seek answers. I do believe that God IS (just as you believe God Is not) and of course Genesis, which is, btw, a religious book, also assumes this is the case, beginning as it does not with whether or not God exists but with God acting: creation. You confuse religious faith with science. Also, man is special.
                            Yes, you ARE “begging the Question”. Once again: When you assert that the Genesis myth “provides a religious insight about God” and “God acting” (your words), you are assuming that God exists. Otherwise it is a meaningless assertion.

                            You say there is no good reason to believe that God Is.........and I disagree: thus this discussion:+} Yet even or especially the believer understands that language is inadequate to the task. Actually most things that are important in human life are beyond the scope and can never be fully captured by human language, like Love that is like a red, red rose. Science too resorts to metaphor when it seeks to be understood.............exactly.
                            Love and compassionate altruism can be readily understood in terms of our survival as an evolved social species, not just as a metaphor.

                            Science only resorts to metaphor when it seeks to be understood by the layman, i.e. non-experts in the field.

                            Again, you simply state another reason for this discussion: you accept only the natural, I assume therefore that you are a physicalist, whereas I am not: I accept/believe the spiritual (or Mind or Consciousness) IS.
                            There is no evidence for “mind or consciousness” beyond the physical activity of the brain and you have provided none other than assert personal, subjective opinion.

                            Apollonius who? Thus my point is made as this contemporary is not remembered (unless one looks him up), not an influence on the world and not considered a revered exemplar of God
                            .

                            Apollonius (and miracle-workers like him) were highly regarded in his era, hence the easy attribution of such wonders and miracles to Jesus. It went with the territory. Why Jesus achieved long-term celebrity status whilst other miracle-workers faded into obscurity after their moment of fame and glory is one of those mysteries of stardom encountered so frequently in Hollywood.

                            Thanks you for that. Again you like to harp on the gullible age of the 1st C CE while ignoring that many in this present scientific age, including some scientists, believe in the spiritual, believe that God IS. As said, I suspect I have more questions and doubts about some of the seeming magic, signs and miracles associated with Christianity than you have ever contemplated.........yet they are not what or why I believe.
                            What YOU are ignoring is the cultural impact of the scientific age. The Scandinavian countries and highly secular places like Australia have very few adherents to spiritual belief systems. This, when belief in a deity was a given and taken for granted by all just a few centuries back. Not anymore.

                            ;Truly I tell you.......whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." The Bible does indeed have its value: so much for hubris and it doesn't speak of gullibility but of trust - openness to what IS:+}
                            It speaks to the capacity of a child to understand vis-à-vis adult knowledge. It says so: ““When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things”.

                            I don't deny what you said about art........but like much you say, it is only part of the story. In the case of art, it is oftentimes that art definitely enables and encourages us to look beyond the human: transcendence!
                            No. Art is a human concept and it dramatizes the deeper aspects of human emotions and experience – often employing mythology to do so.
                            “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

                            Comment


                            • [QUOTE=thormas;n1210858]
                              Originally posted by Tassman View Post
                              /QUOTE]

                              !
                              Sure they are investigating it but there is no definitive answer and even scientists question each other over this issue. Theres is nothing definitive plus Mind or Consciousness as names for God is, once again, beyond the scope or the investigative resources of the sciences.

                              Relax, to say that God IS is the ultimate faith statement for me:+} No doublespeak and I did say it was a different way; it is simply moving away from thinking that God is a 'supreme being.' If you need a common language, as long as it is not interpreted that God is a being alongside of other beings, then I have no problem saying I believe in God:+}

                              Well when science investigates non-natural universes - whatever they are - I will be interested. God is not part of this or any universe, natural or non-natural, and if one acknowledges this by calling God supernatural, while I understand it, I still don't use those words to talk about God. As you said, God as the divine is not part of the universe and, therefore, cannot be the object of scientific investigation. That is what I have been saying.

                              By the very fact that they buried their death, an earliest form of religious practice, these creatures were transcendent, i.e. looking for answers beyond themselves, beyond death. It is valid to question if their quest was valid, if there were/are answers 'beyond' the human (that is also our discussion) but by the mere fact that they did look, there were transcendent beings. It appears obvious that their belief was not about themselves (being transcendent) - their belief was that there were answers beyond (i.e. that transcended) them.

