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BillM

Non-Self Versus Loving Self?

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17 minutes ago, JosephM said:

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

Not wrong, but not productive either.  

Instead of labels, try signs (pointing in God’s direction) and signifiers (non-definitional touch points).

 

 

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16 hours ago, romansh said:

Which second question?

You really do need that holiday again :+}

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11 hours ago, PaulS said:

... 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.  

 

Good lord, we do go round.

My point has been that there is an actual theme that is much more than the minimalist statement "we have a God." This theme or recurring idea is throughout the scriptures. The onus is on you to explain how a theme is not a theme: this is both contradictory and a weak denial of what has long been recognized as what the OT and NT are about. They are the story of God and the people of God in covenant with him, throughout their long history, the ups and downs, the high points and low points, the enslavement and the earthly kingdoms, etc.

And, you have just made my point in your statement: there is the OT covenant and the new covenant. You try to make little of it using the term 'any such covenant' but covenant/relationship is the story of this people: Adam, Abraham, Joseph, Noah, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, the Babylonian and Egyptian enslavement,  the trek to the Promised Land, the battles to acquire it (again), the life of the Temple, the Holy of Holies - continuing in and through the life of Jesus, his disciples and Christianity, which takes the Jewish scriptures and its covenant as its own. The theme carries through to Jesus, a practicing Jew (how does the new covenant turn the old covenant on its head?). What changes are the circumstances in which these people find themselves and, as we have said, (the same) God is 'depicted' differently in those circumstances - but the covenant is constant. History and a fair reading of what is actually in the 'holy books' - has decided the point. 

12 hours ago, PaulS said:

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.....

Yes and I acknowledged both the classification and also noted the genetic difference which make us 'human.'  I actually like and value language and don't mind the assistance.

12 hours ago, PaulS said:

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 

 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) :)

 

I get the cell example but it still raises the question of what do you mean by God. So far you have presented a God with parts and who doesn't know one part from another. I get that you are pondering, thus my questions to probe that pondering and have you consider or even reconsider them (along with me). Like all of this stuff, there is no evidence for this or any model. I am intrigued by what you might come up with on 'partake' - my sense is that we partake in that which we are not, we partake of something more or other. Having said that, I recognize or believe the 'other' is not separate and is not actually or only 'other.' I continue to like 'more' as it recognized that we are not God (but indeed of and in God). 

13 hours ago, PaulS said:

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.....

I had thought about the incompleteness or the 'becoming' of God when I first read process theology. However, I then read other stuff and I lean to the 'completeness' of God and the becoming of all else in God. Such completeness is captured by the understanding that in God, essence is existence: there is no becoming, no evolution - simply God IS. And this fullness or completeness (for a lack of better words) is the necessary possibility for the becoming of that which is not God, i.e. creation. I found Hart's book on God to be incredible and also, at times, a mind bender. The guy is much too bright for his own good. His next book arrive in September about how 'all will be saved' - a take on, if I remember correctly, a 3rd century Eastern Father of the Church. Revolutionary stuff, vis a vis the norms, but something I have believed for decades. I suggest reading Hart but he goes down better or is more readily followed with a bottle of good red by your side:+} 

I don't 'identify' God with creation, rather God is 'prior'(not necessarily prior in time for the universe(s) could be eternal) to all and as such, the very possibility that there is anything at all in each moment. To identify God with creation (or any kind of pantheistic understanding) is to anthropomorphize God in a way that goes beyond even old time theism: God is not just the rock, or 'speaks' or resides in the Temple - God is the atoms that form and reform to make new things. I get your idea but long ago, I came to believe that theism (God as a being albeit supreme apart from and beyond us in his heavenly kingdom) could neither 'capture' the mystery that is God (paradoxical, I know) or give us some 'feel' for God, so too the idea of God as atoms or us as God seems to neither do justice to God or help us to truly get a 'feel' for God (it is not the experience of most (all?) human beings that we are God). I do get your gist:+}

13 hours ago, PaulS said:

....(that) the word God has a common understanding, then I would beg to differ other than only in the broadest sense,,,.......what I am proposing is similar to panentheism,

It is the case that all the theistic religions have a common understanding of God. I am not talking the typical laypeople, I'm talking about their greatest religious thinkers (again Hart in his book 'God') on the Godhead. The similarity in their comments of God are amazing and the agreement was fascinating. Even your take on the Jewish different depictions of God does not capture the full Jewish understanding of God. I am not as familiar with non theistic religions but is there a God in Taoism, Buddhism and Sikhism or similar 'religions?' I simply don't know. And if animism is  the belief that all things, animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather and words are alive, it seems we can at least agree on animals and plants, correct? Does animism have a take on God or just that all things are animated and alive? Again, I don't know.

I think you're wrong on the 'common understanding' of God in the theistic religions (that continues to play a part in panentheistic views as panentheists believe in 'God.' This is what I meant  by common understanding. What you are proposing, especially when you use the analogy of cells or atoms, is actually pantheism (everything is God). The panentheist believes that the world is in God, which suggests there is 'other' than God and yet it exists in God. Are you aware of a truly pantheist religion that believes that everything is God? Still, I acknowledge that you are at the beginning.

14 hours ago, PaulS said:

I don't know how God could not know himself - maybe just like how I don't know myself .....

Again, this smacks of anthropomorphism, you attribute human characteristics and behavior to God - in all ways. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, JosephM said:

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

I am not disagreeing, but it would seem it boils down to, there is only stuff we give labels to.

I suppose some of those labels might point us in an accurate direction.

4 hours ago, thormas said:

You really do need that holiday again :+}

I would prefer an answer.

Edited by romansh

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, PaulS said:

... the 'gist' is based on the writings to hand, not necessarily an accurate representation of whatever the 'real gist' may have been...

This is the only gist we have and it may be or may not be an accurate representation so, at this point in time, I accept it as the real gist. Paul learned from the original disciples of Jesus, who were the leaders of the Jerusalem church, who would know what they believed or what they heard from Jesus. My present belief is that this is the best we have to offer and is actually more accurate that any time before us. I accept that the best critical scholars are sincere, have great integrity and work their butts off. 

