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Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Plotinus, Feb 13, 2007.

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  1. Pessimus Dux

    Pessimus Dux Seeker

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    I just love when I ask a question, hoping for any answer, and what I got is a full info... :) Ok, I'm getting a picture how the Judaism works today.:) The only thing I don't understand here is a word "kooky". A tip?

    Yes, believe me I know. I REALLY tried to explained that to them, and as a main argument I took Jewish interpretation of the story. They weren't listening, they kept babling about how Yahweh is a "cruel" just because he asked the Abraham to do so (they were completely "deaf" to the fact that Yahweh never really intended to let Abraham actually kill Isaac), and how Abraham is a "mad old man" because he obeyed Yahweh. They just can't see the big picture here. Sorry for bothering you with that but I don't want to leave you in an impression that I also don't see the point.

    Well, for example:
    "If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." (Leviticus 20:10)
    A "classic" cheat, which should be punished by death. Be at ease, I'm not trying to attack anyone - on the contrary, I'm trying to understand all the circumstances (from both religious and historical point of view): when, how or why this (well, not only this one, but I took it as a classic example of what I'm referring to) commandment was given/written? Was this punishment (death) for adultery common in that time, at least on Near East?

    I'm fully aware of complexity of my question. This is closely related to the question you asked above ("which laws are you referring to?") and my answer. I'm trying to get a clearer picture of an ancient laws (both civil and religious) and traditions on the Near East.
     
  2. Fifty

    Fifty !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Plotinus: J.S. Mill stated that he thinks that studying scholastic logic is extremely rewarding. Have you studied it, and if so, would you agree, and if you agree, do you have any recommendations for a beginner (both primary and secondary literature on the subject)?

    (sorry that this isn't a very theology-related question :blush:)
     
  3. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Nothing JS Mill says about education can be understood outside of the context of his 'unusual' education.
    Spoiler :

    John Stuart Mill was born in the Pentonville area of London, the eldest son of the Scottish philosopher and historian James Mill. John Stuart was educated by his father, with the advice and assistance of Jeremy Bentham and Francis Place. He was given an extremely rigorous upbringing, and was deliberately shielded from association with children his own age other than his siblings. His father, a follower of Bentham and an adherent of associationism, had as his explicit aim to create a genius intellect that would carry on the cause of utilitarianism and its implementation after he and Bentham were dead.

    Mill was a notably precocious child; at the age of three he was taught Greek. By the age of eight he had read Aesop's Fables, Xenophon's Anabasis, and the whole of Herodotus, and was acquainted with Lucian, Diogenes Laërtius, Isocrates and six dialogues of Plato. He had also read a great deal of history in English and had been taught arithmetic.

    At the age of eight he began learning Latin, Euclid, and algebra, and was appointed schoolmaster to the younger children of the family. His main reading was still history, but he went through all the Latin and Greek authors commonly read in the schools and universities at the time, like Horace, Virgil, Ovid, Tacitus, Homer, Dionysus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes and Thucydides. He was not taught to compose either in Latin or in Greek, and he was never an exact scholar; it was for the subject matter that he was required to read, and by the age of ten he could read Plato and Demosthenes with ease. His father also thought that it was important for Mill to study and compose poetry. One of Mill's earliest poetry compositions was a continuation of the Iliad. In his spare time, he also enjoyed reading about natural sciences and popular novels, such as Don Quixote and Robinson Crusoe.

    His father's History of India was published in 1818; immediately thereafter, about the age of twelve, Mill began a thorough study of the scholastic logic, at the same time reading Aristotle's logical treatises in the original language. In the following year he was introduced to political economy and studied Adam Smith and David Ricardo with his father - ultimately completing their classical economic view of factors of production. Mill's compte rendus of his daily economy lessons helped his father in writing Elements of Political Economy, which became the leading textbook exposition of doctrinaire Ricardian economics. Ricardo, who was a close friend of his father, used to invite the young Mill to his house for a walk in order to talk about political economy.

