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26  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Religion ............who is he? on: June 04, 2006, 05:13:22
Good Evening Mustardseed,
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I do not see as an example Islam as anywhere remotely the same. It advocates violence and actually rewards "the little jihad". The little and the big Jihad being one of ts main tenants.

That is because you are seeing Islam clearly as a religion at work in the world, and not looking to the content of the Koran. Their sacred book is just as beautiful in its own way as the bible. But Mohammad was just a man -- or perhaps even someone's idea of a divine man -- and moreover, what Islam does and what the Koran says to do are very different things.

While you are seeing Islam clearly as a machine of manipulation to commit violence, you are failing to see how Christianity it just as bad when it comes to manipulating the people to blindly follow their leaders in the name of their God.  Militarily, Christianity is not as bad today as it was in the Middle Ages, but the primary supporter of US military action today is the Religious Right, which gives George Bush a great deal of his power, and Bush has even said "that God has told him to do everything that he has done."

America's entire government is very wrapped up in Christianity throughout the Senate and the House, as well as the Supreme Court. They are not making the decisions that they make out of a place of LOVE, rather out of a place of power, money and the establishment of "Christian and BIBLICAL morality" (not to mention in order to keep their jobs.) And--I should add--we are not talking about LOVE as a moral code either.  

For example, because slavery was a norm in the first century and is found in the bible, slavery was justified as morally acceptable around the world--especially in America. The Emancipation Proclamation caused a huge split among religious factions in the new American States. Even still it would be another 100 years before black people were even considered to be fully human and to rightfully be due all the priviledges of white people.

Likewise, according to the bible, the Jews killed Jesus, so the Christians (Protestant and the Vatican) did nothing to stop Hitler from slaughtering them. It took the bombing of Pearl Harbor for America to even get involved in WWII, so who knows what else Hitler would have done if the Japanese hadn't bombed America at all.

Both of these cultural tragedies were successful because even though the bible says to love one another, that did not include slaves and Jews. In fact, those who held the power to stop these travesties, actually justified them by quoting the bible!!!


And they still do: The fundamentalist "Christians" here in America want to dictate who people can have sex with, who can be married, and what women can and cannot do with their own bodies. It is so strange that they are anti-choice when it comes to a woman bringing a child into this world, and yet they execute the death penalty on a regular basis. I never have figured that one out.
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My problem is not that I cant handle the truth, its just that I want to make damn well sure that it is THE TRUTH.

As I have said to you before David, I cannot tell you what the TRUTH is. I can only tell you what the TRUTH is NOT. And the bible was not historical. It was allegory for spiritual and philosophical principles.

In fact, the only TRUTH that I would offer you is the one that you are already well aware of: that only through LOVE and UNDERSTANDING can any of us be saved from the evils of this world.  The rest of the TRUTH only God knows.

Here is a thought to ponder: Christianity NEEDS THE BIBLE, but -- the BIBLE does NOT NEED CHRISTIANITY.

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I will have to adjust something in my thoughts, yet nothing in the way I live.
Exactly. You need not do anything different, except to know that what you are using as a power source is a universal principle that has been personified into a story about that universal principle. You may still "need" the bible for your support, but you do not need to associate yourself with Christianity to do so. You can continue to do your good works in the name of God, because Christianity does not "own the rights to God."

I have no doubt that there is a great deal of power in names. My name is Elizabeth, which means "my oath is to God." As it turns out, that is quite accurate as to what I have dedicated my life to, BUT -- not all Elizabeth's have done so.  Even your name "David" actually means "to love" but not all men named David have lived by that principle. David Koresh being just one.

You did ask me about the Negative Evidence Principle and I forgot to answer your question. The NEP is used to establish whether or not there is enough evidence to support a particular conclusion. Here is the principle again:
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First, all of the evidence supporting the proposition has been shown to be unreliable.

Second, there is no evidence supporting the proposition when the evidence should be there if the proposition is true.

Third, a thorough and exhaustive search has been made for supporting evidence where it should be found”.


In the case of whether or not the biblical texts are TRUE -- as in historical documents, this principle supports the fact that they are NOT TRUE.

1) All evidence supporting the proposition are unreliable, i.e. there is no evidence of any biblical events having occurred (OT or NT) except for the evidence offered in the bible itself. And no--Josephus does not count -- he was after the fact.

2) Some evidence -- any evidence -- should be available, but it is not. The biblical narratives claim to cross over 1,800 years of ancient history, and yet, there is no sign of any corroborating evidence from any of the other cultures involved -- and we have records from those other cultures. Finding a pottery shard with the words "house of David" or a stele with the word "Apuru" is not enough. The question is not whether the name David was a real name, rather, that there was ever a real "king" named David whose kingdom was HUGE according to the narratives. Archaeologists have been digging in the desert for several hundred years now, and have yet to find any evidence that such a kingdom ever existed.

3) So, a thorough investigation and an exhaustive search has been made to search for such evidence, but still no evidence has been found. In fact, all of the new evidence that is being found supports the opposite. There is no collaborative literary evidence or any archeaological evidence. This is what is needed David. And we do not have any.

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If the principle works in regards to historical proof and also works the way I use it, what is the conclusion.
But it doesn't work in your favor David.

The reason why you cannot use this principle to support your argument is because what you are trying to prove that something DID happen, i.e., it could have all happened, and this is a principle that supports that something DID NOT happen. This priniciple establishes and supports a lack of evidence.

Your application does not stand up to the same analysis.

You need evidence David. Not evidence of the power of God, or of Love. There is plenty of that from all around the world. If you want the bible to be real history, you need tangible evidence. Something that still exists. You need evidence that the events as described in the bible really happened -- any of them -- even just one of them!

We have plenty of evidence from the same time periods from Egypt, Persia, Babylonia, Greece, and even India, but not of a bustling Jerusalem with a grand temple made of gold and precious gems. All that archaelogists can find are very humble dwellings scattered throughout the area of Palestine, but nothing on the grand scale that the bible claims.

Further, there is substantial evidence that the gospels were written in Alexandria Egypt and not in Judea at all.

Now, there is no doubt in my mind that "something" was going on in the first century that gave the gospel writers "a reason to write" what they did.

BUT, that reason was not in eyewitness of anything, and what they produced was NOT HISTORICAL.  

The use of "fictional stories" as a teaching tool is as old as written history. And the use of parable, metaphor and symbol were and still are very important literary devices through which humans can "talk about things" that are universal principles. No one person embodies a universal principle. But through the use of personficaion, certain people can. Personification is where a character is created that represents a particular concept or idea, e.g. Jesus being written into a story, not as a real person, rather as a symbol of salvation. With the use of proper names in the bible, all of the biblical characters are characters whose names have particular meanings.

The reason that biblical people have the names that they have is so they could represent the idea or concept that their name meant. It was all a literary tool to "tell stories about" the things that the bible tells us about.
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Why would the Bible work, if it is only a fiction. I guess it is possible that Astrally speaking it may have gained mass through peoples faith in it.
You partially answered your own question here, except, IT does NOT WORK. As we have already discussed, IT is the power of God, not the power of 2,000+ year old stories.

There are plenty of sacred ideas and concepts from all over the world that WORK. But none of them work because they are written down in a book, or just because people believe in them. Sacred truths are universal truths and therefore TRUE regardless of whether they are ever written down by anyone at all.
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I would think that you would assume that the people you say wrote it tapped into real spiritual powers, but how do we explain prophesy about future events. Do you mean to say that it was written after they had already taken place. ?
 Prophecies are interesting literary phenomena. Yes, they can certainly be written down after they have been fulfilled -- but -- the key is whether or not they were actually fulfilled.

In the case of the bible, all that was needed was access to the original texts where the prophecies were written down, and the current writer just writes the fulfillment of the prophecy into his/her story. Fulfillment is NOT necessary and it is clear that the NT writers were quoting from the Greek Old Testament. The biblical prophecies of the OT that appear to have been fulfilled in the NT is just a literary continuation of an older epic collection of stories. Simple as that.

Now, I have never said that "prophecy" is not a very real phenomenon. I have personally experienced foreknowledge of things that did indeed happen. This knowledge sometimes comes from dreams, or just a very strong waking intuition, but sometimes it has come from being caught up in a whirl of intellectual activity. But --- sometimes I am convinced that something will happen, and it doesn't!! Regardless, it has been fulfilled enough that I am convinced that sometimes it does indeed work!

David, there is no doubt in my mind that we can have contact with a realm that is not visible to this world, yet knows what can/will happen in this world. I cannot explain it, so I cannot offer you any proof, but I can say that just because prophecy seems to work sometimes, it does not mean that it works all of the time. Why? I have no idea.

Be who you are, do what you do, but please don't feel like you have to defend or have "faith" in something that has been raped of all of its goodness.

Faith in the power of God is enough.

~Beth
27  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Religion ............who is he? on: June 03, 2006, 23:20:37
Dear Mustardseed,

You wrote:
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I don’t know a lot about Christianity as such, but the guiding principle as I see it is LOVE, What else is there of value. Christianity as I understand it, adheres to a belief, that doctrines of various kinds are more important than LOVE. They call me a heretic, I call them heretics.
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Most Christians just live the life, it is very comfortable to be the Heir, however an heir have to earn his inheritance by staying true to it. You cannot live like the devil and yet expect to be rewarded as an angel. I believe, like you that it is too late. The Christian system cannot be revived, it is a dead duck.
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There is far too little accountability in organized Christianity.
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Could not agree with you more, as a religion we are lost in a darker place than the “unsaved” because Christianity claim to see, therefore we are even blinder.
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As a religion the Christians or Christianity are in he dark., That is obvious to all. They cannot even love their families much less their enemies or people they consider sinners gays or whatever.
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I do not need to associate myself with Christianity


With these things said David, please explain to me why you have such a hard time with the knowledge that I share here on the AP?  You have always taken it very personally when I critique Christianity in much the same way that you just did. In fact, most Christians think that regardless of all that Ghandi did, he is still going to Hell.
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However there are people who have rejected the hypocrisy, and the false life they have seen being lived, who have left organized Christianity and still live the tenants of the Bible.
I agree. There are a great many of these people, but to what extent they still follow the tenents of Christianity would vary, as well as which tenets they actually choose to continue to follow.
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We, the Christians do not own that principle.

