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Various early Christian beliefs


PaulS
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Most Christians of one kind or another would probably like to believe they are practicing Christianity just how Jesus intended.  Some might even be convinced that their beliefs are the only possibly correct understanding of Jesus.  Now, I'm not sure a gap of some 2000 years actually helps the situation, but to add to the difficulty in understanding exactly what Jesus and early Christianity meant to followers, it seems that even early followers disagreed on major points about Jesus and his purpose.  Here's an introductory chapter from legendary biblical scholar Bart Ehrman's book - 'Lost Christianities' which shines a light on just how diverse early Christianity actually was until one particular version eventually morphed into THE version.  Personally, I think this book should be required reading so that we all might appreciate just how little we actually know about 'original' Christianity.

Chapter One

Recouping Our Losses

It may be difficult to imagine a religious phenomenon more diverse than modern-day Christianity.  There are Roman Catholic missionaries in developing countries, who devote themselves to voluntary poverty for the sake of others, and evangelical televangelists with twelve-step programs to assure financial success and prosperity.  There are New England Presbyterians and Appalachian snake handlers.  There are Greek orthodox priests committed to the liturgical service of God, replete with set prayers, incantations, and incense, and fundamentalist preachers who view high-church liturgy as a demonic invention.  There are liberal Methodist political activists intent on transforming society, and Pentecostals who think that society will soon come to a crashing halt with the return of Jesus.  And there are the followers of David Koresh — still today — who think the world has already started to end, beginning with the events at Waco, a fulfillment of prophecies from the book of Revelation.  Many of these Christian groups, of course, refuse to consider other such groups Christian.

All this diversity of belief and practice, and the intolerance that occasionally results, makes it difficult to know whether we should think of Christianity as one thing or lots of things, whether we should speak of Christianity or Christianities.

What could be more diverse than this variegated phenomenon, Christianity in the modern world?  In fact, there may be an answer: Christianity in the ancient world.  As historians have come to realize, during the first three Christian centuries, the divergent practices and beliefs found among people who called themselves Christian were so vast and fundamental that the differences between Roman Catholics, Primitive Baptists, and Seventh Day Adventists pale by comparison.

Most of these ancient forms of Christianity are unknown to people in the world today, since they eventually came to be reformed or stamped out.  As a result, the sacred texts that some ancient Christians used to support their religious perspectives came to be proscribed, destroyed, or forgotten – in one way or another lost.  Many of these texts claimed to be written by Jesus’ closest followers.  Opponents of these texts claimed they had been forged.

This book is about these texts, and about the lost forms of Christianity they tried to authorize.

 

The Varieties of Ancient Christianity

The wide diversity of early Christianity may be seen above all in the theological beliefs embraced by people who understood themselves to be followers of Jesus.  In the second and third centuries there were, of course, Christians who believed in one God.  But there were others    who insisted that there were two.  Some said there were thirty.  Others claimed there were 365.

In the second and third centuries there were Christians who believed that God had created the world.  But others believed that this world had been created by a subordinate, ignorant divinity (why else would the world be filled with such misery and hardship?).  Yet other Christians thought it was worse than that, that this world was a cosmic mistake created by a malevolent divinity as a place of imprisonment, to trap humans and subject them to pain and suffering.

In the second and third centuries there were Christians who believed that the Jewish Scripture (the Christian “Old Testament”) was inspired by the one true God.  Others believed it was inspired by the God of the Jews who was not the one true God.  Others believed it was inspired by an evil deity.  Others believed it was not inspired.

In the second and third centuries there were Christians who believed that Jesus was both divine and human, God and man.  But there were other Christians who argued that he was completely divine, and not human at all.  (For them, divinity and humanity were incommensurate entities: God can no more be a man than a man can be a rock.)  There were others who insisted that Jesus was a full flesh-and-blood human, adopted by God to be his son, but not himself divine.  There were yet other Christians who claimed that Jesus Christ was two things: a full flesh-and-blood human, Jesus, and a fully divine being, Christ, who had temporarily inhabited Jesus’ body during his ministry and left him prior to his death, inspiring his teachings and miracles, but avoiding the suffering in its aftermath.

In the second and third centuries there were Christians who believed that Jesus’ death brought about the salvation of the world.  There were other Christians who thought that Jesus’ death had nothing to do with the salvation of the world.  There were yet other Christians who said that Jesus never died.