                              I did say I was paraphrasing Orwell and the sentiment is correct given my usage and also as evidenced by our everyday language: some of us are more human than others and some less. (understood as described above). This, apparently, is another point of disagreement. Thank god I'm right :+}

                              And on human behavior we also disagree but I never said actions are 'totally' free just not merely the product of our genes - again as witnessed in our history.

                              I have no issue with the reality that some people use/misuse the Bible to support their own prejudices (that seems to happen on this site also). I also have no issue, when apparent and important, disagreeing with the Bible (or others' interpretations of the Bible) as I consider the scriptures the insights of human beings about God - as opposed to the 'word' of God; I am not a literalist. So people of faith can do what you say but it doesn't follow that their understanding or their interpretation is correct.

                              Well as you exercise your right to say there is no God, I exercise my right to say I don't believe in fairies (but if there are fairies, especially Tinkerbell, I will be pleasantly astonished:+) And it should be pointed out that your belief that there is no God cannot be defended, there is no 'evidence' that God is not. It is a belief.

                              As to begging questions: I am not. But of course I am saying and assuming God acts and God exists........such are faith statements and beyond evidence or scientific exploration. It is just as 'meaningless' a statement to say God does not exist (if one is basing this on science which is out of its league here).

                              You understand love and altruism as a consequence of the evolutionary process, the poet who describes Love as a red, red rose does not......and neither do I. This is rhetorical ......are you married, have kids? Do you actually tell your partner/spouse you only love him/her because you evolved to do that, is there no mystery or metaphor in such love? Does such love not 'carry' you beyond the mundane (i.e. transcend) at all? Do you tell all whom you love (family and friends) that it is only a consequence of the evolutionary process and you really had no choice in the matter, that you do it to survive as a species? Are there no "I love you to the moon and back" or I love you forever and a day" or anything remotely like that? I never said love was just a metaphor, rather than love is too rich a reality to be fully captured or expressed given the poverty of language. That science needs the metaphor at all is the point.

                              I disagree with you on the scientific finding of mind beyond the brain and scientist too disagree on this. I don't have it in front of me right now (have to find it on the bookshelves) but will be glad to give you a reference on this. However, once again you look to science to explain what I am saying is beyond the capacity of the sciences.

                              Apollonius and the other unremembered messiah figures sharing space on the earth with Jesus (I know they have names but I can't remember them at this time). Again, with a bit of research they are 'remembered' but other than that they fade into history and are largely unremembered as opposed to Jesus. The whole signs, wonders and miracles thing is at best complicated. First, there is a difference in what we and the 1st C considered miracles, second there is a legitimate issue of whether Jesus performed all of the miracles attributed to him (for example and the most fun are the nature miracles and my favorite, cursing the fig tree) and third, I, for one and others, don't believe Jesus is 'the name above all others' because of miracles. Finally, I have no real issue with the biblical assertion that Jesus was known as such in that particular time and that time was more open and accepting to miracles than we in the 21st C - but, again, that is not the basis of, the reason why, I believe 'in God' and acknowledge Jesus as I do (above). However there is no real mystery: Jesus is remembered not because of some mystery of Hollywood-like stardom (but I do appreciate the metaphor): Jesus is remembered first and foremost, not because of any miracles (because then all of the 'miracles workers would be also) but because he was proclaimed Risen, Exalted and Blessed by God - thus ratifying/blessing/acknowledging/accepting his words and acts in life......and so it all began.

                              I do not and actually cannot ignore the scientific age which I was born into and of which I am a part. I simply can hold two thoughts at the same time as can many of my fellows, some of whom are scientists. Actually I did a quick look at the numbers and a good third or so of Australians and also a good proportion of Scandinavians remain religious....so even is such 'secular' countries, a solid % also can hold more than one thought in their heads:+}

                              I happen to think that Christianity needs to be re-presented to many and explained in a way that assumes our 21st C worldview and makes use of a philosophical system that is more modern (yet still there is no proof or evidence). Actually when I was a theology teacher (before going into business) I did just that and the most interesting response was "why didn't anyone tell us this before, why didn't other people explain this" or, my favorite "that makes sense." However my all time favorite response was after a long, very long discussion with one of my best friends, an atheist and a lover of literature and especially poetry (so one who transcend the mundane to look for meaning) said, "I like your version better than the pope's." And so it goes.

                              My biblical quotes speaks of trust: the trust a child has in their parents, the trust the lover has in her beloved, a friend in a friend, etc. And the reference to the disciple Thomas speaks of belief without proof or evidence.