This is where you confuse me. On the one hand you point out how bad Christianity is, and even say that you do not need Christianity to do the things that you do, and then on the other, you call yourself a Christian. :question:

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His life (again whether you believe they are fairy tales or not) was lived in love and He died in Love, unselfishly to inspire others to do the same.
From the experiences that you share here, the same could be said about you. And Ghandi. Ghandi was not a Christian, nor did he need Christianity to help him do all of the things that he did.  
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Though Christianity does not own a principle, it still gives us (me) the power to do things, that others do not want to do.
George Bush is saying the same thing right now and this is where I think you are making your biggest error. "Christianity" gives Bush his power. But "Christianity" is not the "IT" that gives you the power to do the things that you do. You draw on the power of Love which is GOD. As you just proved, you can do that in any language and within any other religious setting.  Just like Islam gives Saddam and ben Laden, etc. their power, Bush receives his from Christianity. Their power is not from God, but from millions of people handing over to them the power to "play God" on their behalf.

I have never been "anti-God" David. In fact, that is where my source of power comes from as well. When I made the decision that I was no longer a Christian -- or even wanted to be a Christian, I never set aside my own knowledge that God was REAL as a higher power at work in my life. Our work may be different David, but the source of power is the same. You may be walking into a crowd of armed thugs, but I am walking into a crowd of political thugs.

I have said many times that I am trying to break the spell that everyone is under that makes God only available through organized religion. You are actually a very good example of why the world does not need Christianity -- or Islam for that matter. You are a perfect example of why the world will not be thrown into chaos if the bible is shown to be fictional writings. You can do what you do without Christianity -- and so can many many others.
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I worked for many years in very difficult places, most of the people I met there, not all but most, were Christians , they never went to Church nor did they blow a trumpet about their beliefs, but their inspiration came from an example of true unselfishness, they had learned from the Bible.
This would make them followers of a particular ideology -- that as you have pointed out, is not "Christian ideology." It is something much much more valuable. Don't give it a bad name by associating it with a bad thing.  
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My advice is drop it. It’s a done deal, and Christianity as we know it cannot be fixed.
I am 1% away from doing just that -- if you mean trying to fix Christianity.

However, I now want to take all that I have learned and try to help fix the world instead. This means exposing Christianity for what it is: a religion based upon ancient fictional narratives -- not history. I feel the original writers had a very different message in mind when they wrote the bible -- and that later readers (politically minded, power mongers) took that message and changed it into something else. I am not anti-original Christianity David. I would like for original Christianity to be better known, but in its ancient form it has been destroyed. Christianity today is a religion that has been built upon the manipulation of innocent people, that actually leads them astray from God and Love rather than toward it. This includes Islam as well. As you point out:
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Finally I just said in Arabic, God is greater that violence, and turned my back and walked away. I am not saying this to promote myself at all. But this is life Beth, at least where I am now, my faith says : do something. The Muslim and (Church) Christians who stood by and did NOTHING.


If the things you have posted truly represent the way that you feel and the way that you believe, then you shouldn't have a problem with what I am doing. In fact, you should be a primary endorser! You see the mess Christianity is in. You see how masses of people have been turned against God and Love. Don't you want the world to learn a new message -- a real message of how "all people" can do these things and much much more?
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They all need to learn but in a greater reality, everybody does, HUMANITY is at the verge of self destruction, and we have turned our most sacred things into jokes. Christians are just people and unless the people individually gain consciousness towards God, and acknowledges HIMHERIT as standing besides them at every decision and turn, they will choose selfishness. We all need to learn
Well said David. I have said the same many times before. Western Religion as we know it has FAILED the people of the world. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are extremely dangerous power-houses. If they are not stopped, they will eventually kill us all.

~Beth
28  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Religion ............who is he? on: June 03, 2006, 14:49:22
Dear Mustardseed,

You wrote:  
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I am an adherent to a doctrine called universal reconciliation, something deemed heresy among fundamentalists.

Please explain to me what you mean by "universal reconciliation" and how that would be implimented. Then please explain why other Christians deem it to be heresy.

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The only thing that I get, from Christianity is a guideline.
Are you getting this guideline from "Christianity" or from "the parts of the bible" that teach that concept?

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I would venture to say, that had I not had that guideline, in my youth, the chances are small that I would have ended up where I am today.
Assuming that the guideline of which you speak is the "good stuff" that the bible offers, I had that same guideline in my youth David, and still live by it (or sincerely try to). My problem came in when I couldn't help but notice that the majority of Christians were "talking the talk" but NOT "walking the walk." In fact, they were doing more harm than good. That problem has not gone away. It only becomes bigger and bigger as time goes on.

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If we get to the end of the road one day and Jesus is not real I am OK with that.
Salvation through Love is very real David, but Christianity does not "own" that concept, nor does it even truly represent that concept anymore.  Christianity does not "own" God and moreover, Jesus did not have to be a real human for that concept to be true.

In my observations, Christianity has totally lost touch with Christ.  Instead of spending untold amounts of money to elect very bad people into political offices, or to sending missionaries to convert others into a broken religion -- their money would be better spent on a major over-haul -- an internal reconciliation between them and Christ. They need to spend all of those tax-free dollars to pay for believers to learn the real historical origin of the bible, the original language of the bible, and to learn of the history of their own religion. When that happens, Christianity will be forced to change. If the over-haul has been successful, it will not be able to remain what it has become -- believers will feel the lies on their tongues.

I have spent more time than you can imagine wondering whether this is even possible. In the beginning, I wanted my research to do just that -- to help Christianity help itself regain a relationship with Christ. I have lost most of that idealistic notion David. I am 99% convinced that it cannot be fixed. It is too corrupt, too lost. If something is broken and can be fixed, it needs to be fixed. If it is broken to the extent that it cannot be fixed, it needs to be set aside and replaced with something new and better.

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I am still in a process with my religion Beth, and as such have no set standards other than living in love.
I just did an extensive study of the Gospel of John. There is so much spiritual wisdom there -- but its universal message is being totally missed, because Christians are being taught that they only 'have to love other Christians'.

Christianity does not represent the best of the bible. Christianity needs "to learn" about "Universal Love" David.
 
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We all read the book of life, but Christianity makes me feel I know the author, and it is so much more interesting to read something, you know is written by someone you have met. Does that make sense?
God did not write the bible David. Jesus did not write the bible. Humans wrote the bible about God and Jesus.

If you want to qualify that God wrote the bible "through those human authors" -- well try reading some non-Christian books that also talk about God and I say that you will find that "God" was writing through those authors as well.

Please explain to me again why you need to associate yourself with Christianity to know God and to live a life of Love?

~Beth
29  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Religion ............who is he? on: June 03, 2006, 01:02:23
Dear Mustardseed,

You wrote:
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Let me explain. I find the principles in the book work………..it’s as simple as that. Prayer changes things, love and humility solves issues, etc etc There is or appears to be, power in the name of Jesus both to help strengthen but also act and exorcise etc. My life is eased by its wisdom. The promises in seem very real, and it delivers. So to me it has real spiritual life. I suppose that to you or others it’s just a make believe, but not to me. I have tested its claims. Hence I am hesitant to throw it out.

The principles are clearly laid out, in so many places, “he that loves knows God he that loves not knows not God for God is love” If people fail to use the instruction manual, they cannot claim that there is something wrong with the product.

Before I continue with my response I have a very important question for you:

Why do you think that you cannot benefit from the wisdom of the Bible without associating yourself with Christianity?

In other words, why do you need to be a Christian for those things to be real and powerful for you?


~Beth
30  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Religion ............who is he? on: June 02, 2006, 04:12:59
gdo,

Thanks for your comments, but what you are reading here is something that Mustardseed and I have been doing about twice a year for the past three+ years.

I realize that you are new and have no knowledge of this ongoing but sporadic conversation, but please know that all is in divine order.

~Beth
31  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Religion ............who is he? on: June 02, 2006, 03:15:21
Dear Mustardseed,

Hey there! Reading your response has, as usual, been very enlightening. At least you are consistent...as am I.

The way you pull out certain things that I said -- while disregarding the other points that I made -- is quite remarkable.  In other words, you pull out the things that make me look like an a**hole and leave out the parts where I am patient and rational.

Maybe I should do what you do -- you know, when you are being an a**hole, you just type "ha" after it. For example:
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"incidently I find that between the 2 of us I show more femnine qualities and you show more masculine pride and arrogance. Interesting isn’t it. I guess that shows that male or female in is a somewhat subjective issue. Interesting little tidbit about you being interested in men. I think that you must be very attractive yet a piece of “work” to live with every day, ha"
With your "ha" tagged on there at the end, you try to disarm your insult/attack, but the insult/attack remains in a backhanded way.  You have tried this backhanded tactic with me so many times before--I can spot it a mile away. This is what usually happens next: I call you on your insult/attack, and you just point to the "ha" and are able to say you were "just kidding." Of course, then you proceed to take me to task on whether I know how to take a joke or not!

Brilliant emotional manipulation tool MS...to use on someone who doesn't know any better. But we have been down that road many times in the past and it doesn't work on me anymore. I'm a quick study (read: I learn fast. Watch...)

Maybe you should rename yourself "Scent of the Rose" because regardless of how much "fertilizer" it takes to make you big and strong, you have an amazing way of turning things around to make yourself seem all sweet and lovely ha...

Okay, personal stuff aside (there is more that I could call you on, but I will pass on this round...) Let's stick to the important stuff:
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I do however think that you dislike Religious folks. It’s as if you resent them, and are bitter maybe because of abuse. In any case your dislike, or condescension is so clearly felt, that I find it becomes intimidating to converse with you.
Again, I do not dislike "Religious folk." I am extremely critical of western religion, but I do not dislike you or other believers because you are religious.  
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I would dare to say, that you vilify folks, who due to their upbringing and so on, are maybe a bit ignorant, but nevertheless good people and not evil at all.
I was very clear on this issue. Please re-read what I wrote.
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Here you are very wrong my friend. I do not 'dislike' or despise' anyone, except those people that would cause harm to others. But, certainly not 'because they are Christians'.

Yes, I certainly consider uninformed believers to be very manipulated, and they only 'ignorant' because they do not know any better. Brainwashing is not something to be taken lightly, Mustardseed, especially when it is done in the Name of God.

Yes, the people who cause harm to other people are evil (if you want to use that term) and if it happens that they call themselves Christian, well, that is beside the point. Bad people are bad people, regardless of what religion they claim to believe in. Unfortunately, there are 'evil' people out there causing a lot of harm to a lot of people by using Christianity (and other religions) to broker their own power hungry egos.
Does that sound like I don't like the "folk" of religion??? No. I consider "religious folk" victims of a larger-than-life machine of manipulation. They cannot see through the brainwashing, and so instead of seeing the mental and emotional fog that they are in, they feel "victimized" by those who are trying to help them break away from the "real manipulators."
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My point is that you are forcing “your truth” down my throat. You leave me no alternative, I either believe as you do or I am lost in ignorance (Read:Sin).
I am not trying to 'force you' to do anything. If you feel 'forced' it is because you are torn between what you have always known, and the knowledge that I am presenting to you now. I am merely responding to you Mustardseed. In fact, the only time I even enter into a discussion with you is when "you want me" to engage with you. You started this thread as a public discussion between the two of us...did you not? Reference:
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Description: Dear Beth...

