Obama: nothing but a man, and who said otherwise?

Q: In the Weekly Standard, University of Virginia professor James. W. Ceaser argues that President Obama’s approval ratings are suffering, … Continued

Q: In the Weekly Standard, University of Virginia professor James. W. Ceaser argues that President Obama’s approval ratings are suffering, in part, because Obama has been cast as a secular savior by people who are trying to “replace God with the Religion of Humanity.” Ceaser writes: “Being the leader of humanity is incompatible with being the president of the United States. No man can serve two masters.”

Do we expect our presidents to be spiritual leaders as well as political leaders? Can they be? Should they be?

I would like to point out that the arch-conservative Weely Standard is as fair-minded and enlightening a source on the Obama administration as Joseph Stalin would have been on the future of American democracy under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency. James W. Ceaser, a visiting professor at that great impartial scholarly body, the Hoover Institution, is no more qualified to analyze Obama–or, for that matter, the “religion of humanity”–than I am to explain string theory. If he were, he would know that there are a great many religious believers who consider God and the religion of humanity as one. And there are a great many atheists who, while we don’t believe in God or in humanity as a religion, do believe in the possibility of human progress. But I can assure you that none of us–because we haven’t been sipping elixir at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party–has ever confused Barack Obama with any sort of messiah.

“Being the leader of humanity is incompatible with being the president of the United States,” Ceaser writes. “No man can serve two masters.” What do I think of this argument? Calling such an ad hominen statement an “argument” is investing right-wing assumptions and platitudes with a dignity they do not deserve.

Of course no president can be the leader of “humanity,” given that many of the human beings dispersed throughout our planet have shown a decided unwillingness to embrace even those principles agreed upon (and the number seems to be diminishing) by American citizens. I would hope that the President of the United States can be a spokesman for the best principles that humanity has struggled toward throughout centuries of cruelty and misplaced faith that there is some deity to rescue us from our own follies. I don’t think that a president is serving two masters by declaring that torture is incompatible with American ideals or that it is a really, really good idea for all of the sick to have access to health care.

President Obama’s approval ratings are down for three basic reasons. First, so many Americans are out of work that even people who still have jobs are worried to death that they might lose theirs. Second, the right-wing attack machine–so beautifully embodied and elevated by the intellectual bloviation of publications like the Weekly Standard–has managed to make people with nanosecond attention spans forget that the heartless, greed-based poliicies of the far right got us into this complicated mess in the first place. And, last but not least, an impatient, non-reading public makes poor political decisions because it literally can’t remember what happened more than a few days ago.

None of this really has anything to do with religion, although contemptuous attacks on secularism are part of the standard right-wing arsenal. No one with a functioning mind ever believed that Obama was a secular or any other kind of messiah. Let us see whether he will become a more effective president as well as a leader of rational–and I emphasize the adjective “rational”–humanity.

Susan Jacoby
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  • WmarkW

    Face it, Barack Obama and George W Bush are/were held as messianic figures by the two demographics in America whose advancement is most being held back by religiosity: blacks and southerners.Every negative (and accurate) thing the secularist community says about southern-style protestantism and the religious right is also true of blacks. Their religion is holding back education; they believe in nonsense like creationism to the detriment of their scientific literacy; they’re prejudiced against gays; their physically-oriented child discipline raises aggressive adults; and they have a high family break-up rate due to outmoded ideas about gender roles.We shouldn’t avoid them as an audience for secularising just because they vote for Democrats.

  • dangeroustalk

    I supported Obama during the Presidential race (not the primary). If I could do it over again, I would vote the same. However I am still extremely unhappy with Obama’s first year. He is unpopular now because he has failed to get his party in line. He has failed to actually do anything except serve the interests of bank and insurance lobbyists. That he does well apparently. Still, a Republican would have been far worst. I hope Dean runs in a primary against Obama in 2012.

  • beardell

    Ms. Jacoby,”Obama is, of course, greater than Jesus…””Many even see in Obama a messiah-like figure, a great soul, and some affectionately call him Mahatma Obama.””he is one of those individuals who communicates God-like energy (metaphorically speaking), in whom you can “feel” God.””he’s a lot closer to a Jesus-type than the other candidates, by quite a bit. What if God decided to incarnate as men preaching “hope and change.” And what if we didn’t recognize them, because we are so dull, and let them slip away, not availing ourselves of the opportunity to be led by God! ““I would characterize the Senate race as being a race where Obama was, let’s say, blessed and highly favored,” Mr. Rush said, chuckling. “That’s not routine. There’s something else going on.”Check out the blog: No one can deny how Obama was elevated to a deity in no short order. Go back and review how the media wrote about him. Review the pictures and magazine covers with their captions. He was supposedly above politics, above consciousness, above all things except himself and HE would save the world of all it’s ills. The really sad part is that Obama actually BELIEVED HIS OWN HYPE. The Obama experiment is over and he’ll be looking for work in 2012.

  • gimpi

    “No one can deny how Obama was elevated to a deity in no short order…The really sad part is that Obama actually BELIEVED HIS OWN HYPE. The Obama experiment is over and he’ll be looking for work in 2012.”Beardell,The quotes you come up with aren’t very impressive. I could certainly find you such very worrisome quotes from, and by, former-president Bush, not at the least of which was his self-stated belief that he was directed to imitate the Iraq war by God. If it’s delusions of grander you are looking for, I would suggest you start there.

  • arminius3142

    beardell blathered,I voted for Obama in the primary and the election, and I know many others who did. Further, I read the news and columnists regularly. And, a funny thing – no one who voted for Obama, and no democrat columnist ever, ever claimed apotheosis for Obama. This weird claim is only made by hate and lie spewing rightwingnut talking heads. Another stupid republican myth bites the dust.

  • persiflage

    ‘President Obama’s approval ratings are down for three basic reasons’…..And here Jacoby is exactly right from start to finish. The whole ‘messiah’ confabulation was a right wing ploy to demean Obama’s popularity and of course his win. Sounds like a page out of the Karl Rove playbook if you ask me. And of course, his Presidency was painted with racial overtones by the same GOP spinmasters. To imagine that a new democratic administration could correct the deeply entrenched economic ills and inevitable fallout engendered by the Bush administration and their phenomenal incompetency in one year’s time, is typical of an uninformed general public – and greatly facilitated by GOP media spin. These are people completely without a sense of honor. In fact, only now is it being revealed publicly exactly how close the country came to a catastrophic economic meltdown – somehow averted by Obama and company, but of course at considerable cost. It’s unfortunate that the bad guys of coporate America were rewarded yet again to re-start the economy, but was there any other way? Someone has to pay for the transgressions of Bush and company, and that be us.The ‘messiah’ business is totally lame – especially when GWB allowed as how he was personally being advised by God to invade Iraq. So now, who’s the messiah in this tale of woe told by fools?? Personally I think he was hearing the burbling sounds of untapped Texas crude far beneath the earth’s surface – but to some it does alot like the voice of God. Deception and distraction are really all the GOP has ever offered – their efforts are soley constituted toward regaining political power…..complain about the democrats ’til the chickens home come to roost, but we should be extremely thankful that those ‘inept’ democrats are in control of the government today – to imagine McCain/Palin in the Whitehouse right about now is like conjuring up visions of economic Armegaddon – which we just barely avoided. You’ll still not find a single republican to say a good word about Obama, because by thee gods, they are united! As they were, for 8 years of Bush and company. And as to national healthcare, read anything by economist Paul Krugman to find out why healthcare reform is the only sane solution to avert an assured future disaster in the world of healthcare/medicare, and beyond.

  • arminius3142

    Nice post, Persiflage. I agree.

  • onofrio

    Persiflage,Thee re GWB:Zesta! (chortles)A wonder that the GOP can sustain such dissonance! How do they cope with the fact that their divine, chthonic burbler, like their current antichrist, is BLACK?Oilsiris gonna eat ‘em all, from the innards out, down there amid his snakes of fire.

  • persiflage

    Arminius, thanks for the kind remark. It’s startling to realize that the general public is already restless and grumpy for lack of a complete fix of our epic economic disaster, a mere year after Obama was sworn into office. Unfortunately high unemployment will be chronic for some years to come, as the prognosticators have it. I suppose the democrats haven’t necessarily helped their own cause at every turn, but the unified obstructionism of the GOP and their right-wing media geniis have been successful at portraying the democrats as do-nothing spend-thrift buffoons. And yet no one denies that without the huge cash infusions, we’d have all been under 100 feet of water by now. I’m completely baffled that voters don’t have more common sense – but then again, voter dementia runs deep, as countless observers have noted. Life is unpleasant for many, and Obama hasn’t got all the answers – the distinctly human side of his messianic self is showing. Good to see you again!

  • persiflage

    Arminius, thanks for the kind remark. It’s startling to realize that the general public is already restless and grumpy for lack of a complete fix of our epic economic disaster, a mere year after Obama was sworn into office. Unfortunately high unemployment will be chronic for some years to come, as the prognosticators have it. I suppose the democrats haven’t necessarily helped their own cause at every turn, but the unified obstructionism of the GOP and their right-wing media geniis have been successful at portraying the democrats as do-nothing spend-thrift buffoons. And yet no one denies that without the huge cash infusions, we’d have all been under 100 feet of water by now. I’m completely baffled that voters don’t have more common sense – but then again, voter dementia runs deep, as countless observers have noted. Life is unpleasant for many, and Obama hasn’t got all the answers – the distinctly human side of his messianic self is showing. Good to see you again!

  • onofrio

    Ah, the Dusky One … she will always be with us; to the very depths, and on high. Namaste, Persiflage.

  • persiflage

    Onofrio, I enjoyed your joustful redux on the last thread with the piously pompous Peter Huff and our long-lost archon of the certainly uncertain, Timmy2. I’m hoping for more of the same in the future!best regards, Persiflage

  • onofrio

    Thanks for reading, Persiflage. Lot’s of déjà vu back there.”long-lost archon of the certainly uncertain”I would love to have wrought that :^) I salute!

  • cornbread_r2

    “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”…even if James W. Ceaser has to both erect the pedestal and install President Obama atop it himself.

  • Schaum

    Susan Jacoby:”And there are a great many atheists who, while we don’t believe in God or in humanity as a religion, do believe in the possibility of human progress.”Yes, indeed. And atheists can point to long human history to prove both the myth of god, and the immense progress humans have made over millenia.Truth and the arch-right have long been at odds.

  • arminius3142

    Hi, Persiflage,It’s been a terrible long time since anyone here was glad to see me, and I thank you for that. I have much to be pissed about – my last long bout of unemployment (got downsized because of lack of work, not the company’s fault) – anyway, that jobless period had the usual effects, bankruptcy and foreclosure. Well, merda accidit, I am now retired, and I supported Obama and still do. He was correct in trying to fix the employment situation, this drives much discontent. But can he overcome the howling pack of rabid right-wingers? Hell, if Obama had announced a cure for cancer, the repubs would denounce it as a socialist plot.

  • onofrio

    Timmy2,Thee:I dunno. You should ask someone who contends that religion is *necessary*. Obama is ostensibly an adherent of *religion*, so I guess it’s only a matter of time before he rolls out a *Let’s pack rape* policy, to the delirious cheers of every brainwashed religionist in the nation. Lot’s of slippery slopes about.

  • onofrio

    Timmy2,Thee:You mean the one who will “free the mind slaves”?

  • onofrio

    Onofrio,Thee:Ha! Apostrophised a plural. What a silly salinised pillar you are, ar, ar.regards,

  • onofrio

    Onofrio,Thee to Persiflage:Ha! Caught again! Two in one thread. Now you must be arraigned for your repeated unpunctuationality before the tribunal of the thrice-great ibis! They are not mild.regards,

  • timmy2

    DANIELINTHELIONSDENI’ll fill you in on the details. I was making the point to justilthen that I do not choose to believe what I believe. I quoted your phrasing by saying, “as DANIELINTHELIONSDEN has put it, “we believe what seems to be true to us”. I explained to justilthen that only new information can cause me to change my belief. Or someone prodding me to look at something in a way I had never thought of, which is a kind of new information. I told him that the only control I had was to seek out new information and be contemplative in though. Justilthen then chose to do one of his standard gotcha rants in a situation where he is dead wrong and made a fool of himself. He was all “Ah ha Timmy you admit that you can not change your mind!” “This if proof of your absolutism. What God controls your mind Timmy?!! If you can’t change your mind then maybe it is you who are the deluded one! Maybe it is you who is the insane one Timmy?!!! blah blah blah.And in the middle of that rant, he blurts out, “You and Danielinthelionsden are brothers on this!”Evidence of his obvious persecution complex, I replied that he and Daniel12 are brothers in being obtuse. That was pretty much it. I asked Justilthen to try believing in Hell for five minutes, or to believe that evolution is a myth, if he could. No word back if he tried these experiments and had any success controlling what he believes.

  • beardell

    Arminius3142:Your hubris:Really? How about…I guess you can just call this a myth-buster post :)You can twist, turn, or deny the Obamessiah craze all you like, but it won’t change the fact that many of the 52% of the people who voted him into office, including the hyper-liberal media, viewed and portrayed him in such a way that it was impossible for him to live up to. Again sadly, Obama actually believed it about himself as well.

  • timmy2

    Onofrio,Do not worry, Ideas are important. Grammatical errors, not so much.But of course I would have to say that wouldn’t I. ;)

  • persiflage

    Arminius:’Hell, if Obama had announced a cure for cancer, the repubs would denounce it as a socialist plot.’No doubt, although it would have bolstered his messianic persona considerably! You can never make chronically irate,self-absorbed rightwingers happy – everything that counters their self-serving motives is a socialist plot. I would imagine that today, Justice Samuel Alito is more than a little embarrassed at being caught in the headlights having a South Carolina moment, when Obama referred to the latest SCOTUS ruling screwup – opening the door to limitless campaign-related spending on behalf of corporate America …. at least he didn’t hollar out, ‘that’s a lie!’. It was more like a severe grimace and noticable convulsions of silent disapproval. And there’s more trouble ahead, of that we can be sure. If I was a praying man, I’d pray for another liberal on the court ASAP……

  • timmy2

    Onofrio,TheeI don’t see how. Are all humanitarian efforts religious quests?”Though I do not share his religious beliefs, I cannot thereby deny that he was motivated by what he thought was God’s will”But that doesn’t say anything. Unless you are saying that this kind of compassion would not have been in him without such belief. And I think it is obvious that it would have been. If he wasn’t brainwashed as a child to believe that his conscience was a celestial dictation, he would have believed that his conscience was his intuition to do the right thing and would have been equally motivated. But of course that is moot because if he grew up in a society that had long since cast away it’s tribalistic religious past, he would not have been living where there was slavery. Had religion died earlier, it means that intellectualism would have won the day, and slavery would have been abolished much sooner. Just like homophobia, scienceophobia, misogyny, tribalism, divisiveness, war….The intellectual argument for war is just not there. only the religious and tribal arguments for war are valid. I believe these things. And I am ever in search of new information or a new way of looking at things to change my mind. My search continues.”Timmy, a true believer, who did his utmost to end slavery in his time, not one who thought like me”Are you suggesting there were no agnostics involved in the abolition movement?”It is possible to have *delusory* ideas about supreme beings and to be inspired by them to achieve noble ends. Happens”Again this makes no point at all. It s ruse usually employed by the religious. Unless you are saying that those people would not have done the right thing without the delusory though, or that they wouldn’t have been much better off doing the right thing for the right reasons. Good people will do good things. Period.Dr. Steven Weinberg said that.I believe it is true. And obviously so.

  • arminius3142

    Persiflage said, about the latest SCOTUS charlie foxtrot:”If I was a praying man, I’d pray for another liberal on the court ASAP…… “We will see a lot of trouble. The rightwingnuts seem to be determined to paralyze the gov’t until it falls, along with much of America. Even the republicans that do possess a brain are so terrorized by the ultra-right that they goose-step right along with the rest. I’ll do the praying for a liberal justice.

  • timmy2

    Beardell,The problem with your argument is definitions of words like Messiah, and God, and Deity.To the secular mind, a revered person is a revered PERSON regardless of the name you want to give it. Even if you say “he’s sort of a messiah”, as an atheist, you do not actually mean that you think that he has a divine calling. You are using a phrase to make a point about how much change he has the potential of bringing. You don’t really believe that he is a deity or a savior.You don’t get to say “ah ha! Gotcha!” every time an atheist says “oh my God” or “Holly Sh*t”, or even “Good lord”. We don’t mean the same thing as religious people mean using the same words. We don’t believe that Obama is anything more than a charismatic intellectual human being capable of bringing great change to this country and even the world. We believe that great men are great MEN. And we can even revere them, without coming even close to the delusion of the religious messiah. There is a secular definition of the word, “messiah”. But it just doesn’t work for the religious side to say “see, you guys believe in a messiah too”. Because we use two different definitions for that word. Just like we use two different definitions of the word “faith”. Obama is just a man. And no one who voted for him thinks otherwise.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    TimmyI admit, completely, that I could be wrong about anything. But I, also like the idea of belief, as “what seems true.” When you put it like that, then no wonder people’s beliefs ars so unshakealbe, because they, of course, seem true. I think grasping onto the idea that you believe what seems to be true demonstrates the impossibility of freely choosing beliefs, because people have many criteria for determining what seems true, and these criteria are not normally examined or freely chosen.There are other totally unrelated reasons to be suspicious that our sense of free will is an illusion, but I won’t go into that now.Schaum, Conservative Christians repeat that we have free will and because we have chosen incorrectly by way of our free will, we shall be cast into the Lake of Fire and punished. In the same breath, they say that God has a plan for us. In the same breath, they say that God is omnisicient and knows all past, present, and future. These beliefs are all in conflict with each other. First, there is free will, then there is none; Also, when I say that I am suspicious that the sense of free will is an illusion, I do not mean that I believe in predestination or determinism, nor that God as a detailed plan for us, that we do not control; I merely mean, that just prior to the moment that a thought was formed, I had no sense that such a thought would be formed, and cannot say that I made that thought happen; but rather, a thought is something that comes to me, that I experience almost like my sensory perception.

  • timmy2

    DANIELINTHELIONSDEN”There are other totally unrelated reasons to be suspicious that our sense of free will is an illusion, but I won’t go into that now””I do not mean that I believe in predestination or determinism”I do not “believe” in determinism either. But every time I try, I can not see any refutation to it. I wish I could. I don’t want it to be true. But I have not control over my current belief that it might be. It’s just seems like it could be true. This is proof that we can not control these thoughts. I want it to not be true, but I can not “believe” that it is not true. I have no choice right now but to think it possible and even likely.

  • daniel12

    Part seven.But this is not to say the right wing response to no God has been much better. On the contrary, the most infamous right wing response to no God was Nazi Germany. Wagnerian drama and pagan symbols notwithstanding, the Nazis attempted a polity with no God. To their credit they recognized as in Plato the conception and need of higher men. They also were more in line with the science of Darwin, understanding that the future of the species and the possibility even of surpassing it depends on recognizing the most promising individuals among us and elevating them. Unfortunately for the Nazis and for so many others they blundered horribly, taking essentially an aesthetic ideal (blonde hair, blue eyes) for the higher man. The truth is the higher man might have black skin, blue eyes, and strongly Asiatic features. He is more likely to be characterized by extreme self-control, resistence to disease and superior intellect. So we can see now what a sad state we are in in trying to create a polity with no God. It is now evident to the eye that the polity with no God must first be considered a project with no definite outcome or even end. And second a project of man trying to improve on himself as a species–and even surpass himself as a species. We are charged with making ourselves something of God if not believing in God. Ironically, in a sense, not believing in God goes hand in hand with determining how man can become more knowing and powerful, close to his conceptions of God. But we seem pretty far from recognizing any of this today. Few people realize the immense responsibility of a polis without God. A polis without God is no mere stage on which we try to act good to get in graces of God as in religion, a polis without God is a center around which humans congregate to determine as best as possible which of them are most likely to be able to perpetuate and even surpass our species. A whole different project. And a new morality–all envy and jealousy necessarily put aside in order to determine the more valuable members among us. So far even an old book such as Plato’s “Republic” is ahead of us. Athens has by no means won out over Jerusalem.

  • daniel12

    Part six.And things have just gotten worse for the left wing response as science has proceeded–especially the biological sciences. No sooner did Darwin appear than it became evident that although left wingers declared the religious incapable of facing reality the left wingers were even more incapable. Darwin posited that man evolved from a quite primitive being and in our improved understanding of Darwin we recognized that in this evolution man wiped out all previous and alternative forms of himself. And existence according to biology in general demonstrates that a polity without God and true to nature must be a polity which recognizes this fact and seeks to continue man’s evident progress toward intelligence.But the left wing atheists interpretated Darwin differently: they considered (and still do) all men and women and races and cultures and ethnic groups equal–that no one is biologically different let alone ahead of anyone else. This view has been perpetuated into modern times by thinkers such as Chomsky who declared in his linguistics that all people have a language center in the brain that enables them to just learn language rapidly in youth–and that all people have the same identical language center, never mind that very few of us can approximate Proust. In other words, the left wingers have attempted to create a polity counter to evolution, reject Darwin’s basic observation that when a species improves on itself the species as a whole will not leap forward but that certain individuals will carry the desired traits first and then spread them in the general population…Left wingers to this very day reject the very biology they promote over Creationism although they are most vocal about this biology. Needless to say they have not even improved on the conception of Plato in his “Republic”. Plato without any notion of evolution by natural selection recognized that without God man must make himself, select from among himself the best examples of himself and elevate these examples (resulting in the Guardians of society). Left wingers today despise any hint that one person can be more valuable than another. Here we have atheism failing at creating a polity without God. In fact the left wing response to no God has led to millions of lives lost, not a single successful polity at all. And in America for the last fifty years a slow and subtle creeping censorship of anyone disagreeing with the left wing view. Academia to this very day will twist every which way to demonstrate an analysis such as I have made as being false (in all the vicious ways of Academia, criticizing everything from the handling of language to the ideas themselves).