    In his Autobiography, Mill described his father's teaching methods:“ Such a mode of instruction was excellently calculated to form a thinker; but it required to be worked by a thinker, as close and vigorous as my father. The path was a thorny one, even to him, and I am sure it was so to me, notwithstanding the strong interest I took in the subject. He was often, and much beyond reason, provoked by my failures in cases where success could not have been expected; but in the main his method was right, and it succeeded. I do not believe that any scientific teaching ever was more thorough, or better fitted for training the faculties, than the mode in which logic and political economy were taught to me by my father. Striving, even in an exaggerated degree, to call forth the activity of my faculties, by making me find out everything for myself, he gave his explanations not before, but after, I had felt the full force of the difficulties; and not only gave me an accurate knowledge of these two great subjects, as far as they were then understood, but made me a thinker on both. I thought for myself almost from the first, and occasionally thought differently from him, though for a long time only on minor points, and making his opinion the ultimate standard. At a later period I even occasionally convinced him, and altered his opinion on some points of detail: which I state to his honour, not my own. It at once exemplifies his perfect candour, and the real worth of his method of teaching. ”


    At the age of fourteen, Mill stayed for one year in France, with the family of Sir Samuel Bentham, brother of Jeremy Bentham. The mountain scenery he saw in France made the deepest impression on him, which led to a lifelong taste for mountain landscapes. The lively and friendly way of life of the French also left a deep impression on him. In Montpellier, he attended the winter courses on chemistry, zoology, logic of the Faculté des Sciences, as well as taking a course of the higher mathematics with a private professor. While coming and going from France, he stayed in Paris for a few days in the house of the renowned economist Jean-Baptiste Say, who was a friend of Mill's father. There he met many leaders of the Liberal party, as well as other notable Parisiens, including Henri Saint-Simon.

    A contemporary record of Mill's studies from eight to thirteen is published in Bain's sketch of his life. It suggests that his autobiography rather understates the amount of work done.

    This intensive study however had injurious effects on Mill's mental health, and state of mind. At the age of twenty[2] he suffered a nervous breakdown. As explained in chapter V of his Autobiography, this was caused by the great physical and mental arduousness of his studies which had suppressed any feelings he might have developed normally in childhood. Nevertheless, this depression eventually began to dissipate, as he began to find solace in the Mémoires of Jean-François Marmontel and the poetry of William Wordsworth - his capacity for emotion resurfaced - Mill remarking that the "cloud gradually drew off".

    Mill refused to study at Oxford University or Cambridge University, because he refused to take Anglican orders from the "white devil".[3] Instead he followed his father to work for the British East India Company until 1858.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stuart_Mill
     
  4. Sidhe

    Sidhe Chieftain

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    Ok Apologies for not replying sooner, had to take a sabtical at the behest of the real powers on this forum.

    Anyway:

    • I never claimed the Orthodox church claimed primacy, I clearly when asked to clarify said they take their leadership back to James the Just as first Bishop of Jerusalem, ie not The Pope, obviously that's retrospectively as the church didn't schism in any meaningful way until long after James ministry. That was also stated although I accept obviously people got the wrong end of the stick. And then I failed to clear it up, and then even when I though I had they still got the wrong idea, obviously a failure of communication.
    • So let me make this absolutely clear there is no disagreement there. That's about it though, we agree on everything and always have, end of story on the theological discussion. Using politics to mean church politics has already been cleared up, so no need to go there except to say:
      using the term politics in terms of affairs of state or religious authorities is not redefining politics or anything else, it's a perfectly valid term for interactions between official bodies.
    • As to my opinion of the fluff that is over wordy, vague and never answers anything like what was asked: that is my opinion. I will not be told how I view someone's posting style, so saying I am wrong about it not be insubstantial fluff and over wordy junk that could be summed up in a sentence or two, is my opinion, I still hold it, so no issue there, it's a matter of perspective and opinion. And yes I genuinely couldn't understand what question he was answering, nor what he meant because it had nothing to do with the question I asked other than semantic issues over propaganda which again were contextualised by a video, so again I genuinely think he was talking to someone else.

