How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

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Brendan

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by Brendan » Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:35 pm

And why would anyone, let alone a Christian, give a rat's for Jewish distortion of Christian thought, any more than Pagan or Gnostic or modern Atheist distortions and misrepresentations?

The findings of this study show that the Nestorian controversy was not at heart a debate about whether Christ had a complete humanity or whether he was a single person. It was a debate about whether God himself had entered personally into the experiences of human life. Theodore’s and Nestorius’ concept of grace did not require such a direct, personal presence of God in the world. For them it was enough that the Logos gave his co-operation in the pioneering work of the assumed man as that man blazed the trail to the second katastasis, and the graced man could then give that aid to those who followed. Because of this, Theodore’s and Nestorius’ concern for God’s impassibility could rise above other considerations, and their insistence that the Logos did not suffer or die led them to a christology in which the personal subject was the assumed man. While Cyril and Cassian basically shared this understanding of the Logos’ immutability, their idea of grace as God’s giving himself to humanity demanded that they see the incarnation as a direct personal presence of God in the world, and thus that they see the single subject of Christ as the Logos himself, the one who took humanity into his own person.
Fairbairn, Donald – Grace and Christology in the Early Church [Oxford Early Christian Studies, 2003 p.202]

According to a more generally accepted view, the persecution of the OT righteous served as a prefiguration of the Passion of Christ. ... The idea of prefiguration, of foreshadowing, rather than of actual participation became widely accepted in patristic theology. In her worship of the Crucified the Church wanted to make one thing clear: God is faithful to his redemptive purposes in history even if that entails assuming fragile humanity and dying the death of a slave on the cross.
Gavrilyuk, Paul L. – The Suffering of the Impassible God – The Dialectics of Patristic Thought [Oxford Early Christian Studies, 2004 p. 75]

SaulChanukah

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by SaulChanukah » Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:00 pm

Brendan wrote:And why would anyone, let alone a Christian, give a rat's for Jewish distortion of Christian thought, any more than Pagan or Gnostic or modern Atheist distortions and misrepresentations?

The findings of this study show that the Nestorian controversy was not at heart a debate about whether Christ had a complete humanity or whether he was a single person. It was a debate about whether God himself had entered personally into the experiences of human life. Theodore’s and Nestorius’ concept of grace did not require such a direct, personal presence of God in the world. For them it was enough that the Logos gave his co-operation in the pioneering work of the assumed man as that man blazed the trail to the second katastasis, and the graced man could then give that aid to those who followed. Because of this, Theodore’s and Nestorius’ concern for God’s impassibility could rise above other considerations, and their insistence that the Logos did not suffer or die led them to a christology in which the personal subject was the assumed man. While Cyril and Cassian basically shared this understanding of the Logos’ immutability, their idea of grace as God’s giving himself to humanity demanded that they see the incarnation as a direct personal presence of God in the world, and thus that they see the single subject of Christ as the Logos himself, the one who took humanity into his own person.
Fairbairn, Donald – Grace and Christology in the Early Church [Oxford Early Christian Studies, 2003 p.202]

According to a more generally accepted view, the persecution of the OT righteous served as a prefiguration of the Passion of Christ. ... The idea of prefiguration, of foreshadowing, rather than of actual participation became widely accepted in patristic theology. In her worship of the Crucified the Church wanted to make one thing clear: God is faithful to his redemptive purposes in history even if that entails assuming fragile humanity and dying the death of a slave on the cross.
Gavrilyuk, Paul L. – The Suffering of the Impassible God – The Dialectics of Patristic Thought [Oxford Early Christian Studies, 2004 p. 75]
You should listen to what the Jews say about Christianity, for the whole thing was Jewish history, with Jewish players in the Jewish homeland, talking about the concept of the 'Jewish Messiah'.

Any Christian reading carefully and objectively what Rabbi Tovia Singer wrote will leave the Christian faith, as simple as that for he demonstrates with extreme accuracy and brilliance the huge lie which Christianity is based on.
But those who don't care for the truth will continue believing in lies, and for those people there is no hope in this world.

Brendan

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by Brendan » Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:04 pm

You should listen to what Christians say about the Old Testament and the salvation of humanity through the Incarnation of the Lord, the Word made flesh.

SaulChanukah

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by SaulChanukah » Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:39 pm

Brendan wrote:You should listen to what Christians say about the Old Testament and the salvation of humanity through the Incarnation of the Lord, the Word made flesh.
The Christians who believe these nonsense have every right to do so, for a human being was born with the freedom to choose.
But the vast majority of the people in this world have no idea what 'Free Will' really means and what was Adam's sin.
They read the bible like a children's story book like 'God had commanded Adam not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, and he, Adam went along and ate from it anyways, and then God had punished him'...they really think that this story is about fruits.
They also don't know the connection between Adam's commandment of not eating from the Tree of Knowledge, and King Saul's commandment of Killing all the Tribe of Amalek. In fact I can give you a huge list of things that you and your co-religionists don't know and can never know, because you are following a faith that was created by humans, detached from the God of Israel and his purpose with creating this universe. There is nothing divine in your religion it is based on categorical ignorance from beginning to end, and no hope will be left for a person that doesn’t want to learn from those who came before him, and from those that hold on to the Torah, God's wisdom in this world, which was given publicly to the Jewish people forever.

Those who arrogantly think that they can create a religion based on our religion and then point their fingers and call us liars, are living a reality of lies and darkness, the same is true with Islam. They also claim that the Jews 'lied' and that now they have the truth. Both these religions claim to be 'the truth' while they blame the Jews that they 'lie'. interestingly, both Christianity and Islam are in a state of war with each other claiming the other one to be a lie, and they the truth.

To go even further, each of these religions are in a state of argument and battle within their own different denominations , stating that they are the truth and the rest are a lie.

So what is the bottom line?

How can there be so many truths and so many lies? Who is right here and who is wrong?

There could only be one Truth and many lies.

All these three religions Judaism, the Mother of these religions, Christianity and Islam accept that there is a God that created the universe, no one is arguing about his existence. The fact that he exists, is not a matter of controversy between these faiths.

The argument beings only with the Sacred Books. The Torah, The New Testament, and the Koran.

Everyone of these faiths believes and knows that the Torah was given to the Jewish people publicly, and everyone knows that this took place, and that this took place first.

Christianity and Islam consider the Torah to be the word of God and Holy, and in fact they base their beliefs on the God's Torah, without the Torah these two religions wouldn’t exist.

The Jews consider both the NT and the Koran to be man made inventions and therefore lies.

Why?

Because every Jew must believe in these 13 Principles of faith, this is what it means to be Jewish, and this is what God wants from him to believe, anyone or anything that tells the Jews otherwise is surly a false prophet and a liar:

THE RAMBAM'S THIRTEEN PRINCIPLES OF JEWISH FAITH

1. I believe with perfect faith that God is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made, does make, and will make all things.

2. I believe with perfect faith that God is One. There is no unity that is in any way like His. He alone is our God He was, He is, and He will be.

3. I believe with perfect faith that God does not have a body. physical concepts do not apply to Him. There is nothing whatsoever that resembles Him at all.

4. I believe with perfect faith that God is first and last.

5. I believe with perfect faith that it is only proper to pray to God. One may not pray to anyone or anything else.

6. I believe with perfect faith that all the words of the prophets are true.

7. I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses is absolutely true. He was the chief of all prophets, both before and after Him.

8. I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that we now have is that which was given to Moses.

9. I believe with perfect faith that this Torah will not be changed, and that there will never be another given by God.

10. I believe with perfect faith that God knows all of man's deeds and thoughts. It is thus written (Psalm 33:15), "He has molded every heart together, He understands what each one does."

11. I believe with perfect faith that God rewards those who keep His commandments, and punishes those who transgress Him.

12. I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. How long it takes, I will await His coming every day.

13. I believe with perfect faith that the dead will be brought back to life when God wills it to happen.


Both Christianity and Islam break these Foundations of the Jewish faith with their beliefs and their NT and Koran.
Therefore both of these books and the faiths that base their beliefs on these books are categorical lies.

Brendan

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by Brendan » Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:58 pm

To refer to Israel prior to the exile as “Jews” would confound biblical theology, for it hands over the Old Testament to those of Judaism, not to Christians, who are its true heirs and for whom it was intended, because they, not unbelieving Jews, belong to the abiding covenant community: “the Israel of God.”
Waltke, Bruce K. with Charles Yu – An Old Testament Theology [Zondervan, 2007, p. 19]

SaulChanukah

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by SaulChanukah » Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:11 am

Brendan wrote:To refer to Israel prior to the exile as “Jews” would confound biblical theology, for it hands over the Old Testament to those of Judaism, not to Christians, who are its true heirs and for whom it was intended, because they, not unbelieving Jews, belong to the abiding covenant community: “the Israel of God.”
Waltke, Bruce K. with Charles Yu – An Old Testament Theology [Zondervan, 2007, p. 19]
And you really are so naive to think that the drivel you posted above makes any sense?

The Jews are descendants of those who stood on Mount Sinai and accepted the Torah and follow its commandments forever. The word Jew is derived from the word Judah, one of the 12 tribes of Israel who stood there on mount Sinai. Israel, was the father of the Jewish people, and they have been always called 'The Children of Israel' before and after. So who else do you expect to call Israel if not the Jews, they are biologically, spiritually and emotionally connected to their forefathers and they are the continuing unbroken link of tradition and transition and adherence to the faith of Abraham Isaac and Israel.

Again, Esau and Ishmael try to steal the title of Israel from the Jewish people, the descendants of Israel our father, the followers of his faith and the people who were entrusted the oracles of faith, both the written and oral Torahs by the God of the Universe.

But I know, that in the end thieves are caught and persecuted, for the lie has no legs, and the truth is rock solid.

Brendan

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by Brendan » Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:14 am

That you are so ignorant of the basics of the relgions just reveals the level of stupidity you have. Just like all of the other anti-Christian bigots on this thread. That you could make no sense of a perfectly standard expression of Christian faith is the proof (as if everything else you say is not!) of my opinion of you.

Of course Jesus, the God of Abraham, Moses and David, the Creator of the world, is the centre and purpose of all Scripture to Christians.

SaulChanukah

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by SaulChanukah » Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:21 am

Brendan wrote:That you are so ignorant of the basics of the relgions just reveals the level of stupidity you have. Just like all of the other anti-Christian bigots on this thread.

Of course Jesus, the God of Abraham. Moses and David, the Creator of the world, is the centre and purpose of all Scripture to Christians.
No one here to the best of my knowledge is anti-Christian. People here want to discuss things in mature manner to find out the truth of things. The fact that you consider their quest to be anti-Christian reveals your own insecurities, for they have posed here some serious questions and arguments, and you have not been able to refute them besides posting your usual cut and paste nonsense.

You portray yourself as an intellectual of the Christian faith and its expert, yet you are so helpless in saying anything to counter what Rabbi Singer said in his brilliant article.

That says more about you and your abilities in this field, then it says about anyone else.

Brendan

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by Brendan » Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:25 am

What a pack of bald-faced lies! Your anti-Christian bigotry is rampant in many threads you start, if not the direct subject, and is plain as day here.

You are just a liar.

SaulChanukah

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by SaulChanukah » Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:36 am

Brendan wrote:What a pack of bald-faced lies! Your anti-Christian bigotry is rampant in many threads you start, if not the direct subject, and is plain as day here.

You are just a liar.
Lets just assume that you are right hereby saying that I'm an anti Christian bigot.

What about responding point by point the Rabbi Singer's brilliant article that I have posted?

What you will find if you will ever arrive to the truth is that in fact I am anti-lie and not anti-Christian.
As I said before there are many good people within the Christian faith and I want them to be blessed like all other good people. I'm not against the people, but against the lies that they believe, for they are lies.

I'm still hoping that for once you will respond to the Rabbi's article in your own words.

Brendan

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by Brendan » Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:46 am

What I discovered was that this Singer chap has no clue about Christ, the Incarnation and the Resurrection (hence my scholarly citations above), and his polemic against the Resurrection, the cornerstone of Christian faith, is in and of itself anti-Christian. How could it be otherwise?

You really are so ignorant, stupid and bigotted you don't get that, do you?

There is only one physician, who is both flesh and spirit, born and unborn, God and man, true life in death, both from Mary and from God, first subject to suffering and then beyond it, Jesus Christ our Lord.
St Ignatius of Antioch – Epistle to the Ephesians 7.2 [Holmes trans.]

SaulChanukah

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by SaulChanukah » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:05 am

Brendan wrote:What I discovered was that this Singer chap has no clue about Christ, the Incarnation and the Resurrection (hence my scholarly citations above), and his polemic against the Resurrection, the cornerstone of Christian faith, is in and of itself anti-Christian. How could it be otherwise?

You really are so ignorant, stupid and bigotted you don't get that, do you?

There is only one physician, who is both flesh and spirit, born and unborn, God and man, true life in death, both from Mary and from God, first subject to suffering and then beyond it, Jesus Christ our Lord.
St Ignatius of Antioch – Epistle to the Ephesians 7.2 [Holmes trans.]
Rabbi Singer states the position of all Orthodox Jewish Rabbis, even of those Rabbis of the Talmud who were giants of spirit and masters of wisdom.
All of them to you, are 'chaps' and all have 'no clue' about Jesus according to you.

