Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
BillM

Non-Self Versus Loving Self?

Recommended Posts

35 minutes ago, JosephM said:

Thomas ,

Since this is other wisdom traditions area i think you might enjoy this article on attachment (clinging) and it might clear up any misunderstanding from a Buddhist perspective.

Thanks, I'll look at it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, thormas said:

True but the point remains that 'James' or its writer is in agreement with the authentic Paul and against the pseudo Paul who misunderstand faith and works. Actually not really that confusing when one has experts like Ehrman and others.

I'm not sure that is the point that Erhman is making.  To the contrary, I read Erhman saying that we just don't know all of the specifics about either James' or Paul's writings because we don't have the originals (he says that about a lot of the NT).  So whilst assumptions and best guesses are made, I don't think Bart necessarily says James & Paul are completely in agreement. I have emailed Bart on this matter but not sure he will have time to respond - fingers crossed though.

18 hours ago, thormas said:

Great, you agree that the theme is one of participating and partaking in God.

Yes but the theme is broad, diverse and not consistent.

18 hours ago, thormas said:

To look upon Jesus as a brother (i.e. fellow child of God) or a friend seems perfectly fine. Never was taught, heard or looked upon Jesus as a 'raging King' although it is a colorful image. 

Other than 'raging King' I'm not sure how else you might consider the God of 2 Samuel 6 other than a petty tyrant?  But that's understandable for the times - that's how the culture of the day understood how they were to participate in the life of God - subject to his rule and they better not disobey, or else!

18 hours ago, thormas said:

 There is not one, constant description which makes sense given the many writers and the centuries over which the scriptures were written. However, what is constant is that this God wants a relationship with people, who this God is and this is continued and crystalized in Jesus and the NT.  Actually the way to partake is amazingly consistent: the Law of God summarized in the two great commandments and lived in Jesus. 

Like a have said repeatedly, I think it is a very broad and diverse 'constant' that you assume.  To say that it indicates a known version of God & how to partake in the life of God is a stretch, I think.

18 hours ago, thormas said:

So we agree on the theme. It is certainly within the Jewish culture and religious view but it also moved cross cultures in its Christian expression and later in Islam. However, this 'insight' did seem to parallel what was going on in other cultures without any obvious direct cultural contact between them. It has been called the Axial Age and refers to new ways of thinking that appeared in China, the Greco-Roman world, India and Persia in philosophy and religion. I have not read extensively in this area but have a couple of book in My Amazon account that I hope to get to soon. Is it exactly the same? Probably not, which would be the cultural influence but is there a real parallel in other cultures? Seems so!

I don't think we really agree on the same thing when you keep saying we agree on a theme, but I have made my points.

Jasper's theory about an 'Axial Age' have long been disputed and questioned, even by Jasper himself.  Again, I think those with a certain bias may wish for such an 'age' but it is hotly contested that the evidence does not exist to support his notion.

18 hours ago, thormas said:

Actually Hart in his book quotes Jewish, Christian, Indian and Islamic (and perhaps others, can't remember) thinkers showing the parallels and agreement in their insights.

To me it is not surprising that neighbors like these might have shared insights and built upon those of their neighbor.  They were hardly entirely isolated from one another.  Maybe compare them to the beliefs of indigenous aboriginals in Australia for instance who were totally isolated and had no such conceptions as the above religions.

18 hours ago, thormas said:

I actually don't read either without consulting scholars and I make sure I have a mix: an atheist like Ehrman, a Catholic like Johnson. Levine a Jew, a believer like Allison and others, who I have no idea what they believe, like Fredriksen and Vegmes. I resist reading into the scriptures, have seen how people like Borg and Spong have done that, have forced myself to read a very conservative scholar's work and like to see how the best scholars, the experts, try as much as humanly possible to let the work speak to them - and I listen.  Actually, I have no axe to grind when it come to the Bible as I long ago moved to theology and philosophy as better paths for me to understand 'stuff.' I can both recognize the descriptions of God that we have discussed that are rather disturbing and weird and, at the same time, recognize the theme (previously mentioned) that runs throughout. Even in a discussion of cursing a fig tree or the incident in the Temple, I don't offer my virgin interpretation but go to different authors to see what they are writing about these biblical verses. As an example, I found Ehrman's book, God's Problem, on the vastly different and inconsistent takes throughout the bible on why there is evil, fascinating. And I was not disturbed or shaken by his scholarship. I enjoyed it and was motivated to figure it out for myself: I read a good deal on the topic of theodicy, finding much that resonated in the works of the British theologian, John Hick.I found no need to go back and read his insights into the scriptures. 

Maybe sometimes you should consider your virgin interpretation of bible verses (just a friendly suggestion) - some of the greatest thinkers in the world and some of the ground-breaking ideas of our time went totally against the norms of everybody else's "accepted truth".  

18 hours ago, thormas said:

I see inconsistency in the bible, how could one not - but I also can see the themes that carry throughout. No reading into it required only a fair assessment, aided by experts.

I don't see the themes the same as you (in what we have discussed) but I guess that is the bible and Christianity throughout the ages isn't it - very much open to interpretation.

18 hours ago, thormas said:

I think the "covenant' (relationship and participation) theme is obvious and confirmed by a diverse group of experts. Who's is eroding it? If the blowtorch means questioning things like virgin birth, literal resurrection, responsibility of the Jews and not Pilate, the different theologies of the writers, etc. - I agree. However, there is much that 'holds up' and has not burned away. For example, is Fredriksen correct, using John's gospel, that Jesus traveled often to Jerusalem, was known and not considered a threat until his last visit? Was Paul the so called founder of Christianity as some allege or was there a remarkable sameness in his teachings and devotional practices with the original Jewish disciples and leaders of the Jerusalem church?

Of course there may be some that holds up, but 'much' is probably questionable I would suggest.  But we don't agree, so there we are.

18 hours ago, thormas said:

I agree that we will have a further take on participating in the life of God but just as with present progressive (Christian) takes, there remains a remarkable agreement with the insights of the scriptural writers. 

Once again, that was fun, thanks.

I am happy for you that I have helped you enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, PaulS said:

I'm not sure that is the point that Erhman is making. 

Quote

Well, I'll read it again but although we don't know all the specifics, I thought what he said was that the writer of James sided with the authentic Paul (we basically know which letters are authentic) and disagreed with the pseudo Paul (on faith and works) who was not in line with the real Paul. That's been my point all along. Fingers crossed indeed.

We also disagree on the theme, however it is obvious through all the major biblical figures: God remains 'their' God and they his people throughout. Beyond that or around that, there is diversity but it is apparent that the Judaism and Christianity recognize this constant. They know their own history.

A constant theme amidst different images of God, that reflect moments in their history, is not contradictory. But at least you're saying "how to partake in the life of God." :+}

As a Catholic I wasn't a person of the book, we were the sacrament people. We had the Sunday readings from the OT but I was not brought up on the OT; we were NT/Jesus people. I wonder at times if that made a rather large difference: we were not immersed in the (scary) God of the OT.  Although I began to disagree while in college, I never felt that I was harmed by Christianity or Catholicism not have I ever been bitter about the experience, so those emotions have never been a factor in my studies. I simply grew up and away. 

 I do agree that the image in Samuel reflected the time and that 'present' experience of the people.

Indeed there are questions and doubts about Jasper's theory - however it is interesting to note what is going on in those areas in the same broad timeframe (as I said it is not an area I've read widely in and am looking for a good, reasonably priced book). However, the basic OT story of God survived, grew and thrived across the changing history of the Jews, Christianity and Islam. The theme remained constant. Even for progressive Christians with a much more panentheistic view, the idea of God for all and living in 'relationship' with God and creation remains.

1 hour ago, PaulS said:

Maybe sometimes you should consider your virgin interpretation of bible verses (just a friendly suggestion) - some of the greatest thinkers in the world and some of the ground-breaking ideas of our time went totally against the norms of everybody else's "accepted truth".  