If I were trying to force anything down your throat MS, I would have called you out for a discussion instead of the other way around. Once again, you are manipulating the situation to fit your rosey position...after the fact.

Here is an analogy that may help: You call me out for a dual. You prime and draw your pistol. We both shoot, but my bullet hits its mark and yours goes astray.  Then, as you lay there bleeding on the ground, you cry out "unfair"--look everybody--SHE SHOT ME!!

What do you want me to do Mustardseed, just type in the words you want to hear???

Next issue:
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The guy talked about what he called The Negative Evidence Principle...
To which you responded
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It appears to me that this is the way you think
It doesn't appear that that this is the way I think Mustardseed. This is the way that I think especially when it comes to the totally outrageous claims that Christianity makes!!  I would not care about this issue so much if it weren't for the fact that this religion has been maintaining such a tremendous strangle-hold over humanity for almost 2,000 years. With the well hammered out system that Christianity has figured out (and Islam as well)--they have been getting away with an untold number of "crimes against humanity" since their institutionalization!! That's a long time to be flying under the radar of rational thought--and outside of rational justice. The time for change has come.

And sorry pal, but you cannot then say this about the NEP:
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and also, in an uncanny way, what I use myself in my argument.
I will show you why you cannot. Let me re-quote the Principle:
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First, all of the evidence supporting the proposition has been shown to be unreliable.

Second, there is no evidence supporting the proposition when the evidence should be there if the proposition is true.

Third, a thorough and exhaustive search has been made for supporting evidence where it should be found”.
Now, by you making the disclaimer that
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in an uncanny way, [this is] what I use myself in my argument.
you are only showing that you did not understand the principle at all. This is how you qualified your statement:
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I argue the following point. That just because there is no evidence it does not mean it could not be.
No evidence is 'No Evidence'. You are in no way using this principle yourself, uncannily or not. I am reminded of an adage that may help here:

If it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, and quacks like a duck, well...it's probably a duck.

To which I would like to add: Except when THERE IS NO DUCK to be observed.

Bottom line: Your duck may seem like it could be a duck, except your duck won't waddle or quack. And believe me...many people are going to a lot of trouble to make it do either one...and yet...it remains as silent as a decoy.

Bottom line: The whole basis of western religion has been a creative work of fictional literature; figuratively speaking, it is a stuffed duck, used by these religions as a decoy that leads away from God--not toward God--but rather, toward human power and greed.

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I have never claimed or supported the superiority of men over women.
If you insist upon calling the creator, judge, comforter, leader, and ultimate source of wisdom of the universe HE, well that is exactly what you are doing.

When you truly see equality between men and women, you will no longer want to call a supreme deity HE. Why? Because you will taste the lie on your tongue.
 
But you are not there yet:
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My statement was “let us create man in the image of ourselves, male and female created he them”
See, you still refer to God as a HE. Why is that?
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I formally invite you, right now, Mustardseed to enter into the 21st century, where all kinds of knowledge is available, if you would but seek it.

I hope you understand my point Beth. This type of statement is what I am talking about. It has no point, it is sort of offensive and insinuates that I am living in the past, Ignorant and also not willing to explore and look at research yours and others, for fear that by previously held beliefs will suffer shipwreck. Instead you insinuate that I am like an ostrich, with my head in the sand.
Yes! Isn't it amazing though, what I had to do to get you to actually  see my point?

You see Mustardseed, I can make posts that are patient and kind, reasonable and well thought out--to which you resist with all of your might. But then--let me lean toward an insult...and by golly you actually get it!!  

So, you can take me to task for being hard on you my friend, but it has been apparent over the last three years that borderline insults are sometimes the best teaching tool to use with you.

Again, you called me into this discussion---knowing exactly my methodology---and my uncompromising insistence upon rational thinking. If it makes all of this easier for you to make me the bad guy/girl, then go ahead, I can take it. But know this: it is not me you are insulted by or being manipulated by. It is that bigger-than-life machine of manipulation that you are so loyal to.
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It is my hope we can stay friends in spite of the things we do not exactly see eye to eye on, as always I look forward to your reply.
Of course we can stay friends. Like I said, I don't spend this much time on people that I don't like. That would be a total waste of my time and energy.

Sometimes love is soft and sweet, but sometimes -- Love Must Hang Tough.

I have been hanging tough with you for a long time Mustardseed, and regardless of what happens, as long as you keep coming to me, I refuse to give up on you.

~Beth
32  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Religion ............who is he? on: May 30, 2006, 06:01:28
Mustardseed,

The following is my response to your post:
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I still feel that you do not discuss fairly,
How am I being unfair?
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you are pretty dogmatic
I wouldn't say that I am dogmatic at all. I always try to be kind and patient in my explanations, with only a slip or two every now and then wink Now, "emphatic"Huh Yes, I would say that I am definately emphatic. Emphatic: 1) uttered with or marked by emphasis; 2) tending to express oneself in forceful speech or to take decisive action. And, perhaps you could say that I am at times also "assertive": 1) disposed to or characterized by bold or confident assertion
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and, since you are a learned person you use the language very well, (I bet you would be an awesome person to watch having a debate). People with the words under control amaze me.
It's called Webster's Dictionary. You too can be a learned person that uses language very well.
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All that said, I find that your line of argument is more on the emotional side of things, stating the obvious, that you dislike or even despise religious people, and maybe especially Christians,
Here you are very wrong my friend. I do not 'dislike' or despise' anyone, except those people that would cause harm to others. But, certainly not 'because they are Christians'.  
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you seem to consider them manipulated ignorant,
Yes, I certainly consider uninformed believers to be very manipulated, and they only 'ignorant' because they do not know any better. Brainwashing is not something to be taken lightly, Mustardseed, especially when it is done in the Name of God.
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as well as power hungry or maybe even evil.
Yes, the people who cause harm to other people are evil (if you want to use that term) and if it happens that they call themselves Christian, well, that is beside the point. Bad people are bad people, regardless of what religion they claim to believe in.  Unfortunately, there are 'evil' people out there causing a lot of harm to a lot of people by using Christianity (and other religions) to broker their own power hungry egos.
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having taken the faith “apart”, anyone stupid enough to believe is hardly worth talking to, much less in a nice way.
We all have 'faith' that the sun is going to come up tomorrow, or that the cars are all going to stay put when they have a red light and we have the green light. When someone asks you to have 'faith' in something that cannot been seen, touched, smelled, heard, or touched, then a good healthy dose of skepticism is definately warranted.

Christianity represents the greatest deception of all time, but it has not been until the last 50-60 years that the masses across the globe are educated enough to know 'why' this is the case. Previous to this global advent of education, untold numbers of people have -- with wild abandon sometimes -- thrown all of their faith in/knowledge of God into these religions. They needed someone else to tell them about God, because they did not know how to think for themselves. Those that were able to think for themselves, they were more often than not, afraid to do so. You could lose your head in a heartbeat, or be burned at the stake for thinking anything different from what the Church was teaching. Galileo was one of the precious few lucky ones; he was only imprisoned for the rest of his life.

Today, the situation should be very different. People should not be stupid anymore; they can read, write and think in broader terms than ever before. In most countries, education (to a certain grade level) is FREE, and university study is available to those that can afford to attend. Even if they cannot afford it, we have the internet, libraries, newspapers, etc. that keep us informed about a myriad of topics, and with discernment, we can be self-taught.
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anyone stupid enough to believe is hardly worth talking to, much less in a nice way.
Here, you are wrong again. I actually work at a company where 99% of the employees are Christian, and I talk to them all of the time--and do so very nicely!! Granted, you get my dander up sometimes, but this is because you are no longer "uninformed" about your religion. I have spent countless hours over the past three years, along with others here on the AP, trying to help you see 'the light of Reason'. If you think that I am going to all of this trouble because I don't "like you" well...or because I just like to argue about all of this...well...here again you are very wrong! I do not do what I do here just for the sake of doing it. I want to help people to learn the things that they might not otherwise have access to.
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Personally such an elitist attitude sort leaves me emotionally a bit cold to you and I feel that you are basically bullying,
 You have called me an elitist before. If I were an elitist Mustardseed, I would consider our discussions a total waste of my time--and beneath me to do so. I am here though, and have been here for you and others for over three years. I am not an elitist.
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The problem is however that this then is not a debate Beth, and I wonder if it can ever be.
Not a formal debate, no. But an exchange of different ideas, yes. However, if you will notice, everything you have said so far is solely concentrated on ME and not the issues at hand. That is certainly not a debate, but rather, a personal attack. But I will keep going with my response...
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How can you debate something with someone you consider inferior to yourself
Lordy! People do it all the time!! But your reasoning is in error here: "Debating" does not come with the rule that you have to be intellectual equals with your opponent. If you are referring to you and me, you being inferior and me being superior, well...that is your description, not mine. Again, if I didn't think that you have the capacity to learn about these things, I would not continue to try to get through to you. Why DO I bother? Well, I don't know unless it must be that I care about you Mustardseed--even though you make me want to tear my hair out sometimes! :yikes2:
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All you are doing is list again and again how much evil religion has done
And I will continue to do so again, and again--and again, because it is the truth.  
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and by doing that you elevate yourself to a liberator
hmmm...I never thought of myself as a liberator, per se. I would prefer to call myself a teacher, and since teachers do 'liberate' students from ignorance, then I guess you are right: I am a liberator.
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in your world I suppose, you no longer have to consider any other point of view than your own, and you learn from no one, for you have the TRUTH.
Oh contraire my friend. I learn from other people ALL of the TIME. I may be a teacher to others, but I could not be a teacher if I were not also a student. In fact, IMO the value of a teacher is equal only to their capacity to be a student. I am also a seeker of TRUTH. I have discovered many 'truths' along the way, but if you are suggesting that you have anything to teach me about TRUTH' through Christianity in the context that you believe in it, well...I have already studied it in great depth, and have chosen to discard it for all of the reasons that I am stating in these posts.
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You completely fail to see that you are no different than the people you fight against.  
I 'completely fail to see' your point here. I ask nothing of no one. I expect nothing of no one. I am not an organized powerhouse that makes promises it cannot keep. I do not make any claims to be the only way to salvation. I do not represent a system of guilt/shame and favor/redemption.  I offer no icons of belief, and do not try to mobilize the masses for political and economic gain. I do not dictate ethics and try to influence morality. So, what is your point?
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you just seem to be very volatile and upset.
Granted, I did get a bit upset there toward the end of my last post. I am not without an emotional investment in what I do. When I really look at the whole picture with stark clarity (like I typed out in that post) it truly breaks my heart. If it makes me 'mad' it is only because I feel so helpless to do anything about it.  
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You would not even be a Christian if it were not for a few dozen narratives that were written over 2,000+ years ago.