When the truth is that you are the ignorant because those Rabbis of Past have seen him and walked in the same land, in the same city and witnessed his falsehood, when you and your entire family were not even born and didn’t ever had the chance to know anything about him except to willfully trust some writers of the NT who they themselves had never met Jesus and never had any association with him.

The Jewish Rabbis are the only people on earth who had any physical association with him, for Jesus was living with them in their own city. You choose to discard the real and true witnesses to the events that took place, and totally rely on writers that came hundreds of years later and who had never had any connection in any manifestation to these events.

And this perversion of logic makes sense to you?

Apparently it does...

I truly hope that you will wise up and lend an ear to those who actually saw Jesus and knew the Torah and had the wisdom and the knowledge to see whether he was the Jewish Messiah that God had envisioned and destined for the Jewish people.

They were the leaders of the Jewish people, filled with the spirit of God and the wisdom of the Torah, and they all categorically rejected Jesus in the strongest possible terms. And even if the Jewish people didn’t have all these Great Leaders who rejected him, they would have done so by themselves for the physical personification of God and the attribution to him of anything physical stands in complete opposition to everything Judaism stands for, and it also stands against logic itself and prophecy and common sense.

Imagine a court case that rejects the witnesses who actually physically witnessed the events discussed, and in fact only wants to hear the opinion of those that came after the incident. It would be futile and idiotic, yet this is the logic that you want to base your beliefs on, it is the highest form of self deception that I could think of.

And your short, extremely short response to the Rabbi’s Article demonstrates that you didn’t read it, and are incapable to refute it, for you didn’t say anything of substance, or countered any point that he said.
Last edited by SaulChanukah on Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

Brendan

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by Brendan » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:09 am

That I can't be bothered with a lengthy refutation of a Jewish polemic against Christianity in no way indicates that I didn't read it: my citations were on point, and the rubbish Singer vomited forth doesn't rate a further waste of my time.

How 'bout you work out where and why my citations refute Singer?

:lol: :lol: :lol:

SaulChanukah

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by SaulChanukah » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:16 am

Brendan wrote:That I can't be bothered with a lengthy refutation of a Jewish polemic against Christianity in no way indicates that I didn't read it: my citations were on point. How 'bout you search to find where and how?

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Even if you read it, you didn’t refute anything.
It was extremely short and poor, worst response I have heard to such a serious matter.
As I said before , careful objective reading of this article will cause the Christian believer to question the foundations of his faith in the most fundamental ways, and after a serious analysis, will cause him to leave it completely, if he in fact doesn’t want to believe in lies.

Let me help you here...

Don't think its a Rabbi writing this article. Think of the author of this article as someone who came from a distant planet and provided you with these information and these questions...

What would you do? How would you handle it?

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by slofstra » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:25 am

Mark Harwood wrote:"...one can be a Christian without even accepting the fact of a historical Christ."

This I have to look into. Thanks for the steer, slofstra.
Of course, doing so would fly in the face of mainstream Christianity and important principles such as sola scriptura. I see Saul has posted up an interesting article on the resurrection of Christ, and I'll have a boo at that when I have time, later today, maybe. I'm just pointing out that there are branches of Christian worship, and also a considerable branch of theology that attempts to understand Christ in non-Trinitarian fashion (see especially http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Seminar). Debates about the divine nature of Christ were a prominent theme until about 300 AD, when today's concept of the Trinity was officially sanctioned by church authority at the councils of Nicene and later, Chalcedon. But the issues themselves have never really gone away.

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by arthound » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:18 am

Hi Saul,

I read the article you posted with some interest. Are you saying that the arguments presented prove that the resurrection of Christ never took place? At best I can only see that they cast doubt over the accuracy of the gospel accounts of the resurrection - but this in itself does not prove that the resurrection did not happen. In the same vein if I was to present an article that convincingly refuted these doubts over the accuracy of the gospel accounts it would not conclusively prove that the resurrection did take place.

Regards,
Justin

SaulChanukah

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by SaulChanukah » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:30 am

arthound wrote:Hi Saul,

I read the article you posted with some interest. Are you saying that the arguments presented prove that the resurrection of Christ never took place? At best I can only see that they cast doubt over the accuracy of the gospel accounts of the resurrection - but this in itself does not prove that the resurrection did not happen. In the same vein if I was to present an article that convincingly refuted these doubts over the accuracy of the gospel accounts it would not conclusively prove that the resurrection did take place.

Regards,
Justin
In fact he was discussing some other important matters besides the stunning inconsistencies between the different writers of the NT. When put together thoughtfully and seriously by the truth seeker, there will be no other choice but to leave this faith. But those who don't want to leave it, will not care for any word the Rabbi said, because they are not looking for truth. The lovers and searchers of truth leave lies and attach themselves to the truth.

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by DavidRoss » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:30 am

slofstra wrote:I see Saul has posted up an interesting article on the resurrection of Christ, and I'll have a boo at that when I have time, later today, maybe.
Not really about the resurrection nor particularly relevant, as arthound noted. It discusses a dating discrepancy between the late (ca. 100 AD) Gospel of John and the earlier synoptic Gospels [and] speculates that the author of John changed the date and circumstances of the crucifixion to slant the story for the Gentile audience for whom it was intended.



edited to correct typo
Last edited by DavidRoss on Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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slofstra
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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by slofstra » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:45 am

DavidRoss wrote:
slofstra wrote:I see Saul has posted up an interesting article on the resurrection of Christ, and I'll have a boo at that when I have time, later today, maybe.
Not really about the resurrection nor particularly relevant, as arthound noted. It discusses a dating discrepancy between the late (ca. 100 AD) Gospel of John and the earlier synoptic Gospels speculates that the author of John changed the date and circumstances of the crucifixion to slant the story for the Gentile audience for whom it was intended.
Hmm. Personally, I'm a fan of an early John date. That's because John reads more like an eyewitness account of the event of Jesus's life to me, and less like a synthesis of the "available" information as the Synoptics tend to.

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:14 am

slofstra wrote:
DavidRoss wrote:
slofstra wrote:I see Saul has posted up an interesting article on the resurrection of Christ, and I'll have a boo at that when I have time, later today, maybe.
Not really about the resurrection nor particularly relevant, as arthound noted. It discusses a dating discrepancy between the late (ca. 100 AD) Gospel of John and the earlier synoptic Gospels speculates that the author of John changed the date and circumstances of the crucifixion to slant the story for the Gentile audience for whom it was intended.
Hmm. Personally, I'm a fan of an early John date. That's because John reads more like an eyewitness account of the event of Jesus's life to me, and less like a synthesis of the "available" information as the Synoptics tend to.
How interesting that this comes up today. Yesterday's Gospel reading was the complicated story from John of Jesus' post-Resurrection appearance to the disciples where, among other things, they catch exactly 153 fish. Knowing that the ancients knew about prime numbers, I factored this into 3 X 3 X 17, and while the number three speaks for itself, I can't figure out 17. (The U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel has 17 spires and the joke is that they stand for the twelve apostles and the five chiefs of staff, but I don't think that applies.)

John, along with the letters of Paul and perhaps Revelation, is uniquely valuable as the most important work of Christian theology. Nothing subsequent even comes close. And the account of the events leading up to the crucifixion seems to retain as much of an historical core as that of any of the synoptic gospels. But the detail to be found in many parts of the supposed account of events of Jesus' ministry, along with the improbable speeches put in Jesus' mouth and the evangelist's gratuitous claim at the end to be an eyewitness, actually argues against its historical veracity. These kinds of details seem to have been intended to lend a verisimilitude and therefore authority to the gospel, and the attempt is so transparent and clumsy that it is a wonder that men and women of any time let alone our own ever fell for it.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by DavidRoss » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:52 am

slofstra wrote:Personally, I'm a fan of an early John date. That's because John reads more like an eyewitness account of the event of Jesus's life to me, and less like a synthesis of the "available" information as the Synoptics tend to.
Because I love the poetic mysticism of John so much and wanted to believe it as the eyewitness account of the apostle to whom the author credits it, as a youth I was irritated to learn that the evidence puts it last of all, circa 80-120 A.D., and not likely authored by the beloved disciple. If it reads more like an eyewitness account than a third-person narrative, perhaps that's because it was written as if it were an eyewitness account...?

I love the account of "God" as logos, a fundamental principle akin to tao, and of Jesus Christ as a fully realized human embodiment of logos, yet I'm troubled by such things as the famous statement in John 3:16, which expresses the fundamental theology propounded by Paul but which seems at odds with the humility of Jesus and his teachings elsewhere in the Gospels. Nevertheless, I recognize John as a document intended not as an historical account modeled on its predecessors but rather as persuasive rhetoric more sophisticated and powerful than Matthew's clumsy attempts to reconcile Jesus's life with "prophecy" and thus "prove" him as the Messiah.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by karlhenning » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:04 am

DavidRoss wrote:
slofstra wrote:Personally, I'm a fan of an early John date. That's because John reads more like an eyewitness account of the event of Jesus's life to me, and less like a synthesis of the "available" information as the Synoptics tend to.
Because I love the poetic mysticism of John so much and wanted to believe it as the eyewitness account of the apostle to whom the author credits it, as a youth I was irritated to learn that the evidence puts it last of all, circa 80-120 A.D., and not likely authored by the beloved disciple. If it reads more like an eyewitness account than a third-person narrative, perhaps that's because it was written as if it were an eyewitness account...?
My understanding (poor as it is) is that John was long-lived, though not long enough for him to have written it himself, of course. That after the Disciple passed on, John's close circle felt strongly that his witness to the Christ should be committed to written form. Call me naïve (as well as an interested party, to be sure), but I find this sufficient to account for 1) the first-person narrative, even though the document itself dates past the Disciple's lifetime, 2) the 'adaptation' of the Gospel's orientation to include the Gentiles (and thus some degree of narrative preoccupation in the Gospel to explain some Jewish elements which will not be universal knowledge), and 3) a development of the theology organic and in harmony with the Jewish roots of the faith, but with an understanding that the Word is to brought to the farthest corners of the earth.

I don't find that the facts of the document itself imply deceit, or any 'hostile takeover' from the Faith's sources.

Cheers,
~Karl
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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by DavidRoss » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:35 am

karlhenning wrote:I don't find that the facts of the document itself imply deceit, or any 'hostile takeover' from the Faith's sources.
Nor--as you doubtless recognize--did I imply any such bad-faith on the part of the author or of those communities which then and now regard it as a primary statement of their earnest faith.

"If all Christians acted like Christ, the whole world would be Christian." ~Mahatma Gandhi
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by karlhenning » Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:16 pm

DavidRoss wrote:
karlhenning wrote:I don't find that the facts of the document itself imply deceit, or any 'hostile takeover' from the Faith's sources.
Nor--as you doubtless recognize--did I imply any such bad-faith on the part of the author or of those communities which then and now regard it as a primary statement of their earnest faith.
No, indeed! I do think I saw such implications in some other posts earlier in the thread, though.

Pace e bene,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
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SaulChanukah

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by SaulChanukah » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:31 pm

Did Jesus Claim to be God?

Question:

I have heard Christian missionaries claim that Jesus deliberately screened or veiled his divine nature on earth, so when he is asked a question by one of his disciples about the time of the end he can honestly answer, that no man, not even the Son knows the time of the end, only the Father. Then, when he says elsewhere that he and the Father are One, he is speaking about his ontological identity with the Father. Please comment on this and post it on your web site.

Thank you.

Answer:

If the one God of the universe, Creator of the heavens and the earth, wanted to convey to His people that He alone was God and there was no other who shared this unique distinction with Him, what words would He use so that there would be no possibility for error? What phrase could He have selected so that there would be no chance of misunderstanding? If you or I wanted to describe the unique oneness of God in a way that could not be misinterpreted, how would we express this? Would we not have used the words that Moses reported God to have said in Deuteronomy 32:39:

'See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides Me' . . . .

As a result of this and many other inspiring affirmations throughout the Jewish scriptures, faithful Jews to this day will only worship the One life-giving God of Israel -- alone.

No prophet in Tanach ever remained silent on this foundational teaching. As if with one voice, they pleaded with their often-wayward nation never to compromise their faith for anything other than the unwavering monotheism that they tirelessly preached. Over and over again, the Hebrew Bible declared with deliberate clarity in its most celebrated creeds that the Almighty alone is God, and there is no other. Nothing was ever "screened," nothing was ever "veiled." It could not be, because the very survival of the Jewish people depended on it. The Torah intimately connects the faith in one indivisible God with the national experience of the Jewish people throughout their long history. Dreadful suffering was the consequence for any defection from the uncompromising monotheism that the Almighty demanded of His people.

Throughout the Jewish scriptures, God never "screened or veiled his divine nature." In fact, Isaiah unequivocally proclaimed that the Almighty did not reveal Himself in darkness or in a hidden or veiled fashion. In Isaiah 45:19 the prophet, speaking in the Almighty's name, declares that,

"I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob's descendants, "Seek Me in vain." I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right".