  • daniel12

    Part five.So we are left with the question most certainly of what politics–the polity–will be like without God. Now in the West, since the Renaissance, Scientific revolution, and culminating in the Enlightenment, we have had three rough answers to this difficult question. The first answer is most in the tradition of Athens if not Plato himself in the “Republic” and is the continuation of the democratic project. We all are familiar with the French and American revolutions, familiar with wild enthusiasm, terror, individuality–an order which eventually proves to be perhaps the most moral if not stable order conceivable without God.The other two directions are quite frightening and can be considered the right and left wing responses to no God. First the left wing response. The left wing response in the absence of spirituality posited man as primarily–perhaps even strictly–an economic animal, and that the task of politics was primarily an economic order in which all men would be considered essentially equal…in a word, the Marxist’s response. Here we have religion considered a piece of falsity superimposed on existence out of the weakness of man (religion the opium of the masses) but ironically the left wing response to no God was more delusional than religion.The left wing response to the question of a polity with no God led to the belief that through science and economics a perfectly egalitarian order could be achieved on earth, something of heaven realized on earth. Of course religion itself declared politics quite imperfectable on earth, that the polity exists only for men to work together to get in good graces with God.

  • daniel12

    Part four.But let us suppose that we do not want the American President to lean in the direction of being a spiritual leader–in fact let us hope that he rejects Jerusalem for Athens, is determined to have the tradition derived from Athens overcome all religion in the West. What could that possibly mean? The answer is that we are asking the president to become atheistic and of course are asking for a politics beyond the religious view.A politics beyond the religious view? What does that mean? Indeed that is the real question we should be answering. First, because we are in the tradition of considering Athens as a polity opposed to the polity derived from the Hebrew tradition, we should ask exactly what Athens has accomplished to be a polity to which all Western atheists are heir. And no better answer can be found than the answer in Plato’s “Republic”. Plato’s “Republic” demonstrates that the polity without God has a most difficult responsibility, that it no longer can consider itself temporary and to be dissolved one day by God but that it is an open and perpetual project, and furthermore for it to succeed at such it must continually seek out, elevate and perpetuate the most worthy men (culminating in the famous Guardians of Plato’s society, the Philosopher king rulers).Now the question must be asked as to whether Western man has at all improved on this political conception found in Plato’s “Republic”. And it should be born in mind that Athens itself (the city as opposed to Plato himself) fell far short of the conception in the “Republic”. Skepticism of the God’s in Athens went hand in hand with essentially anarchy, democracy at the lowest level, and of course Athens was doomed against Sparta in the Peloponnesian war.

  • daniel12

    Part three.So we can see at once for all civilization in the West, according to the religious view civilization exists as primarily a staging ground, that it itself is not the answer for man but heaven, that it itself achieves perfection only insofar that it prepares men for heaven, redeems them in God’s eyes. This means really that no ultimate expectation should be placed in the polity–that it’s perfection can only be a successful preparation of man for God. Now if we ask can an American president be a spiritual leader, the answer of course is yes. In fact it could very well be a regression will occur (from the perspective of Athens and all her descendent ages, the Renaissance, Scientific revolution and Enlightenment) and politics will become purely theocratic. As to whether an American president should become a spiritual leader, which of course means that one is asking politics to be subordinate to the religious view, that is a matter of personal choice.

  • daniel12

    Part two.In other words, for all secularity, humanism and science we expect our political leaders to be spiritual leaders as well–most certainly in America. This is not to say of course that they are close to being only spiritual leaders, but our politics reveals we are not far removed from a polity subordinate to religion.To understand exactly what is meant by a polity subordinate to religion (in the West of course), let it be stated with clarity that a polity subordinate to religion is a polity which considers itself temporary and to one day perish according to God’s design, that the polity exists only as a place in which individuals mirror each other and mutually determine their progress toward overcoming sin and getting in good graces with God. The true polity for the religious person in the West is the polity arrived at after death, heaven, and not any polity on earth.

  • daniel12

    Part one.Do we expect out Presidents (in America) to be spiritual leaders as well as political leaders? Can they be? Should they be?Taking not just America but speaking of Western civilization as a whole, Western civilization has been considered a tension between Jerusalem and Athens, a tension between the Hebrew tradition (Christianity especially in the West) and the call for skeptical inquiry, philosophy as seen in Classical Greece.So far there has not been a satisfactory answer to this problem of Jerusalem versus Athens. In fact politically it seems no matter the tradition of Athens and the improvement in democracy since Athens, the the tradition of Athens is subordinate to the Hebrew tradition.

  • daniel12

    Correction of a couple errors…First sentence of part one should read “Do we expect OUR Presidents…” and no “Do we expect OUT Presidents…”Second paragraph of part six should have the word “interpreted” and not “interpretated”.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Daniel12 said:”Taking not just America but speaking of Western civilization as a whole, Western civilization has been considered a tension between Jerusalem and Athens, a tension between the Hebrew tradition (Christianity especially in the West) and the call for skeptical inquiry, philosophy as seen in Classical Greece.”But I always thought, in the ancient world, everything was Rome and Athens; Rome like New York City, and Athens, like Paris. Rome, where everything was sensual and gritty and bubbling over with excess and wealth, and Athens, where they all spoke French.And then later, all the tension was between the idea of a Roman Emperor with a far away sorvreign power or athority that exists in the world, (on the one hand, and on the other hand)all of the wild and dirty-faced Germanic hordes that just came in and took over, and established the Kingdoms of the Fancs, and the Deutch, and the Jutes, and the Saxons, and built their funnly little crooked wooden buildings, and held little meetings around the campfire, where if you didn’t like what the King said, you just talked back to him.Fast forward about 500 hundred years, and the NEW TENSION is between the Popes in Rome who tell everyone to do good and bee good, and send in the money to Rome and they will all be taken care,

  • justillthennow

    Hello DanielInsidetheDen, I did respond to your post on the previous Jacoby thread. And yes, much wading for a losing battle, and if exciting, like sugar, non-substantial and unfulfilling. One seeks nutrition along with empty carbs. Sweet meat, perhaps?I came to a better understanding of what you were saying re determinism with this:”…I am saying (approximately) that the subconscious obstructs the determination of free will.”I would be in agreement with this, without the broad disqualification of free will and self determination. If the subconscious is given the reins in driving one’s buggy in life, free will is given to subconscious priorities. If any ____consciousness is given the reins, likewise control over choices are handed to that aspect of the psyche, yes? I think that subconscious drives and priorities have a far greater influence over most peoples choices than any believe, without the sacred microscope of unattached, unbiased self evaluation, leading to self awareness. Eastern meditative practices beat hell out of most western forms to allow greater self awareness, and greater organization and compartmentalization of consciousness, allowing higher levels of fixity on… whatever is focused upon.Left alone, the mind is a mind-field. And with the addition of crises, (easy to find in any age, no prob today), and a faulty support system, a mind will have free reign, and free rein, and run willy-nilly ’round bout, doing it’s own free will thing.Lives are wasted daily.

  • onofrio

    Timmy2,Thee:I concur, sans that s on mind ;^) I would hope that mind is not an unpunctuational slave owner.I also accept that it’s something of a *religious* quest to free mind slaves. Not that I want it to be. But if I name and own that tendency, I am keeping a potential enemy close. It’s less likely, then, to clout me from behind. In all such matters, our principal foe is ourselves. Quite religionish of me to think so…

  • Danial12

    4.

  • Danial12

    Walsch is a perverse choice to help remoralize the nation, but charlatans do find acclaim in America, especially in the spiritualized world of selfimprovement, and once anointed, they’re rarely defrocked. The supposedly egalitarian consciousness community does love its gurus, and despite all the comforting talk about democratic citizenship, New Age political groups, like the GRA, are apt to thrive on hero worship. Attend a New Age conference, and you’ll see celebrity authors deliver sermons to adoring audiences that never ask a critical question. The celebrities are regarded by their fans as saviors, beyond reproach, which often seems to be the way they regard themselves.

  • Danial12

    You can’t paraphrase vision statements like this because their content is so elusive. What exactly do the leaders of the GRA believe? “We believe that love should rule the world… . We believe the soul has a wisdom of its own… . We believe in spiritual power.”

  • Danial12

    I wouldn’t lament low voter turnout if all right-wing, antilibertarian Republicans stayed home on election day, and I imagine they’d be similarly sanguine about a display of voter apathy from me.

  • Danial12

    “Spiritual leadership,” presidential or otherwise, is, in fact, entirely political.

  • onofrio

    Danielinthelionsden,I think your Athens-Rome-and-beyond precis – with its captious Teutons and “funny little crooked wooden buildings” – demonstrates a far, far better grasp of big history than the turgid, mythic imponderables of Dan-le-Douze.You are, without even trying, the plain sensiblest philosophe among the Jacobyns.

  • daniel12

    Attention. Please do not confuse my posts with the guy posting as Danial12. For some reason that guy posts under a name which can easily be confused with mine. Obviously cannot find himself or something. As idiotic and insecure as those people that simply must change their names. The concept of own name and own thoughts apparently foreign.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    JusttillthennowI used the term “subconscious” because I think people are familiar with that term. To me, that is general catch-all category for “unknown” mental processes. But I do wonder, how are thougts formed? If you form your thought into being, and create thoughts by the force of your free will, you are really saying that your thoughts form your thoughts, that mind is the hammer and the nail, that your thoughts cause your thoughts. But your thoughts are a product of something that is not part of thought. (That’s all I’m saying).If you mean, by free will, the actions that you take in life, then that is a little different than the beliefs that you choose.I believe that a person can choose his actions, more than his thoughts, and that a person can motivate himself to do things that he may not want to do, and that a person does control the personal actions of his body.But I also believe, that if a person does not choose to excercise his free will to act, then he acts anyway merely by being in the world, and in such cases, he is not acting by free will anymore.A person is born with a body and a face. If the body and face is beautiful, the person is proud and accepts compliments about his good looks. But if a person is ugly, he is ashamed and feels bad, and fears that people may notice how ugly he is. Yet, no one chooses their bodies or their faces. Likewise, no one chooses to be intelligent or dull, so why take credit for it, or be bothered by it? Likewise, no one chooses their country. A person from a great, powerful, and wealthy nation might feel proud and superior to a person of a weak, poor, and fragmented country. Yet, none of us has any control over these things. We take credit for all kinds of things in the circumstances of our lives, that we did not choose and cannot change. So, I am beginning to think that this is also what free will is, thoughts and beliefs that we take credit for, but do not really choose.

  • daniel12

    Lion’s Den, quite common knowledge has it that Western civilization is primarily composed of two traditions in tension. Reason, philosophy, science, democracy, skeptical inquiry, etc. coming from the ancient Greeks, and the tradition of Western civilization religion originating with the Bible, the Hebrew tradition. We are discussing the intellectual history of Western civilization here, not whether this tribe attacked that, what empire fell, what pope existed when. Today if a person prefers science to religion, has an opposition in general to the Hebrew tradition, the person is in the line derived from Athens. Understand?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    OnofrioThere’s more …… and then, shortly, everyone got their big sailn’ boats, and before long, Columbus discovered Ohio in 1776, the world stopped bein’ flat, the Pope retreated to his little plot of land, the queen agreed to shut-up if she could keep the closet full of jewels, and God blessed America, and there you have it, a complete history of the world.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Daniel12Maybe it looks like I was chasing around after you making fun of you, but I wasn’t.It was a series of misbegotten faux pas type accidental misteps.I saw your post on the main comments thread, and I typed up a reply to your first paragraph, and posted it.Then, poof, if didn’t work. My post did not appear.Then I went to Susan’s thread, and you had the same thing posted, so I thought, I will give it another try. And poof, it disappeard, too. But then later, they were both posted.Sorry about that.

  • timmy2

    Dan In the Den,”We take credit for all kinds of things in the circumstances of our lives, that we did not choose and cannot change.”Race is one of the worst of them. Some people think that racism is wrong but racial pride is okay. In other words it’s not okay to say “those people are x” but it’s okay to say, “my people are X”.It would be ridiculous for me to be proud to be white, German, British, or Canadian. Equally ridiculous is the notion that any of those groupings come with any common attributes according to the group. Some people think it’s bad to say “chinese people can’t drive.”And they would be right.But some of those same people think that it’s okay to say, “my people (referring to race) are generous.” Or “my people are brave” Or “my people are more spiritual than most” etc.I find this a fascinating disconnect, in need of awareness raising. Racial pride is a delusion.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Daniel12I think of America today like Rome, only now, America is far, far more powerful compared to the rest of the world, than Rome was then.And I think of all the cute little countries of Europe like Greece, and France like Athens. Americans look to Europe with a mystical fascination and think that France, in particular, is snobbish and high tone.But, yet, all of our ideas about manners and social refinement come from France, and the French language and culture is considered very beautiful and appealing, and we get so mad at them because they are so smug with their fancy French food and their fancy French ways.I wonder if the Romans imported olives from Greece and called them “freedom olives?”I know, this is not what you were getting at, but that is what you made me think of.

  • onofrio

    Danielinthelionsden,Voila! :^)But wait, you forgot the bit about Martin Luther going on a Diet of Worms, and how after that he threw an inkwell at the Devil. It missed, broke, and became the German New Testament.Yes, I know, details, details…the devil’s always in ‘em somewhere.

  • onofrio

    Timmy2,Thee:I’ll let one of those abolitionists, William Wilberforce, respond to that:“God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.”“Is it not the great end of religion, and, in particular, the glory of Christianity, to extinguish the malignant passions; to curb the violence, to control the appetites, and to smooth the asperities of man; to make us compassionate and kind, and forgiving one to another; to make us good husbands, good fathers, good friends; and to render us active and useful in the discharge of the relative social and civil duties?”“And, sir, when we think of eternity, and of the future consequences of all human conduct, what is there in this life that should make any man contradict the dictates of his conscience, the principles of justice, the laws of religion, and of God?”Timmy, by now you know well that unlike this great abolitionist, I am not an evangelical Christian. Though I do not share his religious beliefs, I cannot thereby deny that he was motivated by what he thought was God’s will. It’s all very well to argue against God, as I do, but the the fact remains that it was a believer, Timmy, a true believer, who did his utmost to end slavery in his time, not one who thought like me. That will not induce me to convert to Huffism or TTWSYFism in solidarity. But it is the case, nevertheless.It is possible to have *delusory* ideas about supreme beings and to be inspired by them to achieve noble ends. Happens.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    oh no! Frio! Onofree ooo yo yoI think I am morhping into you.It’s the attack of the body snatchers all over again.

  • onofrio

    Schaum,”What wine, do you think, does one drink with a Diet of Worms?” A crisp Chianti, enclosed, of course, in a traditional “fiasco” of straw.On no account should the Wormster imbibe sangría, as it may lead to an acute case of auto-da-fé, which involves a severe, burning sensation…

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Personally, I would hope my auto-da-fé is au lait. Am going to post on topic. Faint-hearted dreamers, you are forewarned.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Continued (err, Part II)Our own Susan Jacoby, whom I generally respect and admire espoused that there was no reason to vote for Clinton in the primaries unless one was a “fanatic about health care.” Well, now, as we see the risk of losing health care for millions of Americans, we’re all a bit fanatic, are we not.About this, too, I blogged. Although my family and I have excellent health care I was and am aware that many, many do not. I urged OnFatih readers to access Paul Krugman, who again and again, warned that Obama’s statements on health care during the primaries would make it nearly impossible for him to be effective in that domain once he was elected.Unlike Obama, Clinton never made false promises about Iraq and Afghanistan, about health care, about Guantanamo. She’d worked on health care for twenty years. She knows more about it than Obama ever will. She is a two-fisted politician, well known in the senate, and she is not a “delegater.” If Sen. Nelson, and his ilk, had tried the same shenanigans under Clinton as they did under the president, they would have heard from her. In fact, they would have heard from her before pen was put to paper.The simple fact is that a majority of American voters fell victim to a carefully plotted populist campaign. In fact, the Obama campaign for both the primary and the presidency is now part of mass media and communications courses throughout the country.Americans voted for a moderate, a neo-liberal like Bill Clinton, not a Liberal like Hillary Clinton.In fairness, they got what they voted for.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Had I world enough and time, I would start posting from the hagiography that characterized many panelists’ blogging during both the primaries and the campaigns.Having any sort of objective discussion, especially during the primaries was impossible. I know. I tried. It was good guys vs. bad guys throughout. The “hope and change, change and hope” mantra accompanied by the “feely” populist ads no matter how obviously false sold the people.Americans read in the New York Times that Obama’s staff PAID people to show up for his appearances and cheer, but all people chose to see and hear were the crowds yelling and cheering.It is completely understandable that Americans would want to elect an African American to the presidency. I confess I hoped to God to see that in my lifetime. It was evident to me, however, that he was not the right man for the job.In lieu of concrete plans, I kept hearing hope and change, change I could believe in, blah, blah, and, of course, blah. I heard Obama say he would pull our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan within a week.I saw Obama in an ad, elevated above the cheering masses, bathed in light, the skies in the background, proclaiming that he would force manufacturers to bring jobs back to America and fine those who outsourced overseas. Bloggers at OnFaith, among other folks, actually believed this, and remarked that they had gone ahead an campaigned for him on the basis of this nonsensical promise.

  • Schaum

    Timmy2:”Like Bill Maher said: “let’s not be so tolerant that we tolerate intolerance”.I’m going to have this tattooed on my forehead. It has been exactly my argument against allowing the practice of Islam in this country. Why should we tolerate the presence of a “religion” that advocates and practices violence, intolerance, the overthrow of our government?

  • onofrio

    Farnaz,Bravissima! will sound trite from this corner, yet I mean it. I’ll cease from Antoinettish cake. Time for bread.Lest I lose my silly head. Trust you to be substantial, boldly … again!

  • timmy2

    I can’t disagree with Farnaz. No doubt Clinton would have been better for health care. She probably would have been better for jobs, and maybe the economy too. I was thrilled when Obama asked her to be secretary of state at least. If I were an American I would certainly vote for her in the future. I’m on the edge about this but I think that it may have been more important than all of those things, to repair America’s image in the world following the Bush years. Had Hilary been elected, the world sees 24 years of Bush/Clinton. That’s a quarter century of the top job in America belonging to 2 families. It may not be a fair rap on Hilary that she represented more of the same, or worse, a step backwards, but that’s how it would have looked to the rest of the world. And with America in such deep financial doo doo, it was hyper important to show it’s creditors a dramatic turnover in it’s face to the world.Again, unfair rap on Hilary that she could not have been that new face for America, but as Andre Agassi always used to say in those Cannon ads, “Image is everything”.It’s only been one year. Give the kid some time to get his feet wet. If it doesn’t work out after 4 years I think Hillary has a good shot of beating Sarah Palin in 2012. But there’s not way the Nobel committee was going to give the nobel peace prize to Hilary Clinton, and I don’t think we can underestimate the impact of having President Barack Hussein Obama of the United States of America winning the nobel peace prize following the Bush years. Even though it did make everybody go, huh?Like I said, he was your face saver, not your faith savior.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    The funny (?) thing is Clinton would not have been my choice for Secretary of State; I never thought foreign policy her strong suit. But there you have it–politics.It may be that Obama turns out to be an excellent president–Non knows I hope he does.However, that will not change the nature of what occurred. Moreover, in the future we will have to be doubly on guard since the recent SCOTUS ruling on corporate campaign donations assures that all the gods of Persuasion will come running down from NonMount Olympus in 2012.And every one of them will have studied the Obama campaigns from start to finish.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Back to the main issue, I think Diet Dr. Pepper would go well with a diet of worms.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    What would the French do with a diet of worms?Divide the worms in half. Bake one half in an oven on low, about 220 degrees until they are dry and crispy, then crumble them up, to be used later.Then, take the other half and puree them in the food processor with eggs and cream. Then mix in some flour and one stick of melted butter, and spread out on a cookie sheet and bake until set. Then after cooling, put it between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound it with a skillet until it is very thin. Then squish up two more sticks of butter on it, and sprinkle the dried crumbled worms over it and then roll it up and then slice it so that you have little pinwheels of worm. Then lay each pinwheel of worm on a new and different cookie sheet, (the other one should be left in the sink with all of the other dirty pots and pans, used to make this recipe, for the maid to clean up later) and then place little pieces of blue cheese over each pinwheel of worm, and then bake this all again at 325 degrees for 12.334 minutes. Let them cool for between 7 and 9 minutes and serve immediately; otherwise, they will have to be thrown out.

  • timmy2

    SUSAN JACOBY: “No one with a functioning mind ever believed that Obama was a secular or any other kind of messiah.Well put. This is all part of the age old religious ploy to attempt to make secularism a seem like a religion itself. This is always done in in the hope of deflecting the embarrassment of the “deluded worshiper” accusation back at it’s accuser. It’s akin to the childhood retort “I know you are but what am I”. But it’s more like “well if I am then so are you”.It’s the old, “your God is Darwin.” “Your God is science.” “Your god is “reason.” “Your god is “Richard Dawkins.” “Your God is secularism”. “Your God is Obama.”Non of these ever fly because the definition of atheist is: “One who does not believe in God or gods.” That means we don’t believe in God Darwin. It means we don’t believe that science is a god, because if we did, then we wouldn’t believe in it. And we certainly don’t believe that Obama is God, the messiah, or even the enlightened one, he’s just the best face America could possibly hope to put on right now to have any hope of erasing the damage caused to her image by the Bush years. And I mean all 12 of them. He’s our face saver, not out faith savior. Perhaps some hispanic with a lisp caused this whole confusion.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    They keep saying that Obama was not born in America. That’s funny; for a foreigner, he is more fluent and articulate in English than George Bush was and he seems to understand the Constitution and American political system better than Bush did.He did not start two wars, run up the budget deficit, destroy the housing market, and collapse the banking system; Bush did. I am so glad that such a good guy is here to shovel up all of the post-Bush debris; maybe all he will be able to do is that. That is sure a far cry from regarding him as a Messiah.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    From the previous thread:I noticed that Timmy and Justtillthennow were citing references to me in their argument yesterday and last night. I tried wading though the many, many exchanges to understand the argument and to see how I was cited. But it was pretty much a loosing battle. Once you get behind in the thread, it is hard to go back and catch up. But I did want to follow-up with this: In my recent posts on free will, I was referring to the psycho-metaphysical nature of being and consciousness, without reference to morality or the existence of God. I was referring to the nature of thought, belief, and how one determines what seems true; I was not referring to physical actions, such as committing crimes or being a hero. In more ordinary terms, I am saying (approximately) that the subconscious obstructs the determination of free will. Freud came up with this idea of subconscious as a category for mental processes that we are not aware of, and he thought of these things in the context of medical practice, of treating people who are suffering from mental illness, or mental distress. I am looking at these things to try and understand what is meant by truth, knowledge of truth, belief, and how do we decide what seems true. We all suppose, think, and assume we have free will. That is how I feel about myself, and my personal ability to determine and control my own free will. Yet I am suspicious that this sense of free will is an illusion.

