• Moses
    191
    It may be that the specifics of an afterlife don't matter too much, but whether or not there is an afterlife does. But logic does not dictate that there is an afterlife. It is because we do not know that there are no agreed upon specifics. In my opinion, logic dictates that we should not live in accordance with something that may not be. That this life matters immensely because for all we know there is only this life.Fooloso4


    Here is where I would disagree. I've never been in a car crash but I still wear a seatbelt. The stakes are very high if you're wrong here. If I'm wrong I'm just an idiot going into oblivion.

    I'm honestly just not particularly interested in a universe where there is no afterlife/judgment. In that case I agree with Paul: "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die." I think for the universe to be just there must be some type of accounting/judgment and a just universe is the only type of universe that interests me.

    Does he? God acknowledges the deficiency and says:Fooloso4

    There's no doubt that the speech impediment presents a challenge; but it's not a deficiency. Moses was created exactly as intended and we're under no warrant to question God's work.

    11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

    The Lord's work is not deficient; it is exactly as intended. The disabled are just another part of the human condition; not beings to be regarded as inferior. It is still of course a challenge. I think I see the same idea presented in gThomas.

    (67) Jesus said, "If one who knows the all still feels a personal deficiency, he is
    completely deficient."

    E.g. a very short man may struggle in life with dating and self-confidence, and that condition no doubt presents a challenge, but I don't think we can call him deficient.

    The union of Moses and Aaron seems to be a symbolic representation of the union of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.Fooloso4

    Quite possibly, and I'm open to this interpretation I would just need to hear more about it. In any case, hierarchy reversal -- the younger leading the older -- is a recurring theme in the Bible, especially in Genesis and it pops back up with Jesus.
  • 180 Proof
    9.8k
    In considering the afterlife to be high value, it isn't nihilisticAgent Smith
    Since whether or not there is an "afterlife" is unknowable, I think investing more, or all, value in the merely imaginable instead of in this life is literally to value nothing. As Freddy remind us
    ... man would rather will nothingness than not will — On the Geneaology of Morals, Third Essay
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k
    The stakes are very high if you're wrong here.Moses

    What would you do differently if you were convinced there was no afterlife?

    I'm honestly just not particularly interested in a universe where there is no afterlife/judgment.Moses

    For all you know, that might be the universe you live in. If your preference is to believe in an afterlife I do not take issue with that.

    In that case I agree with Paul: "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die."Moses

    The quote is: eat and drink. No mention of being merry(1 Corinthians 15:25)

    I agree with Koheleth :

    So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 8:15)

    Koheleth, did not believe in an afterlife, but unlike Paul, he believed that this life gives us occasion to rejoice, to be glad, to find satisfaction in our work.

    There's no doubt that the speech impediment presents a challenge; but it's not a deficiency.Moses

    If it was not a deficiency he would not have needed Aaron to speak on his behalf.

    11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?Moses

    Right, he gave him a mouth that he was unable to use to speak to the people.

    The Lord's work is not deficient; it is exactly as intended.Moses

    And yet in the garden was a tree that bore fruit that was bad or evil. God cursed the ground and caused the labor of childbirth to be painful after Adam and Eve ate of it. In the story of the Flood we are told:

    The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. (Genesis 6:6)

    The flood that God caused killed all but two (or 7) of every kind of land dwelling animal. Isaiah says:

    Forming light, and preparing darkness, Making peace, and preparing evil, I am Jehovah, doing all these things. (45:7)

    The disabled are just another part of the human condition; not beings to be regarded as inferior.Moses

    We are all inferior to others in one way or another, but this is not the same as saying that some of us or all of us are inferior beings.
  • Moses
    191
    What would you do differently if you were convinced there was no afterlife?Fooloso4


    How do I gain such conviction? I would have to be delusional to have such conviction. I have no idea; I'm throwing in with the notion that there is an afterlife because it helps me live and maintain a sense of justice in the universe.

    If for some reason I was able to gain absolute certainty that there was no afterlife, then tbh I don't particularly enjoy living and I have a few people that I don't like so I'd start there. No rules except man-made ones.

    I'm gonna quote Rorschach on this one. It's not the Bible but if there's no afterlife then take whatever you want as authoritative:

    “Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves; go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long.

    If you want to try to enjoy life then you do that. I have other plans. Don't tell me what's reasonable. You are not me. Maybe some of us are in too much mental pain to start over again.

