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One True Religion

Posted on 2011-03-08
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CCSOflag (?) made an interesting statement in a post I just read . . . something to the effect that he/she is a Christian but doesn't discount the possibility of other religions being true. That's fascinating to me because I think the same thing. Of course I am not certain . . .what's the purpose of faith where there's certainty? If I make a claim that can easily be demonstrated to be true, it requires no faith to accept it . . .such as . . . some birds can fly. It doesn't take faith to believe that statement. "God exists" on the other hand requires faith or as some would argue mental illness.

So, my question is. . . and I'm interested in all answers but more so from non-believers . . . do you think when people say they are Christian or Muslim or Whatever that there is implicit certainty in their response? Or are you inferring a claim of certainty because of they way they state their belief? Do you think there would be more tolerance of religion generally if people were careful to state their beliefs like CCSOflag did? Like "I believe in Christ because of my life experiences, but obviously, because I claim faith I am implying uncertainty."
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Question by:SteveJ
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by:Dave Baldwin
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Religions show the variety you can find in human tribal beliefs.  And certainty or uncertainty is usually an inverse reflection of how the individual feels about their circumstances.  There is adequate evidence that the thoughts and deeds of humans are lost in the background noise of the universe.
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by:SteveJ
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<<And certainty or uncertainty is usually an inverse reflection of how the individual feels about their circumstances.>>

So . . .if I feel good about my circumstance I have less certainty, or more certainty?

Thanks,
SteveJ
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by:Dave Baldwin
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I would say from my experience with people that people who feel good about their circumstances generally have a better understanding of their circumstances and less of a personal need for 'certainty'.  People who feel that "their world' will be alright aren't worried as much as those who are afraid that "their world" will suddenly collapse if they don't "make certain" that everything is all right.  They make and enforce rules to make their world more predictable and certain and they gather around them people who feel as they do...
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Callandor earned 9 total points
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>something to the effect that he/she is a Christian but doesn't discount the possibility of other religions being true

There is a logical problem with that, since Jesus claimed he was the only way to the Father.  I limit this to those who have the capacity to choose, since there are people who are either too young to choose or mentally unable to.

I do not think faith is the opposite of certainty; I think the New Testament definition of faith is the willingness to follow someone.  There can be certainty of who Jesus is without following him.  For example, James says demons know everything about Jesus and accept it as true, but they do not follow him.  Demons KNOW that God exists, but do not follow him.  Likewise, there were those in Jesus' day who saw his miracles and knew that they had happened, but deliberately chose to attribute them to Satan instead of God, for their own personal reasons.  So New Testament faith isn't a matter of being certain or not; it's a matter of following or not.
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by:Observer_123
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I thing the main is not how someone determinate himself, but the way of live and the Love!

Luke 10:
 25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
   26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]”

   28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

and

Matthew 7
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
 
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by:sbdt8631
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As a non-believer

>>do you think when people say they are Christian or Muslim or Whatever that there is implicit certainty in their response. Or are you inferring a claim of certainty because of the way they state their belief?

Not unless they state it is so.  Based on Callandor's response above I think he is saying that he is certain that following Jesus is the only true way to follow God.

>>Do you think there would be more tolerance of religion generally if people were careful to state their beliefs like CCSOflag did?

Yes.  And that goes for believers of all faiths as well as those of us who do not believe.

IMO None of us can be truly certain of our beliefs when it comes to the existence of God or how to follow whatever god it is that we believe in, or don't.  I started to question christianity as a teenager when I learned how many thousands, (hundreds of thousands?), of religions have been and are practiced in the history of the world and today.  It seemed simple then and continues to this day to be simple that it is unlikely that any one religion can claim to be the correct one.  I know that this is an old and tired argument made by non-believers, but it is the one that has always made the most sense to me.  I don't claim to know the true nature of god or the universe and I don't believe anyone who claims that they do.
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by:Observer_123
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"I don't believe anyone who claims that they do" - this is available for very high levels of spiritual development - in prophets, saints, and Spiritual Masters. Most of the believers could say like "In Bible is writtent that...", but real spiritual experience exceeds this - and not only in Hindu religion views the direct knowledge of Devine is possible, but in the Old and in the New testaments also:

Isaiah 17:7
"people will look to their Maker
   and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel"
- this is related from my point of view to the spiritual eyes, which for now are not open in the majority of the humans

and

Mark 9

 "1 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

From my point of view this verses refers to direct personal experience,  instead of just "believe and you will be saved" - for this experience is necessery spiritual education/training.
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by:sbdt8631
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>>this is available for very high levels of spiritual development - in prophets, saints, and Spiritual Masters

I know very little of the Hindu religion so I can't speak much of Spiritual Masters.  I do know that I don't believe in prophets or saints.  From what little I know of what I think you refer to as Spiritual Masters, I am skeptical.
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by:Observer_123
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Some Spiritual Masters lived even in 20 century and in the begining of 21.
I had possibility to met one of them in my live. I was expectional experience. But for someone this can be unscientifical / subjective. But results from the experience and Wisdom of the Spirirual Masters can be used from the disciples even after they left this Earth.
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by:SteveJ
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Callandor . . . yes Jesus said I am the way to the Father, no disagreement that the Bible writes that Jesus made that claim.

I don't believe, nor did I say, that certainty was the opposite of faith. I am saying -- for example -- I am 99.9% sure that my Christian faith is the "One True Religion" and that Jesus is the only way to the Father and when or if that percentage reaches 100% it is no longer faith, it is certainty.

To say that faith "is a matter of following" is a confusing statement. I think choosing to follow is an affirmtion that faith exists, not a definition of faith. I choose to follow because I have faith that he is the Truth and the Way.

<< I started to question christianity as a teenager when I learned how many thousands, (hundreds of thousands?), of religions have been and are practiced in the history of the world and today. >>

Perhaps, but 2 or 3 religions make up 99.9999% of the followers. Im not saying that sheer volume is a method by which one or another religion can be proved. But it shouldn't be considered irrelevant either. I know a gobs of people who claim to be Christian but they can't really explain the Gospel and often say things like "I believe in God, not so sure about Jesus, but I am a Christian".

I don't know if there are equivalent buffoons in Islam or Buddism . . . I suspect there are in all religions.

SteveJ
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by:Jason210
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If you look at a pyramid from a certain angle one person will see a triangle. Looked at from top-down perspective, another person will a see a square. If you are thinking and perceiving in two dimensions then you will see only 2 dimensional shapes that conflict with each other. However, if you can realise that there are three dimensions and learn to see in 3 dimensions, everything then makes sense.

It is perhaps not the best analogy, but to continue with it,  I think that religions are sparked off by someone who had the gift to see in three dimesnions, but only had 2 dimensional means to communicate the idea.

Then it comes down to this: Either you see it, or you don't. Unfortunately religions have many adeherents who see the 2 dimensional shape and believe that is it.

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by:Observer_123
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>"Unfortunately religions have many adeherents who see the 2 dimensional shape and believe that is it."

Even in Christianity the faith is not the highest possible state/level!

See:
Hebrews 6

" 1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[a] and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites,  the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so."
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by:sbdt8631
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>>Perhaps, but 2 or 3 religions make up 99.9999% of the followers. Im not saying that sheer volume is a method by which one or another religion can be proved. But it shouldn't be considered irrelevant either.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Prevailing_world_religions_map.png

I just did a quick Google of religion by population to get this map.  It lists fourteen categories of religions practiced today where one of them is other.  Granted some might combine the three Christianities and two Islams. Also, I don't know what "Chinese Religion" means.  Regardless, I would include all theses religions and all the religions ever practiced by all the groups or tribes that ever existed.  The point I am trying to make is that I think the statement "2 or 3 religions make up 99.9999% of the followers" is a bit high.  I think a much more significant percentage of the population does now and has in the past followed a religion other than the two or three you are referring to.
I'm not trying to use this as an argument for the validity of anyone's belief, or lack thereof, in a god or religion.  I merely use it to illustrate why I think anyone who is certain that their form of belief is the correct one, and that all the others have it wrong, is looking at the world in a very narrow minded manner. IMO
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by:SteveJ
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<<I'm not trying to use this as an argument for the validity of anyone's belief, or lack thereof, in a god or religion.  I merely use it to illustrate why I think anyone who is certain that their form of belief is the correct one, and that all the others have it wrong, is looking at the world in a very narrow minded manner. IMO>>

Isalm, Buddism, Christianity . . .those three in some form was what I was referring to. And I have no idea what Chinese religion is either. I wish I'd said "Adherants to 3 religions make up the majority of present and past . . . " My penchant for exaggerations overcame me. So I am disagreeing with "I  think a much more significant percentage of the population does now and has in the past followed a religion other than the two or three you are referring to." But that's really neither here nor there. One of us is right and one of us is wrong and I am too lazy to do the research to find out which.

Pointing out the differences in all religions misses a gigantic point. They all essentially claim there is a higher power and love of self is antithetical to the core belief. Time, language, culture, and Jason 210s argument probably have more to do with the putative difference in beliefs than anything else.

So that's another way saying -- more or less -- sbdt8631 that I agree with you . . . because people who claim their way is the only way and all others have it wrong smacks of dogma and the presense of certainty that they cannot possibly have. I *think* my way is the only way. Perhaps as a self proclaimed Christian I may have said something heretical.

SteveJ
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by:Callandor
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The Chinese are a mix of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Christianity, ancestor worship, and atheism, in different percentages.

It is possible to be certain about one's beliefs.  The definition of faith I like best comes from Hebrews 11:1
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."  So straight from the New Testament, we see that it is a certainty, but a certainty of something not visible.  This is not dogma.
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by:Observer_123
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Instead of faith - the eyes of hearth/intuition, Wisdom!

See:
Ephesians 1: 17-18
" I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know... "

It is obvious, that if Paul pray for that, this is not givven by default to all, who just believe. There is levels of spiritual development.
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by:BigRat
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>>do you think when people say they are Christian or Muslim or Whatever that there is implicit certainty in their response?

Yes. Why not simple believe them?

>> Do you think there would be more tolerance of religion generally if people were careful to state their beliefs like CCSOflag did?

No, because Callandor picked up the definition of "Christian" to imply that CCSOFlag wasn't one, which, in my opinion, is an intolerance. Labels are used to exclude and to make exclusive, to delinerate,

A comment of Callandor's goes to show just where CCSOFlag was trying not to go " it's a matter of following or not.". However these things are put there is always this bifrication, this separation into one and the other, with the implication that the "other" must be associated with a part of "good and evil" and obviously the "evil". One would have thought, considering the plethora of Christian Churches, that they ought to have learnt so far as to avoid further bifrication.

I think CCSOFlag was trying to say that his religion was based on his Judeo-Christian culture and that he could see things in other religions having a trueism and that all of this was probably different facets of the same thing. I have never met a churchman yet, except perhaps the Rev.Ian Paisley from Northern Ireland, who would not agree in principle or would agree theoretically with this, but the practice seems to have had less success.

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by:sbdt8631
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>>However these things are put there is always this bifrication, this separation into one and the other, with the implication that the "other" must be associated with a part of "good and evil" and obviously the "evil".

This is the attitude that I find fault with.  It doesn't bother me when a believer says I will be looking at an undesirable experience in the afterlife if I do not adopt their belief system. I don't believe in heaven and hell, the world to come, rebirth or any other afterlife explanation. I am not concerned with some fictional destination after death.  I do however take exception with being lumped into a group of people who are labeled  evil or less moral than those who share a particular belief system.  
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by:Observer_123
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Spiritual development is something practical - a ways and methods to improve your live and awareness. But for that in the esoteric lineages of different religions could be found more possibilityes, instead of official churchs.
And I found useful and complementary things in Rosicrucians, Suffism, Kaballa, and others.
For many peoples nowadays official religion cannot give this, which is necesery for them - for different reasons.
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by:BigRat
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Cannot or will not? It seems to me that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I somethings think we need a new Jesus who'll say that one should leave our culture at the church door, rather like giving Caesar what belongs to Caesar.
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by:Observer_123
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Let me give a example - church wedding in Eastern Orthodox church can cost around 15 euro in equivalent (at least in one Eastern European country), not so expensive, but completely unreglamented in Bible! Some of bishops travel with very expensive cars and others... This not increase the mutual trust...
But many peoples interest from deep internal ways for selfdevelopment, which official priest may even not known with. But this not stop many peoples to investigate independatly, regardless of the official dogmats.
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by:Callandor
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Uh-oh, someone's kicked over BigRat's bottle of wine, and she's on a rant!

Seriously, do you think anyone can call themselves a scientist and pass themselves off as one, regardless of what they knew and how they acted?  You object to my critique of others who label themselves as Christians, but the plain fact is, Jesus himself said that not everyone who called him Lord, Lord was his disciple, so how do YOU define a Christian?  If you have better insight than the one whom Christianity is named after, I'd like to hear it.  Religion based on culture means you can forget about absolute truths - what was good is now bad, and what was bad is now good.
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by:Callandor
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sbdt8631,

>I do however take exception with being lumped into a group of people who are labeled  evil or less moral than those who share a particular belief system.

I agree with you.  At its core, New Testament Christianity teaches that everyone is in the same boat morally before God.  There is no way that the thief dying on the cross next to Jesus did anything to be considered better than anyone else, but on his profession of belief in Jesus, he was told he would be with him in Paradise.  That is an amazing thing!
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by:sbdt8631
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BigRat
>>I somethings think we need a new Jesus who'll say that one should leave our culture at the church door, rather like giving Caesar what belongs to Caesar.
Callandor
>> Religion based on culture means you can forget about absolute truths - what was good is now bad, and what was bad is now good.

I'm not reading it the same as I think you are, Callandor.  I think you are both saying that culture should not effect how to be a Christian.  
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by:sbdt8631
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>>Religion based on culture means you can forget about absolute truths - what was good is now bad, and what was bad is now good.

I do not agree, however, with this comment.  I have never been able to define an absolute anything, much less an absolute truth.  Truth is a sticky enough concept without adding absolute to it.  Good and bad, as defined by religions, do evolve.  Slavery used to be considered good and it is now bad.  Women holding positions of authority in church was a concept once considered bad that is becoming more good as time goes on.  Cultural norms of good and bad evolve and so do those accepted by most Christians.
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by:Callandor
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The concept of absolute truth depends, I think, on an unchanging standard to measure against.  If the standard exists, one can accept absolute truth.  It is much like the speed of light in a vacuum is an absolute (as far as we know).
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by:Observer_123
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We can consider absolute and relative moral, laws, standarts.
The 10 God commandments have deep spritutual and esoteric meaning, not just social tribe regulations.
But world is changed and if now slavery is not legal, then we do not need from regulation for it.
The new Teachnig of Christ can be considered as based on Old Testament with new, updated regulation - to act with Love, instead eye for eye, for example. And now the deep spiritual knowledge became more and more accessible for many peoples. Other question is for what it will be used. For example some peoples practice energetical healing, other used positive thinking/affirmations for personal and bussines success, others use NLP (neuro-lingvistic programing) for mass video adverisement and influence to the customers/clients, or even for seduction.
(this is real examples from the live, not fabricated by me).
Spiritual ripeness considers responsability, and confession of sins to clergyman already could be considered as inadequate. For paid indulgence  I prefer even do not mention.
So we can have believe/Faith, knowledge/Wisdom, moral/Virtue , and I thing this pairs are not in contradiction, but have to be together.
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by:Jason210
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It's an interesting question: What is a Christian. One might say that a Christian is one who follows the biblical canon and religious doctrines determined by the early Church fathers and scholars, established in the various catholic, protestant and orthodox churches. I believe this is Callandor's view. But then, who were the followers of Jesus? Not Christians by that definition...