How could some of these views even be considered Christian?  Or to put the question differently: how could people who considered themselves Christian hold such views?  Why did they not consult their Scriptures to see that there were not 365 gods, or that the true God had created the world, or that Jesus had died?  Why didn’t they just read the New Testament?

It is because there was no New Testament.  To be sure, the books that were eventually collected into the New Testament had been written by the second century.  But they had not yet been gathered into a widely recognized and authoritative “canon” of Scripture.[1]  And there were other books written as well, with equally impressive pedigrees — other Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypses claiming to be written by the earthly apostles of Jesus.

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2 hours ago, tariki said:

Just a quick thought. This is where the Protestant "back to the Bible" idea falls down. As if that was a foundation of certainty. There is no going back. We can only go forward. 

100%.  

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Musing further. I know there are quite a few books these days that question if Jesus ever actually existed. I've read none of them in full detail. But keeping with Bart Erhman (who rejects the non-existence thesis) it seems pretty apparent that the first disciples expected the imminent end of the world, the "return of Jesus in the air", the final judgement. (Evidence for this can even be found in St Paul's letters...." we who are alive at his coming")

Obviously it never happened and therefore the "meaning" of it all had to break new ground, this in the thought forms of the world as it was then for the educated. Greek philosophy and what not. 

Myself, I think "Jesus" must be left behind and the only hope for Christianity is with the Universal Christ. Elsewhere I posted some words related to T.S.Eliot, and they are relevant here:-

Eliot feels no compunction in alluding to the Bhagavad Gita in one section of a poem and Dante's Paradiso in the next. He neither asserts the rightness nor wrongness of one set of doctrines in relation to the other, nor does he try to reconcile them. Instead, he claims that prior to the differentiation of various religious paths, there is a universal substratum called Word (logos) of which religions are concretions. This logos is an object both of belief and disbelief. It is an object of belief in that, without prior belief in the logos, any subsequent religious belief is incoherent. It is an object of disbelief in that belief in it is empty, the positive content of actual belief is fully invested in religious doctrine.

The Universal Christ would be for Christians the "universal substratum", that which Thomas Merton called The Hidden Ground of Love. 

 

 

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12 hours ago, tariki said:

Musing further. I know there are quite a few books these days that question if Jesus ever actually existed. I've read none of them in full detail. But keeping with Bart Erhman (who rejects the non-existence thesis) it seems pretty apparent that the first disciples expected the imminent end of the world, the "return of Jesus in the air", the final judgement. (Evidence for this can even be found in St Paul's letters...." we who are alive at his coming")

Obviously it never happened and therefore the "meaning" of it all had to break new ground, this in the thought forms of the world as it was then for the educated. Greek philosophy and what not. 

Myself, I think "Jesus" must be left behind and the only hope for Christianity is with the Universal Christ.

I tend to agree Tariki.  I think Jesus grew into a teaching role shaped by his own community and teachers.  Jesus possibly caused a movement with his new teachings on love being a focus and a personal relationship with God instead of via the bureaucratic Temple priests and processes.  I think this message was directed at the Jews and I think Jesus may have actually believed the end of the world was nigh and Israel's Roman oppressors would be overthrown.  As we now know, it didn't happen.  That left Jesus' followers trying to make sense of it all and I think that's where we see Paul and others holding true and preaching 'any day now'.  Again, that didn't happen either and the Christianity began to morph into something else again.

I think you're right concerning moving forward and Christianity needs to stop focusing on the man and begin to focus on whatever makes this world a better place to live.

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Here is a cut and paste from something I quoted/posted before, relevant here:-

The dharma, can be discovered through the Buddhist tradition, but Buddhism is by no means the only source of dharma. I would define dharma as anything that awakens the enlightened mind and brings on the direct experience of selflessness. The teachings of Christ are prefumed with dharma. There is dharma in jazz, in beautiful gardens, in literature, in Sufi dance, in Quaker silence, in shaman healing, in projects to care for the homeless and clean up the inner cities, in Catholic ritual, in meaningful and competent work. There is dharma in anything that causes us to respect the innate softness and intelligence of ourselves and others. When the Buddhist system is applied properly, it does not turn us inward toward our own organizations, practices, and ideas. The system has succeeded when the Buddhist can recognize the true dharma at the core of all other religions and disciplines that are based on respect for the human image, and has no need to reject them.