Perhaps the original disciples were off the mark in certain regards: did Jesus think he was the Messiah, did he ever announce it? However, some of the sayings captured in the Testament, although rearranged by different authors for different audiences, seem to be accepted as coming from the historical Jesus as are some of the incidents that are recounted, for example the baptism by the Baptist. You probably are already familiar with the methods used by scholars to arrive at these conclusions. How did Jesus view his death, did he predict it, did he welcome it, did he expect it? Even without the biblical research, I long ago arrived at some answers just assuming he was human like the rest of us and taking it from there; it's not rocket science. I value the work and limits of the scholars but I don't rely on them for (faith) 'answers' - only information. My true interest is philosophy and theology which, in concert with those thinkers, I continue to arrive at 'answers.'

I know what we are dealing with in biblical and historical research and am not so concerned with 'evidence' that I miss what is there to be seen and understood. And if a new, startling piece of info comes along tomorrow, I welcome it. It will not change my faith or my life: it's still only information, not answers. 

I already know or suspect some of the earliest generation were off the mark concerning some of the 'meaning' of Jesus: they looked to their scriptures to understand his death and behold, we have sacrifice and atonement. I don't think it was either, at least as I understand how they understood it. However, I also understand (as best one in the 21st C is able to across 2000 years) their efforts and even their mistakes. Just as I note other mistakes, going too far in doctrinal understanding, and the incredible loss of the Eastern expression of Christianity - which I believe was closer to 'truth' in many ways.

You include a lot of 'perhaps' their or that -  I'll stick with the professionals as their' perhaps' are backed up by considerable expertise. 

18 hours ago, PaulS said:

That is a claim, it is not evidence.  

"We can make assumptions." Aren't your assumptions also claims and not actually evidence? Are you relying on scholarly research for these 'assumptions?"

I am not making assumptions, I am referring to scholarly research. Which specific minor elements in, for example, Matthew are you talking about? Scholars, who know about 'versions' and all the other stuff, still date Matthew to around 85CE. And, they have insights (informed speculation) into what was occurring during particular timeframes. Are you saying there were counter versions of Matthew that were destroyed or are you referring to 'other christianities' that were sidelined and subsequently disregarded? These are two different things.  

Regarding Mark, for example, I'm not talking about whether what he says or believes about Jesus can be confirmed or denied, I'm talking about, as you acknowledge, when Mark was written -dated around 70CE when/after the Temple was destroyed. My simple point was that we know (informed speculation) both when (roughly given a few years) a gospel was written and (some of) what was going on during that period in the lives of the particular community. These two, timing and experiences of the community, have some interconnection. 

18 hours ago, PaulS said:

I means norms like the earth is flat, or the sun rotates around the earth - 

You said "(you and) other progressives who don't see the 'norm' as you (meaning me) or many others may." I thought you were talking religious norms. Are you now saying the norms I see include the earth being flat and the sun rotating around the earth? 

So, to set the record straight, I never, have nor do I now believe in the norms you indicated (above). Although it could be cool it the earth were flat, or even maybe just parts of it. As mentioned, I was going against many religious norms and accepted church dogma - beginning back in the 70s. 

18 hours ago, PaulS said:

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.

It's probably more likely they have their own view of Jesus, seemingly not fully rooted in the only source we have, Christianity - which was rather clear, without question or doubt, that Jesus, a 1st C CE Jew, accepted God and everything he did was based on that relationship (covenant again). Actually the overwhelming 'witness' or stories even said that his relationship with God was unique: even his 'specialness' was tied to God.  I don't remember a  NT discussion of theism, it was simply relationship to God (which one could understand theistically or pantheistically - elements of both seem to be in the NT). 

Many modern day Christians don't believe in a theistic God and, especially since we are on a progressive Christian site, I doubt there are many who "believe in a theistic God." I know I don't. 

As mentioned, anyone can call themselves anything and believe what is best for them - not all Christians feel ownership or are normers. However, when one writes on particular platforms for others to read, It is okay, actually fine (and interesting), to ask about their understanding and raise questions. Many of us, also writing on open sites, expect the same and have no problem, as should be obvious on this site alone, with being questioned. What is nice is that Atheist Christians seem to like and retain the idea of community and ethics that is based in Jesus.........who, interestingly, based it on God. 

Questions, dialogue, discussions, more questions - most are not afraid. And if you are, to quote a wise man (or is it a wise guy?), you've come to the wrong universe or at least the wrong site.

18 hours ago, PaulS said:

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.

I'm not talking norms, what are generally accepted, among lay people (many of whom don't have the time or could not be bothered or interested in sites or with the research of scholars - like my wife:+}), I'm talking among people who can be bothered, are interested and/or do read the works of scholars, even if they are dry and go on forever. Therefore, among this group, among scholars, it is safe to say that Jesus was an Apocalyptic Prophet is the standard. That's simply what I meant. There is a great deal that is the norm among scholars and baby theologians that is not even considered among most believers. Therein is a problem in itself. 

18 hours ago, PaulS said:

I'm not sure what your hangup is with my previously mentioned anger 

Well, there is no hang up as I don't constantly think about you. However, it was you that said, "you (meaning me) are comfortable with a model that suits your cultural upbringing and experience. We are no different in that sense...."  If that is the case for me, then it is the case for you. I qualified your statement by saying "my cultural upbringing/experience did not make automatic where I am today," but I do not deny it had any influence. That, I assume, is the case for you also. Our experiences still have (some) an influence. I simply allow, given past statements, that your questioning is (somewhat) influenced by your experience - as you obviously did of me.

Could you point me to where I supposedly suggested "that the biblical scholars have it all wrapped up." I don't remember saying that or even ever thinking that. As to "when they don't understand exactly what it is the biblical scholars are supposedly wrapping up" could you be specific as to the understanding and the wrapping since I have no idea to what you refer?

I know about the originals, gaps, datings and scraps - I don't disagree on the gist of what you have written. However the dating seems to be (almost) universal (I can think of no scholar who radically disagrees with the dating of the NT works). We don't know either way, much of the time, if later works are or are not or are only partially an accurate portrayal of what the original author thought or penned. And we know of forgeries and mistakes made and assuming the names of real people for greater credibility but we do not (always) know what is mis-remembered and what may have been accurately remembered or copied (without the originals). I know with the heresies, we know what they were either directly or from how their orthodox opponents write about them. Some is lost, not all.  Some gospels outside the canon were downright strange but it would be interesting to find more that could contend with the 4 - if they present a compelling new version of Jesus. 
 
Again, I find the books of biblical scholars interesting, even fascinating, but I don't look to them for answers (or for 'truth' if you will) - only for information - and I know the issue about which you write.
 