One must remember that the early christian scholars like Athananius were interpreting largely secondary texts written after Jesus died, and likely had an agenda that included, amongst other things, a self-preservation aspect.

You can always ignore all these later teachings and doctrines and go back to the earliest Christian texts, such as the Gospel of Mark which is believed to contain information passed on from the disciple Peter. The gospel of John is also worth studying, as this is believed to have a direct connection with the disciple John, although it was written around AD 90-100. Then there are the non-canonical works such as the Gospel of Thomas which is based on oral tradition. This is thought to be a primary text and some scholars put it was early as 60AD.  There's evidence to suggest that Mathew and Luke are secondary texts, thought to based largely on Mark and one other coherrent source thought to be lost text -- referred to theoretically as "Q".  

From these you can make your own interpretation of what Jesus was trying to show us. Does that mean you are not a Christian? It depends how you define Christian.

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by:Jason210
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Callandor:

"The concept of absolute truth depends, I think, on an unchanging standard to measure against.  If the standard exists, one can accept absolute truth."

But what would be that standard? Everything we understand, think or preceive is relative to an interpretive / perceptory / sensory framework. Any standard that can be conceived of is therefore relative...

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by:Callandor
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>But then, who were the followers of Jesus?

Take a look at Acts 11:25-26

"25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch."

This tells us that the those who were first called Christians were part of the church at Antioch, and it was during the time that there were witnesses of Jesus who were still alive.  Acts does not mention the destruction of Jerusalem, which leads many scholars to conclude it was written before AD 70.

Whatever you may think about the motives of Athanasius is a bit of speculation; the establishment of canonical books may have been much earlier than his day, since he was only the first to formally put it down on paper.  Even today, the time at which an idea is published in a book is not the same time that the idea was first formulated.  The early church had an idea of what books were accepted and authoritative and you can see it in the writings of the early church fathers.
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by:Observer_123
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I thing real Christians are thouse, who follows the Teachning of Christ - in their daily live, practicaly.
"The Credo" is not the criteria for me.
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by:SteveJ
ID: 35124191
<<Any standard that can be conceived of is therefore relative...>>

When I have in the past observed that it is wrong to kill someone for personal gain, or rape, or molest a child or steal or lie someone always posts some bizarre view that some culture worships murder or encourages rape or points out some arcane philosophical precept that seeks to remove the stigma of child molestation. Jason210 how can you say there are no absolute truths?

Not that it has anything to do with the question I've posed . . .

I apparently chose the wrong word -- certain -- in posing my question. Somehow in the sense I didn't intend "dogs bark" and "God exists" have assumed the same relative strength of argument. I am a believer and yet I have doubt. Is the view on this post that therefore I am  not a believer because I have doubt? That would be difficult to argue I think in part because scripture references a man asking to have his unbelief removed.

Oh well.
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by:Jason210
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Callandor

If the Acts were written early on and they refer to "Christians",  then these would be different to the Christians of today because their religion would have been based mostly on oral tradition, and perhaps a few writings - but definitely without the later texts and doctrines. So again, the meaning of "Christian" is debatable

Observer 123
I thing real Christians are thouse, who follows the Teachning of Christ - in their daily live, practicaly.


Well, I would tend to agree. But what are those teachings? Perhaps Jesus had different teachings for different people.

Steve J
When I have in the past observed that it is wrong to kill someone for personal gain, or rape, or molest a child or steal or lie someone always posts some bizarre view that some culture worships murder or encourages rape or points out some arcane philosophical precept that seeks to remove the stigma of child molestation. Jason210 how can you say there are no absolute truths?

Interesting question but you I don't think it has anything to do with the absolute, unless one equates awareness itself being the absolute. In that sense such horrors might be committed by individuals who are less self-aware, whereas a more self-aware person would not do such things.

Back to your question. I think it is healthy to believe something and have a doubt about it. After all, a belief is a belief. But there is a difference between belief and faith. May be you should look into that.
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by:BigRat
ID: 35127473
>>Seriously, do you think anyone can call themselves a scientist and pass themselves off as one, regardless of what they knew and how they acted?

Well precisely that happens. The question is what you want to do about it? Pass laws to prohibit it? Throw people in gaol for not having the qualifications? Execute persistant offenders?

But my point was, why is it necessary to immediatley single out CCSOFlag's calling himself a Christian, when, in my opinion and probably many others as well, he is simply that? He might not be one of YOUR Christians (presumably you were at Antioch and know precisely what type of people they were) simply because he doesn't belong to an obscure sect which follows the bible literally (if I remember rightly you don't even consider the pope as Christian, or was that that other character SStory?). Anyway, that CCSODflag guy calls himself a Christian and has various doubts about this and that. Now that's what we at Woodstock used to call a "good thing" and I applaud it.

>>When I have in the past observed that it is wrong to kill someone for personal gain, or rape, or molest a child or steal or lie someone always posts some bizarre view that some culture worships murder or encourages rape or points out some arcane philosophical precept that seeks to remove the stigma of child molestation. Jason210 how can you say there are no absolute truths?

Well in Xanadu Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome did decree, between killing for personal gain, raping, pillaging and so on. The Romans made slaves out of their captured enemies, and mistreated them, because they believed it was more honorable to die in battle. And the children were of course made slaves or executed as they saw fit. No, moral standards are not universal and they change from culure to culture and with time. When I was a girl (and was taught that the devil can quote chapter and verse from the bible for ANY occasion) it was acceptable to smack me for being naughty, but it was totally unacceptable later when I had my daughter. And as far as killing women and children today is concerned, it is acceptable if it part of "unavoildable collateral damage" when being done in the name of "humanity and democracy and decency" and totally unacceptable when the modern Kubla Khan wants to protect his power base as events in Libya are showing us.
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by:Jason210
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That's interesting that you brought up Libya, Big rat. Nice point made there.
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by:SteveJ
ID: 35128430
BigRat . . .

"The Romans made slaves. . . " If this was a desirable thing -- made the slaves happy -- they wouldn't have done it. So clearly there was some "wrongness" associated with it. And the fact that people were willing to do things to achieve an end doesn't in and of itself make the act morally acceptable any more than water boarding is seen as universally acceptable just because we do it. And while I think this sentence " . . .moral standards are not universal and they can change from culture to culture and with time . . ." has a sort of philosophical and academic ring, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a culture and time when murder, rape and child molestation were viewed in the same light as how current culture views volunteer work or giving to charity. I am trying to politely say that I think that statement is . . . bunk. But we don't know one another and I don't want to be rude.

Also, whether or not to smack a kid who has been naughty may very well reference the fact that society has become overly litigious and may not speak to the morality of the act at all.

Thanks,
SteveJ
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by:sbdt8631
ID: 35128694
>>I think you'd be hard pressed to find a culture and time when murder, rape and child molestation were viewed in the same light as how current culture views volunteer work or giving to charity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Societal_attitudes_toward_homosexuality
"For example, among the samurai class of pre-modern Japan, it was recommended for a teenage novice to enter into an erotic relationship with an older warrior (see Shudo), but sexual relations between the two became inappropriate once the boy came of age"

IMO, There really are no cultural behaviors that can be universally classified as either good or bad.  Only good or bad in the context of the culture and time.
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by:SteveJ
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sbdt8631,

I'm not sure what your point is . . .that a group of people behaved in certain way doesn't imply universal morl acceptance . . . tho the way I phrased the comment you responded to invites your answer.

But to be clear, are you saying that there have been times when murder, rape and child molestation were universally accepted? I am saying that there has not been a time when those acts were universally acceptable. I have no doubt -- as you point out -- that there are wads and clots of poeple who exhibit odd behavior but they are the exception, the anomoly, not the rule.

Good luck,
SteveJ
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by:sbdt8631
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SteveJ
Judges 21:10-24 NLT
Numbers 31:7-18 NLT

In both of these passages, the Israelites kill all the men, boys and non-virgin women of their enemy.  The virgins they kept for themselves.  Today we would consider that to be rape and murder.  Then it was acceptable as tactics of war.
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by:SteveJ
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sbdt8631,

Earlier I commented -- directed at Big Rat -- that I didn't believe tactics employed to achieve an end could be considered as an affirmation of moral acceptance. In fact, just the opposite. If killing boys and non-virgin women were considered akin to belching or wearing the same pair of underwear 2 days in a row (in other words, weren't considered as abhorrent acts), then they likely would have done something else.

There seems to be confusion about what I am trying to point out: if a society accepts water boarding, for example, I don't think that means that society considers torture to be ok. Im trying to draw a distinction between what you as an individual consider to be right and wrong and what a despot in control of a region might employ to accomplish an end.

Good luck,
SteveJ
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by:SteveJ
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. . . which has virtually nothing to do with the question that I posed on this thread.
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by:sbdt8631
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>>which has virtually nothing to do with the question that I posed on this thread

You brought it up. :)

Actually I do think it has something to do with the original question as it relates to whether a person can have faith in their own belief while still holding the position that other beliefs might also be true.  It is a matter of whether a person has a black and white view of the world or whether one can see the shades of grey.  I think that the more that a person can recognize that there are no absolute truths when it comes to human beings, their beliefs and behaviors, the more likely they are to say my god is right for me and you god is right for you.
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by:Jason210
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But that was then, this is now. What's changed?

Awareness. We are more conscious now.

If you learn about someones life and character, you judge them less harshly. That's why in movies the baddies are alwasy demonsied, and never presented as humans with lives and family. If you saw them presented sympathetically, you would not be able to hate them and wish them dead etc.

Just another little tidbit of evidence to support the idea that awareness, being aware, having knowledge, make hatred and anger subside...

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by:Observer_123
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If in Old Testament is writen about killing boys and non-virgin women, this do not means that this can be considered as standart. Now as I know in some coutries even if you make sexual propzal to unknown woman, this can be persecuted by the law.

About the Teachings of Christ, yes, they are many,  and official church doctrines not the only, and is questioned even wheder they represent the real Teaching of Christ.
For that is considered the importanse of esoteric lineage of Esoteric Christianity - for thouse, who is ready for it.
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by:SteveJ
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sbdt8631,

That remark wasn't intended as scolding . . .I was just thinking how easy it is for questions to morph, particularly on this subject

Steve
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by:sbdt8631
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SteveJ
I understand that, which is why I included the :)
Unless I misunderstood your original question, I don't think it has morphed that much.  It seems to me you are asking whether all Christians believe theirs is the one and only true faith and whether all non-Christians perceive all Christians as such.  It is a question of absolutes.
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by:Jason210
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Perhaps the "absolute" equates to the 3D-pyramid I mentioned in my analogy earlier. In that case, it would me that very few ever experience the absolute, but see a 2D shadow of it instead.
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by:sbdt8631
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Jason210
Using your analogy, I don't think humans can see much more than your 2D image.  I would even argue that the 3D image does not exist.
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by:Observer_123
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Well, the "3D image" exists, but depend for who!
There is different levels of consciousness / awereness - and one of the tasks of spiritual development is to become more and more aware for this consciousness . For this is necessery daily practice, instead of philosophy:)
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by:BigRat
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Steve, I don't mind people calling my ideas "bunk" - after all Henry Ford used the term. Rudeness starts when one gets personal.

I think what you are trying to say is that, and it is a bit inherant in the question and CCSOFlag's position, that there are some standards which the majority of people might want to adhere to, what they might call univseral or absolute. However we must not assume a universality which does not exist. You wrote :-

"are you saying that there have been times when murder, rape and child molestation were universally accepted?"

Well, in prehistoric times it may as well have been the case that those sort of things could be done to "the other clan", those who were competing for food or shelter or whatever. There were no univerals, since people did not know about other people. Clearly educated and cultured people would be appalled at press-ganging, but few who lived near the coast actually knew about the existance of it. In some societies baby-girls would be killed or left to die, because the family needed sons to survive. The parents were obviously not happy about the practice but they saw the necessity for doing that. Only these days this sort of thing is universally condoned, because, it is argued, the government (ie: society as a whole) can provide the necessary care - ie: social security. But look how long that took in comming in the Western World, with it's child labour, disregard for public health, environment and so on (all diocumented by Dickens and others during the Victorian era) to change it's moral position - and perhaps this is not complete?

I think that you may believe to be able to find certain "moral absolutes" and you'll certainly find them amongst the religious, but I don't think that the list can get very long, simply because people percieve things differently.
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by:Jason210
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sbdt8631

I would even argue that the 3D image does not exist

That was my analogy for an absolute. I think there is only one absolute, but that none of us can know it conceptually but all of us perceive it differently.
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by:SteveJ
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Jason210 . . . a slight change to your analogy, instead of 2D vs 3D . . . think about when a triangle can be composed of 3 x 90degree angles. Most people cannot imagine that, and tend to see things two dimensionally, planar geometry. But on a sphere . . . you can demonstrate how this is possible. Both clearly exist, 2D and 3D but require different thinking to resolve. By studying the Bible -- not to find fault, but to understand -- perhaps you gain clarity.

<<I think that you may believe to be able to find certain "moral absolutes" and you'll certainly find them amongst the religious, but I don't think that the list can get very long, simply because people percieve things differently. >>

I agree . . .there are only 10 commandments in the Bible, a pretty short list. I think the one that confuses most people has to do with not worshiping idols . . . which, to me, is very clear: avoid drug addiction, alcoholism, obsession over money and material stuff . . .

Im not sure I agree with your pre-historic comment . . . it may very well be that those things could be done to the other clan, but as I said earlier, the fact that they are done to hurt or impose a will or terrorize proves my point, which is that murder, rape and child molestation are wrong and people know it and have always known it. I think it is pure speculation ( and inaccurate speculation ) to imagine that a pre-historic mom gives birth and then the pre-historic dad stomps the child to death and the pre-historic mom would be unaffected. Things only get murky when you start defining murder as soldier A killing opposing soldier B . . . acting under orders? Acting as the agressor? Acting in self-defense? But that murkiness doesn't subtract from my contention that one universal truth is that murder is wrong.

Good luck,
Steve
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by:sbdt8631
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>>to imagine that a pre-historic mom gives birth and then the pre-historic dad stomps the child to death and the pre-historic mom would be unaffected

What if the baby was from her previous mate who is now dead?  She knows she needs a new provider and he will give her more babies.  Who can even begin to say what was acceptable behavior in pre-history.  That’s why it is called pre-history.