    I hope that makes it all clear. Adieu.
     
  5. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I haven't studied much of it, at least formally; it's more a matter of working it out from reading other scholastic stuff. I'm not sure what secondary literature would be best, but I can give you some pointers for the primary literature and basically suggest that you look at some of the secondary literature on these:

    Medieval logic pretty much entirely took its cue from Aristotle, as you might expect; remember that Aristotle's logical works were never lost in the west, as his works on natural philosophy were, so they remained highly influential right through, even in the early Middle Ages. The works in question are those in the Organon, namely Categories, On interpretation, Prior analytics, Posterior analytics, Topics, and On sophistical refutations. So if you want to understand the basic structure of scholastic logic you should look at those or some of the literature surrounding them. Stoic logic was also influential, but less so, and by the time it got to the scholastics it had been completely mixed up with Aristotelian logic.

    The other key influences were Porphyry and, especially, Boethius, both of whom took their cue from Aristotle. Porphyry wrote an influential commentary on Aristotle's Categories and also a work entitled Isagoge, intended as an introduction to Aristotle's logic, which was extremely widely read in the Middle Ages (despite Porphyry's status as one of the leading anti-Christian polemicists of late antiquity...). In fact the Isagoge served as the starting point for most of the medieval arguments about universals.

    Boethius also wrote commentaries on Aristotle's logical works, in which he followed Porphyry quite closely. He wrote a commentary on the Categories and another on On interpretation, which is especially useful since Porphyry's own has been lost. And he also wrote two commentaries on Porphyry's Isagoge, which would be widely read in conjunction with that work. And finally he wrote two independent treatises on logic, On differentiae and On hypothetical syllogisms, which like Porphyry's work are based on Aristotelian logic but consider problems associated with it.

    One other source much read by the medievals was John of Damascus, who although a Byzantine author was popular throughout Christendom. The first part of his Pege gnoseos, known as the Dialectica, is an introduction to logic drawn from Aristotle and Porphyry as well as Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria, which means that it's an effective synthesis of classical logic with theological terminology.

    The medievals themselves didn't write very much on logic, since they used the texts of Aristotle himself as the key works on the subject and those of Porphyry and Boethius as introductions to it. Some of them wrote commentaries on these works; those of Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas on Aristotle are obviously among the most important.

    Of the medieval logicians, Peter Abelard is probably the most important. His main logical work is the Logica, a series of commentaries on Aristotle, Porphyry, and Boethius. He also wrote another treatise on logic called Dialectica. Another important medieval logical text is the Summulae logicales of Peter of Spain, which was a fairly standard textbook for some centuries. Duns Scotus also wrote a series of quaestiones on logic known as the Parva logicalia.

    However, the most important logical writings in late scholasticism are those of William of Ockham and John Buridan. Ockham wrote a Summa logica, which again takes Aristotle and his commentators as its starting point. Buridan wrote a commentary on the whole of Aristotle's Organan and also a Summulae de dialectica, which is supposed to be a commentary on Peter of Spain's work but is actually ten times longer and much more original and important.

    Finally, there's Francisco Suárez, but I'm not sure which part of his immense Metaphysical disputations deals with logic specifically - I think it would be different sections scattered throughout the whole.

    I must admit I haven't read most of these. But of the earlier figures, I think that John of Damascus is probably the best and easiest to read. His Dialectica can be found in an edition of his works edited by Frederick Chase, part of the Fathers of the Church series from the Catholic University of America Press, but it's not available online as far as I can tell. I think that if you want a good introduction to late scholastic logic from a primary text, you would probably be best off trying Ockham. I think he is quite readable and very straightforward and direct, as well as being one of the most important of all of these characters on this subject. You can find a goodly part of Ockham's Summa logica in English here, together with a bunch of other interesting stuff. The article there on "Why don't medieval logicians ever tell us what they're doing?" gives a good overview of the whole topic as well as some of the problems it raises...
     