This is an conclusion based on the assumption . You assume that the Bible is False and leave out God. I personally believe that he did it this way and could have done it another way as well.
Well, it is not an assumption at all, because God did not do it any other way. It is false Mustardseed--if you must make it historically true--because if it were historically true, I and many others would not be able to take it apart so easily. Moreover, I have oftentimes said that there are a lot of "truths" in the bible, but these truths are philosophical truths, not historical truths. This is where I will once again say: I love the bible. It is an amazing collection of ancient literary genius. But it is NOT history.
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If it had not been for a handful of well-educated ancient Greek scholars, you would have never heard of a person named "Jesus" or of a man named "Moses" or of a woman named "Mary." If you think these "ancient scholars" are my "idols" ... well they are at the very heart of yours as well. You just don't know it; but they are the ones that brought you the Garden of Eden, original sin, the ten commandments, the Virgin Birth and Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross. These ancient Greek scholars made it all possible--without them, being a Christian would not even be an option for you.

Again you assume that the Bible is false and conclude that since it is all fabricated, there is no Miracle taking place.
I assume nothing. I have taken the time to study the real history of your religion. When you do, previous to say the 300's of the current era, the majority of Christians were the "educated elite" with whom you have such  a disdain for. I am only pointing out that without the 'educated elite' Christianity would never have been born. And that is historical fact.  As far as 'miracles' are concerned...well...you be the judge: Lazarus was "raised from the dead," not because it was a miracle, but because the lexical meaning of the name means "to rise up" and "to come out."  It is said that the virgin Mary gave birth in "Bethlehem." I show where the city that she gave birth in actually means "virginity"--When Bethlehem/Bethleem (in Greek) is transliterated into Hebrew, you get "bethuleem" which actually means "virginity." Jesus was the "savior of the world" because his name lexically means "to save." All of the proper names are like this Mustardseed, in both the Old and the New Testaments. "They" were not real people, "they" were literary puns, personifications of concepts and ideas. "Jesus" was in wordplay with "salvation."

This fact gives us three choices--and only three choices:
1) The people were not real, but the events were
2) The people were real, but the events were not
3) Some of the people/events were real, and others were not

Either way, the New Testament Gospels are not eye witness accounts to historical facts (especially in light of the additional fact that all other ancient cultures fail to mention any of it.) The New Testament Gospels were fundamentally written through the use of creative literary wordplay.

But wait...there is another choice:
To believe that it was all real--both the people and the events--just as written in the bible--regardless of whether there is any evidence or rationale for it or not (especially in light of the additional fact that a good study of church history will tell you that the religion you follow so faithfully  had serious political and economical motivation for establishing the church the way that they did.) At that point in the history of Christianity, the Church leaders had everything to loose, and chose to risk it all in hopes of winning it all.  As it turns out, they did. But there were certainly no guarantees--divine or not.
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About not being a Christian it seems to be something tat in not easy to discuss, like saying if it had not been for your Mum you would not have been an American. Kind of like a silly thing to say and more a play for the gallery, as I see it.
  hmmm...:think:.....huh?:dont-know:
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We are discussing the divine I think he would have found a way, but it is my faith and not yours.
First of all, I am not sure who HE is, but HE is not the divine. Except in your faith--HE is. Convenient for you since you are a guy, eh? The "divine" on the other hand finds ways all the time to educate us about 'divinity'. But when you think you have it all figured out, like religion does, then God will only be what the religion teaches that God is.  I guess I am just a heretical heathen, because I don't buy what they are selling.
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but it is my faith and not yours.
Here, we are in absolute agreement.  
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Again you are assuming that Christianity is a fairytale and that there in nothing Divine about it and Jesus never existed as Gods son
Yes, I guess you could say that the narratives are a fairy tale of sorts, but Christianity is far from being a fairytale. It is very real, and very dangerous IMHO. As far as Jesus being the son of God...well, being a "son" is once again convenient for you, since you are also someone's "son" and it certainly doesn't hurt that God is a father, because you are a 'father as well." Don't you see the problem here???  The 'divine' of which you speak has very conveniently been created in the image of MAN. Not even in the image of all people, but MAN. Since you also had a mother, who was also someone's daughter, don't you see the problem here? I guess you prefer the convenience that your religion provides you with, over the inconvenience that it might bring if this were not the case. C'mon Mustardseed...Think! See! Feel!  
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If the Roman Catholic Church had not become such a financial and political powerhouse in the Middle Ages, the western world would not be what it is today. With "absolute control" for many centuries, the Church brought many great things into the world, and with this many other great things were subsequently destroyed.

No comment more sort of OK
Oh my gosh! Is that the flicker of a light of recognition in your eyes? :pray:
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……..and

If the Catholic Church had not totally misused their power, Martin Luther would never have had a problem with the Church, and Protestantism would never have been born.

How do you know what life would have been, you assume Beth in a most arrogant way you dictate what history would have looked or not looked like.
 Oh...well...I guess not :sniff:

The fact remains, if those biblical narratives had never been written, the entire history of western civilization since 300 ce would have been VERY different. Like it or not...convenient or not...that is a fact jack (er...david.)
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No Beth it is in fact still your opinion. You love that word fact, and keep using it, the fact is that you only have found a very fascinating linguistic phenomena in the Scriptures. You do not know why it is there, it is a mystery, but YOU ASSUME that it is proof of some sort of conspiracy, a plot of some sort. Maybe not even that but rather a fairytale gone bad.
More like the last one. Yes; a fairytale gone bad. I like that! Thank you! I have never used the word FACT unless it is a FACT. I learned a long time ago, that unless I can back up my claims to FACT, with FACTS, then I need to keep my mouth shut. Since I wanted to know what the FACTS were, I went to the trouble to read the history books. I also went to the trouble to learn Greek and Hebrew so I could read the original texts. I look for the FACTS Mustardseed. You, in contrast, are holding on so tightly to your FAITH, that you cannot see the FACTS.  

Now, if I were to say something like: Jesus was really a woman, and that Simon Peter was a transvestite, well....I would be very hard pressed to claim this as a FACT. But I can, quite easily say, that the development of Western Civilization was so heavily influenced by Christianity, that without Christianity, our world would be very different--and support it to be a FACT. Now...what I cannot possibly know, is whether or not our world would be in a better condition or a worse one. All I do know sure, is that today, these "HE-MAN" religions are totally out of control, and while I can see why that resonates for you so deeply...it does not make them right just because they have been around so long. Have you read Revelation lately? There are three-beasts piggy-backed one on the other...each gaining more power from the one before it...
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The fact is that you were not there Beth.
No...I wasn't, but I'm HERE. And I will fight to my last breath to prove with FACTS, that the bible is what it is--creative fiction--and that God is not, was not, will never be, A MAN. Or woman for that matter. Moreover, I will continue to search for the FACTS because that is what brings me closer to that which I seek: Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom.
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You do not KNOW what kind of a man Constantine was, you do not know what he believed in, his motives nor his thoughts, you do not have a lot of facts as per se.
It's all in the official Church records Mustardseed. The Church preserved their own history, and I have always found it totally amazing that so few Christians take the initiative to know anything about the real history of their own religion. For you, and others like you, history starts and stops with those "few dozen narratives written 2,000+ years ago" and picks up somewhere in the mid-20th century.

I formally invite you, right now, Mustardseed to enter into the 21st century, where all kinds of knowledge is available, if you would but seek it.
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You assume a lot and sell it as fact with a very effective narrative yourself. So much so, and so well done that you seem to be able to sway a lot of people and manhandle and intimidate a few as well.
Manhandle and intimidate? How so? Am I threatening you in any way whatsoever?....oh...I guess I am...I am going to work very hard to see that your conveniences are not so convenient. But even still, I am doing it without threat of prison, death or subjugation. You can even keep your masculinity in tact--in fact--I encourage you to do so. I happen to be quite attracted to men wink
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You have no way of knowing what would have happened if the Bible had not been written. It is like saying that If I had not been given a map of New York I would never had found a the empire state Building,
hmmm.... :think: ... :dont-know: Your choices of analogy are not working...
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it is an conclusion based on your own inability to believe that God could have worked things out differently.
God is trying to, or I and many others would not be doing what we are doing.
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You omit the divine and ignore the GOD factor.
Not even for a minute...
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For instance, if it weren't for those few dozen narratives, our conception of "history" would be very different.

Yes maybe, but it isn’t is it. Its like saying, If it wasn’t for the fact that you were born in America, your life would be very different. It is a moot point.
I think you are repeating yourself here, but it is not a moot point at all. The subject being discussed is the undeniable influence these ancient narratives have had on the development of western civilization. And your response that "maybe it would be but it isn't" is a red herring of the most common kind.

Red Herring: A Red Herring is a fallacy (an often plausible argument using false or invalid inference) in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. The basic idea is to "win" an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. (Again, from Webster's.)
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So if what you seem to be saying is that if there is no apparent proof of a thing, it cannot be. This is a problem for most believers, you see Beth we have faith, that this is how God chose to do it, so that we would have to believe by faith in the unseen.
Your faith is based upon the writings of very well educated Greek writers who were writing epic stories with philosophical meaning. I don't know why 'your God' has allowed it to be this way, unless HE wanted to see just how far into absurdity His "image" would take it.

I do know that my God hasn't given any 'stamp of approval' or given any 'ordination' to the way things have turned out, because my God does not/is not made in the image of humans, and therefore doesn't work in the world the way your god does.  IMO, the reason that things have worked out the way that they have, is because BAD MEN have had control for too long, and have manipulated Good Men and Women into putting their faith in THEM. I do not see GOD in your religion Mustardseed. I see MAN--as already stated with the whole Father/Son stuff.  What my God is doing now, is providing the power behind a new age, a new way of thinking that cannot be stopped without serious destruction to this planet.