Mark could have started out as a minority view of Jesus but we don't know that and this is mere speculation. Who, in God's name is "categorically stat(ing) that Mark represents an accurate and correct portrayal of the real Jesus?" Except perhaps a fundamentalist or even a mainline Christian. Most others allow for the literary and theological nuances of the writers of the NT.

 
 

 

Edited by thormas

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3 hours ago, romansh said:

I would prefer an answer.

I'm sure - so go back to Joseph's original post and note his two questions, each followed by a ...............?

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17 hours ago, thormas said:
 

Good lord, we do go round.

My point has been that there is an actual theme that is much more than the minimalist statement "we have a God." This theme or recurring idea is throughout the scriptures. The onus is on you to explain how a theme is not a theme: this is both contradictory and a weak denial of what has long been recognized as what the OT and NT are about. They are the story of God and the people of God in covenant with him, throughout their long history, the ups and downs, the high points and low points, the enslavement and the earthly kingdoms, etc.

Okay.  Let's leave it there then.

17 hours ago, thormas said:

And, you have just made my point in your statement: there is the OT covenant and the new covenant. You try to make little of it using the term 'any such covenant' but covenant/relationship is the story of this people: Adam, Abraham, Joseph, Noah, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, the Babylonian and Egyptian enslavement,  the trek to the Promised Land, the battles to acquire it (again), the life of the Temple, the Holy of Holies - continuing in and through the life of Jesus, his disciples and Christianity, which takes the Jewish scriptures and its covenant as its own. The theme carries through to Jesus, a practicing Jew (how does the new covenant turn the old covenant on its head?). What changes are the circumstances in which these people find themselves and, as we have said, (the same) God is 'depicted' differently in those circumstances - but the covenant is constant. History and a fair reading of what is actually in the 'holy books' - has decided the point. 

Okay, it's decided for you.

17 hours ago, thormas said:

I get the cell example but it still raises the question of what do you mean by God. So far you have presented a God with parts and who doesn't know one part from another. I get that you are pondering, thus my questions to probe that pondering and have you consider or even reconsider them (along with me). Like all of this stuff, there is no evidence for this or any model. I am intrigued by what you might come up with on 'partake' - my sense is that we partake in that which we are not, we partake of something more or other. Having said that, I recognize or believe the 'other' is not separate and is not actually or only 'other.' I continue to like 'more' as it recognized that we are not God (but indeed of and in God). 

I don't think I can describe 'partake' any better than I have already tried.

17 hours ago, thormas said:
 

I had thought about the incompleteness or the 'becoming' of God when I first read process theology. However, I then read other stuff and I lean to the 'completeness' of God and the becoming of all else in God. Such completeness is captured by the understanding that in God, essence is existence: there is no becoming, no evolution - simply God IS. And this fullness or completeness (for a lack of better words) is the necessary possibility for the becoming of that which is not God, i.e. creation. I found Hart's book on God to be incredible and also, at times, a mind bender. The guy is much too bright for his own good. His next book arrive in September about how 'all will be saved' - a take on, if I remember correctly, a 3rd century Eastern Father of the Church. Revolutionary stuff, vis a vis the norms, but something I have believed for decades. I suggest reading Hart but he goes down better or is more readily followed with a bottle of good red by your side:+} 

This issue is not super high on my priority list but I genuinely do appreciate the recommendation.  I may get to it.

17 hours ago, thormas said:

I don't 'identify' God with creation, rather God is 'prior'(not necessarily prior in time for the universe(s) could be eternal) to all and as such, the very possibility that there is anything at all in each moment. To identify God with creation (or any kind of pantheistic understanding) is to anthropomorphize God in a way that goes beyond even old time theism: God is not just the rock, or 'speaks' or resides in the Temple - God is the atoms that form and reform to make new things. I get your idea but long ago, I came to believe that theism (God as a being albeit supreme apart from and beyond us in his heavenly kingdom) could neither 'capture' the mystery that is God (paradoxical, I know) or give us some 'feel' for God, so too the idea of God as atoms or us as God seems to neither do justice to God or help us to truly get a 'feel' for God (it is not the experience of most (all?) human beings that we are God). I do get your gist:+}

Cool.  Your understanding doesn't really work for me, but maybe I'm wrong.

17 hours ago, thormas said:

It is the case that all the theistic religions have a common understanding of God. I am not talking the typical laypeople, I'm talking about their greatest religious thinkers (again Hart in his book 'God') on the Godhead. The similarity in their comments of God are amazing and the agreement was fascinating. Even your take on the Jewish different depictions of God does not capture the full Jewish understanding of God. I am not as familiar with non theistic religions but is there a God in Taoism, Buddhism and Sikhism or similar 'religions?' I simply don't know. And if animism is  the belief that all things, animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather and words are alive, it seems we can at least agree on animals and plants, correct? Does animism have a take on God or just that all things are animated and alive? Again, I don't know.

Personally, I'm not all that amazed or fascinated by any relatively common understanding of God in theistic religions.  These systems developed after ancient superstitions/beliefs in other types of God systems.  I think the commonality may be that man has been positing the question of his existence since he dropped from the trees, and eventually we got to a point where we started developing God theories.  Islam was built on Judaism and Christianity, Christianity was built on Judaism, Judaism came out of  polytheism, polytheism followed animism.  It's not like simultaneously people from opposite parts of the world all came up with a similar monotheistic proposition.

I wouldn't say Taoism really has a God per se, nor Buddhism, but Sikhism definitely is monotheistic.

17 hours ago, thormas said:

I think you're wrong on the 'common understanding' of God in the theistic religions (that continues to play a part in panentheistic views as panentheists believe in 'God.' This is what I meant  by common understanding. What you are proposing, especially when you use the analogy of cells or atoms, is actually pantheism (everything is God). The panentheist believes that the world is in God, which suggests there is 'other' than God and yet it exists in God. Are you aware of a truly pantheist religion that believes that everything is God? Still, I acknowledge that you are at the beginning.

I will probably need to create a new name for my religion.

17 hours ago, thormas said:

Again, this smacks of anthropomorphism, you attribute human characteristics and behavior to God - in all ways. 

