Monthly Archives: April 2016

Resurrection

I hate to tell you, folks. Jesus died and has already come back. For some, that’s good news but for others it’s a big shock. Jesus is the homeless man, the struggling single mother, the addict, the LGBT outcast, others pushed to the fringes, the Atheist, the Muslim, the President Of The United States who also happens to be black.

Jesus is each of these and more. Just the sort of person the surprised Christian seems to genuinely hate. The bad news of Jesus’ return is that he obviously hasn’t been resurrected in the hearts, minds, and lives of these Christians. Jesus died on the cross and remains entombed; a bag of theological bones.

God is love. Anyone who seeks it, pursues it, and gives it is participating in the goodness which is God. And this is the good news: that even Christians can’t keep Jesus from coming back to life. Others see him. Others love him. Others don’t care about titles and dogmas. Others are all the same, known by their love. Others have resurrected him.

Just a thought.

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Sit, Ubu. Sit.

It’s actually sad commentary to note we still talk about God in medieval terms, as if Master, Lord, Savior, Sovereign are any kinds of ideas which unify than divide and separate. It’s a caste system of power and worth. It’s not of any relationship of society, equitably, dignity, or genuine love.

Dogs and children obey and surely as adults, something more in the narrative has been missed all these years.

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Three Or One?

“Modalism” is the idea that we can explain the relationship of God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit by saying there is only one God, and three expressions or forms God has taken.

It’s a fantastic idea! It would be identical to saying H2O takes the form of vapor, liquid, solid. That makes perfect sense.

It’s just too bad this “Sabellianism” is heresy.  Ask Servetus, who was invited to a barbeque by Calvin. Ask T.D. Jakes, who was once billed as the next Billy Graham, gracing the cover of Time magazine, until …

There is then no explaining in any coherent way how God is “One In Three, yet Three persons”. It is utter gibberish. It is literal gibberish. The idea can have no import to Christianity in the least! Why? It is incoherent. It cannot be explained nor can it then be used to explain anything else.

If God has properties x, y, and z and God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit are all “fully God”, then Jesus and the Holy Spirit also have properties x, y, and z. But to say God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons is to say they also have different properties. For convenience:

G(x, y, z)
J(x, y, z, l, m, n)
S(x, y, z, o, p, q)

This shows G (God), J (Jesus), S (Holy Spirit) in fact can be said to be “fully God”. It also, by definition, illustrates the impossibility of “Hypostasis”, given any distinction makes “co-substantiality” incoherent when forcing these claims together.

A mother, a father, their child form a family. But if this is fitting, neither mother, father, nor their child can be “fully family”. And neither mother nor father nor child are “family” at all without the others. So, each are essential to “family”, none are family alone, and hence, it is the different properties of each that “family” is contingent on. In other words, x, y, and z are necessary for “family”, but without l, m, n, o, p, q, there is no “family”. We can put it this way:

Family(x, y, z)
Mother(x)
Father(y)
Child(z)

Either Modalism makes sense, or “Tritheism” makes sense, but there’s no rationally coherent means of claiming both are true of the Trinity and both are false of the Trinity at the same time.

Jefferson astutely notes, the Trinity is the Abracadabra of mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.

I agree.

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Obviously!

¬(A=B=C)⇒∀A¬(B∨C)&∀B¬(A∨C)&∀C¬(A∨B)

Therefore, the Trinity is an incoherent idea.

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Quoque

Arguments for and against God are valid and can be sound. You have to ask if the argument you side with is because of something about the argument, or because it is entirely something about you. If it’s all about you, then be gracious in honoring the dignity in the “something about others” as they see things differently, yet none the less, just as rationally sound as you and your own hunch.

This is agnosticism, ignosticism, theism, atheism, and apatheism in a nutshell:

A rational outlook would be to say a being that transcends reality cannot be known, since all we can know is reality, our frame of reference and what all our thoughts are contingent on.