 

Reality-as-is is beyond creed or even formulae. The wind blows where it will. "Universal Christ" or "Dharma" as I see it, and trust, healing goes on. Today we can witness to the growth of Support Groups for instance, those who have suffered from a personal trauma, who then seek to help others who are facing the very same challenges. Social Media is often slagged off, but the positives are there.

Jesus, as the "Only Way", can safely be left behind in what few pulpits are left.

 

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On 11/8/2021 at 9:58 PM, PaulS said:

Most Christians of one kind or another would probably like to believe they are practicing Christianity just how Jesus intended.  Some might even be convinced that their beliefs are the only possibly correct understanding of Jesus.

As you, I enjoy reading Bart Ehrman's books and listening to his debates with other Christian scholars. I also enjoy reading John Dominic Crossan and James Tabor.

I  remember hearing someone say that to be a Christian all you need to believe is how Jesus came into the world and how he left the world, what happened in between is not important. No doubt, this is an oversimplification with a touch of sarcasm, yet the idea does deserve some consideration.

I found this article on Focus on the Family website, it starts off describing how “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved ….. [that] we are not committed to a particular denominational understanding of what it means to be a ‘Christian.’ We’re an interdenominational ministry ….” At this point it sounds like Christianity, according to Focus on the Family, is ecumenical and inclusive. However, what immediately follows is a clarification that “….. we don’t necessarily believe that a ‘Christian’ is simply anybody who claims to ‘believe in Jesus’ and to ‘follow His teachings.’ If this were true, we would have to concede that the Gnostics, the Manicheans, the Arians, the Marcionites, the Docetists, and the first-century Judaizers were also faithful members of the fold. This is something that the writers of the New Testament and the Fathers of the early church were clearly unwilling to do.”

Contrast the above paragraph to what James Tabor says about Christianity in the late Roman Empire as compared to the original apostles and followers of Jesus.

 “…late Roman Empire was heavily based upon the ecstatic and visionary experiences of Paul.  Christianity, as we came to know it, is Paul and Paul is Christianity…. Its main elements are: 1) the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ, God’s divine Son, based on his sacrificial death on the cross; 2) receiving the Holy Spirit and the gift of eternal life guaranteed by faith in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead; and 3) a glorified heavenly reign with Christ when he returns in the clouds of heaven.  The mystical rites of baptism and the ‘Lord’s Supper’ function as experiential verification of this understanding of ‘salvation.’

It is difficult for one to imagine a version of Christianity pre-dating Paul with none of these seemingly essential elements.  Yet that is precisely what our evidence indicates.  The original apostles and followers of Jesus, led by James and assisted by Peter and John, continued to live as Jews, observing the Torah and worshipping in the Temple at Jerusalem, or in their local synagogues, while remembering and honoring Jesus as their martyred Teacher and Messiah.  They neither worshipped nor divinized Jesus as the Son of God, or as a Dying-and-Rising Savior, who died for the sins of humankind.  They practiced no ritual of baptism into Christ, nor did they celebrate a sacred meal equated with ‘eating the body and drinking the blood’ of Christ as a guarantee of eternal life.  Their message was wholly focused around their expectations that the kingdom of God had drawn near, as proclaimed by John the Baptizer and Jesus, and that very soon God would intervene in human history to bring about his righteous rule of peace and justice among all nations.  In the meantime, both Jews and non-Jews were urged to repent of their sins, turn to God, and live righteously before him in expectation of his kingdom.”

The situation we have up until the year 325 is a church that lacks an orthodoxy. Prior to 325 the church was comprised of Gnostics, the Manicheans, the Arians, the Marcionites, the Docetists, the first-century Judaizers and those that are today considered to represent Orthodox Christianity (e.g. Nicene Creed). And how did today’s church become the Orthodox church; well, that’s like asking some “how did the winner become the winner?” The obvious answer is “Because he won!” Hence the Gnostics, the Manicheans, the Arians, the Marcionites, the Docetists, the first-century Judaizers are all relegated to being the losers, the non-orthodoxy faiths, the heretics. Here is an excellent 7 minute YouTube video that describes how the Nicene Creed was formed? This famous statement of Christian orthodoxy is recited all over the world today. But it was actually composed in the 4th century during a theological controversy. What was this controversy? And what can it tell us about early Christianity?

https://youtu.be/T_QoPEaULgM

 

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It is important to understand that are we not only historically removed from the last "books" of the Bible, but that we are also removed from the culture that the people lived in when the "books" were written.  Personally, I don't bother with the historical aspect of Christianity but make an effort to understand what the Spirit is trying to show me about living a life worthy of Christ, even if I am thousands of years removed.

