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Ask a Theologian II

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Plotinus, May 9, 2008.

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  1. Miles Teg

    Miles Teg Nuclear Powered Mentat

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    I personally wouldn't see the existence of a God, spirits, or any other aspect of the supernatural as coming under the heading of history. The question of whether an individual had a divine connection is more tricky. For example, there are plenty of cases of "found" religious texts, "gods manifest" that had more in common with muppets than deities, and "faith healers". If there is evidence to suggest that a person did not have the spiritual revelation they claimed, I'd say that's a legitimate part of that person for history to study
     
  2. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    That's a far too simplistic question, not simply because it's unclear what "a detailed and objective history" would be (history, as told, is always and necessarily selective), but also because different "faithful" would react in different ways. There are some religious people who are very ignorant about their religion's history and, were they to learn about it properly, would probably have their faith at least very shaken. Conversely, there are others who are extremely well informed. Many of the top church historians are religious people. The archbishop of Canterbury is one of the world's leading experts on the Arian controversy. So any notion that having faith in a religion and understanding its history are somehow incompatible is demonstrably false.

    Utter rubbish. If he's talking about the New Testament, the Gospels were written within (at the absolute most) a century of Jesus' death, and probably within half that time in the case of the Synoptics.

    I'm with Ares on this one. Someone's motivations are within the purview of historians, although they may be harder to analyse or identify than actions. So from a historian's point of view there's nothing wrong with saying that Joan believed herself to be directed by God and acted accordingly, at least if there is good evidence for supposing this to be the case. One can say this sort of thing and remain neutral on the question whether she actually was directed by God.
     
  3. Loppan Torkel

    Loppan Torkel Chieftain

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    How do you view the scientific explanations of historical, religious experiences, like the hallucinatory gasses in caves that gave oracles their visions. Should they be accepted as scientific evidence or seen as irrelevant? Would accepting such a view be better than believing that the oracles visions were prophetic and supernatural, from a historical perspective?
     
  4. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Now it's getting trickier. I'd say that any potential cause or (better) factor in explaining something that is publically available is fair game for the historian. What I mean is: the historian's task is twofold: to tell us what happened, and to tell us why it happened. That is, to describe and to explain. We'll assume for our purposes that description is relatively straightforward, although of course it's not, as I implied to Mowque (how do you decide what to describe?). So the question is how to explain. Now historians deal with evidence, which if it's to be historically useful needs to be public. For example, if I say that something happened because I have a letter written by witnesses to the event or agents in it, that is public evidence. A good example that breaks this rule is certain books I've seen for sale at spiritualist/psychic fairs, which purport to describe the lives or contain the teachings of Jesus, Confucius, the Buddha and so on, which the authors have "channeled" (i.e. received mystic information in a trance). Books like those break the historian's rule that the evidence on which they are based be public, which is why they can't be taken as serious history (even if in fact the "channeling" is real and all the information in the books is actually true).

    So in the case of our hypothetical prophet in a cave, we're trying to explain why he acts as he does. One possible explanation is that he receives revelation from God, another explanation is that he inhales some weird cave gas. If there is public evidence for either of these explanations, then it's historiographically acceptable. Now it seems to me that, at least in principle, there is no reason why there shouldn't be public evidence for divine intervention; the problem is that there rarely is. That's why the historian can never really say, legitimately, that X happened because of God. But it is easy to see how there could be public and verifiable evidence for the presence of a weird cave gas, so saying that X happened because of the gas is obviously more likely to be a historically viable thing to say.

    The question whether it is better to suppose that the oracle behaves as he does because of gas than because of God is hard to answer. From a historian's point of view, any explanation is going to be tentative to some degree. The question is how tentative. One person might think that any natural explanation is always going to be preferable to a supernatural one, while another person might think that pure prejudice and be willing to go for a supernatural explanation if it seems better than a natural one. This takes us beyond questions of historical method and into philosophy of religion. Hume of course famously argued that it can never be reasonable to prefer a supernatural explanation to a natural one, because supernatural interventions are by definition less probable than natural events. I think he was onto something but clearly overstated his case enormously. But part of the problem here is that there are many different questions which might seem the same, but are not:

    (1) Is it better to believe X than Y?
    (2) Is it reasonable to believe X (or Y)?
    (3) Is it justifiable to believe X (or Y)?
    (4) Should one believe X (or Y)?
    (5) Is it psychologically possible to believe X (or Y)?
    (6) Is it methodologically acceptable to offer X (or Y) as an explanation?