Another would be to say that the question of the existence of such a being is incoherent, given the above, and no god-talk can be about God and in trying to signify God, it is literal nonsense.

Another would be to say that yes, much of the above in both cases is true. But since all thoughts are contingent to reality, the idea of God is natural and then valid; no one invented the idea. Given that numinous experiences do exist, this undergirds the relevance of the idea and its truth. Also, though we have no concept of God aside from experience and though what we say about God doesn’t go for God, it is not nonsense because of relevance. Since our self concepts are based on contact with reality, it makes sense to say experience is why we exist and why we exist in the kind of world we do. Who we are and where we are is exactly how any transcendent being would equip us to discover whatever was meant to be discovered about the divine. And in that case, the question of God is then a necessary one because of its effect on us, and implied since again, reality made the question necessary. It makes sense to say that we in some way, are like whatever “Big Other” there may be and, the better we understand ourselves, the more we will understand whatever purpose we’re here for. In other words, our experiences will be as full as they can be (which is God’s aim), and our concepts of the divine as complete as they can be, all through the necessary, evolving conceptions of God we create, all in response to revelation in the practical sense; our developing sense of self in response to circumstance.

Of course, it’s rational to say we start with brute facts of existing and the facts of existence and all other ideas we develop must be justified. Any claim of a supernatural realm or reality or being is unnecessary and so, are not justifiable because anything happening in reality is natural and can be explained in those terms alone. Any claim about deity is simply unjustifiable and then is discardable.

Then one may well look at the question of the existence of deity and rightly conclude that since all of these are rationally equivalent, and since we obviously adopt some view aside from these arguments in and of themselves, any answer is completely dubious. In such a case, there may or may not be a God, but because it is dubious, then a world where God exists and a world where God doesn’t exist are identical and the implication of there being a God has no bearing whatever; “nothing” and “God” literally manifest identically in reality. So, there’s nothing practical in saying “God exists” at all.

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On Social Change …

I remind that every time in history when our moral sense is about to expand, it’s religious folks who balk, but this is only a sign of the death throes of those old ideas. The new moral perspective has always won. Every, single, time.

But as law is an anchor for sociability, ensuring a new idea earns its worth, so too is religion; each making sure we’re really committed to where we’re about to all go together. Both are a necessary burden which must be drug kicking and screaming into the light.

Just a thought.

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LGBT: On Entitlement

I have no interest in sharing my views on the subject, nor really hearing the views of others on it. This is simply a set of requirements that must be met in order to express any legitimate comment at all.

For anyone at all who would appeal to nature with anything LGBT, it makes no sense whatever. Sexuality in every sentient species of animal is anything but binary or simple. And too, we’re just the sort of being that can change reality, making us true moral agents. In that case, moral agency is entirely predicated on defying the natural … and indeed, Christianity as a moral endeavor is exactly the idea that what is natural is not always best. If you’re particularly Calvin about things, then all the better to make that point; nothing natural about man is best and transformation is a requirement. What sense of “nature” makes sense to appeal to as some sort of moral linkage?

So, the question can only be asked and answered by thinking anything about LGBT is moral or not. What moral principle does any of it violate, how, and why.

I have no doubts that Christians base their ideas of morality on the Bible. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s actually good, I suspect. I also have no doubt Christians would admit they believe it is God’s word, because they believe it is God’s word. I could scarcely doubt they would fail to recognize that other folks feel the same about their holy books. And I hardly doubt they couldn’t imagine there would be different views from different religions. Nor could I image they would think that even among Christians, using the very same book, there wouldn’t be disagreement.

The question then becomes a moral one of their being entitled to their view at all. By that, I mean that there is only one circumstance in which any belief is one we can genuinely choose, and those are when some conclusion is completely dubious. In that case (which in similar principle is “benefit of the doubt”), such choices in what to believe are not about epistemic correctness (ie is true, is false, and here are the facts), but what is best to believe; because in these cases, we know we must believe something because what we believe causes us to act one way or the other.