                              Of course art is a human concept, a human creation - who said it was otherwise? But as you have just written it sometimes goes to deeper human experience and uses myth to say something of that experience. One deeper such experience is the 'experience' of the spiritual or the divine, an experience that goes beyond the mundane and indeed art is used by some to 'picture' it, using already exiting myth to depict the experience visually.
                              Last edited by thormas; 12-04-2020, 10:55 AM.

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                              • Originally posted by thormas View Post

                                Sure they are investigating it but there is no definitive answer and even scientists question each other over this issue. Theres is nothing definitive plus Mind or Consciousness as names for God is, once again, beyond the scope or the investigative resources of the sciences.
                                “Mind or Consciousness” would be beyond the scope of science ONLY if these phenomena were not part of the natural world. But there is no evidence that it is anything other than the natural physical world.

                                As for being “names for God” you are yet again making an assumption that God exists.

                                Relax, to say that God IS is the ultimate faith statement for me:+} No doublespeak and I did say it was a different way; it is simply moving away from thinking that God is a 'supreme being.' If you need a common language, as long as it is not interpreted that God is a being alongside of other beings, then I have no problem saying I believe in God:+}
                                But, again, WHY would you WANT to say you believe in God?

                                Well when science investigates non-natural universes - whatever they are - I will be interested. God is not part of this or any universe, natural or non-natural, and if one acknowledges this by calling God supernatural, while I understand it, I still don't use those words to talk about God. As you said, God as the divine is not part of the universe and, therefore, cannot be the object of scientific investigation. That is what I have been saying.
                                You are assuming, without verifiable evidence, the possible existence of non-natural universes - presumably because it suits your word-view.

                                By the very fact that they buried their death, an earliest form of religious practice, these creatures were transcendent, i.e. looking for answers beyond themselves, beyond death. It is valid to question if their quest was valid, if there were/are answers 'beyond' the human (that is also our discussion) but by the mere fact that they did look, there were transcendent beings. It appears obvious that their belief was not about themselves (being transcendent) - their belief was that there were answers beyond (i.e. that transcended) them.
                                No, they were trying to make sense of the universe in a prescientific age – just as we did until the Renaissance gave rise to modern science and a more productive methodology to make sense of the universe.

                                I did say I was paraphrasing Orwell and the sentiment is correct given my usage and also as evidenced by our everyday language: some of us are more human than others and some less. (understood as described above). This, apparently, is another point of disagreement. Thank god I'm right :+}
                                No, I was paraphrasing Orwell. He was referring to some pigs on Animal Farm believing they were MORE equal (i.e., special) than the other pigs – just as you believe that some humans are “more special” than other humans.

                                And on human behavior we also disagree but I never said actions are 'totally' free just not merely the product of our genes - again as witnessed in our history.
                                Our actions are not “totally free” nor are they totally programmed by genes and environmental pressures. But, in the context of THE WAY, we have evolved with the capacity for empathy and altruism to best maintain the communal life essential for our survival.

                                I have no issue with the reality that some people use/misuse the Bible to support their own prejudices (that seems to happen on this site also). I also have no issue, when apparent and important, disagreeing with the Bible (or others' interpretations of the Bible) as I consider the scriptures the insights of human beings about God - as opposed to the 'word' of God; I am not a literalist. So people of faith can do what you say but it doesn't follow that their understanding or their interpretation is correct.
                                Community concepts of right and wrong are merely how humans have behaved under certain circumstances at certain times in history. And people of faith justify it with scripture. Religion does not lead to way; it follows behind and rationalizes it as coming from God.

                                Well as you exercise your right to say there is no God, I exercise my right to say I don't believe in fairies (but if there are fairies, especially Tinkerbell, I will be pleasantly astonished:+) And it should be pointed out that your belief that there is no God cannot be defended, there is no 'evidence' that God is not. It is a belief.
                                And like Tinkerbell in Peter Pan, she can only exist if people believe in fairies. And equally, God can only exist if people believe in him.