    - and so on and so on. One could answer "yes" to some of these questions and "no" to others. This is why questions of epistemological normativity (what one should believe, and what this all means) are very complex and currently much discussed.
     
  5. burleyman

    burleyman Chieftain

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    I would agree that modern teleological arguments from cosmology and the laws of physics, including "fine-tuning" arguments, are superior to the early modern teleological arguments from biology. Obviously the modern explanation of evolution by natural selection makes those arguments from biology worthless. However, I would disagree that these things are "very hard to explain without some sort of purposeful intelligence" behind them. Any argument of the kind you allude to ultimately works by drawing analogies. It takes the form:

    (1) Phenomenon A has certain features X and Y.
    (2) Phenomenon B has certain feature X.
    (3) Therefore, phenomenon B has certain feature Y as well.

    The fine-tuning argument actually isn't an argument from analogy. It says that it is exceptionally unlikely that the laws and initial conditions of the physical universe should by chance have a life-producing character, because there are a number of constants which must have exactly their actual value or there would have been no stars or planets. If that is true (and its truth seems to be a matter of contemporary physics, not theology or philosophy) then the existence of a purposeful creator to make the universe conform to these laws seems at least as reasonable and rational an explanation as just saying that we are exceptionally lucky.
     
  6. Mowque

    Mowque Hypermodernist

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    My questions are always to simplistic...
     
  7. Danielos

    Danielos Chieftain

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    Many of the characteristics associated with Jesus has also been associated with several earlier religious characters:

    * Asklepios

    * Apollonius from Tyana

    * Heracles

    * Dionysos

    * Mithras

    * Buddha

    In these characters you can find characteristics like (not all in the same):

    * Virgin birth with human stepfather
    * The birth is associated with celestial miracles
    * Son of God
    * As an infant lies in a cradle and visited by holy men
    * Of royal blood
    * Very wise young boy, educate adults in temple
    * Is about 30 when he emerges and is baptized
    * Has 12 disciples
    * Is a Messias
    * Speaks with allegories
    * Performs miracles and resurrects the dead
    * Can predict the future and see his own death
    * Has a last supper with his disciples
    * The wine=his blood and the bread=his flesh
    * He is betrayed and the traitor commits suicide
    * He is arrested and prosecuted as a heretic
    * He is interrogated and the leader finds him innocent
    * He is crucified (or hanged up on a tree)
    * At his death there is a earthquake and a solar eclipse
    * He resurrects from the dead and visits his disciples
    * He goes to Heaven

    What do you, Plotinus, make of these similarities? Could Christianity perhaps have spiced the Jesus legend with some pagan material to make it more palatable for a non-Jews?
     
  8. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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  9. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I think there's still some analogy lurking in there somewhere. Why is a purposeful creator supposed to be a reasonable explanation for the life-producing character of the universe? Isn't it because we think that when we see something that has a purpose, or an apparent purpose, that we like, we think it has been designed? Without some assumption like that, I simply cannot see any force in the argument at all. I don't see why the universe's life-producing character is something that requires explanation. The only thing that makes us think it particularly requires explanation is that we happen to like life and find it interesting.

    (I would say more but have to go out right now!)

    Briefly, most of these supposed similarities are pure fiction (I'd like to see an example of a classical god who was crucified!); the ones that aren't fictional are pretty bland, representing ideas common to many religions (and as such, obviously express common religious sentiments), and the differences between Jesus and other classical gods are really far more striking. Also, even if all these similarities were real, just pulling them from various sources and making a list out of them like that doesn't really reflect the religious or mythological context in which they make sense. This isn't how myths function.

    We've discussed this already in more detail a few months ago - have a look here and following.
     
  10. Erik Mesoy

    Erik Mesoy Core Tester / Intern

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    I'm reminded of Chesterton in Orthodoxy: "It looked not so much as if Christianity was bad enough to include any vices, but rather as if any stick was good enough to beat Christianity with."
     
  11. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    Was there ever any Satirical religions back in ye ancient times like Discordianism or FSM?
     
  12. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    I do not disagree, but my point was with Eran above post that "excludes" the influence of the divine (or appearance of the divine) on history. If we go back to Joan for a minute, I think that it was her belief in her divine mission that actually directed the events of her life and the history of France. If one sets aside the "truth" of whether or not god actually acted through her, it is quite apparent that her belief that god had spoken to her (as well as, the belief of others that god could speak to her) determined the course of history. I seems to me that for a historian to merely pay lip service to her beliefs is to ignore the facts: it was her beliefs and the power of their manifestation in her that drove history down that path. The real story may not be whether or not god actually directs events, but that belief that it can happen is an ongoing force in human affairs.
     
