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The Problem of Religious Philosophy

 
 
Play Dough
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2008 01:00 pm
@de Silentio,
de Silentio;11661 wrote:

edited...

Is the acceptance of dogmattic truths what separates theology and philosophy? In the title of this Forum, it says "Theology uses documents, philosophy uses reason". I would argue that Theology must use reason in almost the exact same manner that philosophy does, given one major difference:
the acceptance of premises that we cannot prove i.e. God exists, God does not Exist.

So I ask, is there a way to do theology without dogmatic premesis.



Philosophy also requires the acceptance of one major 'dogmatic truth' and that dogmatic truth is that there is an actual 'external reality', rather than just one 'internal reality' projected by consciousness (See, George Edward Moore).
The philosophical 'premise' that we cannot prove is if there is an actual 'external reality'.
As such, theology believes in 'God' and philosophy (generally) believes in an 'external reality'. It seems to me that its all just a matter of applying 'labels' to perceptions.
Perhaps at the (one) 'extreme' (outer limit) of both philosophy and theology there exists one 'identity' which the theologist calls 'God' and the philosopher calls 'external reality'. Both beliefs are a matter of 'faith'.

The way 'to do' theology, without dogmatic premises, is to take theology for a 'test drive' by the use of 'hypothesis'.
In other words, to hypothesize the existence of 'God' and then proceed to analyze how 'God' operates.

My conclusion, in these matters, is that both God and Man are paradoxical. My conclusion suggests a possible 'unity' or 'identity' (God/Man) that is merely masked by labels (nomenclature).

Both philosophy and theology use 'reason', however, the 'reason' employed by the theologist is 'metaphysical' ('behind/hidden) and the reason employed by philosophy is (seems) apparent.

If there is a 'common denominator' it is 'belief'. The philosopher believes (generally) in an 'external reality' and the theologist (generally) believes in God.

.
NeitherExtreme
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2008 05:24 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
If there is such a thing as absolute truth, we as individuals don't have any access to it so long as we're not omniscient. What we assume to be absolute truths are so assumed not because we know they're absolutely true, but rather because by all our measures they appear self-evident or incontrovertible. So anything that you regard as an absolute truth is only colloquially absolute -- because human convention regards it as such.

Yes, I understand that line of reasoning. But it doesn't have any business being taught in a history classroom. First, a flipant teaching of "no truth" philosophy obvisouly flies in the face of many systems of belief. This has no place in a history class. Secondly, it's a belief, not a fact. How could one teach as an absolute truth that there is no absolute truth? IMO, its a prime example of modern dogma. Again, I think dogma is a necessary part of the human existence, so I'm not accusing anyone simply for having dogma. But it is another matter to teach it in a history class.
boagie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2008 05:56 pm
@Play Dough,
Play_Dough wrote:
Philosophy also requires the acceptance of one major 'dogmatic truth' and that dogmatic truth is that there is an actual 'external reality', rather than just one 'internal reality' projected by consciousness (See, George Edward Moore).
The philosophical 'premise' that we cannot prove is if there is an actual 'external reality'.
As such, theology believes in 'God' and philosophy (generally) believes in an 'external reality'. It seems to me that its all just a matter of applying 'labels' to perceptions.
Perhaps at the (one) 'extreme' (outer limit) of both philosophy and theology there exists one 'identity' which the theologist calls 'God' and the philosopher calls 'external reality'. Both beliefs are a matter of 'faith'.

The way 'to do' theology, without dogmatic premises, is to take theology for a 'test drive' by the use of 'hypothesis'.
In other words, to hypothesize the existence of 'God' and then proceed to analyze how 'God' operates.

My conclusion, in these matters, is that both God and Man are paradoxical. My conclusion suggests a possible 'unity' or 'identity' (God/Man) that is merely masked by labels (nomenclature).

Both philosophy and theology use 'reason', however, the 'reason' employed by the theologist is 'metaphysical' ('behind/hidden) and the reason employed by philosophy is (seems) apparent.

If there is a 'common denominator' it is 'belief'. The philosopher believes (generally) in an 'external reality' and the theologist (generally) believes in God. .