I just realized that I am not even half way through with answering your response Mustardseed, and I have been at this for HOURS. I cannot go on much longer! I will try to address a few more of your points, and then I must go to bed.
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I do not need to explain to you what the few dozen narratives says about rational thinking. It is the foundation of Faith to believe in the irrational, the miraculous and this is of cause where our way part.
My point exactly! And you CANNOT show me anywhere that the bible says anything against 'rational thinking'. Irrational: (1) not endowed with reason or understanding (2) lacking usual or normal mental clarity or coherence  b: not governed by or according to reason. Rational: 1 a : having reason or understanding  b : relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason. Reason:  2(1) : the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways : INTELLIGENCE (2)proper exercise of the mind (3) SANITY  b: the sum of the intellectual powers
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there does seem to be an bitter twang to you Beth...Are you biased Beth.
I am not bitter against God, no, not at all. I admit that I am bitter against human egos that would manipulate people in the name of God. In fact, I can get quite angry about the whole thing.
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Are you the type, who, if God started to speak to you in your life through the supernatural would reject it, because you are angry at him for doing it in a way that you do not understand or agree with.
No, not at all. If God were to ever "speak to me" I would damn sure listen! But Mustardseed, how do you know that God is not trying to speak to you right now--through me? Maybe you are "the type" to be so biased that you cannot hear HIM through the voice of a woman?? hmmmm??? Maybe you are reluctant to accept anything new because you would have to admit that you have been "wrong" for so many years? That perhaps your life's work would have been in error? You would not be the first or the last to do so.
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f evidence one day presents itself in support of “the few dozen narratives” would you omit it to make the shoe fit and your argument appear true.?
Nope. I would welcome it. In fact, if you can produce such evidence right now, or in the future, I would be the first to admit that I have been wrong. Unfortunately for your cause, however, the most recent 'evidence' that keeps turning up is only serving to further undermine your claims.  
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It truly breaks my heart that the "faith" of millions of people who profess to "believe in God" cannot believe in God without those few dozen narratives.

I actually agree here. God is very big, I think what you misunderstand is the strength people derive from the few dozen narratives. They call it Gods word and it lights up their life. It encourages them when they are weak, it humbles them when they are too proud and gives meaning. Sure it is also misused misquoted and so on but it is a strength to many.
I do not misunderstand anything Mustardseed. I have struggled with that fact ever since I made my discovery regarding these narratives. In fact, that was practically the first thing that hit me in the face: "Oh no!" I thought. "What am I going to do about this? What about all of those nice Christians out there that have put all of their faith in these texts?" I had a very real spiritual crisis about that Mustardseed. In the years since, I have come to realize that I must go through with the presentation of my research, for if people can find that much strength in stories about God----then how much more strength can they have access to without the stories between them and God.  We are talking unmediated access to the divine Mustardseed, where "God" can say/do whatever God wants to do, in any and all languages if needed, and is not limited by what a few writers from the ancient world "said that God said/did/can do."  
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It is now a emotional appeal, an exhortation of sorts on the injustices of Religion, all of it. You have now included the Muslims and the Jews as well.
The fact that bombs are being denotated is not an emotional appeal, but I am glad that it made you feel something. And yep! You are darn straight that I include Judaism and Islam in this particular issue. All three fundamenatlly depend upon the narratives in question (the Bible) and it is the three of them that are fighting over religious beliefs, all the while their religion's are giving them the money and the power to fight to fight each other.
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Defining who this religion is becomes a more obscure matter. It is undefinable,
Not obscure at all: the definition is as I just said: the Bible connects them all through Abraham. You know, the father of many peoples.
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if 1000 people believe a wrong thing it is still a wrong thing.
I agree wholeheartedly. And reading the bible as literal history is an incorrect reading of the bible. :boredom:
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This is the very thing, people do not want to believe.
You're right Mustardseed. I don't want to just believe. I want to KNOW.  
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I do not often use the narratives with you but cant help it here. I am not sure if I quote right I think it goes

FOR THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS IS TO THOSE WHO PERISH FOOLISHNESS BUT TO US WHO ARE SAVED IT IS THE POWER OF GOD.
That is from 1Corinthians 1:18.  I can, and have read it all for myself, and continue to read it on a daily basis. So don't start again with your quotations, because we will totally disagree on what verses like this really mean.
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I guess that just really ticks you off Beth. It seems to me that you are enraged at God and since you cannot get to him you start at his followers.
No, quoting scripture did not tick me off at all. It's just a waste of our time. And no, I am not enraged at God, and I only want for 'his followers' to see where they have been shanghaied. Shanghaied: put by trickery into an undesirable position
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Though hard to explain we actually believe
Everything you believe is hard to explain...
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I say that "salvation" is learning how to think rationally.

I am still considering this point and mulling it over. It is certainly interesting. I am not dismissing your research at all but trying to figure out what it is all about.
Good. I will be more than happy to explain anything that stumps you, but in all of its seeming complexity, it is quite beautiful in its simplicity. If I may volley the reference of scripture (1 for 1) then John 1:1 reads, "In the beginning was the Logos (word)..."

Logos:  Reason. In ancient Greek philosophy Reason is the controlling principle in the universe

Reason:  2(1) : the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways : INTELLIGENCE (2)proper exercise of the mind (3) SANITY  b: the sum of the intellectual powers

"...and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God."

When you protest against using "Reason" Mustardseed, you are protesting against "God" according to how the writer of the Gospel of John describes God--and describes very clearly I might add.

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So what are you saying now Beth, that all religious people are criminals , and in cohorts with each other, when does it become forbidden to believe, when will the government arise, that will forbid Christianity and persecute such subversives, in the name of the greater good.
Ah...and I thought we were making positive progress... :boredom: No, I did not say that "all Christians are criminals." What I said, was that the most powerful people in this world are using "your religion" to kill, maim, possess, and obliterate. If you want to continue to allow such people to do these things in the name of God, then be my unhosted guest. If you want to continue to be a martyr for a religion that is out-dated, misused, abused and totally misunderstood--not to mention totally irrational (which is NOT a good thing Mustardseed) then I will not try to help you any further.  

~Beth
:silence:
33  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Must God be separate from Creation? on: May 29, 2006, 23:51:42
Hey James!  grin

Well, I wish I could tell you that it is 'definately' one or the other, but, alas...

All I can tell you is what interpreters are working with:

Moses has basically asked the question: what does YHWH actually mean? The answer is found in this verse, and guess what? Because Hebrew nouns are derived from roots that also act as verbs, then YHWH can be a noun, but as we will see, it was probably meant to be a VERB!!!:grin:

EHYH AShR EHYH
eheyeh asher eheyeh:
"I am that I am," or, "I am who I am."

asher is the word you are questioning.

In Hebrew, asher is a relative pronoun. In order to break this down I will give a very pithy reminder of what pronouns are, and how they are used (without going into the many different inflections.)

Personal Pronouns:
These pronouns are personal in that they are used in lieu of proper nouns/names.

3rd person: (singular) he, she; (plural) they
2nd person: (singular) you; (plural) you
1st person: (singular) I; (plural) we

Example:
He threw the ball.
She hit the ball out of the park.
We celebrated the grand slam after the game.

Demonstrative Pronouns:
These pronouns are used to demonstrate identity, most often of "things" rather than people:

(singular) this, that
(plural) these, those

Ex:
"Take this apple and eat" said the serpent.
"You mean that apple?" Eve asked.
"God told us not to eat these apples" Adam replied.

Relative Pronouns:
Relative pronouns are used to indentify what something is relative to by connecting one clause with another. Asher is this kind of pronoun, and can mean either:

who, which or that

Ex:
I AM WHO I AM
I AM THAT I AM

Both of these are technically correct, in that as a relative pronoun either one works. Further, it may not be the relative pronoun that needs further examination!

The two clauses that are being joined in the verse are:

eheyeh and eheyeh

So asher is functioning to make these 2 clauses relative to each other.

A look at these two clauses will tell us more:

heyeh (hayah) is the primary "to be" verb of the language, and means: to be, to exist, to become, to happen, to come, or to come to pass.

eheyhey is an inflection of the primary "to be" verb, and operates as the 1st person, common, singular.  This inflection is translated here as "I am" but it can also be translated as "I will" or "I shall." Either way, the inflection is joined with the meaning of the verb.

So, what we have with the verse is question is several possibilities.

We have the traditional:

I AM THAT I AM
I AM WHO I AM

But we also have the potential of:

I SHALL BE who/that/which I SHALL BE
I WILL BECOME who/that/which I WILL COME TO BE

The first person singular "I" is translated as such because interpreter's have traditionally treated this as a 'noun', relative to YHWH (also treated as a noun) instead of a 'verb' (which YHWH is as well). If we treat it as a verb, eheyeh asher eheyeh can mean:
 
Ex:
IT IS that/which IT IS
IT SHALL BE that/which IT SHALL BE
IT WILL BECOME that/which IT WILL BECOME

Now, if we read these narrative characters as being personifications of concepts and ideas, and not real historical people (which is what my book is all about! wink ) then we can easily justify treating this particular word as a personified verb.  This way we would know that even though the narrative level of a translated text reads he/she/I, that the personification is of an idea or concept rather than an actual person. In this case, both YHWH and EHYH are inflections of the primary verb "to be."

It is worthy to note here, that YHWH as a verb in the jussive form of HWH means "LET IT BE" or "MAY IT BE" and is the equivalent of the Greek "Amen" and the English "So Mote It Be."

Now coming full circle, the question Moses' is asking in the text is: What does "YHWH" mean? To which YHWH answers (non-traditionally speaking of course):

IT IS THAT/WHICH IT IS
IT SHALL BE THAT/WHICH IT SHALL BE
IT WILL BECOME THAT/WHICH IT WILL BECOME

So, as you can see, I cannot give you a definitive answer, but YHWH/God sure looks like a creative principle to me!!:grin:

~Beth

p.s. sing along: que sera sera....whatever will be will be  wink
34  Integral Philosophy / Welcome to Integral Philosophy! / Knowledge on: May 29, 2006, 01:07:58
Humans want "to know" things. It is what drives us and what we seek all day long, everyday. And moreover, we LOVE "to share" our knowledge. That is why we post on forums!! grin

Dakmor, was there a particular context for his/her statement? What were you discussing at the time in addition to knowledge?

Just based upon what you said, I would have to agree that it would be unethical to withhold knowledge, if and only if, the knowledge had ethical implications.

In other words, no one cares that I now know how to install a window air conditioner--the hard way shocked --which I just gained all by myself, thank you very much!!:lol:

But--I may possess information that people would want/need to know.

