Concerning the Nature of Jesus

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de Silentio
 
Reply Sat 5 Jan, 2008 07:55 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
[quote] The higher can come from the lower. Emergence is an example of this [/quote]
Can you please explain to me what Emergence is.

Can something perfect come from imperfect things? Or does that argument still stand?

[quote]On a serious note, you are making the argument that Jesus is higher than men in the sense that he is capable of teaching something other men are not, and therefore, no other men can teach what he teaches.[/quote]

Jesus is higher than man in the sense that he is perfect (the 'perfect Truth' if you will)(See below for defense of this). It is because of this that only he can teach the Truth. Not, as you say, he is higher in the sense that only he can teach the truth. See the difference?

[quote] Further, if the Truth is out of the reach of men, how can they ever know God? [/quote]
Trough Jesus. He is our link, the intermediary.
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My Defense: If God is omniscient then he must possess the Truth. On the other hand, Man, in his limited knowledge, can only conjecture to what the Truth is.
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I enjoyed your joke Smile

I don't think I could bring Kierkegaard's argument into this. It would complicate things too much (and require some additional 'refreshing' on my part.

I will likewise say that the majority of the arguments I give are not my own. There is very little that I have come up with myself. However, the synthesizing of different ideas to make new ideas is what philosophizing is all about. I have the benefit of having an excellent pastor who enjoys teaching me (and subsequently I enjoy challenging him).
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 5 Jan, 2008 09:09 pm
@de Silentio,
Sorry about the edited posts.

[quote]Do you know what Kierkegaards book is about? I don't know what the books you suggested are about, but I bet they are nothing like Philosophical Fragments.
[/quote]No, but given the context in which it was suggested, I imagined there was some relation to Jesus being the only person who can teach truth. The book I suggested is a discussion about the similarities, differences, and relationship between Buddhism and Christianity.

[quote]Good question. I am pretty sure his glorified body is. When we talk about Jesus, we have to remember that he is God and Man, in one. This is more or less unexplainable by us, we will have to wait and see how this logical inconsistency is possible.[/quote]I do not see the logical inconsistency of "God and Man, in one". The only logical inconsistency I see is if his physical body is any more Holy than anything else that is physical.

[quote]Now, to answer your question. I woul have to say Yes. Since he is all God, even in his human form (a form that was concieved by the union of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary). To answer your question about dualism: There is no dualism because Jesus is both God and Man at the same time. It is not a dualistic nature, it is more like one nature, again, that is incomprehensible by us.[/quote]First, I have to admit I reject the notion of a virgin Mary. I think we discussed the issue of the mistranslation earlier. Basically, "young girl" was mistranslated as "virgin"; that is the suggestion of scholars, most clergy, it seems, reject the criticism.

[quote]Now, to answer your question. I woul have to say Yes. Since he is all God, even in his human form (a form that was concieved by the union of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary). To answer your question about dualism: There is no dualism because Jesus is both God and Man at the same time. It is not a dualistic nature, it is more like one nature, again, that is incomprehensible by us.[/quote]But isn't union with the Holy Spirit a good thing? The point?
As you have explained things, they do not seem dualistic. Again, only if something physical is more holy than something else physical can I make such an objection. But I do have a question (because we are remarkably close to agreement, I think): why can't anyone else be that close to God? I'm not suggesting this be easy. I'm not suggesting that this be something that everyone could experience in this lifetime. By why is such a thing impossible?

Remember, Jesus was the son of God. He led us in prayer, "Our father, who art in heaven".

[quote]Can you please explain to me what Emergence is.[/quote]The most basic way to describe emergence is probably: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

[quote]Can something perfect come from imperfect things? Or does that argument still stand?
[/quote]What is perfect and/or what is imperfect?

[quote]Jesus is higher than man in the sense that he is perfect (the 'perfect Truth' if you will)(See below for defense of this). It is because of this that only he can teach the Truth. Not, as you say, he is higher in the sense that only he can teach the truth. See the difference?[/quote]I think so:
Jesus is higher, in that he is perfect. Only someone perfect can perfectly teach the truth.

[quote]Trough Jesus. He is our link, the intermediary.[/quote]Okay, then what is he our intermediary to? God? The Truth? I f so, this implies we can experience them. And if we can experience them, we can know them. If this is possible, what then would be the difference between us and Jesus?

[quote]My Defense: If God is omniscient then he must possess the Truth. On the other hand, Man, in his limited knowledge, can only conjecture to what the Truth is.[/quote]But you said God is Truth. Man, without God, must have limited knowledge. But with God, who is omniscient, what could man not know? At least as much as there is to know, which may not turn out to be very much.

I'm glad you enjoyed the joke. I've always assumed that, because Jesus had a sense of humor, God must have one as well. I hope I'm right. Then again, "Blaspheme the Son and you will be forgiven. Blaspheme the Father and you will be forgiven. Blaspheme the Holy Spirit and you will not be forgiven in earth or in Heaven.".

[quote]I will likewise say that the majority of the arguments I give are not my own. There is very little that I have come up with myself. However, the synthesizing of different ideas to make new ideas is what philosophizing is all about. I have the benefit of having an excellent pastor who enjoys teaching me (and subsequently I enjoy challenging him).[/quote]Absolutely. I have found this discussion to be valuable. Discourse among faith traditions is important, especially if we are going to be able to tolerate, and love one another, which is a message universal to religion (just about, anyway). I suppose that is part of my concern about Jesus being the only source of truth - what of the other faiths? Are they "wrong" because what they teach is not of the tradition of Jesus? With reasonable people, even if such conclusions are reached, peace is possible, but with unreasonable people, such intolerance leads to violence. Also, if Jesus is the other source of truth, discourse among faiths loses value, furthering the divide between us, often over very slight differences.