  13. boogaboo

    boogaboo Josef Popper 4ever

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    Hello.. I'm an (jewish) atheist, and am lately reading the bible (in Hebrew) in search of better understanding of religious moral values and history.
    I'm new to this thread and haven't read it all..

    I want to ask Plotinus : What do you think about Moses in terms of religiousness? :

    I saw his main actions (I may miss a few..) :
    0. Leader/strategist of the exodus.
    1. Organizer : Making an inner division of the Israelites into tribes, cohens, cities for refugees....)
    2. Judge : Giving moral values via laws.
    3. Reestablished the belief in one god.
    4. God is worshipped at one place.

    I think that 3 and 4 may have been his invention so he will be heard about the rest !!
    He may have wanted to give them good laws to obide by, but noone would listen to him that way.. so he may have created 3 and 4.

    Had he created them (meaning there was no burning bush nor a god talking to him for example), he would get into a win-win situation :
    1. The Israelites would listen to him as a man through which god speaks, giving him the ultimate authority.
    2. [creating 3] Make the Israelites coherent in believes and laws (before, they had many "gods", each with his own theme of laws... now there was just one set)
    3. [creating 4] All worship can be managed at one place, making worshiping regulated (and concentrated money earning).

    So it seems to me that he may have lied when he said "I spoke to god and he said...",
    but his aim was ONLY for the organization and future of his newly formed nation.

    Do you think he was really a believer? Can you see somewhere in the text any indication for something like that?

    :)
     
  14. Atticus

    Atticus Chieftain Retired Moderator

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    On retrospect it's very hard for me to understand what I was thinking when asking that. And the worst thing is that I had thought that question before, so somehow I managed to block the omnipotence of God completly from my mind... :D

    Other thing related to that: Wouldn't it be reasonable to say that "fully human" implies "no god"? If something is human, it can't be god, right?

    Also, if human can be god, couldn't there be other humans who are gods?

    These lead to two more general questions: How have christians thought the existence of only one god? Is it just a matter of fact, or is it impossible for any other gods to exist?

    And is it part of the doctrine of Jesus' dual nature that the doctrine isn't contradictory? (I mean, is the doctrine "Jesus is full human and full God" or "Jesus is full human and full god, and this can not imply any contradictions"? Those seem to be same things (at least for believers), but if the latter is the real doctrine, then any attempts of finding contradiction are vain. And it perhaps wouldn't be the biggest skip of intellectual integrity that has happened).

    And lastly, I saw a weird dream not long ago, it was a nightmare, and at one point in the dream I prayed for God, and promised him that I would become a believer, if he'd help me. I thought that perhaps I could wake up and it all would be only dream, but then I realized that the hope was absolutely absurd, and that can never happen.

    After I eventually did wake up (and this didn't happen immediately) I've been thinking about two questions:
    1. Am I obliged to fulfill the promise I made? (although I probably could do so only in my outer behaviour)?
    2. Was the event miracle?
     
  15. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    There aren't really any now, are there? - I mean the ones you mention are not religions, but parodies of religion that certain militant atheists use in thought experiments that are designed to be prejudicial to religion.

    The closest I can think of is the cult of the snake god Glycon, who - according to Lucian - was invented in the second century AD by Alexander of Abonutichus. Lucian claims that Alexander simply invented Glycon as a sort of cynical con trick. The apparition of the deity in his temple was actually a puppet. However, the cult proved very popular and lasted into the third or perhaps even the fourth century. Whether this counts as a "satirical" religion or not is unclear though, even assuming that Lucian's account of its origins is true.

    Alan Moore, who is a neo-pagan, is apparently devoted to the cult of Glycon. I think the idea of worshipping a god which you know to be a fabrication is quite philosophically interesting.

    I suppose this is for Eran to answer really, but it doesn't seem to me that he said anything to contradict this. One can acknowledge the importance of an individual's religious beliefs (or indeed any other kinds of beliefs) in explaining their actions, without having to commit to any position regarding the truth of those beliefs. Eran only said that the historian ignores the divine as a possible explanation for events, not that the historian must ignore historical figures' belief in the divine as a possible explanation.