  • timmy2

    Beardel,”No one can deny how Obama was elevated to a deity in no short order”Oh the liberties these people take with the word “deity”.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Yes, and what about when they compared him to Hitler because people thronged to hear what he had to say?Mabye after 8 years of a President who never said anything worth remembering for more than a day, people were starved to hear an intelligent politician with some interesting thoughts and ideas.One of the characteristics of Obama’s speech-making is his calm and serene demeanor. That does not sound much like Hitler to me.Shrieking, spraying spit, wild gesticulations, and arm-flailing was Hitler’s style … … who does that sound like?… mmmmmmmmm ? Rush Limbaugh?

  • timmy2

    Onofrio, I have some more causal for you. No religion => no GOP candidate ever again even in the running for the presidency = > nothing standing in the way of universal healthcare, which ironically Jesus would endorse.But of course the benefits of religions, that can be achieved no other way, making religion necessary, are?……Crickets.

  • timmy2

    Persiflage,”and our long-lost archon of the certainly uncertain,”I like it!

  • Schaum

    DanielITLD:”Yet I am suspicious that this sense of free will is an illusion.”If Rick Warren and similar-minded fundamentalists are correct — that god has mapped out your entire life even before you were conceived, including the day, time and method of your death — “free will” definitely IS an illusion.

  • timmy2

    If there’s one thing I am certain about, it is my uncertainty. And when it comes to matter of the great beyond, I am 99% certain of everyone else’s uncertainty. Or even that they have a clue, really. When someone knows anything about it, we’ll all be able to verify the evidence or revelation. If you don’t believe that you’re waiting for the messiah. The special one. The seer. The one who knows.

  • timmy2

    DANIELINTHELIONSDEN”Mabye after 8 years of a President who never said anything worth remembering for more than a day”Are you kidding me? Who could forget this one:”fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice….. uh… you can’t fool a blind man for a nickel is worth a …. uh.. where’s my press agent?”History will remember this one forever.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Obviously, I have not put as much thought into this as many of the other people posting here. I am not disappointed in Obama. Alot of the problems that America is experiencing seem intractable. The presidency of Bush was a smothering experience; now with President Obama, I feel that it is easier to breathe. Alot of people hate him with a passion; the Republican party is dedicated to his complete destruction. Maybe his weakness is that he is not RUTHLESS enough towards those that would destroy him. But then, I probably would not like him as much.Over all, I fear that he may not survive his first 4 years.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Health Care Reform, an example of an intractable problem:The price of health care is too high; it is too high because health care is subsidized by insurance companies; once subsidized, the prices charged for health care go up, to absorb as much of the subsidy as possible, and included in the subsidy are all the uninsured, who get health care at a lower cost, or for free.What is the conservative solution to this? Require the insurance companies to cover more people, and then subsidize the insurance premiums so that more people can afford them. But if the government subsidizes the insurance companies, then there is no other outcome than that the insurance premiums will go up, up, up to absorb all available subsidy money. The government subsidizes the insurance companies so the insurance companies can subsidize the health care providers. How does that help anything?I doesn’t.A public health insurance company to cover all the people left out of private insurance and to complete with private insurance would not be a bad idea. Lowering the qualifiying age for Medicare health insurance to age 55 would have been a great idea. I know from dealing with my own insurance company (Blue Cross) that it has maxed-out on beauracratic complexity and could give lessons to the government on how to jerk people around.And in all of this, there are all of the obstructing and negative pull of Republicans and conservative Democrats, and in every argument, meeting, and conversation, there is always the little droning noise in the backgroud, “abortion, abortion, abortion, baby-killers, baby-killers, baby-killers” traceable to conservative religion that poisons and ruins everything.

  • timmy2

    DANIELINTHELIONSDENMaybe his weakness is that he is not RUTHLESS enough towards those that would destroy him. But then, I probably would not like him as much.Well put. In such a case you might see him as more of a “timmy” type personality. Unnecessarily strident and too self assured. You wouldn’t like him as much, but you’d like the results. I hear you. ;)

  • timmy2

    Sorry forgot to put quotes on the first paragraph below which is danielinthelionsden.

  • timmy2

    Persiflage,”Economics and personal theology are somehow inextricably linked”While I agree on one hand, it’s always interesting to point out in this discussion how the Jesus followers are generally linked to the most capitalist party. It’s like having “hypocrite” tattooed on your forehead. It’s like they think that the number one fear Jesus would have living in America today would be “socialism”. “Today on the Glen Beck show, making his fifth appearance this week, please welcome, Jesus Christ.”

  • timmy2

    I think a cowboy president is a good thing. It’s the one quality I liked in Bush. I just wish he were a cowboy on the right side of the issues. I want a president who says “I’m pushing through universal health care because it’s the right thing to do. And to anyone who wants to stand in my way I say “Bring it on!I think Hilary was our cowboy, who would have done that. Perhaps she should have run as Hilary Rodham. Here’s hoping Obama finds the cowboy in him this year. Maybe he should read “Going Rogue”.

  • arminius3142

    Cowboys? Maybe – LBJ can be considered a cowboy, and he had the best sense of how to whack congress up the side o’ the head to make ‘em do something of any president in recent memory. Give me a president that combines the political skill of LBJ and the fighting heart of Mohammed Ali. Oddly, Hillary has these skills to a surprising degree, but she probably would not have been elected.Perhaps Obama is learning how to fight, at least. One thought that occurred to me during his speech is ‘No more Mr Nice Guy’. We’ll see.

  • daniel12

    Lion’s Den, let me ask you a series of questions, questions which I will immediately answer myself. Does Western civilization exist? Is this a viable concept? I think we can agree that such a concept exists and that it is viable.Now let me ask you when and where exactly political philosophy, philosophy, natural science, mathematics, history, tragedy, comedy, democracy arose in Western civilization–in fact provided the foundation for Western civilization. I think the answer can only be ancient Greece. Now where and when did the dominant religious tradition of Western civilization arise? I think the answer can only be the Near East and in fact from one book: the Bible.You can split hairs all you like, trot out Rome, France, Germanic tribes, but the fact is for 2500 years the two dominant trends have been Biblical revelation and the process of reason. To this very day, right here on Jacoby’s site, we are discussing the conflict between religion and reason. I have given the foundation for the both. Common knowledge. And by no means has the tradition from ancient Greece won out. It really is not that difficult to understand. But if you insist, let us discuss some of those sources and explanations you give. Where did Rome stand? With reason or religion? Facts demonstrate Rome was indeed the first conflict ground between religion and reason which has characterized Western civilization.What about France, Germany and so on? At different times each leaned this way and that–from religion to reason. Need I really go on? It seems you are more concerned which country, people, ethnic group put forth this teensy detail and that while I am giving the two dominant strands of Western civilization–in fact the very strands you yourself recognize every day: again, religion and reason. But let me make it simpler for you. Where exactly did the very religion of the West you discuss every week arise? Answer: Near East, the Bible.Where exactly did the reason you apply every week arise? Answer: ancient Greece.Not Rome, Germanic tribes, France.Intellectual history of Western civilization. Understand it.

  • arminius3142

    Gandhi on ‘Western Civilization’:

  • persiflage

    Timmy:’I think a cowboy president is a good thing.’Not to take the conversation in another direction or anything, but I’m reminded of that great Canadian cowboy troubadour, Ian Tyson of Ian and Sylvia fame lo these many years ago. I think he’s still performing on the cowboy circuit – a distinct musical form. And the great Canadian songwriter/singer Gordon Lightfoot has more than a little cowboy in him – one of my all time favorites in any genre. On the other hand, since you’re more of an electric guitar guy, you may have something in common with our own Daniel12 that you see right here in your immediate proximity – he’s also a rocker, and knows all (or most) of the great ones….I was recently amazed to see that tennis great John McEnroe is both a player and collector of vintage electric guitars! If Obama played the Mississippi Delta blues – maybe captured the spirit of Son House, Bukha White, and some of that great bottleneck guitar from down yonder, he might be able to generate a bit more excitement. Instead, he’s just a highly educated black lawyer with considerable expertise in Constitutional Law – what’s the world coming to, anyway?? :^)

  • arminius3142

    Persiflage,Ian and Sylvia? Gordon Lightfoot? That stirs up some good memories, for sure.And, Oh Lord, deliver us from the Philistines, we’re stuck with a smart black lawyer versed in constitutional law? Bring on the cowboys? Nah, vote republican, and bring on the clowns.

  • justillthennow

    Arminus, Although clowns is a wistful descriptive for Republicans, I would offer another view, based on the delightful and certainly Republican funded mechanized mercenary robo-soldiers of Avatar:”Let’s go girls, bring the pain”

  • Danial12

    2.The Greeks are also remembered for their philosophers and their desire for athletic competition. Three of their greatest philosophers were students of the last one; they were revolutionary, creating schools and educating the masses. These three men’s legacy began with Socrates, but because Socrates wrote absolutely no books, much of what we know about Socrates is from Plato’s books (his student). He was a great philosopher for the one question he repeatedly asked passerby, “What is the greatest good?” He would listen to people’s responses and analyze them using what is now called the Socratic Method, and an early version of the Scientific Method; he would pose a hypothesis and try to answer it. Because of his frequent questioning, he began to realize that the gods weren’t as powerful as every one said they were. So when he was seventy years old he was put on trial, as a heretic, poisoning the minds of youths, and disrespecting the gods. He was sentenced to death by hemlock, a quick toxin. His student Plato was distraught from his mentor’s death, so he fled Greece to ponder hid thoughts. When he returned ten years later, he set up a school called the Academy.

  • Danial12

    3.The Olympics, were also originated in Greece, they were an event held every four years to have the individual city-states compete for athletic superiority. Of course we take it much more seriously in this day and age, but it still does the same thing that it did back then, it brought nations together, to converse and share ideas.

  • Danial12

    1.It was Hammurabi’s Code of Law that was the first law codes.One important area of influence was Roman law. The first law code in Roman history was the Law of the Twelve Tables, the precursor to the development of Roman law.Roman law developed the division between public law, in which the state is directly involved, such as with issues of treason and taxation, and private law, concerned with disputes between people, such as over contracts. This system was the basis for what is now known in the West as Civil law. Romans had indictments and jury trials, similar to today’s practices. The many defense techniques currently used today in our own courts can also be traced back to Roman procedures. Many legal terms are of Latin derivation.The idea of “innocent until proven guilty,” which underlies the United States ‘ criminal justice system, came from ancient Roman ideas. The Roman Empire has influenced the world today in many ways – their brutal games which were rough, physical and dangerous; their way of life in which the government worked with a voting system; and the way they had an army that was almost invincible, so the world today uses the ideas of this army.Roman influences in modern society can also be seen in infrastructure systems. Roman roads used three levels of substructure beneath the paving stones, and a prescribed angle for the uplift of the center of the road, allowing rainwater to drain off. They also had extensive networks of underground lead pipe, supplying clean water.Elements of modern city planning can be traced to Roman concepts. The Romans engaged in extensive city-building activities as they consolidated their empire. The legacy of Rome has clearly left lasting impacts on numerous aspects of modern society. Many things in everyday life can be traced to Roman origins, such as architecture, art, and Western government. The implications of Roman influences in today’s society are clearly significant and far reaching.Generally the key difference in the contributions made by the Ancient Romans and Greeks was that the Roman contribution was of a more practical nature, while the Greeks contributed in the area of ideas. Geometry was certainly not the least of these.

  • persiflage

    Timmy,Sure, everyone knows Canadians Joni Mitchell and Neil Young – but my favorite Canadian rockers are/were Burton Cummings of the Guess Who and of course David Clayton-Thomas, lead guitarist/singer for the American group Blood, Sweat, and Tears. Two really great performers with an excess of talent. And who could forget Leonard Cohen and Bruce Cockburn? I used to go hiking with a Canadian group in the White Mountains of New Hampshire way back in the early 1980s. Frankly, I was a bit coarse and unmannered for their taste, but the ladies were uncommonly sweet and a revelation all around. The men did like their whiskey! O Canada!!

  • daniel12

    Part six.But the Nazis blundered horribly. True they were more in line with Plato and his “Guardian” society and with the theory of evolution than left wing atheists, but they took blonde hair and blue eyes–essentially an aesthetic ideal only–for the higher man. The truth is the higher man could have black skin, blue eyes and strongly Far Eastern facial features. The higher man is more likely to be characterized by extraordinary self-control, resistence to disease and superior intellect. So we can see what a sad state we are in in general. Western civilization it seems is not even aware of its promise. It does not understand that the tension between Jerusalem and Athens is an either/or dilemma and that Athens, which should win, is by no means guaranteed. In general, for the human race as a whole, the question is one of a polis with no God.That is political science–or more nobly, political philosophy–in our time. All nations, peoples, races are measured by how well they solve or fall short on this problem. If we dispense with religion the goal is not economic man or really any type of man except it be higher man period. The polis without God has as its ultimate and ongoing task the further evolution of and surpassing of our species. We must abbreviate as best as possible the process by which we have transformed from lower primate to modern man–all toward the next stage of man. Biology and astrophysics, a superior species which can physically and knowledgeably make the trip across space, interstellar being. That should be the hope of the atheist. Or, my good friend, crawl back to God.

  • daniel12

    Part five.The left wing response to no God has clearly been counter the theory of evolution by natural selection despite the left wing rejection of creationism. The theory of evolution has the more fit members of a species the salvation of the species, the guarantee the species will go on and even go beyond itself, become another species. The left wing response has been to say evolution operates in extremely slow fashion (despite conclusive evidence to the contrary, that evolution can happen literally in a handful of generations), and that all cultures of man and races, and even individuals, are equal, that it makes no sense to select one culture, race or man over another, that apparently when the human race evolves further we all will leap forward at the same time and no culture, race or individual will be ahead of any other. Needless to say we have here an inability to face the facts of life as bad as has been said of religion. The religious man has hopes of God. The left wing atheist at the extreme believes in communist utopia.This is not to say the right wing response to no God has been much better. The most infamous example of the right wing response has been Nazi Germany. Wagnerian drama and pagan symbols notwithstanding, Nazi Germany was a right wing attempt at a polis with no God. To the credit of Nazi Germany–and right wing atheists in general–science, the facts of life, evolution, have been seen more clearly and accepted than by left wing atheists. The Nazis were willing to recognize that man has evolved, that the task of man is not a mere economic animal as in left wing ideology but a higher man, future man, the continuation of the evolution of man from lower primate. And that the human race as a whole will not just leap up to the next stage in uniform fashion and have no one considered better than anyone else, but that this evolution will occur as Darwin described: certain individuals of the species are more fit than others and deserve to be the genetic link to higher man.

  • daniel12

    Part three.Plato’s “Republic” was the high point of the atheist’s (in his time) response to a polis with no God. It is familiar knowledge that without God the polis (in the “Republic”) became more a project of man for himself than something temporary to be superseded by an eternal state or heaven or hell (the latter two of course Christian terms and not to be found in the “Republic”). In other words, in the “Republic” the polis was considered more a perpetual project which, therefore, had to be ruled by the best possible men. A polis with no God is a forced meritocracy according to Plato–the task is to perpetually seek out and elevate the “Guardians”, the highest men. Now in the light of Plato how well have atheists since answered the problem of a polis with no God? The answer is badly.Not long after the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment in the West–the promise of a decisive overcoming of Jerusalem by Athens and of course the atheist’s great hope against Jerusalem–it became apparent, and it still is apparent, that a polis without God is no easy matter. Three very different and useful for instruction directions were taken in the attempt to have a polis without God. The first is what we would expect by the engine of the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment and after years of the shadow of religion (fall of Rome, middle ages): democratic upthrust, French, American revolution. And this for all anarchy and terror and wild enthusiasm and individuality has been the general and most moral if not, perhaps, stable direction.The other two directions are pretty frightening, show that it is no easy step to get out from under religion–and really, what should we have expected when man has been under the influence of at best a hypothesis (religion in general) for millenia? Was man just expected to create a perfect polis without God when he never had one with God? These two directions I now speak of can be called the left and right wing responses to the problem of the polis without God. We will examine the left wing response first.

  • daniel12

    Part four.The left wing response to no God in stark contrast to Plato’s call for higher men to rule the polis with no God has been to take man as primarily an economic animal–that that is what moves men in the absence of spirituality–and furthermore that science must be applied toward creating a polis in which individual economic animal men are considered strictly equal to one another. This in the extreme is of course communism. It can easily be said that here we have a delusion worse than religion because heaven was literally considered to be realizable on earth. No God but the perfectly equal society within reach. Man not a sinner but an animal that just needs equitable economics and he will be perfect on earth.Notice how religion here has clearly not been overcome. Again (and to put it more clearly), what man has hoped from religion has been believed to be able to be hastened, and by strictly man’s agency, and realizable here on earth. This madness of the best intention of course led to no small amount of suffering (in communist form especially) and has been only seen more clearly with the advance of science, particularly the theory of evolution. Darwin showed us how man has evolved from a primitive ancestor and that the mechanism of this transformation has been next to unbearable: a constant wiping out of previous and alternative forms of man in the direction, so far, of intelligence.

  • daniel12

    Part two.The atheist has had, and still does have, as his supreme task the elevation of Athens over Jerusalem, the decisive overcoming of Jerusalem not to mention polytheism, and this can only be accomplished, be certainty, by a politics built upon and beyond Athens. The atheist cannot really live unless reinforcing the identity of a polis which responds to life’s tragedy in a different way than the polis under the influence of religion. But apparently it is extremely difficult to have a polis without overarching religion.In the Christianity of the West–Jerusalem as understood by most Westerners–we have an explanation of man (original sinner who must get back in good graces of God) which expressed in politics is a temporary city (because eventually superseded by God) in which we have citizens who either damn the city to hell or make it shine in God’s eyes. The polis under religion is merely a place where individuals compare themselves with one another, use one another as mirrors, to gauge progress according to God’s lights. The polis is a very different thing when we have no God.

  • daniel12

    Part one.On the politics of the atheist in Western civilization.Western civilization has often been spoken of as the tension between religion and philosophy, the Classical world (particularly Greece) and the Hebrew tradition, or in short–Jerusalem and Athens. The atheist, it would seem plausible to declare, is in the tradition of Athens, free inquiry, philosophy and not Jerusalem. But how well has the atheist risen out of, built upon, the politics of Athens and not Jerusalem? In short, is the atheist today the true heir of the Classical Western world?Unfortunately these questions cannot be answered in the affirmative. They must be answered in the negative. Why the negative when there have been no small number of atheists of reknown, atheists since the Classical world? The answer is that no satisfactory sense of politics has been made since Athens, the atheist is still in the minority, and although having shaken free of the Greek and Roman Gods–and too many trends of religion to enumerate–the atheist is plagued by monotheism, in a word: Christianity. No satisfactory sense of politics has been made since Athens? Is it possible to make such an outrageous statement? Remember that philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle existed and that they were decisive enough in the atheistic direction to where we have today the distinction between Jerusalem and Athens, philosophy and religion.

  • daniel12

    The post I just made is an attempt at greater clarity concerning my first multipart post. In fact I wrote this second multipart post first, was thinking about the problem which makes up its title before I learned of the new on faith post question about whether Presidents should be saviors. I adapted this second multipart post to the question posed on on faith with less than desirable results. I should have just posted this second multipart post instead of trying to rewrite and adapt it to the current post question. Hope this posting helps clarify things a bit.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Daniel12I decided to read your WHOLE comment, even if it killed me. So, I read it, and it didn’t kill me. I have to say, that argument-wise, it does remind an awfully lot of Catholicism. You start off with a number of premises and assumptions that are wrong or dubious, and then, you’re OFF! (as in, off to the races). I will try to look at it again, analytically to try and point out, in the beginning, where the wheels come off.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    On “Western civilization,” I’m with Gandhi.

  • persiflage

    Daniel12 sez:’That should be the hope of the atheist. Or, my good friend, crawl back to God.’Such verbosity is the result of never having confronted your own death, head-on. All else is utter nonsense…..look death in the face, and see how many paragraphs that’s worth. In the meantime, master the electric guitar, rather than just talking about it. Zen would say that doing is the only reality – without action, nothing whatsoever exists. And so it goes…..Mastery has nothing to do with words, at any time.

  • persiflage

    Daniel12 sez:’That should be the hope of the atheist. Or, my good friend, crawl back to God.’Such verbosity is the result of never having confronted your own death, head-on. All else is utter nonsense…..look death in the face, and see how many paragraphs that’s worth. In the meantime, master the electric guitar, rather than just talking about it. Zen would say that doing is the only reality – without action, nothing whatsoever exists. And so it goes…..Mastery has nothing to do with words, at any time.