If then scripture is your appeal for or against all things LGBT related, and if the things I mentioned I can’t doubt about Christians are indeed true about Christians, then isn’t the appeal to scripture dubious? And given whatever you believe about all of this, it is moral to believe based of how it causes you to view and treat others?

Finally, are those beliefs embodied by the life Christ lived; do they keep you from judging righteousness and force you into thinking about the best way of being in the world; do they cause you to love, to be compassionate, gentle, kind as Luke’s gospel paints as the christology of Jesus?

Just some things to think about.

In the end, you are entitled to say something … but if you discount disagreement and credit yourself being right merely by having faith you are right, then you have not justified believing such a choice is moral itself.

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The Fool’s Errand

Idiots abound. They say, “Give me an argument for God” or “Give me an argument why there’s no God.” This is idiocy in the original sense; they don’t know any better. But, this continually comes up no matter the pedigree. It’s a fool’s errand.

Simply, the answer should be in either case, “no!”

All thoughts are contingent to place and no thought arises from a vacuum; a predicate fact in philosophy and psychology. Therefore reality itself gives rise to the idea of deity. It is because of reality and because of humanity people seek the “Big Other” as ideas of Yahweh, Allah, Elohim, Brahman and scores more.

The idea is then by definition “empirical”, by way of experience. Whether there is actually a God or not, no one knows. Arguing about there being one or none only comes down to essentially claiming “My impression is better than yours”.

Any sane, thinking person would see that 1) a transcendent God is incomprehensible (given the very predicate above which makes God an objective, valid idea; meaning our all our thoughts can be based on is the reality that God transcends!), and consequently, 2) no god-talk can be said to have God as the actual referent of it, 3) the actual existence of deity doesn’t at all matter, because 4) we don’t act on anything but belief, and again, whatever is believed about God is not about God but about what we make of our impressions alone of some “Big Other”; all from the finitude of reality.

What’s left but to say “Here is the good that comes from my ideas”; whether they include deity or lack them entirely.

At the point we realize that the idea of deity is natural and valid and not manufactured (given no thought arises in a vacuum and something about reality has given us reasons to think about gods), and the point we realize transcendent beings are beyond our experience, we realize there can be no evidence for or against God, that rational arguments for or against God are easily had, and that why we accept one of them over another has everything to do with experience and nothing to do with fine arguments.

At that epiphanic moment, a person recognizes there are numinous experiences where our attributing them to the divine or to being human would be entirely random … were it not for the fact we are already inclined one way or another to begin with.

Yes, there may be a God. Yes, there may not be a God. “God” only exists or fails to exist in what we attribute the source of our existential awe to. And no one in their right mind would deny numinous experience in any case!

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On Apologetics And Futility

At the point we realize that the idea of deity is natural and valid and not manufactured (given no thought arises in a vacuum and something about reality has given us reasons to think about gods), and the point we realize transcendent beings are beyond our experience, we realize there can be no evidence for or against God, that rational arguments for or against God are easily had, and that why we accept one of them over another has everything to do with experience and nothing to do with fine arguments.

At that epiphanic moment, a person recognizes there are numinous experiences where our attributing them to the divine or to being human would be entirely random … were it not for the fact we are already inclined one way or another to begin with.

Yes, there may be a God. Yes, there may not be a God. “God” only exists or fails to exist in what we attribute the source of our existential awe to.

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Shine Your Light

Mathew 5:16 … it’s interesting that here, Jesus is the light of the world, and we are told to shine our own light too; much like in Matthew 16:24 we’re asked to take up our own cross.

What’s your cross and what is your light like as you seek the goodness?

Very deeply, very intimately, this seems to be the biggest parabolic, rhetorical message of Christ that we always move into, for the Christian, asking and answering first (Matthew 16:15) “Who do you say that I am?”

The comfort is that no group of people have answered in the same way, nor does any individual make out the question or answer like anyone else.

Christian or not, the question still remains … what is the good and how will you shine its light?

Just a thought.

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