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Author Topic:   jar - On Christianity
Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 978 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 286 of 307 (346177)
09-03-2006 6:24 AM
Reply to: Message 284 by robinrohan
09-02-2006 11:33 PM


Re: Questions
robinrohan writes:

I haven't seen too much "healthy questioning" from Jar. What I have seen is a lot of politically correct ideas, learned apparently by rote, and pictures of baby birds and flowers.

That's "religion" according to Jar.

It's a far cry from what I know of the Anglican tradition. But I'm going by writers I have studied such as William Law, Samuel Johnson, and, in the 20th century, T. S. Eliot. These folks are rather severe.

I take your point about the tradition. You could also have mentioned Dietrich Bonhoeffer who, though not Anglican, espoused a similarly uncompromising moral vision--and backed it up.

I'm new here, but I've met my fair share of PC, New Agey, 'it's beautiful, man' types. My impression is that Jar is being sold short.

Jar is often trying to convey ideas that defy easy formulation in words. Hence the photos. Hence 'it really is that simple.' Something is 'that simple'--verbally--because there really is little more to say. But he's always made it clear that plenty more remains to do.

He usually declines to spell out what it is. He knows the religious world is already full of people who are all too eager to spell out everything. He doesn't want that gig. He leaves it to you to figure it out applications in your own life.

He has said as much. I find him very clear on this.

It's a very rabbinical way of putting a point over. Which is the way Yeshua, the Rabbi, put his own ideas over. (I concede at once that Yeshua did it better. Jar would concede as much, too. But it's clear to me who Jar is using as a role model.)

People exchange ideas in different ways. Jar's manner of expression will not be to everyone's taste--least of all to the kind of temperaments you are likely to encounter on a science board. And it's a risky way to express yourself. Sometimes he tries things that misfire. In his efforts to activate his readers' intuitions, he sometimes spins the ball a bit too much in the direction of emotions and sentiment. It sends off everyone's cheese alarm and the point gets lost.

But he's had a cartoon drawn of him here and it's obvious that some people, now that the cartoon is drawn, prefer it to the real person. I seem to get that cartoon pushed at me every time I ask him a question. I'll draw my own conclusions, thanks.

William James pointed out in The Varieties of Religious Experience that no single experience of any belief exists. All beliefs are manifested through the conduit of individual personalities.

Your taste seems to run toward austere, even depressive varieties of religious experience. Qoheleth, TS Eliot. That's fine; I'm with you. Some people are of naturally sunnier dispositions. That's fine, too. Some people are mystics. Some are hands-on, get-to-work types. It takes all kinds.

What specific aspect of, say, TS Eliot's view of the world do you think Jar throws away? Put it forward. Let's ask.


Archer

All species are transitional.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 284 by robinrohan, posted 09-02-2006 11:33 PM robinrohan has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 293 by robinrohan, posted 09-03-2006 11:31 PM Archer Opteryx has not yet responded

iano
Member (Idle past 563 days)
Posts: 6164
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 287 of 307 (346186)
09-03-2006 8:32 AM
Reply to: Message 285 by robinrohan
09-02-2006 11:44 PM


Re: Questions
Taking Eliot as an example, salvation "costs not less than everything." One suffers to be saved. One takes up one's cross.

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre—
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Redeemed from fire by fire. What a line! You, saved from being ever-consumed by fire (wrath) by being purifed by fire (love). All that will be left in the end is the purest you - all the sin and tendency to sin will have been destroyed. Love conceived of this, love paid for this to be able to happen (it cost everything). Yes, you have to suffer. But once the 'choice' is made then into the fire of your 'choice' you go. Christ (the one discharge on whom the dove alighted) paying all made such a purifying fire possible

The suffering of redeeming fire is not all unpleasant - given what one knows it leads too. It is the suffering under a dentists drill, it is the suffering of getting a skin graft. Worthwhile and profitable suffering. But don't just take it from me - find out for yourself...

Believing is seeing.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 285 by robinrohan, posted 09-02-2006 11:44 PM robinrohan has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 289 by Archer Opteryx, posted 09-03-2006 3:43 PM iano has not yet responded

Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 978 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 288 of 307 (346249)
09-03-2006 2:39 PM
Reply to: Message 282 by Faith
09-02-2006 10:48 AM


Re: Hebrew scriptures
If my tone struck you as urgent, Faith, it is because the historical cost of your brand of insouciance has been high. That cost is a matter of record.

No one asked you to change your beliefs. No one asked you to refrain from stating your views. I recommended making room for acknowledgement, in the name of accuracy if nothing else, that other views exist besides your own. You do not have a monopoly.

It is an odd mutation of Christianity that has no Golden Rule left in it.

Intolerance lies at the core of evil.
Not the intolerance that results
from any threat or danger.
But intolerance of another being who dares to exist.
Intolerance without cause. It is so deep within us,
because every human being secretly desires
the entire universe to himself.
Our only way out is to learn
compassion without cause. To care for each other
simpley because that 'other' exists.

- Rabbi Menachem Mendle

Edited by Archer Opterix, : Typo.