  • persiflage

    Timmy:’……..It’s only been one year. Give the kid some time to get his feet wet. If it doesn’t work out after 4 years I think Hillary has a good shot of beating Sarah Palin in 2012.’All true, Timmy. I liked Hillary from the outset, but was doubtful she could beat McCain because of the high negativity factor regarding political dynasties, etc. Been there and done that, as far as the voter in the street was concerned. The GOP could have pilloried Bill and Hillary on the stake of moral self-righteousness, as they did during Bill’s impeachment hearings. The whole business would have been dredged up yet again, with the usual Rovian twists and turns designed to make Hillary both a victim and an ineffective candidate. Trust me, they would have stopped at nothing to destroy both of them. However, consider that Hillary has put considerable distance between herself and Bill’s unsavory past and that her resume is looking better and better. Hopefully Obama will warrant 8 years once he gets up to speed, but the USA seemed to want a President with preternatural abilities, rather than the competent and savvy administrator that could deal in the political trenches – and that would be Hillary. Down the road, the GOP doesn’t have anyone that could touch her. Having Hillary in the wings is a mighty good fall-back plan for the democrats, if it comes to that. We all bought the impossible dream theme that undergirded Obama’s campaign, and he may get there yet, with a little luck. Somehow he’s going to have to live up to the premature image of greatness that drove his campaign – including the controversial gifting of the Nobel prize to seal the deal. And voter dememtia remains a huge problem – forever. They get bored so easily, and often forget where they’re going or where they’ve been……

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Johnny Appleseed was a higher man. We shall not see his like again.

  • persiflage

    ______________’apple guts turn brown- Johnny Appleseed

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Daniel12I will read your second post, if it kills me. If you don’t hear from me after this, then, that is what happened.About Athens and Jerusalem, it is hard for me to untangle what you have said. I will admit that there is a valid metaphor there, but it is not exactly literally true.As I said, modern Christianity is radically different from ancient Judaism, as different as is Isalm which is the Christian cousin. Modern Christianity was created in the Medeival Catholic Church. I am also aware of ancient Greece and the high civilization of Athens. Athenian thought seems very modern. Their concept of humanity were much like ours and they had figured out the scientific method. However, most of what they started was suppressed by subsequent Helenism, and the rise and fall of Rome, and then lost to us in the Middle Ages, and did not re-emerge until the Renaissance, through direct discovery and by way of Islamic civilization that passed Greek ideas on to Europe. During the Italian Reanaissance, many features of civilizaiton paralled ancient Greece, and i think the people of that time liked to picture themselves as the new Greeks. But I think that this a parralel development and not a direct result of Athenien influence.The parliements of Europe which emerged througout the Middle Ages were a heritage of the Germanic people, who had no cultural memory of an Emperor, a central government, or the remote influence of far distant laws. They certainly knew nothing of ancient Athens.These European parliments, especially the English Parliment, were the precurosrs of the American Congress. Modern ideas of local government, democracy, and the rights of the individual emerged from this non-Roman, non-Greek influence. These influences were well-advanced in Europe before the rediscovery of ancient Greek culture.

  • edbyronadams

    You could have stopped with the first, Susan. Obama was elected on the basis of a poor performing economy and his fortunes rise and fall with the result since his election.People did tend to imbue him with Christlike tendencies but that was only because he followed Bush who was successfully demonized by the left wing attack machine.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    MetaphorsI’m a riddle in nine syllables,–Sylvia Plath

  • persiflage

    ‘……only because he followed Bush who was successfully demonized by the left wing attack machine.’And rightfully so – he was demonic as only a blueblood Mainer from Kennebunkport claiming Texas roots can be – besides which, there’s no oil in Maine. Daddy Bush didn’t raise no fools…….there is oil in Iraq, or so I’ve heard. *************Farnaz – an exceptional poem. I like it! Imagine Johnny Appleseed as a Kabbalist. Forget Zen…….

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    After Apple PickingMy long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree–Robert Frost

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Hi Persiflage,Whence those lines you posted?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Johhny Appleseed (John Chapman) was into Swedenborg.

  • Schaum

    2.

  • Schaum

    1.

  • daniel12

    Lion’s Den directly below:”These European parliaments, especially the English Parliment, were the precurosrs of the American Congress. Modern ideas of local government, democracy, and the rights of the individual emerged from this non-Roman, non-Greek influence. These influences were well-advanced in Europe before the rediscovery of ancient Greek culture.”My reply below:Please explain why it is then that we call democracy democracy, after demos, a Greek word. Please give a name from anywhere, any civilization, equivalent to the word democracy derived from Greece. Please explain how it is we have come to use the word “history” (Greek), “science” (Latin), “politics” (Greek), “art” (Latin), “philosophy” (Greek), “reason” (originally Greek “logos” then into Latin “ratio” then into French…). You have the modern world somehow arriving without knowledge of the Classical world in your reading. I have no idea how you have managed that. Please give the name of the book you have derived your conception of history from. I would like to read it.On the word “parliament” below.The names for the assemblies to which one elects such candidates are various. Our parliament comes from the old French parlement, which at first meant only a “talk, consultation, conference” (it derives from the same French word parler, “to speak” as parlance, parley and parlour, the last of which, etymologically, is a “room set aside for conversation”). Later parlement evolved to the sense “formal consultative body” and so to “legislative body”. A council is a body which has been called together for some purpose (from the Latin concilium, “call together”), though there has been much confusion down the years with consilium, “an advisory body”, which gives us counsel. “Yet the very historic nature of the development of parliament in Britain meant that its main features pre-dated the advent of electoral democracy. The doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty derived from a battle to overturn monarchical absolutism.””Parler (French) To Speak: From the Latin “Parabolare,” meaning, “to tell parables.” …Lion’s Den, you somehow have the modern world arising strictly out of Europe in your reading, having the middle ages having cut off the Classical world and the modern world somehow arriving despite this cut off, without really needing the Classical world. But our very language is littered with Classical words. In fact our most important words are of Classical origin.

  • daniel12

    Persiflage below:”Such verbosity is the result of never having confronted your own death, head-on. All else is utter nonsense…..look death in the face, and see how many paragraphs that’s worth.”My response below:Never having confronted my own death? Just last year I had a conversation with my relatives in which I assured them that if I commit suicide it has absolutely nothing to do with them, how I was raised, etc. Just another year really of battling the mental illness I suffer from (bipolar disorder). Never having confronted my own death…Persiflage again below: “Mastery has nothing to do with words, at any time.”Anyone here care to address that vastly embarrassing sentence? Perhaps Persiflage can use a bit of imagination and describe the mastery that the human race would have been capable of without language. We would also wish Persiflage to write not another word and demonstrate this mastery of no language. Mastery without language–no doubt Persiflage trying to awe us with Zen Buddhism. But Zen Buddhism was concerned with a mastery in particular fields, particular fields which do not require language (calligraphy–aesthetics of letters apart from arrangement into sense; martial arts, particularly sword fighting; tea ceremony; flower arranging, gardening in general; painting——but but but!: poetry, language, mastery of language, Haiku…).”Mastery has nothing to do with words”…I have to hand it to Persiflage, that could possibly be the most discouraging, censorial statement I have ever heard. Persiflage if not living in a despotic state should move there. What talent at silencing dissenting voices!

  • persiflage

    ‘Whence those lines you posted?’An anonymous and serendipitous internet find. Your Johnny Appleseed poem also has traces of Taoism peeking through here and there, at least to my eyes……I like Swedenborg – a cross between Newton and Leonardo rolled into a Lutheran Swede, with a touch of Blake. Also interesting is his shared mysticism with close contemporary and fellow Lutheran,You may know that Swedenborg wrote very extensively about theology, and also about his numerous trips to other dimensions and ensuing conversations with the local residents.Given the rarity of such self-declared mystics these days, there must have been certain advantages to living in more ‘imaginative’ times :^)

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    On Johnny AppleseedHe was also a missionary for the Church of the New Jerusalem, or Swedenborgian Church, so named because it teaches the theological doctrines contained in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.[1]WikipediaPersiflage”You may know that Swedenborg wrote very extensively about theology, and also about his numerous trips to other dimensions and ensuing conversations with the local residents.”Yes. :} The Lord’s Been Good to MeOh, the Lord’s been good to me.Oh, and every seed I sowOh, here I am ‘neath the blue, blue skyI wake up every day,I wake up every day–Johnny AppleseedLegend has it that Johnny sang this song as he went about evangelizing and planting apple seeds. He believed, a la Swedenborg, that apples have mystical significance.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Persiflage,”An anonymous and serendipitous internet find. Your Johnny Appleseed poem also has traces of Taoism peeking through here and there, at least to my eyes……”Great find! Lindsay was a truly interesting poet, a declaimer. Wrote many tributes to men he admired.

  • persiflage

    Daniel12:’We would also wish Persiflage to write not another word and demonstrate this mastery of no language.’Such mastery can’t be demonstrated. I know something about bipolar disorder – perhaps your voluminous reading, writing, and recapitulating can be in part attributed to these drives – and yet, what exactly have you demonstrated, other than an aptitude for regurgitating someone else’s thoughts? For example, if you object to atheist attitudes for whatever reason as you have on countless occasions, this can be layed out in two paragraphs or less and in your own words. Just be sure and identify which attitude and which kind of atheist you’re talking about – there are more than one of each. Generalization is usually an idea killer. As Schaum likes to say, clarity is everything. Imagine conjuring up one single original thought – an accomplishment that eludes the best of thinkers. What we do here is recap non-original thoughts and no one pretends otherwise. Your thoughts are coming from places that many of us have already been by way of our own journey. There are of course rare talents among us for sheer wordsmithery – here Onofrio comes to mind as a notable example. My particular view to communicating successfully on this blog is not complicated – keep it short and simple, or no one will even bother reading it. They won’t read part I, much less the 5 parts that follow. I will say that your writing seems to be more organized of late, but it’s always in overdrive. A wordsalad of ideas defeats the art of communication. Try stopping at part I for a change (I’ve seen you do it) and the likelihood of making your point will increase exponentially.Mastery has nothing to do with words….

  • persiflage

    ‘Legend has it that Johnny sang this song as he went about evangelizing and planting apple seeds. He believed, a la Swedenborg, that apples have mystical significance.’That’s a very appealing tune. Apples and good health have a long history!

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    D12Cut through with a sharp knife. Your words and everyone else’s.To the extent that we are born into history, mastery has everything to do with words, and the ability to cut through them.Hope and change, change and hope. Change you can believe in. The candidate who brings people together vs. the one who is divisive. Evidently, the Senate did not hear that Obama brings people together. A new kind of politics in Washington. Also, blah, blah, indeed, and blah.Some good guys, some bad, some gray, lotsa bull. Geniuses, in particular, are known to be full.So Yeats self-mythologized: “Tell them you have seen me.” (ick) “I have forgotten all my Hebrew.” (good grief)Etc.And then there was The Philosopher, Plato, explaining why sex with young men was preferable to sex with women. (no comment necessary, I trust.)Cut, cut, cut through the bull. As for you, tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then stop.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Idols have clay feet (arms, legs, torsos, etc.)

  • Schaum

    “Western civilization has often been spoken of as the tension between religion and philosophy, the Classical world (particularly Greece) and the Hebrew tradition, or in short–Jerusalem and Athens.”Ah. Evidently Daniel12 has read another book. I suppose he will, with customary lack of clear insight, be preaching its ideas for weeks now.

  • Schaum

    Farnaz:Too late. I’ve already made Daniel12 my idol. I’ve taken up worship of the possessed, there being no god to idolize.

  • persiflage

    ‘Never having confronted my own death? Just last year I had a conversation with my relatives in which I assured them that if I commit suicide it has absolutely nothing to do with them, how I was raised, etc. Just another year really of battling the mental illness I suffer from (bipolar disorder). Never having confronted my own death…’In my view, suicide is not confronting your own death – it’s a method of avoiding the pain of life. There’s a difference. I accept that everyone owns their own life, and that suicide as a last resort in cases of terminal, painful and incapacitating end stage disease should be a personal decision. I support physician assisted suicide in such cases. I’m not pretending to know what people with bipolar disorder experience – although my granddaughter could probably tell me. If people thus afflicted would stay on their prescribed medications, the symptoms can usually be controlled. The problem is, they’re not compliant in many instances and that’s part of the condition.

  • persiflage

    Huang Po says only get rid of conceptual thought, and your work is done:’The Void is fundamentally without spatial dimensions, passions, activities, delusions or right understanding. You must clearly understand that in it there are no things, no people and no Buddhas; for this Void contains not the smallest hairsbreadth of anything that can be viewed spatially; it depends on nothing and is attached to nothing. It is all-pervading, spotless beauty; it is the self-existent and uncreated Absolute. A perception, sudden as blinking, that subject and object are one, will lead to a deeply mysterious wordless understanding; and by this understanding will you awake to the truth of Zen.’

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    I don’t know if Buddhism is the right thing for D12.Have you tried meditation, D12?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Unfortunately, many people are unaware of what the correct medication is. Here in New York (!), I knew someone who had been taking Lithium (alone) for years. In all that time the psychiatrist he’d been seeing never even informed him that there were alternatives, combinations of medications, etc.Bipolar is no fun. As we know. Still, one can be succinct.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    D12,Maybe, you should think about what you really want. I mean that literally. Then you can set goals and achieve them.There are no mysteries where earthly rewards are concerned, at least not many. Men can attract women. People who want to draw can learn to wield a pencil with aplomb (or even a plumb).I like to draw. Once I went to the Morgan Library to see a private collection. I gravitated to a simple pencil drawing–a few lines–of a woman in profile. The lines had such force they seemed ready to extend past the paper that held them. The artist, I saw, was a very young Picasso.I will never draw like that. But I like to draw.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Daniel12I have never heard of the tension between Athens and Jerusalem, that you mentioned. I assume that it is a metaphor for a tension between reason and religion. This disagreement between us is not really important. You are tracing formative European influences back further than I would, and attributing greater signfigance to things in the far distant past than I would.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Daniel12I still haven’t read the thing you posted yet. It’s so long; I dread it; but I will give it a shot, gulp.

  • persiflage

    Most unfortunate for us all is the impending political crisis underlying democratic efforts and the apparent lack of success on various fronts – that being the growing vulnerability to republican replacements. Republicans from the right obviously believe that long-perfected obstructionist tactics and negative media spin are about all they need to re-capture critical seats in the House and Senate. And it may not take much more than that to convince voters that ‘another change’ is needed. Should this happen on any scale during the next election cycle, expect Congress to remain legislatively mired in muck generated from the right, whichever way they turn – a few more votes on the neocon side of the fence will cause ugly political compromises and consequences that won’t bode well for anyone, other than the GOP. The return to power is their solitary overarching goal and beyond that they have nary a single good idea between the lot of them. Neither covert nor overt operatives from the right are scrupulous people by any measure, and I think Obama may still be in a mild state of shock regarding the real-world behavior of politicos in the nation’s capital. And thus will it always be. Hopefully the Obama administration understands this well, because this is no time for political naivete. More positive concrete results both domestic and foreign will be necessary in the coming year, although unemployment is projected to remain entrenched for years to come. Obama did take office during a confluence of negative forces not seen in the country since the Great Depression, so that has to be taken into consideration. The fact that we appear to have escaped that fate and are slowing rising out of a deep recession must be credited to someone or another. Since Reagan has always gotten the credit for single-handedly dissolving the Soviet Union, I guess we’ll have to give Obama the benefit of the doubt on saving the economy from a worse fate.The fact that he has not completely broken with the Bush administration policies in the Mideast, in lieu of the dramatic changes expected by many of his supporters, is my single biggest disappointment with Obama to date.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Daniel12I still haven’t read your second post yet; it’s so long; I dread it; what if I don’t get it? you will be mad at me.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Daniel12It didn’t post, so I retyped it, and now there it is twice. I am not as dumb as this site makes me look.

  • onofrio

    Sorry, that’s a rumination on Farnaz’ “the recent SCOTUS ruling on corporate campaign donations assures that all the gods of Persuasion will come running down from NonMount Olympus in 2012.”

  • timmy2

    Persiflage,”However, consider that Hillary has put considerable distance between herself and Bill’s unsavory past and that her resume is looking better and better.”Indeed.’We all bought the impossible dream theme that undergirded Obama’s campaign, and he may get there yet, with a little luck”Indeed. I bought into it too. But I didn’t buy that great change would come about any time in the first couple of years. I think any clear thinking person would expect the kind of change he promised by Obama to take at least 8 years if not more to be noticeable. While my confidence in him has been slightly rattled, I’m still holding on to that dream.I was one of my only friends (a liberal bunch) who supported the Iraq war. I thought removing Saddam was necessary, not to protect the United States from weapons of mass destruction, but because such a mad man trouble maker could not be left in charge of a country so important as Iraq under the circumstances. I took a lot of heat for my opinion during the first five years of the war. My defense was that it was ridiculous for anyone to expect it to be functioning democracy within 5 years. I kept saying “talk to me after ten years.” Remember the great civil war of Iraq that was supposed to happen that never occurred? In another ten years Iraq will be a shining example of a middle eastern democracy. The Iraq war will have been a success, and worth it. Not that there can be a comparison between the Iraq war, and Obama’s presidency, but people in general tend to expect that great change can come about quickly, and easily. I said give the Iraq situation 10 years when others were saying that it has a certain date with a long and brutal civil war that will be our fault. And now I’m saying give Obama at least 4 years if not 8 to have a fair chance of enacting change we can all believe in. I still believe in that change. And I still believe in Obama. And I am very grateful to have Hilary waiting in the wings just in case. Sincerely,The long-lost archon of the certainly uncertain. ;)

  • onofrio

    Dr. Pepper – how can you drink that stuff? ‘Twould wash away the savour of that serve of worms a la Dan-de-lion.

  • onofrio

    Onofrio, a.k.a. Widow Capet,To the tumbrel with you!regards, Père Duchesne.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Daniel12For a very basic critique of what you wrote, most of your arguements are based on post-hoc perceptions, relating to the tension between Jerusalem and Athens as the basis of modern thought, as well as your inferences regarding the influence of science, atheism, and Marxism on the modern world and current thought. I think that there have always been atheists and there have always been scienctists, as far back as recorded history goes; there are just more now.I think that science is a system of reseach and thought that is distinctly separate and apart from any kind of religious or philosophical analogy.I think that Marxism, as expressed through the Communist Soviet Union was a quasi-religous autocracy along the lines of the autocracy that it replaced, that sought to strengthen the state through more efficient planning of economic effort and I think of the Soviet Union as a reformulation of the Russian Empire.I think modern Christian ideas are radically different from ancient Jewish ideas, and are more traceable to the Medieval Catholic Church. I think that our ideas on the sovereign state and the meaning of law are traceable to the Roman Empire. I think that European ideas on freedom, democracy, and individual rights are traceable to the Germanic tribes that migrated throughout Europe during the decline of the Roman Empire, and whose local kingdoms replaced it.I think that we know alot about the devlopemental history of Europe, but why history developed and unfolded as it did is open to speculation, and actually, no one really knows these things. You went into great detail, as if you do know, as if your original speculations really are true. But a great deal of the basis of your argument is not necessarily known or agreed upon to be true. And therefore, your conclusions are not all that plausibe, at least in my opinion.

  • persiflage

    Timmy:’And now I’m saying give Obama at least 4 years if not 8 to have a fair chance of enacting change we can all believe in.’I don’t disagree, but it’s the American voter and the general populace that we’re taking about here – the possibility of instant gratification, immediate solutions, and overnight successes are all ideas/beliefs that have considerable currency in every domain. This is most certainly (:^) in part due to a rolloff from the incessant conditioning processes of consumer-based culture from the cradle to the grave, where everything imaginable is immediately within arm’s reach…excepting those important intangibles that for many are satisfied through their religious affiliations and beliefs. Economics and personal theology are somehow inextricably linked and I am convinced that this particular dynamic coupling of forces, is exactly why religion permeates the civil and secular arenas to such a high degree hereabouts. Material aspirations that include affluence + religion + family values is always a good sell in the USA – nothing new there. Big topic, so I’ll leave it there. I have to believe that the Presidency is a learn as you go proposition and there’s alot of undoing to be done, as others have said. Fiscal negligence and corporate banking misbehavior was on a scale never before experienced, given the vast lucre involved for those that benefitted. It was just too easy to pass up – so now here we are. Folks are not satisfied, but imagining the unimaginable i.e. the crisis we’d be facing with another republican administration in place, should at least provide some sense of relief in retrospect. Being in it for the long haul is really the only choice we have…..Persiflage

  • Counterww

    Farnz-RR inherited Carter’s mess. He turned it around. It was bad, very bad.At some point Obama must take credit for , or a debit, for the bad economy. He can’t go blaming Bush forever.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Because Judaism requires rigorous dbeate, juxtaposing books, reading books together with layers of commentaries, it is, by definition, interpretive.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    The Catholic Education web site is not the least biased source on Pius XI. I would look at the off-line works, the archival material, including the letters from priests begging for help.Pius XI was not, to my knowledge either a racist or a Nazi. Much more than that I would not say, the Catholic Education Web site notwithstanding. Jews, were, in fact, rounded up outside his very window.It is unusual for Baptists to become Catholics and vice versa.

  • Schaum

    4.

  • Schaum

    3.

  • Schaum

    2.

  • Schaum

    1.

  • Schaum

    2.”The person (priest) who wrote source document P (the largest chunk of the Torah) was not just changing details of stories. He was developing a concept of God. His work was literary, but his motivation was not only artistic, but also theological, political, and economic. He had to deal with challenges from other priests and other religious centers. He had to defend his group’s legitimacy and to protect their authority. And he had to ensure their livelihood. He also had to fight the insult to his ancestor Aaron. It is not great surprise that P does not include the stories of the golden calf or of snow-white Miriam. But this writer apparently also felt that the best defense is a good offense. They had challenged his ancestor, Aaron. He challenged their ancestor, Moses.”And as far as who was an atheist or not, it really doesn’t matter. A lot of people claimed to believe in god out of fear of persecution. It wasn’t that long ago when the catholic church was torturing, killing, and locking people up for criticizing the validity of bible and the christer religion. As a matter of fact, the christers continue persecution in the form of character assassination of those who don’t buy their made up story — especially in this country.