As is clear from Paul's epistles, there were problems with what doctrines the early Christinas believed, and we are very far removed from them culturally and linguistically.  So we must rely on the Holy Spirit to be our guide.  As we should.

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1 hour ago, JimmyB said:

I ... make an effort to understand what the Spirit is trying to show me about living a life worthy of Christ, even if I am thousands of years removed.

I have no idea what you mean by the Spirit. Could you please elucidate?

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By the Spirit I mean the Holy Spirit, which Jesus promised us would be our guide.  "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come."  John 16:13

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6 hours ago, JimmyB said:

It is important to understand that are we not only historically removed from the last "books" of the Bible, but that we are also removed from the culture that the people lived in when the "books" were written.  Personally, I don't bother with the historical aspect of Christianity but make an effort to understand what the Spirit is trying to show me about living a life worthy of Christ, even if I am thousands of years removed.

As is clear from Paul's epistles, there were problems with what doctrines the early Christinas believed, and we are very far removed from them culturally and linguistically.  So we must rely on the Holy Spirit to be our guide.  As we should.

Interestingly enough, the people who wrote about the 'Holy Spirit' doing these things also believed the world was going to end in their lifetimes.  Do you think that affects their credibility when it comes to things they also say about the Holy Spirit?  If they were wrong about the coming of God's Kingdom in their lifetimes, could their references to the 'Holy Spirit' just be cultural belief and not reality also?

And Bart Erhman makes some interesting points about the Holy Spirit 'guiding' Christians:

a) "if it’s true that the Holy Spirit is the one who provides the correct interpretation of Scripture, then why is it that so many people who claim to have the Holy Spirit cannot agree on what the Bible means?"  I mean simply look at the extensive number of Christian denominations with distinctively varied interpretations of scripture - undoubtedly all believing the HS has provided them with the correct guidance.

b) If I “need” the Holy Spirit to interpret passages of the bible (and I'm an atheist), why have I interpreted them in the same way that people who allegedly have the Holy Spirit have interpreted them?

So then if the Holy Spirit is unreliable concerning scriptural interpretation, is such not even more unreliable when we talk about it 'guiding' us in general?  Who is really doing the guiding - the HS or our own minds?

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In a sense I see JimmyB as being on the right track. We've all been dealt our own cards, our own time and place, and we need to find our own "path" from out of that. Personally I have trust in Reality. I'm not seeking to argue for it, let alone "prove" it. I just have it. I see it as a product of my own seeking, yet paradoxically, ultimately, as pure gift. 

As I have said in other threads, and basically quoting from an authority on zen, that expression of the Dharma (Buddhism) developed and cannot be fully understood outside of a worldview that sees reality itself as a vital, ephemeral agent of awareness and healing. That authority goes on to speak of "the liberative qualities of spatiality and temporality".

Without wishing to offend anyone, I have no interest in the "Holy Spirit" . That too, as PaulS has said, is simply extracting one thing from a broken, suspect belief system. But if Reality is healing, a heart seeking to be healed will find Reality "guiding" and supporting them.

I have no answer to the crushing suffering of our world, but I must needs witness to my own life's experience and the opportunities I believe have been given. I just feel that any guidance received is at an individual level, unique to the individual. It is not from some "entity" seeking to communicate "one truth" that is part of some revelation of a transcendent Being. 

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By the Spirit I mean the Holy Spirit, which Jesus promised us would be our guide.  "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come."  John 16:13

So, tariki, if you have no interest in the Holy Spirit, then you are denying what Christ has promised to Christians.  Without the Holy Spirit you are denying Christ.

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44 minutes ago, JimmyB said:

By the Spirit I mean the Holy Spirit, which Jesus promised us would be our guide.  "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come."  John 16:13

So, tariki, if you have no interest in the Holy Spirit, then you are denying what Christ has promised to Christians.  Without the Holy Spirit you are denying Christ.