>>But that murkiness doesn't subtract from my contention that one universal truth is that murder is wrong.
It is the murkiness that abrogates using the term universal truth.  What exactly is Murder?  Is abortion murder?  One person says yes, another says it is a woman’s right to choose.  Capital punishment? One country says yes, another no.  Killing a slave?  In 1825 Alabama it was not murder.  Yes most cultures at any given time agreed that murder was not moral.  The problem is defining when it is acceptable killing and when it is murder.  
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by:Jason210
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SteveJ

Jason210 . . . a slight change to your analogy, instead of 2D vs 3D . . . think about when a triangle can be composed of 3 x 90degree angles. Most people cannot imagine that, and tend to see things two dimensionally, planar geometry. But on a sphere . . . you can demonstrate how this is possible. Both clearly exist, 2D and 3D but require different thinking to resolve. By studying the Bible -- not to find fault, but to understand -- perhaps you gain clarity.

I think this is true and that is a very good attitude, but one thing that one must realise in such a quest is that words -- even the right words read with the right understanding -- can only take you to the brink. That is where a true spiritual text should take you - to the point where concepts no longer help you, to the edge of an abyss. Many people who start out with good intentions can never leave the books alone. Without realising it they get side-tracked and lost in web of concepts and historical teachings.

Real spiritual development comes not from reading, but from transformation of consciousness. It is this transformation that leads to seeing things differently - not conceptually knowledge.

This is one of the reasons why I like the Gospel of Thomas. Unlike the other Gospels, the Gospel of Thomas makes no attempt of putting Jesus into a narrative framework. It is just collection of sayings from Jesus, that sound like they have been writtten down for the first time having been collected by oral traditions. Many schloars believe Thomas to be a primary text.

The key to understanding Thomas is the knowledge that Jesus is not speaking from the same ordinary consciousness that you or I  have.. I particularly like this passage:

28. Jesus said, "I stood in the midst of the world, and came to them in the flesh. I found all of them drunk. I did not find any of them thirsty. My soul was saddened for the sons of men, for they are mentally blind. They do not see that they have come into the world empty and they will go out of the world empty. But now they are drunk.

Ity's not enough to understand what he is saying conceptually. You have to experience what he is saying. And also this:

Jesus said, "Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is. Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death.

Where is Jesus coming from? To my mind the most important thing that needs to be grasped is that Jesus was a real person. He was born, lived and died. Like anyone else. Unfortunately, many Christians, like Callandor, cannot accept this. But I'm sorry to say you if you think Jesus is some kind of supernatural being, and that his state is unattainable by you, then reading the New testement will at best teach you how to behave and give you beliefs and hopes  -- you will learn nothing about yourself. Jesus will become an obstacle to your own spiritual development.










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by:Observer_123
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From my point of view, it is important who we follow as our Spiritual Master/Teacher. But I thing is more important to represent His Teaching as "good fruits". Does He need from name-plates "Christians"?
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by:SteveJ
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<<What if the baby was from her previous mate who is now dead?  She knows she needs a new provider and he will give her more babies.  Who can even begin to say what was acceptable behavior in pre-history.  That’s why it is called pre-history.>>

What if the baby was deformed? What if the baby . . . and on  and on.

That murder is wrong seems an inescapable truth to me and yet all the refuting evidence in this post comes in the form of refernce to past cultural abberations, altered circumstances, nations led by despots with questionalble motives, slavery in the 19th century US . . . it's as if someone is arguing that "murder is ok" because they've been forced by the debate teacher to take that position  . . . and they can't really find any supporting data.

What is murder? Really? Abortion? That's got nothing to do with whether murder is wrong does it? Isn't that a debate about when life begins? Capital punishment? That's a question about whether the state or society is empowered to commit murder, not whether murder is right or wrong. Alabama in 1825? I think there's a difference between "official sanction" and "right and wrong". I think to say that "murder is wrong" isn't a universal truth is to say that "life has value" isn't a universal truth. Sure, there are people -- and there always will be -- for whom life has no value. They don't set the standard, they are the exception.

sbdt8631 . . . do you think murder is wrong? If so, where do you think you got that idea?

Jason210 -- agreed. The book is the path not the destination. Lots of people are confused about that.

Good luck,
SteveJ
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by:sbdt8631
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>>sbdt8631 . . . do you think murder is wrong? If so, where do you think you got that idea?
Yes murder is wrong.  I got the idea from my upbringing, my parents and my society.  You say I am arguing as though I am taking a debate point without any supporting evidence.  It seems to me you are arguing the hard moral stance against murder while understanding the “murkiness” behind the argument.  If you are going to say murder is wrong as an universal truth you need to define murder from a moral standpoint.  Legal definitions for murder are hard coded as statutes.  Moral definitions are not.
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by:SteveJ
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Sorry sbdt8631, I didn't consciously intend to lay that on you the way it came out. You have been an articulate respondant and I appreciate that.

To be clear, murder is taking a life. I am against taking a life. The murkiness I refer to enters when you apply different circumstances to the act: pregnant as the result of rape (abortion), capital punishment (as in Texas, killing someone during another felony), war . . . I've been unwavering in my belief that murder is wrong, but I have acknowledged that there are situations where it is justified.

What I've tried to articulate is that believing murder is wrong as a universal truth is not inconsistent with belief in the death penalty or abortion or war. I can understand how a philosophical purist can have a problem with that, but thankfully, philosophical purists are acadamicians and don't have much authority or effect on everyday life. Nor do I believe that every death penalty carried out, every abortion, every war was justified.

Long ago on P&R a question was posed 'if you could kill one person to save 10,000,000, would you do it?" and there were people who argued passionately on both sides. The folks who said they didn't believe in murder but would kill the one person to save the 10,000,000 were sand blasted by those opposed, calling them hypocrites. I don't believe they (we) were hypocritical.

Steve
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by:SteveJ
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sbdt8631 . . .to your last point . . .the legal definitions are attempts by society to define morality as it relates to murder. Stabbing someone to death to steal their money, or running over someone with your car because you fell asleep at the wheel are not seen as morally equivalent crimes and are not treated the same way legally. Sitting in a tower picking off students with a deer rifle and scope, and sitting in a tower picking off invading enemy troops are not seen as moral equivalents either. However, the morality behind the invasion, and even the morality of defending yourself with deadly force are controversial.

Steve
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by:SteveJ
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<<I got the idea from my upbringing, my parents and my society.>>

And where did they get that view?

"It's turtles all the way down."

Steve
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by:sbdt8631
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SteveJ
I don’t think you were being hypocritical.  I think it goes straight back to your original question as to whether one can be a Christian and still believe that non-Christians may be on their own correct path.  Also whether or not non-Christians implicitly assume that all Christian see the world in the black and white of the bible or whether they understand that Christians can see shades of gray.  I think you and other Christians  do see the grays which is why I question you arguing about universal truths.  If you believe in God, you can define God as an universal truth.  I just don’t see how you can define a concept of man as universal.

>>And where did they get that view?
Their parents and society.  That is my point.  It evloves over time.
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by:SteveJ
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<<  I just don’t see how you can define a concept of man as universal.>>

God's commandment: Don't kill


Steve
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by:Callandor
ID: 35134746
If the definition of Christian is whatever anyone chooses it to be, then no one should criticize a Christian for not following the teachings of Christ - yet that is exactly what people do around the world, and in this zone in particular.  Are they right for doing so?  I think so, because calling oneself a Christian brings with it an identification with Christ.  And I will reiterate the point I made before which those who don't agree with my perspective haven't addressed: Jesus himself said not everyone who calls himself a follower of Christ is actually a follower of Christ.  This choosing to call yourself whatever you want apparently didn't sit well with him, either.

>reading the New testement will at best teach you how to behave and give you beliefs and hopes

From your perspective, that may be, but from where I and millions of Christians stand, it is the key to knowing someone - the God who said he would come to dwell in the believer, and empower them to become more and more like him.  If the Bible was just a textbook to be studied, I would have put it down long ago, but it is the way to a radical transformation and opens the way to living as I was designed to live.  It is a living text for today, not just a view into the past.
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by:Jason210
ID: 35136025
"the God who said he would come to dwell in the believer, and empower them to become more and more like him"

Looks's like it's from John, which was written totally differently to any other gospel. John is the only Gospel that appears to be written by somoene who has undergone some kind of transformation of consciousness to the extent that he knew where Jesus was coming from.

I never said the Bible was just a text, but just that words can only take you so far. Many people today who read John would reject it as nonsense. You have to have faith if it is to work, and not everyone has that. That's the problem with old texts like this.
 
"Jesus himself said not everyone who calls himself a follower of Christ is actually a follower of Christ."

That doesn't tell us who is and who isn't, and I think it has little to do with whether you follow the Christian church or follow the teachings in your own way.
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by:Callandor
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John's gospel may be different in view from the Synoptic gospels, but he doesn't have a different view of who Jesus is and what his purpose was.  Words indeed can only take you so far, but they are there to reveal what could not be known without them.  The ultimate goal is a relationship with God, and that idea is present throughout the Old and New Testaments.

>That doesn't tell us who is and who isn't, and I think it has little to do with whether you follow the Christian church or follow the teachings in your own way.

It was necessary to answer those who say anyone can call themselves a Christian - I say "prove it", and start with Jesus' definition.  For a really good explanation of who is a Christian, read 1 John.  He lays it out in very clear terms.
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by:sbdt8631
ID: 35137206
>>God's commandment: Don't kill
God’s commandment may be universal.  Man’s interpretation is murky.

>>Jesus himself said not everyone who calls himself a follower of Christ is actually a follower of Christ.  This choosing to call yourself whatever you want apparently didn't sit well with him, either.
So how are you supposed to identify who exactly is a true follower of Christ? Is there a blueprint or a manual? You may say that the manual is the bible, but it is vague as to when one is a “true follower.”  Callandor, have you not studied the bible for years?  Has your understanding been stagnate all that time or have you developed new insights and new perspectives into different aspects of the bible as you study it further?  So, when did you become a true follower?  Was it when you first started, five years later, ten? I imagine that your interpretation of the bible has to have evolved as you studied it further and gained a deeper appreciation for what it said.  At what point was your interpretation the correct one and how should a “true follower of Christ” know they have gained the correct view?

>>That doesn't tell us who is and who isn't, and I think it has little to do with whether you follow the Christian church or follow the teachings in your own way.
I agree.  How does one identify who is true?
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by:Jason210
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May be we should all go and carefully read John?

To my mind, it doesn't matter whether you call yourself a Christian or not, because I do not believe that Jesus is the only spiritually enlightened person to have existed, and I don't see why we should be interested in that particular perosnal manifestation of God Consciousness.

Better not to call yourself anything.



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by:sbdt8631
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>>To my mind, it doesn't matter whether you call yourself a Christian or not, because I do not believe that Jesus is the only spiritually enlightened person to have existed, and I don't see why we should be interested in that particular perosnal manifestation of God Consciousness.

I think this is similar to the thought expressed in the original question that being a Christian may be a correct path for some, but isn't necessarily the only path.
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by:CCSOFlag
ID: 35142474
Wow interesting discussion.  First I wanted to say hello to Jason.  It's a pleasure hearing his insight again.  You've been missed.

I wanted to say this:

Callandor wrote:
I think the New Testament definition of faith is the willingness to follow someone.

You should read Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31 and 16:8.

Jesus sure surrounds himself with people who don't want to follow Him according to your definition.  Can you walk on water?  I will be the first to admit I sure as heck can't, and Peter DID!  But yet Jesus said Peter had little faith.  Faith has nothing to do with willingness to follow, it has to do with the belief in the power of Christ and God.  Faith in who they are.  Even Jesus' disciples lacked the faith Jesus wanted them to have.  So does that mean they are not Christians?  I think not.  It's the same with me.  Of course I doubt things, of course I do not have faith to walk on water, does that mean I'm not a Christian?

For those talking about the Bible being the final authority on the subject.  Do you realize the Bible we have now isn't even the original canon?  Do you realize even today "Christian" groups follow different canons?  You may take the Bible as the final authority, but I do not.  In Jesus time the New Testament didn't even exist.  The Bible IS flawed whether people like it or not.  If you believe otherwise then answer this single question.  Why does the Book of Joshua and the Book of Job reference the book of Jasher, but yet the book of Jasher is not considered part of the canon?  Why did they remove the Book of Jasher?  If the book of Jasher is not a legitimate book then Joshua and Job cannot be either.

As far as the whole moral thing about murder.  Morals are a personal conviction.  If you have someone who believes abortion is murder, you cannot force the opposite on them.  Who says they are right or wrong for believing it?  You?  me?  The government?  I don't think so.  That's just like saying the government can tell me what religion to believe.  I believe what I believe no matter what anyone else wants me to believe.  during WWII do you think the Nazis thought they were wrong?  bad?  immoral?  No, they really thought they were in the right.  Well others thought differently.  Who was right or wrong?  Both were right in their own eyes.  If you take the animalistic approach, the Nazi's were right.  Survival of the fittest, right?  Isn't that the way of life?  If you take the modern majority attitude on genocide, then the Nazi's were in the wrong.  Again is there REALLY a right or wrong?  I don't believe so.  I only believe there is a majority belief that forms the laws that allow or disallow certain behaviors.

And I'm sorry, but if you are against murder, but believe murdering one for 100,000 is ok, then you are a hypocrite.  murder is murder, no matter the reason.  So what about 1 for 1000?  1 for 50?  1 for 10?  1 for 2?  1 for 1?  Where does the line get drawn.

OK, I'm done for now.
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by:Callandor
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sbdt8631,

>So how are you supposed to identify who exactly is a true follower of Christ?

Perhaps you didn't see my post about 1 John while you were composing your response.  It includes the following, which can be categorized as the assurance believers have:
- 1 John 1:6 If you walk in the light - imitate God's character
- 1 John 2:3-6 If Jesus is the boss of your life - obedience to God's commandments
- 1 John 3:4-10 If sin is not the habit of your life
- 1 John 3:11-20 If you love in deed and truth, not just word
- 1 John 5:4-5 If your faith in Christ overcomes the world
However, these are only things that may or may not be visible.  Ultimately, the only ones who can know for sure with 100% certainty that they are believers are the person and God - everyone else is making an educated guess.

One does not become a follower after many years of study - it is as simple as believing in Christ, which any child can do.  Views do change as understanding progresses, but the point at which one becomes a believer does not change over time.  Conversely, one may have the wrong idea of Jesus and think one is a Christian, but that can't be, or one might as well worship an idol and say they are following Jesus.
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by:Callandor
ID: 35143949
>You should read Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31 and 16:8

I see Jesus saying to his disciples that they had little faith.  And I see after his resurrection that they spoke boldly and with power.  I would point you to James 2:14-17, which links faith and actions.

> Faith has nothing to do with willingness to follow, it has to do with the belief in the power of Christ and God

And I will counter that the demons know the power of Christ, but they don't commit themselves to obey him.  Walking on water has nothing to do with identifying with Christ or following him - did Jesus rebuke the disciples who didn't try to walk on water?  But those who refused to recognize Jesus as who he really was, were they followers of Jesus?  Nope.

> You may take the Bible as the final authority, but I do not.  In Jesus time the New Testament didn't even exist.