I'm between a rock and a hard place really - if I say we partake in God's existence you tell me we can't do that for a bunch of reasons that I see as founded on anthropomorphic logic.  If I try to explain it using an anthropomorphic example I am then accused of attributing human characteristics to God.  It seems to me that the only way we can describe things is anthropomorphic because that is the ONLY understanding we currently have.  But I am trying to throw it out there that perhaps if there is such a 'thing' as God, God quite well may be beyond our anthropomorphic understanding of how things work and may indeed be all of existence, including us experiencing God.

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17 hours ago, thormas said:
 

(snip)

I don't 'identify' God with creation, rather God is 'prior'(not necessarily prior in time for the universe(s) could be eternal) to all and as such, the very possibility that there is anything at all in each moment. To identify God with creation (or any kind of pantheistic understanding) is to anthropomorphize God in a way that goes beyond even old time theism: God is not just the rock, or 'speaks' or resides in the Temple - God is the atoms that form and reform to make new things. I get your idea but long ago, I came to believe that theism (God as a being albeit supreme apart from and beyond us in his heavenly kingdom) could neither 'capture' the mystery that is God (paradoxical, I know) or give us some 'feel' for God, so too the idea of God as atoms or us as God seems to neither do justice to God or help us to truly get a 'feel' for God (it is not the experience of most (all?) human beings that we are God). I do get your gist:+}

(snip)

How could Christianity that includes both OT and NT not identify God with Creation? OT basics... In the beginning God created .....etc. etc. (Genesis) 

The panentheistic doctrine is Jewishly unconventional but traces of it are found in some Jewish sources. The Zohar speaks of God both 'filling all worlds' and 'surrounding all worlds.' The Kabbalist Hayyim Ibn Atar writes, in his Commentary, Or Ha-Hayyim (to Genesis 2:1), 'The world is in its Creator and the light of the Creator is in the whole world.'
The German Talmudist Moses of Taku (early thirteenth century) attacked the medieval hymn Shir Ha-Yihud ('Song of Unity') for its panentheistic leanings. In the section of this hymn for recital on the third day of the week the words are found: 'All of them are in Thee and Thou art in all of them' and: 'Thou surroundest all and fillest all and when all exists Thou art in all.'
In Hasidic Thought
The panentheisic doctrine surfaced again in Hasidism, especially in the Habad version. While the Mitnaggedim understood the verse: 'The whole earth is full of His glory (Isaiah 6:3)' to mean no more than that God is manifest in the universe and His providence extends over all, in the Hasidic understanding the verse means that God is literally in all things.
While many  believe that the panentheistic doctrine, according to which God is literally in all things, is sheer heresy because it tends  to blur the distinction between the sacred and the profane, the clean and the unclean, good and evil, and poses a threat to the conventional teachings of monotheistic in religions like Judaism or Christianity.Many will say If God is in all and all is in God, what is to be made of the laws of the Torah based on these distinctions?
 
If Judaism tells a story to me it is about a fall  when we chose to know both Good and Evil as separate. Attributing the first to God and the second to God's nemesis as if there were two powers. It then gives us the law which is by NT teachings purpose to be our schoolmaster and slay us because no one could be truely human and live under the letter of the law and justified by the law. "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight"  Again I testify to every man who gets himself circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by the Law have been severed from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Christ is the end of the law to all those that believe. Christ is that connection to ALL things.  (the Whole, the One) from that vantage point, to me... . God and Creation are One.

Just musing

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15 hours ago, thormas said:

This is the only gist we have and it may be or may not be an accurate representation so, at this point in time, I accept it as the real gist. Paul learned from the original disciples of Jesus, who were the leaders of the Jerusalem church, who would know what they believed or what they heard from Jesus. My present belief is that this is the best we have to offer and is actually more accurate that any time before us. I accept that the best critical scholars are sincere, have great integrity and work their butts off. 

Knowingly accepting this 'gist' whilst recognizing that it might not be an accurate representation of what actually happened, seems counter intuitive to me, but maybe that's just me.  I would say we don't 'know' that Paul learned from the original disciples of Jesus but we can surmise that that is the gist of the only surviving manuscripts we have.  You acknowledge that these manuscripts might not be an accurate representation but then say that you are prepared to accept them as accurate because they are the best we have.  To me, that's odd.

15 hours ago, thormas said:

Perhaps the original disciples were off the mark in certain regards: did Jesus think he was the Messiah, did he ever announce it? However, some of the sayings captured in the Testament, although rearranged by different authors for different audiences, seem to be accepted as coming from the historical Jesus as are some of the incidents that are recounted, for example the baptism by the Baptist. You probably are already familiar with the methods used by scholars to arrive at these conclusions. How did Jesus view his death, did he predict it, did he welcome it, did he expect it? Even without the biblical research, I long ago arrived at some answers just assuming he was human like the rest of us and taking it from there; it's not rocket science. I value the work and limits of the scholars but I don't rely on them for (faith) 'answers' - only information. My true interest is philosophy and theology which, in concert with those thinkers, I continue to arrive at 'answers.'

I think the main reasons scholars say such sayings come from Jesus is because they are repeated in other NT works usually.  What I say the gap is is that those memories conveyed by those NT writers may not be accurate representations of Jesus and that the reason we simply can't know is that we don't have anything original.  That seems fine for you - it just isn't for me.

15 hours ago, thormas said:

I know what we are dealing with in biblical and historical research and am not so concerned with 'evidence' that I miss what is there to be seen and understood. And if a new, startling piece of info comes along tomorrow, I welcome it. It will not change my faith or my life: it's still only information, not answers. 

Then it seems your mind is set.

15 hours ago, thormas said:

"We can make assumptions." Aren't your assumptions also claims and not actually evidence? Are you relying on scholarly research for these 'assumptions?"

Yes, which is usually why I don't try and say that this is the only way of looking at something.  I am only saying that I don't find what's available in biblical scholarship as necessarily the accurate truth of what happened in Jesus' day, for what I think is good reason.

15 hours ago, thormas said:

I am not making assumptions, I am referring to scholarly research. Which specific minor elements in, for example, Matthew are you talking about? Scholars, who know about 'versions' and all the other stuff, still date Matthew to around 85CE. And, they have insights (informed speculation) into what was occurring during particular timeframes. Are you saying there were counter versions of Matthew that were destroyed or are you referring to 'other christianities' that were sidelined and subsequently disregarded? These are two different things.  

The scholarship itself is naturally based on many assumptions - some perhaps reasonably well ground too.  You tell me - why are scholars convinced that Mathew was written in 85CE?  How much supportive evidence for the entire book of Mathew demonstrates that all of those chapters were written in 85CE?

