Monthly Archives: January 2017

Eutopia

​Dikaiosýni (Strong’s 1343): Justice, the “right” way or manner of things.

There is no necessary relationship between judgement and punishment, and the entire body of Christ must recognize this. Whether as the Old Testament says, God comes in judgment or whether judgment had been left to Christ, as it says in the New Testament, the overwhelming implication and meaning is simply that at some point in time, everything will be made “right”.

If we understood the Jewishness of Christianity rather than the Platonic or Stoic or Roman or even Manichean twist of it, we would all also look forward to that moment as they did. Not because they’d get theirs and we’d get ours, but that all of creation, all of it, would be restored.

Our part as human beings is to be as we were meant to be (Acts 10:36), understanding that the good we do from our own “iustitia” (the latin translation of dikaiosýni) will for some unknown reason, bear more fruit than it should (II Corinthians 9:10). And our part as Christians is to simply and as best we can, come to clearly understand what “justice” looks like, because of Christ’s revealing words and acts which we believe are identical to the will of God, for there is nothing more to understanding God than being His sacrament in the goodness in the world, to which we must at every moment turn, repent (Micha 6:8).

Apocalypse is far more miraculous than the final book of the New Testament. It begins with Christ and his Kingdom of God, and takes place in every one of us, in each “now” that we overturn in ourselves what isn’t “right”. God’s universal and unlimited grace making all things possible, even this.

Just a thought.

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OMJ!

​The Jews answered, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.” Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’—and the scripture cannot be annulled— can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?

John 10:33-36

“… those to whom the word of God (logoj) came …”

I have been studying the development of the idea of the Trinity for a couple of years now … it is clear as to why such an idea would come about, but not clear it would develop aside from ignorance. Indeed, the one place in scripture where Jesus is likened to God is not ontological but representational; that’s John’s Gospel and his use of the Greek philosophy of Logos, the Hebrew equivalent of Memra (which likewise has ties to the personification of wisdom, Sophia, as Memra is the personification of will). It’s also clear that while the early Church fathers often thought of Jesus as divine, they themselves, like his disciples, did not equate Jesus to God hypostatically — Justin Martyr being the most prolific commenter on the divinity of Jesus.

It should be at this point that any person interested in the Trinity ought to ask themselves why the truth of it matters, and especially when it came to matter to anyone at all, because since it wasn’t from scripture, wasn’t an important idea or even an idea that existed at all until Tertullian, it is either pure ideology or serves a political function, or both.

Just a thought.

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Apocalypse Now?

Maybe, but that’s more or less a matter of mathematics than scripture. Either we are entering into the age of Aquarius, while still presently in the Christian age of Pisces, or we are not. You can only really first put some interest into what those signs are supposed to represent, then see how intensely astrological the Jews/Hebrews and Greeks were, and then venture off to study for at least a few hours to find a consensus. And that is, the age of Aquarius roughly starts in 2,400 CE and ends roughly 4,600 CE and there is no other age afterward. Who knows what was before creation, and who knows what will be after it is gone.

With the birth of Jesus, it began at the “ends of ages”; being Aries (egoic identity) and Pisces (“big self” identity, community) and nothing miraculous that Virgo (the virgin) is the first sign and ends with Leo (the rise and fall of civilizations) when aligned with scripture. From Pisces, next is Aquarius (the water-bearer).

Jesus was asked where the disciples should prepare the Passover meal. He told them: “Listen,” he said to them, “when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters and say to the owner of the house, ‘The teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.”

(Mark 14:13, Matthew 26:18, Luke 22:10)

This is a possible implication that Aquarius (the awakening) happens in one’s mind, and where communion and salvation is found; and the water in the jar is the Gospel.