Although the belief in the unity of God is taught and declared on virtually every page of the Jewish scriptures, the doctrine of the Trinity is never mentioned anywhere throughout the entire corpus of the Hebrew Bible. This is understandable when we consider that primitive Christianity, in its earliest stages, was still monotheistic. The authors of the New Testament were completely unaware that the church they had fashioned would eventually embrace a pagan deification of a triune deity. Although the worship of a three-part godhead was well known and fervently venerated throughout the Roman Empire and beyond in religious systems such as Hinduism and Mithraism, it was quite distant from the heretical Judaism out of which Christianity emerged. However, when the Greek and Roman rather than the Hebrew began to dominate the church, it created a theological disaster from which Christendom has never recovered. By the end of the fourth century, the doctrine of the Trinity was firmly in place as a central tenet of the church, and strict monotheism was formally rejected by Vatican councils in Nicea and Constantinople.2

This absorption of a triune godhead into Christianity created serious problems for post-Nicene Christian apologists. How would they harmonize this new veneration of Jesus as a being who is of the same substance as the Father with a New Testament that portrays Jesus as a separate entity, subordinate to the Father, and created by God? How would they now integrate the teaching of the Trinity with a New Testament that recognized the Father alone as God? In essence, how would Christian apologists merge a first and second century Christian Bible which was monotheistic with a much later church which was not?

This task was particularly difficult because throughout the Gospels and Paul's letters Jesus never claims to be God. On the contrary, the Jesus of the New Testament makes it crystal clear that he is not God, but rather an agent of God. For example, in John 14:28, the author of the fourth Gospel has Jesus declare,

'I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I'.

The example you mentioned illustrates this particularly well. In the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Mark, Jesus is asked by four of his disciples when the Tribulation period will occur. In 13:32 Jesus responds,

But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the son, but the Father.

The problems this verse creates for Trinitarians are staggering. If Jesus were coequal with the Father, how could the Father have information that Jesus lacked? That is to say, if Jesus were God manifested in the flesh, as missionaries contend, how can God not know something? If somehow the second Person of the godhead didn't know, how did the first Person find out? Moreover, if, as some Trinitarians persist, the son was limited by his human nature, why didn't the Holy Spirit know?

Christians cannot simply explain away this verse by insisting that it was Jesus' human or humble nature that did not know. This is because the doctrine of the Trinity does not hold that Jesus was half God and half man. Rather, Jesus was one hundred percent God and one hundred percent man. His substance as God was not diminished because of his human nature. As the ecclesiastical Athanasian Creed explicitly states,

The divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal. What quality the Father has, the Son has, and the Holy Spirit has.

Few statements defining the nature of the triune godhead have so plainly spelled out the nature of the doctrine of the Trinity as does this durable fourth century creed.

Some missionaries will argue, as you point out, that Jesus' statement in John 10:30, "I and my Father are one," demonstrates that Jesus considered himself God. The Greek word hen (one), however, does not imply being a part of the same substance. We see this clearly in John 17:11 and 17:21-22 where Jesus prays to God that the disciples may be one (hen) as are Jesus and God. Clearly, Jesus is requesting that the disciples be of one unified purpose, not of the same substance or part of the Trinity.

Moreover, John 10:30-34 is particularly revealing. The fourth Gospel describes how when the Jews heard Jesus proclaim, "I and my Father are one," they immediately wanted to stone him. When Jesus asks them why they wanted to kill him, the Jews responded because "you claim to be God." Upon hearing this, Jesus asked, "Is it not written in your law, 'I have said you are gods'?" This response is one of the most important statements in the Book of John, and should at least give Trinitarians pause.

The verse is found in Psalm 82:6 where the Bible refers to judges who teach God's divine law as gods. This title was bestowed on them because they were teachers of the Almighty's divine law, not because they were actually God in any way. This usage is quite common in the Jewish scriptures. For example, in Exodus 7:1 Moses is called a god because he was God's representative to Pharaoh. In essence, Jesus' reply supports the very opposite of what missionaries are trying to put forth. Jesus, as depicted by John, is explaining that his identification with God is comparable to the Jewish judges' identification with God.

The fact remains that no author in the New Testament ever advanced the doctrine of the Trinity. It took many years from the time the last Gospel was completed for the defenders of the church to promote this alien creed.

Sincerely yours,

Rabbi Tovia Singer

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by slofstra » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:04 am

DavidRoss wrote:
slofstra wrote:Personally, I'm a fan of an early John date. That's because John reads more like an eyewitness account of the event of Jesus's life to me, and less like a synthesis of the "available" information as the Synoptics tend to.
Because I love the poetic mysticism of John so much and wanted to believe it as the eyewitness account of the apostle to whom the author credits it, as a youth I was irritated to learn that the evidence puts it last of all, circa 80-120 A.D., and not likely authored by the beloved disciple. If it reads more like an eyewitness account than a third-person narrative, perhaps that's because it was written as if it were an eyewitness account...?

I love the account of "God" as logos, a fundamental principle akin to tao, and of Jesus Christ as a fully realized human embodiment of logos, yet I'm troubled by such things as the famous statement in John 3:16, which expresses the fundamental theology propounded by Paul but which seems at odds with the humility of Jesus and his teachings elsewhere in the Gospels. Nevertheless, I recognize John as a document intended not as an historical account modeled on its predecessors but rather as persuasive rhetoric more sophisticated and powerful than Matthew's clumsy attempts to reconcile Jesus's life with "prophecy" and thus "prove" him as the Messiah.
I think you might enjoy Marcus Borg's writing. Have you read any of his books? He seems to discount John in similar fashion as being written with a post-resurrection Christ in view, rather than based on direct knowledge of the life of Jesus.

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by slofstra » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:06 am

jbuck919 wrote:
slofstra wrote:
DavidRoss wrote:
slofstra wrote:I see Saul has posted up an interesting article on the resurrection of Christ, and I'll have a boo at that when I have time, later today, maybe.
Not really about the resurrection nor particularly relevant, as arthound noted. It discusses a dating discrepancy between the late (ca. 100 AD) Gospel of John and the earlier synoptic Gospels speculates that the author of John changed the date and circumstances of the crucifixion to slant the story for the Gentile audience for whom it was intended.
Hmm. Personally, I'm a fan of an early John date. That's because John reads more like an eyewitness account of the event of Jesus's life to me, and less like a synthesis of the "available" information as the Synoptics tend to.
How interesting that this comes up today. Yesterday's Gospel reading was the complicated story from John of Jesus' post-Resurrection appearance to the disciples where, among other things, they catch exactly 153 fish. Knowing that the ancients knew about prime numbers, I factored this into 3 X 3 X 17, and while the number three speaks for itself, I can't figure out 17. (The U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel has 17 spires and the joke is that they stand for the twelve apostles and the five chiefs of staff, but I don't think that applies.)

John, along with the letters of Paul and perhaps Revelation, is uniquely valuable as the most important work of Christian theology. Nothing subsequent even comes close. And the account of the events leading up to the crucifixion seems to retain as much of an historical core as that of any of the synoptic gospels. But the detail to be found in many parts of the supposed account of events of Jesus' ministry, along with the improbable speeches put in Jesus' mouth and the evangelist's gratuitous claim at the end to be an eyewitness, actually argues against its historical veracity. These kinds of details seem to have been intended to lend a verisimilitude and therefore authority to the gospel, and the attempt is so transparent and clumsy that it is a wonder that men and women of any time let alone our own ever fell for it.
Interesting post, John. You and David are ahead of me on this one, so perhaps I could learn something here. Is there a more detailed commentary along this line that you would recommend?

And after reading Karl's post, I would ask you the same question also.

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by DavidRoss » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:58 pm

slofstra wrote:I think you might enjoy Marcus Borg's writing. Have you read any of his books? He seems to discount John in similar fashion as being written with a post-resurrection Christ in view, rather than based on direct knowledge of the life of Jesus.
The name rings no bells, though I scarcely recall everything I read ~20 years ago when digging into the historical Jesus and the origins of Christianity. Per the wikipedia entry on him, I suspect our views would agree substantially.

I'm not sure that recognizing John as a probable late gospel reinforcing the faith propounded by Paul is to "discount" it. In fact, I regard good faith efforts to locate such documents in their historical context as a means of honoring them, taking them seriously enough to want to know and understand the truth about them.

I understand, however, that this may appear threatening to those inculcated with a perverse view of God as one who hates honest inquiry. My own sense of "God"--wholly consistent with the teachings of Jesus, I believe--is that "he" gave us minds to use and welcomes honest, open-minded investigation of such matters. I see God personified more like the loving father Jesus portrays and not at all like the petty, vengeful desert patriarch portrayed by the preachers of hellfire and damnation. :wink:
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by slofstra » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:34 pm

DavidRoss wrote:
slofstra wrote:I think you might enjoy Marcus Borg's writing. Have you read any of his books? He seems to discount John in similar fashion as being written with a post-resurrection Christ in view, rather than based on direct knowledge of the life of Jesus.
The name rings no bells, though I scarcely recall everything I read ~20 years ago when digging into the historical Jesus and the origins of Christianity. Per the wikipedia entry on him, I suspect our views would agree substantially.

I'm not sure that recognizing John as a probable late gospel reinforcing the faith propounded by Paul is to "discount" it. In fact, I regard good faith efforts to locate such documents in their historical context as a means of honoring them, taking them seriously enough to want to know and understand the truth about them.

I understand, however, that this may appear threatening to those inculcated with a perverse view of God as one who hates honest inquiry. My own sense of "God"--wholly consistent with the teachings of Jesus, I believe--is that "he" gave us minds to use and welcomes honest, open-minded investigation of such matters. I see God personified more like the loving father Jesus portrays and not at all like the petty, vengeful desert patriarch portrayed by the preachers of hellfire and damnation. :wink:
I think we are of similar mind; the problem being my use of the word "discount". The inquiry made by Borg and others in the Jesus Seminar is whether or not Jesus actually said all the things he was purported to have said in the book of John. That might represent a "discount" in some views, but in others makes the Bible make more sense rather than less.

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by karlhenning » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:39 pm

slofstra wrote:. . . The inquiry made by Borg and others in the Jesus Seminar is whether or not Jesus actually said all the things he was purported to have said in the book of John.
Yes; and how would we "try" such a matter? A late date to the Gospel does not "prove" the matter, and (to my mind) this becomes an exercise of the "The Jesus Seminar" frontloading their 'findings'.

Whether some elements of what a person has said, makes sense, can depend on a sympathy with his aims.

It was obviously very wrong-headed, but there were conductors contemporary to Berlioz who felt they were helping Beethoven "make more sense" by 'correcting' his harmonies, for instance. But he really did mean those things, which many musicians of the time could not tolerate.

Cheers,
~Karl
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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by NancyElla » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:26 pm

DavidRoss wrote: "If all Christians acted like Christ, the whole world would be Christian." ~Mahatma Gandhi
Interesting that the one of the clearest, most succinct expressions of the call to Christian witness comes from Gandhi! But then again, it turns out to be a tough assignment, and even those of us who try hard to accomplish it find that we frequently (in my case probably usually :? ) fall far short of the mark. And then again, there's a lot of disagreement about exactly where the mark is! What would Jesus do? Opinions differ wildly.

I have read two of the books Marcus Borg co-authored with John Dominic Crossan: The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Birth and The Last Week: A Day by Day Account of Jesus's Final Week in Jerusalem. I found both of them enjoyable to read, very informative, and thought provoking. I am looking forward to reading next an autobiographical book by the co-author, Crossan: A Long Way From Tipperary: What a Former Irish Monk Discovered in his Search for the Truth. It might be your kind of book, David! :wink: Like you, I don't think God is upset by any honest inquiry after truth, whether historical, scientific, or through any other discipline, and I don't really see how the results of any of those inquiries could threaten a sincere faith, at least not a faith that is willing to live with a high level of uncertainty and a large number of unanswered questions.
"This is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great." --Willa Cather

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by smitty1931 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:07 am

Since I started this with my recommendation of Wilson's book I might as well suggest a few more I have enjoyed. The Unvarnished Gospels by Andy Gaus. Jesus For The Non Religious by John Spong. Jesus by Marcus Borg. The Case for Christ by Lee Stobel. Jesus Didn't Go to Church by Earleston Smith. Why Christianity Must Change by John Spong. God is not Great by Hitchens. The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong. In Quest for Jesus by W. Barnes Tatum. Rabbi Jesus by Bruce Chilton. The Jesus Dynasty by James Tabor. The Acts of Jesus by Robert Funk. Liberating the Gospels by John Spong. All these are thought provoking and of interest to students of Christainity. I thank all of you posters for your insights. Smitty

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by Mark Harwood » Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:26 pm

Looks like you've been devouring that stuff, Smitty. That's what I used to do, but all I recall from all that reading & pondering is that, although it was interesting & stimulating, nothing substantial comes of it. I formed a general picture of Jesus as a sage who faked his crucifixion, but there are so many interpretations of the story that it's not worth getting into arguments about. Debates, yes, if you can call tracts to mind, but we've seen in this thread how erudition and sophistry can support rather than undermine dogged adherence to fixed beliefs.
Thanks for sharing the book list, I hope it serves to stimulate minds less jaded than mine.
"I did it for the music."
Ken Colyer

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by karlhenning » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:06 am

Mark Harwood wrote:Thanks for sharing the book list, I hope it serves to stimulate minds less jaded than mine.
Well, it's noticeably Spong-heavy.