  • Schaum

    1.Heaven and Hell came from man’s imagination just like all the gods he ever created. It’s sad that people to this day will not let go of their religious superstitions, out of fear of going to a place that does not exist except in their fearful minds.Let’s think a minute on how man could have came up with a place called hell. Volcanoes, maybe? When they erupted, hot molten lava came up from the earth. Many people worshiped volcanoes because they thought a god resided inside them. People thought that their god was making the volcano erupt when he was angry with them so they often sacrificed to the volcano to keep it from erupting. Many villages were at the bottom of volcanoes and were subsequently wiped out with molten lava and ash when they did erupt. This led people to believe that when their god got angry he sent people to a fiery pit. It’s quit simple to see how over the years, and with a little imagination, man became to believe that there was actually a hell deep in the earth (where lava comes from) that man would end up in if they did not appease their god. The bible was written during a time when people were highly ignorant of their world and surroundings. They blamed god for everything good and bad that happened. And the stories of the bible reflect their beliefs. People need to understand better the world in which the bible was born and how inextricably connected it was to THAT world, NOT ours. The old testament was not meant to be used by anyone but the Jewish people including the ten commandments which were more than likely written by priests. God (Yahweh) was a Jewish god, not a Babylonian, Egyptian, or Syrian, god. They created god for them which explains why the priests wrote “God’s chosen people”. Yet, after nearly 3,000 years we have managed to adopt their fictional god as our god.

  • arminius3142

    It would seem that the problem of Pius XII and Nazi Germany is one hell of a controversy. Much of what Schaum says about him is rather sternly contradicted elsewhere. I’d sure like to find out more, but is there an unbiased source?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    There are several excellent introductory texts on the authorship of both books of the Bible. The so-called Documentary Hypthesis to which Schaum alludes posits several Tanakh scribes; it is generally accepted among scholars, very convincing.The origins of an original God called YWYH is less convincing, but there is evidence for such an entity. Early on this single (Hear oh Israel, the LOrd, the Lord is ONe), deity became Hashem (Name), and YWYH the Tetragarmaton. YWYH is unpronouceable. The deity is given the name “Name” to show that It cannot be limited. LImiting names, defines.It is impossible to know much about how the very early Israelites’ constructed what we now call Judaism since Judaism was being constructed along with Tanakh. Different scribes wrote from different locations, geographically, socially, politically. Their traditions were not ours. At the time it was the practice to write down all versions of a past event, for example, and, in no case, was there the view that multiple versions of historical occurrences were contradictory. They appear to have been read as if they complemented one another.JUdaism is Rabbinic Judaism, the Judaism that began with Talmud. On the most important level, it may be viewed as a method of reading texts. There are several levels of meaning derived with the use of prescribed techniques. Biblical texts are read alongside one another. The Psalms are NOT personal prayers. They are read with David and the relevant passages of Talmud according to method.Debate, interrogation of texts, is essential. It is true, as Schaum says, that gentiles are not expected to follow the Ten Commandments. They are expected to follow the Nocahide Code.Except for the ethics, literalism passed away along time ago.Are religious people psychotic? Well….?

  • middlenmae

    ONOFRIO:

  • Schaum

    Arminius:An unbiased source? There are several sites that contain this data. I think Farnaz is right: the Catholic Education website would not be one of them!Beginning about the middle 50s, there was an international obsession with denouncing Pius XII. There were several books and plays — one 7 hours long! — that dealt with the “Pius problem”. I have read somewhere that this was organized Communist propaganda, but I’ve never found proof of that.

  • Schaum

    Well, hello Farnaz. Long time no see. Snowing in NYC? We are having a major storm here. Wonderful day to stay in by the fire.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    The material (verbatim) originates with the Catholic Education web site, link provided below.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Persiflage,There’s an interesting article somewhere by eminent historian Robert Wistrich on Pope Benedict’s obsession with Pacelli.For one thing, Pacelli, who sent Hitler a birthday card every year, was a Germanophile, as is Benedict. When Benedict was in Israel, at Yad Vashem, he played down the role of Germany in the Holocaust.I’ll see if I can find the link to the Wistrich article.

  • arminius3142

    Schaum,Re Pius XII, I would be vert skeptical of RC sites, but would not reject them out of hand.I did look at this site, a Jewish one:It is probable, given the controversy, that there is no unbiased source.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Persiflage,I wonder that the Vatican does not canonize Oscar Romero, SJ.But, then, they threw that great soul to the wolves, did they not. Or were they the wolves.

  • daniel12

    On mental illness I suffer from…diagnosed bipolar, but also schizophrenic at different times in the past. But I consider myself lucky because my parents and relatives in general are special people, really considerate and understanding. I had a fortunate childhood. I consider my mental illness as strictly something within myself, a problem of the brain and not anything arrived at by upbringing as some physicians still want to insist as the reason. Also I have been lucky as to medication. At different times I had medication that did not put symptoms at bay, but now have working medicine–and none too soon I might add.About my mental illness in general I have mixed feelings. Sure there is great danger to it but it also sends thoughts in directions that more normal people do not experience. And I am lucky to have high intelligence. Most mentally ill people do not have high intelligence. Most people of high intelligence do not have mental illness. I do have high intelligence and can profit quite well from my mental illness.The depressed state enables me to connect with misfortune in general, and the manic state drives thoughts as though a swift moving current and makes one capable of experiencing the exquisite in art, music, the intellectual life.All in all I have been lucky, but as my father said when once we were thinking about genetics and the human future, I would probably not be allowed to be born in the future. Too erratic. Too solitary. Unbelievably lazy if not reading, writing thinking, exercising, listening to music. That is the way it is….

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Persiflage,Thanks for the links. This is from the last you posted:”When he died in 1878, revenge-seeking Italian liberals tried to dump his body into the Tiber River.”

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Persiflage,Did you see Passolini’s masterpiece “Salo”?If not, and you have a strong stomach, you might want to give it a look.

  • Counterww

    More crapola from DILD:He did not start two wars, run up the budget deficit, destroy the housing market, and collapse the banking system; Bush did.1) Iraq war- correct. Afghanistan- Al Qaida started that one, with the help of the Taliban. They started that war on 9-11Housing market- Both parties complicit in this. Making banks ,encouraging them(Dems) to give loans to people that had no basis or money to borrow, and Pubs looking the other way and not auditing mortgage backed securities etc. Barney Frank is a culprit also. DEMOCRAT.Democrats were in power the last two year before Obama was elected.Bush was bad, Obama has proved nothing and has proved ineffectual in office. Democrat majority and massive deficits now have occurred and with no improvement in in sight.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Counterw:In fairness, who was the last president to inherit such a disaster?My own problem lies with the election and the b.s. that so many people bought into. Let us recall that Obama did say that it would take years for us to dig ourselves out of this economic mess.Unfortunately, all of his Reality Talk came after “hope and change,” “change you can believe in,” “a new kind of politics in Washington,” and blah.The health care problem is, in part, one of his own making, the one he began constructing during the primary, as Paul Krugman so astutely noted. Added to everything else is the fact that he cannot or will not use muscle with Congress. If he doesn’t do something soon, we’ll be an outpost of the PPR.IMHO, we had no desirable candidates. If I’d had my druthers, I’d have put Clinton at the head of the Democratic ticket. Don’t like her. Not at all. But that wasn’t and isn’t the point.As for McCain, he lost me at hello. I doubt I could have voted for him under any circumstances, but the election was not his finest hour. And then he had Palin on the ticket, she who could see Russian from Alaska.

  • timmy2

    “Except for the ethics, literalism passed away along time ago”Literalism is more than alive and well amongst the masses. It only died amongst intellectuals. And the intellectuals should be smart enough to know that. The vast vast majority of believers in this world believe literally.”Are religious people psychotic? “No, delusional.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Meant to write “an outpost of the PRC (People’s Republic of China).”

  • timmy2

    Persiflage,Neil Young is my favorite Canadian of all time, never mind just a rocker. But he sure does rock. Daniel 12 and I have chatted music before. He has an unbelievably extensive collection of Zeppelin bootlegs and knows more about my child hood hero, Jimmy Page” than I do. If you want the insiders guide to Canadian musicians you might not have heard of but should check out, the first one is Gordie Johnson who fronts a band called “Big Sugar.” Gordie is a rock blues virtuoso and plays louder than anyone. Also, Craig Northey who fronts a Vancouver band called “The Odds” is a Lennon/Mcartney level song writer IMHO.But seriously, get ahold of some Big Sugar, and crank it!

  • Schaum

    Timmy2:””Are religious people psychotic? “No, delusional.”Actually, delusions (and sometimes hallucinations) are usually a feature of psychosis.Somewhere I have read that the incidence of schizophrenia (with its delusions) is comparatively high among priests.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Dear Daniel12I have just scrolled down and read the past few comments.I, also, have a close family loved one who suffers from manic depression. I know all about it. This family loved one resists treatment and does not take his medication properly, so it is hard on his family as well as on him. Sorry about all your problems. I hope you take care of yourself. (I wrote a bunch of stuff about what you should do, but I figure you have probably heard it all before, so I deleted it, so I wouldn’t sound like a nag).From your writing, I can tell that you have read alot and know alot. But your writing is mostly a list of grievances with complicated explantions; it is hard reading. You take all of this too seriously; none of us know each other, so we all bash each other and treat each other more flippantly than we would real friends. No one here is really judging you because we don’t know you, just the faceless, bodiless name: Daniel12. Try to take all of this with a lighter heart.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Counterww Poor dumb Bush. I’m glad you liked him and good riddance to him. He gives me the creeps.I feel alot more comfortable knowing Obama is President.To quote my grandmother, who was an old country woman, ” … it takes all kinds to make a world … “I guess that must mean she was a commie lefty, liberal Godless agent of Satan gun control baby killer. … mmmmmmmmmm ?

  • onofrio

    Farnaz, quoting J D Crossan:And that future was?Joshua 10Joshua 11Joshua 11And this Bronze Age has not abated, but hardened into Iron. We’re still at it, in every language, whether as People of God, gods, or nongod. Somebody Out There is still hardening hearts. The Promise.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    I’ve skimmed the article, Persiflage, will have to give it a better look further on.What I don’t see thus far is any mention of the Vatican’s having been in league with the terrorist regime in El Salvador, with its suspicion that Fr. Romero was a “communist.”He was not slaughtered for his faith, true enough. He was slaughtered for his basic human decency, his commitment to the poor, to JUSTICE.I guess that would not make him a good candidate for sainthood. My father was twenty minutes away from the site where Romero was murdered. He will never get over that. All of El Salvador knows what the Vatican did, knows they disowned him, that they threw him to the animals.Rest in peace, Oscar Romero. Or as we Jews would say, do say, May God rest your soul.

  • arminius3142

    Schaum,Thanks for the links, I appreciate that. I’ll follow up tomorrow am, I’m too damn tired right now.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Persiflage, all in all a good article. STill, the fact is that John Paul, like his predecessors was at home with fascists. The Vatican threw that great man to the wolves.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Hi Persiflage,”Farnaz, another suspected complication with Oscar Romero is his affiliation with liberation theology and it’s influence with regard to his social views.”Thanks for the link. I’m familiar with Liberation Theology–the Jesuits’ finest hour, I suspect.Will read link.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Back to Greek or, Better, Aramaic?If a religion changes, it may go wrong; if it does not, it must go wrong.The reason is that change is an inevitable feature of life and conscious or deliberate change is a necessary feature of human life. Any living religion will change as it continues through history but, of course, a dead religion does not change. And, one of the ways you know a religion is dead or dying, is its refusal to change and/or its attempt to return were once it was.Roman Catholic tradition is not exempt from change as the law of creation and creation’s God. But any religious tradition is carried by its religious community which make and remake each other in reciprocal interaction. Leaders may assist or resist that process but they cannot do it by will alone. The most serious delusion of leaders is to think that they alone are in sole charge of a community’s past, present, or future. It is ultimately the community—which is simply the incarnate and living tradition—that will determine what stays and what goes, what changes and what develops. And, for community, tradition, or hierarchy, it is ultimately impossible to hold back the inevitable future by returning to the abandoned past.In terms of Roman Catholicism, our ancestors in faith began with Aramaic, changed to Greek, then tried Latin, and finally, moved into the various vernaculars. If we wish to revert to our linguistic origins, why just to Latin, why not to Aramaic with Jesus or Greek with the New Testament?Finally, I suggest this meditation for Pope Benedict—courteously, of course, as one author of a Jesus-book to another. When the People of God were on trek towards their Promised Land, they needed both a Leader and some Scouts. The Scouts went ahead and were the first to enter the Promised Land—although they did end up there on some surprising rooftops. The Scouts returned and reported what was up ahead. They had seen the future and the People followed them into it. But the Leader never made it into the Promised Land. He only glimpsed it from the peak of Pisgah and was buried in the midst of Moab.By John Dominic Crossan | July 16, 2007; 9:07 AM ET

  • arminius3142

    Rightwingnuts seem to ignore the fact that Obama’s qualifications, as far as public service goes, are almost identical to Lincoln’s.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Btw., if he is canonized, Pius will be in good company, eg., St. John Chrysostum. En fin, who cares. Moi, je n’aime pas les idols, but that’s me.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Daniel12I have a close relative who has manic-depression, the old term for bi-polar. It is a psychosis of disorderd mood, I believe. He has episodes of illness followed by long periods, even years, when he is ok. Once an episode has passed, he usually stops taking his medicine, and continues on fine, until the next episode.When he is depressed, it is like a real physical illness, and the house is the home of a sick person. Just to be in the room with him is difficult, because he is so sad. Concerned people come to visit; they bring flowers, and chicken soup, and sometimes they want to pray for him. But when he is is manic, no one comes to visit or to wish him well because people are afraid. In this phase, he stops sleeping and becomes physically exhaused, and sometimes collapse as though he is having a heart attack. But probably the most disturbing symptom is that his normal personality goes away and some person whom we do not know takes his place. Basically, he makes unending mischief for us all, and it is exhausting for us, since we love him, and do not want to cast him out. All we can do is hold on until the episode passes, which it always does. He doesn’t take drugs or even drink very much, so it is not anything like that; it is something inside of his mind that does not work right.Theoretically, there is a lot that can be done for this illness. But pratically, the health care system is a little wonky, especially for psyciatric problems. So, maybe you could benefit from being in a group of other people that have the same problem, and just talk about it. It shouldn’t be too hard to get hooked into a group like that, and I think it would help.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Idols or no, man is the same.I don’t understand much about how gentiles read Tanakh, I confess, but the prohibition against idolatry, the Commandments, are what most concern Jews.NOTHING remains that was written in stone. Tnakh is interpretive. Interpretation continues.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Onofrio,A great deal of evil followed Mt. Pigsah, if that is your point, including the worship of idols. But that isn’t the point for Crossan. Or for me.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Tanakh is a text written over many, many years by multiple authors. If one reads to see what happens next, for plot, for “type,” one is not Jewish. (What can I say?)

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Addendum:What I can also say is one knows nothing of biblical scholarship. Not vous, Onofrio, certainle.

  • Publ1us

    “If he were, he would know that there are a great many religious believers who consider God and the religion of humanity as one.”What does this even mean? Humans are selfish by nature, and when they overcome that selfishness they are doing so because of the conscience within us. And the thing about “humanist religions” is that they generally fall apart when faced with real adversity. The thing about Christianity: it flourishes under persecution, and a lot of people willing die for their beliefs. To me, that offers great deal more validity than some undefinable “religion” of vague goodness.And you argue at the end that Obama wasn’t viewed as some sort of Savior? “Hope we can believe in. Yes we can.” These slogans pander to those who long for a type of real faith, please don’t pretend he wasn’t trying to convince people he was a secular savior. You are misguided.

  • onofrio

    “Not vous.”True. This gentile is unschooled in Tanakh. Yet its doppelgänger is, regardless of his wishes, inherited. No Hashem, no Christ; things of stone and wood cut down… Am blind and haunted.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Last on Moses, Crossan, idolatry….On Passover, Jews read the Haggadah which recounts the Exodus and describes the Passover service. They read Haggaddah from beginning to end.The word “Moses” is never mentioned. From a deconstructive perspective, it is conspicuous in its absence. Over the course of the evening, one forgets MosesIdolatry.As far as I’m concerned what the Catholics do, who they saint, whether or not their clergy is celebate is up to them. I’m not Catholic.All I have ever asked of them, of every practitioner of every religion, is the right to be free from their beliefs, free of them. Keep them in the private sphere. Do not clutter governments with them. Keep them out of the newspapers, etc. In other words, leave the rest of us alone.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Onofrio,”Am blind and haunted.”

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Onofrio,What I meant was that you ARE familiar with secular biblical scholarship.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Onofrio,Have atheists not suffered from lack of hymns?Where, for example, is our Ode to Non?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Religious populism. And then we have populist religionism.Oh, Non,Give us this day

  • Schaum

    Pope Bentdick XIV excommunicated CCNL and cast him into outer darkness. And lo! CCNL is gone from the blog! This is a miracle, and clearly qualifies Bentdick for canonization.

  • daniel12

    On my mental illness (bipolar disorder) thanks to all for comments. I am on medication and definitely stick to it. I have been lucky in the sense that the highs and lows I experience are not too high and not too low. Where I am unlucky is that occasionally I experience the notorious “mixed” state, where one is simultaneously depressed and agitated, a terrible feeling, as if depressed and experiencing fingernails going down the blackboard. In such a state suicide does not seem a bad thing at all. So I stick to my medication. The “mixed” state reduces one to literally begging, God is easily believed in–hoped for–and one definitely understands such things as people being tortured. I know how easy it is to break a person’s will–my will has been broken more than a few times in life. One just gives up and starts crying. What makes it even worse–so far as I am concerned–is that when I was young I experienced a profound mystical experience which cured me of drug and alcohol addiction. It was a profound shock and alteration of the psyche, as if one is a country and on an earthquake faultline. I thought I was becoming hopelessly mad but then had an extraordinary feeling of peace and understanding, deep insight into self.But the bad thing about it is that I think I have used up all my ability to profoundly change so when I am broken by the “mixed” state of bipolar disorder I have no hope of really jarring loose from it. The torture just goes on and on with no relief. This is contrasted with the mystical experience in that the mystical experience began with a feeling of torture then resolved itself beyond all belief. I say mystical experience, by the way, because it did seem as if coming into contact with God. I say seem because now I am willing to consider it just a profound psychological change that does not necessarily mean one is in contact with anything divine. The change though is so beneficial and abrupt that it seems as if coming into contact with the divine.As for the relationship between my parents, relatives and myself, I tried hard in the past not to depress them with things I was going through, but was forced finally to tell them if the worst happens it is not their fault at all and that it is something strictly biological. But apart from that I am not a problem because apart from the “mixed” state I am relatively fine, more cyclothymic than really manic or depressed. I definitely stick to my medicine–and it certainly helps that the medication I take does not blunt feelings as some medication does, which makes some bipolar people reject medicine. Thanks again for comments.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Revision, the FirstOh, Non,Give us this day

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Greetings Daniel12 & Schaum!Farnaz

  • Schaum

    Greetings to you Farnaz.Liked your poem a couple of posts down.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Daniel12This is true, I am not making it up:Vivien Leigh who played Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind was bi-polar, and so was Vivien Vance, aka Ethel Mertz.

  • Schaum

    DanielITLD:Vivian Leigh also had a foot fetish.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Revision, the SecondOh, Non,Give us this day

  • globalone

    “No one with a functioning mind ever believed that Obama was a secular or any other kind of messiah”Puh-leeze. Give me a break. Wasn’t he the “Hope we can Believe in”?President Obama is going through the natural growing pains of someone who is completely unprepared for the position. There is a REASON you climb the ladder, so that you are better prepared to handle greater and more complex responsibility.It’s really too bad. By the time President Obama starts to “get it”, his term will be completed and he’ll be replaced. Maybe in 20 years he can try for a 2nd term.

  • timmy2

    Ahhh Grammy night. God’s favorite TV night, next to the NFL awards of course. “First of all I’d like to thank God for siding with me over the other artists, and I’d like to thank Jesus for my new diamond studded leather limo seats… and peace out to Haiti. (kisses bling covered fingers and throws peace sign in the air as he walks off)Hooray for the one true God! Star of the Grammies!Maybe God was planning on hitting the San Andreas fault this Christmas but then he remembered that the Grammies were coming up so he nailed Haiti instead.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Maybe, Pius was God’s other son.