    Like anything Old Testament-related, this really isn't my area of expertise, I'm afraid. I do think it's very hard to know anything much about Moses; indeed I'm not sure that it's even very certain that he existed at all. In particular, even if we grant that Moses did exist (and even that he led the Hebrews out of captivity), I think there's great dubiousness over whether the Law had anything to do with him. The Pentateuch as we know it formed in the Exilic period and immediately after; and the books of Ezra and Nehemiah tell us of a "rediscovery" of the Law during this time as well. The earlier prophets don't seem to talk about it at all. It's therefore likely that the Law was actually compiled in the post-Exilic period, and that one of the purposes of the Pentateuch was to project the Law back to the time of Moses and suggest that God gave it via him. Instead of the traditional "Law and the prophets", it was more a case of "the prophets and the Law". In which case the Moses of the Pentateuch becomes an even more legendary figure.

    But suppose we set all that aside and assume that Moses did exist and that his career was at least tolerably similar to the story told by the Pentateuch, I doubt very much that we can know anything much about what "really" happened. Part of the problem here is that we just don't have any other sources. At least with Jesus we have a number of texts which were written within a few decades of the events in question; in the case of Moses we have a single text (certainly based on various earlier ones, but any views we have of those must necessarily be speculative to a certain degree) which was written centuries after the events it purports to describe. So speculation about what Moses may "really" have thought is just that - speculation.

    Still, I have to say that it seems to me prima facie improbable that someone would do the things attributed to Moses fraudulently. To put it another way: suppose we take at face value the story of the Pentateuch of Moses as a law-giver. Which seems a more plausible hypothesis? That Moses really believed himself to be called by God and to have been given a Law for his people, or that Moses made the whole thing up to convince people of the validity of his Law? In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, it seems to me that the former is far more plausible.

    Well, why not?

    This is actually a very interesting question and one at the heart of contemporary thinking on the incarnation. One problem here is that the word "God" is really used in two senses. In one sense it is a proper noun, the name of an individual (or character). So "God" is him, as it were. But in another sense, it is a category or sort of thing. Something is "God" if it has certain properties.

    Now in the case of the incarnation, many have argued that - taking "God" in the second sense - God cannot be man because some of the properties that are essential to divinity are incompatible with some of the properties that are essential to humanity. For example, it is essential to divinity to be omnipotent, and essential to humanity to be limited in power. Or it is essential to divinity to be timeless, and essential to humanity to be temporal. And so on. Those defending the incarnation have responded in various ways. One is to use "reduplicative" properties: for example, Christ is "omnipotent as God" and "limited in power as man", the assumption being that these are not incompatible properties. Another is to deny that all these properties are actually essential: for example, it is not essential to humanity to be limited in power, so Christ can be omnipotent and still perfectly human (Thomas Morris argues along these lines).

    Another strategy is to bite the bullet and argue that, in becoming human, God did lose certain essential properties. (This is the "kenotic" strategy.) For example, in becoming human he ceased to be omnipotent. If you think that omnipotence is essential to divinity, then it would follow that in becoming human, God ceased to be divine. But if you take "God" to be the name of an individual, rather than of a sort of thing, then this might not be a problem. God could lose all of the essential divine properties, but he would still be God (in that sense). And in that case, God could indeed become human, or indeed become a watermelon if you like. Thomas Altizer popularised a radical kenotic doctrine of the incarnation in the 1960s which went along these lines: God became human, in the sense of being completely transformed into a human. Jesus had no divine properties or anything that anyone else lacks, other than the rather peculiar property of having once been God. When he died, that was it. So during Jesus' lifetime somebody existed who had once been God; after Jesus' death even he no longer existed. So God is, quite literally, dead. This view isn't very fashionable these days.

    That's also an important question which a few philosophical theologians are starting to look at (Robin Le Poidevin is one). The traditional answer is "no". This is because the orthodox doctrine is that when the Son becomes human, he becomes permanently human. Humanity is not a temporary state that he adopts for the duration of Jesus' lifetime, to divest himself of (with a sigh of relief) once it's all done. He's still human now and always will be. The union of divinity to humanity is real and permanent, which is why all human beings have the ability to become divine. Moreover, of the three members of the Trinity, only the Son could become human. (I'm not quite sure of the reasoning behind this beyond the rather vague and unconvincing notion that it is more "fitting" for the Son to be incarnate than any of the others.) So given this, there could never be another incarnation.