Play Dough,Smile

:)Philosophy does not demand that you believe anything, certainly the Idealist does not believe in the outer world, philosophy is about wonder and free speculation, it is independent thought and bares no resemblance to theology whatsoever. This is as good an attempt as I've seen to try to evaluate two apposing principles. The choir no doubt disagrees!
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2008 10:20 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
Spoken like a stand up christian!! [IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/CONTRO%7E1/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image001.gif[/IMG]Of course this sort of thing never really happens in the bible thump world!! [IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/CONTRO%7E1/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image002.gif[/IMG]a pillar of virtue and reason [IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/CONTRO%7E1/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image003.gif[/IMG]


Of course this sort of thing does happen, and it's terrible. Teacher needs to be discipline, ect. What I find odd is that you suggest my response is unreasonable. There are Christians in the ACLU, therefore, Christians have taken up the boy's case.

Your blanket criticisms, however, suffer from a fallacy of composition, and your own personal bias toward the word "Christian".

Quote:
People in general are intimidated by Christianity, look at the primaries all those candidates vowing their faith, probably few of them believeing it.


They pander to the voters. Politicians do this on every issue. And people certainly vote their conscience, which religion tends to influence. The problem is that many "Christians" are nut jobs, still, politicians grovel for their vote. If you are intimidated by Christianity, this is a personal problem. If you are intimidated by crazy Christians, welcome to the club.

Quote:
All the more reason in the presence of this intimidation, that it be Christians that monitor the actions done in the name of Christianity at large. Insist that the church get out of the science classroom, and stays out!! Christians, stand up against the outrageous violations done by a Christianity useing its political muscle.


Glad to see you support the work of Christians all over the world.

Quote:
Philosophy also requires the acceptance of one major 'dogmatic truth' and that dogmatic truth is that there is an actual 'external reality', rather than just one 'internal reality' projected by consciousness (See, George Edward Moore).
The philosophical 'premise' that we cannot prove is if there is an actual 'external reality'.


Because we cannot prove such a thing, it need not be accepted by philosophers. As I recall, there have been philosophers to reject the notion of reality outside our own mind.

Quote:
Both philosophy and theology use 'reason', however, the 'reason' employed by the theologist is 'metaphysical' ('behind/hidden) and the reason employed by philosophy is (seems) apparent.


Theologians often plunge themselves into metaphysical discourse, but philosophers do the same.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2008 10:38 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme wrote:
Yes, I understand that line of reasoning. But it doesn't have any business being taught in a history classroom.
Well, I can't comment on how annoying or dogmatic he was, but considering that history is a science (i.e. it generates ideas based on the aggregation of data), it IS reasonable to discuss the nature of truth if one is discussing historiography -- i.e. the method and epistomology of history. If your teacher was a contrarian schmuck who was trying to make a point, that doesn't mean that it's an invalid or inappropriate point.

Quote:
First, a flippant teaching of "no truth" philosophy obvisouly flies in the face of many systems of belief. This has no place in a history class.
It belongs in any class that derives all of its knowledge from data, which are by their nature limited. Absolute truth is an aspiration of any science, whether social or natural, but that aspiration doesn't require that such a thing be possible.

Quote:
Secondly, it's a belief, not a fact. How could one teach as an absolute truth that there is no absolute truth?
If God is omnipotent can he make a rock that he cannot move? You're playing a word game here. It may be that the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth -- at least to which we have access.

Quote:
I'm not accusing anyone simply for having dogma. But it is another matter to teach it in a history class.
Again, I'm speaking only generally. But if you are trying to get young students to disavow many assumed truths in history that are not accurate, and you are trying to teach them to approach history from the point of view of data collection, then it IS helpful to encourage them to shed ideas of absolute truth. I mean is it helpful to study the Crusades historically if this belief is colored by an idea of Muslims being evil? No -- you study what people thought in the period you're studying and you set aside your biases to whatever extent possible.
Doobah47
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Apr, 2008 08:44 am
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Philosophy does not demand that you believe anything, certainly the Idealist does not believe in the outer world, philosophy is about wonder and free speculation, it is independent thought and bares no resemblance to theology whatsoever. This is as good an attempt as I've seen to try to evaluate two apposing principles. The choir no doubt disagrees!


The problem I find with philosophy is the corruption that comes with fame; a famous philosopher's writings and the accounts of theology amount to roughly the same thing - they are both corrupted by the very nature of fame and influence.

Somebody might say "you would like Nietzche", and this amounts to something equivalent to "you would like the New Testament", in that one is coerced into following opinions which are not manifested in an organic fashion by the individual. So theology and philosophy are similar in that they both seem to depend on fame as a meter for how 'correct' something is.