Jesus was the final authority, and he entrusted his disciples to proclaim the gospel after he was gone.  I don't see what the book of Jasher has to do with the Bible being the inspired word of God or not - there's a third letter to the Corinthians that is not included as well.  God's sovereignty is part and parcel of what was preserved for us to read today.  You may not like it; there are a lot of people who don't like God's views as expressed in the Bible, either.  In the end, people just want to go their own way and not listen to God.
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by:BigRat
ID: 35146430
>> They don't set the standard, they are the exception.

and

>> I've been unwavering in my belief that murder is wrong, but I have acknowledged that there are situations where it is justified.

I think, Steve, that you want your cake and eat it! Where is the universality which is based on individual opinion? A universal truth must appeal to all, not just a chosen select few.
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by:BigRat
ID: 35146466
>>right for doing so?  I think so, because calling oneself a Christian brings with it an identification with Christ.  And I will reiterate the point I made before which those who don't agree with my perspective haven't addressed: Jesus himself said not everyone who calls himself a follower of Christ is actually a follower of Christ.

But that is exactly our point - we have addressed the point Jesus made. It applies just as much to YOU as it does to us. In fact the point was that there would be a horde of dodgy people trying to obtain power, influence, money and position out of the gullible by calling themselves Followers of Christ. Your pouncing on CCSOFlag for calling himself a Christian as if he were ursurping a title or position which he obtained by deception is way out of place.
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by:Jason210
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Bigrat
In fact the point was that there would be a horde of dodgy people trying to obtain power, influence, money and position out of the gullible by calling themselves Followers of Christ

Isn't that known as the Vatican?

CCSOFlag
Thanks for the welcome.

As I said, to my mind it doesn't matter what you call yourself because this is not the measure of your spiritual knowledge.

In fact I believe it is dangerous to label yourself not only in that it means different things to different people, but also in that you may find yourself living up to the particular idea or concept of that which you call yourself. Following a concept is a mistake. If you fall for this then your consciousness develops in a similar way that of the of the follower of an ideology, such as Marxism, where you enter a kind of group mentality and develop pride. All of a sudden you are divided and far from the goal of spirituality which is unification.

This can be seen happening in this thread, where some here identify with a particular form of Christianity and live up to that, with intolerance as a  result.

As Bigrat points out "A universal truth must appeal to all, not just a chosen select few".






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by:sbdt8631
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>>Ultimately, the only ones who can know for sure with 100% certainty that they are believers are the person and God

I agree except that I would say that only God can make that determination.  This is why I agree with CSOFlag (paraphrase) - that one’s path toward God does not invalidate another’s, even if they are entirely different.

>>Where is the universality which is based on individual opinion?

I agree.  Universal truths are always interpreted by individuals, which is why they are not universal.
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by:Jason210
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I agree except that I would say that only God can make that determination.  

I think a person can know with certainty if they beleiev something or not, because when we talked about 100% certainty we are no longer talking about thoughts or theories, but direct experience, and the simplest form of that is faith, which, to my mind, is a transformation of consciousness.

I know what you mean whan you say only God can make that dermination. Totally unhelpful comment.

Universal truths are always interpreted by individuals, which is why they are not universal.

Also agree. There is always an interpretive framework. Universal truths, however, are not the same as absolute truth.
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by:sbdt8631
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>>I know what you mean whan you say only God can make that dermination. Totally unhelpful comment.

I don't know why you call it unhelpful.  It goes to the heart of the original question relating to whether it is acceptable to believe in God your way and grant that another might also follow a different, but correct, path.  According to monotheists, IMO, man is not supposed to be able to understand the mind of God.  Therefore, who is man to make the determination who is true follower/believer.
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I think I know whether I believe something or not, never mind about God. What someone else thinks of me is irrelevant.
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by:Callandor
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>Your pouncing on CCSOFlag for calling himself a Christian as if he were ursurping a title or position which he obtained by deception is way out of place.

I'm not pouncing on CCSOFlag, but I am arguing for the standard of who is a Christian, and it isn't my standard, it's Jesus' definition, as I pointed out.  Why would anyone want to call themselves a Christian and not check out how Jesus defines it?  You're not arguing with me, you're arguing with the Bible.  And yes, it applies to me as well.
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by:Callandor
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In case you're wondering what I'm referring to, it was my first post in this question, that Jesus claimed to be the only way to the Father, and that makes the possibility of other ways something of a contradiction, or something Jesus chose not to reveal to us (in which case we would not know).
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by:SteveJ
ID: 35155779
<<And I'm sorry, but if you are against murder, but believe murdering one for 100,000 is ok, then you are a hypocrite.  murder is murder, no matter the reason.  So what about 1 for 1000?  1 for 50?  1 for 10?  1 for 2?  1 for 1?  Where does the line get drawn.>>

I don't know that I really disagree in priciple. . . but I think your view is horribly impractical, and I think you took liberty by rewording my thinking . . . to say that I think it's "ok" really minimizes my feeling about that. There's a great passage from a book called "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Montserrat where the captain of a Corvette in the North Atlantic during WWII is steaming toward a large group of men in the water who'd survived the sinking of their ship. They think the Corvette is coming to rescue them, but in fact there is a German sub beneath them and the captain of the Corvette is charged with protecting the convoy. He -- the captain -- is filled with anguish as he sees the faces of the men yet he gives the order to begin dropping depth charges. I don't think he thought it was ok, to kill those men to protect the convoy. And I thank my God that CCSOflag wasn't captain of that ship. No, I don't think it's "ok", tho I am to lazy to read back thru all the posts to see how I worded my thoughts. I think it would still be wrong. But, given the hypothetical situation I posed, I think it would be "wronger" not to take the life of one to save 100,000. . . By the way, are you then calling Jesus' death suicide? It would seem from your point of view, that "sacrifice" would be the wrong word.

<<I agree except that I would say that only God can make that determination.  This is why I agree with CSOFlag (paraphrase) - that one’s path toward God does not invalidate another’s, even if they are entirely different.>>

Well, as long as you understand that's inconsistent with Christian view of Jesus' teaching. I think that's central to most complaints / arguments with Christianity. Paraphrase: "There is only one way to the Father, through me". Perhaps it's a Calvinist interpretation, but that seems pretty exclusive to me.

The question I posed has really to do with tolerance. If I am 100% always certain of my faith, then it ceases to be faith . . . and I cannot by definition be "tolerant" of another's point of view because by my own conviction they will be wrong. I am "tolerant" to the extent that I recognize since I cannot be 100% certain always of my faith, the possibility exists that I am wrong. I *thought* that was what CCSOflag was saying . . . perhaps not.

SteveJ

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by:Jason210
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"There is only one way to the Father, through me".

Typical of the kind of statement by Jesus that that leads to misunderstanding and intolerance years after his death.

Look at in its context (John 14:6)

 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me".

I AM and ME are not referring to the personal Jesus here. There are referring to the God Consciousness. Jesus is trying to do the impossible - convey in words something that cannot be conveyed in words.

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by:sbdt8631
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>>Well, as long as you understand that's inconsistent with Christian view of Jesus' teaching. I think that's central to most complaints / arguments with Christianity. Paraphrase: "There is only one way to the Father, through me".
>> I am "tolerant" to the extent that I recognize since I cannot be 100% certain always of my faith, the possibility exists that I am wrong.

IMO, I understand that it is inconsistent with some Christians' view of Jesus’ teachings, but not necessarily all. Also, as Jason210 points out there is more than one way to interpret that statement.
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by:Mujtaba_Alam_Khan
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> Typical of the kind of statement by Jesus that that leads to misunderstanding and intolerance years after his death. <

Probably also throws out the uncertainty of whether the faith has some true meaning or not and become the arguments of scholars of different faiths / sects.

---
In reality no faith is certain of whether its true (100% or 1%) but to some level of certainty exist that God exist and the faith one holds onto is true to some degree or else what is the point of religion.

-Muj ;-)
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by:Callandor
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>Also, as Jason210 points out there is more than one way to interpret that statement.

What makes Jason210 an expert on interpretation of the New Testament?  Does he have credentials in Greek?  I certaintly don't know where he pulled that interpretation from - he tends to use declarative statements about Jesus' words, without explaining how he arrived at those conclusions.
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by:Jason210
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Hi Muj

Faith seems to be different to belief. I'd agree with you that belief is question of percentage along a scale of certainty, but faith seems to be a differnt matter.
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by:Jason210
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Callandor,

My view is based on the wider perspective of knowledge the world's religions and key spiritual leaders, that I have studied since I was 18.
My view is based on the idea that Jesus was a man, not some supernatural being.
My view is based on the idea that there is nothing supernatural in the world today than there wasn't then
My view is based on the fact that we are here now, and so the answers.

People here know my succinct style, and they know yours. The more ideas that are presented here, the better.

I am not sure how you think that studying Greek language is going to help anyone in the matter of spirituality, but if that were the case, then it would apply to everyone participating in this discussion.
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by:Jason210
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Hands up who has credentials in Greek?
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by:sbdt8631
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>>What makes Jason210 an expert on interpretation of the New Testament?

I didn't claim it was the generally accepted interpretation or that Jason210 is a biblical scholar.  I was merely pointing out that there may be more than one way to interpret a passage.  
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by:Jason210
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There my be a number of interpretations, but I disagree with the personal one, that Jesus is refering to his person. I do not believe that is a valid interpretation.

Look again at the statement:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me".

A personal interpretation of this can have only two possible outcomes:

a) If true, then it automatically invalidates all other religions
b) If not true, then it automatically invalidates Jesus and Christianity

However, if we interpret then meaning of "I am" and "Me" differently, then there is a third alternative.

In Judaism, God refers to himself as the I AM. "I AM that I AM" was God's reply to Moses when he asked his name. In Hinduism, spiritual teacher Ramana Maharshi stated that of all the definitions of God, "none is indeed so well put as the biblical statement “I am that I am”". Hindu scripture contains similar statements. The "I am" is also explained by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj as an abstraction in the mind of the Stateless State, of the Absolute, or the Supreme Reality, called Parabrahman. This could be described in familiar terms as pure awareness, prior to thoughts, free from perceptions, associations, memories.

So why go for (a) or (b) when we have :

(c) "I am" and "Me" refers to God or God consciousness.

I totally reject the interpretation of the "I am" and "Me" in the statement “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" as refering to the personal Jesus.







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by:Jason210
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There are other reasons why I reject “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" as refering to the personal Jesus.

In Luke 10, someone asks Jesus what he needs to do to get eternal life. Does Jesus say you must go through me? No. He said to the man "What is written in the Law?" and he answered "Love theGod with all your heart, soul, strength and mind" and also, "Love your neighbor as yourself". Jesus said (Luke 10:28) "You have answered correctly"

Important to note that Jesus did not say to the man that he must accept Jesus as a mediator between him and GOD to win Eternal Life.

There are other examples of this also. The interpretation I offer is the logical choice.
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by:SteveJ
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Jesus . . .that he was a man and not supernatural . . . then he was a nutcase because he spoke in odd parables and referred to himself as something other than just a man. Whatever he said, while very important, is less relevant in terms of Christian belief than that he was born, died and arose . . . that he died for our sins and that he was God on earth.

The reference to facility with the Greek language -- and it was a fair comment -- is simply that a good deal of the original text was interpreted from Greek, so to make observations and inferences from the English translation to formulate argument is . . . of doubtful value.


SteveJ
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by:CCSOFlag
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Callandor wrote:

But those who refused to recognize Jesus as who he really was, were they followers of Jesus?  Nope.

I think maybe both of us are missing the whole picture.  Peter denied knowing Christ three times, but he was still a Christian.  I think maybe it is more a combination of what we are both saying.  I didn't mean just faith being just knowing or using the power of God.

I don't see what the book of Jasher has to do with the Bible being the inspired word of God or not - there's a third letter to the Corinthians that is not included as well.

There a re a lot of books that are debated.  If the Bible was truly the inspired word of God, wouldn't you think God would allow His word to be infallible?  My point with the Book of Jasher was saying that the canon is not reliably the true books of God.  If a scientific work referenced a work that was rejected by the scientific community to support it, wouldn't that scientific piece also be rejected?  It should be the same case for the books of the Bible.  The book of Jasher is referenced by two books of the "accepted" Bible, but yet that book itself is not officially accepted as part of the Bible.  the canon was not put together by God Himself.  It was put together by humans with an agenda.  Their agenda was to spread their version of Christianity.  At the time there were many sects of Christianity.  I just cannot have the blind faith as some do that the Bible is unerringly the word of God.  No where does Jesus say what books are the word of God and which aren't.  Humans are imperfect and thus nothing from them can be perfect.  If you or anyone else is really interested in the history of all this I recommend The Lost Christianities by Bart D Ehrman.

You may not like it; there are a lot of people who don't like God's views as expressed in the Bible, either.

It doesn't have to do with not liking something.  It has to do with no support or evidence to trust certain books as truth.  As I have mentioned in the past, I have read the Bible and a lot of the apocrypha.  I don't bog myself down with details, instead I take the concepts out of the books and reject concepts that do not seem to match up with what Jesus stood for.

Jesus claimed to be the only way to the Father, and that makes the possibility of other ways something of a contradiction
The thing is I don't deny that in any way.  What I say is I do not know for 100% that Christianity as a whole is the correct religion.  If it is, then yes I believe that Jesus is the only way, but if Jesus was just some schmuck that made up stuff then it's all a moot point.  I just accept the possibility that what I beleive as far as religion could be wrong since there is no proof of it.  If there was proof there would only be Christianity right now.  Because of what I've experienced, I have no reason to believe something other than Christianity.  Thus yes I believe the only way to God is through Christ.


BigRat wrote:
I think, Steve, that you want your cake and eat it! Where is the universality which is based on individual opinion? A universal truth must appeal to all, not just a chosen select few.

Agreed.

Jason wrote:
In fact I believe it is dangerous to label yourself not only in that it means different things to different people

I agree.  Any more I don't even call myself a Christian because it has become too cliche and means nothing these days.  To me "Christians" are a bunch of hypocrites any more.  

This can be seen happening in this thread, where some here identify with a particular form of Christianity and live up to that, with intolerance as a  result.

I think it stems from ignorance of the knowledge we have.  Even taking the canon as an example.  People just blindly believe that the Bible is the unerring word of God, but they don't even know where or when the Bible even came into existence.  The canon was forced on everyone and they just accepted it without question.  If you did question it you were labeled a heretic and probably killed.  The truth shall always prevail no matter how much persecution there it.

I think a person can know with certainty if they believe something or not
I think I know whether I believe something or not, never mind about God. What someone else thinks of me is irrelevant.
Agreed


Steve,
about your WWII story:
That person obviously believes in conditional murder since he is at war to begin with.  Most people believe murder is ok just under certain circumstances.  Just like I would shoot someone who is in my home.  It's murder, but I do not agree in killing one to save 100,000, unless that one voluntarily did it.

I am "tolerant" to the extent that I recognize since I cannot be 100% certain always of my faith, the possibility exists that I am wrong. I *thought* that was what CCSOflag was saying
You got it. :)


Muj wrote:
In reality no faith is certain of whether its true (100% or 1%) but to some level of certainty exist that God exist and the faith one holds onto is true to some degree or else what is the point of religion.

I agree.  Good point.