A good teacher and good community in which to practice are all blessings. You are certainly lucky to have such a resource.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 06:23 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
[quote] No, but given the context in which it was suggested, I imagined there was some relation to Jesus being the only person who can teach truth[/quote]Kind of. See, Kierkegaard had an odd agenda to his writings. His entire authorship amounted to the denial of dogmatical religion, and it championed personal religion. The aim of this book is to illuminate certain paradoxes that exist within Christianity. So, in essence, certain parts of this book can be used in arguments against Christianity. So I would not necessarily say that it backs me up in saying that Jesus is the only one who can teach the Truth. By the way, this is one of the major books that his famous 'leap to faith' comes from.
[quote] First, I have to admit I reject the notion of a virgin Mary[/quote]Interesting, can Jesus still be God if he isn't born of a virgin? I think in order to be God, he must have been begotten by God. A man born of two humans would only be human.
[quote] But isn't union with the Holy Spirit a good thing? The point?[/quote]When I said 'Union' I was thinking more of conception. Sorry for the obscurity. I suppose if Jesus, in the flesh, is God, then his physical body is completely Holy, and thus 'more' Holy than something else physical. There is nothing of God that can be unholy (this would be a contradiction), thus there is nothing of Jesus that can be unholy (since he is God). Man, on the other hand is inherently unholy in his imperfection (or in Original Sin, if you will concede me that, which I don't expect you too! Smile). Accepting the Trinity, especially the part that a physical being is God (and thus completely Holy), is extremely difficult because it defies all logic. (thus the need for a 'leap of faith')
[quote] (from an earlier post) - Would you suggest the physical body of Jesus is the Holy Spirit? If so, you'll have to explain this dualism between Holy and unholy. If not, then what of Jesus is the Holy Spirit, if not his teaching (through word and deed)?[/quote]Yes, the physical body of Jesus is the Holy Spirit, since Jesus is the Holy Spirit. I am sorry for asking this a post late, what dualism do I run into?
[quote] Remember, Jesus was the son of God. He led us in prayer, "Our father, who art in heaven".[/quote]Jesus is the Son of God, but at the same time he is God. (notice the present tense)
[quote] What is perfect and/or what is imperfect?[/quote]I can't defend this without research. I think it comes from Anslem's ontological argument. However, I do know my argument rests on it. So let me rephrase what I said (and not use perfect, I will use truth in it's place):
Jesus is higher than man in that he is Truth (and thus possesses the Truth in him). Man is lower in that he does not have the truth in him. Thus, man must learn the Truth from the higher source.
[quote] I think so:
Jesus is higher, in that he is perfect. Only someone perfect can perfectly teach the truth.[/quote] Read my rephrasing above. I phrased it poorly. When I said 'perfect Truth' I meant the Truth (as it is, in fact the only truth). When you said 'someone perfect can perfectly teach the truth', perfectly teach was not the way I meant perfect. My error for misusing the word.

[quote] Okay, then what is he our intermediary to? God? The Truth? I f so, this implies we can experience them. And if we can experience them, we can know them. If this is possible, what then would be the difference between us and Jesus? [/quote] Jesus is our link to God in that he gives us something to have Faith in. Abraham experienced God directly, but he still needed faith to believe that he was conversing with God. Saint Paul needed Faith in order to experience the Truth in Jesus. As humans, we cannot possess the Truth in the sense that Jesus does. Our Faith in Jesus is as close as we can come. So maybe I should have said: "Through our Faith in Jesus. He is our link, the intermediary."
[quote] But you said God is Truth [/quote] I thought you were going to catch that, and I almost rewrote my response before I posted it (I guess I should have). Yes, God is Truth, and God must also know Truth. His omniscience is just one proof that he must know Truth. I should have used a different defense to what I typed. However, I don't think me saying that God is Truth and that if God is omniscient that he must possess the Truth is contradictory or inconsistent. (but it may be?)
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It is going to be increasingly difficult for me to defend myself, because we are getting into areas that I can only defend by saying "I just have faith that it is true". There is much I have learned that I cannot put into writing. And, frankly, some of what I have faith in rests on knowledge that I gained some time ago, and only have fragments of left. But I will continue trying. Smile
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 09:55 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
Interesting, can Jesus still be God if he isn't born of a virgin? I think in order to be God, he must have been begotten by God. A man born of two humans would only be human.


What was not begotten by God? Remember how he taught us to pray, "Our father, who art in heaven". Our father, not "My father".

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Man, on the other hand is inherently unholy in his imperfection (or in Original Sin, if you will concede me that, which I don't expect you too! ).


Nope, I don't buy original sin. From the Eden story, I see that when people are greedy, they are more distant from God, and that greed is the most basic, as it is "the first", human sin. Thus, don't be greedy.

All men suffer, at one time or another, with the urge to be greedy, just as we all enjoy the bliss of moments of pure selflessness and compassion. Original Sin, if anything, could only refer to the fact that all men can, and will sin. To overcome this, we did not need a blood sacrifice, the very notion is a hold over from pagan traditions, what was told to pagans so they would be more likely to convert. Jesus showed us the way out of greed, and other sin, so that we may live justly with ourselves and others, and with all of reality, and therefore with God.

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Accepting the Trinity, especially the part that a physical being is God (and thus completely Holy), is extremely difficult because it defies all logic. (thus the need for a 'leap of faith')


See, the trinity is something very different for me. The Father is the source of reality, all of it, the Son is the word of God, the message of truth to man, the Holy Spirit is that truth.
Sure, Jesus' physical body was holy, but no more holy than anything else - that some physical things are holy and others unholy is dualism. And how could it be defended. The physical matter which comprised Jesus is now something else, maybe a part of you or I. Is the flower which absorbed nutrients from Jesus' body more holy than the flower next to it?

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Yes, the physical body of Jesus is the Holy Spirit, since Jesus is the Holy Spirit. I am sorry for asking this a post late, what dualism do I run into?


That some physical things are more holy than others.

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Jesus is the Son of God, but at the same time he is God. (notice the present tense)


But he is leading us, you and I, to say "Our father", to say that God is our father, yours and mine. Jesus is the son of God, but so are we, according to that prayer.

Quote:
Jesus is higher than man in that he is Truth (and thus possesses the Truth in him). Man is lower in that he does not have the truth in him. Thus, man must learn the Truth from the higher source.


Again, this is the dualism. I'll wait for an explaination of it.

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Jesus is our link to God in that he gives us something to have Faith in.