In addition to my knowledge of how 'not to be Bob Vila', I also happen to possess certain knowledge that will definately have a serious impact on the ethical norms of the world in which we live. Therefore it is "my ethical responsibility" to share that knowledge with whoever wants to know. This responsibility is a very heavy burden to carry, but I take it on willingly (most of the time anyway!) and therefore take the responsibility seriously.

Regarding another issue that you brought up:

Right now you can have access to the knowledge that I possess for free, but when I put the knowledge into print form, I certainly hope to make money from it--primarily so I can continue to make it available in print, but, so what if the sales make more than it costs to produce? I will have made money to cover the countless hours of my time investment and the mental effort to do the research, not to mention the cost of my education that gave me the skills to possess it to begin with. In fact, it would take my selling a lot of copies for me just to break even at this point!

In essence, I have saved my readers a tremendous amount of time, money and effort, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.

Likewise, I have been more than willing to pay for other people's research so that I can possess the knowledge that they are making available to me.

~Beth
35  Integral Philosophy / Welcome to Integral Philosophy! / Re: Before the universe was created on: May 28, 2006, 21:28:13
Quote from: majour ka
Hi guys and girls. If the universe was created, what was before it?, if there was nothing before the universe was here, where was the nothing?, if God created it, where was God and what or who created God?


FYI: This topic is in the process of being addressed in the Religion Section under the thread titled: Must God be separate from creation?

Please join in with more comments!

~Beth grin
36  Integral Philosophy / Welcome to Integral Philosophy! / Before the universe was created on: May 28, 2006, 21:05:46
I agree Stookie.

It is the 'question' that always drives us, because even when we find an answer, there are always more questions to be asked!

Maybe "asking questions" is actually "the destination" and "finding the answers" merely "the journey."

I wonder what Socrates would say to that??  :think:
37  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Must God be separate from Creation? on: May 28, 2006, 19:50:44
kai wren wrote:
Quote
there is no paradox in saying that God is both separate from us and not separate from us.
Sure there is. Look closely at what you are saying. You are contradicting yourself and then you are trying to correct the contradiction by using 'both' as an equalizer, but -- that doesn't work in the case of 'separate' and 'not separate'. It is totally illogical to try to have it both ways.

Let's break it down in the context of what your whole post stated.

First, the above statement was not your beginning premise. The above statement is your conclusion, and second, you have ultimately created a paradox by drawing an erroneous conclusion from your premise.

Your beginning/major premise was:
Quote
God created the universe
Your secondary/minor premise was:
Quote
God also created man
Your conclusion:
Quote
God is both separate from us and not separate from us.


It is the conclusion that you draw from this that creates the paradox. i.e, when it comes to 'separate' and 'not separate' you cannot have it both ways.

The paradox is solved, however, when you approach and apply the major premise in a different way. Let's look at it another way:
God created the universe.
God also created man.


All this logically says is that:

Man is therefore a creation just like the universe. It tells us nothing about God.

To seek knowledge of God from this same beginning premise, you need is a new syllogism that works:

God created the universe.
The universe is the totality of everything that exists (of which man is a just a small part).


If we stick with our major premise, then the only conclusion that we can logically draw about God, is:

God is inseparable from the universe--else God would not exist.

If you want to know even more about God, let's use the same beginning premise but apply it differently and follow it on through by using our previous conclusion as the minor premise:

God created the universe.
God is inseparable from the universe--else God would not exist.


The only logical thing that you can deduce from this is:

God cannot be separate from creation and therefore must be a part of creation itself.

Now, how do we deal with this problem--given what we want God to be? God cannot be 'a part of' anything, right? God must be more. If we need to have this as a conclusion in our knowledge of God, then our syllogism is still in error.

So, let's try it one more time, using our needed knowledge of God as our minor premise:

God created the universe.
God cannot be separate from the universe, yet cannot be 'a part' of anything.


There is only one logical conclusion left to us, in order that we may get everything we want by proving that both our major and minor premises are true, and that is:

God is ever-present within the universe as the 'creative principle' through which the universe in constantly being created. This is the only way that God can be the creator of the universe and still exist.


We finally found a syllogism that does not fall into error.

God as the creative principle of the universe becomes the prime mover and the movement itself. Inseparable. We are like God in that we are able to move things, and we are also in movement, but we are different from God in that we can actually be moved by other things that move. Since 'movement/God' is the 'one thing that cannot be moved/Prime mover' we have everything we need God to be. We are not separate from God--only different aspects of the same thing. Where we are limited in our physicality, God is not, because God has no physicality; God is everywhere in the universe, and yet 'no where in particular'. This does not separate us from God, rather --  God is with us at all times -- and yet remains 'more' than we are.
 
Applying this to the linguistic metaphor that James and I were working with:  Every language has a main "to be" verb--a prime mover. This is the one element that is an absolute necessity to all languages.  So it is with God and the universe. That is why 'GOD IS A VERB' works as a metaphor.

Finally, you suggested:
Quote
Unless, of course, you are coming from the standpoint of God as an impersonal force.
Everything that I have described here is in no way 'impersonal'. In fact, it is about as 'personal' as you can get. It is the "to be" of my "I AM." I would not even 'exist' if it weren't for God (as described above.) Everything I see, everything I do, everything I think, etc., is happening because there is a prime mover in the universe. Therefore, God is within me and I am within God. There is no separation. If there were a separation, I would cease to exist.  

There are several ways that this can metaphorically be described, but as you can see, you must be very careful: the whole syllogism must follow logically, or your whole position crumbles into fallacy.

~Beth
38  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Must God be separate from Creation? on: May 28, 2006, 08:31:08
Quote from: kai wren
...it makes more sense to believe that God is both separate from us and not separate from us at the same time, does it not?

No kai wren, that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever!! grin In essence what you are saying is just metaphysical double talk--you have created a paradox--it sounds mysterious and very profound with the saying, but when applied with reason it clearly shows itself to be totally empty of any real value.

Except, of course, that it is definately a step in the right direction away from religion's use of human personifications.
Quote
God created the universe, God also created man
This is your beginning premise, and IMO this is also the point at which your subsequent conclusions fall short into error:  God does not have to be separate from the universe or humanity to have accomplished these things.

James referenced the perfect metaphor that explains why this is the case:

God is not a NOUN.  God is not a WHAT or a WHO. As a NOUN, God is limited to being the 'creator' which leaves 'all other' as being the 'created'. Very strict boundaries are being drawn here.

Only as a noun, as a 'what' or 'who', does reason demand that God be separate from us. But this concept does not work in the bigger scheme of things, when for example, our reasoning faculty looks for 'the creator of the creator'. This is where the whole logical argument falls apart for 'God' in this context, and the premise is thus rendered impotent and irrational. It is also the point where many a human mind has allowed 'religious faith' to come in and take the place of a continuing effort to use their reasoning ability to see it on through to a rational conclusion.

But there is a solution to this mystery, and irrational religious faith is not necessary: when we take a close look at the problem, that God as the creator (a who or what) needs a creator (also a who or what) can you see the missing element here?

As it stands, 'every creator' will always 'need a creator'-- i.e. a 'who or what' that created the creator, that created the creator, and so on and so on.  

The answer is found in the fact that the most important element is missing: there is no actual 'first creation' taking place. When the concept is void of creative action, all you have are static 'things', i.e. 'nouns'.

As soon as you have the epiphany that God is a VERB, and your mind truly groks it, a whole new way of looking at the universe becomes available. And a LOT of things make much more sense!

Philosophically speaking, as a VERB, God can be both the prime mover and the movement itself, i.e. God is the creative principle through which all creation occurs. God is 'the creator' only in as much as 'God is the creative process', and all the while can never separate from 'creation' at any time. Simply put, a verb cannot ever be separated from its own fulfillment.

Linguistically speaking for example, the verb "create" cannot be separated from "creation/created/creating" all of which are different conjugations of the same verb.  All of these terms are intrically connected and cannot be separated. You may be wont to say that they are separate because the first one is a 'concept' and the other is a 'fulfillment of the concept', but this does not mean that they are separate, rather they are simply 'different aspects' of the same thing, i.e. the verb 'to create'.

Thus, God 'the creator' cannot be separated from humanity, 'the created'.

If you need a more mundane example, euphemistically speaking if I may, as sexual beings we cannot separate our sexuality from our sexual response. With this, our sexuality is both the 'creator' and the 'created' within the sexual experience itself.

I hope you can begin to see how, as a conceptual metaphor, God as a VERB works beautifully for providing us with a rational and logical conception of God that is never separate from us. As such, our problem of 'a creator God' needing to be 'created' is solved, and 'God' is quite simply revealed to be the active principle that was present in that awesome first moment when the universe came 'to be'.

~Beth
39  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Using Parable as a Teaching Tool on: May 28, 2006, 00:11:05
Hey all,

The use of parable as a teaching tool is as old as written history, and was surely used long before in oral traditions.

Parables and metaphors are very powerful learning tools, and in the study of metaphysics it is oftentimes the best that we can do to get our points across! This is especially the case with the bible.

kai wren posted the following parable in one of the other religion threads, and I am moving it here to start a new discussion.

~Beth

___________________________________________________________
kai wren wrote:
Quote
Somehow I find myself reminded of this fable, now Mal-2 in this case is the founder of the Discordian movement- one of the most Holy Prophets of it. Indeed, he was the first Discordian Pope (I think) (also, edited for swearing)

One day, in the interests of religious cross-fertilization, Mal-2 went fishing. He baited the hook with his pineal gland, and quickly caught a nice big fish. Giggling maniacally, he dragged the little sucker into the boat and prepared to sermonize it to death.
"Wait!" said the fish.
"Why?" Mal-2 asked.
"I'm a talking fish! Aren't you curious? Talk to fish all the time, do you?"
"Nooooooooo."
"Well, then. Listen up. I'm The Cod."
"Was that a proper noun?"
"YES!" pronounced The Cod majestically. "I am a proper noun bearing COD, and you know what that means."
"Yes," Mal-2 sighed. "I've got to catch a less talkative fish." He picked up The Cod, and prepared to throw it back.
"Wait! I come bearing a message!"
Mal-2 sighed again. "I'm under contract to Eris. She made me sign an exclusivity clause. Besides, no one wants to listen to a fish."
"That's why YOU have to do the talking for me," Cod said desperately. "Look, you don't have to worship me, just, you know, when you tell people about Eris, maybe just kind of slip in, 'And you are all children of Cod! Hail Eris!', you know?"
Mal-2 lowered the fish, and looked it pentagonally in the eye. "We are all Children of Cod?"
"Yep."
"What, ALL of us?"
"Er... yes?"
"Even Eris?"
"Um, no. I guess not."
"So we're all children of Eris as well?"
"Sure. Why not?"
"Are you saying my Goddess had sex with a fish?"
Cod moaned in dismay. "Look, of course not. I'm just saying..."
"Well, she did."
The Cod paused. "Oh. Right. THAT party... woo. Well, irregardless. Will you do it?"
"Yes. But one more question about this Children of Cod thing..."
"Okay," the Cod shrugged. Mal-2 had never seen a fish shrug before, and was suitably impressed.
"So, all of us are Children of Cod? Everyone except Eris?"
"Yup."
"What about you? Are you a Child of Cod?" Mal-2 asked.
"Um, yes." said Cod uncertainly. "Yes! Yes I am!"
"How can you be your own child?"
The Cod looked at Mal-2 with an evil glint in his fishy eye.
"Go (edited) yourself!"