To answer personally, the end of the age which “this generation” referred to was Aries who’s end was marked by the destruction of the temple; leaving the Jews nowhere to encounter God but in “Piscean Priesthood” to find a Gospel which leads to and “Aquarian Awakening” (which, given the maths of the lengths of an “age” would be right around now). Like Jesus, you and I are at the ends of two ages; Pisces and Aquarius. If the Christian seeks to pin scripture to speaking to the end of the world, it’s difficult to hold anything but a Preterist view, taking revelation and verses like Mark 13:30 into account.

The only final ends occur, first, at the beginning of creation and then, as far as in keeping with Biblical and profuse reference to the Jewish/Hebrew zodiac and one of its terms (“aion”, “age”, about 2,160 years), the age of Aquarius marks the final age, who’s end should fall around 4,600 CE.

http://www.ohotto.com/features/astrological_ages_tour.asp
http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/world/christ/xt-preb2.htm
http://asis.com/users/stag/zodiac.html (a hideous page with a great summary of “The Gospel In The Stars”, Joseph Seiss; near the bottom, see each sign described as to its meaning and how it matches the events of the Gospels in the same order)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP3kVvj5UGM&t=1306s (absolutely brilliant video on the whole bit)

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An Easter Egg

Seder is the equivalent Jewish Eucharist; not in the sense that Seder has anything to do with Jesus, but that the Eucharist is Jewish to the core and the narrative is simply to make Passover analogous to Jesus. That is, both Jesus and Paul do just that in trying to say Jeremiah 31 sees the New Covenant in Christ Jesus. Seder is about Passover and the Eucharist is Jesus’ Paschal affiliation.

There are four cups in Seder had at different times of the Passover meal. In all three Synoptic Gospels, the cup Jesus raises is symbolic of either “redemption” or “blessings”. This is the third cup. In scripture, the authors call it the cup of “blessings”. Jesus never completes the liturgical meal because he says he will only taste the fruit of the vine when he drinks it in the new Kingdom of God. This is the cup that in three of the Gospels, though not in John’s, Jesus asks that it may pass from him.

It happens that in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus finished the Eucharist. As the story goes, Jesus asks for a drink. The soldiers put a sponge on the end of a stick and lift it to Jesus’ lips. The sponge was engorged with spoiled wine. He drinks, then offers up his Spirit and dies. The fourth cup is the cup of “acceptance”, perhaps for theological reasons alone, but none debate that this cup is the cup of “praise”, whatever else we may call it.

As a simple note, the first two cups are “sanctification” and “plagues” (that which caused liberation).

The symbolism is very deep and this is only a gloss. One cannot understand Eucharist without understanding Passover. Given not all Gospels record the Last Supper, it seems the author of John’s Gospel was taken in a very different way of analogously saying Jesus represented the New Covenant. With John, it is taken for granted without need of illumination that Jesus is the New Covenant. Footwashing, it seems symbolically for John, was Jesus anointing the disciples into the priesthood of the New Covenant. It cannot merely be likened to saying pedantically that Jesus is charging them to likewise be servants because Jesus tells them that they have no idea what he is doing by the gesture, but they will soon enough. Too, including John’s footwashing narrative as well as in many other places in Johannine literature, the Greek word “tithemi”, which means “to lay down”, “to set aside”; and given its most frequent meaning in application and the theological nature of John, we can assume or at least greatly consider in John 13:3-5, he was implicating Jesus’ death and how it related.

The sure bet is there are some folks who will read scripture and think, “how neat that not only is this history, but that it’s so deep because there is an underlying reality after all that the symbols point to.” And there are others who take it the same way but conclude that it’s all lies. A third set of folks won’t bother with either and instead, see the richness on its own literary terms and see how integral the Jewish traditions were to at least those recording thoughts about God and Jesus in the Bible. And a fourth will practice what the symbols were intended to get the reader to do (no Jew ever had in mind by reading scripture that it was merely to get a person to think)! From the practice, this sort of reader begins to get the idea that it’s more than just great literature, and in similar style to Gregory Chaitin on maths not being objectively real, it leaves you with a mystery, an eerie feeling it may just be; which keeps such a person persuing orthopraxy hoping they will eventually find out.