I gave up my virginity long ago and I prefer to engage with others rather than do it alone. Just as I don't rely on my virgin interpretation about medical/health issues but consult experts, so too I am wise enough (and have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity) to consult experts who have studied the original languages and cultures, done critical analysis and made in-depth comparisons of the bible and other works. Actually, none of them give a 'virgin interpretation' as they learned from others and still consult with others. Virginity is overrated :+{  By the fact that one reads or consults a wide number of experts (called getting a 2nd and 3rd and 4th opinion) makes evident that some of us do not merely accept another's 'truth' but neither are we so naive to rely just on ours. 

The bible and Christianity are open to interpretation - as long as those interpretations are 'somethwere' in the ballpark. All are not - some miss it completely.

1 hour ago, PaulS said:

I am happy for you that I have helped you enjoy

It's always entertaining.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 8/2/2019 at 8:47 PM, thormas said:

We also disagree on the theme, however it is obvious through all the major biblical figures: God remains 'their' God and they his people throughout. Beyond that or around that, there is diversity but it is apparent that the Judaism and Christianity recognize this constant. They know their own history.

In the broadest of terms I agree there is a 'theme', but for me it is more or less 'we have a God'.  What that actually entails has changed throughout Judaic Christian history.

On 8/2/2019 at 8:47 PM, thormas said:

A constant theme amidst different images of God, that reflect moments in their history, is not contradictory. But at least you're saying "how to partake in the life of God." :+}

Of course I'm saying "how to partake in the life of God." - how could you not if you are God.

On 8/2/2019 at 8:47 PM, thormas said:

As a Catholic I wasn't a person of the book, we were the sacrament people. We had the Sunday readings from the OT but I was not brought up on the OT; we were NT/Jesus people. I wonder at times if that made a rather large difference: we were not immersed in the (scary) God of the OT.  Although I began to disagree while in college, I never felt that I was harmed by Christianity or Catholicism not have I ever been bitter about the experience, so those emotions have never been a factor in my studies. I simply grew up and away. 

Fair enough.

On 8/2/2019 at 8:47 PM, thormas said:

 I do agree that the image in Samuel reflected the time and that 'present' experience of the people.

I'm glad you agree then with my 'colourful image' of God as a raging King - as understood to be the experience at that time of this people's evolution of God.  

On 8/2/2019 at 8:47 PM, thormas said:

Indeed there are questions and doubts about Jasper's theory - however it is interesting to note what is going on in those areas in the same broad timeframe (as I said it is not an area I've read widely in and am looking for a good, reasonably priced book). However, the basic OT story of God survived, grew and thrived across the changing history of the Jews, Christianity and Islam. The theme remained constant. Even for progressive Christians with a much more panentheistic view, the idea of God for all and living in 'relationship' with God and creation remains.

Again, it is one so broad I struggle to give it credit as a 'theme'.  The 'relationship' and/or what that God looks like was ever changing (and is, it just isn't get captured in scripture yet - maybe see what a bible looks like in 4057 CE).

On 8/2/2019 at 8:47 PM, thormas said:

I gave up my virginity long ago and I prefer to engage with others rather than do it alone. Just as I don't rely on my virgin interpretation about medical/health issues but consult experts, so too I am wise enough (and have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity) to consult experts who have studied the original languages and cultures, done critical analysis and made in-depth comparisons of the bible and other works. Actually, none of them give a 'virgin interpretation' as they learned from others and still consult with others. Virginity is overrated :+{  By the fact that one reads or consults a wide number of experts (called getting a 2nd and 3rd and 4th opinion) makes evident that some of us do not merely accept another's 'truth' but neither are we so naive to rely just on ours. 

From what I can tell, all of the experts in the world on the matter do not align.  Opinion about 'fact' is wide and varied when it comes to religion, religious history and biblical interpretation.

On 8/2/2019 at 8:47 PM, thormas said:

The bible and Christianity are open to interpretation - as long as those interpretations are 'somethwere' in the ballpark. All are not - some miss it completely.

Do you happen to know an umpire that can say what is and what is not in the ballpark, and by who's rules?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, PaulS said:

In the broadest 

The fairest reading would acknowledge that the J/C theme is much more than "we have a God.' Even a neutral reading of the scriptures would acknowledge more than such a minimalist take away. The various writers are actually trying to understand that God and write about their (and their relationship to their) God. The Judeo-Christian take on God is not that broad (as was paganism) and their take was and is easily differentiated from others and much more complex than "we have a God." Even in the Roman era, this was recognized and they were treated differently than all other conquered people (who just 'had a god').

Partake is to take part: God does not 'take part' in life, God is Life - that others take part or participate in and of. 

2 hours ago, PaulS said:

From what I can tell, all of the experts in the world on the matter do not align.  Opinion about 'fact' is wide and varied when it comes to religion, religious history and biblical interpretation.

Your original concern on my behalf was your assumption that my interpretations of biblical verses were virgin - as shown that has never been the case :+} Furthermore, I never thought that 'all' biblical scholars (or all health experts) aligned but such alignment is not the point. There is greater agreement among the best critical scholars - they know, collaborate, acknowledge and/or recommend each other -  that you acknowledge. And they are not shy about disagreeing with another based on a lack of scholarship (the rules of the ballpark): as an example Ehrman against mythicists or biblical conservatives and Johnson against Spong. In addition, scholars' positions don't have to be identical to be accepted, respected and consulted by lay people as guides to their own study.

If you are talking actual umpires in an actual ballpark - of course there are such people and they can give you chapter and verse. So too in the world of scholarship: they know what 'ballpark' they are in at any particular time and scholars know there are rules that govern how they conduct themselves and within which they conduct their work.  This is obvious to any who have ever been in or are familiar with academic life or who have simply read about the particular methods used in, for example, biblical scholarship. Additionally, it is also obvious, when reading them, that critical theologians and religious historians are cognizant of (facts and informed, educated opinions) what is going on in the specific world of biblical scholarship

A historian like Ehrman is always cautious about not reading into the bible or early Christian history what is not there (if I remember correctly, he took heat from some quarters on his book, "Did Jesus Exist' because some thought Jesus was a myth and hoped or assumed that Ehrman, an atheist, would 'prove it).

Another example: there is a fellow I know who consistently insists that Jesus left home (the hidden years) and lived with the Essenes for years, even learning his 'medical' expertise, used later in his ministry, from them. This was not an interest of mine but something seemed off, so I researched at least 4 scholars, including an expert on Judaism and the Essenes and wrote back that his interpretation was not based in or supported by sound scholarship (i.e. the rule of a particular ballpark) or critical biblical scholars or scholars of that historical period (I also asked for his supporting scholars or readings but never got an answer). So too when Bishop Spong says that Mary was raped or that Paul was Gay - while anything is possible, it is always interesting to check other sources to determine if Spong is on solid ground or if he is reading something into the NT that might support a modern day position he supports. 

 

Edited by thormas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jesus was not an Essene.  That sect was so rule-bound they thought it sacrilegious to walk the distance to the toilets on the sabbath and so carried sticks on Saturdays to bury their defecations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Burl said:

Jesus was not an Essene.  That sect was so rule-bound they thought it sacrilegious to walk the distance to the toilets on the sabbath and so carried sticks on Saturdays to bury their defecations.

Yech - pooping just anywhere seems more sacrilegious. Which brings us to a great truth: toilets were made for man.........to be used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, thormas said:

The fairest reading would acknowledge that the J/C theme is much more than "we have a God.' Even a neutral reading of the scriptures would acknowledge more than such a minimalist take away. The various writers are actually trying to understand that God and write about their (and their relationship to their) God. The Judeo-Christian take on God is not that broad (as was paganism) and their take was and is easily differentiated from others and much more complex than "we have a God." Even in the Roman era, this was recognized and they were treated differently than all other conquered people (who just 'had a god').

As I said, for me it is more or less 'we have a God'.  Sure there is some more to it but again I say that what that actually entails has changed throughout Judaic Christian history. So the theme is very broad in my opinion.

20 hours ago, thormas said:

Partake is to take part: God does not 'take part' in life, God is Life - that others take part or participate in and of. 

I don't think that is necessarily accurate - we could all be partaking in the existence of God just as you think you are partaking in the existence of yourself as separate to God. 

20 hours ago, thormas said:

Your original concern on my behalf was your assumption that my interpretations of biblical verses were virgin - as shown that has never been the case :+}

No, it wasn't an assumption but a friendly suggestion that maybe you should consider holding a virgin interpretation rather than relying on what limited information is available about the real Jesus offered by indeed many different authors, all who are largely speculating on that which we simply do not know.  As I also said, sometimes such new ideas which break the mould have been revolutionary in our history.  Maybe you or I might have one of those one day!