And Mal-2 was enlightened. But Cod sank his boat anyway, just for being a smart-butt. And he got wet, but didn't drown, and was still enlightened.
40  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Religion ............who is he? on: May 27, 2006, 08:49:07
Mustardseed,

I am sitting here wondering how I can go about answering you. shocked

First, let me say that the single most important thing that you have taught me, is how important it is to not "generalize" when it comes to "Christianity." I thank you for this much needed lesson.

That said, I have tried to get around this generalization in several different ways. For example, I have used qualifiers such as "some Christians" or "many Christians" etc. In the post that you are referencing, I referred, not to those "who practice Christianity," but to those who "use Christianity," or "religion" in general, as a tool of manipulation for a wide array of purposes. If you are not one of those people, then you have no need to be defensive at what I was saying. But--if you cannot see how much these "users" are "abusing religion" and manipulating the masses, then my friend, you are ignoring the obvious.

Now, with that said, let me offer the following:

1. You would not even be a Christian if it were not for a few dozen narratives that were written over 2,000+ years ago.
 
2. If it had not been for a handful of well-educated ancient Greek scholars, you would have never heard of a person named "Jesus" or of a man named "Moses" or of a woman named "Mary." If you think these "ancient scholars" are my "idols" ... well they are at the very heart of yours as well. You just don't know it; but they are the ones that brought you the Garden of Eden, original sin, the ten commandments, the Virgin Birth and Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross. These ancient Greek scholars made it all possible--without them, being a Christian would not even be an option for you.

3. If a very clever, very ambitious "pagan warrior" named Constantine, had never tried to re-build a crumbling Roman Empire, "Christianity" would have turned out quite differently--if it would've survived at all.

4. If the Roman Catholic Church had not become such a financial and political powerhouse in the Middle Ages, the western world would not be what it is today. With "absolute control" for many centuries, the Church brought many great things into the world, and with this many other great things were subsequently destroyed.

5. If the Catholic Church had not totally misused their power, Martin Luther would never have had a problem with the Church, and Protestantism would never have been born.  

6. None of these things would have ever happened if it had not been for a few dozen books written 2,000+ years ago. This is not my opinion Mustardseed, but fact.

This fact does not come without a lot of problems:

For instance, if it weren't for those few dozen narratives, our conception of "history" would be very different.  Historically speaking Mustardseed, we live in a world where "history" is made up of two totally different worlds--not just one. One view allows for the bible to be actual historical accounts, and the other cannot include the biblical events at all, because historians, as much as many of them would like to, simply cannot "find" the biblical events as having ever happened in the ancient world; it cannot be verified by any source outside of the bible--and you cannot have it both ways.

But the early Catholic Church was very shrewd my friend, they created the most amazing circular manipulation of all time: they used "faith" as a means of brainwashing, near to the whole of, the western world. They created a whole system of "guilt" and "reward" to manipulate the ignorant masses into believing that they were the only ones that had access to God and were therefore given the authority to judge and rule in God's name. The Church used those ancient narratives as a tool of manipulation, mind control and emotional/physical abuse. They used those narratives as justification for murder--in untold numbers--all in the name of a "loving" God.

The bottom line? For many centuries, if a person chose "not to have faith in those narratives" then they were hellbound. If an afterlife of damnation did not adequately deter rescenders, the Church just made "this life" -- "hell on earth" for them. They had the power to do this Mustardseed, and they used it accordingly--and often. In much the same way, they are doing it still; the methods may have changed somewhat, but the intention and the result is the same.

It is now the 21st century, and people of "faith" are tested everyday because "history" cannot find the core events or the primary peoples that make their faith possible. Now, living in the same world, driving down the same roads, eating at the same restaurants, drinking from the same water supply, there are people that do not put their "faith" in a few dozen ancient narrative texts. They cannot fathom how or why "people of faith" think or do what they do. This is not a matter of not "understanding" or of "not having been saved" rather, it is a matter of rational thinking.

These rational thinkers see very clearly how western religion is manipulating the world for many purposes, and the least of these is actually giving a fig whether humanity is saved or not! We can see the "great deception" going on all around us. While some of these thinkers are self-claimed atheists, not all of us are; I am certainly not.

What concerns me the most Mustardseed, is that I can see the great deception very clearly. I have been exposed to it all of my life. It truly breaks my heart that the "faith" of millions of people who profess to "believe in God" cannot believe in God without those few dozen narratives.

Moreover, many people have a terrible fear that if this great deception was ever exposed for what it really is, that people would stop believing in God, would stop trying to be moral creatures, that "secularism" and/or "liberalism" would "take over the world." As a result, they believe that the world might well fall into total chaos.  

As for me, I already see chaos all around me, except it is not because of secularism, but because of irrational thinking and "misplaced faith." They have got you by the bullocks Mustardseed. You have been thoroughly convinced that without "faith in those narratives, or faith in Jesus Christ" that you are left "godless."  

I say poppycock! The existence of God is not dependent upon a few dozen narratives written 2,000+ years ago. I am very concerned, and sometimes a bit terrified, that so many people around me can possibly be so irrational. A lot of these people are making crucial decisions everyday about the world that I live in.  These people are arming "the faithful" with AK47's, missles, jimmie-rigged backpacks and roadside bombs. Oh, and let's not forget nuclear bombs--both clean and dirty.

Some of these "faithful" people have been promised eternal life with God as "His" "Chosen People" and that all of their sins, committed against themselves and others, are automatically "forgiven" -- just because they have professed "belief" in a few dozen narratives that were written 2,000+ years ago. Others with the same irrational mentality, have been promised a place in heaven and 12 virgins for their very own!

Now, don't scoff at the absurdity of the latter belief, for the former belief is just as absurd.

And don't make a disclaimer for yourself based upon your practice of "non-violence." You may not carry an AK47, but you are supporting and spreading a message that is serving as the tool of their manipulation. IMO, the religions at the forefront of our world situation are not rational, healthly, or divine; the "big three religions" aka, "the religions of THE BOOK" are the world's most dangerous WMD's--Weapons of Mass Destruction--par excellence.

You say that "Christians" are easy targets? Good grief Mustardseed! If anyone or anything is an "easy target" it is the entire world and every person alive within it. Loaded backpacks and nuclear bombs do not discriminate based upon religious orientation.

When is this madness going to come to an end? An excellent start will be when "God" has been liberated from "THE BOOK(S)."

Mustardseed, my research into these narratives is NOT MY opinion. It is the way the bible was written, by the writers who wrote them! Those few dozen narratives that were written 2,000+ years ago--that have been abused, misused and totally misunderstood, were creative fiction--not History.  This is the truth.

Now do not confuse my use of the word "truth" with any "TRUTH" about God, because I make no claim whatsoever about what God really IS. I am just able to show what God ISN'T and who God WASN'T.

I have to ask you Mustardseed: Why does the existence of God depend upon a few dozen ancient narratives??? Why do they "have to be true?" What IS IT that "people of faith" have "faith in"Huh A book? or the God of the Universe? A "religion" or an all powerful deity?  

I think that what they have faith in is "themselves" and their own "self-image."  Mankind may "think" they "know God," but they don't, because God was not a MAN--ever.  That is just an image of man's arrogance.  In fact, it is so totally absurd and so irrational, such a belief is not worthy of anyone's "faith."

God is NOT, Mustardseed, in a book "about" God, nor is it possible for us to ever speak for, or act on behalf of God. God is quite capable of doing that without our help, but as long as so many people are listening to the sound of their own arrogant voices, God can't get a word in edgewise (metaphorically speaking of course.)

I believe and yes, have faith that God IS. I also believe, and yes, have faith that God actually wants to be liberated from that ancient book, or I would not be able to take it apart so easily. I also have faith that God is quite capable of taking care of the universe just fine without it.

I say that "salvation" is learning how to think rationally. I also think that it is the great deception that has prevented humanity at large from doing just that. If ever that great deception is exposed for what it is, I think there will metaphorically be a "new Jerusalem" -- a "new world of peace" -- if, that is, the fighting over the "old Jerusalem" doesn't destroy us all first.

On a global basis, religion is causing much more harm than good Mustardseed. Religion is not saving anyone and has been making promises -- and threats -- for centuries that have yet to be fulfilled. Religion keeps people from using their "God given" reasoning abilities, and it is going to get us all killed if people don't "wake up."

I have to stop now...

~Beth
41  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Whos gonna save us? on: May 21, 2006, 19:44:05
Somewhere on an old thread I posted my response to this issue, but for whatever it is worth, here it is again! grin

First, for anything Biblical, I always go back to the original Greek to see what the Greek authors really said (a lot can be lost in translation from language to language.)

The last book of the New Testament in English is REVELATION. In Greek, the name of this book is APOCALYPSIS. (I am not even going to try to interpret the many details of this book, but rather, just the first sentence, which gives us quite a bit of information by itself!)

The word APOCALYPSE does not mean END OF THE WORLD. That is just another Christian misrepresentation.

This word breaks down as follows: APO=off, away, apart from, aside + KALYPTOS=covering, envelop, conceal
Together the word means: "to uncover," "to reveal." So, from Greek to English the word does not mean "end of the world" rather, it means "revelation" or "to reveal."  

Revelation 1:1 reads:
Quote
"The revelation of Jesus Christ, given by God, to show to his followers what must take place quickly."

The last book of the Bible is therefore the writers way of revealing the secrets of Jesus Christ (not merely the secrets pertaining to the end of the world.)

Looking at this first verse, we find the name "Jesus" which literally means "salvation."
We also find the word "Christ" which means "anointment" and implies "to accept responsibility."
These two names, coupled with the phrase "must take place quickly" are all give-aways as to what this book is all about!

Since these words were penned nearly 2,000 years ago, I think it is quite safe to say--is indeed imperative that we say--that Christianity's interpretation of this "revelation" is WRONG, if for no other reason, we are all still here and many peope are still waiting for "IT to happen."