Whomever you are or what kind of reader, I’m sure there’s satisfaction at least a basic level in literary dimension.

Just a thought.

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Have A Little Faith

​”Pistis” is persuation. God is goodness. Pistis is translated “faith” and “belief” in scripture. Salvation, being “grace through faith”, has nothing to do with epistemic belief; that historically new take came in a post enlightened world. Mainly, a Protestant one. Salvation then has everything to do with our relation to goodness.

Since scripture says that people are free to blaspheme God and Jesus but not the Holy Spirit, we know exactly why there is an unforgivable sin and what it is. It isn’t disbelief! The Holy Spirit is at work in the hearts of men as conscience, that which draws men to goodness, persuades them. If a person refuses to seek the good or ignores his conscience, then there isn’t any means for God to break through.

Forgiveness then, isn’t anything more than allowing the Holy Spirit to seduce you into doing what is good, participation in the presence of God, in goodness and its transforming effects; sanctification through this atoning union of participatory sacrament. Even in failing to do the good, God has already forgiven because he hasn’t taken his Spirit away; in fact, it is for repentance the Spirit was sent. 

The final important note of consequence is that epistemic belief doesn’t do a thing for your eternal salvation. That’s the same scheme as thinking physical effort earns forgiveness. No. Neither correct thinking nor correct behavior earn you anything. However, salvation demands you think and act in order to encounter and experience atonement with God. And if so, salvation is certainly universal since goodness is available for anyone to respond to. For the Christian, he simply believes that through Christ, his understating is clearer, if he agrees with Paul’s theology.

Just a thought.

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Godless God-talk

P1) It is a fact that people find God-talk meaningful.
P2) It is not a fact that God exists.
C1) Therefore, the meaningfulness of God-talk is not dependent on the existence of God since God may not exist.
C2) If one thinks that the meaningfulness of God-talk is from the existence of God, then from P1, God exists.
C3) No rational person would take premise 1 and from it, conclude “Therefore there must be a God”.

Many Theists, and Atheists too, should revisit why they are accepting or rejecting narratives about God, because the narratives have nothing to do with God.

Just a thought.

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A Perspective

​If people took a bit of time and care, they may see the entire world differently. For if we wondered what “through” meant in certain verses like 1 Corinthians 15:22, for instance, or Romans 5:12, we might look up the Greek. We might discover that “through” or “by” or “in” aren’t translated as “because of”, which is the very same language used to speak of Jesus.

Everything would change because we’d then know Adam and Jesus are modes, ways of being in the world and not causes of terminal, evil perversion or of scapegoating heroics.

Just a thought.

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The Problem Of …

​The hard bit for me is in two parts. First is knowing that it takes more work to believe that any facet of existence isn’t explainable naturally, even at least in theory, than to own that it is with the confidence that increases every day because of the rigors and methods of science. Second is knowing that if God is ineffable, nothing said of God can be known to be about God. The end result is that the fact of God existing or not really doesn’t matter.

Honestly, most people “wrestle with faith” in a way that’s absurd to me. Most think that what they believe matters only if there is a God, and so they have to believe there’s a God. These should be careful, because at least as it concerns Christianity, the only things reliant on God’s existence are purely selfish; such as taking salvation as being about Heaven or Hell. As Richard Rohr reminds, you’d think that if Heaven or Hell were part of the early Christian story line, John or Paul would have mentioned it at least once, since Johannine and Pauline literature are the only two modes of theological narrative in the New Testament. But of course, neither do. But as far as trying to believe things are true simply by choice, that’s literally impossible without some gross psychology in play or where we can’t tell the truth one way or the other; such as benefit of the doubt. Frankly, either you have the impression of volition in reality, or you don’t. This constitutes “belief”, epistemically speaking, but no one can choose to have that disposition or any other.