20 hours ago, thormas said:

Furthermore, I never thought that 'all' biblical scholars (or all health experts) aligned but such alignment is not the point. There is greater agreement among the best critical scholars - they know, collaborate, acknowledge and/or recommend each other - that you acknowledge. And they are not shy about disagreeing with another based on a lack of scholarship (the rules of the ballpark): as an example Ehrman against mythicists or biblical conservatives and Johnson against Spong. In addition, scholars' positions don't have to be identical to be accepted, respected and consulted by lay people as guides to their own study.

I don't disagree but I do think that even the finest biblical scholars in the world are still speculating on that which we simply cannot prove and do not know for certain.  Too much has been lost to history and destroyed.  We see some of it here and some of it there, but the winning 'side' all but expunged the losing view.  No scholar can deny that we have a huge documentary gap between what is alleged in the Gospels and what 'original' copies we have some hundreds of years after Jesus.  And neither do the best scholars deny there were varying views of Jesus in the early days but precisely which one is the most accurate position is likely to be never known.  One version one the day, more or less, and that is why we have a canon like we do.  There is a huge difference between Bart Erhamann saying he is confident Jesus did actually exist and precisely who and what that Jesus did and said - even Bart acknowledges that.

20 hours ago, thormas said:

If you are talking actual umpires in an actual ballpark - of course there are such people and they can give you chapter and verse. So too in the world of scholarship: they know what 'ballpark' they are in at any particular time and scholars know there are rules that govern how they conduct themselves and within which they conduct their work.  This is obvious to any who have ever been in or are familiar with academic life or who have simply read about the particular methods used in, for example, biblical scholarship. Additionally, it is also obvious, when reading them, that critical theologians and religious historians are cognizant of (facts and informed, educated opinions) what is going on in the specific world of biblical scholarship

You indeed have more confidence than I do anyway.

20 hours ago, thormas said:

A historian like Ehrman is always cautious about not reading into the bible or early Christian history what is not there (if I remember correctly, he took heat from some quarters on his book, "Did Jesus Exist' because some thought Jesus was a myth and hoped or assumed that Ehrman, an atheist, would 'prove it).

Yep, some would have definitely held that view.  Oh well.

20 hours ago, thormas said:

Another example: there is a fellow I know who consistently insists that Jesus left home (the hidden years) and lived with the Essenes for years, even learning his 'medical' expertise, used later in his ministry, from them. This was not an interest of mine but something seemed off, so I researched at least 4 scholars, including an expert on Judaism and the Essenes and wrote back that his interpretation was not based in or supported by sound scholarship (i.e. the rule of a particular ballpark) or critical biblical scholars or scholars of that historical period (I also asked for his supporting scholars or readings but never got an answer). So too when Bishop Spong says that Mary was raped or that Paul was Gay - while anything is possible, it is always interesting to check other sources to determine if Spong is on solid ground or if he is reading something into the NT that might support a modern day position he supports. 

Much of this falls into religous debate for me and people can argue and counter argue all day.  For much of it we simply don't know.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, PaulS said:

As I said, for me it is more ....

Quote

"It's more or less 'we have a God' and but there is (also) some more to it." Ok, so there is more to it. And there is a theme (beyond 'we have a God'), albeit broad. So we agree it's more that 'we have a God' - there is a theme beyond this basic statement. No one is denying changes or an evolving understanding, I acknowledge this change within the consistent biblical theme.

I don't have to participate (part take) in my life, it is already mine. It can be said that I partake in 'life' because most of us recognize that 'all of life' is not mine, This is similar to one who might say, "I participate in the universe" as opposed to "I am the universe." Most of us, (thankfully given how egotistic it is) don't say or believe, "I am life." We participate in the life that is 'wider' or more than my (our) own.  I don't take (a) part in my life. People don't talk that way - which is revealing.

God doesn't take (a) part in his own life, he is Life. If we are God, we don't take part in the existence of God because we are God, we are Life. I don't believe we are 'separate' from God: I am not Life in itself but I participate in Life. The paradox in Christianity is that I am other in One.

 

We differ: where you see only limited information, I see a wealth of information that can be had with the help of professional scholars who have developed an expertise in this area. If information is limited, how much better to seek the assistance of others (of experts) rather than rely on one's own ever-virgin interpretation. I have seen the fruits of such limited, singular interpretations on this and other blogs and in fundamentalist circles. It's never helpful (or wise) as it typically serves one's own limited purposes by finding (imposing) their beliefs on the bible. How much more limited one's knowledge and understanding is, who relies only on themselves. That's like saying we have limited information on certain cancers so I'll go it alone rather than turn to professionals who have dedicated their professional lives to the study of cancer. I'll pass on willful ignorance. Many of these scholars are the source of new ideas and they are the mold breakers.

Speculating is not a dirty word. When a scholar does it, they have a basis for that speculation and typically are very upfront about it. I prefer scholarly speculation to the speculation of one who can offer no basis for their 'speculation.'  Same with my doctors.

As for the losing side: it is because of scholars we know there was a 'losing' side' (and we know there are gaps and versions) and we know some of what was believed and we can compare and contrast the various sides. Virgins would never have gotten us this far.

I agree about Ehrman but the point was about the existence of Jesus. And it is the Ehrmans of the scholarly world that help us to get where we are and enable us to probe even further. Sounds like some of your views are not 'virgin interpretations' either.

That Jesus was or was not an Essene is more a biblical scholarship issue and not a religious debate: one can look at the source material and one can also look at extra biblical sources to learn about the Essenes and then compare and contrast that with Jesus. And some scholars have done just that.

Perhaps wondering if Paul was Gay could be a debate but when one uses biblical passages to bolster such a view - it again moves from a 'religious debate' to a consideration of the source material and whether or not one can, as you say, speculate with confidence and whether that speculation is met with agreement among other experts

Some can argue and counter argue all day but sometimes one side has the better argument that rests on more reliable information and scholarly opinion.   As with health issues, some can argue and counter argue all day but eventually it behooves one to go to the expert whose opinion rests on reliable information and is in tune with other experts in the field.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, thormas said:

"It's more or less 'we have a God' and but there is (also) some more to it." Ok, so there is more to it. And there is a theme (beyond 'we have a God'), albeit broad. So we agree it's more that 'we have a God' - there is a theme beyond this basic statement. No one is denying changes or an evolving understanding, I acknowledge this change within the consistent biblical theme.

You've made it clear you believe there is a consistent theme throughout the bible.  I think I have made it clear that I think the theme is very broad and not a constant like you suggest, outside of the basic parameters that the Jews believed in God but that God changed throughout the bible.  Can we just agree to disagree?

1 hour ago, thormas said:

I don't have to participate (part take) in my life, it is already mine. It can be said that I partake in 'life' because most of us recognize that 'all of life' is not mine, This is similar to one who might say, "I participate in the universe" as opposed to "I am the universe." Most of us, (thankfully given how egotistic it is) don't say or believe, "I am life." We participate in the life that is 'wider' or more than my (our) own.  I don't take (a) part in my life. People don't talk that way - which is revealing.

Words are just how we advanced apes communicate.  There are many shortcomings to language.  I think if we are God then we can partake in the life of God.  You don't.  Let's move on.

1 hour ago, thormas said:

God doesn't take (a) part in his own life, he is Life. If we are God, we don't take part in the existence of God because we are God, we are Life. I don't believe we are 'separate' from God: I am not Life in itself but I participate in Life. The paradox in Christianity is that I am other in One.

I'm not prepared to box God in like that because I simply don't know.  You seem certain, so I think this is another point we will have to agree to disagree on.

1 hour ago, thormas said:

We differ: where you see only limited information, I see a wealth of information that can be had with the help of professional scholars who have developed an expertise in this area. If information is limited, how much better to seek the assistance of others (of experts) rather than rely on one's own ever-virgin interpretation. I have seen the fruits of such limited, singular interpretations on this and other blogs and in fundamentalist circles. It's never helpful (or wise) as it typically serves one's own limited purposes by finding (imposing) their beliefs on the bible. How much more limited one's knowledge and understanding is, who relies only on themselves. That's like saying we have limited information on certain cancers so I'll go it alone rather than turn to professionals who have dedicated their professional lives to the study of cancer. I'll pass on willful ignorance. Many of these scholars are the source of new ideas and they are the mold breakers.