But faith requires understanding, otherwise it is arbitrary. Jesus is not faith, he is the way and the light.

Quote:
As humans, we cannot possess the Truth in the sense that Jesus does. Our Faith in Jesus is as close as we can come. So maybe I should have said: "Through our Faith in Jesus. He is our link, the intermediary."


Why do we need an intermediary? Isn't Jesus God?

Quote:
However, I don't think me saying that God is Truth and that if God is omniscient that he must possess the Truth is contradictory or inconsistent. (but it may be?)


But that's my point, if man can understand either Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God, or the Truth, then man can know all of them as they are the same.

Quote:
It is going to be increasingly difficult for me to defend myself, because we are getting into areas that I can only defend by saying "I just have faith that it is true". There is much I have learned that I cannot put into writing. And, frankly, some of what I have faith in rests on knowledge that I gained some time ago, and only have fragments of left. But I will continue trying.


You must have a very difficult God.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2008 08:44 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Quote:
You must have a very difficult God.

I think everything is difficult, we just choose to focus on the simple. For example, the Earth rotates around the Sun, and this creates the seasons. Simple. But if we get into the different forces that are interacting to make the Earth rotate around the Sun and how these create the seasons, it begins becoming extremely difficult.

I think God and religion can be looked at the same way. There are very simple aspects of Christianity that are important, these are what one needs to have true faith in. All of the other stuff is just for fun. I enjoy making God difficult, and trying to figure out problems that I and others have created. However, these are not important to who I am or what I believe.
[quote] What was not begotten by God? Remember how he taught us to pray, "Our father, who art in heaven". Our father, not "My father".[/quote]
I think the term begotten or beget means a direct decedent of, thus Jesus is directly descended from God, he cam 'from the loins' if you will. For example, my Grandfather did not beget me, my father did.
[quote] The Father is the source of reality, all of it, the Son is the word of God, the message of truth to man, the Holy Spirit is that truth.[/quote]
Not bad.
[quote] And how could it be defended. The physical matter which comprised Jesus is now something else, maybe a part of you or I.[/quote]
Within the realm of known physics, matter can be neither created nor destroyed. However, If God created matter, why can he not 'destroy' it, or change it. If God can perform miracles that defy physics, why would he not be able to defy physics with his own body? (I was putting together an argument about him ascending into heaven, his body not decomposing and so forth, but I don't have the knowledge to do so)
[quote] Again, this is the dualism. I'll wait for an explaination of it.[/quote]
What is wrong with the dualism? Or is it what you stated that my above reply was to?
[quote] But faith requires understanding, otherwise it is arbitrary. Jesus is not faith, he is the way and the light.[/quote]
You are correct, faith does require understanding. I did not say Jesus is faith, he gives us someone to have faith in.
[quote] Why do we need an intermediary? Isn't Jesus God?[/quote]
As you said, Jesus is the Word of God. God the father is beyond our comprehension. God the Son is one of us, his duality links mankind and God.
[quote] But that's my point, if man can understand either Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God, or the Truth, then man can know all of them as they are the same.[/quote]
Understand is a strong word. Do we fully understand anything? Can we fully understand anything?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 11 Jan, 2008 12:03 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
I think the term begotten or beget means a direct decedent of, thus Jesus is directly descended from God, he cam 'from the loins' if you will. For example, my Grandfather did not beget me, my father did.


Beget can mean either 'to father' or 'to cause to exist'. Either way, my question remains: what was not begotten by God?

Quote:
Not bad.


Thank you. It's derived from a passage in the Gospel of Thomas.

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Within the realm of known physics, matter can be neither created nor destroyed. However, If God created matter, why can he not 'destroy' it, or change it. If God can perform miracles that defy physics, why would he not be able to defy physics with his own body?


I'm not sure why God would construct the universe in such a way that he has to override it's laws for his purposes. Further, do we have any reason to think that God suspends these laws of physics for such purposes?

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What is wrong with the dualism? Or is it what you stated that my above reply was to?


Well, it's a claim that has, thus far, no support. Maybe something is wrong with it, maybe not, I cannot tell because I have not heard an explaination of the holy/unholy dualism.

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You are correct, faith does require understanding. I did not say Jesus is faith, he gives us someone to have faith in.


Sure, we can have faith in Jesus, but we can also have faith in anything else. Again, I suppose, I do not see Jesus as being very different than anything/one else, other than perhaps the quality of his message. Instead of Jesus, I might just as well substitute the Buddha. Would this present any problems?

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As you said, Jesus is the Word of God. God the father is beyond our comprehension. God the Son is one of us, his duality links mankind and God.


Keeping the example of Buddha, he also seems to be the Word of God, even if he is apart from the Judeo-Christian tradition.
But I think we should be careful. Jesus isn't literally the word of God, he was literally a man - who is now dead. But he did spread the Word of God as he understood it (which, as far as I can tell, is quite well), speaking of the source of reality, God, and of the truth, the Holy Spirit.
If Buddha honestly speaks of reality, the trinity is there.

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Understand is a strong word. Do we fully understand anything? Can we fully understand anything?


That is a strong word. I think the answer to both questions is: yes, but doing so is not likely or easy. But, even if the answer was uniformally "no" the point still remains. I think the important question here is: what is it to understand this trinity?
God, Jesus, the HS, all represent different parts of the Truth - the source, the teaching, the honesty. To know the Truth, is to know all of these things. Perhaps God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not entirely the same, but all part of the Truth.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Sun 13 Jan, 2008 07:17 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Quote:
Beget can mean either 'to father' or 'to cause to exist'. Either way, my question remains: what was not begotten by God?

There is something I completely missed, when the Bible talks of Jesus being God's begotten Son, it says his only begotten son, Thus, disguising Jesus from all others. Either way, I think it is fruitless to quable over terms like this, because they may be mistranslated. So, I tried to go to the original Greek.