    We are all inferior to others in one way or another, but this is not the same as saying that some of us or all of us are inferior beings.Fooloso4

    On disability, I think it's apparent we all have different strengths and weaknesses. This is going to get very semantic so we need to be careful. It is reasonable to conclude that Moses had a disability. If he stutters, his speech was slower. However, I don't think we can tell stutterers (or others with some disability) that they ought to be "fixed" or "made fluent" because their condition was put there by design. If one wants to try to improve their condition or work with their condition that's on them, but in the stuttering community now there's been a definite shift away from treating the condition as something to be fixed and towards something to be accepted. Acceptance can bring progress. It's much healthier to embrace disability as part of the human condition then to refer to the disabled as deficient. I love the framing put forth in Exodus 4. In grounding their existence with divine intentionality it validates them as a part of the human condition. It is very woke.
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k


    This has taken a couple of unexpected, and for my part unintended turns. I do not wish to trespass, so will leave off.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    Since whether or not there is an "afterlife" is unknowable, I think investing more, or all, value in the merely imaginable instead of in this life is literally to value nothing. As Freddy remind us
    ... man would rather will nothingness than not will
    — On the Geneaology of Morals, Third Essay
    180 Proof

    Okie dokie!
  • Possibility
    2.7k
    I think it is rather the case that you are imposing assumptions on the text. In my opinion, as a general principle of interpretation, the attempt must be made to understand the story on its own terms. Is there any indication that the author(s) of the story do not mean that they are temporally or physically located characters? See, for example, Francesca Stavrakopoulou, "God: An Anatomy". The ancient peoples of the Levant did think of their gods as temporally or physically located characters with intentions, desires, and emotions.Fooloso4

    No, you’re assuming the story actually happened, but it’s literature. A story’s terms should not be bound by what happens. This only limits understanding.

    There is no physical or temporal description of either character, while there is of Job, his family and friends (‘in the land of Uz’). If the author(s) meant for the Lord or Satan to be physical or temporally located, they would have described them as such. Their discussion/interaction may be temporally located, if vaguely (‘one day’), but nothing more. Just because some people thought of their gods in terms of human intentions, desires and emotions, it does not follow that they are temporally or physically located characters, nor that this must be assumed for all gods, or authors. What ties the biblical writings together is this atemporal and ethereal (extra-dimensional) nature of ‘God’.

    And how can we learn from it if, for example, the wager is only an

    apparent ‘wager’
    — Possibility
    ?
    Fooloso4

    We learn nothing from what appears to have happened, but from higher level interactions in the presented structure.

    In the story the wager was not an "apparent wager". A wager was made. If we are to understand the story then we must accept that in the story a wager was made. To read a novel and point out that the things that happen in the novel did not actually happen is pointless.Fooloso4

    Read it again - there is no talk of a wager made at all. Just a theory-based chicken-and-egg disagreement, followed by an experimental change in conditions for Job. We must NOT simply accept that a wager was made based on how it may have ‘commonly’ been interpreted.
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k
    No, you’re assuming the story actually happenedPossibility

    No, you're assuming that I am assuming it actually happened. This is what I actually said:

    To anticipate the obvious objection, yes this is not meant to be taken literally, but we should take the story on its own terms. These things happen in the story and if we are to understand the story we must attend to what happens in the story.Fooloso4
    [emphasis added]

    To read a novel and point out that the things that happen in the novel did not actually happen is pointless.Fooloso4

    A story’s terms should not be bound by what happens. This only limits understanding.Possibility

    A story's terms should be bound by what happens in the story.

    Read it again - there is no talk of a wager made at all.Possibility

    The term is 'commonly' used even when there is no money other thing of value exchanged.

    used to say that you are certain that something is true or will happen in the future:
    I'd wager (that) she's interested in you.
    He regrets doing that, I'll wager.

    To wager is also to suggest as a likely idea:
    I would wager that not one person in ten could tell an expensive wine from a cheaper one.
    WAGER


    .
  • Paine
    694

    Job does not claim to be blameless but doesn't accept that he must be wrong by default either.

    Your question about what I mean by distinguishing faith and understanding is a good one and I admit that I need to think about it more.