So, if we want to lend any truth value to this book, what was it that needed to take place "quickly" that does not appear to have taken place yet???

I truly can't say for sure entirely, but I strongly suspect that should anyone be able to decipher all of the many symbols and esoteric references, it would be something like what James said.

The only thing that I would change about this is the implication that this is necessarily a collective event. I think that it is an individual event that can indeed happen right now, is in fact happening right now, to someone, somewhere on this planet. Moreover, "it needs to happen" as soon as possible for EVERYONE.

Personally, I have been through many "apocalypses" in my life. Different stages through which I have had to "leave behind" a great many things that I thought were important at the time, but I eventually learned that hanging on to them stood in the way of my spiritual growth, e.g. various relationships and even the religion of my roots (Christianity.)

While in the midst of some of these stages, I truly thought that "my world was coming to an end!"  But the sun always came up the next day, and I had to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. In essence, it was only "the end of the world" as I had always known it.

So, the "revelation" is still much like James said, that is, we must discover that we are all "light," that this world is "transitory" for our true selves, and that we should all "love one another," "honor each other" and "take responsibility" for ourselves.

To do this, we must set aside "egoism" and all of its nasty mechinations, e.g. hate, manipulation of others, desire to possess things as a remedy to unhappiness, and most importantly, the tendency to blame other people for our miserable lives and then ironically, expect those same people, or others, to "fix our misery." Whether this be family members, friends, or social institutions, people that fail to take personal responsibility for thier lives are always looking for someone else to "save them."

Religion has set itself up as a perfect foil for that very purpose: through manipulating the hearts and minds of humans, it keeps people coming to them for their "salvation." The whole focus on being born as sinful people, and Jesus having died for the sins of all mankind, forever, just removes all personal responsibility from the individual and provides an ultimate "sacrificial lamb" for all believers. This also puts the Church and the religion in a very powerful position to further manipulate believers for a vast array of other things, e.g. dictating morality for all humans and electing presidents of very powerful countries. Human egoism created institutionalized religion, and humans with huge ego's know best how to use religion to their advantage.

(Oh dear!:shock: I am digressing...sorry 'bout that :redface:...anyway... )

The ego is self-indulgent and will protect itself, no matter what it has to do. So the ego must be reined in...our spiritual self needs to use the ego as a tool of survival, not the other way around, i.e. the ego using "spirituality" as a tool of justification, as religion would have it.

When we discover these things, we will be well on our way to attaining "our salvation." In other words, my interpretation of the first verse of Revelation is very personal: the "revelation" of my "salvation" (Jesus) depends upon my "taking responsibility for" (Christ),  my life "as soon as possible." This life and my responsibility for it, was given to me by God. The quicker I understand this, the quicker I will see my salvation.

So, to me, this is not something that will happen to us from the "outside" per se, rather, outside events may bring about certain changes in our lives, but the process itself is an internal/spiritual "end of the world as we have always known it."

I am now 47 years old, and looking back, I am very pleased that most of those "old worlds" did indeed pass away! As a result, I feel that I have come much closer to "God" in the process.

Finally, it would be a big mistake for me to think that all of my "apocalyses" have come to an end. In fact, I truly hope not!  As painful as some of them are, these things are my "growing experiences" through which I hope to one day--when I take my last breath in this body--be transformed back into that which I now know myself to be: LIGHT.

~Beth

p.s. Yes Mustardseed, this was another "long one" but unraveling these things takes time. In my opinion, it is because of "easy, pat answers" that religion has managed to mess things up so much...
42  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Regulations For Entry To Heaven? Pssh on: May 16, 2006, 03:36:19
Quote from: AndrewTheSinger
On February 2, 1512, he was tied to a stake and burned alive. Before he was burned, a priest asked him if he would accept Jesus and go to heaven. Hatuey asked "Are there people like you in heaven?" When the priest assured him that there were, Hatuey replied that he wanted nothing to do with a God that allowed such cruelty to be perpetuated in His name. excerpt from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatuey


Very interesting Andrew! Thanks for sharing that...

~Beth
43  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Regulations For Entry To Heaven? Pssh on: May 16, 2006, 03:34:22
Mitch,

I fully understand the concerns listed in your post.

While I am not a Christian (never have been able to be one) I was raised to be one and have lived in the Buckle of the Bible Belt all of my life.

In an effort to understand the religion of my roots, I also academically studied the religion for over ten years--learning the original languages of the bible and studying the development of the early church--and the best that I can tell, Christianity--in general--does not require itself to 'make sense' or 'to be right or fair' according to anyone but their own doctrines and their own scripture.

There are some fringe sects (outside of the mainstream) that some people here at the Pulse adhere to, so maybe they would like to respond to your post.

Other than this, all I can say is that after 40+ years of trying to understand it, I still don't get it. I guess it has to "speak to you" -- or not.

~Beth
44  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Pagan Sex Orgies on: May 12, 2006, 23:36:36
Quote from: Mustardseed
Did you know that Adultery was only considered to be adultery for the female. The Jewish scribes and priests would go see their whores for their business and then stand by saying nothing when they got stoned, probably loop a few rocks themselves


I read this scriptural notation as being a criticism against the priesthood by the writers of the stories. In other words, the priests were the biggest hypocrits of all---they were the ones buying and selling God, killing God, betraying God and not honoring God. They were the ones that were trying to be God by attempting to "steal God's power."

"Whores" were "other religions," and "women" were humanity's "physical bodies" -- the "human senses." The human "mind" was the male part...which was the part that was created in God's image...

~Beth
45  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Pagan Sex Orgies on: May 12, 2006, 23:29:53
Did you know that adultery was not really what it has come to mean today at all?;

That the whole of the 10 commandments always loops back to the 1st one?

In other words, all of the other 9 commandments are expounding upon the main one, i.e. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

In the biblical story, God was to the Israelites both father and mother, husband and wife, as well as the source of all of their needs, i.e. thou shalt not murder (your god), thou shalt always honor (your god), thou shalt not steal (from the power of your god or any other god), thou shalt not covet (because God provides you with everything you need.)

All of the commandments are concerning their relationship with God, not with each other.

On a physical level, most of these laws already existed in the days of Hammarabi as civil laws, so the biblical writers used them to allegorically teach about the Laws of God.

Read them all with this allegorical view in mind and think "God" when you read each one of them. See if this doesn't make a lot of sense.

Exodus 20:2-17, Exodus 34:12-26, and Deuteronomy 5:6-21

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_10c4.htm



~Beth
46  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Life beyond physical Death on: May 12, 2006, 23:03:52
Quote from: patelvipulk
I have also came acroos some text on internet  rearding " lost years of Christ" in which one russian reseacher claim ot have found documents saying htat he visted Tibet   between the years of 16 and 32.

Can yo ushed more light on this belief..


Well patelvipulk, I cannot shed any light on this at all, except to say that because the New Testament does not have any activity for Jesus between his youth and his being in his 30's, many people have tried to put him "somewhere" during that time.

I really have nothing else to add to this because I maintain that Jesus was a fictional creation and that the whole story of his life was a myth. A very good myth that talked about the need for spiritual thinking and spiritual living in a world that was rife with political turmoil--but myth nonetheless.

Jesus, and all the other biblical characters were personifications of ideas. I have compiled a great deal of research that shows how the lexical meanings of their names were used as the nouns and verbs to write their stories, e.g. Jesus actually means "to save" and "salvation"; that is why he is characterized as the "savior" of the world.

This research goes A LONG WAY in explaining why there is absolutely no evidence outside of the bible that any of the biblical events ever occurred, or that any of the people ever existed; there is no such evidence. We have quite a bit of historical accounting for that time period, and yet there is no evidence of anything biblical.

So, any historical claims to Jesus having done this or that, or having been here or there, is just pure conjecture based upon religious belief. Granted, some of these people are trying to expand the Jesus story to include many other things and areas, BUT, this is still an irrational literal belief in a mythological creation.

~Beth
47  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Letter to President Bush on: May 11, 2006, 03:34:30
Quote
Perhaps the letter should have been sent to the Vatican or some tele-evangelical.

The Pope only has power in the Catholic Church...the Christianity of Bush is Protestant Evangelical, and the tele-evangelists have been keeping the airwaves HOT with their opinions...but at the end of the day, they are just  that -- hot-wind opinions.

Besides, the pope is not the one that has the power to do the things that the Iranian president is calling upon Bush to do...

I think that the Iranian President could be challenging Bush to "put up or shut up" and openly come out to the world that he is running a Christian administration -- and not against all other religions -- but as one of the religions of "the book."  Muslim leaders are quite secure using their religion as a basis for their governing, but Bush cannot do that quite as easily. This probably gives Muslim leaders more confidence that their people are behind them in every way. It lends them a superiority that Bush does not possess...so perhaps the president of Iran is suggesting that Bush take the authority that God has given him and bring it out in the open...or submit to Islam if he cannot.

Quote
The Iranians pov is sophomoric
Yes, but by comparison, Bush would sadly be in about the 3rd grade of elementary school...

~Beth
48  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Letter to President Bush on: May 11, 2006, 03:32:52
Quote from: gdo
Is President Bush the President of the United States or is he a religious avatar speaking for the Christians in general?


He professes to be a Christian and used his Christianity to moblize other Christians into voting for him in both elections. He makes no secret that his administration is a Christian administration.

Bush has also said that he is following the will of God because God tells him what to do. It has even been said that he has a messiah complex:

http://www.todaysalternativenews.com/index.php?event=link,150&values%5B0%5D=2&values%5B1%5D=570

http://www.hws.edu/news/update/showwebclip.asp?webclipid=621

http://www.counterpunch.org/hill01042003.html

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/6863874/the_rs_blog/

etc., etc., etc....
49  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Letter to President Bush on: May 11, 2006, 02:46:06
Quote from: gdo
What difference would it make if President Bush was dyslexic?

What does that have to do with the topic?


Nothing in the big scheme of things, it was just ironic that this is a letter written to Bush that he might not be able to read for himself.

It was just a side-note observation...
50  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Creationism as Paganism on: May 11, 2006, 02:39:08
shocked

I wonder if the vatican knows that he is saying this to the media???

 shocked

And the pope thinks he has a problem with Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code!

 shocked

Something tells me that Protestant Christianity will NOT AGREE with this AT ALL!!

 shocked

I wonder if Jerry Falwell, the fundamentalists, and the evangelicals will come out and blast the Catholic Church because of this? Falwell would probably love to be given such a juicy opportunity... rolleyes

Thanks for the link CFT!
~Beth
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