Gordon White, Pieces of Eight: Part 1, Christianity’s Shadow |332|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    Its curious, but I have read most of Mediochre's arguments against religion in books covering late-19th/early 20th century anarchism (as in the actual sociopolitical stance, not the cartoonish depictions of "chaos!" that we now know). It certainly points towards him being on the young side, but that does not take away that they may have some ideological ground under them.

    On the other hand, I don't have a religion and never had one, but can respect if someone wants to rationalize the concept of a universal/collective/fundamental consciousness as "God". That is, as long as we remember that the "being of light" that NDErs describe is usually not an "authoritative" figure.
     
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  2. gabriel

    gabriel New

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    Mediochre sees desire as a synonymous with happiness. In my opinion the connection is superficial. To give one example, most of the contemporaries I grew up with were rock and rollers, hedonists for whom immediate gratification was the goal, and a repeat of that gratification an ideal lifestyle. However the ones who survived have paid a penalty in lack of long-term relationships, absence of family life, and an inability to enjoy the things that once seemed important, because they couldn't forego fun for an idea of contentment. So what was once seen as a drag anchor on personal happiness, one partner, child rearing, "normality", has been an impediment to long term fulfilment.

    In philosophical terms, if consciousness is no more than the manifestation of brain activity, there can be no such thing as happiness and morality because each are illusions. I don't accept that reflects how conscious life feels, which is sufficiently dominated by emotions of every kind to be indistinguishable from pure mind. I think people have been conned by materialism 1 into materialism 2, a life of quick hits, fast fixes and dumb gadgets, a cycle of pleasure and disappointment. Mediocre appears to want the spiritual and numinous as a way of achieving the material, magic as winning ticket. I don't think he knows which he believes in.
     
  3. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    I don't think so. There is something in that ridicule, in the way that he tries to create a dichotomy between the intelectual and the servile, that is *very* reminiscent of propaganda from that time. This is especially obvious in the propaganda of societies where opposing a highly influential Catholic Church (think South/Central America and the Caribbean) was a priority over the proletariatism of the North American and European. Of course, anarchism is hardly the first movement to do so, but the narrative is awfully familiar.

    Hedonism also involves a sense of nihilism and indifference that I don't see in his posts. He is mostly perspiring anti-authoritarianism. Juvenile? Sure... But entirely diferent.

    Probably not, but he is a reflection of attitudes and ideas that have risen (and been, quite brutally, oppressed) in the past and which serve as a guide to try and understand where he is coming from.
     
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  4. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    Some of those arguments remind me of myself at a younger age. However, we need not dismiss this as adolescent angst. Rather later I found that many of my views were much the same as a past-life alter-ego who came to light somewhere along my journeying. It's entirely possible that holding views which were current during a particular time, might reflect one's own past-life in that age. Needless to say, one is not obliged to remain rooted to the spot during an entire lifetime. There were certain ideals I held at age 18 which I still have now, but many other aspects of my views have shifted hugely.
     
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  5. gabriel

    gabriel New

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    Mediocre said, "Is your argument that people shouldn't want to do what they want? Literally that people shouldn't be happy? If so that's totally hypocritical of you".

    It's impossible to know whether the equivalence between freedom to "do what they want" and happiness is born of intellectual oppression, or being an entitled Western millennial. I didn't see much evidence of genuine enquiry, but noticed lots of confrontation. "Prove it to me" is not the best way to elicit someone's opinion. I probably said similar things as a teenager myself.

    For someone to claim to be an atheist, without any of the philosophical materialist underpinnings, is not uncommon. Some even claim to believe in magic, which I take to be a non-materialist way of influencing the material. I can see how people can believe those things simultaneously, but I haven't engaged many people who have thought through the origins of their ideas and conclusions. If Mediochre has, we may have the beginnings of a discussion based on more than "I want therefore I am".
     
  6. ChadWooters

    ChadWooters New

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    While I do not feel it is appropriate to discuss finer theological points, I believe the ideas you presented about Ashreh and Satan are minority viewpoints. Even allowing for your enthusiasm of the things you have learned, calling it "Game Over" for Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian doctrines seems premature. Nor would that remotely apply to Swedenborgians, for instance. Even with them the physical existence of one Jesus of Nazareth remains central. That said, I think in context you may have meant to direct your comments toward those modern biblical hermeneutics that lead to literal interpretations of the sacred texts, in which case I agreed entirely.