15 hours ago, thormas said:

Regarding Mark, for example, I'm not talking about whether what he says or believes about Jesus can be confirmed or denied, I'm talking about, as you acknowledge, when Mark was written -dated around 70CE when/after the Temple was destroyed. My simple point was that we know (informed speculation) both when (roughly given a few years) a gospel was written and (some of) what was going on during that period in the lives of the particular community. These two, timing and experiences of the community, have some interconnection. 

We may know that a small portion of Mark was written around the time of the temple, but how much of Mark was written then and how much of Mark is later memory, altered by translation and scribes and other belief?  And how do you prove that Mark was THE eminent source of Jesus life and not say some other version that was soon drowned out by Markan opinions or views?

15 hours ago, thormas said:

You said "(you and) other progressives who don't see the 'norm' as you (meaning me) or many others may." I thought you were talking religious norms. Are you now saying the norms I see include the earth being flat and the sun rotating around the earth? 

No, at that point I meant norm in the context of our personal norms, not societal.  Perhaps not the most clarity.

15 hours ago, thormas said:

It's probably more likely they have their own view of Jesus, seemingly not fully rooted in the only source we have, Christianity - which was rather clear, without question or doubt, that Jesus, a 1st C CE Jew, accepted God and everything he did was based on that relationship (covenant again). Actually the overwhelming 'witness' or stories even said that his relationship with God was unique: even his 'specialness' was tied to God.  I don't remember a  NT discussion of theism, it was simply relationship to God (which one could understand theistically or pantheistically - elements of both seem to be in the NT). 

They possibly do have their own views of Jesus as the original authors of NT books do.  The question is - are any of them accurate?  You think the copies of what we have are accurate - I am in doubt they are as accurate as you say and don't have as much confidence as you.

15 hours ago, thormas said:

Many modern day Christians don't believe in a theistic God and, especially since we are on a progressive Christian site, I doubt there are many who "believe in a theistic God." I know I don't. 

As mentioned, anyone can call themselves anything and believe what is best for them - not all Christians feel ownership or are normers. However, when one writes on particular platforms for others to read, It is okay, actually fine (and interesting), to ask about their understanding and raise questions. Many of us, also writing on open sites, expect the same and have no problem, as should be obvious on this site alone, with being questioned. What is nice is that Atheist Christians seem to like and retain the idea of community and ethics that is based in Jesus.........who, interestingly, based it on God. 

I think you'll find the idea of community and ethics well and truly pre-dates Jesus.  It even pre-dates a monotheistic God, or any God for that matter.  

15 hours ago, thormas said:

Well, there is no hang up as I don't constantly think about you. However, it was you that said, "you (meaning me) are comfortable with a model that suits your cultural upbringing and experience. We are no different in that sense...."  If that is the case for me, then it is the case for you. I qualified your statement by saying "my cultural upbringing/experience did not make automatic where I am today," but I do not deny it had any influence. That, I assume, is the case for you also. Our experiences still have (some) an influence. I simply allow, given past statements, that your questioning is (somewhat) influenced by your experience - as you obviously did of me.

You've mentioned me being angry twice so far, so it seemed reasonable to me that you thought that was affecting my arguments.  I was trying to explain to you that I don't think it does.  

I agree with you about cultural influence on both of us.  I didn't notice a question concerning anger previously mentioned but rather a presumption.  Glad we have cleared it up then.

15 hours ago, thormas said:

Could you point me to where I supposedly suggested "that the biblical scholars have it all wrapped up." I don't remember saying that or even ever thinking that. As to "when they don't understand exactly what it is the biblical scholars are supposedly wrapping up" could you be specific as to the understanding and the wrapping since I have no idea to what you refer?

I think your arguments demonstrate a strong belief that the scholars have got it right.  You don't seem prepared to entertain my argument that what the scholars are right about is very limited because of the lack of original sources - i.e. they can only base their scholarships on later copies that cannot be confirmed against originals.  You're fine with that - I'm not.

 

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1 hour ago, JosephM said:

How could Christianity that includes both OT and NT not identify God with Creation? OT basics... In the beginning God created .....etc. etc. (Genesis) 

The panentheistic doctrine is Jewishly unconventional but traces of it are found in some Jewish sources. The Zohar speaks of God both 'filling all worlds' and 'surrounding all worlds.' The Kabbalist Hayyim Ibn Atar writes, in his Commentary, Or Ha-Hayyim (to Genesis 2:1), 'The world is in its Creator and the light of the Creator is in the whole world.'
The German Talmudist Moses of Taku (early thirteenth century) attacked the medieval hymn Shir Ha-Yihud ('Song of Unity') for its panentheistic leanings. In the section of this hymn for recital on the third day of the week the words are found: 'All of them are in Thee and Thou art in all of them' and: 'Thou surroundest all and fillest all and when all exists Thou art in all.'
In Hasidic Thought
The panentheisic doctrine surfaced again in Hasidism, especially in the Habad version. While the Mitnaggedim understood the verse: 'The whole earth is full of His glory (Isaiah 6:3)' to mean no more than that God is manifest in the universe and His providence extends over all, in the Hasidic understanding the verse means that God is literally in all things.
While many  believe that the panentheistic doctrine, according to which God is literally in all things, is sheer heresy because it tends  to blur the distinction between the sacred and the profane, the clean and the unclean, good and evil, and poses a threat to the conventional teachings of monotheistic in religions like Judaism or Christianity.Many will say If God is in all and all is in God, what is to be made of the laws of the Torah based on these distinctions?
 
If Judaism tells a story to me it is about a fall  when we chose to know both Good and Evil as separate. Attributing the first to God and the second to God's nemesis as if there were two powers. It then gives us the law which is by NT teachings purpose to be our schoolmaster and slay us because no one could be truely human and live under the letter of the law and justified by the law. "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight"  Again I testify to every man who gets himself circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by the Law have been severed from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Christ is the end of the law to all those that believe. Christ is that connection to ALL things.  (the Whole, the One) from that vantage point, to me... . God and Creation are One.

Just musing

God is not identified 'as his creation,' he is Ceator (thus in tune with Genesis and the scriptures). A pantheistic view identifies God with the world: 'the world (or to update it, the universe or all existence) is God.  A panentheistic view (the world in God) does not identify God as the world but rather states that the world, the universe, existence itself is in and of God - but it is not God. 