Spong ought to have the moral courage to set aside his vestments, join the Unitarians, and make of himself an honest man.

Cheers,
~Karl
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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by DavidRoss » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:51 am

NancyElla wrote:
DavidRoss wrote:"If all Christians acted like Christ, the whole world would be Christian." ~Mahatma Gandhi
Interesting that the one of the clearest, most succinct expressions of the call to Christian witness comes from Gandhi! But then again, it turns out to be a tough assignment, and even those of us who try hard to accomplish it find that we frequently (in my case probably usually :? ) fall far short of the mark. And then again, there's a lot of disagreement about exactly where the mark is! What would Jesus do? Opinions differ wildly.
Yes...usually depending on whether one's ideas about Jesus's ethics stem from his teaching and examples in the Gospels, or from church doctrine (and some sects present a harshly judgmental, exclusionary, rigid picture of Jesus quite different from the fellow portrayed by his own words and actions)...and depending on whether we're earnestly seeking guidance or just trying to find a way to justify our behavior...and depending on the analytical depths we're capable of plumbing.

Some folks see Jesus as a wishy-washy peacenik wimp, all sweetness and light. They miss the steel backbone required to knowingly offer himself up for sacrifice, they miss his advice to the disciples to sell their coats and buy swords, and they miss his confrontation with the money-changers defiling the temple. Perhaps his example demonstrates the teaching of Ecclesiastes, "there's a time for everything."

Probably none of us will ever get everything right. We're pretty flawed creatures, all prone to plenty of mistakes. But perhaps we have a better chance of choosing to act wisely if first we pause to consider the example of Jesus, or Buddha, or Lao Tzu, and ask ourselves what they might do in our place...?
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by NancyElla » Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:45 am

DavidRoss wrote:Probably none of us will ever get everything right. We're pretty flawed creatures, all prone to plenty of mistakes. But perhaps we have a better chance of choosing to act wisely if first we pause to consider the example of Jesus, or Buddha, or Lao Tzu, and ask ourselves what they might do in our place...?
A lot of the time I know I'm probably not up to doing what any of those inspirational figures would do, and I have to content myself with trying to imagine the things they would certainly not do (or say), and then try not to do (or say) them. :? That's hard enough for me, some days too hard!
"This is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great." --Willa Cather

Brendan

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by Brendan » Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:51 am

That being 'open-minded' is now defined as closing one's mind to any and all Christian spiritual and theological possibility seems to me a tad - ironic? Ignorant? Stupid, even?

Is meditation, morality, tradition and religious experience really so individually threatening, let alone a problem to social order and/or the primary cause of all human conflict and evil? Or is the total rejection and mockery of it a tad more problematic than the atheists and PC fundamentalists like to indicate?

Funny how Western religious experience and tradition - especially Catholicism - is the primary focus of the PC/atheist ire. Buddha wrote nothing down and insisted his followers did likewise, as words would 'trap' the infinite Way in a finite distortion, so all recorded information comes from centuries later. Yet we find no similar 'Buddha was a Hindu' or 'Alternative Buddha' industry. What religion was Mohammed before the angel visited?

The most commonplace rejections of religion in general and Christianity in particular seem to rest on a bunch of faulty assumptions. Ignorance, to use the blunt word.

That Christianity is about believing silly/impossible things

The logic and experience pertaining to humanity in the material world is that people do not rise from the grave once dead, turn water into wine or calm storms with a word. To believe that people do is silly, as it is impossible. But theology is not concerned with logic that pertains to the merely human and material, but to the infinite mystery of divinity that transcends (by virtue of creation if nothing else) all logic and physical law.
In theology, the Resurrection and miracles are not problematic at all. That which creates the universe and life itself is not restricted by our law, cosmic law or even our imaginations. If one can accept that the Infinite Mystery united to humanity (by the experience of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in ourselves), and the appropriate form of the Incarnation and union with humanity was as one who died as a slave, then there simply is no problem to answer. The Infinite Mystery can do anything at all - that it did this is astonishing, mysterious and glorious beyond human imagining. The infinite mystery loves us so much that He volunteered to die for us in order to redeem us

One doesn’t become a Christian by believing silly things, at least in my experience. In fact, any mere belief about an infinite mystery is idolatry. St Diadochos of Photike defined Faith as thought about God free from idolatry. Try it sometime. One experiences the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit through prayer/meditation then has to try to cope with it and explain it to oneself. That one cannot explain personal religious experience beyond logic and words to others except through theological mysteries has been known to all religions, let alone Western philosophy, throughout history.

That religion is something one does and learns through experience, trial and error, not something one merely believes in, also seems quite alien to the post-modern fashionable set. Pure ignorance.

The truth is that contemplative intuition of the divine, known “not-as-object” and beyond concepts, is not purely negative at all. While our ordinary mode of knowing, feeling, and experiencing is indeed inhibited, there is a positive, though perhaps tenuous, awareness of God in an I-Thou relationship that, at least subjectively, does not admit of question.

This paradoxical “knowledge” without knowing is from one point of view very deficient: it lacks clarity and intellectual precision. It is almost impossible to reduce to logical formulation. But it is essentially beyond concepts and beyond logic. The simple conversational way of conveying this paradox is to say that without having any way of knowing how you know, you just know.

Does this knowledge admit of any doubt? Yes and no. On the conceptual level, where logic and rationality are in command, it may admit of doubt. In fact, it may perhaps admit of nothing else but doubt. It is so unrelated to reason as to seem perhaps irrational. But on another level it admits of no doubt. What is this other level? It is a level of immediate intuition in which an experience impresses itself upon us directly without ambiguity—a level on which we “experience” reality as we experience our own being. One does not have to prove that he exists: he knows it. He may doubt his ability to convince another of the fact. But one does not trouble to prove the obvious. Contemplative experience has about it an obviousness that is not arrived at through any step-by-step process. It is something you either “see” or don’t see. It just bursts upon you, and is there.

Merton, Thomas - The Inner Experience – Notes on Contemplation [Harper SanFrancisco 2003 William Shannon Ed. p 80-81]

That Christianity is about conforming to dogma and doctrine

Only sort of. Could someone call themselves a Buddhist yet reject the dharma, the Eightfold Path, Enlightenment, nirvana and reincarnation? I suppose modern PC folk are 'entitled' to do so, but what's the point? Pure PC garbage that distorts the words we use.

Most non-Christians, and probably also many Protestant Christians, probably suppose that the intense preoccupation of the early Church Fathers with the technical details of the dogma of the Incarnation was a matter of arbitrary and subjective wilfulness, and that it had little objective importance. But, as a matter of fact, the intricacies of Christology and of the dogma of the hypostatic union were by no means a mere authoritarian web devised to capture the minds and to keep in subjection the wills of the faithful, as rationalism glibly used to declare. Both the theologian and the ordinary believer, in the Patristic age, realized the importance of the correct theological formulation of the mystery of the Incarnation, because dogmatic error would in fact imply disastrous practical consequences in the spiritual life of each individual Christian.
Merton, Thomas - The Inner Experience – Notes on Contemplation [Harper SanFrancisco 2003 William Shannon Ed. p 36]

That Christianity is about meditation and union with the infinite mystery beyond being often comes as something of a surprise - not only to atheists and PC fundamentalists, but to many Christians as well (which is one reason Gnosticism is so popular again - it seems to be a spiritual form of Christianity until one realizes the nature of the scam). It simply is not taught to us today, so ignorance is rampant in this regard. Yet it is the primary focus of all Incarnational theology (Trinity, Two Natures etc). How is it possible, in the face of all Pagan and Jewish objection, for the fully transcendent divine to also be fully human, true God from true God, true Man from true Man? The justification is not intellectual nor a belief in external impossibilities, but through the spiritual experience of union with the divine that the spiritual seeker recognizes within, and so is not a matter of robotically conforming to external dogma, but using the tradition and experience of those who have gone before - and are recognized to be valid by the community - to attain the full unio mystica.

[Here] theosis is closely related to the notions of ascent, illumination, and union as the overall process of coming to know the Trinity. As if to ward off potential objections, he stresses that divinization does not mean becoming God in the full sense of the word (42.17), but that a fundamental difference between the Creator and creation must be maintained as a fundamental tenet of Christian doctrine. Yet for Gregory divinization is much more than simply a s analogy for baptism or a metaphor for the ethical imitation of God, as has been suggested. As we noted above with regard to divine illumination, his language of divinization indicates a real and growing participation on god’s nature, so that human beings, in a mysterious but real way, become filled with God’s being and “divinized” to the extent that they, as creatures, are capable.
Beeley, Christopher A. – Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God [Oxford Studies in Historical Theology, 2008, p. 118-119]

That anybody else could be considered more authoritative than oneself concerning a matter one knows nothing about and has no experience with is anathema to PC fundamentalism and the attenuated individualism it encourages if not insists upon. But I for one am quite happy to discover that St John of the Cross, St Gregory Nazianzen, William Law, St Simeon the New Theologian et al have a lot more experience in this regard than I do - and lived in a time of much less distraction and ignorant atheism. That the accumulated wisdom and experience of Western spirituality and theology might have something to teach us today is obviously beyond the reach of those indoctrinated with PC. So much to learn, so little time, so much fashionable ignorance and intolerance . . .

The mystery of the incarnation of the Logos is the key to all the arcane symbolism and typology in the Scripture, and in addition gives us knowledge of created things, both visible and intelligible. He who apprehends the mystery of the cross and the burial apprehends the inward essences of created things, while he who is initiated into the inexpressible power of the resurrection apprehends the purpose for which God first established everything. All visible realities need the cross, that is, the state in which they are cut off from things acting upon them through the senses. All intelligible realities need burial, that is, the total quiescence of the things which act upon them through the intellect. When all relationship with such things is severed, and their natural activity and stimulus is cut off, then the Logos, who exists alone in Himself, appears as if raised from the dead.
Maximus the Confessor – First Century on Theology and the Incarnate Dispensation of the Son of God [in “Opening the Tomb” quoted from Not of This World, World Wisdom 2003 Cutsinger, James S. ed pp74-75]

Achieving such mystical union is not as easy as I may have indicated (see Luke 13:22). The basics of prayer/meditation can be learned swiftly (took me about 5 minutes flat, from Sogyal Rinpoche's The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying) but takes a lifetime (or hundreds if one is a Buddhist) to master. It's just stilling the mind of stream-of-consciousness thought to reveal another aspect of human experience that is usually swamped or distracted by that stream. But it takes incredible discipline to maintain, let alone explore as much of the infinite depth of mystery that a finite being can.

A free gift available to any and all - if only they take the time and attention to bother with it. Many in the West are simply unaware that it is even possible, as we Twitter and Facebook and Playstation and email our lives away, beaming floods of distraction, immorality, materialism and stupidity right into our brains through the amazing array of screens and devices built for that purpose.

That the Old Testament isn't Christian Scripture

Quite apart from Saul's understandable shock, many others also seem unaware that Christians think of the OT as Christian Scripture and have done since Apostolic times. Yet the story of Christ is always framed in OT symbolism and foreshadowing, if not direct and indirect quotes from the OT (see Beale and Carson's A Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament), revealing God as the infinitely Other, the infinitely mysterious.

The incarnation is a mystery even more inconceivable than any other. By taking flesh God makes himself understood only by appearing still more incomprehensible. He remains hidden . . . even in this disclosure. Even when manifest he is always the stranger.
Maximus the Confessor Ambigua (PG 91,1048-1049) quoted from Clément, Olivier The Roots of Christian Mysticism [1982, 1993 p38]

The early church, although having some respect for Pagan philosophy, did not cite or quote much Greek philosophy or mythology - beyond Paul's famous use of the Liar Paradox - but framed Jesus in terms of the new Moses, the new David, the new Adam and transcending them all, not as the new Plato, the new Apollo or even the new Dionysius. If one studies Pagan religion and philosophy even at the most superficial level the idea of Christ as a Pagan or Pagan myth quickly becomes laughable. Those who cite Mithras should read Ulansey's The Origins of Mithraism and other serious academic literature that shows just how different Mithras and the Mithraic Tauroctony is from Christian thought and practice. There are many more differences than similarities between Dionysius (or Mithras or Isis/Osiris or whichever Pagan Mystery Religion one chooses) and Jesus and Christianity. See the Samuel Angus quote from The Mystery Religions cited previously.

Multiculturalism insists that we only read the OT in a "Jewish" context, so many in the West now think of the Bible as a "Jewish" Old Testament with a nasty, raging God of vengeance, plagues and curses with a quite spiritually different New Testament featuring a pacifist Jesus tacked on problematically at the end. Very Gnostic indeed. Coincidence? Why does PC agree with Gnosticism on so many topics, I wonder?