Just by virtue of some Christians’ admission that epistemic faith is required for Christianity, we admit there is no genuine basis for Christian belief. That’s not to say there are no justifiable reasons to think certain Christian beliefs are true, but it is to say that the Christian must either admit that the existence of God isn’t something we can know in epistemic terms, or they must admit that belief in God has a basis other than mere desire and that belief, faith, “pistis” is about what we do, not what we think; trust, hope, love, cherish, drawn toward, committed to.

Ultimately, I can reason things out acceptably such that any reasonable person would agree that there’s no proving or disproving deity; to others or to one’s self.

What then is left is obvious, which is that all that matters about God-talk is that it is deeply relevant to humanity, to you as you hear and see and do what you believe God would want you to do. And surely, given my two unrecoverable problems, it is clear that the existence of God isn’t at all what makes God-talk matter at all.

My personal narrative of God, then, is about being human. I am drawn to the goodness I find in the world. Everything about my existing doesn’t matter to me without that experience. And so of course, “God is goodness” is an axiomatic certainty; meaning that when I use the word “God”, “goodness” is what I mean. When I talk about the divinity of Jesus, I mean that Jesus is the embodiment of goodness. When I say I’m a Christian, I mean that Christ atones. By “atone”, I simply mean that through the life of Christ and through the things said of him, I understand clearly what goodness is, and too, what divinity is. When I say that salvation is because of God’s grace, through faith, I mean that I’m “drawn, persuaded” to “God’s active presence in the world”, which is goodness. Atonement takes place when I participate in that goodness by doing the good. The experience of atonement is “sanctification”, or “theosis”, because the experience of doing good is utterly transformative.

That’s all “natural theology” and is classically what Christianity claims as its own; though admittedly, I take these things as “real” and most take as “literal”, which are views miles apart. However, the entire Christan narrative I laid out are merely substitute terms for matters of fact in human life. And to that end, I don’t think I find objections sharing this with non believers because the only possible objection is that my particular terms are unnecessary in order to address or talk about those human facts of the matter.

“In our times, an authentic faith in God only seems to be possible in the context of a praxis of liberation and of solidarity with the needy. It is in that praxis that the idea develops that God reveals himself as the mystery and the very heart of humanity’s striving for liberation, wholeness and soundness. The concept of that mystery, which is at first concealed in the praxis of liberation and of making whole, is only made explicit in the naming of that concept in the statement made in faith that God is the liberator, the promoter of what is good and the opponent of what is evil …”

(Edward Schillebeeckx, ‘Jesus: An Experiment In Christology’, pg. 23.)

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Propositional Confusion

​I don’t know if this interests anyone, but in a discussion, a person asserted that if one believes there is only one God, then he necessarily believes that there are no other gods. As a simple matter of Philosophy, this is not true as I can affirm and negate “There is one God” while never affirming or negating “There are more than one god”. I may be disposed to thinking there is but one God but not disposed to thinking there aren’t possibly more than one; which necessarily means I wouldn’t negate “There are more than one god.”

A person may intend that some propositions are mutually exclusive so that in believing one, the other must be rejected; such as believing a light is on in another room entails the belief the light is not also off at the same time. But although this sounds decisive and perfectly rational, people are not and they intuitively discard things like the “Law Of Non Contradiction” for very good, practical reasons that are perfectly natural. This is why there is a thing called “Doublethink” and why there is an epistemological philosophy of Dialetheism. It is perhaps true that a light is either on or off, but not true that our beliefs about the state of affairs with a light are binary.

Supposing I believe the light is actually in fact on, I may not be very committed to the belief; in other words, my certainty about it is very low (do note, certainty is Psychology, not Epistemology). Supposing whether or not the light is on is a very important state of affairs and knowing that state of affairs is vital, I may need to think out both possibilities. Were there some greater risk to “act as if” the light were on when it actually isn’t, then I ought to “act as if” it is not. That’s even if I happen to think the light is actually on.

