On Spreading the Word - 1 of 2

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cybrwurm
Spawn of Epicurus
Posts: 35
Joined: 09-07-2011 04:59 PM

On Spreading the Word - 1 of 2

Post by cybrwurm » 12-28-2011 02:31 AM

/ Topic > On Spreading the Word - 1 of 2 / 25 Dec 2011 /
/ was Thread > Re: Behold the Ungodly elder child /
/ Newsgroups > alt.bible.prophecy, alt.bible, alt.messianic /
/ alt.religion.christian, alt.religion.christian.biblestudy /
/ Fantastic Forum > Fantastic Pub > Religion & Metaphysics /
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Chapter One: On Finding Other Gospels
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] Paulos say: I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him
] who called you in the grace of Christ, and turning to a different
] gospel. Not that there is another gospel; but there are some
] who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But
] even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a
] gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be
] accursed. -- Gal.1:6-8 / RSV (slightly altered by tx)
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cybrwurm say: So perhaps it is the hurried and demanding nature of the web that encourages the cyber-saints to resort to questionable means and methods in their various e-exchanges and sundry e-dialogues. Talk is cheap, to be sure, but e-talking on the web is cheaper still. Twitter and other such like etalk-fests encourage, and even demand, conciseness in all messaging activities thereon. Talk is cheap, but even so, you have to keep it short and sweet as well! Get straight to the point, make the point, and then amscray on the double, eh.
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Well, what do you expect when you're talking with thousands of e-friends. Time and bandwidth are precious resources that everyone needs, so make your bark and then step aside for the next barker in the online line ... Don't get me wrong, global communication by speed-of-light texting is an awesome and liberating thing, and I'm all for everyone getting connected to the power and resources and knowledge available to users on the great AI-free web-machine (aka. the Internet). All that aside, I'm still none too thrilled with the unfortunate tendency to make a virtue of excessive conciseness in the realm of logical argument. Case in point:
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] On 20Dec J.W. Sheffield wrote: Ex 3:14 -
] And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he
] said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel,
] I AM hath sent me unto you.
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] John 8:58 - Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily,
] I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
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] John 20:28 - And Thomas answered and said
] unto him, My Lord and my God. <snip remainder>
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In this 3-step line of reasoning we start with god, and end with god: 'God=I Am' + 'JC=I Am' means that Jesus=God! The logic is iron-clad and obvious, and no more need be said. It's done, finished, case closed! Well, it certainly does appear to be a slam-dunk for the trinitarians ... But appearances can be deceiving, and such a matter requires investigation regardless. So what lies beneath this seemingly unassailable logic? Well, one assumption built into this sequence of bible-bytes is that John was a good and loyal trinitarian; for that (we assume) is the "proof" which JW is concerned to demonstrate.
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But in order to justify such an assumption one must first examine the entire gospel (and its cover letter). And that is a very tall order, no doubt. But before we do all that, we can first point out that in v.20:28 John is NOT declaring that Jesus is God. It is Thomas who declares it; and Thomas represents not just the "doubters" but the entire generation of believers who walked with Jesus. Therefore, Jesus immediately presents Thomas with a larger vision of such things: Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." (20:29/RSV)
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Moreover, another meaning of v.20:28 lies in its connection to the previous two verses in JW's textual-trinity: 'My Lord and my God' > Lord and God > Lord-God. So 'lord-god' is another hebrew name for the OT deity. In other words, Thomas recognizes that Jesus is the same I AM who spoke to Moses. But this OT i-am is NOT god the cosmic-father (as witnessed to in the NT), but rather it was the divine Logos that created the world, and also sent Moses. Thus the Logos (according to John) is the mediator who stands between god and the world ...
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And also between god and the prophets (ie. those who are sent); for "the Word" is also a creative and spoken/written word. That is, the Logos/Word manifests communication and revelation as wisdom-literature and prophetic-literature. This is because language is (mostly) a product of human rationality, which can be used badly or well. When used well you get literature that can serve as a vehicle for communicating grace and truth. And so the written-word (ie. sacred scripture) is basically the result of cooperation between the minds of men and the prophetic-word/spirit.
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Anyway, all believers (and many non-believers too) know WHO the Christos is (the prophet Joshua of Nazareth), but the early greek-speaking believers (being urban citizens of the Roman Empire) did not know about messiahs in the same intimate way that the earlier generation of jewish-believers did. So the question keep cropping up almost with every new convert. The perennial question of the Faith: WHAT is the Christos (ie. the Messiah)?
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The author of John's "good news" (and its introductory epistle, 1John) attempts to answer this vital question in a manner somewhat different from the two earlier gospels (ie. Mk and Mt). [Of course we can't look at the entire gospel in just one or two meager postings, but we can surely manage a peek at seven not-so meager verses.] So for John, the 'Christos' is the cosmic-mediator (between god and world), in the form of this personal manifestation of god's wisdom and truth. But of course this rather elevated vision of the cosmic-christos goes far beyond the previous understanding of Messiah as the chosen uber-prophet and redeemer. So now (ie. just 30 years after Mk) Jesus has become nothing less than the Logos personified! A very *very* different gospel indeed ...
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Please proceed at once to part 2, up next >
"Anyone who thinks that the truth is simple has got another think comming!" -- Grandpa Walton