Archer

All species are transitional.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 282 by Faith, posted 09-02-2006 10:48 AM Faith has not yet responded

Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 978 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 289 of 307 (346258)
09-03-2006 3:43 PM
Reply to: Message 287 by iano
09-03-2006 8:32 AM


the mystic experience
Redeemed from fire by fire. What a line! You, saved from being ever-consumed by fire (wrath) by being purifed by fire (love). All that will be left in the end is the purest you - all the sin and tendency to sin will have been destroyed.

That's my favorite part of the poem.

All religions maintain that approaching the deity, the ultimate reality, carries with it the risk of annihilation. There is an intensity to this experience, a fire that consumes. But it also refines and purifies, to the extent that one can survive it. Eliot's 'fire to fire', in the context of his entire poem, shows he has this well in mind. He is talking about two different effects of the same reality.

God gave us so many emotions, and so many strong ones. Every human being, even if he is an idiot, is a millionaire in emotions.
- Isaac Bashevis Singer

His image corresponds with (and was influenced by) the mystic experience in a number of world faiths. Buddhism conceives of Nirvana just this way, and you see the same motifs in the works of Jewish and Hindu mystics. Annihilation of the self, the ego, and desires before the unknown. The ultimate intimacy. Death and life at once.

In every case, the genuineness of the experience is known to the one who experiences it. It ultimately remains inaccessible to anyone else, though, precisely because it is so personal.

The leaf becomes flower when it loves. The flower becomes fruit when it worships.
- Rabindranath Tagore

The tendency of mystics worldwide to have kindred experiences has always drawn suspicion from theologians who are fond of clear boundaries. That's why people like Francis of Assisi, Aquinas and Eckhart--and many of the saints, actually--tended to encounter trouble from religious authorities.

One has to admit that, whatever Eliots' experience, Christianity is full of people who haven't suffered much. They have a comfortable set of beliefs they inherited from family, pastor, and community. They wield these beliefs like a shield in the face of new ideas. This is a complacency Eliot attacked.

I don't suggest that in this respect the adherents of Christianity are any different than adherents of many other religions. It is a human phenomenon. Most of us inherit our religious ideas from family and community. It is our default setting. We remain confident in our views because we've never had to entertain any other notion.

The suffering you describe, then, is not the property of a single belief system. Neither is it guaranteed by asserting any one religion. You are talking about having one's comfortable answers overturned. You are talking about doubt, confrontation with new experiences, experience of one's smallness in the vastness of the whole, openness to direct action by God.

This experience stands at the core of all faiths.

Know God and all fetters will fall away.
No longer identifying yourself
With the body, go beyond birth and death.
All your desires will be fulfilled in him
Who is One without a second.

Know him to be enshrined in your heart always.
Truly there is nothing more in life to know.
Meditate and realize this world
Is filled with the presence of God.

- Shvetashvatara Upanishad, The Upanishads (tr Eknath Easwaran)
- Nilgiri Press, 1987

I love how Eliot describes it. Brilliant.


Archer

All species are transitional.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 287 by iano, posted 09-03-2006 8:32 AM iano has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 978 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 290 of 307 (346260)
09-03-2006 3:53 PM
Reply to: Message 284 by robinrohan
09-02-2006 11:33 PM


Annie Dillard
robinrohan writes:

It's a far cry from what I know of the Anglican tradition. But I'm going by writers I have studied such as William Law, Samuel Johnson, and, in the 20th century, T. S. Eliot. These folks are rather severe.

How familiar are you with the works of Annie Dillard?

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek seems right up your alley. For the Time Being as well.

Dillard isn't peddling a particular religion. The books are meditations on nature (Tinker Creek) and humanity (Time Being). Tinker Creek is a powerful antidote to any romantic images of nature a person might entertain.

Edited by Archer Opterix, : Italic format.


Archer

All species are transitional.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 284 by robinrohan, posted 09-02-2006 11:33 PM robinrohan has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 291 by jar, posted 09-03-2006 4:09 PM Archer Opteryx has not yet responded

jar
Member
Posts: 28667
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 291 of 307 (346261)
09-03-2006 4:09 PM
Reply to: Message 290 by Archer Opteryx
09-03-2006 3:53 PM


Re: Annie Dillard
One of the things I liked about Tinker Creek is that it is much like the stretch of Turkey Run I was familar with. The areas she describes, the landscapes of experience are much like what I grew up with, the same hills and valleys, streams and forests, the same (well close to the same, she is just a touch younger than me IIRC) time period.

Thinking back on Tinker Creek, and it is one that I had not thought about in many years, one thing that struck me was the influence that Walden seemed to cast over all she wrote. She does reach out though, past the bounds of Christianity, and reflecting in many ways the nuances of my sig.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 290 by Archer Opteryx, posted 09-03-2006 3:53 PM Archer Opteryx has not yet responded

robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 292 of 307 (346312)
09-03-2006 11:09 PM
Reply to: Message 289 by Archer Opteryx
09-03-2006 3:43 PM


Re: the mystic experience
That's my favorite part of the poem

Here's my favorite part:

Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about . . .