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by:SteveJ
ID: 35157626
<<BigRat wrote:
I think, Steve, that you want your cake and eat it! Where is the universality which is based on individual opinion? A universal truth must appeal to all, not just a chosen select few.
Agreed.>>

I think you've taken the point beyond an "ad absurdem" statement . . . I didn't say "puce is the best color" . . . I said taking a life is wrong. Are you saying that only a chosen select few think taking a life is wrong?

SteveJ
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by:CCSOFlag
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Steve,
Sorry I shouldn't have included the part of your cake.  I was commenting on the other part of that line.
You say taking a life is wrong, but the problem is you don't truly believe that.  You believe there are cases where taking a life is ok.  So you do beleive taking a life is ok.  I've never met anyone who believes taking a life is wrong.  They always have an exception.  This means they don't believe it's wrong.  Thus it's not a uniiversal truth.  It's all individual opinion.  Some believe it's ok for capital punishment, others don't, some believe abortion is ok, others don't, some agree with war, others don't.  It's endless, thus there is not a universal truth that it's wrong to take a life.  As long as one person has a exception to the rule, it will be individual opinion.
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by:BigRat
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Well put, CCSOFlag. In fact I believe that taking life is wrong in ALL circumstances as threads here with long involved hypothetical situations invented by DanRollins will testify.
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by:CCSOFlag
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Interesting BigRat.  Forgive me if you've already answered many hypothetical situations, but what about these.  Are any of these ok?
-So you are against war 100%?
-Against capital punishment 100%?
-What about law enforcement?  Is it ok for them to kill perpetrators according to local laws?
-Someone intrudes in your home and is about to shoot your kids and possibly you.  You would not shoot this intruder?  You'd let your kids and yourself be killed?
-What about assisted suicide?
-Lastly, sympathy killing (when someone is going to die, but you kill them earlier than they would have died for various reason (pain, suffering, etc)?

I am not in any way going to condemn you or argue, I will just be amazed if you say no to all these, because as I said I've never met anyone who truly believes it's 100% wrong to take someone's life.  thanks for humoring me if you do though.  :)

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by:Jason210
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SteveJ

Jesus . . .that he was a man and not supernatural . . . then he was a nutcase because he spoke in odd parables and referred to himself as something other than just a man. Whatever he said, while very important, is less relevant in terms of Christian belief than that he was born, died and arose . . . that he died for our sins and that he was God on earth.

That's unfortunate view.  ie That either he was a supernatural or a nutcase. Have you even considered that there may be a third alternative? Have you ever considered that you might be also something other than a man? That may be you are not what you take yourself to be? Have you considered that may be most of us are deluded and only a few of us see reality as it is, Jesus being one of those individuals? Jesus points this out. I have already mentioned it:

Jesus said, "I stood in the midst of the world, and came to them in the flesh. I found all of them drunk. I did not find any of them thirsty. My soul was saddened for the sons of men, for they are mentally blind. They do not see that they have come into the world empty and they will go out of the world empty. But now they are drunk.

Whilever you believe that Jesus was supernatural and defied the law of physics, and did impossible things like rise from the dead, you are living in a fanstasy. It is the church that made these doctrines, like the virgin birth and resurrection, the central theme of Christianity. The few times they are mentioned in the New Testement they can be interpreted as metaphor, along with all the other hundreds of metaphors.


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by:SteveJ
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Here's my problem with your statement CCSOflag . . . I have have a choice between chocolate and vanilla and I choose chocolate, you are saying derivatively that I don't like vanilla, not that I simply like one better than the other. It's fine for debate for you to say that I think taking a life is "ok". It's an academic point. But as a practical matter you are saying that a truth can't be a universal truth unless it is applied universally and I think that's bunk. You say in my WWII story the person belives in conditional murder, I say he had to make a very tough decision. I think you are playing a semantic game that I don't think has real value. . . except in debate. . .perhaps.

SteveJ
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by:SteveJ
ID: 35159108
<<Whilever you believe that Jesus was supernatural and defied the law of physics, and did impossible things like rise from the dead, you are living in a fanstasy.>>

Perhaps. Perhaps you are living in a fantasy. It would seem the difference between you and I is that I am willing to accept that I may be wrong. Yet you say I am living in a fantasy . . .that is, I am wrong.

Law of Physics. How luckly we are to live in the age when we finally figured everything out.

SteveJ
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by:sbdt8631
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>>Here's my problem with your statement CCSOflag . . . I have have a choice between chocolate and vanilla and I choose chocolate, you are saying derivatively that I don't like vanilla,

I would say that means you don't universally like vanilla.
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by:CCSOFlag
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Steve wrote:
I have have a choice between chocolate and vanilla and I choose chocolate, you are saying derivatively that I don't like vanilla, not that I simply like one better than the other.

Those two are not comparable and I'll tell you why.  Liking the flavor of an ice cream is personal opinion period.  It's a personal feeling when you eat that flavor.  Even liking to murder people is a personal feeling.  It has nothing to do with what we are discussing.  We are discussing whether murder is WRONG or not.  People imply that murder is a universal moral/truth or whatever else you want to call it.  They try to say it's wrong to murder.  But if there are exceptions to the rule, then there is no way it can be a universal moral or truth.  If you say it's wrong to murder, then you are not leaving any exceptions. Universal means all the time for everyone.  Not an exception depending on where you live or who you are.  As soon as you involve a personal conviction or difference, it's a personal moral.  Keep in mind a law/rule is different than a moral.  a law does not imply that you have to agree with it, it just means you can't practice your moral.  So if you enjoy raping women, the law says you can't, even though you might think it is ok and you enjoy it.  No I'm not using the word you as in accusing you of it.  Just using the word generally. :)

But as a practical matter you are saying that a truth can't be a universal truth unless it is applied universally and I think that's bunk.
Maybe I'm misunderstand what you are saying, but a universal truth must be universal.  It's the word describing the truth.  If it is not universally accepted, then it can't be a universal truth.

You say in my WWII story the person belives in conditional murder, I say he had to make a very tough decision.
 Maybe you misunderstood me.  My point was if he is at war (which means killing people directly or supporting those who do), then he agrees with murder in the context of war.  This means he agrees with conditional murder.  What the conditions he agrees upon may not be the same and you and me, but he believes in conditional murder.  He did have to make a tough decision.  But in the context of war, there are a lot of those.  

I think you are playing a semantic game that I don't think has real value. . . except in debate.
I disagree.  It is not a semantic game.  It's a matter of people claiming they believe or don't believe something is wrong, but yet they don't completely believe it.  It's conditional.  IMO it's hypocritical.  If I say to lie is wrong, but I also say it's ok to tell a white lie, I am a hypocrite.  Then I should never say to lie is wrong.  Personally, I believe even telling your kid that Santa Claus is real is wrong.  Most people disagree with me, but I believe it's wrong.  It's a lie.  So most people really believe lies being wrong is conditional as well.
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by:Jason210
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SteveJ

The difference in my fantasy and yours is that in physcial terms I believe only in what's going on around me which is why I referred to the laws of physics. I believe in what is documented by science and not in the fantastical, supernatural and miraculous events described in a book. Of course there's a possibility that these supernatural events described in the bible did happen literally, but there is no reason  -- none at all -- for me to believe that. There is good reason to interpret as metaphorical language, however. It is well known that much of the Bible uses metaphor and allegory.  Why pick out a couple of elements and take them literal supernatural events? It is dishonest, intellectually, to do so.

In a way, when I look at the sorry state of the world, I wish I could believe that magic did and could happen. But one have to face up to reality as it is. Perhaps that frightens a lot of people. Perhaps people need a protective bubble, a fantasy world to live in. A comfort thing.

You say:
Law of Physics. How luckly we are to live in the age when we finally figured everything out.
We don't. We haven't. And do not believe it is possible to figure everything out. However, what we have figured out is that in our world,  people don't come back after they died, and people can't do magic, and pigs don't fly & so on. If weird things like this happened they would have been documented.  They don't happen - except perhaps in the mind which finds expression in metaphor.

There is no past nor future, there is only now. There was no Golden Age. Everything is right here and right now. That now is the same now that Jesus or Abraham experienced - the erternal now. Even the answer to your question, is right here, right now, but your looking for it in concepts, ideas, morality. In the Gospel of Thomas, there is an entry where someone asks Jesus where is heaven, and his reply is - "right in front of your face".

Now is the absolute.



Jason
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by:Callandor
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> If a scientific work referenced a work that was rejected by the scientific community to support it, wouldn't that scientific piece also be rejected?

If there was relevant information in that other book that revealed something important, I would expect it to be included.  But what if all the things it had to say were included in other accepted books?  A book that was not included does not mean it was rejected.  John wrote that if all the things that Jesus did were recorded, there wouldn't be enough books to hold them all.  Does the non-inclusion of every single detail of Jesus' life mean the current gospels are not the word of God?

> It was put together by humans with an agenda.  Their agenda was to spread their version of Christianity.

Ok, if I were to write a book that was to convince people to follow my religion, why would I include parts that make my heroes look bad?  Peter, the pillar of Christianity, denied Jesus three times?  He was caught red-handed not associating with Gentiles when Jewish believers arrived?  He told Jesus to his face that Jesus' plan of salvation would not happen?  Paul rejected John Mark after John quit on a missionary journey?  Paul had a "thorn in the flesh" which wouldn't go away?  As an editor, I would have just left out those parts, the better to convince people how "superior" my leaders were.  But there they are, for everyone to see - this would be a failure in salesmanship 101.  You never point out bad parts if you're trying to sell a product.

> If you or anyone else is really interested in the history of all this I recommend The Lost Christianities by Bart D Ehrman.

For a different view of Bart D Ehrman's work, see http://www.tektonics.org/books/lostehrman.html

>instead I take the concepts out of the books and reject concepts that do not seem to match up with what Jesus stood for

So how do you know what Jesus stood for, if not from the Bible?

> Because of what I've experienced, I have no reason to believe something other than Christianity.  Thus yes I believe the only way to God is through Christ.

Isn't this a picture of God revealing something to you, and then you believing?  I think every Christian has a similar story, when God does something in a person's life that causes them to put faith in Christ.
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by:Callandor
ID: 35162203
>In Hinduism, spiritual teacher Ramana Maharshi stated that of all the definitions of God, "none is indeed so well put as the biblical statement “I am that I am”". Hindu scripture contains similar statements.

Yes, in this day and age, people read into the Bible that it must be connected to Hindu tenets.  However, when people write a letter or book, they do so with the intent that their readers will be able to understand what they wrote.  The Bible was written in a Jewish society with no Hindus as the target audience - choosing to include that interpretation means you are willing to ignore reality and come to whatever conclusion you feel justified in coming to.  This is why I have difficulty understanding your interpretations - they don't fit the facts or where the text was written and to whom.  You can speculate all you want, but I think in a logical way and your speculation doesn't fit the facts.


>Important to note that Jesus did not say to the man that he must accept Jesus as a mediator between him and GOD to win Eternal Life.

Let's look at the whole section in Luke 10 and see what it says:

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
26 "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"
27 He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "
28 "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
30 In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
36 "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
37 The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
Luke 10:25-37 (NIV)

If you read the gospels, you would know that the scribes, Pharisees and leaders were always trying to discredit Jesus, and this section even gives you the clue "stood up to test Jesus", so the question was not a genuine one, but a trap.  The answer was correct, to love God and to love your neighbor, but the problem was people don't love God and they don't love their neighbor.  In this case, the expert in the law knew this, "But he wanted to justify himself" - he wanted a technicality that would keep him from being accused of breaking the law, so he jumped on the definition of neighbor, hoping to get away free.  However, Jesus illustrated what a neighbor is and held him to his own definition.

Abraham is the classic case of someone justified before God and who would inherit eternal life - in Gen 15:6, it says "Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness."  The key here is that he had faith in God, and that was what justified him.  The same is true in the New Testament - those who believe in God are justified.  Jesus revealed himself as God, so belief in Jesus justifies you - that is the continuity between the Old and New Testaments.  After this, it is possible to love God and to love your neighbor.
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by:Jason210
ID: 35163922
Callandor

Yes, in this day and age, people read into the Bible that it must be connected to Hindu tenets.  However, when people write a letter or book, they do so with the intent that their readers will be able to understand what they wrote.  The Bible was written in a Jewish society with no Hindus as the target audience - choosing to include that interpretation means you are willing to ignore reality and come to whatever conclusion you feel justified in coming to.  This is why I have difficulty understanding your interpretations - they don't fit the facts or where the text was written and to whom.  You can speculate all you want, but I think in a logical way and your speculation doesn't fit the facts.

I think it is true to say that in thes day and age, people are looking for something more than a promise of salvation. The reason so many people turned to eastern religions in the 60s and 70s was because Christianity did not satisfy or fulfill their spiritual needs.

All scripture was written by individuals from the viewpoint of a specific culture. If God or the supreme or whatever name you put it, is Universal, then the source for all these scriptures must be the same. It is just the expression that varies. That is the basis for my interpretation.  If you look at religions in this way, there are parallels and these parallels support this kind of interpretation.

Regarding logic, you should nknow that logic is not the basis of a religion. You are Christian because you have faith. It has nothing to do with logic. In terms of logic the problem can be expressed as one of the following possibilities:

1) One religion is right, other religions are wrong.
2) All religions are wrong
3) All religions are right.

You opt for option (1). What is the logical basis for this choice, please?

I cannot choose option(1) because it means rejecting other religions which, when evaluated, clearly have have a similar structure and profound content. There is no logical basis to choose one religion and reject others.

If the events described in scripture are all intended to be literal transcriptions, one must choose option(2). There is no hard evidence to support that the miraculous and supernatural events described in scripture have any literal basis, and the taken on a literal level, the the religions are often contradictory

Taken metaphorically, one can safely choose option(3).

Jesus revealed himself as God, so belief in Jesus justifies you - that is the continuity between the Old and New Testaments.  After this, it is possible to love God and to love your neighbor.

So we still come to the conclusion that Jesus is not talking about his person, but about God. ME and I AM refer to God in this sense. So it comes down to how you interpret what God is.

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by:BigRat
ID: 35164440
>>It's an academic point. But as a practical matter you are saying that a truth can't be a universal truth unless it is applied universally and I think that's bunk.

I'd expect Henry Ford to have agreed with you, Steve. The word was "accepted" and not "applied" but that's a small point. What you seem to be yearning for, other than chocolate ice cream (yum!), is some sort of universal truth which although everybody might not agree with it still would be a universal truth. That's sort of like religion, one which a religious person would claim to be the true religion, that he has the one true religion, which although everybody might not adhere to or agree with, it still is the one and only universal true religion. Well, there might be, but the fact that everybody would not agree with it is neither an academic point nor bunk.
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by:BigRat
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Callandor: I honestly don't see what the whole quotation of Luke has to do with the specific point Jason brought up regarding the way to God. You neither refer to nor refute Jason's claim but simply tell yet another, IMO irrelevant, story. Care to explain?
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by:Callandor
ID: 35164848
>You opt for option (1). What is the logical basis for this choice, please?

I consider that Christianity is the only religion that deals with the problem of sin, which is the barrier between man and God.  Christianity is rooted in history and facts.  If you are looking for evidence of miracles, that sounds like you are looking for proof where physical laws were overridden.  I would like to know how such evidence would appear and remain today.  God isn't a showman who performs miracles to entertain, he operates with purpose and goals.  Christianity doesn't say you can improve yourself and become God; rather, God comes in and conforms you to his image.