The language of Deut. 6:4 (“the LORD our God, the LORD is one”) governs Paul’s wording and argument in 1 Cor 8:5-6.
. . .
The key words “Lord,” “God,” and “one” are taken from Deut. 6:4 (“the LORD our God, the LORD is one”), in which “Lord” and “God” both refer to the deity who is declared to be “one.” But now Paul “has glossed ‘God’ with ‘the Father’ and ‘Lord’ with ‘Jesus Christ,’ adding in each case an explanatory phrase: ‘God’ is the Father, ‘from whom are all things and we to him,’ and the ‘Lord’ is Jesus the Messiah ‘through whom are all things and we through him.’ In this one text Paul has simultaneously reaffirmed strict Jewish monotheism and embedded Christ within the very definition of that one God/Lord of Israel.

Beale, G.K. and Carson, D. A. – Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament [Baker, 2007, p. 717]


That all Scripture is best read irreligiously, as if it were a History or Science (or both) text - and a bad one at that.

Most atheists and fundamentalists seem to rely on a literal and superficial reading of Scripture, whose subject and object is an infinite mystery beyond words to describe, and accumulated over centuries of religious experience. Modern literalism isn’t the same as Luther's ideas of sola scriptura, and is very distant indeed from the attitude of those who formulated the written canon from the broader religious canon.

The Scriptures and the Creed were indeed a kind of standard or norm; but they were essentially a standard of teaching and instruction for the Church in its worship, its catechesis, and the direction of its spiritual life. Equally we might say that they provided standards for demarcating orthodoxy from heresy. That they were not proposed as epistemic norms of truth is revealed by the fact that the Church’s teachers defended their content in a host of ways.
Abraham, William J. – Canon and Criterion in Christian Theology [Oxford 1998 p. 141]

The idea (and basics) of reading Scripture spiritually seems to be utterly beyond the experience and ken of most modern folk. A moral message? Anagogy? Allegory? Symbolism? That meditation, prayer and religious experience gained therein have anything to do with religious, spiritual documents must be just Papist propaganda and delusions spread by a conspiracy of evil priests whose sole motivation is opposition to Political Correctness! :roll:

That religious experience is intrinsic to human anthropology and biology also seems beyond the limits of post-modern fashionable intellectualism - despite the enormous amount of evidence showing how vital it is individually and culturally.

Try Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity by Roy Rappaport, The Evolution of Morality and Religion by Donald Broom, The Mystical Mind – Probing the Biology of Religious Experience by D’Aquili and Newberg, Zen and the Brain by James Austin etc.

To be unaware of the basic concepts, accumulated wisdom and experience of philosophy, religion, anthropology, biology and theology is ignorance. That's simply what the word means. To try to use such ignorance as a weapon against the very subject one is ignorant of is stupid. It might not be a known dictionary definition, but from where I sit, it is laughably moronic.

Why is such ignorance and stupidity fashionable and accepted - if not encouraged - in popular culture? PC bigotry, which ensures the ignorance by forbidding teaching religion, especially Western religion, to anybody and opposing it on any and every point of PC pseudo-religious ideology, however ignorant and stupid such opposition may be, in order to pass laws against religious thought and tradition.

I could go on (and on and on . . .) but why bother? Those who revel in their ignorance and continue to say stupid, irrelevant things concerning a subject they refuse to learn anything about, intellectually or through personal experience, will doubtless continue to do so, oblivious to anything I have said or may say, and consider themselves ever so intellectually fashionable and superior in doing so. That the average PC tosser enamoured of the moronic Alternate Jesus industry is even more ignorant and stupid than belligerent atheists is the only lesson to be learned here, and a sad and sorry one at that.

Instead of sticking rigidly to the fashionably PC set, such as Spong, Borg and the execrable Jesus Seminar, try some actual biblical scholarship sometime. (I've read Spong, Borg and the published works of The Jesus Seminar, BTW).

The distinctive conclusions of the Jesus Seminar are rejected by most scholars in North America and Europe
Evans, Craig A. - Fabricating Jesus - How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels

Also try Why the Jesus Seminar Can’t Find Jesus, and Grandma Marshall Could by David Marshall, as well as his excellent The Truth Behind the New Atheism, in which a "fundamentalist" is convinced of the truth of evolution - but not that atheism is a necessary consequence.

If you read Koine Greek, the ICC and New International Greek Testament Commentary series are the best I've read. Anchor Bible and Word Biblical commentaries are not very well structured and formatted for reading, despite some excellent scholarship (eg Baukham's groundbreaking work on II Peter). Baker Exegetical Commentaries and New International Commentaries vary in quality. For introductory commentaries, try the Pillar series or the Sacra Pagina series for Catholics. For collections of ancient/Patristic commentary, The Churches' Bible and the Ancient Christian Commentary series are excellent. For theological commentary, the new Brazos series is excellent, as is the old International Theological Commentary series.

For the very basics, something like Raymond E. Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament is a good start, if dated.

For Patristics, nothing matches the scholarship of the Oxford Early Christian Studies series of monographs (except some titles in the Oxford Theological Monographs and Oxford Studies in Historical Theology series).

But who could be bothered reading actual Scripture, saints and theologians today when so much fashionable nonsense agreeable to the default PC anti-Christian prejudice is available? :roll:

Try The Philokalia, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night, The Spiritual Espousals, the Sparkling Stone . . .

BEING TRANSFORMED THROUGH
THE ETERNAL WORD

There we will abide—unified, empty, and imageless—raised up through love to the open bareness of our mind, for when we transcend all things in love and die to all rational observations in a dark state of unknowing, we become transformed through the working of the eternal Word, who is an image of the Father. In the empty being of our spirit we receive an incomprehensible resplendence which envelops and pervades us in the same way that the air is pervaded by the light of the sun. This resplendence is nothing other than an act of gazing and seeing which has no ground: What we are is what we see, and what we see is what we are, for our mind, our life, and our very being are raised up in a state of oneness and united with the truth that is God himself. In this simple act of seeing we are therefore one life and one spirit with God. This is what I call a contemplative life. When we cleave to God in love we are practicing what is called the better part, but when we gaze at our superessential being in the way just described we possess God whole and entire.

Ruusbroec, John – The Sparkling Stone quoted from The Spiritual Espousals and other works [1985 Paulist Press, Wiseman, James A. trans. p 171]

jbuck919
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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:33 pm

Brendan wrote:That being 'open-minded' is now defined as closing one's mind to any and all Christian spiritual and theological possibility seems to me a tad - ironic? Ignorant? Stupid, even?

Is meditation, morality, tradition and religious experience really so individually threatening, let alone a problem to social order and/or the primary cause of all human conflict and evil? Or is the total rejection and mockery of it a tad more problematic than the atheists and PC fundamentalists like to indicate?
You are asking two independent questions, Brendan. For many people, rejecting "Christian [or any religious] spiritual and theological possibility" is a question of appropriate and consistent use of the powers of reason. The qualities you mention in the second question (allowing for there being something genuine to the concept of ineffable religious or spiritual experience) are not dependent on theistic credalism and I daresay are not threatening to, let alone rejected or mocked by anyone who has posted here.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

SaulChanukah

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by SaulChanukah » Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:45 pm

Brendan wrote:That being 'open-minded' is now defined as closing one's mind to any and all Christian spiritual and theological possibility seems to me a tad - ironic? Ignorant? Stupid, even?

Is meditation, morality, tradition and religious experience really so individually threatening, let alone a problem to social order and/or the primary cause of all human conflict and evil? Or is the total rejection and mockery of it a tad more problematic than the atheists and PC fundamentalists like to indicate?

Funny how Western religious experience and tradition - especially Catholicism - is the primary focus of the PC/atheist ire. Buddha wrote nothing down and insisted his followers did likewise, as words would 'trap' the infinite Way in a finite distortion, so all recorded information comes from centuries later. Yet we find no similar 'Buddha was a Hindu' or 'Alternative Buddha' industry. What religion was Mohammed before the angel visited?

The most commonplace rejections of religion in general and Christianity in particular seem to rest on a bunch of faulty assumptions. Ignorance, to use the blunt word.

That Christianity is about believing silly/impossible things

The logic and experience pertaining to humanity in the material world is that people do not rise from the grave once dead, turn water into wine or calm storms with a word. To believe that people do is silly, as it is impossible. But theology is not concerned with logic that pertains to the merely human and material, but to the infinite mystery of divinity that transcends (by virtue of creation if nothing else) all logic and physical law.
In theology, the Resurrection and miracles are not problematic at all. That which creates the universe and life itself is not restricted by our law, cosmic law or even our imaginations. If one can accept that the Infinite Mystery united to humanity (by the experience of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in ourselves), and the appropriate form of the Incarnation and union with humanity was as one who died as a slave, then there simply is no problem to answer. The Infinite Mystery can do anything at all - that it did this is astonishing, mysterious and glorious beyond human imagining. The infinite mystery loves us so much that He volunteered to die for us in order to redeem us

One doesn’t become a Christian by believing silly things, at least in my experience. In fact, any mere belief about an infinite mystery is idolatry. St Diadochos of Photike defined Faith as thought about God free from idolatry. Try it sometime. One experiences the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit through prayer/meditation then has to try to cope with it and explain it to oneself. That one cannot explain personal religious experience beyond logic and words to others except through theological mysteries has been known to all religions, let alone Western philosophy, throughout history.

That religion is something one does and learns through experience, trial and error, not something one merely believes in, also seems quite alien to the post-modern fashionable set. Pure ignorance.

The truth is that contemplative intuition of the divine, known “not-as-object” and beyond concepts, is not purely negative at all. While our ordinary mode of knowing, feeling, and experiencing is indeed inhibited, there is a positive, though perhaps tenuous, awareness of God in an I-Thou relationship that, at least subjectively, does not admit of question.

This paradoxical “knowledge” without knowing is from one point of view very deficient: it lacks clarity and intellectual precision. It is almost impossible to reduce to logical formulation. But it is essentially beyond concepts and beyond logic. The simple conversational way of conveying this paradox is to say that without having any way of knowing how you know, you just know.

Does this knowledge admit of any doubt? Yes and no. On the conceptual level, where logic and rationality are in command, it may admit of doubt. In fact, it may perhaps admit of nothing else but doubt. It is so unrelated to reason as to seem perhaps irrational. But on another level it admits of no doubt. What is this other level? It is a level of immediate intuition in which an experience impresses itself upon us directly without ambiguity—a level on which we “experience” reality as we experience our own being. One does not have to prove that he exists: he knows it. He may doubt his ability to convince another of the fact. But one does not trouble to prove the obvious. Contemplative experience has about it an obviousness that is not arrived at through any step-by-step process. It is something you either “see” or don’t see. It just bursts upon you, and is there.

Merton, Thomas - The Inner Experience – Notes on Contemplation [Harper SanFrancisco 2003 William Shannon Ed. p 80-81]

That Christianity is about conforming to dogma and doctrine

Only sort of. Could someone call themselves a Buddhist yet reject the dharma, the Eightfold Path, Enlightenment, nirvana and reincarnation? I suppose modern PC folk are 'entitled' to do so, but what's the point? Pure PC garbage that distorts the words we use.

Most non-Christians, and probably also many Protestant Christians, probably suppose that the intense preoccupation of the early Church Fathers with the technical details of the dogma of the Incarnation was a matter of arbitrary and subjective wilfulness, and that it had little objective importance. But, as a matter of fact, the intricacies of Christology and of the dogma of the hypostatic union were by no means a mere authoritarian web devised to capture the minds and to keep in subjection the wills of the faithful, as rationalism glibly used to declare. Both the theologian and the ordinary believer, in the Patristic age, realized the importance of the correct theological formulation of the mystery of the Incarnation, because dogmatic error would in fact imply disastrous practical consequences in the spiritual life of each individual Christian.
Merton, Thomas - The Inner Experience – Notes on Contemplation [Harper SanFrancisco 2003 William Shannon Ed. p 36]

That Christianity is about meditation and union with the infinite mystery beyond being often comes as something of a surprise - not only to atheists and PC fundamentalists, but to many Christians as well (which is one reason Gnosticism is so popular again - it seems to be a spiritual form of Christianity until one realizes the nature of the scam). It simply is not taught to us today, so ignorance is rampant in this regard. Yet it is the primary focus of all Incarnational theology (Trinity, Two Natures etc). How is it possible, in the face of all Pagan and Jewish objection, for the fully transcendent divine to also be fully human, true God from true God, true Man from true Man? The justification is not intellectual nor a belief in external impossibilities, but through the spiritual experience of union with the divine that the spiritual seeker recognizes within, and so is not a matter of robotically conforming to external dogma, but using the tradition and experience of those who have gone before - and are recognized to be valid by the community - to attain the full unio mystica.

[Here] theosis is closely related to the notions of ascent, illumination, and union as the overall process of coming to know the Trinity. As if to ward off potential objections, he stresses that divinization does not mean becoming God in the full sense of the word (42.17), but that a fundamental difference between the Creator and creation must be maintained as a fundamental tenet of Christian doctrine. Yet for Gregory divinization is much more than simply a s analogy for baptism or a metaphor for the ethical imitation of God, as has been suggested. As we noted above with regard to divine illumination, his language of divinization indicates a real and growing participation on god’s nature, so that human beings, in a mysterious but real way, become filled with God’s being and “divinized” to the extent that they, as creatures, are capable.
Beeley, Christopher A. – Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God [Oxford Studies in Historical Theology, 2008, p. 118-119]

That anybody else could be considered more authoritative than oneself concerning a matter one knows nothing about and has no experience with is anathema to PC fundamentalism and the attenuated individualism it encourages if not insists upon. But I for one am quite happy to discover that St John of the Cross, St Gregory Nazianzen, William Law, St Simeon the New Theologian et al have a lot more experience in this regard than I do - and lived in a time of much less distraction and ignorant atheism. That the accumulated wisdom and experience of Western spirituality and theology might have something to teach us today is obviously beyond the reach of those indoctrinated with PC. So much to learn, so little time, so much fashionable ignorance and intolerance . . .