I found a site that exclaims the term 'begotten' that we use is derived from the Greek word 'Monogenes', which, depending on its root, can mean either 'only begotten' or 'Unique'. Whether or not this is right I cannot say. However, I think it does shed light on the fact that when we speak of Jesus being God's son, he is God's son in a unique way.
Quote:
I'm not sure why God would construct the universe in such a way that he has to override it's laws for his purposes. Further, do we have any reason to think that God suspends these laws of physics for such purposes?
From what I understand of the 'laws' of physics, God would have had to violate them to create the universe in the first place. All that we know of physics breaks down between the big bang and the Planck Second after the big bang. There is much Old and New Testament that are violations of the laws of physics as we know them.
[quote] Sure, we can have faith in Jesus, but we can also have faith in anything else. Again, I suppose, I do not see Jesus as being very different than anything/one else, other than perhaps the quality of his message. Instead of Jesus, I might just as well substitute the Buddha. Would this present any problems?[/quote]It is faith is Jesus that gives us the understanding of God. Being human and having limited knowledge, when we go beyond the limits of our empirical knowledge, understanding requires faith. For example, the Big Bang and Darwinian Evolution require faith that the science beyond them is making the correct inferences. Likewise, any means of seeking happiness requires faith that it is accurate, Buddhism, Taoism, Scientology, and so on. These do not become real to us until we have faith that their theories are correct. God is the same way, and faith in Jesus the Messiah is the beginning to understanding God.

As to Buddha, he may have Christian philosophies, but he is missing one crucial aspect: He is not God, like Jesus is God.

Quote:
Keeping the example of Buddha, he also seems to be the Word of God, even if he is apart from the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Key word being 'seems'. Christian have an answer to how people can be 'God like' even if they are not Christian. See, God created man in his image, part of this creation is rationality, and part of rationality is being able to distinguish good and bad, right and wrong. Being created in God's image gave man something God has, this is how man, without the aid of God (Jesus) is able to form religions and be 'holy' seeming.
[quote] But I think we should be careful. Jesus isn't literally the word of God, he was literally a man - who is now dead. But he did spread the Word of God as he understood it (which, as far as I can tell, is quite well), speaking of the source of reality, God, and of the truth, the Holy Spirit.[/quote]
I think we need to be careful again, the word 'Word' comes from the Greek Logos, which can be translated into a number of things. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, all being eternal, have always existed and will always exist. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) I am not knowledgeable enough to explain what I have once been explained, but I found a website that does the job, here is a quote from it:

Quote:
(www).gotquestions.org/Jesus-Word-God.html
By starting out his gospel stating, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," John is introducing Jesus with a word or a term that both his Jewish and Gentile readers would have been familiar with. The Greek word translated "Word" in this passage is Logos, and it was common in both Greek philosophy and Jewish thought of that day. For example, in the Old Testament the "word" of God is often personified as an instrument for the execution of God's will (Psalm 33:6; 107:20; 119:89; 147:15-18). So, for his Jewish readers, by introducing Jesus as the "Word," John is in a sense pointing them back to the Old Testament where the Logos or "Word" of God is associated with the personification of God's revelation. And in Greek philosophy, the term Logos was used to describe the intermediate agency by which God created material things and communicated with them. In the Greek worldview, the Logos was thought of as a bridge between the transcendent God and the material universe. Therefore, for his Greek readers the use of the term Logos would have likely brought forth the idea of a mediating principle between God and the world.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sun 13 Jan, 2008 07:54 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
There is something I completely missed, when the Bible talks of Jesus being God's begotten Son, it says his only begotten son, Thus, disguising Jesus from all others. Either way, I think it is fruitless to quable over terms like this, because they may be mistranslated. So, I tried to go to the original Greek.


Not in Mathew, Mark or Luke.

Quote:
I found a site that exclaims the term 'begotten' that we use is derived from the Greek word 'Monogenes', which, depending on its root, can mean either 'only begotten' or 'Unique'. Whether or not this is right I cannot say. However, I think it does shed light on the fact that when we speak of Jesus being God's son, he is God's son in a unique way.


I have no problem with Jesus as unique, we are all unique. Jesus was unique in a special way, he was a great teacher.

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From what I understand of the 'laws' of physics, God would have had to violate them to create the universe in the first place. All that we know of physics breaks down between the big bang and the Planck Second after the big bang. There is much Old and New Testament that are violations of the laws of physics as we know them.


The laws of physics are not alone. Quantum mechanics explains many things that physical laws cannot. I don't mean these human contructs that seem to explain the way the universe works, I mean the way the universe works. Why would God create a universe in which he has to disrupt it's function?

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It is faith is Jesus that gives us the understanding of God. Being human and having limited knowledge, when we go beyond the limits of our empirical knowledge, understanding requires faith.


How can understanding require faith if faith requires understanding? If we have faith in what we do not understand our faith is arbitrary. Why must we go beyond our empirical knowledge?

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For example, the Big Bang and Darwinian Evolution require faith that the science beyond them is making the correct inferences.


This is horribly misleading. Sure, the Big Bang and Evolution rest on other science, but that science is not a matter of faith - it's a matter of science!

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Likewise, any means of seeking happiness requires faith that it is accurate, Buddhism, Taoism, Scientology, and so on.


Both Buddhist teaching and Taoist thought disagree with you here, unless that faith requires understanding. The notion of faith without understanding is not found in Buddhist thought, nor in Taoist thought.

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God is the same way, and faith in Jesus the Messiah is the beginning to understanding God.


Again, only if faith requires understanding. Unless you can explain how faith without understanding is not arbitrary, this problem will run through much of the discourse.

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As to Buddha, he may have Christian philosophies, but he is missing one crucial aspect: He is not God, like Jesus is God.


You say this, but this has been the whole discussion - is Jesus any more holy than anyone else? I don't see how Jesus could be any more holy than the historical Buddha, both taught remarkably similar messages, and both gave birth to great spiritual traditions.

This is part of my concern over the overstatements regarding Jesus. When we set him up, saying that he is the only Son of God, the only way to God, what good is this? When we demand our way is the only way, we stifle dialogue between faith traditions. We create divisions when we should be embracing each other.

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Key word being 'seems'. Christian have an answer to how people can be 'God like' even if they are not Christian. See, God created man in his image, part of this creation is rationality, and part of rationality is being able to distinguish good and bad, right and wrong. Being created in God's image gave man something God has, this is how man, without the aid of God (Jesus) is able to form religions and be 'holy' seeming.