  6. Elrohir

    Elrohir RELATIONAL VALORIZATION

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    What are the origins of the KJV only movement? Why is that one version supposed to be so special? Just because it was the first English version?
     
  7. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I don't know anything about that; I can't for the life of me imagine why anyone would think that the Authorised Version is the only proper version of the Bible. As far as I know the movement exists only within American fundamentalism, so one shouldn't expect it to make too much sense. The AV isn't the first English version anyway, but even if it were, I'm not sure why that should make it special.
     
  8. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    This may help:

    http://www.kjv-only.com/
     
  9. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Interesting site. Part of the task of the intellectual historian is to try to understand not simply what people believed or asserted, but why they did so; one has to enter into some kind of sympathy with them even when one doesn't share the belief. Unfortunately this is one of those rare instances where I find myself completely unable to do so; I simply cannot understand why anyone would believe any of those things about the Authorised Version - it's completely ludicrous. The early church believed something rather similar about the Septuagint, but at least they had fairly good (in their terms) reasons for doing so. The notion that no Bible existed before the seventeenth century seems very had to reconcile with anything approaching orthodox Christianity.
     
  10. Fifty

    Fifty !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    You know, if I had to venture a guess, I'd say it has more to do with the language than anything else. They just really really want English to be the "language of god", so they chose the KJV on that basis. Of course, that's wildly bizarre, but I think its probably the best explanation of the movement.
     
  11. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I suspect it's also to do with a deeply ingrained love of their own tradition. The AV is what they were brought up on, and being fundamentalists they're highly suspicious of innovation or change in religious matters, so they stick with what they know. American fundamentalists do seem to really like the AV for some reason.

    It sounds like a related motive is the fear that what they regard as heretical doctrines are associated with other translations, such as the claim that failing to capitalise "his" when referring to Jesus is a denial of his divinity. Throughout Christian history, attempts to prescribe certain sources of authority - and proscribe others - have always been associated with the desire to cut out heresy at its source. For example, in the Middle Ages, people could not preach without the permission of the local bishop - a move intended to stop random characters preaching weird stuff that might be heretical. The Waldenses ignored this rule and that is why they got into trouble. So for the "KJV only" people, I suspect that part of the motive for wanting to restrict everyone to that version is that they think the other versions are likely to lead to heresy. Which is still absurd, of course, given that they presumably think that at least parts of the church managed to avoid heresy before the seventeenth century.
     
  12. Maimonides

    Maimonides Chieftain

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    It seems to me that the simplest solution for them would be to just learn Hebrew & Greek. That way, they will never have to worry about a translation's accuracy. If they are that concerned about what translation is used & won't learn the original language, then their argument is moot. But then common sense & religion aren't always bedfellows.

    The reliance on translations in Christianity has mystified me for a long time. I don't know about the Greek, but there are many words in Hebrew that just don't have a good counterpart in English. It's always been odd to me to see some Christians hanging on every word of an English translation & placing so much faith in it without really trying to understand it by learning the original languages.

    On the other hand, I can understand why translations are so widely used. It's much easier to bring the Bible to someone in their own language than to teach them another. Yet, at some point, I think someone needs to know exactly what they are placing their faith in rather than placing their faith in not only the text, but the person who translated it.
     
  13. Elrohir

    Elrohir RELATIONAL VALORIZATION

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    I suppose. I mean, I come from a fairly conservative evangelical background, but I still don't understand it. I get preferring one version of the Bible because it's what you grew up with, or because you like how it sounds - but because it's the one and only truly accurate English translation? :crazyeye:

    The actual Greek and Hebrew actually is looked at in a lot of evangelical churches, during sermons and stuff. But, I'm not so sure about the KJV only churches - I guess if you have the most accurate Bible in the world, you don't need Greek or Hebrew.
     