    However, on some models of incarnation, there could be more than one. For example, Schleiermacher thought that Jesus' divinity was a matter of his having a perfect consciousness of God, in virtue of which God could fittingly be said to exist in Jesus. On that view, there's nothing stopping anyone from having the same property.

    Christians (and I think monotheists in general) have pretty much always thought that there could be only one God. This is partly because the divine properties are such that they exclude any duplicates. For example, suppose you have God1 and God2, and they are both omnipotent. Does that mean that God1 has the power to overrule God2? If he does then God2 is not omnipotent, but if he doesn't, then God1 is not omnipotent. And so on. Again, part of the definition of God is that he is the greatest being in existence, but only one being can have that property, just as there can't be two people who are the tallest person in the room.

    More fundamentally though, God as traditionally conceived is not simply an entity with certain properties, but the very ground and cause of existence itself. Indeed, according to Aquinas God simply is existence. God is the true reality which underlies the phenomenal world; he is the beginning and end of the universe, the alpha and the omega, if you like. There just can't be more than one of those.

    (Of course Christians do believe that although there is one God, there are three divine persons. That's just a little complication to keep things interesting.)

    Christians have generally thought that God does not have control over what is possible. God cannot, for example, decree that 2+2=5. (Of course he could decree that we use the name "5" to refer to what we currently call "4", but that is not the same thing.) Descartes apparently thought otherwise, and Peter Damian is sometimes cited as sharing this view (unconvincingly, in my opinion). But the Cartesian view is problematic. If you think that God determines what is possible then you open up all sorts of strange possibilities and effectively remove any prospect of reasoning about God or indeed anything.

    Given this, the orthodox view would be that to say "Jesus is fully human and fully divine" is the same thing as to say "Jesus is fully human and fully divine, and this implies no contradictions", since anything that is true must imply no contradictions. If you took the Cartesian view, you could envisage the possibility of something being true and yet inconsistent at the same time, but as I say, most Christians have rejected this possibility.

    Interesting stuff! This reminds me of Jerome. As a young man, Jerome was devoted to Cicero. One night he had a dream in which he met God. God asked him, "Who are you?" Jerome replied, "I am a Christian." God answered, "No - you are a Ciceronian!" And Jerome promised that he would never read Cicero again. Upon waking, Jerome held himself to be bound by this promise and abided by it.

    Later in life, however, Jerome did go back to reading Cicero. During his immense and distressingly public argument with his former friend Rufinus, Rufinus brought this up and accused Jerome of backing out of his promise to God. Jerome retorted that promises made in dreams are not binding.

    I don't think anyone has theorised beyond this about the bindingness of promises made in dreams. But there are at least two issues (that have been much discussed) that might seem to be relevant to your case.

    First, does it make sense to promise to believe something at all? A fundamental principle in ethics is the "ought implies can" principle (OIC). This states that you can't be obliged to do something that you can't do. But it's not clear that choosing to believe something is within our power. Can you just decide to believe in God? It seems implausible to me. If you can't, then you can't be morally obliged to do it. You can, at most, be morally obliged to make conditions as optimal as possible for doing it; perhaps you could read lots of pro-theism literature, or talk to theists, or whatever. Or, if you already believe in God, you could go out of your way to avoid coming into contact with people or ideas that might challenge this belief. These are things that it is within your power to do. But I find it hard to see how it's within your power simply to believe itself. So I would say that either you shouldn't promise to do it, or if you do, you aren't morally bound by that promise.

    Second, what is the status of promises made in dreams? One of the reasons why Descartes' dream hypothesis was such a powerful sceptical tool is that, for any given state of affairs, it's possible to dream that this state of affairs holds when in fact it doesn't. This goes for states of mind too. I once dreamed that I was unsure whether I was dreaming. So I considered the question very carefully and concluded that in fact I was not dreaming. But actually I was. In reality, I hadn't considered the question carefully at all. I'd only dreamed that I had. Similarly, it seems perfectly possible that you could dream that you've made a promise when in fact you have not. Given this, it's impossible for you to be certain that you made the promise at all. That raises the question whether we're morally bound by such promises. I'm not sure what the answer to that is.