Of course in theory, and in the practice of philosophy by the individual, philosophy requires one to submit to language when expressing an opinion, yet theology does not neccessarily require the belief of an individual - it requires their attention. One cannot really practice philosophy without submitting to language (unless one is a musical philosopher for example), but one can practice or read theology without making any presumption of truth (thus not submitting to it's language or ideals).
0 Replies
 
NeitherExtreme
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Apr, 2008 05:28 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:

It may be that the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth -- at least to which we have access.

It may be that this is the case. But if it is, we have no way to prove it. Moreover, we act as though there is truth, even if our understanding is incomplete. That is the point of studying history- to find out, to the best of our ability, what actually happened. If there were no truth to study, then why study at all? The teaching that there is no absolute truth is a phillosophical statement of belief. It's not fact, since as a logical statement it is self-contradictory. More importantly, its not history.

Maybe this belongs in a new thread?

Edit: By the way, as far as the teacher is concerned, I really liked him... I disagreed with him from time to time, but I enjoyed his class very much. My only point was that philosophical (or theological) dogma shouldn't be taught as fact in the public class room, though at times it is, and he was a good example.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Apr, 2008 08:01 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme wrote:
It may be that this is the case. But if it is, we have no way to prove it.
Do you have to prove every single assertion that you make? If something is self-evident to a reasonable person when presented a certain way does that mean the point is invalid in all contexts if an absolute proof is impossible? The only thing that makes this scenario unique is that it's an assertion about truth, but that doesn't divorce it from anything else we ever talk about.

Quote:
Moreover, we act as though there is truth, even if our understanding is incomplete.
First of all, I don't think that anyone reasonably would assert that objectively there is no such thing as absolute truth. The problem is that we're neither objective nor omniscient, so we cannot absolutely know if any apparent truth is either absolute or even true at all.

So the incompleteness of our understanding is the strongest argument for our lack of access to absolute truth -- if there is such a thing.

Quote:
If there were no truth to study, then why study at all?
To learn more. Not necessarily to learn all.

And because we aspire to truth, whether it exists or not. That aspiration is within us, not within the 'true' fabric of existence.

Quote:
The teaching that there is no absolute truth... is not history.
But it IS historiography. And historiography is requisite for any advanced understanding of history. Historiography is to history what the scientific method is to science, what logic is to philosophy, and what theology is to religion.

Quote:
Maybe this belongs in a new thread?
Good thought.
NeitherExtreme
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Apr, 2008 01:49 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:

Good thought.

I continued our discussion here:
http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/epistemology/1221-absolute-truth-history-etc.html#post12329
0 Replies
 
democritus
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 06:43 am
@de Silentio,
Silentio, I like the title of this debate "The Problem of Religious Philosophy" and shall try to stick to it. However, your opening sentence contains a misleading term like "dogmatic truth".

There is no such term as "dogmatic truth" usable in modern logic or deductive reasoning. A statement is considered to be either true or false. In "dogmatic truth" if you imply a dogmatic "belief" [without a valid reasoning] , it may be a True Belief or a False Belief. We can test a belief if it is a true or false belief by putting it in logical format and seeing that If the premises are true the conclusion of a sound argument can't be false. In deductive reasoning we start from a self evident truths or accepted premises and build up our reasoning until the conclusion which must follow from previous premises.

Modern logic like mathematic is a universal knowledge. There is no Eastern, Western, Hindu, Christian or Muslim mathematic nor there is Eastern or Western logic. Modern Logic is a universal knowledge.

Let us also remind ourself the meaning of two important words: Theology- the study of religion and beliefs. Philosophy - [conventional meaning of the word: "love of wisdom" and "wisdom" - ability to make right decision and give good advice] is the study of knowledge which is based on sound, deductive reasoning [not to be mixed up with science and theology]

de Silentio wrote:
Is the acceptance of [ed. dogmatic belief] what separates theology and philosophy?
Yes, Theology teach the acceptance of suspension of reasoning as necessary requirement to justify religious claims.
Philosophy will never accept suspension of reasoning to justify any claim.

de Silentio wrote:
I would argue that Theology must use reason in almost the exact same manner that philosophy does, given one major difference: the acceptance of premises that we cannot prove i.e. God exists
That is exactly what an educated priest, imam etc does. He sticks to the logic as much as logic useful for him but throw it away when it does not prove his case.

de Silentio wrote:
I ask, is there a way to do theology without [ed. dogmatic beliefs] .
The answer is probably NO. If you throw away dogmatic beliefs [like the Bible or The Koran are the "words of God" or "Jesus is the Son of God", or "there is only one God - Allah"] you will not go far, everything will collapse.