Which scholars can show you the original writings of the Gospel writers?  More to the point, can any scholar show you an actual Gospel document that is physically dated less than about 150CE?  So on what basis can all these scholars be certain they know the accurate writings and words of the people from that time.  Simply put, they can't and any scholar worth their salt will admit that.  That is the major shortcoming with NT biblical scholarship and Bart quite comfortably points that out about his work.  Where the scholarly speculation arises is that they make their best guesses and research around what we do have, which of course could mean they are totally wrong in many notions that are generally agreed upon.  Again, Bart will often prefix his work with such clarifications.

1 hour ago, thormas said:

Speculating is not a dirty word. When a scholar does it, they have a basis for that speculation and typically are very upfront about it. I prefer scholarly speculation to the speculation of one who can offer no basis for their 'speculation.'  Same with my doctors.

It should never be a case of preference, but rather a case for evidence.  And no scholar can produce the evidence, at this point in time, or original Gospel documentation.  Without that, it is all speculation.

1 hour ago, thormas said:

As for the losing side: it is because of scholars we know there was a 'losing' side' (and we know there are gaps and versions) and we know some of what was believed and we can compare and contrast the various sides. Virgins would never have gotten us this far.

We don't know empirically what was believed during Jesus' day or even shortly thereafter.  That is the one thing scholars can be certain about. 

1 hour ago, thormas said:

I agree about Ehrman but the point was about the existence of Jesus. And it is the Ehrmans of the scholarly world that help us to get where we are and enable us to probe even further. Sounds like some of your views are not 'virgin interpretations' either.

I never claimed my views were virgin interpretations.  Undoubtedly we are influenced by what we read and think.   But the great thinkers who have broken free of 'accepted truth' have often done so to lead us in entirely unexpected directions.  Many a time has the overwhelmingly popular and accepted truth been proved wrong.

1 hour ago, thormas said:

That Jesus was or was not an Essene is more a biblical scholarship issue and not a religious debate: one can look at the source material and one can also look at extra biblical sources to learn about the Essenes and then compare and contrast that with Jesus. And some scholars have done just that.

They can only compare Jesus with the views of Jesus that were presented in the 2nd century.  It is simply not an empirical science because the empirical evidence simply doesn't exist.

1 hour ago, thormas said:

Some can argue and counter argue all day but sometimes one side has the better argument that rests on more reliable information and scholarly opinion.   As with health issues, some can argue and counter argue all day but eventually it behooves one to go to the expert whose opinion rests on reliable information and is in tune with other experts in the field.

I fully agree with can have better arguments with more reliable information, but in relation to our topic concerning what Jesus said and did and what others believed of him in his day, the evidence is exceptionally thin and scholars are forced to rely on much guesswork and assumption.  Scholars like Bart have no difficulty in stating such, others may.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, PaulS said:

You've made it clear you believe there is a consistent theme throughout the bible.  I think I have made it clear that I think the theme is very broad and not a constant like you suggest, outside of the basic parameters that the Jews believed in God but that God changed throughout the bible.  Can we just agree to disagree?

Relax. I'm just repeating your words and you are modifying your original position. There is considerable space between "we have a God" and "there is more to it" or it is a broad theme ("we have a God" is not a broad theme). That's my point: there is more to it and it is broader than your one liner ( and, there is no issue with acknowledging changes in understanding over centuries). However, I would reiterate that no matter how differently God is depicted within a particular 'experience' of the people, the theme of covenant/relationship with that self same God is throughout. There is wider recognition of the theme of covenant, than there is of the stand alone line "we have a God."  Has anybody ever heard that this is the 'theme' of the scriptures from any scholars or was it ever suggested by anyone -  until it was expressed here? 

4 hours ago, PaulS said:

Words are just how we advanced apes communicate.  There are many shortcomings to language.  I think if we are God then we can partake in the life of God.  You don't.  

But we're not apes and language, although imperfect, is the means by which we communicate and present our understanding. I am doing what some others have done on this site: using the actual definition of words in an attempt to be concise and communicate as clearly as possible. You are again modifying your position and it has come closer in to mine, i.e.: we participate in or partake of God. This is different than the saying we are God: there is no need to par-take of that which we eternally are. That is my point. I have no problem redefining or updating what we mean by the term God but to change it bigly (a Trumpism) is to make it meaningless in a conversation. I assume if the term God is meaningless to you, you would have stated that. 

4 hours ago, PaulS said:

I'm not prepared to box God in like that because I simply don't know.  You seem certain, so I think this is another point we will have to agree to disagree on.

No one is 'boxing' God in and, you're right, we don't know. I'm simply saying if this is what A (the word God) means and how it has been understood for centuries, then B follows. God is not one who partakes in life (as do all other things we can possibly think of), God or the word God is understood to refer to 'He' who is the giver of Life (that all others participate in). 

Given all that you have said and to use familiar terms, my understanding is that you are neither a theist or a panentheist, neither of which states or believes we are (or everything is) God but a pantheist (the world, i.e. everything is God). However, from the present (and past) discussions I thought you saw yourself, at least partially, as a panentheist. There seems to be a tension in your position between stating we are God and then speaking as if God is more than us. That is why I have said, in this discussion, that your position is not consistent or reasonable (at times). I have been 'arguing' not against your right to believe what you want but, rather, the reasonableness and consistency of what you have presented.

4 hours ago, PaulS said:

Which scholars can show you the original writings of the Gospel writers....

The wealth of information is not the surprise discovery of the original writings but, rather, the information and insights into the 'sources,' non-biblical texts, biblical era history (the history of the Jews, their contemporaries, the Romans, the first Jewish Christians, etc), the considerable knowledge we have about what are, for example, the authentic writings of individuals and which writings assume their names and, finally, iwhat has been called (by, for example, Dale Allison and Ehrman) the 'gist' of the NT. Like I said, a wealth of information - not certainty in all matters (I read Ehrman and the others of a like mind, also). My point remains: scholarly speculation is much more informed and trustworthy than a layman's virgin interpretation or......speculation. Sure it's a case of perference: most prefer the experts in their health issue but, sadly, some don't recognize the need for like expertise in biblical or theological research and study. And the best come either with whatever true evidence there is or their speculation is based on a life time of work and typically weighted against other experts. I know Ehrman recently presented a scholarly paper to his peers and I also just read one expert critiquing another (and a favorite of mine) scholar on her new book. The critique was helpful in providing a possible balance on some very specific points but there was also praise for her overall work.

4 hours ago, PaulS said:

We don't know empirically what was believed during Jesus' day or even shortly thereafter.  That is the one thing scholars can be certain about. 

You lost me here. The so called (later) heresies give us insights into what "other Christianities' believed, the gospels give us insights into what was happening on the ground when they were written and therefore give us some insights as to what the situation was in the ministry of Jesus. In addition, we have the Dead Sea Scrolls which can provide insights into the time of Jesus and we have other, non-canonical gospels. Haven't scholars, including Ehrman, written books on these other beliefs (and other gospels) and also spoken of the beliefs of Jesus and his followers, shortly after his death? And, as for the belief of Jesus and his disciples - we again have the gist communicated in the 'changing details and settings' of the gospels. We know a good deal due to 'observation' and study of the material and the times.

4 hours ago, PaulS said:

...the great thinkers who have broken free of 'accepted truth' have often done so to lead us in entirely unexpected directions

What great thinker, first learning from others thinkers, did not owe (to some considerable degree) their ability to break away from 'accepted truths' - to those same teachers? In addition, many a time the accepted truth simply had to be retold in the language and within the worldview of a new generation to be heard and understood. 

4 hours ago, PaulS said:

....It is simply not an empirical science because the empirical evidence simply doesn't exist.