                                As to begging questions: I am not. But of course I am saying and assuming God acts and God exists........such are faith statements and beyond evidence or scientific exploration. It is just as 'meaningless' a statement to say God does not exist (if one is basing this on science which is out of its league here).
                                No. You assumed God exists by your assertion that myths “provide a religious insight about God”

                                You understand love and altruism as a consequence of the evolutionary process, the poet who describes Love as a red, red rose does not......and neither do I. This is rhetorical ......are you married, have kids? Do you actually tell your partner/spouse you only love him/her because you evolved to do that, is there no mystery or metaphor in such love? Does such love not 'carry' you beyond the mundane (i.e. transcend) at all? Do you tell all whom you love (family and friends) that it is only a consequence of the evolutionary process and you really had no choice in the matter, that you do it to survive as a species? Are there no "I love you to the moon and back" or I love you forever and a day" or anything remotely like that? I never said love was just a metaphor, rather than love is too rich a reality to be fully captured or expressed given the poverty of language. That science needs the metaphor at all is the point.
                                Poetry is about art; it is not science. You are confusing the two. And science does not need metaphor within its own discipline, although it can be useful in explaining scientific concepts to those outside the discipline.

                                I disagree with you on the scientific finding of mind beyond the brain and scientist too disagree on this. I don't have it in front of me right now (have to find it on the bookshelves) but will be glad to give you a reference on this. However, once again you look to science to explain what I am saying is beyond the capacity of the sciences.
                                The mind is not “beyond the capacity of science” unless you assume that it is more than the physical activity of the brain. There is no evidence to indicate this.

                                Apollonius and the other unremembered messiah figures sharing space on the earth with Jesus (I know they have names but I can't remember them at this time). Again, with a bit of research they are 'remembered' but other than that they fade into history and are largely unremembered as opposed to Jesus. The whole signs, wonders and miracles thing is at best complicated. First, there is a difference in what we and the 1st C considered miracles, second there is a legitimate issue of whether Jesus performed all of the miracles attributed to him (for example and the most fun are the nature miracles and my favorite, cursing the fig tree) and third, I, for one and others, don't believe Jesus is 'the name above all others' because of miracles. Finally, I have no real issue with the biblical assertion that Jesus was known as such in that particular time and that time was more open and accepting to miracles than we in the 21st C - but, again, that is not the basis of, the reason why, I believe 'in God' and acknowledge Jesus as I do (above). However there is no real mystery: Jesus is remembered not because of some mystery of Hollywood-like stardom (but I do appreciate the metaphor): Jesus is remembered first and foremost, not because of any miracles (because then all of the 'miracles workers would be also) but because he was proclaimed Risen, Exalted and Blessed by God - thus ratifying/blessing/acknowledging/accepting his words and acts in life......and so it all began.
                                The point is that Jesus lived during an era in which miracle-workers and magicians and other such wonder-workers like Apollonius were a dime a dozen. This would include being “Risen, Exalted and Blessed by God”. It was expected of holy men in this era.

                                I do not and actually cannot ignore the scientific age which I was born into and of which I am a part. I simply can hold two thoughts at the same time as can many of my fellows, some of whom are scientists. Actually I did a quick look at the numbers and a good third or so of Australians and also a good proportion of Scandinavians remain religious....so even is such 'secular' countries, a solid % also can hold more than one thought in their heads:+}
                                Nevertheless, the most secular countries with the highest percentage of non-religious populations rank highest in the Happiness Index and the UN Human Development Index

                                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_..._(2019_report)

                                I happen to think that Christianity needs to be re-presented to many and explained in a way that assumes our 21st C worldview and makes use of a philosophical system that is more modern (yet still there is no proof or evidence). Actually when I was a theology teacher (before going into business) I did just that and the most interesting response was "why didn't anyone tell us this before, why didn't other people explain this" or, my favorite "that makes sense." However my all time favorite response was after a long, very long discussion with one of my best friends, an atheist and a lover of literature and especially poetry (so one who transcend the mundane to look for meaning) said, "I like your version better than the pope's." And so it goes.
                                Well, I happen to think that Christianity needs to be jettisoned along with ALL religions, as a superseded and ofttimes harmful notion.

                                Of course art is a human concept, a human creation - who said it was otherwise? But as you have just written it sometimes goes to deeper human experience and uses myth to say something of that experience. One deeper such experience is the 'experience' of the spiritual or the divine, an experience that goes beyond the mundane and indeed art is used by some to 'picture' it, using already exiting myth to depict the experience visually.
                                No. “Deeper human experience” does NOT mean 'experience' of the spiritual or the divine”. It refers to human psychological conditions such as affect our mood, emotion, behavior and physical health.

                                BTW: It would be easier for me if you actually quoted me and responded to my quotes rather than just presenting a very large slab of material. Thanks.


                                “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

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