>So we still come to the conclusion that Jesus is not talking about his person, but about God.

Sorry, I don't follow you.  You managed to separate Jesus and God, while I said Jesus revealed himself as God.  Where did you go?
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by:Callandor
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BigRat,

The passage in Luke started with a question about what someone must do to inherit eternal life - let us label this point C.  All people are at point A, not in a position to inherit life (otherwise, why ask the question?).  The requirement to love God and love your neighbor in order to reach point C was known to be an unreachable goal - no one loves God and no one loves their neighbor.  The expert in the law, who knew this, tried to get around the requirements by asking who was his neighbor (he could have also tried lying and said he fulfilled those requirements, but he probably suspected Jesus would see through him).  Jesus steered him right back to the requirement which the expert knew he couldn't fulfill.

What is not stated explicitly in this passage, but is in others like John 14, is that Jesus is point B, and when you have reached point B, you can satisfy the requirements of point C.  Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law, and by imputation so do all who put faith in him.
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by:BigRat
ID: 35165133
I have understood all of that. But you quoted something written by Jason which did not address that problem - the problem of what one must do to inherit eternal life. The pouint from Jason was whether Jesus had to be the mediator in this process. And this point was neither addressed by you nor with the quotation.

There is a simplar problem of failing to address the issues and going off on a tangent in the latest reply to Jason's question regarding why one chose Christianity. If you consider sin as a barrier between man and God, then your choice is perhaps obvious. But what has this got to do with jason looking for miracles? The word was first mentioned by you and NEVER by Jason.

However one point is whether Jesus is or is not God. The concept of the trinity - the unification of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit, has, as far as I can remember, little direct support in the bible (such as in mathew 28:19) but was well established in the catholic Church in the fourth centuary.

I have never been happy about this concept, although I don't think I really care, for then it makes statements from Jesus like "the only way to God is through me" misleading - another formulation would have been better, and I don't think that Jesus ever attempted to be misleading nor "clever".
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by:Jason210
ID: 35165171
Callandor

>I would like to know how such evidence would appear and remain today.

The problem can be simplified - what evidence is there that Jesus was supernatural? Answer: a few references in a spiritual book. That's it. I can find similar references to supernatural things in other scriptures. The Bhagavad Gita, for example, with all its classic visually striking Hindu gods etc.

If these books are to be believed, then there was a time when the earth was a very strange place, with all sorts of miracles and strange events happening and strange beast wondering around it. For some reason, they aren't around now, and no evidence has been found that this strange age really did exist. Furthermore, this strange world does not fit into any scientific models or patterns that we accept today. There is no model that could allow for it. No evidence, no model, no scientific justification what-so-ever.

What we did have back then is mankinds limited understanding and knowledge of spiritual matters back then. A lack of abstract concepts with which to describe visions,  psychological experiences and altered states of consciousness. No framework within which to categorise those experiences. So those people lived in a mythlogical world really, where everything was expressed in concrete terms.

There is plenty of evidence to show that metaphor was used deliberately also, as a literary device even back then.

One only has to consider the book of revelation to see the use of metaphor. Whether the author believed what he was writing, or was deliberately using metaphor and imagery is debatable. But very few people actually believe that revelation is meant literally.

So when cherry picking what is and what isn't metaphor, I have a simple guide. Is it compatible with our scientific knowledge or not? If not then its unlikely to have happend. Very unlikely. In fact I'd go so far as to say that it didn't happen, and that the text can be explained as a vision,  psychological experience or altered states of consciousness.

After all, these are spiritual texts we are talking about, that deal with spiritual, not physical matters.
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by:Observer_123
ID: 35165357
Dogma, faith and Wisdom can be different things.
In Bible is mentioned faith and Wisdom - they refers to different levels of spiritual state. Someone who believe, can be not in state be with open "hearth eyes", or to percept the Nature and Spiritual Worlds in full conciousness. After specific ezoteric trainning one can be prepared for that, regardless it could be very difficult and long process.
The perfection is discribed in the New testament, but I even read translations (english one) where "perfection", "perfect" is replaced with..."mature", which is not the same. As I understood, and this is more protestantic point of view, "man is born sinful, have to believe , and will be saved", but concept of perfection doen not fit in this.."picture", but is presented in the Biblq. I thing we have to follow Christ teaching, but not  Athanasius, the Church "Fathers", and EVEN Luter!
See Mathew 5:48, John 17:21-23, James  1:4-5, and finaly Hebrews   chapters  5 and 6!!

The church chtistianity is not the only christianity, let see what Paul state, I thing he have to be enought authoritative! :

 1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[a] and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites,  the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
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by:SteveJ
ID: 35166061
<<Those two are not comparable and I'll tell you why.>>

My point wasn't to compare liking chocolate to being against taking a life or to say that they are parallel arguments.

<<It's a matter of people claiming they believe or don't believe something is wrong, but yet they don't completely believe it.>>

My choc/vanilla reference was mocking the claim you are making here. If I say taking a life is wrong but I kill someone who is attacking my child, you are saying that I don't believe taking a life is wrong. That's semantic nonsense. In your world, by definition nobody can do anything they don't belive in, becuase if they "do it", they don't really believe "in it". No, what happens if I take the life of someone who is attacking my child is that my desire to save my child trumped my belief that taking a life is wrong. What is so hard to understand about that? Sorry to be so cranky about this point, CCSOflag. But it's seems intellectually dishonest to say that a universal truth must be universally adhered to in order to be a universal truth.

For the last time (promise), I will take another "stab" at this: My belief is that *if* you could question 20,000,000 people at random about the rightness or wrongness of taking a life without clouding the issue with circumstance (war, pregnant retarded rape victim, etc), all but the demonstrably deranged would say it is wrong.

<<You say:
Law of Physics. How luckly we are to live in the age when we finally figured everything out.
We don't. We haven't. >>

Sorry, perhaps a language / nuance barrier. I was being *very* sarcastic. Your basic position seems to be rooted in "we know it all now". I think that's a fantasy. And you say "now" is the absolute. . . there's no such thing as "now". How can that be an absolute?

<<If weird things like this happened they would have been documented.>>

I think you need to "clean up" that statement to be consistent with your view . . . as in ". . . documented in something other than the Bible." Sorry, couldn't resist.

SteveJ
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by:BigRat
ID: 35166437
>>For the last time (promise), I will take another "stab" at this: My belief is that *if* you could question 20,000,000 people at random about the rightness or wrongness of taking a life without clouding the issue with circumstance (war, pregnant retarded rape victim, etc), all but the demonstrably deranged would say it is wrong.

No, the promise is not necessary. Yes of course they would. But if you asked them the question of whether they would kill a person attacking their child if there was no other way out (ie: with circumstances) then they would say the opposite. The point is that the question is hypothetical. The results of your 20 million poll are useless, for amongst 20 million people (let us say a third of the population of France) one can calculate how many manslaughters and justifiable killings will take place in the next twenty minutes. The French indeed has a mitigating circumstance for what was essentially a murder - they called it a crime de coeur and was reserved for irate husbands shooting paramours in bed with their wives. So you'd find that the "wrongness" of killing is not universal, not even in france national.
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by:Jason210
ID: 35166513
SteveJ

Fair point, but although the bible documents some events, it is primarily a spiritual book and not a history book. The supernatural events described are not documented in any emprical work, which suggests that they do not have an empirical basis. Both the "world of spirit" and the empirical world are well documented. Each have an entirely different approach, or interpretative framework.

What I see a lot of is a mixing of the two, for example in the form of atheists ridiculing spiritual matters, and also in the form of religious people interpreting spiritual knowledge literally.

I do not understand how you can say that there is no such thing is now. That is like denying one's own existence, which is totally non-sensical. How can anyone doubt "now"?  The past is merely an idea that is implied by impressions, evidence and memories which are perceived now, and the future is also an idea that we see now.

Now fits the definition of absolute very well in that it is unchanging and ever present, and also in the sense that although everyone knows what now is,  it defies conceptually definition. Now is primary, it does not need any further cobnceptually elaboration or defintion. It is the experience of presence-awareness.

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by:CCSOFlag
ID: 35167217
Callandor wrote:
If there was relevant information in that other book that revealed something important, I would expect it to be included.

I don't think it had anything to do with this.  From what I've read, there wasn't a known copy of the Book of Jasher at the time of the making of the current canon.  Which is part of my point of why wouldn't God allow it to be found?  The Gospels of the NT repeat a lot of stuff and some believe these aren't even originals.  They were created by some original document that hasn't been found.  Not saying I believe it, just saying there are too many ifs.  There is no proof whatsoever that these people even wrote these books.  People believe in the canon simply because it has been around since they can remember.  You don't think the canon was controversial at the time of it's making?  IT took hold because it was supported by the majority.  The majority doesn't make it right.

Ok, if I were to write a book that was to convince people to follow my religion, why would I include parts that make my heroes look bad?
You never point out bad parts if you're trying to sell a product.

Keep in mind these books were not unheard of before this.  Many churches already used these books, these people just decided to look at the books and put them together into a canon.  People wouldn't have noticed the removed content.  This would have been detrimental to their purpose of the canon.  Also there is nothing wrong with people falling.  You use the word hero, but I don't consider any of them heros.  They served their purpose to show how humans NEED Christ.  That was the whole point of the books.  We are imperfect and can only achieve perfection through Christ who was perfect.  So this in fact DOES sell their product.  Very effectively IMO.

For a different view of Bart D Ehrman's work
OK, I Read that, but I think he is just trying to pick a hole in something that isn't there.  IMO Ehrman wrote a book trying to stay unbiased, and I think he did a good job.  The main complaint from your link is he didn't answer the question of what Christian sect was correct.  IMO, he shouldn't have.  That wasn't even the point of the book.  Who DOES know the correct version of Christianity?  The only we mainly know if from the one that managed to take power partly by making a canon readily available.  I still stand by my recommendation.  No book is perfect.  I enjoyed it because it had a lot of good information in it that you won't learn most places.

So how do you know what Jesus stood for, if not from the Bible?
I look for the common themes in the multiple versions of books about Him and also look at whether it matches with what Jesus would have been meant to be here for according to the OT as well.  Do we ever know anything for sure?  of course not.  We can only look at what sounds like it fits His character.  For example He came to be the sacrifice for us to save the world.  IF there is a book saying he ran from being crucified and never was, I'd say that's contradictory and wouldn't be legitimate.


Isn't this a picture of God revealing something to you, and then you believing?  I think every Christian has a similar story, when God does something in a person's life that causes them to put faith in Christ.

I agree.  I don't necessarily doubt Christianity, I doubt the books that drives it, which were written by humans, and I'm sure many of which haven't even been found yet.


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by:BigRat
ID: 35167536
I must admit that with the last paragraph of CCSOFlag's post I whole heartily agree. I'd add only to the books that "drive" it, the people as well.
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by:Observer_123
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I was very suprised when read some info about Luter and his views(anti-jews for example), but milions peoples  are protestants...
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by:SteveJ
ID: 35168165
Jason210 . . .I was making a silly joke . . . that is, "now" just slipped into the past, as it always does

<<I doubt the books that drives it, which were written by humans, and I'm sure many of which haven't even been found yet.>>

The argument, whether or not you accept it, is that of course the books were written by humans and divinely inspired. If you want to believe that the earth was created in 6 days and that it is only 6000 years old, then you can "prove" it with the bible. If you want to believe that it was created over a period of time that was not 6 days and you want to believe that the earth is considerably older than 6000 years, you will not find that refuted in the bible. Noah's ark, parting of the Red Sea, and on and on . . . whether or not these are metaphor or allegory is meaningless. They are simply easy topics for detractors to pick out and mock.

How we define something like the God of the Universe will always be wrong. That's basically my point . . . Some say there isn't a God of the Universe and some say there is. To say "there isn't" is no more or less logical than to say "there is". To say "there isn't" because I cannot prove it is no different from asking me to prove quarks exist because I cannot prove that either. I can point to books and elaborate physics, but you could not on a P&R thread ever explain enough to me about physics for me to be able to say without doubt "yes, you've proved it." I belive that quarks exist because I have accepted the "proof" provided. I take it on faith.

There are lots of folks who say they believe in quarks because they "know and understand" the phyics leading to that conclusion. And they are like so many Muslims and Christians and on and on who claim there is One God And Only One God And All Other Religions Are Wrong.

SteveJ
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by:Jason210
ID: 35168268
Jason210 . . .I was making a silly joke . . . that is, "now" just slipped into the past, as it always does

Ah. Well, I don't know you so it's hard - especially in this forum - to know when someone is serious and when they are not, or if they even have a a sense of humour. I'm glad you have a sense of humour.

Still, you're wrong. Now doesn't slip into the past. Now is simply now :-)
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by:Jason210
ID: 35168448
The argument, whether or not you accept it, is that of course the books were written by humans and divinely inspired.

Or at least that it has a divine origin. Scripture is usually written by someone who had the ability to read and write, who composed the text based on Oral tradition. This probably how we got Mark and John. These writers were not necessarily divinely inspired, and probably not totally objective even if they tried to be. They cannot be trusted 100%.

Mathew and Luke are even more distanced from the source, as most scholarly opinions consider these to be secondary texts, based on partially on the gospel of Mark.

I think that each writer had his/her own understanding which is felt in the text.

I belive that quarks exist because I have accepted the "proof" provided. I take it on faith.

I don't take it on faith. I accept is a scientifc knowledge, and the reason I believe or accept it is because to not do so would be unreasonable. It would mean that there's an enormous conspiracy to fake it. If I choose to do so, I can get verfiy that the theory is valid by making study of it. This path is open to all.

Similarly I accept the idea of God, simply because every established culture has an established belief system. This indicates to me that there's something beyond what we can know conceptually,  beyond our own egos, something that is real and eternal. To reject that would also be unreasonable.
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by:SteveJ
ID: 35168533
Jason210 . . .
<<Still, you're wrong. Now doesn't slip into the past. Now is simply now :-) >>

Then you are wrong, because "now" just changed!

<<I don't take it on faith. I accept is a scientifc knowledge, and the reason I believe or accept it is because to not do so would be unreasonable. >>

I'm sure plenty of people said that regarding Aristotle and Ptolemy's work. Then along came Copernicas. Today's fact is tomorrow's joke.

SteveJ
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by:SteveJ
ID: 35168562
<< If I choose to do so, I can get verfiy that the theory is valid by making study of it. >>

Then you are in a class of very elite people. Most of use are fooling ourselves to think we can understand differential geometry . . . or most of the math and physics ( which is largely theory ) behind quantum chromodynamics.

SteveJ
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by:sbdt8631
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>>Then you are wrong, because "now" just changed!

Yes, but it's still now. It's never not now. :)
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by:CCSOFlag
ID: 35168768
Steve wrote:
if I take the life of someone who is attacking my child is that my desire to save my child trumped my belief that taking a life is wrong.