Belief is a disposition to act and the above is simply one very common way one may approach some state of affairs, while it also shows or at least implies a very intimate tie to our psychologies.

For this idea I expressed about God that some may think is merely semantics, this is another direct example folks must agree with if they at all know maths. It represents what proponents of Dialetheism consider a “non trivial” example (while the example I just gave of binary contradiction is considered “trivial”).

1) I believe any number of the same sign produces a positive value when multiplied together. 

2) I believe that all numbers have square roots.

By the count of the person disagreeing so far, we must discard one or both of these beliefs listed because asking for the square root of a negative number implies they both can’t be right.

Well, like any contradiction, they certainly can both be true … as Aquinas said, the smallest of distinctions moots all contradiction, and for this example, Bombelli mathematically resolved.

So again, if the claim is that a Monotheist must deny the verity of other states of affairs in opposition to Monotheism (such as there being many deity, or even no deity), that’s simply wrong.

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Thoughts On Calvin …

In a remote corner of the cosmos, God sent Jesus the Christ for the redemption of mankind. And though this all unfolded far from human eyes, it was necessary so that God would be able to allow himself to save those he felt like saving, and damn those he felt like damning; as no person’s actions sway God about a person’s eternal destination at all. All of this, unbeknownst to mankind so that the Gospel is this: you may be screwed, or you may not. Whether you believe or even know this or that doesn’t matter, since this implies man has something to do with his salvation, and certainly that’s not the case!

But being that God is omnipotent and since it isn’t logically impossible to do, God never sent Jesus if predestination entails to making humanity acceptable to Himself since He can simply forgive sins full stop. We know Jesus existed, and if sent for a purpose, it necessarily is because men have the ability to accept and resist the grace of God (if by “grace” one means something other than “the goodness in the world man is drawn to”). The Calvinist is perfectly fine, after all, to assert man’s obliviousness to either goodness or evil; though for some reason he’d want to damn the human animal but not the lion, the wolf, the butterfly.

All of this entails a dilemma however. Jesus must matter and human free will must matter and in some way, the Calvinist must adjust his sails. If not, there’s no reason for Jesus at all and there can’t be any teleological reason human beings exist at all, for God could have merely created his desired end having no need for a “middle” at all. And, there can’t be any glory in a “middle” that is utterly existent for the fact that God literally must damn some to Hell. After all, we all perfectly understand that the ends don’t justify the “middles” (and if the only reason we know this is because God is why we recognize this “good”, then no rational person would assert a “middle” is necessary)! And in the very same thought, we also know that neither the idea of property nor power makes any action or decision moral. 

So, since predestination and foreknowledge have nothing to do with each other, and since Jesus existed but cannot be necessary to a predetermining God, God cannot be predetermining because the life and death and “afterlife” of Jesus actually is necessary.

It becomes clear too that again, because an omnipotent God can do all things logically possible, and since it is logically possible for God to forgive simply full stop, Jesus is not necessary to God for forgiveness, but for people; and this also necessarily relies on the “natural ability” of man.

No Church father prior to the Manichean Augustine believed in total depravity nor in the irresistible “grace” (defined otherwise than as I have defined previously) of God. Instead, in the discovery and reclaiming of a “glass less darkly” as it were, through the life and death of Jesus and in his “afterlife” that is “resurrected” as we “live through him” — which is to live as he lived, seeking to understand why he lived that way. The natural ability of man was never diminished in the otherwise whole of Christendom.

The fact is, Jesus existed among men in plain view in order for mankind to respond in a very genuine, human way. One way was to kill him and what he represented. Another is to pick up where he left off, living as he lived, faithful to what he represented.

Except that Calvinism is popular in Churches, I am otherwise pleased at the very large extent it is rejected in Theology, a marginal blip on its radar and even in popular, Western Christianity, being abandoned as irrelevant and immoral; the very reasons Theologians in general reject it.

Just a thought.

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