  • Schaum

    Glob Alone:The key words were “functioning mind.” Thats probably what threw you.And what ladder did GWB climb? Daddy? Was he a constitutional lawyer? Did he ever serve in the House or Senate? What were his qualifications to be head of a national government? Being governor of a banana republic like Texas? As you say, PUH-LEEZE.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Onofrio,There is a huge gap between Mount Pigsah and the arrival in the “promised land.” The point, obviously, is that the death of Moses allowed Human to continue on sans dictator or idol. Note that Tanakh states that no one knows where he was buried, in this way, precluding shrines. Everything in the Moses saga works against idolatry in every imaginable form. Only the commandments are AT FIRST written in stone.I think Crossan is suggesting that Catholicism must be able to grow, to progress, to cross into history. The Guide is not the God.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Revision, the ThirdOh, Non,Give us this day

  • timmy2

    “Have atheists not suffered from lack of hymns?”lmao. I don’t see how. With poems, paintings and songs about all of the real things that exist like love, compassion, jealousy, trees, waterfalls, clouds, women, men, lions, clowns, sadness, wonder, passion, and on and on for an eternity, which is another great subject for art.How could we be “suffering” by not having poems attributing it all to, say, a flying spaghetti monster, or a magic whale, the all knowing coffee bean, or some other delusion.Religion poisons everything. Including art. IMHO

  • timmy2

    More muse for the atheist”beauty, horses, grace, rainbows, stars, despair, energy, spirit, gumption, mourning, thunder, courtship, kissing, Paris, the moon, the sun, flowers, food, sex, rapture, snakes, trickery, inertia, molecules, fancy attire, booze, heroin, candy, villains, heros, cowards, temptresses, philanderers, velvet, competition, athleticism, shame, glory, generosity, fame, sunsets, Sunset Boulevard, oceans, wind, rain, sailing, fishing, coal mining, rum running, imprisonment, smoking, poverty, riches, euphoria, catastrophe, sunsets, fables, ……and of course the most intriguing of all, “the great unknown”. Which is the one that believers do not have. Too bad, it blows the doors off God.Of course when religion finally dies out there will be a lot less need for poetry about war. But yes, I guess we atheists do suffer greatly for not having poems about how praise worthy is this thing that doesn’t exist, for giving us all of these wonderful things by it’s generosity and grace, all for us plebes.So empty is the atheist well for muse. A huge void in it’s core. lol.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Revision, the LastOh, Non,Give us this day

  • onofrio

    Farnaz,About Coptic Compline here, six hours beyond Nones. Non will be well pleased (figuratively speaking) with thy hymnody – it singeth.”….turning all your sounds of woe, into hey nonny nonny.”Now, tho’ none know Non, our nonno Noah knew Nun, in noonday Nile anew. Nun known, Non shown, so gnaw no nothus’ bones nor throne. Idle, a tree.

  • gimpi

    Counterww, sorry for not responding earlier. I’m on deadline Sundays and Mondays, so I don’t blog. I understand your “a pox on both their houses” feelings, but I don’t think they are productive. An example would be your vote for Mr. Perot. While both parties certainly bear some responsibility for our current state, from my perspective, the Republicans must carry the lion’s share. Their pattern of deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy has been at the heart of everything from food poisoning epidemics to infrastructure decay to the banking crisis. Were Democrats along for the ride? Sure. Did Democrats come up with some of the nasty detours along the route? Of course. However, it hasn’t been an equal game, and pretending it has been will just make any fixes harder.As to your comment, My final thoughts, your argument just goes to show that Ms. Jacoby’s comment,

  • peterhuff

    Justillthennow, are you here? That last forum thread we were on shut down. I thought that barging in here in its second week would not disturb the current topic of conversation since it has almost died out and diverged into splintered topics and preferred topics by now. By our barging in on Susan’s current topic it breaks up the theme very quickly. The problem is we only have a week in which to have our say instead of two on the most recent topic.

  • onofrio

    Peter Huff,B) In the end, not all men will be saved.In other words, what God WANTS for ALL men will only actually happen for A FEW men.C) God is sovereign. Nothing can or does occurs unless he wills it.If A, B, and C are all true, then God is conflicted within himself. He wants all men to be saved, yet has also foreordained that only a few will be saved.

  • onofrio

    Peter Huff,So why do English translations uniformly render “all” instead of “all types of”? Rather ambiguous.Let’s look at the Greek:Note that the phrase translated “all men” in v4 is ος παντας ανθρωπους “all of humanity”. One could interpret it as you do, yet the plain, unqualified reading I suggest (taking at face value the NASB, ESV, KJV, NIV ….) is also valid. If the intention had been to say, as you do, that all the various TYPES of people can be saved – i.e. even kings – the Greek could deploy the phraseology “different kinds of”, as found in 1 Cor. 12:4-6:4 διαιρεσεις δε χαρισματων εισιν το δε αυτο πνευμα The key term in this case is διαιρεσεις .Alternatively, the form of words in 1 Cor.12:10 could be employed, referring to “different kinds of tongues” The key term here is ετερω.The Koine had several options for clearly expressing what you take the passage to mean. But none are present in this instance. What happened to the plain reading? And why is there no major English translation that says “who wants all KINDS OF of men to be saved” and “who gave himself as a ransom for all KINDS OF men”. If your interpretation of this passaage is correct, then standard English bibles are misleading.I know plenty of Christians who would read 1 Tim. 2:1-7 in its plain sense, holding that God wants the best for ALL OF HUMANITY, not just the prechosen handful. How can those who acknowledge the same source of objective truth as you have such a different opinion?

  • onofrio

    Peter Huff,”He arranges that some will come to faith because if He didn’t their nature, their natural instinct and natural state would be to reject Him.”What is this “natural” that you are deploying? God made the “natural” world and its laws, did he not? So any “natural” state of man is entirely God’s doing. If humans reject him, it is because he arranged it that way. Still a puppet show…

  • peterhuff

    Hi Onofrio,Natural man, natural state, natural inclination would be those who operate according to the fleshly nature as opposed to the spiritual nature. It would be looking at life from the perspective of man as the ultimate authority, the framework of his senses as the final arbiter, rather than God. Although God made nature (the natural world), man chose to operate in and look to it for answers by his own will, apart from the directive will of God and apart from the influence of God’s thoughts about it. God’s will was the man eat of the tree of life (symbolic of the Lord Jesus Christ) and live forever in fellowship and relationship with God. Man’s will was rebellious and opposed that will by disobeying God. Without the experience of absolute goodness (God) evil is possible for evil is the absence of God or lack of the absolute goodness of God in ones life. The natural man functions apart from God for he is not WILLING to submit to God’s authority. Thus the world displays the ‘wisdom’ of man apart from God. “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-21 NASB)

  • peterhuff

    Hi Onofrio (February 4, 2010 1:14 AM ),ONOFRIO: “Let’s look at the Greek:Note that the phrase translated “all men” in v4 is ος παντας ανθρωπους “all of humanity”. One could interpret it as you do, yet the plain, unqualified reading I suggest (taking at face value the NASB, ESV, KJV, NIV ….) is also valid. If the intention had been to say, as you do, that all the various TYPES of people can be saved – i.e. even kings – the Greek could deploy the phraseology “different kinds of”, as found in 1 Cor. 12:4-6″:”Scripture interprets Scripture and when something is vague we look for other passages that give clearer meaning to the thoughts conveyed. As you said, in context the meaning I extracted is within the bounds of the possible meaning, just as yours is. Now when that verse is taken with other Scriptures the logical inference here is more easily determined.The passage in context is also very specific. In verse 1 it says, “First of all, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgiving, be made on behalf OF ALL MEN,Notice that ‘on behalf of all men’ is qualified with the word ‘for’ that immediately comes after these words, so it answers the question of what the ‘all men’ is in reference to,”FOR KINGS and ALL WHO ARE IN AUTHORITY, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quite life in all godliness and dignity.”So immediately after talking of all men Paul qualified what he means with the words ‘for kings and all who are in authority.’Does this not make a distinction in the context of the term ‘all men’ as referring to types or kinds?Then the text says, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior who desires all men [ie. kings and all who are in authority in reference to the preceding verses] to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.””For there is one God and one Mediator also between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”

  • peterhuff

    As I mentioned in Rev. 5 that Jesus actually purchases a people from EVERY tribe and language and people and nation; it is a done deal. Matthew speaks of “He WHO WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE from their sins.” (1:21)He will and He does by dying their death on the cross. He died for all His people, not making salvation possible, but making it actual. “It is finished!””For by ONE OFFERING HE HAS PERFECTED FOR ALL TIME THOSE WHO ARE SANCTIFIED.” (Hebrews 10:14)It is a done deal.”Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)Notice that He is able. It does not depend on man, for if it did we would fail miserably, as we have already in our feeble efforts, our ideas of righteousness, our acts of ‘goodness’ to save ourselves.”For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that is not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8)As you can see, the Bible is true to God’s word. He is the one who saves, and if God saves you He saves you completely. The Savior is fully capable, man is not.Now the other part to 1 Timothy 2:4 is that the Bible is also clear on not only that it is God who saves, but also that not all are saved, therefore, ‘all men’ is definitely distinctive and speaks of kind rather than every single man.”He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18)That verse goes on to explain why (vs. 19, 20)

  • peterhuff

    ONOFRIO: “The Koine had several options for clearly expressing what you take the passage to mean. But none are present in this instance.”Do you either speak or read Koine Greek?ONOFRIO: “What happened to the plain reading?”It is there. You don’t extract a doctrine on one verse, and when reading the verse the whole context of what it says is important.ONOFRIO: “And why is there no major English translation that says “who wants all KINDS OF of men to be saved” and “who gave himself as a ransom for all KINDS OF men”.” Because it isn’t necessary along with the rest of the context.ONOFRIO: “If your interpretation of this passage is correct, then standard English bibles are misleading.”No, the word ‘for” suggests we look at what preceded it and what comes after it, the all men, kings and those in authority.ONOFRIO: “I know plenty of Christians who would read 1 Tim. 2:1-7 in its plain sense, holding that God wants the best for ALL OF HUMANITY, not just the prechosen handful. How can those who acknowledge the same source of objective truth as you have such a different opinion?”Sure, because a correct handling of the word of truth is necessary (1 Timothy 2:15 with 3:16 or Acts 17:11). We need to worship in spirit and in truth. If you don’t have an accurate understanding you are going to misinterpret what God is saying.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Justillthennow ( February 1, 2010 4:32 PM ),”JTTN: “Peter, any rational mind can understand that “the absolute is knowable” is impossible.”PH: “You don’t understand what I’m getting at JTTN. If the absolute is not possible to know then everything is relative and nothing can be known as certain.” JTTN: “Yes, exactly.”There is no ‘exactly’ about it. Exact implies a precise standard without error.JJTN: “Perhaps not purely, as we can “know” much that is removed from the realm of subjective speculation and into the realm of objectively ‘known’ knowledge.”How do you ‘know’ without an objective source/measure/standard to compare the ‘knowing’ to? If the measure or source does not come from Someone who is objective, who sees all things and comprehends all things, then what is the bench mark that you use to determine objective by? What is the benchmark you use to determine truth by?JTTN: “Christian dogma does not reside there.”A naked assertion which you state in an absolute way. In order for your statement to be true you would have to know that as certain. You don’t so don’t state it as a certainty. It is all subjective unless you can provide a benchmark that is objective to measure your claims by. Do you have such a benchmark?JTTN: “Neither does any belief system describing the spiritual. God is not revealed as fact. Just a fact. If God WERE revealed as fact, known empirically and objectively, we would not be having this discussion.”Unless you deny who He really is.To know any empirical fact you have to use something that cannot be empirically tested – reason/logic. Where does reason/logic come from? Or how do you test it empirically? Yet reason/logic is necessary to assume anything. More to the point, the question should be are you stating it accurately and if so how do you know?

  • peterhuff

    JTTN: “This world IS relative, and absolutes in terms of the Creation, the spiritual, the soul, the ongoingness of life, etc. are unknown. The afterlife is unknown, unprovable, subject to subjective belief.”How do you know this? Again you are making naked assertions and formulating them as absolute statements of truth. There is no “I believe” or “in my opinion” here. So what is the benchmark that you use to make these assertions that you can justify them as true, objective, certain. PH: “IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DENY ABSOLUTES WITHOUT STATING ONE, because you imply one in the act of denial.”JTTN: “I agree with you. Until it is know to be impossible the possibility must exist, theoretically.”And yet ‘possible’ is not in the realm of certainty. It could or could not be? Yet absoluteness must be or certainty cannot be. ‘To be’ it MUST be. Similarly, you either exist or you don’t. To exist you must be. So existence is a certainty if you do exist. Do you exist? (^8JTTN: “However in this example it is an utterly reasonable statement, as I was referring to Knowing God, which is a proposition that is beyond the ability and bounds of an (effectively) ignorant human mind. We hardly know how to maintain our own lives in balance, much less comprehend All That Is. This seems an elementary assumption.”You rule out that God is capable and has revealed Himself to His creatures. If He has, and if He is all knowing, as the Bible itself claims, then He is able to reveal Himself in a way that human beings are capable of understanding and what He reveals must by objective, true, knowable, and necessary in order to have a correct view of life and truth and knowledge.

  • peterhuff

    PH: “If you didn’t know everything then there is always the possibility. Therefore necessity dictates that an absolute, objective Being is necessary to know anything…”JTN: “”necessity” dictates no such thing. You make a huge assumptive leap here.”Well, in your possible world, everything is possible, but in the real world that is not the case.Explain to me then how you know something is true? Explain to me how you know that life came from what you suppose it came from, how origins came from what you suppose they came from? Did the tooth fairy tell you? Did Johnny Confucius tell you? How about Paul Mohammed? What qualifies them as anything other than what they were, mere men. Why are they right? Now when we talk about Jesus, He claimed to be more than just a man (John 8:58; 20:29). He claimed to be from above, to forgive sins, something the Jews understood only God as able to do. He even said that if we deny Him we die in our sins, that He is the only way to God, that He and the Father are one, that He always does the work of the Father. He didn’t make someone else’s teachings the foundations of acceptance with God, He made His own the foundation of acceptance with God.So what is this source, this measure, this benchmark that you can point to with certainty and state that this is the truth?PH: “In the same manner, objectivity is a measure that needs to be constant.”JTTN: “You do work at bracing up your justification for your beliefs, Peter! However, objectivity is not “a measure”, or a measurement.I’m talking about, “The quality or state of being just and unbiased: detachment, disinterest, disinterestedness, dispassion, dispassionateness, equitableness, fair-mindedness, fairness, impartiality, impartialness, justice, justness, nonpartisanship, objectiveness. See fair/unfair.”I’m talking about a source that is beyond subjective evaluations on something that you can reference. I’m talking about a source that is impartial, a source that sees the whole of the data or fact and how every strand of data or fact relates to it. Can you point to one that is unbiased? If so, what are the justifications for believing it is what you believe it to be?

  • onofrio

    Do you either speak or read Koine Greek?Read.You use your “all KINDS OF men” interpretation of παντας ανθρωπους in 1 Timothy 2:4 to support your Calvinian view that God only wants to save the prechosen few.Yet Calvinian dogma also states that “all men” – i.e. every individual human being that ever lived, or will live – are implicated in the sin of Adam, and are thereby cursed with death. NO EXCEPTIONS. Romans 5:12 states (ESV – CAPITALS MINE):The Koine is:Note that in the Koine “all men” is παντας ανθρωπους , the same phrase used in 1 Tim.2:4. So according to your logic, when it comes to sin and death in Romans “all men” is to be taken in the plain sense as applicable to every single human being, but when it comes to God’s desire to save in 1 Timothy, “all men” doesn’t mean what it seems to.Further from Romans 5:18 (ESV – CAPITALS MINE):The Koine is:According to your Calvinian view the first “all men” here must refer to every individual human being, whereas the second “all men” can only refer to “all KINDS OF men” included in the prechosen elect. Yet in the Koine, the phrase is exactly the same for both – εις παντας ανθρωπους – the same term used in 1 Tim.2:4.It would seem that you are imposing a dogma uniformly on texts that by no means necessitate it. Procrustean.

  • onofrio

    Peter Huff,You subscribe to a doctrinal system that actually IMPOSES meaning on biblical texts. I have demonstrated the dubitability of your system with reference to key passages. You have responded with what amounts to special pleading.You have often demanded commenters here to establish their objections with reference to “God’s Word”. I believe this is a case of disingenuous bluster on your part, based on your misplaced certainty that no one will venture down that path.I have ventured but a little way, and found you to be in thrall to Procrusteanity. I see that “rightly handling God’s Word” is code for “it means what Peter Huff insists it means”.Nuff said.

  • peterhuff

    JTTN continued,ME: “If you don’t mind honesty then why do you call the God of Christianity a liar?” JTTN: “I do not. I do not embrace the Bible as a literal representation of God, or of Jesus for that matter. I do not claim this as truth, and do not consider the statements attributed to Christ to be words he wrote.”If (and I use the word for your benefit, not mine) the Bible is what it claims to be then it is self-attesting. It claims it is the word of God (1 Thessalonian 2:13; Hebrews 4:12), it claims it has been refined and it is flawless (2 Samuel 22:31; Proverbs 30:5), that it goes out from God (Isaiah 55:11) and people believed that God spoke to them so that they could say, ‘Thus says the Lord’ or ‘God spoke to such and such saying.’It attests to itself in numerous ways, through prophecy, archeology, historic events, people, and by its internal consistence for starters, in ways that puts any other religious book to shame in comparison.Who are you to say different? What is your measure for doing so?JTTN: “They were words written by his disciples, or by those further removed, who were invested in presenting a sellout story.”Were you there? Who was there that you can state this for a certainty? And do you care to put other religious books to the same tests you require of the Bible?JTTN: “What this means is that my relationship with Creator is not anchored on the Bible.”What is it anchored in? Your subjective opinion? Why is it valid? These are questions that you can’t justify unless you can point to an objective source for your information, one that does not change. Can you do that?JTTN: “It does NOT mean I am devoid of a relationship with God, which is your assumption, or that I am empty of the Holy Spirit. Indeed my relationship with ‘God’ is full and fruitful and deeply fulfilling.”That is your assertion. What is your basis for such an assertion?JTTN: “I know that you discount this as possible at all, which speaks to your false assumptions and real arrogance.”To me this is just another guise for saying nothing, for in effect if all you have is your feelings then who is being arrogant. You are telling me that I can’t tell, which is your assumption. The only reason a person could tell if if there was Someone objective to compare your claims against. You are claiming a relationship that is based on what?

  • peterhuff

    JTTN: “So sorry. You would gain in humility, (my assumption!) and spiritual maturity if you could come to the obvious conclusion that God can fill one in as many ways as are possible in such a diverse manifest world.”If He chose to. So what is your proof? Are you getting the message yet? Based on what? Mere assertions. Are you the measure of all things? Do you decide on what God has chosen to do?PH: “Yes God created a world of diversity, but only one way to relationship and true knowledge of Him. JTTN: “Actually no, I have not ruled it out.”Then why are you calling me an elitist then, if you don’t know if this is the case. If it was not the case then you would be justified in calling me such. But since you don’t rule it out what is your justification? May I suggest you’re not wanting to submit to such a God. JTTN: “It may well be true for you, and for millions of Christians that find relationship with God through Jesus Christ, or through the teachings of the church they attend. And that is fine with me.”It is either true or it is not. It can’t be both true and not true, except in a make believe world where anything is possible.That is obvious, for you have no grounds for truth. You need those grounds, that foundation, unless you can point me to a source that is necessarily objective that claims to have revealed him/her/itself to mankind in a way that has been preserved and that can be checked into?

  • peterhuff

    JTTN: ” Indeed, though Christianity was foundational for me in early life, it did not propel me nearly as far, spiritually speaking, than other pursuits have.”Pursuits you have no justification for except your subjective feelings? If not you would have presented them to me by now that I could check into them.JTTN: “It certainly is possible that is the result of being more spiritually mature and available later in life.”That sounds arrogant to me unless you can show that your source is who you claim him/her/it to be or necessary for such a belief.JTTN: “But the outcome remains the same.Delusions or doubts? I bet you have lots of doubts, since you have as yet not been able to provide anything but possibility.JTTN: “Your religious view, on the other hand, requires that limitation.”Yes, truth is narrow.JTTN: “You are welcome to it, if it serves you. You are not welcome to attempt to place that yoke on me, or any other free man or woman.”I’m not attempting to place any yoke on you. You have done that yourself.JTTN: “To do so crosses a line into personal free will, and carries a cost.”Your will is not free. It is subject to its core beliefs and when those aren’t based on what is true you are in deep bondage.JTTN: “And it crosses you away from Light and into Dark, in my view.” Darkness is lack or absence of light. You have not been able to show where your light comes from. What is its source and how can you be sure?

  • onofrio

    Peter Huff,Thee to Justillthen:Counts for nothing in terms of substantiation. What people BELIEVED God said to them, per se, is no criterion for “objectivity”. And there is no guarantee that what was “said” by God is identical to what is “read” in the Bible. Only a subjective leap of faith can cross that gap.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Onofrio,ONOFRIO: “Peter Huff, You subscribe to a doctrinal system that actually IMPOSES meaning on biblical texts.”There is meaning in biblical texts. If there wasn’t there would be no message in them resulting in nothing that could be imposed. What are you talking about??? The meaning is rightly interpreting what they say. Rightly interpreting them imposes or implies the authority of God.ONOFRIO: “I have demonstrated the dubitability of your system with reference to key passages. You have responded with what amounts to special pleading.”No I have not in any way shape or form. I have shown you logically that all men cannot be every single without exception, for Scripture is its own interpreter and since not all are saved and God is sovereign according to it, the only answer is that the all men referred to in the context does not refer to all without exception, but all without distinction of kind. I have shown you other verses that rule out the possibility that all are saved, and that is just scratching the surface. You have not gone into it deeply enough. You have admitted that it can be interpreted the way I do, but I have not given you the same leeway, because you can’t show from Scripture that what you say is true.”Salvation is found in NO ONE ELSE, for there is no other name given under heaven to men by which we MUST BE SAVED.” (Acts 4:12)That rules out every single man being saved. And since the sovereign God alone can save, that rules out it not being in His ability to save everyone.ONOFRIO: “You have often demanded commenters here to establish their objections with reference to “God’s Word”.”What I have said from the beginning is that God is necessary to make sense of anything (ultimately), and I’m not speaking of any god, but specifically of the God you hate. That is why you seethe against Him. You want to dictate to Him what will be. You want Him to play by your rules. ONOFRIO: “I believe this is a case of disingenuous bluster on your part, based on your misplaced certainty that no one will venture down that path.”Go ahead.I have ventured but a little way, and found you to be in thrall to Procrusteanity.Is that a word? Individual differences that you seem to be ruthlessly pursuing also.ONOFRIO: “I see that “rightly handling God’s Word” is code for “it means what Peter Huff insists it means”.”Because it doesn’t suit your definition you want to throw mud. The Reformed faith in which millions believe have also agreed on this definition, so it is not just my meaning. And I have shown you why the text does not or could not possibly support this premise of yours based on other Scriptures that show that not everyone is saved. I could give you many more examples.