OK, I see what you are saying.  So I guess the question now is do you believe it was wrong?  should you be punished for this murder?  or do you believe it is justified by the situation?  If you believe you were in the wrong and should be held accountable for it then I agree with what you are saying, it's just most people believe the opposite, that they are justified by the situation.  Kind of like self-defense.

But it's seems intellectually dishonest to say that a universal truth must be universally adhered to in order to be a universal truth.
Not that it is universally adhered to, but that it is universally believed.  In this case It definitely is not universally believed.  War is a major factor in this.  People feel justified in murder in the name of war.  They do not feel they did anything wrong.  This is a problem if it's a universal truth.  This is what I've been trying to point out, and I think with what you said about a desire trumping it helped bridge the gap between what we were trying to say.  After being in the military and seeing how people WANT to go kill others in the name of war, it's definitely not a universal truth that murder is wrong.

For the last time (promise), I will take another "stab" at this:  My belief is...
BigRat covered this pretty well.
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by:CCSOFlag
ID: 35168884
BigRat wrote:
I'd add only to the books that "drive" it, the people as well.

Yes, definitely.

Steve wrote:
The argument, whether or not you accept it, is that of course the books were written by humans and divinely inspired.

Oh I know.  Trust me, I used to believe it.  But after more research I've changed my beliefs on it.  The bottom line is the books chosen to be used as "divine inspiration" were by humans that believed a certain religious belief and chose the books accordingly.  They threw out books that did not fit in their definition of Christianity.  The council of Carthage happened in 387 AD, and you don't think there was any watering down of the Christian belief system by then?  It's happened ever since Jesus even came to us that people believed different things.  Even Paul and Peter did not see eye to eye on some things according to certain scriptures.  As I said the book by Ehrman is quite an interesting read for more background on this.  I just have a problem believing that some guys 350 years after Jesus died had any sort of insight into what books were legitimate or not.  Sure I know the argument that they were led by the Spirit, but I just don't buy it.  To me some things just don't add up in the whole thing.  I choose to leave my options open.  I still stick to the recurring themes of the scriptures (including the apochrypha), but I do the thinking myself, and let the Spirit guide me.  I trust the Spirit in me over the Spirit in some guys 1700 years ago.

If you want to believe that the earth was created in 6 days and that it is only 6000 years old, then you can "prove" it with the bible.
Text is not proof.  I am 5000 years old.  <-- that is not proof of my age.

If you want to believe that it was created over a period of time that was not 6 days and you want to believe that the earth is considerably older than 6000 years, you will not find that refuted in the bible.
I agree.

To say "there isn't" is no more or less logical than to say "there is". To say "there isn't" because I cannot prove it is no different from asking me to prove quarks exist because I cannot prove that either.
I also agree with this. :)
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by:Jason210
ID: 35169415
SteveJ

Then you are wrong, because "now" just changed!

Mind changed, not the now  :P

<<I don't take it on faith. I accept is a scientifc knowledge, and the reason I believe or accept it is because to not do so would be unreasonable. >>

I'm sure plenty of people said that regarding Aristotle and Ptolemy's work. Then along came Copernicas. Today's fact is tomorrow's joke.
SteveJ

Science is evolving and I move along with that process. I think this is a normal, healthy attitude. I'm not stuck in some particular theory or paradigm. From Ptolemy to Corpenicus we see an evolution of ideas and theories that explain what we perceive around us. That is an empircal process that follows a fairly linear path of refinement of theories, and occasionally, there is a paradigm shift. But the objective world - and by objective world I mean that which we observe through the senses and interpret through the framework of perception on a physiological level -- this objective world remains the same as it was in Ptolemy's day. We see what Ptolemy saw. We see what Copernicus and Newton saw. The same sun shines on us as it did them. The same stars appear to rotate around the earth to us, as they did to ptolemy. But what we have that Ptolemy didn't have is a much more refined interpretative framwork of science and culture.

The supernatural events in the bible are not part of what we perceive around us. Nothing like that has ever been documented scientifically. Ptolemy didn't record such things. No other serious scientist has. Anyone claiming to see such things has been unable to share his experiences empirically. Further more, there is no indication in any current scientific model, theory or thinking that allows such events to ever have happened. They are not emprical events. Period.



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by:Callandor
ID: 35170043
BigRat,

>I have understood all of that. But you quoted something written by Jason which did not address that problem - the problem of what one must do to inherit eternal life. The pouint from Jason was whether Jesus had to be the mediator in this process. And this point was neither addressed by you nor with the quotation.

The connection, which I labeled as point B, is that Jesus facilitates what is required to inherit eternal life.

>But what has this got to do with jason looking for miracles? The word was first mentioned by you and NEVER by Jason.

I equate proof of the supernatural as equivalent to proof of miracles - sorry if that was not clear, and I know it's not an exact equivalence, but I think it's good enough.

>However one point is whether Jesus is or is not God. The concept of the trinity - the unification of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit, has, as far as I can remember, little direct support in the bible (such as in mathew 28:19) but was well established in the catholic Church in the fourth centuary.

Rather than clutter up this thread with a tangent, I will point you to a previous post of mine: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Other/Philosophy_Religion/Q_26748004.html#a34616077 - I would not say there is little direct support in the Bible.
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by:Callandor
ID: 35170060
>So when cherry picking what is and what isn't metaphor, I have a simple guide. Is it compatible with our scientific knowledge or not? If not then its unlikely to have happend. Very unlikely. In fact I'd go so far as to say that it didn't happen, and that the text can be explained as a vision,  psychological experience or altered states of consciousness.

This is pre-supposing that there is no such thing as the supernatural and then drawing conclusions.  You know very well that science does not have anything to say about the possibility of the supernatural.  Starting off with a wrong premise doesn't get you to the right conclusions.

>After all, these are spiritual texts we are talking about, that deal with spiritual, not physical matters.

And God is not concerned with our physical needs?  Why did Jesus feed thousands?  Why did Jesus heal the sick?  Why did Jesus touch a leper when healing him, when he could have done so at a distance?  God is concerned with our physical as well as spiritual being.
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by:Callandor
ID: 35170089
> IT took hold because it was supported by the majority.  The majority doesn't make it right.

No, but peer review is something that was valued back then and continues to be today.  You think cold fusion has a chance of being right?  Well, the believers back then had ideas about what was correct and what wasn't, too.  I think our view of how it all happened is colored by our mindsets today, where we trust no one and consider suspect anything out of the ordinary.

> For example He came to be the sacrifice for us to save the world.  IF there is a book saying he ran from being crucified and never was, I'd say that's contradictory and wouldn't be legitimate.

And where did you learn that he came to be a sacrifice for us to save the world?  In the Bible, right?  So how do you judge whether a given book is from God if you are using that book to learn about Jesus?  I agree with your reasoning for testing other books which claim to be "gospels".
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by:Jason210
ID: 35171292
Callandor

This is pre-supposing that there is no such thing as the supernatural and then drawing conclusions.  You know very well that science does not have anything to say about the possibility of the supernatural.  Starting off with a wrong premise doesn't get you to the right conclusions.

Science doesn't have anything to say about the possibility of the supernatural because there is no empirical evidence for supernatural beings, miracles and events. Period. A belief in these things as phsyical objects, occuring in the physical world cannot be based on any scientific argument or principle, and if one tries to argue that they do, as creationists do, then one ends up looking ridiculous. One actually does a diservice to the religion itself.

One of the reasons that people started getting interested in eastern religions is because they were unable to accept fundamentalist views like yours.

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by:Observer_123
ID: 35171660
@Calandor:
About http://www.experts-exchange.com/Other/Philosophy_Religion/Q_26748004.html#a34616077
I specialy wanted to poit that idea of "tree faces of God as Son, Father and Spirit" is just a human supposition/fabrication, invented to cover some theological...hm problems may be based on lack of deep ezoteric spiritual understanding of some spiritual processes, for which understanding faith could not be enough, but deep Wisdom.

There is references in Bible that there is not only one  ONE son of the God, bus in plural - God's Sons!
There is mentioned in Bible that Christ state The Father and His will as superior than himself, which is definitively sign that we cannot consider him as part of one and the same Being in three faces.

It could be difficult to realise, but christians been teached by churches to believe and follow things which is not written in the Bible. The "Trinity" is not the only one thing, I can refer to others also, like the honouring of icons in East Ortodox, paid indulgence in Catholicism, the non-errornes of the Pope, and the protestant believe, that christian will be saved just if they believe in Jesus, regardless of his live and way of living/thinking/relations.
I am not hapy with this, Paul himself directs christiand to leave the basic teachings

I thing if there is reference to the both laws to Love God and to love neighbours as condition for eternal Live, this means that this is possible, the question is who done it, not wheder is enought.
There is not the same to know that have to love God and the neighbour, but is important how we will achieve that! Hor that can help special praparation, which may is not known in official churches in general or the knowledge for that is been covered. One who love God and his neighbours do not need from Pope, priest or pastor. In that case will be most likely that some pastors will not drive expensive Mecedeses!

From my point of view interest to the Easten religions is not only because of fundamentalist views of some (or most) christians, but also that in eastern teachings(at least in most of them) the philosofy is connected with practice - concetration, meditation, mantras, mudras, healing and others - thinks with whixh can be felt real and practical benefit even in this live, instead of promice for future benefit at the "Judment day" ("Justicia final"!)

From my point of view the Was of Esoteric Christianity i better alternative for the real spiritual seeker in West, and there also have very powerful methods for selfdevelopment without need of priest and "church" as mediator. Methods for meditation, which is as alternative to the yantra, mantra and mudra in Eastern practice and others methods also.

Also as I know  even modern Kabalist schools opens the Kabala heritage to others, not just for jews.

Nowadays more and more people can have information to the spiritual knowledge and many prefer that than dogma and fundamentalism. And if one love God ans his neighbours , he can be even healer, astrologist or other, regardless what some pentacost pastors will thing for him.
(the pentacosts are my "favorite ones!" in quotes :P )
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by:Callandor
ID: 35172375
Jason210,

You give two statements which are not equivalent, even though you may think they are:

1>Science doesn't have anything to say about the possibility of the supernatural because there is no empirical evidence for supernatural beings, miracles and events. Period.

2>A belief in these things as phsyical objects, occuring in the physical world cannot be based on any scientific argument or principle

In your first statement, you gave no qualification as to the boundaries of science.  In your second statement, you limited it to the physical world.  Now unless you believe (and there is no way to prove that it is true) that the physical world is all that exists, the first statement is incorrect because the supernatural is not necessarily part of the physical universe.  I myself consider the supernatural as part of the spiritual universe, so there is no conflict at all with science.

>One of the reasons that people started getting interested in eastern religions is because they were unable to accept fundamentalist views like yours.

And part of that view is that we fall short of God's standards - there is nothing new about people not wanting to admit that they did something wrong.  We wouldn't need courts of law and lawyers if we admitted to all our faults and acknowledged when we broke the law.  Eastern religions have nothing to say about dealing with sin.
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by:Jason210
ID: 35172613
Callandor I'm talking about the physical world and I've
made this clear all along. Now you have changed your argument and are saying that there is more to the world than emperical science tells us.  That is NOT what we were discussing.

I do not need to outline the boundaries of science as these are well known, and furthermore, I have in fact used the world emperical several times.
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by:Observer_123
ID: 35172632
>Eastern religions have nothing to say about dealing with sin.

The concept of Karma i a key temp in Hinduism and Budism. Without clearing the karma we cannot understand Christ. Understanding and faith is different things. We still can have karma after Christ, and if one not live in harmony with the spiritual laws, he can have  also future negative consequences, regardless of Jesus death in Golgota. His death do not means that everyone can do later wathever he wants witout outcome.

Here I made small translation for you from bulgarian Spiritual Master Peter Dounov, whom Teaching  is related to the Esoteric Christianity:

"Every candle from its light will show his power. Christ is light. And this light for the soul, hearth and mind is so necessery, as the light in the physical world. The physical light and warmth equally influence on all beings, but not all of them equally manifest his live. So and Christ, He also equally influence on all human souls, but not all of them equally understand Him mentally – this is on relation to the form. To understand someone Christ, and much more the Father, is necessary one to was completed his Karma, and to been entered in consent with the Love, because the karmic law is not anything else than diversion from the law of Love. The hearth has to be pure, to see clearly, the mind have to be free from all erroneously images, to be possible to distinguishing what is good and what is bad”
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by:Jason210
ID: 35172654
I'm glad you brought up the concept of karma. Saved me the job :-)
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by:Jason210
ID: 35173651
Observer_123

To understand someone Christ, and much more the Father, is necessary one to was completed his Karma, and to been entered in consent with the Love, because the karmic law is not anything else than diversion from the law of Love

I can buy that. I've never heard of this Peter Dounov, but what he says is more or less right. I can quoate advaita master Nisargadatta:

"Karma is only a store of unspent energies, of unfulfilled desires, and fears not understood. The store is being constantly replenished by new desires and fears. It need not be so for ever. Understand the root cause of your fears -estrangement from yourself; and of desires -the longing for the self, and your karma will dissolve like a dream."

Almost the same, but rather than based on love, advaita uses the path of knowledge. The result seems to be the same.
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by:SteveJ
ID: 35175866
<< Now you have changed your argument and are saying that there is more to the world than emperical science tells us.  That is NOT what we were discussing.>>

Wow. Jason210 . . . it's your contention that there's nothing more to the world than what empirical science tells us? What does empirical science tell us about love? "Biological . . . blah blah blah" What does it tell us about hope? or altruism? despair? "Biological blah blah blah." And the mind is simply electrical activity blah blah blah . . . really? Do you believe that because you cannot accept the notion that man can't know everything? Or because you believe that man can know everything?

A thousand years ago, wouldn't cell phones have been considered magic? It would seem to me that to accept your point of view the universe would have to be infinitely knowable . . .or eventually we are going to know everything, and that seems totally absurd. And if it's infinitely knowable . . . well, come to your own conclusion. I already have.

SteveJ
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by:Jason210
ID: 35175978
SteveJ

Wow. Jason210 . . . it's your contention that there's nothing more to the world than what empirical science tells us?

No. The above statement was referring to a discussion. I am simply saying what Callandor and I were NOT discussing.
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by:Callandor
ID: 35176342
Jason210,

Let me see if I understand your reasoning behind your interpretation of what the Bible says - if I said "the sky is blue", and you didn't think blue existed, you would feel free to say that I meant to say "the sky is red"?  No attempt to understand what I said based on my view or background?
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by:Jason210
ID: 35176517
It didn't think it was that hard to understand, but here it is again, in concrete terms:

Speaking of the physical, objective world:

There is no theory or evidence* that the red sea can part.
There is no theory or evidence that wine can be turned into water in the wine.
There is no theory or evidence that a man come back alive after being dead for three days.
There is no theory or evidence that a man can be born of a virgin.

[*Except of course the anecdotal evidence provided by the bible..]

By physical,  objective world I mean that which we observe through the senses and interpret through the framework of perception on a physiological level, and finally through the interpretetive framework of science. The supernatural events in the bible are not part of what we perceive around us. Nothing like that has ever been documented scientifically. No early scientist recorded such a thing. We don't see it now either. Those claiming to see such things has been unable to share their experiences empirically. Furthermore, there is no indication in any current scientific model, theory or thinking that allows such events to ever have happened. They are not emprical events. If these things happened they'd be documented.