  14. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    The "declaration" that the KJV is the only "true" version solves several problems. It means that carefully developed intrepretations based on it can be held to be true through time and over other interpretations of the same material from other translations even if new information is discovered. Change is uncecessary and people can rest comfortably in the security of their belief. Famly traditions can be maintained and what "Bob" learned from his grandfather is still meaningful for "Bob's" grand daughter.
     
  15. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I agree with you, for real fundamentalists - ie for those Christians who think that the actual text of the Bible is quite literally dictated by God, and who really think that it is the ultimate authority in all spiritual matters. If I believed that I'd certainly want to learn the languages in which it's written. But most Christians don't believe that, so there isn't quite the same inconsistency.

    As you know, of course, Muslims do believe that the Koran records the words of God in the original language - they have a belief not unlike that of the Christian fundamentalists. And they are more rational in that they conclude that the original language is therefore very important, and believe that the Koran should be read in Arabic.

    As I mentioned, the early church believed that the inspired text of the Old Testament was not the Hebrew original but the Greek Septuagint translation. They had a number of reasons for believing that, among which were the fact that it meant they had a different text from the Jews. The Septuagint had been translated by a team of Jewish scholars in Alexandria a couple of centuries before the birth of Jesus, so at least this made a bit more sense than believing that the authoritative text was one that post-dated Christianity. It was believed that the translation had occurred under miraculous circumstances: seventy scholars had worked independently and amazingly produced exactly the same translation (hence "septuagint"). Christians stressed stories like that to emphasise that this was the text. When Origen did his pioneering work on textual analysis in the third century AD, and examined all the Greek translations and the Hebrew originals, he did it not to establish the text of the original Greek but the text of the Septuagint, because for him as for almost all Christians that was "the" text. This changed only with Jerome, who made his Latin translation from the original, not from the Septuagint. This was an extremely controversial move at the time, and he was heavily criticised by Augustine among others, but it spelled the end of the Septuagint's hegemony.
     
  16. Sidhe

    Sidhe Chieftain

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    Reading the Koran its original text makes sense as it's meaning has a lot of inflection which can change the context, emphasis or even overall meaning, that is often lost in translation or even abused. In the same way Hebrew and Aramaic have the same sort of problems being rendered into English without also showing the contextual and emphatic points. It's not necessarily what you say but also how you say it. In this situation picking out passages out of context is often worse than it is when you do it in The Bible, and that is bad enough.
     
  17. scy12

    scy12 Chieftain

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    I finally attempt an answer in a passage i wrongfully i ignored mostly because there wasn't much to disagree upon or to raise new questions.

    The problem here is that one that believes that everything that is done , is done for the greater good could consider this before committing the sin. The action of committing the sin may reveal to one how it effects the greater good , or it may not. So committing the sin may actually not make the sinner any wiser regarding , God's predetermined plan of the greater good through every future event. One either believes that the future is predetermined and every action is done for the greater good or he doesn't or he completely ignores these thoughts. Either way i consider that it is not the action (sin) that creates the beliefs. I don't see what is a logical barrier to one not making the connection between complete moral relativism and God's plan , which always results to the greater good even though what would be Evil or sinful.

    I believe that The church's positions is what you described. Sin should always be avoided unless do not sinning creates bigger Sins(Evil) in the world. This overlaps any conclusions in relation to God's predermined plan . Accordding to which all actions result into the Greater good including sins . There is just no answer regarding why sins should be avoided if as actions always lead to the greater good. In a few words , Does evil exist ? If the answer is Yes. Then several question rise regarding God's plan. It is a paradox .