  • peterhuff

    ONOFRIO: “Thee to Justillthen:ONOFRIO: “Counts for nothing in terms of substantiation. What people BELIEVED God said to them, per se, is no criterion for “objectivity”. And there is no guarantee that what was “said” by God is identical to what is “read” in the Bible. Only a subjective leap of faith can cross that gap.”In order for you to have any belief, Onofrio, you have to place your faith in something foundational. What is it that is foundational to you that can explain anything with certainty? God is necessary for that, and not any god. It does count only if God has spoken and revealed Himself. A written revelation is something substantial in as much as you wish to deny it. The Bible speaks for itself by its preservation, in its unity, prophecy, history and by the experience of believers, to name a few reasons, but before going to such proofs, first establish that you can know anything objectively, anything truly, that you can give sufficient reason for certainty, meaning and purpose or life itself. You can’t Onofrio. That is the bottom measure.If not what does your mere opinion count for in a world with a myriad of subjective opinions? Because the great Onofrio speaks, are we all to listen and believe what he says???? No, you need God, you need an objective, absolute, ultimate, universal reference to measure truth by. Show me one outside of the God of Christianity. Fancy words don’t mesmerize everyone Onofrio.

  • onofrio

    Peter Huff,Thee:You’re evading the issue and misrepresenting my data. NO MUD THROWN, IT’S ALL BASED ON YOUR SCRIPTURES.1 Tim.2:4 is not my only example. You have not addressed the substance of my post about Romans 5 below. Here it is again:You use your “all KINDS OF men” interpretation of παντας ανθρωπους in 1 Timothy 2:4 to support your Calvinian view that God only wants to save the prechosen few. Yet Calvinian dogma also states that “all men” – i.e. every individual human being that ever lived, or will live – are implicated in the sin of Adam, and are thereby cursed with death. NO EXCEPTIONS.The Koine is:Note that in the Koine “all men” is παντας ανθρωπους , the same phrase used in 1 Tim.2:4. So according to your logic, when it comes to sin and death in Romans “all men” is to be taken in the plain sense as applicable to every single human being, but when it comes to God’s desire to save in 1 Timothy, “all men” doesn’t mean what it seems to.Further, from Romans 5:18 (ESV – CAPITALS MINE):The Koine is:According to your Calvinian view the first “all men” here must refer to every individual human being, whereas the second “all men” can only refer to “all KINDS OF men” included in the prechosen elect. Yet in the Koine, the phrase is exactly the same for both – εις παντας ανθρωπους – the same term used in 1 Tim.2:4.It would seem that you are imposing a dogma uniformly on texts that by no means necessitate it. Procrustean.Posted by: onofrio | February 4, 2010 5:52 PM

  • peterhuff

    Hi Onofrio,Sorry, I’m running out of time for tonight. Tomorrow comes early and I’m working this weekend so I will refrain from further comment although I’m itching to tackle your statements on the February 4, 2010 8:24 PM.It may be this weekend or Monday.

  • onofrio

    Peter Huff,”The Reformed faith in which millions believe have also agreed on this definition, so it is not just my meaning.”That appeal to authority proves nothing. Millions more agree to the definitions of Roman Catholicism, and of Islam. Doesn’t make any of them right.”Fancy words don’t mesmerize everyone Onofrio.”A diversion. It is you who keep doling out the rhetorical unanswerables, and the demand to argue FROM THE BIBLE. And when I do that, you just trot out the same old presuppositional blah about how I can’t know anything. I’ve quoted chapter and verse, and supplied clear, direct objections/observations. You have not engaged with them. Your “objective” shtick is failing you.

  • onofrio

    Peter Huff,”It may be this weekend or Monday.” Enjoy talking to yourself. I won’t be wasting any more time on this.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Onofrio,Sorry, I could not resist exposing your logic.ONOFRIO: “Further, from Romans 5:18 (ESV – CAPITALS MINE):My Interlinear Greek New Testament does not quite put it like that and it gives both a literal and KJV translation along with each word in Greek and English. It only contains the term “all men” once in this passage. Neither does my NIV or NASB contain the terms “all men” twice in this verse. So don’t base your entire doctrine on one verse.ONOFRIO: “According to your Calvinian view the first “all men” here must refer to every individual human being, whereas the second “all men” can only refer to “all KINDS OF men” included in the prechosen elect. Yet in the Koine, the phrase is exactly the same for both – εις παντας ανθρωπους – the same term used in 1 Tim.2:4.”See my argument above. Furthermore, As James White points out in The Potter’s Freedom, along the lines of your logic would it be possible for Timothy to make intercessory prayer and thanksgiving for every specific man on the planet(1 Timothy 2:1)? He also points out that Titus 2:11 uses the term “all men’ also in reference to not every single man and woman on the planet, but to people in a particular group; that group that makes up His people, a people that He would redeem for His own possession – His own people. Likewise in Titus 3:2 when he instructs to show “every consideration for all men”, he can’t mean every single man on the planet, for that would be impossible for these men to do, so logically it must be every type or class or kind of man, such as kings as well as poor men, old as well as young men, etc, etc.I can use the same word “Cosmos” or world in a variety of different ways that signify different meanings to the word. It all depends on context. Going out into all the world does not signify every square inch of it, for that is not possible for man to do. ‘I think the world of you’ does not signify world in the same sense that ‘This world is polluted’ does. ‘This is for all the world to see’ does not mean that every man woman and child and whatever else you want to include in there is the meaning I am conveying. Bad examples but I think you get my drift.

  • peterhuff

    ONOFRIO: I won’t be wasting any more time on this.That is by far the easier thing to do. However, we haven’t exhausted the topic yet.

  • peterhuff

    ME: “The Reformed faith in which millions believe have also agreed on this definition, so it is not just my meaning.”ONOFRIO: “That appeal to authority proves nothing. Millions more agree to the definitions of Roman Catholicism, and of Islam. Doesn’t make any of them right.”It refutes your argument that it is my own private interpretation. That is all I was looking to do by it. Nothing else.ME: “Fancy words don’t mesmerize everyone Onofrio.”ONOFRIO: “A diversion. It is you who keep doling out the rhetorical unanswerables, and the demand to argue FROM THE BIBLE. And when I do that, you just trot out the same old presuppositional blah about how I can’t know anything.”You haven’t given sufficient reason for 1 Timothy 2:1-4. ONOFRIO: “I’ve quoted chapter and verse, and supplied clear, direct objections/observations. You have not engaged with them. Your “objective” shtick is failing you.”Sure I have. You don’t like the answers.

  • onofrio

    Peter Huff,My last word on this:”My Interlinear Greek New Testament does not quite put it like that and it gives both a literal and KJV translation along with each word in Greek and English. It only contains the term “all men” once in this passage. Neither does my NIV or NASB contain the terms “all men” twice in this verse. So don’t base your entire doctrine on one verse.”My Interlinear Bible (2nd ed. Hendrickson Publishers, Jay P.Green, editor. The Greek text is that copyrighted by The Trinitarian Bible Society of London, 1976)The text for 1 Tim.2:4 has ος παντας ανθρωπους and gives the literal English for the passage as “God who ALL MEN desires to be delivered”The Text for Romans 5:18 has εις παντας ανθρωπους TWICE and gives the literal English for the passage as “So then, as through one offense to ALL MEN to condemnation, so also through one righteous act to ALL MEN to justification of life”

  • peterhuff

    Hi Onofrio, My apologies. I was looking at verse 12 not verse 18. Let me think about what you are saying as it related to the context, for verse 19 says,”For just as through the disobedience of the one man, MANY were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one Man the MANY will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)I want to think about this in light of the whole context. I’ll get back to you Monday. Again, apologies for reading the wrong verse.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Onofrio,ONOFRIO: “A charter of Hope, yes. A guide for the mystery of life, yes. A dark glass, yes. Merely human, yes. Divine, yes. Enigmatic, yes. Outrageous, yes. A conundrum, yes.” It is apparent from statements like these that you have a poor understanding of Scripture. I can see that in answering Romans 5:18 I’m going to have to go into more depth.If it is not what it claims to be, the very word of God, His revelation to us, then what makes you think that there is anything reliable about it at all? If you pick and choose what verses you believe are actually true of God’s revelation to man, what makes you think that any can be trusted? Any person can make it anything they like if it is subject to each persons interpretation, without the Author’s view in mind.ONOFRIO: “I have not contended that the Bible teaches that all men will be saved.”That is a good start.ONOFRIO: “But in Rom.5:18, it states clearly that the atonement is FOR ALL MEN without exception (as is the curse of death), and in 1 Tim.2:4 it states that God’s DESIRE is that ALL MEN without exception be saved (even though this does not necessarily come to pass).”You have an impotent god if he is not able to save all, or if he is not sovereign, but the will of man dictates to him.ONOFRIO: “”The Bible” is not a monolithic systematic theology, but an anthology of diverse texts that express differing, sometimes apparently contradictory views of God, Christ, and humanity.”That is why Scripture constantly gives the warning to study to show oneself approved and work out what God is saying, for it is not contradictory.ONOFRIO: “It contains a multiplicity of approaches to God, and if God had anything to do with it (which I have never denied per se), then the paradoxes are intentional.”You deny that God had anything to do with it in your understanding of Scripture. There is only one way to God, and He has made this plain. The whole of the Old Testament was pointing to Christ as that way, all the typology, figures and symbols as well as the prophecy.ONOFRIO: “To hammer them into a rigid, hermetically sealed system is, in fact, anti-scriptural.”You, on the other hand, make Scripture of so loose an interpretation that it could mean anything. Words in context as well as the inter-related themes become nonsense because you falsely interpret them. In effect what you do is make the Word of God null and void. Now to explaining Romans 5:18. This is going to take some time. Please be patient.

  • justillthennow

    Peter, part twain,JTTN: “As you have said in certain ways, and Karen as well in more clear language and thought, I likewise believe that the essence and nectar of communion with God is in nurturing our relationship with That.”Your reply could have been foreseen without even needing a Degree of Prophesying, as now are many of your replies: PH: “”That” sounds pretty vague to me. Whatever you want it to mean. For you, even the person that believes in nothing still gets regurgitated back into the system, over and over and over again. If you live a good life you get closer to this elusive light that you speak of, but if you live a life that harms others then you get further from this light. Is that a fair summation? But who gets to determine what ‘good’ is?…” You did proceed to go on and on about your issue with my Name Of All, “That”. Plenty to dialogue in there if I felt up to it. But that only leads you to more positioning so to refute this possible view of Causality. Fairly wasted time, so far.Your summation of a generalized eastern take on the cycles of life is reasonable, though. And as a framework of incarnate life, I find that generalization much more believable than Christianity’s version, and far more in line with what I perceive and experience in this world. You call for objective proofs for some requisite absolute source of our lives, moralities, purposes, etc. But yours, the Bible, is no objective source and is no proof of the existence of God. Even if one was biased toward the Christian view the Bible is not a proof of anything. Again, at the elemental level it is all faith and no objective certainty or verifiable known. So, in plain language, you are hypocritical that you demand proofs and negate subjective belief or experience in regards to ‘outside’ religions, while claiming subjective faith and belief as objective proof of an absolute truth with your own religious philosophy. And you refuse to acknowledge this obvious “truth” in dialogue. Silly and immature. If we are to continue to converse we must begin from the common ground that religious and spiritual assertions are subjective and faith based. I have a number of comments on some of what you said to me but am not sure that I will continue with this fun. You are not open or available to even dialogue. You are far too vested in your own certainties, and worse need to negate or invalidate the spiritual life of others that are varied from yours in order to keep valid your own beliefs. This, as well, seems spiritually immature to me. So sorry, Peter, but as I said I do not mind speaking my mind. Peace to you. However you feel that comes…

  • justillthennow

    Hello again Peter, part wain,I have just gotten back from a bit of time away, as I had said I would do. It was nice to be gone for some time and get a change of perspective and environment. It is nice to be back as well. Our dialogue is loosing my interest, mostly because we are not finding reasonable common ground and I have little interest in being challenged on the veracity of my spiritual beliefs with a dogmatic and exclusive mantra. I doubt that I have much longer at this, particularly after reading the string of posts that you sent my way. Not to mention your back and forth with Onofrio. I tried to paint a picture of my own spiritual perspective that you could understand, but I fear that was for naught. Alls the more the pity. I will address a few things that are important to me. As I said, I am neither a follower of or believer in Sacred Texts of any religious way. I do not believe there is such a thing as dictation from God, even when it is claimed. The Prophet Muhammad was said to take the recitation of the Qur’an from the Archangel Gabriel, and perhaps if anyone of Abrahamic faiths could claim a literal “Word of God” it might be them, (I have no doubt that foments some objections!). Still, all claimed downloads from the Lord on High are filtered through human minds and hands and egos, even if the stories be true and the ‘filter’ is chosen by God Of All. This does nothing earthshaking for me. Like I said, for me it is like a poor tenth translation of someone elses experience, and suspect to boot. So I do not take texts of written words or centuries old traditions as “objective” proof of anything, which is completely contrary to your position. You seem to think, and claim as valid as well, that the Bible is an objective source of Truth. I see no such thing, and any rational mind, (a great gift of God, that!, along with certain other seemingly human virtues), can not take a “self-affirming” source as objective or valid, on it’s own accounting. Here we are worlds apart, and I have no tool and neither the continuing inspiration to span the abyss that separates us in this department. The Bible is the same as all Sacred Texts in this way, for me. It is not an end in itself. Self affirming or otherwise.I clarified my position clearly in this statement:

  • peterhuff

    Hi Onofrio,In looking at Romans Chapter 5 we see a contrast between the first and second Adam. Paul uses contrast on numerous occasions in his Epistles to bring out the covenant of grace as opposed to the covenant of works. A covenant is an agreement between two or more parties and in Adam the covenant of works was made that if he remained obedient, the relationship between him and God would grow. If Adam disobeyed he, and his posterity, would experience death. This perfect world would be subjected to decay and disease as a result that is later evident by God’s judgment on this disobedience.In Adam’s sin he was casts out of the Garden, Paradise, in Christ we are restored. In Israel’s sin they are cast out of the Promised Land. In Christ, the Israel of God, we are restored.In Adam all men die, IN Christ all men are made alive. Please note the distinction ‘in Christ.’ It is important in the text we are looking at.From the very act of disobedience the covenant of grace was also prevalent, because Genesis 3:15 was pointing, even then to Christ.So Romans 5:12-21 contrasts man’s disobedience in Adam and God’s judgment on that disobedience – death, and the obedience of Christ in fulfilling this first covenant by His perfect active and passive obedience in the place of those who would believe in Him.Thus it contrasts the unrighteousness of the one man and the righteousness of the Other.It contrasts the judgment passed on from the one man that brought condemnation in that none have been able to uphold God’s laws perfectly (except for One) and the justification was passed on from the Other because He lived it perfectly.It contrasts the free gift of God’s grace in the one Man as opposed to the work in keeping God’s covenant in the other. One is kept by man, the other is kept by God in Christ and imputed to others. Please notice verse 17 as one of the keys in understanding verse 18,”For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will THOSE WHO RECEIVE God’s abundant provision of grace and the GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS reign in life through the one Man, Jesus Christ. Consequently [ask yourself to what?], just as the result of the one trespass was condemnation to all men [that is all men in Adam], so also THE RESULT of ONE ACT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS was justification, that brings life to all men [That is all men who are in Christ, every single one of them that are in Christ, without exception if they truly are in Christ].And this meaning is brought out here in this passage by the contrasts between the two men; two covenants, two opposite verdicts, two outcomes, etc. Plus Scripture backs up this reading on passages that are more clear to first reading, such as Matthew 1:21; John 1:12; 6:44; 8:24; 14:6; Acts 4:12 and many others that could be dug up.

  • justillthennow

    Hello Peter,We live in very different worlds, Peter. I do not “refute” the Christian God, but that is not my way. It is your way. It is your belief. My relationship with God exists and is healthy even as it vastly different in its’ form than your Christian context. And for me there is no problem or issue with that. Indeed, for “God” there is no issue with that. We are all unique.You make the foundational assumption that if religions are different and contradictory that only one can be true. I do not. God is far too vast and all encompassing for there TO BE one way. My assumption is that the contradictory nature of religion arises from the FACT that they are scribed by human hand, from or filtered by human mind, for human purpose. All of them.My issue, to repeat, is that real communion with “That” is accomplished on as subjective, introspective and personal way. You may call that a living relationship with God. That works fine for me. But, for me, communion is not achieved by written word. Tenth translation of someone else.There is no objective relationship with God. There is no proofs of God. Your Bible is no proof of God. Self affirming, I believe you called it. I agree. Individual belief in God IS subjective. That is all it can be, lest we come up with the actual, objective verification of the existence of God. And I believe that will occur, one way or another. But all your rantings for objective source material is silly to me. There are none. And you have none. Again, if you did and there was irrefutable evidence and proofs of the supremacy of the Christian version of God, we would not be having this discussion. You do not. No Christian does, no realist does, no rationalist does, no Muslim does, no Buddhist does,… Fill in the blank.

  • justillthennow

    Peter, “In order for understanding to happen you have to define terms in ways other than the “That.” “That” pointing to nothing is a vivid description of nothing. Nothing because it is so vague it could mean anything.”No I don’t. And, exactly. It could, and I believe does, mean anything.”If “That” is in any way comprehensibly then you have to show how you make sense of it, whatever it is. If not, then my point is already made and that is you worship something that is incomprehensible and cannot be made sense of.”I cannot make sense of It. How do you imagine anyone could make sense of God? “That is the point I have been making all along.”Sometimes you make me smile, Peter. That is actually the point that I have been making all along. God is incomprehensible. Unfathomable. Beyond description. Beyond understanding. Immense. Nameless, because naming is only an attempt to lasso That Immensity, and to personalize It. The human tendency to label is well known and natural, but in terms of describing God is elementary school mentality. It is not dealing with the reality of that Immensity as it spends it’s time pigeonholing It. Hard to do and have a maturing relationship.

  • justillthennow

    Peter, “Unless you can show me that your perception comes from an objective source how can you ever know if the ‘good’ you perceive is actually going to get you to a higher level of being or more to the point, that it is actually good?”I do not need to show you anything for me to know that I have already gained and evolved spiritually. Indeed, I AM at a higher level of being as a result of my path and practices. As to questioning whether it is actually good, that again, like all of these questions, is a subjective one. “The writings of your Scriptures that gave you reason to believe have to be more than human reasoning and have to have some verification as such.”Here you go again with Scriptures, and them giving me reason to believe. Scriptures did not give me reason to believe, Peter. Hear that, if you can. I do not believe in God or That because of some silly, errant writings. Has virtually nothing to do with my belief. And all that you would say, and proceed to with your claims of Biblical “proofs”, mean nothing to me and my belief and my relationship with “That”.”If they are just subjective human writings then what is the validation for knowing they are from a higher source?”Fine question….”If they are just human writings how do you know what is true in them?”Wow. Two in a row. “Christianity has a wealth of proofs in this respect.” You delude yourself, intentionally, by believing any of the statements you follow this comment up with are proofs, validations or verifications of the veracity of the Bible. Just a fact. 500 witnesses? Homers Illiad had participants and witnesses, and names and places, and bloody murder and mayhem. But did it actually happen? Is that Troy? One cannot take the accounting of a witness, or a book of “witnesses”, and call it proof. And there is no proof that Jesus even absolutely existed, though I believe he did. Much less, (much, much less!), there is no proof that he resurrected. And the only Son of God bit, sent to save us from our original refutation of the Lord of Hosts?I would actually love it if Jesus ascended, and I believe he did. But we leave the body Peter, always. And it is not in my belief that anyone saves us from our own actions. Forgiveness of “sins” is not bestowed. It is allowed. We forgive ourselves. And we have to do the work to make it so, in ourselves.

  • justillthennow

    “But the question is, Is that faith based on an objective revelation from God? That is what the Bible claims and there are many proofs for this.””Not in oneself, but the Bible is proof of something. It speaks of a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ,…””I claim that God has provided absolute, objective proof by His word and revelation of Himself through that word, in His Son and by His Spirit, apart from this created world which displays His glory and knowledge.”If you are calling the Bible “His word” and so the objective proof God has offered, I have to say it is sorely lacking. Impotent God, that…. If God WANTED to give actual proof, it would be so. It is not.”I claim that an objective source/measure/standard is necessary for any truth to be known for certainty.” Yes. Science, and human intellect, find objective standards necessary to validate something. Still waiting on the proofs. There remains no certainty re God. And for certain it is not certain re the Christian God.Why do you even argue down this road?”All these things I claim are revealed to me by the Holy Bible, which I claim is what it claims.” I believe that you believe the Bible. But claim all you would like, the fact remains that there is no objective verification for the veracity of your Book. Alas, ’tis subjective.”The Bible itself negates that belief outside of the God of the Christian Scriptures are valid.”I believe that organized religions can do great good but are agents of evil at the same time. This is one example of the evil. Any religions claim that invalidates another religion betrays a rotten root, and feeds hatreds and justifies violence and prejudice. Exclusivity and spiritual elitism are vile. Here Forgiveness and Love are tossed aside for religious ego. We can see through history the fruits of that blasphemy.

  • peterhuff

    test

  • Pamsm

    Peter,

  • peterhuff

    Hi Justillthennow (February 8, 2010 6:33 PM) ,Welcome back. It helps to take a break once in a while.JTTN: “You did proceed to go on and on about your issue with my Name Of All, “That”. Plenty to dialogue in there if I felt up to it. But that only leads you to more positioning so to refute this possible view of Causality. Fairly wasted time, so far.”You refute the Christian God all the time in what you say and believe, so I say let’s put it to the test like you have put Christianity to the test and found it wanting.In order for understanding to happen you have to define terms in ways other than the “That.” “That” pointing to nothing is a vivid description of nothing. Nothing because it is so vague it could mean anything. If “That” is in any way comprehensibly then you have to show how you make sense of it, whatever it is. If not, then my point is already made and that is you worship something that is incomprehensible and cannot be made sense of. That is the point I have been making all along. The God of Christianity is necessary for knowledge to be known. Knowledge has to have a source. It CANNOT happen by chance.