cybrwurm
Spawn of Epicurus
Posts: 35
Joined: 09-07-2011 04:59 PM

On Spreading the Word - 2 of 2

Post by cybrwurm » 12-28-2011 02:59 AM

Chapter Two: More Prophets of the Logos
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And so the evangelist called John elects to begin painting his
new and unique portrait of the Messiah by introducing us to
a rather unusual being:
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] Gospel say: In the beginning was the Logos [hereafter translated],
] and the Way-of-Reason was with the God. And divine was the Way-
] of-Reason, for this one was in the beginning with the God. All
] things through him came to be, and without him not one thing
] came to be. That which came into being in him was Life, and the
] life was the light of human being. And the Light in the darkness
] shines, and the darkness did not grasp it ... He was the Light (the
] true one) which enlightens every one coming into the world ... And
] the Way-of-Reason became flesh, and tabernacled among us, and
] we gazed upon the glory of him (glory as of an only one from the
] Father), full of grace and truth. -- John 1:1-5,9,14/ProphetVersion
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It shines indeed, but 74% of the universe is now known to be on the Dark-Side (ie. made up of so-called 'dark-energy' and/or 'dark-matter') ... Hmmm? ... Now that's rather odd; our late-1C egyptian-evangelist appears to have the same problems with brevity and conciseness that the cybr-saints have. How does *that* work, eh? :) He also has the same problem as the first generation of believers as regards getting kicked out of the jewish community. First the early greek-speaking hellenistic-jewish believers were kicked out of Jerusalem for their bold statements and radical ways, and now (at the height of the 'parting of the ways' (when the Faith was forced to find its own way as the new religion called christianity) believers were barred from the synagogues.
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Being kicked out of conservative traditions and orthodox places seemed to be a bad habit for the early believers. Nevertheless, for John now, as for Paulos and Silvanus then, there were also problems with the consequences of being kicked out; namely, they were angry about it. And all this prophetic anger is reflected in some of their texts, and should be born in mind whenever the reader comes across the odd harsh statements regarding 'the Jews'. In any case, this matter is obviously not pertinent to these seven gospel-opening verses ...
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So it is clear from John's text that the author is talking about large cosmic events and basic ontological realities; or to put it another way, theology and metaphysics. And because the Logos is here understood as "the rational principle that governs and develops the universe" lovers-of-J.gospel are compelled to admit philosophy into the Faith by way of the scriptures and the biblical-theology that flows from them. They have to admit Sophia (wisdom) into the prayers and practice of religious living, and (I would also add) into christian discipleship in general.
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Now I know that many of our more literal and (shall I say?) semi-focused brothers and sisters are violently opposed to the very idea of philosophy having any relevance whatsoever to the Faith. And in truth this anti-philosophy business is a "christian" tradition that stretches back over many centuries all the way to the earliest centuries of the common-era, when "christians" proved their devotion to religion by expressing their hatred of philosophy by burning down libraries and destroying philosophy-texts wherever they found them.
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And in the end they were so successful that the writings of Epicurus were blotted out of the book of life! Are the fundies still proud of this achievement? Do bible-believing christians still view philosophy with scorn and contempt? What does Jerusalem (or Rome) have to do with Athens? Well, I dare say that any believers who base their faith upon an absolute rejection of philosophy are spitting in the face of Christ, and ****ting on his religion of love, peace, and non-violence. Oh yes, a very long and very proud *anti-christian* tradition this is!
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So maybe it's time for believers to get over it; for the believer "who sacrifices the Logos principle sacrifices the idea of a living God, and he who rejects the application of this principle to Jesus as the Christ rejects his character as Christ" (Paul Tillich). Why so? Because there is no better philosophical and theological understanding of who and what the Christos is. And the Logos is an idea that was already centuries old when the evangelist got hold of it. In fact, the Logos teachings entered John through three living and growing literary-traditions: philosophy, judaism, and hellenistic-judaism (especially as at first century Alexandria) ...
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] Logos definition at http://www.answers.com (American Heritage
] Dictionary) say: Philosophy: In pre-Socratic philosophy, the principle
] governing the cosmos, the source of this principle, or human
] reasoning about the cosmos. Among the Sophists, the topics of
] rational argument or the arguments themselves. In Stoicism, the
] active, material, rational principle of the cosmos; nous. Identified
] with God, it is the source of all activity and generation and is the
] power of reason residing in the human soul. Judaism: In biblical
] Judaism, the word of God, which itself has creative power and