    In the context of the OP, I am wondering how the reception of matters 'Christian' relate to a choice between a vision of revolutionary change versus something more 'normative' as suggested by Dermot Griffin. And by bringing up Job, I was thinking that expecting good results from living a good life is sort of an argument for the normative.
  • Dermot Griffin
    105


    "In the context of the OP, I am wondering how the reception of matters 'Christian' relate to a choice between a vision of revolutionary change versus something more 'normative...'"

    I think a great way of understanding the gospel is by unveiling the history of 1st century Roman Judea; many months ago this was discussed a bit in the discussion "Jesus and Greek Philosophy." However, the movement centered around Jesus in Judea at the time is what I really find interesting.
  • Paine
    694

    I remember the discussion well. What part of that history suggests to you that Christianity was a solution to an 'objective' problem? Or is that how you meant to put the matter?
  • Dermot Griffin
    105


    I wasn't attempting to suggest that Christianity was the answer to an objective problem per say as I think here in the United States Christianity is a way to advocate for objective ethical universals politically (in other words Christian realism but that's another topic altogether). I do not exactly think Christianity is the "theory of everything." True evangelism is actually having dialogue with, say, a Buddhist or a Hindu, and trying to suggest my belief that Christ fulfills the underlying ethos of Buddhism and Hinduism; I've never met a Buddhist or a Hindu insulted by this because I'm not attempting to convert them. The Old Testament is very clear that attempting to convert others is a sin in and of itself (I'll touch on this later).

    I'm more interested in how it actually came to be as a movement as I think that it would do Christians some good to look at the history. I am of the opinion that the Jesus of the New Testament was advocating a form of Judaic Cynicism (going by the definition of "Cynicism" used in antiquity). The Council of Nicaea formally established orthodoxy as you had several different groups with various definitions of what a "Christian" was (some of these groups were a tad nuts). John Dominic Crossan argues that the ministry surrounding Jesus and the Christianity of the Apostolic Era was a reaction to the political shift in the Roman Empire at the time, particularly the western half; the Kingdom of God cannot be brought about upon the earth because man is innately flawed but its ideals begin with the individual person. Because it was so controversial for the time this explains why Jesus asks those who want to follow him to take up a cross.

    The strategy that Jesus utilizes is typical of the Cynic thinker; short anecdotes like "He who has ears let him hear" and blessing the common folk (for example the Beatitudes) show that the message of Jesus was pretty inclusive. The ethical sayings of Jesus and what we find in his parables are also typical of the Cynic philosopher. Love of enemies and praying for those who judge you is revolutionary. Of course you get this in the Old Testament as well ("Love the stranger for you were strangers in the land of Egypt") but what makes the New Testament unique is that there is a theme of followers of Christ actually forgive people that judge them for what they preach. This is what is truly remarkable; St. Stephen asks God to forgive his persecutors in the Book of Acts. This brings me to the sobering fact that New Testament Christianity is dead and needs a revival. Kierkegaard, for example, wrote to an entire country that he felt had never been authentically Christian. Western Christendom seems to be ridden with lots of mixing of religion and politics. Certain reactions to this I believe are found in the rise of the Quakers, Methodists, and reforms of Vatican II. Eastern Christianity seems to have the harshest history of persecution; the Ottoman Empire wasn't exactly a tolerant place and the USSR was even worse. I think Evangelicalism has ruined Christianity here in the States. Instead of volunteering at a soup kitchen for the homeless or attempting to counsel someone they stand on street corners whining about they way our politics are going and come by your house at 6AM on a Sunday trying to preach their subjective feelings about Jesus to you.

    Despite this the overall message of the gospel is, in my opinion, holding oneself to a standard that seeks meaning in a world that is completely insane and seemingly meaningless (i.e. Christian existentialism). In short I believe that the gospel is about taking charge of ones own life in the eyes of a God that none of us can prove exists, taking a leap of faith to cure ones existential angst and nihilism. Again this is not me preaching anything, just a summary of what I believe. I like to think that this understanding of the gospel is much more appealing than the nonsense that Sunday School's teach.
  • Paine
    694

    Thank you for the careful response. I will ponder upon it in coming days.
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k
    Job does not claim to be blameless but doesn't accept that he must be wrong by default either.Paine

    I agree.