'The world is in its Creator and the light of the Creator is in the whole world:' the paradox is that there is One and 'in' the One there are many.

There are both theistic and panentheistic ideas in the Judeo-Christian scriptures and theology. I agree that 'God is literally in all things' however this view does not suggest that 'all things are God.' I always found it much easier to understand the 'panentheistic doctrine' by referring to God as Being, as the name given on Sinai: I AM. I AM enables all to be. In Christianity and I assume in all theistic religions that touch on panentheism, the fine line is to not trip over to pantheism. 

As to the laws of the Torah, I always liked the understanding of Irenaeus (2nd C CE) where he likens 'image of God' to man being an intelligent creature, while 'likeness of God' refers to the spiritual perfecting (the divinization) of the human being. God is 'in' all but man must still willingly enable God to fully be in the human (incarnation, oneness). Also a bit paradoxical.

 

Christ is the end because he is the fulfillment of the Law. The Law (summed up in the two great commandments, Love God and love your neighbor) is accomplished in obedience to either of the two  - if you truly do one, you have accomplished the other). Jesus, by fulfilling the law, became the fullest expression of Humanity 'being' Divinity (truly man and truly God): 'now' all (others) must be that same fulfillment - by becoming the likeness of God, i.e. by becoming Love. 

God and Creation are and are not One. Even when man becomes the 'likeness' of God, even when he is the very expression of Divinity (Love), it is because he was first gifted by God. I do not give myself life, I do not call myself to fulfillment, I do not possess love but need to be loved (which gives one the courage to respond to life's challenge). Creation stands in need of that which is Prior in Being, in Life, in Love: creation stands in need of God. 

I enjoyed the comments you shared. Thanks.

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7 hours ago, PaulS said:

Knowingly accepting this 'gist' whilst recognizing that it might not be an accurate representation of what actually happened, seems counter intuitive to me....  To me, that's odd.

 

I actually don't worry about this stuff. It is information and if new information comes, I'll welcome it. The best biblical scholars in the world, even with their knowledge of all the concerns, still analyze what we have and provide greater insight into Jesus and his time. They are not so concerned or disheartened, about the issues you raise, that they are unable to carry on. Since they are not, I am not. These are the people who name it 'gist' and discuss what the gist is. If it were truly counter intuitive or odd, it is obvious that they, being on the front lines, would recognize it and stop all their efforts. 

7 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think the main reasons scholars say such sayings come from Jesus is because they are repeated in other NT works usually.  

 

There are other materials repeated that are not given the same 'status.' Scholars are far more discriminating than you seem to give them credit for. Memories may also contain accurate representations. I go with the scholars.  It's only information.

7 hours ago, PaulS said:

Yes, which is usually why I don't try and say that this is the only way of looking at something.  

 

Well there seems to be scholarly agreement on some issues and different interpretations on other material. Thus the former is probably considered the best way to look at some things. 

7 hours ago, PaulS said:

The scholarship itself is naturally based on many assumptions - some perhaps reasonably well ground too.  

There you go: reasonably well grounded assumptions or as I like to call it informed speculation.

7 hours ago, PaulS said:

We may know that a small portion of Mark was written around the time of the temple, but how much of Mark was written then and how much of Mark is later memory

There is probably an oral tradition and Q that predated and were used by Mark but again I go you the scholars: circa 70CE and 'attributed' to Mark. Scholars also, in spite of your misgivings, still date Matthew to circa 85 CE.

7 hours ago, PaulS said:

We may know that a small portion of Mark was written around the time of the temple, but how much of Mark was written then and how much of Mark is later memory

They (NT gospels) are what we have and we also know (because of scholars) other versions, some of which we have and also the later heresies.  I rely on scholars to determine degree of reliability and accuracy and then compare and contrast with other scholars. Again, I understand their methods and limitations and look to them for information not salvation.

7 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think you'll find the idea of community and ethics well and truly pre-dates Jesus.  It even pre-dates a monotheistic God, or any God for that matter.  

Obviously, but Atheist Christian communities, that I am aware of, base their ideas in Jesus, thus they call themselves Christian (which as said previously, is fine).

8 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think your arguments demonstrate a strong belief that the scholars have got it right.  

Yes, and getting it right also includes all the issues you have mentioned. I already knew about the issues in your arguments from years of graduate school, study, reading and continuing adult education (including 3 or 4 Ehrman lectures at UNC, always great fun). However, where you seem to be unable to rely on anything, I am comfortable with continuing to engage the work of scholars, rely on their scholarship and integrity, accept we can't know everything but also accept we can say a good deal about the scriptures, the times, and the man at the center of it all. It's iInformation and information, in this field, is always an ongoing endeavor. 

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6 hours ago, thormas said:

God is not identified 'as his creation,' he is Ceator (thus in tune with Genesis and the scriptures). A pantheistic view identifies God with the world: 'the world (or to update it, the universe or all existence) is God.  A panentheistic view (the world in God) does not identify God as the world but rather states that the world, the universe, existence itself is in and of God - but it is not God. 

 

My error . A pantheistic view would. So much for me and labels. 🙂  And personally i do see God and Creation as One and the same (inseparable) as is Creator and Creation. Ask yourself.  "Without Creation,  would  God even exist?"  It seems to me by definition there would be nothing.

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1. From our perception of the world there follows acceptance of a unique First Principle possessing various powers. Pictures of name and form, the person who sees, the screen on which he sees, and the light by which he sees: he himself is all of these.

2. All religions postulate the three fundamentals, the world, the soul, and God, but it is only the one Reality that manifests Itself as these three. One can say, 'The three are really three' only so long as the ego lasts. Therefore, to inhere in one's own Being, where the 'I', or ego, is dead, is the perfect State.

Ramana Maharshi

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1 hour ago, JosephM said:

My error . A pantheistic view would. So much for me and labels. 🙂  And personally i do see God and Creation as One and the same (inseparable) as is Creator and Creation. Ask yourself.  "Without Creation,  would  God even exist?"  It seems to me by definition there would be nothing.

I too see God and creation as One and inseparable but not the same, not identical.

I see your question from a different perspective. I allow that it is the very nature of God to be Creator, to eternally go out from himself in the eternal act of creating and making whole. Which would suggest that the universe(s) is eternal. However creation, even eternal creation still stands in need of that which is prior: not chronologically prior but ontologically prior. With or without creation, God is and thus there is creation.