The mystery of the incarnation of the Logos is the key to all the arcane symbolism and typology in the Scripture, and in addition gives us knowledge of created things, both visible and intelligible. He who apprehends the mystery of the cross and the burial apprehends the inward essences of created things, while he who is initiated into the inexpressible power of the resurrection apprehends the purpose for which God first established everything. All visible realities need the cross, that is, the state in which they are cut off from things acting upon them through the senses. All intelligible realities need burial, that is, the total quiescence of the things which act upon them through the intellect. When all relationship with such things is severed, and their natural activity and stimulus is cut off, then the Logos, who exists alone in Himself, appears as if raised from the dead.
Maximus the Confessor – First Century on Theology and the Incarnate Dispensation of the Son of God [in “Opening the Tomb” quoted from Not of This World, World Wisdom 2003 Cutsinger, James S. ed pp74-75]

Achieving such mystical union is not as easy as I may have indicated (see Luke 13:22). The basics of prayer/meditation can be learned swiftly (took me about 5 minutes flat, from Sogyal Rinpoche's The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying) but takes a lifetime (or hundreds if one is a Buddhist) to master. It's just stilling the mind of stream-of-consciousness thought to reveal another aspect of human experience that is usually swamped or distracted by that stream. But it takes incredible discipline to maintain, let alone explore as much of the infinite depth of mystery that a finite being can.

A free gift available to any and all - if only they take the time and attention to bother with it. Many in the West are simply unaware that it is even possible, as we Twitter and Facebook and Playstation and email our lives away, beaming floods of distraction, immorality, materialism and stupidity right into our brains through the amazing array of screens and devices built for that purpose.

That the Old Testament isn't Christian Scripture

Quite apart from Saul's understandable shock, many others also seem unaware that Christians think of the OT as Christian Scripture and have done since Apostolic times. Yet the story of Christ is always framed in OT symbolism and foreshadowing, if not direct and indirect quotes from the OT (see Beale and Carson's A Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament), revealing God as the infinitely Other, the infinitely mysterious.

The incarnation is a mystery even more inconceivable than any other. By taking flesh God makes himself understood only by appearing still more incomprehensible. He remains hidden . . . even in this disclosure. Even when manifest he is always the stranger.
Maximus the Confessor Ambigua (PG 91,1048-1049) quoted from Clément, Olivier The Roots of Christian Mysticism [1982, 1993 p38]

The early church, although having some respect for Pagan philosophy, did not cite or quote much Greek philosophy or mythology - beyond Paul's famous use of the Liar Paradox - but framed Jesus in terms of the new Moses, the new David, the new Adam and transcending them all, not as the new Plato, the new Apollo or even the new Dionysius. If one studies Pagan religion and philosophy even at the most superficial level the idea of Christ as a Pagan or Pagan myth quickly becomes laughable. Those who cite Mithras should read Ulansey's The Origins of Mithraism and other serious academic literature that shows just how different Mithras and the Mithraic Tauroctony is from Christian thought and practice. There are many more differences than similarities between Dionysius (or Mithras or Isis/Osiris or whichever Pagan Mystery Religion one chooses) and Jesus and Christianity. See the Samuel Angus quote from The Mystery Religions cited previously.

Multiculturalism insists that we only read the OT in a "Jewish" context, so many in the West now think of the Bible as a "Jewish" Old Testament with a nasty, raging God of vengeance, plagues and curses with a quite spiritually different New Testament featuring a pacifist Jesus tacked on problematically at the end. Very Gnostic indeed. Coincidence? Why does PC agree with Gnosticism on so many topics, I wonder?

The language of Deut. 6:4 (“the LORD our God, the LORD is one”) governs Paul’s wording and argument in 1 Cor 8:5-6.
. . .
The key words “Lord,” “God,” and “one” are taken from Deut. 6:4 (“the LORD our God, the LORD is one”), in which “Lord” and “God” both refer to the deity who is declared to be “one.” But now Paul “has glossed ‘God’ with ‘the Father’ and ‘Lord’ with ‘Jesus Christ,’ adding in each case an explanatory phrase: ‘God’ is the Father, ‘from whom are all things and we to him,’ and the ‘Lord’ is Jesus the Messiah ‘through whom are all things and we through him.’ In this one text Paul has simultaneously reaffirmed strict Jewish monotheism and embedded Christ within the very definition of that one God/Lord of Israel.

Beale, G.K. and Carson, D. A. – Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament [Baker, 2007, p. 717]


That all Scripture is best read irreligiously, as if it were a History or Science (or both) text - and a bad one at that.

Most atheists and fundamentalists seem to rely on a literal and superficial reading of Scripture, whose subject and object is an infinite mystery beyond words to describe, and accumulated over centuries of religious experience. Modern literalism isn’t the same as Luther's ideas of sola scriptura, and is very distant indeed from the attitude of those who formulated the written canon from the broader religious canon.

The Scriptures and the Creed were indeed a kind of standard or norm; but they were essentially a standard of teaching and instruction for the Church in its worship, its catechesis, and the direction of its spiritual life. Equally we might say that they provided standards for demarcating orthodoxy from heresy. That they were not proposed as epistemic norms of truth is revealed by the fact that the Church’s teachers defended their content in a host of ways.
Abraham, William J. – Canon and Criterion in Christian Theology [Oxford 1998 p. 141]

The idea (and basics) of reading Scripture spiritually seems to be utterly beyond the experience and ken of most modern folk. A moral message? Anagogy? Allegory? Symbolism? That meditation, prayer and religious experience gained therein have anything to do with religious, spiritual documents must be just Papist propaganda and delusions spread by a conspiracy of evil priests whose sole motivation is opposition to Political Correctness! :roll:

That religious experience is intrinsic to human anthropology and biology also seems beyond the limits of post-modern fashionable intellectualism - despite the enormous amount of evidence showing how vital it is individually and culturally.

Try Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity by Roy Rappaport, The Evolution of Morality and Religion by Donald Broom, The Mystical Mind – Probing the Biology of Religious Experience by D’Aquili and Newberg, Zen and the Brain by James Austin etc.

To be unaware of the basic concepts, accumulated wisdom and experience of philosophy, religion, anthropology, biology and theology is ignorance. That's simply what the word means. To try to use such ignorance as a weapon against the very subject one is ignorant of is stupid. It might not be a known dictionary definition, but from where I sit, it is laughably moronic.

Why is such ignorance and stupidity fashionable and accepted - if not encouraged - in popular culture? PC bigotry, which ensures the ignorance by forbidding teaching religion, especially Western religion, to anybody and opposing it on any and every point of PC pseudo-religious ideology, however ignorant and stupid such opposition may be, in order to pass laws against religious thought and tradition.

I could go on (and on and on . . .) but why bother? Those who revel in their ignorance and continue to say stupid, irrelevant things concerning a subject they refuse to learn anything about, intellectually or through personal experience, will doubtless continue to do so, oblivious to anything I have said or may say, and consider themselves ever so intellectually fashionable and superior in doing so. That the average PC tosser enamoured of the moronic Alternate Jesus industry is even more ignorant and stupid than belligerent atheists is the only lesson to be learned here, and a sad and sorry one at that.

Instead of sticking rigidly to the fashionably PC set, such as Spong, Borg and the execrable Jesus Seminar, try some actual biblical scholarship sometime. (I've read Spong, Borg and the published works of The Jesus Seminar, BTW).

The distinctive conclusions of the Jesus Seminar are rejected by most scholars in North America and Europe
Evans, Craig A. - Fabricating Jesus - How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels

Also try Why the Jesus Seminar Can’t Find Jesus, and Grandma Marshall Could by David Marshall, as well as his excellent The Truth Behind the New Atheism, in which a "fundamentalist" is convinced of the truth of evolution - but not that atheism is a necessary consequence.

If you read Koine Greek, the ICC and New International Greek Testament Commentary series are the best I've read. Anchor Bible and Word Biblical commentaries are not very well structured and formatted for reading, despite some excellent scholarship (eg Baukham's groundbreaking work on II Peter). Baker Exegetical Commentaries and New International Commentaries vary in quality. For introductory commentaries, try the Pillar series or the Sacra Pagina series for Catholics. For collections of ancient/Patristic commentary, The Churches' Bible and the Ancient Christian Commentary series are excellent. For theological commentary, the new Brazos series is excellent, as is the old International Theological Commentary series.

For the very basics, something like Raymond E. Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament is a good start, if dated.

For Patristics, nothing matches the scholarship of the Oxford Early Christian Studies series of monographs (except some titles in the Oxford Theological Monographs and Oxford Studies in Historical Theology series).

But who could be bothered reading actual Scripture, saints and theologians today when so much fashionable nonsense agreeable to the default PC anti-Christian prejudice is available? :roll:

Try The Philokalia, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night, The Spiritual Espousals, the Sparkling Stone . . .

BEING TRANSFORMED THROUGH
THE ETERNAL WORD

There we will abide—unified, empty, and imageless—raised up through love to the open bareness of our mind, for when we transcend all things in love and die to all rational observations in a dark state of unknowing, we become transformed through the working of the eternal Word, who is an image of the Father. In the empty being of our spirit we receive an incomprehensible resplendence which envelops and pervades us in the same way that the air is pervaded by the light of the sun. This resplendence is nothing other than an act of gazing and seeing which has no ground: What we are is what we see, and what we see is what we are, for our mind, our life, and our very being are raised up in a state of oneness and united with the truth that is God himself. In this simple act of seeing we are therefore one life and one spirit with God. This is what I call a contemplative life. When we cleave to God in love we are practicing what is called the better part, but when we gaze at our superessential being in the way just described we possess God whole and entire.

Ruusbroec, John – The Sparkling Stone quoted from The Spiritual Espousals and other works [1985 Paulist Press, Wiseman, James A. trans. p 171]
One would have thought that accepting Jesus who the Christians consider 'the Jewish Messiah' would have changed their entire life and world view and ways of the Pagan World.
But that was clearly not the case by any means. The Pagans still remained blood thirsty war mongers who murdered each other in brutal ways, who hated each other and wished each other's downfall. Did the Pagan's of Europe who accepted Christianity love each other or murdered each other?

In all of the history of Christian Europe there was never one European country that didn’t attack or get attacked by its neighboring co-religionist Christian nation.

By Contrast, the Authentic Jewish religion was never divided. All the Jewish people believe in the Law of Moses, the Torah, the Talmud and the Book of Laws called 'Shulchan Aruch' without any exceptions. The only small differences between the Ashkenazi and the Sephardim Jews are some customs, but never the law. We believe the same theology, and have the same understanding of what God is, all of our religious leaders are dear to us and the Jewish people follow their Ashkenazi and Sephardic Leaders without exceptions.

This is called, true faith, where unity, peace and love can manifest itself. For what is faith if its bereft of peace and harmony?

The various Christian denominations were busy slaughtering each other for 2000 years, is this what you call the vision of the future?

The true Prophet of God would have brought only peace and harmony to his followers not death and misery.

Do you know why the Christians continued murdering each other?

Because they remained pagans, they only learned some new Jewish ideas, but their essence was never changed because they believed in virgin births and gods dying for their sins, and all this mambo jumbo nonsense they were used before they 'became Christians', all that one can say is that Christianity is a progressive form of Paganism and the only reason that it is 'progressed' because they were exposed to some Jewish Ideas and Values, but they still are far from grasping the Jewish Message, and Monotheism.

You speak of 'the Mystery' capable of doing impossible things...

Sure God is able to do impossible things, but he never does stupid things and he never lies or changes his mind.

The Christian belief that God became human flesh and blood and then died, is the most idiotic thing ever, its pure idiocy of the most extreme type, and no wonder that intelligent people find this to be repugnant and just not worthy of their adherence. Intelligent people believe an intelligent God, and God expects his intelligent creatures to be just that, intelligent.

Faith must be based on truths, facts, and wisdom, Christianity lacks all these three enormously.

It lacks Truth - for Jesus was never the Jewish Messiah.

It also lacks facts - All the gospels were written by human beings who constantly contradicted each other.

It lacks wisdom - for demanding from an intelligent human being to believe that God died is the cherry-top of idiocy.

slofstra
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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by slofstra » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:55 pm

Well, I finally got back to the Singer article. It's quite interesting, as I'm a non-Trinitarian Christian myself. I have no problem with Jesus as part of the triune God while in heaven, but I've found the Christian orthodox teaching on the Incarnation to be most troublesome. This is the question of the nature of Jesus as God, while on Earth. Clearly, Jesus was not very God-like in his sayings and actions, as the verses above indicate. Most Trinitarians will tell you that he willingly suppressed his divine powers - omnipotence and omniscience and obviously, omnipresence - while here. That has always seemed like a stretch to me. I've hashed this out with other Christians and you can find support in the NT both ways.