Hi Jimmy, I was speaking of the "Holy Spirit" in the context of what I see as a "broken suspect belief system". Again, my post implied that there IS such a "spirit" in the sense of a Reality that is healing, and is "a vital ephemeral agent of awareness and healing" 

For me, Christ/Tao/Brahman/Allah/Logos are interchangeable. 

Sorry, I have no particular interest in defending myself against your assertions and judgements.

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, JimmyB said:

By the Spirit I mean the Holy Spirit, which Jesus promised us would be our guide.  "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come."  John 16:13

Again, this begs the question that if there is a single Holy Spirit that will guide all Christians into truth, why do so many Christian denominations have such distinctly different interpretations on the Bible?  Ranging from Catholics to Baptists to Mormons to Jehovah Witnesses to Pentecostals - the list goes on - there are something like 45,000 different denominations within Christianity.  Why wouldn't the Holy Spirit guide them all into the same 'truth'?

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9 hours ago, JimmyB said:

Okay.  One way to end a discussion is to not participate.  So, farewell tariki.

Hi Jimmy, I was objecting to your assertions and judgements of another, not ending debate.

Thank you

(I will leave when ready, and given my time now spent on another forum devoted to those with various mental health problems and finding such people more supportive and loving and caring than the average Christian.......well, I might well be ready fairly soon)

All the best mate

🙂

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8 hours ago, PaulS said:

Again, this begs the question that if there is a single Holy Spirit that will guide all Christians into truth, why do so many Christian denominations have such distinctly different interpretations on the Bible?  Ranging from Catholics to Baptists to Mormons to Jehovah Witnesses to Pentecostals - the list goes on - there are something like 45,000 different denominations within Christianity.  Why wouldn't the Holy Spirit guide them all into the same 'truth'?

Hi Paul, as I said before, seeking to explain how I see things, the "spirit of all truth" is not in the possession of any creed, but is simply part of the very fabric of Reality. As we are all unique, unrepeatable, human beings, whatever guidance we receive is unique to us. 

Although in my own words, the above is not some esoteric formulae, but simply that which many christians are recognising to be so, the Universal Christ. 

My own experience, which I must testify to, is that the "guidance" does not follow our own asking or seeking, but in a sense "finds us". Often we are guided in spite of our beliefs rather than because of them. It is all about being "surprised by joy". It is grace, gift. 

 

I bring fullness and satisfaction to the world,

like rain that spreads its moisture everywhere.

Eminent and lowly, superior and inferior,

observers of precepts, violators of precepts,

those fully endowed with proper demeanor,

those not fully endowed,

those of correct views, of erroneous views,

of keen capacity, of dull capacity -

I cause the Dharma rain to rain on all equally,

never lax or neglectful.

When all the various living beings

hear my Law,

they receive it according to their power,

dwelling in their different environments.....

..The Law of the Buddhas

is constantly of a single flavour,

causing the many worlds

to attain full satisfaction everywhere;

by practicing gradually and stage by stage,

all beings can gain the fruits of the way.

 

(The Lotus Sutra, Parable of the Dharma Rain)

 

 

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15 hours ago, tariki said:
On 11/14/2021 at 3:00 PM, JimmyB said:

Okay.  One way to end a discussion is to not participate.  So, farewell tariki.

Hi Jimmy, I was objecting to your assertions and judgements of another, not ending debate.

In the past, when I have participated in discussions concerning faith, too often, metaphorically speaking, the three terms of “faith”, “belief” and “knowledge” are thrown into a blender, the blender is turned on to maximum speed, the result being the inconsistent use of each of these terms, by all participants, as a mushy synonyms of the other two. Or, to put it another way, we are all speaking to each other in different languages.

Acknowledging that we do not “know” and admitting that we still have “faith” only demonstrates the strength of our faith. Is it possible for all of us to agree that if we “know” something is true, then there is no need for “faith”? Following is an outline of how we might define each of these words in order to have a meaningful discussion concerning our respective faiths, beliefs, and knowledge. Is it possible for all of us here to agree on the definition of these three terms? and other terms, such as Holy Spirit?