But why is this the case? Just because?

As for Jesus being the "Word", of course this is a mediation between God and man - Jesus gave us good teaching! But so far, I've seen no reason to think Jesus is the only man who can do this.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Sun 13 Jan, 2008 09:28 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
[quote] I have no problem with Jesus as unique, we are all unique. Jesus was unique in a special way, he was a great teacher.[/quote]I have no doubt that you understand the difference between our arguments, and why, really, we can never come to an agreement. In fact, we are not even arguing on even ground. Technically, I don't really think one can call what we are doing an argument, because we are violating a fundamental requirement for arguing, common ground. There are fundamental definitions that we both hold, and they are not in agreement, causing us to go round and round with little to no progress. We are violating the rules of argumentation.

However, I will defend the few things I have said in my last post, then I think we should pick something to argue, and focus on that. We need to find common ground. (I use the term 'argue' in a friendly, Platonic way! J)
[quote] The laws of physics are not alone. Quantum mechanics explains many things that physical laws cannot. I don't mean these human contructs that seem to explain the way the universe works, I mean the way the universe works. Why would God create a universe in which he has to disrupt it's function?[/quote]I think quantum mechanics is a field of physics, and the 'laws' that come from them are some of the 'laws of physics'. From a scientific standpoint, there is no 'law' of physics that can explain how the universe works. There are what we believe to be explanations for the universe, but none of these are complete. Newton had everything figured out until Einstein came along, and we currently have it figured out until some new theory comes along.

Either way, you ask: Why would God create a universe in which he has to disrupt its function. He would not be disrupting its function by doing anything to it, since its function is dependent upon His Will.

[quote] How can understanding require faith if faith requires understanding? If we have faith in what we do not understand our faith is arbitrary. Why must we go beyond our empirical knowledge?[/quote]I see the apparent circularity in my statements, and it is do the misuse of the word understanding. You said that faith requires understanding and I agreed.

I will retract my agreement and say that faith requires some knowledge of what one has faith in. Once we have this knowledge, we can make the leap to faith, and begin understanding God for what He is, our creator and savior. If we have faith in what we have no knowledge of, it is arbitrary.

Why must we go beyond our empirical knowledge? For you and me personally, we have to go beyond our empirical knowledge to believe that Jesus lived at all, or for that matter that Julius Caesar lived. Our empirical knowledge is extremely limited.

More on understanding, I don't think it is possible to understand something as simple as 'how does an apple fall to Earth', because we don't understand how gravity works. We know that gravity works, but we don't understand it. We know that an apple falls, but I don't think we understand it.

[quote] This is horribly misleading. Sure, the Big Bang and Evolution rest on other science, but that science is not a matter of faith - it's a matter of science![/quote]Seriously, no faith required in these theories? There is no possible way to test that these theories are true, only speculation based on empirical data.

[quote] Both Buddhist teaching and Taoist thought disagree with you here, unless that faith requires understanding. The notion of faith without understanding is not found in Buddhist thought, nor in Taoist thought.[/quote]I see where you're going with this, I have studied both on a very basic level, but I do not understand either. There is a point when a person must say, "I see, this is the way to make me happy", and I think this comes before they understand the philosophy for what it is, and this is where faith in it begins. In order for these philosophies to 'make a person happy' they must understand them, in order to see them as philosophies that can make them happy, they must have faith in them.
[quote] Again, only if faith requires understanding. Unless you can explain how faith without understanding is not arbitrary, this problem will run through much of the discourse.[/quote] I think I answered this above.

-----

In answer to the rest of your post, If Jesus is God, then my statements hold true; If Jesus is not God, yours hold true.

I think a fundamental problem I have with your side of the discussion, is what you think God is. You are welcome to continue responding to what I said in this post, but the majority of it was defending myself, so unless you feel the need to continue trying to destroy my arguments when we are holding different assumptions (which makes are discussion difficult, if not impossible to resolve), I think we should start over. However, if you want to defend yourself one more time, I understand.

My proposal for a new beginning discussion is "What you think God is".
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 14 Jan, 2008 12:20 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
However, I will defend the few things I have said in my last post, then I think we should pick something to argue, and focus on that. We need to find common ground. (I use the term 'argue' in a friendly, Platonic way! J)


I've always thought "argument" was a good word, despite modern bias.

Quote:
Either way, you ask: Why would God create a universe in which he has to disrupt its function. He would not be disrupting its function by doing anything to it, since its function is dependent upon His Will.


So why do miracles need to be something beyond those laws, which we develop by observing what you equate to God's will?

Quote:
I will retract my agreement and say that faith requires some knowledge of what one has faith in. Once we have this knowledge, we can make the leap to faith, and begin understanding God for what He is, our creator and savior. If we have faith in what we have no knowledge of, it is arbitrary.


You retract your previous statement and instead say that "faith requires some knowledge of what one has faith in". What is "some knowledge"? You say that when we have "some knowledge" we can make a leap of faith. A leap of faith to what?
You say when we have "some understanding" we can make a "leap of faith" to being to understand "God for what He is".
What is this leap of faith?
Sure, some understanding leaps to more understanding, but unless your "leap of faith" is faith with understanding, I don't see how you've solved the problem.

Quote:
Why must we go beyond our empirical knowledge? For you and me personally, we have to go beyond our empirical knowledge to believe that Jesus lived at all, or for that matter that Julius Caesar lived. Our empirical knowledge is extremely limited.


No we don't. Have you not read the Bible? Jesus was also mentioned in histories from the period. And certainly we know of Julius Caesar. You seem to think empirical knowledge is far more limited than it is.
Will I ever meet Julius Caesar? No, but I don't need to meet him to empirically show he most likely lived and did a number of things, conquer Gaul for example.

Quote:
More on understanding, I don't think it is possible to understand something as simple as 'how does an apple fall to Earth', because we don't understand how gravity works. We know that gravity works, but we don't understand it. We know that an apple falls, but I don't think we understand it.


What sort of understand do you think escapes us in this situation?
You say we don't understand how gravity works, but I can see that objects with mass are attracted to other objects with mass (the apple to the earth, and the earth to the apple).