This is not an empirical science and as Rom said in another post on another topic, if you're looking for such proof or, in this case, expecting 'evidence' beyond what we have discussed above, you've come to the wrong universe. Simply because one acknowledges this, doesn't mean it is necessary to give up on the reliability of what we can know or even that the 'gist' is sometimes, not always, captured and communicated. This perhaps is out difference: you are a pessimist when it comes to this stuff and I am much more optimistic that we can discover much, speculate wishin reason and constraint and know a great deal more. Perhaps, in part, it is a product of our experiences growing up in Christianity.

I actually know of no other critical scholar (this excepts fundamentalist scholars) who, like Ehrman, doesn't acknowledges 'guesswork and assumption' in their work. However, I will bet that they all would qualify your remarks and add that theirs' are 'educated' assumptions and any so called 'guesswork' is done with care and integrity, backed to the hilt with source material and able to stand up to scholarly review. So, not what we typically mean by 'guesswork!

 

Edited by thormas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, thormas said:

Relax. I'm just repeating your words and you are modifying your original position. There is considerable space between "we have a God" and "there is more to it" or it is a broad theme ("we have a God" is not a broad theme). That's my point: there is more to it and it is broader than your one liner ( and, there is no issue with acknowledging changes in understanding over centuries). However, I would reiterate that no matter how differently God is depicted within a particular 'experience' of the people, the theme of covenant/relationship with that self same God is throughout. There is wider recognition of the theme of covenant, than there is of the stand alone line "we have a God."  Has anybody ever heard that this is the 'theme' of the scriptures from any scholars or was it ever suggested by anyone -  until it was expressed here? 

Thormas, I am relaxed, but am just making the point that essentially you and I keep making the same points about this and neither is convincing the other, so maybe we can just move on.  The 'more or less' reference I made is a turn of phrase and should not be interpreted by you to mean that I in any way agree with you that there is a constant theme throughout the bible rather than a broad theme which I suggest.  The 'more' to it that I am suggesting are the intricacies, the twists and turns, the evolution of ideas about God, etc, that contribute to what I see as a broad and diverse theme rather than the harmonious one you believe in.  I have said this this is 'theme' is so broad that it encapsulates animism, a raging King and tyrant, through to a papa God and friend who much of modern Christianity interprets as somebody who could be your golf buddy.  Associated wit this is a wide variety of beliefs and rules concerning what the various authors thinks God is, God wants and how God wants one to behave.  I don't see these understandings or representations of God as a constant theme because for me, this diversity makes 'consistency' unrecognizable in my opinion.  You don't agree - I get that.  

6 hours ago, thormas said:

But we're not apes and language, although imperfect, is the means by which we communicate and present our understanding. I am doing what some others have done on this site: using the actual definition of words in an attempt to be concise and communicate as clearly as possible. You are again modifying your position and it has come closer in to mine, i.e.: we participate in or partake of God. This is different than the saying we are God: there is no need to par-take of that which we eternally are. That is my point. I have no problem redefining or updating what we mean by the term God but to change it bigly (a Trumpism) is to make it meaningless in a conversation. I assume if the term God is meaningless to you, you would have stated that. 

Indeed we are apes and biologists classify homo sapiens in the sub group of primates known as 'the great apes' (unless you don't accept that scholarship).

Language ebbs and flows and naturally has its limitations.  If you think the only way to interpret the phrase 'partaking in the life of God' means that God must be separate to the one partaking, then I'm good with that.  I think it IS appropriate to use the word partake in the sense that I partake in my own life - My life is not separate to me, it is me, so I partake in it.  By extension I am proposing that we could be God partaking in God's very existence also.  I get that you disagree with me using the word that way.  If you find me using that word meaningless, particularly against all the other words I used to explain and accompany it, then I guess we are at another dead end and we should probably move on.

 

6 hours ago, thormas said:

No one is 'boxing' God in and, you're right, we don't know. I'm simply saying if this is what A (the word God) means and how it has been understood for centuries, then B follows. God is not one who partakes in life (as do all other things we can possibly think of), God or the word God is understood to refer to 'He' who is the giver of Life (that all others participate in). 

Some understand God that way, perhaps even the majority of this particular religion, but that doesn't necessarily make it so.  That is what I mean by being open to other understandings that are not yet properly understood, perhaps.  Limiting God to a commonly referred view from a limited religion and texts to me is boxing God in.  Like how the representation of God has changed in the bible, maybe we are at a point now where once again that view of God will change and new doctrines will start to be established as the common view of God.  I don't know - but it has happened in the past it would seem so I don't hold your view that just because this is how God has been understood before that it is necessarily how God will be understood in the future.

6 hours ago, thormas said:

Given all that you have said and to use familiar terms, my understanding is that you are neither a theist or a panentheist, neither of which states or believes we are (or everything is) God but a pantheist (the world, i.e. everything is God). However, from the present (and past) discussions I thought you saw yourself, at least partially, as a panentheist. There seems to be a tension in your position between stating we are God and then speaking as if God is more than us. That is why I have said, in this discussion, that your position is not consistent or reasonable (at times). I have been 'arguing' not against your right to believe what you want but, rather, the reasonableness and consistency of what you have presented.

I can appreciate that you don't 'get' what I am trying to explain about us possibly being God and God being more than just 'us' at the same time.  I tried to use the analogy of the cells within your body being an integral and intimate part of your self, yet you don't know them very well and they presumably don't know you very well (in a limited, human consciousness understanding of how we 'know' things) yet this all exists as the whole of you.  I stretch that analogy to God where every atom in the universe is a part of God, includes those groups of atoms that comprise of a human being who thinks they are separate to creation and not an intimate part of it.  I apologise if my explanations don't make enough sense - its the best I can come up with in writing and without direct discourse over several glasses of red wine!

6 hours ago, thormas said:

The wealth of information is not the surprise discovery of the original writings but, rather, the information and insights into the 'sources,' non-biblical texts, biblical era history (the history of the Jews, their contemporaries, the Romans, the first Jewish Christians, etc), the considerable knowledge we have about what are, for example, the authentic writings of individuals and which writings assume their names and, finally, iwhat has been called (by, for example, Dale Allison and Ehrman) the 'gist' of the NT. Like I said, a wealth of information - not certainty in all matters (I read Ehrman and the others of a like mind, also). My point remains: scholarly speculation is much more informed and trustworthy than a layman's virgin interpretation or......speculation. Sure it's a case of perference: most prefer the experts in their health issue but, sadly, some don't recognize the need for like expertise in biblical or theological research and study. And the best come either with whatever true evidence there is or their speculation is based on a life time of work and typically weighted against other experts. I know Ehrman recently presented a scholarly paper to his peers and I also just read one expert critiquing another (and a favorite of mine) scholar on her new book. The critique was helpful in providing a possible balance on some very specific points but there was also praise for her overall work.

Any gist you speak of in the NT has to be acknowledged as only developed from the later writings of anonymous authors.  We simply don't know what we don't know and all I am saying is that I don't think all the scholarship in the world around the NT is enough to empirically demonstrate what Jesus actually meant, said, did, was etc other than in a very limited sense.  Whilst we know there were differing views about Jesus we don't know which one/s are accurate - we only have the view that won the day, rightly or wrongly.

6 hours ago, thormas said:

You lost me here. The so called (later) heresies give us insights into what "other Christianities' believed, the gospels give us insights into what was happening on the ground when they were written and therefore give us some insights as to what the situation was in the ministry of Jesus. In addition, we have the Dead Sea Scrolls which can provide insights into the time of Jesus and we have other, non-canonical gospels. Haven't scholars, including Ehrman, written books on these other beliefs (and other gospels) and also spoken of the beliefs of Jesus and his followers, shortly after his death? And, as for the belief of Jesus and his disciples - we again have the gist communicated in the 'changing details and settings' of the gospels. We know a good deal due to 'observation' and study of the material and the times.

On what basis can scholars demonstrate to you that the Gospels accurately represent what was happening on the ground?  They cannot.  At best they can surmise that as some of the hundreds of years old book copies have elements that allow scholars to think they were written in the early decades after Jesus, they cannot show you how this was the only and most accurate understanding of Jesus.  That is the shortcoming of NT scholarship.  It's not their fault - it's just that any evidence to help further no longer exists.  We know that there were a diverse range of Christian beliefs before the texts we have today became the 'orthodox' ones, but we don't know all the details and we don't know if Jesus may have been more aligned with these other views because we don't have eye witness accounts written during Jesus time to substantiate this.  Accept the NT as an accurate gist of who Jesus was but I cannot as it is full of holes in my opinion.