] is God's medium of communication with the human race. In
] Hellenistic Judaism [eg. Philo of Alexandria]: a hypostasis
] associated with divine wisdom. <snip>
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Obviously, ancient believers did not hate and attack philosophy. No, that, alas, is a "christian" invention. :( But this is not a tradition, nor less a way of being christian, for any true believer who takes the scriptures seriously. But those who truly love the 'word of god' are compelled to accept the long and fruitful logos-traditions, all three of its sources, and NOT arbitrarily exclude philosophy because you may happen to suppose that philosophy is 'not for me'. Ignorance is no excuse; not when it comes to something as vital to the Faith as this. Who is 'anti-christ' if not those who hate philosophy? And who is the liar but those who deny that Jesus Christ is the Logos? ... Well, trinitarians SAY that the Eternal Son is also the Word, but then the Word is emptied of all meaning until it becomes a worthless and meaningless title, a mere jewel for the Eternal Son to add to his royal cloak. Thus the Trinity is, in effect, an outright denial of the Way-of-Reason.
.
] Glossary Definition of Logos at http://www.pbs.org say: ...The Greek
] philosopher Heraclitus appears to be the first to have used the
] word logos to refer to a rational divine intelligence, which today is
] sometimes referred to in scientific discourse as the "mind of God."
] The early Greek philosophical tradition known as Stoicism, which
] held that every human participates in a universal and divinely
] ordained community, then used the Logos doctrine as a principle
] for human law and morality. The Stoics believed that to achieve
] freedom, happiness, and meaning one should attune one's life to
] the wisdom of God's will, manifest in the second distinction (above)
] of Logos. The Christian church then extended the Stoic idea of the
] universal community by claiming the universal nature of salvation
] and the potential for all humans to participate in it. <snip>
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And now we come to a most unpleasant (but necessary) truth; namely, that some philosophers (like Heraclitus, Socrates, Epicurus, etc) are also sages and prophets; 'pre-christian christians' as they used to be known among the theologians. Heraclitus and Philo can also be considered to be prophets of the Way-of-Reason every bit as much as the J.evangelist. And if this be so, it means that their writings (ie. the relevant bits) can likewise be considered to be authoritative sacred-scripture every bit as inspired and significant for Faith as the third gospel (that's Jn, NOT Lk).
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As for the Holy-Ghost (the third person of the triune-godhead), this is where the trinitarian theology really breaks down. For the divine-spirit is more of a universal force or presence than a person as such. Yes, we can *say* that the spirit is personified, as in the divine Sophia (who manifests herself through all manner of wisdom and prophetic literature), but this is just a way of speaking, of applying human concepts and imagery to the more universal aspects of being. Thus the Spirit is not something or someone acting upon the world and people from someplace out-there and beyond. No, rather the Spirit moves and lives within the context of human-being, for this is her home: the 'wisdom of god' unfolding within the world, and within the minds of all rational and loving peoples. But the Holy Ghost is an "invisible" god-person acting upon the world.
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It is a subtle distinction perhaps, but an important one; for all these things (Life, Light, Sophia, Word, Spirit, God, etc) are not separate and distinct and autonomies entities or cosmic-realities far beyond the meager scope of human perception. Rather, they ALL point to the *same* basic universal and human realities (ie. the same fundamental ontological categories). The 'Way of Love & Reason' shows us what it means to be a child of god, a disciple of Jesus, and a good christian believer; and it is the *same* way-of-life for all races and religions and civilizations and cultures and peoples. Yes, Love and Reason are divine; not because they are OF god, but because they are the essential nature of human-being as well. This is the good news according to the prophet John. [Note: Not the one who wrote Revelations; that's a completely different and other prophet John.]
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- putting the christos back in christmas - cybrwurm ;>
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P.S. ... and so this christosmas the wurm gives all true-believers the gift of sacred-scripture, free and awesome additions to the bible that you never even knew were there all along. Yes, gifts for the old-testament (Heraclitus) and the new (Philo); for prophetic literature cannot be bound up by childish canons and narrow-minded theological creeds. Instead the Word embraces all manner of wisdom literature be it ancient or modern (eg. Kierkegaard and Tolstoy), sacred or secular, or even something in-between (eg. see 'Life of Brian' and 'The Thin Red Line'). So do enjoy all these various and thought-provoking sacred-texts as befits the meaning of the season. The prophets would like to wish merry christmas to the whole crazy self-destructive global-village, and may all you avid consumers-of-debt have a very *restrained* new year! :D

P.P.S. "Resistance is fubar." -- Claptrap
x
"Anyone who thinks that the truth is simple has got another think comming!" -- Grandpa Walton

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