Quote:
Seriously, no faith required in these theories? There is no possible way to test that these theories are true, only speculation based on empirical data.


Ah, empirical data, so no faith without understanding is required.

Quote:
I see where you're going with this, I have studied both on a very basic level, but I do not understand either. There is a point when a person must say, "I see, this is the way to make me happy", and I think this comes before they understand the philosophy for what it is, and this is where faith in it begins. In order for these philosophies to 'make a person happy' they must understand them, in order to see them as philosophies that can make them happy, they must have faith in them.


I wish you would explain why this is so, instead of just say that it is.
How can someone have faith before understanding? You suggest such a thing here. The Buddha even said believe nothing until you have confirmed it for yourself. He extended that remark to his own teachings, too.

Quote:
In answer to the rest of your post, If Jesus is God, then my statements hold true; If Jesus is not God, yours hold true.


I don't see how. I've never suggested Jesus is not God, in fact, I have agreed that he is God.

Quote:
I think a fundamental problem I have with your side of the discussion, is what you think God is. You are welcome to continue responding to what I said in this post, but the majority of it was defending myself, so unless you feel the need to continue trying to destroy my arguments when we are holding different assumptions (which makes are discussion difficult, if not impossible to resolve), I think we should start over. However, if you want to defend yourself one more time, I understand.


We are holding different assumptions. My whole point here was to question the common notions of Jesus' nature. When people defend such athings, I have attempted to show incoherent claims, if any present themselves.

If you want to start the discussion "What is God" let's do so. Such a topic will be far more difficult, but I'll carry it with you.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Thu 17 Jan, 2008 07:54 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
I suppose I can't stop defending myself. So I will just be selective.
Quote:
You retract your previous statement and instead say that "faith requires some knowledge of what one has faith in". What is "some knowledge"? You say that when we have "some knowledge" we can make a leap of faith. A leap of faith to what?
You say when we have "some understanding" we can make a "leap of faith" to being to understand "God for what He is".
What is this leap of faith?
Sure, some understanding leaps to more understanding, but unless your "leap of faith" is faith with understanding, I don't see how you've solved the problem.

Not leap of faith, leap to faith. Kierkegaard explains a leap as a direct change from one quality to another, a person never posses both qualities at the same time. Take Adam, he made a leap into sin, from the state of not possessing sin to the state of possessing sin. It is the same with faith, a person moves from the state of not having faith to the state of having it. Thus the leap to faith.

Since we cannot matter of fact verify that God exists, we are required to have faith that he exists (and that he is the way he is for that matter). There has to be a point where a person says: "In spite of the paradoxes, in spite of the fact that I cannot logical or empirical prove that God exists, I have faith that he does," this is when the leap occurs. (P.S. I did not steal this from Wikipedia)

You asked me what "some understanding" was, then used the term yourself later in the same paragraph. Some knowledge to me is not understanding. When I talk of Jesus, I see understanding Jesus as understanding that He was born of the Virgin Mary, is fully divine, and died on the Cross to save mankind from their eternal damnation, rose again after 3 days, and ascended into Heaven to come again and finish His work. One cannot understand this until they have faith that what is outlined in the Bible is true, one cannot have faith that what is outlined in the Bible is true unless they have some knowledge of what the Bible is explaining. It goes like this: One explores what's in the Bible, they gain some knowledge, see it for what it is, make change from not believing to believing (the leap), then understand God.

Perhaps I was wrong to say that when the leap occurs, one 'begins' to understand God, Understanding comes with faith, faith and understanding are packaged together. Why? Because in order to Understand the Jesus I speak of (The common conceptions of the Christian Jesus Christ) A person must have faith that his acts and purpose are what the Bible explains they are, there is no way to explain these acts and his purpose otherwise.

[quote] I wish you would explain why this is so, instead of just say that it is.[/quote]
Quote:

How can someone have faith before understanding? You suggest such a thing here. The Buddha even said believe nothing until you have confirmed it for yourself. He extended that remark to his own teachings, too.

I thought I did explain myself. The process goes as so: I seek something to make me happy. I find Buddhism. I learn about Buddhism - a little, not everything. I have faith that Buddhism can make me happy. Because I have faith, I begin to live and understand why and how Buddhism makes me happy. This living, and then finally understanding makes me happy.
[/quote]
[quote]d.s. - Seriously, no faith required in these theories? There is no possible way to test that these theories are true, only speculation based on empirical data.[/quote]
Quote:


d.t. - Ah, empirical data, so no faith without understanding is required.

I did not only say empirical data. Empirical data is only one portion of the equation, speculation is the other. It is the speculation that drives the need for faith.
[quote]I don't see how. I've never suggested Jesus is not God, in fact, I have agreed that he is God.[/quote] I don't think you agreed that Jesus is God in the sense that I conceive him. (I think our posts highlight the different conceptions of Jesus that we have, and thus the different conceptions of God)
This is why I would like to understand (J) what you think God is.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 17 Jan, 2008 11:06 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
I suppose I can't stop defending myself. So I will just be selective.


I'm the same way; I have an odd compulsion to reply to objections regardless of circumstance.

Quote:
Not leap of faith, leap to faith. Kierkegaard explains a leap as a direct change from one quality to another, a person never posses both qualities at the same time. Take Adam, he made a leap into sin, from the state of not possessing sin to the state of possessing sin. It is the same with faith, a person moves from the state of not having faith to the state of having it. Thus the leap to faith.


Ah, I see.

Quote:
Since we cannot matter of fact verify that God exists, we are required to have faith that he exists (and that he is the way he is for that matter). There has to be a point where a person says: "In spite of the paradoxes, in spite of the fact that I cannot logical or empirical prove that God exists, I have faith that he does," this is when the leap occurs. (P.S. I did not steal this from Wikipedia)


Here, I think, is where we might encounter significant disagreement. I think I can, as a matter of fact, verify the existence of God. I cannot prove his existence to you or anyone else, but I can prove this to myself. This evidence is empirical - it's experience of God.