I have found the following page interesting as a reference on the question:

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/interp/jesus_god.html

Do you have a web link for the Singer essay, SC?

Mark Harwood
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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by Mark Harwood » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:22 am

Slofstra, I find your link very helpful. In the light of so many apparent contradictions, is not theology mere mind-games? Why do we try to tease meaningful conclusions, beliefs & the foundations of, or justifications for faith from such materials?
"I did it for the music."
Ken Colyer

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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by karlhenning » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:04 am

slofstra wrote:. . . Most Trinitarians will tell you that he willingly suppressed his divine powers - omnipotence and omniscience and obviously, omnipresence - while here. That has always seemed like a stretch to me.
The conjoining of the two natures, divine and human, in the person of the Christ is a mystery, which will seem like a stretch to anyone, I expect.

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

SaulChanukah

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by SaulChanukah » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:45 pm

slofstra wrote:Well, I finally got back to the Singer article. It's quite interesting, as I'm a non-Trinitarian Christian myself. I have no problem with Jesus as part of the triune God while in heaven, but I've found the Christian orthodox teaching on the Incarnation to be most troublesome. This is the question of the nature of Jesus as God, while on Earth. Clearly, Jesus was not very God-like in his sayings and actions, as the verses above indicate. Most Trinitarians will tell you that he willingly suppressed his divine powers - omnipotence and omniscience and obviously, omnipresence - while here. That has always seemed like a stretch to me. I've hashed this out with other Christians and you can find support in the NT both ways.

I have found the following page interesting as a reference on the question:

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/interp/jesus_god.html

Do you have a web link for the Singer essay, SC?
The most important thing to say is that in the Torah, God clearly calls the Torah "Hukat Olam Le'dorotechem' - 'An Everlasting Law'. That means that the Laws of the Torah are effective and applicable forever, never bound to change under any circumstances.

Therefore the only categorical conclusion one can come to, is the fact that the Christian bible is a human created book that is not inspired by God, because God himself says CLEARLY that the Torah will never change or be replaced or forgotten under any circumstances.

Also, the Prophets of Israel speak of the glorious Era of the Messiah and say in the Jewish scripture : "Torah will go forth from Zion" and the Prophets use the word 'Torah' to describe this time, that when the Messiah will come Torah will flourish and this Messiah will teach this Torah to all of humanity. The scriptures also say that one of the most important duties of the Jewish Messiah will be to strengthen the adherence of the Jewish people to the Torah, stronger observance and stronger dedication to the Torah.

But if you look to what Jesus and his followers did it has nothing to do with the Jewish Messiah that the scriptures spoke of.

The Christian religion created a book and called it the New Testament. Then they blamed the Jews for killing God. Then they say that how great it is that Jesus died for their sins.

So which is it? if the death of Jesus is such a good thing for the Christians, shouldn’t the Christians praise the Jews for killing him? .....so it seems that no matter what the Jews do its always somehow wrong...classic anti Semitism.

Then the Christians decided that all the laws of the Torah are not applicable, that's why they don’t perform any of the commandments of God which are written in the Torah, things like the keeping the day of Sabbath holy, and keeping all the Jewish holidays, and the laws of family purity, and the laws of agriculture are completely ignored.

They themselves formulated something completely foreign and completely not Jewish, away from the way of the Torah, they also misquoted and mistranslated and purposely tampered with the letters and words of God just to serve their objectives.

They categorically broke off from Monotheism, by establishing Pagan ideas of God, by attributing physicality to him and by claming that he was born through a virgin birth. As you have heard before, that gods getting born through virgin births is not an original Christian idea, but a pagan one. These are the same ideas Jews were fighting against even before Christianity appeared.

For us Jews who are educated in our faith and know what the future messiah will be, are standing astonished at the Christian attempt to force us to believe a messiah that has nothing to do with our religion. Jesus has nothing to do with the Jewish Messiah, nothing, he has done nothing good for the Jewish people, he is the cause of countless pogroms and inquisitions and executions
by the Christian pagans who hated the Jews before Christianity, because the Jews were Monotheistic, but had their hate inflamed by the idiotic accusation that the Jews had killed God.

How can any reasonable man of faith who claims to be spiritual blame another human being that he had in fact killed God?

There are a number of problems here:

1. How can God be killed if he indeed is God?

2. If this supposed 'God' let others kill him, was he a God to begin with?

3. If human beings are able to kill God, the one that created them , doesn’t this tell us that they are greater then God?

4. What kind of people kill God?

5. Why should anyone want to kill God?


Answers:

1. According to Jewish scriptures and wisdom, God is one with no other parts, therefore it is impossible to kill him, for if he will not exist, nothing else can exist.

2. The fact that Jesus was killed, and bled to death, and had a physical human body is the most perfect example that he was no God.

3. Those who killed Jesus, exercised a stronger power over him, for if had had more power then them, then he would have freed himself from his predicament
and wouldn’t yell out "my God, my God why have you left me"...

4. People don’t kill God, they can't kill the one true God, but they kill gods, false gods that is.

Human beings have the capacity and the ability to reject foreign Pagan mythical man made g-ds in their hearts and even with their arms, by breaking down the idols of stone just like Abraham did to his father Terach, by destroying all his fathers idols, and embracing The One True God Of The Universe, who was all Spiritual. And since Jesus had made an idol out of himself, and made others believe that he was God, he in fact became an idol, and the torah says that idols must be broken down and destroyed, that's why Jesus was destroyed.

We found an amazing incident in the Jewish Bible in the book of Daniel. It is said that Nebuchadnezzar, the arrogant and brutal dictator of ancient Babylon wanted to throw three Jewish Great Sages in the furnace of fire that he created. The names of these three great righteous Jews were 'Chananel, Mishael and Azariah', the bible later says that he indeed threw them in the fire, but he couldn’t understand what was going on. He saw FOUR people in the fire, but he knew that he threw only THREE.

The Bible describes that he saw all of these 4 people walking within the fire unscorched without any slight of pain or suffering, and he recognized the 3 as the human beings he threw, but the fourth one had an appearance of an angel, and in fact the fourth one was the angel Gabriel. Later on, he instructed his slaves to bring them out of the fire, and when they did, he bowed down to them and acknowledged God's supremacy and existence in the world. Even Nebuchadnezzar the great and evil wicked monster of a human being, came to the conclusion that the God of Israel is the God and creator of the universe.

But something remarkable had happened, Daniel was supposed to be there, but he purposely worked on it, that he shouldn’t be present when they throw his fellow Jews in the fire, because he feared that if he would be there, Nebuchadnezzar will demand to throw him as well, and he feared this.

What did Daniel the Great Servant of God feared of?

He feared that he would be burned and killed in the fire.

Why?

Because Nebuchadnezzar before hand had worshipped him as a God, and Daniel knew that every idol be it made of stone or bone or wood or even flesh and blood must be destroyed. That is why he didn’t want to be present there.

We learn from this a remarkable idea, that idols no matter what they are made off, they can be even bad and heretic ideas or be as physical as a human being, they all face one end according to the Torah, they will be destroyed, and that's God's will ; the complete destruction of evil and darkness and idol worship from this world, the messianic era is that era where idols will never exist, and only the God of Israel will be accepted and known and king over all things.


5. And to answer the last question: Why should anyone want to kill God?

Apparently Christians and the Pagans loved the idea of God dying for their sins, for that absolves them from ‘Personal Moral Accountability‘, where they exist in a world where their sins have already been erased by the blood of Jesus, and they could do whatever they want with their lives, the only thing that is required of them is to 'accept Jesus as their savior' bereft of physical and personal commitment to the laws that God had requested from human beings.

The Christians created their own God , they cut him up to three pieces and called him: the father, the son and the holy spirit, then they nailed him to the cross and killed him, and with that they killed 'personal accountability', and they are 'saved' only by the simple acceptance that 'Jesus is their savior'.

In Judaism its not enough to 'believe in the all mighty', if you don't follow the commandments that God has written in his Torah and commanded you, his servant to follow, then all your belief in him is not going to help you to escape hell. If you want to enter heaven and merit salvation, you must follow the will of God which is only expressed in following his commandments, 613 for the Jews, and 7 for the Gentile world.

No one likes a liar, a person who says he loves you , but never does anything to express his love and friendship to you, words aside and deeds aside.

Judaism is a religion of doing, as the Jews proclaimed the famous sentence recorded in the bible upon their acceptance of the Torah they all said to God " We will Do and then we will Hear!

First do!

And only then Hear!

Regards,

Saul

Brendan

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by Brendan » Sat May 01, 2010 6:16 pm

That a fundamentalist Jew hasn't a clue about Jesus Christ or how He fulfills all prophecy is hardly surprising. Just tedious. That Christ goes so far beyond the paltry expectations of one tribe is also hardly surprising when considering the infinite mystery.

According to a more generally accepted view, the persecution of the OT righteous served as a prefiguration of the Passion of Christ. ... The idea of prefiguration, of foreshadowing, rather than of actual participation became widely accepted in patristic theology. In her worship of the Crucified the Church wanted to make one thing clear: God is faithful to his redemptive purposes in history even if that entails assuming fragile humanity and dying the death of a slave on the cross.
Gavrilyuk, Paul L. – The Suffering of the Impassible God – The Dialectics of Patristic Thought [Oxford Early Christian Studies, 2004 p. 75]

If one considers Jesus to be a mythological construct, particularly a Pagan myth, then one has a whole slew of historical methodological and histographical problems to deal with, considering that most people throughout history that we consider well attested will have to be eliminated as well and/or reduced to mere mythical constructs. The Emperor Tiberius, for instance, who lived quite some time and was quite some Caesar, is attested in only four extant documents—copies of the originals (if they existed!) whose carbon-14 dating is long after they are said to have been written. Most Emperors—indeed, most of history—would have to be thrown away if held to the same standards that the anti-Christian fundamentalists demand concerning the historicity of Christ.

Then one has the problem of Jesus not resembling any Pagan myth whatsoever, save by very “creative” reconstructions and interpretations of myths or numerous myths from anywhere cobbled together.

If one is genuinely interested in the period, the formation of the Church and Scripture, then only reading the radical fringe opposed to mainstream scholarship and revelling in the deconstruction (if not simple destruction) of Church and Scripture seems a very biased—literally prejudiced—approach to take. Ignorant and stupid, IMHO. But it is very Orthodox PC Fundamentalism, and is adopted as the default position by those influenced by popular culture and its reflex anti-Christian, anti-traditional, anti-Western attitude.

Those genuinely interested in history should read all sides of the discussion, not just one—Christian, heretic, Pagan and Jewish. Those interested in the history of the religion need to read the alternate material (Nag Hammadi Library etc) to make informed judgements concerning events and their significance over time. But a history of a religion is not the religion itself experienced from the inside as a living, ongoing reality. It is intellectually interesting (at least to some) but not spiritually transformational in itself. But it can make one aware of the possibilities of spiritual experience unavailable to the processes of rational inquiry.

Many today seem simply unaware that there is anything to religion other than superstition, delusion or fundamentalism ala Saul. Meditative, philosophical religion seems to have no place in the popular imagination governed by PC.

If one has no interest beyond thinking of the Jesus as a mere mortal who said a few pleasantries and whose followers went somewhat bonkers at his execution and created a religion from it, why bother with all the Alternative Jesus malarkey at all? Unless, of course, it is seen as a good weapon to upset the faith of Christians—and upsetting Christians and their faith is a worthy thing to do in and of itself. As an argument against religion in general it is somewhat limited. Why would a Buddhist care one whit?

If one has no interest in spirituality, meditation, prayer and religious experience, why is it necessary to declare such ancient aspects of human life, individual and cultural, to be evil and the cause of all the ills the world has ever known or the delusional ravings of the irrational? That meditation and prayer seeks to move the mind to transcend the merely rational to a deeper understanding is not the same thing as rejecting rationality. Indeed, the very structure and purpose of classical rationality was to move the rational mind beyond itself (see Plato’s Parmenides and Proclus’ Commentary on Plato’s Parmenides in particular). That Platonic conception of the philosophical/theological One was in close harmony with the Judaic monotheistic conception can be seen in such works as Philo of Alexandria as well as the Septuagint itself.

Maintaining monotheistic notions of divine simplicity, impassibility, immutability, eternity and such within a Trinitarian conception of the Godhead required a bit of theological rethinking, exploration, explanation, prayer, spiritual experience, negotiation and ostracism before a settlement could be reached that was accepted in the wider ecclesia. The direct experience of the Incarnation during the apostolic era needed to settle into communal experience over time in the Church. The notion that the Holy Spirit was at work within the Church through the Christological debates is, of course, antiquated, quaint and simply inadmissible today.

How could God, who is One, immutable, impassible, immaterial, simple and eternal be born, grow, suffer pain and die? Those are the questions and dilemmas of Christian theology, not turning water into wine or raising folk from the dead. That we consider the latter questions problematic—if not an outright slam-dunk against the veracity of Scripture—and disregard the former issues as of no consequence whatsoever is another example of turning the world and Western thought upside down. The impossibility of miracles to a sceptical mind is small potatoes indeed compared to the paradox/mystery of the suffering of the impassible God.