    And by bringing up Job, I was thinking that expecting good results from living a good life is sort of an argument for the normative.Paine

    Yes, this occured to me as well, as did Ecclesiastes.
  • javi2541997
    2.2k
    Anglicans, Lutherans, and Methodists have a lot more in common with Catholics and Orthodox than most people realize.Dermot Griffin

    Well, it supposed to be, right? They are connected to the same belief: God's existence.
    I respect all your points and arguments and they are so interesting, indeed. Nevertheless, I see all of those "doctrines" as political "groups" or "conclaves" because they fought each other for the rule of power over the years.
    Lutherans and Anglicans were so critical against Pope and Catholic church due to the political power of the latter. They wanted to be more "independent" from Vatican and Pope.
    We can be agree here that literally all of them believe in God but... who is the responsible to profess it? I guess that's when the wars started out.
  • Possibility
    2.7k
    A story's terms should be bound by what happens in the story.Fooloso4

    No, what happens in the story is a reduction of terms. And no wager happens in Job, it is only discussed.

    I understand the preference to treat the text as a four-dimensional structure. Except that it isn’t only four-dimensional, and you won’t fully understand it by reducing it this way. That is, if your aim is to understand - and not to describe or define, which relies on (normative) conventions of language and story.

    If we are agreed that the story doesn’t actually happen - that it interacts in potentiality - then I’m confident you will see that any ‘wager’, too, is only potential in this story. For a character to even say “I’ll wager” is NOT a wager made in the story.

    This may seem to be splitting hairs, but it points to the extra-dimensional aspects of the story itself - which I maintain is more the point of these writings than what happens in the story. As I see it, the point of the Book of Job is NOT that God appeared to make a wager with Satan which led to suffering, but is more along the lines of “The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao”.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    The Real Meaning of the Gospels: Don't mess with the Romans!

    :snicker:

    Jokes aside, people seem to have converged on one word as the nub of Christianity viz. love; as to whether this is drawn from scripture or people are simply projecting their intuition, which seems to be right on the money, onto the text is open for debate.
  • Joe Mello
    179
    You guys pride yourselves in being critical thinkers who don't go around believing in stuff you don't know for certain.

    Yet ...

    You ask each other about "The Real Meaning of the Gospel" and could care less what 2,000 years of philosophers and theologians have written about it since.

    Your critical thinking skills have given to you the strange and unproductive idea to only ask each other.

    You seem to never come to the honest conclusion that you and your fellow posters aren't doing a very good job with this question. And that's not very thoughtful, critically speaking.

    ...

    The real meaning of the Gospel is simple to understand in three easy steps:

    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

    "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth"

    “Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce God’s good news to one and all.”

    ...

    It takes the most basic critical thinking to judge what person has been the greatest human being who ever lived, and to understand that when we know for certain, as this person did, that we have an eternal life, IT CHANGES EVERYTHING.
  • Moses
    191


    It is drawn very directly from scripture. See Mark 12:28. I believe it is the most important teaching in the NT. Many Christian denominations consider it the core of their religion.

    It actually is meaningful. People could live life any number of ways and there's no reason that one necessarily needs to prioritize love.
  • ThinkOfOne
    124
    The real meaning of the Gospel is simple to understand in three easy steps:

    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

    "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth"

    “Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce God’s good news to one and all.”
    Joe Mello

    In my experience, many read much into the first verse you've quoted even though it is ambiguous in and of itself.
    In your opinion:
    Who do you believe is speaking? Jesus or the narrator of the Book of John?
    What does "believe in him" entail? What is the underlying meaning of "eternal life"? What is the underlying meaning of "his one and only Son"?
    Specifically what do you believe is being said? What is the underlying meaning? What underlying concepts are being conveyed?
  • Joe Mello
    179
    ThinkOfOne, you have many questions. Today's skeptics BELIEVE that asking questions is all we have.

    Your questions are a beginner's questions. Not everyone is a beginner about the Gospel.

    The greatest person who ever lived was Jesus, but I can tell that you really don't think anyone even knows if he existed or what he said or what he did. And that's just not realistic or logical. Where in your experience has a nonexistent person changed any part of the world, never mind the whole world?

    And you ask me what I "believe" because in your experience of the Gospel all you have is belief, or nonbelief. But the Gospel talks about something more than belief: "We are speaking about what we have seen and heard", Jesus said to Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a person who thought he could read his way to knowledge about God. Jesus always showed that he was experiencing God, not reading about God. But you can't even bring yourself to acknowledge Jesus existed, never mind acknowledging what he said or did when he was alive.