Quote:
When I talk of Jesus, I see understanding Jesus as understanding that He was born of the Virgin Mary, is fully divine, and died on the Cross to save mankind from their eternal damnation, rose again after 3 days, and ascended into Heaven to come again and finish His work


I do not mean understanding "I believe X" it's understanding "this is why I believe X" and hopefully the explaination is coherent; the more coherent, the more understanding. This is often difficult for people - it suggests their faith is lacking. It suggests all of our faith is lacking, mine, yours, ect. But shouldn't we expect this?

Quote:
It goes like this: One explores what's in the Bible, they gain some knowledge, see it for what it is, make change from not believing to believing (the leap), then understand God.


I do not see how this solves the problem of arbitrary belief. That initial knowledge is marvelous! Should be treasured, and constantly reevaluated. But that initial understanding is not the whole understanding of God. Our faith progresses as our understanding progresses. A little knowledge leads to a little understanding, progress, but not the Kingdom of God.

Quote:
Perhaps I was wrong to say that when the leap occurs, one 'begins' to understand God, Understanding comes with faith, faith and understanding are packaged together. Why? Because in order to Understand the Jesus I speak of (The common conceptions of the Christian Jesus Christ) A person must have faith that his acts and purpose are what the Bible explains they are, there is no way to explain these acts and his purpose otherwise.


But we might disagree over what the Bible says. Should I arbitrarily accept one notion of the Bible's message? Simply because others say it's the only way? I dont think so.

Quote:
I thought I did explain myself. The process goes as so: I seek something to make me happy. I find Buddhism. I learn about Buddhism - a little, not everything. I have faith that Buddhism can make me happy. Because I have faith, I begin to live and understand why and how Buddhism makes me happy. This living, and then finally understanding makes me happy.


Hopefully, if you have a teacher, he would correct you.

Quote:
I did not only say empirical data. Empirical data is only one portion of the equation, speculation is the other. It is the speculation that drives the need for faith.


One portion of what equation? Scientific theories are not taken on faith, wasn't that the point here?

Quote:
I don't think you agreed that Jesus is God in the sense that I conceive him. (I think our posts highlight the different conceptions of Jesus that we have, and thus the different conceptions of God)
This is why I would like to understand (J) what you think God is.


God is god. 'Seek and you shall find', something like that, right?
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2008 07:18 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Quote:
Here, I think, is where we might encounter significant disagreement. I think I can, as a matter of fact, verify the existence of God. I cannot prove his existence to you or anyone else, but I can prove this to myself. This evidence is empirical - it's experience of God.

Interesting. Did John Nash empirically prove to himself that aliens existed, even though it is a matter of fact that they didn't? Are all abohritions empirical proof that something exists? Just because we think we experience something, is that proof of its existence?
[quote] I do not mean understanding "I believe X" it's understanding "this is why I believe X" and hopefully the explanation is coherent; the more coherent, the more understanding. This is often difficult for people - it suggests their faith is lacking. It suggests all of our faith is lacking, mine, yours, ect. But shouldn't we expect this?[/quote]
I see understanding something and understanding why I believe something as being different. Understanding why one believes that Jesus is who the Bible says he is has nothing to do with who he actually is. It is impossible to coherently understand something that is illogical, this is why faith is needed. It is impossible to understand how Jesus did the things he did in the Bible without having faith that he did those things. There is no coherent explanation of God coming to Earth, dying to save man's sins, rising again, then ascending into Heaven.

I find it extremely important for a person to know why they believe what they believe, but I don't think that is more important than what they believe. Especially when it comes to something that they cannot logically prove or understand why they believe it. I don't see how someone's faith can be lacking because they don't understand why they have faith in something, because the whole reason they have faith in that something is because they don't understand it. If a person fully understands something, there is no need for faith.
[quote]But that initial understanding is not the whole understanding of God.[/quote] It depends on what you consider the whole understanding of God. Because to me, I don't think ANY temporal being can 'wholly' understand an eternal God, our temporality negates the possibility to understand the eternal.
[quote] I do not see how this solves the problem of arbitrary belief[/quote]How is what I described arbitrary. For something to be arbitrary it has to not be influenced by anything. In what I described, my faith is influenced by my knowledge.
[quote] but not the Kingdom of God.[/quote] I think Jesus says: "Believe in me and you shall have everlasting life". Faith in Jesus Christ is how you inherit the Kingdom of God. With faith comes the Kingdom. Yes, it is not a whole understanding, but it is enough to inherit the Kingdom.
[quote]Should I arbitrarily accept one notion of the Bible's message? Simply because others say it's the only way? I dont think so.[/quote] You keep using the word 'arbitrary', when in fact nothing I described is arbitrary. No, you should not arbitrarily accept anything. Did I say anything of the sorts?
[quote] Hopefully, if you have a teacher, he would correct you.[/quote] Perhaps you would be so kind to point out my mistake to me. You are in the best position to educate me.

I think know why you said that I was just explaining myself, but I thought everything I have written thus far can be used as a defense for what I wrote about Buddhism. You tell me to explain what I say instead of just saying it, but that is what you do throughout most of our posts.
[quote] One portion of what equation? Scientific theories are not taken on faith, wasn't that the point here?[/quote] Theories have to be taken on faith, they are theories. The Big Bang does is not an explanation of the beginning of the Universe, it is a possible explanation of the Universe. In composing the Big Bang, we use the empirical data we collect about the Universe today and deduce that there must have been a beginning. However, there is no mathematics, no laws of physics, and frankly nothing that we know of science that can explain the Big Bang.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2008 08:48 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
Interesting. Did John Nash empirically prove to himself that aliens existed, even though it is a matter of fact that they didn't? Are all abohritions empirical proof that something exists? Just because we think we experience something, is that proof of its existence?


That's the thing, though, I do not expect my verification of God to be sufficient for anyone else, in fact I argue that such verification should not be sufficient for anyone else. God is not off limits, but only you can know for yourself.

Quote:
I see understanding something and understanding why I believe something as being different. Understanding why one believes that Jesus is who the Bible says he is has nothing to do with who he actually is. It is impossible to coherently understand something that is illogical, this is why faith is needed. It is impossible to understand how Jesus did the things he did in the Bible without having faith that he did those things. There is no coherent explanation of God coming to Earth, dying to save man's sins, rising again, then ascending into Heaven.