Note: God does not exist, God is the very possibility that everything exists at all.

 

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13 hours ago, thormas said:
I actually don't worry about this stuff. It is information and if new information comes, I'll welcome it. The best biblical scholars in the world, even with their knowledge of all the concerns, still analyze what we have and provide greater insight into Jesus and his time. They are not so concerned or disheartened, about the issues you raise, that they are unable to carry on. Since they are not, I am not. These are the people who name it 'gist' and discuss what the gist is. If it were truly counter intuitive or odd, it is obvious that they, being on the front lines, would recognize it and stop all their efforts. 

I am not 'concerned or disheartened' I am just trying to be accurate when we talk about what we can 'prove' concerning Jesus' existence - his beliefs, his words, his actions and the true stories told about him.  Scholars are limited to discussing the gist of what we have because it is all that we have presently - that doesn't necessarily means it is an accurate representation of Jesus.  There is nothing wrong with scholars persisting because it certainly reveals some very interesting information concerning what some people thought about Jesus.  Again, does it mean those people were right - not necessarily so.  To me the counter-intuition comes from saying something is fact whilst simultaneously recognizing that it is possibly not fact.  Your words - "This is the only gist we have and it may be or may not be an accurate representation so, at this point in time, I accept it as the real gist".  You say you accept it because it is all that we have (and presumably because it speaks to you personally) but that even if it is inaccurate, you will still accept it - that it what I find illogical.   

13 hours ago, thormas said:
 

There are other materials repeated that are not given the same 'status.' Scholars are far more discriminating than you seem to give them credit for. Memories may also contain accurate representations. I go with the scholars.  It's only information.

I give scholars much credit for their work.  I think they are amazing.  But if there is a scholar that says this is the only way to understand and know Jesus because it is all that we have - I would call him a very biased scholar (and probably a few other things too).

13 hours ago, thormas said:
There is probably an oral tradition and Q that predated and were used by Mark but again I go you the scholars: circa 70CE and 'attributed' to Mark. Scholars also, in spite of your misgivings, still date Matthew to circa 85 CE.

I actually accept the scholar ship that dates Matthew to 85CE-ish.  What I don't accept is that ALL of Matthew is necessarily accurate.  Scholars don't date every single verse and chapter of Matthew, they date a few particular elements, and I think they are accurate for good reason.  But there is a lot that simply cannot and isn't dated - stories and legends and assumptions and interpretations about Jesus that cannot be substantiated past Matthew or a connection with the other Gospels because we don't know.  So for me, I can't say Matthew is all fact about Jesus.  Some of Matthew could very much be wrong.  That is all I am saying. 

13 hours ago, thormas said:

They (NT gospels) are what we have and we also know (because of scholars) other versions, some of which we have and also the later heresies. I rely on scholars to determine degree of reliability and accuracy and then compare and contrast with other scholars. Again, I understand their methods and limitations and look to them for information not salvation.

I am not arguing against what scholars do with the existing sources - I am only saying the existing sources cannot be substantiated beyond reasonable doubt because we simply have too large a gap between any existing copies and actual history, so I don't say they are THE truth about Jesus, I say they are all we have and so we can surmise and be totally wrong about our understanding at the same time.

13 hours ago, thormas said:

Yes, and getting it right also includes all the issues you have mentioned. I already knew about the issues in your arguments from years of graduate school, study, reading and continuing adult education (including 3 or 4 Ehrman lectures at UNC, always great fun). However, where you seem to be unable to rely on anything, I am comfortable with continuing to engage the work of scholars, rely on their scholarship and integrity, accept we can't know everything but also accept we can say a good deal about the scriptures, the times, and the man at the center of it all. It's iInformation and information, in this field, is always an ongoing endeavor. 

I really think you're actually missing the issues I am mentioning, but that's where we are.  And it's not that I am unable to rely on anything, but relying on something that you say could be inaccurate is faith, not fact.  It is belief, not necessarily accuracy.  And that's okay - but it has to be called what it is in my opinion.  I too will continue to engage the work of scholars, rely on their scholarship for insight and understanding, and accept that we don't know everything.  I can even accept that we can say a good deal about the scriptures, the times, and the man at the center of it all - as according to the people who wrote this particular documents.  Could they be wrong - yes.  Could there have been more accurate sources about Jesus, perhaps ones that convey a different meaning than what we ended up with in these authors - perhaps so.  But simply not having alternatives does not mean we are free to say that what we do have is the accurate way to look at the story, especially when what we do have cannot be historically substantiated past being acknowledged that this is what certain people believed..  Again, you have to have faith to say that, scholar or not. 

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11 hours ago, JosephM said:

1. From our perception of the world there follows acceptance of a unique First Principle possessing various powers. Pictures of name and form, the person who sees, the screen on which he sees, and the light by which he sees: he himself is all of these.

2. All religions postulate the three fundamentals, the world, the soul, and God, but it is only the one Reality that manifests Itself as these three. One can say, 'The three are really three' only so long as the ego lasts. Therefore, to inhere in one's own Being, where the 'I', or ego, is dead, is the perfect State.

Ramana Maharshi

Yet the experience of mankind is that we are not the First Principle. 

There is only one Reality, however we are not the world but only part of it. So too, we are in and of God, but we (each of us) are not the fullness of Reality. And this still begs the question  why the manifestation and why the 'lessening' of Reality to the ego which doesn't know itself?

Plus, when the perfect state is achieved, when the manifestation ends, 'creation' ends and as you asked: would God, Reality, even exist (any longer)? 

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32 minutes ago, PaulS said:

Scholars are limited to discussing the gist of what we have because it is all that we have presently - that doesn't necessarily means it is an accurate 

I, for one, have no problem whatsoever acknowledging what we have or don't have, where we are limited and where we are not, as presented by scholars. What we have, also, doesn't mean it is an inaccurate presentation of Jesus or that it is only what some ancient people thought of Jesus or that scholars are wrong. I don't see scholars saying that "this or that is definite fact" - they present informed speculation and sometimes they and the lay person go where a preponderance of scholarly work leads. I am one of those lay people.

As to the gist, if a number of the best scholars are in agreement as to where the speculation leads, we don't know whether or not it is completely accurate, accurate in part or inaccurate. Therefore any acceptance is based on present speculation and most of us are open to additional, future speculation wherever it brings us. Since you do not know if a particular speculation is inaccurate, it does not follow that a tentative acceptance or acknowledgement of that work is illogical. To judge it as illogical without evidence is illogical. 