    I sacrificed 7 years when I was in my twenties and dedicated every moment to finding out if the "stories" in the Gospel were actually true. I only "believed" at the beginning of those 7 years, but I believed enough to deny myself the opinions that were bouncing off the top of my head. I gave a million-dollar effort, not a five-cent one, and ended up in a monastery for 5 years. And I was rewarded. And I now have absolute certitude that the stories in the Gospel are all true, and Jesus was the person he said he was.

    I cannot give this certitude about the Gospel to anyone.

    To "believe" in Jesus is just the first baby step. Jesus said that God wants to be known in "Spirit and Truth". And that takes many more steps in the right direction. Reading won't get you there.

    God is not a book. Until you stop reading and go in search of God where you have been told to look by the Gospel (and by 2,000 years of truly wise people, not skeptics who read like you), you'll only find words on a page, and questions. The answers you will only find yourself. That's God's wisdom at work, because only his obedient children are his favorite children. Who rewards a lazy disobedient child who just won't listen?
  • ThinkOfOne
    124


    I'm not skeptical of the gospel preached by Jesus.

    I'm skeptical of the "gospel" of Christianity which is based on the Pauline gospel and the "gospel stories" that the writers of the "four gospels" wrapped around the gospel preached by Jesus . You speak of your "certitude about the Gospel". From what I gather, you are speaking of the latter rather than the former.

    John 8
    34Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin."
    31 ...If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

    Jesus' true disciples are those who abide in His word. That would be the words that Jesus spoke while He preached His gospel. It is they that know the truth. Not those who have "certitude about the Gospel" taught by Paul and followers of Paul.

    When Jesus was preaching His gospel He used the terms "believe Him" and "believe in Him" essentially in three different ways:
    1) Believe that He has the authority to speak the word of God
    2) Believe that His words are the word of God
    3) Believe His words in and of themselves. That is believe in living as Jesus exhorted people to live.

    Of the three listed, the first two are as means of getting to the third and not the ends in and of themselves. Those who believe in living as Jesus exhorts people to live and therefore actually do it are His true disciples.

    Jesus did NOT use them to mean to believe in the "redemptive work on the cross for salvation", "believe in the resurrection" or what have you - which is what many Christians think.
  • Paine
    694
    This is what is truly remarkable; St. Stephen asks God to forgive his persecutors in the Book of Acts. This brings me to the sobering fact that New Testament Christianity is dead and needs a revival. Kierkegaard, for example, wrote to an entire country that he felt had never been authentically Christian.Dermot Griffin

    It is true that Kierkegaard greatly annoyed his fellow Christians by saying that their satisfaction with holding good opinions is not the same as doing the works of love as commanded by Jesus. He did not, on that basis, declare a separate congregation as others have. He was a voice, like Luther and Pascal, trying to separate a vision of authentic life from one made false through corruption and illusion.

    What you don't like about modern evangelists sounds a lot like the complacency others have objected to in the past.
  • Possibility
    2.7k
    I suppose the human journey can be summed up as a struggle against nihilism. Some might even say it is the most dangerous idea to come out of the human mind - it rejects/denies/everything by definition and that includes the stuff close to our hearts and therein lies the seeds of untold suffering. :sad:Agent Smith

    That may be one way to perceive it. I agree that nihilism by definition rejects/denies everything, as it were. But I see nihilism as a process, not a position. The human journey, then, may be summed up as a process inclusive of both nihilism and existential effort. It is in our attachment to this ‘stuff close to our hearts’ wherein lies the seeds of untold suffering. Nihilism refers to our capacity to let go of these attachments without ceasing to exist, at least for a time. There’s a freedom in that understanding, to remake ourselves in every aspect, as part of the human journey.

    As for its relation to the gospels, I don’t see them as definitively either pro- or anti-nihilistic, and I think any attempt to label either Jesus or the gospels one way or the other is merely for argument’s sake, as the concept of nihilism seems entirely foreign to their thinking. The idea that letting go of certain attachments gives us freedom to remodel our systems and structures is explored within a particular cultural context, in a particular (filial) relation to the assumed existence of one eternal ‘God’.