    One would be uncertain of the extrinsic results of sins , if he ignored the whole issue of all actions causing predetermined greater good. I am sorry that i have to repeat this principle. This argument simply has to be repeated because it makes all claims about the uncertainty of the extrinsic results as, untrue. The intrinsic value of a sin is worse than that of a not sinful action .However if the person here (and let's say , we) believe in predetermined greater good future , then the extrinsic value of it , if one actually sins , would be greater than the not sinful , alternative. One either believes this or not , or ignores it.

    Let me continue my previous reasoning .
    Let's say that for a moment either the church or the sinner , ignore predetermining.
    Due to the worse intrinsic value of murder and due to sins being acts that cause harm to be due to self interest , one would say that we are responsible for the sins we do because we do them with intent of harming and not for the greater good.

    However if one is not ignorant of the belief of predetermining then he may claim to not be responsible for his sins as they cause the greater good possible whenever one sins. As he does not intent harm and any personal self interest he gets is part of the greater good then he is not "responsible" for his sins. Or better he shouldn't be accursed for his sins. He is doing according to God's plan and he knows it.



    You raise some clever points regarding the World ability to get better .
    Personally I think the best possible world is a contradiction when thought that the best possible world was created by a perfect creature that does not have any boundaries regarding possibilities. Such world would have no imperfections just because a perfect creature can create such world.


    There is the argument that Humanity and the world being imperfect is what makes us perfect according to God. I have no answer to that argument , other than if we are imperfect then we are not perfect. However the argument uses a different method to prove it self. According to God logic , imperfect means perfect. For this kind of argument it's hard to provide direct answer . A direct answer that does not have to do with God's own validity and the people that commune with him regarding , how can they understand that logic but can't explain it to secondary parties.


    In non religious logic , we can't know if this world is the best possible while acknowledging it's possibility to improve. If we believe this is the only world that exists then it is the best possible word because it exists . At tleast that is what i think.


    That was insightful.

    After replying twenty days after your reply , i should expect you to repay in kind but i hope not.
     
  18. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    What is the consensus on non-omnipotent monotheistic entities? In other words, I hear people say that if God is not omnipotent, He (/She/It/They) cannot be called God. (This argument I have only seen from people who don't believe in any god at all, but that is neither here nor there.) They are nonetheless willing to call entities in a polytheistic system (ie Zeus or Quetzlcoatl) gods, even though they aren't omnipotent. Is there any reason for this? Is this widespread, that you know of?
     
  19. scy12

    scy12 Chieftain

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    As the people you are reffering to is I i would like to link to the thread where the discussion takes place and where additional information on the subject can be found.
    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=199605&page=19

    The reason one is willing to call Gods of polytheistic system as Gods and may think twice regarding the one of Christianity is found in the Epicurean argument.

    If God is willing to prevent evil, but is not able to
    Then He is not omnipotent.

    If He is able, but not willing
    Then He is malevolent.

    If He is both able and willing
    Then whence cometh evil?

    If He is neither able nor willing
    Then why call Him God?

    The Gods of polytheistic systems are willing and able to interfere into the wold although they are not omnipotent because they selfish and human like.

    The Christian God however can not be both malicious to crate an Evil world and omnipotent to control it. That is because according to Christian beliefs God is only Good. Therefor either God never interferes in the World , and so why call him God ? Or he does interfere but does so in the way the Gods of polytheistic systems do. Which is against the Christian beliefs of what is God.

    That is the discussion we had and i think i deserved to explain my positions in a better way . That would make any answer to your question by Plotinus more aware of the discussion we had and more efficient at answering your question.

    I am also looking forward to it because i don't know who else used this argument other than Epicurean and people who choose to call themselfs as Followers of Epicurus.
     
  20. Fifty

    Fifty !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Hi again Plotinus!

    I got a nice copy of the Summa Theologica for $2. Any recommendations on what is or isn't worth reading in it?


    edit: 1000th post! Time to open up Ask a Theologian 2!!! This would be a good time to thank Plotinus: this is quite probably the best serious thread I've ever seen on OT! :thanx:
     
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