6 hours ago, thormas said:

What great thinker, first learning from others thinkers, did not owe (to some considerable degree) their ability to break away from 'accepted truths' - to those same teachers? In addition, many a time the accepted truth simply had to be retold in the language and within the worldview of a new generation to be heard and understood. 

And maybe now I am using a new language that others will come to understand over the course of time, either from me or other progressives who don't see the 'norm' as you or many others may.  And that's in no way to say I think I am a great thinker (in fact I recognize that I am not a very good one in many ways).  I simply extend what you say to the NT and suggest that there could be the ability to break away from accepted NT 'truths' coming with new ways of thinking about God.  And the model I was originally proposing/questioning has more answers to me personally, than the model you are wedded to.  

6 hours ago, thormas said:

This is not an empirical science and as Rom said in another post on another topic, if you're looking for such proof or, in this case, expecting 'evidence' beyond what we have discussed above, you've come to the wrong universe. Simply because one acknowledges this, doesn't mean it is necessary to give up on the reliability of what we can know or even that the 'gist' is sometimes, not always, captured and communicated. This perhaps is out difference: you are a pessimist when it comes to this stuff and I am much more optimistic that we can discover much, speculate wishin reason and constraint and know a great deal more. Perhaps, in part, it is a product of our experiences growing up in Christianity.

Which is exactly why I am not saying that God is this or that, or cannot be this or that, as you have based on the texts you regard.  I simply don't have faith in the reliability of our canon and forefathers' understandings as you seem to.  I don't think I'm a pessimist at all, I think I am a questioning skeptic and I think you are comfortable with a model that suits your cultural upbringing and experience.  We are no different in that sense - we have just come to different conclusions about the 'evidence'.

6 hours ago, thormas said:

I actually know of no other critical scholar (this excepts fundamentalist scholars) who, like Ehrman, doesn't acknowledges 'guesswork and assumption' in their work. However, I will bet that they all would qualify your remarks and add that theirs' are 'educated' assumptions and any so called 'guesswork' is done with care and integrity, backed to the hilt with source material and able to stand up to scholarly review. So, not what we typically mean by 'guesswork!

And the best source material they can rely on is mostly anonymous, later written, copies or variations of copies thereof, some even acknowledged forgeries, written no less than 120 years after the fact, at the earliest.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

First, I am relieved you're relaxed:+} I'm not trying to convince you, rather I am arguing the point, noting inconsistencies and changes on both your theme discussion and on 'being God." To that end, I am using your words to understand your position: it's all we have and, 'more or less,' is what we use to present a position. 

A theme is a recurring idea - so we both acknowledge there is one and you have said it is broader than "we have a God." I was simply trying to understand what it was for you if it is broader than this original one liner. I characterized the theme as covenant or being the people of God: it was never that the depiction of God was unchanging but rather that the understanding that they had a covenant was 'consistent' or recurring throughout all such 'changes.' That there is this recurring idea throughout is my point. What is the broader, diverse theme that you mention? You have said what it encompasses but what is it that is encompassed, what is the broader, recurring idea? If you don't have an answer at this time, thatis fine.

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

Indeed we are apes and biologists classify homo sapiens in the sub group of primates known as 'the great apes' (unless you don't accept that scholarship).

We get the classification (and thank the scholars) but that little genetic difference makes all the difference. I am dealing with biblical scholars so I will let the ape/human scientist scholars handle this one. And, as the actual discussion was about words, my point remains.

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

Language ebbs and flows and naturally has its limitations.....

Of course language has its limitations but that does not mean we should not try to use the common understanding or usage of those words to communicate as effectively as is possible in any given moment. Partake has a certain meaning, that's why I used it to communicate my understanding. That you then use it is fine - I was just asking you to use our common language to explain what you mean given the meaning and ordinary use of the word. Example:  if something is X then one doesn't have to take part in X because it already is X. That you argue that something that is X still has to take part in X 'seems' a contradiction and a misunderstanding of either X or the term partake. I was simply asking you to explain in a way that respected the use of particular words. That you can't at this time, is fine but the question remains. And, I have not said the God is separate: that word does not adequately communicate the religious belief that God is in man and that man has his being in God (i.e. panentheism). 

Another example: the more I go into the ocean, the more comfortable I become in the ocean, the more I am 'at home' in the ocean. You seem to be saying we already are the ocean: how would we go into (take part in) what we already are and why must we go into that which we already, fully and completely, are?  To insist that we must, is to suggest we are not yet full or complete. We cannot be God if we still have to take part in God. I am simply asking why and there is no answer.It's not that I disagree with you using a particular word, it's that, given the meaning of that word, you are contradicting what you said originally: that we are God. 

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

Some understand God that way................ open to other understandings that are not yet properly understood, perhaps.  

I'm not making a religion statement, I'm talking about word usage. The term 'God' conveys a particular meaning, one even recognized by the atheist who then denies any reality that the word refer to. I am simply asking that, if you make a statement that 'we are God, everything is God," are you still using the common understanding that the atheist reacts to?  If not, then what do you mean by the term God? I am fine with other understandings, I'm just asking what yours is. I get that 'we are God' in your view, but then what do you mean by God - since it is apparent that you do not accept (or mean) what the word has meant to others over the centuries?

I agree that we are 'more' - just not fully and completely God as the line "we are God' states. How could God not know himself? It turns on what you mean by God. So?

I am not having this discussion to win a debate, I am pressing you so I can 'get' what it is you believe and then see if it resonates with me, see if there is something I can learn to further my own understanding.And I get the wine.

Edited by thormas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  20 hours ago, thormas said:
Partake is to take part: God does not 'take part' in life, God is Life - that others take part or participate in and of. 
To which Paul responded
Quote

I don't think that is necessarily accurate - we could all be partaking in the existence of God just as you think you are partaking in the existence of yourself as separate to God. 

While i would concur that God is Life, i think Paul makes a good point. I must ask .....Are you partaking in the existence of yourself as separate to God? If so, how can that be if God is All in All and through all things?

Just musing,

Joseph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, JosephM said:

While i would concur that God is Life

Just to add my two cents … is not "God" also death, the inanimate, the things we label as "good and evil" and perhaps things we see as neutral?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, PaulS said:

Any gist you speak of in the NT has to be acknowledged as only developed from the later writings of anonymous authors.

That's not the way it has been presented: the gist is what can be 'lifter out' of the gospels (so later) but, as opposed to the literary changes and theology of a particular author, it is seen as the gist of what is or of the historical Jesus. But to be fair, I will double check my understanding. In addition we have the letters of Paul and Ehrman (and others) suggest that he began his teaching within a few years of the death of Jesus and Larry Hartado writes/establishes that Paul was in line with (and learned from) the Jerusalem church led by the disciples of Jesus. So, his understanding reflects in large part the generation that knew Jesus.

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

On what basis can scholars demonstrate to you that the Gospels accurately represent what was happening on the ground?  

You misunderstood me: the gospels reflect what is happening 'on the ground' and in the communities during the time (70-95CE) that they were produced. As an example, the growing divide and conflict with the Jews that is seemingly written back into the time of Jesus. There are holes and then there are holes: I am with the scholars that we can get to the gist.

Example: It is highly probable that Jesus was an Apocalyptic Prophet: this from what is known of this belief or movement in the early 1st C CE, what leaders like Paul (shortly after Jesus but also from that exact time) also believed and sayings which seemingly tie to the historical Jesus. 

12 hours ago, PaulS said:.... me or other progressives who don't see the 'norm' as you or many others may. 

What norms are you talking about?  When talking about the NT, I am simple reading the best scholars, not merely accepting their view but comparing and contrasting them with other experts. It would seem the norm is what is found in either/both conservative/fundamentalist churches and mainline churches. I know that from the perspective of mainline Catholicism, i am far outside the norm. I was also considered far outside the norm going back to the 70/80s when I taught next to the 'normers' and they looked at me sideways.

Progressives seem to be all over the place, so there are no new norm there either. What I take issue with or press others on is their understanding, where they got it and how it hold up in a discussion (or practice). For example, some call themselves Atheist Christians and I simply ask how can one be a Christian, profess Jesus, and an Atheist. 