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 293 of 307 (346317)
09-03-2006 11:31 PM
Reply to: Message 286 by Archer Opteryx
09-03-2006 6:24 AM


Re: Questions
What specific aspect of, say, TS Eliot's view of the world do you think Jar throws away? Put it forward. Let's ask.

Jar's view is as far from Eliot's as one could imagine.

Edited by robinrohan, : No reason given.


"Your friends, if they can, may bury you with some distinction, and set up a monument, to let posterity see that your dust lies under such a stone; and when that is done, all is done. Your place is filled up by another, the world is just in the same state it was, you are blotted out of its sight, and as much forgotten by the world as if you had never belonged to it."--William Law
This message is a reply to:
 Message 286 by Archer Opteryx, posted 09-03-2006 6:24 AM Archer Opteryx has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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iano
Member (Idle past 563 days)
Posts: 6164
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 294 of 307 (346515)
09-04-2006 5:49 PM
Reply to: Message 292 by robinrohan
09-03-2006 11:09 PM


Down in a tube station at midnight.
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about . .

I had just taken my seat in the departures lounge of an airport today and noticed a kerfuffle a few seating rows ahead. Parmedics arrived within seconds and I copped that a woman traveller had collapsed. I could see her arm lying on the ground under the rows of seats. I prayed a while for her over the sound of the defib machine charging up and the medics saying "clear"... then a crackly sound and some beeps.

There were various reactions from the hundreds of people gathered. Many stood and watched the proceedings as if transfixed; wives clutching husbands arms and kids, not knowing what was going on, but gathering from parents reactions that now was not the right time to pester for a McDonalds. An opportunistic pickpocket would have had a field day. The look on those faces was either the wide-eyed excited look of the voyeur or one of fear. It was about 50/50 voyeur/fear amongst those who were looking.

There were a surprisingly large amount (20%) who continued on with their lives. Reading the newspaper and glancing up occassionally to check on a paras progress or tapping away on their laptops or as the attractive (but now increasingly ugly) girl opposite me: chatting to her friend on her mobile about her weekend and glancing over occassionally at the show.

I gather the woman died. The paramedics were still pumping her chest 15 minutes later when I'd had enough of this train stuck in a tunnel and left the scene.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 292 by robinrohan, posted 09-03-2006 11:09 PM robinrohan has not yet responded

nator
Member (Idle past 2022 days)
Posts: 12961
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 295 of 307 (346524)
09-04-2006 6:32 PM
Reply to: Message 293 by robinrohan
09-03-2006 11:31 PM


Re: Questions
What specific aspect of, say, TS Eliot's view of the world do you think Jar throws away? Put it forward. Let's ask.

quote:
Jar's view is as far from Eliot's as one could imagine.

That's not very specific, robin.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 293 by robinrohan, posted 09-03-2006 11:31 PM robinrohan has responded

Replies to this message:
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iano
Member (Idle past 563 days)
Posts: 6164
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 296 of 307 (346534)
09-04-2006 7:10 PM
Reply to: Message 295 by nator
09-04-2006 6:32 PM


Re: Questions
One has to be at least present on the field of play before another can start considering how far wide of the goalposts that person is shooting. I've a Buddhist mate who shoots closer to Christianity than Jar!
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 297 of 307 (346539)
09-04-2006 7:21 PM
Reply to: Message 295 by nator
09-04-2006 6:32 PM


Re: Questions
The difference is that Eliot believed in the Fall.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam's curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

Edited by robinrohan, : No reason given.


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Replies to this message:
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ringo
Member
Posts: 12912
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 298 of 307 (346540)
09-04-2006 7:27 PM
Reply to: Message 296 by iano
09-04-2006 7:10 PM


Re: Questions
iano writes:

One has to be at least present on the field of play before another can start considering how far wide of the goalposts that person is shooting.

You're confusing the players with the Referee.

The players don't get to decide whose goal counts.

Edited by Ringo, : Added signature.


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kuresu
Member (Idle past 2654 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 299 of 307 (346581)
09-05-2006 12:37 AM
Reply to: Message 297 by robinrohan
09-04-2006 7:21 PM


Re: Questions
I don't really see what the Fall has to do with christianity specifically.

Isn't it also part of the jewish tradition? after all, adam is their forefather, as is noah. adam and eve commited original sin, noah survived (the fall?).

So saying that Jar's not a christian (or whatever) because he doesn't accept that the fall occured is really pointless.

I thought the key part about christianity was accepting Jesus as your savior--not believing in a fall.


All a man's knowledge comes from his experiences
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jar
Member
Posts: 28667
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 300 of 307 (346584)
09-05-2006 1:05 AM
Reply to: Message 299 by kuresu
09-05-2006 12:37 AM


On the Fall
The Fall is a handy copout IMHO, yet another way for folk to shift the blame elsewhere. It is one of the ways to avoid taking responsibility for your own acts, "Man is filled with a sinful nature since the Fall", "We are Cursed", "All was perfect before the Fall."

The story of the Garden of Eden is among other things the charge that WE know right from wrong, and that WE are expected to try to do what is right and to try not to do what is wrong.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
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Replies to this message:
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