And this highlights our differences in reading the tetxs - you take the texts literally, I take them as literature. Then again, I also look to texts outside of the Bible, and have some criticisms of texts that were included in the Bible.

Quote:
I find it extremely important for a person to know why they believe what they believe, but I don't think that is more important than what they believe. Especially when it comes to something that they cannot logically prove or understand why they believe it. I don't see how someone's faith can be lacking because they don't understand why they have faith in something, because the whole reason they have faith in that something is because they don't understand it. If a person fully understands something, there is no need for faith.


I would like to clarify something: I dont think lacking in faith is necessarily a bad thing, I think we all, in some way, lack in faith. We both agree, it seems, that Jesus taught us so that we could build our faith.
Again, our old problem remains - faith without understanding seems arbitrary. It's not that without full understanding, there should be no faith, only that our faith should be to the same extent as our understanding. I would also like to say that, despite our discourse on the subject, I dont think you have to be able to coherently explain what you understand in order to understand.

Quote:
It depends on what you consider the whole understanding of God. Because to me, I don't think ANY temporal being can 'wholly' understand an eternal God, our temporality negates the possibility to understand the eternal.


Our temporality prevents us from being eternal, and from knowing everything of the eternal, but this does not mean we cannot understand the eternal. But this aside, perhaps "whole" was too strong, my point is, initial understanding is limited to just that, more can be understood. We should seek to understand.

Quote:
How is what I described arbitrary. For something to be arbitrary it has to not be influenced by anything. In what I described, my faith is influenced by my knowledge.


The problem is that you say "It is impossible to coherently understand something that is illogical, this is why faith is needed." that faith is a subsitute for understanding. If faith is a substitute for understanding, that faith is arbitrary as anything else would be an equally justified belief.

Quote:
I think Jesus says: "Believe in me and you shall have everlasting life". Faith in Jesus Christ is how you inherit the Kingdom of God. With faith comes the Kingdom. Yes, it is not a whole understanding, but it is enough to inherit the Kingdom.


"Believe in me" but what does this mean? Isn't this the question we are asking here?
As for faith and the Kingdom of God, I would agree, with the exception of our disagreements regarding faith.

Quote:
You keep using the word 'arbitrary', when in fact nothing I described is arbitrary. No, you should not arbitrarily accept anything. Did I say anything of the sorts?


Sure it is! You say yourself "It is impossible to coherently understand something that is illogical, this is why faith is needed". It's arbitrary because it's illogical.

Quote:
Perhaps you would be so kind to point out my mistake to me. You are in the best position to educate me.


I wish I was a better teacher, then.

As for this particular issue, the Buddha taught that we should believe nothing until we know for ourselves. Faith without understanding is dangerous.

Quote:
I think know why you said that I was just explaining myself, but I thought everything I have written thus far can be used as a defense for what I wrote about Buddhism. You tell me to explain what I say instead of just saying it, but that is what you do throughout most of our posts.


I'm sorry. Whenever I am too brief on something, let me know.

Quote:
Theories have to be taken on faith, they are theories. The Big Bang does is not an explanation of the beginning of the Universe, it is a possible explanation of the Universe. In composing the Big Bang, we use the empirical data we collect about the Universe today and deduce that there must have been a beginning. However, there is no mathematics, no laws of physics, and frankly nothing that we know of science that can explain the Big Bang.


Right, but no one suggests the Big Bang is the only way - it only seems to be the best explaination we have at the moment. Our "faith" in the Big Bang is limited by our understanding of it. At least it should be.
 
Play Dough
 
Reply Sun 27 Jan, 2008 03:12 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Here is the metaphysical interpretation of Jesus.

Jesus represents humanity and 'The Christ' represents the indwelling spirit of God. This dichomony is overlook, mostly, by mainstream Christianity which makes no clear distinction between contents (the spirit) and container (the human form).

The life of Christ represents the evolutionary process (one of them, anyway) and teachings supporting the process of restoring our 'original condition' (as free non-physical spirits) which existed before we became terminally infatuated with physicality, ego, base passions, cravings, ambition and biological imperatives.

The 'crucifixion' is a metaphor of spirit being 'impaled' upon matter in the 'underworld of physicality' that is ruled by death.
The 5 wounds of the Christ represent the 5 senses and the Crown of Thorns represents the mind-set that created the conundrum that Christianity assists in reversing. The cross is an ancient symbol of 'matter'. The 'cross' is the physical body.
The 5 senses are and/or can be sublime, howsoever, the 5 senses are incapable of ever coming close to the utter enduring bliss of union with the ineffable.

Jesus represents "EveryMan" .... every human being ..... except that Jesus exercised his true potential by denying the fleshy passions and, as a result, resurrected (brought back to life) the relatively 'dead' Christ (spirit of God) that is at is at the core of every human being.

As Christ increased, Jesus decreased.

This is the only truly rational explanation of the seeming paradox of the crucified Son of God.

.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Thu 31 Jan, 2008 08:22 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos, I regret that I have not been able to respond to your last post. I have two capstone classes this semester, and they are really taxing on me. I have really enjoyed our conversation. It has given me a lot to think about, and I always welcome thought provoking dialouges. If even a little, you have helped me deepen my faith by forcing me to question it and it's foundations.

I just wanted to say thank you. Hopefully I will be able to reignite our conversation in the future. (I haven't stopped thinking about it, and came up with a few good ideas while listening to a podcast on Hume today!)

Enjoy
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 1 Feb, 2008 11:49 am
@de Silentio,
And I similarly appreciate our dialogue - this is what it's all about. We can either sit in a room by ourselves with our faith, or we can discuss our faith with others. If we can have such a discussion (as we have) in which both sides are respected while criticized, the various faiths being considered will all benefit from the dicourse. We will have a tough time loving one another if we cannot even discuss our faith - both the similarities and differences.

I hope your classes are going well. They seem to be provoking thought; I am always pleased to hear this. As always, whenever you get the time, I am glad to discuss religion, or any other topic with you.
 
 

 
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