Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 64 (9073 total)
553 online now:
AZPaul3, kjsimons, PaulK, ramoss, ringo, Stile (6 members, 547 visitors)
Newest Member: FossilDiscovery
Post Volume: Total: 893,237 Year: 4,349/6,534 Month: 563/900 Week: 87/182 Day: 21/38 Hour: 0/0

Announcements: Security Update Released


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   jar - On Christianity
Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 2834 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 266 of 307 (345816)
09-01-2006 6:35 PM
Reply to: Message 264 by Faith
09-01-2006 5:54 PM


Re: a world of possibilities
Faith writes:

You must be Jewish yourself, or half Jewish to keep using the Hebrew name Yeshua.

Be careful with conjectures. He was Jewish or half Jewish. My use of his Hebrew name is motivated by a concern for accuracy.

Yes, Ecclesiastes has always made orthodox theologians squirm. The merit of the book is obvious but the content is not really theistic.


Archer

All species are transitional.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 264 by Faith, posted 09-01-2006 5:54 PM Faith has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 268 by Faith, posted 09-01-2006 8:50 PM Archer Opteryx has replied

Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 2834 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 276 of 307 (345934)
09-02-2006 1:21 AM
Reply to: Message 268 by Faith
09-01-2006 8:50 PM


Re: a world of possibilities
Faith:

It's a very silly pedantic notion that any word in its original language is by that fact necessarily more "accurate" than any translation of it. All terms and names change to fit the structure of the target language.

You're entitled to your opinion, of course. In mine, it's not a bad thing to use the original word as long as everyone knows what you are talking about. With it, you catch some of the flavors and connotations of the culture that produced the word. That's often worth having. It's the difference between an Italian aria in English and an Italian aria in Italian.

Original flavors are especially valuable in the case of Yeshua. In a world where so many people claim to possess him it is useful to be reminded of the culture that produced him, the culture he lived and died within.

Perspective can make all the difference. Would there have been so many pogroms in European history if the 'Jesus' people met in their churches had retained more of his identity as Yeshua the Rabbi, the man his first followers put down their nets to follow?

It might be pedantic if someone did it 100% of the time regardless of whether others understand the reference or not. But a flexible approach with real communication as its goal is all to the good, IMO.

It describes realistically the frustrations and meaninglessness of life in this fallen world, though. That is what Robin appreciates about it.

Well, sure. That's what everybody likes about it. Qoheleth tells it like it is. Unforgettably.

It really is an anachronism, though, to refer to this book or any other in the Tanakh as 'Christian writings.' No one who penned any of those books, no person described in those books, no person who originally gathered the books into the canon, had ever heard of Christianity. Scholars, even Christian scholars, do not refer to these books this way. It's just a misnomer.

One can say the Hebrew Scriptures form part of the various Christian canons, of course. We can say that in this role they are often referred to as the 'Old Testament' by Christians. But they are not 'Christian writings.'

Christian writings are products of Christian theology. The books of the New Testament qualify, obviously. So do the writings of Augustine, Hildegard, Aquinas, Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, Thomas Merton and similar figures. When scholars say 'Christian writings' this is the body of literature they mean.

Edited by Archer Opterix, : Punctuation.


Archer

All species are transitional.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 268 by Faith, posted 09-01-2006 8:50 PM Faith has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 280 by Faith, posted 09-02-2006 2:45 AM Archer Opteryx has replied

Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 2834 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 281 of 307 (345964)
09-02-2006 5:02 AM
Reply to: Message 280 by Faith
09-02-2006 2:45 AM


Re: Christian writings
Faith:

Well, the church in the Middle Ages had lost sight of a lot more than the Jewish culture of Jesus. Where to start?

Start today. Don't lose sight of it again.

Or at least the misnomer contains a far more important truth. All those writings had Christ as their shadow meaning, His Kingdom as their fulfillment. They ALL point to Him and His ultimate reign. The name "Christianity" is utterly irrelevant. The Messianic hope was there in the heart of every Hebrew who had a true spiritual understanding of his scriptures, and that means those who penned them, those described in them, and those who gathered them into the canon. Simeon and Anna had that blessed hope, as did all the true Hebrews back to Abraham. And so do some modern Biblical scholars.

This is a statement of your beliefs.

Many people who regard these books as authoritative, that revere them as sacred, that believe they come from God, do not share your beliefs. Many who do still see no reason to be inaccurate or misleading in their terminology just to make a dogmatic point.

Those who don't, well, what can I say.

Apparently nothing, because you object to any language that includes them.

Yes, you are technically (pedantically) correct,

Just correct. The authors of the books were not Christians. The people described in the books are not Christians. The culture that produced the books and that appears in the books is not Christian. Matters of content, culture, and authorship are not niggling little academic details. They go to the heart of why we describe a body of literature as we do.

I have told you how most people, Christians and Jews, understand the term 'Christian writings.' Remember that 98% of the audience you're so concerned about?

It makes sense to call the book of Mark, the writings of Eusebius, the visions of Hildegard of Bingen, and the sermons of Meister Eckhart 'Christian writings.' Everyone understands why.

It is thus silly to call the five books of The Torah 'Christian writings.' This is not an accurate description of the literature. It is misleading to someone unfamiliar with the books. To people who are familiar with the books it just sounds ignorant, or dogmatic.

orthodox Bible-believing Christians treat the WHOLE Bible as the revelation of God,

Which 'whole Bible' do you mean? Which 'orthodox Christians'?

There are three major Bibles recognized in Christendom alone.

Do you believe 3 Maccabees is part of 'the whole Bible'? If you do not, the real Orthodox Christians (capital O) deny that you accept 'the whole Bible' as you claim.

What if they decided to call your Bible 'Greek Orthodox Christian Scriptures-partial version'? What if they got everyone in your neighborhood to play along? And all the publishers?

Would you feel they had obeyed the Golden Rule? Would you play?

and that every part of it contributes to an understanding of the other parts;

Your Orthodox colleagues have something to tell you about the book of Baruch.

the OT is not just an ancient Jewish text.

Its meaning for Christians was acknowledged when I said the Hebrew Scriptures form part of the Christian canon under the designation 'Old Testament.' That's an accurate way to describe the situation. Most people know this anyway.

You just don't want to allow these texts to be Jewish at all.

The problem is that you would lose 98% of your English-speaking audience by using the Hebrew term [Yeshua].

No one has misunderstood me here any time I have used Jesus' Hebrew name. Context makes this clear. And the Internet is my 'English-speaking audience.'

But at that level it's an elite taste, not good for general communication to the average person.

The name Yeshua obviously bothers you, and it's not because the name has confused anyone here.

You don't want to allow your Savior his Jewishness, either.

Take another look at the top of this post.


Archer

All species are transitional.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 280 by Faith, posted 09-02-2006 2:45 AM Faith has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 282 by Faith, posted 09-02-2006 10:48 AM Archer Opteryx has replied

Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 2834 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 replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 293 by robinrohan, posted 09-03-2006 11:31 PM Archer Opteryx has taken no action

Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 2834 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 taken no action

Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 2834 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 taken no action

Replies to this message:
 Message 292 by robinrohan, posted 09-03-2006 11:09 PM Archer Opteryx has taken no action

Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 2834 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 taken no action

Replies to this message:
 Message 291 by jar, posted 09-03-2006 4:09 PM Archer Opteryx has taken no action

Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.1
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2022