  • peterhuff

    test

  • peterhuff

    test

  • peterhuff

    test

  • peterhuff

    So far my posts are not showing up although the number of posts are changing so here goes another try,JTTN: “Your summation of a generalized eastern take on the cycles of life is reasonable, though. And as a framework of incarnate life, I find that generalization much more believable than Christianity’s version, and far more in line with what I perceive and experience in this world.”Unless you can show me that your perception comes from an objective source how can you ever know if the ‘good’ you perceive is actually going to get you to a higher level of being or more to the point, that it is actually good? If you ‘believe’ it comes from God then there has to be some evidence other than subjective opinion that God exists. The writings of your Scriptures that gave you reason to believe have to be more than human reasoning and have to have some verification as such. If they are just subjective human writings then what is the validation for knowing they are from a higher source? If they are just human writings how do you know what is true in them?Christianity has a wealth of proofs in this respect. The Bible does not claim to be the opinion of a man or men speaking of God but of God Himself incarnate and speaking as a Man and dealing with men. The teachings of Jesus are different in countless ways, but some of these ways are in His claims, the claims of His disciples and others who saw Him after death to be alive again. His tomb is empty, other religious leaders are venerated and enshrined as where the ‘prophet’ is actually buried. The prophets bones have turned to dust in that monument. There are prophecies that foreshadowed His coming, the unity of 66 different books written over a span of over 1500 years, on three continents, by over forty different human authors all claiming to speak from God, combined and preserved as a cohesive unit. There are massive amounts of Greek manuscripts to compare with, witnesses whose lives have been changed by belief in Him, historic and archaeological evidence, people and places that actually existed and some that still exist and a host of other evidences. You have the inner testimony of the Scriptures as well as external testimony from numerous other sources. You have a Man who has altered the course of human history by changing countless lives. You have the testimony of some of these people, some who went to their death because they would not deny Him. You have millions around the world today claiming a personal relationship with the Savior. These are all proofs. What do you have in comparison?

  • peterhuff

    JTTN: “You call for objective proofs for some requisite absolute source of our lives, moralities, purposes, etc. But yours, the Bible, is no objective source and is no proof of the existence of God.”How do you know this?JTTN: “Even if one was biased toward the Christian view the Bible is not a proof of anything.”Not in oneself, but the Bible is proof of something. It speaks of a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, who went about Judea teaching that He was/is the Messiah, the Son of God, that He was crucified and rose again and that others claimed He had risen from the dead and over 500 had witnessed this. You yourself testified that His teachings have many good lessons to them. He taught to love God and love others as the two laws that everything else hinge upon. JTTN: “Again, at the elemental level it is all faith and no objective certainty or verifiable known.”To have a belief in anything you have to have faith in something. You don’t just pick your beliefs out of thin air. But the question is, Is that faith based on an objective revelation from God? That is what the Bible claims and there are many proofs for this.So let’s see what you have that you can be sure of.JTTN: “So, in plain language, you are hypocritical that you demand proofs and negate subjective belief or experience in regards to ‘outside’ religions, while claiming subjective faith and belief as objective proof of an absolute truth with your own religious philosophy.”I claim that God has provided absolute, objective proof by His word and revelation of Himself through that word, in His Son and by His Spirit, apart from this created world which displays His glory and knowledge. I claim that logic says that all these different ideas about God in different world religions cannot all be true, since they contradict all others. I claim that the evidence only supports the Bible. All other world religions, when their record is examined is scanty in comparison.I claim that it is impossible for a being to create itself, or for life to arise from the non-living. I claim that an objective source/measure/standard is necessary for any truth to be known for certainty. This I have tried to demonstrate by those ‘annoying’ questions I have asked you to explain without such a source, or without knowing or having be revealed by such a source. So far you have not been able to do so, nor do I contend will you.All these things I claim are revealed to me by the Holy Bible, which I claim is what it claims.

  • peterhuff

    JTTN: “And you refuse to acknowledge this obvious “truth” in dialogue.”No, I don’t. I have said that before we go to this evidential proof, we need to establish some things that are necessary, such as how we can know anything? These are the things that you deny but in doing so you show that all your thoughts really boil down to is your subjective feelings. You have no answers that have yet been forth coming.JTTN: “Silly and immature. If we are to continue to converse we must begin from the common ground that religious and spiritual assertions are subjective and faith based.”The common grounds are that there is usually something that is true in their writings, but more falsity than truth for they mislead and take away from a person coming to faith in the true and living God.JTTN: “I have a number of comments on some of what you said to me but am not sure that I will continue with this fun. You are not open or available to even dialogue.”I’ll take that as a cope out for someone who has no good reasons for what he believes in other than his feelings.JTTN: “You are far too vested in your own certainties, and worse need to negate or invalidate the spiritual life of others that are varied from yours in order to keep valid your own beliefs.”You are vested in yours too. The Bible itself negates that belief outside of the God of the Christian Scriptures are valid. JTTN: “This, as well, seems spiritually immature to me. So sorry, Peter, but as I said I do not mind speaking my mind.”That all depends on what you base maturity on.You say you speak your mind, but so far I have found you to be most elusive in giving anything other than your feels. Is that all the proof you have to offer?

  • justillthennow

    Peter 2,You can no more prove that Jesus was the only son of God as you can prove God. Now, I believe in God in the way that I do, (that “That” of earlier issue!), so I am one that is on the ‘believer’ end of things. But the verification of God is missing. It is not objectively validated. Your “objective foundation” is not based on any proof of fact. Your Bible does not have your claimed “infallible proofs. At all. It is based on belief that something is fact, without validation (other than subjective, Peter!) that it is indeed fact. Prove to me that Jesus was the only Son of God. Prove that there was an Eden, an Adam and Eve, a serpent and Tree of Knowledge. (God is a withholding bastard if he created children and wanted to keep them from Knowledge! A human father might be prosecuted for that!) Prove to me that there was any Original Sin, Peter, that cast the Two human ancestors out from Wonderland. You need not prove to me that humans live in essential ignorance. I can look around anywhere for that, especially against the edenic model of perfection. Prove to me that Jesus in fact Resurrected, was reborn and walked and Lived Again. Prove that this Blood was spilled that I may be free of the yoke of human arrogance. The world is not free of it yet, and Christians, Born Agains, are still spearheading Crusades around the globe. You have no proofs and fall back onto your non-objective source of the Bible as evidence. Self attestation? No. That does not cut it in any establishment of objective foundation.

  • justillthennow

    Hello Peter, 1,You certainly are fixated on “objective foundations”.”All of what you have said means nothing unless there is objective truth that can be known.”It is meaningful to me the same as personal beliefs are meaningful to the individual that owns them.”Subjective opinion does not cut it as belief for God.”Subjective opinion is all that floats religious and spiritual belief, Peter. “There has to be a revelation from Him that is self attesting in that it is His self attestation, not ours. That is what the Bible claims to be.”And Mein Kampf claimed to be a plan for elevating Deutchland to it’s rightful place as superior over all others. The Illiad and the Odessey claimed to be the story of the Trojan War and the return home. The Bhagavad Gita claims to be the Word of God bestowed by Bhagavan, Krishna, to Arjuna. Claims do not mean it is so. And they do not mean it is not so. We believe it is so because it works for us, and then find justification in whatever we need to in order to affirm that we are right and the path we chose is right. There are outside (the Bible) verifications for some of what the Bible claims, I am sure. I have no doubt that we have subjective verifications when we open to a source. But on any of the core issues claimed in the Bible and claimed by Christianity there is no non-biased empirical and objective proofs. This is known, as it is likewise held known for any of the other sacred texts.

  • justillthennow

    Peter “You are assuming a lot there, first that an objective standard can be found outside of God revealing truth to us. Second that science is that standard.”Your belief that Biblical assertations are absolute truth and an objective foundation is PURE assuming, Peter. If there is a system for clarifying and verifying what is true on this manifest world it would be, or at least include, scientific disciplines. You would like to claim that the Bible is the standard? Over empirical qualification that science offers? Hey, let’s just transport back to when we KNEW that the world was flat and once you got to the edge you would fall off and into HELL! Are you serious? If you are we may as well end now, friend.

  • justillthennow

    Peter, cinco,”There is definite certainty” (re God). “The foundation of our faith as Christians is in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has given Christians His Holy Spirit as a deposit of this certainty. You say there is no certainty. Are you certain of that?”This is a subjective belief, feeling, faith. I do not challenge that you have that faith in Jesus Christ. I challenge your assertion that this belief system is true above all others, and is the only way for all others, to live.I am certain that there is no objective and collectively verified proofs of these Christian assertions. If the Christian paradigm was PROVEN the debate on it’s veracity would end. The dialogue would become very different. That is not the case, as the Bible cannot be proven as what it claims to be.”First show me that you have an objective foundation on which to base anything other than your opinion. If you can’t do this then my case is already made. What you say is meaningless.”Again with definition of objective:Sacred texts, any of them, do not qualify as objective foundations. Further, it is not I that claims one needs an objective foundation for belief in God. There is no objective qualification for God, or the “spiritual nature of man”. It remains in the realm of belief and faith. Fact.And hey, consider what I say as meaningless as you like. I am clear that you already do. You would do so, and do do so, with anyone whose beliefs are contrary to your own. Another way that you and Timmy are the same.

  • justillthennow

    Peter, sechs,”Sure there is objective verification in it. As God’s word it reveals truth”Peter, this assertion offers NO VERIFICATION. Do you need a definition of the meaning of “verification” as well as “objective”?”It can be verified by historical facts of people, places, and events.”I am sure there are some historical supports for Biblical statements. But even the physical existence of Jesus cannot be supported with a certainty, although I do not doubt it myself. Again, though, the core claims of the Bible have no verification. If you stop claiming the absolute veracity of the Bible and that it is an objective foundation, I will stop saying no it is not. How ’bout that?”It has an internal consistence that from cover to cover is painted a typology, shadows and pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ and spreads His light to people, groups, nations and the world by this revelation of Himself in an actual history of people, groups, nations and the world of that time. You refuse of course to look at it that way. In doing so you would have to dismantle and tear down the whole wobbly foundation you have build in your own mind, for without an objective foundation that is all you have, your opinion on what truth is.”All the rest of this is a support to my assertion that religion and spiritual matters are subjective, or at least not substantiated as caused by a supernatural force.

  • justillthennow

    Peter, 7,”No, the Bible is not”(evil). I did not say that the Bible was evil, but that religions that claimed as invalid other religions were an evil in the world. The effect of spiritual arrogance and elitism, and the corrosive belief of spiritual exclusivity, have had the most destructive and vile effect in the world. That history continues to repeat itself daily, because individuals like you, and your Islamic counterparts, nurture and feed the spiritual egoism of exclusivity. You uphold your belief in exclusivity and condemnation of conflicting religions for many reasons I am certain, and state this:”Only if it is a false belief. If it is true then any religion that opposes it and feeds misrepresentations of it is an evil belief that is unjustified and prejudice to its core.”This speaks to the essence of the vile nature of exclusivity, and has been used through the centuries for evil. You nurture it to this day, so that the evil that it is may inflict the next generation of humans, and the cycle of death may continue. You are blind to this, being a conditioned religious bot. My opinion of course.You can no more prove that your Christianity is the “true belief” than a Muslim can prove that Islam is the “true belief”. My stance is that they both are, to those that embrace them and give them hope and direction, or whatever that one seeks. Diversity again, and the unique needs of individual life, require unique prescriptions.

  • justillthennow

    Peter, 00,”Jesus is not your Lord and King. You bow the knee to foreign rulers who will one day be brought to nothing. But the King rules His people from afar and His kingdom authority has been established in our lives. Now we wait for the King’s return when you and I will bow before Him in His glory. That is a day in which I hope you are not on the wrong side, having put your trust in something or someone who is only masquerading as a king.”Please let’s not go into the Throne of the Lord in America as we prepare for the Thousand Years. I have no respect for these fantasies. As I said, (not that I am any absolute authority!:”If God WANTED to give actual proof, it would be so. It is not.”As soon as He appears, the disbelieving and teeming masses of humanity will flock to Him. And some still won’t, (though it is hard to resist having one’s cancer cured, or being raised from the dead by God Himself!). And God understands that, (imo, of course!). Of course it is my opinion that He does not have one name, but endless ones. No name. None of that matters. Hell is for school children, and for the ignorant. And for those aware of their own ignorance, perhaps the more. I have no concern for Judgment Day. I do not believe in it in the Christian context, but if it were to be I am unconcerned. I have loved ‘God’ all my life, and I don’t buy the bullsh*t that religion doles out in dogmatic terror lessons. My relationship with God is alive, vital and a haven of hope, joy and love in my life. Even if you do constantly seek to negate it and invalidate it. How Christian of you, Peter!Cherrio! Peace to you, as always.

  • justillthennow

    Peter, number nine.”But it is compassion that reaches out saying “This is the way, walk in it.”” Compassion can and does reach out to those in need to offer help and assistance. No problem, and it is a great thing. But if that ‘compassion’ reaches out because, at it’s root, it judges the other as wrong in it’s life, and then insists on it’s own righteousness, it is no longer compassion that is reaching out. It is, in this case, spiritual arrogance and egoism. Plain and simple. And in that way compassion, “forgiveness” and “love” are hijacked as masks for the more basic and darker human interests that are often at the root of Christian outreach. In my opinion, of course. Meaningless to you, I am certain…. Absolutely certain! :-)I return here to where we started. I think that Christians should stick to the Two Laws and reject unsolicited witnessing of the faith. This is not 1st century AD. The Good News has been spread. Act in a way that would make Jesus proud.”There are no other ways for man because all the evil, all the violence, all the hatred are of mans inhumanity to man by not recognizing, or more to the point, not submitting to the one objective standard and revelation that God has given to man.”Here we go again with the one objective standard!”From Genesis to Revelation God is revealing to man His kingdom principles that have progressively unfolded through history until the King came into history and with Him established the kingdom. You don’t see its operation because as we stand at this moment you are not of this kingdom.”You are an arrogant elitist, Peter. We are all in the kingdom. You think it is a club that requires a special knock and password, “j e s u s”. That is a great password. It is not the only one. In my opinion. Subjectively speaking. I will leave the absolutes to your special interest group.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Justillthennow,I’m working this evening and tomorrow evening so I will see how much of this I am able to answer today and how much will have to be left for the weekend.Just to counter one aspect of your discussion for now,JTTN: “Again with definition of objective:Here is some of the other definitions on the same page,Synonyms:Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices: an objective critic. See Synonyms at fair1.Function: adjectiveObjectivism in philosophical sense of “the doctrine that knowledge is based on objective reality” is first attested 1854.It is reasonable to believe that things can be known objectively by the defining of the term in the about citations.Logic says that something objective can be known by a subjective being if it has been revealed by an objective, absolute, universal, all-knowing, unchanging Source – God. That would be the conditions necessary for anything to be known objectively, would it not?

  • justillthennow

    Peter, All posts in ascending order, (what we all seek, am I right? No, I am wrong!?), except 1 and 2, descending, and the last two, misnamed. number nine is actually eight, and 00 is the last. Have a nice read, and a great night. Sleep tight.Peace.

  • peterhuff

    Expanding on “absolute, universal, all-knowing, unchanging Source” objectivity would have to be revealed by One who knew all things in order for there to be impartial, fair, unbiased.’Absolute’ would have to be the case of objectivity. If it was not absolute it would be subject to change, true one minute and false the next, just as if this God was changeable, instead of unchangeable, the knowledge from this God would not be a case of it being objective knowledge.If this knowledge was not universal then this God would not be in control of all things and therefore not Almighty.The Bible claims that He is all of these things and more, so it is logical to think that such knowledge could come from such a Being as revealed in the pages of history and without such a Being everything is just mere opinion, and there is no reasonable explanation for why things hold together, for we need a true standard for truth to be known. If you think otherwise, show me how truth is derived from a false standard. There has to be a true measure in which to measure what is false by. Evolutionary science is not that measure, as much as others would like to argue that it is.In other words for truth to be known, we would have to think God’s thoughts after Him. Since truth is known we must be doing that. There must be this objective standard. It is necessary. If you think not show me otherwise. Show me why a myriad of subjective standards can be objective unless their source is outside of them. If their source is outside of them they would have to personally know this source in order to testify to its validity. Show me that you know this source.Laws are not made, they are discovered. They operate whether you believe them or not. Show me a law without a lawgiver?Cause and effect is something that cannot be infinite unless the Cause is outside of time and space because this universe had a beginning. And life had a beginning. Show me how something comes into being by self-creation. It would have to first exist before it could create itself so this is an impossibility.And if the universe was infinite we could never arrive at the present. Time is meaningless in a universe that alway has been. We could never arrive at the present moment. Think about that. It is mind blowing. Again, the God of Christianity, the God revealed in the OT and more fully made known in the NT is the only sufficient explanation of all of this.So when you look around this world you see that it is what it is because of this God. No other explanation can make sense of it. Now if you want to try, I challenge you. So far you are not doing a good job, judging by your subjective opinions, judging that you don’t think objectivity is knowable.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Justillthennow,I’m going to start from your last post. JTTN: “Compassion can and does reach out to those in need to offer help and assistance. No problem, and it is a great thing. But if that ‘compassion’ reaches out because, at it’s root, it judges the other as wrong in it’s life, and then insists on it’s own righteousness, it is no longer compassion that is reaching out.”No, you are wrong. It is compassion. It is a calling going out into the whole world saying that you have wronged God and you must repent and submit to His authority to receive His mercy, for He is Holy, He is pure, He is lovely and He sets the boundaries of what is good because goodness is His very nature. He will be just, and being just requires that what is wrong is punished, either in the voluntary active and passive obedience of His Son, or by judging the wrongful actions in the man that stands in his own stead. Arrogance is passing up this gift; it is saying “I can meet God’s standards by my own merits.” “I am good by my own definition of good.” That is arrogance. It calls God a liar. It says “I refuse to believe you.” “I will decide, I will decide, I will decide.” That my friend is arrogance. As if you have sufficient capacity in and of yourself to judge the Almighty. That is not wise.

  • peterhuff

    JTTN: “It is, in this case, spiritual arrogance and egoism. Plain and simple.”In your determination. Why is your determination THE right one? What objective measure do you have to verify this?JTTN: “And in that way compassion, “forgiveness” and “love” are hijacked as masks for the more basic and darker human interests that are often at the root of Christian outreach.” Forgiveness and love are displayed in the Savior. That is the way God has willed it to be so that He does not compromise His goodness by forgoing His justice.JTTN: “I return here to where we started. I think that Christians should stick to the Two Laws and reject unsolicited witnessing of the faith. This is not 1st century AD. The Good News has been spread. Act in a way that would make Jesus proud.”You think because we speak the truth we do not do so in love? The alternative is to sugarcoat it and watch you perish without even warning you of the consequences. ME: “There are no other ways for man because all the evil, all the violence, all the hatred are of mans inhumanity to man by not recognizing, or more to the point, not submitting to the one objective standard and revelation that God has given to man.”JTTN: “Here we go again with the one objective standard!”Give me an objective reason why it is not.ME: “From Genesis to Revelation God is revealing to man His kingdom principles that have progressively unfolded through history until the King came into history and with Him established the kingdom. You don’t see its operation because as we stand at this moment you are not of this kingdom.”JTTN: “You are an arrogant elitist, Peter.”Thanks for your opinion. Truth is elite. It does not conform to any standard. And I am not expressing anything that the Word of God has not said, maybe not as directly, and that is that there is only ONE way to God, and that is by His means, not yours.JTTN: “We are all in the kingdom. You think it is a club that requires a special knock and password, “j e s u s”.”It requires a humble attitude of submission to God, of saying “You, O Lord, know the answers to all things. You, O Lord hold the keys to the Kingdom. You, O Lord are the King, and Your subjects are those whose recognize you as King. Outside is the wailing and gnashing of teeth.JTTN: “That is a great password. It is not the only one. In my opinion. Subjectively speaking. I will leave the absolutes to your special interest group.”If you think there are other ways, let’s examine them and see if they are coherent and true. Is that an unreasonable request?

  • peterhuff

    Thanks for the chat, talk to you later. Bye!

  • justillthennow

    Hello Peter, Some of your last posts just got a bit more interesting to me, but I have little time in the moment for response. Spent too much time earlier. I will most probably return later to reply.For the moment an input re arrogance masked as compassion. You disagreed that Christian compassion in witnessing and attempted conversion is actually spiritual arrogance and elitism on the grounds that, well, Christians are right and the others are wrong and it is compassionate to bring “the truth” that you are convinced you know, (though cannot validate as truth through objective empirical evidence or the scrutiny of non biased judgment). Pardon the bit in the parenthesis.I offer a comparative metaphor that is not religious in nature, (thank God! for we would not be able to objectively prove anything once more!). It does involve something nearly as feverently believed in as some religions, though.America went to war in Afghanistan to retaliate against bin Laden and his Taliban landlords. Much popular agreement in the motivation for that assault worldwide, at least for a time. Then came the build up to the war in Iraq. All types of justifications were used to defend and forward the desired preemptive war, not least among them to save the Iraqis from bondage to the false master Hussein and give them freedom and democracy, along with no shortage of free market capitalism.We sought to import our clearly superior ideals, and witnessed this transformation with the tough love of GPS guided missiles, etc. We were going to show them the truth and one way for freedom.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Pam, Nice to hear from you! Where are you located on the Forum? Susan’s latest? I’ll check it out.Next week I am off. I will be trying to tie some things together. April still looks good for a continuation on our discussion on evolution. Do you have something for me to think about?