The Trinity takes the infinite mystery of monotheistic philosophy and theology and makes it infinitely more mysterious (hence Tertullian’s famous misquoted and misunderstood remark) with the Incarnation.

Natus est Dei Filius, non pudet, quia pudendum est;
et mortuus est Dei Filius, prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est;
et sepultus resurrexit, certum est, quia impossibile.
(De Carne Christi V, 4)

"The Son of God was born: there is no shame, because it is shameful.
And the Son of God died: it is wholly credible, because it is unsound.
And, buried, He rose again: it is certain, because impossible."


That's just anti-docetic fideism at its finest. Tertullian is often misquoted as saying "credo quia absurdum" ("I believe because it is absurd"). Thus Freud's whole argument in Moses and Monotheism is based on an out-of-context misquotation and misrepresentation of Tertullian, religious/meditative experience and the monotheistic position.

The modern tendency (if not insistence) to treat the infinite mystery and the Scriptures pertaining to it as the most mundane, superficial and trivial of texts and concepts is truly quite bizarre. The PC Jesus, who was simply a nice man for his time who wanted everyone to have group hugs, is as ineffectual a religious symbol as has ever been conceived (deliberately so, methinks).

In reality, there is simply no conception or symbol of the divine mystery and the mystical union of the divine and the human in any religion that comes close to that of humanity nailing Our Saviour, our Lord who gave Himself for love of us, the Way, the Truth and the Life, to the Cross. Making the ultimate infinite mystery infinitely more mysterious is not recognised by many for the astonishing achievement it is, let alone how that makes Christianity trump all other religion ipso facto.

Dissolving, resolving or transcending the distinctions of the One and the Many, the Uncreated and the Created, the sacred and the mundane, is now regarded as of no consequence whatsoever instead of being one of the highest and finest achievements known to humanity. Neither monotheism (Judaism, Islam, philosophy &c with focus on the One) nor polytheism (focus on the Many) could deal effectively with those issues.

If nothing else, Christianity is the most amazing expression of the human religious imagination and rigorous theology the world has ever known—as well as creating the most moral and rational culture. To see an innocent, helpless man dying on the Cross as the Lord Almighty Himself shocks us out of any simplistic or mundane conception of divinity—if we are paying attention.

God is never more mysterious and never more incarnate than when He is dying on the Cross.

God is impassible inasmuch as he is able to conquer suffering and he is passible inasmuch as he is able to suffer in and through human nature.
Gavrilyuk, Paul L. – The Suffering of the Impassible God – The Dialectics of Patristic Thought [Oxford Early Christian Studies, 2004 p. 11]

SaulChanukah

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by SaulChanukah » Sat May 01, 2010 8:59 pm

Brendan wrote:That a fundamentalist Jew hasn't a clue about Jesus Christ or how He fulfills all prophecy is hardly surprising. Just tedious. That Christ goes so far beyond the paltry expectations of one tribe is also hardly surprising when considering the infinite mystery.

According to a more generally accepted view, the persecution of the OT righteous served as a prefiguration of the Passion of Christ. ... The idea of prefiguration, of foreshadowing, rather than of actual participation became widely accepted in patristic theology. In her worship of the Crucified the Church wanted to make one thing clear: God is faithful to his redemptive purposes in history even if that entails assuming fragile humanity and dying the death of a slave on the cross.
Gavrilyuk, Paul L. – The Suffering of the Impassible God – The Dialectics of Patristic Thought [Oxford Early Christian Studies, 2004 p. 75]

If one considers Jesus to be a mythological construct, particularly a Pagan myth, then one has a whole slew of historical methodological and histographical problems to deal with, considering that most people throughout history that we consider well attested will have to be eliminated as well and/or reduced to mere mythical constructs. The Emperor Tiberius, for instance, who lived quite some time and was quite some Caesar, is attested in only four extant documents—copies of the originals (if they existed!) whose carbon-14 dating is long after they are said to have been written. Most Emperors—indeed, most of history—would have to be thrown away if held to the same standards that the anti-Christian fundamentalists demand concerning the historicity of Christ.

Then one has the problem of Jesus not resembling any Pagan myth whatsoever, save by very “creative” reconstructions and interpretations of myths or numerous myths from anywhere cobbled together.

If one is genuinely interested in the period, the formation of the Church and Scripture, then only reading the radical fringe opposed to mainstream scholarship and revelling in the deconstruction (if not simple destruction) of Church and Scripture seems a very biased—literally prejudiced—approach to take. Ignorant and stupid, IMHO. But it is very Orthodox PC Fundamentalism, and is adopted as the default position by those influenced by popular culture and its reflex anti-Christian, anti-traditional, anti-Western attitude.

Those genuinely interested in history should read all sides of the discussion, not just one—Christian, heretic, Pagan and Jewish. Those interested in the history of the religion need to read the alternate material (Nag Hammadi Library etc) to make informed judgements concerning events and their significance over time. But a history of a religion is not the religion itself experienced from the inside as a living, ongoing reality. It is intellectually interesting (at least to some) but not spiritually transformational in itself. But it can make one aware of the possibilities of spiritual experience unavailable to the processes of rational inquiry.

Many today seem simply unaware that there is anything to religion other than superstition, delusion or fundamentalism ala Saul. Meditative, philosophical religion seems to have no place in the popular imagination governed by PC.

If one has no interest beyond thinking of the Jesus as a mere mortal who said a few pleasantries and whose followers went somewhat bonkers at his execution and created a religion from it, why bother with all the Alternative Jesus malarkey at all? Unless, of course, it is seen as a good weapon to upset the faith of Christians—and upsetting Christians and their faith is a worthy thing to do in and of itself. As an argument against religion in general it is somewhat limited. Why would a Buddhist care one whit?

If one has no interest in spirituality, meditation, prayer and religious experience, why is it necessary to declare such ancient aspects of human life, individual and cultural, to be evil and the cause of all the ills the world has ever known or the delusional ravings of the irrational? That meditation and prayer seeks to move the mind to transcend the merely rational to a deeper understanding is not the same thing as rejecting rationality. Indeed, the very structure and purpose of classical rationality was to move the rational mind beyond itself (see Plato’s Parmenides and Proclus’ Commentary on Plato’s Parmenides in particular). That Platonic conception of the philosophical/theological One was in close harmony with the Judaic monotheistic conception can be seen in such works as Philo of Alexandria as well as the Septuagint itself.

Maintaining monotheistic notions of divine simplicity, impassibility, immutability, eternity and such within a Trinitarian conception of the Godhead required a bit of theological rethinking, exploration, explanation, prayer, spiritual experience, negotiation and ostracism before a settlement could be reached that was accepted in the wider ecclesia. The direct experience of the Incarnation during the apostolic era needed to settle into communal experience over time in the Church. The notion that the Holy Spirit was at work within the Church through the Christological debates is, of course, antiquated, quaint and simply inadmissible today.

How could God, who is One, immutable, impassible, immaterial, simple and eternal be born, grow, suffer pain and die? Those are the questions and dilemmas of Christian theology, not turning water into wine or raising folk from the dead. That we consider the latter questions problematic—if not an outright slam-dunk against the veracity of Scripture—and disregard the former issues as of no consequence whatsoever is another example of turning the world and Western thought upside down. The impossibility of miracles to a sceptical mind is small potatoes indeed compared to the paradox/mystery of the suffering of the impassible God.

The Trinity takes the infinite mystery of monotheistic philosophy and theology and makes it infinitely more mysterious (hence Tertullian’s famous misquoted and misunderstood remark) with the Incarnation.

Natus est Dei Filius, non pudet, quia pudendum est;
et mortuus est Dei Filius, prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est;
et sepultus resurrexit, certum est, quia impossibile.
(De Carne Christi V, 4)

"The Son of God was born: there is no shame, because it is shameful.
And the Son of God died: it is wholly credible, because it is unsound.
And, buried, He rose again: it is certain, because impossible."


That's just anti-docetic fideism at its finest. Tertullian is often misquoted as saying "credo quia absurdum" ("I believe because it is absurd"). Thus Freud's whole argument in Moses and Monotheism is based on an out-of-context misquotation and misrepresentation of Tertullian, religious/meditative experience and the monotheistic position.

The modern tendency (if not insistence) to treat the infinite mystery and the Scriptures pertaining to it as the most mundane, superficial and trivial of texts and concepts is truly quite bizarre. The PC Jesus, who was simply a nice man for his time who wanted everyone to have group hugs, is as ineffectual a religious symbol as has ever been conceived (deliberately so, methinks).

In reality, there is simply no conception or symbol of the divine mystery and the mystical union of the divine and the human in any religion that comes close to that of humanity nailing Our Saviour, our Lord who gave Himself for love of us, the Way, the Truth and the Life, to the Cross. Making the ultimate infinite mystery infinitely more mysterious is not recognised by many for the astonishing achievement it is, let alone how that makes Christianity trump all other religion ipso facto.

Dissolving, resolving or transcending the distinctions of the One and the Many, the Uncreated and the Created, the sacred and the mundane, is now regarded as of no consequence whatsoever instead of being one of the highest and finest achievements known to humanity. Neither monotheism (Judaism, Islam, philosophy &c with focus on the One) nor polytheism (focus on the Many) could deal effectively with those issues.

If nothing else, Christianity is the most amazing expression of the human religious imagination and rigorous theology the world has ever known—as well as creating the most moral and rational culture. To see an innocent, helpless man dying on the Cross as the Lord Almighty Himself shocks us out of any simplistic or mundane conception of divinity—if we are paying attention.

God is never more mysterious and never more incarnate than when He is dying on the Cross.

God is impassible inasmuch as he is able to conquer suffering and he is passible inasmuch as he is able to suffer in and through human nature.
Gavrilyuk, Paul L. – The Suffering of the Impassible God – The Dialectics of Patristic Thought [Oxford Early Christian Studies, 2004 p. 11]
Brendan,

You are stuck is such a web of lies that I am astounded that you are willing to ignore the advice of the people who saw and spoke to God and received the Torah from him directly, and rather follow heretics who cut themselves from the source of life and invented mythical things.

As Rabbi Singer pointed out the astonishing inconsistencies, misquotations, misapplications, distortions that are abundant in the Christian Bible, I wonder how can you still hold on to the lies so strong?

How many critical problems you need to see in order to begin to understand that you have been fooled big time?

In these discussions we were having about Jesus, I have pointed out over 30 categorical and critical problems about the Christian claim that Jesus was the Messiah.

You have not responded to anything I have said, for example you still didn’t explain to me that astonishing mistranslation of the word 'Alma' which in Hebrew means 'Young Woman' and which Christians mistranslated it to mean 'virgin' in order to achieve their objectives.

Why don't you respond to this?

Another example,

Why don't you respond to the false un-founded 'prophecy' of Matthew about Jesus and Nazareth even though in the entire Jewish Scriptures, there is no mention of the Messiah coming from that city?

Why don't you respond?

Brendan

Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by Brendan » Mon May 03, 2010 2:56 am

You do not answer or address any of the issues I raise, so I won’t address anything some fundamentalist Jew has to say concerning Christ. You are a liar and an ignorant bigot, and that is all you are.

In the simple nature of the Godhead all this is seen and beheld as undivided and devoid of distinctions, and yet, according to our manner of beholding them, these attributes exist individually and in manifold distinction one from another, for might and goodness, generosity and truth are, to our way of seeing things, very different from one another. Nevertheless, in the sublime nature of the Godhead all this subsists in unity and without division.

As regards the relations which constitute these personal attributes, however, these do subsist in eternal distinction, for the Father begets distinction. The Father ceaselessly begets the Son but is himself not begotten, just as the Son is begotten and cannot beget. Consequently, the Father has a Son for all eternity and the Son a Father: These are the relations of the Father to the Son and of the Son to the Father. Moreover, the Father and the Son breathe forth a Spirit, who is the will or love of them both. This Spirit neither begets nor is begotten, but must be eternally breathed forth as flowing out from them both. These three Persons are one God and one Spirit. All the attributes, together with the works which flow forth from them, are common to all three Persons, for they work in the power of a single nature.

Ruusbroec, John – The Spiritual Espousals and other works [1985 Paulist Press, Wiseman, James A. trans. p 101]

DavidRoss
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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by DavidRoss » Mon May 03, 2010 9:33 am

Brendan wrote:You do not answer or address any of the issues I raise, so I won’t address anything some fundamentalist Jew has to say concerning Christ. You are a liar and an ignorant bigot, and that is all you are.
Saul has provided abundant evidence supporting most of your charges, but to say "that is all you are" seems pretty far from the mark and particularly un-Christian in its harsh judgmentalism.

What was it Abraham Lincoln said about religion? Oh, yes: "I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it."
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Mark Harwood
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Re: How Jesus Became Christian by B. Wilson

Post by Mark Harwood » Mon May 03, 2010 3:36 pm

I've followed this nonsense without Troll Haroogah's contribution. It might have made more sense without Brendan's too. So from now on I'll follow threads with reference to neither.
"I did it for the music."
Ken Colyer

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