1 hour ago, PaulS said:

Scholars are limited to discussing the gist of what we have because it is all that we have presently - that doesn't necessarily means it is an accurate 

Do you have such a scholar in mind?

1 hour ago, PaulS said:

What I don't accept is that ALL of Matthew is necessarily accurate.... I can't say Matthew is all fact about Jesus.  Some of Matthew could very much be wrong.   

What does accurate mean in Matthew? I have always admired the writer of Matthew because of his brilliance is presenting Jesus as the new Moses, like but greater than Moses, to his audience. We know this is the literary style and theology of the author. How many modern scholars consider all of Matthew 'accurate?" Scholars date Matthew to 85CE. Are you saying they can't date everything to that time or are you stating that there are particular verses, legends and chapters that scholars have already dated to particular or general dates well beyond 85CE? It's been a while since I concentrated on Matthew but I would be interested in a scholarly presentation on this later dating.

I don't know any reputable scholar who says Matthew is all fact about Jesus. Isn't it obvious (because of scholarly work) that the literary style and the theological take on Jesus and, for example, the staging of the Sermon on the Mount are not factual? Your concern alludes me, we know this.

1 hour ago, PaulS said:

I am only saying the existing sources cannot be substantiated beyond reasonable doubt because we simply have too large a gap between any existing copies and actual history, so I don't say they are THE truth about Jesus, I say they are all we have and so we can surmise and be totally wrong about our understanding at the same time.

This is known and accounted for in scholarly circles and among those lay people who have a serious interest. Who doesn't know there are areas of reasonable doubt, areas that are considered factual and other areas that are' reliable' (sliding scale) based on informed speculation?  Informed people will talk about Jesus as if they are based in 'truth' but if pressed in an extended conversation they will acknowledge whether they have definite facts or are basing their 'presumption of truth' on informed and generally agreed upon scholarly speculation. Again, it's been a while since I researched it but I assume there is 'general' scholarly agreement on what is literary style, what is theology, what is factual and what is the gist in the various gospels. And, since none of will live forever and none of us will never have all the facts, it seems more than fine to arrive at some truths about Jesus - just as we do in many walks of life. You always seem to say we can be wrong but we could always, or at least sometimes, be right.

1 hour ago, PaulS said:

I really think you're actually missing the issues I am mentioning......relying on something that you say could be inaccurate is faith, not fact. 

Could they be wrong - yes.  Could there have been more accurate sources about Jesus, .......not having alternatives does not mean we are free to say that what we do have is the accurate way to look at the story

Actually I'm not missing the issues. It's not faith but a reasonable position, based on informed speculation of experts, albeit with an awareness that there might be more information to be had. Again this is information and my 'faith' does not depend on it.

They could be wrong but they could be more right than you allow. They may be inaccurate or contain inaccuracies but they could be accurate or contain some accurate information. There could be numerous other versions or a limited number, some of which we already have and have analyzed as we have NT materials.

We have sufficient materials for scholars to work and for many of us to make our best (present) guesses and get on with it - while always remaining open to the future surprises.

 

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Thomas and Paul,

Along these lines of your discussion and since this is Other Wisdom Traditions....   Here is a record of the Kalama Sutra on a translation of what the Buddha had to say on positions,  traditions, teachings, scholars. accepting as accurate  etc...

“Now, Kalamas, don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness’ — then you should enter & remain in them."

Here is another translation that is more common but may or may not be more accurate...

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

Joseph

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Thanks Joseph - I think they are beautiful and wise words, indeed.

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3 hours ago, JosephM said:

....  Here is a record of the Kalama Sutra on a translation of what the Buddha had to say on positions,  traditions, teachings, scholars

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

How many of us have chosen to question and not believe simply what is rumored, found in scripture, handed down by previous generations or merely on the authority of a scholar or teacher. The best teachers 'present' and it is up to us to determine if their words 'speak' to us, agree with reason and are conductive to the good of all. And as said above, the point is not to merely read but to live the good.

Thanks

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Posted (edited)

The Buddha sounds like a Wesleyan.

Interesting that he always starts with a thorough discernment of tradition, scripture and authority.  These are never simply discarded without deep analysis.

He does not say start with your own thoughts, ethics and what seems sensible to the self.

Edited by Burl
Clarity

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On 8/11/2019 at 4:13 PM, JosephM said:

My error . A pantheistic view would. So much for me and labels. 🙂  And personally i do see God and Creation as One and the same (inseparable) as is Creator and Creation. Ask yourself.  "Without Creation,  would  God even exist?"  It seems to me by definition there would be nothing.

Indra's net ….

Quote

Indra’s Net is a quintessential metaphor for Buddhist philosophy, describing how everything exists only in mutual causation with everything else, and nothing can be isolated.

Some other interpretations can also be found here  …. http://www.pragyata.com/mag/the-vedic-metaphor-of-indras-net-234

To me panentheism holds onto that one last vestige of separation.

I can't help thinking that when we point to the metaphor of god we are pointing to the universe is some shape or form.

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2 hours ago, romansh said:

To me panentheism holds onto that one last vestige of separation.

I can't help thinking that when we point to the metaphor of god we are pointing to the universe is some shape or form.

As mentioned above, it is not separation.

I agree that for the pantheist, but not for the panentheist, god is probably a metaphor for the universe.

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19 hours ago, Burl said:

The Buddha sounds like a Wesleyan.

Interesting that he always starts with a thorough discernment of tradition, scripture and authority.  These are never simply discarded without deep analysis.

He does not say start with your own thoughts, ethics and what seems sensible to the self.

He probably would've been buggered then (Australian slang for 'up the creek') if he had existed before certain persons had developed tradition, scripture and authority.  These didn't exist in a vacuum before the human species dropped from the trees but rather were developed over time when people started philosophizing and theologizing.  So somebody used their own thoughts at some point (or rather a number of thoughts of others that then started to form cultural agreements).

But I'm not sure what you suggest could be said to be the true position of Buddhism - I always understood the meditation bit in Buddhism to be more about the opportunity to come to one's own personal understanding of things and basically experience one's own thoughts as a basis for personal revelation of what's true to them and sensible to self.

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45 minutes ago, PaulS said:

.........people started philosophizing and theologizing.  So somebody used their own thoughts at some point 

Certainly seems like the more reasonable position than the old understanding of revelation.

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