As an example of norms: I accept the Jesus was an apocalyptic Prophet (is that a norm?) - I think the 'evidence' is in and it is beyond serious dispute. However, accepting this, I think Jesus was wrong about the timing of the Kingdom and how it is established. So, I accept the biblical scholarship but accepting it also enables me to question Jesus, which of course also throws into question the whole belief in his nature and 'Godhood' traditionally understood. So much for norms, my friend.

12 hours ago, PaulS said:

On what basis can scholars demonstrate to you that the Gospels accurately represent what was happening on the ground?  

I'm an optimist and a skeptic and a questioner. I know about the forgeries, the canon, the lost christianizes, etc. but believe, along with the scholars, that there is still a lot we can know. Not believe but simply know or make highly educated guesses. I have been going against the 'models' for decades and my cultural upbringing/experience did not make automatic where I am today. Seemingly, from past comments, you have some major anger with your religious upbringing and it seems to continue to influence your take on things religious. I accept that. I don't have the anger yet, anger or not, my 'model' is radically different from what I grew up with and what passes for the Christian norm today.

12 hours ago, PaulS said:

And the best source material they can rely on is mostly anonymous, later written, copies or variations of copies thereof, some even acknowledged forgeries, written no less than 120 years after the fact, at the earliest.  

Actually, the earliest source material is Paul the apostle, written in the 50/60s but preaching in the early to mid 30s. And wasn't Mark written circa 70CE - so 40 years after the fact? And all others, even the latest one, John, written between50 and 65 years after the fact? 120 years? And we also have scholarly speculation about the sources M, L and Q and the ever-present gist that travels along from the actual time under discussion. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JosephM said:
  20 hours ago, thormas said:
Partake is to take part: God does not 'take part' in life, God is Life - that others take part or participate in and of. 
To which Paul responded

While i would concur that God is Life, i think Paul makes a good point. I must ask .....Are you partaking in the existence of yourself as separate to God? If so, how can that be if God is All in All and through all things?

Just musing,

Joseph

I do not take 'part' in my life, it is already mine. I partake or take part in the lives of others and in the life of the world. So too, I (we) partake of and participate in the Life that is God. Therefore, participation is Life is participation in God and such Life is not possible apart or separate from God. As there is no separation (and neither is there identification, "we are God"), all is in God and God/Being is in all. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, thormas said:
1 hour ago, JosephM said:

Are you partaking in the existence of yourself as separate to God?

I do not take 'part' in my life, it is already mine. I partake or take part in the lives of others and in the life of the world. So too, I (we) partake of and participate in the Life that is God. Therefore, participation is Life is participation in God and such Life is not possible apart or separate from God. As there is no separation (and neither is there identification, "we are God"), all is in God and God/Being is in all. 

Can I take that as a "No"?

I understood the question, but the answer … 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/17/2016 at 12:13 PM, BillM said:

Some religions, especially those of the East, tend to focus on diminishing self or attaining some state where self no longer matters. How would this concept, which I think has some benefit, mesh with Jesus' teachings about loving one's self? Are these notions at odds or do they overlap?

Jesus’ great commission taught increasing love for others until it met or exceeded love of self.  That seems very different to me.

I’m not sure your general notion of ‘self’ in Eastern religions is in the same semantic domain.  Jesus spoke of ethics; Eastern religions often use self in reference to prayer or meditation.  Might be an apples to oranges comparison.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, romansh said:

Can I take that as a "No"?

I understood the question, but the answer … 

Perhaps go back on holiday: the answer might come to you.

"There is no separation." Therefore, the second question is no longer relevant but I was kind enough to continue to partake of the question and provide an answer :+} 

Edited by thormas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, thormas said:

Therefore, the second question is no longer relevant

Which second question?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, thormas said:

 

What is the broader, diverse theme that you mention? You have said what it encompasses but what is it that is encompassed, what is the broader, recurring idea? If you don't have an answer at this time, thatis fine.

Basically I am saying that I think your proposition that there is a constant theme of God in covenant with His people is so broad from one end of the bible to the other that it is almost not a theme per se.  OT God and any such covenant is turned on its head with Jesus and the New Covenant.  The theme changes so much that in only the broadest sense do I think one can regard it as any sort of constant theme.

Quote

We get the classification (and thank the scholars) but that little genetic difference makes all the difference. I am dealing with biblical scholars so I will let the ape/human scientist scholars handle this one. And, as the actual discussion was about words, my point remains.

I said we were apes, you said we weren't. Like you, I was just noting that language, although imperfect, is the means by which we communicate and present our understanding. Like you, I was doing what some others have done on this site: using the actual definition of words in an attempt to be concise and communicate as clearly as possible.

Quote

Of course language has its limitations but that does not mean we should not try to use the common understanding or usage of those words to communicate as effectively as is possible in any given moment. Partake has a certain meaning, that's why I used it to communicate my understanding. That you then use it is fine - I was just asking you to use our common language to explain what you mean given the meaning and ordinary use of the word. Example:  if something is X then one doesn't have to take part in X because it already is X. That you argue that something that is X still has to take part in X 'seems' a contradiction and a misunderstanding of either X or the term partake. I was simply asking you to explain in a way that respected the use of particular words. That you can't at this time, is fine but the question remains. And, I have not said the God is separate: that word does not adequately communicate the religious belief that God is in man and that man has his being in God (i.e. panentheism). 

I thought I could explain it with my example of cells and atoms being a part of the human experience, even though we pay them no attention and perhaps they pay us no attention too.  I was using that as an extended example of how possibly the "we are God" scenario could possibly exist without 'us' seemingly being aware of such, just like perhaps our cells don't perceive themselves to be a 'part' of us.  I'm afraid I don;t think I can do better than this at this time - but please remember - I didn't introduce this as a theology or philosophy that I wholeheartedly believe to be accurate - I am pondering it and have said that it seems to make more sense to me than other models of God I have come across.  If I ever get it refined into a well-tuned position maybe then I'll present you with all the evidence. :)

But you raise an excellent example of how you struggle with language to communicate the religious belief that God is in man and that man has his being in God (i.e. panentheism).  I too am struggling with the word 'partake' but think it can be applied (if you were thinking like me) :)

Quote

Another example: the more I go into the ocean, the more comfortable I become in the ocean, the more I am 'at home' in the ocean. You seem to be saying we already are the ocean: how would we go into (take part in) what we already are and why must we go into that which we already, fully and completely, are?  To insist that we must, is to suggest we are not yet full or complete. We cannot be God if we still have to take part in God. I am simply asking why and there is no answer.It's not that I disagree with you using a particular word, it's that, given the meaning of that word, you are contradicting what you said originally: that we are God. 

I agree - God is a mystery. :)  What I am saying is that I don't think I am qualified to say that God is complete.  Maybe God isn't complete, maybe some bits are and some bits aren't.  I am not qualified to say.  I understand that to your logic it seems that we cannot take part in something we already are, but I am thinking that on a atomic level, what are you really?  The atoms that 'make' you today will make a tree and a rock and water when you die.  So after death are you less you because those atoms now sit elsewhere?  Maybe that is what God is - the entire composition of atoms but those atoms form different things at different times.  So right now a bunch of atoms are partaking in the God experience as atoms which comprise of a human being and next century some of those atoms may partake in the experience of being God through being a rock or through being a fish, or water, or just a lonely periodic element (disclaimer - I failed chemistry in high school so I'm sure I am misusing some terminology but hopefully you get my gist).  

Quote

I'm not making a religion statement, I'm talking about word usage. The term 'God' conveys a particular meaning, one even recognized by the atheist who then denies any reality that the word refer to. I am simply asking that, if you make a statement that 'we are God, everything is God," are you still using the common understanding that the atheist reacts to?  If not, then what do you mean by the term God? I am fine with other understandings, I'm just asking what yours is. I get that 'we are God' in your view, but then what do you mean by God - since it is apparent that you do not accept (or mean) what the word has meant to others over the centuries?