What's hard to unsderstand about that?

Back to your illustration. You said: "if I said "the sky is blue", and you didn't think blue existed, you would feel free to say that I meant to say "the sky is red"? Problem with that statement is that I know blue exists, and not only that, but it's existence is corrobarated on a daily basis by other people's experiencees as well as by the scientific world which has have a good definition of what the colour blue is. However, if you said the Sky is red, we could assume that you were colour blind and test for that.
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by:Callandor
ID: 35176769
Thank you for the full details.  The problem is when "supernatural" is substituted for "blue" - you have now eliminated any supernatural explanation, because you have made an assumption that such things don't happen.  That would hold true if everything that happens in the universe is explained by empirical evidence or the absence of it.  That is why I was going there in my last line of reasoning - I was not changing the argument, just following up on where it would lead you.  The authors in the Bible probably did believe in the supernatural, so I think your view is making them say something they didn't intend.
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by:Jason210
ID: 35177205
I do not hold the view that everything that happens in the universe is explained by empirical science. I said ealier domewhere that I appreciated the difference between science and "matters of the spirit" earlier. As long as we are not mixing the two it's ok in my view.

The only reason I am arguing about this is because the argument supports a metaphotical rather than a literal interpretation of much of the bible. I think it is difficult to say whether they biblical authors believed literally in what they were writing or not, but there is plenty of evidence of allegory being used consciously and deliberately.


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by:Observer_123
ID: 35180319
I remembered that one Kabalist Rabby comented  in meaning on some scary/negative histories/persons,  mentioned in the Old Testament as sign of internal human processes, which existed/exists, but not to give only a positive sample/model for live. And the Bible is not just history ot the World, definitely not!

It is considered that in Old Testament Moses gave three levels of interpretation in the way as egiption adepts worked (let remember he been teached by egiptian priests/mages).
And now if we take just literaly "the Worls is created for six days" , it could be funny for many peoples..
It is other question what is considered in the Old Testament for 1/6 of "six days" and to how many human 24 hours it is equal. The literaly reading of Bible without deep spiritual knowledge can be real problem.
Or the "death" of Lazarus (John 11) ... - In the ancient egiptian initiation the iniciated been detached from his body for around 3 and half days, and in that time he been with his spirit in the spiritual worlds to learn and to have personal experience. Christ gave new way of iniciation, which can be in consciousness, without 3 and 1/2 "death". I state, that in Bible is mentioned for real spiritual experience, instead of only faith, and this, from my point of view, is more important from "basic teachings". - see Luke 9:27 , 2 Corinthians 12:1-4
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by:Jason210
ID: 35180353
Observer_123

The literaly reading of Bible without deep spiritual knowledge can be real problem.

Exactly, especially when someone tries to preach and teach literal interpretation. I just want people to see that all religions are about the same thing and the spiritual progress need take a fundamentalist approach.
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by:Observer_123
ID: 35181283
May be the problem appears when somone try to enforce the dogmatic/church intepretation of the Bible over the spiritual menaning. May be in order to emphasize the importance of Christ.
Yes, he is exeptionaly important for spiritual development on Earth, but this do not means that other spiritual Teachers are not important!
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by:CCSOFlag
ID: 35182063
Callandor,

No, but peer review is something that was valued back then and continues to be today.  You think cold fusion has a chance of being right?
Science is different than a moral/belief.  No science in the world can say whether murder is right or wrong.  It can on the other hand show that cold fusion is possible or not.

And where did you learn that he came to be a sacrifice for us to save the world?  In the Bible, right?
All the books that talk about Jesus, not just the ones accepted as the canon.  It's also supported by the OT books as well.  It's also about the idea of why we need Christ.  If He didn't sacrifice Himself for us, then there is no need for Christ, thus His existence is a moot point.

So how do you judge whether a given book is from God if you are using that book to learn about Jesus?
I don't believe any book is "from God".  I believe God may have had people write stuff down, but things can get lost in the writing and the translation.
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by:ropenner
ID: 35184571
Untruthful statements are possibly harder to tolerate than truthful ones.
Perhaps it is a matter of truth verses fiction
____________

Initial Question: Do you think when people say they are Christian or Muslim or Whatever that there is implicit certainty in their response?

     Answer: No, I only imply their beliefs are currently more in line with the dogma of that religion.  This will not be true for all, but I have not yet met one person who believes entirely the dogma of their chosen religion, so the only implication I make is that they have chosen one of the named religions.

Question:  Or are you inferring a claim of certainty because of they way they state their belief?

     Answer: how emphatic their statement is might give a hint, but there is no way to tell, since lack of confidence can easily manifest in a more confident looking response due to uncertainty and frailty of belief and fear that their ego might be damaged if they are not perceived as 'right'.

Question: Do you think there would be more tolerance of religion generally if people were careful to state their beliefs like CCSOflag did?

     Answer: Yes, CCSOflag left out much of their ego and simple stated an

Implied Truth:
    "I don't know everything and can't possibly know everything because Im not omniscient and all powerful".  

There is less truth in:
     "I know for sure"

Carl Jung explained the psychology of religion as based on experiences.  And like the story of the 3 blind men each holding a part of an elephant, anyone claiming to know all of the elephant/metaphysical universe/god from their one 'limited' experience/perspective, may be being a bit too bold and thus rubbing others the wrong way thus making them less tolerable.

In my experience all religious experiences that lead to the forming of a religion offer unique perspectives on something bigger than any one of them could possibly describe or be experienced.  Claiming to have the entire truth or implying others have none or are 'wrong' (judgement in general) is therefore untruthful.
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by:Observer_123
ID: 35185258
The 5 senses could not be enough for direct spiritual experience. But instead of thouse 5 senses is possible to develop others, spiritual senses, there have existed peoples, which achieved that, and even nowadays also exists. And if for few is possible, it could be possible for many. And as I considered already, the Bible do not exclude the direct spiritual experience, just for it is necessery other senses/organs, which can be developed with spiritual practice, meditation, others.
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by:Jason210
ID: 35186986
But instead of thouse 5 senses is possible to develop others, spiritual senses

I don't think they are spiritual "senses", but just a shift of focus from the outer to the inner.

And as I considered already, the Bible do not exclude the direct spiritual experience

Very few religious texts actually do, but I think the bible can work on both the level of belief, and also as a direct spiritual text offering direct experience, especially if one studies the non-canonical "Gospel of Thomas".
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by:SteveJ
ID: 35200841
Regarding "spiritual experiences" . . . I think I've had one or two, but I'm not certain. Sort of like when I look at a doorway from any angle other than straight on I tend to see a rectangle, not a trapezoid. And I feel the same sort of discomfort when someone says "I have definitely had a spiritual experience, no other explanation"  as I do when someone says "one way, and only one way." Not that I doubt their belief . . . just their ability to be certain . . . which is why I get torqued out of shape sometimes on this forum when folks claim that I am deluded or crazy or flat out wrong to have the beliefs that I have . . . when they say it was such certainty.

SteveJ
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by:Observer_123
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the repeating positive spiritual experience is not by chanse.
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by:Jason210
ID: 35205313
SteveJ

"I have definitely had a spiritual experience, no other explanation"  as I do when someone says "one way, and only one way."

I think we are able to know when something happens to us that is beyond ordinary consciousness.

Most of the time we are identified on the level of the mind and focused on the content of consciousness, things that interest us, things that we desire, but not consciousness itself. We rarely take the time to consider what is this consciousness.  Even rarer is someone who can break that identification with the mind, and take a step back and see it from the outside.

This for me is the definition of spiritual knowledge (or experience). When one experiences a greater consciousness which one instantly recognises as more real. Rather like being absorbed in a film on TV where you temporarily forget your environment. Then someone turns a light on in the room and suddenly you snap out of it your suspension of disbelief. In such as situation you do not doubt which is the more real.

If you have never had such an experience then you either believe that it is possible and that others have had it -- or you don't.  Since such experience is subjective, and cannot be studied empirically, then we have to turn to anecdotal eveidence, and of that there is plenty in all religions.

In Christianty, for example, I would say that the author of the gospel of John had this experience, and later, Meister Eckhart and St Augustine. There just famous ones but I would suspect that there are many others, and in this day and age many, many more.

The we have the other religions such as Buddhism, and certain schools of Hinduism, that are based on this kind of spiritual enlightenment.

The interesting thing is that they all say the same thing, which either implies a ludicrous mass conspiracy, or a universal truth.






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by:ropenner
ID: 35206373
Or more common place in all of our dreams and intuitions (gut feelings): as Carl Jung concluded after 35 years of experience helping people look at their dreams and researching human psychology.

dreams
"I am forced to admit that the unconcious is capable at times of manifesting an intelligence and purposiveness superior to the actual conscious insight.  There can be no doubt that this is a basic religious phenomemon, observed here in a person whose conscious mental attitude certainly seemed most unlikely to produce religous phenomena.  I have not infrequently made similar observations in other cases and I must confess that I am unable to formulate the facts in any other way." (p. 503)

wise voice in dreams
"I am totally unconscious of ... where the voice comes from.  Not only am I incapable of producing the phenomenon at will, I am unable to anticipate what the voice will say." (p. 504)

intuition
"My psychological experience has shown time and again that certain contents issue from a psyche that is more complete than consciousness.  They often contain a superior analysis or insight or knowledge which consciousness has not been able to produce.  We have a suitable word for such occurrences -- intuition.  In uttering this word most people have an agreeable feeling, as if something had been settled.  But they never consider that you do not 'make' an intuition.  On the contrary, it always comes to you; you 'have' a hunch, it has come of itself, and you only catch it if you are clever or quick enough." (p. 505)

Footnote: DeLaszlo, V.S. editor "The Basic Writings of C. G. Jung", Random House 1959, pages 503-505.

Thoughts come to you, inspiration comes to you, creative spurts come to you.  These are not of our making but we are the ones that choose to express them.
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by:Observer_123
ID: 35206531
If there is question of concrete and exact information ot processes hapaned after some specific activity/practices, this should not be considered just as a game of our subconsciousness...
For future prediction and healing can be verified - is been true or not. (instead just 'subjective' feeling of joy, happynes ot enlighment )

I remember also for Nicolas Tesla, for whom is consideret to had some special mind/psyihic abilities, which he used even for inventions.
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by:SteveJ
ID: 35215315
Just some thoughts:

<<There is no theory or evidence* that the red sea can part.
There is no theory or evidence that wine can be turned into water in the wine.
There is no theory or evidence that a man come back alive after being dead for three days. >>

It still facinates me that these "miracles" are so hard to fathom for the same folks who talk about "physical phenomena" as if it were non-theoretical fact. Yes, I am aware of math/physics . . . and Im also aware of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, black body radiation, photoelectic effect, the Avagadro constant . . .and on and on and on -- and I may be wrong -- that were derived and adjusted to some degree to fit observation, that extraordinarily complicated and elegant mathematics was developed to explain it. To me it's like the first people who saw martial artistry demonstrated and called it magic because they didn't understand the body mechanics behind the throws and blows. They observed somthing, were wrong about how it happened or was affected, but it was real nonetheless. So just because they were wrong about it being "magic" didn't obviate the observed phenomenon.

<<There is no theory or evidence that a man can be born of a virgin.>>

It's called artificial insemination.

SteveJ
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by:sbdt8631
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SteveJ
I know you were just joking, but artificial insemination performed in a controlled environment is a far cry from having your child fathered by God in some unknown, mystical and magical way.  I am afraid I have to agree with Jason210 on this.  It seems unlikely that the world was a supernatural place thousands of years ago, where people could see the future and perform seemingly magical acts.  However, in present times, when these acts can be recorded, analyzed and tested, no one seems to be able to confirm that such supernatural acts.  Just seems awfully coincidental to me.  
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by:Jason210
ID: 35216408
It is a sad thing for me when I see people believing in miracles as literal events, because they stop us from developing any further.

Once such false beliefs are abandoned and you realise you are quite alone, then and only then can you begin to face spiritual reality.

Although I don't deny the existence of God, I try not to think about it. I try to avoid imagining what God is like, or conceptualising God. But I think many people have this idea of God in the imagination that they really believe in.  Such a belief again is like the belief a child has for Santa Claus. In this sense, God is more of a spiritual obstacle rather than a help. While you are worshiping an idea like this, you are NOT facing the reality of existence, but are caught up in your imagination. It too is a form of escapism, which often leads to various forms of repression. Again, it is ok and even desirable to think of God this way at a early stage, but as we grow older, if we are serious about any kind of spiritual growth, we should abandon such obsessions. God is not a cosy little magic person who is going to make eveything alright. This is an object in the imagination. The imagination is not immortal, and one it will die, and if you are identified with it, you will die with it.

That is why I believe it is of the utmost importance to see things as they are now,
















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by:SteveJ
ID: 35216443
sbdt8631
Well, only partly joking . . . Im sure artificial insemination would have seemed miraculous at some point in the past and perhaps could not have even been envisioned. My point is that there seems to be a tacit consensus among non-believers that what we know right now, today, is pretty much established on rock-solid ground. Yet history proves that to be nonsense at the least and arrogant at most.

Here's the thing . . . I don't want to put words in your mouth or in Jason210's but you seem to "agree" with Jason210 that the "supernatural world of the past" doesn't exist today, and you question whether or not it ever existed . . . by which you are saying that everything *EVERYTHING* that happens today has a "scientific" explanation. That just seems far less credible than God to me. And colossally arrogant.

SteveJ
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by:SteveJ
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<<It is a sad thing for me when I see people believing in miracles as literal events, because they stop us from developing any further.>>

There's absolutely nothing in the bible that is inconsistent with . . . for example . . . the big bang theory. So Im not sure who you are editorializing to here.

<<God is not a cosy little magic person who is going to make eveything alright.>>

No mature Christian thinks that either. That you would infer that as a possibility suggests that you may not understand the Christian view of God.

SteveJ
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by:SteveJ
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Jason210
I may have misunderstood your comment about taking literally etc. . . I agree. There are people at my church who believe the earth was created in 6 days. They are unswerving in that view and consider any other view to be apostate. While I happen to think that's certainly possible (that is, if I believe God is omnicient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, then I have to believe that's a possibility) I don't actually read anything into Genesis which compels me to accept that it happened in 6 x 24 hour spins of the earth on its axis . . .or perhaps it was sidereal days. Same holds true for parting of the Red Sea . . . whether God waved His hand and the sea parted or whether God caused some earth-born physical event, the effect of which was to provide a path . . . doesn't seem overly important vis a vis the acceptance that He is God. And to argue about that kind of thing seems pointless.

That I believe there is a God of the Universe implies some stuff. The question of whether or not He can make a rock so big that He can't lift it is proof that there's no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid people asking questions.

SteveJ
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by:sbdt8631
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>>whether God waved His hand and the sea parted or whether God caused some earth-born physical event, the effect of which was to provide a path

I can understand the "God caused some earth-born physical event" aspect of that statement because there is no magic involved.  It is only when miricles involve some sort of supernatural, magic event that I start thinking they can be nothing more than made up stories.