Define your Terms

“If you wish to converse with me,” said Voltaire, “define your terms.” How many a debate would have been deflated into a paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms! This is the alpha and omega of logic, the heart and soul of it, that every important term in serious discourse shall be subjected to the strictest scrutiny and definition. It is difficult, and ruthlessly tests the mind; but once done it is half of any task. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Chapter 2, Aristotle and Greek Science, Part 3, The Foundation of Logic. Will Durant was an American writer, historian, and philosopher (1885-1981).

What is Faith?

Faith is the strong trust and confidence in something or someone. Faith specifically refers to something that cannot be proved by evidence; in other words, faith is not based on proof.

What is Belief?

Belief is based on trust and confidence. The Oxford Dictionary defines belief as the “acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof” and Merriam-Webster defines it as “a feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true”. The phrase belief in refers to trust and confidence in something.

Unlike faith is mainly used in religious contexts, belief can be used in a variety of contexts. Belief can refer to your trust in a person, your acceptance of some concept or ideal or even belief in God.

Source: https://pediaa.com/difference-between-faith-and-belief/

What is Knowledge?

Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.

Source: https://sciencecouncil.org/about-science/our-definition-of-science

Faith is not Knowledge

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Source: Hebrews 11:1, https://biblehub.com/hebrews/11-1.htm

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Hi Nolose, to be honest, I'm more with those who distrust formulaes, systems, conclusions and definitions. I accept that definitions can assist and clarify debate but I sought Trust and found/find debate debilitating.

Grace works in mysterious ways, often beyond our calculation. I trust in it.

Thanks

Edited by tariki
Misspelled "definitions"!
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10 hours ago, Nolose said:

Is it possible for all of us here to agree on the definition of these three terms?

I have no issue.  I think things can mean different things to different people but I do agree that for people to try and discuss a particular idea, we need to agree how to discuss that idea.

In this thread, I started talking about early Christian beliefs and variations,  when Jimmy B responded that we should rely on the 'Holy Spirit' to be our guide.  So in this sense I was asking Jimmy B if that so labelled 'Holy Spirit' could be properly understood with credibility issues facing the various Gospel authors (and Paul) and also the notion that somehow the Spirit can guide 'correctly' when on the face of it, it seems to have trouble just getting Christian interpretation of the bible on the same page, let alone dealing with what individuals feel is 'guidance' from said Spirit.  Maybe Jimmy B will participate in the discussion in due course.

I think I understand Tariki's understanding of 'spirit' as being in the sense of a Reality that is healing.  I'm not sure I agree myself (in that the sense that I don't know we are 'healing' per se - maybe we are) and I prefer (presently at least) a term contributor Rom has used here before about the universe 'unfolding' - that is the universe is progressing as it will, for better or for worse, but not in the dualistic sense but just a common term for it being what it will be.

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On 11/15/2021 at 4:39 PM, tariki said:

Hi Paul, as I said before, seeking to explain how I see things, the "spirit of all truth" is not in the possession of any creed, but is simply part of the very fabric of Reality. As we are all unique, unrepeatable, human beings, whatever guidance we receive is unique to us. 

Thankyou for sharing and explaining, Tariki.  I can see how such an understanding of Spirit would sit outside and alongside any Christian understanding of Spirit.  From what I take as Jimmy B's particular Christian take on the Holy Spirit.....I hope he may participate in further discussion.

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4 hours ago, PaulS said:

 

I think I understand Tariki's understanding of 'spirit' as being in the sense of a Reality that is healing.  I'm not sure I agree myself (in that the sense that I don't know we are 'healing' per se - maybe we are) and I prefer (presently at least) a term contributor Rom has used here before about the universe 'unfolding' - that is the universe is progressing as it will, for better or for worse, but not in the dualistic sense but just a common term for it being what it will be.

Strangely I'm not really into "understanding", it is simply that I need Trust. Again perhaps strangely, my trust in a Reality of healing can (I find) live with the little verse of Rennyo:-

 

Whether heading for the Pure Land

Or heading for Hell

All is in Amida's hands

Namu-amida-butsu!

 

It really is a letting go. Which opens up the next unfolding moment without preconditions, allowing it to be what it will be.

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9 hours ago, tariki said:

It really is a letting go. Which opens up the next unfolding moment without preconditions, allowing it to be what it will be.

Well Amida-driven or not, I agree that the above is a very useful way to frame one's life. :)

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