Actually a true atheist by definition is just saying that they don't believe in a theistic God, but let's not worry about another side-debate.  If your understanding is that the word God has a common understanding, then I would beg to differ other than only in the broadest sense - something supernatural that has created us and has some connection to, or interest in, us.  That common understanding in the bible viewed God as a King, often a King with no tolerance for mistakes by his subjects and no mercy for those who didn't align with Him.  That view of God significantly changed over the following few thousand years.  But animism seems to have pre-existed this view of God, so perhaps that is a closer understanding of what I am thinking about than your common understanding of God, it just didn't get up as THE common understanding for whatever reason possibly.  I think generally what I am proposing is similar to panentheism, which is not all that uncommon an understanding.  But again I reiterate, this is the beginnings of a line of thought for me and I am yet to consider every nuance, but so far nothing you have raised seems to diminish from what I am thinking (for me anyhow).

 

Quote

I agree that we are 'more' - just not fully and completely God as the line "we are God' states. How could God not know himself? It turns on what you mean by God. So?

I don't know how God could not know himself - maybe just like how I don't know myself necessarily until I experience something.  How are you going to react if you think somebody is reaching for a gun to shoot you?  Perhaps you think you know, as I have thought I have known how I would react in certain situations, only to be surprised that that wasn't what I was expecting at all.  It would seem I didn't know myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, thormas said:

That's not the way it has been presented: the gist is what can be 'lifter out' of the gospels (so later) but, as opposed to the literary changes and theology of a particular author, it is seen as the gist of what is or of the historical Jesus. But to be fair, I will double check my understanding. In addition we have the letters of Paul and Ehrman (and others) suggest that he began his teaching within a few years of the death of Jesus and Larry Hartado writes/establishes that Paul was in line with (and learned from) the Jerusalem church led by the disciples of Jesus. So, his understanding reflects in large part the generation that knew Jesus.

What I am saying is that that 'gist' is based on the writings to hand, not necessarily an accurate representation of whatever the 'real gist' may have been, if different.  I don't disagree that what is deduced from the later writings we have of Paul may have agreed with others, but what I am saying is that we don't know that Paul and/or those others were accurate in the first place.  You may have faith that they were, but the evidence cannot substantiate it in any way.  Perhaps that part of the generation that knew Jesus were off the mark in their conveying of Jesus' meaning.  Perhaps later writers amended positions to ensure they aligned. I repeat - we don't have the originals and the versions that we do have are physically dated some centuries later (~120CE being the earliest actual piece that we possess).

Quote

You misunderstood me: the gospels reflect what is happening 'on the ground' and in the communities during the time (70-95CE) that they were produced. As an example, the growing divide and conflict with the Jews that is seemingly written back into the time of Jesus. There are holes and then there are holes: I am with the scholars that we can get to the gist.

That is a claim, it is not evidence.  We can make assumptions that some elements of these later writings indicate a time period when the originals may have been written, and so therefore deduce that it captures the 'on the ground' experience, but we are talking about minor elements and not verse by verse representations as accurate reflections of either the original authors' writings or in fact the only way to look at things for that time, largely because any countering versions were disregarded and destroyed by those who thought they possessed the right understanding.  Just because we think we can deduce when Mark was written because some elements of the Book of Mark indicate references to the temple destruction etc, there are large swathes of the Book that cannot be confirmed or denied.  We don't have an original to compare them to.  To then assume that all of Mark should be dated the same is simply speculation.

Quote

What norms are you talking about?  When talking about the NT, I am simple reading the best scholars, not merely accepting their view but comparing and contrasting them with other experts. It would seem the norm is what is found in either/both conservative/fundamentalist churches and mainline churches. I know that from the perspective of mainline Catholicism, i am far outside the norm. I was also considered far outside the norm going back to the 70/80s when I taught next to the 'normers' and they looked at me sideways.

I means norms like the earth is flat, or the sun rotates around the earth - probably two bigger ticket items that were accepted by the whole world as fundamental truths.  Believers could even produce scientific evidence as to why that was the case.  Similarly, biblical scholarship starting in the 1500's and 1600's started to identify that long held 'norms' such as Moses being the author of the first 5 books of the bible were in error.  Norms are generally well accepted positions - they are considered the 'normal way' to think of an issue.  Many norms have been reviewed and challenged and we have moved into new norms that also may become outdated one day (medical practices and understandings are a classic for this).

Quote

Progressives seem to be all over the place, so there are no new norm there either. What I take issue with or press others on is their understanding, where they got it and how it hold up in a discussion (or practice). For example, some call themselves Atheist Christians and I simply ask how can one be a Christian, profess Jesus, and an Atheist. 

I guess these people don't think that they have to be locked into a certain understanding of Jesus to be called a Christian, and then further, they don't believe in a theistic God.  Obviously that doesn't go down so well with many Christians who feel an ownership over the title, and for good reason - To them it's considered a norm.

Quote

As an example of norms: I accept the Jesus was an apocalyptic Prophet (is that a norm?) - I think the 'evidence' is in and it is beyond serious dispute. However, accepting this, I think Jesus was wrong about the timing of the Kingdom and how it is established. So, I accept the biblical scholarship but accepting it also enables me to question Jesus, which of course also throws into question the whole belief in his nature and 'Godhood' traditionally understood. So much for norms, my friend.

I don't really think it is what one would call a 'norm' simply because it is not widely regarded as the majority view.  So whilst it may be a norm for you and me, it probably doesn't fit the definition of 'norm' which is "something that is usual, typical, or standard" when you take into account broader Christianity.

Quote
I'm an optimist and a skeptic and a questioner. I know about the forgeries, the canon, the lost christianizes, etc. but believe, along with the scholars, that there is still a lot we can know. Not believe but simply know or make highly educated guesses. I have been going against the 'models' for decades and my cultural upbringing/experience did not make automatic where I am today. Seemingly, from past comments, you have some major anger with your religious upbringing and it seems to continue to influence your take on things religious. I accept that. I don't have the anger yet, anger or not, my 'model' is radically different from what I grew up with and what passes for the Christian norm today.

Actually, the earliest source material is Paul the apostle, written in the 50/60s but preaching in the early to mid 30s. And wasn't Mark written circa 70CE - so 40 years after the fact? And all others, even the latest one, John, written between50 and 65 years after the fact? 120 years? And we also have scholarly speculation about the sources M, L and Q and the ever-present gist that travels along from the actual time under discussion. 

I'm not sure what your hangup is with my previously mentioned anger and having a discussion about the merits of scholarship and NT documentation.  You should  know that I am capable of separating the two.  Maybe you hear me saying that biblical scholarship is worthless or totally inaccurate?  If so, know that that is far from what I experience.  But I do question when somebody suggests that the biblical scholars have it all wrapped up when they don't understand exactly what it is the biblical scholars are supposedly wrapping up.
 
What I am saying about actual existing documents verses 'sources' is that we don't have any originals.  For example the oldest known piece of writing relating to Paul is Papyrus 46 and its most probable date of writing is between 175 and 225.  It's a scrap less than the size of an A4 page.  A similar story goes for Mark and every other book of the NT. Later, more complete versions of these documents, have been considered by scholars and they find that certain passages and bits and pieces within help indicate a time period where some of these writings were most likely originally proposed.  These particular references used are minimal though.
 
But you should know that there are huge, HUGE gaps where we have no idea if what we have today or what we have from 120CE on even, is actually an accurate portrayal of what was 'happening on the ground' in every sense of the word, or if they are even an accurate portrayal of what the original author thought or penned.  Scholars simply cannot demonstrate this.  Scholars like Bart readily admit that the documents we have today could be built on mis-remembered memories, later fiddled with by scribes and others.  There were other ways of looking at Jesus that were eventually overtaken by what was considered the 'norm', but even what they were exactly is hard for scholars to know because again, we don't have the originals.  Mark could have started out as a minority view of Jesus but was for whatever reason soon to be more highly regarded by some, and so the story got built from there (with Mathew & Luke building on Mark for instance, which is how they are dated by scholars generally).  To categorically state that Mark represents an accurate and correct portrayal of the real Jesus has to be based on faith, not evidence.
 
I need to give it some thought but maybe I'll start a separate thread where we can go through this is more detail.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, romansh said:

Just to add my two cents … is not "God" also death, the inanimate, the things we label as "good and evil" and perhaps things we see as neutral?

It seems to me there is only "Life" and ...... all that we label is just that.... only labels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...