    At the same time you said something very insightful and worthy of exploring further, i.e. that Christianity is the 800-pound gorilla to which everyone seems to be reacting. Given that "Christianity" has had a 2000+ years of history and encompasses everything from Coptics, Catholics, Pentacostals, the visions of Jacob Boehme & Swedenborg, the Cathars, ancient Gnostics, and Southern Baptists - given that Christianity is the broad umbrella that covers all of these phenomena, I wonder if there isn't a more precise way to categorize that to which people, like Gordon White, are reacting. I'm not convinced that they are all reacting to the same things. Some may be rebelling (appropriately) against the rigid fundamentalism doctrines of their childhood. Others may be sifting through the Torah for esoteric codes. Or looking to Fatima for evidence of extraterrestrials. Or a history of political corruption in the Church of Rome. Making reference to "Christianity" without various qualifiers is so broad as to be meaningless. I do not know how easily one would go about making such distinctions. Thinking about it, I see three main influences on Western thought (from Scholastics to Skeptics): what the Hebrew and Greek Sacred Texts mean, who Jesus Christ was or was not and the significance of his person, and the dominant doctrines of mainline Christian denominations. Someone like Gordon White, I believe, is looking at the Sacred Texts esoterically whereas Dr. Habermas, for instance, is looking at the person of Jesus.
     
  7. malf

    malf Member

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    Isn't mediochre just making an argument that if we have freewill, we make every choice the way that gives us the most satisfaction. That certainly doesn't rule out charitable or altruistic choices. It also doesn't rule out delayed satisfaction.
     
  8. gabriel

    gabriel New

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    Yes, it's probably something shallow like that.
     
  9. EthanT

    EthanT Member

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    Question for Alex (and anybody else): If everything is God (or MAL, or whatever you want to call it) are we not, each and everyone of us, an "incarnation of God"? If so, what's the hang up with a guy called Jesus who once lived and was also an incarnation of God. Why is one concept easy to buy into, but the other so hard?

    As I understand it, a big part of the traditional bowing in Hindu (and other Eastern) households is the recognition of the Divine in all of us. As a guest over there, you're literally a visiting deity in some eyes! Now, guys like Sri Rama Krishna earned the title "incarnation of God", because he manifested God to a much greater extent than the average joe. Likewise, with Jesus. He manifested the nature of God to such an extent, that we could follow his example, or his pattern, to align our own (transient) natures better with our true, eternal natures, i.e. of the Divine, or "God". Or, he showed us how to become aware of the "Christ Consciousness" in all of us.

    I think the real problem with the historical incarnation of Jesus is what Allen Watts called "pedestal-izing Jesus", i.e. we've (Western Religion, in general) put Jesus up on a pedestal and worship (or even dis-believe in him) as something totally different from our own natures. But, the point is that we are all "sons of god" as is stated in Psalms and quoted by Jesus later in the NT. Jesus just showed us how to recognize that fact (as did Sri Rama Krishna, and other religious/spiritual figures).

    I argue this is also a result of the materialism I spoke about earlier and how it's been forming over millennia. Concomitant behaviors are literal interpretations of scripture/myth, concretizing (our view of) God, pedastal-izing God, mutual exclusivity amongst religions under this materialistic influence, as well as alienating ourselves from "God", or no longer recognizing our own ultimate divine nature. So, suddenly this one historical incarnation is something too special, even bizarre, alien, and ultimately too incredulous sounding, or too-miraculous-to-ever-believe. (Because, due to our disconnect from the divine, we don't believe in miracles any more, either). But, go out and "carry your own cross" and you're manifesting Jesus (i.e. "glorifying Jesus on Earth") and therefore, the transcendent aspects of our own true natures, or God the Father.

    From my blog:
    (http://exploreabitmore.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-middle-way-part-ii-interdependent.html)

    So, again, what's the hang up with the historical incarnation of God in a man named Jesus?
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
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  10. Silence

    Silence Member

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    Ethan, your post made me recall how I reacted as a young child the first time I watched the move, "The Ten Commandments".

    During the scene when Charlton Heston (Moses) parts the Red Sea I remember thinking, "I wish I could have seen that! It would have been obvious proof of God". After reflecting on it a bit, I came to the conclusion that in that era there could have been a myriad of alternative explanations and that it likely wasn't obvious proof of God, especially to the Egyptians (could have been a water spirit, or an angry Egyptian god, etc.). I resigned myself to the "fact" that I'd likely never see such an obvious miracle as "God" wouldn't want to make it that easy.

    For me that was probably my first exposure to "God of the Gaps". ;)
     
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  11. Alex

    Alex New

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    now we're at the heart of it. are you correct? see ep. 333 (out in a few hours) for more.
     
  12. Alex

    Alex New

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    none... as long as it's historical.


    agreed

    all good, but the issue of whether the Bible is an accurate history still matters to people who identify themselves as Christian.
     
  13. Alex

    Alex New

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    great... then, let's hash this out (follow the data) and help each other arrive at the best form of "truth" we can.

    but I think we have to acknowledge that this stuff makes a huge difference re the topics discussed. i.e. we can't really move on. so, we're all up for more skeptiko shows on Christianity, right?
     
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  14. malf

    malf Member

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    I endorse breadth and depth on show topics :)
     
  15. EthanT

    EthanT Member

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    I'm not sure I'm following you. Are you saying you just doubt the validity of the history? But, if it actually turned out to be historically valid, it would all jive up, or make sense to you?