    The way I see it, the gospel teachings are further along in this human journey than the teachings of the OT. But more than 2000 years later, our understanding is potentially further along again, if we’re willing to let go of any attachment to christianity, scripture, or even the example of Jesus, as the Logos. Through nihilism, however, we can also let go of attachment to the existential assumption of ‘God’ - again, not a position to hold, just part of the process…
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    It is drawn very directly from scripture. See Mark 12:28. I believe it is the most important teaching in the NT. Many Christian denominations consider it the core of their religion.

    It actually is meaningful. People could live life any number of ways and there's no reason that one necessarily needs to prioritize love.
    Moses

    Fab!
  • Joe Mello
    179
    If you read the Gospel, and the Acts of the Apostles that were written at the same time of the Gospel, you would have read that Jesus didn't simply live, die, and become the Resurrection.

    Jesus sent "the Paraclete".

    Jesus was clear: "No one has seen God." "God is Spirit." "God desires worshippers in Spirit and Truth."

    Skeptics have intellectual ideas that are not complete and experienced, but patchworks of bits of reading from this source and that source. Skeptics never become truly wise because wisdom is only furthered when the compilation of "facts" is applied to "personal experiences" and "logical certainty".

    The Paraclete was poured out of God at a particular time in human history--the fullness of time after the Way, the Truth, and the Life came and left, after the Light of the World shined upon humanity and left his light still shining.

    The Paraclete is the Holy Spirit. You've heard of it, yet you haven't listened.

    Before the fullness of time, there were only a few people born in each generation who were close to God and knew his wisdom. History is filled with these special people.

    Today, and for two thousand years, anyone can be close to God, experience God, and live with a lion's share of his Spirit. This is what Jesus did for humanity. This is how Jesus became humanity's Spiritual Messiah.

    ...

    Paul received a direct revelation of Jesus on the road to Damascus, and it changed everything for him. He was filled with the Holy Spirit until his death. And all his talents and abilities were poured into his writings that were anchored in his "personal experience" that gave to him the absolute certitude that Jesus was still alive and the Messiah he said he was.

    You can read. Good. But you can't apply your reading to personal experiences that will take your reading where it should go for you to become truly wise. All your reading hits your mere opinions and falls like a stone instead of rising upwards on the wings of personal triumphs and gifts from God.

    ...

    Paul's experience was not a one-off. Jesus has knocked human beings off their horses for two thousand years.

    Skeptics cannot get off their high horse of prideful opinions.

    "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone."

    This stone is the Holy Spirit. Seek it. Desire it. Stop talking and listen for it. Stop moving and wait for it. And, above all, ask for it.
  • Paine
    694

    Much of your description of a 'continual process of change' reminds me of Gene W Marshall's Primer on Radical Christianity. One can safely say it is a very different response than the Evangelical churches of today but probably is an example of the 'modern' that Dermot Griffin objects to.
  • Possibility
    2.7k
    Much of your description of a 'continual process of change' reminds me of Gene W Marshall's Primer on Radical Christianity. One can safely say it is a very different response than the Evangelical churches of today but probably is an example of the 'modern' that Dermot Griffin objects to.Paine

    I get the sense (and I could be wrong) that in criticising the ‘modern’, Dermot Griffin is contrasting it with an original notion, rather than traditional practice, of christianity, church and evangelisation.

    I haven’t read Marshall, but I have spent some time (a few years ago) exploring the movement of ‘Progressive Christianity’ in which he writes, so I dare say we may agree on some similar points. Much of this primarily US movement does attempt to uncover the original notion of christianity, but it’s also a reaction to and disentanglement from Christian fundamentalism, without losing the sense of belonging and other social comforts that institutional church life brings. That’s not where I’m coming from (my initial background, FWIW, was Australian Catholic) - I remain sympathetic to the notion of christianity as a shared approach to spirituality, but not as an institution.

    A ‘church’ in the original sense is simply an assembly, and the ’petras’ (rock) on which this was to be built is a ledge or mass of connected rock, as distinct from ’petros’ as a detached stone or boulder. And yet, the first church of ‘Christians’ were hiding and meeting in secret - practice already diverging from the original notion.

    ’Euangelos’ means to bring good news. It doesn’t require membership, morality, or even acceptance on the part of those who hear it. It doesn’t even require you to speak this information, let alone use particular words. If you understand it, share this with others, and learn to recognise this same understanding in its many different forms.

    I think ‘Christianity’ has spent far too much time, attention and effort on identity, power and especially survival, forgetting that its very foundation has rendered them moot.
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Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.