    As for whether it's a miracle... Well, that will depend on your definition of "miracle" and what criteria you employ to determine whether a given event was one or not. A vogue among modern theologians is to reject the traditional definition of a miracle as a divine intervention that breaks the normal laws of nature, and instead think of a miracle as an event in which we perceive God's intent. This is helpful because it means that one can believe in miracles and also believe that the universe is a closed box in which everything can be fully explained naturalistically. (I suppose it's like saying that my action in typing right now can be explained mechanically in terms of neurones firing in my brain, messages going down my nerves and moving my muscles, and so on, and it can also be explained personally in terms of my desire to answer your question. Similarly, a given event can be explained naturally, but it can also be viewed as an expression of God's will.) But it's also problematic in that it seems that the only distinction between a miracle and an everyday event lies in how we perceive it, which sounds very thin. Still, if take that view, then it was a miracle if you want it to have been.

    If, on the other hand, you adopt the traditional definition of a miracle, then in order to think it was one you'd have to have some very good reason for supposing that it could not be explained by natural factors alone. It's hard to see what that reason could be in the case of a dream like this. If you'd had a dream of some very specific event, and then awoken to find that this event really happened, without your knowledge, then you might have a good reason to think that something supernatural had occurred.

    Anyway, these are good questions! Thanks for asking them.
     
  16. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    That's exactly what I meant. It is not for a historian to say whether Joan did talk to God, only whether the fact that she thought she did led to her taking historically significant actions. A historian may personally feel she did (or chalk it up to hallucinations, drugs, deceit, or anything he/she wants) but in discussing it in a historically significant sense, all that matters is that Joan thought God was talking to her.
     
  17. boogaboo

    boogaboo Josef Popper 4ever

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    Thnx for the insight.

    I'll just note that king Yoshiyahu found the torah (or one of it's books..) about 37 years before the Babylonian exile, not after it, although it may have been altered since.

    I just saw some research on Temporal Lobe Epilepsy causing some wierd hollusanating stuff... he may have had something like that and believed he was really being spoken to... :crazyeye:
     
  18. Mowque

    Mowque Hypermodernist

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    Why does the Orthodox Church have that different style of cross?
     
  19. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I must add, in fairness, that some people would be inclined to deny that beliefs of any kind can be explanations for events. Epiphenomenalists, for example, are committed to the view that no mental states (including beliefs and desires) can have causal powers at all. The implausibility of this is one of the main reasons why epiphenomenalism is a very minority view. Still, this is a philosophical question. I think it's pretty clear, in an everyday way of speaking, and in a way of speaking typical of historians, that beliefs can cause events (perhaps indirectly, via desires).

    Right, I was just saying it from memory. Of course these books were written over a fair period of time and went through various editions.

    It's possible; the problem is finding any reason to suppose that it's actually true. Explanations of this sort were quite fashionable in the first half of the nineteenth century when most readers assumed that the texts told a basically true story; those disinclined to believe in supernatural events therefore argued that perfectly natural events had been misinterpreted. For example, when Jesus walked on water, he was actually walking on stepping stones just below the surface, and people thought he was doing a miracle. That ended (well, mostly) with David Strauss' Life of Jesus in 1835 in which he argued that most of these things never happened at all, and reflect the religious experiences of later storytellers or writers. For example, the tale of Jesus' walking on the water is supposed to represent some deep truth or other. The event itself never really happened. Similarly, to speculate about whether Moses was hallucinating is to take the text at basically face value as describing what happened with tolerable accuracy, and merely to take issue with the interpretation. But why assume that any of this happened at all?

    The extra bars represent the INRI sign over Jesus' head and the footrest at his feet. I don't think there's any particular theological or ecclesiastical reason why that style of cross is typical of the Orthodox churches; it was just developed by Byzantine religious artists and became standard for churches that inherited that tradition.
     
  20. boogaboo

    boogaboo Josef Popper 4ever

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    well, I do think some of it happened, and some twisted, and some invented.

    We can never know, but we can have some estimation - for example, I doubt if Noah's story really occured. It was invented in stages and passed on by storytellers. Same about Adam and eve, Kayin and Hevel...

    But the king of Israel and Judea in "Kings" books? Most wars? (exluding jushua for a sec..) I think it's a near accurate or at least somewhat realistic of stuff that occured.

    So, I just tend to use some common sense and a bit of history/archeology stuff to read it about right. For me, right now, it's "just" one great piece of historical literature.
    I finished Yeshaayahu, now should start Yirmiyahu. I do it because I've never read the bible as an adult. Memories of school are all vague, and I haven't been in a synagoge since my Bar-mitzva :mischief:

    Again, thnx, I'm happy to meet someone I can ask some questions on theology, although not self-proclaimed for greatness on the "old testiment" ;)
     
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