    I mean, as far as historical figures go, Jesus is better than many, like Alexander the great, as far as validation. My impression is that much that casts doubt here, as mentioned on this forum, is probably just getting lost in Roman Syncretism.

    But, I guess we can never know for sure one way, or the other. Which, again, probably makes the emphasis on whether, or not, it really happened, perhaps besides the point.


    Well, for many yes, but far from all. I identify myself as Christian, but, well, you know my views ;-)

    Per my posts, I think even identifying the Bible as a literal source of history is a big mistake ... another symptom of our materialistic culture. But, it's a pretty hard trend to keep up in today's age, with our scientific knowledge, etc. And, more and more "Christians" are moving away from this.
     
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  16. north

    north Member

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    Perhaps those who take the bible literally are idolaters.

    Outside of fundamentalists are there others who would take the story of Noah and the ark as an "accurate history". If it is not a literal history, might it be otherwise valuable?

    "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." this is a kind of history that is meaningful for me. But conversely it will have no utility for scientists or historians.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
  17. EthanT

    EthanT Member

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    I always liked Einstein's saying,"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."

    Imho, I think our materialistic mindset, our disconnect from the Divine, our spiritual abyss we have sunken to, has made us forget that everything is a miracle! So, we set about looking for some special event that will never happen.

    But, maybe, if we could tweak our mindset, we could "break through" this materialistic malaise and see God in everything. Then we would see miracles all around us and recognize that each and every one of us is a miracle too.

    At least, that's pretty much what all the mystics have claimed.
     
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  18. Silence

    Silence Member

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    Great quote from Einstein, and one with which the current scientific materialists should have a huge problem.

    Pretty much sums it up for me. I love the word "unsatisfying" that gets tossed around in dialogues like this: "To think that nothing is a miracle seems utterly unsatisfying".
     
  19. ChadWooters

    ChadWooters New

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    Christ where to begin? ;-)

    It's your show and it's not my place to tell you where to go with it. IMHO as a listener taking up theology would be a huge tangent for Skeptiko. I can find hundreds of podcasts on theology from the heresies of “Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio” to the orthodoxies of “Stand to Reason”. Skeptiko is something rare and unique that you do exceptionally well – examining scientific research on consciousness.

    If your goal is to counter the atheistic assumptions of “biological robots in a meaningless universe” you don’t have to go beyond the General Revelation of a Prime Mover/Necessary Being/First Cause, i.e. the God of Classical Theism. That conception of God is sufficient to support a paradigm capable of accommodating the positive findings of paranormal and NDE research.

    On the other hand, Special Revelation is knowledge of the divine that cannot be known by means of reason applied to experience; but rather, comes to us in the form of visions, miracles, dreams, and sacred texts. These kinds of things cannot be subjected to empirical analysis. If someone comes back from an NDE and says they saw Jesus there is no test to independently confirm if who or what they saw was actually Jesus, a divine messenger adapted to their expectations, or a projection of their innermost self, etc. That question is beyond the scope of scientific inquiry. You can easily focus on your mission without rendering opinions about the veracity of biblical history or weighing the merits of various religious doctrines. You don’t need to decide if Genesis 1 & 2 is allegory vs. history or if there was a truly worldwide vs. local flood to decide if psi studies produce statistically significant results.
     
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  20. Mediochre

    Mediochre Member

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    You're 100% correct. And you also stated the actual value that I do hold. What I mean by feelings don't matter in and of themselves is that you can't do anything physical or tangible just with feelings. Cars don't run on feelings. Gravity keeps working whether you like it or not, etc. There are extra steps involved, extra things that need to be in place in order to do what you want to do in the external world. In other word feelings are the only thing that matter internally but they don't matter at all externally.

    Logic. Morality can't exist because a single variable cannot hold the vaule of two different constants simultaneously. X = 1 = 2 is irrational as 1 does not equal 2. People holding differnt emotional views about the same thing also demonstrates this phenomenon, which disproves objective morality. if one person likes country music and another person hates it they can't both be objectivly right. Also Two contradicting things cannot be both good and evil. I.e purposely harming someone cannot be good if one person does it and then bad if another person does it the same way. Therefore objective morality is impossible.

    I can dislike the way someone acts without it being a moral judgement. As I've already demonstrated morality doesn't exist, it can't exist , therefore it's not a moral judgement it's just something I don't like. That's the only possible thing for it to be. Whehter other people are held back is also a matter of perception. I may think they'er held back but they themselves may not think that. And even if they do and they have the sesire to break out of that then their feelings alone don't matter. Wthout the ability to break out of it they will continue to be held down no matter how they feel about it. They need something more than emotions, they need power. Which loops back to the first statement above.

    Thank you for your reply, I like when people scrutinize my points rahter than my percieved tone. Helps me know if I really know what I'm talking about or if I need to make adjustments.
     

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