Thanks
democritus
0 Replies
 
democritus
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 08:35 am
@Aedes,
Aedes, it is unfortunate to see that moderators are also indulging word games. I tried to explain in the previous comment that there is no such term as "dogmatic truth" useful in deductive reasoning which we all know is the backbone of any philosophical inquiry.
Aedes wrote:
Absolute truth is an aspiration of any science, whether social or natural, but that aspiration doesn't require that such a thing be possible.
If God is omnipotent can he make a rock that he cannot move? You're playing a word game here. It may be that the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth.
I wonder if "the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth" is a claim or a word game?

If it is not a word game it needs some testing of the validity of the reasoning:

TEST ONE:

Premise One: ["the only absolute truth is "... implies that] There is "absolute truth"

Premise Two: There is no "absolute truth"

Conclusion One: If Premise One is TRUE then, Premise Two is FALSE

Conclusion Two: If Premise One is FALSE then, Premise Two is TRUE

Conclusion Three: Premise One and Premise Two can not be TRUE or FALSE in the same reasoning.

TEST TWO:

Premise One: Some premises are TRUE.

Premise Two: Some premises are FALSE.

Premise Three: Some "TRUE premises" are TRUE.

Premise Four: Some "TRUE premises" are FALSE.

Premise Five: Some TRUE "TRUE premises" are called "absolute truth".

Premise Six: Some FALSE "TRUE premises" are called "absolute truth".

Conclusion One: If Premise One, Two, Three and Five are true and Premise Four and Six are false then, "absolute truth" is simply a TRUE premise.

Thanks
democritus
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 02:43 pm
@democritus,
Of course you can do theology without dogma. Theology is the study of God: there does not have to be established doctrine to study God, nor does there even need to be an established body to establish doctrine in order to study God.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 03:29 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;50215 wrote:
Of course you can do theology without dogma.
Do you agree that theology requires at least some boundaries that define the tradition in which you're working? I mean Christian theology seems to be impossible without at a minimum taking into account either the divinity or the teachings of Jesus. In other words, I don't think any theology can be a 100% blank slate, i.e. starting as Descartes did from knowledge only of one's consciousness.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 04:53 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
Do you agree that theology requires at least some boundaries that define the tradition in which you're working? I mean Christian theology seems to be impossible without at a minimum taking into account either the divinity or the teachings of Jesus. In other words, I don't think any theology can be a 100% blank slate, i.e. starting as Descartes did from knowledge only of one's consciousness.


Necessarily? No. I think it is useful to have some boundaries, but I do not see the necessity of having them.

The example of the teachings of Jesus is a great one. We can do theology, based on the teachings attributed to Jesus, without taking those teachings as dogma. Imagine someone who writes a commentary on a Gospel, in some places praising the teachings, in others criticizing the teaching. We can work from something that has the potential to be dogma, like scripture, without it being dogma.

Granted, this is a loose use of the word theology; typically, theology is done by someone committed to certain dogmas.

A blank slate, though: that might be impossible. Even if we do not have to have a particular dogma, it does seem to me that we need something to work with. I wonder, though, if we keep this loose understanding of theology... could we consider the Tao Te Ching, for example, to be theology from a blank slate (for the sake of the discussion, ignoring the conflation of Tao with God).
0 Replies
 
democritus
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Feb, 2009 04:29 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
The moderators are debating the meaning of the word "theology":
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Of course you can do theology without dogma.

Aedes wrote:
I don't think any theology can be a 100% blank slate,

Didymos Thomas wrote:
Granted, this is a loose use of the word theology; typically, theology is done by someone committed to certain dogmas.

Any dictionary or Wikipedia definition would help: "Theology is the study of the existence or attributes of a god or gods, or more generally the study of religion or spirituality. It is sometimes contrasted with religious studies: theology is understood as the study of religion from an internal perspective (e.g., a perspective of commitment to that religion), and religious studies as the study of religion from an external (e.g., a secular) perspective. [ see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theology ]

However, we are supposed to be debating "The Problem of Religious Philosophy" NOT Theology.

One of the fundamental mistake [quite frequently appears in almost all other branches of philosophy as well as in this one] is that, we are wasting huge amount of time on ambiguous or "loose use of" words. [For example: words like "internal reality", "external reality", "absolute truth", "dogmatic truth", "faith truth" "metaphysical truth" etc etc.]

Other mistake is that, trying to be nice to people with mistaken or irrational claims commentator is almost shies away from giving a rational response:

Let us remember the meaning of "rationalism" - "practice of testing all religious beliefs and knowledge by reason and logic.
Example of a claim:
NeitherExtreme wrote:
What would you all say to someone who had an experience, or experiences, that led them to conclude "rationally" that something spritual exists beyond realm of our normal empircal understandings?
And the right response:
boagie wrote:
NeitherExtreme, If you or anyone else who comes to a forum like this, surely knows that your statements are going to be scrutinized, that is what a philosophy forum is about.
The "sitting on the fence" type of response:
Aedes wrote:
It may be rational to believe what you have witnessed is true (insofar as you consider your senses and wits reliable), The rational response would be to conclude that your experience is true and is somehow consistent with the universe we've grown to experience and understand.
Another example of mixing "Theology" and "Religious Studies" with "Philosophy of Religion":
Didymos Thomas wrote:
First, we can read the Bible in many different ways. Literal readings tend to produce great absurdities; however, one need not read the text literally, and I argue that literal readings are necessarily misguided. I, as a Christian, take serious issue with parts of traditional Christian canon.
Is it necessary to read Bible, Koran or any other "Holy Book" in order to be proficient in the Philosophy of Religion? Let people write all sorts of Holy Books and make all sorts of claims - our job is to question the validity of claims as it is the case in every other branches of philosophy.

Didymos Thomas says he is a Christian [a follower of Jesus Christ]. I assume he must have a sound reasoning to follow Jesus Christ rather than Mohammed, Krishna, or Zarathustra. If I know this rational reasoning I may follow him as well. But the trouble is that, he has to convince me God [or Gods] exist, Bible is a reliable book, Jesus is what Bible or Church tells us to be [he was not a fictional character but a real and perfectly sane man -even son of God- did all sorts of miracles, resurrected etc.

I ask similar questions to every other religious claims and this I understand is the proper function of philosophy.

Thank you,
democritus
0 Replies
 
democritus
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2009 03:53 pm
@LogicOnFire,
Aedes wrote:
even within formal philosophical writing the non-religious can go from the highly rational (Spinoza or Hume) to the highly irrational (Sartre)

Aedes, I would be grateful if you kindly enlighten us WHAT IS "highly irrational" formal philosophical writings of J.P.Sartre.
LogicOnFire wrote:
I am a Christian and I use logic and reason to arrive at the beliefs that I have. [ed] engaging in critical analysis of my beliefs will help me grow in knowledge and understanding. I believe all knowledge comes from God.

LogicOnFire, I am pleased to hear that you use logic and reason to arrive Christianity. Would you please tell us your reasoning how have you concluded that no other God or Gods but only the Christian God, the Son of God and the Holy Spirit exist.

Thank you,
democritus
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2009 04:55 pm
@democritus,
democritus wrote:

Didymos Thomas says he is a Christian [a follower of Jesus Christ]. I assume he must have a sound reasoning to follow Jesus Christ rather than Mohammed, Krishna, or Zarathustra.


You assume incorrectly, friend. I follow the teachings of Jesus, but Jesus never taught that wisdom should only be found in his teachings. I am a Christian because I primarily turn to the teachings of Jesus, but a Christian might also turn to non-Christian teaching and scripture for wisdom: Thomas Merton comes to mind.

democritus wrote:
If I know this rational reasoning I may follow him as well.


I would not take reasoning so seriously: better to go by experience.

democritus wrote:
But the trouble is that, he has to convince me God [or Gods] exist


Which is impossible. You have to see God on your own. I can provide suggestions for reading materials, but that's about all I can do. I'm no priest.

democritus wrote:
, Bible is a reliable book,


What do you mean by reliable?

democritus wrote:
Jesus is what Bible or Church tells us to be [he was not a fictional character but a real and perfectly sane man -even son of God- did all sorts of miracles, resurrected etc.


Historically speaking, the existence of Jesus is almost universally accepted. However, even if Jesus never lived why would the teachings attributed to him lose significance? Lao Tzu is typically agreed to be purely mythological, but the Tao Te Ching remains relevant.

Also, as a Christian, I would not want to convince you that Jesus (the historical man) walked on water; to suggest he did is a misreading of the text. The Gospels are not meant to be read literally. Those stories are allegories, not historical record.
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2009 05:07 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
You assume incorrectly, friend. I follow the teachings of Jesus, but Jesus never taught that wisdom should only be found in his teachings. I am a Christian because I primarily turn to the teachings of Jesus, but a Christian might also turn to non-Christian teaching and scripture for wisdom: Thomas Merton comes to mind.
It appears your definition of Christian is just as loose as your definition of Theology. If you turn to other scriptures and teachings, I don't see why you're labeling yourself a Christian. We've discussed this before, but I'm still dumbfounded... what is the point of the labeling if you're genuinely open to other paths of wisdom? What drives you to want to label yourself a Christian? This adherence to labeling yourself "Christian" makes me think you believe in Jesus (not just the historical man, but as a savior), and the benevolent "God" that's spoken of in the scriptures. Yet, we've spoken before, and it didn't appear you're even set on that.

So for curiosity's sake, what say you?

Quote:
Historically speaking, the existence of Jesus is almost universally accepted.
As far as I know, it's still up in the air whether he ever lived as a man. I've seen just as many arguments for his existence as I have for him just being cited in the scriptures as a *symbol*:

Historicity of Jesus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Now, I'm not saying his teachings should lose value, just as the teachings from Don Quixote shouldn't lose value.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2009 05:31 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
It appears your definition of Christian is just as loose as your definition of Theology.


Yet my definition of theology is also accurate. Theology: the study of God.

Zetherin wrote:
If you turn to other scriptures and teachings, I don't see why you're labeling yourself a Christian. We've discussed this before, but I'm still dumbfounded... what is the point of the labeling if you're genuinely open to other paths of wisdom? What drives you to want to label yourself a Christian? This adherence to labeling yourself "Christian" makes me think you believe in Jesus (not just the historical man, but as a savior), and the benevolent "God" that's spoken of in the scriptures. Yet, we've spoken before, and it didn't appear you're even set on that.


There is no drive to label myself a Christian, I do so because that's what I am given that I try to follow the teachings of Jesus as best I can and turn to those teachings more than I turn to the teachings of any other faith tradition. Not to mention the fact that I have been confirmed in the Episcopal Church.

I do believe in Jesus, as a savior: his teachings offer a path to Heaven. And I also believe in God, the one spoken of in scripture.


Zetherin wrote:
As far as I know, it's still up in the air whether he ever lived as a man. I've seen just as many arguments for his existence as I have for him just being cited in the scriptures as a *symbol*:


Oh yes, those arguments exist. The thing is that the theory that Jesus never lived died out about a hundred years ago and is, today, a marginal account. Most historians agree he lived; this does not mean they agree the Gospels are an accurate account, though, as most historians also recognize the fact that what we know about Jesus, historically, would not even fill up one side of an index card.

Zetherin wrote:
Now, I'm not saying the value of his teachings should lose value, just as the teachings from Don Quixote shouldn't lose value since he never actually existed.


Exactly, and that is something I have argued for on these forums before. Spiritually, the question "Did Jesus really live?" is irrelevant.
0 Replies
 
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2009 05:42 pm
@de Silentio,
You state:

Didymos Thomas wrote:
I would not want to convince you that Jesus (the historical man) walked on water; to suggest he did is a misreading of the text. The Gospels are not meant to be read literally. Those stories are allegories, not historical record.
Yet you say:

Didymos Thomas wrote:
I do believe in Jesus, as a savior: his teachings offer a path to Heaven. And I also believe in God, the one spoken of in scripture.
So then you do take some of what the scripture says as literal, correct?

In this case, then, you *don't* just regard the scriptures as completely fictitious, yes? So, where is your break-off point? Do you believe in Jonah and whale, David and Goliath, Jesus performing miracles on the sick... or just that there's a "God" in "Heaven"?
Didymos Thomas wrote:

There is no drive to label myself a Christian, I do so because that's what I am given that I try to follow the teachings of Jesus as best I can and turn to those teachings more than I turn to the teachings of any other faith tradition. Not to mention the fact that I have been confirmed in the Episcopal Church.

This is what I mean when I note "Drive". Because, from what you've typed to me, it appears that Jesus isn't just another path of wisdom you seek more often than others. You've even been confirmed through a church - a religious activity. You're a Christian because you believe the "God" represented in the biblical scriptures is the true "God": you take some of these scriptures literally; It's not just another notion of wisdom considered -- this is what you base your life on. Are you still reconsidering your notion of "God", or have you just stopped at the biblical scriptures? It appears you've stopped at the biblical scriptures, am I incorrect?
 

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